At the edge of knowledge

Posted by on May 7, 2010 in Thoughts | 231 comments

We know nothing.

The collective knowledge of all the people on earth that have ever lived is but a drop in the ocean of all possible knowledge in the universe. (1) And the amount of knowledge any one person has is dwarfed by the knowledge of all mankind over its existence. As I’ve said in previous blogs, the cumulative knowledge of humankind is build on the countless centuries of knowledge shared by those who came before us.

A spiral galaxy seen side on- From Hubble

A spiral galaxy seen side on- From Hubble

We are standing on the shoulders of giants, and are the giants upon whose shoulders future generations will stand.

To me it seems that knowledge is learned in two ways; active learning, where one is taught or studies to gain knowledge, and passive learning, where one absorbs the knowledge of those around them and by personal experience. In combination, passive and active learning help us to shape the breadth of our knowledge as individuals, and in groups of personal knowledge we formulate a cultural or societal knowledge.

But knowledge is subjective, and very much based on the stimuli and teachings that we as individuals are exposed to. Learnings from cultures outside of the ones we are familiar with may seem alien to us, even foolish. For many, what we know includes what we accept as fact, and what we believe to be true, and this will all be dependent on what and how we’ve been taught. What one individual holds as “truth” another may see as a bald-faced lie, and what one may see as “immoral” or “wrong” could be an accepted fact in another’s culture. But the amazing thing about the human brain is the ability to take two seemingly unrelated pieces of knowledge and abstract them to create a third new piece of knowledge. We compare knowledge against knowledge and make decisions based on this. This is how knowledge progresses, with the input of new knowledge and our own interpretations of the way our accumulated knowledges resonate against it.

So with this in mind, our decisions and our personal knowledge, by its very nature, is fallible, because it is totally dependent upon the credibility of the information we have access to, and on our individual ability to see fact from fiction. If one is fed only information from one source and is sheltered from anything that might be contrary or questioning of that, it becomes deeply ingrained in our psyches. Our abilities to make useful judgements of the world depend upon the quality and reliability of the information we receive. The downside to this, being fed bad information means making poor judgement calls, and believing falsehoods. Just because something  is considered as “knowledge” by someone, doesn’t make it fact. And there are some things we just have to believe on faith (I cannot prove that Russell’s Teapot does not exist, but I can be pretty much certain it does not.) Anything that cannot be proven, but is held as fact by an individual can be considered a “belief”, eg. religion.

While knowledge is relatively subjective, belief is completely subjective. And while knowledge is what shapes our ability to function in society, belief on its own is incredibly powerful in shaping our decisions and directing our moral compasses.

Knowledge that is provable, repeatable and based in reality is called “fact”. It is a truth verifiable from experience or observation. Sometimes, what someone “believes” is at ends with the facts, and causes, in most cases, the believer to fall into denial of these facts. People who deny that the earth is an oblique spheroid, people who deny evolution, people who believe conspiracy theories, vaccines linked to autism, who label science as “theoretical”, these people are denialists and are controlled by beliefs only.

As Michael Specter said in his TED talk:

“People wrap themselves in their beliefs, and they do it so tightly that you cannot set them free. Not even the truth will set them free. And listen, everyone is entitled to their opinion, they are even entitled to their opinion on progress [...], but you are not entitled to your own facts.”

A badly educated person, poorly home-schooled or brought up in a strictly religious household may hold beliefs that are at ends with reality. And it is usually through heredity that a person winds up in this sort of situation. Religion is equal to bad knowledge, which while it may teach some valuable life lessons and give comfort to those in need, it is based in a fallacy. Children can’t tell the difference, and it is as children we are fed these stories, labelled as “fact”.

With bad learning comes bad decisions. We can’t afford any more bad decisions in this world. We need to defend facts. We need to defend our collective knowledge. We need to move toward secular learning. We need to think about what is real, and what is simply parable designed to control. And when confronted with the very edge of our knowledge, the complete limits of what we know, instead of throwing our hands up and claiming “God”, let us strive for a real understanding.

Stumble This!

UPDATE: (1) I received a few comments regarding the opening statement in this blog piece. I answered these concerns in the comments below, but I have brought them up into the article so I don’t get repeated comments. I qualify my opening statement thus:

“I say this from this standpoint: I am one of many who see the universe as infinite. My idea that the possible extent of all knowledge is unobtainable hinges on the infinite nature of the universe. Sure we have learnt a lot about the nature of the universe in history, but if the universe is truly infinite, then all possible knowledge is infinite and is therefore unobtainable, as the human brain is finite by its very nature.”

I hope this answers any concerns that the above article may have brought up.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)

231 Comments

  1. I couldn’t agree with you more. Excellent post. Keep fighting the good fight.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  2. I’ve never understood the denialism some religious people espouse. If you truly do believe in a god that is omnipotent and infinitely complex, how can you find anything completely impossible?

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  3. Please don’t lump homeschoolers in with badly-educated or strictly religious. You are perpetuating a common myth and I can tell you that my homeschooled children are well above their peers and cousins in terms of education, knowledge and free thinking.
    Otherwise good blog :)

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • OK I do agree that there are homeschooled kids that are above their peers. However, it comes down to the quality of the information being given to the children. I knew someone would pick me up on that one… :)

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  4. Hi. I am also an atheist. However, your opening line concerns me. You say that, “The collective knowledge of all the people on earth that have ever lived is but a drop in the ocean of all possible knowledge in the universe.” I can’t see how you could know this.

    To explain, it seems like you claim to know that there is a body of knowledge that qualifies as ‘all possible knowledge in the universe’, despite the fact that you are coming from the viewpoint of the limited knowledge of a person which, as you say, ‘is but a drop in the ocean of all possible knowledge’.

    In short, how can you know of the existence of and extent of knowledge that by your own definition is beyond your understanding in the very first place?

    This comment is not intended to sound aggressive, but as a fellow atheist I am puzzled by your claim to an external, independent body of knowledge. I am confused more so when you claim that “knowledge is subjective”, while previously claiming that knowledge is external and out the waiting for us to find it as though it exists in an objective sense.

    Can you clear this up for me? I am open to the idea that I have simply misunderstood you.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • Good point, sometimes I skip over things and should probably expand. My apologies for this.

      I say this from this standpoint: I am one of many who see the universe as infinite. My idea that the possible extent of all knowledge is unobtainable hinges on the infinite nature of the universe. Sure we have learnt a lot about the nature of the universe in history, but if the universe is truly infinite, then all possible knowledge is infinite and is therefore unobtainable, as the human brain is finite by its very nature.

      That is what was trying to say. Does that make sense or am I still missing something?

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • Well brought up, Languid. Now it’s going to drive me crazy over the weekend. Would be interested to hear your views; my mind is extremely finite! Knowledge is practical use of information, so is information objective/independent perhaps? But I guess the uncertainty principle throws that out of whack. I’m probably making little sense, but would love some more discussion on this.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  5. I LOVED IT, yet another great blog :)

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  6. Another excellent post, Marty! I love your blogs. I just happened to see this image today – kinda fits here :) http://www.scrollinondubs.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/05/youDontKnowYouDontKnow.png

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  7. A theory of evolution which you have accepted even though you most likely have never studied evolutionary biology. So . . . . a pile of lifeless chemicals got up and eventually made computers like this one . .. all by itself. So where are the missing links? Let me see a living cell form just by putting some chemical soup together. Lets all simulate the big bang and see if it works. And the strangest thing is that evolutionists assume that simply because things look alike they must have been related. Its all just one big theory, yet man is asked to blindly accept it and be considered ignorant if he does not do so. In short, atheists have blind faith and just need to admit it. Don’t worry its ok. We all have blind faith. Its called a theory in some circles. You think you can prove that there is no designer? Can anything at all have a proof or lack of proof that it was intentional? What if God intentionaly caused a big bang? So evolution is not proof of God’s nonexistence. That’s just as illogical as saying that things exist, therefore God made them. Either statement, taken by itself, is not a proper conclusion. It is a fallacy. If you want to be a total skeptic you must become agnostic. By asserting atheism you assert something you cannot prove.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • thanks mike, there is no god, just evolution, because? what god created god and so on, what haves god evolved from. god is a made up supertition from humans
      from all knowledge and are total knowledge haves to evolved, from us, life haves to evolve from the small;… time, small and large are infinite in the cosmos. so from are collective knowledge these are thories, but are a lot closer to the facts, than a man made god is, you are right about theories. but humans evolving to the facts, i think soon we will create life see other cosmoses from are evolving evolution

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • Some things are so likely or unlikely that they can be called true or untrue. What you need is reasonable evidence ie. you need to prove god is real via reasonable means. You can only have a reasonable amount of evidence for anything. You are looking for absolute truths which you never find. For example of this you can use reasonable evidence (or lack of supporting evidence to the claim) to say that the flying spaghetti monster is not real. It’s not absolute but reasonable to assume this is true.

      To quote Hebrews 11:1 (King James Version) “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”. Atheists see no god so there is no god. Christians see no god but they have faith there is.

      You can not rule out the flying spaghetti monster who created everything as you see it because you can’t prove me wrong.

      There are different definitions of faith one is blind the other is reasoned.

      Btw just because science hasn’t recreated simple cells yet (sorta have though but not fully) doesn’t disprove evolution by natural selection or un-natural selection (ie breeding selection control done by humans).

      Whats the bet that if your a Christian and in the bible it said god created life and it evolved you’d have no problem with evolution but since it doesn’t support your argument you say it’s not real and put your hands in your ears and say lalalala fake false untrue you don’t you know blah blah blah

      You can’t absolutely prove anything. You can only do it to a reasonable level. Do think the the god of the bible and it’s claims of nature for example is reasonably proved to be true?

      God, the idea of a supreme being has no evidence other than to say you can not prove what doesn’t exist, doesn’t exist.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • I’m really not sure I understand what you’re saying. I’ll step through your answer one sentence at a time.

      “A theory of evolution which you have accepted even though you most likely have never studied evolutionary biology.”
      Correct I am not an evolutionary biologist, but I do read a lot about it. You don’t have to be a PHD in a subject to subscribe its findings.

      “So . . . . a pile of lifeless chemicals got up and eventually made computers like this one . .. all by itself.”
      Well this is completely wrong, the key words being “all by itself.” No it was not all by itself, there are innumerable forces and influences which have come together to create life on Earth, solar and extra-solar activity, geological forces, basic chemistry, all took part in the formation of the first cells. Sure I wasn’t there to watch this, but there is a LOT of study behind this. Science is much more than just theory.

      “So where are the missing links? Let me see a living cell form just by putting some chemical soup together. Lets all simulate the big bang and see if it works.”
      Stating something isn’t true by the missing links is silly. Just because something is unknown doesn’t make it silly or fanciful. Science makes its findings based upon what IS observable, and applying it to different situations. And sure if I mix tomato sauce and peanutbutter and leave it in the sun, a monkey isn’t going to crawl out of it a couple of days later. not just any chemicals will do. Scientists are able to create amino acids from raw materials in labs by using specific chemicals. It’s only one step away from creating life. And given we don’t know what the exact conditions were on Earth when the first life came to be, I think scientists are doing a pretty damn good job of piecing together the information to get this far.
      As far as creating the Big Bang? Well just because we haven’t answered that one, doesn’t mean we are looking for the answers, and gettin closer every day. (I’m not sure it would be in our interests to literally recreate the Big Bang, if you know what I mean.)

      “Its all just one big theory, yet man is asked to blindly accept it and be considered ignorant if he does not do so. In short, atheists have blind faith and just need to admit it.”

      Your use of the word “theory” is misleading. You are using it in a way that gives it no credibility at all. This passage should help you understand a bit better what the words “Scientific Theory” mean in practice.
      “A scientific theory Isn’t just a hunch or guess. It’s more like a question That’s been put through a lot of tests. And when a theory emerges consistent with the facts, the proof is with science.”
      The way a scientific mind works cannot be described as “blind faith”.

      The rest of your comment is basically the same statement “you cannot prove anything, so shut up.” Well far from being able to prove anything I assert to you this; with the massive amount of brilliant thinking that has gone into the scientific fields in history, all of which have helped humanity get to this technological, social and cultural point, which would you put your bets with if given only these choices? The maybe answer is just lazy or unwilling to make a decision. There is no advantage to it. “Proof” is described as this

      “a. The validation of a proposition by application of specified rules, as of induction or deduction, to assumptions, axioms, and sequentially derived conclusions.
      b. A statement or argument used in such a validation.”

      Which of theism and atheism applies this to describing the nature of the universe?

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • @Klasco YES we speak the same language! :D Thanks for your (and joseph logston’s) comments. Rationality wins today :D

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • First off. . . dont mix evolutionary biology and the cosmos. Different things. Second, if god did in fact create the big bang, (or in other words, lit the fuse that began everything) then “it” does not have anything to do with our daily lives. It is of no use praying to an invisible being that does not deal directly our world. Be it what it may, People live and die, just like any animal, plant, and living organism. There is nothing that decides its fate.

      Also, we do not assert atheism. Atheism is simply lack of “faith” or belief in the supernatural, whether its god, spirits, ghosts, unicorns, tiny elves with pots of gold etc. It is not a faith, it is not a religion.

      Also, science is not blind faith. Religion is. You read the bible, take it for true even if it’s wrong. With science and reason, you have your hypothesis and prove them. Then other scientists try and prove them wrong. If they do. . . your hypothesis is rejected. But if it’s accepted, it is still called a theory. Just like the Heliocentric Theory (The theory that the earth revolves around the sun. . . it is a theory but it is a fact. Just like Theory of evolution.)

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • “A theory of evolution which you have accepted even though you most likely have never studied evolutionary biology.”

      Do you accept that E=mc^2? I do even though I only vaguely understand it. I wouldn’t be able to derive it. Can you derive it? My point is that we all have our experts. I bet there are theology arguments that you don’t fully understand (does anyone fully understand them?) but you accept them anyway.

      “So . . . . a pile of lifeless chemicals got up and eventually made computers like this one . .. all by itself.”

      When does a lifeless chemical become a living thing? At what point does natural selection become impossible?

      “So where are the missing links?”

      Every fossil is a transitional fossil. If you’d like to see lovely examples of evolution, look up the evolution of the horse or the whale. We have excellent examples of transitional fossils that go from one species to another. To suggest otherwise is deception or ignorance (or both).

      “Let me see a living cell form just by putting some chemical soup together.”

      How evolution got started isn’t fully understood. Can we show soup to cells? No (not that I know of). Can we show soup to amino acids? Yes. The Miller-Urey experiment produced 22 amino acids. The science in this area is ongoing. I suspect that when and if scientists do show how to go from chemical soup to living cell you’ll find some reason not to accept it.

      “Lets all simulate the big bang and see if it works.”

      I thought we were talking evolution and abiogenesis here. What does the big bang have to do with that subject?

      “And the strangest thing is that evolutionists assume that simply because things look alike they must have been related.”

      That’s a gross oversimplification. It’s not just the look of an organism, it’s the structure of that organism. And guess what, the DNA evidence is in absolute agreement with the physical evidence.

      “Its all just one big theory, yet man is asked to blindly accept it and be considered ignorant if he does not do so.”

      This is a nonsense statement on so many levels. The theory of evolution is as valid as the heliocentric theory or germ theory. Nobody is expecting anyone to blindly accept any scientific theory. All the information is out there, quit being lazy and go find out about it. Yes, I would consider you ignorant if you did not accept the fact that the earth goes around the sun. Similarly, not accepting the fact of evolution also makes you ignorant.

      “In short, atheists have blind faith and just need to admit it. Don’t worry its ok. We all have blind faith. Its called a theory in some circles.”

      Blind faith is only blind when you have no access to the reasons you believe something. One should never accept something on blind faith. If you don’t understand evolution, you can, and should, research it. This isn’t theology, this is science. All the information is available to you.

      “You think you can prove that there is no designer? Can anything at all have a proof or lack of proof that it was intentional? What if God intentionaly caused a big bang?”

      Can I prove there is no designer God? No, but I can give very good logical reasons to doubt it. I got a package delivered today. Based on the available information, I had great confidence about what was in that package. It came from where I expected it to come from. It was about the size and shape that I expected it to be. And I knew that it was sent overnight yesterday so that it should be arriving today. I knew what was in the box beyond all reasonable doubt, but until I looked in the box, there is no way I could have proved what was in it beyond all unreasonable doubt.

      It could have been a bomb. It could have been a surprise gift that I couldn’t have expected. There are an amazing array of things that could have been in that box. But there are even more things that could not have been in that box. In fact, there are an infinite number of things that could not have been in there. Anything that exceeded the dimensions of that box couldn’t have been in there, that’s easy. Anything that was too heavy couldn’t have been in there either. So it wasn’t full of lead. But it also couldn’t have contained things that don’t make sense or things that only exist as concepts. It didn’t have a perfect circle because there can be no such thing as a perfect circle in reality. It couldn’t have contained an invisible teapot.

      So it goes with what is out there in the universe. We can be certain there aren’t certain things in the universe because they don’t make sense. One example of something that doesn’t make sense is the contradictory idea of a God that is omnipotent and omniscient designer.

      “So evolution is not proof of God’s nonexistence. That’s just as illogical as saying that things exist, therefore God made them. Either statement, taken by itself, is not a proper conclusion. It is a fallacy.”

      The only group that suggests that someone believes evolution is proof of God’s nonexistence are anti-rationalists. Evolution doesn’t make any claims about God no matter how much theists want to suggest that it does.

      “If you want to be a total skeptic you must become agnostic. By asserting atheism you assert something you cannot prove.”

      We are all agnostic. You are agnostic, I am agnostic, the pope is agnostic, Osama Bin Laden is agnostic. None of us has information about the supernatural. We all use the best information we can find to extrapolate what is true about the universe. When engaged in science, people are strictly agnostic. When we step away from the lab, we are each allowed to use our imaginations to help us decide the truth about the world. Some of us find reasons to believe in one of any number of Gods, some of us are confounded and can’t hazard a guess, and some of us think that there is no good reason to believe in any God. Atheism, no matter how hard theists try to negatively brand it, is not a positive assertion.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  8. I have no idea what it is you are talking about, the only thing I do know is that what ever it is it has nothing what so ever to do with evolution or science.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  9. So you have all admitted in your comments that there is no absolute proof that the big bang happened or that there are missing links or even that cells can form from selection, yet you assert that we must use science and not have blind faith. Is believing in that which has no proof not blind faith? I do not see reason in your arguments. You switch from an argument against blind faith to an argument in favor of theories, which “are” blind faith. I see no logic in that. If you studied psychology you would understand that some faith and emotion are needed in order to reason. Emotion creates our desire to learn and be creative. Faith allows us to have theories. Reason corrects our faith. It all works together if in proper order. You suppose that random energy can create the organized biological form that is us. You in this case suppose something that is as silly as a flying tea cup. Your biological form is more precisely organized than a computer, yet if asked which one evolved you will say it is yourself own species that did. Now, if you conclude this, you must conclude that computers also evolved, yet I doubt you would believe this. We have a problem regarding information here. Organized information can only come from something that is intelligent . . .a brain. Coordination, for example, would be neccisarry at a certain point to create complex structures. And the thing being coordinated has to change from moment to moment and all be kept together in a plan. It is the only way that a computer could have formed and it is the only way that a complex system like yourself could have formed. Molecules and radiation do not have the intelligence to coordinate to such a complex degree via random radiation and chemical soups. Random mutation is not the answer in itself because it is not an intelligent process. So you see, what I believe has a great deal to do with reason. If it did not then I would have agreed with you. I never jump on the total blind faith wagon as I used to because the existence of hell made me think twice about whether my faith was true. As it turns out there may actually be only this physical body that gets ressurected and all the unbelievers, rather than being taken to hell, are utterly erased from existence. And all the evil in the world is easily attributed to Adams big mistake. It has been proven that food can alter genes, so why not an apple?

