|Comment:||I find it amusing if not ludicrous that you find it necessary to question the intentions of creationists statement of faith, while not recognizing the obvious bias of evolutionists. Evolutionists for the most part are not out to prove 'science' they are usually out to ty to prove their predetermined 'religious' position of evolution. At least you could be honest about the matter. Most evolutionists are educated in an environment hostile to any other concept, and indeed, any other concept than evolution is not only openly ridiculed but automatically assumed wrong because of their existing bias. You seem to forget that evolution is tennant of the 'creed' of the humanist manifesto itself. And remember Humanism with it's 'creed' was designated a religion. Evolutionists do not have to proclaim their belief because it is proclaimed in their very system of education. I also find it amusing that for such a nonproveable position as evolution, the automatic assumption is it must be true. Not one interspecial example of evolution exists, yet the evolutionist continues to grasp at straws rather than to perform real scientific investigation. Lucy, Neanderthral, the flying lizard - when investigated in truth - all proven wrong.|
your opinion. Unfortunately it is completely wrong. You are
engaging in the typical creationist tactic of charges not
based on the facts. The facts are there, in abundance in
talkorigins faqs files. I'm sure you must be aware that the
barrage of creationist claims can not be answered in one or
two paragraphs. If evolution is so "amusing and ludicrous"
surely you should be able to provide some substantitive
factual evidence to back it up. I challenge you to provide
some real evidence that "Lucy" was not investigated in a
scientific manner. By the way, if you are thinking of
referring to the Stern and Susman paper, check out my
recent post to talk.origins: "Lucy-an ape?" It will save
you a little time.
In addition to the talk.origins faqs files, there is a great deal of information with cross links to other sites in my web page Creationist propaganda would have you believe that evolutionary scientists are at a total loss to counter creationist attacks. The reverse is true. All of the standard creationist arguments, including the ones you have listed, have been totally refuted.
|Comment:||Very interesting web site. I am new here so the questions I raise may have already been answered. If so, I am sorry. Could I get an age for the moon and an explanation of how it fits with its rotation around the earth and the distance it moves from earth? Likewise for the other observed moons in the solar system and an explanation of their orbits by natural causes? While the Christian community battles with evolution, I find it interesting that what science says now, Jewish mystics stated in part, centuries ago. One of the few things Creationists have going for them, is population growth figures. These fit for a 6000 year old homo sapen species rather than 30,000 year old species. Can someone explain the inconstitancy here? For the record, I am neither evolutionist or creationist, I fall under confused.|
|Author of:||The Age of the Earth|
|Response:||The Moon is
about 4.5 billion years old, the same age as the Earth. A
good introduction to the evidence on the Moon's age can be
found in Chapter 5 of Brent Dalrymple's excellent book,
The Age of the Earth (full reference information is
available in this archive's Age of the Earth
FAQ). There are still significant arguments over the
relative importance of various forces involved in
Earth-Moon tidal interactions, and their effects over long
spans of time. One place to start research on this topic
would be a technical paper by Drozdova and Kiselev (1995,
Astronomy Reports 39, pp. 684-689); many of
the paper's references are also germane. Another good
starting point would be Dave Matson's discussion of the
topic (under Young-earth "proof" #5) in the Matson vs Hovind
It is a little unrealistic to demand a similar level of detail for all other satellites in the solar system. They haven't been examined in as much detail or as directly, and neither has the body that they orbit. A lot is known about the Moon from direct examination of its geology, and about its orbital history from traces of its past influence found here on Earth. However, if you can phrase a specific question in this area, and post it to talk.origins, someone will probably try to give you more information.
Personally, I don't find the "population growth" argument to be terribly convincing. It rests on a uniform extrapolation on a rate that is known to vary widely, and often that extrapolation is incompatible with the evidence. Three discussions of various problems can be found in: my Age of the Earth debate with Bob Bales; the Matson vs Hovind FAQ (under Young-earth "proof" #25); and the January 1997 Feedback (the very last entry, at the bottom of the file).
|Comment:||The organizers of this site are certainly the greatest frauds. While pretending to present an impartial discussion of universal origin you assert quite foolishly that material sciences provide the only reasonable explanation. You deny having ever been presented with a Theory of Creation. What nonsense. The correct revelation of creation has been available since time immemorial, before ever fifth class men determined to describe the universe through mechanistic, reductionist theories. You deride the Truth when it is presented, yet your fanciful word jugglery does nothing to enlighten. Defeating the literal Bible interpretation proves nothing of your claim that your explanation is the most reasonable available. Genuine spiritual knowledge is THE ONLY WAY to understand the entirety of the creation. Your process will always be defective and deficient. You attack corrupted religious ideas and then position your theories as the only thoughtful alternative. This is not logic but rather the technique of con-men. Why do you not challenge authentic theological explanations? Why, because your theories pale in their presence. Your true mission is not to discover the Truth but rather to position yourselves as the disseminators of truth. This is your defect, wanting to pose as an authority without actually having become one. First you must be sincere about understanding Truth; your sincerity will be rewarded accordingly. Yes, believing that your sincerity will be rewarded is an act of faith, but no less an act of faith than you subscribe to: 1) The universe follows orderly principles. 2) The human intellect and perceptions can arrive at a method of determining these principles. Because you do not have full knowledge yet are determined to present your theories as factual explanations of the truth you cheat all who read them. Let thoughtful persons beware, what here passes for scientific knowledge is in fact neither.|
organizers of this site do not claim to be impartial; as
stated in the introductions and descriptions to this site,
most authors of articles in the archive accept the
prevailing scientific views on the origins of biodiversity.
