Cambrian Explosion: Why Christians Need to Know

by Jack Wellman on January 19, 2013 · Print Print · Email Email

Why should Christians be concerned or care about a bunch of fossils?  What is the significance of the Cambrian Explosion?  What is it?  Why should Christians need to know about it?

Why is the Cambrian Layer Called an Explosion?

The reason that scientists, archaeologists and paleontologists call the Cambrian Explosion an “explosion” is because most of the present species that exist today or have ever existed are found in what is known as the Cambrian layer or explosion.   This “explosion” of fossils comes in an extremely shallow layer of the earth that seems to match the creation account of Genesis, where all plant and animal life were created within a short period of time.  Since all life was created by God so suddenly, it would make sense that the fossils would be found so close together in earthen layers.

The Cambrian Explosion is a sudden appearance of all life as we know it.  There are exceedingly few that come before this and those that follow the Cambrian show no differences than their ancestral cousins or predecessors that follow.  It is like an explosion of life that appears almost instantaneously on earth.  What is amazing about the Cambrian layer is what is not there before it and after it.  In other words, you will find almost no predecessors or ancestors of the Cambrian creatures; that is, absolutely nothing above or below this layer.  This roaring silence of evidence is what was a problematic area for Darwin, who believed that in the years to come, there would be hundreds of transitional fossils that would validate his theory.  With hundreds of thousands of digs, there are still gigantic gaps in the transitional fossils that would allegedly show the transitions of species into totally different species.

What Does the Cambrian Explosion Prove?

As we have already read, we do not see new and emerging species that are transitioning from previous ones.  There is not one single set of transitional fossils that reveal one species evolving into another one.  What we do find aren’t just invertebrates but soft worms and those with hard parts.  And what comes after the Cambrian layer?  The very same thing…basically fossilized remains that have virtually no differences.  Remarkably, during this supposed 50 million year time period, these fossils remain absolutely stable with no signs of mutations and no fossilized remains showing mutations.  This might be part of the reason that the theory of evolution is losing more and more support from scientists, paleontologists, and archaeologists.  For an alleged “Tree of Life” where the chicken and the T- rex reside on the same branch, the lack of fossilized evidence is phenomenal.

It isn’t surprising that the theory is falling out of favor because in this Cambrian layer, almost every one of the major groups of phyla, fauna, and animals appear suddenly, and these in this layer are basically no different today than they were then.  Many of these are now extinct and among those that are extinct, we do not find any of their ancestors prior to the Cambrian.  We just see them all appear at once.  Many that became extinct could well have died out during the Antediluvian Flood some time ago.

Why No New Species?

Why should Christians be concerned or care about a bunch of fossils?

One observation that I had when looking at evolution’s “Tree of Life,” a hypothetical drawing where all species are said to have developed and evolved, was where the apes and mankind were occupying the same branch.  Since humans are suppose to have evolved from monkeys or apes, why are they still around today?  Shouldn’t they have evolved out of existence?  Why don’t we see the intermediate fossil remains from the transition of apes to mankind?  I believe that the so-called “missing links” are missing because they simply don’t exist.  I would ask why we even search for these missing links when the entire chain is gone.  Don’t we need a chain of evolving, transitional fossils to have a place to put these “links” into?

The Horseshoe Crab that is supposed to have been around for millions and millions of years is absolutely the same as it was in the earliest fossilized layers. It has not changed at all in these “millions” of years. Why not?  Is evolution only specialized in some species and not others, and if so, why!?  There are dozens and dozens of fish that lived in ancient times and yet are still around today…and completely unchanged!  Why have the Hagfish, Frilled Shark, Arowana, Lancefish, Sturgeons, Sawfish, Alligator Gar, and Coelacanth remained completely unchanged since they have been around since the time of and even before the age of the dinosaurs?  Again, does evolution work only for some species and not for others?  If this is so, then why is evolution selective?  Should not evolution make them different and more efficient?  If evolution is at work, why have so many species become extinct and yet others remained unchanged?

And what about the evolution of plants?  Plants are said to have evolved too.  The oldest known plant is the Gingko Biloba, dated to around 270 million years ago, yet it is exactly the same then as it is today.  The list of plants that have been around for, some say, millions and millions of years, are still the very same today as they were then!  The giant redwoods, many of the cactus family,mushrooms, and so on.  You can not find any transitional evidence in fossils of plants evolving from one plant into another, newer plant, just as you can’t among mammal or animal species.

The Cause of the Explosion

If we are to believe the Bible, then we must believe that all of life, plant and animal, came into existence immediately.  If they evolved, then why does God say that He created them male and female (Genesis 1:27)?  Jesus reiterated the idea of man and woman being a creation of God when He said, Haven’t you read,” He replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female (Matthew 19:4).  And since they had names, Adam and Eve, we know that they were created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27).   He didn’t create amoebas after the amoeba kind, or the single-celled organism after the single-celled organism kind.  As Malachi wrote, Has not [the LORD] made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring (Malachi 2:15).  The creation of mankind was not a molecules-to-monkey-to-man evolution but a created being that was made in the likeness and image of God.  I can not believe in a theory that after 130 years or so has still remained a theory.  I refuse to believe I am a monkey’s uncle.  Was it the late Dr. D. James Kennedy who once said something like this: “Am I my brother’s keeper or my keeper’s brother?

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{ 74 comments… read them below or add one }

Chevelle January 19, 2013 at 8:53 am

Hi Jack,
I am a biology major and evolution is being taught to me as a fact. I am currently in a course of developmental biology and am learning the process of a human being. Its truly amazing and I find it asinine to think that we “evolved” into these complex mechanisms that make sure we form the right limb length, and that our faces go on the front of us, etc. Looking at this process, it truly shows me that someone created us, and that this someone is VERY powerful, a power that I cannot even dream of.
I guess the true question is, “Why are humans so willing to accept (more like twist) their observations into something that is not there?
A talented neurosurgeon, Ben Carson, explained why he didn’t believe in Evolution. It tkes just as much faith (in this case I think more) to believe in Evolution as it does to believe in God.” He was trying to convey that believing in this phenomenon took faith that what you were seeing was actually what is. The difference is Christians have this in their spirit, the truth is written in their hearts not in a book or just seen with their eyes.

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Jack Wellman January 19, 2013 at 12:19 pm

So true Chevelle. I believe I know why they reject the Creator. They would have to given an account for their sins. Presently, they see no need to repent of what they do and if there is no God, they irrationally believe, then they don’t have to give an account to anyone for their behavior.

Paul dealt with atheists in his own day, writing “For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks. But they became futile in their speculations. And their foolish heart was darkened, professing to be wise, they became fools. And exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man, and of birds, and four-footed animals, and crawling creatures.” (Rom 1:21-23)

Further in Romans 1:18-20 “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made,so that people are without excuse.”

The Greek word for suppress is like pushing down on a spring coil forceably. That is they do it purposefully and with intent for in their inner conscience they KNOW that there is a God and that’s why Paul said that they “are without excuse.”

One of the best books on this subject that exposes the false transitional fossils, like these believed to be “cavemen” is the book “Bones of Contention” by Marvin L. Lubenow. This book exposes the schemes, forgery, and scams of those who put these so called transitional fossils of mankind together as being hoaxes.

For more on these hoaxes, please check out this:

http://voices.yahoo.com/missing-links-fossil-phonies-5426669.html

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Chevelle Montoya January 19, 2013 at 4:16 pm

Thanks Jack! My developmental biology professor gave us an article that actually makes no conceptual sense when you read it its called Atrocious by Stephen Gould. Gould tries to downplay the obvious falsehood of Haeckel’s trying to back up the “we all come from a common ancestor” and the drawings he used to back up that theory. It was found that Haeckel falsified those drawings to make people believe that evolution, as Darwin explained it, was actually something that was right.
Also Jack, I wonder if people knew that Darwin was a Christian man? I also wonder why he decided to write a book called the Descent of Man and this book was really supposed to go against Creationism? What is your opinion on this matter?

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Jack Wellman January 19, 2013 at 4:50 pm

Thanks again Chevelle. I see no actual evidence that Darwin was saved or even as some falsely claim had a death bed conversion. He studied in a seminary, largely due to the pressure of his father but quit and never completed it. The fact is that Darwin’s thinking and writing on the subject of evolution and natural selection caused him to reject the evidence for God in nature and ultimately to renounce the Bible, God, and the Christian faith.

The decline of Darwin’s faith began when he first started to doubt the truth of the first chapters of Genesis. This unwillingness to accept the Bible as meaning what it said probably started with and certainly was greatly influenced by his shipboard reading matter—the newly published first volume of Charles Lyell’s Principles of Geology. Darwin convinced himself that species had originated by chance and developed by a long course of gradual modification, the less he could accept not only the Genesis account of creation, but also the rest of the Old Testament as the divinely inspired Word of God. In his Autobiography, Darwin wrote, ““I had gradually come by this time, [i.e. 1836 to 1839] to see that the Old Testament was no more to be trusted than the sacred books of the Hindoos or the beliefs of any barbarian.”

Darwin was convinced that everything in nature has come about through accidental, unguided purposelessness rather than as the result of divinely guided, meaningful intention, and, after several years, in 1859 his Origin of Species was the result.

Darwin then renounced the Gospels saying “by such reflections as these… I gradually came to disbelieve in Christianity as a divine revelation. “I am sorry to have to inform you that I do not believe in the Bible as a divine revelation, & therefore not in Jesus Christ as the Son of God.” John 3:18b then seals Darwin’s fate. Today, he believes, (although too late) in God because it says “whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”

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Chevelle January 19, 2013 at 7:01 pm

Ah I see. The argument that was being used was ironicity of a Christian discovering evolution. I see that that is not true. Therebis a trend among atheist I suppose
Ike you mentioned earlier, they pretend to”wise”. But even though someone may be atheist they can change and come to believe in God. The Roe vs. Wade anniversary is approaching (or has past, I don’t really keep up with it) and apparently Jane Roe who was pro choice and a lesbian converted to Christianity!! I was reading Paul’s story at the same time and I was thinking just how awesome God is he truly does strive with people’s soul. Even the most wicked of them!

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Clarrisa January 20, 2013 at 2:04 am

Hello Jack,

This comment is random in regards to this article, but I really am seeking some serious Godly advice. It would help me so much! I ask because you have true faith and God has blessed you with truth and wisdom. I hope this is not too much to ask, but it is regarding pre-marital sex and a relationship issue. I tried finding your e-mail on this website but I didn’t see it. Please, I feel your words would help me…

Thank you so very much in advance.

Clarrisa

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Jack Wellman January 20, 2013 at 5:24 pm

Hello Clarissa. I have responded to your email and just sent it so please reply so that I can, if possible, be of assistance to you. I removed your email address so that the public would not see it for your privacy.

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Robert January 21, 2013 at 10:29 am

Great article, Jack, it exposes yet one more weak link in the chain of beliefs that make up the theory of evolution. Greg Bahnsen wrote, “Modern science teaches that man is not the apex of creation, but the ex-ape of evolution” (Pushing the Antithesis, p. 8).

“Bones of Contention” is a great book; I especially found the chapter on the origin of writing very helpful. The theory of evolution would have early man stumbling around with his knuckles dragging the ground, grunting at one another until language ‘evolved’. Lubenow shows how it is entirely credible that Adam was able to write quite well.

I find it amazing that, in lieu of the lack of evidence for evolution (i.e. no transitional fossils, the falsified drawings of Haeckel, life cannot come from non-life) and the fact that the Genesis account so perfectly explains the evidence we do see, that the theory of evolution has lasted this long. As you said, Jack, it is a willful rejection of God that leads to these naturalistic conclusions.

Thanks again, Jack…great work.
Yours in Christ,
Robert

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Jack Wellman January 21, 2013 at 10:52 am

Thank you sir. We are so privileged to know that Jesus is God and Savior and Creator and we did not bring this knowledge about ourselves but that He was full of grace and by His love revealed Himself to us for none of us really seek God but that He first sought us. How great is this grace!

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Daniel January 26, 2013 at 6:14 am

Mr. Jack, it will surprise u to know how far articles from u and other What Christians Need To Know write-ups reach. I am a Christian living in Ghana, a West African country. All I will like to say now is Kudos, and keep it up.

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Jack Wellman January 26, 2013 at 12:04 pm

Thank you so much Daniel for your kind words. Truly, all glory, honor, praise and credit belong to our God and we seek to worship and glorify Jesus Christ in all we say, do, and write.

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Patricia Schneider January 26, 2013 at 7:50 am

Great article, Pastor Jack! Always knew that Darwinism was a flimsy, ‘scientific’ myth. But the arguments you wrote in article gave me some good points to share w/some folks I know who believe in this myth. Also enjoyed the replies between you and Chevelle. (We are now FRIENDS, Praise Dear God! What a blessing to know her!)
Sometimes I am dense, Pastor Jack, but could you elaborate on your last sentence, about us not seeking God but that He first sought us? I’ve seen you use this sentence several times and meant to ask.
Does it mean that God always knew us (as it says in Scripture?) Or more?
Always in Christ, Jesus….Patty

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Jack Wellman January 26, 2013 at 11:21 am

Thanks Patty for your comment. Read Ephesians chapter one and see how God knew us before we were even born and predetermined that He might bring us into the Kingdom. Here is why I say this:

Romans 3:10-12

as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”

Philippians 2:21
21 For they all seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus.

John 6:37,44
37 “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.

44 “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.

Thank God that He started the work in our hearts to seek Him, to believe on Him, like Lydia in Acts 16. The Lord opened her heart to believe.

Acts 16:14 A woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God, was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul.

Philippians 1:6 For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.

That is our Hope, That is our Joy, That is our Future.

It all starts with Him, continues with Him and ends with Him. I put it this way: He sought me, He caught me, He bought me, He taught me what I ought be. None of it is about or of me but all a work of HE!

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Patricia Schneider January 26, 2013 at 8:38 pm

Thanks, Pastor Jack!
Ephesians 1:4-5 especially answered my question. Thank you, also, for the other passages of Scripture.
Have started an online daily bible study with BibleStudyTools.com last week. One chapter from the Old Testament, One from the New Testament, Psalms & Proverbs.
It’s all in order as events occurred. It’s proven to be an insightful help for me. (Really enjoyed your last two sentences above!)
Blessings for you and your family, Pastor Jack!
Always in Christ, Jesus…..Patty

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Gerf March 10, 2013 at 5:13 am

(As my first attempt failed (mistake on my side or refusal) I try a second time. I will split it in 2 messages regarding the length of my comments).

– part 1 –

I already commented on your article about evolution and, above that, science (http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/how-do-christians-explain-evolution/) but I see that you present a lot more of false assertions about science, which is at “best” a lack of knowledge on the subject, at worst dishonesty. I may be unwelcome here, but I feel that I have to express my concerns about simplistic views that leads to bad education.

– Inaccuracy 1 : ‘The Cambrian Explosion is a sudden appearance of all life as we know it’
No, it isn’t. We didn’t find cows and elephants in the concerned layers.
You also said :
“The reason that scientists, archaeologists and paleontologists call the Cambrian Explosion an “explosion” is because most of the present species that exist today or have ever existed are found in what is known as the Cambrian layer or explosion.”
Scientists (including archaeologists and paleontologists) are not talking about species. What is impressive about the Cambrian Explosion is the appearance of most of the major groups (or phyla) of animals that we know today within a relatively short period of time (let’s say ~50 million years). Groups, not today’s species!

“This “explosion” of fossils comes in an extremely shallow layer of the earth that seems to match the creation account of Genesis, where all plant and animal life were created within a short period of time”
No, it doesn’t, because of what I said before : Cambrian explosion is not about all life nor all species we know. What we have shows that there was life before and that there have been new species appearing after this “explosion”.

– Inaccuracy 2 : ‘not one single set of transitional fossils that reveal one species evolving into another one’
It seems strange to me that people keep using “transitional fossils” arguments at this level. Maybe scientists are the one to blame for this concept. Technically, every fossil is transitional, meaning it shows the transition between his parents and his children (well, potential children, since we can’t know if it had any). More widely: transition between relatively distant ancestors and distant descendants (if any). And these fossils exist for some groups (so the “no transitional fossils” claim has been a mistake for a long time now).

– Inaccuracy 3 : ‘Since humans are suppose to have evolved from monkeys or apes, why are they still around today?’
Again, you should start to take your informations from science resources and read them before you write about their claims. You could even go to websites that give replies to such basic questions concerning understanding of evolution. No question is bad at a beginner level, but then sincere research should be expected which you don’t seem to have been running through. If you actually have, you probably need to improve the quality of your resources or make additional efforts at studying the subject.
Evolution is not linear which means new species don’t come from the complete transformation of one in another but from the separation of populations from the same species. One fork population can evolve differently from the other and keep living at the same moment. Moreover, biologists, to be accurate, should say that humans are primates which evolved from an ancestor they shared with modern apes. Humans didn’t evolve from today’s chimpanzees…

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Jack Wellman March 10, 2013 at 5:47 pm

Thank you Gerf for your comment. I apologize for not responding sooner. I had to work this weekend and so I am going to try to address this in differing parts where I have time to do so. Your post is quite extensive I must say so I can only go so far is a short amount of time that I have. As for “Inaccuracy #1″,

There are scant few fossils that come before the Cambrian layers. There are only primarily three and they lay adjacent to the Cambrian to as almost appear near them. One such is Cloudina & Namacalathus mineral tubular fossils (which remain unchanged!). Then there are the Mollusc-like Kimberella and its trace fossils (also unchanged as of today), and then the Mollusc-like Kimberella and its trace fossils. Needless to say, these show not change at all. Incidentally, the Cloudina are the oldest known evidence in the fossil record of the emergence of calcified skeletal formation in metazoans, a prominent feature in animals appearing in the Early Cambrian and not before. Good evidence exists for the appearance of gastropods, cephalopods and bivalves which are classified as Mollusc-like Kimberella and its trace fossils are also said to be in the Cambrian period.