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • Did you even read what I wrote? As for science, please read this before commenting again http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • ok ok, never mind I must have seen the evolution thing somewhere else in this blog. My bad.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  10. I was responding to one part of what you wrote, that religious people are ignorant about the theory of evolution. I set out to prove this point incorrect. Further it disproves your larger point that everything religious people believe is unrealistic. I have given a very nice argument against the notion of evolution above, but as usual I receive really harsh replies and then latter nice ones. The first ones are always harsh because I am usually stereotyped as an ignorant religious white conservative bigoted christian. To the contrary of what most atheists assume about me, I almost became one myself until I discovered the fallacies of atheism. Wishful thinking does not help one discover truth.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  11. “Just because something is considered as “knowledge” by someone, doesn’t make it fact.”

    I agree. But I wish you could take a step back and see how one sided your argument is. You say that just because a bunch of religious people think something, that doesn’t mean it’s true. But I say that just because a bunch of scientific people think something, that doesn’t mean it’s true either. Unfortunately, scientific theory isn’t formed by a bunch of people getting together and agreeing on something. In order for something to be theory, let alone Fact, it has to be Provable, Disprovable and Repeatable. Unfortunately no one has ever been able to repeat evolution or the origin of life. Without being able to test the theories of evolution and get the expected results, then propose a hypothesis for other to test and verify or disprove, then by sciences own definition evolution can never be a Theory.

    “And there are some things we just have to believe on faith (I cannot prove that Russell’s Teapot does not exist, but I can be pretty much certain it does not.)”

    Again, I agree. With the first half at least. My question is what reason do you have to believe that Russell’s Teapot doesn’t exist? If there is a teapot out in space and it’s too small to observe, then there be be no reason for or against it’s existence. You have no evidence to it’s nonexistence other than the fact that you choose to believe that it doesn’t exist. As to why it would be there. It take far less faith to believe that by random chance, the forces of the cosmos came together to create something perfectly resembling a teapot, which is now orbiting in our solar system, than it does to belief that random chance cause a planet that holds a precise orbit, has the right conditions for single cell life, and also managed to spawn up said life, which then turned into complex life, and eventually self-aware, highly intelligent human life. And the statistical chances or the teapot coming into being versus complex life are also much more digestible. So how could you believe in complex, macro evolution, but claim that it is outrageous enough to be unbelievable that there is a teapot in space?

    Anything that cannot be proven, but is held as fact by an individual can be considered a “belief”, eg. religion.”

    Thank you. I’ve thought this or years, but it is nice to hear from the mouth of a evolution supporter. According to this statement and logic, Evolution is just as much a belief system, or religion, as intelligent design or believing in God. Neither are repeatable or provable, and both require a certain amount of faith on the part of the subscriber to make up for the lack of evidence.

    I believe in evolution within species, and believe that the earth is as old as science thinks it is, and that there was some kind of big bangy beginning, but for now the theory of evolution raises more questions than it answers. I will admit that the vast majority of religious people are close minded and only interested in believing what they already hold to be true, rather than seeking ultimate truth, but I would say the same is true about evolutionists. I have met very few that I would categorize as open minded. Most seem like they are on a single minded mission to prove something that they already hold to be true. No different than religious people. Evolution only holds enough answers to satisfy those who are only looking for one outcome. For one looking for an alternative to the existence of a higher power, than evolution has all the answers needed. But for an open minded individual, it raises more questions than it answers.

    *Flame suit on*

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • A true skeptic in our midst. How refreshing!

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • Don’t worry Ben, I get your points, I don’t think you need a *flame suit*. Not just yet. :D

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • Ben – you say you believe in evolution within a species. What happens when you make teeny weeny changes to a species over millions & millions of years? What prevents those changes from accumulating into larger differences, like a rabbit being a distant cousin to a field mouse?

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • Wendy -
      When you make teeny weeny changes in a species over millions and millions of years, you end up with a species that is a reasonable amount different than it was millions of years ago. But what you don’t end up with is both a species that is a newer different version of something from millions of years AND another species that represents what the other species had been millions of years ago. That is what doesn’t make sense to me about evolutions. The causation of evolution comes from adaptation and the survival of a dominant species. So if a rabbit has evolved from a field mouse, then why do we still have a field mouse? Surely the field mouse needed to adapt to survive in order to continue existing, and if so, maybe it turned into a rabbit, but it can’t turn into a new thing and yet still be what is was. If rabbit came from field mice, then we would no longer have field mice, since the very nature of the field mouse is that it was no longer sufficient for current survival standards, and thus needed to adapt; leaving it’s old form and becoming something new. So with all these examples of this became one of those, and one of these used to be that, why do some many of them co-exist. If the environmental stressors were enough to cause adaptation to the point of evolution, then surely the original being would have ceased.

      And also. I’ll stick with the rabbit and field mouse story, but let’s face it, we’re all talking about primates and humans. I don’t think anyone in their right mind would think for the purpose of environmental adaption, a field mouse gave birth to a rabbit. So if such a thing were to happen the would be many steps in between. So let’s say a field mouse is step 1 and a rabbit is step 100. Where are steps 2-99? If step 1 has survived and we still have record of it, then surely at least some of the other step would have hung on. Surely we would have some step 1′s, some step 7′s, some step 23′s, a couple of step58′s a whole bunch of step 89′s and a bunch of step 100′s. There no logical cause for the first and last step of an evolution to survive and persist, but not anything in between them. If we cam from primates, then why do we still have primates? And why don’t we have any the many necessary steps in between?

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • “When you make teeny weeny changes in a species over millions and millions of years, you end up with a species that is a reasonable amount different than it was millions of years ago.”

      You can end up with a creature that is very similar to its ancestors millions of years prior, a creature that is marginally different than its ancestors were millions of years prior, or a creature that is VASTLY different than its ancestors millions of years prior (e.g. small, land-based dog-like creatures that are the ancestors of whales). This is important to note. There is no dictum on what will happen to a species in the future.

      “But what you don’t end up with is both a species that is a newer different version of something from millions of years AND another species that represents what the other species had been millions of years ago.”

      Absolutely, verifiably, unconditionally false. Take for example the Coelacanth. The Coelacanth is a member of the Sarcopterygii class which spawned (among other things) terrestrial vertibrates (like humans). We even have a reasonable understanding of how this happens and we have example after example after example of species that were for one reason or another isolated from members of their species and became an entirely new, but related species. This happens because of things like geological events that separate species (e.g. mountain ranges developing, deserts forming, plates separating) or migrations or simply adapting to certain evolutionary niches. We are seeing the latter right now, today, with killer whales: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/27/science/27whale.html?ref=science

      “That is what doesn’t make sense to me about evolutions. The causation of evolution comes from adaptation and the survival of a dominant species. So if a rabbit has evolved from a field mouse, then why do we still have a field mouse?”

      A few things. 1) Nobody said rabbits evolved from an extant field mouse. Rabbits evolved from something RESEMBLING a field mouse. 2) See my above explanation of how branching can cause a species to remain extant while part of that species evolves into a different species.

      “Surely the field mouse needed to adapt to survive in order to continue existing, and if so, maybe it turned into a rabbit, but it can’t turn into a new thing and yet still be what is was. If rabbit came from field mice, then we would no longer have field mice, since the very nature of the field mouse is that it was no longer sufficient for current survival standards, and thus needed to adapt; leaving it’s old form and becoming something new.”

      This “logic” ignores basic facts about evolution and cannot be taken seriously. The last common ancestor to rabbits and field mice is extinct (and likely has been for many millions of years).

      “So with all these examples of this became one of those, and one of these used to be that, why do some many of them co-exist. If the environmental stressors were enough to cause adaptation to the point of evolution, then surely the original being would have ceased.”

      In the vast majority of cases (including rabbits, bears, horses, whales, and yes even humans), the “original species” is extinct. That is to say that the last common ancestor between, say, rabbits and field mice, dogs and bears, or chimps and humans is not an extant species. In other cases like the Coelacanth, Darwin’s finches or the Orcas in the NYT article above, we can see speciation in the act and one species diverging from an extant ancestor species.

      “And also. I’ll stick with the rabbit and field mouse story, but let’s face it, we’re all talking about primates and humans. I don’t think anyone in their right mind would think for the purpose of environmental adaption, a field mouse gave birth to a rabbit.”

      If it was verified that a field mouse gave birth to a rabbit, that would overturn the theory of evolution completely.

      “So if such a thing were to happen the would be many steps in between. So let’s say a field mouse is step 1 and a rabbit is step 100. Where are steps 2-99? If step 1 has survived and we still have record of it, then surely at least some of the other step would have hung on. Surely we would have some step 1′s, some step 7′s, some step 23′s, a couple of step58′s a whole bunch of step 89′s and a bunch of step 100′s. There no logical cause for the first and last step of an evolution to survive and persist, but not anything in between them. If we cam from primates, then why do we still have primates? And why don’t we have any the many necessary steps in between?”

      Again, both chimps and humans evolved from an earlier ancestor. In other words, our (approximate) 250,000-great grandparent would be a creature from which all humans, chimpanzees, and bonobos were directly descended. Scientists estimate that this creature lived between 5 and 7 million years ago. Great ape fossils are quite rare because of the acidity of rainforest soils; however, the DNA evidence is absolutely solid.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  12. Nice, I have a real debate on my hands! This is interesting! I hope to see what others have to say before i make any more comments.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  13. I’ve always thought knowledge was something I could verify, one way or another, something derived from observations, facts, but mostly confirmed by making predictions that work.

    Whether I know “universal knowledge” is finite or not is not very helpful. I don’t even think it’s a valid question to ask.

    What I want to know is how probable any unconfirmed belief is. For instance, I hold this “belief” that there are a lot of other sentient beings in this universe. I’ll probably never be able to confirm that into knowledge. But by just looking at the numbers of possible locations, and “knowing” that life’s building blocks are all over the place and that once fired, life is incredibly resilient and that given enough time, life manages to produce “us”, I qualify this “belief” of mine as much more probable than the belief in the existence of a supernatural dimension, or the belief in an infinite universe.

    I personally believe the universe is finite (not quite verified yet – still open to debate). But it has no bearing on my existence.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • Well, I really think the physical evidence is lacking for things to arise from simple chemicals, which is why I find intelligent design far more probable. I think that what people see as probable is based on their core beliefs more than anything. Hence what one person may consider possible another may consider to be impossible. For example, those of you who hold to the evolution theory have as the basis of your belief the idea that things are chemically emergent, whereas the truely thinking Creationist, and there are some, sees this chemical emergence as impossible. So you see you have core beliefs that other beliefs revolve around like planets. The real question is whether the sun at the center of our solar systems of belief should even be there in the first place. We also frame things. Two people can see the same thing as completely different things. The creationist sees design in everything wheras the evolutionist is more likely to see an emergent chemical mass. That is almost like those perceptual illusions, seeing the same thing as if it were something else.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • mike, you said “The creationist sees design in everything wheras the evolutionist is more likely to see an emergent chemical mass.”

      If I see a long stretch of driftwood on a beach in western Washington state, I’d have to conclude it was a wall. It looks like a wall being quite long and 6 or 7 feet tall. It acts like a wall forcing me to climb over it if I want to dip my toes in the cool ocean. The driftwood “wall” serves many other purposes, particularly for the vast array of life we find living in it. Yet, this driftwood “wall” is simply the result of natural processes. Trees die, they get swept into the ocean and at some point they get pushed en-masse to the high water mark by a storm.

      We “evolutionists” have this wall to use to compare a wall we suspected to be man-made. The man made wall is likely to be more orderly, maybe built with bricks aligned precisely above one another. Maybe with an orderly repeating pattern found embedded within the wall itself. The wall probably has a single purpose, to keep people or animals in (or out). After a quick comparison with the driftwood “wall” that we know is a natural occurrence, we can state with a very high amount of confidence that the orderly brick wall is very likely the result of human design.

      So my question is, what do you use as comparison to suggest there is “design in everything?”

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • “For instance, I hold this “belief” that there are a lot of other sentient beings in this universe. I’ll probably never be able to confirm that into knowledge. But by just looking at the numbers of possible locations….”

      The other day I watched one of the Universe specials on the History Channel (wow, I just had to google the world channel, because it looked wrong no matter how I wrote it…). The particular episode I watched was one trying to find other planets that could possible support life. The ‘experts’ on the show spent the entire time basically talking about how impossible and improbable it was. They were all hopeful of finding one, and don’t seem to think it’s a big deal that there is life on earth, but at the same time they can’t get over how ridiculously improbable life’s existence is. They spent most of the time talking about the search for a planet that had the proper temperature range to support life, and talking about how exact the Earth’s orbit was, and how that if it was just a little bit off in either direction we would all either freeze to death or burn alive. They talked about possible planet after possible planet, only coming up with a never ending stream of, this one is too close to it’s sun and is too hot, this one is too far from it’s sun and is too cold, this one’s orbit is too elliptical and the temperature swing are too big, this one doesn’t even have a solid surface even though we thought it did. At the end of the show, as far as I could tell, astronomers, for all their searching, can’t even find a planet with the right temperature range and orbit. And that is one of the most basic necessities for life. How about the other couple hundred of carefully balanced requirements for life? We can’t even find a planet that has one. So I would say that it is in fact much less probable that other life exists than you would think.

      And here’s the thing. If you gave me a full set of alphabet fridge magnets, and my mission was to throw them at the fridge and get them to be arranged in a perfect alphabet, it is theoretically possible that if given enough tries, it would eventually happen. For the sake of argument, let’s say that the statistical odds are 1:1,000,000. So, I spend the next years, relentlessly hurling these magnetic letters at the fridge and eventually it happens. Hooray. Random chance just caused something ordered. But this is another place where evolution falls flat on it’s face. Statistically, within those 1m tries, would be a plethora of examples of varying closeness to what we were trying to achieve. Theoretically, 10% ofthem would have been 90-99% of what we were looking for, 10% of them would have been 80-89% of what were looking for, 10% of them would have 70-79% of what were looking for, and so on. Within all those tries would be reasonably equal representation of everything between 0% of what we were looking for and 100% of what we were looking for. That makes sense. So to carry that over to planets capable of support life. Let’s dumb down the odds by a few millions of millions and keep the same numbers. Let’s say it’s 1:1,000,000 for life to existence on earth. Then according to the equal representation of random chance, there should be 100,000 planets that are 90% of the way there for supporting life, and 100,000 planets that are 80% of the way there for supporting life. But what get is the fact that one planet has hit the bullseye, and made that 1:1,000,000 chance, and that rest have all failed completely and hit the 0% mark. If it were truly random chance, then we would have every kind of planet in between of 0% capability of supporting life and 100% capability of supporting life. Surely we could atleast find a few planets with the right temperature, or water on it, or the hot core/techtonic plate structure needed, no? How is it that one planet randomly scored 100%, and every other planet random scored 0%?

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • “Surely we could atleast find a few planets with the right temperature, or water on it, or the hot core/techtonic plate structure needed, no? How is it that one planet randomly scored 100%, and every other planet random scored 0%?”

      You act as if we have some kind of detailed listing of planets in the universe or something. Right now, we can’t see planets that are similar in size to the earth and at the same distance from their suns. We’re working on rectifying that with new satellites and we will probably find many, many earth-like planets (or, alternatively, we’ll find there are no other earth-like or semi earth-like planets anywhere else in the universe and your view will be vindicated).

      Do not play the game of stating knowledge which you do not have and claim that non-knowledge is disproof of anything. That’s a fallacious argument and a waste of time.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • “You act as if we have some kind of detailed listing of planets in the universe or something. Right now, we can’t see planets that are similar in size to the earth and at the same distance from their suns. We’re working on rectifying that with new satellites and we will probably find many, many earth-like planets”

      So you using things that have yet to be seen or observed to prove a point? That sounds a lot like a statement of faith. Don’t get me wrong, that’s an awe inspiring picture. I think it’s totally amazing, and unfathomably huge. But it only makes me more amazed that the universe is capable of existing at all. Understanding how precisely balanced and seeing hoe many billions of billions of things are all in perfect balance doesn’t point me towards random chance.

      “Do not play the game of stating knowledge which you do not have and claim that non-knowledge is disproof of anything. That’s a fallacious argument and a waste of time.”

      What knowledge did I state that I do not have? You tell me not to claim that non-knowledge is disproof of anything, but evolutionists use the same logic to tell us that there is no creator, for we have no knowledge of him.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • “So you using things that have yet to be seen or observed to prove a point? That sounds a lot like a statement of faith.”

      You either have the world’s shortest memory or you are being completely disingenuous. I am not arguing that there are other planets. That’s not even my point. You originally stated: “How is it that one planet randomly scored 100%, and every other planet random scored 0%?” This statement doesn’t make any sense given the fact that we are currently incapable of spotting anything other than jupiter-like planets in other solar systems. Every other planet scores a 0% (for harboring life) because we can’t yet see the types of planets that may score higher. Like I said, when we have the ability to spot those kinds of planets either we will be vindicated or you will. You are the one jumping to the conclusion that there are no other planets capable of supporting life except earth anywhere in the universe without a single iota of data to support that statement.

      “Don’t get me wrong, that’s an awe inspiring picture. I think it’s totally amazing, and unfathomably huge. But it only makes me more amazed that the universe is capable of existing at all. Understanding how precisely balanced and seeing hoe many billions of billions of things are all in perfect balance doesn’t point me towards random chance.”

      Non-surprisingly, it points you towards the God you just happen to believe in. Wow!

      “What knowledge did I state that I do not have? You tell me not to claim that non-knowledge is disproof of anything, but evolutionists use the same logic to tell us that there is no creator, for we have no knowledge of him.”

      What “evolutionist” argues that there definitely is no creator? What creationist argues that their might not be a creator. These are two completely different lines of argument, only one of them is fallacious. See if you can spot which one and why.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  14. I’m working on formulating a coherent reply to all the points raised by the theists here, but I want to address Mike’s most recent comment first.

    When you speak of “core beliefs” of probability, you are speaking to the fundamental difference between “reasoned” faith in science and “blind” faith in religion. I, as a lay person, cannot tell you how the amino acids combine to begin a living cellular life. However, I have an understanding of the basics of science, and I can read up on experiments done by those who are experts in the field. I do not base my understandings of probability just on what I can possibly conceive of as true (this would be the logical fallacy of “argument from personal ignorance”… “I can’t imagine that X could be true, so it must not be.”).

    While science has not reproduced a living cell from non living matter yet, the key word here is “Yet.” Just because we don’t yet know all the details, it doesn’t throw the entire premise out the window. How much that used to be attributed to God do we now understand, and therefore no longer need a deity to explain? Thor & his thunder, eclipses, plagues, germ theory of disease, functioning of the immune system… all used to be things that were left in the province of God’s will, but once we understood it, we can use better hygiene to keep illness at bay instead of suffering because it must be God’s punishment. The risk in attributing the “not yets” to God is – what happens when the gaps in our knowledge become so infinitesimal as to relegate God to no more than a figure head, impotent & irrelevant?

