August 13, 2008

Carnivores are Secret Vegans?

According to the Bible before there was sin and death all Animals and Humans were herbivores.

Genesis 1:30 "And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so."

Recently an atheist said to me:

Many modern animals, as well as many ancient ones, have mouths and digestive systems which are not only completely incapable of making use of [vegetation], but are specifically designed* to kill prey and digest meat.

You are making wild assumptions very prevalent to the modern mindset. You aren't the first I have heard this from. Just because an animal has sharp teeth doesn't mean it eats meat, it just means it has sharp teeth. In fact you need sharp teeth to eat certain vegetables.


Look how sharp the teeth are of the Panda and they eat bamboo.


How about this savage animal that flies around and ferociously rips into...fruit, called the fruit bat. Yet it's classified as a ‘carnivore’?


The polar bear is the most carnivorous North American bear and has a digestive system that screams for seal. In the wild, polar bears live an average of 15 to 18 years, in captivity though, they may live as high as 40. In captivity their diet consists of some read meat but also Lettuce, Apples, Oranges, Broccoli, Sweet Potato's, Celery, Tomatoes, Grapes, Watermelon, Rock melon, Barley, Cracked Corn, Cod Liver Oil, Carrots. And they digest all of it quite well.

Now this is an intelligent and witty atheist. This man can grasp the concepts of reality quite well, but it's the presuppositions that he holds so closely that get's his mind stuck when the evidence is in front of him. So the misconceptions and wild assumption is the problem and is what's happening these days. The evidence MUST fit their tiny little evolution box no matter what data pores out of the sides and onto the lab floor. At least at the end of the day they have their little box with big teeth.

*Thanks to Skulls Unlimited for their pictures of the skulls.

46 comments:

  1. Speaking as another intelligent and witty atheist (if I do say so myself), I'm afraid I will have agree with the first one: there is a well-known correlation between dentition and length of gut with diet.

    First, your examples. The panda has sharp incisors, as do many herbivores, to cut through the tough bamboo fibers. But if you look at the teeth in back, the molars are not sharp but rather flattened, adapted for grinding.

    Who says that fruit bats are "carnivores"? Again, look at the teeth in back. They are not as flattened as the panda teeth, true; but then again, fruit doesn't usually need much chewing.

    Polar bears, like most other bears, are actually omnivores, as are we. True, in the Arctic they don't get many fresh vegetables, but they have the teeth and guts to deal with them if necessary, and like Eskimos, will eat berries in season when they can get them.

    Better examples of out-and-out carnivores would be, say, sharks or alligators, which have only sharp teeth. Try feeding a shark on a diet of vegetables and you get a dead shark. But perhaps God created sharks and alligators after the Fall, to remind us of who's boss...

    Dan- you say:

    The evidence MUST fit their [atheists'] tiny little evolution box no matter what data pores out of the sides and onto the lab floor. At least at the end of the day they have their little box with big teeth.

    Sorry, you have it the wrong way around: evolutionary theory is a model that is built from and around the evidence, and if new evidence pours out onto the floor, the box must be enlarged to contain it. And calling the evolution box "little" is rich: the data that support evolution fill many thousands of times the space that the Bible does.

    Speaking as someone who has paid his dues sorting fossil teeth from dirt under a microscope for dozens of hours, and trying not to spill any onto the lab floor, all I can do is chuckle indulgently. Sorry, Dan, but the Biblical picture of life, compared to that given by modern science, is like a comic book compared to an encyclopedia. But you have to open the encyclopedia to learn the truth of this for yourself.

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  2. Polar bears, like most other bears, are actually omnivores

    Damn you, Zilch. I wanted to point that out to Captain Obvious...

    Better examples of out-and-out carnivores would be, say, sharks or alligators

    For the love of Pete, man -- leave some crumbs for the rest of us!

    Who says that fruit bats are "carnivores"?

    Heh. I know this question was meant for Dan, but I can't help myself:

    Wikipedia: Fruit bats are frugivorous or nectarivorous

    WildOnes.org: Fruit bats, as their name hints, consume fruit and flowers. These bats usually suck on the flowers and fruit, then swallow the nectar or juice and spit out the remaining pulp.

    WhoZoo.org (run by the Texas Wesleyan University's Biology department): Figs, mangoes, guavas, bananas, and other tropical fruits. Some feed on nectar through pollination.

    To answer Zilch's question, therefore, I'd say, nobody but Dan says fruitbats are carnivores.

    Amusingly, Dan's position that the "evidence MUST fit their tiny little evolution box" here is, as you say, backward, and the section on DC regarding the ruling in favor of the UC system (Fox News link here) only proves it. The relevant quote from the first page of Pinkston / Bob Jones Biology for Christian Schools textbook is the following:

    [I]f [scientific] conclusions contradict the Word of God, the conclusions are wrong

    Whose view requires the evidence to fit which box? Statements like the one above are pretty explicit, and directly illustrate just how the creationist intentionally re-interprets data to agree with his "theory" -- which is really only possible since so little is explicitly stated in the bible as it is, allowing for large gaps which the creationist can fill with "goddidit" or "Light In-Transit", an impact event causing continental drift, or some other such poppycock.

    C'mon, Dan, show us your zoological/biological prowess, and give us some other examples of "carnivorous" beasts which are capable of eating vegetation. Perhaps, though, given the huge number of species which qualify, you should instead focus on pure carnivores, like Zilch suggested, and show how they are/were capable of eating a diet consisting purely of vegetation -- specifically, non-seed-bearing vegetation, according to Genesis 1:30.

    I'm curious, really, as to why Dan continues to make such fallacious posts, unwittingly demonstrating his complete lack of knowledge concerning the very subjects about which he writes. Is it so painful to defer to more knowledgeable individuals (or did you just scrape this article together from some "scientific" pro-Christian source)? You accused me of failing to do research a post or two ago (despite the fact that I was in the right, and you were defending a position not held by your bible), so who has failed to do his homework this time?

    Why, Dan?

    --
    Stan

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  3. Hmmm... Was that Captain Obvious, or Captain Oblivious...?

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  4. Sorry, Stan. I did leave you all the other piscid carnivores with sharp teeth that start with "p": piranhas, pikes, perch, plaice, pufferfish....

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  5. Now you're just being mean.

    (And I'm studying to become a physical scientist -- not that biological nonsense...)

    --
    Stan

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  6. I'll give a certain amount of credit where it's due: Bears are a member of the Ursidae family, which in turn are a member of the Carnivora family.

    Nonetheless, they are classified as omnivores.

    Better examples might have included the Grey Wolf, the African Lion, the Great White Shark Jaw or the Allosaurus Skull. You know: the same examples I suggested in the post you are referring to.

    Quasar (the unidentified atheist in the Original Post) wrote:
    "Many modern animals, as well as many ancient ones, have mouths and digestive systems which are not only completely incapable of making use of vegetaion, but are specifically designed* to kill prey and digest meat.

    Examples include large cats, wolves, sharks and dinosaurs."


    Cheers!
    Qu.

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  7. This whole topic is extremely humorous.

    First, Quasar inspires the topic by citing examples of carnivores which cannot survive as herbivores.

    Second, Dan posts this topic, citing examples of omnivores or frugivores/nectarivores, noting their "sharp, pointy teeth".

    Third, Zilch tosses the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch, re-citing the same sorts of animals Quasar initially suggested, while simultaneously correcting Dan's Bob Jones Biology.