Recently, the fossil record of the earliest animals from the Ediacaran to the Cambrian has made, not in the least the dating and interpretation of these remain controversial. As Wikipedia has stated, “The long-running puzzlement about the appearance of the Cambrian fauna, seemingly abruptly and from nowhere, centers on three key points: whether there really was a mass diversification of complex organisms over a relatively short period of time during the early Cambrian; what might have caused such rapid change; and what it would imply about the origin and evolution of animals. Interpretation is difficult due to a limited supply of evidence, based mainly on an incomplete fossil record and chemical signatures remaining in Cambrian rocks.” So, it is not only up to interpretation but this interpretation is difficult “due to a limited supply of evidence” and it is “based mainly on INCOMPLETE fossil record and chemical signatures remaining in Cambrian rocks.” The words “interpretation” and the fact that there is a “limited supply of evidence…due to an incomplete fossil record” sounds highly speculative and subjective at best.

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Gerf March 12, 2013 at 7:34 am

You don’t need to apologize, I understand very well that you have other things to do and I know my comments were extensive. Thank you very much for your replies.

I will start answering since I have time. Of course, don’t feel pressed to respond immediately.
Sorry again for the length of my comments, too much to say.

– Inaccuracy #1 : ‘all life as we know it’
“Only primarily three” fossils accounting for life before Cambrian? The very same article ‘Cambrian explosion’ on Wikipedia says the contrary. But more important: did you really mean what I did understand: that all three you mentioned are species that remain unchanged today? Where did you get that? That amazes me because Cloudina for example is considered extinct since Cambrian itself…
Anyway, those times are seen as the moment when organisms develop hard parts that are mostly the only parts fossilized. Which means that it is tricky to identify life forms before that, yes. But other evidence than body fossils exists. Trace fossils go millions of years before the Cambrian explosion.

“The words “interpretation” and the fact that there is a “limited supply of evidence…due to an incomplete fossil record” sounds highly speculative and subjective at best”
Well, being honest about what we have and the limitations we obviously are confronted with seems actually very objective. As for “up to interpretation”, if it is supposed to mean that we don’t know with absolute certainty, that is time wasting: of course we don’t.
In any case, there are good interpretations, on first line the ones based on the evidence we have (as narrow as it is) and specially trying to include the different kinds of evidence, but there are also bad interpretations, specially the ones that don’t fit at all with the (small) set of evidence that we have.
So yes, fossil records are incomplete (as usual…). And no, trying to give the explanation that fits best the data we have doesn’t seem highly speculative to me. Scientists do with what they have and would be happy to reconsider their positions if they could have new big amount of data.
Again, you don’t seem to realize that even if it’s difficult to interpret, what science proposes today is the best natural explanations that it can give for now. I am sorry, it is not perfect, but we do not have an other, less speculative, natural (should I say naturalistic?) explanation. Maybe technology will help us do better analysis in the future, but maybe we will never be able to retrieve better kinds of data because they will be gone or have never been preserved in the first place.

Anyway, “all life as we know it”, as it seems to imply that we have very similar life set today, is wrong. When they say “major groups of animals”, it includes no mammals, no birds, actually no vertebrates at all… Cambrian’s life is absolutely not similar to today’s life. That is the point.

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Jack Wellman March 10, 2013 at 5:58 pm

For ” inaccuracy” #2

My children are transitional fossils? Really!? Are these the same ones that the biology textbooks use? What about the many drawings and paintings. For those who are looking for aquatic mammal lineages, reptile lineages, bird lineages, land mammal lineages or something like that are there any websites you know of with photos of actual transitional fossils and not drawings? Where are all the transitiionary species fossils – the supposed millions that were living over the millions of years of evolution? They should be littering the planet! Yet you say our children are and that “scientists are the one to blame for this concept?”

I have a hard time believing that “Technically, every fossil is transitional, meaning it shows the transition between his parents and his children (well, potential children, since we can’t know if it had any)” well, more speculation here, nothing objective, and I have never seen evolution’s tree of life include a human’s children as a transitional fossil. Sorry.

I will continue with # 3 “Inaccuracy” (quote, unquote) soon.

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Gerf March 12, 2013 at 7:46 am

“My children are transitional fossils? Really!?”
No, not really, no. Mainly because they are not fossils… But 10 million years in the future, if their remains have been fossilized, they could be seen as “transitional” between older humans (let’s say from 5 million years ago) and the living humans (if any) at that future time. What difference does that make if it is a child or an adult? The point is that they could be seen as showing transition between older human state and future human state. I don’t get what you find problematic here.

But our comments are already showing one of the problem that we want to be careful with. I will try to explain better the problem and why I said that “scientists are the one to blame for this concept”.
Basically there are two kinds of transitions we can think of (and scientists themselves are not always clear about what they are looking for and what they mean by transitional):

1) A “vertical” transition (from older organisms to younger ones).
It is the usual way for us to see “transitional fossils”, as if they were traces of an exact genealogical unbroken chain (and I plead guilty of that) or as you mentioned, a “lineage”. But most of the time we can’t say if a specific fossilized individual actually had children! So, obviously, it would be wrong to say that any living thing today is (with no doubt) the descendant of some specific fossil we have. Because we could only have fossils of individuals dead without children (that is unlikely, but still, we can’t tell). But of course this fossil had parents and maybe brothers or cousins and any of them could have had children. So there IS an unbroken chain of children and parents going back to the time when our fossil was living, but we are unable to say if this fossil is in that unbroken chain. That is why we should avoid words like “missing link” (specially the media) that let us believe we are talking about real parenthood links.
But if there is a common ancestor to all the individuals that have lived since the time of our fossil, that means that the fossil is related to any individuals living today of course.
An other problem is that “genealogical” vision leads to “linear evolution” vision, which is false (cf. inaccuracy #3).

2) “A horizontal” transition (showing link between two modern groups/species that forked at some point)
That being said, Biology (specially phylogenetics) tries to establish the evolutionary relationships between all today’s species. Basically, it doesn’t really try to tell “who is descended from who” (genealogy) but “how close or distant is that modern species from an other modern species” (phylogeny). In that sense, scientists doing phylogenetics would define a “transitional fossil” as a fossil that can be seen as a structural intermediate between TODAY’s species (or other taxa). Which helps then to determine which modern species is closer to which (considering the age of the fossil and the characters it shares with the different modern groups we want to compare it to). Of course, in the theory of evolution, the tree built by these close or distant relationships is considered as an illustration of the evolutionary relationships (very different species are supposed to have older common ancestor, etc.).

So, even if the genealogical unbroken line actually exists, today’s scientists do not expect to complete such a line. But vertical transitions are not disregarded. Because finding a fossil that is chronologically and structurally between an old species and a modern one can support the possibility of an evolutionary pathway from the old to the modern one. The one thing “transitional fossils” show is structural gradation between different forms (showing that intermediate structures can exist and could be consistent with the idea that successive changes could make a child-form quite different from an ancestor-form). That’s all.
If you are not ready to see that as evidence for evolution, fine. But pretending that there are not showing gradual structural differences seems stunning for me.

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Gerf March 10, 2013 at 5:14 am

- part 2 –

Inaccuracy 4 : ‘[The Horseshoe Crab] has not changed at all in these “millions” of years. Why not?’
The fact that a fossil looks like a modern specimen doesn’t prove the species didn’t change over time. There are other characteristics not easily determined by fossil analysis, since a fossil obviously gives us only some parts of the specimen. So, genes and their expression during the life of the specimen (for instance in its metabolism) can’t be compared to today’s observations.
You say: “Should not evolution make them different and more efficient?”
Why? They may have been perfectly efficient at that time just as they were! Maybe this is exactly the form that was selected over and over through time, being the best at those moments when other forms possibly have appeared. The theory doesn’t require lots of changes to occur necessarily.

Inaccuracy 5 : ‘If we are to believe the Bible, then we must believe that all of life, plant and animal, came into existence immediately.’
This sentence is particularly interesting since I remember you saying that “Evolution is an easy-out for atheists and agnostics who do not want to believe in God”, practically accusing scientists to come to their conclusions because they want to avoid God. If you were ready to reject every claim that is opposed to your belief in the complete literal truth of the Bible, that is actually you that would be in the position of someone refusing to take a theory into account (possibly without even having good understanding of what it claims) because it would oppose to believes you are not prepared to question. If it is the case and you feel justified in doing this (because of your faith), at least don’t attribute such an unscientific attitude to scientists. The point is, to someone having some understanding of biology, it could seem that you are the one avoiding facts (“there are no transitional fossils”, “This is just a theory”) because you don’t like what they may tell you.

Inaccuracy 6 : ‘I can not believe in a theory that after 130 years or so has still remained a theory.’
I gave an answer to that misunderstanding of the term “theory” in science in my reply to your article about evolution (http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/how-do-christians-explain-evolution/). Because I see that for the second time, I add this little website : http://www.notjustatheory.com

I am ready to believe that you are sincere in your attempt to understand what science has to say about evolution. I hope you will show this honesty both in your possible replies and in future articles about science in general.

Thank you for reading me.
Best regards.

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Robert O. Adair March 10, 2013 at 10:09 pm

Great article! Of course it would take a huge book to cover the absurdities of the Evolutionist religion. Evolutionists deny this but the founders all said it was or that it was to replace Christianity, which is the same thing. Haekel wrote a book about it, The Riddle of the Universe, which asserted that only material things are real. This is very interesting. How do you weigh and measure statements like this? How long, wide and high are they? How many pounds to a weighty statement? Science deals with what we can see, repeat and test. How can we do this with something that happened over a million years ago? Biology text books tell young people that the universe is run by blind, accidental, meaningless processes, thus life is meaningless. If life is meaningless, why bother to do the endless hours of research to build a better gadget of find a cure for a plague? Then there is Intelligent Design, I can read your articles,Jack, and understand that somebody intelligent wrote them. I can read the ravings of evolutionists and realize that they are irrational, self contradictory, incoherent, lacking sufficient evidence or having none. I don’t need some fancy scientific methodology to determine this. Anyway great article!

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Jack Wellman March 11, 2013 at 12:06 pm

Thank you Dr. Adair. Having known you so long and knowing all of your doctorates, your words mean so much to me sir. I heard Dr. Lennox debate Richard Dawkins and many times he could not answer this man’s logic. He picked up the book The God Delusion and said, “There is so much information here…can we assume that it had an intelligence greater than the book behind it since there is so much information in it? Or…as for the argument for spontaneous generation of life and the time+chance+space=everything argument that it has always existed or just appeared by accident!?”

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Gerf March 12, 2013 at 9:31 am

“irrational, self contradictory, incoherent, lacking sufficient evidence or having none”
I had the idea to respond to such an impressive, objective, not at all provocative judgement but what is the point, right?

– I understand your rejection of Haekel’s claim. Nevertheless, his bold (philosophical) claim is actually irrelevant regarding the theory of evolution. It reflects a positivist trend that was common at that time. I don’t really see the point unless you like the mythical opposition between creationist being aware of the real scientific evidence (without the need of “some fancy scientific methodology”) and evolutionist scientists who dedicate their lives to find excuses for not believing in God…
I can’t do much if you are not convinced by the main scientific explanatory system for biodiversity, but at least I think it is based upon honest research for objective knowledge (most of the time).

– “repeatability” is a good criterion even if sometimes strictly considered. The observations biologists do ARE repeatable, the experiments they do to verify hypothesis based upon evolutionary claims ARE repeatable.
But of course history is not. I guess you don’t see the academic field of history as a scientific field then, do you? Is that the same for all the so called social sciences?

– I think it is absurd to base life values on the naturalistic state of the world. Nature as the whole set of phenomena and objects the universe contains does not determine the value we give to our life. So the idea that randomness (at whichever level we accept it) in nature leads to meaninglessness of our life seems unjustified to me.
If scientists do not look for moral values or purpose in nature, that doesn’t mean that they think none exists or that they don’t look for those elsewhere.
They just separate the fields: facts (and the objective explanations trying to explain them) to science ; values to philosophy or metaphysics. But of course, sometimes they don’t resist to give their own sociological or philosophical comment on it (but this does not disqualifies the scientific work they did).
I am not an expert but philosophy has centuries of discussions about values, purpose, etc. and scientists as human beings do not see that as unimportant. I don’t understand how one could pretend that biology claims that our life is meaningless or purposeless. That is dishonest or a very misrepresentation of what this science goals are.

That is the kind of speech that baffles me the most, not even the rejection of evolution itself.

“Anyway great article”
And I have to disagree (don’t want to be rude though). I say that disregarding the fact that you are not convinced by the explanations biology gives us: this article still makes a weak case as a critical look upon science, I am sorry.
I can’t imagine how we can consider that as good representation of the scientific debate. Unless we are not really interested in how science works and all already agree about what we think is true (for good reasons or not).

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Robert March 12, 2013 at 7:13 am

Gentlemen (and gentlewomen),
Our beginnings are hidden in the distant past. The evidences we have for that event are the same for the creationist as for the evolutionist therefore, it is our interpretations of these facts that differ. One must choose (or remain neutral, which is still a choice) which of these views (creation or evolution) to believe, and bet his or her life upon that belief, if their decision for or against God is based upon what they believes about creation.
The witness of creation (nature), the witness in my heart, the trustworthiness of the Bible, and knowing God in a real and substantial way makes creation the only choice for me. I have done extensive research on evolution and there has been nothing to convince me that it makes more sense than creation. I understand that evolution is a theory, and a theory (in science) is more than just a theory. But this does not mean that I cannot reject it for a more plausible explanation. I reject the idea that everything simply happened and I accept that a gracious and loving God created everything. There are no scientific facts that contradict this…only interpretations of facts.
God has placed a conscience within each of us that witnesses to Him and to His glory. Every human has a decision to make: go against the witness in our hearts or accept that witness and honor God with our lives. I have made my decision, I will follow Christ. I only pray that the mis-interpretation of observational evidence, which leads one to believe that the universe created itself, will not be the basis on which one decides for or against placing his or her faith in God.
Yours in Christ,
Robert

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Gerf March 12, 2013 at 10:12 am

(I don’t want to be seen as someone only willing to disturb or upset people. I am only concerned about what I perceive as strong misrepresentations of science (its goals and/or perimeter) and that is why I give my opinion)

“Our beginnings are hidden in the distant past”
Absolutely.

“One must choose (or remain neutral, which is still a choice) which of these views (creation or evolution) to believe”
And we probably disagree on the similarity of nature of the 2 claims. More precisely: I guess we would disagree about deciding if each of these claims can be addressed and supported by science.
Also, you can be an evolutionist and still believe the universe was created. However it is harder to believe the Bible is entirely, literally true AND be an evolutionist at the same time, I will say.

“I have done extensive research on evolution and there has been nothing to convince me that it makes more sense than creation”
Making sense is attractive but is it relevant here? If you can’t imagine how our universe could exist without have been created or if you can’t see any purpose in that “randomness” (I agree with you on that), that has no bearing on if it is true or not, has it? I think it really is a problem of how we decide that something can be considered objectively true.
You say that no scientific fact contradicts the creation by a loving God. Some could disagree or say that if it is the case, the same can be said for evolution… But you are mixing creation in a wide sense with creation by the christian God (fully understandable here). And I am sorry, but if you would like to pretend that the Bible describes with better accuracy the vast amount of data gathered by scientists over centuries than the scientists themselves, I would have to strongly disagree. What you call “interpretations” can still be discussed of course (what scientists do all the time actually).
Likewise, if you would like to say that the theory of common descent with the entire body of independent elements and observations it is based upon make no sense at all and are incoherent, I would have to question your “extensive research on evolution”.

I suppose though that we will hardly come to an agreement on this question.

Best regards and have a good day (all of you).

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Jack Wellman March 12, 2013 at 11:07 am

You can not take the Bible so much as a book about the heavens but it’s a book about how to get there. I checked out the link you provided to the Smithsonian Institute and all I saw were bones. I used the Search Box and entered Transitional Fossils and it gave me only a PDF file with drawings and there was zero (yes, that’s a real number for mathematicians) number given.

Your definition provided for the word “theory” in a link by Evolutionists was quite different from that of what is generally stated in encyclopedias and dictionaries which is:

1. rules and techniques: the body of rules, ideas, principles, and techniques that applies to a subject, especially when seen as distinct from actual practice, i.e. “many coaches have a good grasp of the theory of football but can’t motivate players.”

2. speculation: abstract thought or contemplation.

3. idea formed by speculation: an idea of or belief about something arrived at through speculation or conjecture
“She believed in the theory that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.”

4. hypothetical circumstances: a set of circumstances or principles that is hypothetical “That’s the theory, but it may not work out in practice.”

5. scientific principle to explain phenomena: a set of facts, propositions, or principles analyzed in their relation to one another and used, especially in science, to explain phenomena [ Late 16th century. Via late Latin < Greek theōria “contemplation, theory” < theōros “spectator”] in theory under hypothetical or ideal circumstances but perhaps not in reality.

Summing up the main ideas and definitions of a theory then are these words (highly subjective by the way!):

“Speculation, abstract thought or contemplation, idea formed by speculation, an idea of or belief about something arrived at through speculation or conjecture, hypothetical circumstances, a set of circumstances or principles that is hypothetical, in theory under hypothetical or ideal circumstances but perhaps not in reality, contemplation.”

I would not be willing to be my life on the idea that a trip in a boat to an island can be made to the island but it is only in theory, perhaps not in reality, hypothetical, speculation, conjecture that you might actually arrive safely. Sounds like what many believed to be unsinkable but the Titanic went down.

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Gerf March 14, 2013 at 7:45 am

(Technical/practical point: why aren’t you using the reply button under the comment you want to respond to? It’s only that it would be better for reading to keep the responses under the specific comment we want to respond to)

“You can not take the Bible so much as a book about the heavens but it’s a book about how to get there”
I don’t see what this is referring to, sorry.

“I checked out the link you provided to the Smithsonian Institute and all I saw were bones.”
Since you were looking for fossils, that seems fair… (by the way the message in which I was giving the link is not appearing on the page)
You don’t want drawings but you don’t want bones, so actually you don’t want fossils, do you?

“Your definition provided for the word “theory” in a link by Evolutionists was quite different from that of what is generally stated in encyclopedias and dictionaries”
And to be honest, I don’t care. Specially since I told you that was precisely the problem: scientists use the word in a specific way which is not the common way, leading to misunderstanding (actually the 5th definition you gave is pretty much the one we are talking about). Meanings of words are mainly determined by usage and dictionaries give description of those meanings. I understand that confusion can arise but, again, scientists are pretty clear about what is the status of the evolutionary model when they call it a ‘theory’.
If you find that problematic, then your critic should be: “let’s change the name and call it ‘well constructed and tested explanatory system’, that will avoid a bit of confusion!”. And if your problem is about the lack of supporting evidence, then address these, not the word they use to describe the system. Arguing with “just a theory” is either ignorance (which can’t be the case anymore since I explained the confusion), either an incorrect “easy-out” not to address real questions.
By the way, science doesn’t claim absolute certainty (in that sense it is opposed to dogma). It is a question of degrees of certainty and so yes, it is always possible for the boat to sink, no matter what… You would not accuse me to be speculative if I was confident that my hat would fall on the ground if I dropped it (at least on the Earth), would you? Yet we keep talking about the ‘theory’ of gravitation…

Best regards.