    I want to add more, but for now, I’ll end with a quote from Dawkins – “I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world. “

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6QYDdgP9eg or http://bit.ly/BpYaa dor short.

      Abiogenesis makes much more sense than all the current magical explanations. A creator explains absolutely nothing, what is that creator made of? It just shoves the question away so it doesn’t require the effort of searching.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • Wendy -

      For once, Dawkins has said something that I don’t find offensive. It is hard to read someone who is obviously so convinced of his own supreme intelligence and seems more concerned with berating any group of people that believes other than himself, rather than trying to win people over to his side. But I would agree with that quote whole heartedly. Religion is an invention of Man, but God isn’t. Jesus was against religion every bit as much as Dawkins, but with a bit different reasons. Religion is something people use to control other people. Jesus came to set people free. 1 Thessalonians 5:21 says “Test everything, and hold fast to that which is good.” Sounds pretty scientific to me. Despite how irrefutable it is that religion tends to deny people answers and knowledge by just giving out the blanket answers “Just have faith” or “Because God said so”, you will find no such things in the bible. What I find in the bible is a consistent message to seek truth, look for answers and ask questions. It doesn’t say you’ll find them all, but it’s says to seek. Because here’s the thing. If there is an all powerful, omniscient, supreme being, isn’t it a little ridiculous to think that I, or any of us, would be bapable of understanding even the slightest thing about him? If whoever this God guys is, is capable of being comprehended by my feeble human mind, then he can’t be that great. So if there is a God, he is either fathomable, and therefore not so great after all; or he is as infinite as he claims to be, and I should try to understand him as best as can, but not expect to get it all figured out.

      ASfor the factthe scientists haven’t created life out of not-life “yet”,. There’s a certain irony to this whole subject. As all it would prove, if they were able to do such a thing, is that intelligent beings can create life in a controlled environment, by intentionally combining all of the hundreds of necessary building blocks of life together in the right quantities and in the right order, and making sure that they have ideal conditions for life to spawn. sounds to me like more proof for intelligent design. I think the successful completion of such a thing would be more likely to highlight how absurdly unlikely it is for such a thing to happen on accident that it would, that it would better point to the fact that intelligence had to be behind the formation of life. The fact that very intelligent people, with everything they need at their fingertips, who are intentionally trying to cause life to happen, and yet can’t, only makes my mind slightly warp at trying to conceive of the odds that it would happen by accident.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  15. @Mike – And there is physical evidence of “creative intent”?

    Probability is not just a matter of personal opinion. It is based on numbers. When you have an incalculable (but very real) number of the right kind of molecules – everything that can happen between them happens, given enough time (let’s say 2B. years?) Most of the time nothing of consequence happens. But in the primordial soup here on Earth, it only needed to happen once.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • True what you say about probability, but not everyone bases their understanding of probability on numbers. hence when most people consider whether or not something is possible, most base it on likelyhood rather than numbers. And what people consider likely is based on their core beliefs.

      But the assertion about primordial soup implies that there must be a way to combine the chemicals with no real intelligent force at work that would nevertheless create life. Aside from considering how much or little time must pass, such a chemical reaction is either possible or it is not. The question remains to this day how such a reaction would actually happen. Yet I always here evolutionists saying that it is more probable. I would really like to know why it is more probable. Is the reason based on an unproven idea? Does it just “seem” more likely? When we say that evolution is more probable, are we talking about real numbers?

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  16. @Mike

    Abiogenesis and evolution are two separate things.

    The first explains (pls. watch the video I linked) how simple chemical and mechanical processes can produce something a bit more complex that will be able to copy itself.

    Evolution describes how, over time, living things that are more successful at survival tend to pass their characteristics to their descendants. Success in this case is measured by adaptability to circumstances. There are rodents who didn’t need to change much to adapt successfully and they look like mice today, others that had very different circumstances and only their descendants with the better ability survived to pass on their genes, and they now look like rabbits, or squirrels or… And as Mr. Tweed said, every fossil is a transitional fossil.

    There’s so much data available. Maybe you should check data, do some grunt work, instead of perusing argumentative material. Evolution is still happening today here’s one example:

    http://www.thinkatheist.com/profiles/blogs/preaching-to-the-choir-birth-1

    The design hypothesis implies everything was designed and created at once. In the rock layers where we find stomatolites (oldest bacteria fossils known – deepest sediment layers where we find traces of life) we should also find mice, rabbits and humans?

    Or are you one that believes that design and creation is an ongoing process?

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • Where *are* the Cambrian bunnies???

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  17. @Ben:

    Have you ever seen that picture: http://bit.ly/9VT1yp

    Every dot of light represents a galaxy cluster, each cluster being made of from a few to hundreds of galaxies. Each galaxy being home to hundreds of millions of stars. Each star potentially hosting one or hundreds of bodies like our little system.

    It’s impossible to survey this vast domain, thus improbable that we find something soon. That we don’t or even that we can’t find any life-bearing-like planets in our feeble sight means that they don’t exist?

    I’m not sure if there is even a name for the number of potential rocky bodies in that picture. You should maybe redo your mental exercise because 1:1,000,000 is HUGE in light of the real scale of things.

    Life might be improbable in the mind of certain scientists but now we “know” it can survive interplanetary void, and the coldest and hottest temperatures on the planet, that it will fill almost every nook & cranny it finds, and that through it’s almost 3B. years on Earth it has survived the most horrendous global scale catastrophes and dramatic changes in circumstances. Unlikely but ridiculously resilient.

    It is so short-sighted and arrogant to think we are unique…

    As a matter of fact, an advanced aliens’ seeding of Earth is more probable than any kind of unnatural designer ;-)

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • “As a matter of fact, an advanced aliens’ seeding of Earth is more probable than any kind of unnatural designer?

      You make that statement, and yet you have neither the capability to calculate the probability of alien seeding, nor the ability to calculate the probability of an intelligent.

      “That we don’t or even that we can’t find any life-bearing-like planets in our feeble sight means that they don’t exist?”

      I wish evolutionists would extend the same grace towards creationists as they extend to themselves. You can’t use Russell’s teapot to argue against a creator, then turn around and say something like that. You tell use that the fact that we cannot prove the existence of a creator is reason enough for disbelief; but then you turn right around and say thing like the fact that we can’t find habitable planets yet, or other life forms yet, or recreate life from non-life yet doesn’t mean that they don’t exist! It hasn’t happened yet, but you’re all sure it will. I guess it just requires a little, what’s that word? Oh yes… Faith.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • “You make that statement, and yet you have neither the capability to calculate the probability of alien seeding, nor the ability to calculate the probability of an intelligent.”

      It is axiomatic that miracles are the least likely possible events. Miracles are so unlikely that we would first have to absolutely eliminate any other natural possibility in order to accept a miracle as a likely cause of any event. So it is in this sense that any natural explanation that one can think of is far more likely an occurrence than any supernatural miracle explanation.

      “You tell use that the fact that we cannot prove the existence of a creator is reason enough for disbelief”

      No, we don’t tell you that. That might be what you think we’re saying, but that’s not what we’re saying. Not having any evidence for a creator God means we don’t have good reason to say that God exists and we have good reason to doubt anyone who says that creator God must exist (since we all have the same amount of information available to us). We know for a fact that earth-like planets can form, we live on one. We have a very good understanding of how our planet formed and how planets like ours form elsewhere in the universe. We have good reason to think that we will find planets like our own out there elsewhere in the universe. We have no good reason to think that God exists in a realm external to our own.

      “It hasn’t happened yet, but you’re all sure it will. I guess it just requires a little, what’s that word? Oh yes… Faith.”

      BZZZT! It doesn’t take faith, it takes an understanding of how the universe works. Right now the existence of extra-solar earth-like planets is a hypothesis based on excellent insights about the universe. It is not just a willy nilly guess. We have good reasons to think that these planets will probably exist. If we don’t find them, in my opinion, it will be a much bigger surprise than if we do find them.

      Your attempt to equivocate what scientists believe with what theists believe fails miserably.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  18. I, for one, do not see the universe as infinite. For one, we know that’s quite unlikely simply because of the fact that it started with a big bang at a finite time in the past. For another, we know there are only a finite (though mind bogglingly gigantic) number of ways that matter can be arranged. In an infinite universe, there are infinite earths. Some of these infinite earths have a history exactly like our own. In fact, there would be an infinite number of earths that are exactly like our earth. I would have to be writing this reply somewhere an infinite number of times. The idea is preposterous. Logic breaks down at the infinite.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • I agree completely.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • OK I must admit, the idea of infinity may be an overstatement. Let’s just say the universe is really really really big. The numbers and distances are incomprehensible to the human mind. Our minds are not really capable of fathoming these huge concepts, so it may as well be infinite. My point is this: We know so little compared to the amount of possible knowledge in the universe, and can never hope to know everything, at least not all at once.

      You might find my friend Jason’s blog to be interesting, he makes a valid point about God/gods here: http://the8thdayreality.blogspot.com/2010/05/contradiction-of-logic.html

      Go check it out and give him some feedback, the guy’s got some talent!

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  19. Aliens are definitely more probable than invisible entities.

    Considering the vast amount of potential places where such beings can arise I can assume that aliens exist, that they are material, natural like us, a product of life in their environment.

    Now if I consider the absolute lack of evidence of any kind of omnipotent being from another dimension, I can safely assume it doesn’t exist. If any miraculous or magical event can be proven to have happened, I’ll change my mind.

    That said, I don’t think this is how it started for us. If only because of the distances involved.

    “…you turn right around and say things like the fact that we can’t find habitable planets yet, or other life forms yet, or recreate life from non-life yet doesn’t mean that they don’t exist! It hasn’t happened yet, but you’re all sure it will…”

    Well it happened here, from proto-cellular to us, on a little nondescript rock spinning around an all too common type of star. It can also happen anywhere else. The physical laws that apply around here, we “know” apply all over the place. And that’s not a matter of “faith”.

    Faith is what is needed when you believe in things for which there is no evidence possible, that are not in or of the observable universe, that don’t submit to the laws of physics. Ghosts, leprechauns, pink unicorns, universal consciousness and creators are of the same realm, unprovable.
    Improbable.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  20. @ Ben

    “Understanding how precisely balanced and seeing hoe many billions of billions of things are all in perfect balance doesn’t point me towards random chance”

    Things are NOT balanced, they are constantly falling toward and crashing one another. Or falling and avoiding, for a while. It’s a huge chaos of push and pull, of incredible explosions, violent collisions and destruction; where balance is always pursued of course (like all the water on this planet wants to be at the same level) but never attained.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  21. People should know the definitions and meanings of words before comparing:

    Religion: a particular system of faith and worship; the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God or gods

    Faith: strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof

    Science: he intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment

    Reason: The power of the mind to think, understand, and form judgments

    Logic:reasoning conducted or assessed according to strict principles of validity

    Religion and Faith have nothing, nothing, to do with Science, Reason and Logic. The supernatural was “created” by man to explain the unexplainable. (Man created god in his image because man believes himself to be the highest organism on earth. . . I mean, we thought everything revolved around us!). Faith requires “belief w/o proof”. Someone may have faith in god, even if he cannot prove him to exist. This arguments cannot be used in scientific reasoning. All the advances we have are due to investigations and systematic studies of the world that surround us. “We feel it in our hearts” is not a valid answer or reason for anything. For us to keep increasing our knowledge, we must question everything.

    Religion. . . keep it personal. If you have a loved one in the hospital, and praying makes you feel better, by all means do. But what ultimately saves us is modern medicine, thanks to scientific research, not blind faith in fairy tales.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • Woa. . . copied and pasted this response in the wrong discussion!!! It’s what happens when you have more than one at the same time.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  22. The Hubble Telescope has shown us how wonderful god is. He created so much fantastic stuff for us to look at.

    Atheists are jealous of gods work.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • Which God?

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • And who told you that?

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • It’s in the Bible and the Bible is infallible.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • This makes me sad. We had fantastic intelligent debate going on, and then a Poe-like person hops in.

      Funny, I didn’t know that Moses talked about Hubble!

      Nevermind that, why is the Bible infallible? And which Bible? What makes your Bible more right than the Muslim’s Koran? Or the teachings of Buddha? Or the FSM? Or Thor & his pantheon? Because the Bible says so?

      Well shit… I’m gunna write a book that says it’s infallible, and tells people to send me pop tarts (I’m pregnant… Pop tarts sound AWESOME right now). If they question it, I’ll say it’s true because the book SAYS it’s true!

      Don’t tell me that the Bible is true because it’s an old book. Many many many other books are older (and tell stories with very very familiar plots as the Bible), and just because it’s been around a long damned time is no evidence for it’s truth. It was an old old truth that the world was flat. Doesn’t change the fact that we be on a rotating object.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • It’s the bible itself that tells you it is infallible.

      Not the shadow of a suspicion that it might be a scam?
      Not a little dizzy from all this circularity?

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • We know the Bible to be true. God told us it was his word, and kindly wrote it for us so we may have it with us always.

      The prank he played on the Muslims was a little harsh but he will for give them for it.

      Tonight I will prey for you sinner and hope God will forgive your little misunderstanding.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • Woa, dude. . . WTF? “god” told who the bible was infallible? The bible was written by men. It is as infallible as the pope. (Read between the lines)

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • Yes, God told us the Bible contains his word and it holds true to this day. Without him you would not even be here. You should be grateful he made you a human and not a tape worm.

      Just do a bit of research. Knowledge will set you free, it may even make you realise how silly this debate is.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • Poe!

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  23. @Wendy – Those are monobook people. They are willfully ignorant. They are in fact proud of of their ignorance.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  24. @Imaginary being’s Militant:

    Hope all you want, “prey” all you want.
    It wont help YOUR major misunderstanding.
    And it wont change a fraction of a thing in my life.

    Now go and do your useless stuff quietly.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • I wonder who Dog’s Militant is. . . his name links to an atheist website. ???

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
      • I think I know who it is… Lol.

        VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
        Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • Probably some Atheist with to much free time.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  25. I have to say, this thread of responses has been entertaining, informative and thought provoking! I’d just like to thank you ALL for your input, I really appreciate you all taking the time and effort to do this! I really mean it!

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  26. I need to add one final thought to this whole thing before everyone disappears. Where on earth did the complex data in DNA come from? Chemicals without such data prexisting? That is impossible.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • You appear to be trying to make an argument about the information found in DNA, but you’re flailing a bit. Why don’t you detail exactly what we find in DNA and make a cogent argument of why that could not have happened without the guiding hand of a creator God.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  27. Chemicals do not have the inherent properties needed to create such a complex set of data, especially for higher life forms.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • Please detail exactly what properties would be needed to create the information found in DNA.

      You appear to be hand waving this. I don’t think you have a full enough understanding of this issue to be making the statements that you’re making.

      Why is it you haven’t answered the questions I posed to you earlier?

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  28. @Mike

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  29. Plus I apologize for not answering some of these questions. It is hard to follow a debate where you have this long list of comments with replies posted in each and I was finishing finals over at college. I’m an undergrad. My focus right now is neurobiology. I’m afraid that my best argument right now is that you clearly have no DNA data in a primordial soup to begin with. So then where does the DNA get its data from? Its basic information logic here. The data must come from somewhere is some form. In short, the information in DNA would have to already be stored in some form in basic matter. Is that really possible?

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • Your undergrad focus is neurobiology. What does that mean? Are you in Biology 101 and you’re on the biology of the mind chapter in your book? Or are you a biology major who wants to study neurobiology?

      You are suggesting that this information stored in DNA must have come from earlier information? On what basis do you make that assumption? You can’t simply hinge your argument on saying that this is “basic information logic here.” This isn’t basic and it’s not obvious. You’re making a very specific claim, I’d like to see you support it with facts and logic.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • @Mike -

      DNA doesn’t “get” information. It encodes the information that is successful in the randomness of its circumstances. In the incommensurable amount of interactions between molecules (have an idea of just “how many” molecules there were?) – there were gazillion failures to combine properly into proteins, and another untold numbers of successes.

      The “forces of nature” are (in a way) so simple: unfit, you don’t succeed, and the pieces return to randomness, fit, you do and can exploit what’s around. The circumstances, conditions and local forces are all random.

      True, those primordial sacs don’t contain DNA yet. DNA/RNA are not required at that early chemical stage. Just give them a couple of gazillion interactions per day over a couple of billion years. Again, you don’t seem to realize the scale on which all this happened. If randomness doesn’t make sense to you, have a look at how “big” numbers and chaotic states function and try again.

      It all started with relatively simple stardust, coalesced into the elements we know of today, that started to combine from their own intrinsic properties and the randomness of chaos into more complex stuff, and the more complex the structure. the more properties, the more properties an object has the more links it can make… an so on until you and I can talk about it.

      What makes no sense is magic.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  30. I’m afraid your video has randomization all wrong. It is basically saying that randomness that is fit to survive will and that other randomness will not. You imagine that the forces of nature will properly inhibit the “bad” randomness. This is of course nonsense. Natural selection cannot be nonrandom if what you are dealing with is random events that are causing the selection in the first place. Plus, the information on the video is wrong. These vesicles are not alive. They are mineral bubbles that happen to be in a chemical reaction that causes them to split. And the video jumps to the assertion that all evolution must have come from this when in fact there is no proof of this. As interesting as this video is to the uninformed, it is nonsense to me. These strands of DNA look alike molecules will never be anything more than mineral bubbles because they do not contain the information needed or the RNA needed to produce complex life. You think the bubbles will just pick the information that works and disgard what does not? Big mistake. Continued randomness means that eventually all of the cells would die off because even the ones that survived would get negative mutations. Most random mutation is actually harmful. You guys have the concept of randomness upside down.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • “I’m afraid your video has randomization all wrong. It is basically saying that randomness that is fit to survive will and that other randomness will not. You imagine that the forces of nature will properly inhibit the “bad” randomness. This is of course nonsense.”

      How is that nonsense? If a mutation makes an organism unfit to survive in its environment or if the environment changes to make the organism unfit, then that organism is more likely to die. Conversely, if an organism has a mutation that makes it more likely to survive in its environment, it will be more likely to survive and pass along its genetic information. What is the nonsense part of that statement?

      “Natural selection cannot be nonrandom if what you are dealing with is random events that are causing the selection in the first place.”

      Of course it can. It is the random chance found in nature combined with the non-random laws of physics and chemistry that allows natural selection to work.

      “Plus, the information on the video is wrong. These vesicles are not alive. They are mineral bubbles that happen to be in a chemical reaction that causes them to split.”

      Please define what is and what is not alive. Is a virus alive? Are prions alive? Prions are simply proteins and do not contain DNA, yet we know that they go through darwinian evolution: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/327/5967/869. This arbitrary line dividing things that are living and things that are not living does not speak to the veracity of anything.

      “You guys have the concept of randomness upside down.”

      Wrong. You do.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  31. nonrandom selection cannot happen via randomness. Agreed?

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • No, I do not agree with that statement. In fact the opposite is true. Nonrandom selection REQUIRES random mutations.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • And how exactly is selection done nonrandomly through random mutations? Isn’t that a complete contradiction?

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • random causes of mutations are random correct?

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • The mutations are random and the changes in environment can be random as well (also random things can happen to kill even the most fit individuals). What isn’t random is the fitness of an individual. In other words, out of a vast multitude of random mutations, only those rare mutations which make the organism more likely to survive in a given environment will be passed on to future generations.

