Nick Matzke posted Entry 3160 on May 31, 2007 06:46 PM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/3150

The previous thread, “Is Creationism Child’s Play?“, was closed by an admin because it was getting so long that it was loading slowly or not at all. A contributing factor is that PT has apparently been experiencing some kind of denial-of-service attack which is also slowing things down.

I have been out of town and not able to contribute to the thread much, or even read all of it, but apparently it has evolved from mudslinging into a reasonable dialog with a young-earth creationist, Mark Hausam, who actually wants to discuss the issues. Mark has pretty much acknowledged that his belief is based on a literal, inerrant interpretation of the Bible, and that he is willing to invoke miraculous “appearance of age” arguments to explain away physical evidence that conflicts with his interpretation of the Bible. Usually this sort of person is about six months away from complete deconversion from creationism. With the appearance-of-age argument, they have already admitted that the physical evidence on its face is totally against them, and that they have admitted that Last Thursdayism is as well-supported as young-earth creationism (Last Tuesdayism, of course, is unspeakable heresy). Once they’ve gone this far, most people can’t maintain the necessary doublethink for very long (Paul Nelson, John Mark Reynolds, Kurt Wise, and Marcus Ross are about the only exceptions, and they each have the peculiar ability to remorsely drown their scientific conscience whenever reality intrudes upon their textual interpretation).

This sort of discussion should be encouraged so I am starting a new thread for those who wish to discuss the issues. I will be watching the thread to ensure that it remains courteous.

Commenters are responsible for the content of comments. The opinions expressed in articles, linked materials, and comments are not necessarily those of PandasThumb.org. See our full disclaimer.

Comment #180715

Posted by Moses on May 31, 2007 8:37 PM (e)

Well, it’s interesting, but to point out the fallacy of the Bible, one needs to educate the unwilling audience that Christianity is a great-granddaughter religion of many religions. Not the “successor” of Judasim. And, frankly, there isn’t enough space to put years of learning and studying down.

So, instead, I’ll ask a question. From this question, one can research possible permutations of the query and start the process of enlightment. The question is: Why do Jews plant trees? (Hint: It is a religious question, not agricultural.)

Comment #180719

Posted by Roland Deschain on May 31, 2007 9:29 PM (e)

As to Mark Hausam’s request on books that deal with evolution:

The Blind Watchmaker by Richard Dawkins

The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins

The Structure of Evolutionary Theory
by Stephen Jay Gould

Evolution by Futuyma, Douglas J.

That’s a pretty good start. Gould stuff is heavy, so keep him till last. As a man who was brought up to blindly believe in the Bible, I do not think they will change your mind on your position. Rather, I’d advice you to read other religious texts of this world (there are millions, but start with the major ones). You’ll realize just how ridiculous the religous texts of other cultures are; then, sooner or later, you’ll realize that the same ridiculous arguments are made splendidly in the Bible over and over again. With that first seed of doubt (the beginning of all good human beings), you’ll be able to actually approach these texts without the baggage of hell, heaven, Jesus, Mary, the Pope, or the childish and barbarous believes of people that feared a solar eclipse.

Comment #180720

Posted by qetzal on May 31, 2007 9:40 PM (e)

Mark has offered a number of arguments for why the Bible is really inerrant, and why he thinks there is empirical evidence proving the existence of God. For the sake of brevity, I will focus on just one for now:

Mark Hausam in #180588 wrote:

On rabbits being ruminents and bats being birds: Here are a couple of good websites that provide a good, more full response to these objections: http://www.answersingenesis.org/creation/v20/i4/…… and http://www.tektonics.org/af/batbird.html. As I said before, these objections make the mistake of confusing real error with more laid-back biological descriptions. The Bible’s definition of “chew the cud” is broader than ours and can include rabbits. “Birds” in the Bible is a broader category than our modern one as well–it lumps pretty much all flying creatures together. So there are no errors here. A lot of times, accusations of biblical error or contradiction stem from a superficial and shallow reading of the text. It is actually, in some ways, similar to the “quote mining” practice many Darwinists think creationists constantly engage in.

The problem with this argument is that the English definition of “cud” does not include what rabbits chew. Similarly, the English word “birds” does not include bats.

Mark argues that the Bible doesn’t really mean “birds” as the word is defined in English. It really means something broader like “birds and bats” or “flying animals” or something similar.

Assume, for the sake of argument, that the ‘original’ version of the Bible really did say “birds and bats” or “flying animals.” If so, then current English versions are mistranslated. Use of the English word “birds” when you mean to include bats is wrong. It’s an error.

There’s just no way around it. At least some versions of the Bible must contain errors.

Now, this argument by itself doesn’t prove that every version of the Bible has errors. But any English versions that use “birds” to mean “birds and bats” are incorrect. They are fallible.

Having determined that some versions of the Bible contain errors, we can’t escape the logical possibility that other versions, perhaps even all versions, contain errors. Furthermore, if Mark truly values logic as he claims, he should admit that if the Bible means something broader than the English definition of “birds,” it may also mean something broader than the English definition of “day.”

Please note: I’m not actually arguing that all apparent errors and scientific inaccuracies in the Bible are due to mistranslation. That’s Carol’s schtick. I’m just taking Mark’s argument and showing how it logically requires that the English translations of the Bible (that he presumably thinks are infallible) must contain errors.

Comment #180725

Posted by Raging Bee on May 31, 2007 9:55 PM (e)

qetzal: As I’ve said before, the Bible does not contain “errors” so much as it contains imprecise language about subjects that are not the authors’ primary concern. The Bible is sloppy about “flying animals” and “cud” because the authors were busy trying to tell us about something else entirely: God’s will toward Man. The “errors” are committed by people like Mark, who insist that the Bible is an inerrant and infallible source on subjects its authors didn’t care about at all.

Here’s another example: If I were to say “Terrorists must be hunted to the far corners of the Earth,” this would not be a geographical error, because I’m not talking about geography, and anyone who knows English would understand that my reference to a flat Earth with “corners” was merely a rhetorical device. If you were to call me a flat-Earther, I would point out that you were making the “error” of missing the point of what I was trying to say. People like Mark and the AIG crowd are making this mistake with the entire Bible.

Comment #180737

Posted by Roland Deschain on May 31, 2007 10:32 PM (e)

When you say “Terrorists must be hunted to the far corners of the Earth” you are speaking entirely in the metaphorical sense (the metaphor being a vestigial part of a more ignorant stage in Western civilization).

However, the mistake that moderates make lies exactly with your example. On what authority/evidence/reason do you assign Biblical verses to be factual or metaphorical. For example, most Christian moderates make it quite clear that Genesis is simply a metaphor/analogy/etc etc; but then they go on and say that the resurrection of Jesus is factual. On what basis is this distinction made, except the fact that if Jesus’s resurrection proved to be simply a metaphor, Christian faith could not survive in its present form.

If Young Earth Creationists willfully ignore the findings of geology, than moderate Christians willfully ignore the finding of genetics of conception. Why keep firm on the laws of geology in arguing against the Young Earthers, but loosen the laws of genetics when it comes to Jesus’s birth.

It is this double of standards of moderates that irks me so.

Comment #180759

Posted by David Stanton on May 31, 2007 11:19 PM (e)

Mark wrote:

“If you come to the scientific evidence without an acceptance of the six day interpretation of Genesis, and instead assume a naturalistic uniformity throughout past time, you will probably take the rings as good indicators of age. This is not a matter of the Genesis-believer ignoring or distorting the evidence; it is a matter of the evidence being interpreted, quite legitimately, differently due to differing beliefs coming from other sources.”

So, let’s summarize shall we? I challenged Mark to set aside his belief in the Bible in evaluating the evidence. He even agreed that if the Bible were true the evidence should bring one to the same conclusion. Then he admits that the evidence actually gives you an answer that is different from that given in the Bible, but he simply can’t accept it due to his prior assumption of biblical inerrancy, which he still refuses to question.

Hate to say I told you so, but there it is. Mark is emotionally incapable of questioning his prior assumptions, whatever the evidence. Of course, in so doing, he is forced to adopt a belief in a deceitful diety who renders all evidence irrelevant. Wow, talk about being impervious to evidence! And of course he still claims not to be authoritarian!

Well, it was fun for a while. But really, what can ever be accomplished by arguing with this guy? Maybe Nick is right and he has finally reached a state of cognitive dissonance that will enable a breakthrough. I sure hope so because this is geeting really painful to watch. Thanks to all those who tried so hard to get through to him. I don’t think anyone can reasonably object to the way that he was treated here. I would suggest that this discussion be archieved and examined by a profesional psychologist. There must be at least one paper in here somewhere.

Comment #180769

Posted by Chiefley on June 1, 2007 12:09 AM (e)

“On what authority/evidence/reason do you assign Biblical verses to be factual or metaphorical. “

Answer: The same kind of hermeneutics that Raging Bee used to claim that the Biblical use of the word “birds” includes all flying animals (I assume he means bats, insects, flying squirrels, etc.)

There is very little difference in the hermeneutics that “inerrantists” use than mainstream Christian’s use. One forms a theology and views the Bible through the lens of that theology. The difference is that mainstream Christians are more honest about it and actually consider those hermeneutics to be important, where inerrantists deny that they use them.

Comment #180780

Posted by FL on June 1, 2007 12:41 AM (e)

Hey, speaking of Dr. Kurt Wise, I have a copy of his 2002 book Faith, Form, and Time.
I’ve found it to be quite impressive, quite clear, quite Biblical, and quite rational.

I’ve quoted from it repeatedly in another forum or two, and I’ve noticed that evolutionists in those forums honestly can’t seem to refute his actual statements and examples. Can’t even come close.

(And no, I’m not “six months” or any other foreseeable time estimate “away from complete deconversion from creationism.” If anything, the evolutionist inability to deal with Wise’s book that I’ve witnessed elsewhere, has made clear to me that biblical creationism is far stronger, far more reasonable, than some folks want to admit.)

So for now, I have only one question to ask. Does any evolutionist here already have a copy of that particular book?

FL

Comment #180788

Posted by Daniel Adelseck on June 1, 2007 1:30 AM (e)

I am a Christian and would love to engage in some honest and thoughtful dialog with with those of different persuasions or convictions. The only reason I am particularly drawn to this thread is that the goal was to be courteous with one another. I am used to people thinking differently or working with different presuppositions and am not intimidated or angry about it. I would like to use free conference call services to dialog on the phone with a few people about the issues. I find most of the internet chat highly polarizing. I think if both sides were more honest about the issues involved in the creation/evolution debate, there would be a lot more charity in the discussions. I do believe that the the preponderance of the evidence; including the scientific, historical, theological and philosophical aspects of it point clearly to God as the Creator of this universe who gives purpose and meaning to our lives. Anyways, a little about me since I like to know a little about those with whom I am talking with as well.

Graduate of UCLA (Non Science, but did take human evolution)
10 Years in the Tech Industry
Entrepreneur/Real Estate Investor (Semi Retired - Decided to go back to school)
Married, Father of 4 (10, 8, 6, and 4 years old)
Masters of Biblical Studies Talbot School of Theology
In Process Masters in Philosophy of Science and Religion
Very familiar with Creationism (AIG Conf attendee) and Intelligent Design (And there are some significant differences.. as well as similar motivations)
Read Dawkins, Creationism Trojan Horse, On the Origin of the Species, Plenty of modern literature from both sides….

Email me if you are interested in some dialog via telephone. I will email back and set up a conference call. Please only email if you are willing to engage a courteous dialog. This should only help us in the process of persuading each other.

Thanks,

Daniel Adelseck
[Enable javascript to see this email address.]

Comment #180790

Posted by Daniel Adelseck on June 1, 2007 1:33 AM (e)

PS: Any of you folks in the Orange County area??. My treat for lunch in Irvine.

Dan

Comment #180797

Posted by Mike Elzinga on June 1, 2007 2:06 AM (e)

I’m sure most of the PT gang is aware of the tendency of the ID/Creationists to bowdlerize every scientific concept used to answer their goofy claims.

While I appreciate Nick’s desire to keep this going, I’m skeptical that the debate that Mark is trying to provoke has anything to do with his wanting to acquire a better understanding of science for himself or for his audience. I’ve seen this pattern too often in the past.

I think I will hold to my triage strategy I mentioned in my last post on the original thread and not try to educate him. I’ll simply point out some problems without telling him how to fix them. He should already know about books and libraries.

He has most of the early Greek confusions about infinities, infinite series, convergence, divergence, and Zeno’s paradoxes. Definitely has not had a calculus course.

He doesn’t seem to know anything about non-Euclidian geometries and their implications for cosmology. He hasn’t been exposed to any of the material on what it is like for a creature to live in various dimensions in Euclidian and non-Euclidian spaces. Hasn’t even read Abbott’s little gem. He knows nothing about the concepts of boundedness and openness from mathematics and what the implications of these are for cosmology.

He doesn’t appear to have heard anything about the relationship of space and time and the effects of gravitational fields on the passage of time.

He hasn’t heard about most of modern physics and what we know about the effects of the vacuum on the energy levels of hydrogen and the development of quantum electrodynamics, and what all that has to do with where the energy in the universe comes from.

Then there are all his quasi-medieval concepts about ontology, topology and other space-time concepts cobbled together from who knows where (to say nothing of his being unaware of current models of the universe).

So, not only are his concepts of biology and evolution screwed up, his math, physics and cosmology are as well. Trying to correct this many mangled concepts in a debate is to be drawn into the ID/Creationist debating tactic that has the scientist thinking he is debating science when the debate has nothing to do with science. It is posturing and publicity for their political and sectarian base. The audience is seeing an atheist scientist (plural in this case) being skewered and roasted over the flames of Hell. Most have no interest in the science. It’s about religion.

Of all the strange things Mark said in his last post on the previous thread, he tops it off with this one in response to another post.

Mark Hausam wrote:

“A lot of Christians read the Bible differently.” I know. But that doesn’t prove they are right.

Do I finally hear the sound of one hand clapping?

He needs to learn something about religion.

Comment #180803

Posted by k on June 1, 2007 2:23 AM (e)

Hi
I will admit that I have not been to this website before; I found it while I was researching evolution for my biology class. I’m not any sort of expert or intellectual person, I’m just me (a community college student.) I will probably not visit this site again for a while, but I did want to comment, to express my thoughts.

The following is not immediately relevant, but I will use it as a metaphor.
In my psychology class, I recently learned the difference between sensation and perception. Sensation is defined (basically) as essentially meaningless input that goes into our brains through one of our sensory organs. Perception is how our brain makes sense out of it. My teacher used the example of foreign language: when we hear a foreign language spoken, we experience an auditory sensation, but do not perceive any meaning (we cannot make sense of what is being said.) By contrast, a person who speaks that language will receive the auditory sensation, be able to perceive meaning out of it, and be able to produce a response.

Here’s how it’s relevant: in the example that David cited, discussing with Mark about geology, I see one “sensation” (the rings) and two “perceptions” (from perspectives based on creation and evolution.) Like the foreign language example, each person perceives the evidence differently, because they come from different perspectives. Perception can’t easily be separated from personal identity; we have to see things as we see them, from what we know. I will also admit that I do believe in absolute truth; both perceptions can’t be entirely true.

Not to do Mark any disservice by presuming to know his thoughts (or yours, for that matter), but I think what he is saying is that since we do come from different belief backgrounds, we will interpret differently.

For me personally, I know that I am incapable of questioning God. You are correct there. At least, I would really hope to be so. Don’t misunderstand; I have had questions, but I can honestly not tell you one instance where He has not been faithful to me. You are right, it is not logical to have such a belief. The Bible even says it is not logical: if you are interested, check out 1 Corinthians 2:14 and 1:19-25. What the verses say (from my interpretation) is that Christ’s message is foolishness in the world’s eyes. What you see as foolish is the very core of my existence, and I know it’s true. I know that’s not very convincing for you, but I’m not trying to convince you. I am merely explaining why I cannot be convinced to agree with you, although I recognize that to you, my explanation will not be logical either.

So, I completely understand that you think what I believe is basically foolishness, and although I wish you didn’t’t, I accept that you do.

It looks like I have gone on long enough, and on a topic not directly related to Biblical inerrancy, but I would like to leave you with one final thought: if you don’t know God, how can you judge Him as deceiving? Essentially, I think the reason that you think Christianity (because it professes belief in creation according to the Bible) is foolishness is that you do not know God. I don’t mean this as a deridement against you, but you can’t really believe creation unless you trust God. Up to this point, I have been assuming that you classify me as outside of logic. One of us is; you can state logical facts to show that it is not you, but how can you know it is your logic that is correct? Science is a living process, which has experienced much change throughout its history.

I’m done now; I want to let you know that from my part, we’re not enemies, we just don’t agree. Thanks for taking the time to read this.
So, there was your glimpse inside the mind of a Christian, one who tries hard to follow Jesus but still stumbles, and who is self-acknowledgedly foolish. I cannot be convinced because my hope is lasting.

Comment #180807

Posted by fnxtr on June 1, 2007 2:58 AM (e)

k sez…

if you don’t know God, how can you judge Him as deceiving?

… missing the point entirely.

The argument is not intended to judge your God.

We are not evil, rebellious spirits. Some of us have faith in your God, some of us don’t.

Most of us – either never having been brought up in a faith-full household in the first place, or having actually looked at the evidence – just don’t think your God did what you say it did. (shrug)

It’s not your God that’s being judged, it’s the factual accuracy of a collection of retranslations of oral traditions of bronze age nomads.

Maybe there’s a deep spiritual/cultural/sociological message there, maybe it’s just a book.

Either way, adopting a literal Creationist interpretation of physical evidence doesn’t help us understand the world around us in any immediate, useful, pragmatic way.

Quite often it can in fact get in the way of useful information.

Comment #180813

Posted by Troff on June 1, 2007 3:33 AM (e)

k wrote:

> college student.) I will probably not visit this site again for a
> while, but I did want to comment, to express my thoughts…. without hanging around to hear possible responses?

> For me personally, I know that I am incapable of questioning God.
> You are correct there. At least, I would really hope to be so.

Faith is not strong if it’s never tested.

> Don’t misunderstand; I have had questions, but I can honestly not
> tell you one instance where He has not been faithful to me. You
> are right, it is not logical to have such a belief. The Bible even

From http://godisimaginary.com/i1.htm>…

What would happen if we get down on our knees and pray to God in this way:

Dear God, almighty, all-powerful, all-loving creator of the universe, we pray to you to cure every case of cancer on this planet tonight. We pray in faith, knowing you will bless us as you describe in Matthew 7:7, Matthew 17:20, Matthew 21:21, Mark 11:24, John 14:12-14, Matthew 18:19 and James 5:15-16. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

We pray sincerely, knowing that when God answers this completely heartfelt, unselfish, non-materialistic prayer, it will glorify God and help millions of people in remarkable ways.

Will anything happen? No. Of course not.

This is very odd. Jesus makes specific promises in the Bible about how prayer is supposed to work. Jesus says in many different places that he and God will answer your prayers.

> world’s eyes. What you see as foolish is the very core of my
> existence, and I know it’s true. I know that’s not very convincing
> for you, but I’m not trying to convince you. I am merely

What you fail to understand is that people here have precisely the opposite case - they know it’s false. Why is THEIR interpretation any less relevant than yours?

> It looks like I have gone on long enough, and on a topic not
> directly related to Biblical inerrancy, but I would like to leave
> you with one final thought: if you don’t know God, how can you
> judge Him as deceiving? Essentially, I think the reason that you

Because we DO. “His Word” (if you have to believe such a thing is true) is manifest in the Bible. If you read Genesis chapters 2 and 3, you’ll see that God lied to Adam and Eve. The Serpent busted him on it, told Eve the truth.

When God found out what the Serpent had done, the first thing God said was “oh no, they’ve found out precisely what the Serpent told them is all true. I must get all wrathful on all three of them.”

Bad news, dude. Your own bible calls God a liar.

> Christianity (because it professes belief in creation according to
> the Bible) is foolishness is that you do not know God. I don’t

But we DO, sunshine. And a darn sight better than YOU.

> mean this as a deridement against you, but you can’t really
> believe creation unless you trust God. Up to this point, I have
> been assuming that you classify me as outside of logic. One of us
> is; you can state logical facts to show that it is not you, but
> how can you know it is your logic that is correct? Science is a

Because we use YOUR OWN BIBLE to do so.

> I’m done now; I want to let you know that from my part, we’re not
> enemies, we just don’t agree. Thanks for taking the time to read
> this.

But will you stick around long enough to read this?
Will you remain an enemy to your own mind and your own life by believing things that are provably false? And judged so EVEN BY THE WORDS OF YOUR OWN BIBLE?

> So, there was your glimpse inside the mind of a Christian, one who
> tries hard to follow Jesus but still stumbles, and who is
> self-acknowledgedly foolish. I cannot be convinced because my hope
> is lasting.

Bad news - your hope is false. But it’s not too late for you to do something about it.

Comment #180819

Posted by rupert on June 1, 2007 3:59 AM (e)

I think it’s quite amusing when people quote their absolute faith in the Bible to explain why geology, physics, biology, cosmology, etc, are wrong - including, as has been pointed out, the sort of science that merely involves counting. Dendrochronology is almost spookily accurate - and no, you can’t look at it in any way whatsoever, whatever your belief, and see creation in 4004BC (or any number congruent with YECism). The best you can do is spin some ideas about why dendro doesn’t work past a certain point, but there’s no evidence for that… outside one particular reading of the Bible.

Since the Bible was written by men and (I presume they believe) the earth and everything in, on and around it was created by God, isn’t this putting the works of men above the works of God?

Seems perilously close to blasphemy to me. Perhaps they’ve been misled by self-pride and the Devil.

R

Comment #180824

Posted by hoary puccoon on June 1, 2007 4:36 AM (e)

k- I really don’t want to get into your personal faith, but your example of a foreign language is a good metaphor for the evolution-creation debate. As it happens, I speak French. Unless you do, too, spoken French is just sounds to you, whereas to me, it carries information. Would you honestly claim that your perception is just as valid as mine, that it’s perfectly all right to define the French language as a series of meaningless sounds? Doesn’t it seem to you that if you simply studied French, it would make as much sense to you as it does to me?
The same issue is at the heart of the evolution-creation debate. Scientists spend years making observations and doing experiments. They work hard at defining their variables so that they know they are really observing what they think they’re observing. They correct their misconceptions. And what they have come up with is overwhelming evidence, over thousands and thousands of observations, that the earth is very old, and that humans evolved over a long period of time from simpler organisms. Then along comes a creationist, who has done no research, never looked at the subject closely at all, but who annouces, “well, I just don’t see it myself, and my opinion is just as valid as yours is.” How do you expect the scientists to react? They react about the same way I do when somebody pretends they’re speaking French when they make nonsense sounds.
The issue, in my mind, is not whether you believe in God. It’s whether you believe in respecting other peoples’ abilities and accomplishments– and I find it hard to believe you’ll find any verse in the Bible that tells you not to do that!

Comment #180839

Posted by Frank J on June 1, 2007 5:36 AM (e)

Nick Matzke wrote:

Usually this sort of person is about six months away from complete deconversion from creationism.

Or complete deconversion to “don’t ask, don’t tell” ID.

Roland Deschain wrote:

As to Mark Hausam’s request on books that deal with evolution:

Those books may be overload. For theists, the 1st book I’d recommend is “Finding Darwin’s God” by Kenneth Miller. Sorry to be a cynic, but in Mark’s case I doubt that it will do any good either, other than giving him more quotes to mine.

Comment #180843

Posted by demallien on June 1, 2007 5:41 AM (e)

hoary puccon:

It’s even worse than that. To use the analogy of a french speaker de nouveau, we have the scientist/french speaker, confronted with the creationist/non-french speaker that nevertheless believes he knows how to speak French (understands science).

A french speaker comes along and utters a sentence(an event happens):
Veux-tu déjeuner avec moi?
The scientist correctly interprets the sentence to be an invitation to lunch. The Creationist thinks that he has just heard “Virtue as soon as to fast with me” (virtu dès jeuner avec moi. quoi!), and comes to the conclusion that the universe is a mysterious place that only God can possibly understand.

The thing is, only one of the two perceptions is correct, that of our French speaker/scientist. Based on what we believe he has said, the French-speaker/scientist can predict that the person speaking is going to accompany them to go and eat some lunch. The Creationist is completely incapable of making any prediction whatsoever based on their perception… This ability to make a prediction is what separates the correct interpretation from the false interpretation, so that we can comfortably say that the scientist has got it right…

Comment #180848

Posted by demallien on June 1, 2007 5:46 AM (e)

Has anyone thought to tell Mark that the conversation continues here?

Anyway, to respond to Mark’s last point, concerning the FSM, blessed by its name, the FSM is indetectible, so firstly we have no scientific proof of its material composition. Secondly, if a physical manifestation poses a problem, the same problem exists for Christianity by the presence of Jesus on Earth. So no Mark, that doesn’t help prove that the Bible is more correct than the FSM, it just reinforces the fact that your book’s myth is no better than many other myths out there.

So, care to try again to find a substantive difference between the Bible and the Gospel of the FSM, which should make us more inclined to trust the Bible?

Comment #180850

Posted by Frank J on June 1, 2007 5:54 AM (e)

I guess I have to remind everyone again not to fall in to the trap of “YEC vs. evolution.” FL, Mark and possibly “k” want you to think that “Godless Darwinists” are the problem, while the OEC, FEC, etc., can just get swept under rug. Sorry, if one claims that the evidence supports “Biblical inerrancy,” one needs to confront all the mutually contradictory “literal” interpretations before peddling the tired old false dichotomy. Otherwise one can reasonably be suspected of deliberately trying to mislead.

Comment #180855

Posted by Moses on June 1, 2007 6:58 AM (e)

Comment #180839

Posted by Frank J on June 1, 2007 5:36 AM (e)

Or complete deconversion to “don’t ask, don’t tell” ID.

Funniest think I’ve read in a long time.

Comment #180863

Posted by David Stanton on June 1, 2007 7:38 AM (e)

K,

Thanks for stopping by. Glad to have you join the conversation.

First, you should really read the previous thread to know what we were discussing and with whom. I know it got over 300 posts long, but if you want to follow this conversation I would definately advise it.

Second, no one here is your enemy (I hope). No one here cares if you believe in God or the Bible or not (I hope). This is about science (I hope).

Third, you are correct that there is a difference between sensation and perception. In fact, that is what science is all about. That is why we try to identify our assumptions and test them as rigorously as possible. That is why personal experience does not count as evidence in science. That is why we perform controlled experiments. That is why the intuitive answer is not always correct.

No one is asking you not to believe in God. The question is what do you do with evidence? We have already had at least one example of someone who will not accept any evidence that conflicts with their prior assumptions. Needless to say, that is somewhat of a conversation stopper when it comes to science. If there is an unbroken record of tree ring data that goes back more than 50,000 years and if this record is correlated with other indicators of past climatic conditions and if this result is consistent with the results from ice core data, pollen stratigraphy, magnetic field reversals and all other data sets, what do you do? Do you say the earth is 6,000 years old and the evidence is worthless? Do you say God lied to fool us? Do you say that counting rings is just perception and therefore can be ignored? If so, science cannot help you. If not, there is much to learn.

As Troff pointed out, faith is not strong if it is never tested. Those who refuse to look at the evidence without a prior assumption of Biblical inerrancy simply lack the faith to do so. If your interpretation of the Bible is correct the evidence must bear this out, if it is not, then assuming that it is will lead nowhere.

Comment #180882

Posted by Raging Bee on June 1, 2007 9:06 AM (e)

Roland Deschain wrote:

On what authority/evidence/reason do you assign Biblical verses to be factual or metaphorical[?]

Such judgements are based on personal experience and the usefulness/relevance of the bible text in question. IMHO, the history is unreliable (because these were primitive people and the historians had an agenda); the science is obsolete and beside the authors’ point; and the value of the Bible – or any other “holy book” – comes from the moral/ethical guidance and “life lessons” it offers, not from the niggling details about bats, cud and ancient tribal wars.

For example, most Christian moderates make it quite clear that Genesis is simply a metaphor/analogy/etc etc; but then they go on and say that the resurrection of Jesus is factual.

For starters, the Genesis stuff has been more conclusively disproven than the Resurrection. Second, the Resurrection story is central to Christian doctrine partly because it resonates as a story/analogy of spiritual suffering, death and rebirth; and partly because the whole point of Jesus’ teachings is to lead people to the rebirth he thought we should all strive for. Drop the Genesis stuff and you’d still have the uplifting Resurrection story, and the teachings that go with it; drop the Resurrection story, and (at least for some people) the teachings would be a bit less potent.

On what basis is this distinction made, except the fact that if Jesus’s resurrection proved to be simply a metaphor, Christian faith could not survive in its present form.

Even as a metaphor, the Resurrection has more of a kick than Genesis. Yes, that’s a purely subjective answer, but it’s one a lot of people share, and I’m stickin’ to it.

It is this double of standards of moderates that irks me so.

It’s called the complexity of real life. Get used to it. Religious extremists hate moderates for the same reason – are you sure you want to be seen in such company?

k wrote:

What the verses say (from my interpretation) is that Christ’s message is foolishness in the world’s eyes. What you see as foolish is the very core of my existence, and I know it’s true. I know that’s not very convincing for you, but I’m not trying to convince you. I am merely explaining why I cannot be convinced to agree with you, although I recognize that to you, my explanation will not be logical either.

I, for one, am not asking you to drop your belief in Christ. I am only asking you to recognize that belief in Christ – or any other God(ess) who speaks to your heart – need not force you to reject honest science as a tool for explaining physical events here on Earth. (I’m sure you already understand that belief in Christ does not require you to use the Bible as a tool in crime-scene investigation. Right?) I would also remind you that Christ himself says that belief in him – not in a literal interpretation of Genesis – is what will bring you to God.

…if you don’t know God, how can you judge Him as deceiving?

Ask Mark; he’s the one saying that God created things “in a mature state” so we’d think they were older than they are. We’re the ones disputing that dodge.

Comment #180887

Posted by docwhat on June 1, 2007 9:36 AM (e)

How can the bible be inerrant if it has two different lists for the genealogy of Jesus (Luke 3:23 and Matthew 1:1)?

Ciao!

Comment #180889

Posted by Raging Bee on June 1, 2007 9:44 AM (e)

Nick: Thanks for renewing this thread. Since I didn’t get to reply to Mark on the old thread, and since I find ATBC to be a bit cumbersome (if only because I’m not used to it), I figure I’ll repost my reply here. If that’s too repetitive, or if you find my post too uncivil in tone (I was getting a bit sick of a lot of repeated groundless assertions on Mark’s part), then please delete it and accept my apologies…

Mark: If you’re still willing to continue the discussion, and managed to find your way here, here’s my response to your latest post, which I could not post at PT because that thread had been closed to comments…

…probably the biggest difference between my thinking and many of yours is that I take seriously the claim of the Bible to be a reliable revelation from God.

Wrong again: the difference is that some of us take the Bible as a reliable revelation about a specific, and limited, range of subject-matter, which includes Man’s relationship to God but not natural science; while you seem to take it as an “infallible” source on ALL subject-matter. And as I said before (in a post you continue to ignore), we have good reason to believe that you are misusing the Bible and thus missing the point your God and his prophets are trying to make. And some of us who see this are themselves Christians.

I think my arguments for the existence of God are empirical.

What you “think” is incorrect, however many times you say it. You might as well say “I think the Earth is flat” over and over. Calling your arguments “empirical” does not make them so.

We have, therefore, a deeper philosophical disagreement that undoubtedly affects the way we evaluate things.

Exactly. And our philosophy is BETTER than yours, because ours allows us to observe God’s creation honestly, increase our understanding of it, and get a lot of useful things done; while yours just sticks you into a bubble-verse where you simply discount facts that don’t “fit,” and therefore learn nothing, go nowhere, and refuse to recognize or respect the education and progress of others.

Jesus himself partied with politicians and other sinners, and never made any lame excuses about how he could never get anyone else to see things his way. He also answered people’s questions, even when he knew they were trying to trap him. Can’t you at least try to follow that example? It’s not like we’re about to nail you to anything.

Richard Dawkins seems to agree with this analysis. In The God Delusion, he rejects Gould’s NOMA and argues that the existence of God is a scientific question.

So now you use an atheist’s opinion to validate your own, but you won’t follow the example of your own Savior? That’s just beyond ridiculous.

The Bible’s definition of “chew the cud” is broader than ours and can include rabbits. “Birds” in the Bible is a broader category than our modern one as well–it lumps pretty much all flying creatures together.

In other words, the Bible is vague on scientific and technical matters, because that’s not what its authors wanted to talk about; therefore it cannot be considered reliable, let alone “infallible,” on those subjects. That’s what we’ve been trying to tell you all along.

A lot of times, accusations of biblical error or contradiction stem from a superficial and shallow reading of the text.

And reading the Bible only for its literal meaning, without admitting it might have a more important metaphorical or allegorical message, is about as “superficial and shallow” as it gets. (Notice how you’re going on and on about bats, birds, cud and Genesis, and saying NOTHING AT ALL about the Ten Commandments or the actual words of Jesus? You’re missing the whole point of the Bible!)

“All your arguments are simply ungrounded assertions.” No, they are not. They are based in good logical thinking. They are substantive arguments that need to be dealt with on a deeper level than being merely dismissed without serious consideration…

If you make unfounded assertions without serious consideration on your part, then you should expect those assertions to be dismissed without serious consideration on our part.

Sometimes we get confused dealing with these things because we fail to distinguish what really exists, what must exist, etc., with mathematical ideas or concepts that may be useful mathematically but which cannot exist in the real world.

If such “ideas or concepts” are useful and have real effects in the real world, then, for all practical purposes, they “exist in the real world.”

“Who created God?” No one. God is a self-existent being.

If the Universe can’t be “self-existent,” then how can you be at all sure God can be? This is yet another unfounded assertion that you make to support your own belief. Has anyone made any attempt to prove what can and cannot be “self-existent?”

“You keep saying you don’t understand things and then you say you do.” Like most people, I understand some things and not others. This is not exactly contradictory.

In your case, it is: first you admit you don’t understand the technical issues that underpin our arguments, then you imply that you understand them enough to know we’re wrong.

I am very familiar with biblical exegesis.

Most of my Christian acquaintances, at least one of whom went to a Jesuit high school, would disagree with that assertion.

“The Bible is not a science book.” That is true. It speaks in common-sense and phenomenological terms, rather than in strictly accurate 21st century biological or other scientific language. However, it does make understandable claims that mean something, and my assertion is that it is always right when it does so.

You have repeatedly admitted that the Bible’s language is “imprecise;” therefore it cannot be “always right” on subjects where precision is required. You have just effectively admitted that your “assertion” is wrong.

“A lot of Christians read the Bible differently.” I know. But that doesn’t prove they are right.

And none of this proves you’re right, either. But the fact that those other Christians are more knowledgeable and honest than you, proves that they’re a lot more LIKELY to be right than you are.

Comment #180893

Posted by harold on June 1, 2007 10:05 AM (e)

Roland Deschains -

I would like to make a different set of reading recommendations for Mark Hausam, or any other creationist.

Popularizing books, even very good ones, will never provide in depth enough understanding to root out intensely held biases. Popular books implicitly require some acceptance of the expertise of the author, as by necessity they leave out details.

I recommend a basic textbook in each of the following subjects (see below). I have not provided links, because I don’t wish to seem to endorse any particular bookseller, and these subject terms should easily allow a search for the standard books in the area.

1) Mathematics to the level of someone who has completed a standard freshman university year in science, that is, algebra, trigonometry, and basic calculus.
2) Basic statistics
3) General Chemistry
4) General Phyics
5) General Biology
6) Introductory Genetics
7) Introductory Molecular Biology
8) Introductory Cell Biology
9) Introductory Biochemistry
10)It is not really necessary to read a specific book on “Evolutionary Biology”, since the topic will come up in diverse ways in all the other books, but it obviously an excellent idea.

These would represent a MINIMUM for someone who wishes to think seriously and critically about the theory of evolution.

The bar is much higher for those who “disagree”. I don’t need a PhD in physics to have some general knowledge of the theory of relativity, but if I wished to “deny” it, or seriously consider that it may be “wrong”, I would need to complete a high level of study of it.

Comment #180906

Posted by Mark Hausam on June 1, 2007 10:35 AM (e)

Wow! Our conversation has led to a whole new thread. I was quite surprised when I saw that. Thanks to Nick Matzke for taking the conversation seriously enough to want to help it continue.

I noticed a couple of other creationists have shown up. Hopefully some will join this conversation who have a better idea of the technical scientific points than I do. That has definitely been a weak point in the discussion thus far. I want to learn more, but this sort of a thread is not the place to learn as much as I need to (although it has been helpful as far as it goes). By the way, Nick, I have requested the two books you mentioned through interlibrary loan, so hopefully I will receive them shortly. Thank you again for that recommendation.

OK, my time is limited this morning, so I want to focus on one particular point. I am very interested by the way the whole “appearance of age” idea has been interpreted by evolutionists on this thread (meaning this and the previous thread as a single unit). I find a particular sentence of Nick Matzke’s, from his intro to the new thread, quite intriguing: “Mark has pretty much acknowledged that his belief is based on a literal, inerrant interpretation of the Bible, and that he is willing to invoke miraculous ‘appearance of age’ arguments to explain away physical evidence that conflicts with his interpretation of the Bible.” Now, that is not how I see what I have been doing at all. An important question is, Why do I see what I’ve done so differently than Nick does? I’m betting that this is due to a difference of underlying assumptions.

Here’s what I see happening: I am confronted with the issue of tree rings containing a record going beyond the biblical chronology. I point out that on a six-day creationist model, one would predict an appearance of age or maturity to exist in newly and quickly created things. This is not an ad-hoc argument against evolution, but a natural implication or prediction of the six-day creation model. If God creates a whole world in six days, full of geological phenomena and living creatures, it is quite natural to suppose that these were created in an adult, or mature, form. If I knew nothing about the existence of evolutionary theory, and was concerned to argue with no view at all, I would still expect trees to be created with many tree rings, Adam and Eve to have belly buttons, etc. So I pointed out that this implication of the six-day model would make it impossible to reliably date trees or anything else using tree rings from trees that could have come from before the flood. The mature-creation implication would also raise questions about other dating methods that use rocks, etc. It would raise a lot of questions in general. Therefore, I pointed out that any conclusions based on methods that would have been naturally skewed due to the natural implications of the six-day model cannot be used as evidence against that model. That seems to me a very reasonable statement to make. When you are trying to decide between two theories, which one is true and which is false, you can’t use evidence that would be explained equally on both models. To use an analogy, let’s say you have two people (Dan and Sarah) trying to decide whether their friend Floyd is planning on starting to write his novel today (OK, it’s a weird analogy, but bear with me : )). They both observe Floyd entering an office supply store and leaving with reams of paper. Dan turns to Sarah and says, “There, that proves I’m right! He’s starting his novel today!” Sarah replies, “That doesn’t prove anything. It is equally possible that he has bought the paper today planning to start tomorrow.” My point is that in order to decide between two conflicting theories, you have to find evidence that would be true in one model but wouldn’t be true in the other. To prove an old earth, you have to have evidence that is not equally well-explained on a six-day creation model. That means that anything that would naturally be skewed to show older age due to a mature-creation implication of the six-day model cannot be used as evidence against it, because it would equally be expected on the six-day model. We need evidence that would not be definitely or plausibly true if the world were created as described in Genesis.

Now, that seems like obvious, solid reasoning to me. Why, then, is it dismissed as using “appearance of age” to explain AWAY the physical evidence? I am not interested in explaining anything AWAY, I am just interested in exploring all the valid interpretations of the physical evidence and pointing out what you can and what you can’t legitimately prove from that evidence. However, if, when you begin to compare the two models–naturalistic uniformitarianism and six-day creationism–you start with the a priori assumption that nothing supernatural did or could have occurred, then you would naturaly see what I am doing as explaining away the physical evidence by means of a non-rational or non-objective (i.e. supernatural) personal belief. If, on the other hand, you start with the assumption that the biblical story, supernatural elements and all, at least might be objectively true and a reasonable objective position, you will see why the tree rings cannot be used (at least on their own) as evidence against six-day creationism and why I am not explaining anything away but raising a valid point. So I think Nick’s statement is a good example of arguing in a circle. I am only explaining away physical evidence IF you start with the assumption that my biblical views are wrong or unreasonable as objective truth claims, but this is precisely what is supposed to be proved. It is not logically valid to base one’s argument on one’s conclusion.

My educated guess as to the reason many of you do this is not that you are trying to argue in a circle, but that it is so ingrained in you to think in naturalistic or uniformitarian terms that you have trouble conceiving another way of looking at things. You are not fully aware of your own assumptions and how your philosophical beliefs about whether supernatural revelation can possibly constitute a part of the objective evidence influences your way of looking at the physical evidence. So you automatically assume I am explaining things away when I am actually providing an alternative possible reading of the physical evidence. Whether or not my reading is valid or plausible cannot be determined by the physical evidence itself but depends on the validity of my (and your) deeper philosophical (metaphysical, epistemological) beliefs. This is why our conversation began to get into the issue of the plausibility of the idea of biblical inerrancy, the existence of God, etc.

Now, I want to clear up a misrepresentation of my position that keeps being repeated. I have no intention whatsoever of ignoring any evidence against my position. It is entirely possible, in my opinion, that there should be physical evidence that can only be interpreted in terms of an old-earth model and that cannot be reasonably understood on a biblical model. If such evidence exists, it would create a real problem for my position. It would falsify my belief in biblical inerrancy. I have no intention of ignoring any such evidence. But you have to be self-aware and understand the difference between presenting evidence that truly contradicts my position and evidence that is only contradictory when you start by assuming I am wrong to begin with. The latter is not going to be persuasive to me, for reasons I explained above–and why should it be? The former would be persuasive and I would have no choice but to alter my views in response to it. Does that make sense?

OK, enough for now. Thanks!

Mark

Comment #180915

Posted by Mark Hausam on June 1, 2007 10:48 AM (e)

By the way, just to cut off some of the inevitable accusations to the contrary, I have no intention of avoiding anyone’s claims or questions, although I am only one person with limited time and cannot answer everything everyone says. I intend to focus pretty much on major themes that seem particularly relevant rather than every little point (but if you point out a particualr comment as something you definitely want to me address, I will probably do so–but be explicit). I especially want to deal with Raging Bee’s comments about the Bible not being a science book, other interpretations of the Bible, etc., the next time I get a chance.

Thanks,
Mark

Comment #180916

Posted by Raging Bee on June 1, 2007 10:57 AM (e)

Whether or not my reading is valid or plausible cannot be determined by the physical evidence itself but depends on the validity of my (and your) deeper philosophical (metaphysical, epistemological) beliefs.

This is just a fancy way of saying that facts don’t matter and everyone’s opinions are equally valid because that’s all they are. This is how grade-school kids duck out of a losing argument after their factual assertions have been shown to be wrong. It’s called “crybaby subjectivism.”

It also proves that you’re lying – or at least clueless – when you insist that your reasoning is “empirical.” Did you even look up the meaning of that word before you started using it here?

Since you’ve just said you’re arguing based on “deeper philosophical (metaphysical, epistemological) beliefs,” perhaps you’d like to respond to the points that I and others have made about the foundation for your beliefs: the assumption of Biblical “infallibility.” We’ve raised serious questions about that assumption, based on what the Bible itself says, and you have consistently failed to address them despite having been repeatedly reminded of them.

Comment #180917

Posted by orrg1 on June 1, 2007 10:58 AM (e)

Raging Bee wrote:

For starters, the Genesis stuff has been more conclusively disproven than the Resurrection.

Is this really true? Genesis is disproved based on astronomical, geological, paleontological, and other evidence. There is plenty of scientific evidence as well regarding resurrection. Due to irreversible physiological, biochemical, and other changes, it is impossible for a dead person or other organism to be brought back to life. I can’t see that science would look at all more favorably on one claim than the other, so I consider both disproved.

I agree that

Raging Bee wrote:

drop the Resurrection story, and (at least for some people) the teachings would be a bit less potent

But here you are making exactly the same error made by creationists. In their minds, if biblical inerrancy is false, then the Bible as a whole is invalidated, and the whole structure of morality crumbles. They simply believe in things because they need them to be true. This is completely irrelevant to what is true. The resurrection story isn’t any more true just because it is needed to make Christ’s teachings more compelling. The world and the universe are the way they are, not the way we may wish them to be. We are still very far from complete knowledge of why things are the way they are. But the evidence is very strong if not overwhelming: both the Creation and the Resurrection did not in reality happen.

I know that a common thread in many of your posts is that religion teaches many valuable things, and you shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. I agree with you again, but how much better it would be if the Bible could simply be taken as another compilation of human ruminations on morality, to be critically examined just like any other. Then maybe we would be less persuaded by claims that we go to war to bestow God’s gift of freedom, and generalizing to other “good books”, scripture could not be cravenly cited to convince suicide bombers to blow up innocent people.

We need to jettison the whole idea that “Thou must do” uncritically, whatever, because “it is written”.

Comment #180920

Posted by Tim Hague on June 1, 2007 11:11 AM (e)

Hello Mark,

I’m a bit late to this debate, sorry.

You’re most recent remark contains this:

It is not logically valid to base one’s argument on one’s conclusion.

This is after you have said (amongst many other things):

If God creates a whole world in six days, full of geological phenomena and living creatures, it is quite natural to suppose that these were created in an adult, or mature, form.

You’re argument is based on the conclusion that God created the world in six days. Therefore your own argument is - according to you yourself - not logically valid.

Comment #180922

Posted by FL on June 1, 2007 11:15 AM (e)

.FL, Mark and possibly “k” want you to think that “Godless Darwinists” are the problem, while the OEC, FEC, etc., can just get swept under rug.

Haven’t said a word about any “Godless Darwinists”, Frank J. Maybe we can discuss that topic sometime, if you really want to, but I’ve not ever mentioned any such thing.

Nick Matzke mentioned Dr. Kurt Wise and the “appearance of age” argument. I have a copy of Dr. Wise’s 2002 book, Faith Form and Time.

Like I said earlier, in a couple other forums, the evolutionists seem to be having seriously huge trouble refuting, (or even engaging for that matter), Dr. Wise’s actual statements and examples from his book.

Just ain’t handlin’ it, period. Which, once again, tells me that biblical creationism is far stronger, more reasonable, than what some people wanna admit around here.

So, I’m simply asking the one question I asked earlier. Does any evolutionist here already have a copy of that particular book?
That’s all I’m interested in right at this time.

Comment #180923

Posted by orrg1 on June 1, 2007 11:20 AM (e)

Mark Hausam wrote:

When you are trying to decide between two theories, which one is true and which is false, you can’t use evidence that would be explained equally on both models.

You can’t say evidence is “equally explained by both models” when one model depends on the interlocking results of 5 or 6 different lines of evidence, and would be possibly falsified if they did not all agree,and the other model allows anything to happen, poof!, in the name of “maturity”! I can say with certainty that if science followed this type of model, we would not be conversing over the web today - we would be exchanging stone slabs.

Comment #180925

Posted by djcox12 on June 1, 2007 11:36 AM (e)

On “appearance of age”:

I think that it would be reasonable to assume that a creating entity (God) would create a world with the appearance of age. It would make sense.

Where I get stuck, however, is that it was created with the appearance of “history”. I think there is a difference.

Assume that God created Adam & Eve at, say, 21 years old. They would have the physiology of typical 21 year olds: mature bone structure, etc. That would be the “appearance of age”.

The question is, would they be created with any tell tale signs that they had been alive and well for 21 years - take for instance scars. There is probably not a 21 year old on the planet that does not have a physical scar somewhere on their body from something that has happened in their past. It is a record of their “history”. It is from something specific that happened to them sometime in the past. If Adam had been created with, say, excesss bone growth on his humerus representative of a healed broken arm, would that be a deception on the part of the creator in that he created evidence of an event that never occurred?

The same can be asked about all the other evidence pointing to the long history of the earth/universe (dendochronology, geology, etc.). It is not just that it would have been created with the appearance of *age*, but that it would have been created with the appearance of a single specific *history*. Than single specific history includes 4.5 billion years of earth history - land masses forming and moving, forests growing and dying, whole ecosystems changing, the gamut. So did God create a world/universe with an entire history of things that never really happened?

Of course it can be assumed that God could do whatever he wants, but I think it stretches the limits of credibility.

Comment #180926

Posted by JohnW on June 1, 2007 11:38 AM (e)

Hi Mark,

I’ve arrived late to this discussion and haven’t (yet) gone back through the previous thread. Apologies if my questions have already been addressed.

I’m a little confused by your final paragraph in comment # 180906:

Now, I want to clear up a misrepresentation of my position that keeps being repeated. I have no intention whatsoever of ignoring any evidence against my position. It is entirely possible, in my opinion, that there should be physical evidence that can only be interpreted in terms of an old-earth model and that cannot be reasonably understood on a biblical model. If such evidence exists, it would create a real problem for my position. It would falsify my belief in biblical inerrancy. I have no intention of ignoring any such evidence. But you have to be self-aware and understand the difference between presenting evidence that truly contradicts my position and evidence that is only contradictory when you start by assuming I am wrong to begin with. The latter is not going to be persuasive to me, for reasons I explained above–and why should it be? The former would be persuasive and I would have no choice but to alter my views in response to it. Does that make sense?

Earlier in the same post, you seem to be arguing that any evidence of an old Earth can also be explained by a young Earth created with the appearance of age. If I’m right about your argument, I don’t see what sort of evidence could possibly contradict your position - you’re assuming an omnipotent deity, then asking us to present something which the deity is incapable of doing.

What sort of evidence would, in your opinion, “truly contradict” the young-Earth hypothesis?

Comment #180928

Posted by Abe White on June 1, 2007 11:53 AM (e)

I point out that on a six-day creationist model, one would predict an appearance of age or maturity to exist in newly and quickly created things.

The physical evidence goes well beyond the “appearance of age of maturity”. As the previous poster said, the evidence gives us a complete history. Forgive me if any of these have been addressed in the other thread, but just off the top of my head (and I’m not even a scientist), here are some of the things you’re rejecting:
- Light from distant stars not having time to reach earth.
- A geological record of sedimentation, vulcanism, etc spanning billions of years.
- A huge fossil record of evolving species over hundreds of millions of years.
- DNA studies also showing evolving species over hundreds of millions of years based on known rates of mutation.
- All radiometric dating techniques.
- Ice cores showing seasonal variations over tens of thousands of years.
- The aforementioned tree ring, pollen, etc data.

You have to explain now only why all these lines of evidence are wrong, but why they’re all wrong in the exact same way. Where they overlap, each independent line of evidence correlates with the others. This goes well beyond god creating mature trees and animals in the garden of eden. This is god making damn well sure the earth looks 4 billion year old.

So I, like the previous poster, have to wonder: exactly what physical evidence could possibly convince you that the earth is not just several thousand years old? You’re already willing to reject pretty much everything we know about physics, geology, and biology.

Comment #180933

Posted by CJO on June 1, 2007 12:01 PM (e)

I think two recent comments, by djcox12, and JohnW, get right at what you need to deal with, Mark.

First, if you’re claiming that YEC is a “model” that “accounts for the evidence” as well as models that don’t assume a recent creation ex nihilo, you need to tell us what kind of evidence, what angle of inquiry, if the answer came out a certain way, would disprove your model. The current geological model, which has concluded that the earth is a shade over 4.5 billion years old, has passed this test thousands of times by making risky predictions, doing the spadework to test them, and allowing other researchers to see the results for themselves. If there is not a single line of evidence that would falsify the YE “model,” then it simply isn’t an empirical explanation at all, and all this really is just “explaining away” facts that contradict your narrow and selective reading of scripture.

jgcox’s point is also a good one, and one that I’ve tried to articulate to FL in the past, but not as well. The “appearance of age” is one thing, but the clear appearance of events having occurred on the earth that never could have according to your cosmology is clear evidence that either: you are dead wrong, or you worship a deceptive god. And the clear appearance of events occuring prior to 7,000 ya abounds. There are human-made structures much older than that. There are cave paintings that are 32,000 years old. If nobody painted them, what are they doing there?

Comment #180935

Posted by Raging Bee on June 1, 2007 12:08 PM (e)

In response to my statement:

…drop the Resurrection story, and (at least for some people) the teachings would be a bit less potent

orrg1 replied:

But here you are making exactly the same error made by creationists. In their minds, if biblical inerrancy is false, then the Bible as a whole is invalidated, and the whole structure of morality crumbles.

Sorry, but you’re wrong there – I’m not making that mistake. I did not say that losing the Resurrection story would “invalidate” anyone’s morality; I merely said it would make the message “less potent” for “some people.” Is my English not clear enough?

…but how much better it would be if the Bible could simply be taken as another compilation of human ruminations on morality, to be critically examined just like any other.

Religious moderates – whom people like Roland diss with little if any “critical examination” – have been doing exactly that, every day, since the Reformation, if not earlier. Where have you been? This is what has allowed us to embrace the good bits of various holy texts and reject the more extreme and idiotic human interpretations thereof. Just because we don’t all agree with you, or haven’t yet built the utopia you dream of, doesn’t mean we haven’t done anything.

Comment #180939

Posted by Dave Mescher on June 1, 2007 12:14 PM (e)

A problem with “appearance of age” arguments is how you would go about testing it.

How do you go about independently corroborating the date the counterfeit age was made?

Last-Thursday-ism produces the exact same results as 6000 year “appearance-of-age” YECism, including the notion that all the evidence that indicates anything prior is all counterfeit.

Comment #180944

Posted by Jim Wynne on June 1, 2007 12:25 PM (e)

Abe White wrote:

So I, like the previous poster, have to wonder: exactly what physical evidence could possibly convince you that the earth is not just several thousand years old? You’re already willing to reject pretty much everything we know about physics, geology, and biology.

When one’s argument assumes its conclusions, there is no physical evidence that can change the conclusions. While Mark has averred that arguments that assume their conclusions equal faulty reasoning, his entire argument is built on that shaky foundation. This indicates that there is something other than intellectual examination of arguments going on, which is typical creationist behavior. The dissonance doesn’t permit sober evaluation of evidence, so there’s not much point in arguing, except for the purpose of educating lurkers, many of whom might be legitimately on the fence.

There’s something in dedicated creationists that’s akin to paranoid schizophrenia. The great problem in treating some schizophrenics is that they seem unable to understand that they’re ill. Even when medication has ameliorated or even ended delusional thinking and hallucinations, schizophrenics will still insist that there’s nothing wrong with them, thus getting them to take their meds is an unending challenge. In their “worldview,” they are simply not ill, and see no reason to take any medication, and often do so only to humor their caretakers. Some creationists simply can’t see that they’re wrong, and no amount of evidence to the contrary can convince them otherwise. They will make up all sorts of stories to explain away the evidence, will even go to the point of seeming to understand the rules of logical discourse even while they violate the rules at every turn.

I think creationism, in its most virulent form, is a symptom of mental illness. Logic and reasoning are no match for sincerely-held delusional beliefs.

Comment #180945

Posted by David Stanton on June 1, 2007 12:26 PM (e)

djcox12 wrote:

“I think that it would be reasonable to assume that a creating entity (God) would create a world with the appearance of age. It would make sense. Where I get stuck, however, is that it was created with the appearance of “history”. I think there is a difference.”

I completely agree. Not only does the earth have the “appearance of age” but it has exactly the appearance that one would expect if descent with modification occured over billions of years. Not only are all of the data sets correlated, but there are other types of data that can only be interpreted as God lying if the earth is only 6,000 years old.

For example, I previously directed Mark to the Talkorigins archive which contains an article on whale retroviral transposons. These genetic elements insert randomly into virtually millions of possible sites in genomes and then persist through millions of years. They cause insertional mutagenesis which is a mistake that can inactivate a gene. This leads to decreased fitness and an increased probability of death and disease. The exact same mistakes are found in cetaceans and their terrestrial ancestors. So, did God copy the mistakes? Why? To fool us? Either descent with modification is true or God is lying on purpose in order to try to fool us into thinking that descent with modification is true.

When confronted with such evidence regarding the vitamin C gene, Mark made some hand-waving argument and falied to respond to any of those who criticized it. Abe White and others make a very good point. If you can just dismiss such evidence, what possible evidence would be acceptable? Why claim to be interested in evidence and then set up a scenario where evidence cannnot possibly matter? The only reason I can see is that you know you are dead wrong and don’t want to admit it. That is where the evidence leads in this case.

Comment #180952

Posted by Mike Elzinga on June 1, 2007 12:33 PM (e)

Since anyone with common sense can see that the world was created at the beginning of this thread, everything in the fossil record called the “previous thread” is just an illusion of age.

Mark cannot use any of the arguments posted there by a fossil named “Mark” because it was all created so quickly it had to have the appearance of age.

So if Mark wants to use any of those fossil arguments, he has to demonstrate to us that this thread evolved from that one.

Comment #180954

Posted by Mike Elzinga on June 1, 2007 12:37 PM (e)

There seems to be a problem posting. Sorry if this appears more than once.

Since anyone with common sense can see that the world was created at the beginning of this thread, everything in the fossil record called the “previous thread” is just an illusion of age.

Mark cannot use any of the arguments posted there by a fossil named “Mark” because it was all created so quickly it had to have the appearance of age.

So if Mark wants to use any of those fossil arguments, he has to demonstrate to us that this thread evolved from that one.

Comment #180955

Posted by Mike Elzinga on June 1, 2007 12:41 PM (e)

Apparently the universe keeps reinitializing with each attempt to post.

Comment #180956

Posted by Frank J on June 1, 2007 12:42 PM (e)

FL wrote:

Haven’t said a word about any “Godless Darwinists”, Frank J. Maybe we can discuss that topic sometime, if you really want to, but I’ve not ever mentioned any such thing.

Nick Matzke mentioned Dr. Kurt Wise and the “appearance of age” argument. I have a copy of Dr. Wise’s 2002 book, Faith Form and Time.

Like I said earlier, in a couple other forums, the evolutionists seem to be having seriously huge trouble refuting, (or even engaging for that matter), Dr. Wise’s actual statements and examples from his book.

You may not have used the specific term “Godless Darwinists,” but you say yet again above that “evolutionists” have trouble refuting YEC. And yet again you still make no mention of OECs having trouble refuting YEC. If YEC had anything going for it, OEC would be in just as big trouble as evolution. And there would be no need for the ID strategy.

Comment #180957

Posted by Raging Bee on June 1, 2007 12:43 PM (e)

I think creationism, in its most virulent form, is a symptom of mental illness.

It is, at the very least, a symptom of unwillingness to face reality or take responsibility. Preaching about Genesis, rather than Jesus, and calling scientists “atheists” and “anti-God” is, for a lot of people, a means of pretending to be wise without learning anything or questioning one’s own thoughts; blaming an evil “other” for one’s own problems or failings; and pretending to be righteous without making any of the sacrifices necessary to follow the path of righteous priorities and conduct. Many of these self-proclaimed Christian creationists are the least Christian people I’ve ever encountered.

Comment #180959

Posted by FL on June 1, 2007 12:50 PM (e)

I think creationism, in its most virulent form, is a symptom of mental illness.

Gotta love these online armchair psychological assessments, if only for the comic relief….

Comment #180961

Posted by S. C. Hartman on June 1, 2007 12:55 PM (e)

Mark’s hopeful attachment to a miraculous creation story sounds like the awe a little child feels on seeing the fully decorated Christmas tree on Christmas morning where there was none the night before, taking this a proof of Santa’s existence. Didn’t Mommy and Daddy tell him Santa would come and decorate the tree?
If this trivializes Mark’s religious beliefs, it is no more a trivialization than his take on the body of science he so desperately finds it necessary to challenge. If he has no qualms about compacting a few tens of thousands of dendridological years into a day’s worth of creation, then I’m sure it’s only slightly more difficult to stuff 13 billion years of cosmological time into one day. Background radiation? H/He/D/Li ratios? Red shifts? Metallicities of evolved stars? Galactic positions and clustering? All cast in one day by a supernatural Trickster on a stage designed to fool silly scientists into believing that there was some underlying logic to it and entertaining the conceit that they could figure it all out by slicing away with Occam’s razor.
Guys, give up on Mark. You’re wasting your time and a lot of bandwidth. He’ll go to his grave believing this clap-trap, because if he doesn’t he’s afraid of where he may be spending eternity.