    Fourth, Quasar returns to identify himself as the muse, and to detail Dan's error.

    Finally, I am here to note with much amusement the entire sequence, including the irony that Dan is arguing for a "macro" evolution that hasn't exactly happened, while the rest of us are pointing to specialized carnivores which lack any semblance of an ability to survive on vegetation alone.

    Most ironic, in a sense, is the fact that the Giant Panda, to use one of Dan's examples, has adapted from a (pure?) carnivore to a (mostly pure) herbivore. Insofar as Dan is citing examples of herbivores with sharp teeth, he is also proving our point for us -- species adapt and evolve, to the point that what once ate meat (exclusively?) now eats vegetation (almost exclusively).

    To add further humor to this nonsense, I wonder if this means that Dan considers today's pure herbivores -- specifically, those which subsist solely on seedless greenery -- are the least impacted by "The Fall". Are cows, as Hindus believe, truly sacred? Are vegans, therefore, behaving in a manner closer to god's original plan?

    But wait! Didn't god require that an animal be killed -- preferably, the most apparently perfect specimen -- to appease him, especially to gain forgiveness of sins? If he didn't want animals eating one another, then why would he ever desire for humans to slay and burn them, rather than some other more productive appeasement ritual?

    Heh. Too funny.

    Dan, you lost this one, methinks, so you'd do well to acknowledge your failure and move on.

    --
    Stan

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  8. Stan,

    Did you change wiki? Don't get offended but maybe? Tell tell sign for me was your cockiness.

    Let me state my case. I heard somewhere in my past that fruit bats were classified as "fruit carnivores" You start slamming me how wrong I am. Ha Ha Ha OK let me check to make sure.

    So I Google "fruit carnivores" to find the proof and I find something in Wiki but when I click on Wiki there is the word you used, albeit more accurate, the description has been changed. Wiki strikes again!

    The proof you added "Wikipedia: Fruit bats are frugivorous or nectarivorous"

    Look at this Wiki under Ecology and uses: "Their fruit are a key resource for some frugivores including fruit bats"

    BUT if you look at the cashed version of this (cashed a couple of days ago on the 8th of this month)

    WIKI: "Their fruit are a key resource for some fruit carnivores including fruit bats"

    To be more accurate I should of said "as of last week fruit bats were classified as carnivores"

    To point out a "attention to details" point, lets look at what I said about the Polar bear:

    "The polar bear is the most carnivorous North American bear and has a digestive system that screams for seal."

    This is still a true statement even if they are classified Omnivores. True?

    Quasar thankfully added "which in turn are a member of the Carnivora family."

    Which is true again.

    Now to add to my case: from Latin carō (stem carn-) "flesh", + vorāre "to devour")

    Fruit indeed has flesh also, correct? So it's fully logical that the fruit bat would of been considered part of the Carnivora family.

    Insert Ace Ventura

    Slam Debunked, next.

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  9. OK, so after all this...

    Dans original claim can be boiled down "carnivores are capable of surviving on vegetation"... or more precisely, a refutal of my claim that "Many modern animals are incapable of surviving on vegetation". Correct me if I'm wrong, Dan.

    Now, the first two of Dans examples were meant to point out that adaptations (such as sharp teeth) can be found in creatures that survive on vegetation. However, I agree with Zilch and Stan here: the important part isn't the sharp incisors but the canine teeth (which are elongated for killing in carnivores) and the rear molars (which a flattened for chewing in herbivores).

    Thus, the creatures I was referring to which are incapable of surviving on vegetation would have sharp, elongated canines and little to no chewing ability: like the examples I originally gave.


    The third example: the polar bear, was meant to indicate that some primarily carnivorous creatures are capable of surviving on vegetation. I don't dispute this: the Polar bear is a good example.

    But we weren't discussing primarily carnivorous omnivores, we were discussing pure carnivores, which are incapable of surviving on vegetation: like the examples I originally gave.


    If all creatures were originally herbivores, and there was no death, then these pure carnivores simply could not have survived until after the Fall had occured.


    So, it might be an idea, rather than discussing clear-cut omnivores, to refer to the examples of pure carnivores that have been given: the Grey Wolf, the African Lion, the Great White Shark or the Allosaurus.

    None of these creatures have (or had) a mouth or digestive tract capable of getting enough nutrients out of plant matter. If you still feel otherwise, please explain how you think they survived.

    Thanks!
    Qu.

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  10. Quickly, Dan, no, I have never edited Wikipedia.

    I feel for you if some site misled you into believing that fruit bats are carnivores, and given the context you provided in your "slam debunking", which you conveniently left out of your original post, it seems clear enough that the author was merely unaware of the term "frugivore", and chose "fruit carnivore" over "fruit herbivore".

    Indeed, if I had changed Wikipedia to spite you, I'd have been much more clever and much more obvious -- I'd have included something like the following:

    Fruit bats are frugivorous or nectarivorous, or, if you're a dufus like Dan, carnivorous :)

    -- All in good fun, of course --

    Anyway, I did provide three links to reference the fruit bat's diet -- one of which belongs to a Christian college's Biology department (Texas Wesleyan University), and all humor aside, I surely didn't edit those sites.

    (My English 102 professor warned us that stand-alone references to Wikipedia were insufficient in our papers. It may be suitable for general inquiry, or for refining particular queries, but it is not suitable for any strong argument or debate.

    That, and I specifically remember watching the episode of The Colbert Report wherein Stephen asked his viewers to change the Wikipedia entry for "Reality" into a joke entry, which was done before the next commercial break. Likewise, he managed to get his viewers to change the entry for Elephants so that they were no longer endangered.)

    I'm still laughing, if it makes you feel any better.

    We're all still waiting for you to address truly carnivorous animals such as both Quasar and Zilch have specified, and I'm sure they'd also like to hear your response to my reversal regarding the following phrase in Biology for Christian Schools:

    [I]f [scientific] conclusions contradict the Word of God, the conclusions are wrong

    Specifically, your explanation of that statement in contrast with your own:

    [I]t's [the evolutionist's] presuppositions that he holds so closely that get's (sic) his mind stuck when the evidence is in front of him... The evidence MUST fit [the evolutionist's] tiny little evolution box no matter what data pores (sic) out of the sides and onto the lab floor.

    A response to this would be most interesting indeed, especially since, due to your sidebar notation, I must assume that your own children may well be eventually subjected to precisely the sort of pseudo-science offered in lieu of the real thing in a Bob Jones textbook (or A Beka Book).

    (I'm guessing you aren't particularly interested in sending your kids to a UC school)

    --
    Stan

    P.S. - I substituted "dufus" for "jackass", since I didn't want to offend you(r wife), but I added it here to illustrate that its use is what determines how offensive it actually is -- not merely the word itself. My wife and I jokingly call one another "dumb" all the time, but our tone and the context make it clear that we don't actually find one another to be mentally inferior. If I were to change my tone, however, I could easily portray a very different feeling when saying the same thing, so again, I remind you that I don't pretend (with respect to expletives) -- I use the words I feel are most appropriate for the circumstance -- unlike those people who cuss at you while avoiding expletives. I hope you see the difference, and I hope you(r wife) stop(s) crying foul when a very minor expletive like 'jackass' is used.