We do try to be fair in evaluating information and evidence
on its merits, and we do try to make it easy for our
readers to find other sources of information or argument
presented from alternative points of view.
The reader does not indicate what is the "correct" revelation of creation, and seems (though I may be mistaken) to accept that the literal interpretion of the bible is defeated; refering instead to "authentic" theological explanations which are not further explained. In any case, note that a theory encompasses much more than an order of events. A theory provides a basis for forming testable predictions. For more information, see the Stumper Questions for Creationists file.
I do feel that the reader has it backwards. The study of origins by the methods of science does not start from an attack on any religious ideas; it proceeds from evidence, observation, hypothesizing and testing. The conclusions reached happen to be inconsistent with some religious beliefs and not with others; but this is a consequence, and not the starting point. Deciding whether or not a conflict exists is a question for the believer.
|Comment:||Why is the source of racism always the white male? I believe that Africans (enslaved as they were) are greedy for retribution. Nobody alive today participated in the act of slavery. Why punish somebody for something that our great-great-grandfathers did?|
|Response:||The white male is not always the source of racism. Your second sentence is an invalid generalization from some hypothetical individuals to a racial stereotype. And race related anger usually focuses on more recent injusticies than those of your great-great-grandfathers.|
|Author of:||Evolution and Philosophy|
of racism lies in the tendency of some to think that all
living things are fixed into "types" from which they cannot
diverge (very much). This means that if you find living
things that are able to pass on their variations intact,
they must be a different type of their own.
In humans, regional and ethnic differences have always been assigned to types by those who are dominant in a society. The dominant class will also make these non-dominant "types" of lower standing biologically, calling them childlike, subhuman or primitive. In fact, all humans have closely the same cognitive abilities, and differences in intelligence and social behaviour are always the result of economic, cultural or political differences. Biologically, there are either no races in homo sapiens, or races are just slightly distinct superficial varieties. There is no biological category answering to the label "negro", for example. There is more genetic and external variation in the sub-Saharan African ethnic groups that in the rest of the world combined. "Negro" just means "not European, and darker than the other non-Europeans".
In recent history, Europeans were, and still mostly are in the Western world, at any rate, the dominating social and ethnic class. This has not always been true, of course, and will not be true again, quite shortly. However, those who are the children of the ethnic groups most recently subjected to racism are not interested in the racist abuse of, eg, other Levantine groups by the Jews 2500 years ago, or of the Jews by the English 1000 years ago. They are most interested in, and most critical of, the racist abuses of Europeans of 100 years ago or less. I cannot blame them.
By the same token, there is as little biological warrant for the view that all "whites" are a race, or that all male humans are the cause of all aggression and ills, as there is for the older racisms and discriminatory moral codes. And the issue of punishment is entirely distinct from questions of what actually happened in history. As it happens, creationism is as involved in recent racism as were those varieties of Eurocentric evolutionary thought that predated Darwin by many years, and the eugenics movements that followed him. The racism of the fascists derives from several thousand years of culture and values. The common thread is the need to discover "types" of people rather than treat them as we find them.
|Comment:||I would like to offer my interpretation of Creation. Creation is based entirely on one book, the bible. Keep in mind that the first four books of the bible were written by a man who was later described as a drunk(I`m not sure where but it`s after the flood story and can be open to interpertation.) This man had no education at all and could not possibly have thought up such a complex theory as evolution. Since this man and possibly others around him were at a loss to explain how life came to be, he wrote a story. His story not only provided an explanation of life but glorified himself and man at the same time. I don`t know why he made up the flood story maybe he got carried away. I think that it is stupid to base your scientific beliefs on 1 book that was written 6000 years ago by a man with no education at all when all other evidence points to evolution.|
the first four books of the bible are a merging of at least
four distinct threads by different authors, combined by a
"redactor" about 2600 years ago or so (mainstream academic
view) or were written by Moses about 3200 years ago
(traditional view). You may be thinking of Noah himself as
the drunk (Gen 9:20-21) but, he is not the author. There is
no reason to think the bible was written by a drunk. The
author(s) of the bible were almost certainly highly
educated (in both academic and traditional views). The
story of the flood is an adaption of a Babylonian story
into a monotheistic framework, and the stories of creation
likewise reflect other Babylonian myths and are
distingished by their theological implications. The point
of the stories is not to explain life, but to explain the
current condition of humanity and the proper place of
humanity in a divinely ordered creation.
The error of the creationists is to go further, and take the stories as literal and "true" accounts of real events. I quite agree that this as an unsound basis for scientific beliefs.
|Comment:||Recently I have been reading all about the "Bible Code". It appears the knockout blow has been delivered once and for all - there is nothing left to debate.|
|Response:||The reader's comment is bizarre. "The Bible Code" is about using the bible to prophecy future events; which has nothing to do with this archive, with talk.origins, or with debates on evolution and creationism.|
of the Bible code, Michael Drosnin, was criticised because
he was just finding coincidences; such coincidences can be
found in any big book. In reply to these criticisms, he
said (in a Newsweek interview of June 9th, 1997):
"When my critics find a message about the assassination of a prime minister encrypted in Moby Dick, I'll believe them."