Comment #180964

Posted by GuyeFaux on June 1, 2007 1:01 PM (e)

…but there are other types of data that can only be interpreted as God lying if the earth is only 6,000 years old.

This sounds a bit harsher than it needs to be, like a child accusing his parents after finding out that, in fact, there is no Easter Bunny. Perhaps a better way to deal with this (and with Last-Thursdayism) is to consider that creating a Universe in six days with the appearance of billions of years of history is a hell of a lot more impressive than creating a Universe sans history. Not to mention, even if you believe that the history is artificial, it’s still part of God’s creation and thus worth believing for what it is: part of God’s plan.

I think looking at it this way would help the deeply religious.

Comment #180967

Posted by Morris Hattrick on June 1, 2007 1:15 PM (e)

Mark Hausam wrote:

I am confronted with the issue of tree rings containing a record going beyond the biblical chronology. I point out that on a six-day creationist model, one would predict an appearance of age or maturity to exist in newly and quickly created things. This is not an ad-hoc argument against evolution, but a natural implication or prediction of the six-day creation model. If God creates a whole world in six days, full of geological phenomena and living creatures, it is quite natural to suppose that these were created in an adult, or mature, form. If I knew nothing about the existence of evolutionary theory, and was concerned to argue with no view at all, I would still expect trees to be created with many tree rings, Adam and Eve to have belly buttons, etc.

If I read you correctly, you are attempting to argue that you are not envoking the “appearance of age” argument.

However, your argument is faulty because tree rings are not a function of a tree’s maturity or it’s “adulthood” (if such a word can be applicable to a tree), but is a function of its specific history. They are caused solely by the differences in light, nutrients and water resources available for growth throughout the year. Stop the progression of the seasons and provide steady nutrition and water, and you would have uniformity in the wood, without ringing. Thus, the presence of rings is not an indicator of biogical maturation, but of the tree’s actual history.

Thus, unless one is invoking a miraculous “appearance of age”, there is nothing in the six-day “model” from which one would expect tree rings, especially trees with ring patterns which are consistent with other neithboring trees that share its environment.

Comment #180968

Posted by Richard Simons on June 1, 2007 1:24 PM (e)

I noticed a couple of other creationists have shown up. Hopefully some will join this conversation who have a better idea of the technical scientific points than I do.

Mark: I think you will find that creationists do not have a good idea of technical scientific points. There are some who superficially seem to have a good understanding but unfortunately it breaks down when you closely examine their claims.

To prove an old earth, you have to have evidence that is not equally well-explained on a six-day creation model… We need evidence that would not be definitely or plausibly true if the world were created as described in Genesis.

This is why your version of Creationism can’t possibly rise to the status of a theory. There is no conceivable thing that could not be explained as ‘God did it that way’, just as there is no possible way to demonstrate that the world was not created last Thursday.

Comment #180979

Posted by Jim Wynne on June 1, 2007 1:34 PM (e)

FL wrote:

Gotta love these online armchair psychological assessments, if only for the comic relief….

In other words, “Why should I take the meds if there’s nothing wrong with me? The voices Jebus says I’m just fine.”

Comment #180980

Posted by Nick (Matzke) on June 1, 2007 1:35 PM (e)

However, your argument is faulty because tree rings are not a function of a
tree’s maturity or it’s “adulthood” (if such a word can be applicable to a
tree), but is a function of its specific history. They are caused solely
by the differences in light, nutrients and water resources available for
growth throughout the year. Stop the progression of the seasons and
provide steady nutrition and water, and you would have uniformity in the
wood, without ringing. Thus, the presence of rings is not an indicator of
biogical maturation, but of the tree’s actual history.

This is quite true. Trees in the tropics are famously difficult to use in paleoclimate studies etc. because the rings are erratic or non-existent. Some parts of the tropics have an annual wet-dry cycle but this is not nearly as dramatic as the summer-winter cycle present at high latitudes.

And really, Mark’s problem is even worse, because if he believes the literal interpreation of the Bible, the Flood was 4,000 years ago and would have killed any trees that were given “appearance of age” during the creation 6,000 years ago. But we have (as he admits) overlapping live and dead bristlecone pine tree rings going back to 10,000+ years ago. So I guess he has to postulate a second appearance of age event after the Flood. No problem once you allow miracles, of course. Me, I’m going with Queen Mauve and Last Thursday.

(ditto for layers in glaciers BTW, this has to be post-Flood appearance of age)

Comment #180996

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 1, 2007 2:52 PM (e)

Gotta love these online armchair psychological assessments, if only for the comic relief….

armchair, huh?

guess you don’t read Science.

doesn’t surprise me.

Comment #180999

Posted by Mike Elzinga on June 1, 2007 3:00 PM (e)

The loss of short-term memory or, alternatively, the onset of Alzheimer’s disease has some relevance to the Thursdayism problem.

Keeping a notebook and trying to remember to look at it regularly raises some interesting issues that I am sure Mark hasn’t thought about.

How does one in such a state know the writings pertain to him/her? How would one “prove” it? What detailed evidence would one want to have? If the intervals between writing and consulting the writings become more extended, where is the cut-off point where certainty evaporates? Who is one to believe about these writings?

In fact, one doesn’t even have to use the loss of short-term memory to do this exercise. If the brain and memory are being updated from moment to moment, how is one to know that one’s existence and memories haven’t just been created and that nothing existed before a given instant?

What if everything in one’s world is a figment of one’s imagination (extreme solipsism)? How does one decide whether or not that is true? What test could one do? What test would one be willing to do?

Mark is on a soapbox, so don’t expect any direct answers to any substantial questions posed to him by anyone.

Comment #181003

Posted by Raging Bee on June 1, 2007 3:07 PM (e)

Gotta love these online armchair psychological assessments…

When the loonies go out of their way to inflict their mindsets on our schools, our churches, our politics, our military, our media, our laws, and our news, we really don’t have to leave our armchairs to see how sick they are.

Comment #181005

Posted by entlord on June 1, 2007 3:14 PM (e)

Just noting that it has been asserted that no one had ever refuted Dr. Kurt Wise. Since the gentleman’s book embraces such ideas as “floating” forests, “catastrophic plate tectonics” and “baraminology”, does it really even warrant any serious discussion?

Comment #181007

Posted by Raging Bee on June 1, 2007 3:22 PM (e)

For Mark’s benefit, here’s some quotes from another Christian, St. Augustine of Hippo, on the subject of alleged literal Biblical inerrancy:

It not infrequently happens that something about the earth, about the sky, about other elements of this world, about the motion and rotation or even the magnitude and distances of the stars, about definite eclipses of the sun and moon, about the passage of years and seasons, about the nature of animals, of fruits, of stones, and of other such things, may be known with the greatest certainty by reasoning or by experience, even by one who is not a Christian. It is too disgraceful and ruinous, though, and greatly to be avoided, that he [the non-Christian] should hear a Christian speaking so idiotically on these matters, and as if in accord with Christian writings, that he might say that he could scarcely keep from laughing when he saw how totally in error they are. In view of this and in keeping it in mind constantly while dealing with the book of Genesis, I have, insofar as I was able, explained in detail and set forth for consideration the meanings of obscure passages, taking care not to affirm rashly some one meaning to the prejudice of another and perhaps better explanation.

– The Literal Interpretation of Genesis 1:19–20, Chapt. 19 [AD 408]

With the scriptures it is a matter of treating about the faith. For that reason, as I have noted repeatedly, if anyone, not understanding the mode of divine eloquence, should find something about these matters [about the physical universe] in our books, or hear of the same from those books, of such a kind that it seems to be at variance with the perceptions of his own rational faculties, let him believe that these other things are in no way necessary to the admonitions or accounts or predictions of the scriptures. In short, it must be said that our authors knew the truth about the nature of the skies, but it was not the intention of the Spirit of God, who spoke through them, to teach men anything that would not be of use to them for their salvation.

– ibid, 2:9

Comment #181010

Posted by Mike Elzinga on June 1, 2007 3:31 PM (e)

FL wrote:

Gotta love these online armchair psychological assessments, if only for the comic relief….

At least a couple of people here pointed you to the article in Science magazine that got this and the previous thread going. You need to read it before making such a comment. There is more going on here than you know.

Comment #181012

Posted by Mike Elzinga on June 1, 2007 3:32 PM (e)

FL wrote:

Gotta love these online armchair psychological assessments, if only for the comic relief….

At least a couple of people here pointed you to the article in Science magazine that got this and the previous thread going. You need to read it before making such a comment. There is more going on here than you know.

Comment #181015

Posted by David Stanton on June 1, 2007 3:37 PM (e)

GuyeFaux,

I wrote:

“ …there are other types of data that can only be interpreted as God lying if the earth is only 6,000 years old.”

Perhaps you are right. Perhaps that was stated too harshly. However, the challenge here is to find some type of evidence that cannot be explained by “God just did it that way”. If there is to be any such evidence, then it seems that one must attribute some characteristics to the creator. It seemed to me that honesty was the place to start. If you want to believe in a deceitful God, I suppose that is your perogative. However, that would nullify the infallability of the Bible argument.

Perhaps a less harsh way of putting it might be: well if God really wants us to believe that the earth is billions of years old and evolution really occured, we should just go along with it. Why argue with God? After all, it was her idea in the first place. If she didn’t want us to believe it, she wouldn’t have created the appearance of age and history, complete with genetic mistakes due to historical contingency, all completely consistent with descent with modification.

Comment #181017

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 1, 2007 3:39 PM (e)

There is more going on here than you know.

I call that the understatement of the week.

Comment #181018

Posted by Mike Elzinga on June 1, 2007 3:44 PM (e)

Mark Hausam wrote:

If such evidence exists, it would create a real problem for my position. It would falsify my belief in biblical inerrancy. I have no intention of ignoring any such evidence. But you have to be self-aware and understand the difference between presenting evidence that truly contradicts my position and evidence that is only contradictory when you start by assuming I am wrong to begin with. The latter is not going to be persuasive to me, for reasons I explained above–and why should it be? The former would be persuasive and I would have no choice but to alter my views in response to it. Does that make sense?

That’s about as airtight as one can get. Yeah, we all got it. And many people said it better than you did.

Now look in the mirror.

Comment #181024

Posted by GuyeFaux on June 1, 2007 3:59 PM (e)

If she didn’t want us to believe it, she wouldn’t have created the appearance of age and history, complete with genetic mistakes due to historical contingency, all completely consistent with descent with modification.

Absolutely, and this time God isn’t lying in Genesis. In fact, the evidence that She didn’t leave any “marks” 6 kya is just a testament to His power.

Another point here is that there is utility in making the Universe look old. It gives It(I’m through switching pronouns, I’m sticking with Him) so much more space to tell a story than a smallish text.

Comment #181028

Posted by Kevin Kirkpatrick on June 1, 2007 4:28 PM (e)

Morris Hattrick wrote:

However, your argument is faulty because tree rings are not a function of a tree’s maturity or it’s “adulthood” (if such a word can be applicable to a tree), but is a function of its specific history. They are caused solely by the differences in light, nutrients and water resources available for growth throughout the year. Stop the progression of the seasons and provide steady nutrition and water, and you would have uniformity in the wood, without ringing. Thus, the presence of rings is not an indicator of biogical maturation, but of the tree’s actual history.

Another way to think of this: were Adam and Eve created with memories of childhood romps through the garden of Eden? If, as you say, tree creation follows the same model as Adam’s and Eve’s creation (“creation with appearance of age”), on what grounds would you expect trees to be created with tree ring patterns reflecting droughts, forest fires, and other events which never occured?

Comment #181036

Posted by Nick (Matzke) on June 1, 2007 5:02 PM (e)

Another way to think of this: were Adam and Eve created with memories of childhood romps through the garden of Eden? If, as you say, tree creation follows the same model as Adam’s and Eve’s creation (“creation with appearance of age”), on what grounds would you expect trees to be created with tree ring patterns reflecting droughts, forest fires, and other events which never occured?

Good point.

Comment #181037

Posted by Stuart Weinstein on June 1, 2007 5:11 PM (e)

Mark writes:
“OK, my time is limited this morning, so I want to focus on one particular point. I am very interested by the way the whole “appearance of age” idea has been interpreted by evolutionists on this thread (meaning this and the previous thread as a single unit). I find a particular sentence of Nick Matzke’s, from his intro to the new thread, quite intriguing: “Mark has pretty much acknowledged that his belief is based on a literal, inerrant interpretation of the Bible, and that he is willing to invoke miraculous ‘appearance of age’ arguments to explain away physical evidence that conflicts with his interpretation of the Bible.” Now, that is not how I see what I have been doing at all. An important question is, Why do I see what I’ve done so differently than Nick does? I’m betting that this is due to a difference of underlying assumptions.”

The “appearance of age” is not a testable proposition. What evidence could
lead you to conclude that the Earth was not created with the appearance of age?

Comment #181061

Posted by qetzal on June 1, 2007 6:09 PM (e)

Raging Bee wrote:

qetzal: As I’ve said before, the Bible does not contain “errors” so much as it contains imprecise language about subjects that are not the authors’ primary concern. The Bible is sloppy about “flying animals” and “cud” because the authors were busy trying to tell us about something else entirely: God’s will toward Man. The “errors” are committed by people like Mark, who insist that the Bible is an inerrant and infallible source on subjects its authors didn’t care about at all.

Here’s another example: If I were to say “Terrorists must be hunted to the far corners of the Earth,” this would not be a geographical error, because I’m not talking about geography, and anyone who knows English would understand that my reference to a flat Earth with “corners” was merely a rhetorical device. If you were to call me a flat-Earther, I would point out that you were making the “error” of missing the point of what I was trying to say. People like Mark and the AIG crowd are making this mistake with the entire Bible.

I agree with your overall point here. There’s no reason to expect the Bible to be inerrant on empirical matters. Furthermore, the existence of empirical inaccuracies doesn’t mean the Bible is of no value.

However, I’m perplexed by your quibble that the Bible doesn’t contain errors, just imprecise language. Your geography analogy is not a propos. A better one is if you were to say “Terrorists must be hunted across every continent on Earth, including the Arctic.” Obviously, your point in this case would be about hunting terrorists, but you would still be erring to include the Arctic as a continent.

The fact remains that saying bats are birds is erroneous. It may be inconsequential to the meaning of the passage, but it’s still an error, and it’s one proof (among many) that the Bible is not inerrant in all its versions.

Comment #181073

Posted by Doc Bill on June 1, 2007 7:00 PM (e)

Although this is not my kind of thread, I will make one comment in light of Ken Ham’s museum opening this week because I think it has some bearing. Ken Ham has said that one must read the Bible literally. One must not interpret the Bible, rather one must view the world through Bible glasses.

However, Ken Ham and all creationists have fallen into their own trap. They have reinterpreted the Bible leading to all this confusion.

When the Bible was written, what did the authors know about the real world? It was mostly flat. It didn’t move. The sun rose and set. Floods happened. There were no kangaroos or plate tectonics. No Mount Everest. There were a limited number of animals to their knowledge: ass, goat, cow, crocodile, etc. A large ark would certainly hold them. There were giants and things that went bump in the night.

Thus, the mythology they constructed, the authors of the Bible, fit their known world and it all hung together somewhat nicely.

Now, here comes Science and suddenly the Earth moves and the Sun doesn’t, there are a hell of a lot more animals, and dinosaurs and all sorts of stuff, and lots and lots of knowledge from all fields of study that fly in the face of the mythology.

What to do?

Well, one could say that “it makes sense” that God created the world to look old but, no, it doesn’t make sense at all! It makes no sense. What is God, a distressed furniture manufacturer?

Ken Ham, representing creationists, couldn’t ignore the dinosaurs. As he said, they’re here. So, he reinterpreted the Bible and stuck them into the Garden of Eden. And so it goes. Wheels upon wheels upon wheels to “justify” the mythology in light of new knowledge.

The authors of the Bible wrote the mythology as they saw it, but, alas, reality was quite different.

Therefore, creationist, you have a choice. You can try to twist the torrent of modern knowledge to fit a 2000-year old mythology as best you can, curse the darkness, and wait for the next scientific shoe to drop……or you can accept that the Universe is what it is and that men created the Bible and the mythology and build your new house from that foundation. God didn’t create man. Man created God. And when you look at the world through those glasses everything falls into place. In fact, if you listen you’ll hear a little “click.”

Regards,
Doc Bill

Comment #181075

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 1, 2007 7:20 PM (e)

What is God, a distressed furniture manufacturer?

LOL.

Comment #181076

Posted by Mike Elzinga on June 1, 2007 7:25 PM (e)

Mark Hausam wrote:

But you have to be self-aware and understand the difference between presenting evidence that truly contradicts my position and evidence that is only contradictory when you start by assuming I am wrong to begin with.

If you had ever read any history of the development of science, you would know that your position was not assumed to be wrong. Western civilization was immersed in your world view throughout the Middle Ages.

As overwhelming evidence began to accumulate, people were forced to conclude that your story didn’t hold up. It all pointed to what science knows today. Additional evidence from the study of the history and relationships among religions provided further evidence that the early believers got it wrong, not only about the universe, but about much of their own history.

Are you suggesting that you have some greater insights that refute all the data that you haven’t studied, refute all the scientific evidence and theories you haven’t learned, refute all the historical knowledge about religious development that you choose to ignore?

It is beginning to look as though you can make your arguments based only on the fact that you know nothing else and don’t think you need to know anything else because you already know that everything else is wrong for reasons that you can’t even demonstrate.

You are certainly free to do this, but don’t use political activity to interfere with the educations of others who want to learn as much as they can. Otherwise you are no different from the street gangs that beat up on kids returning home with books under their arms.

What possible reason do you have for wanting to prevent others from learning things you don’t know and don’t care to know? We know about proselytizing. Do you claim to know more about the mind of god than the people who don’t hold you sectarian views? If you do, what evidence can you provide?

Comment #181111

Posted by Raging Bee on June 1, 2007 10:10 PM (e)

qetzal: you’re right – I said the Bible didn’t contain errors, when I should have said its errors didn’t pertain to the Bible’s primary subject and objective. In either case, people like Mark are compounding old human errors by refusing to admit them.

Comment #181175

Posted by Robert King on June 2, 2007 2:24 AM (e)

Mark,

Let’s take your argument as it stands - that God created everything in 6 days and in such a way that it would appear to have not only age but history. So a mature tree would have lots of rings, etc. I’ll not even focus on the arguments presented above about why these rings would have variations.

You ask for a way to discrminate between this idea and what I’ll call, for simpicity, the scientific theory of origins.

There is a simple way; the 6-day argument predicts that modern mammals co-existed with dinosaurs, trilobites, etc. Finding evidence that dinsoaurs and humans co-existed would discriminate between the two “theories.” There i sno such evidence and, actually, evidence against it.

Isotope dating methods would give essentially the same age for large mammals and dinosaurs - whatever that age might be. If you postulate that God made dinosaurs look like they existed long before humans then that is last thursdayism. Your argument that God simply gave them a history is only reasonable provided that God did it honestly in the sense that all critters and vegetation got basically the same history. It seems unreasonable for God to make it look like dinosaurs existed ~ 65 million years before humans.

Comment #181178

Posted by Chris Andrews on June 2, 2007 3:51 AM (e)

Mark,

Let’s accept that bible is the inerrant word of god. While the bible may be inerrant, its readers are not. It’s clear through history that many factions have disagreed about the meaning of the bible to the point of extreme violence - there are many obvious examples, so I’ll spare you that. In fact, I submit that any intelligent, rational person reading the bible cover to cover would disagree on the meaning of many passages with another intelligent, rational person reading the bible cover to cover. Ignoring the possibility of the intelligent designer stepping in to create two people with the same brain, it’s a fair guess that no two people have ever read the bible the same way during its entire history.

The bible may be inerrant, but people are not. Now, it’s possible that you’ve personally stumbled upon THE correct interpretation, but any humble person (and the bible expects us to be humble) must entertain the idea that he’s a wee bit off base. So then, does it not make sense to fall back on secondary, more tangible sources (that is, science) to patch over a few of the potentially rough spots in your interpretation?

I find it hard to believe that god prefers there to be billions of mini-interpretations of his word rather than expect his people to use the powers of observation and reason that they’ve been blessed with.

Comment #181200

Posted by Moses on June 2, 2007 7:56 AM (e)

Comment #180957

Posted by Raging Bee on June 1, 2007 12:43 PM (e)

I think creationism, in its most virulent form, is a symptom of mental illness.

It is, at the very least, a symptom of unwillingness to face reality or take responsibility. Preaching about Genesis, rather than Jesus, and calling scientists “atheists” and “anti-God” is, for a lot of people, a means of pretending to be wise without learning anything or questioning one’s own thoughts; blaming an evil “other” for one’s own problems or failings; and pretending to be righteous without making any of the sacrifices necessary to follow the path of righteous priorities and conduct. Many of these self-proclaimed Christian creationists are the least Christian people I’ve ever encountered.

It’s a different brand of Christianity, perhaps, than you’d like to endorse as Christianity; one that is repellent and repugnant to people with internal moral development. But it’s “Christian.” That is, they believe in the basics of Christianity - salvation and rebirth through the sacrifice of their dying-god mythology.

Comment #181204

Posted by Moses on June 2, 2007 8:37 AM (e)

What the heck, I’ll through my hat in the ring because I’m bored this morning:

Lots of people like to use “scientific inaccuracies” when dealing with creationists. I go about it more along the historical inaccuracies & contradictions:

Matthew 2:13: The author describes the family fleeing to Egypt. No record of this is seen in Luke. It was apparently added to the gospel in order to match the prophecy in Hosea 11:1 that the Messiah must come out of Egypt.

Luke 2:39: Luke describes them as going directly from Bethlehem to Nazareth. This conflicts with Matthew’s account which has them fleeing to Egypt and only returning after Herod died. At least one of these accounts must be wrong.

This is classic error which is usually explained away, though the explanation is an obvious gloss-over.

Matthew 2:23: Joseph and Mary bypassed Judea and settled in Nazareth. The prophecy that “He will be called a Nazarene” does not exist in the Hebrew Scriptures.

Another error. In this one, Jesus is claimed to have fulfilled a prophecy. However, the prophecy doesn’t exist.

Matthew 1:1: The author traces Jesus’ genealogy from Abraham. He lists Jacob as being Jesus’ grandfather. This conflicts with Luke, who lists Eli. Jesus’ line is traced through Solomon, son of David. Luke traces the Messianic line through Nathan, son of David. The author lists 28 generations between David and Jesus; Luke says it was 41.

Luke 3:38: As noted above, Luke’s genealogy cannot be reconciled with Matthew’s.

You’ll note Luke is quite forceful that HIS genealogy is the correct one. Take THAT Matthew!!! Biblical PWNAGE!!!!

Matthew 1:22: The author cites a passage in an ancient Greek translation of Isaiah. The translation was an error: it substituted “virgin” for “young woman.” Matthew and Luke probably felt compelled to go along with the expectation that Jesus’ mother was a virgin.

One of my favorites, the Messiah had many tests, none of them being born of a virgin. However, he was supposed to be the child of a young woman. Ironically the translation error elevates Mary to the role of Asheroth (God’s wife) who is being suppressed (with God’s children) during the religious reconciliation of the Israel and Judea that starts at about 1200 BCE. In fact, the combination of Israel and Judea is a wonderful read and is becoming more and more detailed as field archaeologists unearth more and more of the historical underpinnings of the “holy land.” How two vastly different religions were merged over a process of centuries and the vast changes in the religious structures as the polytheistic Jews (El) from the lands of Israel and the monotheistic Jews (Yahweh) from Judea. Anyway, back to inerrancy:

Matthew 2:1: The story of the Magi coming to Palestine to give homage to the King of the Jews appears to have been freely adapted from the story of Mithra’s birth. He was mythical Persian savior, also allegedly born of a virgin on DEC-25, who was worshiped many centuries before Jesus’ birth.

I would also point people to the birth, life and death of Krishna and of Mithras to see the origins of the various myths that surround Jesus. I would also remind people that, in fact, peoples and ideas were not static in those days. That they, and their beliefs, tended to migrate and be adopted to fit local cultural conditions.

I could go on, as these are the tip of the iceberg. But, suffice it to say, that the Bible is woefully inaccurate and self-contradictory. In no way, shape or form can a human with a reasonable competency in judgement assert that the Bible is without error when the bible is held up in full.

Comment #181207

Posted by FL on June 2, 2007 8:44 AM (e)

Okay. Given the following claim by Jim Wynne:

I think creationism, in its most virulent form, is a symptom of mental illness.

This is just plain online armchair psychology, unsupported and unprofessional. But a couple of you are claiming that there’s an article in Science magazine that also makes this same claim.

So, just to be a good sport, I’ve googled for this claim. I’ve clicked on a link or two. But now, I’m done googling and clicking.
Somebody please quote me where Jim Wynne’s gratuitous insult appears in Science magazine.

In fact, would one of you evolutionists do me a favor and show me where Wynne’s claim appears in, uhhh, DSM-IV, (which is considered to be the authoritative scientific source for deciding what is a mental illness and what is not.)

(But since I already know that you’re unable to do that, just quote me where Wynne’s claim appears in Science magazine.)

If you were talking about Bloom and Weisberg’s “Adult Resistance…” review article in Science, I do not see Wynne’s claim in there. Please show me.

Or, in the alternative, just go ahead and admit that Wynne’s insult is nothing more than unsupported two-bit armchair psychology.

Comment #181232

Posted by FL on June 2, 2007 10:07 AM (e)

I want to learn more, but this sort of a thread is not the place to learn as much as I need to (although it has been helpful as far as it goes). By the way, Nick, I have requested the two books you mentioned through interlibrary loan, so hopefully I will receive them shortly. Thank you again for that recommendation.

Well, you’re correct in that this thread (or any other PT thread) is honestly NOT the place for a non-Darwinist to begin or increase their learning concerning the topics of evolution, creation, and intelligent design.

(The exception would be, well, regarding book recommendations. As you can see, the resident evolutionists don’t mind offering such, and that’s helpful.)

But otherwise, you’d do much beter to simply do your evolution study with the TalkOrigins FAQ, visiting your local library/bookstore, and checking out the books recommended to you, (as indeed you’re already in the process of checking out.)

I have found that it’s also helpful to go visit your local high school and university and ask to borrow or buy their biology and/or evolution textbooks, and to take a class on the subject if possible.

But even then, as you can see from this thread, you will NOT be given any book recommendations from these evolutionists, regarding specific non-Darwinist authors and books that the evolutionists have trouble dealing with (such as Dr. Wise’s 2002 book Faith, Form, and Time.)
You’re only going to get half the story from the evolutionists, at best.

Here’s another example of that, btw: Frank J recommended Ken Miller’s Finding Darwin’s God to you, and I’d have to agree on that one. But he said nothing about Dembski and Ruse’s recent book Debating Design in which Michael Behe cogently responds to Miller (you can also find some Behe responses to Miller’s claims at the Access Research Network website).
Nor were you told about Jed Macosko’s review of Miller: http://www.iscid.org/papers/Macosko_BR_MillersKi…

***********

So, all I’m saying is, just be aware. Definitely learn all you can from the evolutionists, and there IS much to learn.
But search out even more thoroughly, more frequently, to learn from non-Darwinists of all flavors (YEC, OEC, the biblical creation-related texts themselves, and the ID hypothesis). There IS much to learn there as well, from each particular side.

I know your time is limited, (I know the feeling), but you can NOT rely on Darwinists to search out information and arguments that undercut and challenge Darwinian claims. You have to search out what’s NOT being put on the table

(That’s why these PT threads, for the most part, aren’t really the place to go—-except to occasionally field-test your learning; catch a book recommendation or two; and get a whiff of whatever’s cooking in the Darwinist kitchen.)

You’ll just have to make the extra effort to search things out yourself, but I have found in my own circumstances that it’s well worth it, even though I don’t have all the answers either. (None of us humans do). So hang in there, and God bless!

FL :)

Comment #181234

Posted by Mark Hausam on June 2, 2007 10:11 AM (e)

Those of you who have distinguished between an appearance of age and an appearance of history have made a very good point. It does not seem reasonable to me that God would have planted deceptive evidence of a history that didn’t exist. Some things would clearly fall into an appearance of age category, some into an appearance of history, and some things would probably be a bit borderline and hard to tell what category to put them in. Giving Adam and Eve childhood memories without any indication they weren’t real, I would think, is clearly an example of an appearance of history and something God wouldn’t do. It would be lying to Adam and Eve, which God will not do. Belly buttons, on the other hand, would seem to clearly fall into the acceptable appearance of age category, even though they could be construed as part of the history of womb-development and birth. There are many things like that which can reasonably be interpreted to have more than one purpose–an aesthetic purpose (or something like that), and a historical developmental purpose. But the childhood memories thing would seem to be deceptive, and it is here that I would probably draw the line. If Adam and Eve were to conclude that they had once been children because of the existence of their belly buttons, this would be a somewhat understandable mistake, but they would have no evidential warrant just from that to conclude decisively that they had been infants. But if they had childhood memories, with no indication that they weren’t true, they would seem to have reasonable warrant from that to conclude that they had been children–and therein lies the deceptive nature of it. So it does seem that the distinction between these two types of appearances is valid and could conceivably be of evidential value in determining an old or a young earth.

It is difficult to judge a priori what sorts of things should be categorized as an appearance of age and what should be categorized as an appearance of history. As we saw above, just because something usually exists as a function of development does not necessarily mean it must fit in the appearance of history category as we are using that phrase. What about tree rings? Well, it seems that the general idea of tree rings could be reasonably classed in the acceptable appearance of age category, but, as some people suggested, there might be particular characteristis of tree rings that would demand they be put in the other category.

So this distinction between appearanc of age and appearance of history might be able to help us in determining the age of the earth. Many of you have suggested particular things that you take to be clearly in the deceptive appearance of history category. Some of them I have clear opinions about, but most of them I don’t have enough knowledge of to be able to evaluate at this time. The distant starlight problem does not seem to be an appearance of history issue to me. If God wanted to create distant stars and galaxies within six days, he could have sped up in various ways what is normally a longer process without any necessary deception. But most of your particular examples I simply cannot confirm or disconfirm given my current state of knowledge of the subject. I am not trying to dodge the issues, but I am simply acknowledging that I need further study before I can evaluate those issues. I am particularly interested in the idea of converging lines of dating evidence. A convergence of dating methods and a convergence on the dates of various, perhaps unrelated, things could potentially be a strong indicator of an appearance of history, which would cause problems for my position. On the other hand, there might be an explanation when one looks deeper into it that will put it reasonably in the appearance of age category. I cannot tell with my current state of knowledge of the science in these areas. That is sort of a conversation stopper, but it can’t be helped at this time I am looking forward to reading Nick’s books, as well as more creationist literature on these subjects, to be able to evaluate these issues for myself.

So, as I have stated before, my position is six-day creationism based on what I do think I have reliable evidence to take as an infallible revelation from God, and I have not seen anything yet in the scientific evidence (as far as I can evaluate at this point, anyway) that has given me sufficient reason to call the Bible’s eyewitness testimony, and my interpretation of that testimony, into question. My belief in the Bible, and my belief in my interpretation of the Bible on the six-day issue, I hold due to much research into other forms of evidence besides the physical (forms of evidence which in themselves are quite conclusive, although conceivably falsifiable), so it is an informed opinion (but won’t seem that way to you if you don’t agree that the Bible is a reliable source of information or if you interpret it differently on these points). Therefore I will stick to that opinion, and hold it with a good degree of confidence, until I have good reason to do otherwise. Good reason could potentially come from disconfirming scientific evidence that cannot reasonably be explained in a six-day context (such as, probably, an appearance of history that would be inherently deceptive, as I discussed above). We will see what I discover when I examine that evidence more closely.

Raging Bee and others have argued that there are many different, conflicting interpretations of the Bible. That is true. But does the existence of conflicting interpretations necessarily mean that the Bible is itself unclear? There are many different and conflicting interpretations of the scientific evidence, but that doesn’t mean that evidence is unclear. We do not withhold assent from a position simply because of the existence of people who disagree with us. Raging Bee may think she can legitimately accept the Bible while asserting it errs in matters of science and history. I do not. The Bible does not itself make that distinction, and whenever it interprets itself, it always assumes its own accuracy in all matters upon which it speaks. For example, Jesus and others in the New Testament treat the Old Testament history, including Genesis, as infallibly true. (See, for example, Matt. 12:3-8, 19:1-12, 23:34-36, 1 Cor. 11:8-12, 11:23-26 [example of taking NT history seriously], Romans 4:1-13, Hebrews 11:1-40, 1 Tim. 2:8-15, 2 Peter 2:4-10, 3:1-9, etc.) How do Raging Bee and other “moderates” deal with these sorts of things? One thing “fundamentalists” and atheists like Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins agree on is that the “moderate” position is simply inconsistent. It wants to pick and choose what parts of the Bible it likes and which it doesn’t without any good reason besides wanting things to be that way. It does not seem to be an honest and/or informed way of reading the Bible. It used to be my way of reading it as well, so I am familiar with the reasoning. I no longer think that reasoning holds up. (You guys might be surprised to learn that only recently–within the last three years or so–have I come to accept the infallibility of the Bible in history and science. I used to be somewhat closer to Raging Bee’s position, but I found it intellectually untenable and contrary to the evidence. I used to reject a young-earth interpretation as well, and only recently have embraced the six-day view.)

I do agree with Bee, though, that the Bible’s purpose is not to be a science or history textbook. It has another primary purpose, and only touches on history and science when these overlap that purpose, which they often do in one way or another. The Bible does not speak with the precision of modern science, but it speaks truly. Actually one of the things that amazes me about the Bible is how it manages to avoid two extremes–being a science textbook, and deceptively affirming the false cosmological beliefs of ancient people. For example, it is pretty likely that ancient Israelites didn’t know that the sun is a gigantic burning ball of gasses. I don’t know what they would have thought it was, but probably something rather odd if they were like most ancient peoples (which they usually were). Genesis 1 takes a remarkably narrow, careful route in describing the creation of the sun. It does not attempt to inform the Israelites about the scientific nature of the sun, which would have been way off-topic and bewildering to them, but it doesn’t confirm any mythological view of the sun either. It just sticks to safe, phenomenological facts. Basically, “God made the sun and put it in the sky.” It doesn’t elaborate on all that that means or how this was done; it just states a basic fact that everyone would agree with. All people, ancient and modern, agree that the sun exists and that it is in the sky (in a phenomenological sense). The Bible does this sort of thing throughout. Atheists and others like to chatter on and on about how the Bible is just an ancient book of myths like any other, but they ignore how amazingly different it really is. The myths of the ancient world are full of all sorts of absurdities and imaginary creatures, like giants dying and become the earth, the sun being pulled across the sky by horses, and yet the Bible avoids doing this sort of thing. That is definitely noteworthy. Of course, it does contain supernatural elements and miraculous things from time to time, but nothing inherently out of accord with the evidence of reality or logic. (Some may cite its six-day view as an example to the contrary, but I’m betting that will turn out to be in accord with the scientific evidence. Some may reject the supernatural as absurd, but this is based on ungrounded naturalistic philosophy.) All the Bible would have to do to give us probably unsolvable problems would be to affirm something inherently and unavoidably absurd, like pretty much all mythical cycles of the ancient world do. If it said that the sun is 10 meters (or cubits) across and rides in a chariot pulled by horses across the sky, the jig would be up. But it avoids these things. I wish more atheists would note how remarkable that is. But most of them are probably not that familiar with the Bible and don’t look at it with an objective eye. They simply mine it for things they want to trump as absurd without good reason.

Talk to you all later!

Mark

Comment #181236

Posted by qetzal on June 2, 2007 10:27 AM (e)

FL wrote:

Okay. Given the following claim by Jim Wynne:

I think creationism, in its most virulent form, is a symptom of mental illness.

This is just plain online armchair psychology, unsupported and unprofessional.

It may be armchair psychology (assuming Jim Wynne has no expertise), but it wasn’t unsupported. He argued quite clearly that some extreme creationists exhibit delusional thinking and behavior. You may dispute his claim, but if you pretend it’s not there, well…. ;-)

Furthermore, it can’t be unprofessional unless Jim Wynne is actually a health professional. If he’s not, it’s only non-professional. Nor is it an insult to argue (with support) that certain extreme beliefs are symptoms of mental illness.

Or, in the alternative, just go ahead and admit that Wynne’s insult is nothing more than unsupported two-bit armchair psychology.

No, because that isn’t a true statement. However, I expect you are right that the Science article doesn’t actually support Wynne’s claim.

Comment #181237

Posted by Mark Hausam on June 2, 2007 10:28 AM (e)

Thanks for the recommendations, FL. You are right, of course. I definitely want to look at all sides in the controversy. While I will listen to the Darwinists and take what they say seriously, I certainly do not implicitly trust them. For example, many of them seem to actually take seriously their absurd, ungrounded psychological speculations about creationists and others, and this certainly doesn’t give one much confidence in their objectivity and ability/willingness to ground their conclusions in good, clear evidence. Some of them seem so bitter and closed-minded against creationists (Elzinga, for example) that one doubts whether they have ever or could ever, without a change of attitude, listen to people they disagree with on this issue with enough seriousness to have a really self-aware opinion in this area.

By the way, I saw the posts on Bible contradictions after I posted, so I will probably deal with some of these in my next post if someone else doesn’t beat me to it.

Thanks,
Mark

Comment #181249

Posted by Frank J on June 2, 2007 10:52 AM (e)

Mark Hausam wrote:

I definitely want to look at all sides in the controversy.

Then why do you insist on treating it like a “Darwinists” vs. creationists dichotomy? Despite several invitations I still don’t see you on Talk.Origins. How about OEC and ID sites? Are you having any spirited debates with proponents of anti-evolution positions that are as different from yours as evolution is?

Comment #181258

Posted by David Stanton on June 2, 2007 11:03 AM (e)

Well I see Mark has seen fit to grace us with yet another installment of the continuing saga of infallability. It really is getting rather old.

It might be too harsh to characterize this type of thinking as mental illness. Even the term dilusional might be too strong. What the Science article was really trying to get at was the observation that some individuals just can’t seem to give up their childish approach to reality.

So, for example, if a forty year old still believed in Santa Claus, most people would think that that was a little strange. If it was pointed out to him that the evidence indicated that Santa could not possibly exist, his only defense would be: “Mom never lied about anything to me in my whole life, why would she lie about that?” Of course the mother would be horrified to learn that the son thought she had lied about anything. Still, if the child never admits to the possibility that maybe Mom wasn’t trying to demand eternal belief in Santa, then he may never be able to look at the evidence objectively. He might never be able to admit to the possibility that there is no Santa, because to him, that would mean that Mom had lied. Of course then he would completely miss the true meaning of Christmas as well.

Don’t take offense. I’m not trying to say that belief in the Bible amounts to the same thing as belief in Santa Claus. That would be wrong. I’m just saying that this is an example of the authoritarian mindset that must interpret all evidence in relation to decrees from infallible authorities. It’s may not be mental illness, it may not not even dilusional, it’s just childish by it’s very nature and definately not evidence based.

If anyone is interested in the evidence, NCSE has posted a file by Krauss entitled: Top 10 Reasons why the Universe, the Sun, Earth and Life are NOT 6000 Years Old: A Primer. Enjoy.

Comment #181259

Posted by Jim Wynne on June 2, 2007 11:05 AM (e)

FL wrote:

This is just plain online armchair psychology, unsupported and unprofessional. But a couple of you are claiming that there’s an article in Science magazine that also makes this same claim.

To be more precise, it’s armchair psychiatry, because I’m suggesting a somatic basis for extreme creationist beliefs. The “armchair” part is certainly accurate, however, but I don’t see that as particularly significant criticism. I’m not a psychologist or psychiatrist, but in the words of the noted mental health professional Bob Dylan, you don’t have to be a weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing. If a person says he hears voices telling him to do things, but no one else can hear the voices, we naturally assume that something’s not right. How is it any different for a person who, for example, claims that God told him to become a preacher, or claims that God cured his aunt Ethel’s cancer? While in some cases it might be a psychological issue–that is to say, the person has been conditioned to believe in mythical beings–I think that in the most severe instances there may well be something somatic at work.

Comment #181260

Posted by Matt Young on June 2, 2007 11:05 AM (e)

I didn’t see much of the first thread, but I don’t think these books have been mentioned. Mr. Hausam might find them revealing:

John Shelby Spong, Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism: A Bishop Rethinks the Meaning of Scripture. Bishop Spong is (or was) the Episcopal bishop of Newark and the author of a number of other, similar books. The title is self-explanatory.

Stephen J. Godfrey and Christopher Smith, Paradigms on Pilgrimage: Creationism, Paleontology, and Biblical Interpretation. Professor Godfrey is a paleontologist, and Reverend Smith is a minister. They are brothers-in-law and probably influenced each other, but in the end neither found his Biblical literalism to be consistent with paleontological facts or modern understanding of the Bible. There is too much Christian particularism for my taste, but the chapter, “Genesis Cosmology and Its Implications,” ought to be required reading for anyone who thinks that the Bible can substitute for a science text.

Comment #181263

Posted by Jim Wynne on June 2, 2007 11:20 AM (e)

Mark Hausam wrote:

Raging Bee and others have argued that there are many different, conflicting interpretations of the Bible. That is true. But does the existence of conflicting interpretations necessarily mean that the Bible is itself unclear? There are many different and conflicting interpretations of the scientific evidence, but that doesn’t mean that evidence is unclear. We do not withhold assent from a position simply because of the existence of people who disagree with us.

No, but if we’re being objective, we do testing and experimentation to bolster our hypotheses. That’s just not possible with biblical exegesis without devolving into logical fallacies such as argumentum ad populum. Furthermore, the problem isn’t just that the bible is ambiguous, it’s that there are many ambigous “bibles,” all with adherents claiming correctness and inerrancy. Because the varying interpretations of various mythologies have continued ever since there’s have been mythologies, with no resolution in sight, or even possible, it appears, I think it’s safe to assume that the source material is ambiguous.
As Lenny Flank is fond of asking, what makes your interpretation better than anyone else’s, besides the fact that some people agree with you?

Comment #181265

Posted by Frank J on June 2, 2007 11:35 AM (e)

FL,

From Mark’s admission of not knowing much about the science, ID books and “cogent” replies to Miller might be too technical. And despite their occasional quick disclaimers that ID is “not creationism,” IDers do virtually nothing to refute YEC or other creationist “what happened and when” accounts. That alone puts any pretense of ID objectivity into question, even in comparison to YEC and OEC, which occasionally see fit to refute each other.

Lest anyone thinks that I only recommend books by “evolutionists,” note that I did encourage Mark to visit ID and OEC sites. In contrast, the the other day, noted ID follower (& Bigfoot believer) Michael Medved recommended “Darwin’s Black Box” and “Icons of Evolution” to his radio audience, but neglected to give “equal time” to such excellent mainstream counterpoints as “Finding Darwin’s God” or “Why Intelligent Design Fails.”

Comment #181273

Posted by Mike Elzinga on June 2, 2007 12:19 PM (e)

Mark hasn’t even started his journey out of the Middle Ages if he hasn’t understood any of the scientific, philosophical, historical and comparative religion knowledge that has accumulated since those times. In fact he just indicated that he has recently gone backwards by reaffirming the more primitive views of that area.

He doesn’t appear to know the history of his own religion let alone that of any others. That doesn’t bother just scientists; it bothers people of faith, especially when he attempts to impose his lack of knowledge on others.

Marks attitudes toward modern science and other religions do in fact suggest fear and loathing. With all the interesting stuff out there to learn, what else could be so effective at holding him back?

Galileo had to struggle against the Medieval mindset it trying to get people to look at the scientific evidence. So here are some arguments that are closer to what a person in his time would understand. It is the letter Galileo wrote to the Grand Duchess Christina.

http://www.galilean-library.org/christina.html

Comment #181275

Posted by Bill Gascoyne on June 2, 2007 12:38 PM (e)

WRT appearance of history vs. appearance of age in tree rings:

The reason we can construct a tree ring sequence beyond the age of the oldest trees is that tree rings have an appearance of history and not merely age. Tree rings vary in thickness through inconsistent cycles of drought and plenty. Without this recognizable pattern, it would not be possible to match up the outside rings in an old tree stump with the inside rings of a freshly cut tree stump and thus count backward in years beyond the age of the fresh stump. We would not know when the old stump was cut. If there were appearance of age without appearance of history, all the rings would be equally spaced and featureless. Anything else would imply a history, and thus be a deception on the part of the creator.

Comment #181277

Posted by Robert King on June 2, 2007 12:48 PM (e)

Mark,

Please could you respond possibly to my earlier post where I try to answer directly your challenge to find a test that would distinguishbetween 6”-day creationism and evolution.” YEC makes specific predictions, e.g., the prediction that various species should have co-existed.

Thnaks,

Robert

Comment #181278

Posted by stevaroni on June 2, 2007 12:52 PM (e)

Guye writes….

This sounds a bit harsher than it needs to be, like a child accusing his parents after finding out that, in fact, there is no Easter Bunny.

Actually, it’s more like a man finding out that his parents lied about the easter bunny well into his adulthood, going so far as to leave eggs, muddy tracks and little tufts of bunny fur in his college dorm room every easter Sunday morning.

Personally, pondering the motivations behind something like that would creep me waaaay out. Unsurprisingly, the idea that God has some (apparently manipulative) reason to lie about the age of the earth offers me no comfort either.

Comment #181288

Posted by Jim Wynne on June 2, 2007 1:31 PM (e)

A bit of mirth that illustrates the problem with “inerrancy”

Comment #181334

Posted by Jamie on June 2, 2007 4:06 PM (e)

You cannot prove it either way. To prove there is no God, you have to simultaneously be in every point of the universe through all time - ie - to prove there is no God, you have to become a God. We are given Free agency - the ability to choose for our self what to believe - so you might as well choose something that gives you Purpose and Meaning in your life right? Evidence is given to those who first choose to have Meaning and Purpose in their life.

Comment #181338

Posted by Jamie on June 2, 2007 4:23 PM (e)

PS - 6 days? Before the sun was created, how long exactly is a “day” I take it as “in my day in age”.. a “day” is a period of time, not necessarily 24 hours. Either way, truth is stranger than fiction, I was not there, I cannot say, and it does not really matter to me. Scriptures are not meant to be a science textbook, but a discussion of morals. To me the point is not how He created it, but why… The point of Genesis is to say He loved us enough to create xyz for us, and respected us enough to give us free agency.

I believe the bible is purposefully written in parables to force the reader to ask questions. “Ask and ye shall recieve”, He is forcing people to ask and experiment because there is some knowlege you cannot gain by reading about it in books example - can you give a person the knowlege of what salt tastes like by using words? To know how anything tastes, you have to actually put it in your mouth and chew… We are supposed to ask questions learn by experience…

Comment #181339

Posted by Jamie on June 2, 2007 4:23 PM (e)

PS - 6 days? Before the sun was created, how long exactly is a “day” I take it as “in my day in age”.. a “day” is a period of time, not necessarily 24 hours. Either way, truth is stranger than fiction, I was not there, I cannot say, and it does not really matter to me. Scriptures are not meant to be a science textbook, but a discussion of morals. To me the point is not how He created it, but why… The point of Genesis is to say He loved us enough to create xyz for us, and respected us enough to give us free agency.

I believe the bible is purposefully written in parables to force the reader to ask questions. “Ask and ye shall receive”, He is forcing people to ask and experiment because there is some knowledge you cannot gain by reading about it in books example - can you give a person the knowledge of what salt tastes like by using words? To know how anything tastes, you have to actually put it in your mouth and chew… We are supposed to ask questions learn by experience…

Comment #181342

Posted by David Stanton on June 2, 2007 4:33 PM (e)

Mark wrote:

“I am particularly interested in the idea of converging lines of dating evidence. A convergence of dating methods and a convergence on the dates of various, perhaps unrelated, things could potentially be a strong indicator of an appearance of history, which would cause problems for my position.”

As has already been pointed out, all the different types of evidence are correlated with paleoclimatology. That is how the past history of climate on earth is reconstructed. This is not just the appearance of age, this is a specific history that is represented in every data set examined.

Of course the same can be said for all of the independent data sets in biology as well. You get the same answer whether you look at fossils, anatomy, genetics or development. There is a tree of life with a branching order caused by the unique history of life on this planet. The history of life on earth can be reconstructed from data sets that all converge on the same answer.

And let’s not forget that the data sets from paleoclimatology as also correlated with the biological data sets as well. You basically have to throw out every major discovery in every major field of science in order to claim that the earth has only the appearance of age and not a specific history that can be reconstructed from the evidence.

Comment #181348

Posted by Chris Andrews on June 2, 2007 4:38 PM (e)

Mark says:

“Atheists and others like to chatter on and on about how the Bible is just an ancient book of myths like any other, but they ignore how amazingly different it really is. The myths of the ancient world are full of all sorts of absurdities and imaginary creatures, like giants dying and become the earth, the sun being pulled across the sky by horses, and yet the Bible avoids doing this sort of thing. That is definitely noteworthy.”

I googled for “bible absurdities”, the first hit was this page:

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/donald_mo…

Most of these are indeed absurd. Of course, they are all easily explained by invoking the omnipotent god’s miracle shooting nerf gun. But no religion is absurd if you start with an omnipotent deity with a never-ending miracle gobstopper.. “I know it doesn’t seem rational to us mere mortals, but that’s just what the god/gods did… trust me!”

p.s. This list doesn’t even include one of my favorites.. Jonah living in a fish for 3 days. Nothing absurd about that. Nope. Happens all the time. Why, just last Thursday…

Comment #181376

Posted by Abe White on June 2, 2007 6:22 PM (e)

Mark –

1. I encourage you to follow the advice some others on this thread have given and read up on the parallels between Jesus and previous savior god myths. Not as proof of anything, but for your own edification. It’s fascinating stuff.

2. Tree rings, ice cores, geological strata, the fossil record, DNA studies, cladistics, etc all show an ancient earth history and do indeed all correlate. Again, I encourage you to study the available science. I’m not sure what you think the hundreds of thousands of scientists around the globe have been doing for the past few centuries, but all these fields are well established. You actually take advantage of the fruits of many of these scientists’ labor every day in your use of modern technology. For example, the gasoline in your car: here is a brief story of the realizations working in the petroleum industry brought on a man who used to write for YEC publications:
http://home.entouch.net/dmd/gstory.htm

3. You should also pay particular attention to the earlier post noting that not only do physics, geology, and biology all generally agree on a general earth history, but that this history has certain features that make it easily falsifiable. The poster’s example was the coexistence of dinosaurs and man. That can be expanded to any modern animal appearing together with ancient ones, or any modern animal appearing in strata dated as ancient (I believe there is a famous quote about disproving evolution by finding a rabbit in the cretaceous). But that is just one example of many: unlike the “god did it any way he wanted” story, current scientific theory in these areas make very specific predictions, and any scientist would make quite a name for himself by finding credible evidence to the contrary.

4. Just as an aside, I find it ironic that you would draw the line at implanting false memories in Adam and Eve because god wouldn’t lie to them. Uh… Genesis 2:17 anyone?

Comment #181379

Posted by David B. Benson on June 2, 2007 6:44 PM (e)

Mike Elzinga — Galileo didn’t have to struggle at all. He was a master of the demonstration lecture and managed, without difficulty, to get various dukes, etc., to keep appointing him to ever wealthier positions.

He did, finally of course, have political or theological problems with a new pope…

Comment #181384

Posted by stevaroni on June 2, 2007 6:52 PM (e)

Mark Says…

The myths of the ancient world are full of all sorts of absurdities and imaginary creatures, like giants dying and become the earth, the sun being pulled across the sky by horses, and yet the Bible avoids doing this sort of thing. That is definitely noteworthy

Huh?

There are giants in the Bible, Mark (right up front in Genesis 6.4). Disturbingly, they seem to be semi-divine prodigy of “the sons of God and the daughters of men” pretty much the same as the numerous contemporary Egyptian (Sumerian, Greek, Roman, Mayan, Hindu, Hopi etc, etc) half-god/half-man characters.

In the Biblical creation story God makes man and woman out of mud and spare ribs.

This is actually somewhat less rational than contemporary Egyptian creation stories that at least involved eggs (Ra) or godly semen (Atum), and pretty much on par with Mayan creation (whittled out of wood), or Native American and Aboriginal myths (godly dreams becoming corporal through sheer force of will)

The Bible speaks clearly of an earth (a flat disk - Psalms 33.14) populated by unicorns, satyrs, and dragons (Isaiah 34.14, 37.7).

At least two of it’s inhabitants are talking animals, a snake (Genesis) and a talking donkey (Numbers 22.28)

It’s a world where dead men (Lazarus, and of course, Jesus) re-animate and walk again.

A world where God intervenes to create turn rivers into blood (Exodus), manifest himself as a burning bush (ditto), makes bar bets with the Devil over the behavior of his chosen people (Job) and inseminates a virgin (another half-man, half-god progeny, BTW).

And if you’re trying to make the case that the Bible doesn’t contain “fanciful stories” that don’t hold up to rational analysis, we’re probably better off not examining the granddaddy of them all, Noah and his big boat.

You seem like a rational man, Mark, exactly how is the story of God creating rainbows as a goodwill gesture after the flood any more rational than Ra and Apollo pushing the sun across the sky?

Comment #181390

Posted by Doc Bill on June 2, 2007 6:56 PM (e)

Mark -

I’m going to let you in on a secret. You’ll find out sooner or later.

God created the Universe for me. Just me. And he made it look old to give me the illusion. My parents, all the libraries, books, other people, everything. Created just for my benefit. Nothing in the Universe existed before my birth and God created everything just for me.

Why? Because I’m special.

Now, Mark, two tasks for you.

First, prove me wrong. Prove it. Beyond a shadow of a doubt.
Second, look at your own position earlier in this thread and explain how it’s different than what I just presented.

Actually, there’s a third task but I don’t think you’re up to it just yet.

Comment #181401

Posted by Mike Elzinga on June 2, 2007 7:22 PM (e)

David B. Benson wrote:

Galileo didn’t have to struggle at all. He was a master of the demonstration lecture and managed, without difficulty, to get various dukes, etc., to keep appointing him to ever wealthier positions.

What you say is true about Galileo being the master of the demonstration lecture. But, as I am sure you know, his eloquence got him into a lot of trouble in the end. It is a long story that has been researched in great detail.

This letter is one of the finest demonstrations of his eloquence.

So too are his dialogs (those can be found at the same site as well as many other places), but the letter to the Grand Duchess confronts the theological issues more directly and is one of the milestones in elevating the evidence of science to being equal to or above the convoluted scholastic arguments of the time. Aristotelian logic is useful when it can be checked with external, verifiable facts. But left on it own, it can become a prison of the mind.

But this all just scratches the surface.

Comment #181436

Posted by Jamie on June 3, 2007 12:24 AM (e)

Those who Believe communicating with those who don’t… Both trying to understand their existence. Can you gain more personal security and control over your surroundings through relying on Others, or yourself? One applies equations, another applies God. Each are left with unanswered questions and gaps in knowledge, what is to be done?

Consider the lily of the field… The scientist finds the composition and life cycle, the artist finds it’s color in the afternoon sun, the child presents it to his mother. The beauty of the flower increases without it ever having to toil. Life from life – on so many levels…

Comment #181440

Posted by Raging Bee on June 3, 2007 1:00 AM (e)

MArk blithers on:

It is difficult to judge a priori what sorts of things should be categorized as an appearance of age and what should be categorized as an appearance of history.

We who have disputed you on this have explicitly described the difference, and have described specific examples of “appearance of history” that disprove your young-Earth “theory.” And we’ve even told you HOW and WHY we classify one observed characteristic as “appearance of age” and another as “appearance of history.” And, in “response” to that, you simply assert that it is “difficult” to do what we have already just done.

If God wanted to create distant stars and galaxies within six days, he could have sped up in various ways what is normally a longer process without any necessary deception.

We tend to measure a given period of time by the events that can happen within that period (i.e., the workings of a clock or the rate of radioactive decay). If eighteen billion years worth of events happened in a period you label “six days,” then – by definition – the period was really eighteen billion years, and your assertion that it was really only six days is simply meaningless, if not dishonest. At the very least, you’re fudging the meaning of words like “day” and backing away from a literal interpretation of the “six-day” creation story found in your “infallible” Bible. Sort of like Carol Clouser, actually.

On the other hand, there might be an explanation when one looks deeper into it that will put it reasonably in the appearance of age category. I cannot tell with my current state of knowledge of the science in these areas.

In other words, you’re refusing to accept the facts we’ve just stated for you, offering no plausible alternative explanation fo your own, and clinging to your ignorance. And you wonder why we’re not impressed by your beliefs?

So, as I have stated before, my position is six-day creationism based on what I do think I have reliable evidence to take as an infallible revelation from God, and I have not seen anything yet in the scientific evidence (as far as I can evaluate at this point, anyway) that has given me sufficient reason to call the Bible’s eyewitness testimony, and my interpretation of that testimony, into question.

In other words, you pretended to listen to everything we said, let it all pass out your other ear, and keep on repeating the same old disproven assertions, without even trying to explain why so many of your fellow Christians no longer stand by them. We’ve even quoted from your Bible, and you ignore that too.

You have eyes with which to see, and deliberately chose not to use them or accept what they told you. Didn’t Jesus himself complain more than once about such behavior?

My belief in the Bible, and my belief in my interpretation of the Bible on the six-day issue, I hold due to much research into other forms of evidence besides the physical…

First you admit the lameness of your “current state of knowledge of the science in these areas;” then you claim you’ve done “much research,” whose fruits are strangely absent from your discourse here. Forgive me if I’m not impressed.

But does the existence of conflicting interpretations necessarily mean that the Bible is itself unclear?

Yes.

There are many different and conflicting interpretations of the scientific evidence, but that doesn’t mean that evidence is unclear.

Yes, actually, it does: the evidence is either unclear, or incomplete; and further observation and research is necessary. In such cases, disputes are resolved by looking at MORE sources, not just one, as you do with your Bible.

Raging Bee may think she can legitimately accept the Bible while asserting it errs in matters of science and history.

MoFoPulLease! You guess my gender wrong, and you expect us to trust your take on the Bible?

One thing “fundamentalists” and atheists like Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins agree on is that the “moderate” position is simply inconsistent.

You can’t find any validation for your beliefs among your fellow Christians, so you join with your worst enemies – people who have no respect or tolerance for your kind and blame you for nearly all of Mankind’s problems – in calling US inconsistent? You, Mark, are a hypocrite and a false witness. (That “inconsistency” you’re whining about is also known as “facing a complex world.” You should try it sometime – it’s tough, but rewarding.)

It wants to pick and choose what parts of the Bible it likes and which it doesn’t without any good reason besides wanting things to be that way.

You pick and choose Genesis as THE definitive word on all matters scientific, and ignore the teachings of Christ, the Ten Commandments, and a raft of Bible quotes which we’ve offered you right here; then you accuse us of picking and choosing. More blatant hypocricy on your part.

It’s late, and I’ve wasted enough time arguing with someone who has proven himself both unresponsive and dishonest.

Comment #181447

Posted by Mike Elzinga on June 3, 2007 1:59 AM (e)

Jamie wrote:

Those who Believe communicating with those who don’t… Both trying to understand their existence. Can you gain more personal security and control over your surroundings through relying on Others, or yourself? One applies equations, another applies God. Each are left with unanswered questions and gaps in knowledge, what is to be done?
Consider the lily of the field… The scientist finds the composition and life cycle, the artist finds it’s color in the afternoon sun, the child presents it to his mother. The beauty of the flower increases without it ever having to toil. Life from life – on so many levels…

Nice sentiments Jamie. There are indeed many perspectives on the universe, and they each have served some purpose in someone’s life. Just knowing what scientists have discovered doesn’t diminish this in any way. Being able to see more deeply into the universe and sharing this without enslaving or dominating others is a goal everyone should strive for.

