Nick Matzke posted Entry 1046 on May 16, 2005 05:36 PM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/1044

In a recent post, I noted in passing that modern evolutionary theory is no more atheistic than other sciences that seek natural explanations for the natural world.  Yet for some reason, Phillip Johnson and the rest of the ID camp think that it is evolution in particular that is inconsistent with Christianity.  As Johnson stated in yesterday’s Washington Post article,

‘I realized…that if the pure Darwinist account was accurate and life is all about an undirected material process, then Christian metaphysics and religious belief are fantasy. Here was a chance to make a great contribution.’

Now, imagine how silly it would seem if Phillip Johnson had said this:

‘I realized…that if the pure scientific meteorologist account was accurate and weather is all about an undirected material process, then Christian metaphysics and religious belief are fantasy. Here was a chance to make a great contribution.’

According to a literal reading of the Bible, the evidence that God controls the weather is, if anything, much stronger than the Biblical evidence that God specially created organisms.  PT poster Wesley Elsberry ran a search on an online Bible and found a slurry of quotes explicitly describing God’s influence on the weather.  The Bible is shot through with such statements, from Old Testament to New.  They are re-posted below for posterity.

A couple of minutes with BibleGateway shows that there are several references in the bible to God being a maker and controller of weather. Looking for ‘storm’ and ‘wind’, I found the following references:

Exodus 10:13
So Moses stretched out his staff over Egypt, and the LORD made an east wind blow across the land all that day and all that night. By morning the wind had brought the locusts;

Numbers 11:31
Now a wind went out from the LORD and drove quail in from the sea. It brought them [ Or They flew ] down all around the camp to about three feet [ Hebrew two cubits (about 1 meter) ] above the ground, as far as a day’s walk in any direction.

Isaiah 11:15
The LORD will dry up the gulf of the Egyptian sea; with a scorching wind he will sweep his hand over the Euphrates River. [ Hebrew the River ] He will break it up into seven streams so that men can cross over in sandals.

Jeremiah 4:12
a wind too strong for that comes from me. [ Or comes at my command ] Now I pronounce my judgments against them.’

Jeremiah 10:13
When he thunders, the waters in the heavens roar; he makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth. He sends lightning with the rain and brings out the wind from his storehouses.

Ezekiel 13:13
Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: In my wrath I will unleash a violent wind, and in my anger hailstones and torrents of rain will fall with destructive fury.

Hosea 13:15
even though he thrives among his brothers. An east wind from the LORD will come, blowing in from the desert; his spring will fail and his well dry up. His storehouse will be plundered of all its treasures.

Amos 4:13
He who forms the mountains, creates the wind, and reveals his thoughts to man, he who turns dawn to darkness, and treads the high places of the earth— the LORD God Almighty is his name.

Jonah 1:4
Then the LORD sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up.

Jonah 4:8
When the sun rose, God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah’s head so that he grew faint. He wanted to die, and said, ‘It would be better for me to die than to live.’

Zechariah 10:1
[ The LORD Will Care for Judah ] Ask the LORD for rain in the springtime; it is the LORD who makes the storm clouds. He gives showers of rain to men, and plants of the field to everyone.

Mark 4:39
He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘Quiet! Be still!’ Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

Luke 8:25
He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. ‘Where is your faith?’ he asked his disciples. In fear and amazement they asked one another, ‘Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.’

(Wes Elsberry)

Now, of course, I don’t actually think for a second that naturalistic meteorology actually undermines Christianity.  People still pray about the weather, even though they know that weather is caused by natural processes.  Belief in natural processes, and belief in God’s action in the world, are simply not in conflict for these people.  If God can act through natural processes, then a natural explanation of something is not a threat to the belief system.

I suspect that this belief — about meteorology — is almost universal among Christians, evangelical or otherwise.  I also suspect that it is almost universal held among Christians of all stripes that theological beliefs about the weather belong in the church and home, and not the public schools.  People still pray for rain, but there is no big movement to teach bogus “criticisms of naturalistic meteorology”, attempting to insert divine intervention into the fact that tornadoes are still fairly mysterious, or the fact that scientists are not omniscient predictors of the weather.  There is no attempt to divide “micro-operational science”, which can be done in a lab, from “macro-operational science”, which cannot be done in a lab.  There is no attempt to rule the latter hopelessly untestable, and therefore to consider macro-meteorology and miracles as equally scientifically valid.

What ID advocates have to explain is why evolution is different from meteorology with respect to theology.  The fun thing about the Meteorology Argument is how rapidly ID advocates contort and twist themselves into knots as soon as they attempt to address the argument.  David Heddle gave us an example:

I have no idea what Johnson believes, but it obvious that one could believe that evolution, via its implications regarding the (lack of a) need for a creator, promotes atheism, while at the same time viewing meteorology as agnostic. So someone could, self-consistently, believe that evolution promotes atheism and meteorology does not.

What Heddle doesn’t provide, and couldn’t provide under questioning, was any reason why evolution and meteorology are logically any different with respect to the theism/atheism question.  The best he did was bluster “it’s obvious.”

Another example from a few years back is Casey Luskin of the IDEA center:

Stormy weather

[Matzke] suggests that if the weather is undirected, then meteorologists should rightly employ the same materialist philosophy Wells criticizes. [Ignore this ad hom in the first sentence for the moment — N.M.]  However, the difference between the weather and evolution is that the processes controlling weather are be observed in the present to be based upon chance and law. The origin of biological organisms took place in the past, where the processes involved cannot be accessed. By assuming that only naturalistic processes were at work in the past, evolutionists make stronger philosophical statements than meteorologists, who can directly observe that naturalistic processes are at work in the present. Given that many unknowns about causes of weather will always exist, for we cannot know what is always happening in the sky, it is possible that God “makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth; [and] sends lightning with the rain”58 after all! However, given that we observe weather in the present obeying natural laws, scientists are not unjustified in relegating explanations of present weather to the natural realm.

To summarize, Luskin says:

(1) Meteorologists observe natural processes operating today
(2) Evolutionists, although they can observe natural processes operating now, can’t observe natural processes operating in the past
(3) Meteorologists actually can’t directly observe all the natural processes operating today in controlling the weather (weather is a chaotic system, highly sensitive to initial micro-conditions that cannot be observed — this is the butterfly effect)
(4) So maybe God is miraculously intervening in the weather after all, like the literal reading of the Bible says
(5) But meteorologists are justified in using exclusively natural processes in their work, while evolutionary biologists are being dogmatic philosophical materialists for doing so.

It makes perfect sense!

The only way the IDists can escape the Meteorology Argument is (1) give up on their core claim, or (2) be self-consistent, and state that meteorologists are also nasty, society-undermining secular dogmatists promoting atheism, philosophical materialism, and moral decay under the guise of science.  Option #1 doesn’t seem very likely, so I bet we’ll be seeing meteorology warning labels in public schools and on the public airwaves (your local news weatherman is actually promoting atheism over the air!) sooner or later.

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Comment #30449

Posted by steve on May 16, 2005 5:46 PM (e)

Then perhaps astronomers:

The Bible and all real evidence confirms that this is precisely what He did, and indeed:

The Earth is not rotating…nor is it going around the sun.

The universe is not one ten trillionth the size we are told.

Today’s cosmology fulfills an anti-Bible religious plan disguised as “science”.

The whole scheme from Copernicanism to Big Bangism is a factless lie.

Those lies have planted the Truth-killing virus of evolutionism

in every aspect of man’s “knowledge” about the Universe, the

Earth, and Himself.

(from http://www.fixedearth.com/ )

Comment #30452

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 16, 2005 6:02 PM (e)

I hate to say it Nick, but:

“Now, imagine how silly it would seem if Phillip Johnson had said this:”

the fact that you have to point out that it seems sillier to say one over the other kinda defeats the point in a way, yes?

while it is absolutely correct to say (emphasis added):

“What Heddle doesn’t provide, and couldn’t provide under questioning, was any reason why evolution and meteorology are logically any different with respect to the theism/atheism question. The best he did was bluster “it’s obvious.”

the question then becomes:

Why does it “seem” silly to swap meteorology for evolutionary biology to begin with, since logically they are no different?

ID’s whole support structure is not based on logic, but rather “what seems apparent”.

“What ID advocates have to explain is why evolution is different from meteorology with respect to theology. “

but as you saw with Heddle, this won’t happen. They won’t ever compare things from a logical standpoint, but rather filter it through their perception.

I wonder about the value of pointing out that ID/creationists are illogical. That never ends up being something that affects folks decisions about religion/science issues, unless they typically have some science background themselves.

Can you see what i am getting at?

Comment #30453

Posted by steve on May 16, 2005 6:07 PM (e)

Now before anyone starts criticising Nick, or saying that ID does not believe in inserting religion in every science, let’s hear from William Dembski:

“Christ is indispensable to any scientific theory.”1[hr]
1 http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/articles/ArnhartDarwinDesign.shtml

Comment #30454

Posted by "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank on May 16, 2005 6:09 PM (e)

What ID advocates have to explain is why evolution is different from meteorology with respect to theology.

Or, as I have asked several of the IDers here;

What, precisely, about “evolution” is any more “materialistic” than, say, weather forecasting or accident investigation or medicine. Please be as specific as possible.

I have never, in all my life, ever heard any weather forecaster mention “god” or “divine will” or any “supernatural” anything, at all. Ever. Does this mean, in your view, that weather forecasting is atheistic (oops, I mean, “materialistic” and “naturalistic” —- we don’t want any judges to think ID’s railing against “materialism” has any RELIGIOUS purpose, do we)?

I have yet, in all my 44 years of living, to ever hear any accifdent investigator declare solemnly at the scene of an airplane crash, “We can’t explain how it happened, so an Unknown Intelligent Being must have dunnit.” I have never yet heard an accident investigator say that “this crash has no materialistic causes — it must have been the Will of Allah”. Does this mean, in your view, that accident investigation is atheistic (oops, sorry, I meant to say “materialistic” and “naturalistic” — we don’t want any judges to know that it is “atheism” we are actually waging a religious crusade against, do we)?

How about medicine. When you get sick, do you ask your doctor to abandon his “materialistic biases” and to investigate possible “supernatural” or “non-materialistic” causes for your disease? Or do you ask your doctor to cure your naturalistic materialistic diseases by using naturalistic materialistic antibiotics to kill your naturalistic materialistic germs?

Since it seems to me as if weather forecasting, accident investigation, and medicine are every bit, in every sense,just as utterly completely totally absolutely one-thousand-percent “materialistic” as evolutionary biology is, why, specifically, is it just evolutionary biology that gets your panties all in a bunch? Why aren’t you and your fellow Wedge-ites out there fighting the good fight against godless materialistic naturalistic weather forecasting, or medicine, or accident investigation?

Or does that all come LATER, as part of, uh, “renewing our culture” …. . ?

Oddly enough, no one ever attemtped to answer that simple question.

Just like they never attempted to answer my question about the scientific theory of ID and how it can be tested using the scientific method.

I wonder why that would be ……

Comment #30455

Posted by "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank on May 16, 2005 6:13 PM (e)

What Heddle doesn’t provide, and couldn’t provide under questioning, was any reason why evolution and meteorology are logically any different with respect to the theism/atheism question. The best he did was bluster “it’s obvious.”

As I have often pointed out, Davey has this rather annoying habit of assuming that he has some sort of religious authority to pronounce his Holy Judgement upon such matters. Hence, I must often pipe up and point out to everyone that David is, well, just a man. His religious opinions are just that, his opinions. They are no more holy or divine or infallible or authoritative than anyone else’s religious opinions. No one is obligated in any way, shape, or form to follow his religious opinions, to accept them, or even to pay any attention at all to them.

Comment #30456

Posted by Michael Finley on May 16, 2005 6:16 PM (e)

No valid argument moves from Darwinism or evolution to atheism, or from theism to creationism. Johnson’s comment - “…then Christian metaphysics and religious belief are fantasy” - is absurd. God could have chosen to create through a fully naturalistic, Darwinian process.

That said, it is not an either/or game here. The belief that, e.g., a divine being directed evolution does not commit one to the belief that angels push the planets around or that Poseiden’s wrath makes for bad sailing. One could consistently maintain that natural causes and miracles are operative.

Comment #30459

Posted by Mike Walker on May 16, 2005 6:17 PM (e)

Not to mention all those hard working angels flying around and keeping our feet firmly planted on the ground, and the planets in orbit around the sun.

After all, it’s no less plausible than our current theories about gravity, no?

Comment #30460

Posted by steve on May 16, 2005 6:18 PM (e)

“Christ is indispensable to any scientific theory.”

So maybe Dave Heddle can explain to us how ID is going to put christ in, hmm…Plate Tectonics? oh, wait, how about Maxwell’s Laws?

Comment #30462

Posted by Hiero5ant on May 16, 2005 6:21 PM (e)

I think you forgot the most stunning example of biblical meteorology:

“[12] And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations:
[13] I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.
[14] And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud:
[15] And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.
[16] And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.
[17] And God said unto Noah, This is the token of the covenant, which I have established between me and all flesh that is upon the earth.”

Here you have an incredibly direct and unambiguous statement – not an interpretation – from the mouth of Yahweh himself, saying in no uncertain terms that he is causally responsible for a meteorological phenomenon, and even going a step further by explicitly telling us *why* he did it.

In my high school physics class, we actually spent an entire unit learning about refraction by studying the physics of rainbows. I literally have yet to meet a single creationist who could explain to me why simple refraction is less of a theological problem than evolution, or why unweaving the rainbow by showing how different wavelengths of light behave differently in prisms “impermissibly imports naturalistic metaphysical assumptions”.

Comment #30465

Posted by David Heddle on May 16, 2005 6:27 PM (e)

PT has some informative posts, some mean-spirited posts, and some posts that are outright distortions, but this is the first one that I recall that is downright silly. Was it meant to be?

Sir-toejam, I not only pointed out (in several comments) on the other thread that it was obvious that evolution/meteorology were different with respect to the atheism question, I gave the reason: evolution, dealing with basic questions of life, is more likely to arouse tension with one’s theism.

Greg Peterson came along and demonstrated this nicely in " rel="external nofollow">this comment #30440 in which he wrote:

And let’s not pretend that the fact of evolution leaves it no less likely that there is a god. Now that we know there’s not the least spot of work for a god to do, let’s declare our emancipation from this nasty, pathetic superstition.

Have you run across many comments of the form:

And let’s not pretend that the fact of meteorology leaves it no less likely that there is a god. Now that we know there’s not the least spot of work for a god to do, weather-wise, let’s declare our emancipation from this nasty, pathetic superstition.

Comment #30468

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 16, 2005 6:40 PM (e)

yikes, hedley, the quotes you put in “support” of your argument, er, aren’t.

“Sir-toejam, I not only pointed out (in several comments) on the other thread that it was obvious that evolution/meteorology were different with respect to the atheism question, I gave the reason: evolution, dealing with basic questions of life, is more likely to arouse tension with one’s theism.”

you make my point for me more eloquently that i did in my response to nick.

you don’t get that there is, in fact, no logical difference between evolution/meterology. Nick’s post above demonstrates this quite nicely.

However, it is VERY clear that you are literally unable to grasp this.

THAT is the point I was trying to make. It makes no difference to folks like yourself that there is no logic to your argument. In your mind, it makes perfect sense.

Thanks for demonstrating that more clearly than i could describe it.

I hope Nick sees now why i thought that addressing the appearance of “silliness” is more important than addressing the logic behind the argument.

Comment #30472

Posted by Just Bob on May 16, 2005 6:46 PM (e)

Since you brought up rainbows:

Then there’s the rainbow. If you want to hear some really creative additions to Genesis, ask a young-Earther how there could be no rainbows for a couple thousand years, until after the Flood. You may get some truly bizarre planetary climate models, involving such things as water soaking up through the ground to keep plants alive (let’s see–if there is so much water underground that it soaks UP to the surface, isn’t that what we call a bog? Some paradise!), or a “vapor canopy” that watered the Earth with a kind of fog, then fell as the Flood rains. If you think conditions on Venus are hellish, try modeling the atmospheric conditions on an Earth with all the gigatons of ocean water added to the atmosphere! If Adam’s descendants were protected from such incredible temperatures and pressures (the natural physical result of such super-greenhouse conditions) by some sort of miraculous intervention, then again this is not creation science, just creation magic. (I’ve heard creationists attribute the mythical long life spans of Old Testament notables to such atmospheric conditions. I invite them to try it for themselves to see if it promotes longevity.) But the purpose of the rainbow is what really puzzles me. God states (and repeats–Noah must have been a slow learner [or chronically drunk?]) that the rainbow signifies a promise by God that He will never flood out the whole Earth again. Most creationists I know are dead certain that God WILL destroy the Earth (and soon!), but just not with water next time (most seem to favor fire, but personally I expect it to be peanut butter [extra chunky]). But wait–if God reserves the right to destroy all mankind, then what’s the point of promising not to use water again? We won’t be drowned again, but burnt to cinders? Thanks a lot.

And yet more rainbow nonsense: God states multiple times that it will be in a cloud, He will “set [His] bow in the cloud.” Rainbows aren’t formed or seen “in clouds.” They appear when the sun shines on raindrops and is refracted back at the proper angle to the viewer. They are often seen against a backdrop of clouds, but they are not in the clouds. As a matter of fact, the rainbow doesn’t even exist where it appears to be! It’s an optical illusion that’s “in” the light reaching viewers at the proper angle from sun and rain. You can fly a plane through the exact spot where a ground viewer reports seeing a rainbow. You won’t see anything around you but air and water. You can also make your own rainbows with a garden hose in full sunlight–no clouds required at all. One more: God states unequivocally that the rainbow is to remind Him of the no-Flood clause. If God has such a faulty memory that He needs such cosmic Post-it Notes, we’re in BIG trouble.

http://members.aol.com/darrwin/flood.htm

Comment #30474

Posted by steve on May 16, 2005 6:51 PM (e)

Well Bob, “Christ is indispensable to any scientific theory.” and that would include Optics.

Comment #30475

Posted by Evan Lee on May 16, 2005 6:53 PM (e)

I Just wanted to tell all of you that Jesus (the loving God that created you)loves all of you and He’ll always be waiting for you to turn to Him. And when you do you’ll be stoked cuz He loves you more then you can possibly imagine. God bless all of you

Comment #30477

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 16, 2005 6:59 PM (e)

cosmic post it notes…

*snicker*

I don’t know if there are any South Park fans here, but I remember an episode from the first season where cartman talks about rainbows:

KYLE
Hey Stan, did you see that rainbow this morning?

STAN
Yeah, it was huge!

CARTMAN
Eeh, I hate those things.

KYLE
Nobody hates rainbows!

STAN
Yeah, what’s there to hate about rainbows?

CARTMAN
Eeh, you know, you’ll just be sitting there, minding your own business, and they’ll come marching in and crawling up your leg and start biting the inside of your ass, and you’ll be all like “Ay! Get out of my ass, you stupid rainbows!”

STAN
Cartman, what the hell are you talking about?

CARTMAN
I’m talking about rainbows. I hate those frigging things.

KYLE
Rainbows are those little arches of color that show up during a rainstorm.

CARTMAN
Oh, rainbows! Oh yeah; I like those; those are cool.

STAN
What were you talking about?

CARTMAN
Huh? Oh, nothing. Forget it.

Comment #30478

Posted by Hiero5ant on May 16, 2005 7:00 PM (e)

d000d you’ve been in touch with Yahweh?

Did he also have any messages for me about why he designed all this unsightly body hair, or why he designed my irreducibly complex immune system to protect me from all the irreucibly complex bacteria he designed?

Comment #30481

Posted by 386sx on May 16, 2005 7:08 PM (e)

[Y]ou don’t get that there is, in fact, no logical difference between evolution/meteorology. Nick’s post above demonstrates this quite nicely.

So in other words, if the entire universe were created by the Creator, then logically it doesn’t make much difference which feature of the universe we’re talking about - whether it be life or meteorology, or whatever. (Very well stated, I might add.) The only difference I can think of would be that Mr. Heddle is a “life”, but he isn’t a “meteorology”. Maybe it’s all about the Mr. Heddle and the Mr. Johnson. Maybe it’s all about the IDer, not the IDee.

Comment #30482

Posted by Man with No Personality on May 16, 2005 7:08 PM (e)

Having been on the recieving end of Mr. Heddle’s debating “skills” on Orac’s blog, I am now waiting for the inevitable rebuttal, wherein he launches into another dense patch of Heddlespeak that states when it is finally deciphered, that we are all failing to understand him, followed by a different wording of his initial argument that states the exact same thing, only in more obscure terms, and in a more patronizing, insulting manner. And then he will tell us that we are using the same tired arguments against him, the ones he keeps getting accused of using, time after time…

Comment #30484

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 16, 2005 7:13 PM (e)

in other words, the ID movement, in a nutshell labeled “heddle”.

Comment #30485

Posted by steve on May 16, 2005 7:15 PM (e)

…Then Charlie Wagner will show up and say that such a complex system as the Hydrological Cycle, composed of several interlocked parts, with the function of watering plants, could not have arisen without a Designer, according to Nelson’s Flaw.

Comment #30494

Posted by Steve U. on May 16, 2005 7:32 PM (e)

Michael F

The belief that, e.g., a divine being directed evolution does not commit one to the belief that angels push the planets around or that Poseiden’s wrath makes for bad sailing.

Gee, the hardline religious folks sure are blessed that they get to pick and choose what to believe without fear of being “inconsistent.”

Isn’t that always the rub? Anyone who doesn’t believe in miracles, according to the hardliners, is “committed” to believing that life is meaningless and that the only basis for morals is power.

But somehow it’s permitted and “consistent” with religious beliefs to specifically target evolutionary biologists in a quest to redefine (and dilute) science across the board.

Comment #30497

Posted by Brian Andrews on May 16, 2005 7:37 PM (e)

Science does in fact lead to atheism. I became an atheist in collage while studying science. Science is an effort to understand the world/universe by accumulating facts and putting them together into theories that best explain how something works. Unlike religion these theories come and go based on facts. And this is the key: if it can’t be repeated or demonstrated it isn’t science. All anecdotal evidence is rejected.

To me religion (belief in supernatural beings) is fundamentally incompatible with this way of looking at the world. There’s nothing but anecdotal evidence for god and all of that is contradictory. There’s no there there. Nothing to hang your hat on but a just because argument.

Comment #30499

Posted by Harq al-Ada on May 16, 2005 7:47 PM (e)

Just because science led YOU to atheism, doesn’t mean that atheism flows naturally from it. Have you read this thread at all?

Comment #30500

Posted by Harq al-Ada on May 16, 2005 7:53 PM (e)

Just because science led YOU to atheism doesn’t mean that atheism flows naturally from it. Did you read any of the many posts on this thread that explain why this is so?

Comment #30501

Posted by Randall Wald on May 16, 2005 7:54 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'quote'

Comment #30503

Posted by Flint on May 16, 2005 7:54 PM (e)

Somehow us atheists can’t seem to grasp that Heddle’s god is a god of *biology*, and not a weather god. Once one realizes that Heddle’s is the REAL god, his arguments make perfect sense.

Comment #30504

Posted by Harq al-Ada on May 16, 2005 7:55 PM (e)

Sorry. I didn’t think my first post went through.

Comment #30506

Posted by steve on May 16, 2005 8:02 PM (e)

Comment #30499

Posted by Harq al-Ada on May 16, 2005 07:47 PM (e) (s)

Just because science led YOU to atheism, doesn’t mean that atheism flows naturally from it. Have you read this thread at all?

I would say science inclines people toward atheism, and this explains why atheists are overrepresented in science by a large factor. I would not say that it’s scientific data per se, I would say that people become exposed to the very rigorous and difficult process of generating reliable knowledge about the world, and they compare that to religious ‘knowledge’, and find the latter to be untrustworthy.

Comment #30508

Posted by David Heddle on May 16, 2005 8:08 PM (e)

Nick wrote:

According to a literal reading of the Bible, the evidence that God controls the weather is, if anything, much stronger than the Biblical evidence that God specially created organisms.

Au contraire, oh illogical one.

There is zero biblical evidence, in spite of Nick’s assertion and Wesley’s biblical quote mining, that God controls the weather. There is only evidence that God intervenes at certain times to control the weather. Big difference. Just like there is no biblical evidence that God controls the planets motion, micron by micron, but only a passage (the famous one from Joshua) that suggests God can intervene and control the orbits when he chooses.

This is far different from Genesis, which makes the claim that God created life supernaturally.

So once again, the patently obvious, (and as Greg Patterson’s comment supported), the relationship between evolution and atheism is not the same as between meteorology and atheism. You can demonstrate that they are both sciences, but you can only cover your eyes and keep chanting that evolution and atheism have exactly the same relationship as meteorology and atheism—as Greg Patterson’s comment …

I love how you guys suffer paroxysms of agony over the fact that IDers won’t admit that their movement has a theism bias, while denying what goes hand-in-hand, that evolution has a bias toward atheism. You guys never fail to amuse!

MWNP: You comments are as dumb here as they were on Orac’s blog. I wouldn’t of thunk it possible.

Comment #30510

Posted by Steve Harrynuk on May 16, 2005 8:09 PM (e)

During the Taliban’s reign in Afghanistan, weather forecasting was forbidden. They believed that predicting the future was sorcery, and smashed meteorological offices in 1996, for intruding on the province of God.

The ban on this critical information contributed to crop failures and a plane crash in ‘98.

“They were allergic to the word ‘prediction,’” Abdul Qadeer [head of the country’s weather forecasting agency] said of the Taliban’s extreme interpretation of Islam.

“They said God only knows prediction, only God knows these things. We
tried to explain that meteorology is not prediction, that it is forecast based on science. It didn’t work.”

There’s a much longer newspaper article about this, but unfortunately it isn’t online anymore. I have my own digital copy, but I don’t want to break the copyright.

Comment #30512

Posted by Jim Harrison on May 16, 2005 8:19 PM (e)

Evolution certainly doesn’t imply atheism, but the fact that nature shows no evidence of a God made atheism more plausible. I doubt if many early 19th Century biologists took Genesis literally, but they expected their researches to support some sort of mind operating in the world. When nothing of the kind turned up, it was one of those “dog that didn’t bark” things.

Comment #30514

Posted by Brian Andrews on May 16, 2005 8:22 PM (e)

I don’t see how a naturalistic view of the world can in any way be reconciled with belief in supernatural beings where no evidence is forthcoming. I just don’t how they’re compatible.

Science may not say anything specifically about god but it does lay out a methodology for discerning how the world works. It does this by insisting on demonstrable evidence and rejecting anecdotal evidence. So while science can’t disprove the existence of supernatural beings it does make them seem pretty unlikely.

Comment #30517

Posted by WCD on May 16, 2005 8:29 PM (e)

Heddle: “There is zero biblical evidence, … , that God controls the weather. There is only evidence that God intervenes at certain times to control the weather”

Heddle tells us there’s no biblical evidence that God controls the weather, God only controls the weather at certain times.

HEDDLE! - STOP BEIN’ A IDIOT!

Comment #30518

Posted by RBH on May 16, 2005 8:31 PM (e)

Weather forecasting under the Taliban. Google is your friend. :)

RBH

Comment #30519

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 16, 2005 8:34 PM (e)

Heddley pooted:

“There is zero biblical evidence, in spite of Nick’s assertion and Wesley’s biblical quote mining, that God controls the weather. There is only evidence that God intervenes at certain times to control the weather”

I think i just busted a gasket on that one.

thanks, Heddley, for continuing to prove that you have your own special “logic”, that is unique to IDers.

Comment #30520

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 16, 2005 8:37 PM (e)

“Weather forecasting under the Taliban. Google is your friend. :)”

LOL. perfect.

Comment #30521

Posted by Brian Andrews on May 16, 2005 8:41 PM (e)

biblical quote mining. You could grow a lot of turnips with that.

Comment #30522

Posted by steve on May 16, 2005 8:45 PM (e)

Behe says that go-oops, I mean, The Designer, merely intervened at certain times to build IC structures. Therefore, the analogy is a good one. Trying to argue otherwise would be like, i don’t know, trying to argue that something is unlikely, with zero knowledge about its probability distribution. Oh wait…

Comment #30525

Posted by jeffw on May 16, 2005 9:07 PM (e)

Behe says that go-oops, I mean, The Designer, merely intervened at certain times to build IC structures. Therefore, the analogy is a good one. Trying to argue otherwise would be like, i don’t know, trying to argue that something is unlikely, with zero knowledge about its probability distribution. Oh wait …

Why would an omniscient God who supposedly created a clockwork universe with laws fine-tuned for life, feel the need to break his own laws and perform miracles? Guess there were some things he didn’t foresee.

Comment #30527

Posted by Rilke's Granddaughter on May 16, 2005 9:15 PM (e)

Mr. Heddle continues in confusion,

There is zero biblical evidence, in spite of Nick’s assertion and Wesley’s biblical quote mining, that God controls the weather. There is only evidence that God intervenes at certain times to control the weather. Big difference. Just like there is no biblical evidence that God controls the planets motion, micron by micron, but only a passage (the famous one from Joshua) that suggests God can intervene and control the orbits when he chooses.

This is far different from Genesis, which makes the claim that God created life supernaturally.

In other words, what you have established is that, according to the Bible, God intervened in the whole question of life once as opposed to the multiple times She dealt with the weather. Since this clearly according to the Bible makes God responsible solely for abiogenesis, then nothing in the Bible contradicts evolution. In which case, evolution is ‘theism-neutral’.

Good of you to establish that. I appreciate that it took courage to completely reverse your position, but we applaud that.

Comment #30528

Posted by Virge on May 16, 2005 9:23 PM (e)

David Heddle wrote: “There is only evidence that God intervenes at certain times to control the weather.”