Brendan D McKay, a combinatorics expert from Australia, has done exactly what Mr Drosnin challenged him to do. You can see for yourself on his WWW page (Assassinations Foretold In Moby Dick)
Please note that Mr McKay does not believe Herman Melville really did predict the assassinations he has discovered: they are just a coincidence, and they don't prove anything.
Whether Mr Drosnin will really change his mind now that his challenge has been met exactly, nobody can say. But it was clear when he made his challenge that he thought it would be impossible to do what he said -- and it was easily done.
|Comment:||I am puzzled by the article Evolution is a Fact and a Theory by Laurence Moran. His reasoning for saying evolution is a FACT seems to rest on observations of diversity now and in the past. But to jump from there to claiming it is a FACT that one species changed into another species is spurious at best. It is a theory that one species has changed into another but no mechanism to date provides a satisFACTory explanation for that theory. And certainly this change from one species to another has not been observed inspite of the efforts of many. It is a FACT that many different autos sit in the driveways in my neighborhood. And is is FACT that many older and different autos are buried throughout this land. They seem to all have similar engineering and the later models are more advanced. But it would only be a theory to say that all these newer cars arose from the older models without any outside intervention. Where is my thinking wrong? buried|
following section in Lenny Flank's web site:
Is Evolution "Just a Theory"?. (note: Hangar, not
Theories can be good, bad, or indifferent. The bad theories are quickly exposed and rejected by the scientific community. An example of this is announcement of "cold fusion" as a source of safe atomic energy. It was thrown out in less than two weeks. On the other hand, the evidence supporting the idea that present species have evolved from primitive ancestors has been accumulating for a hundred years, and at this point in time is overwhelming. Creationists have carried out an unceasing campaign to try to discredit this evidence, but in every case their arguments have been shown to be based on half-truths, distortions, and outright falsehoods. But don't take my word for it: check the talk.origins faqs files and the information in my web page.
When people state that evolution is a fact, what they mean is that it is based on overwhellming factual evidence.
I believe part of your problem is in assuming that evolution can not be established unless one has proof of understanding the "mechanism." This is a misconception. Whether one assumes that evolution came about by God's will or by mere chance, the factual data supporting descent with modification remains unaffected.
|Comment:||As a physiologist I reached the conclusion several years ago that Darwinism does not work. The Darwinians have ignored the semi-meiotic hypothesis. Accordingly, I put my 1993 paper on the internet where it can be found under (davison evolution) on webcrawler, metacrawler, savvy and a number of other search engines. I am in the process of submitting another paper for publication under the title "evolution as a self-limiting process". I would be very interested in the critical reaction of your subscribers to my evolutionary views. In any event,I am now convinced that Darwinism is a myth!|
page may be found at Homepage for Professor
John A. Davison.
This column is not intended to give feedback on other pages. If you would like feedback, you may post to talk.origins, which is the appropriate forum for discussion on alternative points of view. I recommend reading the Talk.Origins Welcome FAQ first.
You can also consider posting to sci.bio.evolution, which is a moderated group. It does not discuss creationism, but it does support debate on conflicting views within science. Good luck!
|Comment:||Just surfed in; good page! As a Christian myself who is totally committed to the idea of the supernatural and of a universe the existance of which is entirely dependant on the will of a self-existant creator I have enormous difficulty with the sort of literalist interpretation that constitutes the basis of "creation science" and have been greatly duisturbed by the implication that my belief is somehow heterodox as a result. You are quite right in pointing out that this idea is relativly new, mainly because it has only recently been an issue. It is true that social activists have used evolution as an excuse to disprove theisim but instead of pointing out that it does no such thing some people have attempted to defend a "Christian" position that was never actually held in the first place! I guess this must be mainly an American problem since Americans seem to be obsessed with taking things literally, eg their constitution ;-) CS Lewis, the greatest Christian apologist of the century pointed out that the belief that the creator became a part of his creation, died and rose again before leaving this world, and that this process has in some way enabled us to improve our relationship with that creator, is the sum total of christian belief and that this tells us as much about the overall nature of the creation "as the condition of one sick hen on a farm tells us about the entire state of agriculture in England." When one looks at the Genesis story in the context of the imagery from the literature of the period and the word plays used (serpent = seraphim etc) one finds a very rich moral treatise. I don't know how the universe and life was created and I don't need to know. How I could possibly comprehend the moment when that which exists only and utterly in itself caused other things, including time and creatures that could oppose it's will, to exist is quite literally beyond me. It is about time some of us stopped trying to prevent the universe and all it's mystery from terrifying us with the power it reflects of it's (and our) creator and stoped treating the Most High like some sort of benevolet neighbour. As Lewis again pointed out, such people should learn some sence from Islam, "the heavens and the earth: thinkest thou I created them for thee?"|
|Comment:||Austin's research on the Grand Canyon seems fine to me. YOu have also ignored recent research on Mt St Helens, where a mini version of the Crand Canyon was formed in a short amount of time, proving that this type of formation is formed quickly by catastrophic eruptions.|
|Author of:||A Critique of ICR's Grand Canyon Dating Project|
claims on Mt. St. Helens are not relevant to Austin's
hatchet job on isotope geology, and therefore they aren't
mentioned in the FAQ. However, they have been discussed in
some detail in talk.origins; I recommend using Deja News to find Andrew
MacRae's contributions on the topic.