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  11. A little aside about definitions:

    As we've seen, there is no strict line that can be drawn between "carnivores", "omnivores", and "herbivores". Even cows eat insects mixed in with their grass, and even cats will eat, say, peanuts, if they are starving. And probably even sharks could survive if force-fed with tofu. Maybe that's how God kept them alive before the Fall.

    The point is, as Quasar and Stan have also pointed out, that in the wild, many animals simply could not survive on a diet of vegetables. If God intended for sharks to eat kelp, all I can say is, He designed their teeth and guts incompetently. The same goes for all the other animals at the carnivorous end of the spectrum.

    Stan- that quote from the Biology for Christian Schools textbook says it all:

    [I]f [scientific] conclusions contradict the Word of God, the conclusions are wrong.

    Dan- who's got the small box here? Sure, scientists sometimes fall into the trap of defending cherished notions against evidence and reason: they are human too. But the enterprise of science as a whole is self-correcting, at least ideally and in the long run: models that work better eventually displace older ones.

    Here's another reason to be suspicious of "creation science". There are, of course, many cases of people believing in "creation science" because of their belief in the infallibility of the Bible- you yourself, Dan, are an example. And there are also many cases of people losing faith in the infallibility of the Bible because of learning about science. But have you ever heard of someone who knew nothing of the Bible or Christianity finding problems with science, and independently coming up with a model that just happened to fit the Bible?

    Of course, it's hard to find anyone who knows nothing about Christianity nowadays, but it is a striking fact that all the "creation scientists" are also Christians (with some Jews and Muslims thrown in). One would expect at least a few atheistic scientists to back up the creationist models if they had any scientific merit, and were not just attempts to force the evidence, kicking and screaming, into that tiny Bible-shaped box.

    One last word about "jackass". This is often considered a "bad" word nowadays, because it has "ass" in it. But of course, "jackass" simply means "donkey", and by extension, "fool". The "ass" part is from Latin "asinum", and has nothing to do with buttocks. It has usually been a very mild putdown, as in "pons asinorum", or "bridge of fools", meaning a memory aid. When I was a kid, calling someone a "silly ass" was rather affectionate.

    As long as I'm drifting the thread here, I can't resist mentioning the evolution of the word "silly". Of course, words change meaning through time, and the work of linguists such as the Grimm brothers (more famous for their collections of fairy tales) was one of the inspirations for Darwin: if language can evolve, why not life? "Silly" in Old English ("gesælig") meant "blessed", as "selig" still does in modern German. "Seli" or "silli" in Middle English had shifted to meaning "innocent", and slowly evolved through "ignorant", "hapless", to, well, "silly". You can see the connections all along the way, but the word has changed.

    Sorry for the diversion. Now back to our regularly scheduled program...

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  12. Quasar,

    I am not certain but it does appear that Genesis 1:30 is talking about animals not fish. There is no mention of ocean so it believe it renders your shark comparison void. So that leaves you two living specimens for your case. quite a small number considering the amount of animals that populate the earth. I am sure I can find proof that the wolf and lion can digest vegetables. The Bible isn't a lie there is no way it would take this many years before the discovery of a lie. I am doing a post about it that will shut that augment down forever. (hopefully)

    Stan,

    no, I have never edited Wikipedia.

    I believe you, I just thought the coincidence was too great not to mention it. Also I needed and excuse to use Ace's victory dance.

    that the author was merely unaware of the term "frugivore",

    Include myself in that oblivion also.

    -- All in good fun, of course --

    You have to admit that there are angry militant atheists out there are are very bitter and hurtful. After getting to know some of you I understand your personalities more the guard I held up at times goes down.

    If some atheist comments here and immediately starts the vulgar profanity I do my best to shut it down. It's just counterproductive. There is definitely some wiggle room with people I understand they mean it in good fun, like yourself. No need to clarify anymore.

    In that very same breath I want to point out I never want to see anyone be on the wrong side of God, the secret real reason for this blog,

    Zilch pointed out But of course, "jackass" simply means "donkey", and by extension, "fool".

    Matthew 5:22 "...but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire."

    This is why I am trying to get everyone kind and patient and understanding of each other. It glorifies God more if we can work out our differences civilly. I don't want to cause stumbling blocks between you and God.

    "My English 102 professor warned us that stand-alone references to Wikipedia were insufficient in our papers."

    I understand this entirely, I also saw that Colbert Report. I teased many atheists for relying on wiki to prove God didn't exist a while back. Now I am guilty of it also Yuck! You people are rubbing off on me. Get it off me!

    since I didn't want to offend you(r wife),...I hope you see the difference, and I hope you(r wife) stop(s) crying foul when a very minor expletive like 'jackass' is used.

    This is the last time dude, my wife doesn't frequent or comment on my blog at all. Like I said before she has read two maybe three posts of mine and that was all. She is dealing with the infant and is recovering. So if you see mood swings or an altered personality that is entirely my physique you are dealing with. Besides you have to see that it is me by all my spelling and grammatical errors, my wife is a perfectionist and would never let such things be posted.

    Zilch,

    As we've seen, there is no strict line that can be drawn between "carnivores", "omnivores", and "herbivores".

    Thanks for your level headed response Zilch. I love how you can put the guard down to seek truth. Even I need those skills honed.

    If scientific conclusions contradict the Word of God, the conclusions are wrong.

    I will just have to claim that as step 1 of the Christian [Skewl] handbook right or wrong. They MUST agree or someone is wrong, either God is wrong or man. I cannot grasp or entertain that God is wrong so the benefit of doubt goes to God. It's logically safer that way.

    Dan- who's got the small box here?

    That's what she said.

    "But have you ever heard of someone who knew nothing of the Bible or Christianity finding problems with science, and independently coming up with a model that just happened to fit the Bible?"

    Brilliant! Absolutely Brilliant!! You sir are a very logical genius! You rank very high in my book of people now. To answer your question NO! not at all.

    The reason for my enthusiasm towards this epiphany is that without God there is no way mankind could think up this stuff. My newest post explores this. I am going to post about it next just because you said that. I was going to save it for a later post because I wanted to set it up and use more examples before springing it upon you all but you deserve the truth right now. Good job, there is hope in all of us still.

    it's hard to find anyone who knows nothing about Christianity nowadays

    Very true! Until the Gospel is preached to the four corners of this earth, Jesus can't come a second time. Time is near my friend time is near.

    I never knew that about the word Silly, thanks. Recently, I have been studying the etymology of words. I find it fascinating, I wish I had more time to explore language and words more.

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  13. Dan- I'm sure Quasar or Stan would be able to do this too, but if you want more examples of land animals that cannot chew or digest vegetables, there are still quite a few- off the top of my head: many insects (dragonflies for instance), most of the bats, almost all snakes and lizards, most cats, some marsupials (the thylacine, the Tasmanian devil), crocodiles and alligators, many birds, frogs and salamanders, shrews, weasels, ferrets, many dinosaurs, pterodactyls... There are quite a few pretty strict carnivores, and I would be willing to bet that most of them could not survive in the wild on veggies: they don't have chewing teeth, and they don't have the long guts you need to digest vegetables, so they would starve unless force-fed tofu burgers or some such high-protein food.

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  14. Touché Zilch,

    Genesis 1:30 states every beast, every fowl, every thing that creepeth and you gave most of them as examples.

    I reject your reality and replace it with my own.