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Gerf March 14, 2013 at 7:47 am

(about the reply button thing, since you have used it before, it may only be one mistake so it’s not that important, sorry)

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Robert March 12, 2013 at 11:16 am

Gerf,
I have been reading your comments and haven’t seen any animosity or anything that would in any way make for an unpleasant discussion. No problem there. You present some very interesting material.

You wrote: “And we probably disagree on the similarity of nature of the 2 claims. More precisely: I guess we would disagree about deciding if each of these claims can be addressed and supported by science.” I believe that creation is supported by scientific evidence as much or more than evolution (actually I believe the scientific evidence should be interpreted in light of the Biblical record). There is no evidence, scientific or otherwise, that proves the universe could not have been created by an omnipotent Being. I’m not talking about ‘proving a negative’ or any such thing. I’m just saying that the observational evidence that exists does not rule out the existence of God, for those who are open to that view.

I may have misunderstood you, because you also write, “Making sense is attractive but is it relevant here?”. I’m sure that is not how scientists actually work, by observing facts and then ignoring whether or not what they observe makes any sense. I mean, if ‘making sense’ is optional, there is no need for science or for discussion or much of anything for that matter.

I understand, and accept, that others may disagree with my viewpoint on creation and evolution. I believe that God created the universe. My issue stems from the attempt of some scientists to say that science has ‘proven’ that the universe, and the life in it, came about by other means. I have no problem with adaptation within life, I get that, but I am not convinced that one kind of animal (or man) changed into a different one.

Then, there is your statement: “And I am sorry, but if you would like to pretend that the Bible describes with better accuracy the vast amount of data gathered by scientists over centuries than the scientists themselves, I would have to strongly disagree.” I would expect you to disagree; you (as far as I can tell) believe that everything came about ‘just because’. (I understand about physics, physical laws, etc. but, if no intelligence created these laws, then they too came about ‘just because’). I believe that everything came about because God made it. We will disagree, and that’s okay. At least we can discuss our differences in a civil manner.

You wrote: “Likewise, if you would like to say that the theory of common descent with the entire body of independent elements and observations it is based upon make no sense at all and are incoherent, I would have to question your “extensive research on evolution”.” I never said it makes no sense at all and is not coherent. What I said was creation makes more sense to me than the theory of evolution. Scientists are smart people doing great (for the most part) work. I don’t think they are ignorant concerning what they are observing in the world. I simply question their interpretive framework. This framework is evident in one of your earlier comments to someone else: “Again, you don’t seem to realize that even if it’s difficult to interpret, what science proposes today is the best natural explanations that it can give for now. I am sorry, it is not perfect, but we do not have an other, less speculative, natural (should I say naturalistic?) explanation.” The framework within which much scientific study is done does not even allow for the possibility that God had anything to do with the universe; therefore, any theory, hypothesis, idea, or conclusion reached will be a god-less (or naturalistic) one.

Therefore, the evolutionist is as close-minded in his interpretation of the facts as he or she accuses the Christian of being. It is a matter of differing worldviews coloring the interpretation of what we observe in the world. The evolutionist ascribes all to natural sources, the Theist attributes all to God. I will stick with God.
Gerf, I hope I have not offended you. Sometimes it is hard to tell a person’s demeanor when communicating this way, but I assure you, I mean no disrespect and I hope you will give what I have written the same consideration I have given your words. May God bless you.

Yours in Christ,
Robert

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Gerf March 14, 2013 at 7:52 am

(1/2)
(I feel quite bewildered when I see how extensive my comments can be. Probably because I want to take into account every part of the comments but still… Sorry for the time I steal you ;-) )

“I have been reading your comments and haven’t seen any animosity or anything that would in any way make for an unpleasant discussion. No problem there. […] At least we can discuss our differences in a civil manner.
[…] Gerf, I hope I have not offended you. Sometimes it is hard to tell a person’s demeanor when communicating this way, but I assure you, I mean no disrespect and I hope you will give what I have written the same consideration I have given your words.”
Good, I think we perfectly agree on that so far. I appreciate your consideration.

– “I believe that creation is supported by scientific evidence as much or more than evolution (actually I believe the scientific evidence should be interpreted in light of the Biblical record)”
Well, that is the point where we don’t agree. Because I understand you take the Bible as an entirely true record which is scientifically not proven (if provable, that is the core problem concerning “biblical science” I think). Not saying it is false, but well saying it is faith. I will come back to the problem further in my comment.
“There is no evidence, scientific or otherwise, that proves the universe could not have been created by an omnipotent Being”
Agreed, and there is no evidence it could not have been created by 17 omnipotent beings, one of them being a transcendent invisible pink unicorn (you know where I am going… The joke is only half one).
“the observational evidence that exists does not rule out the existence of God”
Ok with that. The thing is, I guess, you are not only talking about some creator we don’t know precisely but about the christian God with specific detailed characteristics. And in that sense, the picture seems much less convincing to me or at least much less easy to support.

– “My issue stems from the attempt of some scientists to say that science has ‘proven’ that the universe, and the life in it, came about by other means.”
Yeah, we could argue about what is ‘proven’, ‘certain’, ‘true’ in science. Most of the time, it doesn’t bother me since, in the context, we know what we mean. Saying that the gravitation law is absolutely true and that under any circumstances, an object will “fall down” when we drop it is not problematic even if we are leaving aside the second part: “as long as we got the phenomenon right and nothing new revolutionizes the whole comprehension of it and as long as no supernatural being intervenes to make a joke and reverse the “laws”…”.
But of course, science can never know with absolute certainty (opposed to some claims about religion being able to do it) but with a relatively good degree of certainty. And at this point we stop using cautious statements about what may remain unknown now. Where we draw the line remains unclear though.

– concerning my statement about better accuracy of the Bible when describing the physical and living world:
Here the point was not really about “how everything came into existence” but about people saying “Oh but the Bible describes very well the natural world we observe and measure, it even describes it better than science!”. This is not the case and people wanting to impose general and sometimes ambiguous biblical statements to the precise state of the physical/biological world (talking about evolution or not) expose themselves to strong scepticism.
No, in general the Bible does not explain the natural working better than scientists (and I would say it is not its purpose actually…). Some believers would want to find statements in the Bible that explain the biological world hoping that if they manage to propose a verse accounting for every kind of biological phenomena, people would call it science too and take them seriously (and that it would somehow disprove evolution). I am far from being convinced by such an approach.
The “just because” question is something else I think. But we can address it too if you want.

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Gerf March 14, 2013 at 7:56 am

(2/2)
– “What I said was creation makes more sense to me than the theory of evolution.”
You put it as they were necessarily opposed views. So I guess that here you are using ‘creation’ as the way the living world came into existence, not necessarily the creation of the entire universe, right? Because that can be a source of confusion: evolution only deals with how life change through time (with some discussions on if we have to include life’s origin in the problem) ; but only considering the idea that the universe is created does not necessarily lead to rejection of biological evolution. So we have kind of a terminological issue here. Assuming that evolutionists are atheist or absolutely reject the view of a created universe would be false and could distort the debate.

– “The framework within which much scientific study is done does not even allow for the possibility that God had anything to do with the universe; therefore, any theory, hypothesis, idea, or conclusion reached will be a god-less (or naturalistic) one.”
I would say: “does not even allow the possibility that God had anything to do with the universe TO BE EXAMINED BY SCIENCE”. But yes, that is the very problem of what science is and can do.
One of the principles of modern science is that it does not propose supernatural explanations by contract. Not because these claims are considered to be necessarily false, but because we don’t recognize that they can be treated by science. It may be pessimistic but it is not a “metaphysical” position or rejection, it is a methodological issue.
I will sum it up like this: if something looking miraculous happens, violating the rules we have identified through scientific observations and tests, how are we supposed to deal with it scientifically. How do we confirm an hypothesis that it comes from a transcendental cause? We can’t measure it, we can’t do tests to distinguish if it was caused bye a god, a fairy or the well known pink unicorn. We face a methodological problem that is the same with magic. Because, magic or transcendent actions can virtually have any effects. Which means that everything can be explained by a transcendent act, which leaves us in the black. If anything is possible, nothing is explainable.
Our only objective way (in my opinion) to address the event is to look for naturalistic explanations. At least for models that fit best our observations. And if they don’t seem coherent at all and absolutely don’t fit with our observations, we end with the “we don’t know” conclusion. (being uncomfortable with not knowing could be a factor for accepting to adopt faith by the way).
So the issue is very much a problem of establishing boundaries (and goals) of science, I think. Nothing selfish, rebellious, neither close-minded in that (speaking of science as the research field ; individuals can still be selfish, rebellious, etc. as human beings of course).

“The evolutionist ascribes all to natural sources, the Theist attributes all to God”
I hope I have been clear about the reasons science would be unable to take God into account. But on the other side attributing “all to God” sounds also strange to me: even if he created the whole universe, he does not need to be behind every natural event occurring.

– “I’m sure that is not how scientists actually work, by observing facts and then ignoring whether or not what they observe makes any sense.”
Yes, sorry, I have been unclear here. It just reminded me of people saying that they believe that something it’s true “because it makes sense” to them, sometimes meaning: “I can’t imagine how it could be otherwise”. Which can be weak justification, specially when it concerns a complex research field which they are not particularly familiar with. It also reminds me of some justifications based on “common sense” seen as much better than complex (“fancy”?) science. Common sense is a good thing humans have but it can be tricky. Common sense tells us that the Sun turns around the Earth…
But of course, we ARE looking for results making sense and when we finally become convinced about something, it makes sense for us then, yes.

Best regards.

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Robert March 14, 2013 at 6:01 pm

Gerf,

Thanks for responding, again. I can only offer a few final thoughts:

First, I have no problem with evolution, if we’re talking about adaptations within a specific kind. I do reject the idea the universe spontaneously appeared or that one animal (a cat for instance) can become a different one (a dog, for instance…no matter how much time is involved). The Bible tells me that God created the universe and everything in it in 6 days (Exodus 20:11). And yes, I’ve heard many of the arguments and I still believe the Bible.

Secondly, because science rejects the possibility of supernatural causes for the effects it sees, it limits its own research. Consider this: if God is real (and I believe He is), and He is responsible for creating everything (and I believe He is), any “discovery” scientists make that that “explains” creation or life could not be accurate…because the True source is omitted a priori.

Third, we are not the first to discuss this and there is a plethora of great information, on both sides of the debate, in print for those who want to investigate it. We won’t settle this here. I would encourage those interested to investigate further. To reiterate a point I made early, I do not think scientists are stupid or ignorant or all have evil intentions; however, I do believe the ones who do not allow for the existence of God in their theories are making a huge blunder.

Fourthly (and I was going to be brief, sure), I believe (purely my opinion) that the option of creation science should be offered in schools, even if not in a science class. A large portion of the world believes creation to be a viable alternative to evolution (concerning the creation of the universe) and we believe that only teaching evolution is deceptive. The ‘theory’ of creation should be presented as an option (once again, I’ve heard the arguments and this is my belief).

Lastly, you commented, “But of course, we ARE looking for results making sense and when we finally become convinced about something, it makes sense for us then, yes.” I am convinced of the reality and goodness of God, the truth of His Word, our sinful condition, Jesus’ payment on the cross for our sins, our need to repent and follow Him, and that He desires all to come to Him. I have been a believer for almost 50 years and I am more convinced now than ever that this makes sense.

I hope our conversation has been civil in your eyes, it has in mine. It appears that we each have made up our minds concerning these issues; however, my goal here is not to win an argument but to represent my Savior. I pray that I have done that and I also pray you have a relationship with Him also. God bless you, Gerf.

Yours in Christ,
Robert

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Gerf March 16, 2013 at 5:20 am

Robert,

1.
“I do reject the idea […] that one animal (a cat for instance) can become a different one (a dog, for instance… […])”
Well, would you say that no Proto-Indo-European speaking population ever became an English speaking population, so to say. The analogy has limits but that is the idea: was it ever a first English speaker? Are English, Latin or Persian not linguistic ‘species’ very different today but directly coming from the same ancestor (itself different from anything we have today)? :-)

2.
Yes, sticking to methodological naturalism limits science research. But it is consciously done because scientists don’t think their methodology can address metaphysical claims, that’s the problem.
Creation by the Christian God is possible but science is unable to address that hypothesis. So scientists will say “well, let’s look for a naturalistic explanation that fit the observations and can be examined with our methodology”. If none is found, they say “ok, we don’t know more”. They can still be theist based upon faith. Again, the position of science as a whole is not a question of values or hate or whatever, it is a question of methodology (or epistemology specially).

If you think that either creation in general or the specific biblical account for creation (good luck with this one) or the christian God’s existence can be scientifically tested, I would be glad to know how. By the way, it seems that faith would be useless then.

3.
“We won’t settle this here”
I agree. But we will not make the debate better or give an honest image of what the question is by misrepresenting what science is and can do, what biological evolution is, what the theory of evolution is and says and by spreading bad obsolete arguments.
You said: “we each have made up our minds concerning these issues”. Maybe but other people haven’t (or on weak bases) and will come here, read comments about science and trust them because they generally trust the author (maybe for good reasons) and it will give them confidence that what they believe is true if science is wrong (and this author is educated and would be reliable even on a non-religious topic).
That is the point of my intervention on this site (let’s say not to win an argument but to represent science more accurately ;-) ). That is why I pointed some very common inaccuracies in this article (and the other one on evolution) and in some comments, inaccuracies that are still around for some reason and are not at all (from my point of view) helping the anti-evolution case gain credit (nor educating people actually).

4.
As you can guess now, I don’t recognize such a thing as “creation science”. From what I see, it is mainly based upon:
– the claim that the universe can not be uncreated, which is not at all absurd (one of the most appealing theist claim I would say, even if the nature of the creator does not seem testable to me) ;
– the idea that the physical/living world is coherent with the biblical account of creation. Of course I am not convinced at all, but moreover, the problem is again with the supernatural claims made by the Bible (and actually the religious based acceptance of the Bible’s reliability).
But that is a large (also interesting) topic by itself. For an other time, maybe even an other place I guess.

Anyway, thank you for your honest and civil comments, I appreciated them.
Best regards.

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Jack Wellman March 16, 2013 at 11:05 am

Thanks again my friend. As one earlier biology student said, “A talented neurosurgeon, Ben Carson, explained why he didn’t believe in Evolution. It takes just as much faith (in this case I think more) to believe in Evolution as it does to believe in God. He (the biology professor) was trying to convey that believing in this phenomenon took faith that what you were seeing was actually what is.” So it takes more faith to believe that life arose spontaneously than from a creation event.

How does evolution deal with the origins of life…and with the origins of the universe? What branch of science or what scientific theory deals with these questions? Are we to believe that life arose my itself and did so spontaneously, which has never been proven…on the contrary, Louis Pasteur proved it could not have. In 1952 a graduate student in Chicago attempted to emulate prebiotic conditions on a young Earth billions of years ago. But organic life and DNA were never created. What biochemists cannot do given almost unlimited funding, time, and contact with the brightest and best scientific minds in the world, a simmering, primordial stew”. There have been several other simulation experiments over the years, yet not even one time, has anyone, anywhere, ever been able to make the sugar-like molecules dioxy-ribose and ribose necessary to build DNA and RNA molecules.[1]

Amino acids come in two forms called right and left-handed because one is a mirror image of the other. Proteins which contain all left-handed amino acids will connect correctly with the surrounding proteins. However, if a right-handed amino acid is included, the shape of the protein is changed and the protein will not work in a living cell.

Scientists have not been able to cause amino acids dissolved in water to join together to form proteins. The energy-requiring chemical reactions that join amino acids are reversible and do not occur spontaneously in water.

What is being taught is that simple chemicals became concentrated in the ocean, making an organic broth of ever more complex chemicals out of which life emerged. Amino acids are essentially, the building blocks of life, can form via natural chemical reactions unrelated to life.

The theory that life began when proteins, DNA, and RNA were formed by chance, or at least by chemicals coming together…whatever you want to call it, is one that can never have conclusive proof (Abiogenesis). And that also goes for the origination of the DNA/RNA. Every science experiment that has ever been attempted to form life, has revealed that amino acids don’t form as readily with any kind of stability. The amino acids that did manage to form during experiments, immediately tended to break apart every time.

How can anyone hold to the idea that life and the universe came about by chance + time? This is clearly absurd. How much greater faith it takes to believe in this.

1. Kerr, R. A. October 6, 2006. Has lazy mixing spoiled the primordial stew? Science 6 314:36-37.

Gerf March 16, 2013 at 8:56 pm

I am sorry Mr. Wellman but I don’t really get why you are posting this comment here. If you wanted to reply to my message to Robert, I don’t see to what exactly it is a response. And if it actually is a response to one of the 2 messages that were directed to you (actually 3, if we count part 2 of my initial message on this page), well you will have to excuse me because I don’t see how it responds to them either.
Actually, I would have preferred you to give me a response to the last comment I directed to you, regarding the unfair attacks on evolution using excesses of social darwinism and fascist ideologies (at least to confirm you had understood my point and were ok with it but also because I asked you something about your reference to Coyne’s book…). But we are not in a hurry so I can wait.

Meanwhile, your last comment still contents a lot of things to address…

– Ben Carson said it took more faith, “so it takes more faith to believe that life arose spontaneously than from a creation event.” Q.E.D. (I like it when someone starts with “a talented X” or “the famous and respected Y” ; it triggers my “someone-may-be-willing-to-make-an-argument-from-authority” alarm…)

– a ‘science/evolution definition’ issue again:
“How does evolution deal with the origins of life…”
It doesn’t care. Scientists however do care but don’t know yet ; evolution is about changes in life (so it applies when life already exists). Don’t mistake the theory of evolution for all of biology.
“and with the origins of the universe?”
Evolution does even care less! Origins of the universe are not a biological subject but a physical one. Cosmology deals with it and we can’t give a final answer to this question (Big Bang theory is about how this universe seems to have begun the process that led it to what it is). Don’t mistake the theory of evolution for all of science.