      What you are completely ignoring is this non-random element of evolution.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  32. Hi Mike. I’m jumping in late in the piece, so apologies if some of these points have already been covered.

    You said “You imagine that the forces of nature will properly inhibit the “bad” randomness. This is of course nonsense.”

    Yes it is.

    Nature makes no distinction between “good” and “bad”. And nature has no intentionality about inhibiting one or the other.

    Evolution is not a directed process. Evolution is merely the outcome of the fact that those things best adapted to survive, survive.

    In terms of the development of DNA in the primordial soup, it just means that the surviving structure from the billions of random movements was the one best able to replicate itself. Is this surprising? It really shouldn’t be.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • Cells can survive, as can dogs and cats and many other animals and species, as so many are fit to survive, who is to say which will be selected at any given moment?

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • Are you saying that mutations are nonrandomly caused?

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  33. There are so many possible random DNA data forms that can be caused, and if randomly caused via for example radiation they will all be rather useless data. So the most you could ever hope for is your single vesicle. Nature does not “know” how to make something better and better, especially when you are dealing with random forces causing the mutations. So why do you think than anything more advanced than a lifeless vesicle would ever form? Is it because nature “knows” that something better could work? Nature has no real reason to go beyond these vesicles. All that will be selected in the end is the best vesicle, a mineral bubble.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • This is only true in the instance that you require a string of DNA to appear fully formed. This is absolutely the opposite of what evolution requires. Evolution requires that the earliest life must be the simplest. This is what the video posted earlier showed very clearly. You don’t go from primordial ooze to fully formed modern eukaryotic cellular organism replete with fully formed DNA.

      This creationist suggestion that it is impossible to get a specific arrangement of DNA completely ignores the fact that with evolution, you start simple and you build upon what is already there through natural selection (also creationists tend to think so highly of themselves that they believe that there is an end goal to evolution: them).

      Check out this video:

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2aGAZVidkKs&hl=en_US&fs=1&]

      And this one:

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ba2h9tqNYAo&hl=en_US&fs=1&]

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  34. Mike,

    “Cells can survive, as can dogs and cats and many other animals and species, as so many are fit to survive, who is to say which will be selected at any given moment?”

    No-one makes a proclamation that any particular cells will survive. It’s simply that the ones best adapted to survive in their particular environment, will survive.

    “Are you saying that mutations are nonrandomly caused?”

    No, mutations are random. Selection is non-random. Once again, those best adapted to survive in their particular environment, will survive.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • There is a pressing problem with the first video. It presumes that there is “something” that will consistently select better and better genes. This “something” has been called nature, selection, natural selection, and evolution. These terms are hardly descriptive enough. What is this “thing”? You cannot have uncaused selection, so there must be some cause that “keeps” the good stuff. Remember, nature does not care what does or does not survive, so there must be some actual process that “picks” the good genes and “discards” the bad ones. You people say that I am not including evolution into my thinking. What is this thing? Is it a filter? Is it radiation? What is this thing that picks the good genes? Don’t just say evolution again. Explain. Give me an example of DNA being selected in such a way that better and better DNA keep showing up. I understand that some species can get beneficial mutations. But usually these are just small adjustments to already present sequences that don’t actually destroy the “already present” sequence. How do you propose that “new” sequences form by this selection “thing”. Nature? What part of nature? What aspect of nature? How could this process of forming “better and better” sequences come about especially if what we start out with is the little vesicle with random sequences like 1312131333333111111222222. What is it that is going to make this a better sequence? Simply the fact that it woln’t go extinct or that it is fit to survive? That is not sufficient. Something must be making it go extinct or survive. It will not survive and become better and better without some real external cause. What is this mysterious cause? It can’t simply be a fit environment because as I pointed out even cells as simple as your little vesicle thing can happen in so many different environments. The sequence is not going to change all by itself simply because there are things that are better that could survive in the same environment.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • “There is a pressing problem with the first video. It presumes that there is “something” that will consistently select better and better genes. This “something” has been called nature, selection, natural selection, and evolution. These terms are hardly descriptive enough. What is this “thing”?”

      It isn’t a thing at all. An organism is either fit to survive in its environment or it isn’t. If a longer neck is more advantageous in a given environment, then giraffes with longer necks will be more likely to survive and pass along their genetic information.

      “You cannot have uncaused selection, so there must be some cause that “keeps” the good stuff.”

      The passing of information to ancestors is what keeps the good stuff.

      “Remember, nature does not care what does or does not survive, so there must be some actual process that “picks” the good genes and “discards” the bad ones.”

      Bad traits are less likely to pass on their genetic information.

      “You people say that I am not including evolution into my thinking. What is this thing? Is it a filter? Is it radiation? What is this thing that picks the good genes? Don’t just say evolution again. Explain.”

      The fitness to survive and pass along genes. It’s not like there is some kind of cosmic Lucille Ball who is trying to pick out all the bad chocolates as they come off the line. You have such a bizarre view about how things work.

      The likelihood of surviving and passing of genetic information is the key that you seem to be missing. If something is more fit to survive in a given environment, then it will. It will pass on this ability to its ancestors.

      “What is it that is going to make this a better sequence? Simply the fact that it woln’t go extinct or that it is fit to survive? That is not sufficient.”

      What is it that makes you believe that statement? You say it is not sufficient, but I see no reason to think you’re right.

      “It can’t simply be a fit environment because as I pointed out even cells as simple as your little vesicle thing can happen in so many different environments.”

      It is not a “fit environment.” Environments are what they are, it is the organism that is fit or not for a given environment.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  35. ok let me do a thought experiment here. Tweed has come up with an interesting argument that has given me an idea. I doubt it will work but lets see. Suppose randomness builds to higher orders. Something gets stuck at a lower level and then at a higher level ect ect. That could actually work . .. maybe. Lets try this with sentences. Can we use the levels of randomness technique to start with letters and eventually make a sentence? Well, first we must realize that the longer the word the less likely it is to form. asdasd hduebd sdfurgb. As you can see, random typing can form words. as dasd h due bd sd fur gb or rather the words as, due, and fur. Do you notice a problem though? What I orginally came up with was asdasd, hduebd, and sdfurgb. So even if I come up with basic information that makes sense, it is largely masked and made useless by the junk data. If I was nature, I would have no way of getting rid of the junk data. So . . . something would have to. This is somewhat problematic, but interesting. In theory, these, being really simple data, would eventually form words if they kept getting parts randomly knocked off or broken off. The likelyhood of getting three letter words is actually pretty good. dougde. doug. You must realize that it takes at least 5 or more times to get one. So the chance of this is anywhere from 15% to 30% which is pretty good. What is the likelyhood that these words will form a sentence? Well, you are at this point dealing with far more variables. The chances that these same words will all show up together is far smaller. It may be as much as five times less. So I’m guessing maybe 1% or less. Therefore, out of a 1% chance of the same words ocuring again (and I’m being generous) only 1 or two out of 25 combinations would form a whole sentence. that is 2/25 of 1%. By the time you get to talking about DNA data it would already be several zeroes like .000000000000001. So even if such data could randomly form, it would be extremely unlikely like one chance in a bazilion or something. I makes me wonder what would happen if the whole process went faster. And even if this could work, you have special issues to deal with in the formation of an entire cell. Everything has to be positioned and coordinated correctly and the chemicals have to be compatible. So then you are dealing with some dot possibly followed by several hundred zeroes because everything must be the right chemicals at the right place at the right time with the right DNA and the right RNA and the right enzymes. Even if this was all possible, you must admit to the extremely low probability of it happening.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • Natural selection is what gets rid of the harmful junk data. We have a lot of junk data in our genome. That is to say we have a lot of information that doesn’t do anything beneficial and doesn’t do anything harmful. Human fetuses grow hair in utero just like chimpanzees do. The human genome is designed by nature to shed that hair whereas the chimp genome is designed by nature to keep that hair the rest of its life. Whales grow hind legs in utero and lose them by the time they’re born.

      Your thought experiment doesn’t work because you have no means of fitness or selection. But consider this, nobody sat down and invented the English language. English evolved from other languages. The other languages evolved from earlier languages and so on. Language is an evolved construct that is perfectly designed for communication but was not actually designed by anyone. So in a sense, yes, you can get very detailed language built up from evolution.

      In fact, we know that language evolution is a very good analog to species evolution. It isn’t a perfect analog because the mechanisms aren’t the same and there is a great deal more horizontal transfer of words than there is of genes, but it is a very good analog. Entire languages are like a species. Words are analogous to genes (Richard Dawkins coined the term “meme” and Dan Dennett suggests that words are pronounceable memes). Each word has a fitness of its own within the language.

      What your thought experiment shows is just how ingrained the creationist mindset is with you. Even your thought experiment completely ignores how selection works. You’re missing the point entirely!

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • Watch this video series. This is a Dan Dennett talk about Darwin’s Legacy. In it he covers Darwin’s strange inversion and memes and other topics you appear to have no real understanding of. The creationist meme has embedded itself in your brain like a pathogen. Let’s see if we can’t help you dislodge it.

      http://bit.ly/aRA8tZ

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  36. @Mike:

    Your analogy is wrong: words don’t pull one another into sentences, proteins do.

    “By the time you get to talking about DNA data it would already be several zeroes like .000000000000001.”

    That’a HUGE number (as I said previously) when you count the number of molecules available. DNA is made of only 4 (four) proteins that like to combine in pairs, how impossible is that? All you need is a few billion years, 1 followed by an astronomical numbers of zeros molecules, and the mechanical agitation of a forming planet.

    So as Harris and Matt said, connections (and later mutations) are indeed random. The idea that the fittest lineage will survive is however absolutely not random. It’s a very basic and very real law.

    You seem to be a very able person Mike. The only thing missing to your understanding is the concept “evolution”. Consider the time and the numbers involved. Don’t forget that for millions of years, lifeforms (let’s say… bacteria) could have hundreds of generations PER DAY. Do the maths.

    Nature is not an entity. Nature doesn’t do or make stuff. Living things, the biosphere sitting on an active planetary crust make up nature.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • these pairs form in complex arrangements that are needed to carry data. Nothing much could be communicated by a bunch of random zeroes and ones. I know this because different genes for different parts of the body are made of special combinations of several strands. Your simple 1 and 0 idea does not take this into account.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  37. Look up how many strands a single gene is made of and then let me know what you think.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  38. So? How’s that to be compared with 1000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000…n opportunities ?

    A zillion of these arrangements fail to make sense, they don’t carry significant data (you’re full of insignificant DNA jumble, yet you function as a normal animal) Another incommensurable number of these arrangements though eventually work perfectly fine.

    “You cannot have uncaused selection,”

    Of course! It’s not uncaused, it’s caused by the fact that if you are unfit, you die before passing your weakness to your offspring. Now what allows your lineage to survive the changes in the environment can be pure luck at mutation time.

    Once you have survived (the significant part of) your DNA has acquired new properties, has learned a lesson, has gained complexity, has evolved.

    Have a look at this article, Mike:
    It’ll introduce you to the inconceivable numbers you deal with when you talk about vesicles, prokariotes and bacteria.

    http://whyfiles.org/shorties/count_bact.html

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • The numbers are only inconceivable if you assume you must go from zero to fully formed DNA in one step. What you are leaving out is that we know that organisms start simple and become more complex over time. We see this very clearly in the fossil evidence (there are no pre-cambrian bunnies as a famous quip goes).

      The fact of the matter is that the probability that these simple organisms could assemble is not nearly as astronomical as you suggest. I think any scientist will admit that the probability is still very unlikely. However, given the right environment and given enough iterations, you find yourself with a virtual certainty. If the probability is one in a billion and you do a million iterations per day, then it only takes 100 days. The probability was likely much less likely but there were almost certainly vastly more than 1 million iterations per day and there was hundreds of billions of days of iterations to work with.

      It’s a veritable certainty that life as we know it would arise given the right starting conditions and then a process of evolution via natural selection. The DNA we currently see would be highly unlikely to form on its own in full from nothing but chemical precursors. The only people arguing that this is how it happened are creationists. My question is why do you have this apparent mental block of understanding how science suggests that this works? Why the need to go from zero to fully formed DNA?

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • Not where I intended this reply to go. It’s out there in the wild now intended for Mike. Oh well.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • Ok, with pure numbers or abtract form where there is always an equal chance for a combination your idea of speeding up random sequences does work . . . with numbers and abstract forms that have no physical constraints. So, if the sky was the limit and any number of universes could form at any moment and we sped that up really really fast we would eventually get this one . . . . instantly . It would have to happen all at once or certain things would not function. Thats where we move from talking about probability to absolute possibility or impossibility. Now, I need to think about that a little more, because the fact that all the pieces needed could even exist seems a bit odd if your thinking of running through all possible universes. Why would all the needed parts even exist? This is getting interesting but really abstract.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • “Now, I need to think about that a little more, because the fact that all the pieces needed could even exist seems a bit odd if your thinking of running through all possible universes. Why would all the needed parts even exist? This is getting interesting but really abstract.”

      This is the other trick of creationists. They believe that by denying something unrelated, they can deny evolution entirely. The big bang and the start of the universe are not related to evolution. Evolution is what it is and it would be even if the universe came from Zeus’s head or even if Jesus farted it into existence. You’re right, why the parts exist at all is a very interesting question and science gives some very interesting answers. But neither the question nor any of the answers has anything to do with the validity of evolution of life on Earth.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  39. There is something about the laws of chance that is really nagging me. Is there really a one in a zillion chance that if I randomly throw blocks on the floor it will form a snow flake?

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • This is not an analogy that has anything to do with evolution. That’s the problem. This is a bone-headed creationist analogy that is designed to confuse people who don’t have the capacity to understand how evolution works.

      To find an analogy that works, you’d have to include a means of self assembly. Basic chemistry coupled with tidal, heat and other forces found in nature are what gives atoms the ability to self-assemble. You’d also have to have a means of determining fitness. In the dice analogy, the thrower of the dice was the one who determined the fitness of each throw. In nature, the likelihood of living and passing along genetic information versus the likelihood of dying and not getting the chance to pass along genetic information is what determines fitness.

      These are the things that any creationist analogy is missing. You name it, from your throwing blocks on the floor analogy to your throwing letters together to form a sentence analogy to the tornado hitting the junkyard and forming a car analogy (and its variants) that creationists are so fond of. Creationists think they can use probability as a wedge and randomness as a hammer to split the theory of evolution apart. They are and you are completely ignoring the most basic and necessary parts of evolutionary theory.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  40. I think before I move forward I really need to think deeply about the nature of randomness here and in particular that one aspect is something to think about.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  41. Mike,

    “So, if the sky was the limit and any number of universes could form at any moment and we sped that up really really fast we would eventually get this one . . . . instantly ”

    Why *this* one? The evolutionary process doesn’t necessarily lead to this particular world.
    Does that change your probabilities?

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  42. @Mike

    Please watch the first video Harris Tweed provided you on throwing dices. If (for your snowflake analogy) you were throwing mot just any blocks but BLOCKS THAT LIKE TO CONNECT WITH FIVE OTHER BLOCKS, you’d get snowflakes real fast.

    Instantly? You only get minute changes instantly, when you are talking random mutation… but you have so much time! One prokaryote (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prokaryotes#Evolution_of_prokaryotes) reproduces into two prokaryotes every 20 minutes or 26280 times per year, times 3.5 thousand millions.

    BTW, there are currently in the biosphere 5 nonillion (5 followed by 30 zeros) of these little critters. Even though each one weighs less than a less than a quadrillionth of a gram when toweled dry, overall they weigh about as much as all the plants in the world — roughly a gigaton.

    And where on Earth do you get the idea that things won’t work if they don’t happen instantly?

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • Because some things must work in tandum or they cannot work at all. For example, steam requires both the presence of water and heat. They must both be there at once.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  43. Ok, I am going to make one comment here because I have obviously been misunderstood. I was not making a creationist or evolutionist argument in my last few comments. I was trying to convey the idea that if the only limits to reality were the laws of logic, chance, and causality then given enough time and enough random sequences the universe we know would have eventually formed WITHOUT a designer. Instead, this seems to have been taken as some creationist argument. I’m sorry that I was misunderstood.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  44. You do say that the most fit genes will pass on as if it was an absolute certainty. But this is not an “absolute” certainty. By the way I apologize for the caps. It was only meant for emphasis.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • No it is not an absolute certainty that fit species will pass on their genes. I never said that. What I said is that it is more likely that the most fit species will live to pass along their genes.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • Mike – consider it something of a tautology. The fact that they survived MEANS they are the fittest. They survive because they are fit, and they are fit because they survive.

      Though, I always argue it isn’t survival of the fittest. It’s survival of the fit enough. If you survive, your genes propagate. If you die, they don’t.

      So, it isn’t so much lions vs. tigers, which one is fitter. But are they each fit enough to continue to survive long enough to reproduce?

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • Right, so to me the real question then should be not whether or not they can survive but rather whether or not they can form in the first place via a primordial soup or gass mixture. Do basic chemicals really have such an ability? I mean lets consider absolute possibility instead of likelyhood or the continuing survival thereof. What I really can’t seem top see is how this formation from simple life to complex life could even happen via simple and undirected chemical reactions. And I hardly think the genes needed for say a human being have an extremely simple sequence. That I doubt.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • The laws of chance must face physical limits. Some things simply could not happen even in an infinite amount of time. For example, I cannot jump to the moon. It will never happen. And water will not freeze in heat. This will never happen.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • Can they form in the first place vs. can complexity emerge is the abiogenesis vs evolution trick. I have no background or information on the proposed emergence of the first life forms (DNA’s first iteration, if you will). But when we talk about survivability, that’s evolution.

      Once you HAVE the first combinations for life, changes to that life do become complex with generation after generation. Think fractals or chaos theory. Remember, again, that we’re talking millions & millions of years.

      Your comparisons to jumping to the moon (and the formation of steam) is a false analogy. Jumping to the moon is NOT limited by probability. There is NOT a 1 in 1,000,000,000 chance of you making escape velocity. That situation is limited by the physical laws of the universe.

      To a certain extent, the “spark of life” is subject to those same rules. However, it’s more like a roll of the dice, where there are variables that control the outcome (how hard you throw, surface you throw on, what position they’re in when they leave your hand, etc). However, those variables are factors of “chaos” in that you can’t really control for them. For all intents & purposes, it is truly random.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  45. @Mike

    Please attempt to answer these 5 questions:

    Q1: Can information be created by gene duplication or polyploidy? More specifically, if x is a string of symbols, is it possible for xx to contain more information than x?

    Q2: Can information be created by point mutations? More specifically, if xay is a string of symbols, is it possible that xby contains significantly more information? Here a, b are distinct symbols, and x, y are strings.

    Q3: Can information be created by deletion? More specifically, if xyz is a string of symbols, is it possible that xz contains signficantly more information?

    Q4: Can information be created by random rearrangement? More specifically, if x is a string of symbols, is it possible that some permutation of x contains significantly more information?

    Q5. Can information be created by recombination? More specifically, let x and y be strings of the same length, and let s(x, y) be any single string obtained by “shuffling” x and y together. Here I do not mean what is sometimes called “perfect shuffle”, but rather a possibly imperfect shuffle where x and y both appear left-to-right in s(x, y) , but not necessarily contiguously. For example, a perfect shuffle of 0000 and 1111 gives 01010101, and one possible non-perfect shuffle of 0000 and 1111 is 01101100. Can an imperfect shuffle of two strings have more information than the sum of the information in each string?