Strange, David, but I thought you knew your Bible. These quotes don’t look like announcements of special interventions to me:

Job 5
8I would seek unto God, and unto God would I commit my cause:
9Which doeth great things and unsearchable; marvellous things without number:
10Who giveth rain upon the earth, and sendeth waters upon the fields:

Psalm 147
8Who covereth the heaven with clouds, who prepareth rain for the earth, who maketh grass to grow upon the mountains.
9He giveth to the beast his food, and to the young ravens which cry.

Matthew 5:45
That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

Read them in context. Understand the views of the people writing them. The “eternal truths” being presented in the Bible were the opinions of people who really thought that a god was the source of their weather.

Comment #30530

Posted by WCD on May 16, 2005 9:51 PM (e)

It looks like some people think that God will intervene at certain times - on demand. That’s better service than my cable company.

http://www.sptimes.com/News/051900/Citrus/Drought_weary_pray_fo.shtml

Comment #30531

Posted by Air Bear on May 16, 2005 10:08 PM (e)

I’m having a disconnect here.

I seem to recall that a few weeks or months ago, the wise Prof. Heddle argued that ID did not apply to life, but only to the origin of the Universe as a whole. Does anybody remember this? Is there a good efficient way to go back and check? Or am I wrong about this?

Comment #30532

Posted by colleen on May 16, 2005 10:10 PM (e)

rainbow..cosmic post it note

Comment #30533

Posted by "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank on May 16, 2005 10:15 PM (e)

while denying what goes hand-in-hand, that evolution has a bias toward atheism.

Reeeaaalllyyyyyyyy.

Why, then, are so many evolutionary biologists, Christians.

Oh, and why do the majority of Christians, worldwide, accept evolution, common descent and the evolution of humans from apelike primates, and have no gripe at all with it.

Including Behe.

Comment #30534

Posted by not buyin it on May 16, 2005 10:16 PM (e)

Must I explain everything?

Evolutionary biology gets singled out because it alone attempts to convince children that they’re descended from filthy animals.

Like duh!

Comment #30535

Posted by Air Bear on May 16, 2005 10:18 PM (e)

Vifge quoted the Bible:

Matthew 5:45
That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

et al.

Excellent quotes. They exactly refute Prof. Heddle’s assertions about the weather.

However, you’ll find that Prof. Heddle will do one or more of the following:

a) run and hide
b) argue that the Bible is inerrant but not literally true
c) start talking about physics
d) argue some tortured screwball interpretation of your quotes from the Bible

He’s done all of these before, separately or in combination, when confronted with passages from the Bible that directly contradict his Biblical assertions.

Comment #30537

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 16, 2005 10:23 PM (e)

“filthy animals.”

who’s definition NBI (AKA Dave Scott)?

It’s your own definition of animals as something “dirty” that makes it a bad thing to have evolved from them.

just your perspective. Science makes no claim as to whether animals are better or worse; another fallacy of yours.

I’m sure you are the type to describe evolution as “leading to a higher form”.

Idiot.

Comment #30538

Posted by Mike Walker on May 16, 2005 10:25 PM (e)

Actually it doesn’t matter whether or not God controls the weather or simply intervenes from time to time. If either was true it would make meteorology all but impossible to conduct as science.

Sure, you could probably still assume that most of the time a cold front will arrive at a certain place at a certain time, but what about the big stuff, like hurricanes?

Is it as Pat Robertson once declared? That the power of prayer diverted a hurricane from the shores of his beloved Virgina Beach? Should we install a Neilsen-like monitoring system in people’s homes to find out how many people are praying for a storm, hurricane, or tornado bearing down on them to go the other way, so that the meteorologists can factor that into their forcasts?

I suppose one could argue that such miracles are rare–but how do we know? Isn’t it time we find out? After all, until we do we may never be able to accurately forecast deadly twisters or hurricanes.

And if the scientists object, let’s take it to the public. I’d be willing to bet that, within a few percentages points, as many parents would favor inserting “DI” (divine intervention) into the “atheistic” teaching of meteorology in school science books as favor the introduction of ID into schools.

All joking aside, I suspect that getting ID into schools is just the thin end of Phillip Johnson’s “wedge” in more ways than one.

Comment #30539

Posted by not buyin it on May 16, 2005 10:28 PM (e)

Heddle said that his ID belief is based upon the fine tuning argument. As I recall he indicated that if he could be convinced that fine tuning didn’t necessarily require design he’d not argue with RM+NS being responsible for the origin and diversity of life.

Comment #30542

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on May 16, 2005 10:35 PM (e)

Air Bear wrote:

I seem to recall that a few weeks or months ago, the wise Prof. Heddle argued that ID did not apply to life, but only to the origin of the Universe as a whole. Does anybody remember this? Is there a good efficient way to go back and check? Or am I wrong about this?

Check here.

Comment #30543

Posted by "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank on May 16, 2005 10:43 PM (e)

Evolutionary biology gets singled out because it alone attempts to convince children that they’re descended from filthy animals.

Like duh!

I see — so it’s OK with you if God does absolutely nothing at all whatsoever anywhere in our world today, as long as we didn’t evolve from, uh, “filthy animals” …. …. ?

Interesting, uh, theology you have there …. .

Comment #30544

Posted by Air Bear on May 16, 2005 10:43 PM (e)

not buyin it writes:

Must I explain everything?

Evolutionary biology gets singled out because it alone attempts to convince children that they’re descended from filthy animals.

Assuming you’re serious and not a parody -

We have here the basic reason why many (non-scientist) laypeople are so much more sensitive about the idea of biological evolution than about naturalistic theories of the rest of nature – they’re sensitive about their ancestry. People love to think that they’re descended from great characters – kings, chiefs, war heroes, personages in the Bible – or even great villains like pirates. The vast majority of ancestors who were farmers or day laborers or petty bureaucrats are no source of pride. And, worse, the thought of being descended from animals – filthy or otherwise – is more than many people can bear.

This is an odd physchological phenomenon, since one would naively think that people would take pride in surpassing their ancestors. But the desire to have ancestors more worthy than oneself seems to be prevalent. I know nothing about ancestor-worship in Eastern religions, but I suspect that the worshipped ancestors were no more imposing than the living people doing the worshipping.

We also have here the gross sentimentality of appealing to supposed harmful effects on children. How can we do such awful things to THE CHILDREN?

Actually, I don’t think that children need be shocked or psychologically injured by the thought that their distant ancestors were animals. Children LOVE stories about animals acting like people. The majority of children’s books have characters that are animals that act like humans. Think Peter Rabbit, The Three Little Pigs and countless other children’s classics.

not buyin it may have some personal issues about animals, as well. I’ve never seen animals collectively referred to as “filthy”.

Comment #30545

Posted by JRQ on May 16, 2005 10:45 PM (e)

NBI: Evolutionary biology gets singled out because it alone attempts to convince children that they’re descended from filthy animals.

STJ: Science makes no claim as to whether animals are better or worse; another fallacy of yours.

Well, you’re both right (semantic nit-picking aside at least…”biology” doesn’t “attempt” to do anything to children).

Evolution DOES gets singled by those who object to the idea that they are decended from animals, filthy, immoral, beastly things that they are. The salient point to be made though, is that this objection is fundamentally a visceral one…it only gets dressed up in rational-sounding language when people mis-attibute the cause of the attitude, in hindsight, to a freely-made decision.

That’s why Phil Johnson objects to evolutionary biology and not metorology – he has no visceral reaction to materialist weather science. The inconsistency fundamentally irrational.

Comment #30548

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 16, 2005 10:49 PM (e)

“That’s why Phil Johnson objects to evolutionary biology and not metorology — he has no visceral reaction to materialist weather science. The inconsistency fundamentally irrational.”

thanks JRQ; this is the same point i made in my first post to Nick. The question becomes; how to deal with that kind of fundamentally irrational mindset?

Comment #30550

Posted by not buyin it on May 16, 2005 10:54 PM (e)

toejam - the vast majority of American people understandably believe that monkeys are filthy - ask around if you don’t believe me

heck the vast majority of Americans believe the French are filthy - I’ve smelt a few of them and I must say I have to agree - they think Americans have a bathing fetish and weird aversion to body odor

gee - come to think of it, maybe that explains why old Europe doesn’t have any problem believing they’re descended from monkeys - they’re just following what their nose

LOL!

and please, spare me the technical correction that people aren’t descended from monkeys but rather share a common ancestor

Comment #30551

Posted by Virge on May 16, 2005 10:54 PM (e)

The real reason for the ID movement to draw a distinction between evolution and meteorology is that “complexity of life” is their current line in the sand. As Sir_Toejam notes, it’s not based on logic.

Meteorology is a battle that the church lost in the distant past. That loss has already been rationalized and the scriptures have been reinterpreted to maintain the illusion of eternal truth. The way David Heddle could ignore the Zechariah 10:1 quote in the original post shows just how well the re-harmonized biblical interpretation has been accepted by those who think they are pulling evidence out of the Bible.

Throughout the twentieth century, most of the church moved their boundaries to make room for nineteenth and early twentieth century science. The battles were drawn out, but more and more evidence favored evolution over creationism. Those with some founding in reality-based thinking reinterpreted biblical creation accounts as poetic descriptions, or metaphors, or spiritual truths. For most, abiogenesis seemed like a good place to draw the next line. The staunch creationists, however, still think they have a hope of reclaiming lost ground. Their main hopes are:
1. camouflage (dressing up like scientists and pretending to do science),
2. propaganda (providing packaged simplistic answers and relying on the fact that when their errors are exposed, most people won’t understand the debunking),
3. targeting children.

As elegant as it is, I think the evolution-meteorology argument will have a limited audience. Countering creationist attacks with analogies between meteorology and evolution will only work for people who are smart enough to understand the comparison. For a lot of folks it’s telling them that weather (to them obviously natural because even the church agrees) and their own lives (to them obviously miraculous/magical/supernatural) share a common naturalistic explanation. The logic may be impeccable but it doesn’t get past their input filters.

Comment #30554

Posted by Air Bear on May 16, 2005 11:11 PM (e)

Wesley -

Thanks for the link. I take it that this is the collected wit and wisdom of Prof. Heddle from past PT posts.

Unfortunately, skimming through much of this stuff, all I could see was a lot of weasly “I never said that ID was ..” stuff. I’ll have to take some time to search it more diligently.

I can’t resist pulling out one of the more pithy aphorisms from
Date: 2004-09-03 14:22:59,

Then there are many IDers who are not young earth creationists. In fact, on the physics side, ID is antithetical to young earth creationism

A curious statment, indeed, that an intelligently designed universise could not have been created as described in the Bible.

Maybe I’m on a fool’s errand, looking for a definite statement in Prof. Heddles pronouncements.

Comment #30555

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 16, 2005 11:17 PM (e)

“and please, spare me the technical correction that people aren’t descended from monkeys but rather share a common ancestor”

actually, that wasn’t what caught my eye about your rather racially bigoted and ignorant post.

why did you bother to post that? to show us what an idiot you are? or to try to claim that the “vast majority” of americans share the same idiotic views as yourself?

I think you would be hard pressed to prove that point, but I’m sure in your mind, everyone thinks just like you do, and those that don’t must be just plain wrong, eh?

I notice you didn’t deny you were Dave Scott, either. You sure sound a lot like him with every post, each more idiotic than the last.

didn’t Dave Scott get banned from here for making comments like the one you just posted?

Comment #30558

Posted by Air Bear on May 16, 2005 11:27 PM (e)

Sir Toejam -

It’s best not to feed the trolls when they open their mouths so wide. Sorry I threw in the first morsel.

But check out not buyin it’s website for any hints of DaveScot-ism

Elegant graphics, BTW. Lots of anime, no science or religion or animals except a link to a pet-sitting service and a Unitarian Church(!). No sign of anything to indicate he’s anything but a drive-by troll.

Comment #30559

Posted by Michael Finley on May 16, 2005 11:28 PM (e)

Virge wrote:

Meteorology is a battle that the church lost in the distant past.

That’s hilarious. I suggest you read more books.

Comment #30560

Posted by Ed Darrell on May 16, 2005 11:28 PM (e)

Heddle said:

There is zero biblical evidence, in spite of Nick’s assertion and Wesley’s biblical quote mining, that God controls the weather. There is only evidence that God intervenes at certain times to control the weather. Big difference. Just like there is no biblical evidence that God controls the planets motion, micron by micron, but only a passage (the famous one from Joshua) that suggests God can intervene and control the orbits when he chooses.

This is far different from Genesis, which makes the claim that God created life supernaturally.

Geeze. Genesis 2.5 also makes the claim God acted supernaturally with the rain.

David, give it up. It’s instructional when the scientists (“Darwinists”) have to instruct you on science. But it’s just embarrassing when they have to instruct you on the Bible.

Of course, Darwin knew the Bible forward and backward. He knew theology and scripture much better than his critics knew science and biology.

It’s still the case that those who love and pursue the truth tend to know more than those who try to cover it up.

Comment #30561

Posted by not buyin it on May 16, 2005 11:30 PM (e)

The French are a racial group now?

Guldurn! I always thought French was a nationality.

‘Scuse me, toe jelly.

I’ll have to plead guilty to being offended by the smell of unwashed human bodies though. Feel free to call me a typical American with a cleanliness fetish if you want. Or even a bigot. Coming from a toejam I consider it a compliment anyhow.

And excuse me for trying to explain to you why Americans single out evolutionary biology to complain about. Feel free to keep blundering about in ignorance wondering why they only pick on evolution.

Comment #30562

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 16, 2005 11:35 PM (e)

“Feel free to keep blundering about in ignorance wondering why they only pick on evolution.”

gee, thanks for letting us go, NBI. I’m sure we can manage without your wisdom.

Comment #30563

Posted by Ed Darrell on May 16, 2005 11:36 PM (e)

nbi said:

toejam - the vast majority of American people understandably believe that monkeys are filthy - ask around if you don’t believe me

We Christians don’t adhere to that, however. It’s contrary to the theology, that God is the creator of the monkeys, and they are, by that cause, good.

Second, one of the chief themes of the Bible is that good is found often from humble origins. C. S. Lewis expounded on this with great fun and profound insight in The Screwtape Letters, when Uncle Screwtape pointed out to Wormwood that Wormwood’s error (that cost Wormwood his soul) was to presume that a human, conceived in a fit of lust in a bed of carnal desire, could not act nobly. Jesus was born in a manger, not because that was the fancy mansion of the day, but because it was the most humble, dirty place available. Good things from humble origins.

Yeah, monkeys are dirty. And if you hold that against them, you’d be hypocritical not to hold Jesus’ humble origins against Him, too.

Or if you choose inconsistency, and don’t hold it against Jesus, then you deny His message.

Is there any creationist who knows what the Bible is about?

Comment #30564

Posted by Air Bear on May 16, 2005 11:37 PM (e)

Virge wrote:

The real reason for the ID movement to draw a distinction between evolution and meteorology is that “complexity of life” is their current line in the sand. As Sir_Toejam notes, it’s not based on logic.

Meteorology is a battle that the church lost in the distant past. That loss has already been rationalized and the scriptures have been reinterpreted to maintain the illusion of eternal truth.

They’ve moved the goalposts around, but are taking a stand at their “current line in the sand” (to stretch a metaphor). At this point the argument is viscerally personal – it’s not just God we’re talking about but our own ancestry.

There’s some entertaining history about the early religious opposition to Benjamin Franklin’s lightning rod as thwarting the Divine will to destroy buildings by lightning:

http://www.piney.com/Awwhitek04Rod.html

Comment #30565

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 16, 2005 11:39 PM (e)

“Coming from a toejam I consider it a compliment anyhow.”

hey, that’s SIR toejam to you.

Comment #30566

Posted by bill on May 17, 2005 12:03 AM (e)

Is it only me who has the fantasy about a French monkey dressed as a maid?

It’s the je ne sais quois combination of naughty-furry-banana that drives me to want to be another species. Yes, I want to punctuate and punctuate and punctuate. Oh, baby!

Do you think that Lucy and her kin tamed fire so they could light up a piece of grapevine after a few hours of Monkey Love? That could be an evolutionary driver.

Meanwhile, me and Bongette have some “survival of the fittest” of our own to discuss.

Bon soir!

Comment #30567

Posted by Stuart Weinstein on May 17, 2005 12:10 AM (e)

Evan Lee writes: “I Just wanted to tell all of you that Jesus (the loving God that created you)loves all of you and He’ll always be waiting for you to turn to Him. And when you do you’ll be stoked cuz He loves you more then you can possibly imagine. God bless all of you”

And now back to our regularly scheduled program….

Comment #30568

Posted by Stuart Weinstein on May 17, 2005 12:17 AM (e)

NBI writes:

“toejam - the vast majority of American people understandably believe that monkeys are filthy - ask around if you don’t believe me

heck the vast majority of Americans believe the French are filthy - I’ve smelt a few of them and I must say I have to agree - they think Americans have a bathing fetish and weird aversion to body odor

gee - come to think of it, maybe that explains why old Europe doesn’t have any problem believing they’re descended from monkeys - they’re just following what their nose

LOL!

and please, spare me the technical correction that people aren’t descended from monkeys but rather share a common ancestor”

Translation: “Don’t confuse me with the actual science”

Comment #30569

Posted by Air Bear on May 17, 2005 12:34 AM (e)

I can’t resist piling on.

Stuart Weinsteing quotes Even Lee:

I Just wanted to tell all of you that Jesus (the loving God that created you)loves all of you and He’ll always be waiting for you to turn to Him. And when you do you’ll be stoked cuz He loves you more then you can possibly imagine. God bless all of you

But beware. If you let Jesus too far into your life, you may end up like the folks at piney.com. Check out the endless tirades against instrumental music in church (or is it a meta-tirade against the anti-instrumental tirade?).

(N.B. - I think not buyin it was a true troll. He’s already gone, and we’re all still acting silly because of his drive-by!)

Comment #30570

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 17, 2005 12:38 AM (e)

“But beware. If you let Jesus too far into your life, you may end up like the folks at piney.com. Check out the endless tirades against instrumental music in church (or is it a meta-tirade against the anti-instrumental tirade?). “

or you might decide to take… the exodus:

http://christianexodus.org/

Comment #30571

Posted by Pastor Bentonit on May 17, 2005 12:44 AM (e)

nbi...or someone...I do wonder who, don´t you? wrote:

Must I explain everything?

Evolutionary biology gets singled out because it alone attempts to convince children that they’re descended from filthy animals.

Like duh!

I call “bored to death by supernatural causes - or alien of vast IQ”. Wanna bet?

Comment #30573

Posted by Don Sheffler on May 17, 2005 1:09 AM (e)

Rev Dr 30454 wrote:

I have never, in all my life, ever heard any weather forecaster mention “god” or “divine will” or any “supernatural” anything, at all. Ever.

BUT the insurance adjuster will nullify your claim for weather events they call “Acts of God”. This is why your insurance company is always “right” and the weatherman is always “wrong”. :-)

No Personality 30482 wrote:

…dense patch of Heddlespeak…

I prefer to call it Heddle-Rattle. As in, when he speaks, your Head’ll Rattle.

Comment #30574

Posted by Don Sheffler on May 17, 2005 1:16 AM (e)

Brian Andrews 30497 wrote:

Science does in fact lead to atheism. I became an atheist in collage while studying science.

That’s on par with Heavy Metal leading to suicide. Some guys killed themselves after listening to it.

I understand this is your personal anecdotal opinion but that’s the downfall of anecdote. It isn’t science any more than ID is.

There are huge vast numbers of scientists in the “evolution” fields who have some level of religious faith, even grudging agnosticism. And huge vast numbers of faithful, i.e. nearly the entire Catholic church, that accept Evolution like other sciences, as acceptible explanations based on what we observe in nature.

Comment #30577

Posted by Steve on May 17, 2005 1:44 AM (e)

There is zero biblical evidence, in spite of Nick’s assertion and Wesley’s biblical quote mining, that God controls the weather. There is only evidence that God intervenes at certain times to control the weather.

Stop yore killing me with the irony here. So we are to infer from your statements that God is continually intervening in the evolution of life forms? Is that it? When there is a mutation that is actually God at work?

This is far different from Genesis, which makes the claim that God created life supernaturally.

Uhhh, call me a party pooper, but this strikes me as a one time intervention here….much like your interventions in the weather or the planetary orbits. So which is it? Continual involvement by God in regards to life forms, or periodic interventions? Or are you just making stuff up on the fly to try and cover up for a serious flaw in your argument/position?

Sir Toejam,

However, it is VERY clear that you are literally unable to grasp this.

There is another way of looking at this, but it is less charitable to Mr. Heddle. Perhaps he grasps quite clearly the logical problems of his position, but he is unwilling to face the implications in regards to his world view. So instead he has been working rather hard to come up with some sort of way out of this problem.

On a broader note, I’d also point out that while this post by Nick is not going to change the minds of guys like Heddle or other IDists, that wasn’t the point. They are beyond reason, IMO. After all we are talking religion here and religion inevitably means dogma and faith (i.e., you believe something irrespective of empirical evidence or without any empirical evidence). I see Nick’s post has being aimed at those who are on the fence so to speak. In that regard, it is not a bad post.

Why would an omniscient God who supposedly created a clockwork universe with laws fine-tuned for life, feel the need to break his own laws and perform miracles? Guess there were some things he didn’t foresee.

I like Perakh’s version better: Stupid, therefore designed.

Comment #30585

Posted by extreme_mod on May 17, 2005 4:01 AM (e)

There’s something to be said about this notion of design by any deity, as I mentioned on another PT thread and can bear repeat here:

“While I concur with the logical undercurrent below squabbles about whether evolution confirms atheism or is not inconsistent with a belief in a deity—that a deity is not proved or disproven with the science of biological evolution, eg. God architecting DNA mutation or not, this would in fact would place any diety’s performance level to that capable of a human. ID’ers all—Cordova, Heddle, Dembski—should take note of this. Considering such biological atavisms as the buried eyes of the Mexican Tetra(fish), whale feet, and nearer to home the human tail, any semblance of “design” in these processes of generation bears all the earmarks of trial-and-error algorithmic design, ie. design without foresight. This is science, strident with the theory of evolution, and also has serious implications for traditional religionist who have concepts of a grand “external agent” intimately involved in ongoing changes.”

Comment #30587

Posted by Sandor on May 17, 2005 4:27 AM (e)

Fantastic topic!

Contrary to what Heddle wants us to believe, I would argue that there is a stronger connection between religion and the weather than between religion and special creation. With all those droughts and floodings causing famine and mass death, there’re much at stake pleasing the gods with offerings in order to assure crop growth and to keep those pesky flash-floods away. In this light, it seems reasonable to me that the ID/creationist crowd set their sights on the meteorologists as their primary target!

Comment #30588

Posted by SR on May 17, 2005 4:27 AM (e)

1) Heddle wrote:

“Sir-toejam, I not only pointed out (in several comments) on the other thread that it was obvious that evolution/meteorology were different with respect to the atheism question, I gave the reason: evolution, dealing with basic questions of life, is more likely to arouse tension with one’s theism.”

BS, BS, BS.

Evolution may be different from meteorology in historical or social ways, but NOT in a scientific way.

Heddle should be ashamed of making such an IDiotic argument and trying to muddy the waters.

2) Heddle wrote:

“… more likely to arouse tension with one’s theism.”

BS, BS, BS.

With Heddle’s brand of theism - maybe. But there are many brands of beliefs in the world, some of which have “god(s)” controlling all weather, others have “god” controlling EVERYTHING. Indeed, many Chistians actually support such a view (BTW, cf. Prov. 16:33). So “undirected” meteorology processes are likely to arouse tension with such kind of theism.

Heddle should be ashamed of the narrowness of his thinking.

Comment #30589

Posted by Hmm on May 17, 2005 4:34 AM (e)

> heck the vast majority of Americans believe the French are filthy

What? Most Americans are still filthy racists?

Comment #30592

Posted by David Heddle on May 17, 2005 4:52 AM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'quote'

Comment #30593

Posted by David Heddle on May 17, 2005 4:57 AM (e)

Sandor:

Contrary to what Heddle wants us to believe, I would argue that there is a stronger connection between religion and the weather than between religion and special creation.

That actually puts you on my side of the argument, for you agree with me that the two (meteorology and evolution) do not have to have exactly the same relationship with respect to atheism, as most everyone else is asserting.

Comment #30594

Posted by Virge on May 17, 2005 5:39 AM (e)

David Heddle saith: “That actually puts you on my side of the argument, for you agree with me that the two (meteorology and evolution) do not have to have exactly the same relationship with respect to atheism, as most everyone else is asserting.”

(just be patient while I butcher the language)

Nick said Atheisticness(Meteorology) = Atheisticness(Evolution)
David said Atheisticness(Meteorology) < Atheisticness(Evolution)
Sandor said Atheisticness(Meteorology) > Atheisticness(Evolution)

Then in an amazing puff of logic, David claims that Sandor agrees with him!
He agrees with you because… because… because he thinks you’re even more wrong than Nick claimed??

I’m staggered. That is a fine analytical mind you have there, David.
/sarcasm

Comment #30595

Posted by Don Sheffler on May 17, 2005 6:06 AM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'i'

Comment #30600

Posted by David Heddle on May 17, 2005 7:01 AM (e)

Don Sheffler,

I have not said that evolution “obviously” leads to atheism. At most I have said they are correlated in a way that meteorology and evolution are not.

The only person who said evolution “obviously” leads to atheism was, in fact, an evolutionist, Greg Peterson, who wrote:

And let’s not pretend that the fact of evolution leaves it no less likely that there is a god. Now that we know there’s not the least spot of work for a god to do, let’s declare our emancipation from this nasty, pathetic superstition.

Virge,

That’s one way to spin it. My way is:

David and Sandor: Evolution != Meteorology
Nick: Evolution = Meteorology

Comment #30601

Posted by "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank on May 17, 2005 7:03 AM (e)

“disproving” my claim that “while denying what goes hand-in-hand, that evolution has a bias toward atheism.”

Why, then, are so many evolutionary biologists, Christians.

Sound argument! Exceptions violate the charge of a bias—I forgot that bias implied unanimity.

Why, then, are so many weather forecasters, Christians.

Comment #30602

Posted by Louis on May 17, 2005 7:31 AM (e)

There’s a reason that denial of science because the artificial whimsy of your personal faith is adversely affected is a bad idea. Well actually there are a very large number of reasons.

Here’s just one little one that caught my eye this morning on a news trawl:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/4551085.stm

On a related, but seperate note:

Heddle,

Answer the &$£^%ing (stands for “blinking”) questions and stop mincing about! You have yet to establish why evolutionary biology is biased towards atheism and meteorology is less so. Oh I know you’ve waved your hands about and talked utter balls (hereafter read “testiculating”) and said that because evolutionary biology deals with “life” that it is somehow special and lovely, but that really doesn’t account for your claim. It’s an appeal to ignorance and/or prejudice, namely your own.

I read your piece of quasi-theological poppycock about primary and secondary causes, nice evasion, IDist evasive dance pattern number 13874 I believe. The goalposts, as ever, simply move one step back….…. You are basically arguing the ever retreating case of the eventual deist or the god of the gaps proponent.

So what is the differnce between the follwing:

Your deity set the universe up to have “the correct number of expanding dimensions” (i.e. physical properties) that produce the inverse square law of gravity (to use your first trite example).

and

Your deity set up the universe to have the physical, chemical and ultimately biological properties that would allow the development of “living” systems and their subsequent evolution.

You have to demonstrate why evolutionary biology as science is manifestly different in some way from other branches of science. You haven’t done this.

Because n persons can read books on evolutionary biology become atheists (in an illogical manner as has been pointed out above) does not a case make. Interestingly you have been poo-pooing the things that Nick and others have been saying about reading the bible and concluding that god controls the weather. So where is this evolutionary biology bias to atheism? People thought god created the species individually and because we now know he didn’t therefore no god? Oh please. People thought god created the weather and because we now know he didn’t therefore no god? Oh double please! Again if god set the universe up for weather without further intervention (unless he REALLY felt like it), then why couldn’t/didn’t he set the universe up for evolution without further intervention (unless he REALLY felt like it)? Also how do you know this, by what means did you get the answer, and why is your answer more correct than, say, that of the Pope?

By the way, you are clearly not arguing a purely deistic/cosmological ID case. You are specifically arguing for an interventionist deity who twiddled/twiddles still with the development of “living” systems, have you any evidence of said twiddling? BTW the Behe/Dembski/etc nonsense has yet to be more than further testiculating and pointing at gaps in current knowledge, when it constitutes evidence let everyone know.

You have to defend the claim that “God set up the universe to do weather” is manifestly different from “God set up the universe to do evolution”. If you are conflating abiogenesis and evolutionary biology, bad puppy, back to school.

You also have to defend the claim that “god set up the universe to do weather as a secondary cause means that meteorologists can study it purely naturalistically” is manifestly different from “god set up the universe to do evolution as a secondary cause means that biologists can study it purely naturalistically”.

The fact that your problems with evolutionary biology are entirely due to your religious faith are so obvious it borders on the offensive. Stop pretending that you are presenting scientific arguments or that you have a scientific case, because you don’t.

Comment #30606

Posted by David Heddle on May 17, 2005 8:20 AM (e)

Louis,

I answered numerous times: though both are sciences, the subject matter are vastly different and that there is no reason to assert, as Nick did, that there is no difference in how they relate (or not) to atheism.

to the rest of you

Now, here is the kicker. Nick based his faulty logic on Johnson’s claim that evolution promotes atheism. I disputed Nick’s assertion of the consequence of Johnson’s premise. Most of you, such as Lenny, being rather unsophisticated, assumed that I supported Johnson’s statement, and attacked me along those lines.

But in fact, I do not support Johnson’s statement.

I do not, in any way shape or form, believe that evolution promotes atheism.

Only one person on the other thread alluded to the reason. As any longtime readers of my comments on PT and especially readers of my theology blog know, with its mini bio asserting as much in the upper left, my theology is staunchly Calvinistic. If you know anything about Calvinism you know that I would not agree that evolution could snatch one of the elect from God’s hand.