Polluting knowledge, throwing roadblocks in the learning paths of others, engaging in sophistry and prancing in front of others with pseudo-knowledge, adding to confusion, inciting fear and suspicion, attempting to herd others into authoritarian systems of thought and control are things some people can’t seem to resist.

And being nice to them doesn’t necessarily make them stop doing it. Good knowledge is hard to come by, and the means for obtaining it need to be defended. Science is a rough and tumble activity, but it works as well as anything we have.

Comment #181452

Posted by snaxalotl on June 3, 2007 2:20 AM (e)

my two cents on the general structure of this argument, and talking to creationists and idolaters (who worship the bible rather than god) in general:

venues like this tend to be quite bad because people introduce too many topics. This tends to benefit creationists and is a favored tactic (“gish gallop”, etc. etc. etc.) because creationism is the side of shallow understanding. With a conversation that has become too broad, people tend to throw up their hands and think “well, their guy made about 20 reasonable sounding points, whereas my man Kent made about 350, so I guess we won, or at least I’m going away unconvinced by the other guy”. I’ve always found that focusing on a single myth that somebody has been proudly telling everyone for years, and removing it from his repertoire, has far more impact than a meandering discussion. Generally a live chat works best for this because you tend to pin someone down on one point. In the absence of this I strongly recommend limiting the number of topics.

Don’t try to prove more than you need to. This is a big problem with excitable nerds. In particular you don’t need to “prove” the bible is inerrant. The bible is a very vague thing, and christians have been evolving their responses for a long time in a harsh environment. I see a lot of people smugly raising objections blithely unaware of very common counter-arguments. It’s the equivalent of grandly asking “why are there still monkeys”. I do think there are some very fruitful contradictions (particularly, two different people killing Goliath, and the ten year discrepancy between the nativity dates in Luke and Matthew) but it’s not necessary. The problem comes down to christians insisting that inerrancy is proved (thereby forcing us to accept jesus etc.), and all you need to do is counter these woeful proofs as they come up - it’s not like they’re any good. Most of them come from hugely popular but poorly researched books (esp McDowell & Strobel) that have been demolished at infidels.org. Proving bible contradiction is an end run around the inerrancy discussion much like “mathematical disproof” is an end run around the mountains of evidence for evolution. But not only will you become lost in a quagmire, it’s unnecessary because the only problem you have (“I don’t need to consider evolution evidence because the bible is proved”, which is best tackled with “really - how so”?)is where the burden of proof is on the creationist.

Creationists usually arrive at these discussions with “proof of bible inerrancy”, “proof of evolution impossibility”, and “there is zero evidence for evolution”. I suggest a very brief counter-example to the latter (eg shared sequences, including errors and non-code, arranged in a hierarchy “so you see, there is SOME evidence, so we just went crazy and ran with the assumption”) and then just working in a firm but friendly manner through the areas in which they have assumed the burden of proof. You need to let them work from their perspective - you need to get in their head, not butt heads. I try to get YECs to look at Glen Morton’s story, Why I left Young-Earth Creationism

Comment #181489

Posted by David Stanton on June 3, 2007 7:46 AM (e)

Another poster pointed out that there is no evidence at all for the coexistence of humans and dinosaurs, even though there is ample evidence for the coexistence of humans and mammoths. That got me to thinking that maybe concilience of evidence isn’t the only thing that is important here. What about lack of evidence? Removing evidence from a crime scene is something only a guilty and deceitful person would do.

So, if the Bible is infallable, there must have been a world-wide flood. What does the evidence show? Once again, all of the evidence converges on the exact same answer. There never was a world-wide flood. All of the evidence from palentology, archaeology, tree rings, ice cores and genetics converge on the same answer. For example, if we look at human genetics, there are at least four independent data sets, (allozymes, mitochondrial DNA, Y chromosome markers and DNA fingerprints), that all give exactly the same answer. Modern humans came out of Africa in waves, starting more than 100,000 thousand years ago. Since then, they have spread throughout the world along migration routes that are fairly well understood. There is a vast scientific literature that documents a very specific human history that does not include a world-wide flood. Did God erase the evidence?

For those who want to believe in a world-wide flood anyway, I suggest you go to the talkorigins archive for a detailed discussion of the problems with the flood hypothesis: talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-noahs-ark

For those who are interested in the origin and comparison of flood myths, I suggest you try the same site under faqs/flood-myths

Of course, as Raging Bee has so patiently pointed out, none of this really invalidates the Bible as a religious text. It simply means that it is not a science text, or (at least in some ways), an accurate history text. That does not mean that it is worthless. That does not mean that it does not contain valuable moral lessons. All it means is that we should learn to examine evidence for ourselves. Unless of course God just wiped out all the evidence to fool us.

Comment #181529

Posted by Jamie on June 3, 2007 12:14 PM (e)

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Comment #181534

Posted by Jamie on June 3, 2007 12:19 PM (e)

Anyone interested on a new viewpoint concerning Biblical creationism in conjunction with a self-existent universe etc. etc… might enjoy reading The King Follett Sermon on LDS.org

http://lds.org/portal/site/LDSOrg/menuitem.b12f9…

Comment #181542

Posted by Mike Elzinga on June 3, 2007 12:55 PM (e)

Jamie wrote:

Anyone interested on a new viewpoint concerning Biblical creationism in conjunction with a self-existent universe etc. etc… might enjoy reading The King Follett Sermon on LDS.org

These are derived from the Christian bible and provide a limited perspective.

As long as one is exploring these viewpoints, one should look also at the teachings and commentaries of other religions. It gives a better perspective.

But don’t forget science, the history and philosophy of science, the histories of religions, and all those other sources. You may discover that there are more insights out there than you realized.

We are still assessing the reasons Mark showed up here. But he clearly hasn’t been anywhere important yet.

Comment #181545

Posted by Anthony Taylor on June 3, 2007 1:14 PM (e)

Mark Hausam wrote:

It is difficult to judge a priori what sorts of things should be categorized as an appearance of age and what should be categorized as an appearance of history.

It isn’t that hard. Consider the scars of Adam and Eve, as mentioned in an earlier post. Scars are caused by an action at a point in time. So, anything that is evidence of an action before the moment of creation is history.

Now. From that basis, let’s look for evidence of action before 6,000 years ago.

First, let’s look at the photons from stars more than 6,000 light years away. The speed of light in a vacuum is well-established. The definition of a “light year” is the distance light travels in a vacuum in one year. So, by definition, the light from any star over 6,000 light years away started its journey before the creation.

Now, even though light in stars is created by specific actions, and so the light itself represents an action before the creation, I will grant that God perhaps created the light “in-transit,” to give the universe an appearance of age.

However.

There are many things that affect the path of a photon as it travels through space. One of these things is “gravitational lensing,” the bending of the path of light as it passes near a mass. This lensing is the result of the action of the mass on the photon. It is evidence of an action.

The fact that we do see the effects of gravitational lensing farther than 6,000 light years away indicates the path of the photon has a history. In that history, it passed near a large mass. So, if the universe is 6,000 years old (or even 6,000,000 years old), God created the universe with a history, and not just the appearance of age.

There it is. Evidence of deep history in the very fabric of the universe.

As far as predictive convergence of age, there is very much cosmological evidence the universe is about 14 billion years old. Many pieces of evidence converge on this age, more-or-less, including evidence predicted by that age, and the assumption of a singularity event at the beginning of history (whether the “big bang,” or the intersection of two branes, as has recently been hypothesized by a few string theorists).

Ultimately, the belief the universe is only 6,000 years old is untenable.

I would go further. Science has proven itself as a reliable epistemology time and again. So far, it is the only constant and predictable and provable method for gaining knowledge about the fundamental physical nature of the universe.

Religious faith has proven a bad predictor of the physical nature of the universe. As an epistemology, faith does not work. Time and again, it has failed the basic requirements for gaining knowledge about the physical nature of the universe.

The universe has nothing to say about God, and so God is beyond science. There is no empirical evidence for God, and to try to invent evidence is vanity, as if you as a limited human could know the Mind of God. That is what faith is all about. If we had proof of God, why would we need faith?

There are two paths: you can learn about the universe from the universe itself. Or, you can learn about the universe from a 1900-year-old book that was written about God, and not the universe.

Comment #181548

Posted by hoary puccoon on June 3, 2007 2:25 PM (e)

One of the things that really bugs me about the doctrine of biblical inerrancy is that it makes the bible look like a joke book. A world-wide flood? Well really! Dinosaurs on the ark? Ridiculous! But what if the story of Noah (which also appears in other ancient texts) records a real flood that stretched from horizon to horizon? That would be a distance of less than 20 miles– not unusual for a catastrophic flood in a flat valley. People who thought the earth was flat could easily make the incorrect but logical assumption that the flood was world wide. And what if the main point of the story, in the minds of those who first told it, was that Noah’s family prospered after the flood because they had the presence of mind to save the breeding stock of their domestic animals? That is precisely the kind of information people in an agrarian society would remember and pass on. So I personally think there’s a very good chance the story of Noah is based on an actual historical event. But look what happens when you try to add ‘literal truth.’ A story which starts out as a perfectly plausible recounting of a flood become a ludicrous tall tale, soon supported by threats from the pulpit of eternal hellfire and damnation for those who don’t swallow it whole– sort of like Jonah in reverse. Mark’s twists and turns over the age of the earth show just what knots it ties people into. Why is this supposed to help anyone be a better person? And if it doesn’t, what’s the point?

Comment #181570

Posted by Manduca on June 3, 2007 5:31 PM (e)

Mark:

You ask about the evidence for an ancient earth. No-one seems to have recommended you read G. Brent Dalrymple’s “The Age of the Earth”, from 1991. This is surprising, because there is no finer summary of all the converging lines of evidence that the earth is 4.5 billion years old.

Some of the evidence clearly explained by Dalrymple includes:

There are no radioactive nuclides on earth (that are not continuously produced here) with half-lives less than ~80 million years. (This suggests that those with shorter half-lives have already decayed away to negligible amounts.)

The oldest rocks on earth are all dated at about 2.5 to 3.5 billion years, by varying techniques. (Geologic recycling has erased evidence from earlier times.)

All meteorites (remnants of the early solar system, unmodified by geological recycling processes) are about 4.5 billion years old.

Moon rocks are 3.8 to 4.5 billion years old.

Different astrophysical techniques produce similar ranges for the age of the universe: by recession of galaxies, 8-20 billion years; by analysis of globular clusters, 14-17 billion years; by the age of the elements, 8-16 billion years.

If you are truly concerned with examining the evidence that leads scientists to conclude that the earth is 4.5 billion years old and the universe, 12-20 billion years old, you can do no better than Dalrymple.

You can also read Dalrymple on TalkOrigins.

Comment #181574

Posted by David B. Benson on June 3, 2007 5:55 PM (e)

Manduca — A slight correction, from the USGS web site Age of the Earth: the oldest known rocks are dated as 4.03 billion years old.

Comment #181586

Posted by Manduca on June 3, 2007 6:54 PM (e)

David:

Thanks for the correction. I got the figure by scanning the tables in the chapter “Earth’s Oldest Rocks” in my copy of Dalrymple. Didn’t bother to check anywhere else for more recent figures.

The basic point is the same, though. The earth is at least five hundred thousand times older than the age calculated by biblical chronology.

Comment #181644

Posted by hoary puccoon on June 4, 2007 2:28 AM (e)

David and Manduca– Reading a geologist’s book on the age of the earth works fine– IF you happen to believe the author. So why should we believe them?
I, personally, believe in scientific dating techniques because I’ve been a volunteer on archaeological expeditions. I know how careful we had to be with carbon 14 samples.I know what lengths the principal investigators went to, to avoid contamination.
Mark, find out how scientists operate. Talk to some of them. Learn how science is really done. You’ll soon discover that the YE creationists who are so adamant about the literal truth of the bible play fast and loose with the truth when they describe scientific techniques. At the very least, you should come away feeling that scientists are sincere people, whose confidence in their results doesn’t stem from arrogance, but from the knowledge that they have checked and cross-checked their facts.

Comment #181702

Posted by Jamie on June 4, 2007 7:56 AM (e)

Given the age and size of the universe, itn’t it more probable that something does rather than does not exist?

Comment #181790

Posted by Mark Hausam on June 4, 2007 10:22 AM (e)

First let me deal with the supposed biblical contradictions posed by Moses (the Moses on Panda’s Thumb, that is):

1. “Matthew 2:13: The author describes the family fleeing to Egypt. No record of this is seen in Luke. It was apparently added to the gospel in order to match the prophecy in Hosea 11:1 that the Messiah must come out of Egypt.”
The gospels are selective in their recording of events. Lack of mention in a gospel of something mentioned in another gospel is not a contradiction. The comment about the motive is simply speculation.

2. “Luke 2:39: Luke describes them as going directly from Bethlehem to Nazareth. This conflicts with Matthew’s account which has them fleeing to Egypt and only returning after Herod died. At least one of these accounts must be wrong.
This is classic error which is usually explained away, though the explanation is an obvious gloss-over.”
This does indeed have the appearance of an obvious contradiction on the surface. It could be plausibly read that way. However, it is also plausible that Luke is simply condensing his account and skipping over the trip to Egypt entirely because he does not want to talk about it. He might be intentionally condensing events in his account. It may have been that when Mary and Joseph finished in Jerusalem, they went back to Bethlehem for a very short time. Then they went to Egypt, after which they returned to Nazareth. Since Luke did not want to relate the Egypt events, he simply jumped from the time in Jerusalem to the next settled stage in their life, their return to Nazareth. “When they had finished in Jerusalem, they returned to Nazareth to live (after an interlude in Egypt that I have chosen not to include in my account).” Ancient reporting of historical events was often done more loosely than is acceptable in our day, so this kind of condensing in order to selectively pick events to tell the story as he wished would not have been particularly surprising. It would not imply deception, especially when Matthew’s gospel or the events that are a part of it would probably have been readily evailable in the memories of the churches. Another possibility is that Mary and Joseph went back to Nazareth immediately after being in Jerusalem, and some time later returned to Bethlehem before going into Egypt. Perhaps they did not want to live in Nazareth because of a stigma surrounding the odd circumstances of Jesus’s birth. This is possible, but I think less likely than the previous explanation. At any rzte, since this need not be read in a way that implies a contradiction, it does not prove the contradictory nature of the Bible.

3. “Matthew 2:23: Joseph and Mary bypassed Judea and settled in Nazareth. The prophecy that “He will be called a Nazarene” does not exist in the Hebrew Scriptures.”
It doesn’t exist in exactly that form, but quotes were often (acceptably) made somewhat loosely in those days. This may be a summary of a few different OT passages. It may refer to the Judges 13:5, where Samson’s parents are told he will be a Nazerite. (Matthew in other places points out Jesus fulfilling by recaptituation themes in Israel’s history, like, for example, “Out of Egypt I called my son,” so this very well may be another example of that.) It may also be a reference to Isaiah 11:1, where the coming Messiah is called a “branch” (Heb. Netzer). It may be a summary of both of these passages, given a form here that links them with Jesus being raised in Nazareth, pointing out the connection between the OT passages and the current events.

4. “Matthew 1:1: The author traces Jesus’ genealogy from Abraham. He lists Jacob as being Jesus’ grandfather. This conflicts with Luke, who lists Eli. Jesus’ line is traced through Solomon, son of David. Luke traces the Messianic line through Nathan, son of David. The author lists 28 generations between David and Jesus; Luke says it was 41.
Luke 3:38: As noted above, Luke’s genealogy cannot be reconciled with Matthew’s.”
It may be that Luke is tracing Jesus’s geneology through Mary, while Matthew is tracing it through Joseph. Another possibility is that Matthew is tracing a royal, official line that Jesus, as king, would be a part of, and Luke is tracing the natural line of Joseph (or Mary). In both lines, Jesus is in the line of David. While the geneologies raise interesting questions, and we don’t know everything about them, there are plausible non-contradictory interpretations, so the geneologies do not prove a biblical contradiction.

5. “Matthew 1:22: The author cites a passage in an ancient Greek translation of Isaiah. The translation was an error: it substituted “virgin” for “young woman.” Matthew and Luke probably felt compelled to go along with the expectation that Jesus’ mother was a virgin.”
The Hebrew word in Isaiah means young woman, or perhaps maiden would be a good translation. As I understand it, it can include the idea of virgin. In its messianic context, it was understood by the translators of the Septuagint to indicate a virgin, not the sort of mistake in translation one would make incidentally. The translation would seem to have been a theological interpretation. The gospels affirm that interpretation in recounting its fulfillment in the birth of Jesus. More could be said here, but this is a good start for more hitorically contextualized and thorough thinking about the word.

6. “One of my favorites, the Messiah had many tests, none of them being born of a virgin. However, he was supposed to be the child of a young woman. Ironically the translation error elevates Mary to the role of Asheroth (God’s wife) who is being suppressed (with God’s children) during the religious reconciliation of the Israel and Judea that starts at about 1200 BCE. In fact, the combination of Israel and Judea is a wonderful read and is becoming more and more detailed as field archaeologists unearth more and more of the historical underpinnings of the “holy land.” How two vastly different religions were merged over a process of centuries and the vast changes in the religious structures as the polytheistic Jews (El) from the lands of Israel and the monotheistic Jews (Yahweh) from Judea. Anyway, back to inerrancy:
Matthew 2:1: The story of the Magi coming to Palestine to give homage to the King of the Jews appears to have been freely adapted from the story of Mithra’s birth. He was mythical Persian savior, also allegedly born of a virgin on DEC-25, who was worshiped many centuries before Jesus’ birth.
I would also point people to the birth, life and death of Krishna and of Mithras to see the origins of the various myths that surround Jesus. I would also remind people that, in fact, peoples and ideas were not static in those days. That they, and their beliefs, tended to migrate and be adopted to fit local cultural conditions.”
All of this is pretty much simply wild speculation. There is no real historical proof of hardly any of it. There is no evidence that some early pagan versions of Judah or Israel melded together with a conflict of religions. There were a lot of different kinds of worship going on in the “holy land” at different times in its history, but nothing in historical documents or archaeological discovery gives any substantial evidence for this speculative story of Israel’s early history. Similary, there is no evidence that Matthew borrowed from Mithraism (or Hinduism). The gospels exhibit nothing but the Jewishness of the time throughout. It is true that stories of gods being born on earth have always been popular in many cultures, but that doesn’t prove no incarnation of the true God has occurred. Humans seem psychologically wired to believe in higher powers and to look for interactions between heaven and earth. Perhaps that is an evolutionary by-product of abstract thought. Perhaps it is because we really are created by God and are built to be in relationship with God and be united with him in some way, and the incarnation is part of God’s plan to fulfill this. This all makes perfect sense in a biblical context. It is easy to speculate and make up stories about history, but we need hard facts if we are to take them with significant seriousness. If Moses would give us hard facts proving the stories he likes, I would take them more seriously.

Now on to some supposed Bible absurdities. The Bible defnitely contains accounts of supernatural things. But supernatural things are not illogical or inherently absurd or irrational (although those who accept naturalistic metaphysics think so). There is a difference between a story being unusual or supernatural, and a story being absurd or contradictory to known facts. Let’s look at some of the examples Stevaroni provided.

“There are giants in the Bible, Mark (right up front in Genesis 6.4). Disturbingly, they seem to be semi-divine prodigy of “the sons of God and the daughters of men” pretty much the same as the numerous contemporary Egyptian (Sumerian, Greek, Roman, Mayan, Hindu, Hopi etc, etc) half-god/half-man characters.”
The passage in Genesis 6:4 is notoriously difficult. It may possibly refer to some kind of mix of angels and men, resulting in humans with odd characteristics (including being larger than normal). If this is the case, there is nothing inherently impossible about it, and it may explain why myths of this sort are so common around the world–a common historical memory. Or, the “sons of God” and “daughters of men” in the passage might refer to two different types of ordinary people, the friends of God and his enemies. Referring to their children as “giants” and “men of renown” would then simply suggest that they were a special, set-apart class of people known for physical strength, etc.

“In the Biblical creation story God makes man and woman out of mud and spare ribs.”
While this is supernatural, it is not impossible or absurd. Why would you think, by the way, that it was a spare rib Eve was made out of, and not a regular rib (or piece of the side–the Hebrew is, I believe, a little vaguer than our word “rib”). By the way, this does not imply that the descendants of Adam and Eve would be lacking a rib.

“The Bible speaks clearly of an earth (a flat disk - Psalms 33.14) populated by unicorns, satyrs, and dragons (Isaiah 34.14, 37.7).”
Psalm 33:14 is poetic, not intended as a literal description. It is simply a poetic, picturesque way of saying that God knows what is going on all over the earth. It is no more literal than poetic descriptions of God riding on clouds when the Bible makes clear that, as Solomon said, “the heavens and highest heavens cannot contain you.” (By the way, this gets at a misconception of “biblical literalists.” We do not take the Bible literally throughout–we try to read it as it was intended to be read, history as history, poetry as poetry, etc. Genesis 1 is clearly history, the Psalms and prophets contain much poetry, but also history. You have to look at the form and context of each particular section.)

“At least two of it’s inhabitants are talking animals, a snake (Genesis) and a talking donkey (Numbers 22.28)
Yes, but these are the only two examples, and they are very particularly supernatural and not understood as normal events. The first is a special manifestation of the devil, the second was a special work of God. This is not absurd or impossible (except on naturalistic metaphysics).

“It’s a world where dead men (Lazarus, and of course, Jesus) re-animate and walk again.”
Again, yes, but not normally. Resurrections are very rare in the Bible and are always particular supernatural events for particular reasons. This is supernatural, but not absurd or impossible.

“A world where God intervenes to create turn rivers into blood (Exodus), manifest himself as a burning bush (ditto), makes bar bets with the Devil over the behavior of his chosen people (Job) and inseminates a virgin (another half-man, half-god progeny, BTW).”
The first two are simply supernatural events, not absurd ones. The third is so crudely put it is hardly recognizable from the original. (Go read the early chapters of Job, if any of you are interested in more details.) the third is totally inaccurate. God caused a virgin to be pregnant with a person who was both 100% human and 100% God. He was one person with a human nature and a divine nature. He was, indeed, a visiting of earth from God. What is absurd about that (unless you are a naturalist or something like that)?

“You seem like a rational man, Mark, exactly how is the story of God creating rainbows as a goodwill gesture after the flood any more rational than Ra and Apollo pushing the sun across the sky?”
That is a very naturalistic question to ask. There is nothing absurd about rainbows existing to be a reminder that God will not flood the whole world again. God created the laws of physics and the environmental conditions with this in mind. The sun being pushed across the sky, however, is not only supernatural, but contradicts known facts about the sun. It is a fact of observation that the sun is not being pulled by a chariot, unless that chariot is invisible or is vastly disproportionate in size to the sun. Also, it suggests a geocentric view of the solar system.

Evolutionists often get irriated with creationists for allegedly pointing out odd things are unsolved problems in evolution while ignoring the vast amount of support for it, successful predictions, etc. That is how I feel about the way naturlists and others sometimes deal with the Bible. There are supernatural events, but nothing like the array of odd things in the myths of the world. The Bible is similar to Greek and Babylonian myths in some ways, especially if you lump the supernatural in with the absurd due to naturalistic metaphysics, but it is far more different than it is similar. Compare the creation accounts of other myths to the Bible’s creation account. Surely you cannot fail to see the signficant differences. The Bible is calm, historical, and subdued compared to the wild, often irrational, mythological stories in myths all around the world.

I have a question, especially for those of you who are actively involved in keeping creationism out of the schools (such as Nick Natzke). How would you feel about someone teaching the resurrection of Jesus in a public school, or college, history class as something that actually happened. What ab0ut teaching it as something that might have really happened, a possible real historical event. What about teaching both possibilities–it might have happened and it might not have–and saying that his/her personal interpretation is that it did happen as a real historical event?

I have run out of time. I will talk to you later!

Mark

Comment #181797

Posted by Mark Hausam on June 4, 2007 10:29 AM (e)

Robert, I do intend to respond to your specific point, but I have run out of time this morning.

Mark

Comment #181822

Posted by Bill Gascoyne on June 4, 2007 11:12 AM (e)

Mark H. wrote:

Evolutionists often get irriated with creationists for allegedly pointing out odd things are unsolved problems in evolution while ignoring the vast amount of support for it, successful predictions, etc. That is how I feel about the way naturlists and others sometimes deal with the Bible.

Science does not claim infallibility. Biblical inerrancy invites criticism, because all alleged inaccuracies and contradictions must be explained away if inerrancy is to be upheld. Perfection is the absence of flaws, and in this case the two negatives re-enforce each other rather than canceling each other.

“The will to perfection is absolutely the cause of so much evil.”
Robert Conquest

Comment #181833

Posted by GuyeFaux on June 4, 2007 11:27 AM (e)

Moses wrote:

I go about it more along the historical inaccuracies & contradictions:…

Given Mark’s responses, this was a good idea. For flavor:

The gospels are selective in their recording of events.

Ancient reporting of historical events was often done more loosely than is acceptable in our day, so this kind of condensing in order to selectively pick events to tell the story as he wished would not have been particularly surprising.

It doesn’t exist in exactly that form, but quotes were often (acceptably) made somewhat loosely in those days.

…there are plausible non-contradictory interpretations, so the geneologies do not prove a biblical contradiction.

The translation [of “virgin”] would seem to have been a theological interpretation.

(My favorite:)

It is true that stories of gods being born on earth have always been popular in many cultures, but that doesn’t prove no incarnation of the true God has occurred. Humans seem psychologically wired to believe in higher powers and to look for interactions between heaven and earth.

Referring to their children as “giants” and “men of renown” would then simply suggest that they were a special, set-apart class of people known for physical strength, etc.

And, this is particularly damning:

We do not take the Bible literally throughout –– we try to read it as it was intended to be read, history as history, poetry as poetry, etc. Genesis 1 is clearly history, the Psalms and prophets contain much poetry, but also history. You have to look at the form and context of each particular section.

The first two [rivers into blood, burning bush] are simply supernatural events, not absurd ones.

But, shortly after:

The sun being pushed across the sky, however, is not only supernatural, but contradicts known facts about the sun.

Well, there you have it, folks. From a self-described YEC and biblical literalist, who claims that the Bible is inerrant. Mark, let me know if you haven’t admitted that:
1) The Bible must be interpreted in context,
2) Some bits are “poetic”, and therefore not literal (e.g. Psalms),
3) The Bible is “selective” in its recording of history,
4) There are plausible explanations to every Biblical contradiction,
5) Quotations are often “loose” in the Bible,
6) Unnatural stuff in the Bible is simply “supernatural”, whereas in other sources it’s “absurd”.
7) People have a natural tendency to believe in gods.

Mark, do you know what “inerrant” means?

And how do you decide which parts of the Bible God wants you to take literally, and which parts you should take metaphorically?

Comment #181835

Posted by Mike Elzinga on June 4, 2007 11:29 AM (e)

Mark Hausam wrote:

Evolutionists often get irriated with creationists for allegedly pointing out odd things are unsolved problems in evolution while ignoring the vast amount of support for it, successful predictions, etc.

What irritates scientists is the constant stream of misinformation and distortion that comes from the ID/Creationists (e.g., check out the 130+ examples of quote mining on TalkOrigins.org). The ID/Creationists don’t point out “odd things and unsolved problems” as you claim. They reveal a whole range of severe and persistent misconceptions about science. What is more, they never correct them when these are pointed out; they simply reuse them in the next venue. This has been documented for over 35 years. There is an ongoing record of this. You are becoming part of this record.

Mark Hausam wrote:

I have a question, especially for those of you who are actively involved in keeping creationism out of the schools (such as Nick Natzke). How would you feel about someone teaching the resurrection of Jesus in a public school, or college, history class as something that actually happened. What ab0ut teaching it as something that might have really happened, a possible real historical event. What about teaching both possibilities–it might have happened and it might not have–and saying that his/her personal interpretation is that it did happen as a real historical event?

We have the Wedge Document as evidence of intent, and we have the history of the zealous actions of minds such as yours on keeping evolution out of the public schools.

You yourself have demonstrated repeatedly that you know nothing about science and its history, nothing about the history of Western Civilization, and nothing about the history of your own religion let along that of other religions. And you are typical of the armies of ignorant people attempting to impose their ignorance on others.

What makes you think you have any authority in matters of education? What evidence can you provide that you have any better insights into the mind of god that do others? You even offend other people of faith within your own Christian religion. You apparently have no respect for the insights of other religions, so do you think any educated person is going to take you seriously when you show so many defects in your own attitudes and education?

You really need to read Galileo’s letter to the Grand Duchess Christina. ( http://www.galilean-library.org/christina.html ) It may be too heavy reading for you, but if you are able to understand it, you might get a glimpse of how you look to people who have made the effort to learn rather than taking a bunch of fluff courses in sectarian dogma.

Comment #181898

Posted by Mike Elzinga on June 4, 2007 1:00 PM (e)

Moses:

I am in awe of your brilliance. Galileo described just what you anticipated.

Comment #181899

Posted by Raging Bee on June 4, 2007 1:01 PM (e)

Mark: first you make a lot of speculations as to how apparently-contradictory assertions in the Bible can be reconciled, with no evidence to back any of it up; then, when someone else speculates – quite plausibly – that people, ideas, and stories tend to change over time, and perhaps get bits and pieces from each other, you brush it off as “wild speculation” with “no real historical proof.” Are you even aware of how blatantly you’re talking out of both ends of your mouth here?

Similary, there is no evidence that Matthew borrowed from Mithraism (or Hinduism). The gospels exhibit nothing but the Jewishness of the time throughout.

If there are obvious similarities between the stories of different religions (and the spirit behind those stories), and if the peoples believing in those various religions had occasion to mingle with each other regularly in the same geographical area over a long period of time, then there’s your evidence of – at the very least – the undeniable possibility, and very high probability, of one people borrowing ideas from others.

The idea that one people in the Middle East – i.e., the Jews – could live and interact with their neighbors for so long, with absolutely no mingling of religious folklore or beliefs, is not only improbable; it is simply preposterous and contradictory to well-known human behavior.

(By the way, this gets at a misconception of “biblical literalists.” We do not take the Bible literally throughout–we try to read it as it was intended to be read, history as history, poetry as poetry, etc. Genesis 1 is clearly history, the Psalms and prophets contain much poetry, but also history. You have to look at the form and context of each particular section.)

Funny how you only point this out AFTER telling us the Bible is “infallible” – no ifs, ands or buts – and then being proven wrong by quotations from the Bible itself, to the point where even you have to admit that the authors of the Bible didn’t get everything right, for a variety of perfectly plausible reasons.

Also, the bits of Genesis you quote to “disprove” evolution are clearly not “history” – they’re an account of the creation of the Universe, an account whose literal interpretation has been clearly proven wrong by scientists, not just historians. If it’s history or science, then it’s bad history or science; otherwise it’s just theatrics.

That is a very naturalistic question to ask. There is nothing absurd about rainbows existing to be a reminder that God will not flood the whole world again. God created the laws of physics and the environmental conditions with this in mind. The sun being pushed across the sky, however, is not only supernatural, but contradicts known facts about the sun.

Right – everyone else’s religion contradicts “known facts,” but your God faked all the facts that contradict your religion, so your religion doesn’t contradict “known facts.” (Because you have chosen not to “know” them?)

Evolutionists often get irriated with creationists for allegedly pointing out odd things are unsolved problems in evolution…

No, we get “irritated” with creationists for LYING: about evolution, science in general, scientists, history, and eugenics, just to name a few things. We also get “irritated” at them for lying about WHY we’re irritated with them, as you have just done.

The Bible is similar to Greek and Babylonian myths in some ways, especially if you lump the supernatural in with the absurd due to naturalistic metaphysics, but it is far more different than it is similar.

Everyone says that about their respective beliefs, and everyone is right.

The Bible is calm, historical, and subdued compared to the wild, often irrational, mythological stories in myths all around the world.

So how come there are so many clearly unhinged liars, idiots, hatemongers and lunatics attracted to its doctrines? Was it the “calm, historical, and subdued” way that God destroyed the entire Earth with a flood, incinerated Sodom and Gomorrah, and commanded his people to repeatedly commit what we today call “genocide?” Or is it the “calm, historical, and subdued” way in which “Christians” like you make up whatever assumptions you need to in order to discount and ignore a planetful of evidence that disproves your “infallible” creation story? Oh, and let’s not forget the “calm, historical, and subdued” Book of Revelation…

Hey, at least we Pagans aren’t predicting dire vindictive punishment of millions of people at a time; so stop pretending you’re the calm and rational ones, okay?

I have a question, especially for those of you who are actively involved in keeping creationism out of the schools (such as Nick Natzke). How would you feel about someone teaching the resurrection of Jesus in a public school, or college, history class as something that actually happened. What ab0ut teaching it as something that might have really happened, a possible real historical event. What about teaching both possibilities–it might have happened and it might not have–and saying that his/her personal interpretation is that it did happen as a real historical event?

What about sticking to the verifiable truth – that many people believe these things happened? And what about keeping it in a comparative religion class, rather than a history class? (The history that needs to be taught was not made by the Resurrection, but by the people who believed in it, whether or not it actually happened.)

And now a question for you (not that we expect you to answer it, since you’ve been dodging questions consistently here): how would YOU feel if we treated ALL peoples’ religious beliefs the same way in the same classes?

Comment #181906

Posted by JohnW on June 4, 2007 1:13 PM (e)

Mark,

Regarding your point about the appearance of age being acceptable, but the appearance of history being a falsification of the 6000-year-old-Earth hypothesis (“It does not seem reasonable to me that God would have planted deceptive evidence of a history that didn’t exist”, comment #181234):

Here’s a simple example which (I hope) will show that what we see is indeed the appearance of history, not just the appearance of age. In the case of Adam, it seems you’re willing to accept a navel, but not, say, a scar on his chin from the time he fell off his bike at the age of nine. Let’s apply this to tree rings. Assuming Eden had seasons, we would expect to see trees created fully mature, with trunks full of rings reflecting their annual growth cycles (the appearance of age). In modern trees, however, we see something more subtle than this. Because weather varies and trees grow faster in some years than others, the tree rings are not the same size - if we look at a section of tree tunk, we might see two wide rings, a medium one, three narrow rings and another wide ring - a seven year period with two good growing years followed by a OK year, three rough years and another good years. We see not just the tree’s age, but its history. In fact, lining up these patterns is how we do dendrochronology - if we take a long enough sequence of years, the pattern is not going to repeat, so we can use the pattern to date the wood.

Now this gives us a way to test your hypothesis. If the appearance of age is OK but the appearance of history is not, then we should only see a varying pattern in tree-ring width for the last 6000 years or so. At that that date, the trees would have been created in a mature form, with the appearance of age but not history. In other words, the trees should have rings which are uniform in width - no variation indicating good and bad years.

So to test your hypothesis, all we need to do is look at dendrochronological sequences. They should only be reliable for the past 6000 years or so. Beyond that point, all tree rings should be completely uniform.

Does this sound reasonable? Do you agree that this would be a good test of your position?

Comment #181914

Posted by Nick (Matzke) on June 4, 2007 1:31 PM (e)

I have a question, especially for those of you who are actively involved in keeping creationism out of the schools (such as Nick Natzke). How would you feel about someone teaching the resurrection of Jesus in a public school, or college, history class as something that actually happened. What ab0ut teaching it as something that might have really happened, a possible real historical event. What about teaching both possibilities–it might have happened and it might not have–and saying that his/her personal interpretation is that it did happen as a real historical event?

How would you feel about a teacher doing the exact same thing, except for Mormon doctrines? Or Muslim, Hindu, Scientology, etc.

Comment #181927

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 4, 2007 1:52 PM (e)

What about teaching both possibilities–it might have happened and it might not have–and saying that his/her personal interpretation is that it did happen as a real historical event?

great idea. How about I show up at your next Sunday service so I can present the entire bible as not historical fact, but rather nothing more than personal interpretations of a work of fiction?

teach the controversy!

Comment #181944

Posted by Ginger Yellow on June 4, 2007 2:16 PM (e)

“ There is nothing absurd about rainbows existing to be a reminder that God will not flood the whole world again.”

Yes, there is. It implies that before the flood prisms did not refract light, but that afterward God changed one of the most fundamental laws of physics so that they did. Isn’t it odd that the Bible doesn’t mention how everything looked reallydifferent after the rainbow? Have you even considered the physical implications of non-refractory light? This is a common problem with your arguments about God “speeding up” the processes that make it look like the earth is old. Do you realise how hot the world would be if you compressed 4.5bn years of radioactive decay into a few days?

Comment #181951

Posted by David Stanton on June 4, 2007 2:28 PM (e)

Yet another 50,000 word installment in the continuing saga of biblical inerrancy. I warned you that he would never budge on that one a week ago.

Now about the evidence. Still no mention of tree rings, ice cores, magnetic reversals, genetic evidence, etc. Remember that some of this evidence was provided nearly two weeks ago. The argument of commitment to naturalism was demolished. Now the argument over apparent age vs apparent history is being ignored. It’s not surprising really. There are only three possible responses: (1) everything is only apparent age after all (just because I said so); (2) the Bible still wins no matter what the evidence (just because I said so); (3) anything too complicated for me to understand can’t possibly be true (so you lose again). Take your pick. If this guy is really willing to ignore all of astronomy, paleontology, archeology, climatology and genetics, what makes anyone think he will ever change his mind about anything? And who cares?

Mark,

One last time, just to be fair. Answer one question and one question only. Was there or was there not a world-wide flood as described in the Bible, yes or no? No 50,000 word discourse on biblical innerancy. No I’ll look at the evidence and get back to you later. No commitment to naturalism side stepping. Yes or no? I really mean it. I want to hear your answer. Please let everyone know as soon as possible. We will all be waiting.

Here is a hint, flood geology was discredited long ago. If you answer yes, you will have to explain why there in absolutely no evidence for such a monumental event anywhere. You will have demonstrated conclusively that the appearance of history in multiple independent data sets still does not convince you. If that is the case then further discussion is futile. If you answer no, your assumption of biblical inerrancy is gone and we can forget about it and start looking at the evidence.

Anyone want to guess what answer Mark will give?

Comment #181966

Posted by Doc Bill on June 4, 2007 2:43 PM (e)

Let me guess!

Mark will say: Hey, I’d like to answer that question but it’s complicated and I don’t have much time right now.

I call this the Paul Nelson Escape maneuver.

Comment #181988

Posted by Mark Hausam on June 4, 2007 3:11 PM (e)

This is not going to be a thorough post (tomorrow morning will probably be the next one), but I did want to briefly respond to David Stanton’s latest question and make some comments on it.

Yes, I do accept the biblical global flood. I have already explained many times why I accept it. I accept it on the basis of biblical authority, which I have good evidence to take seriously (from philosophical and other lines of evidence and reasoning). I believe that the physical evidence will line up with it, but I have not yet completed an investigation of that evidence to my satisfaction. I am in the process of trying to do so, in the midst of a schedule that, shock of shocks, has other things in it that need to be done besides conversing with rude and impatient Darwinists. I am not trying to dodge questions. I have answered many questions in many areas already, and plan to continue to answer them, in a time frame that I can handle. I’m sorry I haven’t yet been able to look up all the myriad references that are continually being given to me. I appreciate the references, I asked for them, but it will take time for me to go through the enormous amount of material I need to go through. I am a thorough person, as you can tell from my posts–maybe I am too obsessively thorough sometimes, but if I am, this is a fault you will just have to live with if you want to talk to me.

Why is it so hard for some of you to accept these things? Why must you continually be accusing me of dodging or ignoring questions? Why must David insist that I must be set in my ways and impervious to evidence just because I have an opinion, based on what I take to be good evidence, but haven’t yet had an opportunity to thoroughly look through evidence in one particular area (but am doing so a little at a time as we speak)? I could play the same game with you, but I am more interested in having an intelligent conversation than finding new clever ways to irrationally attack people over and over again. So would some of you mind having a bit of patience? I know it is hard to be tolerant of someone you strongly disagree with, but why don’t you at least try a little harder? It would be nice.

Is there anyone else on this thread, besides me, who is tired of these endless groundless attacks upon me and who can see that I exhibit evidence of trying to have a rational, productive conversation (rather than lying, dodging questions, ignoring everybody, etc.) and is willing to put yourself out on the line to say so? I ask, because it would be encouraging to me to hear it. I don’t need to hear it, and will go on just the same without it (I’ve learned I cannot really hope to expect better from a lot of people here), but I would like to hear it. As you are aware, though, if you do step out and say it, you will be insulted, psychoanalyzed, etc., as well. It is really a shame we cannot have a conversation without the yelps from people who seem to derive such entertainment from insulting and demeaning people–but, such is life with human beings.

Talk to you later,
Mark

Comment #181995

Posted by Mark Hausam on June 4, 2007 3:17 PM (e)

Let me add this: I know there are those who have put themselves on the line to say so, such as B. Spitzer, Nick Matzke, and a few others. I do appreciate it. It is easy to forget in the midst of such a constant barrage of the other behavior, but I would be ungrateful not to mention it. Thank you!

This is all good for me, anyway. I needed to get used to what it is like to talk to people on blogs like this. I’ll probably be doing a lot more of it in the future.

Comment #181996

Posted by Raging Bee on June 4, 2007 3:20 PM (e)

We do not take the Bible literally throughout–we try to read it as it was intended to be read, history as history, poetry as poetry, etc…

I notice you mention “history” and “poetry,” but not “morality,” “wisdom,” or “life lessons.” Given the HUGE number of Christians who look to the Bible for those things, and not for history, poetry or science, I find that omission on your part telling.

Comment #182009

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 4, 2007 3:36 PM (e)

This is all good for me, anyway. I needed to get used to what it is like to talk to people on blogs like this. I’ll probably be doing a lot more of it in the future.

just like AFDave, Mark is simply using you to hone his creationist speech-making skills.

It reminds me of the episode of the Sopranos last night, where Tony’s analyst begins to realize that Tony is using her to hone his own criminal behavior, and finally gives him the boot.

let me repeat that:

finally gives him the boot.

Nick, you’re initial assessment of Mark:

Usually this sort of person is about six months away from complete deconversion from creationism.

appears not only wrong, but counterproductive.

seriously, you should check out the patterns revealed by the near infinite AFDave threads on ATBC and over on Dawkins website to see more clearly how to recognize when someone is playing you for experience.

Indeed, I have found the exact OPPOSITE conclusion based on this type of posting behavior:
this person is so entrenched in their personalized worldview, their confidence in it allows them to go ahead and ACT like they want to hear the evidence against it. My position is readily supported by statements like those in his recent post:

I believe that the physical evidence will line up with it,

really, they have no intentions of changing their minds on anything, and are simply looking for ways to more convincingly present their “case” to those who are even more ignorant than themselves. Dave himself even admitted to this directly in his first “creator hypothesis” thread.

but, hey, maybe the internet fora only provide examples that support my conclusion; perhaps in your wanderings you have come across other examples?

I’m very curious to see the examples that made you come to your conclusion that the pattern Mark presented from day one is indicative of someone ready to abandon creationism.

so far, you have provided specific COUNTER examples, but nothing direct in support.

Comment #182027

Posted by David Stanton on June 4, 2007 3:53 PM (e)

Mark,

Thanks for responding to my question so promptly. I do appreciate it. Of course, your answer is no suprise to anyone.

As many here have shown, the evidence is indeed conclusive on this point. There is one history of the earth and life on it as recorded in many independent data sets. They all give exactly the same answer, there was no world-wide flood, not one, never was. That is what the evidence shows unambiguously. But, by your own admission, you have already reached a conclusion without examining this evidence. Apparently you do not find the argument of appearance of history to be convincing after all.

However, we certainly don’t expect you to take our word for it. By all means, examine the evidence for yourself. You can safely ignore the opinions of all the experts, even if they do believe in the Bible. Why believe anyone who has spent a lifetime actually examining the evidence? Feel free to replicate all of the work in every major field of science for yourself.

Oh, by the way, whatever you do, don’t just go to some creationist web site, cut and past all their arguments and then claim to have examined the evidence. That would not be productive. You could start with the Talkorigins archive I recommended, but I wouldn’t stop there either.

When you are ready to admit that there was no world-wide flood, you will be ready to set the Bible aside as a science text and really examine the evidence objectively, as you wanted us to do. You are making your God out to be a liar and a fool. I do not choose to believe in such a God, but you are certainly welcome to.

Comment #182029

Posted by Mike Elzinga on June 4, 2007 4:03 PM (e)

Mark Hausam wrote:

Why is it so hard for some of you to accept these things?

Hasn’t it occurred to you yet that there are some smart people here who know a lot more about some things than you do? Is that so hard to understand?

When you read and re-read only a single book all your life, you tend to get a pretty narrow perspective. But perhaps you don’t know that either.

Comment #182033

Posted by GuyeFaux on June 4, 2007 4:07 PM (e)

You have my sympathies:

Why is it so hard for some of you to accept these things? Why must you continually be accusing me of dodging or ignoring questions? Why must David insist that I must be set in my ways and impervious to evidence just because I have an opinion, based on what I take to be good evidence, but haven’t yet had an opportunity to thoroughly look through evidence in one particular area (but am doing so a little at a time as we speak)? I could play the same game with you, but I am more interested in having an intelligent conversation than finding new clever ways to irrationally attack people over and over again. So would some of you mind having a bit of patience? I know it is hard to be tolerant of someone you strongly disagree with, but why don’t you at least try a little harder? It would be nice.

But keep in mind that
a) Direct commentary can sound harsh,
b) You’ve offended some people, not in tone, but implicitly by the points you seem to be making, and
c) Direct, point-by-point responses to your posts are more respectful than humoring you. Think about it, which one requires more respect for your intelligence?

Comment #182034

Posted by Mike Elzinga on June 4, 2007 4:08 PM (e)

Hey guys; we’ve been at this a while and it’s getting a little sweaty inside my Satan suit. I’m ready to take it off and move on to something else.

Comment #182062

Posted by David Stanton on June 4, 2007 5:25 PM (e)

Mark wrote:

“Why is it so hard for some of you to accept these things? Why must you continually be accusing me of dodging or ignoring questions? Why must David insist that I must be set in my ways and impervious to evidence just because I have an opinion, based on what I take to be good evidence, but haven’t yet had an opportunity to thoroughly look through evidence in one particular area (but am doing so a little at a time as we speak)? I could play the same game with you, but I am more interested in having an intelligent conversation than finding new clever ways to irrationally attack people over and over again. So would some of you mind having a bit of patience? I know it is hard to be tolerant of someone you strongly disagree with, but why don’t you at least try a little harder? It would be nice.”

Oh dear, it seems I have offended Mark once again. Perhaps I have been less than civil, if so I’m sorry. However, in my own defense, I could point out some things that some on this thread may not be aware of.

First, Mark asked for evidence. He came here claiming to want to look at evidence. Two weeks ago I gave him a reference to a two page article in the most widely read scientific journal in the country. We started off with tree rings - not gravitational lensing, not retroviral transposons, not even radiometric dating - tree rings! Then, nearly two weeks later, he claims that if the evidence shows “apparent history” rather than just “apparent age” that that would be a “problem for my position”. Huh? The article was about reconstruction of paleoclimatology with various correlated data sets! Guess he missed that point, so I pointed it out again, still no response. Guess he never even read the article. Go figure.

Second, he claims he doesn’t have time to look at all the evidence. Still, he seems to have time to post dozens of 20,000 word plus posts on biblical inerrancy. No wonder he doesn’t have time to read one article. Maybe talking about the Bible is all he really wants to do. That would sure explain why those were the only issues he responded to.

Third, Nick pointed out over a week ago on the first thread that the flood was a problem for Mark. He never responded to that either. I finally got him to at least admit that the issue was out there. And what did he do? He choose door number two (the Bible wins anyway just because I said so). He even admits he hasn’t looked at the evidence yet. Well, I don’t know about you, but to me, until he admits that the evidence shows that the flood never happened, it’s pretty clear that he hasn’t looked at any evidence and the obvious conclusion from all of this is that he never intends to.

Of course he could easily prove me wrong. He could easily stop spouting off about the Bible and start debating some actual evidence. Well until he does he won’t be able to complain about my attitude any more. This is supposed to be a science blog. Why do we need to provide a forum for someone to preach about the Bible? Nick has been more than generous here. I would suggest at least moving all Bible discussion to another venue, or better yet, refuse to discuss that issue. Just seems reasonable since this appears headed for another 300 post plus fiasco.

Comment #182067

Posted by FL on June 4, 2007 5:36 PM (e)

why don’t you at least try a little harder? It would be nice.

Mark, this is PandasThumb, and you’re a creationist who believes the Bible. Kinda like Jesse Jackson crashing a KKK Grand Dragon party, okay?
It’s not going to get any better here for you, or me, or any other non-Darwinist.

May I offer you this? Over several years and several forums, I’ve learned that there is a spiritual element to the evolution debate.

It’s not just all about science and science education, no matter how much some folks try to pretend it is.
Stated simply, you’re not just addressing people’s minds, but people’s hearts too.

IOW, you’re engaging with, and openly expressing disagreement and challenge with, some people’s religion around here….the religion of evolution. The religion of scientism. The religion of materialism. You’re challenging people’s core religious beliefs, not just “science” or whatnot.

That’s guaranteed to make for sparks and sharp comments (along with some condescending tones, btw) and you should not be expecting anything less around here.

Because…..There IS an element of spiritual warfare going on when you take on evolution and try to defend biblical reliability.

There are forums where people are “nicer” and all that. But in this forum, well, things are the way they are. This forum is the place you go, to understand the way evolutionists REALLY feel about things, and to toughen yourself up accordingly.

Comment #182075

Posted by GuyeFaux on June 4, 2007 5:51 PM (e)

…some people’s religion around here…the religion of evolution.

The difference between my acceptance of evolution (and the reason it’s not a religion), and Mark’s beliefs is that I’m actually looking for evidence to prove me wrong.

Comment #182097

Posted by Josh on June 4, 2007 6:40 PM (e)

Having watched the discussion for a while, I feel the need to emphasize an important fact in a way I hope Mark will understand.

A creationist starts with two premises:
1. The natural world exists (this is obviously a premise since there would be no creation without it
2. The supernatural exists

Those who stand behind evolution only accept the first premise. It is necessary to recognise that this does not, ipso facto, reject the second. If the conclusion that the supernatural exists can be drawn from the first premise, then it will be accepted as true. Since creationists belive in natural world and matter, it is absurd to call “Darwinists” biased for accepting the same premise. Rejecting the second is not a bias, it is simply a request for a logical reason why it should be accpeted. Until the supernatural is demonstrated, any statement invoking it is logically invalid. Since everyone accepts the natural world, however, any statement invoking natural phenomena is perfectly valid. Until the supernatural is established as a reasonable premise, it is altogether pointless to proceed further, drawing conclusions from truths that have yet to be demonstrated.

Comment #182098

Posted by Narc on June 4, 2007 6:42 PM (e)

Mark Hausam wrote:

I accept it on the basis of biblical authority, which I have good evidence to take seriously (from philosophical and other lines of evidence and reasoning).

Sorry, but philosophy and reasoning aren’t evidence by any definition I’m aware of. They’re rhetoric. At some point, you have to actually go out and look at the physical world to gather “evidence.”

Comment #182099

Posted by David B. Benson on June 4, 2007 7:19 PM (e)

I’m bored with this thread by now. While I do hope that Nick Matzke is right and I admire the effort so many have shown here, at this point I have my doubts Mark Hausam will ever understand the role of evidence.

Sad, really…

Comment #182102

Posted by Mike Elzinga on June 4, 2007 7:22 PM (e)

FL wrote:

This forum is the place you go, to understand the way evolutionists REALLY feel about things, and to toughen yourself up accordingly.

Yup, a little foray into the enemy’s camp to see what weapons they have is good strategic warfare. Pick up a few battle scars in the process and you are on your way to being a full-fledged warrior and hero.

As has been pointed out many times in this and the previous thread, it’s not about science. The bizarre “science” introduced as a ploy to engage scientists is really about religious warfare between good and evil. Religious warfare is the proper metaphor here, not science.

Many scientists in the past have been caught off guard by this ploy, thinking, as many busy nerdy scientists do, that a few simple explanations will clear things up.

Not so. Read the Wedge Document to get the bigger picture. Mark and his cohorts will never admit this in a “debate”.

Comment #182116

Posted by Mike Elzinga on June 4, 2007 7:57 PM (e)

By the way, I was trying to be discretely polite in referring to the sweaty inside of my Satan suit. It’s really the smell of sulphur that is getting a bit nauseating. We’ve been at this too long.

Comment #182120

Posted by Paul Flocken on June 4, 2007 8:08 PM (e)

In reference to that last post, I am addressing Mark even though it was FL’s post I was quoting, although I would be interested to see FL respond to my specific questions as well.

Sincerely,
Paul Flocken

Comment #182132

Posted by FL on June 4, 2007 8:32 PM (e)

In reference to that last post,

What comment-number is that one, Paul?

Comment #182140

Posted by Raging Bee on June 4, 2007 8:39 PM (e)

FL: You seem very eager to discourage Mark from continuing this debate. Why is that? Are you getting uncomfortable with the direction it’s been taking recently?

Comment #182143

Posted by Richard Simons on June 4, 2007 8:42 PM (e)

“In the Biblical creation story God makes man and woman out of mud and spare ribs.”
While this is supernatural, it is not impossible or absurd.

Well I think it is equally absurd as the idea that humans are the offspring of a union between the sun and the moon, or many other origin myths.

Ginger Yellow said

“ There is nothing absurd about rainbows existing to be a reminder that God will not flood the whole world again.”

Yes, there is. It implies that before the flood prisms did not refract light, but that afterward God changed one of the most fundamental laws of physics so that they did. Isn’t it odd that the Bible doesn’t mention how everything looked really different after the rainbow? Have you even considered the physical implications of non-refractory light?

You mean like how eyes would not work properly?

The difficulty with adding patches to the Genesis creation myth to try to reconcile it with science if you are not very familiar with science is that each ‘fix’ tends to get you into deeper trouble.

Comment #182158

Posted by minimalist on June 4, 2007 9:14 PM (e)

Richard Simons wrote:

The difficulty with adding patches to the Genesis creation myth to try to reconcile it with science if you are not very familiar with science is that each ‘fix’ tends to get you into deeper trouble.

It seems to me that that’s pretty much a direct consequence of looking at the Universe as a series of unconnected “things”, as Mark Hausam admitted earlier. If you know nothing of science, the unity and continuity of ideas, then yes, the Universe is just a bunch of “things.” If you know nothing of the properties of light, the rainbow is just another independently-existing “thing” to be created or decreated without any consequences. It really is a childlike viewpoint.

Comment #182159

Posted by Nick (Matzke) on June 4, 2007 9:15 PM (e)

Mark,

Have you even read the talkorigins.org age of the earth stuff yet? This discussion is all pointless until you engage with the science. Until you do, you have no leg to stand on except to say that you believe the Bible over science on faith, which has been pretty much your only argument. It’s fine to have this view but then (1) don’t pretend that there is scientific support for your view, (2) don’t pretend that no evidence contradicts your Bible interpretation.

To whomever has been pointing us to Kurt Wise’s (2002) book Faith, Form, and Time,

1. I have it.

2. I have read it.

3. It contains virtually nothing in terms of scientific argument, instead it starts and ends with the the assertion – he admits it is on faith – that the Bible is true and that all physical evidence must be twisted and beaten into submission so that it matches his particular Bible interpretation.

4. What little there is in terms of scientific argument is just citation of the same old bogus Flood Geologists, most of whom were already destroyed by Brent Dalrymple, e.g. in his book and free online in this TalkOrigins article.

5. Worst of all, Kurt Wise invokes the YEC “model” of “runaway plate tectonics” to explain the massive geological evidence of continental drift… and he basically uses this to explain all puzzles in Flood Geology. The only problem is, moving all of the Earth’s plates around thousands of miles in a matter of weeks would release so much energy that the crust would liquify, the oceans would flash to steam, the lower atmosphere would be rock vapor, the Ark and poor old Noah would be burnt to a crisp and the planet would be sterilized even of bacteria. Oops, model falsified.

Comment #182182

Posted by FL on June 4, 2007 10:12 PM (e)

FL: You seem very eager to discourage Mark from continuing this debate. Why is that? Are you getting uncomfortable with the direction it’s been taking recently?

Not at all, Raging Bee. In fact, said “direction” was and is entirely predictable. But I think I’ve been around here a bit longer than he has, and I simply offer some observations that might be helpful for a non-Darwinist visiting this place for the first time.

As for Mark, I think he’s already done an excellent job on this thread given the circumstances; he don’t need to stretch this thread out to 300 comments trying to keep things going with folks whose minds are made up. (And also let me compliment the poster “K” as well for the posts he or she contributed.)

Mark said one thing that I think was perfectly on target:

…(It is) so ingrained in you to think in naturalistic or uniformitarian terms that you have trouble conceiving another way of looking at things. You are not fully aware of your own assumptions and how your philosophical beliefs about whether supernatural revelation can possibly constitute a part of the objective evidence influences your way of looking at the physical evidence.

Now in THIS forum, that was a mondo perceptive mama-jama observation on Mark’s part. Obviously you might disagree, but the man’s got his eyes open and can clearly discern (in biblical, theological and spiritual terms) what neck of the online woods he’s wandered into this time.

And, in regards to yourself, Mark was correct to point out to you that there’s a bit of a rational problem with claiming to accept the Bible while believing it to be in error scientifically and historically.

And I don’t know which poster he was responding to, but Mark was equally correct to point out that Matthew didn’t borrow anything from Mithraism. “The timing is all wrong!”, as Dr. Ronald Nash explained. (Mithra flourished just a little too late–like after the NT was written–to provide any evidence of any “borrowing” by the NT writers.)

*****

That’s why I haven’t tried to do much posting to him beyond a couple gigs. He don’t need too much help; he’s doing just fine for a person getting into a gang fight all by himself.

And he’s already shown willingness to let you guys recommend books to him for further science learning, despite the caustic and condescending tones coming from some posters, so he gets style points for humility too.

So given his humility and willingness to step into the lion’s den and explain things as best he can, I give Mark high marks (so to speak). Lots of good potential there with him. May well steal lots o’ evolutionist sheep someday if you don’t watch out….

FL

Comment #182185

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 4, 2007 10:24 PM (e)

But I think I’ve been around here a bit longer than he has,

indeed, years even, and yet have offered little more substantive contributions than he has.

shocker.

I expect as Mark gets his “sea legs”, he will in fact start to sound more and more like you.

and still make no sense.

Comment #182205

Posted by FL on June 4, 2007 11:39 PM (e)

Turning to another issue:

After 152 posts, after all this time, we finally have ONE–just one–evolutionist who can claim to even have read a copy of Dr. Wise’s excellent book Faith, Form, and Time (2002). Wow.

I’d already given up on asking anymore. But, thanks Nick, for bailing out your fellow evolutionists. Good save.

After all, it would’a been a Jurassic shame if this thread had mentioned Dr. Wise and the “appearance-of-age” argument, and nobody had even read his book.

******

So, let’s explore things a little. Dr. Wise points out something that deserves some really serious thought: there exist clear examples of God and of Jesus Christ performing “appearance-of-age” miracles in the Bible.

Dr. Wise cites and details the examples of Jesus feeding the crowds of four thousand and of five thousand(Matt. 14:15-21; 15:32-38; Mark 6:34-44; 8:1-9; Luke 9:12-17), the example of God healing a man lame from birth (Acts 14:10), and the example of Jesus turning water into wine.

Yet another example is Christ’s first public miracle: the turning of water into wine (John 2:1-11).
Once created, the wine had the appearance of having been derived from grapes that had grown in a previous season and were harvested, pressed, and sealed to make wine.

Since the immediate purpose of making the wine was to provide drink to replace the wine that had run out, Jesus created an apparent but non-existent history of wine-making.

The fact that the wine did look as if it were older than it really was, is evident in the response of the one person who tasted the wine. He deduced (verse 10) that the wine must have been there from at least the beginning of the feast, concluding erroneously that the wine was much older than it actually was.