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • Only one issue w/ that string of questions, Harris – the idea of “information” is pretty nebulously defined.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • Information in this case refers only to discrete strings of symbols and, therefore, works well with DNA.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • Q1 Yes. For example z is just a letter but zzzzzz represents snoring. I really had to think about that one.

      Q2 yes. For example the word “fire” contains more information that trde

      Q3 Yes. deletion works. For example deleting the letter s from the word nos gives the word “no”.

      Q4 yes, but only after several thousand or million sequences till, over a very long time, a useful one is taped. You woln’t get a useful sequence unless you speed up this process or wait a very long time.

      Q5. Yes. rearrange the letters in the word “no” and you get the word “on”.

      This is of course assuming that all these combinations are possible

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • And by possible I mean physically possible. There are many things that would not violate the law of noncontradiction if they existed, but not all of these things exist. To say that I can turn wood red just by touching it is not a logical contradiction, but it is physically impossible. I think it is extremely helpful to first think about what would be possible if the only limit was logic because it helps you understand randomness, chaos, identity, and causality and things like that. It also helps you imagine and creatively think of all the things that may or may not exist (giving you ideas for experiments). But then you have to get down to earth and work within the restraint of physical laws that you already know to be true with great certainty. That said, can all these combinations form via simple chemical reactions without any mechanical manipulation?

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • The answer to all those questions is yes, congrats. (Each of those questions can be formally proven true using Kolomogorov Information Theory, incidentally.) Your logic didn’t always pass the test, but I think what you came to understand is that what matters is how one string or one object in a string relates to another.

      A yes to all those questions means that information complexity can, in fact, build up over time. The mechanism for this with regards to genetic information is evolution.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  46. @Wendy: Information is any arrangement with a significance.

    “Your comparisons to jumping to the moon (and the formation of steam) is a false analogy. Jumping to the moon is NOT limited by probability. There is NOT a 1 in 1,000,000,000 chance of you making escape velocity. That situation is limited by the physical laws of the universe.”

    In theory there is a very very very (n) faint probability that he can jump to the moon. Even fainter that he arrives alive. But water has recently be frozen by heating it up :

    http://www.livescience.com/strangenews/water-freeze-heat-100211.html

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  47. @Mike:

    “Because some things must work in tandum or they cannot work at all.”

    We’re not talking about things that “work in tandem” here, this is energy operating on matter, and vice-versa. It happens continuously. It’s chaotic but full of coincidences. No magic required, just big numbers.

    FYI: A typical star weighs about 2×10^33 Grams, which is about 1×10^57 atoms of hydrogen per star… That is a 1 followed by 57 zeros. A typical galaxy has about 400 billion stars so that means each galaxy has
    1×10^57 X 400,000,000,000 = 5×10^68 hydrogen atoms in a galaxy, 5 followed by 68 zeros. Five octodecilions, and it’s a conservative estimate. Not counting dwarf stars, black holes and dark matter.

    And you need to check Chaos theory : “Chaos theory is a field of study in mathematics, physics, and philosophy studying the behavior of dynamical systems that are highly sensitive to initial conditions.”

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  48. Error: An octodecilion is the number of atoms in a typical star system. There is no name for 5 followed by 68 zeros, it falls between an Unvigintillion (66 zeros) and a Duovigintillion (69 zeros).

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  49. @ Mike:
    “Q4 yes, but only after several thousand or million sequences till, over a very long time, a useful one is taped. You woln’t get a useful sequence unless you speed up this process or wait a very long time.”

    If you had simple rules such as words ordering themselves Subject=Action-Complement, according to their properties. You wouldn’t need to speed up the process.

    It’s never a case of absolute randomness. And there’s less and less randomness, more and more rules as organisms (extremely slowly) gain complexity and new properties. Even when there was only Hydrogen in the universe, there was already a law: gravity, which was enough to ignite the first stars. We know what followed from this simple law.

    “That said, can all these combinations form via simple chemical reactions without any mechanical manipulation?”

    There was mucho mechanical activity: ebb & flow of tide, downward flow of water, extreme heat from underwater magma vents, clouds of inner-earth gases from volcanoes tweaking the weather, all the rays you can imagine coming from the sun, monster-scale electrical storms, broken down particles bumping & tossing…

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • random mutation does not, however, obey any rules. It has not since the universe began. Now here you may have a bit of work to try and convince me on this one. You said “its never a case of absolute randomness”. Do radiation or other causes of mutation become less and less random over time? If so, what causes this reduction, because logically the cause cannot simply be more randomness. I think if we continue to work with the number sequence analogy here it might help. Suppose ordered sequences do come about. Are you saying that that which mutates them will become less random? As far as I know, the phrase supercellstorm can still become “smcurptsuer” if acted upon by the forces you have mentioned. This is because these forces are not directing anything in an organized way. Are you saying they start to do this over time?

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  50. wow, I should not say it obeys none, just low order undirected rules.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  51. @Mike – Mutations are always caused by random events (unless of course we provoke it in a lab), what happens during and after the change is not random anymore. It obeys the laws for it’s level of complexity. Survival or death. The whole process of evolution is not fully random, by far.

    I wonder why you insist on absoluteness. There’s nothing absolute. An electron is not absolutely at a given location, it’s most probably there. The universe is not absolute nor infinite, it is limited by its beginning, and it will most probably have an ending.

    And I wanted to ask you Mike: what do you know about viruses?

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  52. Some things in it are absolute, such as the laws of gravity and rules for what happens when certain chemicals are mixed together. The rules of logic are also absolute. You say “it obeys the laws for its level of complexity”. Are you saying that mutations become less random, due to their own properties, at higher levels of complexity?

    As for viruses, I do know that slight changes in them can occur. Other than that I cannot relate anything else to evolution theory. I do not know much more about the evolution of viruses other than that they can become immune to medicines.

    In any case, I really would like to know how it is that greater complexity of DNA code somehow leads to less random mutations.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • Does something chunk the DNA sequences together?

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  53. @ Mike:
    “Does something chunk the DNA sequences together?”

    That’s the job of RNA.

    “Are you saying that mutations become less random, due to their own properties, at higher levels of complexity?”

    No, mutations are still random. I won’t list again all the things (very random things) that can trigger them. Their results become more organized (in most cases, sometimes evolution of the environment leads to simplification).

    “Some things in it are absolute…”

    The law of gravity had a beginning, it’s not absolute.

    “Other than that I cannot relate anything (viruses) else to evolution theory…”

    Easy, read http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virus

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • Ok. The article talks about genetic drift and shuffling and things like that. Sooo viruses adapt because they should happen to get a sequence that works, preventing them from getting eliminated by the vaccine. This does not mean they are becoming more advanced. Its simply means they are dodging the ball by sidestepping through random mutations. Is there one virus that became a more advanced cell via this process alone? I doubt it.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  54. So, without RNA, would evolution not happen?

    And how can mutations become more organized if random things are triggering them? Does it take fewer and fewer times for radiation to mutate DNA into a correct sequence that actually works? I’m not exactly sure how you are picturing the results becoming less random with greater complexity. If anything the opposite happens when you get bigger numbers. If I change from 1212121 to 1333322222111133322222, woln’t it be actually more random because it will take more times to get to this sequence? I’m just not exactly sure what you are picturing.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  55. @ Mike:

    “And how can mutations become more organized if random things are triggering them? ”

    The mutations are not more organized. Their RESULT (new organism) is either better adapted or it dies and won’t reproduce.

    “Does it take fewer and fewer times for radiation to mutate DNA into a correct sequence that actually works?”

    No. But what happens however, is that the minor changes can get less and less significant, the more complex the organism. Some random changes can be fatal (cancer, for instance)

    “I’m not exactly sure how you are picturing the results becoming less random with greater complexity. If anything the opposite happens when you get bigger numbers. If I change from 1212121 to 1333322222111133322222, woln’t it be actually more random because it will take more times to get to this sequence?”

    We’re not talking about numbers here we’re talking about adaptability to circumstances. Your numbers are all of equal significance in your analogy (like your word magnets thrown on the fridge or your blocks that make-up snowflakes.)

    It’s not the case with the bits that make up living things. Were dealing with carbohydrates, proteins, plasmids, things that by their very nature obey laws of chemical association. We have water because H fits nicely with O2. Certain configurations (unlike your pure random analogies) are much more likely than others.

    “So, without RNA, would evolution not happen? ”

    Every bit has counted to make up you and me.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  56. @Mike -

    “Its simply means they are dodging the ball by sidestepping through random mutations.”

    They LEARN. I know, my life depends on antibiotics and antivirals.

    Their “experience” makes them more efficient against medication, and therefore more advanced. Just look at how certain viroids (proto-viruses without a protein membrane) have managed to use other fully-fledged viruses to survive inside a living cell.

    At one point in their evolution they have probably learned to stop bothering with a protein membrane and have reached an equilibrium between their capacity to exist with the least effort and their medium.

    “Sooo viruses adapt because they should happen to get a sequence that works…”

    Yep.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • How on earth do they “learn” to stop bothering with a protein? Do these viruses have brains to figure this out? Do they have a memory?

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • RNA in viruses and DNA in cells is the memory storage that is in a constant state of R&D by natural selection.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  57. So, either they learn or they don’t correct? You have said that they learn. Is this the same as simply getting a random sequence that works? Is that what you mean by learning? In any case, you are saying that they learn?

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  58. @Mike:

    “Is this the same as simply getting a random sequence that works?”

    It’s not a case of having random sequences that work. Only ar the very beginning of life was it so simple. Once it has fired up, it’s the principle of building on top of something that already works but needs to change.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • Why would it change if it already works? What is the cause of this change? Will the sequences “learn” and get better because it “needs” change?

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • Are we talking about using sequences that work to build bigger sequences that also work?

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • Check this out

      http://www.ted.com/talks/david_bolinsky_animates_a_cell.html

      it is an animation of the inner workings of a cell

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • @Mike Thnx, I hadn’t seen that one.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  59. What are those chains that motors walks on? What are they made of and why do they appear to self assemble in the other video?

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  60. Ok so let me see if I understand this. A cell is a complex system made of smaller systems that organize, transport, translate, create, and dispose of matter. Some of these systems are practically like tiny organs. No one has yet demonstrated how a single one of these organells or ribosomes could have formed via a simple random chemical reaction, have they?

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • Chemical reactions aren’t random.

      I don’t know for certain the answer to your question. The cell and life are extraordinarily complex. We don’t even understand everything that is going on inside the cell. Surely you’re not suggesting that since we don’t know absolutely everything that this in and of itself is evidence for a creator.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • And this paper talks about the evolution of kinesins: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2148/10/110

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • Yes .

      “No one has yet demonstrated how a single one of these organells or ribosomes could have formed via a simple random chemical reaction, have they?”

      It has been demonstrated. Some of it we know in detail, some, not yet. The chemical reactions are NEVER random: the elements have (by their electromagnetic properties) affinities with other elements (like MY blocks who like to connect to five other blocks to form snow crystals.)

      And even if it was not demonstrated, would that suffice to invalidate the whole theory (not hypothesis – look up the difference) of evolution? Gaps in knowledge are being filled, have been and will be filled.

      I’m sure that if you examined creationist or supernatural so-called theories as thoroughly as you are questioning the theory of EVOLUTION…

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • @Harris:

      For some reason the word RANDOM becomes a mega-keyword for a believer in the supernatural. “Vade Retro Satanas!” they seem to say.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  61. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8294817.stm

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  62. In the past few days I have actually been considering how evolution might actually work. It is conclusive to me that intelligent design is possible as we have created robots, planes, computers, and even simple living cells (simpler than animal cells). And the existence of more intelligent life than our own is not an impossibility. What I’m really wondering is if evolution is possible as well. In the most abstract sense it seems that randomness can lead to order, but on a more concrete level it becomes harder and harder to imagine how it could happen. I could see how it could happen if DNA was just a code and the thing that made use of it just a black box that could take any number of codes and translate that into a creature of some kind. But the more one looks at the black box the harder it gets to figure out how chance could lead to it. The word random is not a mega key word for me. In fact it is really a key word for evolution theory because without it evolution has no legs to stand on at all. I am openly exploring this even as we speak. It has given me something to think about . . . not whether design is impossible, but whether evolution is possible or not.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • Are you an exact copy of your parents? If your answer is “no,” then you are living proof that evolution is possible. If your answer is “yes,” then you are being deliberately obstinate.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  63. @Mike – Human intelligent (and stupid) design is obvious, to me, as I live in a city. But it takes a hell of a step to derive that the whole cosmos has been conceived, planned, designed – from another dimension.

    As for randomness, you can observe it all the time: when too many deterministic parameters are playing in a situation, There is, for all practical purposes, randomness.

    If Evolution is not deemed possible, even after the ton of evidence that accumulates daily (some, only because some people deny it, which makes you useful in a way), I think the problem is with the person examining the evidence.

    I have yet to see ONE physical demonstration, one artifact, showing that there was intent involved in the universe’s existence.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  64. @Harris – I wonder where Jesus’s genetic code came from? Just his mom?

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  65. To respond to the initial topic of this thread:

    I think we know a lot. I even find hard to believe how much we have learned in the past hundred years… I also think the ways we devise to know things that are beyond our senses is an amazingly “creative” process.

    I’m also completely happy when a scientist debunks or disproves,or outdoes another. That’s how it should be.

    Now that science has new tools we’ll even know more about ourselves, our inner life, our social life, our quirps & glitches. Just wait a couple more hundred years.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  66. Yea, there is no easy way to for a simple cell to have some random accident that would allow it to form an eye or a foot. I know that natural selection changes a species. But I don’t think that it enhances a species in such a drastic way. How on earth could a cell have some accident that allowed it to form an entirely new structure than it was previously not capable of (such as a cell forming an eye). I do not doubt that species change and sometimes get advantages via mutation. But Where do these extra highly complex features come from? Usually when I ask questions like that I get a lot of theories rather than solid evidence or logical argument that such a thing could happen by mere chance. Show me how a cell could eventually form an eye or a foot via random accidental changes.

    My guess is that you can’t. Things would have to be added to the cell in such a way as to allow newly mutated DNA to run such a course. Many different parts of the cell would have to change at the same time.

    May I suggest that instead of gradual evolution, you would have an easier time explaining the universe as a spontaneous quantum flux. That way you could explain how, given only quarks and electrons, the right combinations of matter eventually came about. It has, after all, been shown (supposedly) that quarks spontaneously appear in space. Quarks, by the way, are the things of which protons and neutrons are made.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • I’ll let Richard Dawkins explain the evolution of the eye:

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  67. bad embed:

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rUOpaFVgKPw&hl=en_US&fs=1&]

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sb2fjftZrkE&hl=en_US&fs=1&]

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  68. @Mike -
    “But Where do these extra highly complex features come from? ”

    From slightly “highly complex” and pre-existing structures. And so on, back to very simple system to detect light. A megallion little changes.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • edit:

      …from slightly less “highly complex” and pre-existing structures.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  69. A magalion little changes that would had to have happened in such a way as to sustain functionality agreed? If you have a car without a motor or wheels it will not go anywhere. Biological forms are the same way.

    The problem I have with the eye video is this, Dawkins conveniently avoids explaining how each part of the eye formed, instead telling me that they “must have formed” because they were “better and better” and “helped the creature survive”. This is lacking in any real explanation as to how this happened at the chemical level and what forces and processes were responsible for the formation of said parts (regardless of their fitness). The eye will not become more complex simply because it survives. That is like saying that a pencil will become a chair because only the chair can last. By that logic, I could say that since flying will help me survive, I will therefore gain the ability to fly. It is like saying that mutations that enhance eyesight would help me survive, therefore I must and will have such a mutation. It is like saying that falling off a cliff would not help me survive, therefore the cliff will disappear. To truly prove evolution, evolutionists need to show said process in action or create a step by step theory that ties known facts together rather than saying “it was probably this”. Often, however, this is not done and we are reduced to “story telling” not unlike what dawkins has done in this video or appeals to authority or references to theories and inconclusive evidence such as similarity between species . . similarity does not prove relationship. Thats actually a common fallacy. By that logic, airplanes must have come from birds because, after all, they look alike.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • I suggest you read “the blind watchmaker” by dawkins. If I recall he goes into that in some detail.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
      • “5% of an eye is better than no eye at all.”

        VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
        Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • Don’t get confused, this video is from a kids show in Britain and is not a replacement for in-depth study and analysis of evolution. The in-depth explanation is out of the scope of that video. Your first false assumption is that since Dawkins does not go into detail here that nobody ever goes into detail anywhere. That’s nonsense. Enroll in any university and start studying biology. You’ll need the background to understand the reams of precise information available on exactly what we know about evolution and why. Once you’ve gotten your biology degree, consider a masters and then Ph.D. in evolutionary biology or one of the many related disciplines. The information you demand is readily available to you, your current capacity to understand is all that holds you back.

      Your next false assumption is that if evolution occurs it must occur within the living being at some point between its birth and its death. This is complete and utter nonsense. Evolution happens with offspring. We know offspring are not exact copies of their ancestors. We also know that beneficial changes will increase the fitness of individuals who will pass on these changes to their offspring. Over tens or hundreds of thousands of generations, these changes add up and the resulting offspring are very different from their ancestors and even their cousins.

      Your analogies are hilariously nonsensical. A pencil will never become anything besides a pencil because it isn’t alive, it can’t reproduce, there is no measure of fitness intrinsic to a pencil. You can say flying will help you survive, but that doesn’t make it so. What does help you survive far more than flight ever would is intelligence. Our brains evolved from our mammalian ancestors whereas in our cousins, the bats, flight evolved instead. In our particular niche, intelligence was more important than flight, in the bats’ niche, the opposite is true. At this point, increased eyesight isn’t going to be beneficial to you and in any case your eyes are not evolving. Furthermore, you’re probably not going to be going through any mutations during your lifetime and the ones you do have will almost certainly be indifferent or harmful. Any mutations you do have might have a slight chance to be passed on to your children, if those mutations are beneficial in that they mean your children have lots of children and their children to have lots of children where that wouldn’t have been the case otherwise, then your mutation was a benefit to your offspring. You falling from a cliff has nothing to do with evolution whatsoever. These arguments are examples of reductio ad absurdum and are fallacious.

      “Evolutionists” (what a bizarre term) have, in fact, shown evolution happening in nature. “Evolutionists” have extremely good reasons to know why evolution is true and they know these things in great detail. I suggest that if you’re really interested (and I don’t think you are, I think you’re only interested in your point of view, but if you are), then you should start with Jerry Coyne’s book “Why Evolution is True” and then move on to Richard Dawkins’s book “The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution.” If you find these books to be riddled with errors both in facts and in logic, then by all means take up the fight against the evil “evolutionist” doctrine. If, on the other hand, you can’t make a cogent, rational argument against the claims in just those two books, you should, at the very least, of STFU and accept that you just might not understand things as well as you think you do. (And at best, you could drop your irrational nonsense beliefs and accept the facts for what they are and get on with your life.) Who knows, maybe those books will speak to you and you’ll take the steps to become the next great evolutionary biology luminary of the world. In any event, you’ll stop making yourself look like a complete fool every time you bring the subject up and when you use your ridiculous analogies.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  70. @Mike:

    “Biological forms are the same way.”

    No, biological forms are not the same as cars. (!)