So, because you can’t follow an argument, most of you have been railing against me under the faulty assumption that I supported something which, demonstrably, I do not.

I do contend a positive correlation between evolution and atheism. However, I do not (and never have) assert that evolution causes atheism. Extracting cause and effect from a correlation is problematic.

But very few recognized that I was arguing against Nick’s faulty logic, not in favor of Johnson’s premise.

Back to Louis

You have to defend the claim that “God set up the universe to do weather” is manifestly different from “God set up the universe to do evolution”. If you are conflating abiogenesis and evolutionary biology, bad puppy, back to school.

Same answer: One might read the full Genesis account and conclude (others might conclude differently) that it speaks well beyond abiogenesis and teaches of the conclusion of species creation, all of which was done supernaturally. That same person might also conclude that the bible does not teach that God actively controls every subsequent raindrop, unless you demand that they be hyper-literal like this silly post with Wesley’s bible quote mining attempts to do. If such a person can exist, and if you can step out of your box and see that although you violently disagree with that person, they are self consistent, then you understand my point.

Comment #30607

Posted by Flint on May 17, 2005 8:25 AM (e)

Virge wrote:

Meteorology is a battle that the church lost in the distant past. That loss has already been rationalized and the scriptures have been reinterpreted to maintain the illusion of eternal truth. The way David Heddle could ignore the Zechariah 10:1 quote in the original post shows just how well the re-harmonized biblical interpretation has been accepted by those who think they are pulling evidence out of the Bible.

And if Virge is correct, how is this loss rationalized? Fortunately, we have an explanation from an expert:

Heddle wrote:

And all along, biblical scholars have asserted that this was a general statement meaning that God bestows general providential blessings upon the wicked as well as the righteous. Thank you for pointing out that it really is only about rain.

Viola! The Bible continues to mean whatever someone chooses it to mean. I wonder if Heddle can recognize that most Christians accept that whatever Biblical statements conflict with scientific findings are allegorical. This way, should Heddle’s God morph in the direction of reality, he can *already* say that most scholars agree with the new interpretation. In fact, most already do. Heddle’s god isn’t quite as anachronistic as Zeus, but getting closer the more we learn. Personally, I find it preferable that a faith provide a meaningful context for reality, rather than deny reality. It’s easier on the sanity that way.

Comment #30609

Posted by steve on May 17, 2005 8:47 AM (e)

Type 1 diabetes as a survival mechanism?

http://nytimes.com/2005/05/17/health/17diab.html

Comment #30611

Posted by Man with No Personality on May 17, 2005 8:56 AM (e)

The enlightened Mr. Heddle writes:

You comments are as dumb here as they were on Orac’s blog. I wouldn’t of thunk it possible.

Ahh. You cut me to the quick with your rapier-like wit. Indeed, apparently your mastery of the insult is so profound, you must hide it behind poor grammar, lest it destroy us all. I am in awe of your prowess. Of course, you seem to show the same dearth of originality in your insults that you show in your arguments, but then again, it seems it is the rest of us who must be original. You, Mr. Heddle, are made of finer things, and keep a different standard then the one you hold others to.

Now, Mr. Heddle, could you explain how our interpeting certain verses regarding weather as literally as many IDers take the verses regarding creation invalidates our argument, that being that creationists proclaim a literal interpretation of the Bible and a fundamental argument with the scientific process, and yet seem to selectively choose what parts of the Bible are literal and what parts of the process they’re arguing against? Because, if the argument is, as everyone here–including you, apparently–seems to be asserting based on emotional response, and they do not have a trouble with those same methods used by other scientists, then ID’s claim that their argument is a scientific one is false. It is instead based on sentimental outrage, and if Soviet Russia’s science showed us anything, it showed us that sentimental outrage is a very poor thing to base a scientific argument on.

Comment #30612

Posted by harold on May 17, 2005 9:00 AM (e)

NBI -

There’s always some group of people against whom bigotry is sanctioned. It’s always immoral to make bigoted generalizations about people based on their ethnicity, nationality, or “race”. Those who make viscious comments about “the French” today merely reveal themselves as the moral equivalents of those who made (and make) similar comments about African-Americans, Irish-Americans, Jewish Americans, Asian-Americans and so on at different times. A bigot is a bigot. Not that you appear to be a Christian, but let me point out, Christianity not only teaches that God loves the French, but that you must love them too, to be a good Christian.

Animals are not “filthy”. At any rate, you, I, and everyone who posts on this board is an animal, and a primate, and that’s true even if humans were created 6000 years ago, if they were “designed”, or if they evolved.

The theory of evolution doesn’t “teach children” that humans are descended from earlier species, it teaches EVERYONE - correctly - that the evidence is overwhelming that humans (like all other life) descended from earlier species.

I asked you on another board why you laced your posts with insults, boasts, and immature commentary. I guess you don’t need to answer that now.

Heddle -

You haven’t just moved the goal posts, you’ve changed the whole game. It’s meaningless now anyway, but…

Not only did you claim that evolution “promotes atheism”, you told me I was being “ridiculous” when I corrected you! And that’s back there in writing.

Now you shift to the claim, essentially, that “when atheists illogically claim that science supports their philosophical stance, they are more likely to refer to evolution than to meteorology”. While this may or may not be true, the obvious question is “so what?”.

And the obvious points remain that…
1) The theory of evolution has nothing to do with atheism or religion whatsoever
2) It is inconsistent to suggest that the theory of evolution conflicts with a religious stance, but that meteorology or any other branch of science does not, because the methods that led to the development of modern meteorology WOULD INEVITABLY LEAD to the theory of evolution as well. A religion which is “contradicted” by “evolution” is contradicted by all of science. And, I would add, a person whose faith will crumble if they accept the evidence for evolution has a spiritual problem, not a scientific problem.

Comment #30616

Posted by David Heddle on May 17, 2005 9:15 AM (e)

MWNP,

I cannot say why some people take some verses literally and others do not.

There probably are many people that take Genesis and most of the verses Nick quoted literally–those that deal with supernatural intervention.

Other “weather” verses they will see as metaphors for God’s providence and common grace.

However, nobody takes every verse literally.

Nick and Wesley’s argument is that if you take the Genesis account literally (actually, only to the point that God created the species supernaturally) then, by their reckoning, it obviously and logically follows that since Christ claims to be a vine, then your same hermeneutic demands that you believe grapes can be plucked from him.

Comment #30617

Posted by Steve Reuland on May 17, 2005 9:19 AM (e)

Heddle, let me see if I can get you to see things from my perspective. Johnson argues that evolution promotes atheism (or is equivalent to atheism) because it uses naturalism. That is, evolutionary biologists rely on natural causation to explain their subject matter. Now we all know that what he really believes is that evolution promotes atheism because it is contrary to his own interpretation of Christian metaphysics. That being the case, the only reasonable response is, “So what?” Most Christians don’t adhere to that interpretation, and science is not beholden to religious metaphysics anyway.

But the argument that Johnson advances in public is not that his own religious metaphysics are offended (which, afterall, would fail to impress the Supreme Court), but rather that evolution makes the assumption of naturalism. That is, it contains its own metaphysical system and is therefore biased in terms of metaphysical belief. Now, to see whether or not this argument holds up, all we have to do is to look to other sciences to see if evolution is somehow different in its basic methodology. Turns out that it’s not different at all. All natural sciences, including meteorology, medicine, geology, etc. rely on natural causation to explain their respective subject matter. Therefore, if there is something metaphysically biased about using natural causation, then all of science is at fault. Johnson is welcome to argue that science in general needs to be done away with, but this is not what he argues. He limits his complaints about the insidious effects of naturalism to evolution. This is inconsistent.

It doesn’t matter for our purposes if Johnson, or atheists for that matter, think that evolution promotes atheism because it is contrary to religious belief in a way that meteorology isn’t. If Johnson wants to argue that, he’s welcome to do so. But of course that would make his religious agenda rather overt. So he’s chosen a different tact. His strategy is not to argue merely that the conclusions of evolutionary science contradict religious belief, but rather that the assumptions are inherently anti-religious to begin with. If he can argue that the assumptions are themselves biased, then he can claim that religion, right or wrong, isn’t getting a fair shake. For purposes of both the law and public relations, that’s much better than simply saying that he doesn’t like what he sees. But the whole point of Nick’s post and the ensuing discussion is that the assumptions that Johnson objects to (i.e. that natural causes responsible for natural phenomena) are not unique to evolution. Hence, Johnson’s basic argument is either wrong, or he’s being inconsistent by not applying it to other sciences like meteorology.

I hope that clears things up.

Comment #30618

Posted by Man with No Personality on May 17, 2005 9:25 AM (e)

Congratulations, Mr. Heddle. Instead of answering my question, you dodged it. It’s good to see that there are universal constants, even on the internet.

Comment #30620

Posted by Moses on May 17, 2005 9:31 AM (e)

There is zero biblical evidence, in spite of Nick’s assertion and Wesley’s biblical quote mining, that God controls the weather. There is only evidence that God intervenes at certain times to control the weather.

Which is vastly more evidence than presented by the “God makes mutations” crowd.

Comment #30621

Posted by Steve Reuland on May 17, 2005 9:35 AM (e)

not buyin' it wrote:

Evolutionary biology gets singled out because it alone attempts to convince children that they’re descended from filthy animals. 

What I really don’t like is that theory (it’s only a theory) that we are descended from cavemen. Now those were filthy. They never bathed, they wore nasty animal skins, and they smeared dirt and dyes all over themselves. I refuse to believe they’re my ancestors, because I’m not dirty like they were. Won’t someone think of the children?

Comment #30622

Posted by steve on May 17, 2005 9:36 AM (e)

I hope that clears things up.

I doubt that’s going to clear anything up with him. It’s not even as simple as the last thing a group of people tried to explain to him: that in order to call something unlikely, you need at least some kind of vague idea about how else it might have turned out. A dozen people explained this very simply to him, and a dozen people were rebuffed. This is a more complicated argument, with more pieces, so I expect you’ll fail to impress him.

Comment #30623

Posted by rampancy on May 17, 2005 9:40 AM (e)

not buyin it wrote:

Must I explain everything?

Evolutionary biology gets singled out because it alone attempts to convince children that they’re descended from filthy animals.

Like duh!

Must I explain everything?

Conservative Christianity gets singled out because it alone attempts to convince children that they should be arrogant, narrow minded, racist, facist, self-righteous bigots.

Like duh!

Comment #30624

Posted by David Heddle on May 17, 2005 9:45 AM (e)

Steve R,

Johnson argues that evolution promotes atheism (or is equivalent to atheism) because it uses naturalism. That is, evolutionary biologists rely on natural causation to explain their subject matter.

Come on. Johnson clearly means because it uses naturalism to explain life. (Don’t bother quibbling that abiogenesis is not part of evolution, blah, blah, blah)

Johnson is not arguing that evolution promotes atheism merely because it is science, but because it is a science that, in his mind, in attempting to obsolete God from creation.

Johnson is certainly free to think, without violating the rules of logic, that evolution, because of its use of natural means, “undoes” God in the vital area of life itself, and in doing so promotes atheism. And at the same time, he can believe that meteorology, also working through natural processes, does not in any manner usurp God, and hence does not promote atheism.

If the claim is that Johnson means that it is only because evolution is a science that it promotes atheism, and has nothing to do with the subject matter that evolution deals with, then Johnson is being quote-mined.

MWNP:

What question did I dodge? Ask me just the question so I am sure what it is, without having to wade through a bunch of crap, and I’ll answer.

Comment #30625

Posted by JRQ on May 17, 2005 9:53 AM (e)

NBI: Evolutionary biology gets singled out because it alone attempts to convince children that they’re descended from filthy animals.

This statement by NBI has been misunderstood…the point was not that animals ARE actually filthy. The point was that evolution receives much of its opposition in America by people who react to it for non-rational reasons like “animals are filthy”.

STEVE R: Therefore, if there is something metaphysically biased about using natural causation, then all of science is at fault. Johnson is welcome to argue that science in general needs to be done away with, but this is not what he argues. He limits his complaints about the insidious effects of naturalism to evolution. This is inconsistent.

Exactly…Johnson’s case illustrates an inconsistency much like that which commonly results from trying to rationalize a non-rational attitude. I don’t know whether he actually thinks animals are filthy, but his disgust at the idea of sharing an ancestor with monkeys, fish, worms, grass, slime molds, and primordial goo seems clear, regardless of the rhetoric in which he chooses to dress his argument. His inconsistent opposition to naturalism reveals an attribution error: he mis-attributes a visceral distaste for evolution (based on what his reaction to what he believes are the implications) to a rational disagreement with naturalism. A truly rational disagreement with naturalism should have lead him to reject numerous other natural explanations beyond evolution and HIV.

Comment #30626

Posted by Flint on May 17, 2005 9:55 AM (e)

Steve Reuland,

That’s an impressively clear exposition, thank you. The scientific method, applied to everything we can observe, leads to innumerable (and tentative) conclusions. Some of those conclusions conflict with the religious convictions of some people.

For Johnson, this causes a bit of a problem. If all of these conclusions were arrived at using the same method, and he strongly agrees with (or is not offended by) *most* of the conclusions, he shouldn’t wish to discard the method itself. Yet there is no possible non-religious basis for extracting what he finds religiously unacceptable from what he finds religiously neutral. And he’s well aware that if he uses his religious convictions as the measure of what’s acceptable, the courts will promptly reject his arguments.

Perhaps for Heddle, the problem is not so acute, because Heddle is free to admit that he’s using his religious doctrines to determine which parts of science are acceptable, and which parts conflict with his interpretation of those bits of scripture he considers worth not ignoring. What Heddle struggles with is his entirely understandable certainty that his personal religious needs are somehow objectively, generally valid. To him, the distinctions he draws are stone obvious, even though to most of us they are arbitrary and irrational.

For Johnson, there simply is no honest solution. But Johnson is both a lawyer and a Believer, so honesty isn’t relevant. What’s relevant to Johnson is what his target audience WISHES to hear.

Comment #30627

Posted by Sheikh Mahandi on May 17, 2005 10:04 AM (e)

Westmoreland county in South-West Pennsylvania gets more rain, snow, and higher incidences of wind damage than anywhere else in the immediate area.

Conclusion
Westmoreland County must be chock full of pagans, athiests, and/or materialists and this is Gods vengance!

PS If you believe that then I have very nice bridge, I could sell you.

Comment #30628

Posted by Moses on May 17, 2005 10:05 AM (e)

Virge, in 30551, makes a very good point.

We have the fight with biology because in every other discipline, biblical literalists, save for a few fringe elements, have lost. And lost badly.

Jehovah is no longer the old testament all powerful “big guy in the sky” ready to smite your enemies for you. The Earth is no longer the center of the universe. The world is no longer flat. He doesn’t make thunder and lightning. He doesn’t make plants grow or animals give birth. He didn’t flood the world. He didn’t make snakes into sticks. There are rational explantions, repeatedly observed for 9 of the 10 plagues visited on Egypt and the last is, frankly, unbelievable as the record seems to indcate that there were no Jews in ancient Eygpt, nevermind one as a “Prince of Egypt.”

Eventually, the creationists fear, the Christian religion will go the way of the Sumerian or Nordic gods. Interesting fables for archeologists discussing irrational primitive belief structures of their less-enlightened ancestors.

What we have now is religion fighting for its life, making a last-ditch attempt to knock one of the underpinnings of science down - evolution. Some moral/tactical victory they desperately need in light of the string of major defeats they’ve already suffered over time.

Comment #30629

Posted by Rilke's Granddaughter on May 17, 2005 10:07 AM (e)

Mr. Heddle. With regard to Phil Johnson’s position you are, as so often, factually incorrect:

For all the controversies over these issues, however, there is a basic philosophical point on which the evolutionary biologists all agree. Some say new mechanisms have to be introduced and others say the old mechanisms are adequate, but nobody with a reputation to lose proposes to invoke a supernatural creator or a mystical “life force” to help out with the difficulties. The theory in question is a theory of naturalistic evolution, which means that it absolutely rules out any miraculous or supernatural intervention at any point. Everything is conclusively presumed to have happened through purely material mechanisms that are in principle accessible to scientific investigation, whether they have yet been discovered or not.

The objection is clearly not to “a naturalistic theory that explains life” but to a “theory that relies solely on naturalism”.

Perhaps you should try reading Johnson before making your remarks? And to deliberately claim that any attempt at refutation of your point is dishonest (“then Johnson is being quote-mined”) is both rude and disingenuous. Not to mention somewhat… dishonest.

Comment #30630

Posted by David Heddle on May 17, 2005 10:17 AM (e)

RGD,

Please–just read what you quoted. Do you really think that he, in the midst of discussing evolution, life, etc., –that suddenly he makes a generic declaration against all science?

You are quote-mining.

Comment #30631

Posted by harold on May 17, 2005 10:27 AM (e)

Heddle

“Johnson is certainly free to think, without violating the rules of logic, that evolution, because of its use of natural means, “undoes” God in the vital area of life itself, and in doing so promotes atheism. And at the same time, he can believe that meteorology, also working through natural processes, does not in any manner usurp God, and hence does not promote atheism.”

He’s free to think whatever he wants, but this isn’t logical. It’s inconsistent, faithless, and cowardly.

What you’re saying that he’s saying is, in essence, THAT SCIENCE SHOULD NOT STUDY LIFE, because if it does, any explanation it produces will “usurp God”. Science can study other things, since to you, “usurping God” as a direct magical explanation of the weather is somehow less serious than “usurping God” as a direct magical explanation for physical bodies of living things.

The scientific methods that produce meteorology will INEVITABLY lead to the recognition of evolution, if applied to the study of life. The only way you can try to have one without the other is to try to stop scientists from studying any aspect of life (certainly including all of modern medicine and veterinary medicine). But that would be a fool’s paradise, since Johnson would surely know that his shelter from scientific ideas about life would be enforced censorship of what would otherwise inevitably appear. His only CONSISTENT choice is to deny all of science.

Incidentally, if Johnson announced tomorrow that his philosophy compelled him to vote Democrat, would you still support his logic?

Comment #30632

Posted by HPLC_Sean on May 17, 2005 10:32 AM (e)

It has been my overwhelming experience that scientists and especially those that understand evolution are not predominantly atheists. Many scientists have looked at matter, energy, the birth of the universe and the birth of life and have seen God emerge more clearly than ever before. The fact is that a vast number of scientists thankfully see God and the Old Testament very differently than fundamentalist Christian conservatives do.
Unfortunately though, for most conservative bible-quoters, anyone that questions God’s word or searches for an alternative explanation to the bible is atheist. To them, any belief in God that doesn’t jive with their reading is on the golden path to Hades. This view flirts dangerously with intolerance to theistic pluralism if you ask me. Do you think evolution is the fundamentalist Christian conservatives’ only target? It isn’t a far leap from attacking evolution to attacking other religions.
We’ve already seen blatant bigotry coming from anti-evolutionists; the leap isn’t a far one at all.

Comment #30633

Posted by David Heddle on May 17, 2005 10:38 AM (e)

harold,

Incidentally, if Johnson announced tomorrow that his philosophy compelled him to vote Democrat, would you still support his logic?

Well, since I deny his premise (that evolution promotes atheism) I would be tempted to conclude that his faulty presupposition led to that awful, unspeakable conclusion (vote Democratic.) But no, I’d see them as unrelated.

Comment #30635

Posted by Sandor on May 17, 2005 10:40 AM (e)

Comment #30593
Posted by David Heddle on May 17, 2005 04:57 AM (e) (s)

Sandor:

Contrary to what Heddle wants us to believe, I would argue that there is a stronger connection between religion and the weather than between religion and special creation.

That actually puts you on my side of the argument, for you agree with me that the two (meteorology and evolution) do not have to have exactly the same relationship with respect to atheism, as most everyone else is asserting.

As a matter of fact, I am not “on your side” at all on the actual subject. on the contrary; logically, there is no reason for religious bigots to exclusively select evolution as a target among all science. As far as my original text is concerned; I was merely reacting to your assertion (quoted below):

“evolution, dealing with basic questions of life, is more likely to arouse tension with one’s theism”

Comment #30636

Posted by Michael Finley on May 17, 2005 10:40 AM (e)

Flint wrote:

And if Virge is correct….

He’s not.

What [the believer] struggles with is his entirely understandable certainty that his personal religious needs are somehow objectively, generally valid. To him, the distinctions he draws are stone obvious, even though to most of us they are arbitrary and irrational.

What about his certainty makes it ‘entirely understandable’? Why ‘needs’ instead of ‘beliefs’; are there scientfic ‘needs’? Are ‘personal’ and ‘objective’ antithetical; isn’t your belief that the moon is a celestial body both yours and objective? ‘Most of us’, I take it, refers to the patrons of PT and not the billions of believers world-wide. Please define ‘rationality’ as it is used here.

Comment #30637

Posted by harold on May 17, 2005 10:42 AM (e)

Rilke’s Granddaughter -

I just have to point out that the quote from Johnson you give above catches him, unsurprisingly, in the act of building a very dishonest straw man.

“The theory in question is a theory of naturalistic evolution, which means that it absolutely rules out any miraculous or supernatural intervention at any point”

Of course, science does not and cannot ‘rule out any miraculous or supernatural intervention’, an impossible task for anyone, and doubly so for science, which doesn’t presume to study the miraculous or supernatural in the first place. Actually, if this is what Johnson is worried about, he can relax :-). But of course it isn’t.

Science provides explanations for natural phenomenae that don’t REQUIRE miraculous or supernatural interventions.

Of course, Johnson and Heddle’s true goals are some combination of the following -
1) To bolster their own quavering faith by trying to “prove” to themselves that God is “necessary” for physical reality.
2) To bolster their own egos by proving themselves “as smart as scientists”
3) To forcibly compel others to pretend to agree with their stated beliefs
4) To follow the rules of the “conservative movement”, ever-fearful that they may find themselves ostracized for independent thought.

Comment #30638

Posted by Steve Reuland on May 17, 2005 10:48 AM (e)

Heddle wrote:

Johnson is certainly free to think, without violating the rules of logic, that evolution, because of its use of natural means, “undoes” God in the vital area of life itself, and in doing so promotes atheism. And at the same time, he can believe that meteorology, also working through natural processes, does not in any manner usurp God, and hence does not promote atheism.

No, he is not free to think (without violating the rules of logic) that the use of natural means in one science is anti-God whereas it’s not in another science. If that’s the case, then natural means is irrelevant. His problem then is the subject matter and the conclusions, not the actual methodology.

As I pointed out, Johnson and the rest of the ID movement argue that the methodology used in evolution (i.e. methodological naturalism) is metaphysically biased, and therefore likely to mislead. Their perrogative is to remove this from science altogether. Regardless of what they actually believe, they do not publically advance the argument that the conclusions of evolutionary biology are against their religion. If they did, their legal aspirations would be shot all to hell.

Comment #30639

Posted by Sandor on May 17, 2005 10:51 AM (e)

Comment #30600
Posted by David Heddle on May 17, 2005 07:01 AM (e) (s)
[…]

Virge,

That’s one way to spin it. My way is:

David and Sandor: Evolution != Meteorology
Nick: Evolution = Meteorology

David, you are truly a moron. I am sorry to have to say this.

Comment #30640

Posted by Louis on May 17, 2005 10:52 AM (e)

Heddle,

But again you evade. I’m sure an expert like yourself will realise the difference between providing an answer to a question (i.e. responding to it) and actually answering it.

You are merely repeating the same canard, i.e. that because evolutionary biology deals with the development of “living” things and meteorlogy deals with weather they are principally different in a scientific sense. It’s this distinction you haven’t shown. This is explicitly stated AGAIN in your comment:

“That’s one way to spin it. My way is:

David and Sandor: Evolution != Meteorology
Nick: Evolution = Meteorology”

The inference being that meteorology utilises and is based on a fundamentally different set of scientific principles than evolutionary biology is. Demonstrate that this inference is correct! You are claiming things are different without establishing how and why and on what basis you think they are different.

The fact the meteorology deals with rain and evolutionary biology with bugs (to take two examples) is irrelevant. They are both specific fields of study which utilise the scientific method, the findings of one are attained in the exact same manner as the findings of the other (given standard trvial technical details, i.e. you won’t get much direct information about nested hierarchies by looking at how much rain has fallen in Droitwich). The scientific method that underpins particle physics is not in anyway different from that which underpins synthetic organic chemistry, or for that matter evolutionary biology. It is this fact that you are arguing against.

If you are saying something along the lines of “because evolutionary biology deals with living things and the origin of species it is different from meteorology which deals with clouds, and because people care more about living things than clouds they will be more likely to be come atheists because of evolutionary biology” then you are doing nothing more that appealing to prejudice and/or ignorance. Logical fallacy wouldn’t you say?

If instead you are saying, as alluded to above, that the fundamental scientific method underpinning evolutionary biology is different from that of meteorology, then, as I said you have to demonstrate that. Note that simply testiculating and saying that evolutionary biology deals with living things, falls into the first “if” catagory I mention above.

As for your comments on self consistency, you have to demonstrate why it is constistent to take one part of the bible literally and one part of the bible metaphorically or allegorically. This is partly what Lenny and chums are referring to. You have to demonstrate why and on what basis we can take the bible literally regarding the origins of life and species etc and then take the bits about the weather as allegory. You also have to demonstrate that your view of the bible is the correct one. I am not (nor in fact is anyone else) the one demanding a hyper-literal interpretation of anything, or indeed that god controls every raindrop (nice strawman btw). You are positing that god is a primary cause of organismal diversity and a secondary cause of weather. We are asking on what basis can you justify that claim.

What I AM demanding is that IF one interprets some passages of the bible literally when they conflict with the observed data (and thus disagrees with the observed data on that biblical basis) THEN why doesn’t one also interpret other equally clear passages of the bible literally when these also conflict with the data (and thus agrees that these passages are allegorical or metaphorical passages). It’s this perennial dichotomy from which you are running. Why take this passage literally and that one metaphorically when they are both a) clearly referring to natural phenomena, b) clearly contradictory of the scientific data gathered to date, and c) at least equally explicit?

Why do you have to justify this? Because you are disagreeing that the scientific method that underpins evolutionary biology is identical to that of meteorology. You are being asked to demonstrate why and on what basis your are disagreeing, especially as the evidence points the other way.

You are making fundamental claims about the nature of reality, i.e. that the scientific method which underpins meteorology is different from that which underpins evolutionary biology.

So, in summary, you are either:

1) Making the claim that evolutionary biology are different because they deal with different aspects of the natural world, and that since evolutionary biology deals with the development of living things over time it is inherently more likely to upset people’s animistic prejudices and ignorance of the natural world and lead them to conclude that various types of theism are wrong and therefore atheism is the only consistent position.

This is a trivial appeal to popular ignorance/prejudice. Basically a whine, so not worth bothering with.

2) Making the claim that the fundamental scientific method is different for different fields of science.

This requires justification which you have not supplied.

3) You are claiming that the specific methodologies of different scientific disciplines differ and therefore they are likely to differ in their degree of conflict with religious worldviews.

This is a special case of 1) above.

In addition to these you have to establish why and on what basis one may read a passage of the bible and claim it to have it’s literal meaning and read another equally specific passage and claim it to have a purely allegorical or metaphorical meaning. If others may read the bible and conclude differently from you, why are you right and they wrong or they right and you wrong? You both cannot be right because what you are saying is mutually contradictory, e.g. god could not have individually created each species AND at the same time each species evolved by purely naturalistic means without any input from god. You are making a concrete claim, so defend it in a concrete manner. You say this is literal but that is allegory, show us how you have decided which is which and how it can be done.

To finish, it isn’t that I have to step out of any box Heddle, nor about the passionate nature of any disagreement, it’s about you being fundamentally inconsistent and dishonest to suit your case. Or at leaat that’s the charitable interpretation.

Comment #30641

Posted by David Heddle on May 17, 2005 10:55 AM (e)

Sandor,

David, you are truly a moron. I am sorry to have to say this.

Don’t feel sorry.

Comment #30642

Posted by Moses on May 17, 2005 10:58 AM (e)

Well, Ed, I’m glad you brought this up:

Is there any creationist who knows what the Bible is about?

Once upon a time I was ordained minister in a fairly large “Christian” religion. (About 10 million members in the US.) Like the majority of Christians with whom I shared my faith (but not as we’ll see, necessarily the majority of “Christians”) I believed in the process of science, including it’s theories, and kept a barrier between “spirtual beliefs” and “materialistic facts.”

And, like them, I pretty much thought that most of the rest of Christians were going “be surprised” when they spent all eternity burning in hell for their pagan beliefs. Which is something most of the evolution-bashing Christians don’t talk about. That not only do they not agree with the “Godless athiests” and think they’re going to hell. But they think most other “Christians” are going to hell, too. And we’re not even talking radicals like Koresh. We’re talking fairly mainstream denominations like the “Assemblies of God,” “Church of Christ,” “Mormons,” and “Catholics.”

Anyway, I didn’t walk away from religion and become an atheist because of a tramautic event, like a death or something. Or because I believed in evolution. Or the process of science. Heck, my father, the Ph.D. in Pharmacology believes in evolution and that has not stopped him from moving into some pretty high circles in our formerly mutually-shared religion.

For me, it was the absolute incorrectness of the Bible. Not just the wrong taxonomies. Or the absurdity of the Flood. Or the contradictory passages. But because Jesus did not meet all the required tests in the prophesy of Zechariah to be the messiah! Sure, the easy to contrive ones, like riding in Jerulsalem on a Donkey’s colt. But the hard ones… Not a sign. And here is a basic summation of how it was supposed to work:

Jesus held himself out as the person to whom the prophet was addressing his instructions; the Messiah who would arrive in Jerusalem on an ass’s colt, and would stand in “the valley of the mountains” together with a company of “saints” to witness the appearance of the glory of God on the Mount of Olives. He would see the Romans stricken by a plague, and would lead “Judah” in fighting against them. Then, after a great victory, he would reign as King-Messiah in Jerusalem, where every year on the anniversary of his victory he would welcome representatives of every nation on earth, coming to pay homage to the Lord of Hosts in his Temple.