“Are we to believe that life arose my itself and did so spontaneously, which has never been proven…”
You are not to believe anything until proven… So if an hypothesis doesn’t seem confirmed to you, it doesn’t mean you then have to accept an other unconfirmed hypothesis (even if you like it).

– “on the contrary, Louis Pasteur proved it could not have.”
On the contrary, he did not. Pasteur was considered to have refuted the experiments that pretended to prove spontaneous generation. But first, spontaneous generation, as it was imagined at the time, is not the same thing as abiogenesis and second, he did not prove that it was impossible, only that the so called evidence at the time were false.
By the way, his works led him to his germ theory of disease which is very well supported and accepted today ; and it still is a ‘theory’… ;-) (I would also have liked a response to my comment on this definition issue)

– I don’t see the point of your amino acids lecture. We don’t know how precisely they could have formed and so neither do we for DNA. Abiogenesis studies are undergoing works with no clear responses today, so what?
No, we never managed to see or to make life appear from not living material, so what?

“yet not even one time, has anyone, anywhere, ever been able to make the sugar-like molecules dioxy-ribose and ribose necessary to build DNA and RNA molecules. [Kerr, R. A. October 6, 2006. Has lazy mixing spoiled the primordial stew? Science 6 314:36-37]”
Thanks for this new reference. But what does it have to do with the comment it is linked to or even with the topic? That is a serious question: please, what is the point of Kerr’s article?

Jack Wellman March 16, 2013 at 9:09 pm

Thanks friend. I tried commenting under your recent comment but the comments stack only so far and that is why I often can not or am not able to comment directly under your comment. Perhaps I didn’t make myself clear. I see we are at a stalemate (not saying that I am trying to win anything) but we have reached a point of disagreement and perhaps we can just agree on that. My point was (obviously not made very well on my behalf) that evolution does not explain the origin of life or the universe. The “meteorite-life-hitchiker” reason you gave only pushes the question of the origin of life back to another place. If indeed the organic matter came from a meteorite or extra-terrestrial source, then where did THAT organic life come from? You see, that was my point and I can see now that it wasn’t presented very well.

I didn’t mean to “lecture” you on the assembling or structures of DNA/RNA but the bottom line is that even though scientists have tried to re-create a conditions where life may have arisen, they have not be able to create life from non-life. They have not been able to create new life any more than new life forms or have had the ability to have one life form be made to evolve into another life form.

By the way, you can certainly call me Jack. I appreciate the “Mr.” as you are just being respectful and I do appreciate that my friend and acknowledge your mannerisms.

Jack Wellman March 16, 2013 at 9:15 pm

As far as addressing the attacks on Social Darwinism, it is clear that it was a mind set within society at the time and no, Darwin didn’t necessary push it himself but he certainly didn’t help his cause by what he wrote, like, as I said, seing men’s eminence over women was the outcome of sexual selection. Really…was this from obseravtion?

And the reason he valued European civilisation and saw colonisation as spreading its benefits, with the sad but inevitable effect of extermination of savage peoples who did not become civilized was not a social issue?

The fact that Darwin’s theories presented this as natural, and were cited to promote policies which went against his humanitarian principles was clearly social in it’s implication was it not?

Robert March 18, 2013 at 8:14 am

Hello Gerf,

“Well, would you say that no Proto-Indo-European speaking population ever became an English speaking population, so to say. The analogy has limits but that is the idea: was it ever a first English speaker? Are English, Latin or Persian not linguistic ‘species’ very different today but directly coming from the same ancestor (itself different from anything we have today)? :-)” Therein lies one of the issues when conversing about this subject, that of definitions. Do evolutionists truly believe that differing languages provide evidence that cats can become dogs (that was the example I put forth)? If I may be blunt for just a moment, this is the kind of frustration that the Christian faces from the godless (just a discriptive term, not a judgment call) scientific community…terms that are used in these discussions have fluid meanings, they mean one thing until they need to be used to mean something different. A cat, a dog, a worm, a man (I could go on) can adapt within its kind (i.e. learn new languages, acquire darker skin color, different facial features, etc.) but they do not, nor is there any observable evidence, that they can change from one kind to another (Yes, I use the biblical world “kind”. This is because I’ve seen evolutionists disagree about what the word “species” even means). It seems that we simply keep covering the same ground here, Gerf. Let me restate my viewpoint; I believe that change can, and does, occur within a kind; I do not believe that one kind can become a different kind, nor do I believe that any proof exists that disproves my belief. It all still boils down to interpretation of the facts; the facts are the same, evolutionists interpret them from a purely naturalistic view (no God), the believer interprets them with a Godly worldview.

“If you think that either creation in general or the specific biblical account for creation (good luck with this one) or the christian God’s existence can be scientifically tested, I would be glad to know how. By the way, it seems that faith would be useless then.” I believe that it is quite obvious that there had to be a Creator, and I believe the Bible describes Him as well as He wants to be described. I don’t expect you to believe that, but I do. The problem, from my perspective, is that there is no evidence for the kind of evolution many scientists advocate (the kind that says, given enough time, a cat can become a dog…I’m sticking with that example because that is the kind of change I do not think has scientific support…no matter how many intermediate stages that it, hypothetically, might have gone through), but they still promote the theory as if it were the only explanation…and force feed it to our children in public schools.

“But we will not make the debate better or give an honest image of what the question is by misrepresenting what science is and can do, what biological evolution is, what the theory of evolution is and says and by spreading bad obsolete arguments.” Who judges whether the arguments are bad or obsolete? Too many times, I’ve seen the scientific community take the position that simply advocates their own ideas while mocking any competing theory. In other words, simply saying that an opposing argument is “bad or obsolete” does not make it so.

“Creation Science” takes the same facts available to all and interprets them without removing the possibility of the reality of God. Naturalistic science takes those same facts and interprets them without allowing for the possibility of anything supernatural (outside of nature). The irony I see in this is that those who believe there is no intelligence behind all we see, not only ridicule people of faith for their stance on this issue, but must exercise an incredible amount of unprovable faith themselves to think that nothing, instead of something, guided the process.

My reason for this discussion is not scientific, I fully admit that. I am concerned for the eternal destiny of people’s souls…your included Gerf. Wittingly, or unwittingly, the segment of science that militantly pushes evolution in and God out is in direct opposition to a Holy God whom I serve. The theory of evolution, the one that attempts to explain how everything got here without God, may seem intellectually satisfying, but it is supplying false support for those who reject God’s lordship because they simply wish to live their lives according to their own lusts and desires (simple selfishness). This is the reason Christians are so concerned, and become so adamant and emotional, about this subject. We see an intellectual construct (naturalistic science, theory of evolution, etc.) being elevated to the point of worship while that which is worthy of worship (God) is minimized. The result is that many are deceived into forfeiting their eternal soul. While there is good science being done, any science that excludes God is not good science, it is science gone wrong…any discipline that leads people away from God is worse than worthless, it is anti-God. Science is limited to the realm of the observable and testable, it is therefore limited in its scope of authority. God is not limited, He is the God of both the seen and the unseen.

Gerf, it is my prayer that God will break into your life in such a powerful way that you cannot help but acknowledge Him. It is also my prayer that you will give your heart and life to Him, and receive forgiveness of your sins along with eternal life. I mean this in all sincerity. It has been a pleasure speaking with you. God bless you richly.

Yours in Christ,
Robert

Robert O. Adair March 12, 2013 at 11:52 am

The founders of evolution, insisted that it was a religion or that it was intended to replace Christianity. T. H. Huxley spoke of himself as a preacher and preached evolutionist “sermons”. Ernst Haeckel wrote a book, The Riddle of the Universe, explaining the evolutionist religion. These are two most important popularisers of evolution. Herbert Spencer said it was a philosophy, again, designed to replace Christianity. Darwin wanted it to replace Christianity because most of his relatives lived very sinful lives and it appalled him that they would all go to Hell. In “Inquiries Into Human Faculty and Its Development”, by Sir Francis Galton, He explains that the religious significance of evolution is to teach us the moral responsibility of helping evolution along by sterilizing the unfit which ultimately becomes extermination.

Evolutionist “Science” is lacking in a knowledge of Logic and employs many,many logically fallacious “arguments to support it;s claims. It is still a religion with many dogmas taken on unexamined faith. It has many utterly fanatical “evangelists” and seeks to impose its delusions by force. Richard Dawkins is a prime example. He wants Britain and our country to have a fascist government like the Soviet Union. Christian parents are to have their children taken away from them and raised by the all powerful Atheist state. This is clearly spelled out in his delusional book, The God Delusion.

Most people in the sciences are trained technicians, not educated people. Most of evolutionist thinking is Philosophy, not science, carried out by people who have no training in that discipline. Evolutionism is racism has always led to fascist tyranny, a la Naziism and Communism.

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Gerf March 14, 2013 at 7:58 am

(1/2)
Reading your response leaves me a bit puzzled. If I had read that out of context, I could have laugh and see it as a blatant caricature of the most stubborn anti-evolutionist slogans. Which is supported by the fact that you don’t really seem to be responding to my comment but more to be teaching the world about the “reality” of the evolutionary lie…
Sadly you seem to stick to some ideas which may have been true 50 years ago and others that can hardly be seen as serious.

– “The founders of evolution, insisted that it was a religion or that it was intended to replace Christianity.”
And I don’t care what they wanted to do with the scientific results they had or what were their philosophical hopes or wishes regarding the future of society. For now (regarding a scientific topic), I care about what were the evidence supporting the claims they made (as scientists, not as philosophical thinkers).
Refusing to recognize that these two things can be independent (even if related) is your very choice and it only illustrates what I already feared: you like the stereotypical opposition between objective creationists (the good and honest people) and evolutionist (false) scientists only willing to free themselves from the divine authority. That is the kind of speech I find the most ridiculous.
If I may give my modest opinion about this “replacement of christianity”, I think (as I already said) that Haeckel’s position illustrates the positivist trend of the time, when we thought that science could explain everything and that everything we could think of should be ruled by science. I think we came back from that long time ago. I also think that it was a provocative way to say that, as science made progress, religion(s) lost more and more explanatory power about the physical world (which is true, and ignoring the fact that theology is not really good at doing science won’t help someone to keep his credibility at a good level).

– “Darwin wanted it to replace Christianity because most of his relatives lived very sinful lives and it appalled him that they would all go to Hell.”
Are you saying that Darwin wanted christianity to be false and so made up a theory to support that and “save” his relatives? I am sorry but it is very much a stupid claim and there is no need to be evolutionist to get why. First, I don’t think that Darwin was happy with his scientific conclusions regarding christianity and it took him time to accept the philosophical consequences of his results on the religious claims of his time. But this “wish to make hell false” (which is a common accusation) is absurd. Hell’s existence is independent of what Darwin could have said! Either he was a believer and would have been aware that claiming that religion was wrong about hell would have been useless to save any sinful relatives, or he didn’t believe in hell and so, he would have seen no ‘need’ to save any relative on a moral level…

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Gerf March 14, 2013 at 8:01 am

(2/2)
– You say: “In “Inquiries Into Human Faculty and Its Development”, by Sir Francis Galton, He explains that the religious significance of evolution is to teach us the moral responsibility of helping evolution along by sterilizing the unfit which ultimately becomes extermination”
Is this “He” Galton or Darwin himself (as you seem to imply)? I would very much like to see where exactly you saw such a surprising claim about “helping evolution along by sterilizing the unfit” coming from Darwin himself. I may be wrong of course but I am quite confident that it is false. About Galton, the man tried to apply darwinism to social relationships and let’s say management of human societies, yes. Of course, this was a bad idea and others followed him in this bad idea (still, it is irrelevant regarding truth of the evolutionary theory).
As I said in my first response to you: “I think that it is absurd to base life values on the natural state of nature”. You seem to have ignored the last paragraph of this very first response where I explained that morality doesn’t come from the state of the natural world. Science itself is amoral (not immoral!): it does not deal with values. BUT that does NOT mean that scientists are allowed to act immorally… As human beings, they have to weigh up their actions in an ethical framework that the whole society is responsible to determine. Again, it is your choice to illegitimately ignore that and I will strongly disagree with any attempt to make people believe that being a scientist (biologist or not) implies removing all ethical or metaphysical questions from your life and actions as a human being.

– “Evolutionist “Science” is lacking in a knowledge of Logic and employs many,many logically fallacious”
Impressive statement again, as if “evolutionist” scientists were different from the others (the “real” ones). And since many strongly anti-evolution religious people keep using a bunch of misrepresentations and stupid arguments since decades as they were robots unable to get the rebuttals, your claim makes me smile, so thank you.
[Dawkins] wants Britain and our country to have a fascist government like the Soviet Union.
Lie ; doesn’t need response (I am sorry, I only can address a limited amount of absurdities). But of course Dawkins is a specially strict person and he is dedicated not only to science defence but to criticism of religions and faith also (which is his choice).
“Christian parents are to have their children taken away from them and raised by the all powerful Atheist state.”
Well, the state should be secular anyway so…

– “Most people in the sciences are trained technicians, not educated people.”
Thank you for them.
“Most of evolutionist thinking is Philosophy, not science, carried out by people who have no training in that discipline.”
Thanks again, you seem to very much know about biology…

“Evolutionism is racism has always led to fascist tyranny, a la Naziism and Communism.”
Ok, back to stupid. Come on! Dictatorship is bad because of .. dictators! and their actions lacking justice and/or morality. Soviet communism (mostly stalinism) tried to take the place of religion not because it looked at atheism as a better thing but because it wanted to take profit of the power that religion has on people. I would say that religiosity was something the system wanted to draw towards itself (not really to destroy!). Hitler wasn’t particularly a non believer and if he got interest into evolution, it is because eugenic ideas of the time fitted his thought and his goals. But again, doing science does not exempt you to behave ethically. So we are back to this amalgam you like to make.
Evolution is a question of facts while racism is a question of values!

Best regards.

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Jack Wellman March 14, 2013 at 10:44 am

Okay, back to stupid? Really. That’s a bit strong my friend. Any close look back in history shows that, although Darwin did not begin by himself what is called “Social Darwinism” his atheistic theory did. Examples of Social Darwinism that has been used to justify various social, political and economic policies:

E.g. Holocaust – Hitler promoted the extinction of the Jewish race and based his argument on Social Darwinism. Jews were simply not fit enough to live, hence they must be drawn to extinction. His extremist and radical ideas of Social Darwinism and racial discrimination can be found in his book Mein Kampf.

E.g. Laissez-faire capitalism – individual capitalists compete in the market without the intervention of the state.

Social Darwinism was used to promote eugenics, scientific racism and imperialism.

For example, during the colonial era (late 15th century to late 20th century), the European colonialists/imperialists discriminated against the natives of their colonies because the Europeans had superior industrial and military technology compared to the natives who lacked the intellectual resources to rival the European technology. The European colonialists believed that since they had superior technology than the natives, they were the winner of the “survival of the fittest”.

Some extremists of Social Darwinism have extended the theory to discourage humanitarian aids saying that helping the poor nations/communities is against the principles of Social Darwinism “survival of the fittest”.

Darwin’s views on social and political issues reflected his time and social position. He thought men’s eminence over women was the outcome of sexual selection. He valued European civilisation and saw colonisation as spreading its benefits, with the sad but inevitable effect of extermination of savage peoples who did not become civilized. The fact is that Darwin’s theories presented this as natural. Darwin’s theories presented this as natural, and were cited to promote policies which went against his humanitarian principles [1.]

1. Coyne, Jerry A. (2009). Why Evolution is True. Viking. pp. 8–11. ISBN 978-0-670-02053-9.

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Gerf March 16, 2013 at 5:13 am

“Okay, back to stupid? Really. That’s a bit strong my friend.”
It is, yes. But is it strong enough compared to “evolution equals racism”? Or to the idea that the theory and scientists constructing it are to blame for the fascist episodes of the 20th century (not particularly led by non religious people, as I said)? I am sorry but Mr. Adair’s comments keep alive (if on purpose, then dishonestly) some of the worst points made to reject or “disprove” a scientific theory. If he wants to spread his case against evolution on so weak and irrelevant bases, very well but it remains stupid (I am not “just saying”, I explained why in my response but I can clarify).

I am aware of the excesses of ideologies that used ideas of biology and applied them to their goals (without any ethical consideration and that is the problem). You can read again my 2-parts response to Mr. Adair because I already said what was the problem.
Actually, if you had taken into account the entire lead section of the Wikipedia’s article ‘Social darwinism’, you wouldn’t have bothered yourself with your response, since it already exposes the critics to this anti-evolution accusation. It even links to a page of the TalkOrigins archive : http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CA/CA002_1.html ; the section also responds to other common anti-evolution claims.

The point is: uses of scientific results to support a specific action do not engage the responsibility of the scientists who did research on the subject for other reasons. Again: a scientific theory does not contain moral values or ethical policies. And it is perfectly normal since it is not its goal!
BUT (and a crucial ‘but’), it does not at all mean that scientists (or anyone else) are free to act as they want. It means that the ethical framework for their actions comes from outside science, mainly from society as a whole that determines what are the principles we value and with which we weigh up every actions. From that come the laws, also the specific ones about what scientists can or can’t do in their work. Scientists by themselves also impose on their field an ethical framework because, as human beings, they think it is important to respect some values and that not everything is allowed for the sake of science.
All that is real but, again, science itself deals with facts, not values. Values are dealt generally by philosophy/metaphysics and then politics. So observing that the Earth rotates in one direction isn’t related to any moral consideration: it is neither good nor bad.

So you can’t reject a scientific theory upon the immoral use somebody do with it. The question “Is it morally good or bad?” does not apply to the theory explaining facts, only to our actions. The only question that matters here about a scientific theory is “Does it fit our observations and constitute a coherent natural explanation for this particular class of phenomena?”. And no fascist/capitalist excesses will ever answer this, so nazism and communism are irrelevant when we want to refute a scientific theory.

I hope my response is clear. If not please tell me, because it is a major point.

About your specific points:
– “although Darwin did not begin [..] “Social Darwinism” his atheistic theory did.”
It is “atheistic” because every scientific theory is. Science does not deal with theistic claims, that’s all (cf. my comments to Robert about that). The theory did not begin anything: people did (and that was a bad idea).