Since God is directly responsible for each of these events, we must conclude that God can and does create things that appear much older than they really are. (p. 59)

********

So, let’s think about things here. Now, if you’re an atheist, you have a ready-made escape hatch, of course. God doesn’t exist (you think), and hence you don’t have to pay any attention (you think), to the direct historical apparent-age-miracle claims being presented to you.

But since science has never refuted the existence of God, you have NO rational support for even believing that God doesn’t exist. So in the end, you’ve got no way of even showing that apparent-age-miracles cannot happen in this universe.

But suppose you’re one of those people who claim to be a Christian–say, one of those Christian evolutionist types. What happens then?

You claim to believe in Somebody who literally rose from the dead and is now giving you some sort of benefits for believing in him, so what possible excuse can you have, to run around disbelieving in God’s (and Christ’s) supernatural interventions such as apparent-age-miracles?

Your New Testament is telling you upfront that God is capable of and has already performed apparent-age-miracles whenever it suited Him.
Your New Testament is telling you that Jesus Christ, the Creator of the Universe (Colossians 1:16), doesn’t mind doing apparent-age-miracles when it suits His purposes and has, according to the Gospels, already done so.

Which means that He could well have performed an apparent-age-miracle on a planetary or even cosmic scale. Say, a planet like Earth: seven literal evenings, seven literal mornings, one literal week. Mmmm.

********

Anyway, some food for thought there. There’s a lot of good stuff in Dr. Kurt Wise’s book, but this will do for now. Think about it, evolutionists.
What does this mean for you and YOUR worldview?

Comment #182207

Posted by stevaroni on June 4, 2007 11:50 PM (e)

Mark;
I’m still hung up on the appearance of age versus the appearance of history, and the tree rings.

It does not seem reasonable to me that God would have planted deceptive evidence of a history that didn’t exist

I’m actually willing to by the premise that if God decided to create the Garden of Eden, he might fill it with adult trees, complete with rings.

Who knows, rings might actually serve a purpose for trees, maybe the concentric shells make the tree stiffer, or deter insect penetration, maybe it was just to give a Eve some lovely grain to admire whenever Adam built something nice for her out of wood.

That 6000 year-old wood would have the appearance of age.

On the other hand, there’s no good reason at all for apparently older wood, complete with rings, showing up in receding Canadian glaciers, or in desert caves in the southwest.
Those pieces of lumber have no reason to exist much less have rings, other than to create a false appearance of history.

They would, in fact, be evidence of a duplicitous God, out to actively mislead his creation for whatever reasons he might have. That’s a very unpleasant leap to make, that God is actively trying to misdirect you.

I suppose one might say it’s just to “test your faith” but that’s cold comfort once you make the rule that God can actively lie for reasons unknowable, since after that there’s no rational reason to assume that the deception is limited to matters of faith and nothing else (other than, well, faith, which isn’t a very useful guidepost in a world where God is known to actively deceive his followers).

Comment #182212

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 5, 2007 12:08 AM (e)

After 152 posts, after all this time, we finally have ONE–just one–evolutionist who can claim to even have read a copy of Dr. Wise’s excellent book Faith, Form, and Time (2002). Wow.

uh, why on earth would someone who thinks rationally waste time on it, other than to rag on it like Nick did?

guess what, idiot:

there are thousands of books of woo and pseudoscience the vast majority of us don’t bother to waste time reading.

go figure.

Comment #182232

Posted by GuyeFaux on June 5, 2007 12:47 AM (e)

After 152 posts, after all this time,…

You don’t seem to have read any of them. No one said that God absolutely couldn’t have created the world 6kya and made it look billions of years old, so rambling about the capabilities of this or that miracle-maker is so beside the point. What sane people have been saying is that it’s impossible to falsify a purported, 6 millennia-old Miracle.

FL, look, you need to pick one:
1) The World was create ~6kya, but in every (non-Biblical) respect it looks a lot older than that. In which case your position is equivalent to Last-Thursdayism, but at least it’s logically consistent.
2) The World was create ~6kya, but in most (non-Biblical) respects it looks a lot older than that. In which case you’re saying that for some Reason God tried to make the world look a lot older than it is, but failed to cover up the evidence for a young-Earth.
3) The World was create ~6kya, and there’s scant (non-Biblical) evidence that the World is much older than that. In which case you’re nuts.

Comment #182235

Posted by stevaroni on June 5, 2007 12:50 AM (e)

FL, insightful as always, notes….

But since science has never refuted the existence of God, you have NO rational support for even believing that God doesn’t exist. So in the end, you’ve got no way of even showing that apparent-age-miracles cannot happen in this universe.

I have a tiny pink unicorn in my pocket.

The unicorn’s name is Gary and he likes me to be happy.

Gary says that he has magic powers and will destroy the earth unless you FL, send me a large check, which I will use to go on vacation to Bora-Bora and have topless Polynesian nymphs serve me fruity drinks on the beach, because he is fairly certain this will make me happy.

Although I have no direct evidence of Gary’s existence that I can offer you, I would point out that science has never absolutely refuted the idea that the little guy is, in fact, real. Therefore you have - what was the phrase now? Oh yes - “ NO rational support for believing that Gary does not exist”. Likewise, you have no rational way of refuting the idea that tiny pocket-dwelling unicorns have the power to end the world.

As this is apparently your standard of proof in regards to things supernatural, and seeing that the stakes are so great (the destruction of the entire earth, I remind you), I’m certain that you’ll be morally and ethically compelled to do as my unicorn demands.

Remember Pascal’s wager and all that? Well this isn’t just about you anymore FL - you could hold the fate of the entire planet in your hands. Please hurry, Gary is antsy.

I’ll be packing.

Comment #182256

Posted by Chris Andrews on June 5, 2007 2:10 AM (e)

FL says:

“So, let’s explore things a little. Dr. Wise points out something that deserves some really serious thought: there exist clear examples of God and of Jesus Christ performing “appearance-of-age” miracles in the Bible.”

So you’re saying that in order to validate the creation story in the bible, Dr. Wise refers to … the bible … as his source of data?

Does this make logical sense to you? I am genuinely curious.

Comment #182257

Posted by snaxalotl on June 5, 2007 2:16 AM (e)

people (who clearly like reading very large cut-and-pastes) are still persisting with disproofs of the bible. fine, but you MUST at least recognize how all fundamentalists deal with this. YOU have assumed the burden of proof, and said fundy will take any outside possibility that you may be incorrect, and he does pretty much the same thing you do when someone does a lab experiment proving [insert ludicrous example here]: you KNOW it contains an error, so you’re prepared to accept a pretty unlikely cause of that error. In his mind, he has seen FABULOUS verification of the bible, and this is the point you need to directly address if you want to get anywhere. Otherwise, prepare yourselves for a lot of argument along the lines of “well I know how this verse looks, but the word translated here as cat probably had an ancient idiomatic meaning of state run educational facility. I can’t prove it did, but you can’t prove it didn’t”. And things can get surprisingly weird before that admission of defeat you’re expecting any second. I once had a guy whose argument was foundering because the necessary element, the words “brother of” that appeared in the King James version, were demonstrably absent in the Hebrew. His explanation? “brother of” is written in the Hebrew invisibly.

Mark seems like a nice enough guy, and when I see people dismissing him as a waste of time because he’s “just not prepared to grasp my brilliant argument and therefore refusing to engage in reasonable discussion”, it reminds me disturbingly like the last time I was visited by Mormons, when I so incalcitrantly refused to concede that their brilliant counter-arguments made plato and socrates look like morons. My view is that you should always be trying to bring these people into the loop, because it is religions that are generally trying to put insulating barriers around their cultures (and hopefully move everyone else within those barriers) while scientists are happy to dissolve the barriers between groups, let their ideas compete in a free marketplace (more pro-science than you might think: people generally might not apply scientific method to their own ideas, but they sure as hell apply them to others) and god forbid let protestants marry catholics and gasp risk the possibility of having godless children.

stevaroni has really disturbed me with his unicorn talk. if anybody else wants to start a fund to placate his unicorn, I’m prepared to put in a few bucks

Comment #182272

Posted by Mike Elzinga on June 5, 2007 3:01 AM (e)

Sir_Toejam wrote:

I expect as Mark gets his “sea legs”, he will in fact start to sound more and more like you.
and still make no sense.

Actually, ST, I think I may have picked up on something that has been nagging at me as I read Mark’s stuff. I really can’t be sure unless I get a sample of his discussions of some of the science stuff people have asked him to read and report on. All I have at the moment is his “cosmological crap” from his earlier posts and my analysis of his misconceptions based on that.

As surprising as this may seem, I suspect Mark has a very serious reading comprehension problem outside the areas to which he has been intensely exposed. I’ve seen it before. And it isn’t just related to religion.

It’s nearly 4 am here, and I have some errands tomorrow morning. But I’ll try to give some perspective on this from what I know from some of the research I am familiar with.

Maybe we will have another sample from Mark by then.

Comment #182280

Posted by Paul Flocken on June 5, 2007 3:23 AM (e)

Nick Matzke,

I submitted a post between 7:57pm and 8:08pm yesterday and it was placed into the spam que(whatever you call that thing). Would you please release it.

Comment #182330

Posted by Ginger Yellow on June 5, 2007 6:36 AM (e)

Josh, I don’t think that’s the central issue at all, in this case.

What Mark needs to understand is that he’s engaging in apologetics, not science. Starting from the capital-T Truth of the Bible and then trying to interpret the evidence and the text to make them fit is not in any way analagous to the scientific method, despite his claims that it all depends on one’s philosophical premises. It doesn’t. Science depends on intersubjectively available evidence and testable hypotheses. The hypotheses flow logically from the model produced by a given theory. If the hypothesis is falsified through solid observations, your model is wrong and needs to be revised or abandoned. Science is a systematic model building process. What you are doing, Mark, is taking individual bits of evidence and concocting ways to reconcile them with an ancient text - either by reinterpreting the language or by inventing some story which does not follow necessarily from the truth of the text, but is simply a way to make it fit with the evidence. This is the essence of apologetics and the opposite of science.

There is no conversation to be had between apologetics and science. They are fundamentally different discourses aimed at different purposes. Unless we’re on the same page, this whole thread is a bit pointless.

Comment #182363

Posted by Bill Gascoyne on June 5, 2007 9:00 AM (e)

But since science has never refuted the existence of God, you have NO rational support for even believing that God doesn’t exist.

Remind me again why science shoulders the burden of proof to show that God, Zeus, Vishnu, Thor, and the FSM do not exist…

Comment #182367

Posted by David Stanton on June 5, 2007 9:26 AM (e)

Ginger Yellow,

Thank you for so eloquently stating what I have been trying to point out all along. We should be discussiing science here, at least I think so.

Mark has systematically tried to steer the conversation in the direction of only discussing the Bible and many of us have let him get away with it. FL is doing exactly the same thing, that is why he sees nothing wrong with this. He proposes a scientifically testable hypothesis concerning the history of the earth. Nick points out that the hypothesis has been conclusively falsified by the evidence. What does FL do? He says, well let’s look at the Bible again. Huh? No refuation of the evidence, no discussion of Nick’s points, no science at all. Well so what if I’m closed minded? So what if I don’t care about religious claims? I’m not going to play, period.

Maybe people think that I am being unreasonable in asking someone to consider evidence objectively. But think for a minute. What if I said I accept everything in a Biology textbook on faith regradless of the evidence. What if I said that I wouldn’t even read the Bible because of that? Would that be acceptable to anyone?

Comment #182368

Posted by Ginger Yellow on June 5, 2007 9:29 AM (e)

The FSM does exist. You can see the work of his noodly appendage everywhere.

Comment #182378

Posted by Matt Young on June 5, 2007 9:43 AM (e)

Interesting exchange in an article, “Science and Islam,” in the July issue of Discover:

He [a chemistry professor at Cairo University] tells me that if I were writing an article saying that Adam and Eve is a big lie, it will not be accepted until I can prove it.

“Nobody can just write what he thinks without proof. But we have the proof that the story of Adam as the first man is true.”

“What proof?”

He looks at me with disbelief: “It’s written in the Koran.”

No further comment.

Comment #182385

Posted by fnxtr on June 5, 2007 10:14 AM (e)

…so ingrained in you to think in naturalistic or uniformitarian terms that you have trouble conceiving another way of looking at things. You are not fully aware of your own assumptions and how your philosophical beliefs about whether supernatural revelation can possibly constitute a part of the objective evidence influences your way of looking at the physical evidence.

Really.

Many of us were brought up with some pretty strong…um… encouragement… to think in terms of the supernatural. So we’re pretty familiar with that “way of looking at things”.

Then we grew up.

Comment #182394

Posted by Mark Hausam on June 5, 2007 11:07 AM (e)

We’ve had a number of related conversations going on on this thread. We’ve had a discussion of the specific scientific issues; a discussion of biblical infallibility; and a discussion of the validity of philosophical argumentation. These are all important in dealing with the topic at hand, which is evidence in relation to an old earth and Darwinism.

I think any of these discussions are fruitful, but maybe, since this is the Panda’s Thumb, we should focus more attention directly on the scientific issues. I’ve been spending most of my available time responding to questions about and attacks on biblical infallibility, so I haven’t gotten to much else lately. But I think I am going to focus my attention now back more on the scientific issues. We’ve discussed the other issues enough to give some background, and those things will come up again naturally in the course of the scientific conversation.

A couple of people have asked me about whether the peculiar characteristics of tree rings would fit, in my opinion, in the appearance of age or appearance of history category. It has been mentioned tht tree rings do not simply exist, but vary in ways related to their history. My take on this is that they would fit in the appearance of age rather than appearance of history categories. (Let’s start abbreviating these–appearance of age will now be aoa and appearance of history will now be aoh.) Although the tree ring patterns do usually reflect history, I see no reason a priori to limit their entire function necessarily to an indicator of history. Why can the not exist also as part of the internal beauty of the tree, even with their variations? In that case, they may very well have been created with such an appearance. Therefore I don’t think trees before the flood will be able to used as evidence against a young earth. I see absolutely no reason to posit a later aoa creation, however, so tree rings after the flood could probably reliably function as part of a method of dating (provided the methodology is at least sound from a naturalistic perspective). I suppose it might be possible that tree growth could have been spurred on miraculously after the flood, but I doubt it. We have no evidence of this in the text.

Robert asked about species appearing together in the fossil record. A young earth view definitely would imply that these species lived at the same time, so why don’t we find evidence of this in the fossil record? Definitely a legitimate question. First of all, I would want to know if that is in fact an accurate portrayal of the situation. Is it in fact the case that NO animals from different times have EVER been found together, or are they sometimes found together but not very often? Secondly, it is a fact that many animals that have been thought to have gone extinct at a certain time because of their absence from the later fossil record have been found alive still today. Have Coelecanth (sp?) fossils ever been found with human fossils, or from the fossil record alone would you conclude they must never have lived together? And yet we know they are alive today. It seems like “living fossils” of this sort are being found all the time. So, in light of that, is separateness in the fossil record necessarily a reliable indicator that certain species didn’t live together?

I have begun to read articles on Talkorigins.org. I know I keep saying this over and over, but there is a lot to digest. What always seems to happen to me is that I will read an article by an old-earth proponent and think, “that makes a lot of sense. How could anyone possibly answer that?” Then I read a creationist article and think, “Oh, that response makes a lot of sense. How could anyone answer these arguments?” Then I read another old earth proponent and think, “Oh, that’a good response. Will anyone be able to answer it?” You get the picture. This sort of experience is what has made me feel that I’ve got a lot of studying to do to really understand the arguments and the bases of those arguments enough to really be able to evaluate them.

Here’s some thoughts/questions I’ve had so far: I am interested to figure out what sorts of expectations would be reasonable to have if the Genesis account were correct. There would definitely be some appearance of age. In what ways would we reasonably expect a mature creation to throw off dating methods? What sorts of evidence would not be adequately explained by a mature creation scenario?

One things that seems like a potentially bit problem for the dating methods is that they are based partly on the assumption that we know how much of various elements would have started out already in the rocks. In other words,they depend on knowing what the parent-daughter ratio would be. But with a mature creation, it is entirely possible, if not likely, that this ratio would start differntly than expected. So if one were to date the rocks in Eden at the end of the first week, for example, they would not unlikely yield large ages, although they were created only a few days ago. I take this to be a plausible scenario. So one question is, If this scenario were true, how much would it affect the reliability of the dating methods? Would it be counterbalanced by other factors, such as rocks that are clearly formed more recently, etc.?

As I’ve mentioned before, one of the most compelling arguments that I am currently aware of for an old earth is the idea of the concordance or consistency of the dating methods. If the dating methods simply gave completely random dates, we would not have a consistency of results, such as different dating methods all yielding roughly the same ages in the dating of many samples of different comets, meteors, etc. If I am undetstanding these results right, that would argue for non-randomness in the dating methods. Could that be plausibly explained by a mature age creation? Perhaps simiar sorts of rocks were created in similar ways, including similar parent-daughter ratios of various elements. That would naturally produce a consistency of ages in similar sorts of samples, and different consistent results in different sets of similar samples, etc. is this a plausible young-earth explanation for the consistency of the dating methods?

Are the dating methods truly consistent, and how consistent are they? I read Bones of Contention, by Marvin Lubenow, a few years ago, and he described the actual methods used in dating various hominid fossils. He argued, and gave examples that seemed to support his argument, that usually acientists get very discordant dates, and they pick the ones that best fit with their assumptions. (This is oversimplified, but perhaps you know what I am referrring to.) So when various things are dated, do we usually get discordant dates or concordant ones? How discordant are they? How are the correct dates picked out of the various possibilities?

It was argued in one of the articles on talkorigins that thre is no physical evidence of some of the decay rates having been different in the past. One article pointed out the drastic implications on the laws of physics if such decay rates are different. But would a worldwide flood have a potential for speeding up the decay rates in some processes?

I read an article about ice cores. I recall that creationists ususally, if I am getting their view right, explain ice cores as results of a rapid ice age brought on by the results of the flood. Could the conditions they describe influence the rate of the deposition of the ice cores/layers? Could many of the layers havd been laid down quickly?

Creationists often point out false ages given for rocks of independently known ages. The “Hawaiian basalts” (or something like that) seem to be mentioned frequently in this connection, and I believe there are oter exmples. Creationists argue that these examples show that the methods are subject to severely inaccurate results. Old-earth proponets point out that this is in a minority of cases only. But it is true that we cannot independently check the accuracy of the dating of something that is supposed to be millions or billions of years old (except perhaps by the consistency of resuts I talked about above). How do we know that possible past events and conditions (mature creation, global flood, early earth conditions, etc.) could not have affected our samples so that our dating methods are unreliable? Can we prove them to be reliable? If they are subject to error in some cases, how do we know they are not subject to error in light of unique events/circumstances in the history of the earth?

I have one other question for this post that is a bit off of the above track, but I would like to hear the answer: How many of you think that science disproves the literal resurrection of Christ?

Also, I am assuming from the responses I got about teaching the literal resurrection of Christ as one possibility in public history classes that Nick and others would be against that practice. Is that correct? My own position would be that whatever is supported by the best evidence should be taught, and whatever is not should not be, since the purpose of education, in addition to teaching critical thinking skills, is to convey truth.

Oh, by the way, the Genesis rainbow story doesn’t imply the laws of physics were changed. It might be that it never rained before the flood. Different conditions = no earlier rainbows. Or perhaps there were earlier rainbows but only after the flood did God use them to convey a different message.

Some have said that philosophy does not constitute evidence. I disagree. I think it can. But I won’t go into it more now, since I want to focus right now mainly on the direct physical evidence. But I wanted to give my position in response to that unproven claim.

Talk to you later,

Mark

Comment #182415

Posted by Ginger Yellow on June 5, 2007 11:53 AM (e)

“It might be that it never rained before the flood. “

I see. And how exactly did people grow crops?

I’ll let other people deal with the nonsense apologetics, because like I say it’s a pointless debate. But I can’t let this stand:

“Although the tree ring patterns do usually reflect history, I see no reason a priori to limit their entire function necessarily to an indicator of history. Why can the not exist also as part of the internal beauty of the tree, even with their variations? In that case, they may very well have been created with such an appearance. Therefore I don’t think trees before the flood will be able to used as evidence against a young earth.”

Who said anything about being their only “function”? The point is that the rings detail a specific history, a history that accords with other physical evidence of past climate, each of which has its own specific history. In other words, according to your “functional” approach, one of the functions of tree rings must be to accord with specific patterns of ice deposition in a sudden ice-age so as to give the same apprearance of ancient history. This is not only absurd on its face, it quite clearly belongs in the category of appearance of history rather than appearance of age.

I’m out of here. This isn’t a debate about the evidence. It’s one person constructing stories around individual bits of evidence to protect his metaphysical position. Mark, if you want to join the conversation properly, take one of your hypothesised explanations (no rain, fast ice-age etc). Think what effects such an event would have had on other things. Consider what evidence might prove such effects were indeed present. Ask yourself if such evidence is to be found, or if the evidence points in the other direction. Rinse, wash, repeat. Develop an empirically testable model of ancient history.

Comment #182421

Posted by Doc Bill on June 5, 2007 12:10 PM (e)

Ladies and Germs, what you have just read is a wonderful example of the kind of logic that would be presented in a creation “science” classroom.

Can you imagine sitting through a semester of this mish-mash?

However, that said, creation “science” offers a nice alternative to those who find science hard. Don’t know the answer? No problem! Just make one up.

Tree rings before the flood? No problem! They were beautiful, that’s why they were there…in the center of the tree…where nobody could see them. I’ll try that on my wife on our next anniversary. (I got you rings for a present. Oh, diamond? No, tree. Tree rings, oh, they’re so beautiful!)

And as for Marks query on whether a global flood could change decay rates, here’s the answer:

No.

Don’t even try to quesion me, Mark. I have a PhD and I’m not afraid to use it.

Comment #182422

Posted by CJO on June 5, 2007 12:17 PM (e)

As I’ve mentioned before, one of the most compelling arguments that I am currently aware of for an old earth is the idea of the concordance or consistency of the dating methods. If the dating methods simply gave completely random dates, we would not have a consistency of results, such as different dating methods all yielding roughly the same ages in the dating of many samples of different comets, meteors, etc. If I am undetstanding these results right, that would argue for non-randomness in the dating methods. Could that be plausibly explained by a mature age creation? Perhaps simiar sorts of rocks were created in similar ways, including similar parent-daughter ratios of various elements. That would naturally produce a consistency of ages in similar sorts of samples, and different consistent results in different sets of similar samples, etc. is this a plausible young-earth explanation for the consistency of the dating methods?

No, it’s special pleading for a preferred answer.

Are the dating methods truly consistent, and how consistent are they? I read Bones of Contention, by Marvin Lubenow, a few years ago, and he described the actual methods used in dating various hominid fossils. He argued, and gave examples that seemed to support his argument, that usually acientists get very discordant dates, and they pick the ones that best fit with their assumptions. (This is oversimplified, but perhaps you know what I am referrring to.) So when various things are dated, do we usually get discordant dates or concordant ones? How discordant are they? How are the correct dates picked out of the various possibilities?

A favored creationist tactic is to find some area of contention among scientists and point to the discrepancies, exaggerate their significance in the larger picture, and thusly try to paint accepted science as a tangle of contradictions. The irony of this, and this is hard for scriptural literalists to understand, is that disagreement in active areas of inqury is a strength of the scientific method, not a weakness. So pointing out discrepancies in the purported ages of hominid fossils, of which we have relatively few (and leaving aside whether the “discrepancies” are specious), does not address the larger picture, which is that other better understood and more widely studied materials can be accurately dated and the trend has been convergence, across the board, among methods.

It was argued in one of the articles on talkorigins that thre is no physical evidence of some of the decay rates having been different in the past. One article pointed out the drastic implications on the laws of physics if such decay rates are different. But would a worldwide flood have a potential for speeding up the decay rates in some processes?

I read an article about ice cores. I recall that creationists ususally, if I am getting their view right, explain ice cores as results of a rapid ice age brought on by the results of the flood. Could the conditions they describe influence the rate of the deposition of the ice cores/layers? Could many of the layers havd been laid down quickly?

Again, what you’re doing is apologetics via ad-hoc non-explanations. It’s been pointed out to you many times that nobody can disprove that the world was made last Thursday. If God wanted to make a flood accomplish something that regular, natural floods do not cause, I am not one to stop him. But regular, natural floods do not alter the laws of physics. In fact, by the laws of physics, the energy released in a deluge capable of flooding the entire world in the timeframe called for in Genesis, would be enough to boil the oceans and melt the crust of the earth.

Creationists often point out false ages given for rocks of independently known ages. The “Hawaiian basalts” (or something like that) seem to be mentioned frequently in this connection, and I believe there are oter exmples. Creationists argue that these examples show that the methods are subject to severely inaccurate results. Old-earth proponets point out that this is in a minority of cases only. But it is true that we cannot independently check the accuracy of the dating of something that is supposed to be millions or billions of years old (except perhaps by the consistency of resuts I talked about above). How do we know that possible past events and conditions (mature creation, global flood, early earth conditions, etc.) could not have affected our samples so that our dating methods are unreliable? Can we prove them to be reliable? If they are subject to error in some cases, how do we know they are not subject to error in light of unique events/circumstances in the history of the earth?

Science never stops. Old methods are improved. New methods are discovered. Past errors are identified and corrected. And always, we remind ourselves that we are making an inference to the best explanation, taking into account all available relevant information. Creationists proceed by ignoring a great deal of relevant data and focussing on areas of uncertainty or (inevitable) past errors. And if you are going to posit “unique events/circumstances in the history of the earth,” the burden is on you to present some (empirical, extra-scriptural) evidence that the event occured or the circumstances obtained.

Comment #182425

Posted by Raging Bee on June 5, 2007 12:37 PM (e)

FL: judging by the bits you pasted here, Dr. Wise bases his entire argument (the water-to-wine bit at least) on making up “possible” “explanations” to support the Biblical account, which he makes no attempt to corroborate. In other words, just another small-minded Bible-thumper who can’t face reality.

And when Nick finally gave you the answer you repeatedly claimed was so important, you completely ignored its substance.

In fact, your recent posts have been nothing but evasions. For example…

And, in regards to yourself, Mark was correct to point out to you that there’s a bit of a rational problem with claiming to accept the Bible while believing it to be in error scientifically and historically.

Many of us have explained our osition on that, and you and Mark completely ignored all of it. Short answer: those who “accept the Bible while believing it to be in error scientifically and historically” have proven themselves stronger, smarter, more honest, more compassionate, an more enlightened than those, like Carol, FL and Mark, who lie as easily as they fart and blither on and on about Genesis and completely miss the central spiritual message of Jesus.

And he’s already shown willingness to let you guys recommend books to him for further science learning…

But has he shown any willingness to read any of it? Nick seems to have read the book you recommended, so where’s the reciprocity?

…despite the caustic and condescending tones coming from some posters, so he gets style points for humility too.

So when your side loses every argument, you’re back to the “sweet innocent little lamb of God persecuted by the nasty unbelievers” cop-out. Color me unsurprised. How can so many so-called Christians pretend to be so strong and so weak at the same time? You creos are dong an incredibly good job of making Christianity look like the stoopidest religion on Earth. Yahweh only knows how you’ll be rewarded for that in the next life.

Mark wrote:

Although the tree ring patterns do usually reflect history, I see no reason a priori to limit their entire function necessarily to an indicator of history.

In other words, it’s been painstakingly explained to you HOW and WHY tree rings are taken as indicators of history (specifically, growth rates changing with the seasons); but you still reserve the right to ignore everything we’ve said, while offering no substantive refutation of your own.

How many of you think that science disproves the literal resurrection of Christ?

Science has proven exactly how injuries like those Christ is said to have suffered would, if untreated, kill a person. (Has anyone ever been observed to survive such treatment?) Science has also proven exactly how it is impossible for a living thing that has been dead for a certain period of time to come back to life. (How many times has anyone observed such re-animation?) Therefore, if Christ really died, and really was resurrected, it could only have been done either by a supernatural agency, temporarily suspending or violating physical laws; or by medical technology and/or skills currently unknown to us.

There are, of course, alternative explanations that don’t contradict science or require supernatural agency: Christ may have had an unusually strong constitution, and was able to heal from wounds that would have killed almost anyone else; or someone may have snuck into his grave and treated his wounds; or Christ’s injuries were exaggerated, intentionally or not, by storytellers (such exaggerations happen all the time, especially of stories with huge emotional import), in a multi-generational game of “Russian telephone.”

Also, I am assuming from the responses I got about teaching the literal resurrection of Christ as one possibility in public history classes that Nick and others would be against that practice. Is that correct? My own position would be that whatever is supported by the best evidence should be taught, and whatever is not should not be, since the purpose of education, in addition to teaching critical thinking skills, is to convey truth.

And there is absolutely NO evidence that any literal Resurrection took place – outside of one book, which has neither a bibliography nor independent corroboration.

Comment #182432

Posted by David Stanton on June 5, 2007 12:56 PM (e)

Mark,

Thank you for finally trying to address the evidence. This is what you state:

“Although the tree ring patterns do usually reflect history, I see no reason a priori to limit their entire function necessarily to an indicator of history. Why can the not exist also as part of the internal beauty of the tree, even with their variations? In that case, they may very well have been created with such an appearance. Therefore I don’t think trees before the flood will be able to used as evidence against a young earth.”

However, as Ginger Yellow has already pointed out, this is complete nonsense. If you had in fact looked at the evidence it would be clear to you that the reconstruction of past climate is based on correlated data sets. The tree rings, ice cores, pollen stratigraphy, etc. all give exactly the same answer. The earth has gone through at least three major cooling periods, the last of which ended with several rounds of glaciation about 10,000 years ago. As has been pointed out to you several times by several people, this is a specific history NOT the appearance of age. And it’s even worse than you realize. It’s not just the width of the rings and the thickness of the lines in the ice cores. Isotopic analysis of these samples reveals the exact same picture of climatic history as found in all of the other data sets as well. This cannot reasonably be explained as function, beauty or anythng else. If God wanted to make beautiful tree rings, why not make them in a more pleasing pattern? Why make them in exactly the pattern one must find if ice cores and pollen samples give an accurate picture of paleoclimatology?

As for the fossil evidence, once again, it’s worse than you realize. Not only is there absolutely no evidence for coexistence of humans and dinosaurs, but the entire geologic and palentological record is completely consistent with the predictions of descent with modification. The order of appearance of major groups in the fossil is exactly what is predicted if there was a single origin of life and divergence over time. And once again, this pattern is entirely consistent with the genetic evidence as well. Was the fossil record falsified in order to appear more beautiful?

By the way, I see you have still failed to address any of the genetic issues that have been raised over the past two weeks. Now that we have dispensed with the biblical discussion, perhaps you can get around to looking at that evidence as well. Just answer one simple question, did God copy the mistakes? Yes or no? Note that function or beauty arguments most definately will not work here either. Once again, all of the genetic data sets converge on one answer and it does not include a world-wide flood.

I understand that you are not an expert in these fields. Now that you have shown that you might be willing to actually examine some evidence, I will try to be more patient. I am sorry if I have lost patience in the past.

Comment #182449

Posted by JohnW on June 5, 2007 1:09 PM (e)

Mark,

A few thoughts on your latest post (#182394):

Mark wrote:

I think any of these discussions are fruitful, but maybe, since this is the Panda’s Thumb, we should focus more attention directly on the scientific issues. I’ve been spending most of my available time responding to questions about and attacks on biblical infallibility, so I haven’t gotten to much else lately. But I think I am going to focus my attention now back more on the scientific issues. We’ve discussed the other issues enough to give some background, and those things will come up again naturally in the course of the scientific conversation.

I think that’s the right approach. This is a science website - I think we can have a more fruitful discussion if we discuss science.

Mark wrote:

A couple of people have asked me about whether the peculiar characteristics of tree rings would fit, in my opinion, in the appearance of age or appearance of history category. It has been mentioned that tree rings do not simply exist, but vary in ways related to their history. My take on this is that they would fit in the appearance of age rather than appearance of history categories. (Let’s start abbreviating these–appearance of age will now be aoa and appearance of history will now be aoh.) Although the tree ring patterns do usually reflect history, I see no reason a priori to limit their entire function necessarily to an indicator of history. Why can the not exist also as part of the internal beauty of the tree, even with their variations? In that case, they may very well have been created with such an appearance. Therefore I don’t think trees before the flood will be able to used as evidence against a young earth. I see absolutely no reason to posit a later aoa creation, however, so tree rings after the flood could probably reliably function as part of a method of dating (provided the methodology is at least sound from a naturalistic perspective). I suppose it might be possible that tree growth could have been spurred on miraculously after the flood, but I doubt it. We have no evidence of this in the text.

Mark, if you’re going to invoke a “God did it that way for aesthetic reasons” argument, then we’re done. You can use the argument for ANY discordance between your hypothesis and the observed evidence. Since your god is omnipotent, and we don’t know the details of his sense of aesthetics, we can explain anything at all using this argument, ant there’s no way of falsifying it. If we can’t think of a way of falsifying it, it ain’t science.

Mark wrote:

Robert asked about species appearing together in the fossil record. A young earth view definitely would imply that these species lived at the same time, so why don’t we find evidence of this in the fossil record? Definitely a legitimate question. First of all, I would want to know if that is in fact an accurate portrayal of the situation. Is it in fact the case that NO animals from different times have EVER been found together, or are they sometimes found together but not very often? Secondly, it is a fact that many animals that have been thought to have gone extinct at a certain time because of their absence from the later fossil record have been found alive still today. Have Coelecanth (sp?) fossils ever been found with human fossils, or from the fossil record alone would you conclude they must never have lived together? And yet we know they are alive today. It seems like “living fossils” of this sort are being found all the time. So, in light of that, is separateness in the fossil record necessarily a reliable indicator that certain species didn’t live together?

Coelacanths are a bad expel, because, as you pointed out, they’re not extinct. The reason there’s no post-Cretaceous fossil record is that they survived as deep-ocean dwellers, and there’s not much deep-ocean sedimentary rock which is accessible to us. Also, that’s why, even if we found more recent coelacanth fossils, we wouldn’t expect to find human fossils in the same rocks - we didn’t start visiting the oceans until very recently.

A better example might be, say, whales and trilobites. Both live in the sea, but they are separated by hundreds of millions of years. If a dolphin skeleton showed up in Cambrian rocks, the theory of evolution would be in very serious trouble.

Mark wrote:

I have begun to read articles on Talkorigins.org. I know I keep saying this over and over, but there is a lot to digest. What always seems to happen to me is that I will read an article by an old-earth proponent and think, “that makes a lot of sense. How could anyone possibly answer that?” Then I read a creationist article and think, “Oh, that response makes a lot of sense. How could anyone answer these arguments?” Then I read another old earth proponent and think, “Oh, that’a good response. Will anyone be able to answer it?” You get the picture. This sort of experience is what has made me feel that I’ve got a lot of studying to do to really understand the arguments and the bases of those arguments enough to really be able to evaluate them.

That’s great! I think there’s hope for you. To get anywhere in science, we all need the willingness to seek out information, and the humility to accept the limits of our knowledge. You’re taking the right approach.

Mark wrote:

Here’s some thoughts/questions I’ve had so far: I am interested to figure out what sorts of expectations would be reasonable to have if the Genesis account were correct. There would definitely be some appearance of age. In what ways would we reasonably expect a mature creation to throw off dating methods? What sorts of evidence would not be adequately explained by a mature creation scenario?

If your God can do whatever he wants at any time, he can manipulate all the dating evidence for aesthetic reasons, so this is as unfalsifiable as last-Thursdayism.

Mark wrote:

One things that seems like a potentially bit problem for the dating methods is that they are based partly on the assumption that we know how much of various elements would have started out already in the rocks. In other words,they depend on knowing what the parent-daughter ratio would be. But with a mature creation, it is entirely possible, if not likely, that this ratio would start differntly than expected. So if one were to date the rocks in Eden at the end of the first week, for example, they would not unlikely yield large ages, although they were created only a few days ago. I take this to be a plausible scenario. So one question is, If this scenario were true, how much would it affect the reliability of the dating methods? Would it be counterbalanced by other factors, such as rocks that are clearly formed more recently, etc.?

Same again. Sure, God could have done this. But is it falsifiable?

Mark wrote:

As I’ve mentioned before, one of the most compelling arguments that I am currently aware of for an old earth is the idea of the concordance or consistency of the dating methods. If the dating methods simply gave completely random dates, we would not have a consistency of results, such as different dating methods all yielding roughly the same ages in the dating of many samples of different comets, meteors, etc. If I am undetstanding these results right, that would argue for non-randomness in the dating methods. Could that be plausibly explained by a mature age creation? Perhaps simiar sorts of rocks were created in similar ways, including similar parent-daughter ratios of various elements. That would naturally produce a consistency of ages in similar sorts of samples, and different consistent results in different sets of similar samples, etc. is this a plausible young-earth explanation for the consistency of the dating methods?

Yes, it’s as plausible as any other divine-miracle explanation of the apparent age of the Earth. God could also have created me at 9:25 this morning, and given false memories of the last 44 years to me and everyone who thinks they met me. There’s no way of disproving that either.

Mark wrote:

Are the dating methods truly consistent, and how consistent are they? I read Bones of Contention, by Marvin Lubenow, a few years ago, and he described the actual methods used in dating various hominid fossils. He argued, and gave examples that seemed to support his argument, that usually acientists get very discordant dates, and they pick the ones that best fit with their assumptions. (This is oversimplified, but perhaps you know what I am referrring to.) So when various things are dated, do we usually get discordant dates or concordant ones? How discordant are they? How are the correct dates picked out of the various possibilities?

The geology section of the Talk Origins Index to Creationist Claims (http://talkorigins.org/indexcc/list.html#CD) would be a good starting point here. In summary, discordances are easy to understand given the known limitations of the various dating techniques. Creationists, on the other hand, have no explanation (other than miracle) for the massive concordance of independent dating evidence pointing towards an Earth of great age.

Mark wrote:

It was argued in one of the articles on talkorigins that thre is no physical evidence of some of the decay rates having been different in the past. One article pointed out the drastic implications on the laws of physics if such decay rates are different. But would a worldwide flood have a potential for speeding up the decay rates in some processes?

No. Not just no, but hell no. Radioactive decay takes place in the atomic nucleus, and takes place at the same rate whether the atom is baked, boiled, fried, frozen, shaken, stirred, stomped on, shot from a cannon or subjected to the complete works of Britney Spears. Dunking it in water is going to have no effect whatsoever.

Mark wrote:

I read an article about ice cores. I recall that creationists ususally, if I am getting their view right, explain ice cores as results of a rapid ice age brought on by the results of the flood. Could the conditions they describe influence the rate of the deposition of the ice cores/layers? Could many of the layers havd been laid down quickly?

Like tree rings, the layers in ice cores reflect annual climatic cycles. If there’s a plausible way of producing them quckly, I haven’t seen it.

Mark wrote:

Creationists often point out false ages given for rocks of independently known ages. The “Hawaiian basalts” (or something like that) seem to be mentioned frequently in this connection, and I believe there are oter exmples. Creationists argue that these examples show that the methods are subject to severely inaccurate results. Old-earth proponets point out that this is in a minority of cases only. But it is true that we cannot independently check the accuracy of the dating of something that is supposed to be millions or billions of years old (except perhaps by the consistency of resuts I talked about above). How do we know that possible past events and conditions (mature creation, global flood, early earth conditions, etc.) could not have affected our samples so that our dating methods are unreliable? Can we prove them to be reliable? If they are subject to error in some cases, how do we know they are not subject to error in light of unique events/circumstances in the history of the earth?

See the above Talk Origins reference.

Mark wrote:

I have one other question for this post that is a bit off of the above track, but I would like to hear the answer: How many of you think that science disproves the literal resurrection of Christ?

The literal resurrection of Christ was impossible without divine intervention. Science can say nothing about the likelihood of miracles.

Mark wrote:

Also, I am assuming from the responses I got about teaching the literal resurrection of Christ as one possibility in public history classes that Nick and others would be against that practice. Is that correct? My own position would be that whatever is supported by the best evidence should be taught, and whatever is not should not be, since the purpose of education, in addition to teaching critical thinking skills, is to convey truth.

I agree that whatever is supported by the best evidence should be taught, with, perhaps, other explanations if there is also evidence to support them, and it is a matter of ongoing controversy. In the case of Christ’s resurrection, the only evidence supporting the Biblical account is, well, the Biblical account. So therefore…

Mark wrote:

Some have said that philosophy does not constitute evidence. I disagree. I think it can. But I won’t go into it more now, since I want to focus right now mainly on the direct physical evidence. But I wanted to give my position in response to that unproven claim.

I agree that some branches of philosophy (notably logic) can constitute valid evidence. But I agree, it’s better to focus on physical evidence in this forum.

Comment #182466

Posted by minimalist on June 5, 2007 2:43 PM (e)

Raging Bee wrote:

Although the tree ring patterns do usually reflect history, I see no reason a priori to limit their entire function necessarily to an indicator of history.

In other words, it’s been painstakingly explained to you HOW and WHY tree rings are taken as indicators of history (specifically, growth rates changing with the seasons); but you still reserve the right to ignore everything we’ve said, while offering no substantive refutation of your own.

We’re getting to the crux of the matter here: Hausam seems to think we are saying “the stuff in the Bible didn’t happen because it’s impossible” (look at the way he phrased the resurrection question), when rather what we’re saying is “what is your independent evidence that something happened the way the Bible said it did.” The difference has been explained to him several times, but it didn’t seem to take.

Furthermore, his personal definition of “evidence” seems to be “if I can come up for a plausible way to explain away the evidence, then that counts as positive evidence for my position.” This is a definition not shared by the rest of the world, except maybe by the deeply religious who hold to different standards for the beliefs so dear to their hearts. Needless to say, it is not a standard held to in, say, a courtroom or a scientific journal. This should tell Hausam something about how such reasoning – well-regarded though it may be by people who share a religion – is regarded by those outside of that religious tradition.

This leads into another thing Hausam has completely failed to support, which is why “religious revelation” should be regarded as reliable evidence at all. Given that every religion has its own system of revelations (and certainly subsects of every religion, such as the 800,000 Marian apparitions and revelations so rife in Catholicism), how does one distinguish between them, and determine which one is closest to the truth? Specifically, how can Hausam do that, considering he has effectively shot himself in the foot by declaring that independent physical evidence can be waved away by any religious party as long as you can come up with some “plausible” load of malarkey as to how it might appear a certain way?

The answer is that Hausam is here to indulge in apologetics and not examine the evidence in any objective manner, but anyone masochistic enough to want to engage in an extended dialogue (if you can call it that) with him would do well to try to get some straightforward answers from him on this once and for all.

Comment #182492

Posted by Raging Bee on June 5, 2007 4:34 PM (e)

minimalist: I think the argument with Hausam is pretty much over. Over the weeks, he’s pretty much admitted that the Bible – which he said was “infallible” – is, in fact, filled with lots of “imprecise” and non-literal language that could easily be misleading if interpreted too literally. He’s also admitted that “literalists” are more selective in their literalism than they want the rest of us to be. Given all those admissions, in which he backhandedly acknowledged the validity of our objections, the word “infallible,” when applied to the Bible, loses all meaning and becomes nothing but empty puffery. He’s admitted he’s wrong, even though he won’t admit he’s admitted it; and FL has had to offer a lot of diversionary noise and smoke (“You can’t argue with them! Religion of evolutionism! Eugenics! Eugenics! Eject! Eject!”) to cover a retreat.

This leads into another thing Hausam has completely failed to support, which is why “religious revelation” should be regarded as reliable evidence at all…

Speaking of which, I notice Mark talked a lot about revelations, but never described any revelations he’s had himself. This apparent lack of personal connection to the Divine could explain his attempts to distort reality to validate his beliefs.

…This should tell Hausam something about how such reasoning – well-regarded though it may be by people who share a religion – is regarded by those outside of that religious tradition.

Outside, Hell – even people inside his religion reject such reasoning, because they know it can be – and has been – used to mislead good Christians into all sorts of counterproductive mischief. That’s why some of the older Christian churches have bureaucracies in place to give “objective” rulings about claims of revelations, miracles, Mary sightings, posession, faith-healing, exorcisms, and the like. That’s also why a lot of Protestant denominations started the Reformation by rejecting Catholic superstitions wholesale and pushing reason, science and honest work instead.

Comment #182493

Posted by Richard Simons on June 5, 2007 4:39 PM (e)

I am interested to figure out what sorts of expectations would be reasonable to have if the Genesis account were correct.

Mark: Have you been unable to find any details about this on any creationist site? If so, perhaps it is because they know that the expectations would not be realized.

Off the top of my head, here are a few expectations based on Genesis.

Massive world-wide deposits of sandstone with essentially no stratification, and virtually nothing above them.

Greatest biodiversity in the Near-East and progressively less moving away from that region. The Americas and Australia would have no indigenous genera or broader groups. Slow-moving organisms (e.g. sloths) would be absent from the more distant locations, as would those unable to cross open sea.

No species would have more than 4 alleles (14 for the clean animals) at any locus (i.e. variants of any one gene). In fact, for a number of loci hundreds of alleles are known.

All methods of dating that use counting of rings or layers, such as trees rings, snow layers, coral reef growth, would show a massive simultaneous disruption coinciding with the year of the flood. Trees and corals, for example, would have all died so there would be a hiatus in the record.

I’m sure people will have no trouble in finding other expectations. Incidentally, this is what makes creationism closer to science than is ID - the proponents of ID resolutely refuse to indicate any expectations or predictions based on their ideas.

Comment #182501

Posted by David Stanton on June 5, 2007 5:41 PM (e)

Well it looks like we’re about to go over 200 posts on this thread soon and things are already starting to get slow. It could take quite a while for Mark to learn enough genetics to answer questions in that area.

I don’t know if Nick is planning on opening another thread for this discussion or not, but I have a suggestion. I suggest that Mark open his own web site and blog. He can drop by here and let us know the address before this thread closes and anyone who wants to could visit him on his own site.

If Mark had his own blog, he would be free to discuss any topic he wanted, including biblical inerrancy, special revelation, appearance of age, etc. He would also be able to ban anyone who was too harsh or impolite, or anyone who offended his delicate sensibilities. He would still be able to get references and suggestions from scientists if any were interested in continuing this dialog. What he wouldn’t be able to do would be to preach to people on a science web site and give personal testimony in the hopes of making converts. So, what’s the downside?

Seriously, if he really is determined to examine the evidence, it will take years. This really isn’t the place. If Nick wants to keep this going, for whatever reason, he is certainly free to do so. But Mark will always be free to come back to ask questions anyway.

Comment #182506

Posted by Mike Elzinga on June 5, 2007 6:02 PM (e)

There is a pattern in Mark’s reading and reasoning process that is becoming apparent. I had a suspicion earlier but Mark had not responded to any scientific evidence, so I wasn’t sure.

The two most recent posts containing details are #181790 and #182349. Earlier posts on this and the previous thread are #177611, #179851, and #180588.

It is easiest to compare the most recent two, but you can get some additional evidence from the others as well.

Mark is not aware of the distortions and misrepresentations by the leaders of the ID/Creationist movement because he doesn’t have an extensive knowledge of what is actually in the scientific literature. So he has no basis for comparison and no sense of the vastness of the scientific literature. So it is understandable that, until he can assimilate what is really out there, he can’t distinguish between legitimate evidence and fraud.

More interestingly, however, is the way Mark goes about trying to assimilate conflicting evidence. This is where a careful comparison of his last two posts is useful.

Mark has had a fairly intense exposure to biblical exegesis, attempting to extract meaning and consistency from ancient teachings whose roots are shrouded in the mists of time. Preachers can build an entire sequence of sermons on a single verse of scripture. One frequently hears people referring to religious texts as being filled with many meanings and, each time they read it, they find something new, or some new insight. And, indeed, many such texts, as well as literature, poetry, art and music, are written in just this way. There is nothing unusual or wrong with this; it is, in fact, what makes these media an important part of human communication and history. Unfortunately, it is also possible to exploit this for less noble reasons.

Mark has not had much experience with the methods of communication in science. So he uses the methods of exegesis to attempt to extract what is intended, giving equal weight to his intuitions as he does to the fraud for which he has no tools detect. Because of his intense and extended exposure to biblical texts, he is in the habit of doing this, not knowing that scientists try their best to make sentences mean only one thing, not a range of meanings and emotional experiences that literary writers and poets try to capture.

Many of us have had similar experiences with literature and artsy type students who are clearly articulate and talented in their areas. They can read complicated sentences and can extract meaning from poetry, literature and art. But given a science article or text, they completely shut down even though they can read the sentences perfectly.

One of the accomplishments of the Physics Education Research I am familiar with, and with which I have had some experience, is that it attempts to get at the roots of the difficulties students have with science (physics and math in particular).

One of the major techniques in physics education research is to get at what meanings the students are attributing to the descriptions of scientific concepts. The technique recognizes that words come with many meanings and emotions attached to them in the minds of the average student. The task is to first discover what these are. After that, other techniques are developed to deal with those misconceptions (I can’t go into them here; there are many.).

So the technique starts with extensive interviews with students. The idea is to get them to express what they think in their own words. They are asked to explain some demonstrated physical phenomena in their own words. There is no prompting from the interviewer. Most of these interviews are recorded to be further analyzed by a team. Once the sources of the misconceptions are understood (much of it has to do with words and prior intuitive and emotional experiences), then techniques are developed to deal with these.

This kind of research has been going on for close to 40 years, and a lot has been learned and developed.

I have also been paying close attention to Mark’s responses to blunt criticism and taunting in order to try to access his emotional level and what emotions he attaches to certain words when he is frustrated with us (I’m not as mean as I appear). These kinds of emotional attachments to certain words can give an individual an affective understanding of a sentence or paragraph that is entirely different from its intellectual content. For people whose primary experience is with art, literature, poetry, scripture, and the like, it is the affective understanding that overrules the purely intellectual content.

This is by no means a complete or definitive assessment (it is only a sample), but from my own research and from the research of others, I would suggest that some considerable focus be given to the findings in Physics Education Research.

Hope this helps.

Comment #182511

Posted by Science Avenger on June 5, 2007 6:43 PM (e)

People like Mark generally reveal their discontinuous view of reality in both how they defend biblical inerrancy and when they doubt evolution. They don’t have the overlapping continuous view of knowledge that those with a scientific view tend to have. With them one step is all they look at.

Thus, when defending biblical difficulties, they are more than happy to supply hypothetical resolutions of the problem (no rain before the flood is my personal favorite) with no regard for whether these explanations conflict with each other or some incontrovertable (even by them) fact. All truths stand as their own island, unaffected by anything else. Possibility is all that is needed, no reason to go the next step and see if, gosh any of them actually happened.

Likewise, their #1 problem with evolution is grasping that it is a multi-step process. They want a one-step transformation. Thus we get the terminally boring analogies to auto assembly lines, and Kirk Cameron’s crocoduck.

Comment #182551

Posted by David Stanton on June 5, 2007 8:46 PM (e)

Mike and Science Avenger,

You might be on to something here. I have tried to point out the consilience of different data sets many times, especially in regards to phylogeny. I mean this of course in the sense that Whewell and Gould used the term, in that multiple independent data sets converge on the same topology, or for other types of data, on the same answer. As far as I can remember, Mark has been completely unresponsive to this concept.

Man, and here I thought I was making devestating arguments. You may be right, he just may not think like that. I never even considered the possibility. He did mention that he did think that scientists use a different kind of language. Maybe this is what he was talking about.

Now let’s be careful here. We don’t want to seem too arrogant or condescending. You know that he can be easily offended, when he wants to be and you know how he hates to be psychoanalyzed. We just have to find some way to let him know that scientists do indeed have a particular way of thinking that is much different than what he is used to. It doesn’t mean that we are any better than anyone else. It does mean that we should take this into account when trying to communicate with non-scientists. I tried to use the CSI analogy, but that apparently failed as well.

In any event, this concept is described in great detail on the Talkorigins archieve, especially in the Evidences for Macroevolution section. Maybe he will get the idea eventually. If not, it sure will be a tough job going through each data set one by one. Oh well, I guess that is his problem. Maybe getting his own blog going will help.

Comment #182572

Posted by stevaroni on June 5, 2007 11:26 PM (e)

(First, a warning - I had waaaay too much time today sitting in front of a computer with nothing to do except wait for stuff to be finished. With that said…)

Mark;

You seem to make some sort of distinction that the Biblical stories are probably factually accurate since they’re only a “little” fantastical.

That there are “only two” talking animals in the Bible, for example, or that it makes sense that Eve could be created from Adams rib because Adam’s rib would be more magical than an ordinary run of the mill rib. Or that the some of the stories that defy the known laws of physics only defy some of them a little bit, and only for a limited time.

I wonder if you grant the same deference to the equally fantastic stories of the world’s other holy books?

Is the story of Mohammed’s ride though the night to Jerusalem a fantasy? After all, his flying beast is no more implausible than the flying creatures in Apocalypse.

Is the story of how the Hindu god Ganesh was reanimated with the head of an elephant after his accidental death simply a myth? A Hindu goddess patching together a demi-god after an untimely accident with an available animal part seems at least as plausible as God making Eve from one bone.

Could the Buddha really transcend space and time? After all, Jesus could do it no problem.

C’mon mark, (evil smile) fess up, it’s just you and me talking here. Do you really believe the Mormons when they say that the Prophet Smith used magic glasses to read the holy books. You know, those holy books, the single most precious artifact of the Mormon faith that seem to have been inexplicably misplaced for about a hundred years. After all, you believe that somewhere out there lost in the desert sands lies the equally precious Ark of the Covenant with with the original holy directions inside, don’t you? How is that less logical?

I’m not trying to put words in your mouth, Mark - feel free to correct me. But based on your previous postings, I presume you will respond that the two sets of stories are qualitatively different. You seem to feel the Biblical one makes sense and has proof backing it up, and the other doesn’t.

There are parallels in the stories of Atlantis, and Egypt.

Both are reputed to be sophisticated, ancient civilizations in the Mediterranean. Both were rumored to have advanced (for the time) technology, but both are said to have peaked before 500BC, and collapsed enough that the finer points of their science and culture are now lost. Both are, however, described as being real places in the literature of the time.

Yet Ancient Egypt is considered historical fact, and Atlantis is acknowledged to be myth.

If I were to argue the opposite, based solely on a firm inner belief cultivated by years of childhood stories, you’d tell me I was nuts, and rightly so.

You’d point out to me that there is no trace at all for Atlantis outside one ancient Greek book, while Egypt, on the other hand, left copious piles of evidence behind, some of in mounds 400 feet high and made out of limestone.

You’d tell me about the mysteries of the pyramids, and the splendor of Thebes. You’d describe an unfamiliar culture where life followed the seasons of the river, and death was considered a temporary problem. You tell me about the mummies, short of the Taj Mahal the most sincere form of self-monument to ever scream to the future, “Yo world! I was here!”.

If I asked, “Why should I believe you? Were you there?” you’d tell me that I don’t have to take your word on any of this. You’d point out that all I had to do was take myself down to my local natural history museum and I could see the evidence for myself. I could see the stones and inscriptions and draw my own conclusions. I could gaze upon the actual mortal remains of the Pharaohs with my very own eyes, seeing as they had the foresight to preserve themselves for just such a contingency.

You’d tell me that you might not have all the details right, but the evidence is irrefutable that the basic details are correct, there was clearly some civilization living in the Nile delta that was large enough and advanced enough to do what the tangible evidence says it did, and to cling to the exact opposite interpretation is nothing more than self-delusion.

You’d tell me that my own inner beliefs, no matter how heartfelt, make any logical sense when placed up against the actual observable facts about the world.

And you’d be right.

The problem, of course is that in this venue, the parallels to Egypt and Atlantis are Evolution and Creationism.

One is supported by hundred of years of evidence and boxes of hominid fossils which simply have no other explanation, short of an actively deceitful God. (This is not a comforting option, by the way.)

One is a conclusion independently arrived at by following at least five different, independent lines of investigation (comparative biology, Darwin’s field of research in the 1880’s, geology, also from the 1880’s, paleontology from the 1910’s, primate anthropology, form the 1950’s and the blockbuster of them all, genetics, from the 1980’s).

You literally carry the evidence of your primitive ancestors around inside your body, and you can see the proof yourself if you ever hurt your lower back. Ask your doctor “hey Doc; ya see this X-ray we’re looking at? Why does my coccyx have the exact structure I’d expect to find if it were nothing more than a vestigial mammalian tail?”

The other theory of man’s origin ( and I’m not trying to be insulting ) is based entirely on the mystic writings of a small group of semi-nomadic shepherds from the late bronze age. There has been absolutely nothing of any substance discovered outside the Bible that backs up the story.

In a world where people have found things as tiny and elusive as million year old hominid bones, that’s not just inconvenient, that’s inconceivable.

In fact everything known about biology, paleontology or geography disputes it directly.

Even the scientific publications of the Vatican science office, presumably the most partisan investigators of them all, dispute it.

Sorry. I know it’s a cherished story, and it makes a lot of people feel good, but there’s absolutely no basis, and lets be perfectly frank for a moment. Assume you hadn’t grown up in a Christian environment having people tell you since early childhood that this was the Truth.

Would any of it make a lick of sense to you?

Is the Hebrew God sculpting a full-grown pair of humans out of mud somehow more rational than the story of the Egyptian Gods who at least used sperm and eggs?

In the Bible, God magically makes a living man out of mud.

In Pinocchio, Gipetto makes a living boy out of wood.

Both stories have exactly the same amount of independently verifiable data backing them up.

None.

How could this possibly be?

How is it possible that a God who knows all, sees all, controls all, judges all and has his very being effused into every corner of the universe not leave some trace in his creation?

Please don’t tell me that God doesn’t leave evidence because certainty destroys faith.

Read the Bible. God has absolutely no aversion to presenting solid evidence of his existence. Ask the residents of Sodom and Gomorrah. Ask Ramses the great what his calamine lotion bill was like after the plague of fleas. Ask the tens of millions smitten by his wrath during the flood.

Ask the Israelites that handled the stone tablets or ate the manna.

Ask Job. I bet he’s not short on tangible proof.

So it’s obvious that God can leave evidence and doesn’t care who knows. He is, after all, God. It’s not like he has anything to hide.

But still, there is absolutely no evidence of all these great historical miracles that can be verified in the 21st century.

It’s not like it would be difficult to leave an unambiguous miracle, you know.

I’m not the first person to point out that the last paragraph in Armageddon could the first thousand digits of pi.

In binary.

Now, ironically, some people claim that the absence of all evidence of God only serves to demonstrate how immensely powerful he is. Only a truly powerful and mighty God could be so mighty as to erase all evidence of how mighty he is.

(I’ve actually heard this argument, by the way, it kinda doesn’t impress me much, for obvious reasons)

No, Mark, the evidence is incontrovertible. There are only two ways that God fits into the picture.

The first one is, he doesn’t. There is no evidence of him because he doesn’t exist.

The second one is that he is a duplicitous god who actively manipulates the environment for purposes unknown.

The two positions are equally devoid of any comfort. The latter brings up the logical problem of Last Thursdayism, and the former is just plain empty.

All in all, though, I’d rather not be lied to by my deity, even if that means he’s not out there at all.

Comment #182573

Posted by Mike Elzinga on June 5, 2007 11:32 PM (e)

Delurks wrote:

A crucial issue, though, and this perhaps speaks to the need for patience and tolerance in discussions, is the reality that to change one’s mind set, to admit to oneself, friends, family, colleagues, church that actually, you were wrong all those years, is a huge, huge undertaking. In many ways, it’s worse than divorce.

There is certainly much truth to this, as your experience shows.

Another side of this, for those of us who have had the responsibility of educating students in science, is that there are many students vying for our attention. One eventually has to develop some kind of triage strategy in order to make the most effective use of our time to help the most people. I mentioned my own triage strategy back near the end of the original thread. I haven’t had to use it often.

I think Mark’s behavior here illustrates why that is necessary. Just as an emergency room doctor might continually second guess a triage decision, the risk is really to those patients he has a much better chance of helping. So the strategy is to develop a list of reliable clinical symptoms that allows one to make decisions quickly.