By the way, several of the Grand Canyon formations are non-igneous (e.g., shales and limestones) and therefore cannot possibly be the result of a "catastrophic eruption."
your WWW page Ice Core
Dating you claim that icecores can be used for dating
purposes. You describe the Vostok ice-core as an example.
Several age determinations are described: "The methods
used in the determination of the ages include 18O/16O
isotopic analysis , independent ice-flow calculations
, comparison with other ice cores , paleoclimatic
comparison , comparison with deep sea cores ,
10Be/9Be isotopic analysis , deuterium/hydrogen isotopic
analysis , comparison with marine climatic record ,
CO2 correspondances between dated ice-cores  and CO2
correspondances with dated oceanic cores ."
In the paper 1 (NATURE 316 (1985) 591) it is stated: " ... Further detailed isotope study showed that seasonal delta 18 O variations are rapidly smoothed by diffusion indicating that reliable dating cannot be obtained from isotope stratigraphy". So the first method (18O/16O isotopic analysis) was NOT used to date the Vostok ice-core. 10Be/9Be isotopic analysis was used for the Vostok ice core with the help of the DOME C ice-core to determine an ice flow model : "Assuming that the same relationship has held in the past, it is thus possible to estimate past accumulation rates from the delta18 O profile of the ice. Raisbeck et al. and Yiou et al.( NATURE 316 (1985) 616) ...have noted that the 10Be concentrations of ice at Dome C and Vostok are consistent with accumulation rates deduced by such procedures." So the Vostok ice-core dating relies on the dating of the Dome C ice core, this is the method "comparison with other ice cores".
But we have to look, how was the Dome C ice-core dated: Nature 280, p. 644 (1979). In this paper it is stated : "At present a preliminary time scale can be calculated from the simplest ice flow model which assumes a uniform vertical strain rate and a constant value of snow accumulation.... However a large uncertainty results from the assumption of steady state conditions over a time range which goes back to the last ice age." Later in this paper the Dome C ice core is compared with the Byrd ice core and again with the Vostok ice core ( Fig. 2 and 3 of the paper ) which is with respect to the Vostok ice core circular. In addition the ice flow model is very weak as stated by the authors and it is not very convincing. The accumulation rate changes from paper to paper. For example it is stated in Nature 364 p. 407 : "With this assumptions we calculate the accumulation rate at Vostok today to be 1.98 g/cm^2yr-1, 13% lower than the value of 2.3 g/cm^2yr-1 based on estimates over the past 10 years." Wow! After 10 years they change their accumulation rate by 13 %, but they expect that the rate was constant over the last 10000 years!
The core Dye 3 of Greenland was indeed dated with the 18 O /16 O method. There it is stated: "Absolute dating of the new Dye 3 core by this technique has so far reached 3600 years B.P and will be extended at least twice as far back in time .... However diffusion in snow and ice puts a limit on the delta cycle counting technique at about 10000 years B.P in most of Greenland and only a few decennia before present in most of Antarctica." So with this method they can give dates only for the time after the ice age. A date of 8000 B.C. does not contradict the theory of young earth creationism.
It is now fair to ask: Is the WWW page Ice Core Dating concerning the dating convincing? Can we conclude "To maintain an age for the earth of 50,000 years, one would need to describe a mechanism that allows more than 2 false ice layers to form per year" ? But as was shown before: annual layers are only given for the last 10000 years in Greenland not the last 50000 years in Antarctica. The iceflow models rests on problematic assumptions, the dating of the ice core against each other seems circular as long there is no ice core which rests on his own and inherent dating, which is the case for Greenland for the last 10000 years but not for Antarctica.
|Response:||On behalf of
the archive: thanks very much to Siegmar Schleif for this
Space and my own personal competance does not permit a full reply here. Siegmar has kindly agreed to discuss this topic further in the talk.origins newsgroup, which allows a better airing of the issues raised. There is still discussion going on at the time this feedback is being written. A few points can be noted, however.
The archive has now updated the browser page on catastrophism, which has a one paragraph introduction to the icecore faq, to remove an incorrect reference to annual layers, so as to more correctly reflect the faq.
There is also a new updated faq on icecores being prepared; if all goes well this will eventually be posted to the newgroup for review by interested parties. We hope Siegmar will comment at that time as well, and I will be letting him know when this occurs.
As a minor point, O18/O16 analysis is used to date the Vostok core, by comparison with other records of long term climatic cycles, though not by using seasonal layers. Seasonal layers are used in other cores from Greenland and at other locations in Antarctica.
As a historical note, the icecore faq was written in the first instance to refute the theories of Veliskovsky, who proposes a number of "catastrophes" within the last 4000 years. It also happens to refute the young earth creationists who propose that the Earth is about 6000 years old; but this was not the original motivation. We have lost contact with Matt Brinkman, who wrote the faq, and would love to regain contact with him.