No mention of being crucified and raised from the dead in there and coming back 1,000’s of years later. Not even close. And it was suddenly “game over” for Christianity. Two weeks later I met a nice Jewish girl, started dating and, fairly soon after, converted.

A few years later, I wasn’t even interested in that as it really all became clear it was pretty much tales of explanation, superstition and generalized folk tales of a people who desired an important place in the universe and, like most humans, needed some type of certainty and explantion of the universe.

And that’s your answer.

So, do creationists know their bible? Some of us do. Very, very well.

And, as you can see, it doesn’t take “evolution” to destroy faith. The Bible itself, when fully read and understood from a non-“inconsistencies rationalized away” perspective does a far, far better job. And. like it or not, I’m not the first preacher to ever lose his faith because of the obvious failure of Gospels to reconcile to the Prophecies in Bible, either. Which is another of Christianity’s dirty little secrets. Many of the preachers you put your faith into as your spiritual guides have little or no faith at all.

Comment #30643

Posted by Man with No Personality on May 17, 2005 11:05 AM (e)

The question I asked, Heddle. How does our pointing out an example of our claim that IDers pick and choose their topics by completely different standards then the ones they claim to use invalidate our argument? They have as much biblical support to go after meteorology, which uses the same naturalistic process, as they do to go after evolutionary biology. Further, no one would deny that the gaps in meteorology are much more profound. And yet they don’t. Explain this, and explain it in a way that doesn’t disprove the IDers’ claim that their objections are scientific. If you can’t do that, give up.

This is of course operating on the assumption that you are a decent, honest individual, something I’m finding to be a rather epic leap of faith.

Comment #30644

Posted by Flint on May 17, 2005 11:05 AM (e)

Finley:

What about his certainty makes it ‘entirely understandable’?

I’m not sure I understand this question. He is certain because he believes. It is entirely understandable that he would consider his beliefs to be true. Who would deliberately “believe” what they considered false? My point was, this very certainty causes him to project his misunderstandings onto others. Heddle’s god is a god of biology and not a god of meteorology. So he thinks that is “what God is”. As many have pointed out, the Christian god (and many if not most others) started out as a weather god, because weather is very important to agrarian peoples. I’ve read that people in “undeveloped” cultures who have been converted, still largely see the Christian god as a weather god, because that fits their needs. The biological god only came into being as science began to understand how biology works.

Why ‘needs’ instead of ‘beliefs’; are there scientfic ‘needs’?

Yes, I would say there are. I think basic curiosity about how the world works is an inborn part of the essence of being human. But how the needs are expressed matters.

Are ‘personal’ and ‘objective’ antithetical; isn’t your belief that the moon is a celestial body both yours and objective?

Personal religious needs are perforce not objective. Please do not confuse being objective with being correct. Much of our educational system inculcates memorized material into us. Much of this is factually true, but the process of memorization and the accident of being true are not related.

‘Most of us’, I take it, refers to the patrons of PT and not the billions of believers world-wide.

Yes, that’s what I intended. Educated, knowledgeable, thoughtful people. And I hope you’ve noticed by now that these adjectives do not exclude the large majority of those billions you mention.

Please define ‘rationality’ as it is used here.

And the reason those adjectives apply is, most of those billions do not feel the personal requirement to reject reality in favor of memorized doctrine. There is no inherent reason why reality and belief should conflict, UNLESS one’s beliefs are factually wrong. In that case, they are not rational.

Incidentally, Virge is entirely correct. Heddle even illustrated it for us, as I pointed out.

Comment #30645

Posted by David Heddle on May 17, 2005 11:15 AM (e)

Harold listed among my goals:

To bolster their own egos by proving themselves “as smart as scientists”

I don’t know how that applies to me. I am a scientist, but I never had a goal of being as smart as a scientist. I have never found scientists to be demonstrably cleverer than those of other professions.

MWNP:

The question I asked, Heddle. How does our pointing out an example of our claim that IDers pick and choose their topics by completely different standards then the ones they claim to use invalidate our argument? They have as much biblical support to go after meteorology, which uses the same naturalistic process, as they do to go after evolutionary biology. Further, no one would deny that the gaps in meteorology are much more profound. And yet they don’t. Explain this, and explain it in a way that doesn’t disprove the IDers’ claim that their objections are scientific. If you can’t do that, give up.

I was ready to answer, after struggling through the morass of your wording, until your last requirement: “and explain it in a way that doesn’t disprove the IDers’ claim that their objections are scientific.”

You should ask an IDer who claims ID is science. I don’t and never have, so I guess I’ll choose the option of giving up.

Comment #30646

Posted by Michael Finley on May 17, 2005 11:16 AM (e)

Science provides explanations for natural phenomenae [sic] that don’t REQUIRE miraculous or supernatural interventions.

Strong methodological naturalism at its finest.

Comment #30648

Posted by Charleton Heston on May 17, 2005 11:28 AM (e)

Moses wrote:

it doesn’t take “evolution” to destroy faith. The Bible itself, when fully read and understood from a non-“inconsistencies rationalized away” perspective does a far, far better job.

For those of you who aren’t aware of him or his writings, the Freedom From Religion Foundation‘s Dan Barker has written quite eloquently on this subject, including his account of Losing Faith in Faith, as well as his experiences after he renounced his faith. Dan does not use evolution as an “atheistic apologetic,” even in his advice on “evangelistic atheism” to lead believers astray – all his arguments are based on the Bible’s abundant logical and moral nonsense.

Comment #30650

Posted by Man with No Personality on May 17, 2005 11:31 AM (e)

Ahh, Mr. Heddle, that must be surprise for you. Complex sentences that aren’t being used to obscure the fact that there isn’t an argument behind them.

If, as you claim, you are not arguing ID is a science, then what, praytell, are you arguing? I’ve watched your claims go hither and yonder, up the stairs and through the back gate, and I have never gotten the foggiest clue what it is exactly that you’re arguing for. Whenever anyone tries to pin you down so that there’s an actual claim to argue, you declare that they’ve gotten it wrong, and then offer no clarification.

Now, explain–if you don’t think ID is a science, then why do you persist in using scientific terms and scientific arguments to defend it? What is the point? You throw around the term ‘science-based philosophy’, but you give no definition, no argument that your views should be seen in such a way. If you actually want to discuss things with people in a meaningful way, then tell us what you mean, and stop this endless obsfucating.

Comment #30651

Posted by Rilke's Granddaughter on May 17, 2005 11:33 AM (e)

Mr. Heddle said

RGD,

Please—just read what you quoted. Do you really think that he, in the midst of discussing evolution, life, etc., —that suddenly he makes a generic declaration against all science?

You are quote-mining

And you are factually incorrect. Johnson complains about the theory because it relies on naturalism. That is the complaint - not that naturalism in this particular instance produces results he disagrees with.

You really should try to read for comprehension. And as I pointed out, you deliberately attempted to circumvent any criticism of your opinion by claiming that - whatever was presented would be considered quote-mining.

It’s such a pity when you live up to expectations.

Comment #30652

Posted by Steve Harrynuk on May 17, 2005 11:38 AM (e)

“Evolutionary biology gets singled out because it alone attempts to convince children that they’re descended from filthy animals.”

It occurs to me that children are pretty filthy animals already. Nose-picking, diaper-soiling, dirt-eating, drooling, puking kids. Cleanliness isn’t innate to being human; it’s part of being an adult. So are a lot of other “noble” qualities that are people display, like politeness and civility. We call these behaviours ‘refined’ because they have to be learned and practiced; they’re not inherent to humans, and you don’t suddenly get them one day when Jesus decides to dwell in your heart.

I’m no more ashamed to have had a common ancestor with other animals than I am to have once been a child.

Comment #30654

Posted by GT(N)T on May 17, 2005 12:22 PM (e)

“I am a scientist, but I never had a goal of being as smart as a scientist. I have never found scientists to be demonstrably cleverer than those of other professions.”

You may have training in science but that doesn’t necessarily make you a scientist. You strike me as one of those who resent that science is sometimes viewed as being on a higher plane than superstition. A science text or the Bible, David; which do you have greater use for?

Comment #30655

Posted by David Heddle on May 17, 2005 12:31 PM (e)

GT(N)T

You may have training in science but that doesn’t necessarily make you a scientist.

What makes one a scientist? Tell me O wise one and I’ll see if I measure up.

A science text or the Bible, David; which do you have greater use for?

The Bible, of course. (I rarely feel a need to look at textbooks. Journal articles, definitely, but not textbooks.)

Comment #30656

Posted by crozeboom on May 17, 2005 12:39 PM (e)

Slate has a fascinating discussion on teaching history which has uncanny parallels to teaching science. Some quotes:

Jon Wiener wrote:

“Teach the conflicts” was first proposed by Gerald Graff almost 20 years ago; his strategy applied to teaching not just history but all of the humanities. At a time when the humanities were engaged in a protracted battle between traditionalists and postmodernists, Graff offered a way out; he argued that honesty requires teaching about debates among schools of interpretation. Not surprisingly, some traditionalists objected, on the grounds that teaching the conflicts was a subversive way to advance the forces of relativism—and some postmodernists objected on the grounds that traditional approaches to “truth” had been rendered obsolete. Yet teaching the conflicts indisputably makes for great pedagogy because it calls on students to engage in critical thinking themselves.

Sound familiar? Here is the response from Diane Ravitch:

It turns out to be very difficult to teach multiple perspectives—those of housewives, feminists, slaves, workers, farmers, native Americans, free blacks in the antebellum South, Hispanics, plantation owners—when students don’t have a basic grasp of the events and ideas, the scaffolding of American history. If you don’t know the central events and players—the central narrative—it is difficult to understand the views and behaviors that diverge from the central narrative. How can you teach “multiple perspectives” when students don’t know what happened in the first instance? Nor is it so easy to “teach the conflicts.” When we teach the Holocaust, do we give equal time to those who deny that it even happened? When we teach about McCarthyism, do we give equal time to his supporters? When we teach about the Ku Klux Klan, should there be any time for their defenders? Should there be equal time for abolitionists and pro-slavery voices?

Why shouldn’t ID taught in the classroom? Because “students don’t have a basic grasp of the events and ideas, the scaffolding of…” biology. Interesting parallel.

Comment #30658

Posted by Bob Gitzen on May 17, 2005 1:20 PM (e)

Many scientists find their passion for nature in the belief that one Supreme Creator created LAWS that govern, for example, the weather. They, and most theists, regard these secondary forces as examples of God’s power and majesty. Yet from what I have read in the Bible, I cannot find one verse, song, poem, or hymn of praise for these natural laws as God’s handywork (I’m referring to natualistic forces, not the “I command it” legalisms that litter the Bible.) With all the references to weather, it’s obvious that this omission is due to the (inspired?) writers ignorance of said laws. Heddle is not only wrong about the nature of many of the weather references in the Bible, he also seems unaware that those references that are metaphors are indeed about weather, but are often poetic “placeholders” for the authors’ ignorance. The Bible may be useful for faith, but it’s crippled for naturalistic investigation.

Literalists ignore these problems and abandon literalism when it comes to weather because pure naturalistic methodology has a better chance of saving their lives, their property, and the lives of their loved ones. But talk about Origins, and a strict literalism suits their tender insecurity much better. It’s never been about God. It’s always been about THEM.

Comment #30659

Posted by Flint on May 17, 2005 1:20 PM (e)

These parallels are more apparent than real.

First, is there a genuine conflict, among specialists in the field, substantial enough so that it would be perverse to pretend otherwise at the high school level? Well, how substantial is enough? If only .0001% (that is, one in ten thousand) specialists hold the “conflicting position” in their own field of practice, is that enough? ID doesn’t even reach that level. In other words, there is no conflict here. The conflict creationists are ginning up is between those whose religious beliefs require everything to be filtered through their doctrine, and those who think science *means* science. And this conflict (which IS a real conflict) is not a scientific conflict, and doesn’t belong in science class.

Second, even assuming a genuine controversy exists, how much scaffolding is required before the student has enough context to understand its nature? Presumably someone could make a strong case that if the controversy is central enough and opinion is divided evenly enough (among practicing specialists), no presentation of the topic would be possible unless the controversy were included. The controversy in that case IS the scaffolding, or at least an essential part of it.

In fact, this is the whole point of comparative religion classes. Comparative religion can’t be usefully studied from the perspective of “here is God’s Truth, here is how other faiths wallow in error.” But if religious doctrines are taught dispassionately (here’s what religion A believes, here’s religion B, here’s C etc.) then ID would fit right in. Even at the high school level, it might make sense to present some views of the historical genesis of the various doctrines. And in this context, it would make sense to present ID as an outgrowth of “scientific creationism” motivated by the perceived legal constraints of preaching it as science.

Similarly, some hypothetical class on comparative politics might explore the political goals of the KKK, McCarthy, the Holocaust deniers, the slaveholders, etc. These people did and do exist, and their political goals made sense to them. Same with kings and a nobility.

Comment #30670

Posted by Michael Finley on May 17, 2005 2:07 PM (e)

Flint wrote:

As many have pointed out, the Christian god (and many if not most others) started out as a weather god, because weather is very important to agrarian peoples.

That’s ridiculous. The notion that either Jehovah or Jesus were initially thought of as ‘weather-gods’ (a la Zeus) betrays a total lack of familiarity with the texts and tradition. The oldest texts of the Hebrew canon (Genesis and Job), for example, present God as a creator.

Personal religious needs are perforce not objective. Please do not confuse being objective with being correct.

It’s not a confusion. ‘Subjective truth’ is a contradiction in terms. If a statement is true, it is by definition objectively so. I suspect you are confusing ‘objective’ with ‘verifiable’, and reducing verification to observation through the senses. Illicit moves, one and all.

And the reason those adjectives apply is, most of those billions do not feel the personal requirement to reject reality in favor of memorized doctrine. There is no inherent reason why reality and belief should conflict, UNLESS one’s beliefs are factually wrong. In that case, they are not rational.

Is any of the above is a definition of ‘rationality’?

…is that enough? …divided evenly enough…

Is there are democratic element here? Majorities and supermajorities? What percentage of scientists would have to advocate intelligent design for the conflict to be ‘substantial’?

Comment #30671

Posted by crozeboom on May 17, 2005 2:08 PM (e)

Flint, great comments, thanks. You’re right about the apparency of the parallels, and my intent is not to draw a direct analogy, but simply draw attention to an article that was using arguments that sound eirily similar to the evolution/creation debate.

I think there is a basic lesson to be drawn from the discussion that in order for students to be able to be discerning about issues either historical or scientific, they first need a grounding in hard facts without influence from other philosophies. That’s easier to do in science thanks to methodological naturalism. But, history class is another subject close to creationist hearts due to the fact that one of their favorite arguments is that past scientists were Christians.

Comment #30676

Posted by HPLC_Sean on May 17, 2005 2:32 PM (e)

Moses:
How can one say this?

Anyway, I didn’t walk away from religion and become an atheist because of a tramautic event, like a death or something.

and this?

For me, it was the absolute incorrectness of the Bible.

and then moments later say this?

Two weeks later I met a nice Jewish girl, started dating and, fairly soon after, converted.

I hope you realize that The Torah is in fact the Hebrew old testament (ie: The Bible) and that Judaism is a religion (ie: not atheism).

Comment #30677

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 17, 2005 2:33 PM (e)

“What percentage of scientists would have to advocate intelligent design for the conflict to be ‘substantial’?”

only one, finley. Not even 1%… just one scientist.

However, that one scientists would actually have to produce a testable theory, along with requisite distinct predictions.

the only reason ID is even being debated is because of its POLITICAL impact, not its scientific impact…

because it has none, doofus.

Comment #30678

Posted by Paul on May 17, 2005 2:34 PM (e)

I am a Christian and an avid science fan. I am 15 years old but probably know alot more on this subject then most people. I would like some one to tell me some “proof” of evolution so I can further my learning in this subject. Thank you.

Comment #30680

Posted by Michael Finley on May 17, 2005 2:47 PM (e)

STJ wrote:

However, that one scientist would actually have to produce a testable theory, along with requisite distinct predictions.

And so say all of us…!

This requirement, of course, is another instance of naturalistic question begging.

Comment #30681

Posted by Rilke's Granddaughter on May 17, 2005 2:52 PM (e)

Paul, I’m glad you put “proof” in quotes - since science never actually “proves” anything - it just strives for the best testable explanation to fit the facts. Some good evidence for evolution includes: the fossil record - specifically the chronological appearance of features and geographic location; the close alignment of genotypic and phenotypic trees; the observation that genetic variation and natural selection occur and do not have any mechanistic restraints; and the geographic alignment of biodiversity. You might go look at www.takorigins.org - it has excellent resources on the subject.

Comment #30683

Posted by Paul on May 17, 2005 3:01 PM (e)

There are no fossil’s! and geological reasons of “layers in the rock being era’s or year’s” are wrong!

Comment #30684

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 17, 2005 3:02 PM (e)

“This requirement, of course, is another instance of naturalistic question begging.”

no, finley, that’s simply the scientific method. We’ve had this debate with you before, many times.

We have often asked you to review what science actually is and does, but obviously you prefer to argue science from outside of what it is.

so, again, by your methods and by your arguments, you look far more like an IDer to me than anything else.

It’s very simple, all you or any IDer has to do is show how there is ANY postive scientific theory, and scientists would welcome it with open arms.

Instead, all we get is false criticism, philosophical musings, and arguments based on mostly misinterpretations of religious belief.

if you want to argue scientific value for something, you have to understand how science works to begin with.

If you try to identify science as some kind of ridiculous cabal of mutually affirming blind zealots… I’d say you are speaking of the ID side of things, not science.

go visit a science department at a university and at least try to learn something before trying to describe what science is without having the slightest apparent idea.

Comment #30685

Posted by steve on May 17, 2005 3:03 PM (e)

I think you meant layer’s, Paul.

Comment #30686

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 17, 2005 3:05 PM (e)

actually, steve, i think he meant to say:

“it’s time for my pills now”

Comment #30687

Posted by frank schmidt on May 17, 2005 3:07 PM (e)

Bob Gitzen:

It’s never been about God. It’s always been about THEM.

Hear, Hear.

Comment #30688

Posted by Flint on May 17, 2005 3:07 PM (e)

Finley:

That’s ridiculous.

Maybe so, but it seems to be the case. I saw no need to repeat all of the supporting material already produced on this thread, and I guess you saw no read to read it. Not my problem.

The oldest texts of the Hebrew canon (Genesis and Job), for example, present God as a creator.

And one of the things this god creates is the weather. Why deny it?

‘Subjective truth’ is a contradiction in terms.

But of course, it’s all we have. Science recognizes this, and takes considerable pains to neutralize it.

I suspect you are confusing ‘objective’ with ‘verifiable’, and reducing verification to observation through the senses. Illicit moves, one and all.

I’m aware that you believe that ‘objective truth’ can be verified by ‘direct religious experience.’ And as I’ve written, I’ve known people who *really did* hear voices in the walls. Since I cannot share either of your experiences, I have little choice but to regard them as subjective and thus questionable. But out of curiosity, let’s suppose that neurologists were able to build a device capable of reproducing such experiences in any brain, even mine, with great fidelity. Should I then concede that you had a “way of knowing” external reality previously unavailable to me? Should you then concede that your ‘direct religious experience’ was nothing more than what a glitch in the wetware SEEMS LIKE to the wetware experiencing it? Would it matter if the ‘direct knowledge’ the device imparted conflicted with what could be observed not using it?

Is there are democratic element here? Majorities and supermajorities? What percentage of scientists would have to advocate intelligent design for the conflict to be ‘substantial’?

I think what I wrote is quite clear. I don’t think the percentage of scientists taking a conflicting position to the majority needs to be particularly high, provided that (1) these are practicing scientists; (2) speaking of matters within their own specialty; (3) in the peer-reviewed literature, and (4) taken seriously (even if not accepted) by the majority. ID fails in the case of every one of these characteristics. I consider them entirely reasonable.

Science doesn’t move forward by rejecting anything different, it moves forward by following a process. Indeed, science IS that process. So one single dissenter can be (and almost always IS) taken seriously by supporting a position with tangible, reproducible evidence.

crozeboom:

history class is another subject close to creationist hearts due to the fact that one of their favorite arguments is that past scientists were Christians.

I’m not sure where you’re going with this, so I apologize in advance if I guess wrong.

First, the fact that past scientists were Christians seems to be something creationists tend to avoid pretty assiduously. After all, even before Darwin, Western scientists who were strong devout Christians had had little choice but to reject a Universal Flood because the evidence on the ground just didn’t support one, and indeed the closer they looked, the more contraindicated such a flood became. Darwin’s notions were introduced to a world almost universally uncongenial to them, but nonetheless gradually won over those for whom evidence matters. Creationism may be impermeable to observational truths, but Christianity in general is not. Even the Pope said “truth cannot contradict truth.”

Second, I think there is a qualitative difference between science and history, in that scientists can replicate others’ results. Even in “historical sciences” like geology, astronomy, and evolution, it’s always possible to make observations in conflict with existing theories. History doesn’t really present this opportunity. We have no way to add to our collective knowledge about what people did in the past; we can only hone our interpretations of how such behaviors came to happen and what they led to.

Nonetheless, I think that any historical interpretation must be consistent with what is known, and no historian (just as no scientist) can be taken seriously if he proposes explanations that flat contradict bits he selectively ignores. Integrity is critical, I would say. Creationism is built on deceit, part and parcel, through and through. Remove the deceit, and I doubt a creationist would have enough sapience left to feed himself.

Comment #30689

Posted by steve on May 17, 2005 3:08 PM (e)

Seriously though Paul, there are several good introductions to evolution which you are old enough to read. I would suggest:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0465044263/qid=1116360291/sr=8-2/ref=pd_csp_2/102-1059645-6481766?v=glance&s=books&n=507846
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0060958502/qid=1116360291/sr=8-6/ref=pd_csp_6/102-1059645-6481766?v=glance&s=books&n=507846

Evolution is such a huge bunch of science, that asking people for internet comments is not a good way to get an introduction. Those two books will do so.

Comment #30690

Posted by Paul on May 17, 2005 3:09 PM (e)

I just don’t get it I may not be a scientist but I do have a right to an opinion and as I said I am only 15! I was just saying that there is no known fossil of a stage in between 2 diffrent animals that I know of. Is this true?

Comment #30693

Posted by Kay on May 17, 2005 3:17 PM (e)

Paul, I don’t like to tell people “read the FAQ” but in this case I suggest you check out www.talkorigins.org first.

Comment #30694

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 17, 2005 3:18 PM (e)

nope.

there is a fairly decent summary of fossil transitions over at talkorigins.org.

you can find lots of evidence of other types there too. you might need to read the books referenced by steve to fill in your understanding a bit.

Comment #30695

Posted by Kay on May 17, 2005 3:21 PM (e)

Paul, if you would like to talk my yahoo screen name is spirit_plumber and i am on right now.

Comment #30697

Posted by Paul on May 17, 2005 3:24 PM (e)

If anyone has MSN I would like to talk to them add me paulnvolk@hotmail.com

Comment #30698

Posted by freelunch on May 17, 2005 3:25 PM (e)

I just don’t get it I may not be a scientist but I do have a right to an opinion and as I said I am only 15! I was just saying that there is no known fossil of a stage in between 2 diffrent animals that I know of. Is this true?

Yes, you have the right to make a fool of yourself by holding to an opinion that is inconsistent with the evidence. You don’t have the right to have your opinion taken seriously or even not to be laughed at. A person who is 15 should have enough humility not to come to a science site and insult them. It makes people cranky.

As others have pointed out, there are many kinds of fossils that fit between one organism and another. The people who told you otherwise were either ignorant of the evidence or lied to you so you would not refuse to accept their religious doctrines.

I was one of those children who was lied to. When I discovered how dishonest those who taught Young Earth Creationism were, I was devastated. I could not comprehend that anyone would lie and blame God for their lies. Good luck looking for science. Don’t try to find it in a religious text.

Comment #30699

Posted by Paul on May 17, 2005 3:27 PM (e)

I have a question, can a majority of scientists be wrong like a majority of people?

Comment #30701

Posted by Michael Finley on May 17, 2005 3:28 PM (e)

Flint,

Your example of voices in the head is a silly invention of your own fancy. Instead, try this one out: Please produce an ‘objective’ argument for the belief in the veracity of memory. And if you cannot, please be consistent and label such a belief ‘irrational’. Then do the same with your belief in the veracity of sense-perception, and the belief that past results are a valid basis for prediction, and the belief that events cause other events, etc., etc.

Comment #30703

Posted by Paul on May 17, 2005 3:31 PM (e)

Just to tell you “freelunch” There is more evidence for creation then for evolution.(excuse My spelling)

Comment #30705

Posted by Paul on May 17, 2005 3:36 PM (e)

So what you are trying to tell me guys is: Nothing produces everyything
Non-life produces life
Randomness produces fine-tuning
Chaos produces information
Unconsciousness produces consciousness
and Non-reason produces reason

Is that what you are trying to tell me by the “theroy” of evolution?

Comment #30706

Posted by Flint on May 17, 2005 3:36 PM (e)

Finley:

Your example of voices in the head is a silly invention of your own fancy.

No, my example is directly on point. Come back when you know better.

Paul:

I see your mind is already fully made up. So why do you come here? Do you think all these poor misguided scientists need some ignorant kid to “cure” them?

Tell you what, why don’t you go pray for us? Everyone will be better off.

Comment #30708

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 17, 2005 3:38 PM (e)

Ok, paul, you threw down that gauntlet.

can you back that up?

show us the evidence for creation.

you can do it one piece at a time if you like.

actually, this is a rather off topic discussion for this place, I created a new topic over here:

http://www.antievolution.org/cgi-bin/ikonboard/ikonboard.cgi?act=SF;f=14

click on the thread i created for you and post your evidence for creation there.

cheers

Comment #30709

Posted by freelunch on May 17, 2005 3:39 PM (e)

Just to tell you “freelunch” There is more evidence for creation then for evolution.

You are wrong. Whoever told you that was repeating a falsehood. Scientists have been collecting evidence about origins for many years, particularly for the past two centuries. All of the evidence that is related to the history of life on earth is consistent with evolution. There is no evidence that can be pointed to as evidence for creation, but that is because there is no theory of creation.

Scientists have been wrong about some things, but in a different way than most people are wrong. They develop models to explain the evidence. There are many possible models and, if there isn’t enough evidence, one of the models that isn’t correct, but is correct for the evidence gathered to date, might be selected. As new evidence is gathered, new models have to be developed. That is part of the joy of science, the ability to keep learning more about a particular discipline.

Comment #30710

Posted by Steve U. on May 17, 2005 3:41 PM (e)

Paul

There is more evidence for creation then for evolution.

Paul, who told you this? Where do you got to school?

Comment #30711

Posted by Michael Finley on May 17, 2005 3:41 PM (e)

Flint wrote:

Come back when you know better.

Here for all to see, Flint dodges my request for ‘objective’ arguments. Come back when you have an answer.

Comment #30712

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 17, 2005 3:46 PM (e)

finley, you couldn’t phrase an objective argument if your life depended on it.

I don’t know why Flint always gives you as much credit as he does.

Comment #30713

Posted by freelunch on May 17, 2005 3:51 PM (e)

So what you are trying to tell me guys is: Nothing produces everyything
Non-life produces life
Randomness produces fine-tuning
Chaos produces information
Unconsciousness produces consciousness
and Non-reason produces reason

Is that what you are trying to tell me by the “theroy” of evolution?

First, the theory of evolution by variation and natural selection is about the history of life on earth, it is not about the origins of the universe or the origins of life on earth. Evolution by variation and natural selection is not random. Chaos is not related to life, nor is information a meaningful question in this regard. Consciousness is a result of neuroligical activities. Many different animals exhibit something we recognize as consciousness. Your last comment makes no sense. When was there non-reason and when do you claim that reason was produced.

I have a hard time telling if you are truly a smart-aleck who thinks he’s protecting God against scientists or are a passable troll.

Comment #30714

Posted by Flint on May 17, 2005 3:51 PM (e)

Finley:

I attempted to discuss things with you. You rejected a little of what I said, ignored the rest, and attempted to change the subject. Your faith is a silly invention inside your own head. Come back when you have evidence otherwise. If you find someone willing to discuss something with you, next time don’t give them the runaround. Again, come back when you know better. Your desperation to fabricate the supernatural to buttress your delusions is growing stale. If you have something to say based on evidence (look it up), maybe someone else will play with you.

Comment #30715

Posted by Paul on May 17, 2005 3:52 PM (e)

I go to a poblic school same as most of you I have my own values and I am young I might have been told a lie but I don’t know what do you think I came here in the first place? I am sorry. I also know that as you make new discoveries for evolution creationst’s are disproving some of yours and making know discoveries of there own. do you agree?(excuse spelling)

Comment #30717

Posted by Paul on May 17, 2005 3:58 PM (e)

Freelunch evolution is random and is by what I have been told about the origin of us right now!!! I will explain to you what all those things mean if you tell me which one you don’t get the most.

Comment #30718

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 17, 2005 4:02 PM (e)

paul -

creationists have never made any contribution to science. never.

they do attempt to falsify evolution for their own gain, but again, their falsifications are not based on evidence, but rather incorrect interpretations of evidence.

if you would like, you can post a list of the things you feel support creation theory in the thread i made for you, and I’m sure myself and others will show you where the evidence leads.

Comment #30719

Posted by George on May 17, 2005 4:06 PM (e)

This is not about logic. This all about control, just as religion has been for eons. Simple minded religous leaders (SMRLs) fear the loss of control if they lose the simplistic supernatural explanation. If the masses are smarted and better educated the SMRLs are out.