– “during the colonial era (late 15th century to late 20th century) [..] The European colonialists believed that since they had superior technology than the natives, they were the winner of the “survival of the fittest” ”
And thanks for showing us that Darwin had nothing to do with stupid discriminating ideas that people already had centuries before (against your “his atheistic theory did [begin it]” claim). ‘Survival of the fittest’ is an observation, not (at all!) a life policy for human societies. Again (ad nauseam): ‘happening in nature’ does not equals ‘morally good’.

– “Laissez-faire capitalism”
Funny to blame Darwin first for communism and then, crossing the board, for capitalism (he may also be to blame for unemployment, women’s suffrage and bad taste haircuts…)

– “Darwin’s theories [..] were cited to promote policies which went against his humanitarian principles”
So, problem is: other people using his work (facts) to support their policies (values) even against Darwin’s own views…
(By the way, you cited COYNE, Why Evolution is True, pp. 8-11. Can I ask you what in those pages supports the fact that Darwin was in favor of colonisation even with “extermination of savage peoples”? Because I can’t find (in the british edition I found) what justifies your reference to these pages. Thanks)

Have a good day.

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Robert O. Adair March 17, 2013 at 1:18 am

“Evolutionism is racism has always led to fascist tyranny, a la Naziism and Communism.” According to your evolutionist religion, which is not science, Gerf, there is not one human race but many many races, some highly advanced, some very inferior. Darwin’s racism is right in the title of his first racist classic, “the favored races of man”. Do you know how to read? You probably do and are just lying the way most evolutionists do. If you had studied Logic, which I doubt, you would know that the evolutionist myth is intrinsically racist. The human race may have started as one but over evolutionist time, it diverged into various different races, not just variations but races. The Hitler regime was driven by exaggerated Nationalism fueled by Darwinian Eugenics and Social Darwinism. Hitler was a Deist, certainly not a Christian, his followers were virtually all Atheists. Read From Darwin to Hitler. Galton and Darwin laid the foundations for Social Darwinism, others carried these concepts to their, logical mass murdering conclusions. You have never studied the history of ideas including the history of science. Ideas have consequences. Most people in the sciences are trained technicians not educated people.

“Ok, back to stupid. Come on! Dictatorship is bad because of .. dictators! and their actions lacking justice and/or morality.” You should try to write coherent sentences. All dictatorships have not been bad. Bad is a moral judgement based on one’s metaphysical system of thought. You have no foundation for such judgements. In your metaphysical world and that of Richard Dawkins, there is no higher authority than your own egocentric notions, You keep proving that you insist on doing Philosophy which you know nothing about and which is inescapable for rational thought. Science itself has important philosophical foundations. It arose in the Western world because it was permeated with Christian Theology. Till the end of the 19th century, most scientists were Christians. Evolutionists insist that science and religion are in separate, water tight compartments, they are technicians not educated people.

“Soviet communism (mostly stalinism) tried to take the place of religion not because it looked at atheism as a better thing but because it wanted to take profit of the power that religion has on people. I would say that religiosity was something the system wanted to draw towards itself (not really to destroy!).” Incoherent, utter nonsense

“Evolution is a question of facts while racism is a question of values!” Utter nonsense. It is facts which disprove your myth. There is only one human race. Natural selection and mutation couldn’t possibly transform a less complex species into a different more complex species. The DNA molecule further undermines your religious myth by giving us an example of irreducible complexity and intelligent design. If you don’t believe in intelligent design, you must believe that these little black bugs you put on the computer screen are to be understood as patterns which have the appearance of meaning but are really just the works of blind chance.

Read more: http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/cambrian-explosion-why-christians-need-to-know/#ixzz2Nln1Ab6B

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Robert O. Adair March 17, 2013 at 5:25 pm

Yes, sticking to methodological naturalism limits science research. But it is consciously done because scientists don’t think their methodology can address metaphysical claims, that’s the problem.
Creation by the Christian God is possible but science is unable to address that hypothesis. So scientists will say “well, let’s look for a naturalistic explanation that fit the observations and can be examined with our methodology”. If none is found, they say “ok, we don’t know more”. They can still be theist based upon faith. Again, the position of science as a whole is not a question of values or hate or whatever, it is a question of methodology (or epistemology specially).”

Well,Gerf evolution “scientists” do base their religion on faith just as creationists do. One position is as religious as the other. Religion is based on Epistemology (how do we know what we know) and Metaphysics (what is the nature of God, Man and the Universe?). Everyone has answers to these questions, they are inescapable and affect and control everything else a person believes. Evolutionism is all about denying the undeniable. Your “scientific” belief that you are an ape controls all ethical concepts. Since you are an ape, brother to the Chimpanzee and the Gorilla, killing you is no more murder than killing a cow (See Hitler, Lenin, etc.). Evolutionist dogma denies the supernatural has anything to do with science but until the late 19th century, most scientists were Christians and believed that science proved the metaphysics of Christianity. Which real science still does. Because Evolutionsm denies the the undeniable and affirms the disproven, it must be established by lies, brainwashing, thought control, rewriting history, and the forceful repression of the truth. Fascist tyranny is the only way.

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Chevelle March 17, 2013 at 8:10 pm

Wow, this is very very very detailed response. I learned alot from this conversation between you, Jack, Robert and Gerf. Your answers to him as opened up my eyes to alot of what is wrong with Evolution in more detail.

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Jack Wellman March 17, 2013 at 9:45 pm

Chevelle…Dr. Robert Adair is quite adept on this subject like few others I know. This man has been an apologetic writer and author for as long as I have known him. I can not hold a candle to him. Thanks for your input as well. I appreciate your words.

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Chevelle March 18, 2013 at 10:54 am

I have taken an interest in apologetics. It seems that an apologetic writer is someone very intellectual and instead of twisting the facts they expose the truth in what we tend to know. However, few people may listen because for some odd reason, people think phenomenology is way to say there is no truth at all.

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Chevelle March 17, 2013 at 8:23 pm

Dear Gerf,
I am addressing this comment…

Ben Carson said it took more faith, “so it takes more faith to believe that life arose spontaneously than from a creation event.” Q.E.D. (I like it when someone starts with “a talented X” or “the famous and respected Y” ; it triggers my “someone-may-be-willing-to-make-an-argument-from-authority” alarm…)

I am the student who wrote that and it was not intended how you interpreted it. I was trying to bring to the realization that this person was well educated and thinks deeply about the things they say and stand for. And the fact that he IS talented and very Respected is not meant to demean, or say that their opinion is better than anyone else. That was not my intention and I wasn’t sure if anyone on this website knew he was. But he is very TALENTED and a very humble person, and I admire him because he is a neurosurgeon (a trade I will like to take up one day) which is why I gave such a gracious introduction of him being “talented” and “famous” The main point was his position on the faith part of evolution.
Thanks,
Chevy

Read more: http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/cambrian-explosion-why-christians-need-to-know/#ixzz2NqjV5zPm

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Gerf March 27, 2013 at 3:15 pm

Hello Chevelle,
(sorry, I was sure that I had posted my answer to you)

Thanks for the clarification. Despite my comment, it wasn’t my purpose to question your sincerity.

I said “may be willing” and so I can believe you when you say it was not intended this way. I reacted specially because of the way Jack used your quote. Basically, you gave us the opinion of some neurosurgeon, then Jack reposted it and concluded with : “so it takes more faith to believe that life arose spontaneously than from a creation event” as if it was now obvious after this quote. That is why I gave a reply, because it was now looking more like an illegitimate argument from authority (but he may only have wanted to say that he shared the same opinion of course). To put the stress on a quote from a famous/talented person is not a demonstration by itself. My comment was there only to remind this simple fact.

But you are perfectly free to admire this neurosurgeon, of course.

Best regards.

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Chevelle March 27, 2013 at 7:46 pm

Hey Gerf,

You didn’t have to respond, but thanks anyway. Also, I know I am perfectly free to admire who I please but thanks for stating the obvious anyway, your opinion was greatly needed.

Your comments on here are very interesting, in fact, your response to me gives me some insight (very little of course) on why you would keep coming back here to respond.

Best regards to you too,

Chevy

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Gerf March 28, 2013 at 3:24 pm

“I am perfectly free to admire who I please but thanks for stating the obvious anyway, your opinion was greatly needed.”
I am not against irony so it’s ok ; however, I apparently failed the purpose of reassuring you that I didn’t want to attack your comment, sorry.

(As to the reason why I “would keep coming back here to respond”, I am not sure what it means but I would appreciate to know about it anyway)

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Robert O. Adair March 17, 2013 at 10:06 pm

Well, Gerf, since seem to have such an off hand definition of science, I thought I would clarify what real science is.

Technology is often confused with science. Technology goes way back to the mists of antiquity. To have a real science you need the following elements:

1. A moral foundation, science without integrity is pseudo-science like evolution.
2. A belief in universal physical laws which govern the universe. This was the second most important Christian contribution contribution, an idea unique to Christian Theology.
3. The empirical approach.
4. The experimental approach. This emphasized careful and discrete observation. Lavoisier performed a landmark experiment which disproved the Phlogiston theory.
5. Recognition of the importance of mathematics, that mathematical relationships were helpful in understanding physical laws and relationships.
6. Naturalism. A narrowing of consideration to things within this sphere, but not asserting that scientific knowledge is the only knowledge worthy of credence.
7. restricting attention to things observable, repeatable and testable. Leaves out the evolution myth. It also leaves out most of the “soft sciences and History.
8. The attempt to go beyond technology to systematize this knowledge.
9. a commitment to logical thinking and analysis of evidence.
10. You also need the wide publication of scientific research and findings about things. Publications like The Handbook of Chemistry and Physics are indispensable.

This creates a “level of technology”. Edison, when he was trying to develop his light bulb, was waiting for someone to develop a device which would evacuate all the air from a glass tube, not most of it.

The concept of universal physical laws gave a definitive character to scientific concepts which paved the way for the extensive use of mathematics and statistics. Of course The validity of mathematics rests on the Ontological significance of Logic and rational intuition. The important thing to remember about science is that it represents people groping about in the dark, trying to achieve a certain function like ‘Sustained, controlled, powered flight”. Scientists operate with paradigms which may or may not be true, as Kuhn has pointed out in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. You really can’t understand science without studying its history.

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Robert O. Adair March 18, 2013 at 10:00 pm

Well Gerf, what have you to say about the evolutionist religious dogma that Intelligent Design has no place in science?

Science worshipers and evolutionists say that intelligent design does not belong in science, that it is a “science stopper”. But in the real world it is an important element in several areas of real science. It was employed to discover that radio signals from outer space were not messages but were generated by pulsars, rotating stars. The radio signals were repeated patterns, no irregular as they would be if massages.

In other areas, detectives are trained to distinguish between murder by design and death by natural causes. Archeologists distiguish between stone shaped by nature and by human construction. Insurance companies have experts to determine that a fire was caused by arson (human contrivance) or by accident. Cryptologists have procedures to determine whether a set of symbols is a secret message or merely a random sequence. Secret massages are the result of design. It is possible to formalize these various processes into a theory of design. However much of this can be determined by simple rational intuition. The evoutionist religious dogma opposing intelligent design is simply an opposition to intelligent thinking per se.

If the evolutionist dogma of rejecting intelligent design was applied to historical Archeology, it couln’t function. When Heinrich Schliemann dug up the Ruins of Troy, he should have concluded that the buildings and artifacts were the result of accidents. The work of Nature’s Blind Watchmaker.

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Gerf March 20, 2013 at 3:19 pm

(1/2 – replying to message from March 16, ~9:10pm: http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/cambrian-explosion-why-christians-need-to-know/#comment-65349)

Thank you Jack.
(People have things to say… I will try to address all of it but it may take some more days to respond properly, I have ongoing things.. Mr. Adair will have to wait :-) )

“My point was [..] that evolution does not explain the origin of life or the universe.”
I got that. But I said that it is irrelevant to whether it is true or not and I explained why. To make it quick though:
1. Evolution does not care about origins. Not its goal, not a problem (yes, really).
2. Not giving answers to every question does not mean that the already proposed answers are automatically false.
The ‘evolution does not explain the origin’ statement is irrelevant. I don’t get why it seems so appealing (I guess they have this global vague image of what the theory contains and think all these around questions are necessary for the theory to be accepted, which is not the case).

“The “meteorite-life-hitchiker” reason you gave”
Where did I talk about a “meteorite”? (Yes, panspermia does not answer the origin question)
Is that why you mentioned the Kerr’s article? (because I still don’t get why did it)

“[Scientists] have not be able to create life from non-life.”
I got that too and said : “so what”? (see #1 here above). Why does it matter regarding evolution itself?

About all the social issues, sorry if I was not clear enough.
Science as an academic field doesn’t propose values in its observations/results (and I will probably address that again when responding to Mr. Adair). Yes, interpretations/comments added to the results may be influenced by personal values of the scientist but other scientists can see it and make clear that it is out of the scope or whatever. They should make the distinction between data and rational analysis of them on one side, and personal judgements on values or comments about how it may be seen from a particular philosophical point of view. That may be discussed of course.
Let’s try to find an example. A biologist says: “From my observations and tests I draw the conclusion that humans are related to orangutans”. People may agree or not but the question is: is he making a moral judgement? I don’t think so. He sees facts and proposes a factual conclusion. Now, if he adds: “It is a good thing, because it means that we are all related and shows that we have to care about animals too”, then you have a moral judgement, yes. He says: “it is good so we have to”! Why would we HAVE to do something knowing a natural fact (provided it is true)? Because we make a moral judgement about (true or false) facts we see, but this does not come from the data or the conclusion about them (“x and y are related”). It comes from values this person got from elsewhere (philosophy/metaphysics) and that he adds to his scientific conclusions.
Hopefully, the distinction should be made very precisely to avoid misunderstanding from readers. People can discuss philosophical stuff but more important: other biologists will discuss the data and the factual conclusions, so to say, and decide if they are convinced by them or not (and that part does not include moral judgements, does it?)

The point: even if you disagree about the philosophical conclusions (to treat orangutans as we treat humans), it doesn’t say anything about the scientific data and conclusion. And so, truth of evolution doesn’t depend on philosophical/social claims people make about biological conclusions or around it. With that clear, we can:
– criticize people using scientific theories to pretend they contain specific moral policies that we have to adopt then.
– address the theory on a fair basis: facts and the amoral conclusions they lead to.

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Jack Wellman March 20, 2013 at 3:52 pm

Thank you Gerf once again. I am like you in that it takes me some time to respond for there is so much in your posts and I can only take small bites even at the dinner table.

Since evolution has no goal in the origin of life but only in the origination of the different species, then isn’t it like coming into a movie and having missed the best parts. If you miss the beginning of the movie, then you miss so much as to make no sense of the entire movie. That is what evolution can not explain. Neither the origin of life or the origin of the universe. That was my point and I do understand that evolution is just a small slice of the question of the origins of new species. I don’t see how the origin of life is irrelevant since without the origin of life, we wouldn’t even be discussing this theory.

As for your disputation of Louis Pasteur’s work, Pasteur had both refuted the theory of spontaneous generation and convincingly demonstrated that microorganisms are everywhere – even in the air. What is questionable with this man’s discovery. it is commonly excepted by the vast majority of national educational programs that provide health, biology and life science teachers access to their colleagues, scientists, and critical sources of new scientific information. It has already been declared to be an obsolete body of thought on the ordinary formation of living organisms without descent from similar organisms.

Let me say that if we have a theory and there is no reasonable or logical explanations for the theory to be even be possible, then ought we not to look at how a theory which is considered by so many as “fact” could have began in the first place? For example, outside the realm of quantum mechanics and relativity theory—in other words, in the world of everyday experience—Newton’s laws of motion remain firmly in place. The vacuum of outer space presented scientists with the most perfect natural laboratory for testing the first law of motion: in theory, if they were to send a spacecraft beyond Earth’s orbital radius, it would continue travelling indefinitely since what is in motion will remain in motion until acted upon by another force. But the fact is that even this craft would likely run into another object, such as a planet, and would then be drawn into its orbit. In such a case, however, it can be said that outside forces have acted upon it, and thus the first law of motion stands. Newton himself often told the story that he was inspired to formulate his theory of gravitation by watching the fall of an apple from a tree. His theory was able to be tested, observed, repeated, and falsified and so his theory because Newton’s Three Laws of Motion. I am simply saying this to prove the point that theories that can not be tested, observed, repeated, and falsified (must have all 4) are destined to remain in theory. Does this make sense?

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Gerf March 24, 2013 at 5:41 pm

“I don’t see how the origin of life is irrelevant since without the origin of life, we wouldn’t even be discussing this theory”
It is irrelevant because whatever caused the life to “come to life”, every facts we observe from then are the same, it doesn’t change what we see and what scientists consider as evidence. But to put it other way, how is the origin of the universe relevant when you ask how an apple grows (the steps, the time until it goes rotten, etc.). I mean, you observe the steps, whatever evidence you find and construct a theory. And it is completely irrelevant to this theory if the universe was here forever or if the invisible pink unicorn made it exist by her sacred neigh… Of course, without any universe, we don’t have any apple, nor anything else actually, but I can’t see what use it has for our theory (about apples or evolution) to say that…
Of course we want to know how it all managed to begin, but the concept of natural selection (to stick with this particular point of evolution) is the same if life came from non-life long time ago or if an intelligent creator (without being more specific) made it start. I mean, even if they think there is a creator (and some really do, some even are christians and I would not dare pretend they are not true ones), most of the scientists think that facts we observe are globally coherent with an evolution of life through time, in particular by natural selection, that’s all.
Of course, since fundamental creationism is much more specific on how it happened exactly, we find ourselves with a lot of claims to deal with if possible. And again we meet our issue about how we can test supernatural claims, where we won’t agree, so too bad… :-)

“I am simply saying this to prove the point that theories that can not be tested, observed, repeated, and falsified (must have all 4) are destined to remain in theory. Does this make sense?”
No. First, because you are talking about hypothesis, not theories. Second, because hypothesis that can in no way be tested (etc.) are not scientific hypothesis (and so are not and can’t be dealt by science). I addressed the question of theories/laws in your other article (http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/how-do-christians-explain-evolution/).

For the criteria of scientific research (and what makes history a scientific research field), it is related with the response I gave to Mr. Adair. Even if we refuse to call social sciences proper scientific fields, I think that their methodology (even if not exactly the same and even if we could make it better) can be a fair and acceptable attempt to construct objective knowledge, which is what I mean with the word “scientific” (not only me…).