Mark exhibited many symptoms shortly after he appeared. Being loaded with arguments was sufficient for me to place him on the “do not treat” list. I could have used others, but a sufficient reason eliminates the need to waste time considering the others. It sounds callous on the surface, but life has to move on.

I think this exercise that Nick set up here illustrates the time-consuming wrangles one can get into as well as the insatiable need for attention people like Mark often have. Fortunately, such encounters are relatively rare, but just rare enough that people forget what can happen if they get caught up in it. Triage is necessary. I am speaking only for myself of course. Others here have their own perspectives as well. (I’m sure there will be some kind of “postmortem” taking place among some of the PT administrators who have been watching.)

Here in the US there is a large well-funded industry of fake science taking advantage of naiveté and fear. It wastes time and money to deal with them, but apparently there is no longer any choice for science educators but to be prepared.

But your experience gives hope that planting a few seeds may, after many years, lead to the awakening you had.

Comment #182583

Posted by snaxalotl on June 6, 2007 1:19 AM (e)

Radioactive decay takes place in the atomic nucleus, and takes place at the same rate whether the atom is baked, boiled, fried, frozen, shaken, stirred, stomped on, shot from a cannon or subjected to the complete works of Britney Spears

this is not completely true. britney exposure can very slightly increase the skankification coefficient of a nucleus. although tiny, this is thought to be responsible for some of the inconsistent results in cold fusion research

No species would have more than 4 alleles

actually, creationists never tire of inventing plausible explanations for post ark diversity, and point out that animals could have been pregnant. this brings the number up to a more respectable 5 or so. or in the case of humans, all the pregnant adulterous wives could account for a massive number of alleles - maybe a dozen - at any locus. Praise Jesus.

Mark wrote:

I have one other question for this post that is a bit off of the above track, but I would like to hear the answer: How many of you think that science disproves the literal resurrection of Christ?

this is much more a question of “what does good historical scholarship look like”. There are lots of places you could look, but I’d suggest it doesn’t look a lot like the apologetic writing you’re used to seeing. The geeks here can tell you an awful lot of interesting stuff about science and its philosophy, and I suggest you’re not doing yourself any favors by tying them up with bible history.

maybe, since this is the Panda’s Thumb, we should focus more attention directly on the scientific issues

yes. praise jesus.

I am interested to figure out what sorts of expectations would be reasonable to have if the Genesis account were correct

I recommend a back of the envelope calculation about how much heat (and so temperature) water has to gain in order to drop out of near earth orbit (or have a really honest look at the alternatives)

I have begun to read articles on Talkorigins.org

someone give this man a bag of kudos. where there is learning there is hope. the usual creationist response is “why would I read talkorigins? it’s well known as the least scientific and most dishonest site on the internet”

Comment #182608

Posted by Thanatos on June 7, 2007 8:11 PM (e)

FL wrote:

And I don’t know which poster he was responding to, but Mark was equally correct to point out that Matthew didn’t borrow anything from Mithraism. “The timing is all wrong!”, as Dr. Ronald Nash explained. (Mithra flourished just a little too late–like after the NT was written–to provide any evidence of any “borrowing” by the NT writers.)

dear FL
you are so enlighting,debunking these evil foul creatures ,the darwinists,
you indeed make me feel the Presence of the Lord;

darwinists,what a name to call themselves,couldn’t they at least
choose a more chic name?
oh well,
at least they aren’t still named by their older names.

Between you and me,
a tale for the few,a tale for the chosen,

(you certainly already know this ,having been written in the Holy Texts)

they started their foul existence nameless,
later becoming known as modernevolutionarysynthesisbiologysciencethetheoryofevolutionists,
evidently there is a satanic message-code hidden inside this,you know,like songs played backwards,
but once they started calling themselves thus,they must have noticed that their population
started to gradually decline due to inexplicable respiratorial problems.

Some of them who thought that their name besides having cyphered inside the hidden
-only known to them,only to be used in extreme situations -
code , was also in literal terms the true name of their hadian god,
had been dropping down dead
after breathless repeated prayers.But they must have regarded those losses as miracles,
proofs of True faith,the fools,answers to their prayers,
pseudo-divine callings to their hellish pseudoparadise.

Of course as time passed by, they started ,and kept eventually and sequentially
altering-dropping-adding-shifting-switching
letters to-of the name due to inevitable -the wrath of our True and Only God- reasons and causes.
But those changes along with the merciless lethian passage of time , caused
the hidden code-message to be ultimately forgotten and lost.

This great satanological havoc and tragedy along with the drastic ,by then,
decline of their scatological poemnion-population,

(our true Lord further lessened their numbers by flooding our flat earth,ruins and foundations
of the walls He then built
around the gaian disk to keep water in and dragons out, are still visible)

brought them ,praise the Lord,near to extinction,
when ,alas,forth came their pseudo-Messiah,
who noticing that the ones of them that had been staying alive
and had ultimately survived
had eventually grown huge lungs,

(of course he uncritically ignored the Flood
and the big-long-filthy-curved-strong-nails-easy-to-hang-on-secretly-to-the-Ark forethought
,in His great (master-)Plan,property-ability of these godless sub-beings,
thusly claiming,stating heathen absurdities)

the men in particular developing the natural talent
to shout GOAL (point-touchdown-…) repeatedly for hours
and the women to high-pitchly whine endlessly for no particular reason,
declared that the true message of their god and the hidden code of their ancient forlorn name
was that every living one of them had gradually evolved step by step ,
naturally selected (that’s what they call their sinister ethos,zoe and nous),
from the original state of luciferian sex-god Bon Obo,
an archaeus anomalous superdaemon possessing the magical ultra antiGod power of sisenegoiba.

And the name of this pseudo-messiah ,
who having saved them,by using the secret code-spell,
spits onto the face of our Savior,
transforming our paradisean world to a dystopia,to a hubris,
was Darwin,Charles the mon(umental)-key(bearer) (of the unholy seal,of the mephistophelian lock) Darwin;
so henceforth
the modernevolutionarysynthesisbiologysciencethetheoryofevolutionists
have been calling themselves Darwinists.

A sinful story,a miltonian real myth,this story,that is
a tale that must be repeated only for purposes of theological readiness and awareness,
a story that must otherwise be kept in total silence,
a tale that if spoken in vain is a fatal deadly sin,
a story that,for fear of eternal global Damnation,

(“global” by poetic license of course,
I’m sure our Father high up in the sky doesn’t mind,
since although
“flat discoid guarded by dragons,monstrous giants and asexual angels,
surrounded by abyss and for a time a wall
that became redundant once the dragons were tamed and the Flood had served its cause,
created along with the rest of the stuff,
following an intelligently designed Plan in order to relax from eternal boredom,
in six days,
taking the next day off reflecting on what went wrong”
would be theologically and scientifically more accurate,
it would also certainly ruin the divinely inspired rhythm)

must otherwise be considered fearlessly
only by the pure ,the innocent ,the children (and perhaps one or two hobbits).
Or else,or else,
Apocalypse,Apocalypse,
Apokalypsis!
And
alas,alas, oh world,alas!

Nevertheless
praise the Lord, you are here

dear FL,
indeed,

since you’re obviously so wise,so good,so faithful,a perfect Paradigm to us all,
I’ll surely be passing the word to the church to nominate you for Sainthood;

Saint Efelius the Protector Saint of Xians (t)rolling around
in the literal name of the Lord,
Saint Efelius who martyred in the deformed semi-digital evil hands
of king Pand Asthumbius,son of the dreadful dux Ses Amoides,
Pand Asthumbius,
a sinful pagan king notable also for the,
in the name of Satan, bEar-handed murder of the ,
unwilling to yield to his unholy foul lust,
superbly beautiful and tasteful maiden, Santa Bam Boo.

How does that sound to you? Not bad,huh?
(please ,once you’re a Saint,please don’t forget me,
I ‘m not aiming very high,Sainthood is too much,
to be named a plain Hosius is good enough for me)
Praise the Lord!!!

Post Scriptum

I don’t want to be such a burden to you
dear FL,
no, dear Saint Efelie,
but since you obviously know so many - in fact infinite- things,
praise the Lord,
could you help in answering an evil darwinist’s reply
to me saying the same things you’re saying.
He told me to cut the BS and do the research on
some obscure thing ,things,I don’t know,
hellenistic and grecoroman religious syncretism,
I believe he uttered.
What’s that,is it somekind of evil cult,of witch’s potion,of magical spell?
It sure sounds foul,
so many polysyllables…

Comment #182622

Posted by Henry J on June 7, 2007 9:24 PM (e)

After all, you believe that somewhere out there lost in the desert sands lies the equally precious Ark of the Covenant with with the original holy directions inside

Oh, Indiana Jones found that already. But then it got misplaced somewhere in a huge warehouse.

———–

Radioactive decay takes place in the atomic nucleus, and takes place at the same rate whether the atom is baked, boiled, fried, frozen, shaken, stirred, stomped on, shot from a cannon or subjected to the complete works of Britney Spears

One exception is the decay mode than involves absorption of an electron by one of the nuclear particles. Extreme pressure can increase the rate of that mode in large nuclei, because it increases the amount of time electrons spend within the nucleus.

Henry

Comment #182624

Posted by Raging Bee on June 7, 2007 9:32 PM (e)

Radioactive decay takes place in the atomic nucleus, and takes place at the same rate whether the atom is baked, boiled, fried, frozen, shaken, stirred, stomped on, shot from a cannon or subjected to the complete works of Britney Spears…

Are you trying to imply that Britney isn’t really a godess? I’m disappointed…

Comment #182639

Posted by JimV on June 7, 2007 10:09 PM (e)

Mark Hausam wrote:

The sun being pushed across the sky, however, is not only supernatural, but contradicts known facts about the sun. It is a fact of observation that the sun is not being pulled by a chariot, unless that chariot is invisible or is vastly disproportionate in size to the sun. Also, it suggests a geocentric view of the solar system.

As a Zeusian, I must ask why you assume that ancient Greeks were less able than yourself to make simple observations about the sun. Recall that there were no airplanes or rocket ships in those days. If you wanted to get somewhere fast, and were wealthy enough, you used a chariot. Obviously, what they were saying was a metaphor for, “the sun is a vehicle carrying a light source, controlled by the god Apollo.” (As for geocentric views, the same could be said of your own holy works–the same excuses apply.) Science cannot disprove this, whereas the vast number of fulfilled prophecies made by Apollo at Delphi prove his existence to all except those whose minds are closed by a non-Olympian world view.

You see how easy it is to do Apollo-getics, Mark?

Comment #182653

Posted by Mike Elzinga on June 7, 2007 11:56 PM (e)

Henry J wrote:

One exception is the decay mode than involves absorption of an electron by one of the nuclear particles. Extreme pressure can increase the rate of that mode in large nuclei, because it increases the amount of time electrons spend within the nucleus.

and

snaxalotl wrote:

this is not completely true. britney exposure can very slightly increase the skankification coefficient of a nucleus. although tiny, this is thought to be responsible for some of the inconsistent results in cold fusion research.

Some powerful exegesis will be needed to sort this out.

Comment #182669

Posted by Robert King on June 8, 2007 2:38 AM (e)

Mark,

Thanks for the response. You can read some good articles at talkorigins about the evidence for co-existence or non-coexsistence of

species. But my original point went a bit further - if God created a mature creation, even one with a history (belly-buttons for Adam

and Eve: tree rings with histories of cold snaps, etc), then surely, no matter what that history was it would be common to all life. So

the prediction of literal 6-day creation is that any dating technique applied to say, dinosaurs, would give about the same age when

applied to, say, elephants. Even if the absolute dates obtained are wildly in error (as YECs sometimes maintain) they should be in

error in the same way.

Direct evidence (fossils etc) for co-existence of large mammals (including humans) and dinosaurs does not exist. But, perhaps more

seriously, no evidence from dating does either. Surely, if these types of critters co-existed then at least some dinosaur remains would

get dated to 6000 years or (possibly) some elephant remains to 65 million years.

The problem is that all methods consistently lead to the same picture. There seem to be only two alternatives:

(i) the data is being faked

(ii) God made it appear that dinosaurs died out 65 million years ago. Why?

Comment #182684

Posted by David Stanton on June 8, 2007 8:14 AM (e)

Delurks,

Thanks for the personal account. It is very hard to claim that belief in evolution stems from a committment to naturalism after reading about people like yourself. Congratulations on having the courage to be intellectually honest enough to face the truth, despite strong social pressure to deny it. Coming from a similar background, I can sympathize. Hopefully Mark will follow your excellent example, but we shall see. He might have to learn a whole new way of thinking, but at least he knows it is not an impossible task.

Comment #182692

Posted by Mark Hausam on June 8, 2007 11:50 AM (e)

Hello.

Welcome back after the break of the last couple of days!

Some have suggested that as soon as you have an omnipotent God, he could do anything, so nothing could falsify YEC. My inclination is that that is not correct. That is why we have been distinguishing between the appearance of history and the appearance of age. There are certain things the biblical God will not do and certain things he is unlikely to do.

We never did explicitly define appearance of age (aoa) and appearance of history (aoh), and not defining them can lead to confusion, so let me define how I am using these phrases. Aoa, as I am using it, refers to some observed characteristic(s) in the record of the past that would, under normal everyday conditions, indicate a certain age or history, but which we do not have conclusive reason to believe must always indicate age and history, but it might have been created directly for some other purpose (such as aesthetics, etc.). Thus, it does not constitute proof of age and history, and so its appearance is not deceptive or inherently misleading (although people might of course be misled by it sometimes anyway, as by many other things). Aoh, as I am using it, refers to some observed characteristic(s) in the record of the past that could not rationally or plausibly be interpreted in any other way than as an indication of actual age and history. Such an appearance, if it did not indicate an actual history, would have to be interpreted as deception by God. Aoh would thus falsify YEC. I’m not sure I could delineate in advance exactly what sorts of characteristics must be placed in what category. It is the sort of thing that has to be decided on an individual case-by-case basis. If God gave Adam and Eve childhood memories of the garden and didn’t tell them they weren’t real, Adam and Eve would be justified in concluding that they were–this would thus be an example of aoh and would seem to have to be classified as deception on the part of God. On the other hand, Adam and Eve did not have conclusive reasons to conclude a past history based on the existence of their navels, so this is aoa and does not indicate deception.

As I mentioned before, the consistency of dating methods in something I especially want to continue to look into. A number of people have asserted that tree rings not only have patterns which could indicate a certain history, but those patterns line up with the same patterns in ice cores, etc. I assume that means that certain ice cores and certain parts of a tree have been dated to the same date using different methods on each sample, and the patterns on that part of the tree and on those particular ice cores match in extraordinary, not-possibly-random ways. If this is so, it is worth looking into.

Robert, you mentioned that elephants and dinosaurs are consistently dated differently. How are they dated? By position in the fossil record, by radiometric dating of partcular fossils, etc.? Are Coelecanth fossils and human fossils consistently dated differently?

JohnW, I believe, said that nothing can affect decay rates. Henry says extreme pressure can affect decay rates in some cases. Do you disagree amongst yourselves on this?

Some have said that I am simply looking for possible ways evidence could be interpreted in a young earth way but not providing positive evidence for why I think it MUST be interpreted that way. In other words, some have asserted that I have no positive evidence for my position. This isn’t true. The evidence, I believe, supports the Bible as a trustworthy source of information on all issues upon which it speaks. This evidence is not physical evidence, primarily, but some of it is more philosophical, etc., in form. Many of you take this to be the same as “no evidence at all,” but that is because you simply do not take seriously good, historic, philosophical reasoning. That is an ungrounded bias on your part that prevents you from taking all the facts into consideration. You have convinced yourselves into a way of thinking that automatically exludes certain forms of evidence, and so you do not recognize the evidence for my position.

The whole conversation about my inability to think “across the board” was interesting. Another humorous example of how ridiculous these methods of psychological analysis are. The fact is that I am very concerned with how all things fit together. I would say that this is one of the primary emphases of my thought. That is why I like people like Dawkins and Harris better than the NOMA sorts of approaches. NOMA tries to separate things that cannot be separated. What you believe in philosophy affects your take on the physical evidence and vice versa. Everything is connected and affects everything else. Reality is one, and so our knowledge must be unified. I am currently reading Edward O. Wilson’s book, Consilience. Although I disagree with his naturalism, I wholeheartedly agree with his emphasis on the unity of knowledge. Actually, I am tempted to think it is many of you who have problems with understanding the unity of knowledge. I have repeatedly asserted that one can’t separate philosophy, one’s views on the Bible, etc., from one’s take on the physical evidence. That is why the Bible question cannot “just be set aside,” as David suggested. David’s and others’ attempts to argue that I should set aside deeper philosophical/religious questions when looking at the physical evidence tempts me to think that they don’t understand the unity of knowledge. I would recommend Wilson or Dawkins. However, I suspect it is not so much a lack of understanding the unity of knowledge as more of a certain naive epistemology that thinks metaphysics is impossible and that we can actually learn something about the world without it. In fact, without metaphysical, philosophical reasoning, you can’t even refute Last Thursdayism. This naive epistemology tends to default on a naturalistic view of things, although not consistently (it being so absurd that it is impossible to hold it with complete consistency). I suspect that, historically, the rejection of metaphysics has come in as a part of the apologetics of naturalism. If you get rid of metaphysics, you don’t have to listen to the arguments that prove the existence of God, it is easier to pretend nothing matters but what you can directly see, etc., all of which makes naturalism seem more reasonable.

By the way, have you all seen the new CFI report, written by Barbara Forrest, on ID and creationism? I haven’t had time to read much of it yet, but in skimming through it for a couple of minutes I noticed that it explicitly reaffirms the commitment of science to methodological naturalism. Not that that is unique–it is the norm, in my experience. But I mention it in response to some odd claims here that the modern scientific community is not committed a priori to a method that assumes naturalism. Forrest (like many others) justifies this a priori assumption by arguing that it’s not arbitrary–we’ve just discovered that naturalism works and supernatural explanations don’t. Well, of course a naturalist would think so. Many theists disagree. But since methodological naturalism runs mainstream science, the theistic view is not allowed to be seriously considered anymore.

I have been focusing a lot of attention on interacting on this blog, but I think I am going to redirect some of that energy to do some other things I need to do, including deeper research of the physical evidence. I will stick around the blog and answer some questions, ask some questions, etc., but I am no longer going to continue the major discussion as we’ve been doing it. I think that would be more productive for me. I’m not sure if Nick will want to continue the thread or not, but if it stays up I’ll keep hanging around.

I am going to try to get a blog/website of some sort. Do any of you have any advice on getting a blog site or a website? I’m not really sure where to start. It is something I’ve been thinking about doing for a long time but haven’t gotten around to it yet.

Talk to you later,
Mark

Comment #182704

Posted by JohnW on June 8, 2007 12:54 PM (e)

Mark wrote:

JohnW, I believe, said that nothing can affect decay rates. Henry says extreme pressure can affect decay rates in some cases. Do you disagree amongst yourselves on this?

Henry’s right. Radioactive decay following electron capture is relatively unusual, it’s been a long time since I did any physics, and I’d forgotten about it. If I remember correctly (Henry can correct me if I’m mistaken) this decay mode is not involved in any of the decay chains used for dating, all of which involve “classical” alpha- or beta-decay.

Even if electron capture was involved in “dating” decays, we’re talking about extreme pressure - dunking the atoms in water isn’t going to produce the massive changes in rates needed to make the observed ages consistent with a 6000-year-old Earth. So if you want to fit the data to your hypothesis, you’re back to either the appearance of age or a miracle, both of which are unfalsifiable.

Comment #182705

Posted by Bill Gascoyne on June 8, 2007 12:57 PM (e)

Mark,

Wow! What’s the opposite of “succinct”?

WRT “aoh” vs “aoa,” a cynic might summarize your distinction as “if it contradicts the Bible, you’re deceiving yourself by looking too closely.”

WRT science “embracing” or “requiring” naturalism to the exclusion of alternatives, in your first paragraph, you are claiming, through metaphysical philosophizing, to know enough about the mind of God to be able to tell a “supernatural explanation” from a natural yet-to-be-discovered. Different people with different metaphysical or spiritual philosophies will come to different conclusions, and science cannot allow for such discrepancies. Scientific findings must be repeatable and unambiguous, not dependent upon metaphysics or philosophy. That is why the very phrase “supernatural explanation” is a scientific oxymoron.

Comment #182706

Posted by Doc Bill on June 8, 2007 1:18 PM (e)

Robert, you mentioned that elephants and dinosaurs are consistently dated differently. How are they dated?

Well, Mark, in my experience if you want to date elephants you have to meet them in bars and ask them out. Dinosaurs, on the other hand, you just have to call up. I’ve got the number of the Raptor Twins if you’re interested.

Many theists disagree.

Name one.

But, my favorite mis-mark-ception is this

But since methodological naturalism runs mainstream science, the theistic view is not allowed to be seriously considered anymore.

No, Mark, you are wrong, wrong, wrong! Nobody “runs” mainstream science. Like everything else you’ve written you just make stuff up. I guess it’s real on your planet, but down here it ain’t.

And, finally, the “theistic view” is not disallowed, rather it simply doesn’t work. Please review Last Thursdayism and get back to us on the results of your “research.”

Typical creationist: science is wrong, blah, blah, blah, hey, look at the time, gotta run, places to go, things to do, people to see…

Comment #182708

Posted by Mark Hausam on June 8, 2007 1:18 PM (e)

JohnW,

Creationists assert that the flood would involve more than simply “dunking things in water,” but would involve massive pressure from volcanic activity, the force of such a large amount of water, and other factors. If you had a very catastrophic world-wide flood of this sort (I know this is not very specific), would it be possible that sufficient pressure would be produced to affect decay rates? Of course, if only irrelevant decay rates (not used in dating) would be affected anyway, it doesn’t really matter. Do you think extreme pressure might affect relevant decay rates as well? (Henry, your input, and of course anyone else’s, is welcome here too.) By the way, JohnW, I really appreciated the tone of your longer post a few days ago (and your others as well). It was very respectful and careful and hence very productive and helpful to me. I appreciate your ability to have a reasonable conversation with those you disagree with.

Bill Gascoyne: You illustrate my point well. I know you and many others in the scientific community think that philosophical/religious arguments are untestable, uninformative and useless. I think you are wrong. I think it is possible to rationally choose between conflicting philosophical and religious viewpoints. I think these areas of research give us essential information and that that information needs to be taken into account in all fields of research, or at least all fields in which the information can significantly affect conclusions.

Mark

Comment #182712

Posted by Richard Simons on June 8, 2007 1:38 PM (e)

Robert, you mentioned that elephants and dinosaurs are consistently dated differently. How are they dated? By position in the fossil record, by radiometric dating of particular fossils, etc.? Are Coelacanth fossils and human fossils consistently dated differently?

Yes - fossils and elephants are dated by position in the fossil record and radiometric techniques, although I gather that dating is more generally done on the embedding rock. You realize there are many different methods of radiometric dating, all of which give consistent results? (See Radiometric Dating: A Christian Perspective by Dr. Roger C. Wiens.)

By ‘dated differently’ do you mean ‘have different ages’ or ‘dated by different methods’? I am not a paleontologist but my understanding is ‘yes’ to the first and ‘no’ to the second.

Comment #182713

Posted by Richard Simons on June 8, 2007 1:42 PM (e)

Stupid typo - and I did preview:
‘Yes - fossils and elephants . . ‘
Should be
‘Yes - fossils of dinosaurs and elephants …’

Comment #182714

Posted by JohnW on June 8, 2007 1:42 PM (e)

Mark wrote:

Creationists assert that the flood would involve more than simply “dunking things in water,” but would involve massive pressure from volcanic activity, the force of such a large amount of water, and other factors. If you had a very catastrophic world-wide flood of this sort (I know this is not very specific), would it be possible that sufficient pressure would be produced to affect decay rates?

Short answer: No.

Longer answer: I’m not sure you understand what sort of extremes you need to go to if you want to change the behaviour of atomic nuclei. No natural processes on Earth are strong enough - we’re talking about the sort of temperatures and pressures found inside a white dwarf. To do what you’re suggesting on Earth, across the whole planet, without leaving any less subtle evidence (like, say, the loss of the top few miles of crust) would involve the complete suspension of the laws of physics.

Mark wrote:

Of course, if only irrelevant decay rates (not used in dating) would be affected anyway, it doesn’t really matter. Do you think extreme pressure might affect relevant decay rates as well?

See above. No.

Mark wrote:

By the way, JohnW, I really appreciated the tone of your longer post a few days ago (and your others as well). It was very respectful and careful and hence very productive and helpful to me. I appreciate your ability to have a reasonable conversation with those you disagree with.

Thanks. I think your arguments are so bad they’re not even wrong, but I see no reason to be rude about you as a person.

Comment #182716

Posted by Robert King on June 8, 2007 1:52 PM (e)

Mark,

Coelecanth is a bit of a red herring. It’s unlikely thet sea creatures and humans will have co-mingled remains. The analogy would only hold if some version of a land dinosaur were to be found today. Even then that would not explain why evidence for large mammals and dinosaurs co-existing has not been found.

My point is not how elephants and dinosaurs are dated but that however they are dated you should get more or less the same age. And that should be true for all life forms. There’s a lot at talkorigins about how it’s done but the point is that the same methods should have similar errors. That is, if you weigh two things with the same set of faulty scales you can still figure out which is heavier.

You asked for a testable way of distinguishing your original idea from the predictions of evolution. This is one way - now, my job is not to convince you one way or the other - but I have tried to point you in a direction which you seemed unaware of before but which you requested. Whether you pursue that line of evidence is now up to you - and I hope you do.

I’d add that since all lines of evidence point to a ~60-million year gap between dinosaurs and humans then the problem for YEC is huge.

Comment #182725

Posted by Bill Gascoyne on June 8, 2007 3:02 PM (e)

Bill Gascoyne: You illustrate my point well. I know you and many others in the scientific community think that philosophical/religious arguments are untestable, uninformative and useless. I think you are wrong.

“This isn’t an argument, it’s just contradiction.” “No it isn’t.”

I think it is possible to rationally choose between conflicting philosophical and religious viewpoints.

If that were true, one would think it would have happened some time in the last 2000 years. Or are you saying that all adherents of religions other than your own are irrational?

I think these areas of research give us essential information and that that information needs to be taken into account in all fields of research, or at least all fields in which the information can significantly affect conclusions.

Examples, please. Cite one example of two different conclusions drawn from the same facts, with the differentiator being philosophy or religion, where it was not possible to show via concrete results that one or both conclusions were wrong, and where both conclusions led to useful and verifiable results. Or, show one example of two such different conclusions where one took a religious perspective and gave demonstratably better results than the non-religious conclusion.

Comment #182727

Posted by Henry J on June 8, 2007 4:12 PM (e)

Miked,

Re “Some powerful exegesis will be needed to sort this out.”

Or at least somebody’ll have to explain how one measures the skankification coefficient of a nucleus. Um.

——

Mark,

Re “JohnW, I believe, said that nothing can affect decay rates. Henry says extreme pressure can affect decay rates in some cases. Do you disagree amongst yourselves on this?”

That’s only for one specific type of decay, which AFAIK isn’t relevant to radiodating methods. Also as somebody pointed out already, that’s only when the pressure is extreme enough to significantly compress the orbitals of the atoms, and that can happen only if the atoms have already been smushed together so that the orbitals are the only left with any give.

Henry

Comment #182729

Posted by Mike Elzinga on June 8, 2007 4:44 PM (e)

Among the more difficult issues for students unfamiliar with the sciences are the issues surrounding quantitative data analysis and statistical reasoning. Issues involving orders of magnitude, the statistical distributions of measurements, why these distributions arise and how the characteristics of these distributions are used in decision-making, the concepts of precision and accuracy, significance, correlation, confounding variables, irrelevant parameters, how scientists can analyze data to reduce or completely eliminate the confounding effect of a parameter, controlled experiments; the list goes on and on.

Many of the terms involved in working with data have colloquial meanings that get in the way of understanding. Using these words without adhering to their technical meaning gives the appearance of precision in one’s arguments when in fact one is simply expressing opinions or just plain nonsense. Not only does naive use of such words mislead the user, such use is often employed to deliberately deceive. Without a fairly robust fraud detector, individuals have no way of knowing what quantitative evidence is good and what is useless.

Hermeneutics and exegesis are only small parts of qualitative reasoning, and they address none of the issues of quantitative reasoning. Both qualitative and quantitative reasoning can be, and frequently are, systematically abused. Knowing how to use these reasoning processes without abusing them is a fairly mature state in a person’s development, and Mark appears to be nowhere near this level of development. This level of development is also linked to a detailed knowledge of representative examples of how these process sort the good stuff from junk, and to successful experiences in actually doing such analyses. Mark apparently has had neither, and he doesn’t appear to know it.

Mark’s continued use of the word “naturalism” is perhaps the strongest evidence he has no idea what is involved in the process of science. He is using the emotionally loaded, pejorative term introduced by a fraud, Phillip E. Johnson, and as a result, approaches every piece of scientific evidence and reasoning as missing some fundamental element that he is willing to allow and which he claims scientists don’t understand.

Phillip E. Johnson is no Thomas Aquinas, and Johnson has added nothing but confusion to the minds of people like Mark. Mark is unwilling or emotionally unable to question Johnson’s philosophical pretensions.

Mark appears to know nothing about the history of his own religion, the history of the development of science, the history of Western civilization, and consequently has no credibility in any of his arguments. Even as he hints that he has some advanced understanding of “epistemology” and “metaphysics”, his total lack of scientific understanding is strong evidence that he doesn’t even understand the meanings of those words.

And asking to be treated with respect even as he displays his philosophical pretensions is as insulting as his claim that the universe is only 6000 years old. If he wants to be treated with “respect”, he should demonstrate that he has made a more serious effort to understand the science than he has. If he doesn’t understand why people get impatient with him, that is why.

Comment #182731

Posted by Abe White on June 8, 2007 5:16 PM (e)

Coelecanth is a bit of a red herring. It’s unlikely thet sea creatures and humans will have co-mingled remains. The analogy would only hold if some version of a land dinosaur were to be found today. Even then that would not explain why evidence for large mammals and dinosaurs co-existing has not been found.

Even finding a land dinosaur alive today wouldn’t mean what Marks wants it to mean – that the discovery of Coelecanths in modern times somehow implies that the gap in time between dinosaurs and large mammals is just due to a lack of information.

Mark, the fossil record clearly shows huge numbers of species appearing and disappearing throughout history. Yes, new discoveries often move the dates that a certain branch of the tree of life appeared of disappeared, but read what people are saying: no large mammal has ever been found in the strata coexistent with, or older than, dinosaurs. And that’s just a simple example. The evidence shows so much more than that. Using fossil and genetic data (which, again, agree), scientists have constructed a tree of life. Any find that showed a highly derived descendent species appearing before its supposed ancestor in the fossil record could invalidate this tree of life. Many other types of discoveries could also invalidate it – I recommend reading the Evidences for Macroevolution article on talkorigins. In fact, there is an almost infinite number of fossil and DNA finds that could invalidate evolution, yet no one has ever done it.

Also, you once again have failed to address the convergence of so many lines of evidence. You’re trying to make up just-so stories to explain away once piece of evidence or another. Not only have you failed to cast the slightest doubt on any one piece of evidence yet (c’mon, a flood causing a change in atomic decay rates?), but even if you did find a way to dodge a bit of evidence, you wouldn’t have even begun to address why all the evidence agrees. That’s why YEC is a completely indefensible position. It’s not because of blind faith in radiometric dating or ice cores or tree rings or evolution or anything else. It’s because all the scientific evidence agrees.

p.s. A prerequisite for any philosophy is that it doesn’t conflict with reality. Whatever your philosophical reasons for believing in the literal truth of the bible, they don’t meet this basic prerequisite. Last-Thursdayism is actually more valid than whatever you believe, because it at least allows for a deceitful god and a deceptive reality. Similarly, a philosophy that rejects our ability to observe reality, while useless, would at least be logically consistent. You can’t, however, accept the reality we observe and at the same time say that where your philosophy conflicts with reality, reality loses.

Comment #182743

Posted by Delurks on June 8, 2007 8:32 PM (e)

Mark …

As far it’s possible to say that one has stood in another person’s shoes, I can say that I’ve stood in yours. I know all the arguments, I believed them all at one point. I’ve heard the preaching, been to the rallies and read all the books.

My suspicion is that you probably know in your heart that a young earth creationist model is intellectually unsustainable, but that you’re not sure what to do with that concept.

20 years ago, I decided I’d stop trying to maintain the cognitive dissonance that was required to synthesise science and creationism into a coherent story. It was a liberating experience.

Look back at the postings you made over these two threads. Count how many times you use the terms ‘Could it have been this way’, ‘Perhaps it was this way’, ‘Maybe this happened’.

Here’s the scoop. It may well be that [a] God could have created the world in such a strange manner in a short space of time, with the appearance of history, and such bizarre apparent evidences in genetics/biology that we, in fact, evolved.

But is it *likely*? Or is the simpler explanation - that the universe is indeed really, really, really old - a better one?

If you don’t want to answer that question, answer me this. If we found a fossilized leather shoe (or a single humanoid bone) in the middle of a rock stratum also containing dinosaur fossils, that would be sufficient to falsify our current model of evolutionary history.

Can you think of a single scientific observation which, if found, would be sufficient falsify your hypothesis that the world is actually only 10Ky old?

Delurks

Comment #182746

Posted by Delurks on June 8, 2007 8:55 PM (e)

Mark …

As far it’s possible to say that one has stood in another person’s shoes, I can say that I’ve stood in yours. I know all the arguments, I believed them all at one point. I’ve heard the preaching, been to the rallies and read all the books.

My suspicion is that you probably know in your heart that a young earth creationist model is intellectually unsustainable, but that you’re not sure what to do with that concept.

20 years ago, I decided I’d stop trying to maintain the cognitive dissonance that was required to synthesise science and creationism into a coherent story. It was a liberating experience.

Look back at the postings you made over these two threads. Count how many times you use the terms ‘Could it have been this way’, ‘Perhaps it was this way’, ‘Maybe this happened’.

Here’s the scoop. It may well be that [a] God could have created the world in such a strange manner in a short space of time, with the appearance of history, and such bizarre apparent evidences in genetics/biology that we, in fact, evolved.

But is it *likely*? Or is the simpler explanation - that the universe is indeed really, really, really old - a better one?

If you don’t want to answer that question, answer me this. If we found a fossilized leather shoe (or a single humanoid bone) in the middle of a rock stratum also containing dinosaur fossils, that would be sufficient to falsify our current model of evolutionary history.

Can you think of a single scientific observation which, if found, would be sufficient falsify your hypothesis that the world is actually only 10Ky old?

Delurks

Comment #182754

Posted by Bill Gascoyne on June 8, 2007 10:48 PM (e)

“Metaphysics is almost always an attempt to prove the incredible by an appeal to the unintelligible.”
H.L. Mencken (1880-1956)

Comment #182758

Posted by Henry J on June 8, 2007 11:46 PM (e)

Re “If we found a fossilized leather shoe (or a single humanoid bone) in the middle of a rock stratum also containing dinosaur fossils, that would be sufficient to falsify our current model of evolutionary history.”

Imnsho, no one single contrary datum would completely undo a strongly supported theory. It might put limits on it, by establishing some area in which it doesn’t apply, but I’d expect that it would still get used in the areas not directly impacted by the anomaly. (I.e., one contrary datum isn’t going to erase a million data points that agree with each other.)

Henry

Comment #182767

Posted by stevaroni on June 9, 2007 2:29 AM (e)

If you had a very catastrophic world-wide flood of this sort (I know this is not very specific), would it be possible that sufficient pressure would be produced to affect decay rates?

Mark;

You seem quite concerned about changes in isotopic decay rates, but even if it happened, it wouldn’t help the creationist argument.

Assume, for the moment, that isotopic decay actually was far more rapid in the past and has been steadily declining. That would clearly mean that the measuring stick we used to measure deep time would be the wrong length.

The problem is that everything would measure wrong.

It would be like using a measuring tape calibrated in millimeters when you though it was in feet. The absolute measurement would be wrong. But the relative measurements would still stay the same. An bowling ball is still ten times bigger than a golf ball, no matter what the units.

In the global flood model, nearly every living thing on the surface of the earth dies in the same week.

Much of that material would end up floating in the water column, or on the surface, especially in heavily forested areas like Siberia and the northwestern US. As the water receded, there would be many badly-drained basins that would catch all that organic muck. As things dried out, it would be concentrated and in places it would form an organic mat tens, if not hundreds of feet thick.

It would be the bodies of dinosaurs, donkeys and douglass firs, all mixed up in one stinking, decaying, organic pile. Some of it, of course, would be covered in mud, sealed away from oxygen and the environment, and preserved, the usual route to fossilization.

Now here’s the interesting part, since it all died at essentially the same moment, and landed in the same spot, it would be preserved to about the same degree, and would all carbon-date essentially the same.

But it doesn’t. We find preserved bones of sabre tooth cats in the LaBrea tarpits, with DNA still in the marrow, and they date to 20,000 years or less. But we almost never find bones of dinosaurs. Instead, we find mineralized fossils, a much longer-term process.

We have stacks of these fossils from the age of the dinosaurs, but all the actual organic material ever recovered could comfortably fit in a shoebox without taking out the shoes first. The dinosaurs don’t even have much carbon left to date. On the carbon dating scale, they drop right off the end.

This doesn’t make any sense, given the story of the flood. All this stuff died at the same time. No matter how much the isotope rate changes, it should change the same for all samples. Yet the more primitive forms consistently go in the right relative place on the time line, very distant from the now.

And I’d point out that for the biblical ages we’re talking about, maybe 2000BC, carbon dating has been calibrated very well because we have so many reference samples from known dates in past. Things like bodies from Pompeii and Pharaohs from ancient Egypt (maybe 1300BC - only a 700 year gap). Actual physical samples from a known date that was actually written down.

So the yardstick is calibrated very accurately to already include any rate changes in the known reference samples, and any rate change should be readily apparent, at least for the last few thousand years.

Nobody has ever found bodies where and when they shouldn’t have been, like a modern rabbit in the ancient beds of Dinosaur National Park, or a velociraptor in the recent LaBrea tar pits (you’d expect to find them there, BTW, the tar pits were a notorious “predator trap”, where predator remains outnumber prey species 10 to 1.)

Comment #182779

Posted by delurks on June 9, 2007 10:16 AM (e)

Henry,

I’m not suggesting that such a find would completely invalidate the TOE as we know it. But it would be sufficient to prove the existing model, in some way, false. Obviously, for the purposes of this argument, I’m assuming that this was a real fossil human bone, coexisting in time with a dinosaur fossil.

Delurks

Comment #182780

Posted by Mark Hausam on June 9, 2007 10:41 AM (e)

Hello.

There have been some very good questions that have been brought up lately. I wrote to ICR and asked a couple of them to get a creationist take on them. Below is the copy of my email:

Hello!

I have been studying the old-earth vs. young-earth controversy. I have a couple of questions I’d like to get your take on if you have some time:

1. If the fossil record is a record not of long geologic ages but was mostly laid down during the great flood, why do we not see more mixing of various forms of animals throughout the various strata? For example, why do we not find large or modern mammals mixed in with dinosaurs at least occasionally? Wouldn’t we expect, every once in a while, to see something like a horse in the same location in the strata as a velociraptor? The Darwinists say that one rabbit found among the dinosaurs would falsify evolution, and yet they assert nothing like this has ever been found. Wouldn’t we expect to find a least a few examples of this sort of thing?

2. If all species once lived at the same time, and most of them in the fossil record died at the same time, why do variious dating methods give consistent results dating different strata of the fossil record at different ages? I can understand how the dating methods in general might be skewed by things like a mature creation, etc., but wouldn’t we expect the various strata to date to the same age even if that age is in error? Since they in fact come from roughly the same time period, wouldn’t we expect that our dating results would be the same, or perhaps random, rather than consistently dating lower strata as older than higher strata? Why do the varying dates of various strata appear in the sort of pattern one would expect if the layers actually come from different ages, the lower generally being significantly older than the higher?

Thank you for your time!

Mark Hausam

Comment #182782

Posted by Mike Elzinga on June 9, 2007 12:00 PM (e)

stevaroni wrote:

It would be like using a measuring tape calibrated in millimeters when you though it was in feet. The absolute measurement would be wrong. But the relative measurements would still stay the same. An bowling ball is still ten times bigger than a golf ball, no matter what the units.

An excellent example of a remedial step in addressing issues of relative sizes and orders of magnitude. Nice!

The rest was nice also.

Comment #182783

Posted by Henry J on June 9, 2007 12:25 PM (e)

Another problem with the 6000 year claim is simply the amount of fossils. As I understand it there’s way too many of them for them, and too many different types, to have all lived within a period of time anywhere near as short as human history.

Henry

Comment #182785

Posted by stevaroni on June 9, 2007 12:59 PM (e)

I wrote to ICR and asked a couple of them to get a creationist take on them.

I’ll bet you a dollar that if you get an answer from them it will…

* Contain at least one attack on the messenger (ie, question the motives of those who told you to go ask this).

* Contain a vague generality about how scientists don’t know everything.

* Contain at least one appeal to have faith in the face of the faceless deceivers.

* reference numerous website links that use the terms might, possibly, or “author X argues…” before every logical deduction or point of “evidence”.

I’ll bet you a hundred dollars it will not contain a succinct, testable answer, or solid, documented argument along the lines of the current Panda’s Thumb thread “Of cilia and silliness”.

(I mean that, by the way, I’m so confident of this I’ll actually put my money where my mouth - er, keyboard - is)

Comment #182786

Posted by Science Avenger on June 9, 2007 1:46 PM (e)

Stevaroni said:

…the tar pits were a notorious “predator trap”, where predator remains outnumber prey species 10 to 1

Interesting. Far be it for me to derail this most scintillating of threads, but why would that be? Was it a domino effect? Predator spots trapped prey, tries to eat trapped prey, becomes trapped itself, second predator arrives, sees trapped prey, etc.?

Comment #182787

Posted by Richard Simons on June 9, 2007 2:37 PM (e)

Mark:

If you get a reply, they will tell you that hydrodynamic sorting was important. Also that things that lived on top of hills or could fly or swim well were buried last and therefore will be found higher in the stratigraphy. Although there are pairs of organisms for which either of these would work, they do not explain why, for example, pterodactyls are found lower than moles.

Comment #182788

Posted by Mike Elzinga on June 9, 2007 3:10 PM (e)

Science Avenger wrote:

Interesting. Far be it for me to derail this most scintillating of threads, but why would that be? Was it a domino effect? Predator spots trapped prey, tries to eat trapped prey, becomes trapped itself, second predator arrives, sees trapped prey, etc.?

Indeed, that is correct. I’ve been there and the evidence is remarkable. The docents at the museum there go into this in some detail. Apparently Steveroni has been there also. It’s a sticky place.

Comment #182792

Posted by Robert King on June 9, 2007 6:03 PM (e)

Mark,

Kudos to you. Focus on question number 2 and see what happens if you push it with them.

Robrt

Comment #182795

Posted by Doc Bill on June 9, 2007 6:15 PM (e)

And being the rudest of the bunch since Sir Toe and Flank aren’t here let me say that it’s the inconsistancy of religion that leads to a loss of faith rather than the consistancy of science.

Comment #182799

Posted by Abe White on June 9, 2007 7:10 PM (e)

If you get a reply, they will tell you that hydrodynamic sorting was important. Also that things that lived on top of hills or could fly or swim well were buried last and therefore will be found higher in the stratigraphy. Although there are pairs of organisms for which either of these would work, they do not explain why, for example, pterodactyls are found lower than moles.

Yup. I’m consistently amazed that anyone can accept something as ridiculous as hydrodynamic sorting. Mark, if you for one second are tempted to accept hydrodynamic sorting, please just take a moment and think of all the counter-examples that falsify it, like the one above. If you have trouble coming up with any on your own (you shouldn’t), here’s a little wiki page listing some:
http://wiki.cotch.net/index.php/Fossil_Sorting

Comment #182818

Posted by GuyeFaux on June 9, 2007 10:47 PM (e)

Mark,

Those are excellent questions, particularly 2. And yes, hydrodynamic sorting is bullshit. For number 1, re the “rabbit in the cambrian”, my prediction is that you might get some answers like:
“Darwinism says X. However, the data show ~X.”
To see if such a statement is bullshit, you need to ascertain:
1) Does the evidence really show ~X? But more importantly:
2) Does Darwinism really say X?
To ascertain the first, you have to do some research. To answer the second, ask some Darwinists…

(Also, please don’t refer to us as “Darwinists”.)

Anyhow, please let us know what the replies are.

Comment #182822

Posted by Mark Hausam on June 10, 2007 12:21 AM (e)

A question related to different creatures being in different strata: If the strata represent different geological ages, it seems to me we would expect to see life forms that came into being later appearing later in the fossil record, life forms that died out a long time ago appearing only earlier in the fossil record and not later, and creatures that came into existence a long time ago but which have persisted through time into the present day appearing throughout the fossil record. So, assuming the typical evolutionary picture, I would expect to see dinosaurs in the Mesozoic era but not earlier or later, humans appearing only late in the Cenozoic era, and bacteria appearing fairly equally throughout the vast majority of the strata. Since insects came into existence very early but apparently have maintained a strong presence since, I would expect them to show up at some early point in the record and then appear fairly equally throughout the later ages of strata. Do you agree with these expectations? If so, is this what we actually find in the fossil record? Particularly, do life forms like bacteria appear early in the record and then appear with roughly equal constancy throughout all the rest of the record into modern times? I would not expect, on the evolutionary picture, bacteria, or other early creatures that have remained through time, to appear only or with significantly more frequency in the earlier part of the record but not at all or not as much in later strata.

Thanks for the feedback on my questions to ICR. I’m really enjoying getting the opportunity to think through these things in greater depth. I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time. It is fun!

Thanks,
Mark

Comment #182827

Posted by Mike Elzinga on June 10, 2007 1:20 AM (e)

I’m really enjoying getting the opportunity to think through these things in greater depth. I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time. It is fun!

It gets even better. :-)

Comment #182844

Posted by Science Avenger on June 10, 2007 9:06 AM (e)

I’m consistently amazed that anyone can accept something as ridiculous as hydrodynamic sorting.

Indeed. As dreadful as it is with the animal remains, it’s a complete disaster when it comes to plants, which can’t run or fly at all. Were the creationists right, palm trees should be at the bottom, and pteradactyls near the top. We find the opposite in the fossil record.

Comment #182849

Posted by Abe White on June 10, 2007 11:00 AM (e)

A question related to different creatures being in different strata: If the strata represent different geological ages, it seems to me we would expect to see life forms that came into being later appearing later in the fossil record, life forms that died out a long time ago appearing only earlier in the fossil record and not later, and creatures that came into existence a long time ago but which have persisted through time into the present day appearing throughout the fossil record.

That’s good reasoning on your part, and yes, that’s exactly what we see.

Note that given how rare it is for remains to fossilize, how rare it is for us to then find those fossils, and how different environments are more or less amenable to fossilization, the fossil record doesn’t always give a perfect representation of the actual biome through time. The basic pattern we see, however, is exactly what you describe. There are some holes due to lack of information, but there are never explicit contradictions (like a rabbit in the Cambrian).

Comment #182852

Posted by Mike Elzinga on June 10, 2007 2:26 PM (e)

Science Avenger wrote:

Indeed. As dreadful as it is with the animal remains, it’s a complete disaster when it comes to plants, which can’t run or fly at all. Were the creationists right, palm trees should be at the bottom, and pteradactyls near the top. We find the opposite in the fossil record.

It is also an example of the type of argument that reveals the blatant hucksterism of people like Ham, Hovind, Gish, Morris, Dembski, Wells, and all the others.

These people aren’t really innocent “defenders of the faith”; they go out of their way to misrepresent science and trash-up the path to knowledge that others have to travel. Add to this their constant linking of learning to emotional fears and hatreds, and they successfully keep enough people in the dark that they insure themselves a constant source of financial support to keep their scams going.

Other frauds (e.g., Joe Newman and his “Energy Machine”) use the same tactics to prey upon the same kinds of naïveté and trust found in many fundamentalist sects.

What is more, these jerks attempt to make use of the “freedom of religion” clause in the Constitution to evade prosecution for their fraudulent activities; screaming religious persecution when they are exposed. They know all the code words.

Comment #182859

Posted by David Stanton on June 10, 2007 6:20 PM (e)

Mark,

Glad to see that you are finally starting to address issues in a scientific manner. This is exactly how you should proceed. If you have two competing hypotheses, first, determine what predictions each would make. Concentrate on predictions that are in direct opposition so that a certain result will only be consistent with one hypothesis and completely inconsistent with the other. Then look at the evidence. Which hypothesis is consistent with the evidence and which is falsified? Then see if you get the same result from different data sets.

In the case of the fossil record the answer is quite clear. There is no sudden appearance corresponding to a creation event and there is no sudden disappearance corresponding to a world-wide flood. Major groups appear in the order predicted by evolutionary theory. There is evidence of ancient groups that are no longer extant. There is evidence of major groups that arose recently and persist to the present time. For example, the dinosaurs arose over 200 million years ago and persisted until 64 million years ago. Trilobites dominated the ancient seas about 500 million years ago and then all disappeared. No evidence of any vertebrate is found until well after the Cambrian explosion, etc.

Now here is the clincher. The relative ages of these groups are precisely correlated with the their absolute ages as determined by radiometric dating. And both of these data sets agree perfectly with the genetic data for living organisms as well. So, one hypoothesis is conclusively falsified and one hypothesis is entirely consistent with all the evidence. There can be no doubt whatsoever as to the proper conclusion.

Don’t let the ICR or anyone else try to confuse the issue by making up nonsense. Look at the evidence for yourself. Draw your own conclusion. This data is the result of the last 200 years of research, it cannot be waved away or ignored. This is the truth about the history of life on earth. Look at it and see for yourself.

Comment #182890

Posted by demallien on June 11, 2007 7:41 AM (e)

I wonder if the ICR has responded to Mark yet?

Comment #182891

Posted by David Stanton on June 11, 2007 8:23 AM (e)

GuyeFaux wrote:

“Please let us know what the replies are.”

If any replies are forthcoming, they are probably already covered in the Talkorigins archieves, perhaps under Creationist Claims. All of these arguments have been debunked long ago. I don’t even know why anyone would want to ask for an opinion from the ICR since everyone already knows what they spew and why it is completely wrong.

In any event, biased web sites are not the place to look for answer to these questions. College textbooks would be a good place to start and of course it is necessary to read the primary literature in order to get aa unbiased view of any field.

Mark,

I know you have a lot to go through, but I still want to know, did God copy the mistakes?

Comment #182895

Posted by Raging Bee on June 11, 2007 10:19 AM (e)

Mark: I appreciate your desire to keep the discussion polite and civil; but please bear this in mind: this is a discussion of facts, not feelings; and a fact stated bluntly, by someone who may not have time to put it in more tactful terms, is still a fact. And if you say something that sounds either very ignorant or very dishonest, in the presence of people who know better, then the response will be blunt, not tactful or considerate; and crying about incivility won’t help your case.

I’ve noticed that many creationists use a thin pretense of tact and civility as a means of proving themselves superior to those who bluntly point out their ignorance and dishonesty. Ever hear of another YECer named Salvador Cordova? He’s made a career of lying through his teeth, then pretending he wants an honest debate on the issues, but only in a forum like UD, where nobody is allowed to do anything so impolite as to point out his rank dishonesty.

With that in mind, I’d like to point out (again) that we’ve given you very clear and specific guidelines for distinguishing between “appearance fo age” and “appearance of history,” and you are simply redefining these terms to avoid the “appearance of refutation” of YEC assertions.

On the other hand, Adam and Eve did not have conclusive reasons to conclude a past history based on the existence of their navels, so this is aoa and does not indicate deception.

Sorry, the navel, like a scar, is created by a specific event: in this case, birth from a woman’s womb, followed by the cutting and tying off of the umbilical cord. No other event has ever been observed to create a navel. Therefore, a navel is evidence of birth from a womb. Asserting – with absolutely no evidence of any sort – that God may have created it for some purpose other than outright deception, would not change the fact that such creation would be, in effect, a deceptive act.

The same goes for just about all of the other examples we’ve cited here, especially the remains of humans and human artifacts that predate your creation-date.

JohnW, I believe, said that nothing can affect decay rates. Henry says extreme pressure can affect decay rates in some cases. Do you disagree amongst yourselves on this?

Another creationist dodge: “evolutionists don’t quite agree on some particulars, therefore they’re all wrong on all counts.” And it doesn’t even come close to being plausible here: we’re all agreed that decay rates cannot be affected by any conditions found anywhere on Earth; therefore your argument about decay rates being changed completely fails to support the YEC scenario.

In other words, some have asserted that I have no positive evidence for my position. This isn’t true. The evidence, I believe, supports the Bible as a trustworthy source of information on all issues upon which it speaks. This evidence is not physical evidence, primarily, but some of it is more philosophical, etc., in form. Many of you take this to be the same as “no evidence at all,” but that is because you simply do not take seriously good, historic, philosophical reasoning. That is an ungrounded bias on your part that prevents you from taking all the facts into consideration. You have convinced yourselves into a way of thinking that automatically exludes certain forms of evidence, and so you do not recognize the evidence for my position.

This is utter nonsense, which I suspect was fed to you by a minister or other propagandist, and which you must be seen repeating lest you lose your church-cred. First, there’s no such thing as “philosophical evidence.” Second, what you call “evidence” is clearly nothing but an assumption or belief, repeated as a mantra, that the Bible is a legitimate and reliable source of evidence or information; which of course leads to the “conclusion” that the Bible is always right and that pesky planetful of physical evidence to the contrary is wrong. Then, when we refuse to accept your assumption, you simply assert that our arguments are invalid because we’re “assuming you’re wrong from the start.”

That is why I like people like Dawkins and Harris better than the NOMA sorts of approaches.

So you reject the wisdom of countless other Christians who don’t think exactly like you, but you’re quite cozy with the most extreme atheists, who have nothing but contempt for your kind, and blame people like you for just about every evil known to Mankind. And you agree with a position of theirs, from which they attempt to disprove your religion and everyone else’s. That’s not just dishonest; it’s insane. (It also flatly disproves Dawkins’ and Harris’ assertions that religious moderates “validate” or “enable” extremists, but that’s another subject.)

Reality is one, and so our knowledge must be unified.

Like wow, man, that sounds so deep, I’ll have to remember that for my next bio exam. What was the question again?

There’s a right way and a wrong way to connect all the various parts; connect them the wrong way, like PC components plugged into each other at random by a drunk clown, and none of it serves any useful purpose at all. People of all faiths have been dealing with these connections for centuries; and you have completely rejected all of that accumualted wisdom.

Forrest (like many others) justifies this a priori assumption by arguing that it’s not arbitrary–we’ve just discovered that naturalism works and supernatural explanations don’t. Well, of course a naturalist would think so. Many theists disagree. But since methodological naturalism runs mainstream science, the theistic view is not allowed to be seriously considered anymore.

And what better results have those “many theists” got to show for their efforts? The Burning Times? Hatred of Jews? Witch-hunting? Blaming hurricanes on gay people?

Why does “methodological naturalism run mainstream science?” Because it works, and it’s given us a safer, saner, more just and advanced society than the theocratic nincompoops who have tried to overthrow it. That’s why so many theists – the ones you diss and ignore – support it. (I notice you still haven’t commented on those quotes by your fellow Christian, St. Augustine.)

Comment #182901

Posted by Mike Elzinga on June 11, 2007 12:26 PM (e)

Here are some interesting parallels to the junk one finds on the ID/Creationist websites.

The website of Joe Newman

Joe Newman is like the Energizer Bunny when it comes to huckstering. He uses many of the same snake oil techniques.

Comment #182902

Posted by Mike Elzinga on June 11, 2007 12:40 PM (e)

I should have said Joe Newman uses the same snake oil techniques as the ID/Creationists, not the Energizer Bunny as it appears to say in my last post (I like the bunny).

By the way, Joe Newman is also discussed at some length in Bob Park’s book, Voodoo Science. Apparently Joe has managed to con a lot of money out of EPRI (the Electric Power Research Institute).

He uses many of the same distortions of scientific concepts as do the ID/Creationists, and he plays on the same fears and paranoia.

Comment #182904

Posted by Mike Elzinga on June 11, 2007 1:17 PM (e)

I may be remembering incorrectly which con artist got money from EPRI. It may have been James Patterson and his “Patterson Cell”. There are a lot of these characters.

Sharon Weinberger’s book Imaginary Weapons is another good read about how con artists work in environments shrouded in secrecy. One of the heroes she interviewed, Peter Zimmerman, has a recent article on the “Back Page” section of APS News, Vol. 16, No. 6, June 2007.

In fact, as long as I am on this topic, (and it is not off topic for what we are discussing; creationism and intelligent design are part of a spectrum of con activity), a very useful antidote to being taken in by con men is to get some insight on how they do their tricks. There are many good books out there, beginning with the work of Martin Gardner.

Con artists have always had good instincts for people’s weaknesses, fears, greed, confusions, and other exploitable characteristics. Many of the irresponsible preachers in the fundamentalist sects in effect prepare the soil for this kind of exploitation. So it is not surprising that con artists often gravitate toward people in these congregations.

Comment #182910

Posted by Henry J on June 11, 2007 2:13 PM (e)

Re “But since methodological naturalism runs mainstream science,”

Yep, science is based on verifiable evidence. Fancy that.

Comment #182913

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 11, 2007 2:55 PM (e)

And being the rudest of the bunch since Sir Toe and Flank aren’t here let me say that it’s the inconsistancy of religion that leads to a loss of faith rather than the consistancy of science.

just watching and waiting.

there are always exceptions, but I’m still waiting to see if Mark is one of them.

so far, I’m sticking with the initial assessment I made based on his very first post.

Comment #182929

Posted by stevaroni on June 11, 2007 11:30 PM (e)

Interesting. Far be it for me to derail this most scintillating of threads, but why would that be? Was it a domino effect? Predator spots trapped prey, tries to eat trapped prey, becomes trapped itself, second predator arrives, sees trapped prey, etc.?

Yes, a predator trap is exactly as you describe it.

Imagine a mammoth is stuck in the tar, frightened and unable to run, he smells the predators, and thrashes in panic, bleating loudly, attracting all the wolves in the area. Any reasonable prey animal will see this a a really bad place to be right now, and hoof it out of the area.

Any good predator will see it as tonight’s hot party spot.

There’s a really impressive display of about 400 dire wolf skulls down one long wall of the museum there, apparently just a small sample of the most common species found in the pits.

Apparently, dire wolves were roughly as smart as Bandit, my childhood dog (who once badly injured himself after chasing the ceiling fan for three days). Frankly, tar pits or not, it was probably only a matter of time before they went extinct.

Apparently Steveroni has been there also.

Indeed, I used to live in LA at one time.

The tar pits are certainly an odd place, but somehow familiar to an Angeleno.

For instance, there’s been only one human body found in the pits, a woman who’s been there about 500 years. She was murdered.

My favorite exhibit, though, was a page from the diary of a Franciscan monk that came through the area with the early Spaniards. He wrote (and I’m paraphrasing) “It’s too hot. I don’t know what it is about this valley, the very place itself seems to make the men restless and quarrelsome, and the smoke from clearing the brush simply hangs in the air all day, making it miserable to breathe. Oh, and we had another one of those damned earthquakes yesterday.”

Somehow, it seems like some things in LA haven’t changed a whole lot in 500 years.

Comment #182930

Posted by stevaroni on June 12, 2007 12:26 AM (e)

Mark writes…

So, assuming the typical evolutionary picture, I would expect to see dinosaurs in the Mesozoic era but not earlier or later, humans appearing only late in the Cenozoic era… I would expect (insects) to show up at some early point in the record and then appear fairly equally throughout the later ages of strata. Do you agree with these expectations? If so, is this what we actually find in the fossil record?

Fossil sorting is in fact powerful evidence of evolution, since it gives a clean, coherent explanation for exactly what we see in science.

The distribution of known fossils is, indeed, exactly what the theory predicts it should be.

However, the cynics point out that it’s easy to “predict” things in hindsight and craft a story to explain them. They’ve called evolution a “just so” story, after the Kipling story of how the elephant got it’s trunk.