BTW: I read a totally reverse bit today. An ID advocate wrote that an example of science theory chaging was Galileos discovery that the earth rolved around the sun. This person claimed that is the science establishment rejected the change - odd but it was a pope that jailed Galileo. (The argument was that it is common for scientists to reject new theories)

Comment #30720

Posted by Man with No Personality on May 17, 2005 4:07 PM (e)

And that is another why I dislike creationists. They not only lie, they lie to people who don’t know better, who start repeating the lies as facts…

Comment #30721

Posted by Paul on May 17, 2005 4:07 PM (e)

“creationists have never made any contribution to science. never.” you sir are wrong for if this is true you too have done nothing but misintrpret the evidence. so there.

Comment #30722

Posted by Man with No Personality on May 17, 2005 4:10 PM (e)

Paul–saying “you’re wrong” doesn’t make a person wrong. You need to explain how their wrong for such an accusation to carry any weight.

Comment #30723

Posted by Rilke's Granddaughter on May 17, 2005 4:10 PM (e)

Paul:

I also know that as you make new discoveries for evolution creationst’s are disproving some of yours and making know discoveries of there own. do you agree?(excuse spelling)

No, I’m afraid we don’t agree. No creationist has ever “disproved” an evolutionary claim. Ever. No creationist is making “new discoveries”. Please cite the details. Thanks.

Comment #30724

Posted by Paul on May 17, 2005 4:11 PM (e)

Man with No Personality please give an example before you say something like that.

Comment #30725

Posted by Flint on May 17, 2005 4:13 PM (e)

Paul,

I’m afraid it’s true. Creationists have never made one single contribution to science. But rather than either take our word for it or deny it blindly, how about if you present something you think creationists have contributed. You know, use *evidence* to support this claim. Take it from me, the people here are suckers for evidence, they check it out in detail every time because they can’t help themselves!

Just one contribution. Name it, and support it.

Comment #30726

Posted by Globigerinoides on May 17, 2005 4:14 PM (e)

Paul, people are lying to you because they want to control you and have power over you.

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0505/S00197.htm

This evolution/creationism “controversy” has absolutley nothing to do with science and everything to do with power politics.

You have to ask yourself: why do they want this power so bad that they will lie to innocent people to get it?

Comment #30727

Posted by Rilke's Granddaughter on May 17, 2005 4:15 PM (e)

Paul, you asked for an example; here’s one:

“creationists have never made any contribution to science. never.” you sir are wrong for if this is true you too have done nothing but misintrpret the evidence. so there.

All you did was say he was wrong. You give no reason, no evidence, and no argument.

Comment #30728

Posted by Flint on May 17, 2005 4:18 PM (e)

Paul:

Man with No Personality please give an example before you say something like that.

Don’t you realize that you ARE an example? You are Exhibit A. We recognize that nobody comes to a place like this, all full of themselves like you are, and learns better overnight. But the fact is, every claim you have made (which to your credit you have memorized well enough) has been totally false – in detail, in implication, and in context. And this was done unto you before you were old enough to defend your own mind. Now you have a deep hole to dig yourself out of. It can be done, though. All that’s required is that you make the effort.

Comment #30729

Posted by Michael Finley on May 17, 2005 4:18 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'quote'

Comment #30730

Posted by Globigerinoides on May 17, 2005 4:21 PM (e)

Paul, people are lying to you because they want to control you and have power over you.

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0505/S00197.htm

This evolution/creationism “debate” has absolutely nothing to do with science and everything to do with power politics.

You have to ask yourself, why do those people want that power so badly that they will lie to innocent people in order to get it?

Comment #30731

Posted by Paul on May 17, 2005 4:21 PM (e)

Rilke’s Granddaughter we have want an example Darwin once said “if it could be demonstrated that a complex organ which could not have been possibly “Changed slowly”(evolution) my theory would break down.” This has been done numerous times by biochemist Michael Behe.

Comment #30732

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 17, 2005 4:26 PM (e)

finley, imo, based on the sum of your posts over the last month, ad hominem remarks are all your arguments deserve.

if you wonder why Flint, or the rest of us have “refused to play ball”, it’s because your rules are inane.

Comment #30733

Posted by Paul on May 17, 2005 4:28 PM (e)

Globigerinoides It is Ok sense this is making my faith in God even stronger seeing how these people are so wrong! ya I am not afraid to say evolution is wrong!

Comment #30734

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 17, 2005 4:32 PM (e)

“This has been done numerous times by biochemist Michael Behe.”

actually, no, it hasn’t. Behe’s arguments hold very little water; I’m sure someone can reference you to the many explanations posted of why Behe is incorrect in his assumptions and conclusions.

If you truly feel you can comprehend Behe’s argument, then I’m sure you will be able to understand why he is wrong as well.

I’m sorry, but you are sounding more and more like a troll, and less and less like someone who actually wants to learn.

I gave you an opportunity and a place to have a discussion about specific pieces of evidence that you think support creationism, but you refused to go there and present it. Instead, you continue to presume that you, 15 years old and all, can come here and think your knowledge of evolutionary theory is so vast that we must all be wrong.

doesn’t make sense, does it.

I guess i should just delete the thread i made for you.

Comment #30735

Posted by Paul on May 17, 2005 4:35 PM (e)

If creation is a lie prove it!

Comment #30736

Posted by Steve U. on May 17, 2005 4:37 PM (e)

Paul

I am 13 years old and also go to public school like you. I am sorry your school did not teach you how to spell good. Also I am sorry that you do not have good science classes. All the stuff you are saying sounds really dumb, especially for a 15 year old.

At my school we learned how some kids have really religious parents who sort of brainwash them into believing all kinds of stuff. Or else they learn wrong stuff at churches or clubs. Like there is a guy at school in the 9th grade named Bruce who is gay and the Bible Club kids are always trying to save him and tell him he’s sick. And then the teachers told the religious kids to stop it and then some of the religious parents complained to the Principal! I saw Bruce one time in the hall and his eyes were really red like he was crying and he was telling a teacher about some guys that were calling him names.

Anyway, you seem like a nice guy but it sounds like someone has been telling you lies about scientists. You should try harder to figure out who is doing that because for some science jobs you need to know more facts.

Steve

Comment #30737

Posted by Paul on May 17, 2005 4:38 PM (e)

You are wrong!!! But i do not hold that against you.

Comment #30738

Posted by freelunch on May 17, 2005 4:46 PM (e)

I go to a poblic school same as most of you I have my own values and I am young I might have been told a lie but I don’t know what do you think I came here in the first place? I am sorry. I also know that as you make new discoveries for evolution creationst’s are disproving some of yours and making know discoveries of there own. do you agree?(excuse spelling)

I don’t know why you came here. You appear to have a chip on your shoulder and a bad attitude about science, despite the fact that you claimed to be interested in science. As others have told you, creationists have discovered nothing about the history of life on earth and have disproven nothing that has been discovered about evolution. Your comment was very rude there. You have been informed that what you think about creationism is false, yet you show no interest in the question, rather you repeat the false claims. It appears to me that you have very poor values if you are willing to be rude to your elders and are willing to repeat lies even when people have told you they are lies.

Freelunch evolution is random and is by what I have been told about the origin of us right now!!! I will explain to you what all those things mean if you tell me which one you don’t get the most.

Evolution is not random. I have no idea where you got that idea from. Evolution is not directed, but random has a different meaning than undirected. You should be asking for explanations, not presuming that you are capable of explaining to others what you have shown you do not understand. I certainly give you credit for energy, but you might want to check what Terry Pratchett thinks about too many exclamation marks in a row.

Please, learn. It’s not too late. Don’t let yourself be suckered in by those who do not have your best interests at heart. If someone, like a Young Earth Creationist, lies to you, they are doing it to fool you and harm you. They are not doing it to help you.

Comment #30739

Posted by Art on May 17, 2005 4:51 PM (e)

Paul, an additional suggestion for your reading list - “Eats Shoots and Leaves”.

Comment #30740

Posted by Globigerinoides on May 17, 2005 4:51 PM (e)

Face it, Paul, you have been lied to by people who want to control you.

How can we have a democracy if a large group of voters are just puppets, as you are being trained for, Paul?

Comment #30741

Posted by Enough on May 17, 2005 4:57 PM (e)

Paul. Stop writing “you are wrong”. Explain what is wrong, and how it is wrong. You obviosuly have no clue what the theory of evolution actually is. Please, go to www.talkorigins.org and read the frequently asked questions. It will answer any questions you have. It also has articles completely debunking Behe and his ridiculous arguments. Some of the articles are long and it will take you a while to get through everything. We’ll still be here if you have any questions when you’re done. See you in a few weeks.

Comment #30742

Posted by Rilke's Granddaughter on May 17, 2005 5:00 PM (e)

Paul:

Rilke’s Granddaughter we have want an example Darwin once said “if it could be demonstrated that a complex organ which could not have been possibly “Changed slowly”(evolution) my theory would break down.” This has been done numerous times by biochemist Michael Behe.

Actually, he didn’t. If you read “Darwin’s Black Box”, Behe’s classic work on the subject, he pointed out a number of biological systems that did not have good evolutionary explanations. “IC” systems in his terminology. However, all his claim amounts to is that direct incremental modification is unlikely to have produced such systems - but there are far more mechanisms that direct incremental to build biological systems; scaffolding, for example, and reduction of parts.

In fact, in DBB, Behe himself admits that IC system can evolve. He just thinks it unlikely. Unfortunately, he also provides no research whatever that demonstrates the probability of these systems occuring.

You should read all about the problems with Behe’s work here: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/behe/review.html

Comment #30743

Posted by Rilke's Granddaughter on May 17, 2005 5:04 PM (e)

Paul:

If creation is a lie prove it!

Which version? The Biblical literalist version: creation in six days, flood, the whole works? Easily disproved by radioactive dating, the fossil record, and various deductions from cosmology.

A ‘pure’ creation in the sense that God created us all last Tuesday (at 3:47 PM EST) with memories and world intact and looking as if the world were 4.5 billion years old? Such a scenario cannot be disproved.

Comment #30745

Posted by Flint on May 17, 2005 5:08 PM (e)

We get some insight here into the value of Behe and those like him. His claims are fatuous, of course, and quite thoroughly discredited, but only if you happen to fall on one side of what amounts to a swearing contest. Some scientists have found God, others claim otherwise, nobody without a degree in microbiology or some closely related subject is qualified to judge which scientists are more nearly correct. If you’ve been taught a proper sense of “Christian persecution” then it’s easy: Here we have a Christian being badmouthed by a whole gang of God-hating atheists for the usual crime of telling God’s Truth. Admit it, that’s a whole lot easier than getting an advanced degree in biochemistry.

And even a 15-year-old can “believe in” Behe, and think it’s science and therefore evidence. The Gish Gallop will live forever.

Comment #30747

Posted by jeffw on May 17, 2005 5:12 PM (e)

Paul, people are lying to you because they want to control you and have power over you.
http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0505/S00197.htm
This evolution/creationism “debate” has absolutely nothing to do with science and everything to do with power politics.
You have to ask yourself, why do those people want that power so badly that they will lie to innocent people in order to get it?

Many organized religions have a strong “mind control” element to them - hardly conducive to intelligent or free thinking. Religion can be a very effective means of controlling people. For example, if I want you to coerce you to do something, is it more effective to say, a) “I want you to do X”, or b) “God wants you to do X”? If it’s the latter, I will be very happy to interpret God’s will for you. I suspect robertson or falwell might know a thing or two about this concept.

The idea of control goes back a long way. I’ve often thought it’s interesting that first three of the ten commmandments deal with loyalty to to god (thou shallt have no other gods before me, etc), and are even mentioned before commandments like “thou shall not kill”. Again, the issue of control. To the tribal elders who wrote these commandments, it was vital that the tribe not wander off to worship baal, mithra, or some other god, otherwise their power would be severely compromised, and they might even find themselves in physical danger. Hence, the first three commandments were of the utmost importance to the elders. They unified and controlled the tribe, and as the only channel to God, the elders enjoyed great power.

Comment #30749

Posted by Rilke's Granddaughter on May 17, 2005 5:26 PM (e)

The truly sad part, from my point of view, is that Paul probably hasn’t even read anything by Behe - he’s just parroting information gleaned off some web-site.

Comment #30750

Posted by Man with No Personality on May 17, 2005 5:34 PM (e)

Oh, yes, RG. I mean it was rather obvious that the creationist slogans Paul rattled off were somebody else’s work, because once he ran out of them, it was back to “you’re wrong!”…

Comment #30751

Posted by H. Humbert on May 17, 2005 5:35 PM (e)

Many organized religions have a strong “mind control” element to them - hardly conducive to intelligent or free thinking. Religion can be a very effective means of controlling people.

“Those that can make you believe absurdities can make you commit attrocities.” -Voltaire

Comment #30752

Posted by "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank on May 17, 2005 5:48 PM (e)

I answered numerous times: though both are sciences, the subject matter are vastly different and that there is no reason to assert, as Nick did, that there is no difference in how they relate (or not) to atheism.

Thanks for sharing your religious opinions on the matter with us, Davey.

Of course, your religious opinions are just that, Davey – your opinions. They are no more holy or divine or infallible or authoritative than anyone else’s religious opinions. No one is obligated in any way, shape, or form to follow your religious opinions, to accept them, or even to pay any attention at all to them.

You are just a man, Davey.

Just a man.

Comment #30753

Posted by "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank on May 17, 2005 5:53 PM (e)

What question did I dodge? Ask me just the question so I am sure what it is, without having to wade through a bunch of crap, and I’ll answer.

*ahem*

Why is your religious opinion any more authoritative than anyone else’s. Why should anyone pay any more attention to your religious opinions than theys hould to mine, my next door neighbor’s, my car mechanic’s, or the kid who delivers my pizzas.

Comment #30754

Posted by Man with No Personality on May 17, 2005 6:00 PM (e)

Assuming Flint has refused to play ball, can any among you give an ‘objective’ argument for the belief in the veracity of memory?

If you wish to continue along those lines, Mr. Finley, give an ‘objective’ argument that you are not a butterfly dreaming that is a man.

Comment #30755

Posted by "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank on May 17, 2005 6:00 PM (e)

Do you really think that he, in the midst of discussing evolution, life, etc., —that suddenly he makes a generic declaration against all science?

From the Wedge Document:

The proposition that human beings are created in the image of God is one of the bedrock principles on which Western civilization was built. Its influence can be detected in most, if not all, of the West’s greatest achievements, including representative democracy, human rights, free enterprise, and progress in the arts and sciences.

Yet a little over a century ago, this cardinal idea came under wholesale attack by intellectuals drawing on the discoveries of modern science. Debunking the traditional conceptions of both God and man, thinkers such as Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, and Sigmund Freud portrayed humans not as moral and spiritual beings, but as animals or machines who inhabited a universe ruled by purely impersonal forces and whose behavior and very thoughts were dictated by the unbending forces of biology, chemistry, and environment. This materialistic conception of reality eventually infected virtually every area of our culture, from politics and economics to literature and art

The cultural consequences of this triumph of materialism were devastating. Materialists denied the existence of objective moral standards, claiming that environment dictates our behavior and beliefs. Such moral relativism was uncritically adopted by much of the social sciences, and it still undergirds much of modern economics, political science, psychology and sociology.

Materialists also undermined personal responsibility by asserting that human thoughts and behaviors are dictated by our biology and environment. The results can be seen in modern approaches to criminal justice, product liability, and welfare. In the materialist scheme of things, everyone is a victim and no one can be held accountable for his or her actions.

Finally, materialism spawned a virulent strain of utopianism. Thinking they could engineer the perfect society through the application of scientific knowledge, materialist reformers advocated coercive government programs that falsely promised to create heaven on earth.

Discovery Institute’s Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture seeks nothing less than the overthrow of materialism and its cultural legacies. Bringing together leading scholars from the natural sciences and those from the humanities and social sciences, the Center explores how new developments in biology, physics and cognitive science raise serious doubts about scientific materialism and have re-opened the case for a broadly theistic understanding of nature.

The social consequences of materialism have been devastating. As symptoms, those consequences are certainly worth treating. However, we are convinced that in order to defeat materialism, we must cut it off at its source. That source is scientific materialism. This is precisely our strategy. If we view the predominant materialistic science as a giant tree, our strategy is intended to function as a “wedge” that, while relatively small, can split the trunk when applied at its weakest points. The very beginning of this strategy, the “thin edge of the wedge,” was Phillip ]ohnson’s critique of Darwinism begun in 1991 in Darwinism on Trial, and continued in Reason in the Balance and Defeatng Darwinism by Opening Minds. Michael Behe’s highly successful Darwin’s Black Box followed Johnson’s work. We are building on this momentum, broadening the wedge with a positive scientific alternative to materialistic scientific theories, which has come to be called the theory of intelligent design (ID). Design theory promises to reverse the stifling dominance of the materialist worldview, and to replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions.

Governing Goals

* To defeat scientific materialism and its destructive moral, cultural and political legacies.

* To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and hurnan beings are created by God.

Five Year Goals

* To see intelligent design theory as an accepted alternative in the sciences and scientific research being done from the perspective of design theory.

* To see the beginning of the influence of design theory in spheres other than natural science.

* To see major new debates in education, life issues, legal and personal responsibility pushed to the front of the national agenda.

Twenty Year Goals

* To see intelligent design theory as the dominant perspective in science.

* To see design theory application in specific fields, including molecular biology, biochemistry, paleontology, physics and cosmology in the natural sciences, psychology, ethics, politics, theology and philosophy in the humanities; to see its innuence in the fine arts.

* To see design theory permeate our religious, cultural, moral and political life.

Seems, uh, pretty clear to me. (shrug)

Comment #30756

Posted by "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank on May 17, 2005 6:03 PM (e)

Strong methodological naturalism at its finest.

I am still waiting for you to explain to me how a NON-methodological naturalist sciecne would work. Please pick one – any one – and show us how to apply the scientific method to it.

And TRY to do a better job of it than the last few silly attempts you’ve made ……

Comment #30757

Posted by "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank on May 17, 2005 6:09 PM (e)

Paul, here are some quotes from your hero Behe. Read them and understand them. He does not say what you seem to think he says.

Intelligent Design Is Not Creationism
Response to “Not (Just) in Kansas Anymore” by Eugenie C. Scott, Science (May 2000)

Michael J. Behe
Science Online
July 7, 2000

Scott refers to me as an intelligent design “creationist,” even though I clearly write in my book Darwin’s Black Box (which Scott cites) that I am not a creationist and have no reason to doubt common descent. In fact, my own views fit quite comfortably with the 40% of scientists that Scott acknowledges think “evolution occurred, but was guided by God.”

From “Darwin’s Black Box”
Evolution is a controversial topic, so it is necessary to address a few basic questions at the beginning of the book. Many people think that questioning Darwinian evolution must be equivalent to espousing creationism. As commonly understood, creationism involves belief in an earth formed only about ten thousand years ago, an interpretation of the Bible that is still very popular. For the record, I have no reason to doubt that the universe is the billions of years old that physicists say it is. Further, I find the idea of common descent (that all organisms share a common ancestor) fairly convincing, and have no particular reason to doubt it. (p. 5)

From “Darwin’s Black Box”
“I believe the evidence strongly supports common descent.” (p.176)

“I dispute the mechanism of natural selection, not common descent.” in Reply to My Critics, Biology and Philosophy 16, p697, 2001.

Christianity Today, August 12th 2002
“A Nuclear Bomb” For Evolution?: Critics of Darwinism say skull’s discovery isn’t all it’s cracked up to be

by Todd Hertz

Behe said ID is “several levels of biology removed from the hominid versus chimp distinction.” The point of contention between evolution and intelligent design is whether design or chance guided human development?not how humans developed.

“Darwin’s claim to fame was not so much that he thought that organisms might have evolved from common ancestors,” Behe said. “Other people had put forward other theories but had always invoked guiding intelligence. His main point was that it might happen by chance.”

Darwin’s Black Box, Reviewed by Kenneth R. Miller
(as published in Creation / Evolution Volume 16: pp, 36-40 [1996])

Perhaps the single most stunning thing about Darwin’s Black Box, Michael Behe’s “Biochemical Challenge to Evolution,” is the amount of territory that its author concedes to Darwinism. As tempted as they might be to pick up this book in their own defense, “scientific creationists” should think twice about enlisting an ally who has concluded that the Earth is several billion years old, that evolutionary biology has had “much success in accounting for the patterns of life we see around us (1),” that evolution accounts for the appearance of new organisms including antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and who is convinced that all organisms share a “common ancestor.” In plain language, this means that Michael Behe and I share an evolutionary view of the natural history of the Earth and the meaning of the fossil record; namely, that present-day organisms have been produced by a process of descent with modification from their ancient ancestors. Behe is clear, firm, and consistent on this point. For example, when Michael and I engaged in debate at the 1995 meeting of the American Scientific Affiliation, I argued that the 100% match of DNA sequences in the pseudogene region of beta-globin was proof that humans and gorillas shared a recent common ancestor. To my surprise, Behe said that he shared that view, and had no problem with the notion of common ancestry. Creationists who believe that Behe is on their side should proceed with caution - he states very clearly that evolution can produce new species, and that human beings are one of those species.

But hey, there is no need to take my word for it what Behe’s opinion is about common descent, human evolution, and young-earth creationists. You can write to him and ASK HIM YOURSELF, just like I did. His email address is: mjb1@lehigh.edu . Write to him. Ask him. Tell us what answer you get.

Comment #30761

Posted by Stuart Weinstein on May 17, 2005 6:40 PM (e)

Paul the kiddie writes :

“There are no fossil’s! and geological reasons of “layers in the rock being era’s or year’s” are wrong!”

I’m sorry, Paul, but your claims to know more than the average person about evolution or geology are nonsensical. You aboviously know nothing about them.

You can grow up ignorant, or you can actually read geology books written by geologists and books on evolution written by biologists.

Its your choice. But simply putting an “!” at the end of sentence suggests that you have no argument to make, just that you’re being argumentative.

If you don’t want to be treated like a kid, don’t act like one.

Comment #30762

Posted by Russell on May 17, 2005 6:40 PM (e)

Posted by David Heddle on May 17, 2005 10:17 AM (e) (s)

RGD,

You are quote-mining.

I think you should back this up or retract and apologize.

Comment #30764

Posted by Michael Finley on May 17, 2005 6:59 PM (e)

Mr. Personality wrote:

If you wish to continue along those lines, Mr. Finley, give an ‘objective’ argument that you are not a butterfly dreaming that is a man.

You’ve missed the thrust of my argument. I am not playing the Cartesian skeptic. Of course I can’t give an objective argument to that effect, but for all that, I still know that I am a dreaming butterfly.

My point to Flint (borrowed from Plantinga) is that there are a number of truths we can be said to know, a number of beliefs that are rational, that have no ‘objective’ basis (Flint’s sense of ‘objective’), e.g., that memory is an accurate guide to past events, that sense-perception is reliable, etc., etc. The point here is that ‘verified by observation’ is not the only measure of truth.

This should be sufficient to establish a category of truths that cannot be justified by science, but are nonetheless objective (in my sense). The next question, then, is how we know such truths, and are there others.

Comment #30766

Posted by Michael Finley on May 17, 2005 7:01 PM (e)

The first use of ‘objective’ should have square-quotes around it: ‘objective’.

Comment #30767

Posted by Michael Finley on May 17, 2005 7:04 PM (e)

Ugh: make that ‘scare-quotes’.

Comment #30768

Posted by Michael Finley on May 17, 2005 7:07 PM (e)

Damn it all: “…for all that, I still know that I am not a dreaming butterfly.”

When is an editing feature going to be introduced?!

Comment #30770

Posted by Lamuella on May 17, 2005 7:12 PM (e)

There is zero evidence, in spite of your assertions and quote mining, that David Heddle uses a computer. There is only evidence that David sits down at certain times to use a computer.

Comment #30771

Posted by steve on May 17, 2005 7:18 PM (e)

Paul’s like Charlie Wagner, without the self-aggrandizing “law”.

Comment #30772

Posted by steve on May 17, 2005 7:22 PM (e)

Comment #30705

Posted by Paul on May 17, 2005 03:36 PM (e) (s)

So what you are trying to tell me guys is: Nothing produces everyything
Non-life produces life
Randomness produces fine-tuning
Chaos produces information
Unconsciousness produces consciousness
and Non-reason produces reason

Is that what you are trying to tell me by the “theroy” of evolution?

Paul, is your full name Paul Heddle?

Comment #30773

Posted by Steve U. on May 17, 2005 7:30 PM (e)

More like “Paul” Strobel

Popular apologist Lee Strobel promotes ID in The Case for a Creator (Zondervan, 2004). In a recent interview with Servant magazine, he stated: “Recently a hundred scientists with doctorates from leading institutions signed a full-page magazine ad that said: ‘We are skeptical of the claims of Darwinism.’ In effect, they said the emperor of evolution has no clothes. Christians who blindly accept what they were told in school about evolution and try to reconcile it with their faith don’t understand that the best evidence does not support the claims of Darwinism, it points toward intelligent design.”

Strobel added: “To embrace Darwinism … you would have to believe that nothing produces everything, non-life produces life, randomness produces fine-tuning, chaos produces information, unconsciousness produces consciousness, and non-reason produces reason. I just don’t have enough faith to believe that.”

Comment #30774

Posted by nihilan on May 17, 2005 7:30 PM (e)

Please produce an ‘objective’ argument for the belief in the veracity of memory. And if you cannot, please be consistent and label such a belief ‘irrational’. Then do the same with your belief in the veracity of sense-perception, and the belief that past results are a valid basis for prediction, and the belief that events cause other events, etc., etc.

This is a tactic that I’ve seen from creation/Idists before, when they can’t refute the science, they attempt to refute Science. I think we all know the underlying assumptions of science, and this is not the forum for such a debate.

Interesting that Finley has chosen to take us full circle by attacking the pilosopical underpinnings of science in genera, the very underpinnings that form the basis of both meteorology and biology.

Finley, assuming that we can’t verify the veracity of our memories, and that our sense perceptions are meaningless, what leads you to believe your world-view rather than any other? And why should anyone choose to agree with you?

Comment #30775

Posted by Michael Finley on May 17, 2005 7:37 PM (e)

nihilan wrote:

Finley, assuming that we can’t verify the veracity of our memories, and that our sense perceptions are meaningless, what leads you to believe your world-view rather than any other? And why should anyone choose to agree with you?

Read my next post, and then you’ll better understand my aim.

Comment #30776

Posted by steve on May 17, 2005 7:44 PM (e)

My point to Flint (borrowed from Plantinga) is that there are a number of truths we can be said to know, a number of beliefs that are rational, that have no ‘objective’ basis (Flint’s sense of ‘objective’), e.g., that memory is an accurate guide to past events, that sense-perception is reliable, etc., etc. The point here is that ‘verified by observation’ is not the only measure of truth.

For those who don’t know what he’s talking about, here’s a brief explanation: Plantinga is a Foundationalist. He believes, like Descartes before him, that there are some self-evident truths which don’t require justification. Foundationalists therefore believe that, as Finley believes, “‘verified by observation’ is not the only measure of truth.” In contrast, Coherentists believe that beliefs are true when they accord with the other things which seem to be true, in an interdependent web. There are other objections to Foundationalism. It’s not a settled question.

The reader should also be aware that Plantinga wrote a three-volume work which concludes that christianity is one of those self-evident truths which needs no justification. How conveeenient.

Comment #30778

Posted by JRQ on May 17, 2005 7:58 PM (e)

Please produce an ‘objective’ argument for the belief in the veracity of memory. And if you cannot, please be consistent and label such a belief ‘irrational’. Then do the same with your belief in the veracity of sense-perception, and the belief that past results are a valid basis for prediction, and the belief that events cause other events, etc., etc.

Please excuse my terribly amateur philosophizing…

Couldn’t it be said that one “knows” the veracity memory, perception et al. by the lack of inconsistency and relative absence of practical costs that result from assuming them? That is, rather than knowing the veracity of these things objectively, one knows objectively that assuming veracity is practically justified.

For example, could an objective argument go as follows: “I remember leaving my keys in the kitchen. Assuming this is accurate leads me to the kitchen where I perceive the keys. I assume the perception is accurate so I pick them up and take them with me to the car. I drive away. There is no undue cost in effort or time by making these assumptions, and no lack of consistency between the results of assumptions I make about memory, perception, and causality. Effort, time, and consistency are in principle independently verifiable by a 3rd party, I am objectively justified making veracity assumptions.”

Comment #30779

Posted by Steve U. on May 17, 2005 7:58 PM (e)

There are other objections to Foundationalism. It’s not a settled question.

I hope they settle it soon so I can know that I am not a dreaming butterfly. My God, what if I never pupate?

Comment #30781

Posted by JRQ on May 17, 2005 8:08 PM (e)

Reading steve’s explanation, my scenerio above sounds similar to a coherentist’s explanation…at least, that seems similar to how I meant it.

Comment #30782

Posted by Michael Finley on May 17, 2005 8:09 PM (e)

JRQ,

One problem, if I may, is that the present is constantly becoming the past. The instant after you remove your keys from the counter, the fact that they were there to begin with becomes a posit of memory. Thus, if the keys being on the counter did provide a verification of the memory that that’s where you left them, such verification would only be valid (if at all) in an instant, and then it itself becomes a memeory.

What’s more, does the fact that my keys on in the kitchen really verify my memory that that’s where I left them. Perhaps I really left them in the living room, and my wife moved them to the kitchen counter, etc.

Finally, a good deal of our memories, perhaps the vast majority, are not even verifiable in an instant because they cannot be checked against current facts. That I was in the kitchen five minutes ago, for instance, cannot be verified by the current facts. My memory is all I have.

No, the veracity of memory has to be a starting point of rational enquiry. It cannot be established by something more basic. There is nothing more basic.

Comment #30783

Posted by "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank on May 17, 2005 8:15 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'kwickxml'

Comment #30784

Posted by "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank on May 17, 2005 8:18 PM (e)

Finally, a good deal of our memories, perhaps the vast majority, are not even verifiable in an instant because they cannot be checked against current facts. That I was in the kitchen five minutes ago, for instance, cannot be verified by the current facts. My memory is all I have.