Again, thanks very much for a stimulating and productive feedback.
|From:||Evolved I. Thinknot|
|Comment:||All that I really need to say is that by personally attacking Mr. Gish among all the many other thousands of creation scientists you have neither proven the hypothesis of evolution nor disproven the idea of creation. From the statements made in your webpage by the supporters of the evolutionary model, I can see that you have a great deal of faith in matter. For it appears that you believe that matter has assembled itself to form the various life forms that we see all around us through completely random processes. The big bang hypothesis states that hydrogen gas became the universe and ultimately life. How do we test this estimation and come to any kind of scientific conclusion? Is it truly scientific to base all of our knowledge on our own speculations, or is there something more in this world than our opinion? Basically what I want to say is that we all make mistakes and that seeing another's mistake doesn't necessarily make our point of view the correct one. This is not as most people think, an argument between science and religion, but the difference between two contradictory world views.|
quite correct that seeing another person's mistakes does
not necessarily give any support to alternative points of
The criticisms of Dr. Gish in the archive are primarily to show that his views are riddled through and through with fatal errors.
If, on the other hand, you want to explore the alternative point of view, you can look at other files in the archive which do not particularly concern themselves with Dr. Gish's mistakes. A good starting point is the Introduction fo Evolutionary Biology FAQ. You will also be interested in the Evolution and Chance FAQ, which may help you see that evolution is not based on completely random processes. There is a good cosmology tutorial off-site, which explains the evidence, data and testing on which cosmological theory is based, and also explains that hydrogen is not the starting point.
|Comment:||Thanks for presenting such a wealth of information from BOTH perspectives of this controversy!! It does not clarify the issue for me, but gives me a greater appreciation of both perspectives...jmt|
|Response:||Thanks very much! And for other readers: this feedback was in response to the other links page, which provides a comprehensive collection of pointers to other viewpoints. The files in the archive itself are mostly from the perspective of mainstream science. We do not attempt to speak for other viewpoints: but we do want to make it easy for our readers to find information provided by others.|
|Comment:||1) What are the remaining mechanisms in the theory of evolution that remain unexplained? 2) What magnitude of research do you think will be required to answer the remaining questions? 3) When they are answered, will evolution become a Law like Gravity? p.s. I love this site!|
|Response:||1) A sign of
good science is that answers lead to more questions, and
evolutionary biology is no exception. Space does not permit
a good answer to your question here, but I recommend to you
(and others) the must-read document Evolution, Science,
and Society, a draft white paper which includes a long
Challenges and Opportunities in Evolutionary Research.
2) I think there is no end in sight as yet. Every new insight and answer is still leading to new and better questions for further understanding.
3) There are many unanswered questions on gravity as well, in particular for quantum gravity. The word "law" is used not because it is finished, but because what we do know can be formulated in equational form. Evolution, on the other hand, is described in terms of many interacting processes, and hence the word theory is used. In science, this does not imply "unfinished" or "hypothetical". It simply means a well-established system or body of statements that explain a group of phenomena. So the answer to your question is no; evolution is already quite as well confirmed as gravity, but it is not a law.
(P.S. I love it too...)
|Comment:||Subject: talk.origins Genesis interp. I just returned from a presentation by the young-Earth creationist group, AIG, (Answers in Genesis) which you list on your link page. As a United Methodist Christian and pastor/leader in the church, I subscribe to atheistic evolution position and find many of the claims of the AIG group troublesome. What a relief to find your web site! My comments: You mention only very briefly the theistic evolution position. You do not include such a category on your links page. (Perhaps there aren't any out there???) I recommend highly the first chapter of a now out of print book, GETTING STRAIGHT ABOUT THE BIBLE, by Horace Weaver, Abingdon Press. I will be posting the entire chapter soon on my upcoming web site. Perhaps then you can add it to your links page as the first entry for theistic evolution web pages!!!|
|Response:||Thank you for your kind words. I'm unaware of any web sites dedicated to the theistic evolution position. Anyone who knows of any is urged to submit them through the web form on the Other Links page.|
|Comment:||"When biologists say that they have observed evolution, they mean that they have detected a change in the frequency of genes in a population." Could you explain in a little more detail what "frequency of genes" means? Is this an introduction of new genetic material or a change in existing material? Thanks Randy|
to change in frequencies of heritable genetic information
in a population. There are two important kinds of
change. On the one hand there is (as you suggest)
modifications in genetic information for a new individual
(i.e. mutation) which may involve introduction, deletion,
duplication, modification, or rearrangement of genetic
material. Just as important, change in gene frequencies
also result over time as the number of individuals in the
population who have particular genetic information
increases or decreases (i.e. "selection" and "genetic
For more information, see the article An Introduction to Evolutionary Biology, especially the section on "Evolution within a Lineage".
|Comment:||In regards to MOM, perhaps the show's greatest appeal comes from the fact that it presents the truth about the scientific community's tunnel vision and egotism. As an example, something we never hear from scientists about Darwin's theories is that Darwin himself recanted his theories. Personally, since I care not a bit about the age of the world as purported by scientists or creationists, and since any theory is probably unproveable, I feel that I know no more truth than I did before viewing the program. I am thrilled, however, that through MOM, the general public has had an opportunity see how viciously the scientific community attacks any anomaly that does not fit into to their neat little simplistic theories. By the way, the Burdick Print does not appear to be the same footprint used for investigation by the alleged scientists in MOM. Theirs had beem sawn across in the toe area for testing. Why did you include a photo of the Burdick Print in your site? I certainly would like to know more about the one that was used in the MOM investigation. How 'bout finding that one?|
not based on Darwin's beliefs. It is based on the factual
evidence. The relatives who were at Darwin's side when he
died have stated that he did not recant his beliefs; the
story was perpetrated by a woman who was not present when
I have written a rather lengthy review of MOM. You will find it on my web page: NBC Program The Mysterious Origins of Man. MOM is full of distortions and outright falsehoods. I challenge you to peruse my web site, and *then* point out where you think I have erred.