    I will just have to take God's Word for it and trust that He is speaking truth. Until He can tell me otherwise. Assertions by man is something I cannot take as truth because they weren't there to take in account ALL the evidence. I trust God.

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  15. Dan, if you are perhaps wondering why none of your pet atheists have said anything in the last two days, I can tell you. You said:

    I reject your reality and replace it with my own.

    I will just have to take God's Word for it and trust that He is speaking truth.


    In other words, it doesn't matter what we say, or what reality tells you: the Bible is right, no matter what. That doesn't leave much room for discussion, does it?

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  16. Zilch,

    I understand but that is hypocritical don't you think?

    Isn't that the exact thing that atheists are doing? Sure they scream for evidence but they are rejecting the evidence presented to them to replace it with their own reality instead of the truth. One can say the say for evolution and big bang.

    In other words, it doesn't matter what we say, or what reality tells you: Darwin is right, no matter what. That doesn't leave much room for discussion, does it?

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  17. "In other words, it doesn't matter what we say, or what reality tells you: Darwin is right, no matter what. That doesn't leave much room for discussion, does it?"

    Actaully, Darwin was wrong about a hell of a lot of things.

    For example, he had absolutely no idea how changes in animals actually occured. It was obvious they did, but he didn't know how.

    As to the concept that atheists are the ones disregarding reality, lets take a quick look at the story of Methodological Naturalism.

    Methodological naturalism is one of the most important rules in science: it states that science cannot make any conclusions regarding the supernatural, because the supernatural is by definition inexplicable.

    Thus, science (including evolution and the big bang) is restricted to the natural world: reality.

    According to Michael Behe, Creation Science (or even Intelligent Design) would require redefining science, throwing methodological naturalism out the window, and opening the door to supernatural explanations.

    Science is a study of reality. Creationism is the willful rejection of it.

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  18. Quasar,

    Science is a study of reality. Creationism is the willful rejection of it.

    Aw come on now! That just isn't fair at all. For the Umpteenth time we don't reject science we reject the presuppositions and interpretations of the biased secular scientists. If there is the slightest problem with the model there is NO WAY it should be accepted as so. The jury is still out say or we don't have all the pieces or we don't have a clue but to teach me in the public school that we came from primates or pond scum, if I answer the question in any other way then I fail the class, is just plain wrong.

    I long for proof solid undeniable proof of our creation, sorry origins. The problem is that I know the ending of the book, I have looked at the answers to the test. So when someone screams they are cousins of a orangutan, I just know they got it wrong for now and to keep trying.

    There is just a huge difference between science and Christianity. Science answers the how? and Christianity answers the who? what? where? and especially the why? Together they can get the whole picture. Religion is NOT the garlic to the vampire science, it's the blood.

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  19. Dan wrote:
    "There is just a huge difference between science and Christianity. Science answers the how? and Christianity answers the who? what? where? and especially the why? Together they can get the whole picture. Religion is NOT the garlic to the vampire science, it's the blood."

    And I have absolutely no objection to this. Hundreds of Christians (and other faiths) have contributed to the modern understanding of science. Indeed, many of them helped write the TalkOrigins archive. Religon is perfectly compatible with science.

    Creationism is not.

    Creationism is a strict adherence to an outdated interpretation of Genesis, which disagrees with the reality we live in. Those who peddle it as scientific, such as AiG or the ICR or more recently the Discovery Institute, have to lobby to redefine the term "science" to include the supernatural.

    PS: Oook.

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  20. Zilch has it exactly right:

    In other words, it doesn't matter what we say, or what reality tells you: the Bible is right, no matter what. That doesn't leave much room for discussion, does it?

    How can I hold a meaningful dialogue with someone so entrenched in his own dogma?

    [T]o teach me in the public school that we came from primates or pond scum, [such that any other answer causes me to fail], is just plain wrong.

    You sound exactly like Aristotelean students when Ptolemy invented 'epicycles'. Or Ptolemaic students when Copernicus sounded off. Or like Copernican students when Kepler chimed in. Or like the Vatican when Galileo finally vindicated the lot.

    Ptolemy was right in a sense -- the "Concentric circles around earth" 'theory' was wrong.

    Copernicus was also right in a sense -- heliocentrism was far superior to geocentrism.

    Kepler was also right, in a much grander sense -- ellipses were better than circles.

    And Galileo was merely an observer (well, in this sense anyway), who showed the world the Jovian moons which have since been named after him, and who proved that Venus orbited the sun, by virtue of its phases.

    You are as the wrong-headed obstinate student -- I'm thinking of a Ptolemaic student -- who refuses to see the beauty and elegance of Copernicus' circular heliocentrism, or the further refining of that beauty into Kepler's elliptical system, despite the fact that its beauty and elegance -- its analytical simplicity -- has been shown to you in an exhaustive manner.

    We even have the analog of Galileo in many fields, yet you still insist (like the Vatican did), that the glaring evidence is blasphemous, and it must be silenced.

    Pshaw, sir. Pshaw.

    At any rate, given your unconvincing efforts now at back-pedalling, to the point that you now claim that "[i]f there is the slightest problem with the model there is NO WAY it should be accepted as so." (emphasis in original)

    Excellent. I welcome this new openness to change. You are wrong, but I still give you credit for trying.

    If your statement is true, then why do you continue to support six-literal-day Creationsim? After all, it has [sarcasm] a couple [/sarcasm] "slight" problems...

    As you may or may not be aware, the scientific method stipulates that where problems are found in a given theory, they must be explained in some fashion by the theory. If they cannot be explained, the particular aspect of the theory in question is in jeopardy, but rather than toss out the whole thing, that aspect is refined and corrected -- within the confines of the existing theory -- or, a new theory which explains both aspects is embaced.

    That being said, let's now apply your new openness to science to some problems with your version of creation:

    1. Explain distant starlight and the apparent age of the universe, knowing that we have overwhelming evidence of the existence of stellar objects with ages in excess of a million years (by orders of magnitude).

    2. Explain the layers of strata, which can be measured against known dates, and which calibration gives age ranges for the earth measured in billions of years.

    3. Explain the fossil record, which indicates massive (read: this is not superlative enough) amounts of now-extinct species, the numbers of which alone indicate millions of years at the least, and the radiometric dating of which reveal ages in the hundreds of millions of years.


    Note that these three items only encompass the apparent age of the universe (as opposed to any theological, philosophical, biological, physical, archeological, or any other -ogical findings which disagree with your position, yet which are mutually consistent with one another), and all three are in lock-step with one another -- independently.

    Were you aware, for instance, that when Darwin finally published his theory, that one of the chief arguments against it was that there was not enough time?

    Do you know why that argument was made?

    Because the prevailing theory concerning the sun was that it was combusting carbon. A giant ball of hot coal. It was calculated (not incorrectly) that a coal-burning sun would only last for some tens of thousands of years -- not the millions Darwin's theory required.

    But wait!

    Independent vindication!

    Fusion is discovered, and given the emission spectra of the sun, we could virtually observe it in real time (well, eight minutes later)! And guess what? The process of nuclear fusion provides for a lifetime in the billions of years, for a star the mass of our sun.

    Hallelujah!

    So answer those three, all of which are documented by volumes of data taken ever since they were discovered, and which retroactively account for the volumes of data recorded before they were discovered. Answer them, and show us how it is that your six-literal-day creation "theory", which puts the entire universe at some six to ten thousand years old, stands at all.