Our issue here will remain: what means “testable” and so on. And if you follow Mr. Adair, you will say that historical events can’t be scientifically analysed because they can’t be repeated. I disagree with this strict understanding of where repeatability is applied.
I know we can’t reproduce the conditions that made the Battle of Hastings occur and so we can’t reproduce the event. So the hypothesis that it really happened would become unscientific and then would then have to be believed upon faith.
I very much disagree with that view. I think our analysis of the signs and pieces of evidence (of different kinds) gives us a scientific way to fairly determine that the battle quite surely did happen and how (but of course, absolute certainty is always excluded). Do you disagree with that? When historians expose their evidence and draw their conclusions, are we to say “no, that is unscientific because you can’t reproduce the battle (good story but only a story, I can’t rely on it)”?
We CAN study it scientifically: what is repeatable is the analysis the historians did to draw their conclusions. And if others look at the same facts independently, interpret them themselves and draw the same conclusions then the hypothesis HAS been tested, the conclusion HAS been repeated (and confirmed, so we become more confident that it is reliable), the occurrence of the battle HAS been indirectly observed, and it IS falsifiable (provided you find other evidence, for instance something that proves that you key testimony is not as reliable as you thought previously, etc.).

I know, experimental (“hard”) sciences are more impressive because they work on events they “can” reproduce (because we know much better how they happen but moreover because they are quite simple compared to the complexity of the ongoing progress of each living thing in an ecosystem as a whole).
Anyway, in a lab, we do an experiment with some materials and get a reaction, a result. We describe it and try again the same series of actions to see if the outcome is the same. Yes, this kind of repeatability is more convincing, but is it really different from an historical event? Because when you give a particular product to an animal and observe some result, this is one thing. But what will you “reproduce” the next day when you do it again: the exact specific event that happened the day before or only the same kind of experiment that you have already made? “Repeating” the experiment do not produce the exactly same event because that event happened yesterday ; today, it is a new one (even if it has the exact same look). So, to repeat a way of observing things actually produces a lot of different events of the same kind. Then you draw conclusions based upon logical inferences. And if you can do it that “easily”, I think, it is because there aren’t too many variables when dealing with these kinds of problems (or course they may still be very complicated). We think that we entirely reproduce the same event but actually they are different historical events but it doesn’t bother us because the conclusion we draw from all these experiments will gives us a pretty fair idea of what occurs precisely for every event of that kind.

(I also would like to add a link because after I had written main parts of my responses to you and Mr. Adair, I came across a recent episode of the Atheist Experience show (oh, sorry, were they some gooseflesh effect?) and found funny that some caller asked about evolution and racism. With an other one they also used quite the same analogy I proposed to Robert. All that is a funny coincidence, I guess.
The parts I am talking about is at ~20’30” but the rest of the episode may raise some reactions of course (not really the purpose though). Specially, there is some big “gift” that should make believers very happy, I don’t tell you more… It is there

Best regards.

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Jack Wellman March 24, 2013 at 7:56 pm

Thank you sir for your response. I did listen to the blip TV’s the-atheist-experience-tv-show #805 on marriage-equality. I did not allow the url to be posted however because in it at the 20:30 + area, the host responded by asking a caller why the Bible condones slavery. This is a common misconception by those who don’t know the Bible well. We have an article that addresses this issue at:

http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/what-does-the-bible-say-about-slavery-does-it-condone-it/

I did not listen to the remaining program however. Was it on the equality of marriage issue for same-sex couples? I assume it was. From what I heard of it in listening to it in various places, I wasn’t sure but it implies by the title that that was the overall subject.

In any event, I would urge you to see how the Bible actually condemns the use of slavery and that mentioned in the Bible is not the same as is still occurring today in many parts of the world and from the treatment of many African men and women who were enslaved by the many nations of the world…America, Great Britain, France, Communist Russia, and many others. The greatest single force in human history to end slavery as we generally understand it, and much different from what occurred in the Bible, was from a Christian man who stood on biblical principles called William Wilberforce.

This English politician, philanthropist, was the primary leader of the movement to abolish the slave trade and was the most prominent man in history in doing so. Wilberforce was convinced of the importance of religion, morality and education. Wilberforce supported the campaign for the complete abolition of slavery, and continued his involvement after 1826, when he resigned from Parliament because of his failing health. That campaign led to the Slavery Abolition Act 1833, which abolished slavery in most of the British Empire. The British campaign to abolish the slave trade is generally considered to have begun in the 1780s with the establishment of the Quakers’ antislavery committees, and their presentation to Parliament of the first slave trade petition in 1783.

Those in society who were the only ones to take a stand against slavery where Christians and their organizations. Perhaps that is something the BlipTV host was not aware of, as possibly most atheists and agnostics are also not aware. This could be remedied by a comprehensive or at least topological exegesis of Scriptures in both the Old and New Testament.

As with Robert, this subject may be at an end for me as I pastor a church, work as well, write for this site as well as others, am a father and grandfather, and am attempting to complete a master’s (while riding the proverbial bike, chewing gum! LOL). The point being, my time is limited and my responses may come late or it is hoped, to an end here my friend.

With all due respect, thanks Gerf.

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Gerf March 25, 2013 at 6:03 am

Hello Jack, thanks.

“I did not listen to the remaining program however. Was it on the equality of marriage issue for same-sex couples?”
No. I know that the title is ambiguous. It only refers to the little speech the co-host did at the beginning, but that is not the issue. After that, 4-5 persons called to have a discussion (on other issues) and the one (or two) I talked about was the one talking about racism from ~20’30”, that is all.

“I did not allow the url to be posted however because in it at the 20:30 + area, the host responded by asking a caller why the Bible condones slavery”
So, it is because he doesn’t agree with you? (I may consider myself lucky then :-) ) Well, you mentioned the episode, it’s ok.
Sadly, it seems that it prevented you to get to the point (evolution does not imply racism because we don’t get our moral values from a scientific theory)

” This is a common misconception by those who don’t know the Bible well.”
Well, then you may want to write to Matt Dillahunty. As far as I know he was a Christian himself and studied to become a minister…

the question is, is the Bible talking about how we should treat slaves instead of saying that we should not have slaves at all? And the answer is yes.

Actually, I even went through your article about slavery and found it quite unfair all along. By reading the verses around those that you picked up, I am sorry but I am not far from considering it dishonest…

– First I don’t care if there were Christians against slavery, we are talking about what the Bible says (or are some parts of the Bible not relevant, or even “less true”?).

– You wrote: “Exodus 21:16 states, “Anyone who kidnaps someone is to be put to death, whether the victim has been sold or is still in the kidnapper’s possession.” ”
And then: “Slavery is no different than kidnapping to God”
Sorry but I don’t read that at all. What I read is not about slavery, it’s about kidnapping (or is it the same?…). And it says that whatever the kidnapper did with the victim (that may include enslavement but that is only an example), he has to be put to death. So that does not condemn slavery at all.
If it did, Exodus and Leviticus would not talk about the way we have to treat slaves in the very same chapter…

– “Leviticus 25:39-43 says, “If a countryman of yours becomes so poor with regard to you that he sells himself to you, you shall not subject him to a slave’s service.”
That is very kind but applies to persons of your people, not to foreign slaves (you should not have stopped at verse 43, it is just after that: 44, 45, …)
Again, either the Bible is ok with slavery or Exodus and Leviticus are not parts of the Bible.

– “In Exodus 21:2 it states, “If you buy a Hebrew servant, he is to serve you for six years. But in the seventh year, he shall go free, without paying anything.” Here it says that if you buy a Hebrew servant, they are not to be considered a slave”
Jack, please. First, other translations give ‘slave’ instead of ‘servant’ ; I can’t settle the question though. But more important, it is not at all obvious that during these 6 years, this ‘servant’ is not to be considered as a proper slave. And anyway, again, it applies to persons from your own people.
Everyone should read again Exodus 21 and Leviticus 25 to figure out what it’s talking about. Sorry but when it is said that the master who beats his slave with a stick is to punished ONLY if the slave dies of it, I have a hard time believing that “slavery is no different than kidnapping to God” as you said (meaning that you should be put to death when you enslave someone as it is the case when you kidnap someone). Your book says the contrary Jack.
It would take 15 minutes to anyone to realize that the Bible does not condemn this immoral activity (unless you think it is not immoral of course…)

– If Paul is a good guy (we may argue about it), fine! I don’t care! ‘Is God against slavery?’ is the question. The answer should be in Exodus/Leviticus, should it not?…

– Conclusion: “We can see that God abhorred slavery and in fact forbid it in the Old Testament.”
We can not, no! I am shocked by your statement (and now I have to question where does the “misconception by those who don’t know the Bible well” comes from)

Have a good day.

Gerf March 20, 2013 at 3:23 pm

(2/2 to Jack)
(Now I get your point about the comment stack Jack ;-) )

By the way, Darwin, as any other scientist, wasn’t perfect and may have fall in those traps. He even WAS wrong on some scientific points. But everything he wrote is not absolutely dependent and things may be wrong without refuting every other thing. That seems obvious to me. We must not mix up issues ourselves.

“The fact that Darwin’s theories presented this as natural”
“Natural” is not “good”.
Maybe we are touching an important point here. Because I have already seen people accusing darwinism (whatever it is) to be responsible for some racist/immoral actions and using the same kind of argument: Darwin made it “natural” to discriminate others (because of their cultural level, their physical or intellectual weakness, etc.). So two reactions:
– “natural” is not “good”.
– fearing the potential moral interpretations of a scientific result does not prove this result to be false.
Sometimes, earthquakes happen. That’s neither good or bad in a moral sense. So it is amoral and perfectly natural. Actually, it may be a naturalistic bias that lead one to think that nature gives us moral policies (or a moralistic bias to think that what we find good must necessarily be how nature is and so we reject claims that say nature is otherwise). From that, we will be afraid to discover that things that we despise are found to be “natural” (occurring in nature). And so we could be reluctant to accept an idea about nature that seems to force us to accept something (racism) that we despise. My point is, natural things are not morally good by themselves and they don’t have to force us to automatically adopt a particular moral view or action.
If you say “it is natural for the weakest individual to die, slowly devoured by some other animal”, I would not expect you to say it is a “good thing”, morally right. However, it is very natural. It is just something we observe in nature and we would expect to see it, wouldn’t we? But we would not promote or accept that people start hunting their neighbours and tear them to pieces to eat them, no matter how weak is the neighbour… So: different issues. (I become tired to repeat it).

Now, Darwin may have find the extermination of savage people morally acceptable and I would disagree with him. But I asked you where, in the book you mentioned when claiming that (Coyne, Why Evolution is True. Viking. pp. 8–11), it is said that Darwin found it morally acceptable?

I distrust these social applications of some of Darwin’s claims but I don’t think it is relevant when we ask the question “is the theory of evolution convincing or not?”.

(I provide you with something I came across but please take into account that I did not make specific research on the subject, so it is only to show that people work on some of those questions, regarding Darwin’s views on genders: http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/gender/2013/03/08/darwin-and-gender-educational-modules-released/)

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Gerf March 20, 2013 at 3:30 pm

(1/2 – responding to Robert March 18: http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/cambrian-explosion-why-christians-need-to-know/comment-page-1/#comment-66066)

Hi Robert,

“Do evolutionists truly believe that differing languages provide evidence that cats can become dogs”
Nope. Read me again: “The analogy has limits”. So first, it is an analogy and I am not pretending it proves anything about evolution. Second, it has limits, which means it is not exactly similar, of course.
But still, it is not insignificant. The point is that we commonly see that claim: “micro-evolution exists, not macro”. But strictly speaking, the only difference is time (or if you prefer the amount of individual steps/changes you consider in one glance). Again, not saying it is a proof, but the language analogy helps changing the perspective (or finding it less improbable). Without being too strict about who we learn our language from, everybody basically speaks the language of his parents and still, today he could not understand his ancestors from 2000 years ago.
It is an analogy of speciation because even if cats give birth to cats, those are always slightly different and with genetic mixing, one population is a bit different from the previous generation.
Definition of species is a real issue because we don’t have a proper way to define it for the entire living world. But still we have to name things to understand what we are talking about. Species are defined regarding to interbreeding ability. If you may produce fertile children with some partner, then you are considered to be of the same species. A bit simplistic but quite sufficient to get to the point. Speciation is what happens when two populations of the same species can’t interbreed anymore (which can and have been observed). I don’t want to give a lecture, various reasons may lead to populations to be separated and since each one can continue to change progressively on its own (which really happens), I don’t see why it seems so strange or crazy to imagine they may change differently in a way that they will no more recognize individuals of the other population as possible mates when they meet them several generations later…

You can say that we don’t have the fossils of each of the ancestor of your cat back to, well, back to far in the past to prove it really comes from creatures we would not call cats today. The fact is, to come back to the article of this page, that we don’t find cats (or other mammals, or even other vertebrates) in these cambrian explosion layers… You could give every kind of arguments to say that we misunderstood something (if for example you don’t think that dating methods are accurate, the article becomes quite pointless anyway), I am just saying that I don’t get why the simple idea of speciation is so disturbing from the point of view I presented.

“that is the kind of change I do not think has scientific support… no matter how many intermediate stages that it, hypothetically, might have gone through”
Then that pretty much close the debate. That the problem I felt with Jack’s claims ; it’s a bit like saying: “no matter how many fossil that look intermediate and seem to show very well the evolution in a group you have, I will never accept your interpretation to be true or even to be apparently favourable to the theory”. Then just say it: My belief avoids me to take this hypothesis into account (regardless of the amount of evidence) because I am too much certain it must be otherwise…

Cat is a name we put on beings we found to have some characters. Of course then the point where the “kind” changes is unclear (cf. the creationist experts who were asked to distinguish fossil skulls to prove that some where absolutely humans and others absolutely apes.. It seems that they had trouble to reach the same conclusions). But there is no need to have a first cat, as there is no need to have a first english speaker (and I will leave the question for now…).

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Gerf March 20, 2013 at 3:34 pm

(2/2 to “just” Robert ;-) )

” “If you think that [some theistic claims] can be scientifically tested, I would be glad to know how.”
I believe that it is quite obvious that there had to be a Creator, and I believe the Bible describes Him as well as He wants to be described. I don’t expect you to believe that, but I do.”
Quite obvious? I am sorry Robert, no offence, but just here I don’t really care what you believe. I asked about the possibility to scientifically deal with theistic claims and that is all the problem about this ‘teaching the controversy’ idea. I am fine with you believing something on faith, I am not with the wish to push intelligent design in the realm of science, ignoring the issue of scientific methods.
Of course Mr. Adair would say that evolution is unscientific itself… As you know, I am not sharing his views (I still need to give him my responses though).

“simply saying that an opposing argument is “bad or obsolete” does not make it so.”
It seems to me that I have taken quite an amount of time and words to explain my positions and the reasons I found some arguments bad. And I am sorry but a lot of time would be spare if people having those claims went on the first evolutionist website (well, maybe not the first one.. talkorigins.org is a good start I would say) and looked at the answers given to old arguments. And if people think that these responses are bad, they could address precisely what is a problem and why they think their argument is still worth… Or they could even make them better but for more than one that I have seen on this page, it consists of basic claims that are, at least, let’s say rusty…

“My reason for this discussion is not scientific, I fully admit that.”
I can understand that but then would you be surprised if I questioned the legitimacy of your action or the validity of your point of view on what I think is primarily a scientific (and by nature secular) subject.

“The theory of evolution, the one that attempts to explain how everything got here without God …”
Not everything, no.
“…, may seem intellectually satisfying, but it is supplying false support for those who reject God’s lordship…”
I am sorry but I commented on this page because I found that Jack was strongly mischaracterizing what science and evolution are on more than one questions, so it seems fair to me to address from the point of view where we try to determine how we construct more objective knowledge about our world. Now, if you reject a scientific theory because you find it not supplying good support for people to live their lives, I would say I don’t care at all, since it is not a relevant critic about what the theory says or about whether it is true or not. And I am quite surprised that you now come with such a comment which seems to imply that, so to say, the fact that a scientific claim gives not the idea we would like to be spread is somehow a good reason to decide that this claim must be false.
However I believe you may have rational reasons to doubt the truth of evolution, I don’t understand why you let irrelevant stuff like morality or afterlife fear or whatever interfere with a different question.

“… because they simply wish to live their lives according to their own lusts and desires (simple selfishness).”
Not believing is not equal to knowing it is true but ignoring it, so please stop with those ‘they want to sin’. If people accept a claim because of what it allows them to do, that’s a pretty bad reason, that’s obvious. Being evolutionist doesn’t free you from having moral grounds for actions in your life ; again this seems absurd to me…

“This is the reason Christians are so concerned, and become so adamant and emotional, about this subject”
Well, then it may lead them to focus on something (values) when willing to actually address something else not directly related (facts and possible evidence).

“any science that excludes God is not good science”
As I said, I don’t see how science can include God, so…

“Science is limited to the realm of the observable and testable, it is therefore limited in its scope of authority.”
Very well. Specially, I don’t know why you people keep pretending it has any moral authority… -_-

“God is not limited”
Which is cool because if God is on “your side”, you are always right even when you’re wrong… ;-)

Anyway, thanks for your comments, I appreciate.

Reply

Robert March 20, 2013 at 7:38 pm

Hello again Gerf,

“The point is that we commonly see that claim: “micro-evolution exists, not macro”. But strictly speaking, the only difference is time (or if you prefer the amount of individual steps/changes you consider in one glance”. Once again, you state this as if it were fact. Both those who believe God created everything (including all life forms) and those who believe that life came about some other way, exercise faith (whether they call it that or not) at some point. The scientist observes the present and attributes everything to impersonal forces. The creationist observes the present and attributes everything to God. I used to be an evolutionist, hook line and sinker. But God opened my eyes to the truth and, the more I studied (I didn’t become a creationist right off the bat, I was a hard sell), the more I saw the glaring deficiencies in the evolutionist’s claims (anyone wanting to study those deficiencies closer may want to check out some of these books: “The Case for a Creator” by Lee Strobel. “Evolution Impossible” by John F. Ashton. Any of the many books by Henry Morris, John Morris, Duane Gish, Ray Comfort, or Ken Ham. While I am sure that these men will be mocked and ridiculed by the elite group of God-rejecting scientists, they make more sense than any argument for evolution I have ever heard…and I have heard a lot of them).