    And Mike, nobody will be able to explain entirely (in an understandable way to laymen like you or I) all the little mechanisms and changes involved in how the brain (and eye and liver and…) evolved.

    I just hope you don’t need that kind of detailed understanding to trust a medical doctor when you badly need one.

    “The eye will not become more complex simply because it survives.”

    Especially if survival involves living in the dark. But if the being gains an advantage with a slightly better eye, that slightly better feature will be transfered to a descendant simply by the fact that the parents are still alive to transmit it. And then it might mutate again.

    “By that logic, I could say that since flying will help me survive, I will therefore gain the ability to fly.”

    That has been explained to you many times in many different ways. Your examples and analogies are all fallacious. You are not seeking understanding but approval.

    “it was probably this”

    When uttered by a scientist, the assumption is supported by real physical evidence. Your hypothesis is NOTHING but suppositions WITHOUT any piece of evidence (unless you have some miraculous demonstration ready for us? No?)

    To truly prove evolution to a closed mind like yours is not possible. So you go on, Mike, asking your questions even though you already have answers. And requiring more evidence than you can ingest. And insisting EVERYTHING be proven to you. And ignoring how science works.

    You assume FIRST that the universe was created, then look for “proofs” of that ridiculous statement, find none of course, and like all the others like you,. can only “argue” the contrary evidence that does exist.

    Go on and please don’t reproduce. I’m done with you.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • The evolution of our replies are surprisingly similar!

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • is… are… whatever!

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  71. Yeah, we’re facing similar circumstances after all.
    Amazing how deep runs the confirmation bias. It undoubtedly has some survival value.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  72. New topic for your narrow imagination. I claim magic is real. What do you think of that?

    “And insisting EVERYTHING be proven to you” . . well there you go. You know, I have not met a single atheist who knows how to be polite. Eventually, they all loose their grip and can’t stand it anymore. I can understand how someone would get bored . . . but arrogantly treat people like mush because they disagree? I think the evidence is clear that atheists have no patience for those who disagree with them. As for confirmation bias, your are supposed to win an argument by working with it as long as possible. You give it up to easily and then you miss something. I have used rational argument to the best of my ability. I even came up with a non-designer idea that I thought worked better than evolution. You have your own confirmation bias with those missing links. Of course you will deny this because you have your own bias. I believe there is just one major flaw with evolution, and that is irreducible complexity. Apparently I need to actually show you that it IS true with biological life, as if the image of the inner workings of a cell was not enough. But again, rather than considering my point of view, you will just take dawkins word over my own. In the next post Ill show you exactly what I’m talking about with a nice few video links, then maybe we can open your mind a little by talking about magic.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • Magic as in sleight of hand is obviously real.

      “You know, I have not met a single atheist who knows how to be polite.”

      “Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them;”
      -Thomas Jefferson

      Disagreement is one thing, absolute adherence to out right nonsense beliefs is another.

      “I think the evidence is clear that atheists have no patience for those who disagree with them.”

      Close. Rationalists have little patience for those who argue for irrational beliefs that fly in the face of rational evidence. This has nothing to do with beliefs. Rational beliefs are based on evidence and take no effort. The only effort required to believe is on your part. You have been twisting facts and you have been giving specious illogical nonsense analogies. You don’t get to chastise us for not agreeing with you. Your beliefs go against all the evidence, not ours.

      “As for confirmation bias, your are supposed to win an argument by working with it as long as possible.”

      This is how you get into your reductio ad absurdum fallacies. You use logic beyond its breaking point. An example is your argument that a pencil cannot turn into a chair, so beneficial adaptations cannot ever occur in nature. This is flat out nonsense and you deserve ridicule for it.

      “I even came up with a non-designer idea that I thought worked better than evolution.”

      You came up with a nonsense idea that the universe sprang to life exactly as it is out of pure probabilistic chance of quantum mechanics. How this works better than evolution is beyond anyone’s comprehension.

      “I believe there is just one major flaw with evolution, and that is irreducible complexity.”

      Every single instance of irreducible complexity that has ever been put forth by Behe and his cohort have been proven not to be irreducibly complex at all. The eye, blood clotting, bombardier beetles’ caustic spray, everything. What the irreducible complex crowd ignores completely is that individual pieces can have very valid uses of their own and multitudes of parts can come together for a completely novel purpose. We see this all the time in nature. When you’re sitting with your thumb up your butt thinking creationist thoughts, give a little thumb wiggle and you’ll feel an example of one such example, your prostate. What kind of perfect designer God would put a gland that is prone to swelling around a collapsable pipe? It is very clear that the prostate evolved from the pipe itself so it only makes sense that it would be that way. Separate components evolved to form completely novel things. That’s how evolution works.

      “But again, rather than considering my point of view, you will just take dawkins word over my own.”

      That’s the thing about studying something and gaining a reputation for sensible, logical conclusions throughout your career, you earn a rightful voice of authority. Richard Dawkins has earned the right to be taken as an authority figure whose word should be taken over some creationist with an internet connection. Go get educated, commit your life to the sincere work of determining what is true about the world and then your word MIGHT be worth something.

      Lee Seigel wrote a book on magic. In it he says “‘I’m writing a book on magic,’ I explain, and I’m asked, ‘Real magic?’ By real magic people mean miracles, thaumaturgical acts, and supernatural powers. ‘No,’ I answer: ‘Conjuring tricks, not real magic.’ Real magic, in other words, refers to the magic that is not real, while the magic that is real, that can actually be done, is not real magic’”

      Let’s talk magic. Wheeee!

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  73. ” Go on and please don’t reproduce. I’m done with you.” and you wonder why I never became an atheist. Ok. I am going to prove magic is real. If quantum physics is true then the nature of subatomic parts are determined by the vibrations of strings of energy. If these vibrations could be organized, a peace of matter could be transformed into anything. So create a computer shaped like a magic wand, get it to operate on voice command, and have it direct these subatomic rays upon voice command. So abra cadabra and I wave my magic stick and water turns into blood. There you go. Magic is real, its just very hard to do and must obey certain laws.

    Now back to one more thing about evolution theory. I’m not closed to evolution theory. I just think it needs a little quantum flux to work because of irreducible complexity. Here I have shown that I am NOT CLOSED MINDED. So please, have a look at the videos below.

    These vieos are based on real knowledge about biology, and unlike dawkins ideas they are less theory and more fact.

    I have presented to you one thing that is highly factual and another that is more theoretical (ie quantum physics). I don’t think there is much point in going on unless you are actually willing to debate magic, something you seem to have a hard time believing in despite quantum physics.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • Repeat this mantra until it sinks in: String theory has no evidence to support it, it is purely in the realm of the imaginary at this point. We cannot state that string theory has anything to do with quantum mechanics or the real world.

      “If these vibrations could be organized, a peace of matter could be transformed into anything.”

      This is where your bizarre red herring falls apart. IF these vibrations could be organized (that is to say if string theory were true and if there was any way to influence these strings, and if and if and if), you can imagine that it could be possible that a piece of matter could be transformed into anything. That doesn’t mean that you could do this in reality or even in theory.

      Magic always obeys the laws of the universe. That is to say that “magic” isn’t magical, not even your pseudo-intellectual imaginary string theory “magic” above is magical.

      Why you would bring this up is beyond me. But yeah, great. Good on ya. I guess.

      More later…

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • You know I have been to harsh on the creative process and so have you tweed. Its ok to have something that is just a theory. That’s fine. We actually balance each other out by disagreement. It creates new ideas and catches errors. And even if we never agree we learn things from each other. I know more about randomness now thanks to this blog. In fact there are a lot of interesting applications I could think of for this new found knowledge. As for quantum physics, the way matter can behave like a wave makes me think it is possible. But there is another way to make magic happen (as long as it obeys physical laws at the molecular level). And that way is nanobots. You could make these bots so small you would never see them, yet the affect could still be visible. Imagine having bizzalions of these things guided to transform matter bit by bit while taking directions from a computer stored in a wand. It may not be classic magic, but it would accomplish the same thing in a very similar appearance. No logic gaps here. I’m defining magic as being able to do all those things that have in story books required classic magic. The fact is many of these things can be done using real physics. Hence, magic exists. But it obeys physical laws and is not as easy as story books make it out to be. Who says you can’t fly like peter pan? No pixy dust will not do it, but if you could find a way to turn gravity off locally you could. So many things that were once thought fictional are now proven possible.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • Why don’t you just quote Arthur C. Clarke and cut your reply time down by a few hours: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

      Bonus: you don’t have to sound ridiculous by providing some nonsense ideas based in science that you don’t understand. You could, as Clarke does, leave the imagining up to me. To the iron age gospel writers, nearly everything I take for granted in my life would seem like absolute magic. I just watched my flat panel TV while I was talking on my iPhone, this is out of the realm of possible understanding of people just 100 years ago let alone 2000 years ago.

      So let me just say this for the record, I get it. I get what you’re trying to say. What I don’t get is WHY you’re bringing it up. What point are you stumbling over here?

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • I’ve been watching the dialogue (tri-alogue?) as it’s been going on. I haven’t thrown my hat in any further because Harris and MichaelPoisson have been voicing my thoughts much better & more thoroughly than I would have been able to.

      I just want to disagree with one major portion of your latest post. Everyone has the right to their own opinion. Everyone does not have the right to their own facts. Just because two parties disagree fervently & in diametrically opposite ways does NOT mean that the truth lies somewhere in between. Sometimes, one side (as passionate and as convinced as they may be) is just plain wrong.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • (Oh, in the interest of credit where it’s due, that concept of “half way isn’t always the truth” came from the Bad Astronomer (I think…). Some one who blogs about anti-vaxxers brought it up, and I thought it was applicable here)

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • The idea that matter is made of strings of energy whose properties vary based on the vibration is actually a key point of quantum theory. I actually have done a bit of homework here. Its not entirely un-understood by me. Though there is a lot more to learn about it.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • I just watched the vids.

      Vid #1 summary: OMG the flagellum is so complicated, therefore it was designed by God. Complexity does not imply design. This is a wall: http://bit.ly/96tfaP. It is simple, made of large slabs of concrete simply set in the ground. It has repeating patterns of rectangles and one of my favorite Banksy images. It is purposeful, it keeps two groups of people separated (the value of the purpose or the morality of that purpose is beyond the scope of this discussion). It is very clear that this wall was planned an executed by some kind of designer. We can credibly say it was designed by humans.

      This is also a wall: http://bit.ly/aqZlKt. This wall is extremely complex made of a vast array of different sizes and shapes of driftwood. There is no discernible pattern to this wall. This wall has no specific purpose; however, it does act in many different capacities. It acts as a barrier to make it difficult for people to get to the water (or conversely to keep attacking armies from making landfall). It acts as a home to an enormous array of wildlife. It reduces erosion. It marks the high tide line. This wall does all of these things and more without a single blueprint written for it anywhere in the universe or beyond. We know exactly how this wall was formed and we know it was not designed. This wall is orders of magnitude more complex than the first wall and it is BECAUSE OF this complexity that we KNOW it was not designed.

      COMPLEXITY DOES NOT IMPLY DESIGN!

      Furthermore, we have one gauge in this world to use to determine if something is designed. Let’s take Ray “banana man” Comfort’s coke can example. We know the coke can is designed because we have never found one in nature and we cannot possibly imagine a process that would result in a coke can forming on its own. We do not see that particular shade of bright red, the flourishes of flowing white letters, the nutrition information for the beverage inside in nature. Likewise, in nature we do not see perfectly organized, repeating walls that fall on borders that have specific meaning to a given group of people. The natural world is what we use as our tool to determine what is and what is not designed.

      Therefore, creationists are liars when they declare that something in nature looks like it was designed, as the creationist would FIRST have to have something external to nature to use as a comparison. You can’t look at the driftwood wall and say it was designed because it fits some of the criteria of man made walls. In order to suggest that the driftwood wall was designed by a supernatural creator, you have to have access to the supernatural in order to form that comparison. Nobody has access to the supernatural, therefore nobody can rightly suggest that those things we find in nature are designed.

      The second video is just extra added emphasis. Whoa man that is REALLY complex! Therefore God done it. Checkmate atheists! Again, complexity does not imply design and design cannot be inferred in the natural world since there is nothing to compare it to.

      You seem to like the flagellum, go here to learn all about its evolution: http://www.talkdesign.org/faqs/flagellum.html

      The third video is LEE effing STROBEL singing the praises of Michael Behe??? *sigh*

      In a challenge to Behe’s notion of the irreducible complexity of the mouse trap (Behe’s prime example of something that is obviously irreducibly complex), biologist Kenneth Miller had this to say:

      “[one of Miller's classmates] struck upon the brilliant idea of using an old, broken mousetrap as a spitball catapult, and it worked brilliantly….It had worked perfectly as something other than a mousetrap….my rowdy friend had pulled a couple of parts –probably the hold-down bar and catch– off the trap to make it easier to conceal and more effective as a catapult…[leaving] the base, the spring, and the hammer. Not much of a mousetrap, but a helluva spitball launcher….I realized why [Behe's] mousetrap analogy had bothered me. It was wrong. The mousetrap is not irreducibly complex after all.”

      Irreducible complexity is a full-blown intellectual surrender strategy. Every single supposedly irreducibly complex system that has ever been brought up has been shown to be perfectly reducible. Every. Single. One. The notion of irreducible complexity is non-scientific. In fact it is anti-scientific. It is a failed hypothesis. Behe is simply wrong. A good scientist admits his error and moves along with life. That isn’t something that Behe’s ego apparently allows for.

      You’ve obviously been seduced by the meme of irreducible complexity. It is the single argument against evolution that you’ve come up with. At what point do you shrug your shoulders, and say, “well, I’m probably wrong about that,” Mike? How much more evidence do we need that the earth goes around the sun and not the other way around? Just because you don’t want to believe something or just because you can’t imagine that something is true, doesn’t make it false.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
      • Sorry Harris that comment got caught up by the spam filter again. Approved now :D

        VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
        Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • Yes but wendy be that as it may, you could be wrong. So people like me need to exist to prove, at the very least, that you are right. Where would the world be without people who challenge mainstream ideas? We would all still believe in a flat earth. I know we disagree on evolution theory as it stands. I have a lot of reasons for this (including all the complexity I see). I think it needs adjustments to actually work. Be that as it may, I simply wanted to debate magic as I know that we really aren’t getting anywhere fast with the evolution debate. Having been a creationist for so long, I really need very very solid proof of abiogenesis more than any of you would. Your right wendy, no one really has a right to a lie. I don’t believe that I am believing a lie and that is the whole issue. I’m not being in denial. I see the evidence that you show as easily reinterpreted. Only seeing abiogenises work is going to prove to me that classic evolution can work. And I think such evidence is beyond what anyone here can provide. It takes time to convince even reasonable people when they are strongly in favor of a particular position. And I am reasonable. I’m just waiting for that ultimate and conclusive proof and have not seen it yet. Missing links are not proof as similarity does not prove relationship. I must see abiogenesis in action from cell to frog. Anyways, I have no ax to grind over magic. I was hoping we could debate whether or not it was possible. But it appears we can agree that, in a certain form, it is.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • I agree that preexisting species can microevolve. What I disagree with is macroevolution and the big bang and life coming from non-life via undirected chemical reactions.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • “The idea that matter is made of strings of energy whose properties vary based on the vibration is actually a key point of quantum theory. I actually have done a bit of homework here. Its not entirely un-understood by me. Though there is a lot more to learn about it.”

      No. There is no key point in quantum theory that states that matter is made of strings of energy whose properties vary based on their vibration. Current quantum theory suggests that subatomic particles are themselves composed of PARTICLES not strings. The issue is that quantum theory clashes with general relativity. Both quantum theory and general relativity cannot be true, but they both make breathtakingly accurate predictions, so we have no reason to doubt either of them. String theory is a hypothetical means of unifying quantum theory and general relativity. There is currently no reason to believe string theory as it is, at this point, wholly confined to the realm of extraordinarily complex mathematics.

      Just let yourself be wrong, Mike. Bask in your wrongness. Maybe that feeling of being wrong will make you want to learn so you can one day be right. Here, go watch a 3 hour special about string theory: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/elegant/program.html

      I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics.
      – Richard Feynman

      Don’t fret, you’re in good company.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • “I agree that preexisting species can microevolve.”

      GREAT! You’re on your way to becoming an evolutionist. Some of the most amazingly straight and flat roads I’ve ever seen are in south west oklahoma. At 300 million years old, the Ouichita mountains are some of the oldest mountains in north america and they have eroded so much the vast majority of southwest Oklahoma and north central Texas is almost completely flat in many areas. If I put my little feet right in the middle of one of these straight-as-an-arrow roads and if I point my tootsies right down exactly parallel to that road and I take one step followed by another step followed by another step, etc. etc. etc. how is it possible that I would not be able to walk a mile or two miles or 5 miles or 10 miles?

      In this analogy, each step represents the “microevolution” you accept and the great distance represents “macroevolution.” Do tell, I’m anxious to hear, how is it small changes can happen but there can’t be a build up of these changes over time?

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • “It takes time to convince even reasonable people when they are strongly in favor of a particular position. And I am reasonable. I’m just waiting for that ultimate and conclusive proof and have not seen it yet. Missing links are not proof as similarity does not prove relationship. I must see abiogenesis in action from cell to frog.”

      This is the very core of the difference between creationists and rational people. I am more than happy to up and drop the theory of evolution like a bad habit if there ever was even a tiny iota of evidence that contradicts it. If we ever found a pre-cambrian bunny, Darwin can go to hell. If we ever showed a distribution of animals that couldn’t possibly happen (e.g. native elephants on the galapagos), Dawkins can suck it. If we ever saw two dogs mate and produce a cat as an offspring, Coyne can eat it. It only takes one shred of evidence to make us discard the theory of evolution entirely.

      Moreover, any scientist who found this evidence and who was able to topple the theory of evolution would be famouser even than Captain Kangaroo. There would be amazement and awe and wonder and prizes galore for this hypothetical evolution destroyer. Nobody, not a single person, has in 150 years come across any evidence that is contrary to the theory of evolution. Every single piece of evidence ever found that concerns evolution has only supported the theory. This is the true strength of the theory. It would take so little to destroy it and yet it lives on just as strong as any other theory man has ever devised.

      The difference between you and me is that you don’t want something to be true and I don’t care if it is or not.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  74. @Harris – Thank you very much !!!