The Paluxy "man tracks" are so preposterous that even creationist are embarrased by the claims. Check out talk.origins faq: The Texas Dinosaur/"Man Track" Controversy
of Mysterious Origins of Man are not rejected because
scientists have "tunnel vision". They are rejected because
they are scientifically incompetent, as the talk.origins MOM FAQ goes to
considerable trouble to document. Note that our pages on
MOM contain links to the pages
written by MOM's producer, but the converse is not
true. What does this tell you about who is most willing to
present all the evidence and let it be judged on its
The reason we never hear about Darwin's deathbed recantation from scientists is that it never happened. This myth continues to circulate, despite having been decisively refuted. See The Lady Hope Story: A Widespread Falsehood.
The print shown in MOM is the Burdick print (they say so themselves). The photo of the Burdick print in the talk.origins archive appears to be of the same print (one of the saw cuts is the same) but was presumably taken at an earlier date when the saw cuts across the toes had not yet been made.
|Comment:||I was delighted to discover the existence of this site. However, after reading some of the comments I got a bit disappointed. Probably I did not see all of the comments, but still it appears that the major point is somehow missed in this whole debate and thus the whole argument around this issue is futile. The point is the existence or non- existence of GOD, or in more philosophical terms: materialism or idealism. It is quite clear that creationism is based on belief which has nothing to do with knowledge and science. Thus debating over creationism is like trying to measure or scientifically detect the existence of god. Impossible. What is upsetting about this whole issue is the irrationalism of creationism which tries to show up as a valid, objective principia. We have to realize that because of the basis of creationism (i.e. the belief in god), this debate is useless, the whole issue is not debatable. ...|
|Author of:||Evolution and Philosophy|
existence or nonexistence of God is not a matter for
scientific investigation, unless the god being investigated
is a purely natural phenomenon, for science can only
investigate things and processes that leave empirical
evidence. Consequently, it is a mistake to think that
science can ever determine whether God exists or not.
Science can, however, rule out false creation stories as
factual accounts. The theological importance of those
accounts remain unaffected. It is a bit like arguing aboout
right and wrong on the basis of facts - science can
determine the facts but not the right way to act on the
basis of those facts.
Many believers in God have no problem with the evidence that evolution occurred, and even that it happened in a Darwinian fashion. See, for instance, the God and Evolution FAQ. The real issue about creationism is whether scientific research should be constrained by the religious beliefs of some citizens, and even more important, whether children in state-funded schools should be exposed to views, taught as science, which the scientists who work in the field have not accepted for over a century. The issue is about whether we will let falsity be taught to our children and be the basis for decisions of public importance.
|Comment:||I was glad to discover your informative site. One question: a couple of days ago I learned in the news that some 30-million-year- old human footprints were found in South Africa and that we all descended from one person living in Africa. I was trying to find the arguments behind the theory on this site, to no avail. Could you give me some pointers?|
|Response:||I don't know
anything about the 30 million year old footprints, but it
is very unlikely that they were human, since the oldest
fossils of the genus Homo date back only 2 million
years. See the Fossil Hominids
FAQ for more information.
As for the notion that we are all descended from one woman, I suspect you are referring to the "mitochrondrial Eve" hypothesis, which states that all existing humans share a maternal ancestor who lived in Africa between 60,000 and 800,000 years ago. (How long ago she lived depends on who you ask.) The hypothesis is based on measurements of variation in mitochondrial DNA, cell organelles that contain their own independent genetic code and are passed down only from our mothers. Note that the hypothesis does not mean "mitochrondrial Eve" was the first human woman. On the contrary, she would have been just one member of a very large human population. It simply implies that all living people can trace their maternal ancestry back to one woman. You should be aware that the mitochondrial Eve hypothesis is still controversial, and not all biologists agree on its validity.
|Comment:||With all the discussion of religion I wonder if you have an idea of when religious thought first evolved in humans? Dave|
|Author of:||Creation Science and the Earth's Magnetic Field|
Neanderthal burial sites are 80,000 years old, and
clearly indicate advanced and established religion. So, it
must have been sometime before that. Because religion
requires some sophisticated social interaction, it seems
reasonable to assume a connection between the evolution of
religion, and the evolution of language. The oldest written
records date from only a few thousand years ago, but oral
language must have existed long before that. The
Neanderthal sites indicate some kind of language must have
been in place 80,000 years ago, which is consistent with
the opinion of many linguists that language dates back at
least 100,000 years, and maybe more [see, for instance,
On the Evolution of Human Language, by Philip
Lieberman, pages 21-47 in the book The Evolution of
Human Languages, edited by John A. Hawkins and Murray
Gell-Mann, vol. X1 in the proceedings volumes of the Santa Fe Institute
Studies in the Sciences of Complexity].