With all due respect, about lecturing me on speciation, I do not need a lecture. I have listened (read) all of your comments to me, to Jack, and to Robert Adair and frankly, while you definitely have the gift of gab, I’ve heard nothing but the same old evolutionists line I’ve always heard…and I find it wanting. You may say that I am spouting the same Christian-creationist-theist-religious line you have always heard. And there is the point I think, the bottom line in all this discussion. We have both heard the facts and we have both made decisions. I heard the facts, both about God and about evolution, and I have chosen to follow God. You have chosen to spend your time defending evolution, or science, or research, etc. However, if I am not mistaken, in the process you have rejected God. It is tragic that a discipline such as science, which is dedicated to searching for truth, can miss the greatest Truth of all. But it happens all the time.

“I am just saying that I don’t get why the simple idea of speciation is so disturbing from the point of view I presented”. Because it is an affront to the character of God, and, as those who have responded to His love, we cannot (will not) sit idly by and not speak up. Apparently, you are as committed to science, or the scientific community, or something of the sort (and once again, I say that I have nothing against honest scientific research, it has done a lot of good). My dedication to God, and my conviction that the Bible is His Word, tells me that God created the universe and everything in it (“For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them” (Exodus 20:11 ESV), naturalistic science says that this is not true…there is an impassible clash of worldviews here, both cannot be right. I am convinced that the biblical worldview is true.

Gerf, I think that we have reached the end of our discussion. I have gone down this road enough times to know that we have reached the end of it. We could go round and round until the cows come home (whatever that means) and you will never convince me that evolution is true and I will never convince you that God created everything. My simple prayer for you is that God will break into your heart in a powerful way and that you will realize that there is more to live, much more, than you have experienced. Know that I pray only the best for you.

Now, you may have the last word. May God touch your heart with His love.

Yours in Christ,
Robert

Reply

Gerf March 24, 2013 at 5:45 pm

Thank you for the ‘last word’ (I know I am bad to let a discussion end but yes it could go eternally…)

“Once again, you state this [about speciation ] as if it were fact”
Well, sorry for the lack of cautiousness (and for the lecture) but the point is that the idea is simple and not crazy by itself and the only “theoretical” difference is time (as it is between the languages of one person today and his ancestors long time ago, that was the idea).

” “I am just saying that I don’t get why the simple idea of speciation is so disturbing from the point of view I presented”.
Because it is an affront to the character of God ”
Yes, and that is why I don’t see at all our positions as equivalently based (regarding methodology or even goal actually)! The thing is, if you start with believing the Bible and your worldview needs it to be entirely valid, then yes, of course: more than just not being convinced by evolution (or any other theory that contains one element going against what the Bible says), you will have to reject it no matter what, because otherwise, everything you are basing your life upon is potentially false. I don’t say that your book is false, but the pathway you follow is way stronger than mine meaning way more dogmatic (and as I see it way more subjective). But of course, luckily for you, you “know” it is the good true view, so it’s ok (that is not ironic, I put it as it is for you, to point that we actually had no hope to address my real concerns properly).
Being convinced that the theory of evolution is accurate does not require to be an atheist. However, it will have a conflict with the most specific and strict theistic views (those which impose more “absolutely certain” details), such as christian denominations where the Bible is considered as absolutely true, yes. For me, we then have to find a way (if any) to distinguish if one view is more likely true or not (and I don’t see an objective way to do that with the Bible, which make the thing personal I think). Clearly we can’t agree on the way.

There is this difference between:
1. looking for the best way to achieve a good/right life and avoid missing the important “goal” (in your life or after)
2. looking for a way to determine how are the things and what is most likely true

Of course, the first does not imply that you will necessarily believe false things but the second does not imply that you can’t have a purpose in your life. The two are important and not opposed by nature. I may be wrong, but your two last messages gave me the impression that you looked at our subject and discussion as if we were in the first case while I was in the second (meaning that, already having your answers about what is true, you don’t “need” to address the second case). If accurate, it could be one of the reasons for not being able to understand each other’s position (I will try to think about it).

“you will never convince me that evolution is true and I will never convince you that God created everything”
Well, maybe you could. At least you could possibly convince me that “evolution” is not true (provided it is not true) but I think I couldn’t convince you as easily that God didn’t create everything, that’s right (even if you were wrong). Science is not a religion, it is not dogmatic (even if scientists can be conservative and stubborn) That is, I think, a huge difference between our worldviews.

Now, of course, I sincerely wish you the best in your life (and after), thank you for all your comments.

Best regards

(PS: about the authors you mentioned, I don’t know the majority of them, only a couple of names, but I have heard Ray Comfort speaking. I had written what I think about him in more details but not that necessary. If the others speak as he speaks about evolution, I have absolutely no doubt they will be ridiculed, you are right. That is sad but I can’t find it unfair however. I think everyone remembers the banana, no?
Again, he also may be more interested in the first case than the second..)

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Robert O. Adair March 23, 2013 at 2:56 pm

Well Gerf, none of the atheist/secularist philosophies asserts that science is true. Thomas S. Kuhn in his classic book The Nature of Scientific Revolutions, argues that science is not made up of carefully constructed theories based on neutral fact, but is a contingent social activity. Scientists do not ” know what the world is like.” Their thinking is based on “world views” and especially “paradigms”. These “provide models from which spring particular coherent traditions of scientific research.” These “paradigms” may or may not be true.

Logical Positivism was developed by a group of anti-philosophers at the University of Vienna in the 1920’s. The so called “Vienna Circle” held that philosophy does not produce propositions which are true or false; it merely clarifies the meaning of statements, showing some to be scientific, some to be mathematical and some to be nonsensical. The last of these includes most philosophical statements. In essence Logical Positivism denies all metaphysical ideas as having any meaning. This, of course, is a metaphysical idea, so of course, it too has no meaning. Logical Positivism is a quagmire of twisted reasoning, but if it is true, science is not.

Another popular view was Pragmatism, formulated by C. S. Pierce (1839-1914) and further developed by William James (1842-1910). It asserts that the meaning of any proposition can always be boiled down to the practical consequences which will issue from it in practical experience. Besides being a quagmire of logical absurdity, it clearly states that science is not true, it is merely useful .

These ideas were further developed as Operationalism by P. W. Bridgeman (1882-1969). It also states that all scientific ideas are not true. They are merely useful. This is the most popular view today. If this concept were vigorously applied, evolutionism would only appeal to racist hatemongers and power-mad fascists.

The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy in its article on Philosophy of Science has this to say about Scientific Realism “…those who describe themselves as scientific realists” claim “that ‘mature’ scientific theories typically refer to real features of the world, that the history of past falsifications of accepted scientific theories does not provide good reason for persistent skepticism as to the truth claims of contemporary theories…”. Or in other words just because we were wrong a hundred times in the past is no reason to think we’re not right now. To parody “On science, the solid rock I stand! All other ground is sinking sand! Burble, burble, burble !” Sorry folks, he went down for the third time! But come back tomorrow.” Of course we can’t ridicule Dawkins for this inadequate belief, he doesn’t have one. His “science is sort of like a table with all four legs cut off of it, he expects it to remain 30 inches off the ground. So which of these philosophies of science do you believe in? I don;t expect to get an answer, you will simply Beg The Question or Refuse to Discuss, the two logical fallacies besides the Ad Hominem Attack which are the mainstay of Evolutionism.

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Gerf March 24, 2013 at 5:19 pm

(1/5 – responding to several messages form Robert O. Adair, starting here: http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/cambrian-explosion-why-christians-need-to-know/#comment-65416)

Thank you sir for offering us these pieces of discourse and a view of your framework of thought. Readers will be able to evaluate the level of your argumentation. I specially like those ones (from March 17) :
“Do you know how to read? You probably do and are just lying the way most evolutionists do” ; “Most people in the sciences are trained technicians not educated people.” ; “In your metaphysical world and that of Richard Dawkins, there is no higher authority than your own egocentric notions, You keep proving that you insist on doing Philosophy which you know nothing about”…

Speaking of egocentric notions, someone may be inspired to have a close look at his own attitude. You see yourself as a very educated person able to judge the reasons people believe what they believe and knowing very much about science, philosophy or history. Still, the image you get from the topic does not seem very accurate to me. You don’t know anything about me and I question the value of your guesses. I may not have studied the subject for decades but I think my points are not unfair and not particularly incoherent (I may be overconfident of course).
People should stop thinking that anything that seems incompatible with their worldview can only come from people willing to destroy their beliefs…

“You should try to write coherent sentences.”
I am sorry sir. I didn’t realize that i was torturing your language so much that my sentences looked that incoherent. But please, ask me about the things you did not understand, I would be glad to be more precise.

As for the rest of your comments and considering the extensive amount of things to address, I will try to give a not so long (but still) response. I wanted to go in chronological order but it seems we primarily have to take into account your description of what is “real” science.

“Well, Gerf, since seem to have such an off hand definition of science, I thought I would clarify what real science is.”
You are too kind sir, thank you.
However, while most of your 10 elements required “to have a real science” are ok, some of them will raise my objections.

“1. A moral foundation, science without integrity is pseudo-science like evolution.”

That is the first and main issue. As I said in other messages, I disagree. But to avoid being misunderstood, let’s make it clear: there is a difference between the methodological concepts that science imagine in order to obtain its results, which is amoral (and comes from epistemology) and the practice of scientific research as a ‘human activity’, which (as any other human activity) requires to be supervised by an ethical framework, yes.
My point though is that this ethical framework basically is not bound to science itself, it is imposed on its whole activity by scientists themselves and by society. For example, when you do an experiment and get some result, what makes you say if your result is ‘correct’ or not (if the knowledge you have acquired is most likely true or false) is absolutely independent of your ethical framework! I mean, you may make an experiment without following any ethical principles and so possibly do immoral things in order to get the knowledge you want (which is not acceptable). But in that case, doing it without ethics does not make the results false. If you did not treat well the animals you were studying, it will not change the results of the analysis you made of their genes, for example. And when you write your article to expose the results you got, you will not talk about how well treated your animals were, because that has no bearing at all on the results, has it? Obviously though, there ARE situations where it matters for the results: when you are studying behaviour for example. Anything that can change the normal behaviour of the subjects has then an effect on the results, of course.
So yes, we must impose an ethical framework on the scientific activity (as on any other human activity) but that is not what constitute science itself (I would say it simply is a human concern about our actions in general). The methodological framework depends on epistemological paradigms, yes (we may talk about it later), and the scientific activity has to be controlled by ethics, yes. But science does not try to answer questions of values, only of facts.

That element #1 deals with a good part of the entire debate that occurred on this page, specially about the immoral consequences of the theory of evolution, for example fascism and racism. So I will address some of your specific points here.

1a)
“All dictatorships have not been bad”
Well, we could argue on that but it may well be a semantic evolution issue. So let me rephrase the sentence that seemed “incoherent” to you:
The excesses of dictatorship regimes have often been caused by the unjust or immoral principles upon which they based their actions. Does that seem incoherent to you, sir? From that, since it is a question of values, it has absolutely no links to the very simple idea of evolution by natural selection (which, in itself contains no moral claim).

1b)
“Bad is a moral judgement based on one’s metaphysical system of thought.”
(That is quite coherent with my view and so you may be willing to think about it again since I may be speaking “utter nonsense”…)
Indeed it is a basic point about what science is and do: no matter what you observe or explain scientifically, it does not show any moral values (regardless of the motivations you may have because of your philosophical background). As I say in my response to Jack, we need to make the distinction between factual results/explanations and philosophical comments that may be added to them in the same article/speech.
So, a natural phenomenon is not morally good or bad in itself (molecules behaviours, meteorological changes, disease given by a micro-organism…). This judgement does not come from science, you impose it on the reality because of philosophical/metaphysical justifications you have. And when scientific conclusions/analysis need moral judgements to seem valid, then yes we should look for a corruption in the process and tell why it is illegitimate, I am ok with that. But when I look at the core elements that sustain the basic idea of natural selection, I don’t see where it contains these moral judgements you denounce.
“You have no foundation for such [moral] judgements.”
Yeah, right, I am an immoral atheist and lying is my way of life, I had forgotten that… Your statement is common and absurd because you are basically making an accusation directed towards atheists. Yet, we are talking about evolution, which does not require atheism. Doing that, you set an unfair framework in which only creationist christians have foundations for moral judgements (which is unfounded) and in which every evolutionist must be an atheist, which is false.
Imagine that someone is an atheist but that he takes all his personal moral policies from biblical views because he finds them good. Is this person still lacking foundation for a moral judgement in your view?

What I see is that you mix together what some evolutionists said about facts and what they said about values and pretend everything is dependent and indistinguishable. In that way, you make up this big straw man and pretend that its claims are entirely about values only in order to be able to say: “that is not honest science at all” followed by “that is racism, let’s burn it”. That is unfair because the main idea of natural selection proposed by Darwin does not contain moral judgement itself.

Reply

Gerf March 24, 2013 at 5:22 pm

(2/5)

1c)
“According to your evolutionist religion, which is not science, Gerf, there is not one human race but many many races, some highly advanced, some very inferior.”
Sir, if you are using Darwin’s views to pretend that the theory of evolution is racist, you are making two mistakes:
1. You are a half century late. Today’s theory of evolution is much more than Darwin’s theory.
2. More important: you are mixing up the “biological theory of evolution” and “Darwin ideas and writings”. The theory of evolution is not made of the whole content of Darwin’s books. You may disagree with social or philosophical comments he made in the books where he presented his scientific results. But it does not make the scientific observations and propositions wrong. Again, any moral judgement made upon his results are up to him and are not parts of the scientific theory itself which does not impose specific moral policies at all (even if his personal way of thinking or working is shaped by a mind set or let’s say a particular epistemological framework)! Today’s biology does not base its evolutionary ideas upon the moral judgements of Darwin.
So I don’t really care if Darwin had racist views because his moral judgements are irrelevant from a scientific point of view and I don’t need to be racist to accept the fact that species evolve through time by natural selection.

Actually we may even have a problem with the definition of the word ‘racism’.
Holding the idea that there are more than one race in the human species is NOT racism, at least not as we define it today (and it is a question of facts, so science can deal with it ; provided that it manages to present a precise definition of what a race is of course…).
On the contrary, racism (as the attitude that we despise) contains the idea that the existence of different races implies that some human beings deserve more or less respect because of their race. It is the idea that existence of races legitimizes discriminations towards some of them and moral judgement about their respective value based on those racial differences. That is immoral (and being a question of values, it is not supported by science but by philosophical/metaphysical systems).

“Darwin’s racism is right in the title of his first racist classic, “the favored races of man”.”
That is inaccurate, sir. Maybe are you talking about the original full title of his book “The Origin Of Species” which was: “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life”.
And as I said, even if different races exist, it does not imply that it is a good or a bad thing. It would be a fact without moral judgement.

“Galton and Darwin laid the foundations for Social Darwinism, others carried these concepts to their, logical mass murdering conclusions.”
“logical mass murdering conclusions”?! That is the problem I keep pointing. Even if you find it true that there is more than one race and that some of them may be favoured regarding to their environment (that point is important), it does not mean at all that you are allowed to make a moral distinction between these races or to discriminate and even exterminate some of them on that factual, natural basis! Not at all, sir. You are making a logical fallacy by saying that how nature is (or is pretended to be) is how nature should be and that we can draw moral policies from that.
‘Survival of the fittest’ does not contains moral judgement, it is the rational idea that one that fits its environment will survive better than one that does not. It does not mean that the fittest is morally better or must be judged as more valuable as a being! I strongly disagree with this mischaracterizing of what the theory of evolution says. So no, it does not lead “logically” to mass murdering or to sterilizing people.
And you did not answered my question about who was the one who said that we had “the moral responsibility of helping evolution along by sterilizing the unfit”. Was it Galton or Darwin (as you seemed to pretend)? Because I don’t think that Darwin supported Galton on this issue. Galton, as a founder of eugenics, did a pretty bad work, yes.

1d)
By the way, I see you just despised my point on stalinism and religiosity, describing it as “incoherent, utter nonsense” without addressing it. My comment wasn’t extensive and we could probably write a lot about it with better arguments (one thing is, of course someone like Lenin was really anti-theist but stalinism, by its cult of personality really draw religiosity towards itself). A funny thing (for me) is that I came across an article about that just two days ago and it makes some similar points. It is in the series “Messiahs! Rulers and the Role of Religion” here: http://www.vision.org/visionmedia/article.aspx?id=2966. I give it just to broaden perspectives. At least, my brief point will not seem too much an “atheist perverted view”, I guess (even if you may find the author as ‘ignorant’ as me). The article is from David Hulme, which is ironic (for me) since I remember me coming across the site vision.org only one other time and I read an article the same author had written about morality (and of course, I disagreed with him ;-) ).

1e)
“Your “scientific” belief that you are an ape controls all ethical concepts.”
Of course, discovering something about nature may lead you to reconsider some ethical views you had. That raises good questions about how we construct our personal ethical framework, on which basis, etc., indeed. What I say, is that if someone concludes from his scientific work (well or badly done) that humans are apes, I don’t reckon it forces you to adopt a specific automatic moral view. Let’s look at your next sentence:
“Since you are an ape, brother to the Chimpanzee and the Gorilla, killing you is no more murder than killing a cow (See Hitler, Lenin, etc.)”
I very much disagree with you sir. And your moral sense may be twisted. What is very strange to me is that if tomorrow we found THE absolute evidence convincing everyone beyond ANY doubt (provided it is possible) that all living beings share a common ancestor, it looks like you would be among the people concluding that it is now ok to kill people as we kill cows, because somehow you think it is the only logical conclusion. That scares me sir and I can’t follow you on that line. Killing humans IS very different from killing cows and I would not accept that we murder people more easily than yesterday. As a matter of fact, already accepting evolution, I also already am in the position of having to pronounce myself and, believe me or not, I despise murder (and by the way killing animals is a vast and complex issue by itself and also concerns ethics, and some people would certainly argue with you about which beings are concerned by murder, etc.).

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Gerf March 24, 2013 at 5:23 pm

(3/5)
You accused me of knowing nothing about philosophy or logic. I myself have to question your proper vision of these fields, sir. I recognize you have studied these questions but I don’t find you are legitimate to look at my comments as if I was dishonest or blatantly out of context. We may have two different (and maybe incompatible) views of science but yours do not seem that more impressive than mine. On the other hand, I question even more your views about what the biological theory of evolution is and about history of the totalitarianisms (sorry for such a bold statement).
So, I am sorry but what you present about evolution, fascism and racism here seems quite out of date, sometimes no that consistent or even irrelevant. Others have responded to those views long time ago now and continue to address them today, certainly better than me.