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • I’m not going to ridicule your idea. I’m not going to stoop to that low level

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  75. contradiction — > “Rational beliefs are based on evidence” vs “And even if it was not demonstrated, would that suffice to invalidate the whole theory (not hypothesis – look up the difference) of evolution?” as appearing in the thinking of micheal Poison. I know this comment will never be approved, but I just thought I would point out this incoherence. You also base the notion of whether something is factual on how ridicules it seems, which is of course a logical fallacy. On top of this you are certain that what I’m saying is nonsense, even though you are not evolutionary biologists yourselves. Why should your words mean anything to me? As for the quantum thing it is really simple, which is one reason I like it. It has been proven that quarks randomly form in space. protons and neutrons are made of quarks in special combinations. It is possible that, given that all combinations will be gone through over a long enough period of time, the right combination will eventually form. This property of randomness is easily demonstrated. If I randomly through a bunch of marbles into a box I woln’t see anything I can distinguish as orderly, but take just the right marbles away and you can get a square. If I had only chosen to throw those marbles, a perfect square would have formed via random chance. Now apply this to quarks. There is a possibility that all quarks will form in just the right positions in the same way that my marbles did. As such, it is possible for the universe to randomly form spontaneously. The only other ingredient needed is a field of electrons that would be pulled around the newly formed protons and neutrons. It would, if you saw it, have the appearance of a great big multidirectional blast of light made entirely of lightning or glowing electricity. As unlikely as it sounds, it can happen. Look around you. There is order hidden in everything random that you see. This is why some continents and clouds look like definite shapes to some people. Consider grains of sand on a beach. If only certain grains had fallen, any number of orderly shapes could have formed. Unlikely does not mean impossible. So its really simple, if you know quarks can randomly form and you know this special feature of randomness then my instant quantum universe is possible. Look, I’m sorry that I rashly responded to your rashness. You have given me excersise in the realm of patience.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • “I know this comment will never be approved.” Wrong, it is approved. The last comment was caught by the spam filter because it had 3 links in it. I’m not in the business of leaving out comments just because i may or may not agree with them. As you were.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • Much thanks. Its more politeness from you than I can say of these other commentators. Had it been their blog all my comments would probably be gone by now. Don’t pay attention to me when I say “all atheists” are thus and such. I overgeneralize when I get upset. I’m working on that, but it is hard. So many would rather just act like children than agree to disagree in a polite way. The stereotypes of people like me abound amongst many atheists unfortunately, but hopefully not all. I do question everything to an extent. I can’t seem to get through the fact that I would believe super evolution theory if I could see how it might actually work from start to finish based on real physics. I retract my silly claim that the people I was talking to have a narrow imagination. I’m not going to stoop to that level anymore.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • Well I do have to take some sort of control in this blog, but I don’t want to censor the conversations, as I am opposed to censorship a a rule too. :)

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  76. @Harris -

    ” I must see abiogenesis in action from cell to frog.”
    You’re dealing with an exceptionally patient subject here.

    “I’m just waiting for that ultimate and conclusive proof ”
    I wonder what he expects it to be.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  77. @Harris -
    “The mousetrap is not irreducibly complex after all.”
    Not at all! It evolved from the catapult – itself, a lever mated with a spring.

    “I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics.”
    I’m almost certain I can support that statement.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  78. @Wendy -

    “Everyone does not have the right to their own facts.”

    They think irreducible complexity is a “fact.”
    When it is just a measure of the inability to understand.
    I wonder what kind of “facts” they’d come up with if it was the theory of gravity that was denied. That birds fly?

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • Ok, Ill try at this one more time. Forget for the moment that I am even a creationist. Even forget for the moment that we are talking about evolution. Is it not so that “some” biological forms require multiple parts to operate? For example, if all you had inside a cell was DNA and no ribosome, there would be nothing to carry out the DNA instructions. You also need these proteins transporters to get stuff to the places of the cell that need this stuff. Without them you could not have mitosis. So right there is three parts that all need to exist for a cell to even use DNA. That IS an example of one case in which there is irreducible complexity. All I’m saying is that this does exist in some, if not all, cases.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • Sure there are many biological forms that could exist that don’t, but nine times out of ten they require multiple parts to work. They all have cells, and as I have pointed out, cells need each of the parts I mentioned to even function.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • Irreducible complexity is an idea that has no merit. Go. Read. Understand. You haven’t got the foggiest idea of the subject of which you speak. You have this idea that you know what the truth of the world is and you have to defend it at every turn. You’ve found some people with the intelligence to make nonsense sound plausible.

      http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/behe.html

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • regardless of whether I am even using the right definition, you can’t even accept the fact that many biological forms need multiple (at least three) parts to work? If you can’t accept that simple fact, which is really all I was wondering, then you are denying the bleeding obvious.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • I don’t know everything, but what I have stated is something anyone can figure out.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  79. another example; your eye needs both a lense and nerves to work. thats not 1 but two parts. That is again irreducible complexity. And a cell needs the means by which to translate the instructions as well as the material to create the eye.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • CONGRATULATIONS MIKE! You are lucky commentator number 200! *balloons*

      :)

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • you know a lens can focus light without nerves, right? and that nerves can send signals without lenses? I don’t think you quite know what ‘irreducible complexity’ is about… not that it’s an actual thing.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • *MY* eye needs a lens. Eyes in general do not need lenses. Not even cameras need lenses. But why bother bringing that up. You’ve already made it very clear that unless someone shows you each and every step of the way going from, presumably, the big bang all the way up to you sitting at your computer, you will absolutely refuse to believe any of this.

      Quick question. Have you ever seen Mt. Everest with your own eyes? Or how about this, have you ever seen a year-long video of the earth orbiting the sun? Or maybe this, have you ever physically seen a virus infect a human and make them sick? Have you ever seen an atom first hand? Or maybe best of all, did you witness the creation story in genesis first-hand?

      Using the logic you require of evolution, you cannot believe any of the propositions alluded to in those questions if you answered “no” to any one of them. You may or may not have ever seen Mt. Everest, but I can tell you that you’ve never seen that video of the earth going around the sun, because we don’t have one, you’ve never seen a virus do its dirty work because no such videos exist, you haven’t seen an atom first hand because they are much too small to be seen directly, and you damned sure weren’t there to witness the story of Genesis. We do not need absolute proof to know what we know. We can be certain about what we know without having absolute proof. Unless you think that the sun really does traverse the sky starting each morning and ending each night just as it appears to do, you are requiring more from evolution than you are requiring from any other idea that you accept.

      I’d ask why, but I already know why. You believe that the theory of evolution is threatening to a different belief that you hold dear. Please, correct me if I’m wrong. You’ve played all your cards. Everything is out on the table. It is plainly obvious to everyone that your objections aren’t based on facts that you know to be true. Your objections are to protect a belief that you desire to be true. It’s got to be a very uncomfortable position.

      Believe me when I tell you this, nothing, has set my mind at ease more than the sincere willingness to simply want to believe the truth about this world in whatever form that might come. If someone has good, solid evidence that this world and the life on it requires a creator and that creator must have been the three headed Christian God, then I will race you to the church so I can start genuflecting and praying for forgiveness and whatever other religious traditions you people follow. If there is strong evidence that a creator God is required and that God is Allah and Allah wants me to kill in the name of Islam, then watch out! What we know about the world suggests that the Universe and everything in it could have come about on its own without requiring any God. So until such time as there is evidence one way or another, I choose to fall into the default human state of non-belief in a creator God.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • But you can’t really see a clear image if one or the other goes wrong. And even so, there is a whole string of things that need to work together. The brain needs a blood supply which in turn gets its stuff from things that convert food we eat into energy. So again you have three parts, something to take in the food to convert it (stomach and pancreas system), something to transport it (the blood system) something to use the available energy to create conciousness (the brain). The need for multiple (at least two or three) parts is inescapable. And in reality there are far more parts at work. If I am making something sound plausible that can be a good thing if what I’m saying is actually true. And what I have just said is true. Instead of getting any logical rebutal to this from tweed I have instead gotten mockery which to me is proof that he has no real argument against it. It is, after all, common sense.

      By the way, thanks atheist cilmber :)

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • Just now noticing tweeds comment. Tweed, if my quatum flux universe theory is true then there would not need to be a creator. I am deeply concerned with the theory of evolution mainly because it has encouraged a “survival of the fitest” attitude in culture at large and because it has left people without a sense of purpose. My country is in moral decay and, unfortunately, this survivalist attitude has added to the decay. So if you really want to know why I care, that is a big reason. I am not your typical religious litteralist. I actually think for myself and I reason that evolution sounds like nonsense to me. Perhaps you can blame my religious heritage for coming to that conclusion to quickly, but you need to know I actually have thought about it. I’m not some “the book said it” drone. My arguments, as you have noticed, are based on observation and logic and not theology. And to me it is so surprising that you would rather take dawkins word for it that prove it to your own self. First you say I have no proof and then you say you don’t need absolute proof. That will go no where as I believe something which you do not have absolute proof for or against. This is especially the case if a quantum flux universe is possible. I have seen bad morals come from evolution theory. It was because of evolution that Hitler thought he was part of a superior race, and others have followed in those same foot steps. Its not that everyone takes evolution this way, but it sure gives me a reason to fight the “idea” of evolution”. Communists took the idea and ran with it. They used it to justify their own “superiority over the human race” and continue to abide by this philosophy. In evolution, there is no purpose or need for love or beauty . . . just survival of who knows what. It has become a philosophy that has shaped the dark age we are entering. I must prove it wrong.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • “Just now noticing tweeds comment. Tweed, if my quatum flux universe theory is true then there would not need to be a creator.”

      There are a lot of hypothetical goofball situations that we could imagine, that doesn’t make any of them true or even likely.

      “I am deeply concerned with the theory of evolution mainly because it has encouraged a “survival of the fitest” attitude in culture at large and because it has left people without a sense of purpose.”

      Anyone who is looking for moral purpose or philosophy of ethics in the theory of evolution is not going to find it. Just like I’m not going to find a reason not to use nuclear weapons in chemistry, I’m not going to find out why I shouldn’t hurt people in evolution. We have brains that are capable of making rational decisions about how we ought to live our lives and we can even come up with lots and lots of complex rationale than has NOTHING to do with the theory of evolution through natural selection.

      Additionally, we use our rational minds to give ourselves purpose in life. No force external to nature is required for this and this purpose is not diminished by the lack of belief in a supernatural force. No, the theory of evolution does not help you determine a sense of purpose, that isn’t its job. At the same time, the theory of evolution does not take away from anyone’s sense of purpose. Complex schools of philosophical thought are devoted to understanding the topics of morality and purpose. This is simply not the domain of evolution and that fact does not diminish the value or veracity of evolution.

      “My country is in moral decay and, unfortunately, this survivalist attitude has added to the decay.”

      In what specific ways has your country decayed morally? How, specifically, has Darwin’s theory of evolution contributed to this? You are spewing right wing nonsense. Why? Can you not think for yourself?

      “So if you really want to know why I care, that is a big reason. I am not your typical religious litteralist. I actually think for myself and I reason that evolution sounds like nonsense to me.”

      It is funny that “thinking for yourself” amounts to “believing all the creationist nonsense you happen upon.”

      “Perhaps you can blame my religious heritage for coming to that conclusion to quickly, but you need to know I actually have thought about it. I’m not some “the book said it” drone. My arguments, as you have noticed, are based on observation and logic and not theology.”

      No, I have not noticed that your arguments are based on observation and logic. I have noticed that your arguments are watered down versions of the false arguments that creationist “luminaries” have made.

      I’ll take the time to note that (once again) you haven’t answered my questions. For convenience, they were as follows: Quick question. Have you ever seen Mt. Everest with your own eyes? Or how about this, have you ever seen a year-long video of the earth orbiting the sun? Or maybe this, have you ever physically seen a virus infect a human and make them sick? Have you ever seen an atom first hand? Or maybe best of all, did you witness the creation story in genesis first-hand?

      “And to me it is so surprising that you would rather take dawkins word for it that prove it to your own self. First you say I have no proof and then you say you don’t need absolute proof.”

      Nobody needs absolute proof for anything with two exceptions. The first exception is mathematicians who must have and can have absolute proof for their ideas. The second exception is you but only with the theory of evolution.

      “That will go no where as I believe something which you do not have absolute proof for or against. This is especially the case if a quantum flux universe is possible.”

      I have absolute proof of nothing outside of the abstract world of mathematics. All I need is evidence. A little bit of evidence will make me think something could possibly be true. Give more evidence and my confidence that something is true will go up. Give as much evidence as the theory of evolution has or as heliocentric theory has and I’ll be so confident as to call it a fact. That’s how these things work. Your “quantum flux” argument is a conjecture (which, itself, is based on ignorance of quantum mechanics). If you had any mathematics to support the idea, that’d be one thing. Just stating it and postulating it as plausible doesn’t make it so. All that idea deserves at the moment is a shrug of the shoulders and to say, “Gee wiz. Now back to the real world.”

      “I have seen bad morals come from evolution theory. It was because of evolution that Hitler thought he was part of a superior race, and others have followed in those same foot steps. Its not that everyone takes evolution this way, but it sure gives me a reason to fight the “idea” of evolution”. Communists took the idea and ran with it. They used it to justify their own “superiority over the human race” and continue to abide by this philosophy. In evolution, there is no purpose or need for love or beauty . . . just survival of who knows what. It has become a philosophy that has shaped the dark age we are entering. I must prove it wrong.”

      No, you haven’t seen bad morals come from the theory of evolution. This is a lie. No morals come from the theory of evolution. The theory of evolution has nothing to do with morality. Hitler and Stalin were maniacs and tyrants and their motives were complex and had nothing to do with the theory of evolution. Hitler, in particular, was fond of making use of pieces of all manners of schools of thought to justify his actions. For Christians who were having trouble justifying things, Hitler reminded them that it was the Jews who were responsible for Jesus’s death (something even the Catholic church acquiesced to). For Hitler to use survival of the fittest was not about taking a moral stance but rather it was a tactic. It isn’t any more sensible or realistic than Hitler saying that it is right to kill Jews because the Jews killed Jesus.

      Guess what, even if Hitler and Stalin’s actions were perfectly in line and prescribed by the theory of evolution (and it isn’t, but even if they were), that doesn’t mean that the theory of evolution is false. The truth of the world has little regard for what we want to be true.

      When we despise the actions of Stalin and Hitler et al (as we rightly should) and when we argue against the actions of these tyrants and murderers, we are not making a single argument that has anything to do with the theory of evolution. We can make clear, concise arguments about exactly why what Hitler or Stalin did was wrong without ever even mentioning Darwinian evolution just as we can make clear, concise arguments about exactly why the actions of the inquisitors, crusaders, conquistadors, or terrorists is wrong without ever mentioning God. I suspect you believe in God despite the fact that the largest genocide in history was caused by Christians. Why give your particular belief a pass (especially when that belief is said to have everything to do with morality) when you do not do the same for the theory of evolution? Using your exact argument, one would have to conclude that God does not exist because people have used God to justify atrocities.

      Causing human suffering is wrong and this is beyond the scope of the theory of evolution. Suggesting that the theory of evolution is false because you can’t use it for moral arguments is a fallacy.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  80. Hi Mike,
    In your last comment, you say you are basing your arguments on reason and logic, then offer a purely emotional argument for your rejection of evolution.
    While it could be argued that knowledge of evolutionary theory leads to eugenics (I disagree with this, but just for the sake of argument), I would suggest to you this this says nothing about the truth or otherwise of evolutionary theory.
    If a dictator chose to throw people off buildings, would you feel compelled to deny the truth of gravity?

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • Despite emotion, I can still reason this out. And I knew you would like it to because anything that favors your argument is a ok with you and anything that does not must be mythological. Ok, my bad. I was being a bit emotional. But hey, it is one of the reasons I have tryed to disprove it. I would not be as worried about it if it were not for these things. But I digress. I don’t base all of my arguments on emotion. I just have a good reason in addition to facts to refute the idea. It is unworkable. I have actually used both factual and emotional argument. I probably should not have because I knew you would take advantage of it. Look at ALL the posts I have made and it becomes evident that no matter what facts are presented to you, you remain convinced that you must be right about everything including my personality. Nothing has changed your mind about anything at all . . . period. I think that is astounding.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  81. Fact = all biological forms require multiple parts to function (at least 2 or 3)
    Fact = the chances of the right DNA forming are extremely small
    Fact = I am not a blind follower of some book
    Fact = a creature will not form a part simply because it needs one. Some actually process must create the part.
    Fact = the system involved in translating DNA into cell action would need to coevolve with the DNA itself. This would require separate and multiple processes.
    Fact = different chemicals of which life forms are made have to be processed under sometimes completely different conditions, meaning that something would have to place them in from separate environments
    Fact = even evolutionists admit that parts would have to be “added” via other processes
    Fact = similar biological form can still just be explained by a designer as a common cause or even by chance.
    Fact = I have taking some courses in biology
    Fact = information such as that in DNA cannot be created without intent and/or going through bizzlions of random sequences until the right one is hit upon.

    Fact = the law of entropy states that things tend toward greater disorder over time. The only exception to this would be the random chance that it ended up in an orderly form (I have already talked about this)

    Fact = my quantum flux idea and creationism are far more likely given a short time and the nonsense of evolution I have pointed out.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • Mike -

      Not being a molecular biologist, I can’t detail the specifics of the functionality of DNA. However, it’s been pointed out to you that the DNA strand as we know it today was most likely NOT what was in the first cells. The DNA strand itself could have been formed by normal chemical processes which then interacted with some other process to become the “blue print” that we know today. Again, I am not an expert here, so I cannot explain what that mysterious process is, I can just assert belief that it happened without the need for divine direction.

      The irreducible complexity argument isn’t that the eye can function without nerves. The idea is that the lens & nerves formed from their own purposes, and happened to make a pretty damned good eye. I can’t remember the scientist, but there’s one who wears a partial mouse trap as a tie clip. It’s missing one of the necessary parts to function as a mouse trap, but it functions just fine in SOME OTHER PURPOSE.

      Likewise, the functionality of the cell developed (or evolved) from other independently working parts. When combined, they then became a cell. The cell wasn’t the “target” end point. That’s a huge differentiation in evolution theory – Humans with our intelligence are not the POINT of evolution. We just happened to have developed our intelligence which helped our species thrive.

      At no point have any of us (by us, I mean tweed & poisson ;) ) suggested that we developed eyes because we needed to. We developed eyes, and KEPT them because they proved useful. If different branches of life evolve similar structures, that’s called convergence. Bats are a perfect example. They aren’t closely related to birds, but somewhere in their genealogical history, it proved useful to have wings.

      The thing about the creation theory is that NOTHING in it is contradicted by facts in evidence. But there’s nothing that COULD contradict it. You can’t prove to me that fossils were planted in the earth as a way for the creator to test our faith. You also can’t prove to me that we didn’t all wake up this morning with all of our memories formed in tact, that our existence right this second wasn’t formed by your wiggly quantum flux theory.

      However, those theories are useless to us. Sure, they give us a “reason” or a “how” the world came to be, but they are not informative about how the world CONTINUES to work. Everything just went poof into existence doesn’t teach us how to develop medicines that stay ahead of viral or bacterial evolution. They don’t teach us how to interpret changes in the earth’s temperatures or surface to predict & prepare for natural disasters.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • “Fact = all biological forms require multiple parts to function (at least 2 or 3)”

      Fact = even the most perfectly balanced system of interlocking parts is made up of other parts that have other, probably unrelated functions. Evolution can perfectly account for this and this fact has been demonstrated time and time and time again.

      “Fact = the chances of the right DNA forming are extremely small”

      Fact = The chances of DNA forming in toto as we see it in modern organisms from basic chemical elements is exceptionally small. This is the opposite of how evolution suggests it happens. Evolution is R&D that builds upon earlier work to make slight changes that add up to great changes over time.

      “Fact = a creature will not form a part simply because it needs one. Some actually process must create the part.”

      Fact = a creature will always be slightly different than its parents. These small changes add up, over time, to become massive differences. There is no process that has a wing or an eye or intelligence as a desired end state. Natural selection favors those minuscule changes that enhance fitness. You’re suggesting the wing or eye or intelligence is a desired destination. That is not evolution.

      “Fact = the system involved in translating DNA into cell action would need to coevolve with the DNA itself. This would require separate and multiple processes.”

      Fact = coevolution happens all the time in nature.