    [Anti-evolutionist, six-literal day Creationists] don't reject science, we reject the presuppositions and interpretations of the biased secular scientists.

    Having your cake, and eating it, too.

    When atheists point to science, Christians point to the scientists:

    But they were all Christians, so clearly Christianity is true (paraphrased from memory)

    When it is convenient for them to do so, Christians will claim the brilliant scientists whose discoveries have put us where we are today. When it is not convenient, they claim that scientists have an anti-god bias.

    Dan, of course, has one additional bit of hyperbole to toss into the mix: The scientist in question may not have been a True Christian™.

    The scientists may or may not be biased, but the science is NOT. When a competing theory that better explains the data surfaces, it is examined critically and accepted or rejected based on that examination.

    Ptolemy usurped Aristotle -- Ptolemy's model was better.

    Copernicus usurped Ptolemy -- Copernicus' model was better.

    Kepler usurped Ptolemy -- Kepler's model was better.

    Galileo proved it, more than fifteen hundred years after the first steps had been taken (by Ptolemy; two thousand years after Aristotle).

    Darwin, like these astronomers before him, advanced biology by usurping biblical creationism. His initial theory has since been heavily revised and corrected, but the basic premises remain true: descent with modification based on natural selection.

    If your statement is at all true, then it is high time you paid in full, and accepted the fact that the universe is more than six thousand years old. Once you accept that, it follows pretty quickly and easily that the Theory of Evolution, while not by any means finalized, is in fact true, and the most documented and supported scientific theory of all time.

    ...but you'll probably just say the following again:

    I reject your reality and replace it with my own.

    Truer words were never spoken. Unfortunately, it's the kind of truth a psychologist hears from delusionals every day.

    --
    Stan

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  21. Stan:

         Although I consider it safe to rule creationism out, I do not think it is safe to rule large-scale evolution in. It's a plausible conjecture; but it isn't really testable. We cannot (for example) conduct a controlled three-billion-year experiment.
         The scientific community is at such a stage that if it holds a sacred belief, it can prevent any "competing theory" from seeing the light of day. This does not require "orders from the top." It only requires the idea to be sufficiently entrenched that any critics cannot "get in" so to speak.
         There is an interesting thing about the examples you cited. None of them (in their own day) could possibly have been published in the equivalent of a peer-reviewed journal. Each of them had to bypass normal channels ("taking the case to the public") to get a hearing. In Galileo's case, it had to wait until less dogmatic people reviewed his claims -- after he was long dead.
         Ah, but what is the chief ridicule of those who question the current sacred beliefs? If you guessed that they try to bypass normal channels you are absolutely right. (Cue the claim of "that's completely different," which really means "it's exactly the same.")

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  22. Dan
    Now to add to my case: from Latin carō (stem carn-) "flesh", + vorāre "to devour")

    Fruit indeed has flesh also, correct? So it's fully logical that the fruit bat would of been considered part of the Carnivora family.

    Insert Ace Ventura

    Slam Debunked, next.

    I'll havd to assume you're not serious here...after all how often does one see fruit bleed? I'm talking real blood here. That's the kind of flesh we're talking about when we use "carnivora".

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  23. The story about the physicist William Thomson (later Lord Kelvin), and his young estimate for the age of the Earth, is worth looking at more closely for insight into how personalities conflict, even in science, but new data and better models eventually displace the older ones.

    Darwin had proposed that the Earth was several hundreds of millions of years old, based on how much time he felt was necessary and sufficient for life to have evolved. Nowadays, of course, we have pushed that estimate upward, but it was a pretty good guess for the time.

    But Thomson, who made various estimates of the age of the Earth based on how fast it was cooling from its presumably original molten state, said that it couldn't be that old- he eventually settled on an age of about twenty million years. This was a problem for Darwin and his followers, especially because physics was seen (and still is seen) as being a "real" science, as opposed to "soft" sciences such as biology and paleontology.

    People still talk about the "physics envy" felt by non-physicist scientists, and just a few years ago Luis Alvarez, the physicist who discovered the worldwide iridium layer indicating the impact of a great meteorite at the end of the Cretaceous, said “Paleontologists… are really not very good scientists. They’re more like stamp collectors.” My own opinion is that the so-called "soft" sciences are only "soft" in the sense that they are far more complex and intractable than "hard" sciences, and we are therefore a great deal less certain about details- especially those sciences which are also historical, such as evolutionary science.

    But the fact is, that given enough data, even "soft" sciences can put together a convincing picture, and this is the case with paleontology: Darwin was right, and Thomson was wrong. Ernest Rutherford describes the 1904 meeting where he presented the discovery of radium, which rendered the now-Lord Kelvin's calculations off by a factor of one hundred:

    I came into the room, which was half dark, and presently spotted Lord Kelvin in the audience and realized that I was in for trouble at the last part of my speech dealing with the age of the earth, where my views conflicted with his. To my relief, Kelvin fell fast asleep, but as I came to the important point, I saw the old bird sit up, open an eye and cock a baleful glance at me! Then a sudden inspiration came, and I said Lord Kelvin had limited the age of the earth, provided no new source (of energy) was discovered. That prophetic utterance refers to what we are now considering tonight, radium! Behold! the old boy beamed upon me.

    Kelvin never publicly admitted that he had been incorrect, but supposedly privately acknowledged it to his namesake J.J. Thomson.

    So while scientists hold on to cherished notions too, science itself moves on: not without setbacks and conflicts, and not to some perfect knowledge; but haltingly, always imperfect, but gradually improving our models of how things work.

    pvblivs- you've mentioned your skepticism about macroevolution before. Can you tell us why you're skeptical? Do you have a better model that explains the fossil record and the multiple lines of evidence for the tree of life?

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  24. Zilch:

         I am skeptical about large-scale evolution because I am skeptical aout nearly everything. I also find that although they like to call it a "theory," it does not seem to have gone through the same "trial by fire" that most scientific theories must pass. Every "test" has been set up so that no observation that cannot be ruled out without appealing to evolution would disconfirm the idea.
         "Do you have a better model that...."
         You know, this immediately reminded me of the way fundamentalist christians insist that if you can't "explain everything" like the bible pretends to do then your ideas are worthless and they will stick with their bible. In my own case, I state that we don't really know; we only pretend to know. Reasearch dollars are only granted to those who will protect the idea, not to those who would offer up an actual test.
         Large-scale evolution suffers from the fact that we cannot conduct a controlled experiment. Its "predictions" can be organized into two catagories, things we can predict without it, and "maybes" thing where if evidence actually does not support it reliable excuses can be found.

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  25. pvblivs- I, too, am skeptical about nearly everything, and of course skepticism in general is the best default position if you want to find out how things work. But while there are many big unsolved problems in the story of life (abiogenesis, the origin of multicellularity, the exact relationship between genotype and phenotype, etc.), and while it's true that a certain amount of "just-so" story mongering goes on (especially about the reasons for particular adaptations), it seems to me at least that the big picture is undeniable: we have a very good fossil record showing gradual evolution in many lineages (especially well documented is the transition between reptiles and mammals, for instance), and the relationships between living organisms have multiple lines of evidence that converge on the consensual tree of life: for instance, the trees as constructed from comparative anatomy and cytochrome c alone are almost perfectly congruent, which would be a mathematical near-impossibility if the trees did not reflect phylogenetic relationships, and so forth. That is, of course, unless we have a Trickster God, who is deliberately trying to tempt us.