If a theory really cuts the mustard, it shouldn’t just be able to explain the past, it should be able to predict things that have not yet been found.

Mark, I give you Tiktalik roseae (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiktalik_roseae)

Tiktalik is an important transitional fossil between fishes and amphibians, but what makes tiktalik really special is that unlike so many other fossils, it wasn’t discovered by accident.

Science has known for years that there simply must have been an transitional form between the lobe-finned fishes and the therapods, primitive amphibians, but nobody had yet found it.

In the late 90’s three scientists ( Daeschler, Shubin and Jenkins) set out to change that. They realized that they could define exactly what kind of creature they were searching for. They knew the habitats and characteristics of it’s ancestors, and of it’s descendants, and they were able to figure out exactly where and, more importantly, exactly when such a critter should have lived.

Armed with a generous dab of knowledge about climate change and plate tectonics, they decided that the ideal place to dig for the mortal remains of an ancient swamp dweller was, of all places, ancient shales far in the Canadian arctic.

Tiktalik would have lived in the Devonian, about 383 million years ago. If you run plate tectonics backward that far, you find that at the time Elsmere island was part of a low-lying river estuary on the equator.

So, unlikely as it seemed, that’s where they dug. And in 2004, they found their fish. Several of them, in fact.

A tropical species, beautifully preserved, exactly where, and exactly when they were supposed to be. In an ancient riverbed, a 6-foot-long target in the middle of a God-forsaken frozen wasteland above the arctic circle.

Not in a mine, not in a construction site and not in any other place where people were accidentally digging stuff up, but in a spot picked out just for the purpose, because that’s where the theory said you should look.

Mark, my friend, this is the kind of thing that should make rational people believers, because in this version of reality, you simply do not get hits like that by accident. Let’s see AIG explain that one.

Comment #182931

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 12, 2007 1:15 AM (e)

Mark, I give you Tiktalik roseae

Embrace your inner fish!

Comment #182946

Posted by Mark Hausam on June 12, 2007 9:22 AM (e)

ICR has responded to my questions. They referred me to a number of articles and a few books. Other than these, my responder gave a bit of an answer to question 1 but referred me to articles for the rest of the answer and for the answer to question 2. There are some advantages to blogs over emailing busy organizations–you can get more immediate answers to specific questions sometimes. I don’t know of any creationist blogs, but perhaps Talkorigins functions as an ongoing dialogue? If so, maybe I should try to get in over there to better get the answers of both sides to my specific questions. I’ve pasted ICR’s response below my email if you are interested in seeing it yourselves.

I have looked at the RATE project a bit, but I haven’t really understood it yet, mainly due to its very technical nature. It sounds like I need to look back at it. If I understand it correctly, they are claiming to have found evidence of changes in decay rates, or at least of situations that would cause a change of decay rates. This claim is obviously diametrically opposed to your claims that decay rates cannot (except in certain irrelevant circumstances) be changed. Have any of you looked at the RATE stuff in the past? If so, what is your take on it? Of course I know you don’t like it, but specifically what problems do you see in it?

As for my question number 1, as you can see below, they did mention hydraulic sorting. In the email itself, and perhaps in some of the articles they referenced (I’ve looked at some of them briefly) and other articles I have seen, the water-sorting scenario was worked out in more detail. As far as I understand their position at this point, they argue that entire ecosystems would have been buried one on top of the other in the flood. They argue that many animals and plants would tend to be grouped together when they were taken by the flood. They also argue that certain burial patterns would arise from the different abilities of various animals to escape being buried. Interestingly, one or two of the John Morris articles they referenced make the claim that not many land animals would have been buried by the flood but that many of them were probably buried after the flood during the time of the ice age. I had never heard that idea before.

One of Nick Matzke’s recommended books has come in–Arthur Strahler’s Science and Earth History. I’ve just begun it. It makes some interesting points about naturalism right at the beginning:

“In its broadest aspect the dispute is over the relative merits of two very different ways of viewing the universe and its contents … As to science, its view of the universe can be described as naturalistic, using an adjective that has its historical roots far back in philosophy as explaining all phenomena by strictly natural categories–as opposed to explanations invoking supernatural forces…. Taking the creationistic view first, it is simply that the universe was created from nothing–ex nihilo, that is–by a divine creator in ways and for reasons unknowable to humans except, perhaps, through revelation. The second, or naturalistic view, is that the particular universe we observe came into existence and has operated through all time and in all its parts without the impetus or guidance of any supernatural agency. The naturalistic view is espoused by science as its fundamental assumption.” Eugenie Scott of the NCSE, in a letter to Stahler, wrote this (in the book’s second preface): “As described in your book, scientists explain the natural world through natural causes; no miracles or supernatural causes are used. Some of the Intelligent Design proponents, however, want us to alter that by allowing the occasional miracle–the actions of an ‘intelligent designer’–to intervene. They don’t argue this miracle mongering for all aspects of science, however, just those that have religious implications, like evolution. This assualt on how we do science has grave implications for both the future of education, and even the future of science. We must continually remind the public that restricting ourselves to natural causes works, and that is why we use it. Resorting to direct supernatural cause (‘God did it’) means that a natural explanation is no longer sought. If not sought, it surely will not be found.”

So Stahler, and apparently Scott as well, believe that science is based on the view that God did not create the universe and has never done anything supernatural (beyond regular, predictable, natural laws) in it, and nothing supernatural is a part of the real universe (since if it was, its existence would have to be reckoned with eventually by science–but a naturalistic science assumes it will never be found). In other words, science is based on atheism. It assumes atheism as the foundation of its methodology. Do you all like these definitions?

David, you asked if God copied the mistakes. If I recall correctly from earlier in the conversation, you mean genetic mistakes that have been supposedly passed down through many species from a common ancestor. In a creationist view, then, God would have made various kinds with the same mistakes. I don’t know enough to answer your question as of yet. I need to learn more about the nature of these genetic “mistakes.”

Talk to you all later,
Mark

Dear Mr. Hausam,

Thank you for contacting ICR regarding the fossil record. The layers of the geologic column represent ecological systems for the most part and in the column we see a trend in that the land animals are usually found towards the top of the surface. People could have escaped burial by floating on debris or boats constructed prior to the Flood. Most of the fossils are those of invertebrates and this is probably due to the fact that land dwellers would have tried to “run-for-the-hills” and escape quick burial (cf. Did Dinosaurs Survive The Flood?).

Furthermore, animals would have probably stayed within their own groups, so that the flood swept away and buried group kinds, but very few of various kinds exist. This should not be surprising considering the following information given to us by ICR President Dr. John Morris in his impact article, Why Don’t We Find More Human Fossils? (BTG No. 37b January 1992):

First, we must rightly consider the nature of the fossil record. Over ninety-five percent of all fossils are marine creatures, such as clams, corals, and trilobites—mostly invertebrates with a hard outer surface. Of the remaining five percent, most are plants. Much less than one percent of all fossils are land animals. This encompasses reptiles (including dinosaurs) — amphibians, mammals, birds, and humans.

Land creatures have what we call a “low-fossilization potential.” As land animals die in water, they bloat, float, and come apart. It is very difficult to trap a bloated animal under water, in order for it to be buried. Furthermore, scavengers readily devour both flesh and bone. Seawater and bacterial action destroy everything. The scouring ability of underwater mudflows, common during the Flood, would grind bone to powder.

Conversely, what land fossils are found were mostly laid down during the Ice Age— a land-oriented event following the Flood, which had the ability to bury animals in land-derived deposits. (And, by the way, there are human fossils in those sediments.)

In addition to the above information, we read in Where do the Fossils of Dinosaurs and Other Extinct Animals Fit Into the Bible Record?,

It is significant that fossils, especially of large animals such as the dinosaur, must be buried quickly or they will not be preserved at all. Furthermore, the sediments entrapping them must harden into stone fairly quickly, inhibiting the action of air, bacteria, etc., or else they will soon be decomposed and disappear. The very nature of fossilization thus seems to require catastrophism. Most certainly must this be true of the great dinosaur beds, the massive fish-bearing shales, the tremendous deposits of elephants and other animals in the arctic regions, and the great numbers of other “fossil graveyards” with which the geologic column abounds.

•••

This must have included the dinosaurs and all other terrestrial animals, except those preserved in Noah’s ark. Evidence is available (in the form of human and dinosaur footprints in the same formation, of dinosaur pictographs left by primitive tribes in Africa and North America, and of the universally prevalent traditions of dragons among ancient peoples) that dinosaurs lived contemporaneously with early man. The geologic column, rightly interpreted, therefore, does not tell of a long, gradual evolution of life over the geologic ages, but rather its polar opposite—the rapid extinction of life as a result of God’s judgment on the antediluvians when “the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished” (2 Peter 3:6).

Therefore, the Genesis flood (which evolutionists outright reject) and flood-caused ice age best explain the fossilization process. Hydrodynamic (weight and shape) sorting, a small percentage of land-dwelling animals, along with animal groupings, would result in what we see in the fossil record.

ICR scientists have found that major dating methods have revealed a consistent age of only thousands of years for the Earth. An excellent example of ICR research about age indicators is the RATE Project. This project has involved experts in geology and physics, using their combined efforts to evaluate conventional dating methods that have been used by evolutionists to declare billions of years for the age of the earth. This eight-year project has used hundreds of thousands of dollars in its ongoing research, and saw its completion in November, 2005 when ICR hosted the RATE conference on November 5th, 2005. The RATE scientists presented their findings to over 2300 attendees.

The RATE scientists have revealed the discordance, or difference between the different conventional dating methods. For example, the uranium-helium dating method has revealed that this process shows approx. 6000 (+ or –) 2000 years. This is unconventional, but more accurate because the others were subject to accelerated decay, whereas the helium diffusion, or ‘leaking’, is much more consistent. The fact that there is still a huge amount of helium in the Earth at all means that the rocks are much younger than the millions to billions of years touted by the evolutionists. There would be little or no helium in the Earth if the evolutionary time line was accurate.

ICR scientists presented RATE findings before the scientific community in Pittsburg, PA. More recently, Dr. Baumgardner and other ICR staff members, attended the 2003 AGU convention and presented the results of their RATE research before about 10,000 scientists in the San Francisco, CA (as discussed in the PDA version of the Feb, 2004 Acts and Facts, page 2), using three examples of RATE research, following the AGU convention poster guidelines.

Dr. Baumgardner has been attending the American Geophysical Union (AGU) convention for several years – wearing an ICR name badge. Any rebuttal to Dr. Baumgardner regarding RATE results was not given. In fact, he tells of how he was commended for his work in RATE and in his studies in his computer modeling about plate tectonics in a New Scientist interview, which he gave in the December 9, 2006 issue. In a question regarding his interactions with other colleagues, he said,

At Los Alamos [where he worked for twenty years] I found that my colleagues gave me a lot of respect. Not that they agreed with me, but they respected me for explaining and defending my position. A story about my work in US News & World Report in 1997 made more people aware of where I stood. About two weeks after that article appeared, I attended a workshop with about a hundred geophysics colleagues. There were two senior faculty from Harvard. One of them commended me for making clear what I believe and why.

Many scientists were astonished to hear of diamonds containing carbon-14 (not measurable beyond 100,000 years) within them! Diamonds are supposedly millions of years old, according to ICR scientist John R. Baumgardner, Ph.D. Geophysics and Space Physics. The ICR scientists were commended by many secular scientists who encouraged them to continue their research.

In addition, RATE scientists have heard that evolution scientific organizations are taking an interest in various dating techniques that would confirm ICR’s results (specifics not available). However, because this research comes at a high cost, results may be slow in coming. And, as you might guess, research results that confirm a young earth may not be on the top of evolutionist research projects – or the priority list of those who would provide such research monies.

(From the main ICR RATE online information page)

There’s exciting new scientific evidence which supports the Biblical teaching of a young earth. Scientists associated with the Institute for Creation Research have finished an eight-year research project. For over a hundred years, evolutionists have insisted that the earth is billions of years old, and have arrogantly dismissed any views contrary to this belief. However, a team of seven creation scientists have discovered incredible physical evidence that supports what the Bible says about the young age of the earth. This scientific research project is called RATE, which stands for Radioisotopes and the Age of The Earth.

ICR ARTICLES

Polonium Radiohalos: The Model for Their Formation Tested and Verified (#386)
by Andrew A. Snelling, Ph.D.

Radioisotope Dating of Grand Canyon Rocks: Another Devastating Failure for Long-Age Geology (#376)
by Andrew A. Snelling, Ph.D.

New Rate Data Support a Young World (#366)
by Russell Humphreys, Ph.D.

Carbon Dating Undercuts Evolution’s Long Ages (#364)
by John Baumgardner, Ph.D.

Radiohalos - Significant And Exciting Research Results (#353)
by Andrew A. Snelling, Ph.D.

Nuclear Decay: Evidence For A Young World (#352)
by Russell Humphreys, Ph.D.

Potassium-Argon and Argon-Argon Dating of Crystal Rocks and the Problem of Excess Argon (#309)
by Andrew A. Snelling, Ph.D.

Evidence for a Young World (#384)
by Russell Humphreys, Ph.D.

Thousands … Not Millions Products

The RATE Project concluded on November 5, 2005. Three products resulted from this project:

1. Thousands … Not Millions – A layman’s book about dating methods research.

2. Thousands … Not Millions – A layman’s video about dating methods research.

3. The RATE book, 2nd Edition – A technical book about dating methods research.

NOTE: Free download of the Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth, Vol. 1 can be obtained at

http://www.icr.org/pdf/research/rate-all.pdf.

These products are available as of the November 5, 2005 Conference. You can order them online or by phone at 1 (800) 628 - 7640.

Best regards,

Bruce Wood

Public Information Office

Institute for Creation Research

Comment #182948

Posted by CJO on June 12, 2007 11:31 AM (e)

So Stahler, and apparently Scott as well, believe that science is based on the view that God did not create the universe and has never done anything supernatural (beyond regular, predictable, natural laws) in it, and nothing supernatural is a part of the real universe (since if it was, its existence would have to be reckoned with eventually by science–but a naturalistic science assumes it will never be found). In other words, science is based on atheism. It assumes atheism as the foundation of its methodology. Do you all like these definitions?

What Stahler and Scott wrote is fine, as far as it goes. What I don’t like is the gloss you put on it. Science is mute on questions like the existence of God. Atheism denies the existence of God. Can you genuinely not see the difference?

Science is not “based on the view that God did not create the universe.” Science is “based” on the proposition that the universe can be studied without reference to, well, to anything that can’t be studied. Nor is science “based on the view that…nothing supernatural is a part of the real universe.” Science, as a component of empirical epistemology, recognizes “god did it” as a non-explanation. It simply doesn’t answer the kinds of questions we ask when we’re doing science.

We need not be committed to the notion that everything can be described by these methods. But abandoning them in any given case means giving up on an empirical explanation, and if you think that’s where we’ve come to in some area of inquiry, the burden is on you to show that an explanation isn’t possible and the search should be abandoned. Until this is somehow demonstrated, science will continue its investigations without calling upon untested, unverufiable forces or agents. It’s as simple as that.

Comment #182949

Posted by CJO on June 12, 2007 11:38 AM (e)

I should probably add a qualifier, and correct a typo while I’m at it.
Make that “…without calling on untested, in principle unverifiable forces or agents”

Comment #182950

Posted by Abe White on June 12, 2007 11:38 AM (e)

The RATE project is utter crap. There’s a reason they never published in a peer-reviewed journal. You can find plenty of rebuttals on the web.

Let’s assume for a second, however, that we don’t already know RATE is crap. Why would non-constant decay rates correspond perfectly to ice core data? To tree ring data? To DNA mutation rate studies? How do non-constant decay rates explain the order of the fossil record? The many geological structures and processes that would take millions of years to form?

These are the questions you should be asking yourself. As many people on this thread have pointed out numerous times, the evidence all correlates.

Finally, the ICR’s hydraulic/hydrodynamic sorting response should tell you about the quality of their evidence and of their reasoning. Anyone who actually takes two minutes to critically think through the predictions of hydraulic sorting can poke gaping holes in it. The ICR relies on an audience that isn’t willing to question or to independently investigate the evidence.

Comment #182952

Posted by JohnW on June 12, 2007 12:18 PM (e)

Mark, quoting ICR wrote:

Thank you for contacting ICR regarding the fossil record. The layers of the geologic column represent ecological systems for the most part and in the column we see a trend in that the land animals are usually found towards the top of the surface. People could have escaped burial by floating on debris or boats constructed prior to the Flood. Most of the fossils are those of invertebrates and this is probably due to the fact that land dwellers would have tried to “run-for-the-hills” and escape quick burial (cf. Did Dinosaurs Survive The Flood?).

Furthermore, animals would have probably stayed within their own groups, so that the flood swept away and buried group kinds, but very few of various kinds exist. This should not be surprising considering the following information given to us by ICR President Dr. John Morris in his impact article, Why Don’t We Find More Human Fossils? (BTG No. 37b January 1992):

First, we must rightly consider the nature of the fossil record. Over ninety-five percent of all fossils are marine creatures, such as clams, corals, and trilobites—mostly invertebrates with a hard outer surface. Of the remaining five percent, most are plants. Much less than one percent of all fossils are land animals. This encompasses reptiles (including dinosaurs) — amphibians, mammals, birds, and humans.

Land creatures have what we call a “low-fossilization potential.” As land animals die in water, they bloat, float, and come apart. It is very difficult to trap a bloated animal under water, in order for it to be buried. Furthermore, scavengers readily devour both flesh and bone. Seawater and bacterial action destroy everything. The scouring ability of underwater mudflows, common during the Flood, would grind bone to powder.

Mark, this is utter nonsense and I trust you’re smart enough to realise this. A couple of follow-up questions/comments you might want to relay to the comedians at ICR:

1. There are many instances where we see sediments which were formed on land, and containing land fossils, with marine sediments both above and below them. Do these sediments predate the Flood? If not, how were they formed?

2. How did the flowering plants in Cretaceous and Tertiary strata outrun the dinosaurs and pterosaurs in Jurassic strata? We often find marine invertebrate fossils at or near the top of the geologic column. Are they mountain clams, or running clams?

3. We have a flood violent enough to scour everything to powder, but at the same time gentle enough to fossilize entire ecosystems together, every single time. How does that work? This is so robust (we never, ever> find ichthyosaur and whale fossils together, for example) that that it ought to be amenable to laboratory test - we could, say, fake up some bones and tissue, put them in a swimming pool, and stir). Has ICR done any lab work?

4. Regarding everything being scoured to powder by underwater mudflows: you might want to Google “Burgess Shale”. Exquisitely delicate Cambrian fossils, formed by… an underwater mudflow.

5. Regarding the RATE project, Abe White has hit the nail squarely on the head. If I may quote GrannyW, too daft to laugh at. They found a few ambiguous age estimates, which (given the weight of all the other evidence, all of which correlates and indicates great age) are much, much more likely to be the result of contamination (either in situ or in the lab) than wacky physics.

When confronted with stuff like this, we have to consider whether ICR are looking dispassionately at the data, or whacking at the data with a big stick to try and make them fit their interpretation of the Bible. Do you (or ICR) really think the empirical evidence alone indicates a young Earth? I think an important question here is: Have any non-fundamentalist researchers ever come to this conclusion?

Comment #182962

Posted by Mark Hausam on June 12, 2007 3:25 PM (e)

What I would like to see is a set of diagrams containing individual “maps” or diagrams of particular examples of the fossil record. When we talk about “the fossil record,” we are of course abstracting general patterns from a lot of specific examples. I know that all the specific examples of strata are not exactly the same–some are missing various ages, some are inverted in various ways, etc. It would help me to see for myself some actual examples (a good number) of strata so that I can do a bit of my own generalizing as to patterns, etc. Do any of you know of any place where I can find something like this?

How often do we find strata or fossils that are “out of order” in the fossil record, such as an older strata on top of a younger one, fossils out of place in various ways, a single object looking as if it was naturally buried through various layers of strata (like that tree I’ve often seen pictures of–you probably know what I am talking about)? Can any of you give me some particular examples of the sorts of things we see and how frequently they occur?

It would obviously be hard for ICR or any other organization to do lab tests on hydraulic sorting in the particular situation contemplated in the global flood. You would have to have an entire, probably tropical, ecosystem and then simulate an unescapable, enormously powerful, overwhelming flood. Perhaps something like this might be seen, at least to some degree, if there was intense flooding of a jungle on a tropical island somewhere. I know that ICR has done some experimentation with how sediments disturbed in water would naturally sort. They claim that the eruption of Mt. St. Helens gave us new information about catastrophic sorting (some of which involved water, though not all) that conformed to creationist predictions and indicated patterns of sorting that made appear more credible some of the creationist ideas of the sorting of things during and after the flood.

Hydraulic sorting, and related issues, is something I need to think more about. On the surface, it seems absurd. Wouldn’t random flows of water over random surfaces lead mainly to random jumbles rather than predictable, ordered patterns? But nature can often be tricky and more orderly than one would expect.

I wish ICR had given me a more specific answer on the correlations between radiometric dating and the order of fossils in the strata. The claim of correlation in general is defintiely a major thing I need to continue to look into. I’ve always thought that that seemed like a crucial issue.

CJO, the reason I said that the methodological naturalism of Stahler and Scott is basically an assumption of atheism is that it seems to rule out any supernatural being or effect ever existing in the universe. Stahler explicitly said that the naturalism that undergirds science assumes that the universe came into being without supernatural agency, as opposed to the creationist view of the universe being created ex nihilo by God. Also, since only natural causes are allowed as explanations of anything, this implies the assumption that only natural processes, as opposed to supernatural breaks into the natural processes, have ever done anything in the history of the universe. So God did not create the universe nor has he done anything in it since. Does this leave room for God to exist somewhere outside the universe, never interacting in it? Well, if science ever studies such an area, it will assume that there are only natural processes operating, and so God will be assumed not to exist there either. Science, in principle, will never recognize God as a real object. It assumes that God is not a part of reality as a real, objective being. Stahler’s claim is that everything in the observable universe can be explained without reference to God. This is a very naturalistic claim. Theism has historically insisted that the universe cannot be explained apart from God. God is eminently observable, according to classical theism, because he is a logically necessary deduction from everything that is observed. The very idea that “God did it” would be a science stopper is a naturalistic assumption. “God did it” would not be a science stopper if God actually did “do it.” It would be an important recognition of reality, necessary to truly understand it. “God did it” is only a science stopper if you assume that God never did “do it.” What if you were doing archaeology and found an artifact. You were about to identify it as being produced by a certain ancient tribe, but your companion stopped you, saying, “You can’t do that! Saying ‘people in the ancient tribe did it’ is a science stopper. If you stop looking for a natural cause and just say that ‘people did it,’ you will never find the natural, or scientific, explanation.” If God is a real being, as real as people in ancient tribes, he can be just as legitimately appealed to in scientific explanations. Naturalists and some others assert that God is in principle unverifiable or unobservable. We theists disagree, saying that God is supremely verifiable and observable. I agree that we should limit our investigations to verifiable and observable phenomena and causal explanations. Where we disagree is whether everything labelled “supernatural” is unverifiable and unobservable.

Talk to you all later,

Mark

Comment #182963

Posted by CJO on June 12, 2007 4:12 PM (e)

Mark,
You’re talking past my point. “God did it” is no better in epistemological terms than “I have no idea.”

The problem with your appeal to archaeology for an example is the corollary. Saying “people of an ancient tribe did it” is a science beginner! Where did they live? What did they eat? What did they use this thing for? All these questions might lead to fruitful lines of inquiry. Contrast with “why did God make the Grand Canyon so big?” as a corollary to “God did it” in this instance. There’s nowhere to go.

Given the history of our conversation, I see no reason to think you’ll find this compelling, so let me approach the issue in a more Socratic fashion: What are the goals of a non-materialistic, or theistic, science? Is it your feeling that we’ll actually gain greater explanatory depth of empirical matters? Or should science become more like a checklist, where once we are confident that “God did it,” we cross it off, and go on to the next item, never to revisit our previously answered questions? What can theistic science acheive that methodological naturalism (mute, remember, on ultimate questions) cannot?

Comment #182964

Posted by JohnW on June 12, 2007 4:35 PM (e)

Mark wrote:

What I would like to see is a set of diagrams containing individual “maps” or diagrams of particular examples of the fossil record. When we talk about “the fossil record,” we are of course abstracting general patterns from a lot of specific examples. I know that all the specific examples of strata are not exactly the same–some are missing various ages, some are inverted in various ways, etc. It would help me to see for myself some actual examples (a good number) of strata so that I can do a bit of my own generalizing as to patterns, etc. Do any of you know of any place where I can find something like this?

I don’t have anything like this, but looking up “fossil” and “stratigraphy” on Wikipedia should lead to some helpful links.

Mark wrote:

How often do we find strata or fossils that are “out of order” in the fossil record, such as an older strata on top of a younger one, fossils out of place in various ways, a single object looking as if it was naturally buried through various layers of strata (like that tree I’ve often seen pictures of–you probably know what I am talking about)? Can any of you give me some particular examples of the sorts of things we see and how frequently they occur?

Take a look at these TalkOrigins pages on polystrate trees and out-of-place fossils.

Mark wrote:

It would obviously be hard for ICR or any other organization to do lab tests on hydraulic sorting in the particular situation contemplated in the global flood. You would have to have an entire, probably tropical, ecosystem and then simulate an unescapable, enormously powerful, overwhelming flood. Perhaps something like this might be seen, at least to some degree, if there was intense flooding of a jungle on a tropical island somewhere. I know that ICR has done some experimentation with how sediments disturbed in water would naturally sort. They claim that the eruption of Mt. St. Helens gave us new information about catastrophic sorting (some of which involved water, though not all) that conformed to creationist predictions and indicated patterns of sorting that made appear more credible some of the creationist ideas of the sorting of things during and after the flood.

It’s simply not true that the “hydraulic sorting” hypothesis is untestable. Remember, it has to have worked 100% of the time. We never find fossil dolphins and ichthyosaurs together, or elephants with dinosaurs. That means the Flood sorted in the same way everywhere, regardless of topography, rate of rainfall, closeness to fountains of the deep, or whatever the flood conditions are purported to be. And if the sorting is 100% reliable and not strongly dependent on flood conditions, it ought to be reproducible.

Mark wrote:

Hydraulic sorting, and related issues, is something I need to think more about. On the surface, it seems absurd. Wouldn’t random flows of water over random surfaces lead mainly to random jumbles rather than predictable, ordered patterns? But nature can often be tricky and more orderly than one would expect.

Yes, it seems absurd, and almost certainly is absurd. To be taken seriously, there need to be empirical data in support of the concept, not just an appeal to the capriciousness of nature. Needing it to have happened because of one’s interpretation of a book does not constitute empirical data.

Mark wrote:

I wish ICR had given me a more specific answer on the correlations between radiometric dating and the order of fossils in the strata. The claim of correlation in general is defintiely a major thing I need to continue to look into. I’ve always thought that that seemed like a crucial issue.

You’re right - it is a crucial issue. Even if the Flood had done something bizarre to radioactive decay rates and every other dating technique we know of, we would (as other posters have pointed out) expect to see all fossils showing approximately the same age. We don’t.

Comment #182968

Posted by Science Avenger on June 12, 2007 7:26 PM (e)

Needing it to have happened because of one’s interpretation of a book does not constitute empirical data.

It is important to keep in mind that this is exactly the way biblical inerrantists think. That is how otherwise intelligent people like Mark can cling to it despite the overwhelming evidence against it all around him. It’s not good enough to show the evidence implies something contrary to what the book says. As long as there is any interpretation, no matter how far-fetched or implausible, that reconciles the apparent error, his premise will remain untouched. He views the Bible as being handed down by a supreme being, so any misunderstanding can be easily explained away. Until his philosophical premise changes, no amount of data will persuade him the book is flawed.

Think Groucho here. “Who are you going to believe, me, or your lying eyes?” In Mark’s case it’s, “Who are you going to believe, the deep traditional and meaningful religious society with which you self-identify, or people you’ve been raised to believe are evil in various ways, who teach things you’ve been raised to believe are evil, and who babble on in a strange language most of which you don’t understand.”

Comment #182969

Posted by Mike Elzinga on June 12, 2007 8:25 PM (e)

Can you imagine a classroom full of high school students having to slog through all this crap in order to find out who is telling the truth?

This is just what “Teach the Controversy” is all about. Having students trying to decide “Which one is the liar”, and then getting bogged down in philosophical knots. And when the school year is all over, everyone’s head is spinning and everyone gets to decide for themselves what they believe.

No child gets left behind any other. They all get left behind equally.

Comment #182970

Posted by snaxalotl on June 12, 2007 9:11 PM (e)

I have looked at the RATE project a bit, but I haven’t really understood it yet, mainly due to its very technical nature

… and due to the fact that ultimately it doesn’t make any sense.

These things aren’t THERE to be understood by someone who has the patience to work through it in detail. These things are there to provide enough semblance of an argument that people who DON’T have a technical grasp can be reassured - they can look at this work and say “looky here, those bible scientists have proved those darwinists are wrong, it’s all there in black and white science, it must be right because it proves what I want to be true, and it’s all being hidden by a conspiracy”

remember, conspiracy is the only possibility left when you need to propose a reason that the majority of experts believe X, and “X might be correct” is not an acceptable option

Comment #182971

Posted by snaxalotl on June 12, 2007 9:27 PM (e)

I wish ICR had given me a more specific answer on the correlations between radiometric dating and the order of fossils in the strata. The claim of correlation in general is definitely a major thing I need to continue to look into. I’ve always thought that that seemed like a crucial issue.

and you’re not going to GET a more specific answer, any more than emailing a question to your bank will get you anything other than one of their set responses that “adequately covers the topic”.

you have to understand their attitude is the same as someone lecturing a sunday school class. they’ve gone to ALL THAT EFFORT making a really really decent explanation, and if you’re going to ask IMPERTINENT QUESTIONS about the details, it just shows you’re a time-wasting trouble maker, and not the audience they’re aiming their explanations at.

I’ve seen individual (and generally very friendly) christians grappling with my detailed questions, but I have NEVER had a serious response from any christian organisation when I have challenged the information on their website. but good luck with ICR!

Comment #182972

Posted by Bill Gascoyne on June 12, 2007 9:44 PM (e)

Mark wrote:

Stahler’s claim is that everything in the observable universe can be explained without reference to God. This is a very naturalistic claim. Theism has historically insisted that the universe cannot be explained apart from God.

Let’s take a good look at the two positions Mark describes here.

Science assumes the existence of an explanation that does not involve God. Either we can find such an explanation, or we keep looking. If God really did do it, that means we’ll look forever, and that’s OK. Does that mean that God doesn’t exist? No, that means we can’t prove that God exists. In other words, belief in God requires (*gasp*) faith!

Theism, according to Mark, assumes that God must be part of any explanation. Therefore, any explanation that does not include God must be wrong, no matter how well it works or how useful it proves to be. That makes no sense to me.

Comment #182976

Posted by stevaroni on June 13, 2007 12:04 AM (e)

Sigh… where to start?

AIG says…
As land animals die in water, they bloat, float, and come apart. It is very difficult to trap a bloated animal under water, in order for it to be buried. Furthermore, scavengers readily devour both flesh and bone.

If land animals float, then how does the hydrostatic column sort them? And, aren’t all the scavengers bigger than a bacterium all dead anyhow?

over ninety-five percent of all fossils are marine creatures…. Much less than one percent of all fossils are land animals.

Yup. But so what? One percent of all the animals on earth is still a pretty big slice, billions of creatures. Yet they never get intermixed, even a little? Awfully selective, doncha’ think?

what land fossils are found were mostly laid down during the Ice Age— a land-oriented event following the Flood, which had the ability to bury animals in land-derived deposits.

Again, with absolute sorting. No dinosaur was able to escape from the rampaging advance of those thundering glaciers. Musta been pretty quick. Somehow, all the moles and sloths managed it, though, because there are none in the dinosaur sediments, now are there?

(And, by the way, there are human fossils in those sediments.)

Really! Well, that’s just amazing news, especially seeing as it’s been previously unreported in the scientific press (odd that, since it would surely have resulted in massive fame for the discoverer – talk about the ultimate missing link)! Anyhow, which sediments are those, where humans and dinosaurs are found together?

Anyhow, AIG seems to imply that the flood is not responsible for the massive layers of dinosaur fossils found in places like the badlands of the American west.

So work out the numbers with me.

The dinosaurs get off the big Boat in 2000 BC. In Turkey, which is at about 44 degrees north. Not quote tropical, but plenty warm.

Then, for reasons unexplained all the dinosaurs – and only the dinosaurs - very quickly multiplied into the millions, migrated to North America, and obligingly died in the path of the glaciers in a place that would one day be called Montana.

All this happened, mind you, in the space of a few hundred years between when Noah and his party sailed, and when human beings started leaving detailed records about their environment and climate, none of which mention the kind of climate or social shifts associated with having your backyard filled with big sheets of ice and starving dinosaurs eating the hay you saved for your goats.

You’d think that packs of hungry, 6-foot-tall raptors on the hunt would leave a significant impression on early man, much like lions in Africa or tigers in India or mountain lions in suburban Los Angeles do today, but they apparently went without significant notice.

Remember, unlike mammoth tusks, antelope scapula, and rabbit femurs, no human being ever managed to actually carve a dinosaur bone into something useful or leave a dinosaur bone in a trash pile. Even a little, slow, juvenile plant eater, certainly the nutritional equivalent of a bison or mammoth, and probably a damn sight less dangerous to catch.

And please, AIG, don’t point me to legends of Chinese dragons and medieval monsters. We’re talking about billions of large animals in the ecosystem. Like other large animals, they would be predators, prey, and livestock to human societies all over the globe, and leave the same concrete evidence as the cave bears and goats, not an isolated legend here and there.

The RATE scientists have revealed the discordance, or difference between the different conventional dating methods.

Again - and I will repeat this over and over – even if this were true, and it isn’t, it still wouldn’t matter.

Even if everything we knew about how the radioisotope decay process were wrong, we would still be able to date things at least to the age of our oldest reference samples, because absolutely no extrapolation is necessary. You just compare the unknown object to a reference object.

You don’t need to have any idea at all about the exact length of a foot, so long as you can stand against the wall and have someone mark out your height using a known shoe.

There are lots of reference objects out there whose date is known because by this point in history people wrote stuff down. People had calenders, and these calenders can be verified.

Pompeii was entombed in ash in 79AD If you dig up a dead Pompiean, he died in the afternoon of August 24th. That’s halfway there.

If you dig up something under the Curia Julia, the seat of the Roman Republican Senate, it’s been there since 509BC

Find something in Troy, in a layer associated with the Trojan wars? 1194 BC–1184 BC. Sorry about he uncertainty, but hey – it was 3000 years ago.

Trinkets from Tut’s Tomb? 1328BC.

China, because they were obsessed with all things imperial, has a continuous calender that goes back to the Shang Dynasty. Got a soup spoon from the first emperor? He used it before 1604BC.

The Egyptians beat ‘em all out for record keeping, though. The earliest Pharaoh that can be dated definitively, both by their calendar and by astronomical events was Cheops. He had this thing for building big piles of rock, one of which was the Great Pyramid. Any tools left on the site (and they are plentiful) were dropped between 2551 and 2528BC.

So there is simply no place to hide with this dating nonsense. Even if we got everything totally wrong about the process, even if decay rates vary wildly, we can still at least date to 2528BC with absolute certainty since all we have to do is compare the unknown item to known objects from the great pyramid.

2528BC is, to belabor the point, some half a millennium before Noah took his trip, so anything that got off the boat should be absolutely datable.

So far, every dinosaur found is, at the very least, 528 years older than Noah.

Comment #182980

Posted by stevaroni on June 13, 2007 1:02 AM (e)

It would obviously be hard for ICR or any other organization to do lab tests on hydraulic sorting in the particular situation contemplated in the global flood

Not really.

Don’t forget, this is something that always works without fail, so it must be broadly observable under reasonably controlled conditions. Sort of like it would be easy to prove that the basic idea of air resistance works using a feather and a bowling ball. It wouldn’t give you detailed answers, but it would prove the principal.

All you’d need are some similarly sized mammals and reptiles that would live in the same ecosystem. How about iguanas and brown rats? They’re both common dwellers in low-lying tropical areas, roughly a similar mass and sort-of a similar elongated body plan. They’re also cheap and readily available. Should be close enough for a basic test.

Take half a dozen of each of these critters, drown them (to get water in their lungs) and chuck them into a creek. Chuck 6 more into a river. Toss another bunch into a swimming pool. See where they stick to the bottom, and whether they have a strong tendency to pack into isolated groups.

That should tell you something about how hydrodynamic sorting would work.

Past that, they could easily do field work, another perennial favorite of the scientific community.

You could go to a place that has a lot of iguanas and rats after a major flood. Some place like, oh, Indonesia after the tsunami. See if there’s any stories about rats getting sorted into one pile and iguanas into the another.

This is the kind of basic experimental work that grad students in biology do their theses on every single day, (any PhD’s out there that want to opine? Am I wrong on this?). A group with the resources of AIG should be able to pull it off without a problem.

Shouldn’t be hard at all, that is, if you were really interested in testing your theory.

Comment #182981

Posted by Nomad on June 13, 2007 2:05 AM (e)

As an outside observer up until this point I hope I’m not going too far in saying that it looks like the debate has become pointless. Mark has rationalized away many points that have been brought up, and stalled on the others, saying he’ll look into them later.
He claims that the Bible is supposed to be interpreted as literal truth. When many vague or outright incorrect passages are quoted, then that view is changed to saying that many passages aren’t specific, but the IMPORTANT ones can be interpreted literally. Except the occasions where they can’t (Mary not being a virgin but a young woman, a word with many possible interpretations), in which case the religiously faithful just KNOW how to interpret them.

Many scientific concepts have been brought up. I have another “appearance of history” to mention, knowing full well that it’s pointless. In astronomy there are examples of galaxies that have collided. The collisions do not destroy the galaxies because of the scales involved and how much empty space still exists in them despite their looking solid in our telescopes. The two galaxies do interact with each other though, distorting their shapes. We’re left with things with look completely unlike standard galactic models. Sometimes the two galaxies are still together, sometimes we can see a single galaxy that shows evidence of a past collision.

These galaxies are millions of light years away. Therefore the light itself would have taken longer to reach us than the creationist age of the universe. The first rationalization says that God would have plugged the light gap, inserting the missing light so that we’d have a sky full of stars to look at. We mustn’t ask why he didn’t just create the universe with a Big Bang and let it evolve naturally, according to the model that we have, we have to assume that he went to great trouble to defeat the same natural laws he, presumably, created, in order to make his new creation work quickly.

But in these collision remnants we have another example of appearance of history, not just age. The galaxies show the after effects of a collision. Because of the time scales and distances involved God would have had to place these galaxies into position already distorted. Ignoring the scale of time on which these interactions take place, the fact remains that it would take longer for the light from these galaxies to reach our planet than the universe is supposed to have existed by the Creationist time-line. So it doesn’t even matter how long it takes for the interactions to occur, we’re left with the fact that God would have had to create the galaxies in a shape that shows the after effects of a collision and then placed the light into position so that it reached us before the light actually emitted from the galaxies had enough time to get here.
We’re seeing the apparent history of a galactic collision that CAN’T have happened within 6000 years unless it was created in the post collision form, creating a false history.
The light itself is argued to be the appearance of age. But the distorted post collision forms of the galaxies that we see in the light are the appearance of history.
If a preexisting scar on Adam’s body would have been a sufficient example of appearance of history (how convenient that the only offered example is of a mythical character in a mythical location that can’t even begin to be verified by modern science) then the disruption of an entire galaxy, essentially a scar of galactic proportions, should fit into the same category.

Let me make the rationalization of that easy. It’s not difficult to predict how it’ll go. If fully formed tree rings can be argued to exist because they’re pretty, then perhaps God just wanted us to have pretty things to look at in the sky too.

Basically, we’ve ended up with the “truth is beauty, beauty is truth” argument. The entire appearance of age argument is simply a dodge. One might as well suggest that a scar on Adam would have given him a look of rugged handsomeness.

I suggest that further scientific discussion is pointless. If he doesn’t fall back on the “pretty galaxies” defense, then the other option is to say that it’s an interesting suggestion, he’ll have to look into it.
So basically, all he has to do is get himself a degree in astronomy, physics, paleontology, geology.. and any other discipline which has a bearing on the issue.
We’re to assume that he intends to look into all that in good time, but in the mean time he’s still interested in seeking out new evidence. Despite the fact that he already has a lifetime’s worth of science to research.

I’m all for preaching tolerance and trying to work with people to build bridges, but at some point a limit has to be set. Perhaps at least he should be treated (by those who have this sort of a background) as a student. Require him to demonstrate an advancement on previously mentioned concepts before continuing on the path of knowledge. Only in this case we don’t need evidence of mastery of the subject, just evidence of basic sincerity.

Comment #182989

Posted by Raging Bee on June 13, 2007 8:06 AM (e)

I second Nomad’s statement. Unless, and until, Mark can show the beginnings of intellectual honesty, and address the countless points that he has so far steadfastly ignored, there’s really no point in continuing the argument. He’s completely ignored nearly all of the points I’ve tried to make, so I, for one, am pretty much done with him, other than to address a few of his latest points…

What I would like to see is a set of diagrams containing individual “maps” or diagrams of particular examples of the fossil record…

Gee, Mark, ever wonder why your creationist sources haven’t provided such information?

If God is a real being, as real as people in ancient tribes, he can be just as legitimately appealed to in scientific explanations.

Please give us an example of a scientific explanation (any science), achieved by appealing to your God – or any other God(ess) for that matter – that has withstood the tests of time and verification and proven superior to a purely naturalistic alternative explanation.

Here’s a fun intellectual exercise: let me rewrite the above sentence for you, Mark, and see if you agree with it:

“If God is a real being, as real as people in ancient tribes, he can be just as legitimately appealed to in criminal investigations.”

If someone you love were found murdered, and the officer in charge of the investigation said that to you, how would you react? If you agreed with it, where would the investigation go from there? And if you disagreed, would that make you an atheist?

Comment #182998

Posted by Mark Hausam on June 13, 2007 9:53 AM (e)

Thanks for the references on some of the oddities of the fossil record, and for all the recent responses.

I’m going to continue to look at the hydraulic sorting idea. Thamk you for suggesting some very good questions to ask about it.

CJO and Raging Bee: I suppose my real objection to methodological naturalism simply comes from the fact that I am not a naturalist. I believe that God exists, and is necessary to explain the existence of the entire universe and everything in it. I also believe he has supernaturally influenced the affairs of the universe in various ways at various times, particularly at creation, the resurrection of Christ, etc. I don’t want to stop exploring the universe–I just want the exploring to take into account the most important aspects of that universe. Understanding the existence and nature of God and the modes of his interaction with our universe is one of the most interesting areas of exploration. The naturalistic approach assumes that all of that either doesn’t exist or is outside of all knowable reality (which seems to amount to the same thing). To sum up, I would say that one cannot truly understand this universe in anything like an adequate way unless one understands it in relation to God, because that is how it exists and is an essential part of its nature. Most of the time, God ordains history to occur in regular, relatively predictable patterns (what we recognize as “natural law”), and so even a naturalist who accepts natural law (although he cannot account for its existence) will get along fine in most of his/her science. But the supernatural is an important part of reality as a whole and should not be overlooked. I do not want a criminal investigation to normally look for specific revelation or miraculous intervention, because I believe that normally there isn’t any. Natural laws (i.e. God’s regular pattern of working in history) will do fine most of the time. Basically, this comes down to a difference between a naturalistic and historic theist way of looking at the universe, as Stahler pointed out very well and clearly.

For those of you who are concerned that this conversation might be a pointless waste of time to continue, by all means don’t continue it. I will take whatever feedback anyone wants to give me, but no one is forced to continue to interact with me. It’s your choice. I’m not offended if you have other things to do.

Talk to you later,
Mark

Comment #183021

Posted by Raging Bee on June 13, 2007 11:18 AM (e)

Mark: if you’re not a naturalist, but instead subscribe to a “historic theist” outlook on the Universe, then why have you refused to address the historic and theist objections to your assertions, which I and others have repeatedly made?

What about those quotes by St. Augistine? As a Christian, how do you respond to his theistic outlook?

And if your outlook on the Universe is more theistic than naturalistic, why are you so quick to brush off the wisdom and sincerity of other theists? Why have you (twice) explicitly said you prefer the opinions of anti-theists such as Dawkins and Harris to those of other Christian theists?

Comment #183023

Posted by Eric Finn on June 13, 2007 11:25 AM (e)

Mark,
You stated (Comment #182962) that supernatural might be verifiable and observable.
Do you mean verifiable in a “scientific” sense?
Let me reproduce here one way of looking at a scientific theory.

Lenny Flank, who used to post on Panda’s Thumb, has said repeatedly that methodological naturalism is NOT a necessary requirement for a scientific theory. He presented an iterative process in five steps to end up with a scientific theory. The process involves building hypotheses to explain observed phenomena. An additional requirement is that the hypothesis is able to predict phenomena, yet to be observed, to serve its purpose. If the hypothesis gives consistently correct predictions in a large number of occasions (or in the vast majority of them), and even better, if it does so regarding a range of phenomena, it could well be on its way to becoming a scientific theory. During this process, it is fully allowed to use supernatural agents in the hypotheses. Methodological naturalism is not required a priori.

I wonder, if others agree on this assessment.

Methodological naturalism is a hallmark of any contemporary scientific theory. Why is it so?
The main problem with supernatural agents seems to be that it is very difficult to make verifiable predictions based on them.
Astrology maintains that planets and other celestial bodies affect our lives, and astrology further claims to be able to predict the way the effects are seen in our lives. Here, we have a hypothesis (or a set of hypotheses) and we also have more or less verifiable predictions. Clearly, astrology is a potentially scientific theory. However, astrology fails to predict anything in any consistent way, so it must, at least, be revised before it could be considered to be of any use in understanding the world.
Intelligent Design presents a hypothesis that can be deemed fully scientific. Unfortunately, ID lacks any predictions based on the hypothesis. We did know already that we are likely to encounter phenomena that we do not understand. Sadly, ID falls short of astrology, as science is concerned.
On the other hand, hypotheses limited to only natural causes have produced several useful theories. This does not mean that they came out easy (just take the five steps), but often required the work of many generations of scientists – and the work is still going on.
In my opinion, methodological naturalism in science is a purely practical choice, rather than a philosophical one.
Philosophical naturalism (ontological naturalism) is a philosophical and religious position, which has nothing to do with the science I tried to depict above.

Mark,
Science is not against gods. Science seeks knowledge about the world around us.
Science is not based on atheistic philosophy.
Some of the scientists are theists and some are atheists. Still they get the same results.

Everyone else,
Mark is just one man.
You represent high education and extensive experience in several fields of science.
You can not (and quite clearly you do not) expect him to catch up all that in a couple of weeks.
You have made several excellent points, some of which Mark has already acknowledged.
It is not necessary for you to prove your superiority in scientific matters all the time.

Personally, I would like to use this opportunity to listen to what Mark has to say.

Regards
Eric

Comment #183024

Posted by Mark Hausam on June 13, 2007 11:26 AM (e)

As I continue to think about it, I’m thinking maybe this would be a good time to bring this thread to a close. I have very much enjoyed and appreciated the personal feedback everyone has given me, but I think my progress in investigating the physical evidence is getting to the point where it is just too slow a process to continue to warrant an entire thread on Panda’s Thumb being devoted to me. I greatly appreciate Nick’s giving me this opportunity, and all the time you all have taken to help me in my investigations (and for debating with me about other, related things).

I am going to go over to Talkorigins, as many have suggested, and see about getting into the conversation there. I would feel more comfortable being a watcher and occasional participant in a thread not devoted entirely to talking to me. Also, I am hoping to find more creationists so that I can see a more two-sided conversation. I may also get my own blog as well. If I do that, I’ll come back and post the address here in case anyone would like to visit me there. Meanwhile, hopefully I’ll continue to see some of you at Talkorigins. I get the impression many of you visit there occasionally. And, of course, anyone is welcome to email me at [Enable javascript to see this email address.].

It’s been fun! I will continue to research. I am reading Stahler’s book and looking up various articles, and will continue to do so. Thank you all for all your feedback! Hopefully I’ll talk to you again soon in another setting.

Mark

Comment #183026

Posted by CJO on June 13, 2007 11:57 AM (e)

Mark,

I don’t want to stop exploring the universe–I just want the exploring to take into account the most important aspects of that universe. Understanding the existence and nature of God and the modes of his interaction with our universe is one of the most interesting areas of exploration.

I think you’re confused about what science is and what it can do. In short, you can’t have it both ways. If you want science to prop up your cherished notions about the universe, you have to be able to accept the reality that they might be disconfirmed. If no avenue of investigation imaginable could change your mind, then your cherished notions about the universe simply aren’t scientific.

I guess I’m coming around to understanding that what you really want is to change the rules. You’ll understand when your personal desires in that regard don’t carry any force. You’ve certainly made no case for the inadequacy of the method, other than its stubborn refusal to produce results that are consistent with your particular interpretation of a particular set of Scriptures.

But the supernatural is an important part of reality as a whole and should not be overlooked.

I understand that this is self-evident to you. You say you value seeing other points of view, and you have expressed wishes that those here would try to understand yours. Please do us the courtesy of understanding the point of view of a scientific investigator: Nothing is self-evident in science.

I’m going to stop flogging this philosophical horse. This vein of the conversation has been secondary to your engagement with the actual physical evidence that contradicts a “literal” interpretation of Genesis. I encourage you to take up these subjects not only with “naturalists,” but with your fellow christians as well: those who accept evolution (Theistic Evolutionists, in the parlance of “the controversy”), and Old-Earth Creationists, IDers, etc.

Take it easy.

Comment #183027

Posted by Mark Hausam on June 13, 2007 12:01 PM (e)

Of course, I know this thread wasn’t created ONLY with me in mind. So I am not thinking I am shutting down the thread per se. But, in effect, the conversation seems to be limited to a lot of evolutionists and me about the details of the physical evidence. That is what I think might not be the most productive thing to continue at this point. I’d rather be part of a larger conversation since I have so much to learn.

Eric, I didn’t see your post before I posted my previous one. You bring up some interesting points. I don’t think I’ll try to start a conversation about them here, but please feel free to email me if you want to talk further. I would very much enjoy it. A one-on-one conversation would be manageable. I do understand the ambiguity over whether science is a priori committed to methodological naturalism. Most scientists, like Scott and Stahler, usually say it is. Some have said it isn’t. I think what is causing this confusion is that most scientists agree that science functions naturalistically, but they don’t think of this as an arbitrary position but one based on experience that has proved naturalism to work best. Now, theists, including biblical Christians, agree that going by the natural laws works the vast majority of the time for explaining and manipulating the physical world (if you leave out the theist claim that those natural laws, and the universe itself, cannot be explained apart from God). But we think that some things have happened and will happen supernaturally, and we would object to those being discounted. Biblically, we expect supernaturalism to have played a role at the creation of the world, in some events through history (particularly the history of Israel), the resurrection of Christ, the end of the world, etc. We expect supernaturalism in these places/times because we believe we have good reason to think that God exists and that the Bible is a real revelation from God. Also, as I’ve mentioned, we believe that any attempt to explain anything in the universe holistically apart from its connection to God is going to result in a fundamental distortion of what that thing is.

So what we have here, as Stahler pointed out, is a conflict between two very different ways of looking at the universe as a whole, and different epistemologies as well. There will be many situations where that won’t make a difference. But it will in some areas. One place it can make a big difference is in the interpretation of physical data about the origin of the universe, life and species (I almost said the universe, life and everything–been reading Douglas Adams too much!). A person coming to such data with a starting point of acceptance of the Bible as containing a literal history of creation, or even with simply a belief in theism, will or might have different expectations leading to a different interpretation of the evidence that is there than a person coming with the expectation that only natural causes played a role in origins. That doesn’t mean that the physical evidence cannot falsify one view or the other, but it will lead to different takes on things where the evidence could conceivably lead in different directions depending on what seems possible or likely depending on one’s expectations based on one’s broader worldview.

OK, I ended up getting into the conversation in spite of myself! If anyone wants to continue to discuss this with me, please email me. If more than one of you want to, we could have an email conversation involving as many as are interested. I don’t mind talking to more than one person at once, but I would like to do it in a setting that isn’t geared towards a focus on my progress in sorting through the details of the physical evidence and that seems to imply an expectation that I will be able to move faster at that than I am in fact able to.

Mark

Comment #183031

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 13, 2007 12:20 PM (e)

I’ve not posted on this thread before now, partly because Hausam is so clearly unable to look at anything without blinders. However, with it seemingly winding down, maybe some notes would not be out of order:

CJO and Raging Bee: I suppose my real objection to methodological naturalism simply comes from the fact that I am not a naturalist.

How could you be a naturalist, in any sense of the word? For instead of looking for causes without preconceptions and prejudice, you insist that your prejudices are the equal of the sciences which have critically examined cause and effect relationships.

I believe that God exists, and is necessary to explain the existence of the entire universe and everything in it.

Why?

It’s because you don’t ask why the answers that you’ve been given are legitimate, that you can’t legitimately support your position, even if somehow it happened to be right.

I also believe he has supernaturally influenced the affairs of the universe in various ways at various times, particularly at creation, the resurrection of Christ, etc. I don’t want to stop exploring the universe–I just want the exploring to take into account the most important aspects of that universe.

You mean, without even questioning your “most important aspects”. Sure, who wouldn’t want to keep exploring, especially when you’re completely insulated from any challenge to your prior beliefs?

Understanding the existence and nature of God and the modes of his interaction with our universe is one of the most interesting areas of exploration.

I’m sure it’s an interesting area of imposing your (and your controllers’) will onto the universe.

The naturalistic approach assumes that all of that either doesn’t exist or is outside of all knowable reality (which seems to amount to the same thing).

No it doesn’t, in the most formal and exacting sense, it considers them to have not yet been given sufficient evidence for us to believe in them. And yet you insist that we must believe in what lacks evidence even to understand the evidence that we have. It’s a familiar theme in religious bigotry (don’t bother me over it, Matzke, for that’s exactly what it is, and always has been, with Mark on this forum).

To sum up, I would say that one cannot truly understand this universe in anything like an adequate way unless one understands it in relation to God, because that is how it exists and is an essential part of its nature.

Then that’s too bad, because God cannot be shown to exist or to have a role in the universe. And the only way you could demonstrate your claim is if somehow the “natural” evidence pointed to this claim of yours.

Most of the time, God ordains history to occur in regular, relatively predictable patterns (what we recognize as “natural law”), and so even a naturalist who accepts natural law (although he cannot account for its existence) will get along fine in most of his/her science.

And many think that this is what has occurred from the beginning, some time before the Big Bang for many of them. What evidence do you have that they’re wrong and you’re right?

See, there’s the failure of your claim even in the theological realm, for you have your little exceptions to “naturalism” that people who don’t adhere to your religion don’t see. Nearly all religionists have a sort of intervention at some point, but the ones who believe in a rational religion insist that whatever can be explained by “naturalism” should be. Thus they have beliefs that go beyond science, but they don’t deny science like you do.

Look, any time we might find phenomena in the “natural world” that are as far from being understood (in any way) as the “supernatural” is said to be. This is why “natural” really tells us nothing (and one almost never hears it used in physics in the sense of “methodological naturalism”). If we were to find designed machines, or organisms, with clear marks of design (like novelty, rationalism, “borrowing” without restriction, and purpose where context is known), then we’d have to agree that so-called “naturalism” doesn’t explain it (unless, of course, it did, via aliens or something).

Anybody, religious or otherwise, has to be open to events which don’t agree with “physics” or whatever one wants to call our science. What you and those like you do is to deny physics and science where it works, where the laws of thermodynamics apparently hold, just to make way for your beliefs which exist prior to science.

But the supernatural is an important part of reality as a whole and should not be overlooked.

If that is true, first tell us what “supernatural” means, then give us some evidence for the claim. Otherwise it’s a meaningless claim.

I do not want a criminal investigation to normally look for specific revelation or miraculous intervention, because I believe that normally there isn’t any.

And Cotton Mather believed otherwise. Give him some reason to believe that yours is the right view.

Natural laws (i.e. God’s regular pattern of working in history) will do fine most of the time.

What are the criteria we can use to see where they won’t do fine?

Basically, this comes down to a difference between a naturalistic and historic theist way of looking at the universe, as Stahler pointed out very well and clearly.

Basically this comes down to a host of words that you can’t relate to how the “world” really works.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/35s39o

Comment #183032

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 13, 2007 12:32 PM (e)

Matzke wrote:

I have been out of town and not able to contribute to the thread much, or even read all of it, but apparently it has evolved from mudslinging into a reasonable dialog with a young-earth creationist, Mark Hausam, who actually wants to discuss the issues. Mark has pretty much acknowledged that his belief is based on a literal, inerrant interpretation of the Bible, and that he is willing to invoke miraculous “appearance of age” arguments to explain away physical evidence that conflicts with his interpretation of the Bible. Usually this sort of person is about six months away from complete deconversion from creationism. With the appearance-of-age argument, they have already admitted that the physical evidence on its face is totally against them, and that they have admitted that Last Thursdayism is as well-supported as young-earth creationism (Last Tuesdayism, of course, is unspeakable heresy). Once they’ve gone this far, most people can’t maintain the necessary doublethink for very long (Paul Nelson, John Mark Reynolds, Kurt Wise, and Marcus Ross are about the only exceptions, and they each have the peculiar ability to remorsely drown their scientific conscience whenever reality intrudes upon their textual interpretation).

I fail to see any evidence, from before or the current thread, where Mark wants “discuss the issues,” unless making unwarranted claims is the same as “discussing the issues”.

And more to the point, I don’t think Matzke has actually argued much with YECers. A kind of last-Thursdayism runs rampant through YEC forums, no matter how often it is shown to be a meaningless claim. Hausam’s various comments were from the beginning those of a closed creationist mind. And he hasn’t budged a bit.

People like Hausam are running around attempting to do one thing, to evangelize people to their peculiar religious beliefs. This is why it is unlikely that he’s going to bother to explain why his religion is right in its claims of intervention, and the other religions (including many Xian religions) are wrong. He can’t demonstrate where “naturalism” fails, he only must insist that it does, which also the only reason why he “argues” as he does.

To get back to the original blog and what it was discussing, Hausam has an immense trust for a kind of authority that has too much promised on the order of reward and punishment for him to deal skeptically with its claims. The questioning skeptical mind that is capable of learning new things, perhaps coming up with new ideas, is actually what he opposes when science discusses origins, hence there is no reaching him.

I hope Nick can present us with a Hausam deconverted from creationism in 5 1/2 months, but I seriously doubt he’ll be able to. The biggest reason to think not is that the whole “naturalism” apologetic has always been his “ace-in-the-hole,” and indeed, this nearly impenetrable barrier (for many, especially those who don’t know science) has been used very effectively to ward off science in the ID and creo camps.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/35s39o

Comment #183035

Posted by Eric Finn on June 13, 2007 1:14 PM (e)

Mark,
Thanks for your reply
About the ambiguity over whether science is a priori committed to methodological naturalism or not, I would like to hear some comments.

In my opinion, science can say very little about supernatural, including the acts described in the Bible.

You mention that different starting points may lead to different interpretations. That is all well. It happens all the time. However, it would be very interesting, if the different starting points led to different verifiable predictions. The winner would most certainly be published, no matter what the starting point was.

I thank you for your generous offer to continue the discussion by email. Unfortunately, I am not an expert in interpreting the Bible. The details of the physical evidence, I am sure, can be more effectively sorted out using other sources.

Glen,
I think your tone is unwarranted.
I feel that PT is most happy, when discussing amongst themselves.
This thread was a good idea. Unfortunately, I joined rather late for a discussion.
That happens.

Regards
Eric

Comment #183038

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 13, 2007 1:25 PM (e)

Glen,
I think your tone is unwarranted.
I feel that PT is most happy, when discussing amongst themselves.
This thread was a good idea. Unfortunately, I joined rather late for a discussion.
That happens.