      “Fact = different chemicals of which life forms are made have to be processed under sometimes completely different conditions, meaning that something would have to place them in from separate environments”

      Fact = you don’t know what you’re talking about.

      “Fact = even evolutionists admit that parts would have to be “added” via other processes”

      Fact = that sentence was devoid of meaning

      “Fact = similar biological form can still just be explained by a designer as a common cause or even by chance.”

      Fact = “can be explained” is not the same as “is the likely cause of.” You needlessly and without good reason are assuming there is a creator in the first place. You must first provide good reason to think there is a creator before you can suggest something is the result of that creator.

      “Fact = I have taking some courses in biology”

      Fact = you need more than a few courses in biology to understand and to be able to rationally critique evolutionary biology.

      “Fact = information such as that in DNA cannot be created without intent and/or going through bizzlions of random sequences until the right one is hit upon.”

      Fact = That is plainly and demonstrably false.

      “Fact = the law of entropy states that things tend toward greater disorder over time. The only exception to this would be the random chance that it ended up in an orderly form (I have already talked about this)”

      What is more orderly, a massive cloud of gas or the sun? What is more orderly, my house or the pile of lumber from which it came? Which is more orderly, my car or the vast assortment of parts for it in the factory? Which is more orderly, nutrients in the soil or the flower that they become when a seed sprouts? The 2nd law of thermodynamics suggests that in a closed system entropy increases. The earth is not a closed system, we get MASSIVE amounts of energy from the sun as well as other places like tidal forces and weather. Organisms are a local decrease in entropy that requires the energy from the sun.

      Fact = evolution is not prevented by the 2nd law of thermodynamics.

      “Fact = my quantum flux idea and creationism are far more likely given a short time and the nonsense of evolution I have pointed out.”

      Fact = your “quantum flux” idea is based on zero knowledge of quantum mechanics and has no rational basis. Fact = there is no reason to believe creationism. Fact = nothing you’ve postulated is plausible let alone any kind of threat to the theory of evolution. Fact = you’ve not even come close to pointing out any nonsense in evolution.

      Your ego is absolutely astounding considering the clear lack of information you have on the subject. I challenge you to at least attempt to educate yourself on what scientists say about evolution. Note: educate yourself on what the scientists say and not what creationists say that the scientists say. You’ve been fooled. You’re completely ignorant of the theory of evolution.

      Let me say that again so it sinks in. You are completely ignorant about the theory of evolution.

      You may have heard of DNA and you may have seen creationist videos and read creationist books and even perhaps gone to creationist lectures, but what you’ve learned has absolutely nothing to do with the theory of evolution. You have this idea of what evolution is and what it implies, but with every single reply it is clear that what you think evolution is and what you think it implies is either contradictory to the theory of evolution or is complete and total nonsense.

      I’m trying to make this sting. You’re an idiot. You aren’t rational. You aren’t logical. You aren’t well read. You don’t have a good understanding of the topic. Your knowledge on the subject is completely devoid of meaning. You’ve studied this from a very one-sided perspective. All of your information about evolution has clearly come from creationist propaganda.

      Did that mentally injure you? Probably not. You probably read that and were thinking screw you you evolutionist *shakes fist*. What you should be thinking is, “Hmm, I wonder if he’s right? Surely he’s not and over the next few years I’m going to dive head first into evolutionary biology research and books about evolution and I’m going to learn everything there is to learn about evolution and I’m going to expose it for the fraud that it is.”

      I’ll tell you, I’d have at least some respect for you and your conclusions if you were at all interested in being intellectually honest like this. If you studied the theory of evolution in-depth and decided that you just don’t buy it and you could give clear, logical reasons why, then fine, we can walk away agreeing to disagree. Who knows, maybe your reasons would cause me to rethink my position.

      You think you’ve used logic and reasoning to come up with your current arguments. The fact of the matter is that your arguments have nothing to do with logic. They have nothing to do with facts. They have nothing to do with the real world. Your ideas are so untenable as to be easily dismissed and need not be taken seriously. You are uneducated on the subjects on which you speak. Your authority figures are uneducated on the subject of which they speak. You and your authority figures have an agenda that clashes with evolution and this is what is driving you.

      You have nothing. It’s never too late to change that. Thanks to your local library, you can educate yourself for nothing (or next to nothing). Go. Read. Understand. I’m not asking you to believe. If the information has the proper evidence and is supported by rational thought, then you will believe helplessly. If it lacks the evidence or logic, then you will not believe. I’m only asking you to actually study it and to understand it. That’s it. Once you’ve done that, then you can have some of the authority that you pretend to have about this subject. Until then, you’re just another blathering creationist on a mission to destroy something you don’t understand because you view it as a threat to what you believe.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  82. “…facts to refute the idea.(of evolution)”

    Facts? No facts were ever presented, only arguments. And flimsy ones at that, based on ignorance, on the incapacity to grasp deep time, on the desire to validate a fact-less hypothesis. Argumentation, no measurable physical “fact”.

    Facts are bones, the degree of decay of a given isotope in a given layer of rock, the measurable quantity of radiation absorbed by a material, the table of elements, light speed, the relation between mass and energy, fossils, chemical composition of sediments, the laws directing molecular composition, even statistics are more “factual” than any arguments.

    Whether they are pro or con, arguments are arguments. They are NOT facts. No facts contradicting the theory of evolution, the dynamics of the survival of the fittest, or the chemical origin of life were ever presented in this discussion.

    None of what are presented as facts are. They are assumptions, deductions, erroneous conceptions, opinions, at worst, wishes. For instance:

    “Fact = information such as that in DNA cannot be created without intent and/or going through bizzlions of random sequences until the right one is hit upon.”

    This is not a fact: what are the physical artifacts or measurements that that would show that DNA cannot be created without intent? What kind of experiment could we devise that would demonstrate such an assertion? These would be “facts,” not the above statement.

    Irreducible Complexity:

    It is not because something is not understood by a subject that it is not understandable. That’s a ridiculous stance that is founded on pure denial and cloaked in weird logical twists and fallacies.

    Thankfully, a mere hundred years back, medical research was not hindered by the then apparent irreducible complexity of the human body – we’d still be using spells and conjurations to cure pneumonia.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  83. @Harris -

    Even after receiving the same information from different angles, with a barrage of facts and demonstrations, after watching videos and reading tons of explanations in this blog, our subject’s mind remains completely opaque.

    As ill-equipped as he is, his energetic and quixotic fight against windmills in the fog is prodigiously fruitless.

    Your realistic appraisal of his character and wise admonitions won’t be of any consequence to him until he tires up of this wastefulness or steps besides his own shoes and defensive posturing.

    @ Wendy -

    Even after telling him that mousetraps evolved from the lever, by adding a spring (independently evolved) and a latch (independently evolved) to become a catapult to which an independently evolved switch was added.

    Even after telling him that there are eyes that currently exist without a lens, in the living world today, and providing countless other examples of degrees of complexity,

    … he’s still hunting for more analogies of irreducibility to hang on to.

    I think it’s a romantic quest in which we’re dragons to be slayed with a magical sword. He has at best a foggy idea of how science works and it’s enough to be a prop in his precious imaginary worldview of a created and purposeful quantic universe.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • I don’t have enough facts to make an unbreakable case that is correct. But of course, neither do you. You have never witnessed abiogenesis, and neither have I. You are not some well learned evolutionary biologist and I am only a novice at it thus far, being that my focus is in neurobiology. Apparently though, you are perfectly allowed to be just as ignorant of biology whereas I am not. I am glad you admited that coevolution would have to happen as it is bleeding obvious. Now since neither of us can explain how for example ribosomes evolved, there is really not much I can argue for or against at the moment and really neither can you. As for the mouse trap, it still isn’t a mouse trap until all the parts are there. Till then, it is something else. What I have said about the property of randoness (getting ordered results given enough tries) is true. Regardless of whether or not this can be applied to evolution (I don’t really know), this is a property of randomness that works given enough tries. And lastly, just because one thing does not help predict another does not mean it is not true. I still think magic is real, but you rightly point out it takes a lot of effort to prove how physical systems could do the same things. As for the dragons, I know you aren’t all dragons. I have stated some facts (be they few) that are common sense. There are many bio forms that need multiple parts (perhaps I’m not fully aware of how some of these could be reduced). At the very least you need 2 in any life form (DNA and the means of carrying it out)

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • Mike, at what point did anyone say that the catapult & spring separately were a mouse trap?

      Who gives a shit what they were before they combined to make the currently functional feature? We have pointed out that complex structures come about from combining pre-existing simpler structures. NOTHING in evolution says that in order for the eye to have evolved, it had to be an eye to start with.

      You’re right that the functionality of a belief system doesn’t change it’s truthiness. It being “nice” to believe in a god doesn’t make any difference as to whether that’s reality or not. However, in believing in the scientific perspective, we learn to interact with our environment. It might all be a lie, and everything just showed up 20 minutes ago. But, as long as passing electricity through water separates it into hydrogen & oxygen gasses, we can continue to assume that’s the truth & keep building our realm of knowledge on it.

      Starting from the assumption we just “poofed” means there’s no reason to research our environment, because whatever poofed us could change the rules of reality on a whim. Another favorite Dawkins quote: I am against religion because it tells us to be okay with not knowing.

      It is the scientific understanding of the world that leads us to progress & grow intellectually.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • “I don’t have enough facts to make an unbreakable case that is correct. But of course, neither do you. You have never witnessed abiogenesis, and neither have I.”

      I’ve never witnessed the earth going in an elliptical orbit around the sun, yet I know that it does and I have no reason to believe that the sun is dragged across the sky in God’s chariot. We know things about the natural universe by induction. You require absolute proof for evolution without requiring absolute proof for a myriad of other scientific facts. This is par for the course for creationists.

      “You are not some well learned evolutionary biologist and I am only a novice at it thus far, being that my focus is in neurobiology.”

      We all have people we can trust as authority figures. The difference between our authority figures and yours are that our authorities spend their lives trying to understand the truth about the world. Our authority figures conduct experiments and submit them for peer-review. Our authority figures (and this is a big one) are in competition to uncover the truth whatever the truth may be. There is no other system which makes gaining knowledge competitive and there is no other system that so greatly rewards overturning wrong ideas. Our experts have the right to be called experts in their field.

      “Apparently though, you are perfectly allowed to be just as ignorant of biology whereas I am not.”

      If you’re going to critique something as well established as evolution, then you need to know at least a little about what it actually says. If you argue (as you do) that for evolution to be true, modern DNA must have just popped into existence in its entirety, then it is clear that you do not understand evolution. If you argue (as you have) that “evolutionists” suggest that an organism evolves during its lifetime, then you clearly don’t know enough about evolution to make a serious critique. If you believe that evolution leads to acts of genocide and is therefore false, then you don’t understand logic, ethics, philosophy, history, or evolution enough to speak about it.

      Go. Learn. Understand. I’ll repeat that until I’m blue in the face. I’ll repeat that until you’re blue in the face. I don’t care what it is you believe, I really don’t. Just please go make an effort to at least partially understand what it is you have decided is false.

      “I am glad you admited that coevolution would have to happen as it is bleeding obvious. Now since neither of us can explain how for example ribosomes evolved, there is really not much I can argue for or against at the moment and really neither can you.”

      I’ll defer to some of our bona-fide experts to explain the evolution of ribosomes: http://www.biology-direct.com/content/3/1/16. Go. Read. Understand. I’m not asking you to believe it, I’m asking you to understand it. When you do, get back with us and tell us to give us your insight on that study’s validity.

      “As for the mouse trap, it still isn’t a mouse trap until all the parts are there. Till then, it is something else.”

      YES! EXACTLY! Those parts can be functioning in a similar way to serve a different purpose making them available to form into a mousetrap at some later point in time. This is EXACTLY why irreducible complexity fails. You see the logic, you just don’t want to connect the dots.

      “What I have said about the property of randoness (getting ordered results given enough tries) is true. Regardless of whether or not this can be applied to evolution (I don’t really know), this is a property of randomness that works given enough tries.”

      The R&D of natural selection is a much better explanation of complexity than suggesting it is possible for fully formed wing DNA to just pop into existence.

      “And lastly, just because one thing does not help predict another does not mean it is not true. I still think magic is real, but you rightly point out it takes a lot of effort to prove how physical systems could do the same things. As for the dragons, I know you aren’t all dragons.”

      I didn’t understand any of that. It must have been some conversation I missed or something?

      “I have stated some facts (be they few) that are common sense.”

      No, you haven’t. I’m sorry, but you haven’t.

      “There are many bio forms that need multiple parts (perhaps I’m not fully aware of how some of these could be reduced). At the very least you need 2 in any life form (DNA and the means of carrying it out)”

      Re-watch the video on abiogenesis. This is a fantastic explanation of how it could happen. Notice that the proto cells are devoid of DNA and are so simple that complex inner cellular workings are not required. These early cells are not the cells that we see today. One very important part of the puzzle that you’re missing is that evolution predicts that the earlier the life form, the simpler that life form will be.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  84. “Now since neither of us can explain how for example ribosomes evolved,”

    Luckily, trusted (and countless) others can.

    “As for the mouse trap, it still isn’t a mouse trap until all the parts are there. Till then, it is something else.”

    Of course!! And each part had it’s own purpose, had evolved separately, before being aggregated into a new species: “The Mouse Trap!”. So there goes irreducible complexity for the mouse trap – an amazingly simple device made of even simpler ones. Next?

    “What I have said about the property of randoness (getting ordered results given enough tries) is true.”

    Our analogist hasn’t apparently noticed the difference: if you throw randomly a handful of rocks you’ll get piles of rock. If you throw randomly pieces of rock with positive and negative Velcro attached to them, you’ll get all sorts of interlocking shapes that will grow in complexity.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Periodic_table.svg

    The periodic table displays the real “rocks” that are thrown randomly, each element from left-to-right & top-to-bottom containing more pieces providing more isotopes and more ways to combine. The significance of randomness is in the medium where it acts.

    I’m still wondering at the difficulty of grasping that concept.

    “I have stated some facts (be they few) that are common sense.”

    Facts again, why not “evidence” while we’re at it?
    The same common sense that had everybody think the Sun was orbiting the Earth?

    What I have read were statements of denial, arguments against reality, and a case-study in logical fallacies. Promotion of beliefs as facts, yes, but absolutely nothing that can even initiate the smallest tremor in the edifice of real factual and effective knowledge based on Darwin’s intuition. Very typical of what I’ve seen elsewhere, as I’m sure Wendy & Harris have too. Quantum supernatural is an added bonus here.

    ” I still think magic is real,”

    And a question unmistakably remains unanswered:

    Who designed the creator?

    To someone who believes in magic all is possible, so what will it be now…

    Large numbers:

    There are between 7.0 × 10e79 and 1.5 × 10e82 (that’s 15 followed by 82 zeros: 150 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000) atoms in the observable universe, times N potential atomic bumps per second (I’ll let our apologist-against-the-face-of-evidence and randomly-challenged debater figure that one out), times 14 thousand million years.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  85. plus, I don’t know what is so hard about elements of matter randomly forming in space when there is proof it happens.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  86. As for your assertion that I know nothing about quantum physics I in fact DO. I know what I have already stated, that it is based on string theory which is the idea that different vibrations of strings of energy create different elements. Scientists have proven that two separate particles act as if they were the same particle. This is called quantum entanglement. If you think I am uttering uninformed nonsense here look it up. Matter has some weird behaviors. Let that sink in.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • If you think that quantum physics is based on string theory, then it is immediately and obviously clear that you have no clue what you’re talking about.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • So tell me what you know about quantum physics tweed

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • +”Scientists have proven that two separate particles act as if they were the same particle” look up quantum mechanics and the wave experiment. If you don’t understand quantum physics then what are you talking about? Where are your legs to stand on? I conceeded here there were things I did not know. You?

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • My issue is not with quantum entanglement. My issue is your notion that string theory is anything other than an unsupported (and possibly unsupportable) hypothesis. String theory is a popular candidate for a possible theory of everything; however, there is literally zero support for it in the real world. And, in fact, there may not ever be support for it.

      What is very well supported and what dominates the current thinking about the quantum world is particle physics. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Particle_physics. That is to say that quantum mechanics states that the elementary elements are 0 dimensional points in 4 dimensional spacetime not 1 dimensional strings vibrating in 11 dimensional knots.

      My understanding of quantum mechanics is elementary, but I guarantee it is much better than yours.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  87. “…plus, I don’t know what is so hard about elements of matter randomly forming in space when there is proof it happens.”

    Not hard, just bad reading:

    Elements DO NOT FORM randomly, they are (except for those we made in labs) born in the furnaces of stars (see the different burn sequences of stars of varying sizes.) They are the actual “rocks” of the bad analogy, the units, each with different attractive, or repulsive properties, that are thrown randomly together.

    And there is also proof that gravity is the big engine of matter, proof that the Earth revolves around the Sun, and verifiable demonstrations of how life emerged from simple abiogenetic molecular structures. There is also, of course, proof that Evolution of life made US in tiny increments.

    Nothing really hard in there either…

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  88. @ Harris -

    The Quantum Mechanics theory was first imagined by Max Planck, at the beginning of the 20th century to explain anomalies in electromagnetic emissions. (Neils Bohr and even Albert Einstein also gave it a go.)

    String Theory was first imagined in the late sixties as an attempt in Particle Physics to reconcile General Relativity (that works wonderfully well on large scale objects) and Quantum Mechanics (functional descriptions of what happens at subatomic scales).

    “Although string theory comes from physics, some say that string theory’s current untestable status means that it should be classified as more of a mathematical framework for building models as opposed to a physical theory.[“

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • Yes, that is what I’m saying.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  89. @Mike

    Why is it you don’t answer questions? What are you afraid of? You’ve asked us all kinds of different questions and we’ve answered every single one and provided resources for further study and understanding. You’ve ignored nearly every question we’ve asked that challenges your belief or its underlying justifications and/or logic.

    Why avoid critical thinking about your own belief system? I think we know that all the rationalists in this discussion are more than happy to engage in lengthy conversations and to confront ideas that creationists suggest would overturn our current thinking. Why is it that you are unwilling to engage in a similar act of questioning your own beliefs by ignoring the questions we’ve asked?

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  90. @Harris -

    I had missed that one:

    “I am deeply concerned with the theory of evolution mainly because it has encouraged a “survival of the fitest” attitude in culture at large and because it has left people without a sense of purpose.”

    It’s the theory that promotes the behavior!!! That’s how the religious believe things happen. That’s how they would like things to happen. It’ll take a hell of a turnaround for them to see how knowledge works for real!

    And I’m surprised the second law of thermodynamics doesn’t also rob them of their sense of purpose, I think they should be arguing that as well.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  91. @AtheistClimber -

    There are many “edges” of knowledge and this is what we find at one of them:

    http://www.thinkatheist.com/photo/abracadabra-1?commentId=1982180%3AComment%3A284389&xg_source=msg_com_photo

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  92. I believe in both God and Evolution equally. Pure freethink, no dogma here.
    But b’gosh why does Dawkins in pictures above have to dress like a clown?

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Most Tweeted Articles by Atheism Experts: MrTweet - Your article was most tweeted by Atheism experts in the Twitterverse... Come see other top popular articles surfaced by Atheism experts!...
  2. The truth is out there « Atheist Climber - [...] truth is out there My recent blog piece “At the edge of knowledge” spawned an awesome amount of feedback …

Have your say

%d bloggers like this: