|Comment:||I have been personally studying & following the creation vs. evolution controversy for near 10 years now & must say evolution is a loser most of its proponents are socialistic God-haters who seem to lie & distort everything to suit & fit their needs! Evolution is at best a silly notion that defies open examination; & upon acceptance of it as fact it only clouds ones judgement & reasoning! Look at history & the thinkers of the past who have embraced it they are all moral degenerate in their lives!|
I'll thank you not to call me a moral degenerate,
especially since you have not met me.
Moreover, your comments reveal two fundamental flaws in your reasoning. The first is one of ignorance about the social impact of evolutionary theory. Those "socialists" you decry include a great many ultra-capitalists--such as John D. Rockefeller--who, under the rubric of "Social Darwinism," advanced the idea that evolution and "survival of the fittest" required governments to dismantle even the rudimentary social safety nets that existed a century ago. The "God-haters" also include devout Christians who argued that evolution demonstrated the predestined favors handed out by God.
Your second mistake, shared by these people and many others, is to think that the theory of evolution--a scientific description of what is--has any bearing whatsoever upon social ideas of what ought to be. The theory of evolution no more mandates certain human behavior than the theory of gravity, in stating that objects fall, requires us to push each other from windows.
|Comment:||Regarding your article on bombarder beetles, you claim to have borken down the evolutionary steps so that each step is bebneficial. However, even the least of these steps is an impossibilty of science. Mutations do not create new genetic matrial. They alter what is already there! Therefore, no new organs could evr develop. Also, 99.99% of mutations are harmful, and the net effect of mutations is NEGATIVE! Also, natural selecion only chooses which organisms survive, in no way does it alter the DNA. Speaking of DNA, it binds the organism into certain barriers, only allowing it to 'bend' so far to one side of a trait to another. This has been proved by countless experiments on fruit flys, which, though they are put through everything imaginable; they still only produce more fruit flys! Real science does not lie!|
commonly create new material by duplicating stretches of
existing DNA. And as you yourself note, they also alter
sequences, creating new information.
2) New organs can and do develop. For example, people have been born with extra fingers and/or toes. Most evolution of organs, however, doesn't add new organs, but gradually changes existing ones into something new.
3) The vast majority of mutations are neutral, not harmful. And since selection removes the harmful ones, the net effect is not harmful. Furthermore, mutations that are harmful in one environment may be beneficial in another. See Are Mutations Harmful?
4) As you already noted, DNA gets altered by mutations, so the fact that selection doesn't alter DNA is a non-issue. By choosing which organisms survive, natural selection alters the frequency of genetic traits in populations. And it is populations, not individuals, which evolve.
5) If there are barriers to microevolution, nobody has ever found any evidence of them. The fact that creationists can't provide a criterion for defining "kinds" strongly indicates that there are no barriers which determine kinds.
6) If you expect a fruit fly to turn into something radically different in just a few years, you oppose creationism, not evolution. (And were you aware that there are hundreds of species of fruit flies?) For an example of evolution on a greater scale, see Tjis Goldschmidt's book Darwin's Dreampond.
7) Real science does not lie because it is supported by observations of the actual world. It does not just make up whatever "facts" it wants, as you appear to have done.
|Comment:||Regarding your article on the 'transitional species': First of all, did you ever consider if what you found was actually an ancient extinct species? Also, mabye there are species which resemble two others, but what does that prove. There are still no evidence that those particular creatures came from another, and there is still absolutely no evidence that major organs evolved. Scientists have yet to find any example of something with half a heart. Only an example such as that would prove evolution. However, there are none! The only finds are new species which evolutionists use for their 'evidence'. Usually, these are either one species or the other, not both. In certain rare circumstances, this is a whole new species, but still not evolved.|
intermediate forms or not, represent species (mostly
extinct). Why Andy seems to think otherwise is beyond me.
As for what the resemblance of different fossils to each
other might "prove", I think this question demonstrates
that Andy, like so many anti-evolutionists, does not
understand the history of evolutionary theory and how it,
and science in general, works.
Evolution (common descent with modification) was not some idea that Darwin came up with out of thin air which he later searched for ways of proving. That is not how it happened. Rather what he did was to take all the then known facts/observations (gathered by other scientists of the time who were by and large creationists) and attempt to explain them in what today we would consider a scientific manner (a manner that was testable, not appealing to supernatural agencies).
In this particular case it was well known to geologists & paleontologists (again almost all of them creationists) long before Darwin wrote the Origin of Species that there was a pattern of change in the fossil record; the farther back one went in the record the more different the animals represented were from those alive today. It was also well known that there were fossils of animals that appeared to be intermediate in form between both various fossil groups and fossil and living groups.
Neither the pattern of the fossil record or the existence of intermediate fossil forms was considered controversial amongst the scientists of the time; they simply worked these facts into their creationist framework (mostly through forms of old earth progressive creationism). Darwin came up with an alternative explanation for these facts that did not rely on the supernatural. So the question is not what do intermediate forms in the fossil record (or the pattern of the fossil record) "prove", but rather how do we explain the existence of intermediate forms in the fossil record (and the pattern of fossil record)?
Evolution is the current best scientific explanation for this evidence; as well as that from many other biological fields. What modern anti-evolutionists tend to do is to simply deny that the evidence even exists rather than attempt to scientifically explain it. But then they are usually doing apologetics for their sectarian beliefs, not science.
As for Andy's claim that there is "no evidence that those particular creatures came from another," this is not exactly correct. Evidence there is (see the many FAQs in the archive), absolute proof there is not (there is no such thing as absolute proof in science). It is certainly true that there is no way to know with certainty whether one fossil species directly gave rise to another (we can't do DNA tests on fossils). But again it is the wrong question. As before, the better question is when we have a series of fossil animals that grade from one form to another, how do we explain this scientifically? [Note: "It is thus because it pleased God to make it thus", is not a scientific explanation]
Next we come to Andy's odd claim about "something with half a heart." It is often difficult to know exactly what anti-evolutionists mean when they say things like this ("where is the half a wing?" is a common refrain). Is Andy looking to see evidence of an animal with a heart that looks like it was cut in half with a cleaver? A heart that is sort of half way made? What?
If he is looking for simpler, yet still functional, forms than those that are found in humans (and other mammals) then there are plenty of those. One need only consult a textbook on comparative vertebrate anatomy. Crocodilians for example have a heart somewhat intermediate between the three chambered 'reptilian' heart and a four chambered avian one. Also the hearts of advanced vertebrates, like mammals and birds, grows from a simple one to a more complex one during embryological development. So through comparative anatomy and embryology we can see evidence of how this organ might have evolved.
Finally we see Andy's deep confusion about how evolution works in the statement: "The only finds are new species which evolutionists use for their 'evidence'. Usually, these are either one species or the other, not both."
What are we to make of this? Andy seems to think that a species that is intermediate between two others must be literally half one species and half the other. That is not how evolution works at all. Again, all species, intermediate or not, are their own fully formed and functional species. They are not half formed monstrosities that the anti-evolutionist caricatures would lead one to believe.
|Comment:||Hi! Just wanted to let you all know how much your time lines saved me!! I had a big biology project due on the exact subject and you all just helped more than you know! Thank you so much! Sincerely, Kyna|
|Response:||You're welcome. We're glad the Archive was useful to you.|
nothing but a denial of God.
Let me pose a question to the godless !
On a clear crisp night, when the moon is full, what do you see ? Do you see a formless terrain on the moon ? If you do, it is because God has placed a veil over your eyes.
The entire moon is the face of a man, formed by the shadows of the moons features. It is a beautiful face but mysterious. It's eyes are those of an old man, while it's nose and mouth are those of a child. It's expression is a look of awe.
How could there be a face sculpted on a body that circles a body with creatures having a similar face ?
The odds of this occuring by accident are astronomical, leaving only one answer: IT WAS SCULPTED BY GOD.
|Author of:||What is Creationism?|
that your opening sentence is a denial of God, because it
is an outright lie, and God, to me, represents truth.
As for the face on the moon, there is more than one, and more than just faces. See The Man in the Moon and other weird things for a few other faces on the moon. I can also find a squirrel, sea horse, rabbit, and other things. Such patterns that we see in random blotches are creations mostly of our own minds.
reading your explanations on evolution and its scientific
merit i have to ask:
If scientists explain that the world was a product of a whole lot of accidents and evolution was also this. Then how can they ague that there are no such things as accidents rather, everything can have a reasonable explanation however improbable it may be?
|Author of:||Evolution and Chance|
a scientific theory, things do not happen by chance; they
happen according to causal mechanisms. These mechanisms may
determine exactly the outcome, or they may determine only
the range of outcomes, with the actual outcome being a
matter of some statistical spread.
If according to a theory the outcome is determinate, we still may not be able to predict the exact result because our measurements may not be exact enough. It is my own view that there is inherent chance in everything, no matter how determined it is, but a theoretical explanation must limit the outcomes to do any explaining (it's no good saying that orbits are regular according to physics if orbits vary wildly without apparent pattern, for example).
There are a couple of different relevant senses of "accident", too. First it can mean something like "not intended", as in "I accidentally hit the gatepost when I drove through the gate." Nothing random about that - I was being careless, and yet everything that happened could be seen as determined (by my body, the way the car works, etc.).
Another sense of "accident" is the classical philosophical one - "not essential". This can be illustrated by saying that it is accidental to being human whether or not you have red hair so long as you can interbreed with other humans. This is not so important here.
The sense that worries most people is that "accident" seems to imply that something is not caused by anything. Order cannot come from uncaused accidents, they think. But no science, including evolution, thinks things are uncaused; at worst things are not predictable. But they are caused. Mutations are accidents in this sense.
Finally, there is the legitimate sense of "accident" that applies widely in evolution. This is the sense of "contingent"; events that might have been different if the same situation occurs again. This is like the pinball bouncing differently every game - it is caused, but the slight differences of each case make for large differences in result.
So, let's go through each of these senses of "accident".
To explain things, we must think that things are regular. So we do not think things are uncaused.
An explanation might allow some indeterminacy, but too much and it gets to be a very poor explanation indeed. So we think that an explanation requires some degree of constraining outcomes to be useful.
We allow a lot of unpredictability in explanations, because in complex cases we cannot predict - we just do not have the accuracy and the ability to make logical deductions even if the theory is totally correct.