I think your condemnation is unwarranted, concern troll Eric. And I’m sure if you had anything intelligent (you know, not your insipid feelings) to back up your attack you’d have actually produced it.

I actually made points. That’s what’s appropriate, not your mindless attack.

I don’t actually care if this thread was put here, which I say because you appear incapable of understanding what I wrote. And the rest of your non sequiturs, well, maybe someday you can make a point instead of rambling off the top of your head.

Perhaps you could try to learn to understand contexts before you merely attack, as well. You might begin to learn something.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/35s39o

Comment #183084

Posted by Henry J on June 13, 2007 9:56 PM (e)

The biggest reason to think not is that the whole “naturalism” apologetic has always been his “ace-in-the-hole,” and indeed, this nearly impenetrable barrier (for many, especially those who don’t know science) has been used very effectively to ward off science in the ID and creo camps.

Yep. The phrase “methodological naturalism” is after all just a fancy way of saying base one’s conclusions on verifiable evidence, but anti-evo’s try to make it sound like it says more than it does.

Henry

Comment #183092

Posted by stevaroni on June 13, 2007 11:34 PM (e)

Eric worries….

In my opinion, science can say very little about supernatural, including the acts described in the Bible.

Actually, Eric, science says nothing about the supernatural except that nobody has ever demonstrated that any of it actually exists. Am I somehow wrong? Please, feel free to correct me.

Of the supernatural acts described in the Bible, science has said “Well, seeing as there’s no evidence at all that any of this ever happened, these stories sound pretty implausible”. All in all, a pretty reasonable response.

Comment #183093

Posted by stevaroni on June 13, 2007 11:46 PM (e)

Eric further writes…

However, it would be very interesting, if the different starting points led to different verifiable predictions.

Yeah, that would indeed be interesting, but it’s an absolute dead solid ringer when the different starting points converge in the same answer.

Every branch of natural science, from the comparative anatomists of the 1700’s to the gene sequencers of the 1990’s has come to the same conclusion. The other side has never won a single point in the game (though they have claimed victory and walked away from the field many times).

There’s something to a record like that. It ought to be a logical slam dunk when one team has an absolutely perfect win record over 200 years of changing science technology.

The winner would most certainly be published, no matter what the starting point was.

Indeed, he has. Long ago. His name was Darwin.

Comment #183099

Posted by Eric Finn on June 14, 2007 12:06 AM (e)

stevaroni,

I do agree that science says absolutely nothing about the supernatural.
No disagreement here.

Also, I do agree that science can help in estimating the plausibility of given acts, especially the ones that are likely to leave a trace.
Again, no disagreement.

Please, do comment on the methodological naturalism as a necessary ingredient of any accepted scientific theory.

Regards
Eric

Comment #183105

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 14, 2007 1:09 AM (e)

Please, do comment on the methodological naturalism as a necessary ingredient of any accepted scientific theory.

please tell us how you would conduct a scientific experiment without it, first.

Comment #183106

Posted by stevaroni on June 14, 2007 1:09 AM (e)

Please, do comment on the methodological naturalism as a necessary ingredient of any accepted scientific theory.

Actually, it really isn’t.

Although a reasonable, natural, explanation, devoid of the necessity of magic, is the basis for most working science, that’s only because it’s been the method that actually seems to work when explaining the world. One by one gods, dragons, pixie dust and the aether fell by the wayside as people worked out practical explanations for how the mechanisms of the planet functioned.

But, and it bears repeating, there’s nothing that says that supernatural powers absolutely can’t exist - just so long as you can actually demonstrate them, which is something nobody has ever done.

If I claim that I can communicate with my dead uncle Karl, science will, of course, doubt me, since nothing of the kind has ever been demonstrated.

But if I can then conclusively demonstrate this skill, that is, in a repeatable experiment I can actually prove that I can do what I say I can do, maybe by invoking sight-at-a-distance or something, mainstream science would eventually accept that such powers exist.

(Granted, they would then feverishly try to figure out a natural explanation for them, but hey - that’s what science does, because it’s a method that has always worked up till now.)

Don’t forget, science has always a well used box marked “weird s**t we can’t yet explain”. Nothing stays in there for long, because a phenomenon that can be demonstrated can also be examined, and enough examination has always led to an explanation, and that explanation has always been natural, but we still examine stuff we can’t explain, and nobody tries to hush it up.

But in all these centuries, about the only single thing we know of that’s even close to a demonstrable unexplainable phenomenon is human consciousness, but that’s such a nebulous thing to try to work with that I don’t think anybody has made any real progress learning anything one way or the other.

Comment #183107

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 14, 2007 1:34 AM (e)

But if I can then conclusively demonstrate this skill, that is, in a repeatable experiment I can actually prove that I can do what I say I can do, maybe by invoking sight-at-a-distance or something, mainstream science would eventually accept that such powers exist.

that is a tangent to his question, actually.

to be able to conclusively demonstrate a supernatural ability, you would need to employ methodological naturalism.

by definition, if you could test something supernatural, it would no longer BE supernatural.

like i said, if you can figure out how to perform an experiment that ISN’T based on methodological naturalism, that would be a neat trick.

I think the problem in Eric’s thinking arises from his assumption that science rejects apriori the possibility that a supernatural explanation might exist.

it doesn’t. it simply recognizes that the only way to test anything comes under the auspice of methodical naturalism, so if it ain’t natural, there’s simply no way to test for it.

it’s no more complicated than that, as Henry also pointed out, and it’s the anti-science folks that want to associate methodological naturalism with philosophical materialism, and then claim “materialists” to be “evil” much like the word “liberal” has been whacked out of it’s actual meaning by neocons.

Comment #183108

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 14, 2007 1:41 AM (e)

… of course, that is even taking the fact that no scientist EVER has even used the term to describe the process of utilizing the scientific method, and the term “methodological naturalism” IIRC actually arose out of creationist circles to begin with (someone on PT, probably Nick, pointed this out a while back).

It was one of those very early:

“I don’t think that means what you think it means” type of things.

Comment #183111

Posted by Eric Finn on June 14, 2007 3:03 AM (e)

Sir_Toejam,
Of course, the requirement is that the hypothesis under study does produce verifiable predictions. Then, the predictions of the said hypothesis can be tested irrespective of the assumptions made. It does not matter whether the explaining agents involve fairies or quantum phenomena. The only crucial requirement is to be able to produce verifiable predictions. The verifiability implicitly assumes that, in principle, everyone can verify it, provided the necessary equipment is at hand and that the person knows how to use it properly. For example, human intuition as a verification method is a bit dubious, since it is highly unlikely that everyone would come to the same conclusion.

stevaroni,
So, methodological materialism is not a priori necessary in science. I would imagine that natural explanations would be sought for, as you said, because they have the record of working best.
Anyway, naturalism, even methodological naturalism, does not seem to be a philosophical cornerstone in devising a scientific theory. Naturalism seems to be more important in verifying the predictions.

On occasions, science does have the tendency to introduce unknown agents in their hypotheses. An unexpected expansion rate of the universe was detected. Now scientists seem to be studying the properties of dark energy. About the only thing we know about dark energy is that it is unlike anything we know about. I am aware that giving a name to a problem does help to address it more easily. Also, I am aware that the unexpected expansion rate is the actual question under study and also other hypotheses, apart from the dark energy, has been proposed. However, to a layman dark energy does appear a bit supernatural.

Regards
Eric

Comment #183126

Posted by Mark Hausam on June 14, 2007 8:56 AM (e)

Hello.

Perhaps I can jump in here without re-focusing the thread on me. Just think of me as a newcomer! : ) This new conversation is just too interesting to resist.

I agree on the requirement of verifiability and observability, etc. That is indeed the scientific method, and it should be the method in all forms of knowledge. Nothing should ever be believed except on sufficient evidence.

It seems to me that science works in two different directions. Sometimes you build a hypothesis based on observations, then the hypoethesis makes predictions, and if the predictions come true the hypothesis is confirmed. Other times, science involves logical deduction to devise an explanation for observed phenomena. In this latter category, we can include things like deducing the existence of planets from their gravitational effects on start. You can deduce quite a bit about the planet from its effects without ever directly seeing it. Probably, the more you can combine these two forms of scientific thinking, the better, because confirmation of your hypothesis or theory grows.

Theists have historically believed that you can deduce the existence of God from observations of the physical world, in a similar way that planets are deduced from gravitationsl effects. Thomas Aquinas’s cosmological arguments are a good example of this. This is both verifiable and falsifiable, because it is either the case that God can in fact be logically deduced from the universe or he cannot. Now, whether or not this is a good argument or not, it does seem to be a scientific argument. It is using the same methods often used in science, and all good thinking. Richard Dawkins acknowledges the hypothesis of God to be a scientific hypothesis, although, of course, he thinks it is a bad one.

When we talk about methodological naturalism, I wonder if we are not to some degree being confused a bit by different usages of terminology. For example, someone said that if a “supernatural” object were observed and explained, it would no longer be “supernatural” but “natural.” Perhaps you all are using “supernatural” to mean “unverifiable” or “beyond any observable connection with the observable universe.” In that case, I would say that, as I intened the idea, God would not be a supernatural being but a natural one.

In other words, the claim of theists is that the existence of God is verifiable by logical deduction (a form of scientific methodology). We could restate this in reverse by saying that the existence of God is necessary to explain the observable universe. If we put it this way, we could say that the existence of the observable universe is a prediction of “the God hypothesis,” but since we all already know about and accept the observable universe, this sounds like a strange way of putting it.

If the existence of God is established as a valid conclusion from the evidence, then other things become rational and more probable, such as the possibility of revelation from God. We would then need to examine claims of revelation to see if any can be rationally verified to be such. In my view, the Bible meets that qualification.

Whether you agree with my views or not (and I have not attempted here to argue my positions so much as to describe them), I (and most theists) am claiming to use rational, scientific methodology to establish the existence of God the existence of revelation, etc. I do not claim blind “faith” as a basis for anything I hold. So the only question is whether my scientific arguments are good or bad. Here’s a question: As I have described my methodology in coming to the conclusion of God and revelation, would you say I am using (again, well or poorly) methodological naturalism? The answer to that question will probably tell us quite a bit about the meaining of that phrase.

Mark

Comment #183143

Posted by Raging Bee on June 14, 2007 11:38 AM (e)

Mark: your reference to the possibility of “other creationists” joining you in debating the issues got me thinking…Where are those other creationists? This is a well-known blog, and creationists have come here quite often with impunity; so why have they not come to this particular thread to join you in supporting your point of view?

Daniel Adelsek and “k” came here at the beginning, identified themselves as Christians, and then vanished after their arguments or questions were politely but firmly addressed. Then FL dropped by only to try to warn you to run away from the debate. Then he, too, buggered off. And Salvador Cordova, a self-proclaimed YEC, hasn’t even made a peep here – probably because he’s been caught too often in too many lies already, and knows he has no credibility here (and would probably only embarrass you anyway).

So who, exactly, do you identify as “fellow creationists” anyway? Ken Ham, whose AIG is a laughingstock? Kent Hovind, now serving ten years for tax fraud? Cordova, whose unctuous dishonesty earned him the nickname “Wormtongue” and who consistently runs away as soon as he’s called upon to back up any of his assertions? The right-wing politicians and activists who routinely blame evolution for just about every evil known to Mankind? Is this the kind of company you want to keep? Can you trust them to support you in an adult debate, in a way that would make you proud?

Tell us this honestly: can you really look at the behavior of other high-profile creationists, and tell us with a straight face that they are behaving in a manner consistent with the teachings of Jesus? If your side is the right one, then why do so many people on your side behave as badly as they do?

On to your latest post…

When we talk about methodological naturalism, I wonder if we are not to some degree being confused a bit by different usages of terminology.

That’s quite possible, given that you’ve called your reasoning “empirical” while making up excuses to ignore and discount observed physical events that don’t support your preset assumptions.

For example, someone said that if a “supernatural” object were observed and explained, it would no longer be “supernatural” but “natural.” Perhaps you all are using “supernatural” to mean “unverifiable” or “beyond any observable connection with the observable universe.”

No, we’re using “supernatural” to mean “acting outside and/or in violation of known laws of nature” – i.e., telekinesis, mind-reading, resurrection, creating whole universes out of nothing, “creation with appearance of history,” etc. IF we ever reliably observe such events, and if we can’t find evidence of mistakes or fraud (as we’ve found with just about all such events so far), we start looking for explanations as to how they are possible. And in finding such explanations, we will probably find that the laws of nature were not what we originally thought they were. Then, when our understanding of those laws is updated, the events in question will then be considered “natural.”

If the existence of God is established as a valid conclusion from the evidence…

The operative word here is “if.” It has not been done yet (as many Christians and other theists admit), and you have failed to show otherwise. (Please note that Aquinas wrote a LONG time ago, so his beliefs about natural phenomena are probably a bit out of date.) In the meantime, we will continue to discount “goddidit” explanations because we have no reliable evidence for the existence of any such God(ess).

Whether you agree with my views or not…I (and most theists) am claiming to use rational, scientific methodology to establish the existence of God the existence of revelation, etc.

Claiming to do something is not the same as doing it. Cordova claimed it could be “mathematically demonstrated” that evolution of certain biological systems is impossible – but he never did the math to actually demonstrate it, despite repeated requests that he do so.

(And who are those “most theists” you claim agree with you on this? What results have they got?)

(And speaking of revelation, I notice you haven’t described any revelations of your own. I find that omission telling.)

Comment #183144

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 14, 2007 11:49 AM (e)

I agree on the requirement of verifiability and observability, etc. That is indeed the scientific method, and it should be the method in all forms of knowledge. Nothing should ever be believed except on sufficient evidence.

Then you should answer us when we ask for some sort of evidence for your claims. So far you have not done this.

It seems to me that science works in two different directions. Sometimes you build a hypothesis based on observations, then the hypoethesis makes predictions, and if the predictions come true the hypothesis is confirmed. Other times, science involves logical deduction to devise an explanation for observed phenomena.

No, it doesn’t work that way. It may seem like it, since sometimes science operates without conducting experiments or observations specifically for its conclusions, but the only difference is what evidence is already available.

The fact is that observations are not done “bare” any more than reinterpretations of the evidence are, for one has to take into account what is known about physics, chemistry, biology, etc., even to make a legitimate observation.

In this latter category, we can include things like deducing the existence of planets from their gravitational effects on start. You can deduce quite a bit about the planet from its effects without ever directly seeing it.

Yes, and you can deduce quite a bit about a covalent bond without ever directly seeing it. The important matter is the observation and what one may “deduce” (actually, it’s considered to be more in the line of “induction”) from it.

Probably, the more you can combine these two forms of scientific thinking, the better, because confirmation of your hypothesis or theory grows.

There is no qualitative difference between the two. Really, and without trying to “stick it to you,” it behooves you to learn about science and its methods.

Theists have historically believed that you can deduce the existence of God from observations of the physical world, in a similar way that planets are deduced from gravitationsl effects.

Yes, but they don’t have the means to do so. More to the point, what has this to do with evolution? We’re not here to dissuade theists from their beliefs (not most of us anyhow), we’re here to discuss what the evidence demonstrates in biology.

Bringing in God and Aquinas’s “proofs” has nothing to do with it.

Thomas Aquinas’s cosmological arguments are a good example of this. This is both verifiable and falsifiable, because it is either the case that God can in fact be logically deduced from the universe or he cannot.

They are neither falsifiable nor verifiable. They are conclusions based upon faulty pre-scientific premises.

From argument #1. “Now whatever is in motion is put in motion by another.” (all Aquinas quotes are from www.newadvent.org/summa/1002.htm)

That’s just flat-out wrong, and could have been shown to be wrong even in his day. He’s operating from Aristotle’s “Physics,” which was good thinking prior to science, but hardly a decent model of the cosmos today.

Essentially, Aquinas is arguing here from the premise that there is “rest” and there is “absolute motion,” ideas long ago shot down in physics.

From #2. “Therefore, if there be no first cause among efficient causes, there will be no ultimate, nor any intermediate cause.”

This is better, involving issues still discussed today. Nonetheless, his view of causality was hardly today’s scientific one, which includes mere probabilities for what might happen in the quantum realm replacing strict causality, and conservation of energy and matter being understood as not necessarily holding at all times.

More crucially, one cannot get to “God” even if all “efficient causes” were known to need causes, not by any scientific or judicial standard of “proof”. The fact is that even if Aquinas’s “efficient cause proof” held, all that we’d know is that too much is unknown about the earlier parts of the causal chain for us to come to any conclusions about the “first cause”.

From #3. “The third way if from possibility and necessity.”

Neither “possibility” nor “necessity” are understood today as the ancients, and Aquinas, understood them. The IDists do re-introduce these outmoded and useless concepts by using those terms, however they’re simply bogus. Nothing wrong with Aquinas using them, it’s just that his understanding was limited by his times.

From #4. “The fourth way is taken from the gradation to be found in things.”

This relates to Anselm’s “ontological proof”. Again, it’s fairly reasonable under Platonic and other ancient beliefs about the “good” and how it relates to existence, but neither Anselm’s nor Aquinas’s version has any real meaning to us today. We study them because they’re good thinking given their premises. We simply have no reason to believe the premises.

From #5. “We see that things which lack intelligence, such as natural bodies, act for an end, and this is evident from their acting always, or nearly always, in the same way, so as to obtain the best result.”

Except, we don’t see that at all. Indeed, this provides some of the subtext for the Galileo controversy, for Galileo and Copernicus were showing that things simply move around without anything special about these motions, while Aristotle and other ancients had “demonstrated” using their beliefs that the earth was the center of the universe (not the best place, but the stage that the whole cosmos viewed and was concerned about) and that planets (including the sun and moon) moved around it for our benefit.

This is, though, another resurrection of bad old ideas that the IDists intend to inflict upon the educational and scientific realms of this country.

Now, whether or not this is a good argument or not, it does seem to be a scientific argument.

The trouble with this discussion is that no matter how many times these unscientific views of yours are noted for their unscientific nature, you repeat them in various ways and without learning anything about science. We studied Aquinas’s “proofs” in philosophy class because Aquinas was a very good thinker who influenced (for both good and bad) subsequent intellectual developments. We did not study Aquinas in science classes, because they have very little to do with modern science, indeed, they were frequently opposed to science (which pretty much developed well enough despite this, since any scientist who didn’t like the rules in Italy could move to England, Switzerland, etc.).

A whole mess of preconceptions had to fall before science could really begin to take off. Science involves using the (empirically) known to understand the unknown. Religion tends to take the opposite tack, to use what is not known, God or some other a priori belief, to interpret what is (empirically) known, or at least knowable.

Aquinas tried to use the “known” to come to understand the unknown, but unfortunately what he thought was “known” was not. That, in a nutshell, is what is wrong with beginning with unquestioned beliefs, and it is what distinguished Galileo from his detractors.

It is using the same methods often used in science, and all good thinking.

No. It is good thinking, but it is very far from being science. What you still don’t get is that you have to start with what can be demonstrated empirically, like decay rates, the characteristics of flood debris, and the evidences that phenomena like languages and organisms are related. One starts with the readily demonstrable, like the fact that humans and chimps are related, and builds theories upon facts such as those. You want to start with anything but normal demonstrable facts.

Richard Dawkins acknowledges the hypothesis of God to be a scientific hypothesis, although, of course, he thinks it is a bad one.

Dawkins is hardly an authority on religion or even on the philosophy of science. Nonetheless, the God of the OT is at least a falsifiable hypothesis, which I assume is what you’re referring to.

Dawkins comes under attack (often from those on our side) for virtually ignoring the vast amount philosophical/theological material that discusses God in almost entirely non-scientific ways, such as Aquinas’s works. There is really no justification for you mixing up Aquinas’s philosophical concepts (based on erroneous premises) with Dawkins’s attacks on the middle eastern tyrant God of the Old Testament.

When we talk about methodological naturalism, I wonder if we are not to some degree being confused a bit by different usages of terminology. For example, someone said that if a “supernatural” object were observed and explained, it would no longer be “supernatural” but “natural.” Perhaps you all are using “supernatural” to mean “unverifiable” or “beyond any observable connection with the observable universe.” In that case, I would say that, as I intened the idea, God would not be a supernatural being but a natural one.

Perhaps you should quit hiding behind terms like “methodological naturalism” and deal with what we continue to enjoin upon you, the task of actually providing evidence for your religious claims.

In other words, the claim of theists is that the existence of God is verifiable by logical deduction (a form of scientific methodology).

Well it isn’t, unless you accept faulty premises. Look, we’ve heard all of this from you previously, I urge you for once to pay attention to what we write, which is that you have given us absolutely no evidence for your claims at all.

We could restate this in reverse by saying that the existence of God is necessary to explain the observable universe.

No, you can’t, and quit simply repeating the same unevidenced nonsense that you’ve written 20 + times already. When we state something in science it is because we can demonstrate it (using minimal and “intersubjectively” acceptable “assumptions”) based upon observable evidence. You make claims based upon nothing but your a priori beliefs.

If we put it this way, we could say that the existence of the observable universe is a prediction of “the God hypothesis,” but since we all already know about and accept the observable universe, this sounds like a strange way of putting it.

No, it’s a tiresome cliche. Rather than beginning with observations and predictions from hypotheses based upon these observations, you begin with a religious prejudice.

If the existence of God is established as a valid conclusion from the evidence, then other things become rational and more probable, such as the possibility of revelation from God.

That is true. What you’ve never done is to establish God as a sound conclusion, nor have you provided any reason for us to believe in any particular (say, Mormon) revelation. That is to say, we know very well that you’re starting with a supposed “revelation” and claiming that God exists based upon that, and upon ancient and bankrupt metaphysics. Why don’t you try something else?

We would then need to examine claims of revelation to see if any can be rationally verified to be such. In my view, the Bible meets that qualification.

Your view ignores the fact that life evolved, contrary to your interpretation of Biblical statements.

Whether you agree with my views or not (and I have not attempted here to argue my positions so much as to describe them), I (and most theists) am claiming to use rational, scientific methodology to establish the existence of God the existence of revelation, etc.

But you’re so sadly mistaken.

I do not claim blind “faith” as a basis for anything I hold.

Of course you don’t, or you wouldn’t be expounding a bunch of useless cliches to those of us who know better than to believe them.

So the only question is whether my scientific arguments are good or bad.

The question is why you persist in calling bad philosophy “scientific arguments”.

Here’s a question: As I have described my methodology in coming to the conclusion of God and revelation, would you say I am using (again, well or poorly) methodological naturalism?

IMO, “methodological naturalism” is a useless term for a set of much better terms and considerations.

But as it is generally presented, you are not remotely using “methodological naturalism,” for you don’t compare your assumptions to the empirical data available. That is, rather than checking “revelation” by science, you “check” it against theologies coming out of outmoded and faulty ancient philosophies and “revelations”.

The answer to that question will probably tell us quite a bit about the meaining of that phrase.

The fact that you don’t answer our questions and challenges tells us quite a bit about how much you are truly interested in discussing “these issues”. You haven’t begun to tell me how it is that your view of “supernatural intervention” is correct, and Ken Millers OTOH, and Cotton Mather’s OTOH, is incorrect. Why? Because you can’t, you just want to fob off the requirement for evidence and reasonable inference where your belief in “revelation” requires you to do so.

One of the reasons science developed, in my educated opinion, is that religious people differed in their beliefs in intervention, as well as about a host of other “truth claims”. They then had to look at the evidence and to see what “regularities” could be expected, and utilized science wherever they possibly could (of course many didn’t follow through with this). The story is far more complicated than that, however it appears to be part of what was going on.

That is to say, science provided the cut-off point of intervention to many, because they found so much that was apparently tractable without calling in the gods or demons to effect things. Trouble began when science could show regularities that “revelation” had not allowed for, such as in the Galileo incident (actually, the geocentric spherical earth is contrary to parts of the Bible as well). Religious folk who believed that the “firmament [earth] showeth his handiwork” reinterpreted “revelation” to agree with the evidence of God’s handiwork.

That, of course, is the issue for you. Do you really believe that God reveals his handiwork in his creation, or doesn’t he? You’re a heretic if you don’t believe that he does, and any legitimate Xian would have to check “revelation” against the more direct revelation of God in his creation. I don’t believe in “God’s creation” myself, certainly, however that is reasonable for me as a non-Xian, totally unreasonable for you as a Xian.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/35s39o

Comment #183155

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 14, 2007 2:17 PM (e)

does not seem to be a philosophical cornerstone in devising a scientific theory.

it’s not even a philosophical position to begin with.

hence METHODOLOGICAL naturalism, as opposed to philosophical naturalism.

two made up terms that have different definitions even among those who made them up.

it’s the extension of the scientific method itself into a philosophical argument that is at the root of the problem here.

I’m not saying it can’t be done, it has, many times, and occasionally with interesting results. However, in the end it has little to do with the actual practice of the scientific method.

Comment #183159

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 14, 2007 2:21 PM (e)

IMO, “methodological naturalism” is a useless term for a set of much better terms and considerations.

no doubt.

I always thought that “scientific method” covered the issue quite well. It’s only been since I’ve learned more of creationists over the last ten years or so that methodological naturalism seemed even remotely to require an explanation.

hmm, I’m sure I saw Nick trace the origins of the term at least once on PT.

Nick?

still there?

Comment #183160

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 14, 2007 2:25 PM (e)

You haven’t begun to tell me how it is that your view of “supernatural intervention” is correct, and Ken Millers OTOH, and Cotton Mather’s OTOH, is incorrect.

I’d like to suggest adding Francis Collins into that list too.

Comment #183166

Posted by Thanatos on June 14, 2007 4:37 PM (e)

Marc
I have been keeping a close eye on this thread although
my contribution so far was a comment satirising FL and Bible-literalism views.
Now in a more serious mood I would like to advice you by this:

if you really want to understand how the
scientific-evolutionist camp thinks and works,

-in reality there aren’t two camps,
99.9999999…% of scientists on the planet are “evolutionists”,
creationism (including ID)
is mainly and almost totally an (US ) american cultural-political phaenomenon-

my opinion is to start not from biology but from physics.

Biology is perhaps too anthropocentric and biocentric therefore it is more
probable that your cultural bias will kick in and ruin the effort.
It is also (so far) very complex hence very difficult to quantify
(express in precise ,non ambiguous, mathematical terms).

I’m guessing that your general mathematicophysical background is very poor
so studying mathematics and science ex nihilo seems out of the question.
Therefore popularised science books (ie Hawking’s “A brief history of time”)
is the best choice IMO in order to really get accustomed with
the abstract (and at the same time data-oriented) reasoning and laws of science.
This kind of books covers basic+advanced physics,technology,cosmology,philosophy
and history of science in a non technical form.
Even without mathematical formulae
they are very dense and demanding.Total self disciplence is obligatory.
But they are very crucial ,fruitful and enlightining in
understanding how nature-reality works (or seems to work).
Every day,common sense (not to mention religious) misconceptions break down
once one studies the miraculous way in which nature operates.
Once you have passed the basic physics educational stage ,the way biology works
would come more easy.
(this is not meant to be offensive towards biology-biologists,
biology from another perspective is far more difficult)
Please don’t be offended but once you have learned about the physical laws
and the harvested over millenia human knowledge of nature,
views like 10k years old universe and so on will seem ridiculous.
After being introduced and having done the research on topics
like quantum mechanics and relativity,
trust me,your understanding of the cosmos will never be the same.

You may also thereafter,if you like,
find yourself in a more profound admiration of God’s Creation.

Comment #183167

Posted by Thanatos on June 14, 2007 4:42 PM (e)

oops Marc -> Mark

Comment #183169

Posted by Thanatos on June 14, 2007 5:30 PM (e)

Glen Davidson wrote:

No, it doesn’t work that way. It may seem like it, since sometimes science operates without conducting experiments or observations specifically for its conclusions, but the only difference is what evidence is already available.

Glen you’re wrong;although Mark uses the few logical arguments
he makes ,ultimately to irrational ends,
ping-pongs from hypothesis to data,
and inductive to deductive,analytic to synthetic reasoning
and vice versa is very common in science.
Of course in the end,empirical-data confirmation is what matters.
If that is what you meant ,I pass.

Comment #183171

Posted by Thanatos on June 14, 2007 5:48 PM (e)

Glen Davidson wrote:

The fact is that observations are not done “bare” any more than reinterpretations of the evidence are, for one has to take into account what is known about physics, chemistry, biology, etc., even to make a legitimate observation.

From this perspective your aforementioned comment is of course correct.
(from my perspective this is the very self-referencial property of “everything”
that I ,once upon a time, mentioned and wherefrom you called me a logocentrist)
But that doesn’t eliminate the ping-pongs.
In other words the mathematicoempirical (pseudo or not) duality of the scientific
method (not to mention also of the very essence of human thought) causes constant
back and forth leaps.

Comment #183173

Posted by Thanatos on June 14, 2007 6:24 PM (e)

Sir_Toejam wrote:

it’s not even a philosophical position to begin with.

hence METHODOLOGICAL naturalism, as opposed to philosophical naturalism.

This only fully correct if you accept,interpret philosophy
in the common-language modern “anglosaxonian” way.
Etymolologically it’s wrong.Recall ie what “PhD” means.
“Philosophical” in “philosophical naturalism” is redundant.
“Ontological naturalism” may be more precise.
And of course “ontological naturalism” is not in principle wrong.
It depends on one’s philosophical (again perhaps redundant,metaview perhaps?) view of, stance on science.
Glen ie that has many times declared not believing
in reality,ontology and metaphysics (if I may be a proxy)
will discard this view as faulty,useless and perhaps stupid. :-)
(Glen am I wrong?)
Others may not.
of course this is by no means, an argument pro biblical literalism etc.
So Mark please don’t jump in ,saying “you evolutionists disagree etc etc”.
We all accept and use the same scientific method
and accept in the end only empirical confirmations-proofs.

Comment #183180

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 14, 2007 9:12 PM (e)

“Ontological naturalism” may be more precise.

fair enough.

Comment #183182

Posted by Mousie Cat on June 14, 2007 9:52 PM (e)

Over the past several years, I have been studying the question, “How do creationists manage to ignore so much science in favor of a collection of texts that were written millenia ago, when science had not even been invented?”

Is it that they have been told if the Bible is not correct in every detail, then God doesn’t exist? Or is it that if the Bible is not correct in every detail, then human beings are not “special creations,” selected by God to rule the earth?

I was not raised with these beliefs, so I really don’t know.

I do know that if people are placed in an environment where they must bond with neighbors in an isolated setting, they will tend to adopt the others’ beliefs. I know a couple of cases in point, where intelligent people, living out in the country, changed to fundamentalists (and Bush supporters) to fit in with their neighbors.

This seems too ridiculous and insulting of individuals’ right to their own beliefs. But as I say, I don’t know what motivates people to be creationists (or Bush supporters).

Any input would be welcome.

Comment #183190

Posted by Thanatos on June 14, 2007 11:42 PM (e)

Sir_Toejam wrote:

“Ontological naturalism” may be more precise.

fair enough

then the next obvious renaming step is
methodologicalepistemological naturalism.
any objections?

Comment #183191

Posted by stevaroni on June 14, 2007 11:42 PM (e)

In other words, the claim of theists is that the existence of God is verifiable by logical deduction

No, the existence of God is verifiable by some kind of evidence, which might then naturally lead to logical deductions. Something measurable has to come first.

We could restate this in reverse by saying that the existence of God is necessary to explain the observable universe.

Yes, we could restate it that way, but that wouldn’t make it a valid logical step.

Besides, Why?

God is only necessary if nothing else is can do the job. That’s the definition of “necessary”, right?

What specific feature of the observable universe seems to need the direct intervention of God to function? I, frankly, don’t see one. There are perfectly natural explanations for just about everything around us. What is it that you think requires God, Mark?. Please, be specific.

If we put it this way, we could say that the existence of the observable universe is a prediction of “the God hypothesis,”

Yes, we could say that. Lots of people do. But - and this is important - saying things, no matter how often, does not make them true.

Wanting things, no matter how fervently, does not make them true.

And believing things does not make then true either, no matter how many people believe with you.

If the existence of God is established as a valid conclusion from the evidence, then other things become rational and more probable, such as the possibility of revelation from God. We would then need to examine claims of revelation to see if any can be rationally verified to be such. In my view, the Bible meets that qualification.

OK, slowly, look at this reasoning

1) If God is established by evidence
2) then revelation is possible
3) then we can examine the Bible (a book about God) for revelations
4) then we can use those revelations as evidence of God’s existence

God should be big. Bigger than one old book, certainly. Is there anything that’s verifiable outside this loop, Mark?

I (and most theists) am claiming to use rational, scientific methodology to establish the existence of God the existence of revelation, etc.

That is correct, mark, Theists are claiming to use rational, scientific methodology, but they are not.

It’s not about the conclusion, it’s about the method. In science the default position is usually “prove it”, not “disprove it”, but whatever road you take, the path to get there is always “Demonstrate it. First, put some evidence on the table, and then I’ll believe it”.

There is simply no evidence at all that theists are right. In fact, all the evidence ever discovered points the other way. This is a yawning logical chasm that cannot be rationally filled.

I suspect you know this, but you can’t quite admit it. I got this impression the other day when you indicated you might spend some time on AIG for a while and see what they had to say.

I suspect that deep down, you really want to keep asking the question till you get the (admittedly much more satisfying) answer you really want.

That works in politics, and at Burger King, I guess, but it simply doesn’t work in science. There’s nobody to negotiate with.

There’s just plain what is. If you really want to know the Truth, with the big “T” the only thing you can do is dig till you discover it, no matter how philosophically unrewarding that may be.

Comment #183193

Posted by Mike Elzinga on June 15, 2007 12:05 AM (e)

So, after having been exposed and accurately characterized after his first couple of posts, Mark has managed to “entertain” us with pseudo-philosophy, pseudo-religion, vacuous science, and inane rationalizations for his religious views and his rejections of scientific evidence. Pretty brain-dead crap and not worth the effort to deal with.

Why does he insist on telling this to everyone? It all comes down to a childish attempt to justify why he and his kind have the right to proselytize and why everyone else should be required to listen.

I’m sure he found all the attention quite an ego trip, but his religion, if it can be called that, ranks among the ugliest on the planet. It appeals only to those who refuse to grow up and who are kept in that state by their religious handlers.

Is anyone still expecting Mark to tell us something we didn’t already know?

Comment #183195

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 15, 2007 12:26 AM (e)

then the next obvious renaming step is
epistemological naturalism.
any objections?

not from me, but then I never describe it beyond the scientific method, anyways, in any normal conversation.

you’ll have to argue with the creationists and see how they take it.

who knows? maybe you’ll confuse em enough so that they start adopting something that at least makes SOME sense.

Comment #183196

Posted by Mark Hausam on June 15, 2007 12:42 AM (e)

Glen, et al, the main difference between us, in terms of this particular discussion, seems to be that that we disagree on the validity of the claimed evidence for the existence of God and related claims (such as the possibility and existence of revelation). My point in my previous post was not so much intended to try to argue that theistic and Christian reasoning is valid, but to point out that it is the same sort of reasoning that scientists use. In other words, whether, say, the existence of God is a good or a bad scientific theory or conclusion, it is a scientific theory, because it reasons from the empirically known universe, by means of logical deduction, to the existence of God. It is a good scientific theory if in fact God is logically deducible from the observable universe; it is a bad theory if God is not thus deducible. Where we really disagree is that I think God is deducible and you all (I haven’t heard any exceptions so far–where are all the non-naturalist Darwinists?) believe he is not.

As far as some specific bases for my position on this point, see posts #177611 and #180588 of the earlier thread, “Is Creationism Child’s Play?” I got some responses to my arguments in these posts, scattered about broadly in these two threads.

Eric, any more thoughts from you on any of this? I like your idea of seeing if the Christian vs. natualist starting points leads to different predictions of the empirical data. One prediction of the six-day view would be that there will not be found any physical or empirical evidence that cannot be reconciled with a six-day view. (Of course, there might be evidence that can’t seem to be reconciled on the surface, but the prediction is that there will be no evidence that, when examined carefully and closely and honestly, will be inherently impossible to reconcile with the six-day view.) I’m sure there are more predictions than this. Part of my research into the physical evidence involves learning more about what those predictions are. Creationists have been working on this for a long time, and I believe they have come up with many predictions, many of which they believe have been fulfilled. You should look at their literature in a serious way to see if their claims have any substance, as I also am trying to do more thoroughly.

Thanatos, thank you for your recommendations. I do want to note, though, that in spite of a lot of assumptions to the contrary on this blog (which is not terribly surprising), I am not generally unlearned, ignorant, and/or stupid. I have said I need to learn more about some of the specific areas of the specific physical evidence in geology and biology. But I have not said that I am ignorant of philosophy, history, physics, or the nature of science. I understand the nature of science and the scientific method very well, and follow it myself very well, though you will of course disagree since you disagree with my views. But, whether you believe it or not, I do know how to think scientifically and I do indeed think that way.

Mark

Comment #183199

Posted by Mark Hausam on June 15, 2007 12:55 AM (e)

Thanatos, the ending comments in my previous post were not intended to be solely directed at you, but just to everyone in general. I noticed it didn’t come across as I intended it after I had posted it.

Comment #183200

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 15, 2007 12:59 AM (e)

I am not generally unlearned, ignorant, and/or stupid.

just redundant.

Comment #183201

Posted by Mark Hausam on June 15, 2007 1:01 AM (e)

“just redundant”

OK, maybe so sometimes! : )

Comment #183203

Posted by fnxtr on June 15, 2007 1:10 AM (e)

it reasons from the empirically known universe, by means of logical deduction, to the existence of God.

Mark, you don’t seem to get that we don’t accept your ‘logical’ arguments. They’re just mind games. In a nutshell all your borrowed reasoning boils down to “Universe, therefore God.” That’s nonsense.

You also claim that since the Bible is inerrant (except sometimes, when it’s not inerrant it’s just inaccurate), all contrary information must be explained (away) in light of Biblical inerrancy. For most of the world that kind of thinking went out about 500 years ago. It’s time for you to catch up.

You still have no idea what the word evidence means, do you?

You are free to believe the myths and legends of bronze age nomads. Just don’t confuse them with empirical data.

Comment #183206

Posted by Abe White on June 15, 2007 1:24 AM (e)

One prediction of the six-day view would be that there will not be found any physical or empirical evidence that cannot be reconciled with a six-day view.

Mark, this is a completely vacuous statement. All the evidence points to a very old earth. There is no evidence that is better explained by a six day creation. A real scientific theory is falsifiable. By any scientific standard, a young earth has been falsified, over and over again.

But when you can invoke a supernatural agent with unknown motivations, then nothing is falsifiable. It ceases to matter that all lines of evidence, from distant starlight, to atomic decay, to the fossil record, to geology, to ice cores, to tree rings, to DNA studies agree with each other on a particular history. Hey, maybe god just wanted it to look that way. Suddenly any evidence can be reconciled with any history. Just as any evidence from before last Thursday can be reconciled with last-Thursdayism.

And that, in a nutshell, is why your claims of a scientific viewpoint are absurd. If the last two hundred plus years of accumulated evidence in multiple disciplines all showing the impossibility of a young earth isn’t enough to falsify your “theory”, then it just ain’t science. And no amount of wishy-washy philosophical talk is going to change that.

Comment #183214

Posted by Mike Elzinga on June 15, 2007 3:09 AM (e)

Mark Hausam wrote:

But I have not said that I am ignorant of philosophy, history, physics, or the nature of science. I understand the nature of science and the scientific method very well, and follow it myself very well, though you will of course disagree since you disagree with my views. But, whether you believe it or not, I do know how to think scientifically and I do indeed think that way.

The last two of the above statements are false. And Mark doesn’t even appear embarrassed to make such statements. The first statement didn’t require an explicit sentence stating he was ignorant of said topics. It has been obvious all along.

Anyone who understands science and thinks scientifically would not make the kinds of crackpot statements Mark has made throughout these threads. Especially in light of the fact that a number of people have pointed to explicit areas of science and reasoning in which Mark demonstrates that he has no training or experience.

I repeat what I have said before, he knows nothing about the history and development of science, nor does he even know about the history and development of his own “religion”. His knowledge of philosophy is sloppy and incomplete; he uses well-understood philosophical words “unconventionally” or inappropriately. Pop philosophy (or more accurately, pseudo-philosophy) doesn’t cut it in these discussions. Its only purpose is pretense. Vacant “philosiphication” to make it appear that one is thinking deeply about issues.

Sir_Toejam wrote:

just redundant.

For obvious reasons.

I stand by my triage strategy in not attempting to educate him. By their ignorance you shall know them.

Comment #183217

Posted by Eric Finn on June 15, 2007 3:31 AM (e)

Hypotheses in general are put forward in an attempt to explain something we observe.
We could start building a hypothesis by listing all the observations and including them as part of our hypothesis. As new observations come, we include them as well. It is perfectly fine to revise a hypothesis as new knowledge is acquired. This kind of a hypothesis would always stay in agreement with the observed facts (for the sake of simplicity, let us assume that the observations do not contradict each other). However, the predicting power of this hypothesis would be very low, and there is no way to falsify it. A mere collection of observations can never constitute a scientific theory.

Another approach would be to start with a hypothesis based on poorly understood explaining agents, such as fairies (or dark energy), and try to figure out the properties of the explaining agents through observation. As an example, let’s state that objects heavier-than-air can fly, because there are fairies that are fascinated by certain features of physical objects and by their speed (this example has appeared on PT before, I do not seem to have anything original to say). This would work, as the shape of an object does correlate with its ability to fly, and heavy objects do not float in air. Through observation we could conclude that these fairies do not live in empty space. On the other hand, they seem to live in the atmosphere of the planet Venus, and thus are not dependent on oxygen, and can tolerate high temperatures. This is all well, and we could predict that the fairies live also in the corona of the sun. This theory is clearly falsifiable. The hypothesis needs to be modified, if no fairies are found in the atmosphere of the planet Jupiter.
There is also a competing hypothesis: that of Bernoulli’s principle. Bernoulli used only quantities that can be studied independently. Also, it is possible to predict the amount of lift exerted on an airplane wing or on a helicopter rotor blade. Even Occam’s razor (Ockham’s razor) would tell us to favor Bernoulli instead of the fairies.

There are ways to reconcile six-day creationism with physical evidence. The appearance of age and history may be due to the beauty of the tree rings – and glacial layers. The radioactive decay might have been faster in the past (although it is not clear where did that huge amount of extra energy go to). Some of the Egyptian pyramids survived the world-wide flood, for some reason. Humans multiplied after Noah fast enough to build ancient structures, such as the great wall of china, some more pyramids in Egypt, and were leaving their marks all over the world. Maybe our dating methods, including the written history, are somehow skewed.
If the appearance of age and history is perfect, although not true, would it still be legitimate to refer to the dates as they appear, since they seem to work the same way for any practical purpose?

Regards
Eric

Comment #183244

Posted by Raging Bee on June 15, 2007 9:05 AM (e)

Thanatos wrote:

creationism (including ID) is mainly and almost totally an (US ) american cultural-political phaenomenon…

It’s also catching on in Turkey, where Harun Yahya’s BAV are using threats of violence to prevent evolution from being taught or discussed in Turkish universities. (Any comments on such tactics by your side, Mark?)

Since Mark has consistently ignored nearly all of my questions about his theology, and the behavior of others in his camp, and has reverted to repeating statements that have already been disproven at least once, I see no reason to continue participating in this debate. Besides, this thread is getting huge and slowing down, at least for my PC.

Comment #183248

Posted by Thanatos on June 15, 2007 10:27 AM (e)

Mousie Cat wrote:

Over the past several years

Any input would be welcome.

for about the past 2 millenia (to be exact it’s less,a more precise beginning would be the reign of Constantine I or Theodosius I and again total christianisation was gradual) the western world (including muslims) adopted (by force or not) an apocalyptical (revelational) dogmatic religion based on the Old Testament.

The apocalyptical-dogmatical feature of the Abrahamic religions is a crucial point.
All religions are more or less illogical but religions based on specific “divine” texts tend to be more harsh.All religious beliefs are historically and ultimately correlated with core social values (ethics morals norms).But with the presence of divinely inspired exact documents and texts it goes further ,cause it’s less easy for the religion to adapt to new input from the enviroment.In other words the presence of an exact creed-dogma ruling both every day life and every day thought creates a profound difficulty into creating a new metaphorical interpretation-understanding of the core character of the religion.
In other words and in order to be specific ,for abrahamic religions to evolve huge effort is demanded(with respect to many other religions).

The other issue to be resolved is the relation between religion and logic although it’s more or less the same with the above.
Most social values and rules are arbitrary.That is ,they are more or less artificial .Ie even disregarding religion a prohibition against murder in a fully secular society is “subjective”,it is not based on truly (scientific) objective rules.This is not altered or rendered void by the fact that by analysing we can claim that the social rules are put for the society to self-organise,for the social groups not to self-destruct.War against the rule of the jungle is of course logical and rational but the exact organisation,the exact method and system against chaos is man-made,arbitrary.So even non religious issues are not fully rational.
Now when religion comes in,especially an apocalyptic one, things get far more perplexed.In other words when the (semi-arbitrary) prohibition against murder (along with all other values) from a status of “killing is bad” becomes “killing is bad because killing is evil because God specifically says so” (Thou shallt not kill-murder) ,people get overly dogmatic and monolithic.The usual compartmentalisation of logic,faith and emotion gets overly ruled by faith and emotion.Believers are still able to operate logically in some portions of life but tend to react dynamically and often drastically and violently against what they perceive as a crucial important violation of their core beliefs ,of their very essence and existence.

In other words creationism is a common human conservatism(literally) social phaenomenon gone wild (run away dogmatism).

This is of course only one possible interpretation-analysis,many others (in fact infinite-many) are possible.

Comment #183251

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 15, 2007 10:50 AM (e)

Glen wrote:

No, it doesn’t work that way. It may seem like it, since sometimes science operates without conducting experiments or observations specifically for its conclusions, but the only difference is what evidence is already available.

Glen you’re wrong;although Mark uses the few logical arguments
he makes ,ultimately to irrational ends,
ping-pongs from hypothesis to data,
and inductive to deductive,analytic to synthetic reasoning
and vice versa is very common in science.

I hope you’ll learn to read and write English rather better at some point. I didn’t deny any of your grand revelations, you simply don’t understand the simple sentence that I wrote, especially not in context.

Of course in the end,empirical-data confirmation is what matters.
If that is what you meant ,I pass.

You pass what?

Of course what I meant is that empirical confirmation is what matters in the end, and I have no idea why you’d conjure up any other sort of miraculous ideas in your mind which are so disconnected from, you know, the written word.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/35s39o

Comment #183253

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 15, 2007 11:02 AM (e)

Davidson wrote:

The fact is that observations are not done “bare” any more than reinterpretations of the evidence are, for one has to take into account what is known about physics, chemistry, biology, etc., even to make a legitimate observation.

From this perspective your aforementioned comment is of course correct.

Oh, so you read the context after shooting your mouth off. Better late than never, I suppose.

(from my perspective this is the very self-referencial property of “everything”
that I ,once upon a time, mentioned and wherefrom you called me a logocentrist)

As context-free as your former idiotic accusation. Whether it’s your bigoted and stereotypical hatred of Americans, your rambling bad English, and your logocentrism, I fail to see much value in your posts.

But that doesn’t eliminate the ping-pongs.

Not from within your tinfoil hat and pidgin English. Your “ping-pongs” are as addled conceptually as they are stilted English.

In other words the mathematicoempirical (pseudo or not) duality of the scientific
method (not to mention also of the very essence of human thought) causes constant
back and forth leaps.

No it doesn’t, lackwit, because the scientific method isn’t dualistic. Mathematics deals with the abstractions of “reality” that we conceptualize, and whether or not we use numerical methods or geometrical manipulations of our abstractions, the process is largely one of abstract analysis and synthesis.

I’d expect such dualistic nonsense from a logocentrist, since logocentrism is largely a mistake of dualism, notably of Platonic dualism.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/35s39o

Comment #183256

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 15, 2007 11:12 AM (e)

Glen ie that has many times declared not believing
in reality,ontology and metaphysics (if I may be a proxy)
will discard this view as faulty,useless and perhaps stupid. :-)
(Glen am I wrong?)

Mostly you’re stupid, uneducated, with a poor command of the language used here, and too close-minded and unintelligent even to try to understand the issues involved in what I was discussing. In your usual addled way you reduce what I have claimed down to your ignorant and bigoted stupidity, and you totally lack the means to deal honestly and intelligently with philosophical issues.

I don’t doubt that you’re a proxy, meaning, in my interpretation of such a misplaced word, that you’re not a real intellectual, just a proxy poseur whose ignorance shines forth like a gamma-ray burst. Otherwise, of course, “proxy” is as ill-used as is your “philosophical knowledge,” your pidgin English, and your stupidity in merely attacking where you are so obviously ignorant even about what I write about philosophically.

If you ever have anything intelligent and educated to say to me, instead of shooting off your mouth with your mindless ignorance, please do so. Until then, why don’t you just ramble on in your ignorance. You do little harm when responding to Mark, because even your very poor understanding of philosophy beats Marks even poorer understanding of philosophy and science.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/35s39o

Comment #183257

Posted by David Stanton on June 15, 2007 11:14 AM (e)

Mark,

If you could just get over your pathological aversion to methodological naturalism perhaps you would have time to read the talkorigins article on plagarized mistakes as I suggested nearly a month ago.

When you do finally get around to looking at some real evidence, you will see that there are only two possibilities. Either God copied the mistakes or descent with modification is true. If the latter, the a 6,000 year old earth and Biblical inerrancy are out, for good. If the former, the God is an unimaginative and incompetent idiot. Take your pick.

By the way, they really are mistakes and they really are copied. There is no way out. Perhaps that is why you haven’t had time to look at the evidence yet.

Comment #183258

Posted by Thanatos on June 15, 2007 11:15 AM (e)

Sir_Toejam wrote:

not from me, but then I never describe it beyond the scientific method, anyways, in any normal conversation.
you’ll have to argue with the creationists and see how they take it.
who knows? maybe you’ll confuse em enough so that they start adopting something that at least makes SOME sense.

:-) :-) :-)
:):):)

unfortunatelly you and not I live next to them ,
(here ,so far,we have another genus of religious fanatism that is indeed very organised
but not in a science redefinitional way and cause)
so it’s not my everyday task or quest.
but I would be very glad to help via internet :-)

Raging Bee wrote:

Thanatos wrote:

creationism (including ID) is mainly and almost totally an (US ) american cultural-political phaenomenon…

It’s also catching on in Turkey, where Harun Yahya’s BAV are using threats of violence to prevent evolution from being taught or discussed in Turkish universities

1.I wrote “mainly and almost totally”

2.Your brand of creationism,what is specifically nowadays called Creationism is unique,
in so far as it is an old overly organised historical phaenomenon,of huge political might,
of great popular support,trying energetically and drastically to redefine science(and society).
Not to mention that the phaenomenon takes place in a unique,very unususal secular state(superpower USA).

3.Literally ,creational beliefs are widespread in the christian,jewish and especially in the undeveloped muslim world.
Ie from personal experience:
My mother :-) ,a totally uneducated (she barely reads and writes) woman who grew up in a mountain village in the 40s-50s,shepherding sheep,living without electricity, is an Orthodox Christian believer and no matter what I tell her,”God Did It”.But here there is not(and anyway she wouldn’t follow it) an organised political movement specifically against science.

In other words a self organised NOMA compartmentalisation reigns.
The borders are in flux but at least till now there is no war.

4.In correlation with what I above wrote the turkish
movement migh be fundamendalist muslim but
not (yet) of your specific branch described above.

5.Turkey is a pseudodemocratic pseudosecular militarist (kemalist) country ,with the ruling class in civil war against the antikemalist islamic popular movement.
So nothing Turkish surprises me.
Trust me ,I live next to them.
Remember they are “dear friens” of us Greeks. :-)

Comment #183259

Posted by Thanatos on June 15, 2007 11:31 AM (e)

I apologise to Pt for the following huge and political post.I wrote it in the past after being insulted by Glen.I refrained from posting it in order to be civil and polite.
But Glen again made me mad so here it follows.
Again I apologise but…

—————-

Regarding my alleged antiamericanism.Perhaps I’m stupid,prejudised or-and a dogmatist.Or perhaps I’ve got some reasons to seem ,to act as, to speak like or simply just to be antiamerican.

Let’s see:

Perhaps my grandfather and grandmother lived –not to mention as children- the Micrasiatic (Asia Minor) Catastrophe.Perhaps they lived the burning of Smyrna and the slaughter of the Ionian (and in parallel Pontiac) Greeks (and Armenians) by the Turks ,where and when some (although most or eventually directly or indirectly all more or less helped) crews of the ships-boats of our ally and beloved friend ,the USA, perhaps axed and chopped down and off (or at least violently obstructed and opposed) the hands of the swimming-drawning refuges who were trying to come aboard.

Perhaps the humanitarian intervention of USA-NATO in Yugoslavia, against the Serbs, was not so humanitarian after all.(Not that there weren’t Serbian attrocities.But perhaps there where also Croatian and Muslim-Albanian attrocities.That in our ignorant-biased oppinion perhaps generally happens in a … war.) Perhaps because now that approximately 250,000 or more (western sources I believe have this estimation as the upper limit) Serbs have been forced to clear Cossovo by the Cossovarian Albanians not only USA isn’t interveaning but instead is granting Cossovo semi-independence from Serbia. Perhaps it took place in order for Germany to “annex” Slovenia and Croatia.Perhaps it took place in order to prevent the creation of a strong Orthodox Arc from Russia to Greece.And in doing so perhaps the Albanians (Greece’s neighbors) have since being partying in the Balkans, trying to create a Great Albania.Which perhaps ,in the Albanians’ mind ,is composed in part by Greece’s northwestern region Epirus.

Perhaps our friends and dear allies,the US Americans,have recognised our second neighbor FYROM by the name that they want ,“Macedonia” ,against all UN agreements and against our allied will.And perhaps we don’t like that because these neighbors of ours besides the name ,want along it, all the history,heritage, culture and land that is linked historically to her.And perhaps a part of that land is what they call Aegean Macedonia , Greece’s northern region Macedonia.

Perhaps our sincere comrades ,the US Americans,have created a stronghold in Greece’s third neighbor Bulgaria,a country that perhaps has historically always wanted to exit onto mediterranean waters and perhaps is the country that around the 30s and 40s created the Macedonian Issue .Perhaps the Americans in doing so again kept Russians out and north.Perhaps they created thus one more (like Poland and of course their post WWII pet-state the UK) Trojan Horse inside EU,Greece’s Mother Union.Perhaps the Americans have been for years,in order to lessen Russia’s might in energy, obstructing via this country the creation of the Burgas-Alexandroupolis Oil Line,Greece’s major strategic energy goal.

Perhaps the United States of America ,after having helped in the 40s Greece to stop Communist Gorillas annexing her to the Red Camp,settled down inside Greece and by means of military and oeconomic power and influence, created a state inside our state bringing into power juntas and crashing greek national interests.And perhaps although till the 90s we ,in general, accepted de facto that status,cynicly or stoicly, mainly due to the cold war, as a more or less primus inter pares understanding or status quo,now that the red satanic empire no longer exists, we would perhaps like our freedom ,autonomy and independence back in full.

Perhaps because the US American “neutrality” against arabs, against muslims and in favor of jews crussialy affects Greece as the only western country or one of the very few western countries that share borders with muslim countries (Turkey and Albania).

Perhaps (this is going to be a very extended perhaps) since the destruction of Greece’s geopolitical power, firstly in the post WWI Greco-Turkish War and secondly in WWII and Greek Civil War ,and since Turkey ,Greece’s fourth and final land neighbor,having mostly all the way remained neutral, has become the regional superpower, the USA, having emerged out of the last global conflict as one of two superpowers and now as the only existant global superpower, is perhaps acting and reacting to Greece’s defence against Turkish agression in a very strange –to our eyes- way.
Perhaps not as to a country that has never been an enemy at war with and not as to a country that during all global wars has been a loyal ally.
Perhaps we think so,because perhaps with the blessings of the USA during the cold war ,the Turks turkised many greek thracian muslims and now want to create a western Thrace (Greece’s northeastern region) issue having a future annexing in mind.
Or perhaps because USA seems not to be able to stop doing the P.R-model-muslim-country campaign for the highly militaristic pseudo-democratic regime of Turkey.
Or perhaps because Turkey has US backing in declaring a casus belli against and if Greece ever exercises her -according to international laws- right to have a 12-mile national waters line (and not a 6-mile that is now unfortunately against her will keeping) in the Aegean although in other areas-regions the Turks follow a 12-mile water line practice.
Or perhaps because the United States Americans are being very strangely “neutral” to the creation of “grey zones” by Turkey inside Greek Aegean (6 miles) Waters and of greek Islands (like the Dodekannese ,Samothrace and Gavdos).
Or perhaps because against all UN decisions the USA-UK are being ab initio or even a priori “neutrally” in favor of the Turkish occupation of Northern Cyprus(perhaps because both keep major strategic bases in common there).
Or perhaps because “strangely” there is no serious American reaction to Turkey’s declaration of casus belli against Cyprus following the Cyprean-Egyptian-Lebanese agreement in exploiting petroleum in the sea south of Cyprus.
Or perhaps because when Greece and Turkey almost came to war in 1996 when the Turks ceased by force a tiny greek island called Imia,USA was again strangely “neutral”.
Or perhaps because Turks have declared ,semi-officially and against all logic and international laws and treaties,half of the Aegean Sea as theirs,and the Americans are whistleying around indifferently.
Or perhaps since the USA ,in order to win the battle-war of Irak,is being creating ,against turkish wishes and major fears,the Kurdish state,we Greeks,are perhaps fearing (a great fear I might add) that in order to balance their policy against Turkey(the peripheral superpower I repeat),the Americans are going to stop being semidiplomaticly “neutral” and are going to be openly,fully, 100% pro-Turkey in all the aforementioned Greco-Turkish differences.

Now count this issues,multiply them by how-many-countries-there-are-in-the-world-minus-two and you’ll perhaps have a mild understanding of America’s International Politics Image.Also please consider that You ,perhaps, have these “problems” with an allied country.Perhaps,think of Your “problems” with ,“evil” ,enemy countries.

Understand that perhaps the issues the USA has with Hellas or in general with the world, weren’t suddenly caused by the-king-of-idiots-god-speaks-to-me G.W.Bush. He is ,perhaps, just TOO stupid,TOO pathogenic(literally).American foreign policies (according to external views) are perhaps in general independent of Republican-Democrat administration.And perhaps according to some oppinions,in a Representive Democracy,”we, we the plain folk ,we the citizens, ,are not to blame,our bad leaders are to blame” isn’t an excuse. USA seems ,perhaps, to be the continuation of the post napoleonic British Imperium.USA is perhaps being projecting,by all means, the anglosaxons’ oxymoron of protestant-puritan-secular-liberal-openmarket-highly-capitalistic-salad-nation-state onto the world,onto other stupid oxymora.And perhaps the world disagrees.

There are ,perhaps ,people around the world saying-pleading-begging-screaming to You:
PLEASE stop exporting Peace and Democracy.Otherwise ,You , are going eventually to be importing ICBMs and APFSDSs.

P.S.1 The superhyperultra ad nauseam overuse of perhaps was perhaps intended.

P.S.2 Again sorry for any orthographical,syntactical,grammatical,I-don’t-know-whatical mistakes but considering the seriousness-importance of written matters, I really don’t give a f___.

P.S.3 Next time ,please try to have a promethean attitude rather than an epimethean one.

P.S.4 The last time you critisised me ,speaking of antiamericanism,I thought I should answer-reply to you but I came to realise that I wouldn’t know where to start at , where to begin from.So I just answered ,laconicaly and with a sense of humor, to your stupidity and to your dogmatism.But the next day, I calmly sat and wrote down this, as a crash course on Hellenic-American relations and on Earth-America relations (as an extrapolation of the former) for any benevolant but ignorant American.I thought that this text would eventually come handy.Or perhaps I was just fishing for or begging for an excuse,a malakia coming from you,you the moros,you the ignorant ,you the self-centered archon of elithiotes.