My memory is that I left my car parked in the driveway when I got home today.

It’s still there.

My memory is confirmed.

My other memory is that I was Julius Caeser in a previous lifetime.

Why is one of my memories any better than the other …. . ?

Comment #30785

Posted by nihilan on May 17, 2005 8:23 PM (e)

No, the veracity of memory has to be a starting point of rational enquiry. It cannot be established by something more basic. There is nothing more basic.

You could compare it to the alternatives on the basis of pragmatism. Although my memory fails me some of the time, the alternative (to look for my keys at randomly chosen locations, for example) is more costly.

Anyhow, I think you need to bring this back to the topic at hand (ie. evolution/ and or a defense of ID), and quickly.

Comment #30786

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 17, 2005 8:30 PM (e)

“does the fact that my keys on in the kitchen really verify my memory that that’s where I left them”

perhaps not, but:

1. you could test for residue to see if your keys were where you thought they were, using the scientific method and a suitable device to sample with.

2. who gives a shit? Whatever point you are trying to make with this is totally superfluous. Why don’t you do what you did when you first came here and take superfluous discussion to the bar. anyone interested can follow you there.

Comment #30787

Posted by Virge on May 17, 2005 8:31 PM (e)

David Heddle wrote: “That’s one way to spin it. My way is…”

David, it saddens me to see you quote-mine yourself, and then claim that your original argument agreed with Sandor despite the fact that it was diametrically opposed to Sandor’s position. You could have recovered from that with a mea culpa. You would have only conceded a point that everyone else had already marked against you. Instead you dug yourself in deeper.

I’ve changed my mind about you. When you were trolling on Pharyngula I thought you were merely muddled. It now seems that you have such a lust for public argument and linguistic legerdemain that you are prepared to present absurd falsehoods, and dismiss them as “spin”.

Is this the way you present the gospel in your “He Lives” life? Or is there another, more honest personality in control when you preach? What kind of preacher allows that level of personal dishonesty to be exposed in public and dismisses it out of hand?

I’ve had discussions with Christians who have insufficient critical thinking skills to be accused of dishonesty. They are committed and passionate about what they believe and can’t comprehend the arguments and the evidence that show them to be in error. I disagree with them, and I dislike what they do with children’s brains, but I respect their integrity.

Do you need sermon suggestions for your Sunday life? Perhaps try looking up “within full of dead men’s bones”.

It’s not naturalistic science that leads people to atheism; it is exposure of the lies of the church.

Comment #30788

Posted by steve on May 17, 2005 8:33 PM (e)

No, the veracity of memory has to be a starting point of rational enquiry. It cannot be established by something more basic. There is nothing more basic.

Finley’s example shows us why he’s wrong. Memory is a good argument for coherentism, and not for foundationalism. Most of the time when memory and observation meet, they correspond. However, sometimes they don’t, and memory is wrong. This is routinely demonstrated in criminology classes to prove that eye-witnesses are imperfect.

Comment #30789

Posted by JRQ on May 17, 2005 8:34 PM (e)

At the risk of encouraging the diversion…

One problem, if I may, is that the present is constantly becoming the past. The instant after you remove your keys from the counter, the fact that they were there to begin with becomes a posit of memory. Thus, if the keys being on the counter did provide a verification of the memory that that’s where you left them, such verification would only be valid (if at all) in an instant, and then it itself becomes a memeory.

Well, so what? It is verified subsequently by my perceiving having them, i.e., the same memory trajectory that led me to the table now continues forward and leads me to my pocket. The keys on the table, once picked up, no longer NEED to be a perceptual verifier…that they are no longer valid after the instant is not a problem because the next instant requires a new perceptual verification anyway.

What’s more, does the fact that my keys on in the kitchen really verify my memory that that’s where I left them. Perhaps I really left them in the living room, and my wife moved them to the kitchen counter, etc.

In this case, memory is fallible and if you are correct that memory is truly the most basic, the entire process collapes. In fact, memories are fallible and yet rational enquiry is possible.

Finally, a good deal of our memories, perhaps the vast majority, are not even verifiable in an instant because they cannot be checked against current facts. That I was in the kitchen five minutes ago, for instance, cannot be verified by the current facts. My memory is all I have.

No it is not all you have.* You have immediate percepts that have to be consistent with the end point of your memory trajectory. You have the percepts and memories of others with whom you share your environment.

The point is that one doesn’t verify each against the others…one verifies against the cost of inconsistency that results from accepting each as true.

*this is an extraordinarily unusual point for me to argue - I am a psychologist who studies memory.

Comment #30791

Posted by steve on May 17, 2005 8:39 PM (e)

The take-home message, so we don’t get lost in philosophizing, is that it’s not clear that knowledge exists entirely divorced of observation.

But anyway, Finley and the Kansas school board can argue all they want that science should be expanded to include untestable magic elves, it’s just not going to happen, because that stuff just gets in the way.

Comment #30792

Posted by Flint on May 17, 2005 8:39 PM (e)

In a practical sense, it’s been painfully obvious since at least the beginning of recorded history that our perceptions are unreliable, our memories are not trustworthy, our logic is often hostage to our preferences, and all of this makes us pretty inadequate as measuring and recording instruments. Any trial lawyer is aware that there will be as many different versions of an event as there are eyewitnesses, and these versions can vary by surprising amounts.

Science, recognizing this, takes multiple procedural precautions in an attempt to at least partially neutralize these things. We publish our findings so that those with different preferences can examine them. We specify exactly how our data were collected, so that unconscious introductions of systematic bias (nearly always present) can be identified, and perhaps canceled out with a different collection procedure. We have developed double-blind methodologies. We encourage active informed debate wherever any valid cause exists to debate. We have learned to construct tests of our hypothesis that do not corroborate the hypothesis as the default (and preferably, are constructed to discredit rather than support the hypothesis under test). I’m sure there are many other techniques, both obvious and subtle, that the practice of science brings to bear on our inability to avoid being subjective.

In other words, science regards our fallibilities as a problem that can be minimized if properly recognized and addressed. The goal is to avoid making stuff up and then finding pseudo-philosophical rationalizations for reifying our fantasies. To me, it’s pretty self-evident that Plantinga has started by decreeing his superstitions to be “self-evident truths which don’t require justification” because he’s well aware that there IS no justification. Then, working backwards, there obviously must be some truths that “just are”, detached from any possible verification. The alternative would be to admit error, something religious faith prohibits above all else.

But once we concede that some facts need no verification, observation, measurement, or anything else external, how can we decide which are “real” imaginary facts, and which are only imaginary imaginary facts? I guess we do this through “religious experiences”. Which of course are totally unrelated to all of the other “experiences” which result from neurological malfunction. How do we know they’re unrelated? We SAY SO! How else. And how is saying so different from make-believe? This is another way of asking why there are more than 10,000 Christian sects in the US alone. What YOU believe is make-believe, what *I* believe is “self-evident truth requiring no justification.”

Apparently this is hard to outgrow.

Comment #30793

Posted by JRQ on May 17, 2005 8:41 PM (e)

What was it Dawkins said?

Something to the effect of, “no one is a relativist at 30,000 feet.”

Comment #30796

Posted by Ed Darrell on May 17, 2005 9:44 PM (e)

“Veracity” of memory? Just a minute – I need to plotz and fan myself to prevent fainting.

Human perception is notoriously unveracious (is that a word?).

Two of my favorite examples, from flying: Pilots learn to watch the instruments that tell them where the horizon is, especially when their visibility is obscured. When flying, expecially while turning, one “perceives” down to be the direction one sits. There were a lot of pilots who flew in to the ground after trying to turn in clouds before attitude indicators became rather standard. Turning in a cloud, one’s memory and perception of which way is down, becomes clouded.

The second example: Navy pilots learn to follow the radio signals and other navigation aids to land on aircraft carriers, and not to do it by sight. In pilot training, one lands on long runways on the ground. Aircraft carrier runways “look” too short. But there is a fine optical illusion a pilot can create to make the runway look longer. If the pilot drops lower than the safe descent line, the carrier deck “looks” longer. Alas, the aircraft will smack into the side of the ship and the pilot will die – but it “looks” right.

Memory? That’s just old perceptions. If perceptions can be wrong, and if memory drifts … well, you get the picture. There is reality more reliable than memory, especially for things in the past.

Comment #30798

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 17, 2005 9:53 PM (e)

“The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing (13 Mar 01)

False \False\, a. [Compar. Falser; superl. Falsest.]

[L. falsus, p. p. of fallere to deceive; cf. OF. faus, fals, F. faux, and AS. fals fraud. See Fail, Fall.]

1. Uttering falsehood; unveracious; given to deceit; dishnest; as, a false witness. [1913 Webster]

evidently so, though it is not used often at all.

Comment #30799

Posted by JRQ on May 17, 2005 10:03 PM (e)

Memory? That’s just old perceptions.

Alas, it’s worse than that…memories are reconstructions from bits of old perceptions, filtered through other bits of old perceptions and distorted by other reconstructions.

Oh yeah, and it drifts. Often.

Comment #30801

Posted by Air Bear on May 17, 2005 10:39 PM (e)

my two cents -

Virge wrote:

It’s not naturalistic science that leads people to atheism; it is exposure of the lies of the church.

My path away from belief started with, of all things, Billy Graham’s “My Answer” newspaper column in the ’50s and ’60s. I noticed that he would pose a difficult question, such as “why is there sin in the world” and then string together a bunch of soothing platitudes that did not answer the question. I began to think that all that religion stuff must really be a bunch of hooey if even the famous Billy Graham couldn’t put together a coherent argument. The mean-spiritedness of the minister in my church also helped push me away. Of course, one could say that I should have seen things through the eyes of faith rather than the eyes of reason. But even to a 14-year-old, that seemed like an invitation to delusion.

Studying science didn’t make me an agnostic any more than studying computer operating systems did.

Comment #30802

Posted by Alex Merz on May 17, 2005 10:40 PM (e)

Ed, I hope you never use the term “Navy pilots” in a bar full of Navy aviators.

Comment #30812

Posted by Osmo on May 18, 2005 1:31 AM (e)

If anyone invoked it, verificationism is pretty much roundly rejected, because we do hold certain beliefs in rational esteem that do not submit to justification in the verificationist sense, such as supporting the general reliablity of the senses. There’s nothing out of left field about Micheal Finley’s appeal to foundational preconditions for rationality that do not meet a verificationist criteria, though I haven’t read all the posts here to determine what line of reasoning he was responding to. It’s a popular approach to the problem of infinite regress. However, there’s no real need to have a foundationalist vs. coherantist debate here, as neither matters for any relevant question at hand as best I can tell.

If he tries to stretch this discussion into a Plantinga style argument for the “proper basicality” of his religious belief, he’s gone out into the realm of poor argumentation, as bad to epistemology as ID is to biology, but this blog is not appropriate for such discussion. (*cheap shot*) I don’t see the chain to discussion that would send him off on that argument.

But, on the plus side, something like Plantinga’s “Naturalism Defeated” is more appropriate for this weblog, and it’ll be fun to see if he ever plans on trotting it out. Plantinga fans are fun amd disorienting if you do not have a grasp on the technical subject matter.

Comment #30815

Posted by Sandor on May 18, 2005 4:38 AM (e)

Comment #30779
Posted by Steve U. on May 17, 2005 07:58 PM (e) (s)

There are other objections to Foundationalism. It’s not a settled question.

I hope they settle it soon so I can know that I am not a dreaming butterfly. My God, what if I never pupate?

Sorry if I sound pedantic but, assuming you were a dreaming butterfly you’d have to have pupated already. Else you’d be a caterpillar dreaming he was a butterfly dreaming…

Comment #30817

Posted by djmullen on May 18, 2005 4:41 AM (e)

“Meteorology is a battle that the church lost in the distant past. That loss has already been rationalized and the scriptures have been reinterpreted to maintain the illusion of eternal truth.”

Isaac Asimov once wrote that meteorology was the first battle between science and religion and religion lost decisively. When Franklin invented the lightning rod, many sermons were preached against them - they were an attempt to deflect lightning bolts, which God used to punish sinners. So few churches put up lightning rods. Meanwhile, ordinary people noticed that lightning rods worked pretty well and started putting them up all over the place. Eventually, churches were getting hit by lightning bolts more often than any secular buildings. After a while, preachers (at least those who hadn’t been killed by lightning) stopped preaching against lightning rods.

Comment #30821

Posted by Sandor on May 18, 2005 6:52 AM (e)

Comment #30817
Posted by djmullen on May 18, 2005 04:41 AM (e) (s)

[…] few churches put up lightning rods. Meanwhile, ordinary people […] started putting them up all over the place. Eventually, churches were getting hit by lightning bolts more often than any secular buildings.[…]

Must have been the wrath of Zeus (or was it Thor?) :P

Comment #30825

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on May 18, 2005 7:56 AM (e)

David Heddle wrote:

Nick and Wesley’s argument is that if you take the Genesis account literally (actually, only to the point that God created the species supernaturally) then, by their reckoning, it obviously and logically follows that since Christ claims to be a vine, then your same hermeneutic demands that you believe grapes can be plucked from him.

That’s not our argument. That’s a strawman. David just wishes that was our argument.

David Heddle wrote:

That same person might also conclude that the bible does not teach that God actively controls every subsequent raindrop, unless you demand that they be hyper-literal like this silly post with Wesley’s bible quote mining attempts to do.

That’s not my argument. That’s a strawman. David just wishes that was my argument.

David’s connotation of silly, given his deployment of it, appears to be, “something too hard for me to answer with reason”.

Logic has only three shades of degree: none, at least one, and all. David’s original claim of “self-consistency” is only sustainable if the intervention of God in the phenomena of one science were in the “none” category and in one of the other two categories for the other. This is not the case; God is stated by scripture to intervene in the phenomena of both meteorology and biology. (The water into wine thing at Cana does the same for chemistry and the loaves and fishes does for physics.)

So here’s my stab at the logic of the situation…

The premises:

P1: God intervenes at least once in biology. (Requires at least one instance of scripture taken as non-metaphorical. Some people think that the creation accounts in Genesis are not metaphorical.)
P2: God intervenes at least once in meteorology. (Requires at least one instance of scripture taken as non-metaphorical. To deny this premise would require a person to reject at least one of the miracles of Jesus in the New Testament, plus several accounts in the Old Testament of God’s intervention in the weather.)
P3: Biology does not cast explanations in terms of God’s intervention.
P4: Meteorology does not cast explanations in terms of God’s intervention.
P5: God always intervenes in meteorology. (David asserts this as my premise. I never said any such thing.)

Conclusions:

Mine: The implications for God’s intervention in observed phenomena are the same for biology and meteorology.

David’s: Biology promotes atheism, but meteorology does not.

While my conclusion follows from the premises, David’s does not. If David wants to engage this, he should note which of my premises he disagrees with, or provide additional premises that would make his conclusion something that follows from a set of premises. David’s vague hand-waving and erection of strawmen don’t make for logical argumentation.

And, in regard to David’s “greater potential impact” argument, it should be noted that God’s intervention in affairs of evolutionary biology are not stated by scripture to extend into historical times, but rather are limited to a section of scripture that many Christians take as allegory (that “metaphor” thing David complained about earlier). On the other hand, God’s interventions in meteorology are asserted, even in non-metaphorical text, to occur right into historical times. It seems to me that based upon recency, one should be more concerned about the “atheistic” tendencies of meteorology than one is for evolutionary biology, not less. If one were to be consistent and logical, that is. I suspect that this long ago left the field of logic for David.

Comment #30832

Posted by Flint on May 18, 2005 8:46 AM (e)

Wesley:

Your premises and David’s premises are completely different. David’s conclusion follows from his own premises, which are:
1) The doctrine of my faith teaches that God created Man as-is and gave him a soul.
2) Evolution disagrees with this doctrine.
3) The doctrine of my faith is infallible.
4) There is no requirement that this doctrine be consistent with anything. Not with reality, not with scripture, not even with itself.
5) Therefore, evolution is wrong.

You will notice that meteorology is not mentioned. Therefore it is irrelevant.

Comment #30849

Posted by Michael Finley on May 18, 2005 10:59 AM (e)

Osmo wrote:

But, on the plus side, something like Plantinga’s “Naturalism Defeated” is more appropriate for this weblog, and it’ll be fun to see if he ever plans on trotting it out. Plantinga fans are fun amd disorienting if you do not have a grasp on the technical subject matter.

I’d love to trot it out, but philosophy is not welcome here. The PT mode of operation is naive realism.

Plantinga’s strongest argument against the conjunction of naturalism and evolution is just an expansion (using all the apparatus of the probability calculus) of Descartes naturalistic way to universal doubt. In addition to his famous ‘evil demon’, Descartes concluded that a universe due to random, blind processes would, in effect, produce the same level of skepticism. Plantinga’s version concludes that, if naturalism and evolution are true, then it is unlikely (or inscrutable) that human reason is capable of arriving at truth. Therefore, because statements about naturalism and evolution are products of human reason, their truth should be doubted.

Sober’s is the best critique of Plantinga’s argument. Basically, Sober challenges Plantinga’s Bayesian approach, but admits in the concluding paragraph that Darwinists should treat the general problem as real.

Comment #30853

Posted by PvM on May 18, 2005 11:09 AM (e)

The problem is simple. In many instances creationists accept that God set things in motion (also known as front loading). Few creationists claim that God keeps adjusting the orbits of planets to make them circular… And while astronomy is accepted by most creationists, they reject the idea that evolution can be explained in terms of natural processes. When people point out these inconsistencies, creationists seem flustered and end up creating all kinds of strawmen.

Comment #30854

Posted by Aureola Nominee on May 18, 2005 11:16 AM (e)

Plantinga’s version concludes that, if naturalism and evolution are true, then it is unlikely (or inscrutable) that human reason is capable of arriving at truth.

…and the always reliable Mr. Finley does not see the huge gaping hole in such an argument…

Let me rephrase what you just wrote: “If the universe does not include the poorly defined ‘supernatural’, then we cannot say anything about it.”

… while if the universe includes magic, pixies, ghosts, working prayers, reincarnation, and the like, we can say… what?

This is “not even wrong”: if naturalism is true, or if it is assumed as the only viable methodology (hint, hint), then evolution is true, and bingo! we have said something meaningful about our universe.

While you and Plantinga wait for Godot and The Truth™, Mr. Finley, other people will continue to find small-t truths that actually have an impact on our lives.

Comment #30855

Posted by PvM on May 18, 2005 11:28 AM (e)

I find Plantinga’s conclusion quite weak for various reasons. First of all, evolution is not ‘random or blind’ but actually quite teleological. Secondly, even if human reason were incapable of arriving at the truth, how would we know?

Fittelson and Sober write

It isn’t just that people occasionally make mistakes, but that the human reasoning faculty seems to follow heuristics that lead to systematic error (Kahnemann, Tversky, and Slovic KST82). It would be no surprise, from an evolutionary point of view, if human beings had highly reliable devices for forming beliefs about practical issues that affect survival and reproduction, but are rather less gifted when it comes to matters of philosophy, theology, and theoretical science.

And

Anyhow, if evolutionary theory does say that our ability to theorize about the world is apt to be rather unreliable, how are evolutionists to apply this point to their own theoretical beliefs, including their belief in evolution? One lesson that should be extracted is a certain humility – an admission of fallibility. This will not be news to evolutionists who have absorbed the fact that science in general is a fallible enterprise. Evolutionary theory just provides an important part of the explanation of why our reasoning about theoretical matters is fallible.

Far from showing that evolutionary theory is self-defeating, this consideration should lead those who believe the theory to admit that the best we can do in theorizing is to do the best we can. We are stuck with the cognitive equipment that we have. We should try to be as scrupulous and circumspect about how we use this equipment as we can. When we claim that evolutionary theory is a very well confirmed theory, we are judging this theory by using the fallible cognitive resources we have at our disposal. We can do no other.

Plantinga suggests that evolutionary naturalism is self-defeating, but that traditional theism is not. However, what is true is that neither position has an answer to hyperbolic doubt. Evolutionists have no way to justify the theory they believe other than by critically assessing the evidence that has been amassed and employing rules of inference that seem on reflection to be sound. If someone challenges all the observations and rules of inference that are used in science and in everyday life, demanding that they be justified from the ground up, the challenge cannot be met. A similar problem arises for theists who think that their confidence in the reliability of their own reasoning powers is shored up by the fact that the human mind was designed by a God who is no deceiver. The theist, like the evolutionary naturalist, is unable to construct a non-question-begging argument that refutes global skepticism.

Comment #30858

Posted by Man with No Personality on May 18, 2005 11:40 AM (e)

Mr. Finley wrote:

You’ve missed the thrust of my argument. I am not playing the Cartesian skeptic. Of course I can’t give an objective argument to that effect, but for all that, I still know that I am a dreaming butterfly.

My point to Flint (borrowed from Plantinga) is that there are a number of truths we can be said to know, a number of beliefs that are rational, that have no ‘objective’ basis (Flint’s sense of ‘objective’), e.g., that memory is an accurate guide to past events, that sense-perception is reliable, etc., etc. The point here is that ‘verified by observation’ is not the only measure of truth.

This should be sufficient to establish a category of truths that cannot be justified by science, but are nonetheless objective (in my sense). The next question, then, is how we know such truths, and are there others.

No, Mr. Finley, you have missed my point. The fact is while we can’t ‘prove’ our memories are accurate–and sometimes they aren’t–if we don’t assume they possess some validity we go mad, and lose the ability to function. People who mistake this simple fact for some great revelation are deluding themselves. It is merely one of the myriad of compromises we make to go on with our lives. Philosophical inquiry into it is amusing, but ultimately sterile.

Comment #30861

Posted by SteveF on May 18, 2005 12:04 PM (e)

Michael,

“Plantinga’s version concludes that, if naturalism and evolution are true, then it is unlikely (or inscrutable) that human reason is capable of arriving at truth. Therefore, because statements about naturalism and evolution are products of human reason, their truth should be doubted.”

Naturalism is used in the production of medicine. Earlier today I took some Paracetemol for a headache, now my headache is gone; the medicine (and presumably the naturalistic principles behind its derivation) has been successful. Doesn’t this refute Plantiga’s argument (or at least render it rather meaningless in all but the most esoteric of circles)?

PS, I’ve never dipped into an argument like this before and freely admit to being something of an ignoramus in matters of a philosophical nature.

Comment #30862

Posted by Steve U. on May 18, 2005 12:19 PM (e)

Sorry if I sound pedantic but, assuming you were a dreaming butterfly you’d have to have pupated already. Else you’d be a caterpillar dreaming he was a butterfly dreaming …

Doesn’t a butterfly’s life begin at conception? ;)

Comment #30863

Posted by David Heddle on May 18, 2005 12:39 PM (e)

O Wesley,

I really wonder about you.

You wrote:

David’s [conclusion]: Biology promotes atheism, but meteorology does not.

Which is at odds, oh just a little teeny, teeny, bit, with my comment #30606

But in fact, I do not support Johnson’s statement.
I do not, in any way shape or form, believe that evolution promotes atheism.

Of course, you’ve never been one to let inconvenient facts get in the way. You could have been accurate, but again I know you don’t place a premium on that, if you had stated that David’s conclusion was: “A person might, in good faith, believe that evolution promotes atheism.” Then you would have been, for a change, reporting my actual position rather than the strawman you wish was my position.

Now your premises look very smart because you labeled them. Unfortunately the conclusion that you have associated with me, as I have already demonstrated, is a lie. And your own conclusion does not follow, even though you labeled it “Conclusion”, so that it resembles a proof.

Granted P1 through P4. The problem is still in the details. A person might not only read the scriptures and conclude that species creation is a special, direct first-cause action of God, he might also conclude that the bible teaches species creation is done. That there is no secondary cause operating. God rested, etc. Obviously theistic evolutionists disagree. Still, that is presumably Johnson’s position. The same person might see no “God rested” aspect to the weather, see clearly the presence of secondary causes (namely the lays of physics), whatever, and conclude that the weather is in quite a different category with respect to God’s decretive will.

Your premises are fine, they point out generalities. Your conclusion, alas, does not follow.

In other words, based on the fundamentality of life, and the amount of scripture devoted to it, a person might conclude:

1) God decreed a hospitable planet.
2) God decreed life.
3) God decreed the laws of physics.
4) The Laws of physics explain the weather, the occasional supernatural intervention notwithstanding.

A theistic evolutionist will demote creation (or at least life’s diversity) to be from a secondary cause, but there is no a priori requirement to do so. Thus, one can consistently place evolution and meteorology on unequal footing.

Flint

Your premises and David’s premises are completely different. David’s conclusion follows from his own premises, which are:
1) The doctrine of my faith teaches that God created Man as-is and gave him a soul.
2) Evolution disagrees with this doctrine.
3) The doctrine of my faith is infallible.
4) There is no requirement that this doctrine be consistent with anything. Not with reality, not with scripture, not even with itself.
5) Therefore, evolution is wrong.

1) is a premise of mine. The others are not. I actually had misplaced confidence in you that you could recognize that my arguing that Johnson’s position does not violate the rules of logic does not mean I agree with his position. But alas, like ‘ole Wes here, you missed the boat.

Comment #30864

Posted by 386sx on May 18, 2005 1:06 PM (e)

Your premises and David’s premises are completely different.

Actually David thinks he’s being clever by jumping back and forth between some hypothetical Philip Johnson premises and some hypothetical David premises and some hypothetical who knows what in the heck premises, and then when he’s cornered on one set he can then fall back on another set and tell people “hey you got the wrong set, pal” and they should have read his blog and whatever, and yes, I know, it’s all very confusing.

Comment #30866

Posted by David Heddle on May 18, 2005 1:17 PM (e)

386x

yes, I know, it’s all very confusing.

True, I know see that a devil’s advocate type argument is lost on the PT regulars. My bad.

Comment #30867

Posted by Steve U. on May 18, 2005 1:18 PM (e)

David H.

A person might, in good faith, believe that evolution promotes atheism

That’s sort of a weak claim (no offense) isn’t it?

What else might a person in good faith believe promotes atheism, Mr. H.? Is evolution at the top of the list? On a scale of 100, where does it rate?

Personally, I’d put drugs, secular music, popular American literature and the behavior of certain religious people way above evolution on the list as “promoting atheism”. Evolution would fall somewhere near meteorology and peanut butter allergies (i.e., near the bottom).

Comment #30869

Posted by 386sx on May 18, 2005 1:39 PM (e)

…a devil’s advocate type argument is lost on the PT regulars …

If someone is going to put forward a devil’s advocate argument then I don’t think it would be unreasonable to assume that somebody else is going to argue against it if they should happen to have some objections to it. Anyways, perhaps a couple of your own premises, namely:

“the relationship between evolution and atheism is not the same”

“evolution has a bias toward atheism”

may have caused some of the confusion. Cheers!

Comment #30870

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on May 18, 2005 1:43 PM (e)

I wrote:

David’s: Biology promotes atheism, but meteorology does not.

David Heddle wrote:

Unfortunately the conclusion that you have associated with me, as I have already demonstrated, is a lie.

Not so fast, Mr. Weasel.

David Heddle wrote:

So someone could, self-consistently, believe that evolution promotes atheism and meteorology does not.

I didn’t claim it was “David’s personal belief”. David provided the statement quoted above as a logical conclusion. It is, thus, “David’s conclusion” as opposed to being my conclusion. I should note that the argument I presented is not a reflection of my personal beliefs, either, so there is complementarity in that.

David dismisses my conclusion without finding an actual fault in the logic. Asserting that other people may make other arguments is not responsive or relevant.

The alternative that David presents has problems with consistency, just as others have been pointing out. For example, the “person” doing the concluding is willing to conclude a non-scriptural “decree” for the laws of physics, but does not do the same for biological descent. This would be in spite of the fact that “secondary causes” in biology have been demonstrated to be operative. The only consistency throughout David’s weaselling has been his willingness to ignore inconvenient scripture, just like many another antievolutionist.

Comment #30871

Posted by Flint on May 18, 2005 1:49 PM (e)

I guess Heddle doesn’t actually believe something, he’s rather saying that other people might legitimately be considered to believe things which Heddle himself has not actually SAID he agrees with. But of course people might believe in almost any nonsense without violating the rules of logic. Why would Heddle be so careful to select evolution as the proposition other people might logically reject? Could it possibly be because Heddle thinks he is erecting a smokescreen behind which he can hold nonsensical positions with impunity? That way, his faith is never actually questioned, because everyone’s guess about what he means can be answered with “Ha ha, you missed me, it’s all your fault!”

His problem is, nobody is fooled by his doubletalk. We all know what he means. He finds evolution offensive to his sensibilities. He doesn’t find the weather offensive. Phrasing this inconsistency by saying “Philip Johnson might logically think X” might mislead Heddle himself. Nobody else.

Comment #30872

Posted by Globigerinoides on May 18, 2005 1:59 PM (e)

O David H.,

It is truly amusing to watch you go through these incredible mental gymnastics to deny reality in favor of your comfortable Belief System, merely because it teaches that your fragile little ego, buffeted as it is by a cold, indifferent and tempestuous world, is more important in the general scheme of things than it really is.

But a caution for you: such delusions of grandeur on your part make you vulnerable to those who would manipulate you for their own political and/or economic gain.

Comment #30873

Posted by David Heddle on May 18, 2005 2:11 PM (e)

Flint,

It’s ok, I’m used to PT enforcing on one what it wants a person to believe, not what that person actually believes. It’s the third time for me:

Heddle: Verification of parallel universes would, for me, falsify ID
PT: No it wouldn’t

Heddle: I do not believe ID is science
PT: Yes you do

Heddle: I do not believe evolution promotes atheism
PT: Yes you do

Comment #30875

Posted by Flint on May 18, 2005 2:34 PM (e)

Heddle:

OK, you’re being much to clever and subtle for us. Verification of parallel universes would not falsify ID. I understand you believe otherwise, but your misunderstanding is irrelevant. ID proponents make the claim that ID is science, but it is not. Whether ID proponents actually believe it’s science is problematic, because ID proponents tend not to understand what science is. What you believe about whether ID is science is irrelevant. It’s not science.