    All of that, plus the fact that small scale evolution (up to and including speciation) has been observed in the lab and the field, and the fact that there are no known barriers to the indefinite prolongation of evolution (macroevolution is microevolution writ large), make the case for large-scale evolution as compelling as any other theory in science. It must be emphasized that the amount of data which support the modern TOE is now tremendous, well beyond the amount that one person could assimilate.

    That's why I asked if you had a better explanation: the current Neodarwinian model fits the facts very well indeed, and merely being "skeptical" about it without some good reason strikes me as being simply contrary. You are of course entitled to your skepticism, but I don't think that it is warranted by the facts.

    And as far as your claim that "Reasearch dollars are only granted to those who will protect the idea, not to those who would offer up an actual test" goes, that reminds me of the typical ID complaint about the "bias" of the scientific community. I would ask you: do you know of any serious proposal that has been turned down on the grounds that it challenges the modern TOE, and what in your opinion would constitute a fair test of the TOE? I do hope you don't consider ID a challenger.

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  26. Reynold,

    You can claim Poe's law is suppose but I mainly wanted to use the 'Ace Ventura' link mostly.

    Zilch,

    "That is, of course, unless we have a Trickster God, who is deliberately trying to tempt us."

    I am sure you are aware that God doesn't tempt us James 1:13 "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:"

    "and the fact that there are no known barriers to the indefinite prolongation of evolution (macroevolution is microevolution writ large), make the case for large-scale evolution as compelling as any other theory in science."

    Just not true this is basically the crust of the argument. There is absolutely no proof what so ever that macro is micro in a larger scale. It's an insertion based on faith , I have said in the past 'it has no evidence just assertions based on ignorance.'

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  27. Quasar and Stan,

    Stan said: "If your statement is true, then why do you continue to support six-literal-day Creationsim(ism)? After all, it has [sarcasm] a couple [/sarcasm] "slight" problems..."

    I believe you should take religious people as well as anyone for that matter, seriously as scientists. It certainly is NOT an exclusive club. After all genetics was discovered by Catholic monks in the 12th century and wasn't it Georges Lemaitre 'a priest' who introduced the Big Bang?

    Do you think the scientific community welcomed these people with open arms? Of course not, they were very reluctant to accept anything from professing Christians. The bias is as strong today as it was back then. Insert Expelled: the Movie here.

    Now, was it because of Lemaitre's "false Religion" that got the big bang model wrong? Possibly. Maybe it was his presuppositions, I don't know.

    Yes, the universe was expanding but not in an explosion like the priest said. An explosion would have hot and cool spots in the universe. Now at the time he wouldn't of had the technology we have to day to measure this. The radiation (temperature) would show various cooling points throughout the Universe showing a central point of explosion. It has been shown the entire universe is of one temperature. That alone totally debunks the big bang. The universe has a very uniform temperature in total contrast to a big bang model so the Model must be thrown out for a new one. Science prevails again(objective), proclaiming scientists do not(subjective).

    Einstein didn't want to believe that the universe had a beginning even. His presuppositions were so strong that he believed the universe was static and eternal, in total contrast to the evidence presented to him. So yes mankind is extremely fallible. God on the other hand is not. So if we find, let's say, intelligent life beyond our solar system, then God has some real explaining to do. Either we, as mankind, are very confused about how to interpret the Bible or language or the concept of a god is completely man made.

    On the other hand I can confidently say there will never be a discovery of intelligent life because that is what the Bible explains. We are absolutely unique to this universe system. We are made in His image and there is a plan of Salvation for us to be with Him forever. So SETI can claim whatever they want but it they who have the information wrong, not God and His Word. There is no budging on this one.

    If you all find intelligent life I will cry for years as I proclaim my atheism. But that just isn't the case.

    Can I be wrong about evolution? Nope because God says we are made after our own kind. Sure wolves can become Great Dane or a poodle but a frog into an alligator or vice versa? Never.

    So if mankind's discoveries fit's the Bible then it has been provable and verifiable. If it contradicts the Bible then there is zero evidence just assertions based on ignorance.

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  28. Zilch,

    I am glad that you can distinguish between operational science and origin science, you call it soft and hard science. There is truth to it. Evolution and Big Bang models are both wrong and unverifiable, the data is just too soft. Someday there will be hard evidence and mark my word that hard evidence will NOT contradict the Bible.

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  29. Dan, you say:

    There is absolutely no proof what so ever that macro is micro in a larger scale.

    Depends on what you mean by "proof". True, we have not observed macroevolution in living things, for the simple reason that we don't live long enough. But:

    1) We have observed evolution and speciation in the field and the lab. And the speed of this evolution is fast enough to account for the changes observed in the fossil record, given the amount of time we know it has had.

    2) You have the burden of proof wrong, imho: since small change has been demonstrated, and no barriers to larger change have ever been found, then it is a reasonable assumption that macroevolution is microevolution writ large. Or can you show me some reason why changes should stop at some point?

    3) As I said, the fossil record, and more recent findings such as the study of variable biochemicals such as cytochrome c and of course dna, corroborate the picture of all life having evolved from one source.

    Either that, or God created new species (or whatever division you want to call a "kind") and buried them in exactly such a way that they appear to make a sequence: first single cells, then multicelled organisms, then worms, then fish, then amphibians, then reptiles, then mammals, all in thousands of exquisitely ordered gradations, all placed in exactly the right strata, and tweaked the anatomy and chemistry of living things too.

    Or perhaps God just created the bones when he created the Earth, to vex the faithless. This basic view, that God created the world with a built-in past, was seriously advanced by Phillip Gosse in his book Omphalos, published in 1857.

    But if you believe that, then you might as well go whole hog, and say that God created the world five minutes ago, complete with a built-in past and memories. It's just as plausible.

    Of course, the fact that God created the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and then told Adam and Eve not to eat from it, shows that He does have Trickster tendencies, so who knows?

    About hard and soft science: no, Dan, the data is not so much "hard" or "soft", as its interpretation is "simple" or "complex". Now, I know physicists will bridle at my calling physics "simple"- and I agree, the practice of physics, like the practice of any science, is not simple, especially when carried to the extreme accuracy of detail we have today. My point is this: the behavior of particles such as electrons, and of large bodies such as planets, is not fully understood, but is understood well enough to, say, make pictures on crt's or predict eclipses for the next couple thousand years.

    But living things are far more complex in their structure, and thus their behavior, than particles or planets. Thus, while we can reliably predict when the Earth will cast its shadow on the Moon, as it did last night, we cannot predict very accurately when the whales will show up off the California coast, or describe exactly how the genetic code gets transcribed into bodies.

    But as I said, even if our understanding of evolution has gaps, the big picture, put together from countless converging lines of evidence, is compelling. If there ever is hard evidence for the Biblical account, I would be very surprised, but I'm not going to hold my breath.

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  30. Zilch,

    I understand your point about soft V's Hard science I guess I was just too hopeful for you.

    "the fact that God created the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and then told Adam and Eve not to eat from it, shows that He does have Trickster tendencies"

    What you view as 'Trickster tendencies' is wrong. It is free will with laws. Is that so wrong to allow total free will but to impose Laws for societal boundaries?

    Don't you see how overly critical you are towards God?