So, based on considerations of archeaology and linguistics, I think it is safe to say that religion, as we think of it today, is at least 100,000 years old, and its roots certainly go much farther back than that, maybe even to the earliest tool makers as far back as 1,000,000 or 2,000,000 years.
|Comment:||I just returned from a presentation by the young-Earth creationist group, AIG, (Answers in Genesis) which you list on your link page. As a United Methodist Christian and pastor/leader in the church, I subscribe to a theistic evolution position and find many of the claims of the AIG group troublesome. What a relief to find your web site! My comments: You mention only very briefly the theistic evolution position. You do not include such a category on your links page. (Perhaps there aren't any out there???) I recommend highly the first chapter of a now out of print book, GETTING STRAIGHT ABOUT THE BIBLE, by Horace Weaver, Abingdon Press. I will be posting the entire chapter soon on my upcoming web site. Perhaps then you can add it to your links page as the first entry for theistic evolution web pages!!!|
|Comment:||The next time you update the question "Why is evolution called a 'theory'?" you might explain that around the turn of the century there was by common consent a change in scientific terminology. Prior to that time we spoke of "Laws" such as Newton's Laws of Motion, the Laws of Thermodynamics,etc., and after that time of "Theories" such as Einstein's Theory of Relativity. This merely recognized the way science approaches truth asymptotically, ever closer & closer, modestly escewing arrogant claims of omniscience. Evolution is as much a proven fact as Gravity and could just as well be referred to as the Law of Evolution except for this semantic change in terminology.|
|Response:||It is quite
true that the terms used for scientific principles tend to
be a bit arbitrary. For an entertaining read, look through
Laws List of physics!
To the best of my knowledge, there is no consistent standard for terminology; but "laws" tend to be simple expressions involving an equation or a basic relationship. The term "law" certainly does not imply a claim of omniscience or even complete accuracy. A number of physical "laws" are known to be approximations. (Bode's law is a good case in point.) There have been quite a number of "laws" proposed in this century. (Hubble's law, Bragg's law, laws of relativisitic quantum mechanics, etc.)
Evolution does not lend itself to formulation as a "law"; it is rather a body of theory which explains the phenomenon of life's diversity in the present and the past. For a far more detailed discussion on this point, see Evolution and Philosophy, and especially the page Predictions and Explanations.
|Comment:||Most Christians can't or won't allow science to interact, and support creationism. I am a Christian who is also a scientist, and to a degree, an evolutionist. Unfortunately, most Christians can't see the math or fathom the time-span involved when it comes to changing things. Things evolve, when there is change. No change, no evolution. Who makes the change, God or man? Unfortunately, our finite life span keeps humans from seeing the "BIG" picture: leave this planet and venture OUT. Why???? To meet our creator. However, we cannot accomplish this unless we cast aside our fooling human needs or should I say WANTS. Christ eluded to this on many teachings. Do you think that GOD wants fools in his kingdom, who can't get-a-long.|
myself only, I'm not so sure that most Christians support
creationism. There are a lot of Christians who have no
apparent problem reconciling the findings of science with
their faith; and many Christians who are superlative
scientists. (I futher suspect most people have some
trouble visualizing the numbers involved in long time-spans
or big sizes, myself included.)
The reader asks: "Who makes the change, God or man?" But no-one suggests man makes the change (of evolution). Biological evolution is a natural process, resulting in certain kinds of change. The nature of God's involvement in natural processes (such as weather, mountain formation, birth, growth and death, or evolution) is a question for believers; many of whom resolve it to their own satisfaction without denying the natural regularities discerned by science. But I think we are wandering from appropriate topics for talk.origins.
|Comment:||I'm sorry to say that your web site did not win our award for being a waste of bandwidth. One of your friends (or maybe not) nominated you for the award, but something about your was either too good or too mundane. I will leave it up to you to decide the reason that you were not an award winner. Please feel free to nominate your page at a later date when you are positive it is a waste of bandwidth. In the meantime, feel free to stop by our web site and check out some of the winners: Wasting the Web - home of the "Waste of Bandwidth" award|
|Response:||What a disappointment!|
|Comment:||as to the sun shrinking at 5 feet an hour, even if so, that would mean about 120 feet per day * 365 days per year or about 10 miles per year since the distance to the sun is over 60000 miles (or about 6000 ad) (that's one half the earths diameter) the sun even IF correct, we would be no where close to the sun...|
|Response:||The reader's comment is a bit hard to comprehend. The Earth is about 93 million miles from the sun. The diameter of the Earth is a little under 8000 miles. The "five feet an hour" argument crops up now and again in creationist literature, but it is without substance. Available evidence suggests that the size of the sun oscillates, and that in the very long term it is generally expanding. More detail is available in Responses to Young Earth Arguments.|
|Response:||I am not an
expert in molecular biology or genetics, but Tim Ikeda, who
posts semi-regularly to talk.origins, is. In September
1996, a creationist named George Cooper was making
essentially the same claim as your creationist friend about
genetic novelty. Here is what Tim had to say in response:
In other words, scientists were able to start with a non-resistant strain of bacteria, expose it to antibiotics and bacteria-eating viruses, and observe it evolving new resistant strains via mutation. So it is simply not true biologists have not observed beneficial mutations. They clearly have.
"expert in molecular biology and genetics"?! Not compared
to most others in those fields. But I am interested in the
development of new traits in bacteria if for no better
reason than to worry about whether these new traits will
suddenly appear and ruin yet another growth experiment I've
been running (I can't complain too much; the appearance of
novel activities has also given me new tools and new areas
I would like to add a couple more references to my earlier letter that the editor included. The acquisition of new traits by bacteria and other organisms is very old news by now. One brief and very accessible paper that I stumbled across recently was in the series "Methods in Enzymology" (vol 224 - Academic Press, 1993). Chapter 44, "Acquisition of new metabolic activities by microbial populations" describes some of the techniques used to isolate strains which have mutated and developed new traits. Barry Hall, one of the chapters' authors, has been deeply involved in this area of research for the past couple decades. This paper also references an older book ("Microorganisms as model systems for studying evolution", RP Mortlock, ed, Plenum Press, NY, 1984), that I think could go into much greater detail. - Tim Ikeda
|Comment:||A while back my husband read a book which he believed was called 'The Hab Theory'. He does not know who the author of the book was. The theory was very similar to Charles Hapgood's theory on the shifting of the earth's crust and the poles. Is there anyone who knows of this book, what the correct title is and who the author is. This would be very helpful. thanks|
|Response:||There is a web page provided by Amazon books on The Hab Theory: A Novel, which is a novel by Allan Eckert. I have not read the book, but from the reviews it appears to be speculative science fiction about an impending global catastrophy, and draws upon various scientific and pseudo-scientific notions for background. In particular, it mentions an ancient map which gives impossibly accurate information on Antarctica. At the risk of spoiling a great story with facts, folks can peruse the talk.origins archive for more information on ancient maps of Antarctica and Charles Hapgood.|
|Comment:||I read your article with several controversial appliques to The Great Flood story. I must say that from a scientific objective view you would be quite scholarly and astute! However; from a religious and spiritual viewpoint you seem to lack genuine "FAITH". I, nor anybody else cannot answer all your questions and inquiries. The Lord can do wonderous miracles and one must not always question "why or how come?" but understand the meaning, the true parabelle of the story. I find it amazing, that a three year old child could believe what God is trying to convey to us, but a scientist, logitian and free-thinker can not see the forest forthe trees. Think About This! Why after open heart surgery and the heart has been inactive for 2 to 3 hours does it begin beating when blood re-enters it's chambers and warms it up? WHY? (We have some scientific medical reasons but nobody, not even the cardio-thoracic surgeon, knows exactly "why?" the heart does so...) I BELIEVE THE ANSWER IS CORRELATED WITH ISSUES SIMILAR TO NOAH AND THE ARK. We are not truly meant to understand EVERYTHING!!!! But- hence; we have some knowledge and the rest... ....is GOD! I respect your article- I cannot fully agree, but I wanted to share my viewpoint! Thank you....Ethan.|
|Comment:||I find it very frustrating that you give a *Very* general definition for evolution which is true, and then when we're not paying attention, tack other stuff onto it which is B.S. By this logic, Creationism is a law. Creationism doesn't mean that we were made by God. It means that it is possible to create new things... Then in the rest of what I have to say, I put the God part and everything else back in, and tell all you evolutionists how really *Stupid* you all are because you don't understand.... Example: The part about even needing transitional fossils... If all you say evolution means is the human race getting taller or one color of insect becoming more prominent, why the heck do you care if you find bones that supposedly suggest that a fish turned into a reptile or a frog into a cow or whatever the heck you think happened? The change in the average genes suggests that the gene becoming prominent already existed. what happened to that? On your "definition of evolution" page, you say one thing, and then you say something different everywhere else. There is a saying: "If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, then baffle them with B.S." I am afraid this happens too much in the origins debate - from creationists as well as evolutionists... This also seems to have taken hold of a large portion of this site... Tim Kucejko|
|Response:||Origins is a
complex topic, with many aspects, and it is discussed in
the archive and elsewhere by many different writers. None
of them, however, proposes that a fish turned into a
reptile, a frog, or a cow. It is true, however, that fish,
reptiles, frogs and cows have common ancestors; which is
not the same thing.
The matter of a definition for evolution can be confusing. Evolution is (by definition) limited to changes which are associated with inherited genetic information. Hence, evolution can result in changes in height and much else besides; but not all change in height is evolutionary. As far as I know, everywhere in the archive where this definition is explained, the fact of historical evolution is also explained. That is, over long periods of time, evolutionary change is involved in the divergence of populations, and the origin of new species.
There is still ongoing debate concerning how best to explain the various aspects of origins in the introductory material of the archive without confusing people or omitting essential aspects.
|From:||William D. Mayercheck|
|Comment:||Real scientists, like Isaac Newton, Dr. Wernher Von Braun and Albert Einstein believed in special creation as to the origin of mankind. Einstein, the greatest scientist of our time, never accepted that the universe was governed by chance; instead, he commented that "God does not play dice."|
scientists are human beings, and as such may believe all
sorts of things. Argument from authority carries no weight
in science. Newton, for example, is greatly respected for
his work in optics, mechanics and mathematics; but this
lends no additional credence to his work on alchemy,
mysticism and theology.
Be that as it may, if for some reason you really do give weight to the theological musings of real scientists, I advise caution: the trends actually argue against your main point.
In particular, you have grossly misrepresented Einstein's views. He had a strong reaction to such misrepresentation. He once wrote the following to someone who had written to ask him about this point:
"It was, of course, a lie what you read about my
religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically
repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have
never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If
something is in me which can be called religious then it is
the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so
far as our science can reveal it."
Einstein's views on science and religion are readily available in print and on the web, but there is no compulsion for other scientists to agree with his personal views.
The final irony is that Einstein's remark God does not play dice is not a statement about God, but about quantum mechanics, and this is a famous example of a case where the great man was quite likely incorrect. The question is still open, and will not be resolved by appeals to Einstein's authority.