Your position on the relationship between evolution and atheism is unfathomable. If you say you don’t believe this, why do you keep raising this point? Why do you draw any distinction between biology and meteorology in this respect? There is no necessary implied relationship of any kind between evolution and atheism. If you agree, good for you. You are correct. You certainly sounded like you felt otherwise. Repeatedly. When everyone misunderstands your position, chances are you expressed it poorly.

Comment #30877

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on May 18, 2005 2:36 PM (e)

Hey, David, that looks like fun. Let me try…

Wesley: Scripture says God intervenes in the weather.
Heddle: Wesley asserts that God controls every raindrop!

Bible Gateway wrote:

Matthew 7:3-5

3”Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Comment #30880

Posted by TAS on May 18, 2005 2:41 PM (e)

Am I wrong for believing in God?

Comment #30881

Posted by jeffw on May 18, 2005 2:51 PM (e)

Am I wrong for believing in God?

Yes.

The official God FAQ.
http://www.400monkeys.com/God/

Comment #30882

Posted by Kay on May 18, 2005 2:51 PM (e)

No, but you may not be right in believing that the Bible trumps a lot of hard work in biology, physics and so on. I personally believe in God but I really don’t talk about it when I’m discussing the physical universe. So do most Chatolics, for example.

That evolution has to be equal to atheism is, flat out, a lie – it’s mostly promoted by creaitonists who want to make evolution look bad and a few hardcore atheist who stretch their usually commendable logic a little too far.

Comment #30884

Posted by Steve U. on May 18, 2005 3:00 PM (e)

That evolution has to be equal to atheism is, flat out, a lie — it’s mostly promoted by creaitonists who want to make evolution look bad and a few hardcore atheist who stretch their usually commendable logic a little too far.

Correct.

The creationists, of course, receive much more money in return for spreading their misinformation than the atheists.

Comment #30885

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on May 18, 2005 3:04 PM (e)

TAS wrote:

Am I wrong for believing in God?

Probably no more than I am.

Comment #30886

Posted by David Heddle on May 18, 2005 3:07 PM (e)

I like Kay’s point, I think it should be PT’s creed:

Evolution -> atheism is:
a) A lie when spoken by creationists
b) Logic stretched a little too far when spoken by an evolutionist

Comment #30888

Posted by Aureola Nominee on May 18, 2005 3:22 PM (e)

Gentlemen, compare the two:

Kay wrote:
That evolution has to be equal to atheism is, flat out, a lie — it’s mostly promoted by creaitonists who want to make evolution look bad and a few hardcore atheist who stretch their usually commendable logic a little too far.

Heddle wrote:
I like Kay’s point, I think it should be PT’s creed:

Evolution -> atheism is:
a) A lie when spoken by creationists
b) Logic stretched a little too far when spoken by an evolutionist

Here we have it: David Heddle the clear thinker reads “hardcore atheists” and automatically translates it to “evolutionists”.

And then you wonder why we think you are being disingenuous, Mr. Heddle?

Sheesh…

Comment #30889

Posted by jeffw on May 18, 2005 3:27 PM (e)

Am I wrong for believing in God?

Actually to be serious, it depends on what your definition of the word “God” is. In my experience, most people will probably have great difficulty coming up with a meaningful definition.

Comment #30890

Posted by TAS on May 18, 2005 3:29 PM (e)

Kay: “That evolution has to be equal to atheism is, flat out, a lie — it’s mostly promoted by creaitonists who want to make evolution look bad and a few hardcore atheist who stretch their usually commendable logic a little too far.”

You are right. you can be a christian and still believe that evolution is right. This just means you are not paying attention to what the bible says.

Comment #30891

Posted by Aureola Nominee on May 18, 2005 3:32 PM (e)

You are right. you can be a christian and still believe that evolution is right. This just means you are not paying attention to what the bible says.

…like the Pope and those other, what, billion+ Christians who don’t think like TAS…

You guys really crack me up.

Comment #30895

Posted by David Heddle on May 18, 2005 3:52 PM (e)

Aureola,

Actually, you guys quote-mine the pope, not that I care. But the Catholic Church places some important caveats on its approval for the faithful to accept evolution, including affirmation that it does not exclude divine causality. You guys like to present the Catholic position as if full-scale PT-style naturalistic evolution is just peachy to Rome, but it ain’t.

Also, I believe my interpretation of Kay’s comment was correct. I believe she was referring to evolutionists who sproudly proclaim an evolution-atheism connection, evolutionists such as Greg Peterson who wrote in comment #30440:

And let’s not pretend that the fact of evolution leaves it no less likely that there is a god. Now that we know there’s not the least spot of work for a god to do, let’s declare our emancipation from this nasty, pathetic superstition.

They have to be lightly scolded for “stretching their usually commendable logic a little too far”–can’t have any of that PR-damaging evolution == atheism coming from within the camp.

Comment #30896

Posted by Michael Finley on May 18, 2005 3:56 PM (e)

AN wrote:

… like the Pope and those other, what, billion+ Christians who don’t think like TAS …

You guys really crack me up.

Coming from the person who denies that any substantial common beliefs can be attributed to large groups of Christians, that comment really cracks me up.

Comment #30897

Posted by Aureola Nominee on May 18, 2005 4:04 PM (e)

Heddle, no amount of obfuscation can change the fact that those two quotes can be compared and illustrate your dissembling - oh, heck, your lying - in a very final way.

Finley, you are following the same path of lies. Acceptance of (not “belief in”) evolution is much easier to define and verify that your esoteric non-definition of what is “supernatural” and even of what is “god”.

The problem is that whenever people stop defining things clearly, everything gets muddy. Your ideas, Mr. Finley, are a fine example of this.

Comment #30898

Posted by Steve U. on May 18, 2005 4:06 PM (e)

Mr. H.

They have to be lightly scolded for “stretching their usually commendable logic a little too far”—can’t have any of that PR-damaging evolution == atheism coming from within the camp.

Greg made an indisputable statement and a personal recommendation. Greg thinks supersticious beliefs are “nasty” and “pathetic” – he’s entitled to those beliefs.

But the issue still remains: how does the scientific fact of evolution promote atheism any more or less than the fact that meteorologists don’t account for the intervention of deities when analyzing the earth’s weather?

I’m still curious where you’d put evolution on a scale of 1 to 100 in terms of its ability to “promote” atheism. I assume we’re talking mainly about school-age children, correct?

Comment #30899

Posted by jeffw on May 18, 2005 4:08 PM (e)

And let’s not pretend that the fact of evolution leaves it no less likely that there is a god. Now that we know there’s not the least spot of work for a god to do, let’s declare our emancipation from this nasty, pathetic superstition.

They have to be lightly scolded for “stretching their usually commendable logic a little too far”—can’t have any of that PR-damaging evolution == atheism coming from within the camp.

Again it depends on what your definition of “God” is. If God is your typical bearded thundering cartoon character who created everything in 6 days, you bet evolution == atheism.

I was raised Christian, but I’m now an atheist with respect to every religion I’ve ever heard of. I believed in evolution when I was a Christian and it played no role in my conversion. My rejection of Christianity was due to all the numerous inconsistances, absurdities, and bizzare cruelities found in the bible, not to mention the behaviour of some so-called Christians.

Comment #30901

Posted by Michael Finley on May 18, 2005 4:16 PM (e)

AN wrote:

Acceptance of (not “belief in”) evolution is much easier to define and verify that your esoteric non-definition of what is “supernatural” and even of what is “god”.

This sentence is simply incoherent. Your concerned to define the ‘acceptance of evolution’? You’re not able to define my non-definition? What does it mean to define a non-definition, exactly? Talk about esoteric. Is there anything more esoteric than nonsense?

What’s even more nonsensical is to pretend like the word ‘god’ is meaningless. Better take it up with the lexicographers.

As for muddy definitions, let’s examine those of ‘evolution’ and ‘species’, etc.

Comment #30902

Posted by David Heddle on May 18, 2005 4:19 PM (e)

Steve:

I’m still curious where you’d put evolution on a scale of 1 to 100 in terms of its ability to “promote” atheism

I’d put it at zero (or I guess “1” in your strange scale) –evolution cannot cause anyone to be an atheist–geez how many times do I have to say it?

28and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.

29“My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. (John 10:28-29, NASB)

See? The bible teaches that evolution cannot snatch anyone away.

Comment #30904

Posted by jeffw on May 18, 2005 4:24 PM (e)

What’s even more nonsensical is to pretend like the word ‘god’ is meaningless. Better take it up with the lexicographers.

The bible says “God is love.” So God is a human emotion? Ok, then I believe in God. Here are some other definitions (Hugh Mifflen). I believe in definitions 3-6. Does that make me a Theist?

1. God
1. A being conceived as the perfect, omnipotent, omniscient originator and ruler of the universe, the principal object of faith and worship in monotheistic religions.
2. The force, effect, or a manifestation or aspect of this being.
2. A being of supernatural powers or attributes, believed in and worshiped by a people, especially a male deity thought to control some part of nature or reality.
3. An image of a supernatural being; an idol.
4. One that is worshiped, idealized, or followed: Money was their god.
5. A very handsome man.
6. A powerful ruler or despot.

Comment #30905

Posted by Stuart Weinstein on May 18, 2005 4:25 PM (e)

Finley writes “As for muddy definitions, let’s examine those of ‘evolution’ and ‘species’, etc.”

Yes lets. The definitions aren’t muddy, in particular the process of biological change makes the defintion of species difficult to implement. If living things were truly created within “independent kinds”, there wouldn’t be that problem.

This a problem biologist are happy to live with. Its a problem that shouldn’t exist under creationism or intelligent design.

Unless of course the “intelligent designers” decided to make their designs look like they evolved.

Comment #30906

Posted by Michael Finley on May 18, 2005 4:30 PM (e)

Does that make me a theist?

No, it makes you confused. You’re missing some valuable semantic distinctions (equivocity, analogy, focal meaning, etc.). These combined with an occasional visit to mass would clear things right up.

Comment #30909

Posted by Alan on May 18, 2005 4:40 PM (e)

Mr Filney

Surely you must see that the extent in any individual of a belief in God is a genetic variable. A strategy that has helped the human species survive by promoting social cohesion. This inherent tendency will therefore colour all our thinking and limit our objecivity.

Comment #30910

Posted by Alan on May 18, 2005 4:42 PM (e)

Apologies Mr Finley

Comment #30912

Posted by Steve U. on May 18, 2005 4:51 PM (e)

Heddle

See? The bible teaches that evolution cannot snatch anyone away.

Huh. Is this Bible Interpretation according to Alfred E. Newman?

In any event, you should take your little show to the creationists and ID peddlers who claim otherwise (or, to put it in Heddle-speak, the “ID peddlers who one could reasonably believe, in good faith, are claiming otherwise”).

Or maybe you’ve got a helpful little disclaimer in your underoos that you’ll pull out for us later …

Comment #30913

Posted by Shenda on May 18, 2005 4:53 PM (e)

Please note that really is no clear line between most scientific fields. For example, the climate (a part of meteorology) is a noticeable factor in evolution. Changes in ecologies (a part of evolutionary theory) can affect climate (where do you think all those flapping butterflies come from?).

Climatology is also a science that uses evolutionary discoveries to aid it in its understanding of past climates, and evolution uses information from climatology to aid its understanding of past ecologies.

To separate these disciplines as distinct and stand-alone “sciences” is to miss the point that all of Science is linked together in innumerable ways. To dismiss evolution because it is naturalistic is to dismiss all of Science. Some may wish to pick and choose the science that they like, and that is their personal choice. However, if they want to teach my grandchildren their personal choices of ignorance, they are in for a fight.

Shenda

Comment #30916

Posted by jeffw on May 18, 2005 4:57 PM (e)

No, it makes you confused. You’re missing some valuable semantic distinctions (equivocity, analogy, focal meaning, etc.).

Valuable to whom?

These combined with an occasional visit to mass would clear things right up.

And taking a few elementary science & math courses should clear things right up for you. Looking at your bellybutton all day doesn’t count.

Comment #30917

Posted by Michael Finley on May 18, 2005 4:57 PM (e)

Surely you must see…

In other words, it’s obvious to you. It’s not obvious to me.

I think the current craze to explain every human belief and behavior in terms of genetic expression is a silly fad.

I grant that religious belief is beneficial for the cohesion of society. I believe, however, that this is an effect and not a cause of religious belief.

Comment #30919

Posted by David Heddle on May 18, 2005 5:14 PM (e)

Steve U.

Huh. Is this Bible Interpretation according to Alfred E. Newman?

It’s called the doctrine of eternal security, or sometimes “perseverance of the saints.” It puts the P in TULIP. Goes way, way back, dude.

Tecnically, you need the U (Uncondotional Election) and the I (Irresistable grace) to complete the proof. Combined together you get:

1) Some are chosen before the foundation of the earth
2) Those chosen will respond
3) They cannot be snagged away

So, once again, evolution cannot make someone an athiest.

Comment #30921

Posted by Arun Gupta on May 18, 2005 5:25 PM (e)

Darwin’s theory undermines teleology in a way that meteorology does not. That is why the former is a threat to Christianity and the latter is not.

Comment #30922

Posted by Steve U. on May 18, 2005 5:31 PM (e)

Goes way, way back, dude.

What’s way back?

Does the “doctrine” predate the practice of making a testable prediction, testing the prediction, and reproducing the result (i.e., rational behavior)?

Or is it a relatively new thing formulated by some religious-type guys for reasons that we need not get into now?

1) Some are chosen before the foundation of the earth
2) Those chosen will respond
3) They cannot be snagged away

So, once again, evolution cannot make someone an athiest.

I smell a hole where a goalpost was once planted.

Comment #30924

Posted by David Heddle on May 18, 2005 5:41 PM (e)

Steve U

What’s way back?

That’s a subject for debate. Essentially the doctrine is “predestination.” If you believe the doctrine (I do), then of course you claim it goes back to Jesus and the Apostle Paul and you use passages from the (mostly from) the NT as proof texts. If you do not believe it (probably the majority position today) then you must at least agree it that a minimum it goes back to St. Augustine (4th century), who wrote very clearly in support of it (predestination).

What goalpost was moved? Did it just seem like the time to make that charge?

Comment #30927

Posted by Steve U. on May 18, 2005 5:56 PM (e)

Ah, predestination. That is certainly a relatively modern concept compared to the idea that understanding the environment in which you live is helpful to survival and health!

But whatever floats your boat.

What goalpost was moved?

It seemed that at some point we were discussing whether the scientific fact of evolution really promotes atheism any more or less than the fact that meteorologists don’t account for the intervention of deities when analyzing the earth’s weather.

And now you are talking about evolution “making” people become atheist (which no one except perhaps some hardline religious types has ever claimed, to my knowledge).

Did it just seem like the time to make that charge?

Honestly, yes. And my experience (based on reading several threads on which you’ve posted) served me well.

Or perhaps you could say that you were predestined to move the goalpost at that particular time. :)

Comment #30929

Posted by "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank on May 18, 2005 6:03 PM (e)

Therefore, because statements about naturalism and evolution are products of human reason, their truth should be doubted.

By the same token, statements about naturalism and gravity are also products of human reason, and therefore their truth should also be doubted.

Mikey, my offer still stands —- I am perfectly willing to drive you to the top of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, where you can oproclaim your philosophical doubts about materialistic gravity, and then step off to prove your point.

You just let me know when you wanna do that.

Comment #30930

Posted by "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank on May 18, 2005 6:08 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'kwickxml'

Comment #30931

Posted by Michael Finley on May 18, 2005 6:09 PM (e)

Dr. Blowhard,

What is your doctorate in? Is it honorary, mail-order, etc.?

Comment #30933

Posted by "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank on May 18, 2005 6:17 PM (e)

Essentially the doctrine is “predestination.” If you believe the doctrine (I do)

No you don’t. If you did, you wouldn’t be here preaching all the time, since anything you say is utterly totally completely irrevocably irrelevant to what anyone here does (or can) think or believe.

The fact that you preach here anyway, idnicates to me that you do indeed think that your words CAN have an effect on someone, and hence that their thoughts/salvation/whatever are NOT predestined. I.e., you think you can change someone’s mind with your words. Otherwise, there’d be no point in your preaching, would there – if predestination is true, then if you were to shut up and never say another word again, it would make NO DIFFERENCE WHATSOEVER to anyone here. Noen at all. Zip. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Since your words cannot change anything, it makes no difference whether you say them or not, and you’re just wasting your time with them.

And you don’t like that idea very much, do you. Indeed, it smacks you right in your self-righteous prideful smug self-delusion that you are holier than the rest of us.

Which is why you continue to preach to us anyway, and are just bullshitting youself (and us) about your “predestination” drivel.

Comment #30936

Posted by David Heddle on May 18, 2005 6:27 PM (e)

Steve U:

That is certainly a relatively modern concept compared to the idea that understanding the environment in which you live is helpful to survival and health!

It might be. Do you know how old the concept that “understanding the environment in which you live is helpful to survival and health!” is? Why it might be ancient.

Hmm. so you object to my changing promotes to makes. Yes that was sloppy. But it doesn’t matter. I took “promotes” to mean “To contribute to the progress or growth of.” Thus evoution cannot

*) promote atheism (as in contribute to the progress or growth of atheism)
*) make someone an atheist

Lenny:

No you don’t. If you did, you wouldn’t be here preaching all the time, since anything you say is utterly totally completely irrevocably irrelevant to what anyone here does (or can) think or believe.

That is a misunderstanding of predestination, at the same level as someone coming in here and asking, “What good is half an eye?”

Comment #30944

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 18, 2005 6:37 PM (e)

“Dr. Blowhard,

What is your doctorate in? Is it honorary, mail-order, etc.?”

I’d be careful about questioning credentials if i were you, Mr. “B.S.” means “bachelor in science”.

Comment #30945

Posted by Steve U. on May 18, 2005 6:39 PM (e)

Do you know how old the concept that “understanding the environment in which you live is helpful to survival and health!” is? Why it might be ancient.

I strongly suspect that it is very ancient indeed – predating what we would consider to be human life. It seems to be a more unifying and more humbling concept than modern religious doctrines. Perhaps this concept also promotes atheism! ;)

Interestingly, unlike many religious beliefs, the concept is universally held. Why, even you don’t disagree with its fundamental utility.

Comment #30953

Posted by 386sx on May 18, 2005 7:38 PM (e)

David Heddle wrote:

1) Some are chosen before the foundation of the earth
2) Those chosen will respond
3) They cannot be snagged away

So, once again, evolution cannot make someone an athiest.

So then, everyone who is not chosen is an atheist. (?) Maybe you mean evolution cannot make someone who is chosen an athiest.

Comment #30954

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 18, 2005 7:40 PM (e)

Am I chosen, Hedley?

How do you know?

Comment #30955

Posted by David Heddle on May 18, 2005 7:45 PM (e)

Am I chosen, Hedley?

How should I know?

Comment #30956

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 18, 2005 7:48 PM (e)

well, by your own assertion, if someone can’t become an atheist if they are “chosen” how are we to know if someone is “chosen” in order to test that assertion?

Comment #30958

Posted by David Heddle on May 18, 2005 7:58 PM (e)

STJ: oh, this assertion cannot be tested.

That’s it for me boys and girls. I’m off to California in the AM. I wonder if I’ll run in to Dr. GH. Isn’t he in California? He wants to meet me, as you can tell from this lovely email he sent me:

From: Gary Hurd [mailto:garyhard@earthlink.net]
Sent: Tuesday, April 05, 2005 4:39 PM
To: heddle@fbyg.org
Subject: Heddle, you are a punked liar

Heddle, you are a punked liar.
Oh, I already said that.

I look forward to someday meeting you.

I think he is a very friendly fellow.

Comment #30961

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 18, 2005 8:17 PM (e)

I think David should be banned for posting a private email message to an open forum.

Comment #30963

Posted by steve on May 18, 2005 8:26 PM (e)

I don’t. I have done so. When Casey Luskin emailed me unsolicited, asking me Steve Why O Why could you imagine that our IDEA club is some kind of religious organization, what in the world gave you that crazy idea, Steve? I posted them here, because it was a good example of a creationist lying.

(IDK Casey, maybe you being a minister with no scientific training, starting a club to promote creationism? Maybe that tipped me off? Or the fact that in other venues you promoted ID as science for christians, etc.? )

The second unsolicited email was removed by one of the PT overlords, but I wasn’t banned.

Comment #30965

Posted by "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank on May 18, 2005 8:33 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'quote'

Comment #30967

Posted by "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank on May 18, 2005 8:36 PM (e)

What is your doctorate in? Is it honorary, mail-order, etc.?

I have a doctorate in Bullshit Detection, Finley.

I got it in the Real World.

You should visit it sometime.

Comment #30968

Posted by steve on May 18, 2005 8:43 PM (e)

I wouldn’t say that Heddle is a liar.

Look at those statistical arguments. To call something likely or unlikely, you should have an idea of the distribution. The better info you have about the distribution, the better you can know likeliness. Heddle tried to argue for a while around here, that you can estimate that getting a result in a certain interval is unlikely simply on the basis of the decimal places of the interval in the mks system, with no information at all about the distribution.

Now, that’s not a lie. It’s obviously wrong. A lie is said with the intent to decieve someone. If David could see how wrong that was, there’s no way he’d try to pass that off on scientifically-trained people. It’s simply unimaginable that he could know how horrible an argument that is, and still try to sell it to anyone who’s had a stat class. So the only explanation, is that his religious beliefs are overwhelming anything that gets in their way.

Dembski is a liar. He knows how bad his arguments are, and that’s why he avoids the scientific press, and bloats his arguments with hundreds of pages of Complex Specified Filler. Try to argue with it, and it looks to hoi polloi like a scientific controversy.

Comment #30969

Posted by "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank on May 18, 2005 8:44 PM (e)

Am I chosen, Hedley?

How should I know?

If he’s not, Davey, are you capable of making him be?

Comment #30970

Posted by "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank on May 18, 2005 8:47 PM (e)

I wouldn’t say that Heddle is a liar.

Nor would I.

He’s just a self-righteous arrogant prideful prick who thinks (quite literally) that he is holier than everyone else. (shrug)

Comment #30971

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 18, 2005 8:47 PM (e)

“I don’t. I have done so. “

well, i was adding reasons to ban heddley, because he contributes nothing of value here, not even amusement.

besides which, I guess you haven’t guessed yet that even tho you might not have been banned, posting private emails is totally innapropriate.

Comment #30974

Posted by "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank on May 18, 2005 8:51 PM (e)

Thus evoution cannot

*) promote atheism (as in contribute to the progress or growth of atheism)
*) make someone an atheist

Um, then what exactly is your bitch with evolution, Heddle…. ? What difference does it make to you whether or not life evolved …?

Comment #30976

Posted by Flint on May 18, 2005 8:56 PM (e)

Now, that’s not a lie. It’s obviously wrong. A lie is said with the intent to decieve someone.

Does intending to deceive yourself count? Because as far as I can tell, this is the Finley’s primary goal and quite possibly Heddle’s as well.

Comment #30978

Posted by steve on May 18, 2005 8:58 PM (e)

I don’t think that you should expect privacy if you send someone an unsolicited communication with the intent to mislead. I have no remorse, and would do it again. Casey Luskin and co are dangerous charlatans.

Comment #30985

Posted by FL on May 18, 2005 9:52 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'kwickxml'

Comment #30987

Posted by Steve U. on May 18, 2005 10:39 PM (e)

for good measure, please note that Gould specifically is saying that SCIENCE (viz., the science of biology), not his own personal philosophy, is what ~eliminates~ our status as specifically being created by, and in the image of, God

What is that viz business you inserted? Gould’s statement destroys your entire argument. Meteorology is a science just like evolutionary biology is a science and, as Dr. Elsberry pointed out, the “inerrant” Bible has many passages which show plainly (to the faithful) that God controls the weather.

Also, it seems a bit strange to crow so much about an argument that (if it made sense to begin with) could be destroyed merely by finding a meteorologist who disagrees with you.

Just a bit strange. I mean, you hardliner religious types say all kinds of baffling stuff.

What you guys really want is to discover a talking snake (Hint: you can lure them with a bit of mercury and a plate of glass).

Comment #30989

Posted by JRQ on May 18, 2005 10:46 PM (e)

Arun Gupta: Darwin’s theory undermines teleology in a way that meteorology does not. That is why the former is a threat to Christianity and the latter is not.

FL: Thank you, Arun Gupta. That IS the correct approach, imo, in order to torpedo the “meteorology argument” scam.

Why? Because the evolutionists have graciously supplied more than enough torpedoes for the job, of course.

I have the feeling Arun Gupta is right, but FL has the causality backward as to WHY.

Meteorology undermines teleology just as much as evolution in as much as natural weather events are assumed to serve a purpose. FL’s evolutionist quotes applies equally well to meteorology and evolution. read the rachels quote again, but substitute in meteorology for evolutionary:

A meteorological perspective undermines religious belief by removing some of the grounds that previously supported it ….

….The most important point of intersection (between science and theology) has to do with purposive explanations of natural phenomena. For theology it is no small matter whether nature is interpreted teleologically. When the world is interpreted non-teleologically—when God is no longer necessary to explain things—then theology is diminished.

The difference is that evolutionists have had to comment on teleology as a result of christian opposition whereas meteorologists have not. Why christians perceive the threat to telology from evolution as greater than that from meteorology is another issue, but objectively the threat is the same. The discrepancy arises, I think, when Christian dogma is not viewed objectively…probably because it cannot be without contradiction. Certain points are weighted more strongly and prioritized over others for subjective and practical reasons…and evolution has far more subjectively distasteful implications than meteorology does.

That there is a danger of “allowing a divine foot in the door” in evolution but not meteorology is only because Christians have piled onto one doorstep and not the other; in reality, BOTH doors lead into the house.

Comment #30990

Posted by 386sx on May 18, 2005 10:57 PM (e)

FL quoting Rachels: ….The most important point of intersection (between science and theology) has to do with purposive explanations of natural phenomena.

Yeah, natural phenomena such as the things that meteorology explains.

Fact is, Meteorology doesn’t carry all that philosophical baggage.

That’s because you don’t want it to.

Doesn’t need to. At all.

Neither does playing marbles. Big whoopy-doo.

Comment #30992

Posted by Globigerinoides on May 18, 2005 11:04 PM (e)

FL,

What a load of philosophical b______t.

Teleology is the position that there is design, purpose, directive principle, or finality in the works and processes of nature, and the philosophical study of that purpose.

So you are stating, flat out, that there is design, purpose, directive principle and finality in weather? What is the goal of weather? Where is your evidence that it is directed? I seem to recall a couple of years ago a church devestated by a tornado with the congregation still in it. Was that directed? What was its purpose? How does your unwarranted assumption square with the modern understanding that small, random fluctuations can give rise to larger, organized weather systems?

Your assertion that nature is teleological is JUST a belief, and not a very well-supported one at that.

Comment #30994

Posted by JRQ on May 18, 2005 11:16 PM (e)

FL: Fact is, Meteorology doesn’t carry all that philosophical baggage.

386sx: That’s because you don’t want it to.

Bingo. FL and PJ don’t want it to because that would be terribly inconvenient; but they sure don’t mind throwing the ol’ saddle bags on evolution.

Globigerinoides: So you are stating, flat out, that there is design, purpose, directive principle and finality in weather? What is the goal of weather?

Actually, FL seems to be saying that biological origins ARE purposive in such a way that they conflict with evolution, but weather is NOT purposive in such a way that it conflicts with meteorology.

And FL wants to blame this difference on evolution rather than his own inconsistency.

Comment #30998

Posted by Michael Finley on May 18, 2005 11:47 PM (e)

…this is the Finley’s primary goal…

No arguments and no class. I had supposed you were more prudent than the usual PT crank, but apparently I was mistaken.

Comment #31000

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 18, 2005 11:51 PM (e)

yup, we’re all just cranks here, finley. why don’t you go play over at Dembski’s site along with the other members of pee-wee’s playhouse like Dave Scott and Salvador?

Comment #31002

Posted by Michael Finley on May 18, 2005 11:59 PM (e)

…along with the other members of pee-wee’s playhouse…

You’re quite the rhetorical master-mind.

Comment #31003

Posted by Globigerinoides on May 18, 2005 11:59 PM (e)

Steve U.:

“What you guys really want is to discover a talking snake”

If Frank Zappa had written Genesis, it would go, “Now this is a snake talkin’, understand?”

Comment #31005

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 19, 2005 12:06 AM (e)

well, your philosophy is nothing more than public masturbation, just like that of dembski and that sycophant salvador, so the analogy seems to fit quite well.

Now if only the mastubatory claptrap you spout as legitimate philosophy were considered indecent exposure…

Comment #31009

Posted by Jim Harrison on May 19, 2005 1:29 AM (e)

Like everybody else in these parts. Mr. Findley sometimes makes the mistake of assuming that everybody else is riding the same hobby horse he came in on. For example, it makes perfectly good sense to deny that references to God as storm god are fundamentally metaphorical if (but probably only if) you buy into a Catholic-style of exegesis for which the source is always scripture + tradition. No wonder Mr. Findley once recommended that somebody attend mass in order to clarify the nature of God! I personally believe that you can’t really begin to read the Bible until you lose your faith, but I recognize he would probably insist with some justice that is just my hobby horse.

That said, I think Mr. Findley does get treated discourteously. It’s not his fault that this venue is no place to discuss philosophy. On the other hand, it might not be a bad thing if he noticed that some of us chose not to try to pull rank on nonphilosophers, perhaps because we recognize that the technicalities are not only inexplicable to outsiders but often enough irrelevant to the central issues. (Yeah, I know that suggestions also needs to be argued for.)