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  31. Dan, I'm not critical of God, any more than I'm critical of Santa Claus- or Voldemort. I do think that the standard conception of God as being omnipotent and omniscient, yet allowing us free will, is incoherent. If God knows what we are going to decide, and made us in exactly such a way that we would decide as we do, then there is no such thing as free will.

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  32. Zilch,

    "If God knows what we are going to decide, and made us in exactly such a way that we would decide as we do, then there is no such thing as free will."

    'Pretend with me for a moment' and let's say you believe God exists.

    So you believe that behavior is genetic v's environmental? That the traits we have and the actions we take are genetically 'hard wired' into us? We were made that way, as you claim? No mater what environment a man is in if he is hard wired to be gay then he will be? No matter what environment a serial rapist is in, he will rape no matter what? There is no such thing as rehabilitation in your eyes?

    Now flip it, no matter how badly a mother treats a child, sexually or mentally abuses him, the child being 'hard wired' will grow up to be a very well rounded social and productive member of society?

    If environment is a factor then can you understand the 'boundaries' that God set up to follow? That the tree was placed and it was up to us to keep evil out as to not destroy our society.

    Remember there is no such thing as good unless you have evil. Newton pointed out his Law of motion right? Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. These are God's Laws to govern the universe, Knowing that to have good you must have evil otherwise there is only part of an 'untrue' equation. If God wants people to follow Him in being good, out of love for Him to choose to love, at the same time He wants us to understand and learn to not follow the 'opposite reaction' of evil. You cannot just eliminate it the physical Law's and logic couldn't stand.

    Is it understandable that in order to just eliminate evil that would mean we would also have to eliminate even the Law of motion. Can you understand the push/pull of evil and good? Are you posing that there is such a thing as illogical physical Laws? Granted I am asking someone that believes that we came from pond scum, but I am still curious of your answers, in spite of your belief of Laws of nature that are not observable.

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  33. Hmmm... I'm not sure I understand your point, Dan. If I pretend that God exists, and that He is omnipotent and omniscient, then I would believe that He has already made all my decisions for me, no matter how it might seem to me.

    But I don't believe in God, and I don't know where you are going with this nature versus nurture stuff. I believe that our behavior is 100% nature and 100% nurture.

    As far as good and evil go, you cannot equate them to natural forces obeying Newtonian laws: they are concepts that evolved with life and developed further in human culture, and have become rather complex and subjective.

    They started out pretty simple: good for an organism is what kept its genes going, and bad is what stopped them. Thus food, shelter, safety, and reproduction were good, and starvation, exposure, injury and death, and not reproducing were bad. In other words, good and bad evolved, first as pleasure and pain, then further as instincts, and still further as learned behavior, because organisms that sought the "good" and avoided the "bad" were more likely to survive, and pass on these traits.

    Nowadays, of course, things are a bit more complicated. But treating "good" and "bad" as simple parts of a balanced equation is not the way things work.

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  34. Let me simplify it then Zilch

    Do you believe in Evil? Do you believe that someone can do evil things, not just bad things?

    Running in the middle of the street would be a bad thing that would not populate a species. Evil things such as molesting a 12 year old would populate the earth with the seed of a man which is 'good' for evolving but can you see the difference between bad and evil? Evil can be good for evolving like murdering the weak old people to perpetuate the strong.

    Is evil a real thing for you?

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  35. Zilch:

         You'll note that I did say it was plausible. I am not committed to it being either true or false. It fits the record primarily because it has been adjusted to fit. You state that there are no known barriers; but nature has given us surprises before. I think skepticism is warranted. I will continue to think it warranted until I see the idea of large-scale evolution go through a trial by fire. All I see are "tests" that cannot result in disconfirmation and invitations to hop on the bandwagon.
         There is also another thing. When it comes down to it, there is no harm in my not holding a particular belief in large-scale evolution. For that matter, there is nothing that depends on large-scale evolution being true. If large-scale evolution is wrong, it will not make the vaccine not work. The concept is only relevant over millions of years. Nothing we currently do depends on the effects of such a span.

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  36. Pvblivs,

    I applaud your convictions to stick to your beliefs. It reminds me of a conservative postgraduate that has to defend his position constantly to his liberal counterparts. Although disturbingly rare, at least you are genuine.

    For that matter, there is nothing that depends on large-scale evolution being true...Nothing we currently do depends on the effects of such a span.

    Well that is where we disagree. It appears to give apostates a free pass to turn away from God. Granted that God has to change one's heart, but putting that aside, the battle (Yes a battle for souls) is increasingly difficult for people that are questioning things to be slammed in the face with 'we come from monkey's' depressing talk. The damage that is being done to our society is, literally, of biblical proportions.

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  37. pvblivs- you are, of course, entitled to your opinion. I'm still curious, however: why are you particularly skeptical of macroevolution? Does it simply seem unlikely on the face of it? Or are you similarly skeptical of all events that have not been directly observed- say, the formation of the Solar System, or the waves of extinction caused by meteorite impacts?

    And I ask again: what would constitute a "trial by fire" of macroevolution for you? In my opinion, the near-perfect congruency of the family trees as constructed by traditional comparative anatomy, and by differences in cytochrome c alone, constitute as close as a "proof" for common descent as we're ever likely to get.

    If macroevolution did not happen, there would be no reason to expect that the non-functional parts of cytochrome c would show the same relationships which are demonstrated by comparative anatomy and the fossil record. That is, unless we have a God doing this to perplex us.

    And this is just one of the lines of evidence- there are many others.

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  38. Zilch:

         I am skeptical of events, to be sure. But I am adamantly opposed to calling events "scientific theories." It is not a scientific theory that colonists rebelled against George III. It is not a scientific theory that Romulus and Remus were raised by a she-wolf. One is history, the other a legend.
         As for a "trial by fire," I am looking for something whereby the idea is falsifiable. I am not looking for "we determined that this won't happen so now we say that it would be a potential falsifier." In every "test," as far as I am aware, any outcome that would be non-confirming and could not be ruled out without appeal to the hypothesis, was considered inconclusive. If they got the evidence they wanted, it would "confirm the theory." If they didn't, it would not be taken as disconfirmation.
         I have tried to explain what I mean; but it seems that the shield against critical thought is appled even to pointing out that the scientific method is not really being applied here. So I will try an analogy. "I have some mild telekinetic powers. I can influence this die to come up six. It isn't perfect power. So it's not expected to come up six every time. I have lots of positive data, thousands of instances where it came up six. And my theory is easily falsifiable. If the die hovers in mid-air for two minutes or more, it means my theory is false."
         In the case of large-scale evolution, I don't think an actual test is possible. A meaningful experiment would need to have controls for a million-year time frame. But what I see passed off as testing looks very much like counting the hits and ignoring the misses. In my analogy, of course, we know how to set a baseline and predict a number of hits as a null hypothesis. We don't seem to be able to gauge large-scale evolution the same way. So we can't set up a null hypothesis to see if the evidence is consistent with it.

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  39. the near-perfect congruency of the family trees as constructed by traditional comparative anatomy, and by differences in cytochrome c alone, constitute as close as a "proof" for common descent as we're ever likely to get.

    And since monkeys and all other animals have eyes, ears, mouths, lungs, hearts, DNA and feet they must of come from the same ancestors. There is no way that all the similarities are proof of a common Designer or Creator. Just no way!