“You have never studied the history of ideas including the history of science. Ideas have consequences.”
Again you don’t know me. And you may have made studies in those fields yourself but I don’t recognize that you have a so obviously better understanding of what modern science is than me. I am sorry but you have some issues with science and logic yourself and I can’t do anything if you interpret Darwin as badly as fascist people did or if your ideas about evolution ignore the last 50 years. Scientific knowledge changes, and theories do also change (because they are not dogmatic…)
I am not even sure that I agree with your second sentence (and its moral conclusion). You put a lot of responsibility on one person having an idea for what others may draw from it or do based on it. Actions have consequences. Ideas are what we use to support these actions. And this use may be legitimate or not. In the case of eugenics, it is not ; anyway, it does not say anything about possible truth of evolution.

“2. A belief in universal physical laws which govern the universe. This was the second most important Christian contribution contribution, an idea unique to Christian Theology.”

I admit that I can’t provide you with much material here but this idea that a belief in universal physical laws is unique to Christian Theology seems quite bold. I will come back to these christian contributions.
(Reading this point also made me think about anti-evolution people (sometimes young earth creationists) who try to explain that the apparent inaccuracy in geological chronology compared to the chronology of a sacred book mainly comes from our dating methods which are the ones that are inaccurate. Specially that we have no basis to assume that the conditions of the universe or of the planet remained consistent through time and that it is naive to think that we have a correct view of time scales, etc. To sum up: they question the consistency of some universal physical laws…)
Anyway, this trust we put in the consistency of physical laws is important, yes. It comes from our ability to make inductive inferences (I see the Sun rise every 24 hours more or less, so I am quite confident it should be the same tomorrow…). We like and are quite good at making generalizations (it becomes a trend, we even call it ‘common sense’ sometimes, even if it can lead to absolutely false conclusions), that is the way we deal with what we see (and we will come back to that concerning design). And of course, if the physical laws that apply here are not consistent with those that apply elsewhere in our world, then how could someone else repeat my experiment and verify my results? As scientific research for an objective knowledge is a collective work, yes we hope that we can trust the physical laws we have ‘observed’ and described.

No problem with all those other criteria :
“3. The empirical approach.
4. The experimental approach.
5. Recognition of the importance of mathematics
..
8. The attempt to go beyond technology to systematize this knowledge.
9. a commitment to logical thinking and analysis of evidence.
10. You also need the wide publication of scientific research and findings about things.”
I would have put maths with logical thinking. And yes, technology is not really about constructing knowledge, it is about applying knowledge to a practical use.

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Gerf March 24, 2013 at 5:25 pm

(4/5)
Now, that leaves us with two important elements:

“6. Naturalism. A narrowing of consideration to things within this sphere, but not asserting that scientific knowledge is the only knowledge worthy of credence.”

Yep, that is methodological naturalism. And that is exactly what I talked about in my discourse (cf. what I said to Robert about what science can or can not deal with). This is what excludes any supernatural intervention from the scope of science. Not because we pretend that supernatural things can’t occur or are proven not be the cause we are looking for, but because we don’t think we have the tools to address a claim that contains a supernatural intervention. When something that seems miraculous happens, we may believe it is indeed a miracle but how do you prove this? and specially how do you prove that the intelligent transcendent being that caused it is exactly who you think he/she is?
But of course, methodological naturalism is not some kind of ontological materialism, claiming that everything has material causes and that only naturalistic explanations can be true. Scientists only say “we can not address these supernatural claims because we don’t have the tools to do that”.
But even if you think that logic necessarily leads you to the belief that this universe is intelligently designed, it does not suddenly imply that christian claims become scientific claims.

So, I don’t get that point:
6a)
“Evolutionist dogma denies the supernatural”
Again, it is not denying that the supernatural can exist, it is considering that science is methodologically unable to deal with it. So again it is an epistemological question about science, not particularly evolution. So you should have said ‘scientific’ instead of ‘evolutionist’. Then, you mentioned Kuhn: “scientists operate with paradigms which may or may not be true”, so would you agree that methodological naturalism is an epistemological paradigm adopted by modern science (let’s say at least a great number of scientific schools)? You may want to replace ‘dogma’ with ‘paradigm’, then.
If my analysis is not too “incoherent”, your claim could become “Scientific paradigm(s) leave the supernatural aside (by nature)”, which is true (and seems very less ideologically oriented by the way).
If you want, we could say that the theory of evolution is the best explanation scientists can provide if the supernatural creationist claims are not true.

6b) When I said: “Evolution is a question of facts while racism is a question of values!”, your response was:
“Utter nonsense. It is facts which disprove your myth.”
You did not understand me correctly sir and I am sorry if I have been unclear again. I was not advocating for the truth of evolution. Saying that evolution was a question of facts was not intended to mean that facts were proving it to be true. It means that the claims that the theory of evolution makes are factual (they do not contain values in themselves), so science can address these claims and try to confirm them or refute them. True or false, it all concerns facts, not values.
But racism is a position that includes moral judgements (so, values) and so, it is not a scientific position but a ethical one (and immoral from my point of view). But at this point, I don’t expect us to agree on that, so that would pretty much be all.

“7. restricting attention to things observable, repeatable and testable. Leaves out the evolution myth. It also leaves out most of the soft sciences and History.”

Obviously, we don’t have the same view about which research fields can enter the realm of science. Of course, if you don’t accept that historical methods of investigation are scientific, then of course, you will reject historical evidence in general. I consider historiographical work as a scientific work (cf. my last comment to Jack about that, it is more detailed).
What is strange is that your criticism apply so strongly to evolution, although you actually have a problem with historical proofs in general. Probably because of the consequences you imagine bound to the conclusions of this particular field (same problem with geology or cosmology I guess).

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Gerf March 24, 2013 at 5:27 pm

(5/5)
And to close my extensive reply, let’s take some claims about “theistic” science :

– “Well,Gerf evolution “scientists” do base their religion on faith”
(I like the way you exclude so easily the vast majority of biologists, paleontologists, geologists, anthropologists and others from the realm of science (they may meet a bunch of physicists on their way, it seems…). That does not leave us with many people but they must be the rational ones, I guess?…)

– “Evolutionism is all about denying the undeniable”
I deny your claim and deny your belief to be undeniable.

“Because Evolutionsm denies the the undeniable and affirms the disproven, it must be established by lies, brainwashing, thought control, rewriting history, and the forceful repression of the truth. Fascist tyranny is the only way.”
And you know a lot about brainwashing, don’t you? Be careful, I guess bad faith isn’t good for you, sir…

– “until the late 19th century, most scientists were Christians …”
You may suffer from an western/christian bias sir, so let’s say they were theists (even if some were only deists). Anyway, practically everyone in the western world was theist, so.. It was something that wasn’t that much discussed, specially when having to deal with public critics. To make a cautious comment on how we were good believers and on how any research we did could only show the greatness of God was always a wise thing to do (even if your research had not particularly any link with something seen as “godly”).

“… and believed that science proved the metaphysics of Christianity …”
And I don’t think they were right. Science change, it is not dogmatic. Through history people have looked at a vast amount of things as divine signs or divinely explainable and then scientists said “No, it is just physical reactions in clouds, sorry ; no it is micro-organisms, sorry”. So don’t bother us with ‘scientists have been theists and thought they were scientifically justified to be so’, because that was so until they decided to think about it more closely and finally say “oh, no, actually it is faith, sorry”. But you may have a point here: yes, 200 years in the future, scientists could realize we got it wrong and that new elements or thoughts would suggest something else is true. Then they will be justified to change their scientific views. And you know why? Because, science is not dogmatic (even if some scientists are).
Meanwhile, the vast majority of them is not convinced by your point of view.

“… Which real science still does”
Oh yeah, of course, I wasn’t talking about your “real” scientists, I guess…

– “Well Gerf, what have you to say about the evolutionist religious dogma that Intelligent Design has no place in science?”
Well, since I already addressed the scientific criteria and your obsession for dogmas and evolution, it should be quick.
You made a written difference between intelligent design and Intelligent Design without distinguishing them. I will try to. The first one may be covering the idea that some thing we consider has come into existence because of an intelligent cause, mainly an intelligent being. It may show some features that look (to us) as if the thing had been consciously, purposely designed. That is how you use it in your comment when you say that “in the real world it is an important element in several areas of real science”. And I have no problem with that at all. Neither has science.
But that does not seem so fair to me because I had the impression that these english words, ‘intelligent design’, were generally used to talk about a transcendent cause (again, I beg your pardon if I am not accurate about this linguistic question). In that sense, it would refer more properly to the idea that the universe has been created by an intelligent cause (commonly named God) because it “looks like” it had been. And that is were it becomes problematic, because it is an argument for a supernatural intervention which can’t be address by science (as your criterion 6 states), so it has nothing to do here.
Even more unfair is the fact that you seem to mix all that with what is called Intelligent Design today, in the sense of the system of thought proposed by some creationist movements to try to cross the boundaries of science with a “creation science”. Not only is it ideologically and religiously oriented (we come back to what is the very goal of people arguing against only specific parts of the scientific claims), but most of the scientific community (as a whole, not only biologists) does not recognize it as science (and I would say you don’t either regarding your 6th criterion).

Two comments:
1. There is a huge difference between the claim that one material object has been intelligently designed by some cause which has a material manifestation on one hand (in that case, I find it fair to logically generalize this idea of design because we have plenty of obvious examples around us) and the claim that one material object has been intelligently designed by some immaterial cause that we are unable to grasp and comprehend, on the other hand (you can’t compare what it would be like to have an intelligently designed universe or a not designed universe). So here you are making a leap of faith that I have a difficult time to find legitimate.
2. The philosophical argument that uses intelligent design to pretend that our universe has to have been created is a deist argument. It only leads you to believe that an intelligent, transcendent cause somehow gave birth to this universe, that is all. So it leaves you far from being convinced that this cause can only be the christian God. Therefore, it would in no way be an argument against the possibility of evolution by natural selection (among other mechanisms).

Your dishonesty is blatant here: “If the evolutionist dogma of rejecting intelligent design was applied to historical Archeology, it couln’t function. When Heinrich Schliemann dug up the Ruins of Troy, he should have concluded that the buildings and artifacts were the result of accidents.”

– Concerning the different philosophies of science, I don’t see the point to even think about how mine is called since you are not really interested in my response, I guess :
“So which of these philosophies of science do you believe in? I don’t expect to get an answer, you will simply Beg The Question or Refuse to Discuss, the two logical fallacies besides the Ad Hominem Attack which are the mainstay of Evolutionism.”
By the way, ‘Refuse to answer’ is not a logical fallacy, sir. As for the Ad Hominem Attack, both “camps” have their champions…

“Well Gerf, none of the atheist/secularist philosophies asserts that science is true.”
Unbelievable, isn’t it? Science does not claim for absolute certainty and we should be ready to question our paradigms, yes. Well, I encourage every person (atheist or theist) to accept do that.

“just because we were wrong a hundred times in the past is no reason to think we’re not right now”
But since we acquire new knowledge and refine what know each time we find we were wrong, it seems fair to me to assume that we may be progressing in our quest for more objective knowledge. Anyway, I don’t recognize your paradigm considering faith as a good pathway to truth to be more likely valid by nature…

I am interested in the foundations of such a massive opposition between the scientific world and fundamentalist religious groups, but also simply interested in areas like evolution, history, philosophy, sociology, science in general, etc. and I think that I globally gave you my views but you are far beyond the line that I could reach, so of course we won’t settle the question. I am surprised though by these strong feelings you show and by the caricatured subjective image you give of this “evolutionist immoral pack” as you see it…

Now, I am tired ;-)

I thank everyone that had the courage to read my entire messages (I would be quite bewildered and admire you ô-O) and I hope it may broaden a little bit some parts of the debate. Let’s keep thinking about it and try to avoid becoming blindly stuck into weakly founded certitudes.

(Oh and feel free to add things even if I may not be able to give big comments these next days, I really need to work)

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Robert O. Adair March 25, 2013 at 1:03 pm

Well Gerf, I knew you couldn’t respond intelligently to what I as saying, you have never studied Logic and can’t analyze things from a logical point of view. You also have no idea of how a system of thought works, that it must have an Epistemological and a Metaphysical foundation. The best you can come up with is that scientists operate with paradigms which may or may not be true, that is if you ever actually thought about it which you haven’t. Real science may be focused on the limited area of the material world but real science must be founded on non-material, theistic assumptions as it was till recently. When it veers off into extreme materialism, it becomes ridiculous. All the statements you are making are non-material and thus of no significance, no doubt the product of the chemical functions of your body, perhaps an undigested bit of beef. Your criticism of intelligent design is simply a denial of intelligence. Your two dimensional “arguments” show you lack of understanding of of how a system works and your highest authority is your own opinion in areas where you are not an expert. I have earned doctorates in Philosophy, Theology, Philosophy of Government (not Political Science- a lie of the Liberal establishment) and Literature. All are highly relevant to this discussion. Without the underlying substructure of metaphysics and Theory of Knowledge, your notionalyzing is analogous to trying to run a freight train across a trestle whose timbers are all rotten and rest on quicksand. @,500 years ago ago, Socrates went al over Athens looking for people who knew something. He concluded that the artisans had a kind of knowledge, but because they did, they imagined they knew all about things they knew nothing about. This describes the scientific community today. Socrates paid for this with his life, he would fare worse today in countries dominated by your scientific Communism. What you can’t understand is that the Nazis, influenced by Ernst Haeckel, and the Communists didn’t abuse materialist evolution, they just carried it to its logical conclusion.

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Robert O. Adair March 27, 2013 at 5:12 pm

“I admit that I can’t provide you with much material here but this idea that a belief in universal physical laws is unique to Christian Theology seems quite bold.” I will come back to these christian contributions. I have doctorates in Philosophy, Theology, government and Literature. I have studied every religion (including yours) and every philosophy that ever came down the pike. Practically everything I talk about represents years of study, dozens to thousands of books studied, practical experience, etc. Alfred North Whitehead, as well as many other scholars, has pointed out that science arose in the Western World because it was permeated with Christian Theology. The Eastern world was dominated with the notion “You cannot step in the same river twice. The Greeks came somewhat close to developing real science but they lacked this idea. Without this idea, you cannot have a science. Water is H2O now but it wasn’t last week and won’t be next year? Then all your knowledge of Chemistry and Physics is useless. You have the irrational,unhistorical notion ( I don’t say idea) that the supernatural has no place in science, yet until the late 19th century most scientists were Christians and believed it did.

Evolutionist Ernst Mayr tells us “The Darwinian revolution was not merely the replacement of one scientific theory by another, but rather the replacement of a worldview, in which the supernatural was accepted as a normal and relevant explanatory principle, by a new worldview in which there was no room for supernatural forces.” This confirms what the founders of your religion were saying. Most of the time uneducated “scientists” are pontificating their philosophy/religious notions and trying to force them on the theistic majority. Of course because you know nothing of these things your notions are worthless. You keep referring to people like the Nazis and Communists as “abusing evolutionist notions” when they simply carried them to their logical conclusions. Ideas have consequences! Your idea of education is “The man with the hoe with technical training.”

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Jack Wellman March 28, 2013 at 8:34 pm

Thank you Dr. Adair. Indeed, Sir Ian Kershaw said much the same about the leaders of the Nazis who applied such Darwinism to politics. Adolf Hitler declared: “Politics is nothing more than the struggle of a people for its existence… . It is an iron principle…the weaker one falls so that the stronger one gains life” (Kershaw, p. 289). Heinrich Himmler foresaw a “battle to the point of annihilation of those subhuman enemies I mentioned throughout the world against Germany as the core nation of the Nordic race, … against Germany as the bearer of culture for humanit y” (Peter Longerich, Heinrich Himmler, 814).

The Nazis wanted to take Jews’ property and expel them from Germany. They wanted to drive Slavs out of Eastern Europe and take their land. Out of a selfish desire for power, they visited hideous violence on Jews and Slavs, using a scientific justification that dehumanized these people. Millions of Jews and Slavs died.

Based upon this same reasoning sir, the “scientific” justification of slavery also rested on notions of racial superiority. The enslavement of black Africans in recent centuries was justified by the claim that they were racially inferior to white Europeans and Americans. Some even claimed that slavery was a civilizing and Christianizing institution. In reality, it was a violent institution promoted in the interest of cheap labor. Here again we see scientific and moral justifications for a violent and dehumanizing practice.

In the present day, the justification of abortion similarly rests on “scientific” arguments that proclaim the unborn baby to be merely subhuman tissue. Proponents of abortion insist that they are exercising their freedom legitimately. However, they have actually dehumanized the unborn child to justify their elimination of unwanted pregnancies. The horrendous effect of these “pseudo-scientific” justifications is dehumanizing violence born of selfishness.

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Robert O. Adair March 28, 2013 at 12:15 pm

Robert, you might like to consider there are several points to think about vis a vis the earth being millions of years old. Most scientists are not philosophers but evolution is what it was called back in Darwin’s day: Natural Philosophy. The main reason for millions, billions of years is to allow time for everything to happen by chance. Hey! Need more time? Tack on another billion. A statistical study of of the DNA molecule proved it was so complex that 14 billion years wasn’t long enough for it to happen by chance. Remember that is only one thing necessary for evolution. How about millions of others also necessary for life?

A great Christian book, Science Speaks, contained the results of a project to calculate the odds of Bible prophecies coming true by chance. If there is one chance in a thousand of of a prophecy coming true by chance, one chance in ten thousand for another and one chance in one hundred thousand of still another, what are the odds on all three coming about by chance? you have to multiply these fractions by each other. For just what I’ve mentioned you start getting astronomical odds. On the day Christ died, 33 Biblical prophecies came true. This gave us odds of 10 to the 11th power. Imagine a giant cube made up of dimes, ten miles on edge with one marked dime. But this was only 33 prophecies. The human body has 200 body parts by no means simple, for all this to come about by chance, the odds would be trillions times trillions. What makes it worse is the concept of ecology which includes symbiosis. Plants and animals don’t just live by themselves but in a complex environment, all this has to come about by chance. Six days makes a lot of sense when you consider coherence. Herbivores might have trouble waiting millions of years for their dietary plant life to evolve.

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