Comment #31020

Posted by SEF on May 19, 2005 4:08 AM (e)

JRQ wrote:

That there is a danger of “allowing a divine foot in the door” in evolution but not meteorology is only because Christians have piled onto one doorstep and not the other; in reality, BOTH doors lead into the house.

Remember it’s not that they didn’t previously pile onto the other doorstep though - because they did. They opposed some aspects of meteorology (and physics) until the immediate penalty was too great for them to continue doing so, ie they were getting struck by lightning while others weren’t. Superb justice.

So it’s more a question of sufficient adjustment time passing and the consequences of reality denial being felt strongly enough to force them to adapt or go extinct as a cult. Evolution (and surrounding areas of biology and medicine) won’t have the same impact as the discovery of electricity and lightning rods until and unless the religious extremists are denied the benefits of all that follows from accepting evolution is real.

For example: they should only be treated with the earliest forms of antibiotic whenever they get MRSA because, after all, they don’t believe multiple resistance can evolve, so they should believe the old treatment is just as good as it ever was. Enough of that sort of obvious penalty and they might start owning up to reality and adjusting their nuttier views to match. Even being forced to read and sign consent forms about any treatment, acknowledging that it’s based on evolutionary science not religion, would be a start - and very compatible with the concept of properly informed consent.

Without such clear-cut benefits and penalties (rather than continuing to allow them a free ride as at present), I can’t see that they will do anything other than carry on like over-grown spoon-fed brats well into senility.

Comment #31021

Posted by 386sx on May 19, 2005 4:50 AM (e)

Michael Finley wrote:

Sober’s is the best critique of Plantinga’s argument. Basically, Sober challenges Plantinga’s Bayesian approach, but admits in the concluding paragraph that Darwinists should treat the general problem as real.

I didn’t see anything about “Darwinists” in there, but the general problem you’re talking about would be that people are not infallible. No big news there (unless maybe you are not into the naive realism thingy, then perhaps it could come as a big shock or something.) Plantinga’s claim that evolutionary naturalism has defeated itself because people can’t be infallible is kind of like saying that pi has defeated itself because people can only estimate. Seems kind of silly.

Plantinga:
http://www.calvin.edu/academic/philosophy/virtual_library/articles/plantinga_alvin/naturalism_defeated.pdf

Sober:
http://fitelson.org/plant.pdf

Comment #31023

Posted by Sandor on May 19, 2005 5:30 AM (e)

Wonderful idea SEF!

Comment #31025

Posted by SEF on May 19, 2005 5:59 AM (e)

Not a new idea though - quite an old one for me and I’ve seen other people independently think of it too. It’s very contentious in its most extreme form of course.

However, there’s a delicious irony in proposing that all consent forms include a phrase that the person signing acknowledges this treatment was based on science X (eg the germ theory of disease and the theory of resistance evolving through evolution). Since, unlike the anti-evolution disclaimers proposed for science books trying to manufacture a controversy and distinction which doesn’t exist, it is obvious that anyone denying the reality, relevance and importance of the licensed testing leading to a medical treatment is a crackpot (eg those untested and futile or dangerous homeopathy, ozone and colloidal silver treatments). The legislation (such as it is in the UK and I think in the US) already supports the concept of making things clear to the patient, so that they be as informed as possible as to what they are permitting (otherwise most medical treatment would count as assault).

Comment #31028

Posted by Cubist on May 19, 2005 6:32 AM (e)

TAS wrote:

you can be a christian and still believe that evolution is right. This just means you are not paying attention to what the bible says.

Really? I’d rather been under the impression that some bits of the Bible are downright congenial to evolution – “And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.” (Gen 1:11 – emphasis added), at the very least, sure seems to be a statement that God delegated some bits of the job of Creation to natural forces, as distinct from doing it all Himself. In this connection, both Gen 1:20 and Gen 1:24 are highly relevant…
Perhaps you think evolutionists “are not paying attention to” the phrase “after their kind”? If so, it would appear to be you who is “not paying attention to what the bible says”. If you look at Gen 1:21 and Gen 1:25, it’s pretty clear that (a) the Bible says the various critters were created “after their kind”, and (b) the Bible does not say that the various critters reproduced “after their kind”.
In sum, it just isn’t clear to me why you’d think that “believ[ing] that evolution is right… means you are not paying attention to what the bible says.” Could you explain yourself, please?

Comment #31036

Posted by "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank on May 19, 2005 7:21 AM (e)

Even Jesus’s own words about the origin of humanity are blown off by evolutionists.

Reeeaaaallllyyyyy. Does that include all those “evolutionists” who are Christians … ? How about the vast majority of Christians worldwide who accept evolution and all the rest of modern science and see no conflict at all between science and faith?

Or are you under the ignorant delusion that “evolution equals atheism”?

Comment #31038

Posted by FL on May 19, 2005 7:22 AM (e)

I find your replies interesting, JRQ, though not necessarily agreeing with everything you say. Thanks.

A meteorological (substituted for “evolutionary”) perspective undermines religious belief by removing some of the grounds that previously supported it.

Thing is, if we do this substitution, then where is the evidence to support the statement?

I can (and did) cite specific well-known evolutionists, articles, textbooks, popular books, who provide the specific examples of the “removing” part.
Thus we know ~for sure~ that Rachel’s statement is true when the term “evolutionary perspective” is used.

But where are the specific meteorologists, articles, textbooks, popular books, who provide the specific examples of the “removing” part when you put in the phrase “meteorological perspective”?

I see ~no~ citations or quotations in any of the PT replies so far. Why is that, evolutionists?
This absence is not something you can blame on Christians.

Thus the quotation is true when you plug in the word “evolutionary”, but not true when you plug in the term “meteorological.”

FL :-)

Comment #31043

Posted by Flint on May 19, 2005 8:04 AM (e)

Is there an anthropologist in the house? My understanding is that some people performed rain dances, and others made sacrifices (sometimes of people) because these behaviors derived from a model in which the god(s) controlled the weather. Thus, it was necessary to persuade the gods to accomplish weather modification. This model seems not too different from FL’s model, except FL’s gods have lost interest in climate control but still pay attention to biology. Basically, the model says that gods have super powers but normal human motivations and emotions, and therefore begging, bribing, and beguiling ought to work. Consistent, universal failure of this model doesn’t deter FL a bit. What is it that’s said of doing the same thing over and over in the hopes it will work next time?

The single meaningful difference between biology and weather is that WE are biological, and therefore any statement about biology says something about us personally. Clearly, we have a few contributors who just do not wish to hear these statements, who find them offensive. When they start justifying denial of observational reality by creating fictional characters, putting words into the mouths of those characters, and then quoting those words as support for their positions, they have gone well around the bend. What biology has learned about FL (and Finley and Heddle) remains the case no matter how creatively or imaginatively they seek to escape it.

Comment #31045

Posted by Alan on May 19, 2005 8:27 AM (e)

Michael Finley said in 30917

In other words, it’s obvious to you. It’s not obvious to me.

I think the current craze to explain every human belief and behavior in terms of genetic expression is a silly fad.

I grant that religious belief is beneficial for the cohesion of society. I believe, however, that this is an effect and not a cause of religious belief.

That everyone here has strongly held and passionnately expressed beliefs is self-evident. The need for us all to believe in something and defend it even in the face of overwhelming logical argument is innate.How else to so many fall prey to the various cults that abound? You believe because you must. What you believe depends on your culture and upbringing.

Comment #31071

Posted by Henry J on May 19, 2005 12:28 PM (e)

Re “Why christians perceive the threat to telology from evolution as greater than that from meteorology is another issue, but objectively the threat is the same.”

Creationists aren’t objective. ;)

Comment #31072

Posted by Globigerinoides on May 19, 2005 12:31 PM (e)

“But where are the specific meteorologists, articles, textbooks, popular books, who provide the specific examples of the “removing” part when you put in the phrase “meteorological perspective”?”

Conversely, FL, you are stating here that modern meteorology asserts that weather is purposeful, directed, and designed for a final goal. That is the only alternative if you claim that meterology does not “remove” teleology! Care to cite literature that backs up this claim?

Comment #31075

Posted by JRQ on May 19, 2005 1:15 PM (e)

FL: But where are the specific meteorologists, articles, textbooks, popular books, who provide the specific examples of the “removing” part when you put in the phrase “meteorological perspective”?”

You have missed the point – it has been pointed out now several times WHY there aren’t any. Science removes all kinds of teleology. Modern christians have ganged up on evolution to the exclusion of the other areas because:
1) The implications of evolution are still subjectively offensive to them.
2) They are aware how extraordinarily inconvenient it would be to give up the benefits they already enjoy from from research in other fields.

HENRY: Creationists aren’t objective. ;)

Yes, that was the point I was making, albeit latently.

An objective reading of the bible should lead one to oppose both or to oppose niether. Those who oppose one and not the other are doing so for reasons other than an objective reading of biblical content.

Comment #31082

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 19, 2005 2:08 PM (e)

“2) They are aware how extraordinarily inconvenient it would be to give up the benefits they already enjoy from from research in other fields.

as sef pointed out, I think it needs to be made clear that it also would be extraordinarily inconvenient for them to give up the benefitis they already enjoy from research in evolutionary biology as well.

Comment #31088

Posted by Arden Chatfield on May 19, 2005 3:14 PM (e)

JRQ said:

“Modern christians have ganged up on evolution to the exclusion of the other areas because:
1) The implications of evolution are still subjectively offensive to them.”

This last part is very well put. Evolution simply makes Evangelicals *uncomfortable*.
So it’s been singled out by them as a handy place to try and seize control of
people’s perceptions of what counts as reality, which is something they feel the urgent need to do anyway.

Comment #31133

Posted by "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank on May 19, 2005 6:12 PM (e)

What percentage of scientists would have to advocate intelligent design for the conflict to be ‘substantial’?

Just *one scientist* will do. Just one. One. O-N-E.

One.

As long as he has an alternative scientific theory to present. Or a valid scientific falsification of evolution.

Which IDers don’t have. (shrug)

Comment #31135

Posted by "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank on May 19, 2005 6:18 PM (e)

Specifically, the evolutionists have kindly supplied definite, textbook-taught statements that prove and illustrate their total denial of teleology, thus showing that Phillip Johnson’s quoted “realization” was (and is) in fact quite correct.

These total-denial-of-teleology statements have been specifically quoted in this forum before, including statements from Futuyma’s textbook Evolutionary Biology 3d ed. (“ … a completely mindless process”); Mayr’s SciAm article “Darwin’s Influence on Modern Thought” (and also Mayr’s book What Evolution Is); Dawkin’s “Blind Watchmaker” thesis (which dovetails seamlessly with the other evo-statements); and finally, the evolutionist James Rachels:

An evolutionary perspective undermines religious belief by removing some of the grounds that previously supported it ….

….The most important point of intersection (between science and theology) has to do with purposive explanations of natural phenomena. For theology it is no small matter whether nature is interpreted teleologically. When the world is interpreted non-teleologically—when God is no longer necessary to explain things—then theology is diminished.

I see. SO ID is just a religious crusade against evolution, and when IDers tell us that it’s NOT, they are simply lting to us.

Thanks for clearing that up. It’s what I suspected all along.

Are you willing to go to Dover and testify on our behalf that ID is nothing but a religious crusade against evolution?

This is what I love most about fundies —– they are by far their own worst enemy. Let them talk long enough, and they shoot themselves in the head every time.

It’s why the ID strategy will never ever succeed. It requires that religious fanatics remain silent, indefinitely, about the one thing they care most about. It’s an impossible task for them. Not only CAN they not do it, but they don’t WANT to.

Comment #31141

Posted by Dave Thomas on May 19, 2005 6:34 PM (e)

Along the lines of this thread, here’s one for the Physicists.

Check out this page, then scroll down to the image at the bottom.

As a physicist, I think I would have been more worried if “relativity” had been spelled correctly.

For more on wacky creationist physics models, visit Common Sense Science!

-Dave

Comment #31196

Posted by FL on May 20, 2005 10:01 AM (e)

Science removes all kinds of teleology.

~Really~? Citation please…

FL

Comment #31199

Posted by steve on May 20, 2005 10:49 AM (e)

Comment #31141

Posted by Dave Thomas on May 19, 2005 06:34 PM (e) (s)

Along the lines of this thread, here’s one for the Physicists.

Check out this page, then scroll down to the image at the bottom.

Heh. I think that’s Charlie Wagner’s brother.

Comment #31201

Posted by Jim Wynne on May 20, 2005 10:52 AM (e)

FL wrote:

Science removes all kinds of teleology.

~Really~? Citation please …

It doesn’t remove teleology, it does continually prove that purposeful design is not a necessary consideration, however.

Comment #31207

Posted by Michael Finley on May 20, 2005 11:56 AM (e)

Purposeful design and teleology are not the same. There can be teleological explanations without the assumption of intelligent design.

Take embryogenesis for example. The embryo has an inherent trajectory, so to speak, towards the mature organism. Accordingly, the form of the mature organism is present, in some sense, in the embryo; and the embryo is ‘headed in’ the direction of the mature organism, the telos or end result of the embryo. Such a teleological explanation that is compatible with materialism.

Comment #31209

Posted by Sandor on May 20, 2005 12:17 PM (e)

Finley: Do you think you could give me a teleological explanation of the transformation from a tuna sandwich into a nice damp turd?

Comment #31211

Posted by Jim Wynne on May 20, 2005 12:21 PM (e)

Michael Finley wrote:

Purposeful design and teleology are not the same

Mikey, you need to remember where you are. Although the word may be used in the sense you suggest, around here one of the other meanings (the study of purposeful design)is usually what’s intended. I was going to post a link to a dictionary entry for your further edification, but I suspect that you have a dictionary.

Comment #31214

Posted by JRQ on May 20, 2005 12:31 PM (e)

I SAID: Science removes all kinds of teleology.

FL: ~Really~? Citation please …

JIM WYNNE: It doesn’t remove teleology, it does continually prove that purposeful design is not a necessary consideration, however.

The point is a sociological one.

Progress in using materialist meteorology to explain and predict weather phenomena HAS generally gotten the people to stop attributing every weather phenomenon to a supernatural “purpose”.

Progress in using materialist evolution to explaining and predict (or retrodict) biological pheonmena HAS NOT gotten people to stop attributing every biological phenomenon to a supernatural “purpose”

Does it really take 340+ comments to establish this? I thought the case was pretty well made in the original post?

FINLEY: Purposeful design and teleology are not the same.

Yes, I think teleology was taken to mean purposeful design. That’s how I meant it.

Comment #31240

Posted by Sheikh Mahandi on May 20, 2005 1:48 PM (e)

The title of this thread unfortunately misses one vital point, although evolution remains a major target for creationists / ID’ers there also remains another current target - Astronomers (or to be picky - Cosmologists), perhaps a multi-disciplinary board would be a good idea, as ultimately all science will be a target for them.

Quote - First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak out for me.
Pastor Martin Niemöller

Perhaps better paraphrased as - First they targetted biology, and I did nothing as I was not a biologist….

Comment #31243

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 20, 2005 1:51 PM (e)

look, before you go and get bogged down in a discussion about the definition of “teleology”, here is a well considered delving into it (with references, no less):

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/teleology-biology/

this is a decent treatise on the history of the term and its usage in the biological sciences.

Comment #31245

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 20, 2005 1:54 PM (e)

look, before you go and get bogged down in a discussion about the definition of “teleology”, here is a well considered delving into it (with references, no less):

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/teleology-biology/

this is a decent treatise on the history of the term and its usage in the biological sciences.

Comment #31265

Posted by Michael Rathbun on May 20, 2005 3:14 PM (e)

To put it a bit more directly, there are specific doctrinal reasons that the teaching of evolutionary biology will generate more unease than the practice or teaching of meteorology, at least amongst some kinds of believers and, especially, their preachers/teachers.

Removing a deity from immediate and direct personal responsibility for the weather was an issue quietly disposed of, without great effect, in an earlier era. Benjamin Franklin was involved, as has been earlier noted. In general, however, this removal had little serious, lasting theological effect.

Geology and evolutionary biology, however, create very serious problems for certain doctrinal systems that depend upon a particular set of literal interpretations of Christian scripture, in that they touch upon the notional foundations of vital core elements of the belief system.

To consider one of these elements: according to some New Testament verses, death entered the world when sin entered the world. Therefore it is not possible for fossil remains, if they are indeed those of deceased living things, to be older than the time of the Incident in the Garden. Simply not possible.

If you teach children in school that we have direct evidence that there have been organisms living (and, more especially, dying) on Earth for hundreds of millions of years when we know for a fact that the earliest humans appeared about six thousand years ago, then their acceptance of the unquestionable truth of the literal account of the Incident in the Garden, the Fall of Man and the whole scheme of redemption is subject to challenge.

This is not cool.

This is qualitatively different from tacitly ceding moment-by-moment control of the weather.

Comment #31270

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 20, 2005 3:31 PM (e)

“Geology and evolutionary biology, however, create very serious problems for certain doctrinal systems that depend upon a particular set of literal interpretations of Christian scripture, in that they touch upon the notional foundations of vital core elements of the belief system.”

indeed. you point out the crux of the problem in the emphasized section.

there were plenty of sects who depended on literal interpretations of the weather, too. In fact, there still are some, as was mentioned earlier in the thread (scroll up a ways).

“This is qualitatively different from tacitly ceding moment-by-moment control of the weather.”

no, it’s not. You have not provided any evidence to indicate otherwise. You have only shown that just like those who believe in the literal god-controlled meterology (again, see above), those that have selected those particular elements of the bible concerning biology to be literal are just as “offended”.

Your viewpoint is subjective, not objective in stating there is a qualitative difference between “meteorological” literalists and “creation” literalists.

objectively, the case has been clearly made that there is no qualitative difference.

In fact, it goes to show why there are so many Christian “sects” to begin with… subjective interpretation of biblical elements.

Comment #31279

Posted by Michael Rathbun on May 20, 2005 3:45 PM (e)

Sir_Toejam wrote:

“This is qualitatively different from tacitly ceding moment-by-moment control of the weather.”

no, it’s not. You have not provided any evidence to indicate otherwise. You have only shown that just like those who believe in the literal god-controlled meterology (again, see above), those that have selected those particular elements of the bible concerning biology to be literal are just as “offended”.

Sorry, I failed to be sufficiently explicit. For the preachers/teachers and believers under discussion this is qualitatively different from tacitly ceding moment-by-moment control of the weather.

And of course the distinction is subjective. But this is important in discerning, and reacting properly to, their motivations.

Not everybody involved on the ID side is an utter dolt or has a sinister agenda. I was at one time a sincere and convinced proponent of YEC with no financial interest in the belief system, so obviously I have to state this.

And as an anecdotal point in the “evolution promotes atheism/unbelief” hoo-hah, I will note that it was almost a decade after my deconversion that I finally became convinced that natural selection as an undirected, natural process was an adequate mechanism for producing the variety of life presently observed, from a common ancestor.

Comment #31283

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 20, 2005 4:01 PM (e)

“And as an anecdotal point in the “evolution promotes atheism/unbelief” hoo-hah, I will note that it was almost a decade after my deconversion that I finally became convinced that natural selection as an undirected, natural process was an adequate mechanism for producing the variety of life presently observed, from a common ancestor.”

well, as they say, “good on ya”.

Yes, evolutionary theory, like relativity theory, is complex and hard to explain in as short a time span as most folks seem to give their attention to these days.

it doesn’t surprise me it took ten years for you to be convinced.

I’ve been studying it for over 20 years myself, and still don’t feel i have a full grasp of all the primary literature.

It’s one of the reasons that I get so angry at people like FL and Sal, who come in here and think they know all about evolutionary theory and can discredit it with idiotic, illogical, fallacious arguments after reading “the last chapter of Origin of Species” (direct quote from Sal).

cheers

Comment #31284

Posted by Michael Rathbun on May 20, 2005 4:08 PM (e)

Sir_Toejam wrote:

it doesn’t surprise me it took ten years for you to be convinced.

Heh. Well, as one of those loose-cannon “Engineer” types who has developed real, working communications and control systems, I claim to actually know, understand and apply “Information Theory”, so my excuse is weak but facile.

Comment #31296

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 20, 2005 4:54 PM (e)

Well, I think you have found a decent resource in PT should you ever have questions related to evolutionary theory. Lots of knowledgeable folk lurking about.

cheers

Comment #31641

Posted by Ed Darrell on May 23, 2005 3:49 AM (e)

Sir TJ said:

Yes, evolutionary theory, like relativity theory, is complex and hard to explain in as short a time span as most folks seem to give their attention to these days.

Is it really?

I’ve had a lot of success with a “five-finger exercise,” the five key points of evolution theory. It’s quick, most people are familiar with living things that match each of the five points, and it demonstrates what IDologues and IDolators really need to demonstrate to make a case.

I cribbed them from Ernst Mayr’s 1982 book, The Growth of Biological Thought, he boils Darwin down to five observations and three inferences from them – the heart of evolution – viaDonald Johanson and Maitland A. Edey in Blueprints.

These are the facts or observations of evolution which creationists must deny to falsify evolution.

Observation 1: Species have great fertility. They make more offspring than can grow to adulthood. (Think of the acorns from an oak tree, for example).

Observation 2: Populations remain roughly the same size, with modest fluctuations.

Observation 3. Food resources are limited, and are constant most of the time. (See any wildlife film on the Serengeti; or study the Boy Scout Merit Badge pamphlets on conservation, especially the parts about “carrying capacity.”)

Inference A: In such an environment there will be a struggle for survival among individuals.

Observation 4: No two individuals are identical. Variation is rampant. (Look at your siblings and cousins; even identical twins differ slightly due to developmental differences.)

Observation 5: Much of this variation is heritable. (This is a key story in Christian scripture, by the way – who gets to carry on the heritage of Abraham; I’ve had creationists deny this point categorically. In their zeal to deny the facts of evolution, they go too far.)

Inference B: In a world of stable populations where each individual must struggle to survive, those with the “best” characteristics will be more likely to survive, and those desirable traits will be passed to their offspring. This is natural selection.

Inference C: Natural selection, if carried far enough, makes changes in a population, eventually leading to new species.

Five facts or observations, and three inferences. Notice, too, that “intelligent design” offers no comment on any of the five observations. Since these are the key points of evolution theory, I asked the Texas State Board of Education, how do the criticisms of the ID folks merit consideration, since they offer nothing to suggest any real weakness in any of these points?

Comment #31642

Posted by Ed Darrell on May 23, 2005 4:19 AM (e)

Sir TJ said:

Yes, evolutionary theory, like relativity theory, is complex and hard to explain in as short a time span as most folks seem to give their attention to these days.

Is it really?

I’ve had a lot of success with a “five-finger exercise,” the five key points of evolution theory. It’s quick, most people are familiar with living things that match each of the five points, and it demonstrates what IDologues and IDolators really need to demonstrate to make a case.

I cribbed them from Ernst Mayr’s 1982 book, The Growth of Biological Thought, in which he boils Darwin down to five observations and three inferences from them – the heart of evolution – via Donald Johanson and Maitland A. Edey in Blueprints.

These are the facts or observations of evolution which creationists must deny to falsify evolution.

Observation 1: Species have great fertility. They make more offspring than can grow to adulthood. (Think of the acorns from an oak tree, for example).

Observation 2: Populations remain roughly the same size, with modest fluctuations.

Observation 3. Food resources are limited, and are constant most of the time. (See any wildlife film on the Serengeti; or study the Boy Scout Merit Badge pamphlets on conservation, especially the parts about “carrying capacity.”)

Inference A: In such an environment there will be a struggle for survival among individuals.

Observation 4: No two individuals are identical. Variation is rampant. (Look at your siblings and cousins; even identical twins differ slightly due to developmental differences.)

Observation 5: Much of this variation is heritable. (This is a key story in Christian scripture, by the way – who gets to carry on the heritage of Abraham; I’ve had creationists deny this point categorically. In their zeal to deny the facts of evolution, they go too far.)

Inference B: In a world of stable populations where each individual must struggle to survive, those with the “best” characteristics will be more likely to survive, and those desirable traits will be passed to their offspring. This is natural selection.

Inference C: Natural selection, if carried far enough, makes changes in a population, eventually leading to new species.

Five facts or observations, and three inferences. Notice, too, that “intelligent design” offers no comment on any of the five observations. Since these are the key points of evolution theory, I asked the Texas State Board of Education, how do the criticisms of the ID folks merit consideration, since they offer nothing to suggest any real weakness in any of these points?

Comment #31680

Posted by Henry J on May 23, 2005 12:15 PM (e)

But won’t a typical anti-evolutionist just say that’s talking about micro- and not macro-evolution?

Henry

Comment #32378

Posted by Nick (Matzke) on May 26, 2005 11:39 PM (e)

Casey Luskin, who is quoted in the opening post, has posted an incredibly long reply to my short comments in the opening post (and the comments of poster “Steve”), and followed up with an email to me. It’s a mix of complaint, explanation, and retraction.

Short comments: Casey seems to think I insulted him by when I said that he says that scientists using natural causes are “nasty, society-undermining secular dogmatists promoting atheism, philosophical materialism, and moral decay under the guise of science” (didja follow all of that?). Obviously, the word “nasty,” in front of the rest of the list, was a common bit of rhetoric, it was not intended to portray Luskin as accusing other people as nasty.

I will admit that I *was* under the impression that Casey Luskin agreed with Phillip Johnson, who I quoted at the beginning of the post, and has used all of the terms I used (except for “nasty”) to describe scientists who are just doing their jobs and finding natural causes for things. To recall, this was what Phillip Johnson said:

‘I realized … that if the pure Darwinist account was accurate and life is all about an undirected material process, then Christian metaphysics and religious belief are fantasy. Here was a chance to make a great contribution.’

Among other places, I got that vibe from Luskin’s original reply to my original Meteorology Argument, where he began his reply to me by saying, “[Matzke] suggests that if the weather is undirected, then meteorologists should rightly employ the same materialist philosophy Wells criticizes.” This statement rather deliberately and blatantly mischaracterized my original Meteorology Argument, which again just pointed out that evolution is no more materialistic than meteorology.

Here is another great example of Luskin making the evolution by natural processes = atheism/materialism connection:

Evolutionary theory is built upon the scientific method and is science, it still has theological implications. Intelligent design theory is also built upon the scientific method and is science, but it too has theological implications. Both are scientific, but both have religious implications. Evolution postulates that humans originated due to the Darwinian mutation-selection mechanism, and thus arose through processes which were not influenced by an intelligent agent–many see this implying that we were created by processes that did “not have us in mind.” Under intelligent design, humans exist because an intelligent being did “have them in mind.” Intelligent design theory is also based upon empirical evidence and the scientific method, yet intelligent design also has theological implications: we are because a designer “deliberately put us here.”

The Meteorology Argument, of course, shows that the “theological implications” of meteorology and evolutionary theory – both relying on natural processes that are “random” and “undirected” – are the same, and thus the only two options are (1) evolution actually does not imply atheism, or (2) meteorology actually does imply atheism.

From Luskin’s reply I get the sense that he would now *disagree* with Phil Johnson’s recent statement, and with his own statement quoted above. If he does, great. If not, then my criticism still applies.

Comment #32379

Posted by RBH on May 26, 2005 11:52 PM (e)

Nick quoted Luskin as saying

Evolutionary theory is built upon the scientific method and is science, it still has theological implications. Intelligent design theory is also built upon the scientific method and is science, but it too has theological implications. Both are scientific, but both have religious implications.

That’s a clear statement of the position taken by Calvert and Harris (explicitly in his testimony) at the recent Kansas BOE hearings: Because evolution has implications for questions that religion/theology addresses, teaching evolution amounts to science wandering into religion’s turf, and it is therefore appropriate to include a counterbalancing position. IT both tars science with the ‘religion’ brush, and justifies/insulates ID from attack due to its religious underpinnings.

RBH

Comment #32416

Posted by Salvador T. Cordova on May 27, 2005 11:13 AM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'URL'

Comment #32418

Posted by steve on May 27, 2005 11:28 AM (e)

I don’t have to defend myself from Casey Luskin. Cranks and liars fail on their own. IDiots have been failing way back to the days when they called themselves creationists. I’m sure Casey was a crank long before he emailed me pretending (or misunderstanding) that ID was purely scientific (or scientific at all), and he will be a crank long after I’m gone.

It is kind of painful, though, to read about Casey in the same thread as Dembski’s Sancho Panza saying things like “The internet will not be the primary means IDists engage their detractors.” Makes my head hurt worse than last night’s Stolichnaya did.

Comment #32421

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on May 27, 2005 11:43 AM (e)

Actually, meteorology IS next

WASHINGTON - Two days before Sen. Rick Santorum introduced a bill that critics say would restrict the
National Weather Service, his political action committee received a $2,000 donation from the chief executive of AccuWeather Inc., a leading provider of weather data…

Comment #32427

Posted by steve on May 27, 2005 12:08 PM (e)

Why not? The arguments are identical, nearly.

Scientist: If the Designer is so intelligent, how do you explain monsoons?
ID Meteorologist: Sin! Anyway monsoons can’t form from random, undirected chance processes.
Scientist: So how does it happen, according to IDM “theory”?
ID M: Naturalistic weather doesn’t happen.
Scientist: No, I mean, what does your theory say Does happen?
IDM: Not naturalistic weather. Can’t happen. Besides, naturalistic weather would be like a tornado going through a junkyard, and…uh…throwing stuff around.

Comment #32428

Posted by Lurker on May 27, 2005 12:11 PM (e)

Luskin writes, “No offense Nick, but you should have contacted me first before assuming you were accurately representing my views.”

And yet, what does he have to say about the following?

http://www.uncommondescent.com/index.php/archives/26

Comment #32437

Posted by steve on May 27, 2005 12:56 PM (e)

Spacy Luskin1.
[hr]1: For the record, “Spacy” for “Casey” is clever beyond measure.