And finally, we allow a lot of contingency; small changes make large differences.
I hope this answers your concerns. Also see the "Evolution and Chance FAQ" linked above.
The updated Human Evolution FAQ in the new format is beautiful! Very easy to browze and, as usual, highly informative. No wonder you keep winning all those awards.
|Comment:||I'm going to pray for you tonight. God is all-powerful and those you don't believe will have a horrible punishment to pay. And I think you know what that is!!!!!!!|
|Response:||Yes. It is a transparent device aimed at believers to make them afraid to ask questions, employed by a small subset of religions or cults that have reason to fear the consequences of their followers asking too many questions. Belief or faith or religion maintained by such fear is worthless.|
ran across a very disturbing article I thought you might be
interested in. It's titled: "Strategies
For Dissenting Scientists".
The article was written for "Those who challenge conventional views or vested interests in science" and are thus "likely to encounter difficulties." The article then gives "strategies" for how to get such dissenting view noticed.
Here is an excerpt:
"Mimic orthodox science
"Since mainstream scientists expect contributions to be in a certain standard format, then writing articles in this format may increase chances of success. Since submissions from institutional addresses are usually treated more seriously than those from home addresses, it may be useful to set up an institute even if it is only one person! Alternatively, it might be possible to obtain an honorary position at an established institution, such as a university. There are a few open-minded departments that may be willing to provide a haven for dissenters.
"As well as the superficial appearance of being orthodox, it may also be useful to carry out research in what is said to be the orthodox manner, for example using double-blind randomized trials. Parapsychological research has followed this path, and as a result is carried out much more "scientifically" than most orthodox science.
"Sometimes this is not enough: the ideas are too threatening even when they come from the most reputable scientists from prestigious institutions, and carried out using all the methods claimed to be required of proper scientific research. In this case, it can be useful to set up specialist scientific journals, with the highest standards, to give credibility to the field, and provide a focal point for its workers. Parapsychological journals fulfill this function.
"The more able a field is to do research and produce results that looks like conventional science, the more appropriate is the strategy of mimicking science: eventually the mimic will be taken for-and be-the real thing. A disadvantage is that the process of squeezing into the scientific mold may exclude some of the most exciting and provocative aspects of the field. Furthermore, if hostile vested interests are powerful, the dissenters may not be accepted no matter how much they replicate the scientific model."
Frightening, isn't it? I wonder how many creationists have this "strategy guide" posted to a wall in their den where they compose most of their claptrap.
origins archive I was shocked after reading the disclaimer
at the start of the creationist sceptic flat earth Society
page of your website. To say that most or even many
creationists believe in a flat earth is simply not true. As
far as I have seen in 10 years of studying the Bible and
talking to creationists neither the Bible nor creationists
advocate a flat earth. I understood the flat earth Society
to be a simple intellectual joke and its members really
understanding that the world is round.
I am glad you put in a Biblical quote suggesting it is a sphere. And obviously to quote the Bible saying" four corners of the earth " does not mean the Bible reckons the world is flat. So why then do you have this disclaimer, it gives a false impression and I was shocked at something as fragile as this was used in evidence against creationists on a site I had hoped I could use to give a balanced side to my creationist argument.
Below is the offending material found at www.talkorigins.org/faqs/flatearth.html 11-Dec-01.
I would be grateful though if you would assist me in giving a balanced argument by giving me your views on how the second theory of thermodynamics is irrelevant in the case of evolution. I need this information as I am a student writing an essay and trying to give a balanced case after giving a creationist viewpoint.
DISCLAIMER: This article is not advocating flat-earth theory, nor is it attempting to show that most or even many creationists believe in a flat Earth. It simply illustrates that there are still real people who interpret the Bible so literally that they think Earth is flat. The Talk.Origins Archive does not support or endorse the views of the International Flat Earth Society. Clicking the "Feedback" button above sends feedback to the Talk.Origins Archive, not the International Flat Earth Society. Please do not send us feedback to tell us that the Earth is a sphere; we are already aware of this fact.
|Response:||The reason for the disclaimer is simple: every month we get numerous feedback letters from people criticizing us for believing the earth to be flat. I haven't the foggiest idea WHY we get so much feedback that says that, as it is painfully obvious to anyone with the most basic reading comprehension skills that the FAQ that you cite is OPPOSED to flat earthism. The disclaimer hasn't helped much, strangely. We still get letter after letter saying "the earth is round, stupid" and other brilliant statements. I've wondered for quite some time just how anyone reading that FAQ could possibly think that we are advocating a flat earth.|
|Comment:||Isn't it true, that before Charles Darwin died, he accepted Christ as his savior, accepted Creationism as truth, and said that Evolution is false?|
story is not true, and if you won't believe me then
believe Answers in Genesis. See their article:
Arguments we think creationists should NOT use.
And even if this myth were true it would have absolutely no bearing on the scientific status of evolutionary theory.
|Comment:||I'm a Christian. I believe scientific creationism is a stupid way of comprimising one's doubts. I believe in a literal six day creation because of the fact that I believe God can do anything and is therefore unable to be hindered by the restrictions of science and natural law. I have heard testimonies of healing from trustworthy people and have witnessed spiritual gifts at work in church. My question therefore is this. If someone you knew personally was paralyzed from the waist down from a spinal cord separation,and went to a faith healer and was healed, concidering that the healing would require the regeneration of spinal cord tissue which does not regrow ( therefore creation of new matter which in turn rules out some sort of undiscovered psycic healing ability ), what would be your explanation for this other than that God did it? I'm sure if you diligently search enough, you can find someone who fits these circumstances and can review their medical records for the confirmation of their condition prior to the healing.|
question seems to presume that if you were to establish
that faith healing works you would therefore establish that
Christianity is true and therefore establish that evolution
is false. Thus, your presumption is that evolution and
Christianity are inherently in conflict, which is simply
not true. Many of the people who have contributed FAQs to
this archive are Christians, and every mainline Christian
denomination accepts evolution as valid. The theory of
evolution makes no claims whatsoever about the existence or
nature of God, any more than the theory of relativity does.
As far as the premise of your claim, the reality of faith healing, it should be noted that skeptics like James Randi have investigated many such examples and found them wanting. Faith healers have been challenged time and time again to produce real, verifiable evidence of faith healing and they have failed to do so, relying instead on anecdotes and "testimonies".
|Comment:||I have a question. If the Bible were for the large part fabricated from the creative minds of a people attempting to give an explanation for the creation and origins of their being, why would they follow this lie so diligently? I'm primarily speaking about later old testament years such as in the time of King David and such. Wouldn't these people had to have been so desparate as well as mentally ill to be so fickle in following something they just made up? Present day cults cannot be used as a means to explain this as they do not possess the association of miracles and such that were witnessed by the people in the old and new testaments. Take for example the martyrdom of Jesus's disciples and apostles. Why would these men be willing to pay the price of death for following a written "story" about miracles etc.?|
|Author of:||What is Creationism?|
|Response:||It is a
mistake to equate "story" with "lie." Nor it is always true
that something is wrong if it is "just made up." People
always have lots of ideas that they want to communicate.
Putting the ideas in stories gives them a context, makes
them easier to remember, and makes them more interesting.
The Aesop fable about the tortoise and the hare, for
example, is fictional, but the idea it is designed to
communicate is real and true. Similarly, even if the Bible
were entirely fabricated and fictional (and I don't believe
it is), many of the ideas inside it are profound enough to
be worth dying for. Unfortunately, many people concentrate
on the vehicle and miss what it is carrying.
And why confine your question to the Bible? People follow and have followed the Koran, Vedas, Tao Te Ching, Kojiki, Popol Vuh, and thousands of different oral traditions just as seriously and diligently. If taking something seriously determines its truth, then hundreds of different and mutually contradicting creation accounts must all be every bit as true as Genesis. (See Barbara Sproul's Primal Myths for a large sampling of such accounts.) Indeed, lots of people take seriously urban legends about everything from cookie recipies to organ harvesting. It is a fascinating question what makes people take some stories more seriously than others, but one which I have no answer to.
perusing through your October 2001 submissions and came
across a feedback submitted by a "Mathew". Matt proposed
several perennial questions, which in-turn, judging by the
response given by Chris Ho-Stuart, it sounded as though you
found them offensive! Mathew’s opening question was,
“Is [your] Atheism rational?” Your response:
“This is the wrong place to be asking these
questions.” As if to whisper, "Hey, hey, hey, quiet
now, don't bring religion into this." Excuse me for being
unpleasant, but spare me the Stephen Jay Gould,
fly-by-night evasion, i.e. some “Non-Overlapping
Magisteria” bit. If you are not endeavoring to answer
the questions put forward by Mathew, then your answers are
indeed void, and dare I say…superficial. Every
organization should attempt to achieve some sort of avowal
of faith, even if “The contributors to [your] web
site are a diverse group of people, with many religious
backgrounds.” Now, I know you detest doctrine, but
did you not know that atheism itself is the doctrine that
there is no God(s)? Please do not try and tell me that
there is a Creator, after pummeling your readers with the
notion that there is not one. Do you, or do you not believe
in a supreme being? Let me rephrase my question. Are you,
or are you not, an atheistic group of individuals? Or, what
is your statement of faith? Yes, faith! I know I just used
the “F”-word, but please do not censor; after
all, even atheist carry with them a sense of faith, albeit
a faith in nothing.
PS: It is harder to have faith in nothing than faith in something.
|Response:||One of the problems with a lot of feedback that we get is that it is addressed to a "you" and contains statements like "you are just in denial about the existence of God", and so forth. The fact is that we have a very diverse group of contributors. Many of the people who have contributed FAQs to the archive, or who help administer it, or answer feedback, are Christians. The only thing we have in common is that we accept that evolution is the best explanation for the evidence in a wide range of fields. This archive does not "pummel" people with the notion that there is no God. This archive deals with challenges to the theory of evolution, almost all of which come from a conservative Christian mindset. Thus, a good deal of what we talk about must deal with that particular religous point of view. That does not mean that it is necessary to reject religious beliefs entirely in order to accept evolution, as the many Christian contributors to the archive proves.|
did not find the question offensive in the least, and am
amazed that anyone could obtain that impression from my
brief and friendly pointer for a better place to pursue the
The point is simple. This group is not an atheistic group. We are not an atheistic group of individuals. We have no one statement of faith, because individuals within the group range from hard atheists to evangelical Christians, and includes various forms of non-atheistic non-Christian faith as well. This is standard in science; theists, and atheists, can equally be competant scientists, and whether one believes in God or not is not relevant to scientific performance in biology, geology, physics or anything else.
It would be quite inappropriate for any individual to tackle your questions on behalf of the group. The qurestions would be better directed at a group which has some kind of interest in that question, and basis for answering as a group.
You are also mistaken to think we pummel readers with the notion that there is no creator. In fact, we generally do just the opposite, pointing out that the issue is not about whether there is a creator or not.
|Comment:||You will be
disinclined to post this,I assure you, which means I am
offensive, and therefore, on the right track.
In a feedback, K. Harold Archomai submitted, “In terms of philosophy and logic, something must be eternal.” He continued, “Your ‘bias’ leaves you with only one possibility. MATTER!!” Wesley R. Elsberry’s ensuing response was “…the assertion that ‘something must be eternal’ is simply an unsupported assertion.”
HERE LIES THE RUB!!!
It is not up to me to support the assertion that “something must be eternal,” that much is given. Simply stated: it is as ludicrous to assume that something comes from nothing, as it is to assume that nothing comes from something. (Ed. L. Miller) You guys being advocates of the former. Now, since you are participating in the virtual rape of several of your own laws of physics by asserting that something comes from nothing, it is your employment, as scientists, to prove (after all, that is what you do) to me that matter, in no way, can be eternal, i.e. matter has the ability to summon itself, convene itself, and arrange itself -- from nil.
Thank you very much,
like you agree that the assertion "Something must be
eternal" is indeed unsupported.
This assertion is not a part of science, and in fact mainstream cosmology rejects it. In mainstream cosmology, even time itself is not eternal. You may, if you choose, adopt the assertion for yourself, but it is logically invalid to project the assertion onto others and draw inferences about what others propose.
|Comment:||Boy im sure no Scienteist,but i read youre Faq about a global flood and it realy show how much you read the Bible.The flood lasted forty Days and forty Nights Lol not one year Lol|
verses, from the Book of Genesis in the King James Version,
Now from the second month of Noah's 600th year to the second month of Noah's 601st year is one year, I believe. If you are going to argue against science on the basis of your sacred writings, it pays to actually read them first.
scanning your article Evolution as Fact and Theory and
thought that I would donate a bit of related trivia. I have
in front of me a book that I purchased, in 1983, at a used
book store that was going out of business. It is a copy of
The Science of Life by H. G. Wells, Julian Huxley and G. P.
Wells. The copyright dates are 1929, 1930, 1931, and 1934.
On page 314 begins Book Three, The Incontrovertible Fact of
Evolution. The first chapter of Book Three is The Fact to
be Proved. In the first subdivision of this chapter,
Evolution and Creation, the distinction between the fact of
evolution and the theory of evolution is explained. I would
like to quote the final paragraph of this subdivision, on
page 316. I think you may find this interesting. Please
bear in mind the copyright date of this book.
"We make this distinction between fact and theory here and, so to speak, underline it, because we know there is still a considerable confusion in the public mind between the fact of Evolution and the conflicting theories about how it works. Dishonest Creationists, narrow fanatics, and muddle-headed people attempt to confuse the very wide diversity of opinion among scientific men upon questions of how and why with their assertion of stablished fact. Through this confusion it is suggested that the hated fact is still unproven. It is, on the contrary, proven up to the hilt..."
I hope that I have not bored you with something that you are already acquainted with. I found this to be interesting. I hope that you agree.
All of you deserve to be commended for this excellent site. Keep up the good work.
|Comment:||A minor quibble: In Andrew MacRae's "Radiometric Dating and the Geological Time Scale", second paragraph under "Biostratigraphy", you state "Spore-bearing land plants like ferns were always found before the occurrence of flowering plants". It would be more accurate to take a note from the previous sentence, and add "The first occurance of..." to the beginning of that sentence, since ferns did not become extinct when flowering plants appeared. I expect that one can find fossils of ferns and fern allies that are quite recent.|
|Comment:||The lack of a FAQ outlining the support of evolution via common descent utilizing data from plant studies is apparent. Could you outline please what the major landmarks in the evolution of plant species and how such can best be explained using an naturalistic evolutionary (as opposed to creationary) framework?|
|Response:||This is a
massive task, and one that would need to be done by someone
who has specialised in botanical evolution. From my own
minimal knowledge, I know that angiosperm (flowering plant)
evolution is a complex area, as is pteridophyte (ferns and
ferns allies), since both apparently hybridise massively.
Some interesting examples of evolution in plants includes the fact that grass did not evolve until after the Cretaceous, and it seems that this drove the evolution of other species such as animal grazers such as horses and bovines.
I also recall seeing a paper recently on the evolution of land plants from sea plants, so informaton is out there.
Anyone who is interested in this field might like to get going on the FAQ.
|Comment:||I am just beginning to study creationism. I think of myself as a creationist because I believe the world came into being through a Creator that is spirit. Beyond that, I have not gone much further. However, evolutionary theory I know some thing about. I classify it with creation myths; essentially a substitute for the creation myth in the Bible (Glynn Isaacs). I must say that "Evolution and Philosophy: Is Evolution Just Another Religion," is written with a clarity of style that I admire. His argument, however, treats religion as a phenomenon that proceeds from superstition as opposed to science. Emile Durkheim, in his Elementary Religion (not exact title, but I am stressed for time), proved to my ssatisfaction that religion is the oldest science and most tested phenomenon. In fact, he claims that the scientific method was first applied by religion. I have to go now. I just want to say, thank you for having this site. I just discovered it.|
|Author of:||Evolution and Philosophy: Metaphysics|
for your kind comments about the FAQ, but I believe you
misunderstand my claim.
I do not think that religion is superstition. But it is pre-science (so, for that matter is language, but I routinely use it in a non-scientific manner). All religious beliefs were initially couched in pre-scientific terms, and where a cosmology, or model of the universe, was supposed or put forward by these pre-scientific religious thinkers and writers, as in Genesis, they were pre-scientific in this as well.
One of these areas is the creation of living things. Pre-scientific ideas about taxonomy are very often wrong, because they were referring to organisms in terms of the ordinary commen sense language of their day. Hence we get words like "kind" or "fowl of the air". But neither of these refer to a real group of things, any more than the English words "tree" or "bush" do (some plants have both tree and bush forms).
Is this a criticism of the religious doctrines that are supported by these pre-scientific writings? Not at all. But the theological and the scientific notions of a religion are distinct things, and it is the latter that pre-scientific language gets wrong, often as not. Ignoring that won't make it otherwise.
Pre-scientific speculations about the world can be found in the early (Milesian) philosophers, and they canvassed a whole range of ideas. They were trying to do science, of course. But they didn't actually do it. Some things they happened to get right, and other things are clearly myth. The same is true of the Bible. Many things will be correct just because people then were as smart as they are now, and they had to make a living in their environment. But this does not make what they did good science.
The book by Durkheim, by the way, is Elementary Forms of the Religious Life first published in 1912. It's a long time since I read it, but I recall Durkheim as being very typological - that is to say, he divided social institutions up into fixed types. This is, I think, a holdover from earlier times, and should not be done. Society itself is evolving.
|Comment:||If genes, atoms, and cells have NO MIND what <who> makes them smarter than humans?|
smarter than humans, excepting creationists.
(Sorry. That was unworthy of me, but irresistable.)
Natural processes are often enormously subtle and complex. Genes, for example, do guide and control the growth and development of a living being, even one as complex and wonderful as a human being, all the way from a single celled zygote. This does not mean they are intelligent, or have a mind. Your mind grows and develops naturally, along with the rest of you. Science studies this amazing natural world.
|Comment:||I have heard
creationists say a number of times that language has become
grammatically (etc.) simpler over time. That is, Sanskrit
has changed to simpler Hindi, ancient Greek to simpler
Biblical and still simpler modern Greek, Latin to the
simpler modern romance languages like Spanish and French,
and so on. They've told me that this is hard to account for
in evolutionary theory. They ask how it could account for
human beings beginning with the most complex languages
rather than evolving toward them. They say that this would
imply design and, afterward, "devolution" or simplification
instead of "evolution" of languages. And on the Web, for
example, the "online edition of In the Beginning:
Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood (7th
Edition) by Dr. Walt Brown," with the Institute for
makes the same points and cites such such authorities as
Albert Limbaugh, Ralph Linton, and George Gaylord Simpson
in some brief quotations I'll reproduce below. And I cannot
find a simple concise direct evolutionist response on the
web, nor in a book like Robert Pennock's "Tower of Babel."
What's a concise direct response ? Thank you very much.
(And now here're are few of Dr. Walt Brown's quotations):
“Many other attempts have been made to determine the evolutionary origin of language, and all have failed. ... Even the peoples with least complex cultures have highly sophisticated languages, with complex grammar and large vocabularies, capable of naming and discussing anything that occurs in the sphere occupied by their speakers. ... The oldest language that can reasonably be reconstructed is already modern, sophisticated, complete from an evolutionary point of view.” --George Gaylord Simpson (former Professor of Vertebrate Paleontology at Harvard University), “The Biological Nature of Man,” Science, Vol. 152, 22 April 1966, p. 477. [Brown says:] "George Gaylord Simpson acknowledges the vast gulf that separates animal communication and human languages. Although he recognizes the apparent pattern of language development from complex to simple, he cannot digest it. He simply says, 'Yet it is incredible that the first language could have been the most complex.' He then shifts to a new subject." --George Gaylord Simpson, Biology and Man (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc., 1969), p. 116. The evolution of language, at least within the historical period, is a story of progressive simplification.” --Albert C. Baugh, A History of the English Language, 2nd edition (New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, Inc., 1957), p. 10. “The so-called primitive languages can throw no light on language origins, since most of them are actually more complicated in grammar than the tongues spoken by civilized peoples.” --Ralph Linton, The Tree of Culture (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1957), p. 9.
|Comment:||how does evolution deal with the 2ND law of thermodynamics? all systems increase in entropy|
There is a FAQ on thermodynamics here at the archive that you should have a look at.
The textbook, "Evolution As Entropy", by Brooks and Wiley advances an argument that the 2nd law of thermodynamics makes evolutionary change inevitable.
I like to point out that the processes necessary for evolutionary change are observed to happen in extant populations, so it is highly unlikely that any of these are thermodynamically disallowed. I regularly challenge people who claim that evolutionary processes violate the 2nd law of thermodynamics to identify a specific process which is disallowed by the 2nd law, show that it is a necessary part of an actual evolutionary theory, and that it is not observed to happen in extant organisms. So far, I've had no responses which fulfill the challenge. If you think you have one, feel free to post it to the talk.origins newsgroup.
|From:||Brent A. Temple|
1) Being brutally honest, what exactly are your veiws on God, evolution, and how everything began? I ask this because it can be really confusing on where you, the people who respond to our questions, are coming from and YOUR beliefs and ideas. Can you please straighten this out so some people could ask intelligent questions??
2) Finger prints are on our fingers for the purpose of gripping objects. If we did not have any such thing, objects we pick up might be sliding out of our hands all the time. Question is, how did they form and how did it get it's unique design? (please make sure your answer covers everything, i do not wish to have to write back and wait another 5 months for a reply to a correction to a misunderstanding.)
3) With so much logical and analytical thinking now a days, why do we still believe in a God at all. I've asked this question once before and got something similar to the response that...
"We believe in God because our brains are programmed to be like our primate ancestors who relied on a 'leader of the pack'...like a lion and his female lions whom he protects. or the bigger and stronger gorilla who protects the other gorillas of the pack." ...something like that.
I see where you are coming from, but like i was saying before, in a time when logic and analization rule our way of thinking, why do we believe in something that we can't see, hear or smell? As humans, the closest thing that can be associated with the "leader of the pack" would be a president. And yet, even with a president...we still need to believe in a GOD. Something higher than anything! And no matter what, no matter where we came from, or even if we never HEARD of such a thing as a GOD...we still believe in something higher, we WANT to believe in something higher. why is that?? and please don't tell me that it's because we're too stupid and think of unreal crap to explain something that can be common sense. There are things out there that do not make sense and even a scientist sometimes can not even figure out what the mystery might be. So, just for the sake of argument, imagine that you are the smartest person in the universe, with all the answers to everything known. But say that something comes along and even with all your vast knowledge, wisdom and scientific evaluation and experiments...can not conclude an answer? What will you assume? And please don't tell me that there wouldn't be an answer. There's always an answer to a mystery, it's just the difficulty in finding the answer that makes it a mystery.
my responses to correspond to the question being asked.
1. To give "our" views on God would require a different answer from each and every person who has written an FAQ, answered a feedback letter, or otherwise contributed to the Talk.Origins Archive. Obviously this can't be done. Some of the people who have helped put this site together are atheists, some are Christians, some are agnostics, some are deists, some are Jews, and so forth. There just isn't an easy way to answer your question.
2. I don't think I would accept your premise. The opposable thumb is obviously the most important trait in terms of gripping an object. I can't imagine that not having fingerprints would have much of an effect on our ability to grip things. As to how they formed, I haven't the foggiest idea. I would presume that they formed as a result of evolution like other traits. My guess is that there is probably some interesting research out there on this specific subject, but I've never seen it.
3. This is an odd question. You seem to be saying that logical and analytical thinking and belief in God are in conflict, and that is not a premise I accept. I doubt it is a premise you accept either. My suspicion is that you really intend to ask why so many people believe in God if there really isn't one. That is not a premise I accept either. Does widespread belief in God really mean there must be one? I don't think so. There are lots of sociological and psychological explanations for such beliefs. Does that mean that there isn't a God? Of course not. Either God exists or does not exist. Our belief can be based on lots of things other than actual knowledge of the right answer to that question. I certainly don't think that people believe in God because they are stupid, but it is also obviously true that throughout history human beings have used God as an explanation for things they did not understand at the time - sickness, thunderstorms, earthquakes, etc. Over time, as our understanding of these events widens, the scope of events attributed to the whim of a god shrinks.
Of course there are things we still don't understand. But the fact that we don't understand them does not mean that we should conclude that there is no explanation for them other than belief in a god. That doesn't mean there isn't a god, it just means that current lack of understanding does not logically lead to the conclusion that there is one. This is god of the gaps reasoning.
|Comment:||As an old man I have had a lifetime for personal consideration on the subject of creation and I always return to the same point of view. Mankind as a whole appears incapable of admitting "I do not know". The many religions have taken root in an attempt to answer the fundamental questions, Who am I - Where did I come from - Where am I going. For my self, I am quite happy to look up into the night sky, marvel at what I see and accept that it is far beyond my limited mind to understand. But that does not mean that some super intelligence created it all. I do not know!|
|Comment:||Sirs. I did not see any objections against a universal flood and Noahs ark that could not be answered by one fact.An omnipotent GOD! Michael Compton.|
is correct; "an omnipotent God" can be used to answer any
objections to any claim or idea. No difficulty with any
hypothesis is too great to be overcome by the ultimate
trump card: "God did it", and this is just the sort of
reasoning that makes so much of creationist ideas
Scientific hypotheses must be testable and since there is no way to test (and potentially falsify) any idea that incorporates "God did it", any hypothesis which does is by definition not scientific.
Belief in an omnipotent God is a perfectly good theological position. As is believing that said God has performed miracles throughout history, and as long as you maintain beliefs about the supposed actions of such a deity simply as matter of faith you are welcome to believe them.
Just don't try to claim that hypotheses incorporating such beliefs are scientific.
point should be noted. The reason we do not think there was
ever a global flood is not primarily because it could
not have happened, but because the evidence indicates
that it did not happen.
The omnipotent God explanation works, but not because an omnipotent God could arrange for a flood. It works because an omniopotent God would be capable of covering His tracks so effectively after the flood that all evidence indicates a long geological history for the planet without a global flood.
The theological implications of an omnipotent God deliberately using powers of omnipotence to create a fictional geological history of an unflooded Earth are generally frowned upon.
I happened to find your site by chance and it initially caused amusement followed by as great bemusement after I found it's all meant dead serious. It indeed is freightening to see that the need for such a site like yours apparently exists. I thought all these issues were sorted out sometime in the late 1800s and sometime in the 1930s or thereabouts the last "true believer" gave in.
This comes just a after a few days after I, as much by chance, saw the last episode of "History of Evolution" on TV which dealt with god (l/c, sic!) and the evolution and the program did not deal with a basic "is there a god?", but merely pitted creationist and non-creationist Christians.
It is freightening that the world's only remaining "superpower" also remains the world's only country where there seems to be some form of acceptance for creationists.
Is this nation on a straigh line towards a new dark middle age? Some political choices made in recent history seem to support this. Are the US home of the world's christian Ayatollahs, or is this just the way it is heading?
Do the USA have a serious education problem what the broad masses is concerned?
The world's superpower seems to be on a path where non-christianity is increasingly turning into a social no-no if not a real stigma. Even President Clinton seemed not to get by without frequent references to god.
Please struggle on, take no prisoners, no more arguing with people of irrational kind - don't take them serious! After the introduction of economic rationalism in a globalised world there seems to be a greater demand for "spirituality" and thus, the religious Snake-Oil-Salesmens'-Guild has obviously their shares rising. I guess, it's up to you in America to man the 'watchtower' of intelectual rationalism and prevent the advent of the "dark modern ages", before it is to late, if it is not yet!
Oliver Alexander, Sydney, Australia
|Author of:||Creation/Evolution Organizations and Periodicals|
|Response:||I hate to interrupt your USA-bashing, but I'm afraid that we are not alone in that respect. Your own Australia is home to the Creation Science Foundation, which is probably the second-most-influential creation 'science' ministry in the world.|
|Response:||We Aussies even export creationists. Ken Ham, for instance.|
|Comment:||As a teenager, I wanted to express my dismay at Mr. Tim Ilkeda's response to a young man's comment on flat earth theory in last month's feedback. While the premise of that feedback was indeed incorrect, I do not believe that gives Mr. Ilkeda a right to insult the intelligence of this year's high school graduates. The ignorance of a few should not be generalized onto the majority. I know many high school students probably use this site to research papers and the like, and I believe Mr. Ilkeda owes us an apology. Thank you.|
Gentle readers please beware: Not everyone includes "winky" emoticons in their correspondence to indicate the nearby presence of hyperbole.
BTW - I'd offer 10 quatloos to the first, sub-twenty year old that could identify (without the aid of an internet search engine, _Movie Hound_ type book or parental assistance), the overacting star of the movie in which the term "soylent green" was originally used, but we'd probably hose the feedback system.
|Comment:||I just spent
an hour or so exploring the Archive for the first time.
Thanks much for a job well (and comprehensively) done.
In addition to my thanks for a valuable resource, I offer three quick comments. First (and this has probably been said here somewhere already), many of the discussants seem to be under the mistaken impression that pointing up some untidiness in, or putative counter-example to, evolution by natural selection is to deny the fact of evolution, refute the causal theory, and prove the case for intelligent design.
But defeating evolutionary theory does not entail creationism, since the two are contraries rather than contradictories. To falsify evolutionary theory is not to confirm intelligent design. It is merely to defeat evolutionary theory. Neither does defeating the theory disprove the empirical claim that, evolutionary mechanisms aside, organisms evolve. If the theory that explains the phenomena is wrong, we need to build a new one, not deny the phenomena.
Second, it should be noted that to show problems with a theory is not always to give good reason to reject it. There just are no unproblematic scientific theories of any kind, and my sense is that there will never be any. The best we've got is the best we've got.
Last, a more productive tack for creationists to take would be to deny the primacy of science's claim to knowledge rather than try to make science refute itself. I mean, why not just argue that scientific knowing is overblown and problematic, and that faith- or scripture-based knowledge is what we should teach our kids? This would move the discussion out of the realm of the disingenuous and into an honest rejection science altogether. If one wants to be anti-science, why not jump in with both feet? We might then have a real discussion about the limits of science.
|Comment:||For some reason I had a (young earth) creationist start emailing me. Although I have a background in science and could address some of his claims off the bat as misleading or just plain wrong, there was no way I could properly address all of this person's emails in the way they deserved. When I found this website I referred it to him/her. Although it has not helped my particular situation (the person continues to spam me with arguments, all of which are addressed in your FACS) I appreciate that you are taking this seriously and have devoted the time to present the (careful, multidisciplined,and substantive) evidence for evolution, and have wonderfully illustrated what makes Science different than Dogma.|