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  40. Pvblivs,

    If they got the evidence they wanted, it would "confirm the theory." If they didn't, it would not be taken as disconfirmation.

    You have a brilliant mind, that was wonderful. I would even say you were made entirely of Einsteinium. We must keep in mind though even Einstein got things wrong with the evidence in front of him. We are all failing in some form or fashion. Pvblivs you get it when it comes to evolution but you are failing when it comes to the subject of Jesus(God). Zilch gets it right when it comes to compassion and kindness towards people but fails when the subject of God or evolution comes up. We are all failing some things and succeeding at others. As far as evolution there is an extreme bias and Pvblivs is logically picking up on it. I don't know how were are going to get out of this but I am praying for a solution that we all can win at. Failure is not an option.

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  41. Pvblivs you get it when it comes to evolution but you are failing when it comes to the subject of Jesus(God). Zilch gets it right when it comes to compassion and kindness towards people but fails when the subject of God or evolution comes up.

    Well, pvblivs, I guess we've been put in our places. At least each of us gets a few things right.

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  42. Dan: Re "Evil"

    Yes, Evil exists. But think about it rationally for a second: The child molester's genes are bad for evolution. How is selecting someone too young to care for your offspring good for survival?

    What about murdering weak old people? Consider wisdom and experiance, both of which are valuble to survival, and both of which are gained through age and passed down by those no longer capable of passing down their genes.

    For me, Evil is any action that directly contradicts empathy.

    Dan & Pvblivs: Re "Skepticism"

    It's OK to be skeptical, but I think you have to be fair with your skeptism (as Zilch indicated). If your going to be skeptical of Common Ancestory simply because it takes too long to be directly observed, you should apply the same logic to other things that take too long or happened too long ago to be directly observed: the Big Bang, Solar System and planetary formation, Human History, Plate tectonics, everything in the bible, fossilisation and mass extinctions, etc.

    In my opinion, there is more evidence for common ancestory than for many of these things, and much more for some.

    Besides which: common ancestory would be instantly falsified if we found a modern creature which dated significantly older than it's ancestors: the precambrian rabbit scenario.
    - Or if we found a true chimera: an organism that combined parts from several different and diverse lineages, such as mermaids or centaurs (or, since Dan likes Ray Comfort, a Croco-duck).
    - Or if we discovered any global mechanism which prevents mutations from accumulating (the "kind" barrier).
    - Or even just an example of organisms being created.

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  43. Quasar,

    You argue well, you should be a Lawyer.

    Yes, Evil exists...For me, Evil is any action that directly contradicts empathy.

    Well said. Do you believe you have ever acted evil? Has evil ever existed in you?

    I would assume we would all say "yea sure" So God's Word, in a very supernatural way, gives us the plan to eradicate it forever. Isn't that great news?

    I sure wish everyone saw it the way I do. Evil can be gone forever if we just follow His plan. Can you kind of see why suffering and pain exists. People are fed up with evil things happening to children. We are collectively agreeing that evil is a very terrible thing that must be eliminated. Why show evil? Because we wouldn't know good unless we see evil for what it is. I will do a new post about it

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  44. Dan wrote:
    "Well said. Do you believe you have ever acted evil? Has evil ever existed in you?"

    Hmmm... hard to say. I have a strong level of empathy for other creatures, but there are limits: I would betray that empathy and cause others harm in certain situations. So I have the capacity for evil... but I don't believe I have ever acted evilly. As I said, I have a strong level of empathy: it's difficult for me to go against that.

    In comparison, "bad" is something which doesn't go against empathy, but still causes harm. Harming yourself is bad, but not evil. Mistakes and accidents are bad, but still not evil. Even blind stupidity isn't evil.

    Let's compare breaking each of the ten commandments for instance. Of them, only Murder, Adultery and Theft are evil. Breaking any of the first four causes no harm, so I don't even consider those "bad". And the three left are each different:
    Envy (number 10) can lead to theft, but it can also lead to a motivation to gain whatever it is you are envious about.
    Dishonoring your mother and father (5) is bad, but not evil...
    and Lying (9) is a very dynamic behaviour: it can be good or bad depending on circumstance.

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  45. Quasar,

    "Of them, only Murder, Adultery and Theft are evil."

    So then let me ask you have you ever showed hatred towards anyone? Lusted after anyone or anything?

    Have you taken anything from anyone regardless of value? Even extra time from your boss on a lunch break or a pencil or pen without returning it. Paperclip? Anything?

    I guess it doesn't matter because if it were Quasar's Commandments then you would be safe but since they are God's Commandments then you are in deep trouble for lying even once in your life.

    Understand this very basic principle of God and His plan of salvation and then you understand that we all are pridefully wicked in our hearts and deserve punishment. We think we are good when we break God's laws daily. I am sure a thief considers himself to be good compared to a rapist and that rapist considers himself good compared to someone that murdered a person and that murderer considers himself a good person compared to a serial killer and I am sure that serial killer considers himself good compared to a democrat. When we compare each other by each others standards we all seem to be good "at least I am not as bas as he is" mentality. We must be compared to the righteous standard of God's Law. We are all wicked and prideful and we need to humble ourselves to the Creator for being wicked according to His standard, the standard of the Ten Commandments.

    Ray said it like this "A little girl was once watching a sheep eat grass and thought how white it looked against the green background. But when it began to snow she thought, "That sheep now looks dirty against the white snow!" It was the same sheep, but with a different background. When we compare ourselves to man's standard we look pretty clean, but when we compare ourselves to the pure snow-white righteousness of God's standard—His Law, we can see ourselves in truth, that we are unclean in His sight. That Law is the holy standard by which humanity will be judged on Judgment Day."

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  46. Quasar wrote:
    "Of them, only Murder, Adultery and Theft are evil."
    Dan replied:
    "So then let me ask you have you ever showed hatred towards anyone? Lusted after anyone or anything? "

    Ah. Yes I have. But...

    ...unlike the actual deeds, these feelings don't go against my empathy for others. They cause nobody harm. In that way, I don't even consider them "bad", and certainly not "evil".

    "Impolite", maybe...

    Dan wrote:
    "Have you taken anything from anyone regardless of value?"

    [Thinks for a moment] Errr... yes. Yes, I have.

    However, the things I took were not missed, and I needed them at the time. Nonetheless I felt bad for it, which means that it did go against my own morals in a subtle way.

    Dan wrote:
    "When we compare each other by each others standards we all seem to be good "at least I am not as bad as he is" mentality."

    But I still maintain that harm (and thus empathy) is the deciding factor: follow the line down from Democrat (Below the belt, that one, but I don't live in America so hah! ;), and it's easy enough to see where it flicks over: somewhere below thief, we come to actions which are still "bad", but don't go against our empathy, the natural adversion to causing harm.

    Dan wrote:
    "We must be compared to the righteous standard of God's Law. We are all wicked and prideful and we need to humble ourselves to the Creator for being wicked according to His standard, the standard of the Ten Commandments."

    OK, Dan, now I'm getting a little creeped out. I mentioned earlier The Sword of Truth novels, by Terry Goodkind? Well, what you just wrote is very similar to the beliefs of one of the major forces in that series: The Imperial Order. "Mankind are miserable, wicked wretches who cannot hope to be good in this world, and can only hope for salvation in the next by the eternal grace of the Creator."

    I highly recommend these books: they really are amazingly well written.

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