Comment #183267

Posted by Thanatos on June 15, 2007 12:21 PM (e)

by the way
“I pass” is (at least here) poker slang.metaphorically used it means
in context “then no objection,I concur”

oh not to forget

1.Glen you’re a self-centered dogmatist

2.Glen f___ you

Comment #183268

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 15, 2007 12:25 PM (e)

Glen, et al, the main difference between us, in terms of this particular discussion, seems to be that that we disagree on the validity of the claimed evidence for the existence of God and related claims (such as the possibility and existence of revelation).

No, you have completely mischaracterized what I wrote. I am denying the assumptions made by the unlearned Thanatos, the learned Plato and Aristotle, and the great thinker St. Thomas Aquinas. I’m not denying the validity (more properly, the soundness) of the claimed evidence, I’m denying that it is anything like what we mean by the term “evidence” in science and in virtually all areas of learning.

And I am not denying the possibility of revelation, I’m denying that it can be known apart from the ordinary “rules of evidence,” while you are holding up metaphysics and revelation as the checkpoints which evidence itself must pass.

My point in my previous post was not so much intended to try to argue that theistic and Christian reasoning is valid, but to point out that it is the same sort of reasoning that scientists use.

It depends on how you mean it. I have never denied (and sometimes have stated affirmatively) that essentially the same sort of thought processes occur in science as in the other realms of life, like religion, literature, philosophy, etc. This is one reason why I generally disagree with PZ Myers’ characterization of religion as being the opposite of the scientific method. Some religionists have turned to opposing scientific thought in reaction and defense, it is true, however modern science arose largely among religious folk who saw no real conflict between religious thought and scientific thought.

Indeed, this is something I have pointed out repeatedly in a different context, by noting that religionists often have not opposed science, and indeed have agreed that where science works the intervention of God should not be invoked. Of course this doesn’t mean that miracles simply cannot happen (say, in Jesus’ day), but only that possibility exists without any real chance of showing that Jesus indeed did walk upon the water (if He did so now we’d have an interesting situation for science, though not one that would throw science into a dizzy spell).

The fact of the matter is that one of the sources of modern science is in the judicial practices of religious societies, including church courts at times. But for the most part, even the church courts accepted science in all mundane affairs, and intervention was considered to be exceptional.

The logic, the meaning of evidence, and the human sense of what perceptions, illusions, and psychological bias mean are not at all inherently different between scientific thought and religious thought. We implicitly make that point every time we note that a religious scientist accepts the evidence of evolution (some of whom blog and comment on PT, btw).

The problem comes in when you use faulty claims upon evidence and assumptions and act as if this “religious thought” is the equivalent of scientific reasoning. It is not. Science in the ideal, and mostly in practice, leaves behind (say) Thanatos’s metaphysics and bigotry (and lack of reading comprehension), as well as your own unevidenced claims, and deals with what the evidence shows, within the bounds of human perception and comprehension.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/35s39o

Comment #183270

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 15, 2007 12:29 PM (e)

In other words, whether, say, the existence of God is a good or a bad scientific theory or conclusion, it is a scientific theory,

No, it is not. In the least of senses one might just barely claim that the OT’s Yahweh is a scientific hypothesis, since it is at least falsifiable (well, not as the prophets deal with it, but it could be, and often has been, made into a falsifiable hypothesis). However, by today’s standards (vs. what little was known back then) there never was sufficient reason even to come up with the hypothesis that the OT Yahweh operates in this world.

Falsification is not the only standard used in science, usually most believe that some sort of reason for coming up with a hypothesis, other than that old myths claimed that a magical being existed, needs to exist as well. That is to say, certain versions of fairies and leprachauns may well be falsifiable or “verifiable” under imagined conditions, however this does not make even those fairies and leprachauns into a scientific hypothesis. The elementary school version of science adequately points that out, even if it’s a Bowdlerized version of science.

Even if one stretches the standards of science to say that the OT’s Yahweh is a scientific hypothesis, the standard “philosopher’s God” is certainly not. Why do you think that Aquinas is considered to be a philosopher and not a scientist? It’s because it is philosophy, and not science. One does not make the leaps to “conclusions” in science that Aquinas does.

What you appear not to really realize, Mark, is that science deals with the mundane, that it is “materialistic” primarily because it means to deal with “matter” and “energy,” and not necessarily with any fundamental questions at all (cosmology hopes to do so, however it’s not clear that it will ever reach a “foundation”).

We’re interested in evolution being taught in schools not because we collectively care about the God question (some do, some don’t), but because evolution is a science that helps us to understand and respond to the world.

When you can tell us how Aquinas’s, or any other persons’, “proofs” of God will help us in the laboratory, and in understanding and treating diseases, then you’ll at least be in the realm of science. We’re dealing with the temporal, “material” world, not with questions of God and the origins of the universe and of order. This is something you seem not to grasp as yet, that evolution is the single most important explanatory theory used in coming to grips with biological issues. You neither promise a similarly useful theory, nor do you seem even to recognize the need for one, if evolution is to be ignored or discarded.

because it reasons from the empirically known universe, by means of logical deduction, to the existence of God.

No, it does not (I know, repetition, but it seems the most direct immediate response to your erstwhile claims). It utilizes a whole lot of anthropocentric assumptions about the world to “reason to” a God patterned upon human capabilities and desires (usually made superlative). Why do you even suppose that many theists and atheists gave up such reasoning in the realm of the sciences? It’s because this “reasoning” led to nothing of practical and “material” value, although many continue to use such reasoning in “the spiritual realm”.

It is a good scientific theory if in fact God is logically deducible from the observable universe; it is a bad theory if God is not thus deducible.

Please try to understand what science is. It is not reasoning from a whole lot of unwarranted philosophical assumptions. That is not bad science, that is bad philosophy. Science does not deal with “questions of infinity” as Aquinas does, for infinity in Aquinas’ sense is not known to exist at all.

What is probably the most amazing fact in your dealing with these matters is that you can’t differentiate between clearly labelled philosophy and clearly labelled science. Now the two disciplines are in fact not completely divorced from each other (which is why Thanatos’ nonsense can be as damaging as yours is), but that there is a real difference in emphases and in subject matter is acknowledged even by most creationists. I am somewhat perplexed that after all this time you still cannot differentiate between the two disciplines.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/35s39o

Comment #183271

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 15, 2007 12:32 PM (e)

Where we really disagree is that I think God is deducible and you all (I haven’t heard any exceptions so far–where are all the non-naturalist Darwinists?) believe he is not.

See, “deducible” isn’t even used in science as you’re using it here. I touched on that previously, but you have such a poor reading comprehension (or are so intent on your own beliefs) that you ignore the fact that terms like “induction” or “Bayesian inference” (but this latter is used in a smaller subset of the totality of science) are utilized. Deductions can be made from inductively sound phenomena, it is true, however induction is the engine of science, and one does not deduce the origins of the universe at all.

Perhaps if you were to study up on induction you would gain a better understanding of science.

As far as some specific bases for my position on this point, see posts #177611 and #180588 of the earlier thread, “Is Creationism Child’s Play?” I got some responses to my arguments in these posts, scattered about broadly in these two threads.

Please try to understand that this is supposed to be a dialog. It is not supposed to be us responding to your remarks, and you repeating the same claims heedless of how we have responded to you. You haven’t begun to understand science and how it differs from philosophy, and how it differs most markedly from the ancient philosophies with their anthropocentric beliefs.

Eric, any more thoughts from you on any of this? I like your idea of seeing if the Christian vs. natualist starting points leads to different predictions of the empirical data.

There is no inherent difference between “Christian” and “naturalist”. Remember, the reasoning of theists doesn’t differ from that of science. It only does so when you deny normal thought processes to maintain your a priori beliefs.

One prediction of the six-day view would be that there will not be found any physical or empirical evidence that cannot be reconciled with a six-day view.

No, a prediction of six-day creation which is styled to be as scientific as possible would go something like this: “All but a small amount of evidence will be seen by reasonable people to converge upon a kind of design process, similar to human design, which occurred around six thousand years ago over a very short period, and the earth has essentially been unchanged except for obvious flood debris near or at the surface of the earth.” I bring in human-type design because that is all we know, and any that is unlike human design (I mean non-rational, non-novel, and without any apparent purpose) processes is unknown and presently unknowable to science.

What you are confused about, yet again, is that you are engaged solely in the practice of apologetics. Your capacity to invoke miracles to save your pet belief is not important to science, rather science is interested in what the evidence most reasonably points to.

(Of course, there might be evidence that can’t seem to be reconciled on the surface, but the prediction is that there will be no evidence that, when examined carefully and closely and honestly, will be inherently impossible to reconcile with the six-day view.)

That isn’t a prediction, it’s confidence in your ability to come up with ad hoc “solutions” to any difficulties that the evidence poses to your firmly held beliefs.

I’m sure there are more predictions than this.

I’m sure there are an enormous number of predictions possible from Genesis, it’s just that none of them have panned out. Take the flood—there simply is no worldwide layer (which might have some few exceptions, naturally) of flood debris around the earth. Ergo, it didn’t happen, or at least it’s undetectable and thus of no use or interest to science.

Part of my research into the physical evidence involves learning more about what those predictions are.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/35s39o

Comment #183272

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 15, 2007 12:34 PM (e)

Where we really disagree is that I think God is deducible and you all (I haven’t heard any exceptions so far–where are all the non-naturalist Darwinists?) believe he is not.

See, “deducible” isn’t even used in science as you’re using it here. I touched on that previously, but you have such a poor reading comprehension (or are so intent on your own beliefs) that you ignore the fact that terms like “induction” or “Bayesian inference” (but this latter is used in a smaller subset of the totality of science) are utilized. Deductions can be made from inductively sound phenomena, it is true, however induction is the engine of science, and one does not deduce the origins of the universe at all.

Perhaps if you were to study up on induction you would gain a better understanding of science.

As far as some specific bases for my position on this point, see posts #177611 and #180588 of the earlier thread, “Is Creationism Child’s Play?” I got some responses to my arguments in these posts, scattered about broadly in these two threads.

Please try to understand that this is supposed to be a dialog. It is not supposed to be us responding to your remarks, and you repeating the same claims heedless of how we have responded to you. You haven’t begun to understand science and how it differs from philosophy, and how it differs most markedly from the ancient philosophies with their anthropocentric beliefs.

Eric, any more thoughts from you on any of this? I like your idea of seeing if the Christian vs. natualist starting points leads to different predictions of the empirical data.

There is no inherent difference between “Christian” and “naturalist”. Remember, the reasoning of theists doesn’t differ from that of science. It only does so when you deny normal thought processes to maintain your a priori beliefs.

One prediction of the six-day view would be that there will not be found any physical or empirical evidence that cannot be reconciled with a six-day view.

No, a prediction of six-day creation which is styled to be as scientific as possible would go something like this: “All but a small amount of evidence will be seen by reasonable people to converge upon a kind of design process, similar to human design, which occurred around six thousand years ago over a very short period, and the earth has essentially been unchanged except for obvious flood debris near or at the surface of the earth.” I bring in human-type design because that is all we know, and any that is unlike human design (I mean non-rational, non-novel, and without any apparent purpose) processes is unknown and presently unknowable to science.

What you are confused about, yet again, is that you are engaged solely in the practice of apologetics. Your capacity to invoke miracles to save your pet belief is not important to science, rather science is interested in what the evidence most reasonably points to.

(Of course, there might be evidence that can’t seem to be reconciled on the surface, but the prediction is that there will be no evidence that, when examined carefully and closely and honestly, will be inherently impossible to reconcile with the six-day view.)

That isn’t a prediction, it’s confidence in your ability to come up with ad hoc “solutions” to any difficulties that the evidence poses to your firmly held beliefs.

I’m sure there are more predictions than this.

I’m sure there are an enormous number of predictions possible from Genesis, it’s just that none of them have panned out. Take the flood—there simply is no worldwide layer (which might have some few exceptions, naturally) of flood debris around the earth. Ergo, it didn’t happen, or at least it’s undetectable and thus of no use or interest to science.

Part of my research into the physical evidence involves learning more about what those predictions are.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/35s39o

Comment #183274

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 15, 2007 12:37 PM (e)

Oops, sorry about the double post.

Part of my research into the physical evidence involves learning more about what those predictions are.

Now if you ever become serious about science, learn science and its methods, and try to approach the evidence without preconceptions, like creation and genesis. Only in that way will you do honest science.

Creationists have been working on this for a long time, and I believe they have come up with many predictions, many of which they believe have been fulfilled. You should look at their literature in a serious way to see if their claims have any substance, as I also am trying to do more thoroughly.

We have done so, and we’ve pointed you to sources which have done so and conveniently put a lot of those “looks at their literature” into single volumes and websites. Instead of your endless faith in the predictions which have so miserably failed, you should look honestly for once at the answers that have been given to you.

Thanatos, thank you for your recommendations. I do want to note, though, that in spite of a lot of assumptions to the contrary on this blog (which is not terribly surprising), I am not generally unlearned, ignorant, and/or stupid.

You have been shown repeatedly to be horribly unlearned and ignorant in your forays into this forum. I have no idea if you’re “stupid”, but you have made poor use of what intelligence you have in the matters discussed on these threads.

I have said I need to learn more about some of the specific areas of the specific physical evidence in geology and biology.

You need to learn the basics of geology, biology, and the scientific method.

But I have not said that I am ignorant of philosophy, history, physics, or the nature of science.

You can’t tell science and philosophy apart even though they’re labeled in such a manner to show that they differ substantially in emphases and in subject matter.

I understand the nature of science and the scientific method very well, and follow it myself very well, though you will of course disagree since you disagree with my views.

Well Thanatos is a bigot and a buffoon, so I can’t say what he’ll do (except that it’ll probably be ignorant, stupid, and attacking where it was neither called for nor where he understood what was written). But it is your utter lack of understanding of the scientific method that makes it impossible even to get across to you how philosophy is not science.

But, whether you believe it or not, I do know how to think scientifically and I do indeed think that way.

If you can’t learn from those of us who do think scientifically, as well as being able to think philosophically and theologically, there isn’t much point in discussing these issues with you any more (I respond to you for the sake of lurkers, etc.). Just learn the differences between philosophy and science for a start, and then try to learn what makes up science specifically.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/35s39o

Comment #183283

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 15, 2007 12:46 PM (e)

A-hole incompetent hater Thanatos wrote:

I apologise to Pt for the following huge and political post.I wrote it in the past after being insulted by Glen.I refrained from posting it in order to be civil and polite.
But Glen again made me mad so here it follows.
Again I apologise but…

Retarded buffoon Thanatos, it was your stupid and bigoted stereotyping that I objected to in the past, as you couldn’t make a sane comment about Americans, but rather had to spew your vindictive, ignorant, and stupid hatred even when intelligent points were being made.

Btw, I didn’t read your post (other than the typically stupid fare I quoted above), as you’re an addle-pated twit, who hates where he should learn. But I’m glad you included it, as it shows how emotions over-rule your “reason” and “judgment,” and it reveals your ignorance yet again (I can say that from reading your dull nonsense in the past).

Reveal your soul, fascist effing fool. Many of us have many criticisms of the US and of particular administrations or even of recent (and past, but they hardly are a major issue now) administrations in general, but we think, we don’t just spew vile like your vacant soul does.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/35s39o

Comment #183284

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 15, 2007 12:46 PM (e)

A-hole incompetent hater Thanatos wrote:

I apologise to Pt for the following huge and political post.I wrote it in the past after being insulted by Glen.I refrained from posting it in order to be civil and polite.
But Glen again made me mad so here it follows.
Again I apologise but…

Retarded buffoon Thanatos, it was your stupid and bigoted stereotyping that I objected to in the past, as you couldn’t make a sane comment about Americans, but rather had to spew your vindictive, ignorant, and stupid hatred even when intelligent points were being made.

Btw, I didn’t read your post (other than the typically stupid fare I quoted above), as you’re an addle-pated twit, who hates where he should learn. But I’m glad you included it, as it shows how emotions over-rule your “reason” and “judgment,” and it reveals your ignorance yet again (I can say that from reading your dull nonsense in the past).

Reveal your soul, fascist effing fool. Many of us have many criticisms of the US and of particular administrations or even of recent (and past, but they hardly are a major issue now) administrations in general, but we think, we don’t just spew bile like your vacant soul does.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/35s39o

Comment #183285

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 15, 2007 12:52 PM (e)

by the way
“I pass” is (at least here) poker slang.metaphorically used it means
in context “then no objection,I concur”

I know what it means in English, retard. It simply didn’t make sense in your moronic attack. Richard-head.

oh not to forget

1.Glen you’re a self-centered dogmatist

2.Glen f___ you

Wow, just as intelligent, thoughtful, and evidenced as the rest of your stupid and hateful bile. I’m sure it’s the best you can do, which is a sad commentary on the worth of you and your ignorance, filth, and debased nature.

I said you should comment if you have anything intelligent to say, not your rambling idiocies and “explanations” of the expression that you don’t know how to use in English prose.

Glen D
http://tinyur.com/35s39o

Comment #183286

Posted by Mike Elzinga on June 15, 2007 1:06 PM (e)

There is an aspect to ID/Creationist behavior that is reminiscent of cargo cults. The proselytizing sects that are drawn to ID/Creationism imitate the appearance of science without comprehending its substance.

These sects also imitate (almost to the point of caricature) other cultural phenomena such as various forms of popular music, dress, physical appearance, mannerisms, speech and other popular affectations.

Their prime purpose is hooking potential converts by using a familiar appearance (Angler fish, anyone?) or, when attempting to recruit individuals who ask tougher questions, the appearance of legitimate academic authority.

Trying to gain the appearance of scientific legitimacy is a losing strategy if it were directed at scientists. However, since it is directed at lay-people who tend to question things, the ID/Creationists need only to acquire the appearance of having done science and having creative new ideas in science.

Hence their practice sessions debating with people who not only know the words, but the substance as well. That way the ID/Creationists try to learn how to string together the words in a way that looks most like the scientific literacy they really despise.

With Mark we are also seeing the same tactic in trying to give the appearance of deep philosophical insight. Philosophy words are strung together, but the substance and context are missing. Now he is adding science words to his vocabulary. Does he care? He doesn’t have to. It is all ultimately for directing at a more naive audience.

Comment #183299

Posted by Thanatos on June 15, 2007 2:48 PM (e)

glen
I don’t pretend to be infallible or know-it-all-ist,contrary to you.
I have apologised many times to many when
I was being overly passionate and unjust,
contrary to you.
I don’t claim to be holding the truth,contrary to you.
I try to be polite(I admit I don’t always accomplish that) even if I disagree with someone,contrary to you.
I haven’t declared that my views (whatever they may be) represent all (true) scientists(in fact they don’t),contrary to you(directly or indirectly).
(this along with some of the above is ludicrous ,you being antiplatonist and “antitruthist”)
I have many times declared that english isn’t my native tongue(it’s obvious) and apologised for any mistakes.Anyway why must I be perfectly fluent in english?
Do you speak greek(fluently or not)?
who is what,is obvious when one has followed the history of our communications.

I know ,I’m aware of many american social realities,issues,problems etc.
I might add that some modern american like Sagan,Feynman are my personal heros.
Some public personae like Stewart and Colbert make me laugh endlessly.
Could you please say to me with who which neohellen do you relate?
Do you know anything about modern greece? About greco-american relations?
About european or balkan or mediterranean realities?
About how all this issues relate with american policies?
Do you you know how your country crucially effects my personal everyday life?
Do you have any idea of the sufferings due to USA(“Bushian” or not)
of my nation and people?Of the world?
These are not academical issues for me ,for my nation or for the rest of the world.
It’s everyday problems caused by people oceans and continents away.
keep living in your dreamworld,live and let die,
keep consuming the planet and believe you’re innocent ,different and just.
oh what a phantasy world!!!

anyway the above questions are rhetorical,
I don’t expect an answer,and if there will be an answer I won’t answer.
I’ve tried to be civil and polite with you but it has been totally futile.
there is no reason for me to keep communicating with you,
bye

Comment #183308

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 15, 2007 3:50 PM (e)

glen
I don’t pretend to be infallible or know-it-all-ist,contrary to you.

So you start listing your great qualities with a flat-out lie. I’m not a know-it-all, of course, but I do stick with what I know when stupid gits like you start spouting your bigotry and faith in metaphysics. I learned your philosophy, you know, I just learned what was wrong with it as well.

I have apologised many times to many when
I was being overly passionate and unjust,
contrary to you.

You need to apologize, whereas I rarely do. But then you mean only to accuse without sufficient evidence and argumentation to back up your vile lies, so this is par for you.

I don’t claim to be holding the truth,contrary to you.

You shouldn’t claim to be holding the truth, though you frequently do claim to be.

Indeed, I never apologize for telling the truth, especially when you’re telling another of your many lies in response to what I write.

I try to be polite(I admit I don’t always accomplish that) even if I disagree with someone,contrary to you.

]

I try to be polite with those who deserve it, and more importantly, I don’t make the stupid and unwarranted attacks which are your wont. But you may as well continue on with your lies, as you haven’t begun to deal honestly or forthrightly with me.

I haven’t declared that my views (whatever they may be) represent all (true) scientists(in fact they don’t),contrary to you(directly or indirectly).

Just another bilious lie from the bigoted hater.

(this along with some of the above is ludicrous ,you being antiplatonist and “anitruthist”)

See, it’s just that kind of hideous misrepresentation by the cretin who thinks he’s right about philosophies he’s never studied that indicate that you’ll never be better than the pseudoscientists you fault.

I have many times declared that english isn’t my native tongue(it’s obvious) and apologised for any mistakes.Anyway why must I be perfectly fluent in english?

When you fault me over something you don’t even understand, due either to belief in the truth of metaphysics or your lack of English skills, I have cause to point out the unfairness of the attack. Don’t be obtuse about absolutely everything, you bozo.

Do you speak greek(fluently or not)?

Was I erroneously faulting you for what you’ve written in Greek, you obtuse buffoon? Deal with context, moron, instead of throwing up still more of your mindless strawmen.

And anyhow, I knew from the beginning that your pseudonym means “death” in Greek, for I have studied Greek partly to study philosophy. Not that this has anything to do with your strawman attack.

who is what,is obvious when one has followed the history of our communications.

Yes, you’re a poorly educated git who attacks me for knowing more about philosophy than you do.

I know ,I’m aware of many american social realities,issues,problems etc.

Your hatred of America, and straining to attack whatever you can about it, is obvious. Intelligent consideration of American problems is not apparent in your postings.

I might add that some modern american like Sagan,Feynman are my personal heros.
Some public personae like Stewart and Colbert make me laugh endlessly.

And I bet some of your best friends are black/American/Jewish, whatever.

Could you please say to me with who which neohellen do you relate?

Could you please tell me what this has to do with your stereotyped hatred of Americans? I haven’t attacked Greeks, you’re the fascist who hates America.

For what it’s worth, as a neo-hellen I have related most to Thomas at New School University, a Greek student from Athens. You know New School University, where they teach the continental philosophy that I learned and that you despise without understanding. We often agreed on American foreign policy, notably on the ill-treatment of the Palestinians.

New School University is sometimes called a third-world spot in America, for not only does it have Americans, Greeks, and other relative first-worlders, it also has a number of students from arab countries, Africa, Asia, etc.

Do you know anything about modern greece?

Of course I do, and I resent your stereotyped bigotry that assumes that I as an American would not.

I roomed with a Greek-American (Peter Gilbert—yes, half-Greek) at St. John’s college as well, I should point out. He’s a Greek who’d kept reasonably close to his heritage (he was something of a Greek Orthodox theologian) and taught in Albania (you know, where so many Greeks are) up until the point where it was no longer safe to do so.

About greco-american relations?

Not a lot about that, indeed, though the Cyprus issue festers, and American support for brutal dictators of the past is remembered in Greece.

Not that this has anything to do with your rank bigotry, stupid git.

About european or balkan or mediterranean realities?

Probably more than you do, or at least I can deal more intelligently with these than you can with all of your inadequacies.

About how all this issues relate with american policies?

Probably as much as you do, as no bigot such as you can learn things in an intelligent manner.

Not that this has much to do with your plethora of intellectual sins, misrepresentations, outright lies, and stupid attacks.

Do you you know how your country crucially effects my personal everyday life?
Do you have any idea of the sufferings due to USA(“Bushian” or not)
of my nation and people?Of the world?

Frankly, I doubt that my country crucially affects your personal everyday life, except in your bigoted reactions and lies about Americans.

And I already said that many of us have many criticisms of US foreign policy and that we think. Just because you’re too dumb and close-minded to accept an honest statement doesn’t justify your continued stereotypical attack upon me just because I’m “American,” prejudicial moron.

These are not academical issues for me ,for my nation or for the rest of the world.
It’s everyday problems caused by people oceans and continents away.
keep living in your dreamworld,live and let die,
keep consuming the planet and believe you’re innocent ,different and just.
oh what a phantasy world!!!

They’re not “academical” (again you reveal you inability to deal well with English) to me either, but guess what? I don’t make policy, and I’m not exactly the type who thinks that “democracy” means that even the people collectively do so.

You drone stupidly on, however, without paying any attention to the context in which I exist. You only want to attack, not to understand, which is the way with bigots.

anyway the above questions are rhetorical,

You mean because you don’t even care what the actual situation is, you just want to whine, complain, and attack.

I don’t expect an answer,and if there will be an answer I won’t answer.

I hope not. You’ve lied enough here for at least one thread.

I’ve tried to be civil and polite

If you have indeed, then you know as much about that as you do about philosophy, the English language, and this particular American who you stereotype into your bigoted vision of “Americans”.

with you but it has been totally futile.

“Polite” lies are not polite, cretin. This is something that many of us understand (Cordova, etc.), and yet another aspect of the world that you fail to comprehend.

there is no reason for me to keep communicating with you,

Communication isn’t constituted of a string of lies, misrepresentations, and strawman attacks. I’ve communicated, you’ve attacked.

bye

Good riddance, grotesque fascist. You have not once fulfilled my desire for an intelligent unbiased response, instead you insinuate the same nonsense that you cannot prevent due to your stereotyping prejudices.

You could have left well enough alone, you know, as I don’t really care to deal with you or your general lack of comprehension. I didn’t attack you, you attacked me, unfairly and without due consideration of context. You misrepresented my position on “reality” with your blunt incomprehension, and called what you don’t begin to understand “stupid.”

Since you’re too stupid even to refrain from attacking in your incomprehension and thick fog of misapprehensions about philosopy, what do you expect from me?

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/35s39o

Comment #183326

Posted by GuyeFaux on June 15, 2007 5:14 PM (e)

Thanatos wrote:

Perhaps I’m stupid,prejudised or-and a dogmatist.

You’ve dispelled the ambiguity implied by “perhaps”.

Comment #183327

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 15, 2007 5:46 PM (e)

Comment #183270

nice post, Glen.

Comment #183328

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 15, 2007 5:50 PM (e)

What is probably the most amazing fact in your dealing with these matters is that you can’t differentiate between clearly labeled philosophy and clearly labeled science.

that appears to be a commonality amongst ALL creationists. The amazing thing to me isn’t so much its ubiquitousness, so much as it appears to be entirely unconscious on their part.

how can one argue effectively against a position based on essentially unconscious assumptions?

Comment #183346

Posted by Thanatos on June 15, 2007 9:44 PM (e)

By replying I admit of being very weak, but the dux of stupidity is so ludicrous that I just can’t help myself.
Next time I’ll try to keep my pledge.

let’s see

Supergenius Glen didn’t answer to anything I posted in comment #183259 because

Glen Davidson wrote:

(other than the typically stupid fare I quoted above), as you’re an addle-pated twit, who hates where he should learn. But I’m glad you included it, as it shows how emotions over-rule your “reason” and “judgment”, and it reveals your ignorance yet again (I can say that from reading your dull nonsense in the past)

This is of course self evident proof of his intellectual might.

Then he stated

Many of us have many criticisms of the US and of particular administrations or even of recent (and past, but they hardly are a major issue now)

Simple criticism equals to BS.The same way you energetically oppose,form groups against,post,get organised over the internet,support political parties, et cetera et cetera fighting creationism(including ID) ,the same way ,if you are indeed a democrat (literally) and anti-imperialist,you should fight your country’s imperialist and fascist actions and policies over global issues.In fact even more, cause human lifes are at stake.This is like saying in front of a camera “oh,how deeply I empathise with the dying starving poor africans” and away from the camera throwing away most of the food uneaten,(spending more money as a nation on dog food rather than on humanitarian cause) and remaining plainly egoistic.
The parenthesised text is plain evidence of ignorance on your present foreign policies.

next the self proclaimed king of intellectual clarity wrote

I know what it means in English, retard. It simply didn’t make sense in your moronic attack. Richard-head.

So in other words the metaphor is valid but it doesn’t make sense.
And let’s say that in english it is totally wrong.
(not being a native anglophone I’m not of course an authority on this)
Although you have a minimal IQ enough to understand what I meant your argument was that it didn’t make sense.So again you’re just accusing me of poor command of the english language.Something that I have many times admitted (may be not poor but at least not very fluent in writing)
A brilliant philosophical argument!

continuing Glen wrote

Of course what I meant is that empirical confirmation is what matters in the end, and I have no idea why you’d conjure up any other sort of miraculous ideas in your mind which are so disconnected from, you know, the written word.

so the following are of course my mad miraculous ideas

Glen Davidson wrote:

Mark Hausam wrote:

It seems to me that science works in two different directions. Sometimes you build a hypothesis based on observations, then the hypoethesis makes predictions, and if the predictions come true the hypothesis is confirmed. Other times, science involves logical deduction to devise an explanation for observed phenomena.

No, it doesn’t work that way. It may seem like it, since sometimes science operates without conducting experiments or observations specifically for its conclusions, but the only difference is what evidence is already available.
The fact is that observations are not done “bare” any more than reinterpretations of the evidence are, for one has to take into account what is known about physics, chemistry, biology, etc., even to make a legitimate observation.

Let’s say that I misunderstood Glen,couldn’t he just say “Thanate you have misunderstood me…”Does my comment

Glen Davidson wrote:

No, it doesn’t work that way. It may seem like it, since sometimes science operates without conducting experiments or observations specifically for its conclusions, but the only difference is what evidence is already available.

Glen you’re wrong;although Mark uses the few logical arguments
he makes ,ultimately to irrational ends,
ping-pongs from hypothesis to data,
and inductive to deductive,analytic to synthetic reasoning
and vice versa is very common in science.
Of course in the end,empirical-data confirmation is what matters.
If that is what you meant ,I pass.

qualify as an attack?
Normal mentally healthy people from time to time disagree or miscomprehend each other;if each time in disagreement people behaved like Glen does ,well human population would be considerably small.Glen did you forget to take your pills?

Furthermore we have (it’s comment #183253,I’ve not included quotes of me)
this comment by his excellency

Oh, so you read the context after shooting your mouth off. Better late than never, I suppose.

Yes swear first and then read on,it’s like shoot first then ask questions,

As context-free as your former idiotic accusation. Whether it’s your bigoted and stereotypical hatred of Americans, your rambling bad English, and your logocentrism, I fail to see much value in your posts.

although I’m certainly no genious you should have your eyes and brain checked .

Not from within your tinfoil hat and pidgin English. Your “ping-pongs” are as addled conceptually as they are stilted English.

again I’ve sinned,mi eengliss ees not goud.

No it doesn’t, lackwit, because the scientific method isn’t dualistic. Mathematics deals with the abstractions of “reality” that we conceptualize, and whether or not we use numerical methods or geometrical manipulations of our abstractions, the process is largely one of abstract analysis and synthesis.
I’d expect such dualistic nonsense from a logocentrist, since logocentrism is largely a mistake of dualism, notably of Platonic dualism.

So let me understand,the meaning of this text is very unclear to me,isn’t empirical data important,what are you ,a dreadful Platonist?
You stupid ass by dualistic (note that I prescribed “pseudo or not”)
I meant (and its obvious) mathematics(including obviously geometry)-logic vs empiricical data-confirmation.Since our “logical” brain is (or seems to be) a part of nature the dichotomy is strange and perhaps false.But the problem hasn’t been solved (at least totally).For a plainly intelligent human that would be rational but for people of “IQ radikioy” ( funny greek rhyme meaning IQ of somekind of vegetable) like Glen this is logocentrism.
As for the “mistake of dualism” and the falsification of “platonic dualism” where is the scientific objective proof ,you ignorant? Kant proved nothing ,he is great,but his philosophy is as (equally) unproved and perhaps unprovable(unverifiable or unfalsifiable) as platonic dualism or any other major philosophical school views are.Perhaps a superposition of principles is more possible or probable.(I’m not rediscovering America,this view is evidently not new)

Moving on we have

Mostly you’re stupid, uneducated, with a poor command of the language used here, and too close-minded and unintelligent even to try to understand the issues involved in what I was discussing. In your usual addled way you reduce what I have claimed down to your ignorant and bigoted stupidity, and you totally lack the means to deal honestly and intelligently with philosophical issues.

again swearing,(erroneous) guessing,projecting,using the “your english is bad” argument,ingenious,

I don’t doubt that you’re a proxy, meaning, in my interpretation of such a misplaced word, that you’re not a real intellectual, just a proxy poseur whose ignorance shines forth like a gamma-ray burst. Otherwise, of course, “proxy” is as ill-used as is your “philosophical knowledge,” your pidgin English, and your stupidity in merely attacking where you are so obviously ignorant even about what I write about philosophically.

again using the “your english is very poor” argument,then a plain stupid metaphor(it’s not really a metaphor,I’m not sure on what is the correct word,simile?),wow Glen knows about gamma rays!!! isn’t that cool?,
claims of “attacks” that show obviously the presence of paranoid schizophrenia,
and then of course the argument from authority “I’m the king of Philosophy”
continuing

If you ever have anything intelligent and educated to say to me, instead of shooting off your mouth with your mindless ignorance, please do so. Until then, why don’t you just ramble on in your ignorance. You do little harm when responding to Mark, because even your very poor understanding of philosophy beats Marks even poorer understanding of philosophy and science.

we have again the usual illusion of grandeur “I’m the Emperor of philosophy ,you know sh__” and the projection on others of ignorance(both of philosophy and science)

next in comment #183268 we read

I am denying the assumptions made by the unlearned Thanatos the learned Plato and Aristotle, and the great thinker St. Thomas Aquinas.

besides the obvious projection and paranoia here(at least his majesty concedes that some ancient folks although wrong were learned), comment #183173 must be noted

Thanatos wrote:

Glen ie that has many times declared not believing
in reality,ontology and metaphysics (if I may be a proxy)
will discard this view as faulty,useless and perhaps stupid. :-)
(Glen am I wrong?)

(the bolded phrase was not initially bolded) because there I specifically asked Glen whether I misrepresented him.Not that I really did(at least not overly) since many times in PT threads (including this one) Glen has atteacked realism,ontology and metaphysics.
After that Glen posts commenting on Mark.Although at most major points I agree with him what strikes me is his general acceptance of religion as sound-legitimate when at the same time he thinks metaphysics is-are void.
let’s focus on

Well Thanatos is a bigot and a buffoon, so I can’t say what he’ll do (except that it’ll probably be ignorant, stupid, and attacking where it was neither called for nor where he understood what was written).

ok we have again psychotic swearing,paranoia,projecting and prediction on the borderline of being an oracle.
Continuing we have

Retarded buffoon Thanatos, it was your stupid and bigoted stereotyping that I objected to in the past, as you couldn’t make a sane comment about Americans, but rather had to spew your vindictive, ignorant, and stupid hatred even when intelligent points were being made.

I admit that I at the time I used I stereotypical antiamerican answer(I also admitted that in that thread and apologised for it to others) but this was caused by his unprovoked barbarocity(that was my first encounter with Glen ,I didn’t know till then how barbarous and paranoid he is)
Reading,following the exchange in that thread of comments is very clarifying.
continuing arch-duke of moroi wrote

Btw, I didn’t read your post (other than the typically stupid fare I quoted above), as you’re an addle-pated twit, who hates where he should learn. But I’m glad you included it, as it shows how emotions over-rule your “reason” and “judgment,” and it reveals your ignorance yet again (I can say that from reading your dull nonsense in the past).
Reveal your soul, fascist effing fool. Many of us have many criticisms of the US and of particular administrations or even of recent (and past, but they hardly are a major issue now) administrations in general, but we think, we don’t just spew bile like your vacant soul does.

So (as previously noted)he didn’t read what I wrote.Nevertheless he can SEE.
Being a prophet can be very helpful.
I can’t stop thinking that this pretty much resembles usual creatonist or fanatic attitude.
As for accusations of fascism ,my answer is that whether I am a Communist,Fascist,Democrat,Capitalist,Socialist,Nazi,Extremist,Anarchist or Taliban is irrelevant and unimportant.My main concern is not to live in or get any close to the fascist imperialistic capitalistic racist nazi militarist USA.By that I of course I mean your presence in the global human enviroment and history as a whole,as a country.I don’t mean that all Americans are fascist imperialist capitalist racist nazi militarist pigs.
Nevetheless citizens of a democracy (infact my opinion is that all humans are more or less responsiple regardless of the regime of their country) are responsible for-of the actions of their leaders.(that is of course obviously valid for all,including me,including greece and greeks)

The following comments by Glen the jerk are either already addressed or too long(anyway they are worthless,being over and over the same swearing,paranoid schizophrenia and I-know-it-all-ness).
But let me focus in just a few key phrases (comment 183308)

king of stupidity wrote:

Thanatos wrote:

glen
I don’t pretend to be infallible or know-it-all-ist,contrary to you.

So you start listing your great qualities with a flat-out lie. I’m not a know-it-all, of course, but I do stick with what I know when stupid gits like you start spouting your bigotry and faith in metaphysics. I learned your philosophy, you know, I just learned what was wrong with it as well.

Yes Glen ,I’m guilty,I lied, you’re not infallible nor know-it-all-ist,
you’re not always right,you don’t own the truth,it is just that all others are always wrong and know nothing .
“I learned your philosophy, you know, I just learned what was wrong with it as well.”
Yeah the Great Glen has spoken,he is the bearer of the Holy Criterion,Divine Ruler of philosophical matters,he is Wise,Ho Sophotatos ton Sophotaton.
What endless generations of humans have not yet been able to resolve,Glen dismisses in a few words.And with what ease,what beauty! Metaphysics are wrong;not true,not possible,not even non-falsifiable,just wrong.Oh world,fear not,Glen is here!

moving on

And anyhow, I knew from the beginning that your pseudonym means “death” in Greek, for I have studied Greek partly to study philosophy. Not that this has anything to do with your strawman attack.

Oh Lord he knows what “Thanatos” means,so therefore he indeed speaks greek!
A wonderful proof of multilinguality
And he studied Greek to study philosophy,so his knowledge and command of greek must be infinite!!!
What a moros I am,in a few courses he must have surely learned to speak Greek fluently ( regardless of that the context of my question of whether he speaks greek evidently meant neohellenic not ancient on which I’m guessing he attended some classes)
After all greek compared to english, is easy to learn.He was indeed just when accusing me of ill knowledge of english.

continuing

For what it’s worth, as a neo-hellen I have related most to Thomas at New School University, a Greek student from Athens

This is hilarious,mentioning that I regard prominent americans as personal heros(Sagan,Feynman) and totally admirable ultrafunny comedians(Stewart and Colbert) ,I asked him with whom neohellen he relates to,that is which prominent neohellen he admires etc (if I was dubious in correctly expressing this in english,understanding what I meant is by the context obvious),and he answers to me saying that he once knew a greek-american and a greek student .That’s great.
Good for you Glen.

moving on to another revelation

Glen the retarded fool wrote:

and I’m not exactly the type who thinks that “democracy” means that even the people collectively do so.

I thought that “democracy” means “rule,power of the people”,well,I guess I was wrong

He also proves and shares with us his infinite knowledge(having been rhetoricaly asked by me)
by writing phrases like these:

Ho Archiblax wrote:

Not a lot about that, indeed, though the Cyprus issue festers, and American support for brutal dictators of the past is remembered in Greece.Not that this has anything to do with your rank bigotry, stupid git.

Frankly, I doubt that my country crucially affects your personal everyday life, except in your bigoted reactions and lies about Americans.And I already said that many of us have many criticisms of US foreign policy and that we think. Just because you’re too dumb and close-minded to accept an honest statement doesn’t justify your continued stereotypical attack upon me just because I’m “American,” prejudicial moron.

Conclusion
Glen you shouldn’t have stopped taking your pills!!!
They are goooooood fooooor-tooooo yoouu

P.S.1 To readers others than Glen I apologise for any grammatical or of any other kind of errors-mistakes made.

P.S.2 It’s a very tiresome but entertaining effort to try to count how many times Glen swears (calls people stupid etc…) in just this thread(not just to me).In fact since this is hardly a one-time habit of his,I would be very curious to see his total pandathumb scatological record

P.S.3 Having written this I conclude that in the future I must fight to refrain myself from answering-replying to this barbarous paranoid dogmatist self centered fool ,cause it is futile,overly time consuming and worthlessly boring and tiresome.
(ok I admit it’s not that boring, his stupidity after the initial shock is very funny)

Comment #183347

Posted by Thanatos on June 15, 2007 9:52 PM (e)

GuyeFaux wrote:

You’ve dispelled the ambiguity implied by “perhaps”.

may be so BUT
care to answer to what I wrote in that comment?
Or you just magically dispelled it?

Comment #183357

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 16, 2007 12:53 AM (e)

I know what it means in English, retard. It simply didn’t make sense in your moronic attack. Richard-head.

So in other words the metaphor is valid but it doesn’t make sense.

no, he’s saying he understands what metaphor you were using, but that it had no logical context in the post you used it in.

if you’re gonna attack him, at least interpret what you are attacking correctly.

now then… roll on.

Comment #183359

Posted by Thanatos on June 16, 2007 12:56 AM (e)

As an addendum
I think I’ve got why Glen is so transfixed with my alleged logocentrism.
Being (I’m guessing from his stated-posted words,I’m no prophet,nor genius) a fanatic-dogmatic follower
of some branch of non-realism-positivism-instrumentalism-common language philosophy-…
he totally discards metaphysics.
But he can’t really deal with
axiomatic principles like causality,verifiability,falsifiability,parsimony that
for any “follower” of science and philosophy(including open minded legitimate positivists etc)
belong to the realm of metaphysics.(at least until now,so far)
(this links to a Mark Perakh article with which I don’t fully agree-and of course
I don’t demand that Dr Perakh should agree with me- but nevertheless
is philosophically-scientifically sound,not to mention a wonderful work)
He can’t base them on,deduce them from science
(may be he just somehow correlates them without proof)
so what he cunningly (the fool) constructs
inside his brain is perhaps something like this (which is of course plainly wrong) :
Metaphysics are wrong since they are not scientific.
Questioning the (metaphysical) essence of concepts
like the ones mentioned is plainly a unscientific rumbling with words,that is logocentrism.
In other words since questioning causality etc is not scientific (or falsifiable?)
causality itself is not metaphysical.
It’s perhaps just a useful abstract tool that although now unproven, in the future science will
explain-prove it ,so since it will be scientifically proven,there’s no need
to regard it now as metaphysical.Then generalising thusly for all -at the present-
metaphysical hypotheses,there is no reason to accept at the present any metaphysics.
So ,ending my wild goose chase,the only way
(this uniqueness is not certain,perhaps he’s got many other magical words up his sleeve)
for him to escape metaphysical problems is to call them logocentric.

I don’t claim of course of having really gotten into his mind and head.
I’m just trying to understand how he dismisses philosophy 101 issues so easily.
Any other ideas?(glen I’m not asking you)

In other examples and topics
I don’t know how he would try to escape the intrinsic “logocentrism” of mathematics
or how would he react if an IDiot named him logocentrist after having
asked for a strict definition of “information”.

Comment #183361

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 16, 2007 1:04 AM (e)

he totally discards metaphysics.

I do too.

I (usually) have a different response mechanism, though.

ergo, I think your theory about relating that to an understanding of basic philosophical principles is a false one.

you’re simply not going to solve why Glen posts the way he does by making assumptions about his knowledge of philosophy, cause actually, it’s pretty damn good.

I rather suggest that what you are attempting to do is completely unproductive, both to this thread, and in general, and you’d be far better off just leaving it be.

Comment #183362

Posted by Thanatos on June 16, 2007 1:16 AM (e)

Sir_Toejam wrote:

no, he’s saying he understands what metaphor you were using, but that it had no logical context in the post you used it in.
if you’re gonna attack him, at least interpret what you are attacking correctly.
now then… roll on.

dear Sir_Toejam
I understood what he said,I just answered that despite my erroneous phrasing-writing
since he got what I meant, using that argument is just plainly “your english sucks”.
Anyway ,english when compared to my language is very restrictive
on metaphors and on using words,phrases in context(among many other things).
-in my language there no apparent lack of logical context,
-we can just say “paso” or “tote paso”
Hence ,lacking serious practice,oftenly I err.

ci vediamo,
here is saturday morning 09:00,I haven’t slept all night,
I want to get out this evening, therefore off I go to bed,sleeeeep

Comment #183363

Posted by Thanatos on June 16, 2007 1:32 AM (e)

last call

he totally discards metaphysics.
I do too.
I (usually) have a different response mechanism, though.
ergo, I think your theory about relating that to an understanding of basic philosophical principles is a false one.
you’re simply not going to solve why Glen posts the way he does by making assumptions about his knowledge of philosophy, cause actually, it’s pretty damn good.
I rather suggest that what you are attempting to do is completely unproductive, both to this thread, and in general, and you’d be far better off just leaving it be.

I totally respect your opinion,I also totally respect Glen’s opinion.
Non-realism,total disregard of metaphysics etc are perfectly sound and legitimate.
What I don’t respect is Glen’s total disrespect of
realism,platonism et cetera ,and his claim that the non-“existence” of metaphysics etc
has really been (in an objective logical and/or scientific way) proven.
And of course I totally disrespect Glen’s barbarous uncaused swearing-naming.
His total disrespect of me.
Anyway
no problem in just leaving it be.
off to sleep…
see you

Comment #183380

Posted by David Stanton on June 16, 2007 7:43 AM (e)

Well, just as I predicted over a week ago, another three hundred plus thread down the tubes with absolutely nothing to show for it. Before this thread closes for good, let’s summarize shall we? Here is the evidence that various posters have presented that Mark has absolutely no answers for:

tree rings
ice cores
pollen stratigraphy
continental drift
magnetic field reversals
radiometric dating
the geologic column
fossils (including intermediate forms)
gravitational lensing
phylogenetics and the tree of life
genetics (including retroviral transposons)

Feel free to add to the list if I have left out anything.

Of course, in his world, the Bible is still literally true, the earth is about 6,000 years old and there was a world-wide flood about 4,000 years ago. Well, here’s a news flash, anyone who thinks that “Whatsoever a man soweth that also shall he reap” is meant as agricultural advice has missed the point entirely. By disregarding all the evidence, Mark has reduced his God to the point that no rational person would want to worship her. In the immortal words of Matt Dillon, “There’s a lot of words in that book you aint livin by”.

If Mark does decide to grace us with his presence again, I would suggest that we avoid all discussion of the Bible, naturalism, philosophy, etc. He can get his own web site for that. I would however recommend that we list the questions he has failed to answer again and again and again. Eventually the excuse of not having enough time will wear pretty thin.

Comment #183389

Posted by Mark Hausam on June 16, 2007 8:39 AM (e)

I do agree that science is different from philosophy–they have different focuses and emphases. I do, however, think that they are much more similar than they are different They both study the real world, the real universe, and try to understand that world. And (if we are dealing with what I would consider good philosophy) they both have the same basic methodology in a broad sense. That is, they both rely on evidence-based reasoning, starting from the known, learning more about the known, reasoning to the unknown, etc.

I differ with many here in that I believe that much of the historic, metaphysical theistic reasoning works. (I don’t agree with every argument advanced by every theist, of course, including Thomas Aquinas.) I think that such reasoning is really nothing more than a deep and intense form of logical thinking based on valid observation. This difference between us has profuund implications epistemologically, and leads us to view what is considered evidence very differently. I don’t think this is the only difference between us, but it does seem to be a major one.

I don’t believe it is possible to escape metaphysics. No one really avoids it. As Thanatos suggests (if I understand him right–I apologize if I’ve gotten him wrong here), it is metaphysical reasoning that establishes everything else. For example, belief that the external world is real depends on metaphysical reasoning. It is a metaphysical position about the nature of reality. No metaphysics at all would mean no belief about the existence of the external world. Another example is Last Thursdayism. A person who denies metaphysical reasoning has no ability to fefute Last Thursdayism. For such a person, LTism is just as logical a position as the real existence of the past (beyond last Thursday). The choice between belief in the past and LTism is a metaphysical choice–it cannot be made by empirical observation apart from metaphysics. My metaphysical, philosophical reasoning gives me a foundation on which to show the errors of LTism and so rationally reject it. Without metaphysical reasoning, LTism is no more or less probable than the existence of the past. In fact, as I said, you can know nothing without metaphysical reasoning, because it is the sort of foundational reasoning that establishes the very nature of the empirical world that is the observational basis of science. For science to claim knowledge, it must deal with metaphysics. If it doesn’t claim knowledge, it is nothing more than a hobby some people like to do that has no more reason to be trusted than reading fairy-tales.

Mark

Comment #183392

Posted by David Stanton on June 16, 2007 9:23 AM (e)

Prosectution:

So, in conclusioin your honor, all of the evidence shows that the defendant is guilty. Fingerprints, tire tracks, trace evidence, ballistics, blood spatter analysis, footprints, hand writing analysis, forensic entomology, phone records, bank records, credit card records and last but not least DNA evidence all conclusively demonstrate that the suspect is guilty beyond all resonable doubt. And he doesn’t have an alibi but he does have a very strong motive for committing the crime.

Judge:

What do you have to say for yourself before I pronounce sentence?

Defendant:

In fact, as I said, you can know nothing without metaphysical reasoning, because it is the sort of foundational reasoning that establishes the very nature of the empirical world that is the observational basis of science. For science to claim knowledge, it must deal with metaphysics. If it doesn’t claim knowledge, it is nothing more than a hobby some people like to do that has no more reason to be trusted than reading fairy-tales.

Judge:

Guilty as charged. I sentence you to life in ignorance.

Comment #183396

Posted by Eric Finn on June 16, 2007 9:54 AM (e)

Mark,

You may be right that there is a metaphysical component in every kind of thinking, including science. We need to believe in the existence of the external world, to start with.

I feel that the origin of science might be in observations on where to find game to hunt, when are the animals there, how do they behave, where do the plants that we can eat grow. Sort of practical issues.
Even today, I see science as mostly a practical thing. Knowledge enables us to travel faster, to cure diseases, to control our environment more efficiently (including destroying it) and to fight our enemies. The thing called “pure science” is potentially useful knowledge, still lacking practical applications, but they may come later.

To me, religion addresses questions, such as “Why does the universe exist?”, “What is the purpose of the universe?”. These are valid questions, but not very practical or “scientific” ones. Science is more interested in how the universe works.

There are quite a few religions with written texts. Their descriptions of the world and the universe do differ. The descriptions are not generally thought to serve as handbooks in scientific matters. They are more often thought to relay other messages.

I do agree with David Stanton that you should address at least one of the items he presented.
Also, I would like you to comment on my earlier question (not directed specially to you) that the appearance of age and history, if perfect and consistent in all respects, would amount to true age and history for any practical purpose.

Regards
Eric

Comment #183399

Posted by Science Avenger on June 16, 2007 11:44 AM (e)

Has the ID movement become so weak that we’re willing to spend 300+ posts on this nonsense? Science and philosophy more similar than they are different? To borrow a phrase from Christopher Hitchens, that’s the sort of thing that should be utterred by a guy on the street corner selling pencils out of a tin cup, not someone engaging in serious discourse with educated intelligent people in the 21st century.

Comment #183401

Posted by Mike Elzinga on June 16, 2007 12:15 PM (e)

Mark’s last post (#183389) makes it appear as though he got his philosophy education from the bottom of a cereal box.

For example, belief that the external world is real depends on metaphysical reasoning. It is a metaphysical position about the nature of reality. No metaphysics at all would mean no belief about the existence of the external world.

What kind of metaphysics do bats, dolphins, trees, bacteria and other life forms have? Does the world not exist for them? Do they navigate on metaphysics? If not, why are they successful?

Never thought about pure solipsism? What’s the escape route?

Doesn’t know much about Aquinas or any other philosopher.

My metaphysical, philosophical reasoning gives me a foundation on which to show the errors of LTism and so rationally reject it.

But, in fact, you haven’t done this exercise; you haven’t demonstrated explicitly how you reject Last Thursdayism. The reason you haven’t done this is because you haven’t the slightest idea of how to do it. What is more, you don’t even know why you don’t have the slightest idea. You have no idea of what your “metaphysics” includes or excludes.

You really need to stop pretending. Whatever your “metaphysics” is, it certainly doesn’t allow you to see how stupid you appear to everyone else. Don’t fake philosophical knowledge in front of people who know things you can’t even imagine.

Comment #183412

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 16, 2007 1:28 PM (e)

another three hundred plus thread down the tubes with absolutely nothing to show for it.

now now, as Nick says:

Usually this sort of person is about six months away from complete deconversion from creationism.

so all you have to do is stick this out for another 5 months or so, and voila!; you’ll see him drop the scales from his eyes and watch him join the enlightenment age!

I mean just look at AFDave, who has used the exact “appearance of age” argument over 2 years ago, and is still posting massive threads over on dawkins.net after we finally got tired of him after a year on ATBC a year ago.

oh, wait…

Comment #183418

Posted by Mark Hausam on June 16, 2007 2:28 PM (e)

“To me, religion addresses questions, such as “Why does the universe exist?”, “What is the purpose of the universe?”. These are valid questions, but not very practical or “scientific” ones. Science is more interested in how the universe works.”

Yes, it is true that philosophy and religion generally (though not always) deal more with ultimate questions, and science usually (though not always) deals with more particular investigations of the physical world, often with the goal of pratical use of the physical world. However, we can’t compartmentalize entirely. Knowledge gained in one area can and often does affect our views in another area, such as the issue of metaphysics and the existence of the physical world. Also, if the evidence from a study of ultimate things were to lead to the knowledge of a revelation, as I’ve mentioned before, that could affect our understanding of the physical world.

“There are quite a few religions with written texts. Their descriptions of the world and the universe do differ.”

Yes, so we must look at all the available evidence from all sources to determine which one(s) are true and which are false.

“I do agree with David Stanton that you should address at least one of the items he presented.”

We have addressed some things along these lines in this and the earlier thread. I am very interested in addressing (for myself and others) all of the items David has presented. As I’ve already mentioned, this is a slow process. It is not possible to deal with just one of the items at a time, typically. Many of them are tied together, and what I need to do is get a better grasp of the underlying processes and ideas from which these particular arguments spring. I’ve tried to do this in the context of this thread to some degree, but usually that has resulted in irritation that I am not moving fast enough or that my ideas don’t reflect complete knowledge of all the areas of study. If other people here really want to do it, I would be quite happy to take a particular issue and focus some research on it, using it as a springboard for the broader category of issues. I did start to do this in the previous thread to some degree. But this will be a thorough and painstaking process. My educated guess based on previous experience is that people here don’t want to take the time to walk with me through this to the degree necessary. They would rather I simply read one or two articles, believe what they have to say on face value without examining the issues in detail for myself, and just abandon all my previous thinking and submit to their authority. I am not going to do that, and that irritates them and brings accusations that I am not really interested in examining the evidence, etc. I don’t blame people for not wanting to take the time to walk through such a painstaking process with me. I would not impose upon them to assume they would have the time to do it. It is probably something I need to do mostly on my own. However, if you, or someone else, would really, seriously, like to try to walk with me through one or two particular issues, I would enjoy the opportunity. But if you are thinking about saying yes to such a thing, don’t get any illusions that I am going to take your word for things or believe something just because the mainstream scientific community says so. You won’t convince me by giving me a few articles full of claims I haven’t been able to examine for myself and then expecting me to come back convinced in a day or two, which seems to have been almost the universal expectation when we tried this before. It will require some time. Hard as it is to believe for some people apparently, I do have other things to do. I am progressing through the research myself, and would be happy to have whatever help I can get, as long as no one expects any time table other than my own. Again, I am not asking anyone to do this, so I don’t want to hear any complains about how I am “imposing on you” or “wasting your time.” But if you think it might be an interesting experiment, I am willing to try to work together on my progress as much as I reasonably can.

“Also, I would like you to comment on my earlier question (not directed specially to you) that the appearance of age and history, if perfect and consistent in all respects, would amount to true age and history for any practical purpose.”

Well, yes, if there would be no physical difference between an old earth created by natural law and a younger earth involving some degree of supernatural creation, a global flood, etc., then it would make no practical difference, if you mean by “practical” results in terms of technology or other practical uses of nature. (It would, however, make a difference if you wanted to know the history of the earth.) However, it seems unlikely to me that these two different models would look exactly the same. I would rather expect there would be some discernable differences. Obviously, most people here agree with me. I am interested in exploring more what some of those differences might be. This is related to the idea of different predictions of the physical evidence based off of the different models.

Mark

Comment #183423

Posted by David Stanton on June 16, 2007 2:56 PM (e)

Mark wrote:

“We have addressed some things along these lines in this and the earlier thread. I am very interested in addressing (for myself and others) all of the items David has presented.”

OK, let’s review again shall we?

Tree rings - created by God to make the insides of trees look pretty (they just happen to provide the same exact paleoclimate record as the ice cores).

All other evidence for an ancient earth - created by God to give the appearance of age not history (even thought they all give a consistent answer about one and only one specific history).

Radiometric dating - not reliable because of measurement error (despite the fact that this does not address the issue of how things could possibly be determined to be drastically different ages regardless of the magnitude of the error).

Geologic column - hydrologic sorting (even though he was specifically told that that is what the AIG people would say and that every one already knew it was completely wrong).

Gravitational lensing - no response.

Tree of life - no response.

Genetics - no response.

The fact that all data sets converge on the exact same answer - no response.

However, even though Mark did not have time to look at the evidence, he did have time to post almost a million words on Biblical inerrancy and naturalism. Now, you be the judge.

Comment #183425

Posted by Mike Elzinga on June 16, 2007 3:12 PM (e)

Sir_Toejam wrote:

so all you have to do is stick this out for another 5 months or so, and voila!; you’ll see him drop the scales from his eyes and watch him join the enlightenment age!
I mean just look at AFDave, who has used the exact “appearance of age” argument over 2 years ago, and is still posting massive threads over on dawkins.net after we finally got tired of him after a year on ATBC a year ago.
oh, wait…

:-)

If this were a serious quest on Mark’s part, he wouldn’t have come here to get the genuine educational opportunities he has squandered up to this point in his life.

And if he really believes people want to take the time to walk him through his maze of hang-ups and misconceptions into an “Age of Enlightenment”, he hasn’t really comprehended what the learning process is all about.

It appears that wrangling with evilutionists is what it is all about; not getting a legitimate education.

Comment #183426

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 16, 2007 3:13 PM (e)

“What is the purpose of the universe?”

here’s a better question for you, imo:

Why does the universe have to have a purpose?

Comment #183432

Posted by creeky belly on June 16, 2007 3:55 PM (e)

Mark Hausam wrote:

Well, yes, if there would be no physical difference between an old earth created by natural law and a younger earth involving some degree of supernatural creation, a global flood, etc., then it would make no practical difference, if you mean by “practical” results in terms of technology or other practical uses of nature. (It would, however, make a difference if you wanted to know the history of the earth.) However, it seems unlikely to me that these two different models would look exactly the same. I would rather expect there would be some discernable differences. Obviously, most people here agree with me. I am interested in exploring more what some of those differences might be. This is related to the idea of different predictions of the physical evidence based off of the different models.

Personally, if the only reason to think that the earth is 6000-10000 years old is the Ussher chronology, perhaps we should examine the justification for the young earth:

Step 1: Read the bible
Step 2: Add up the ages where present (Old Testament except Genesis)
Step 3: Cross reference with contemporary events (New Testament)
Step 4: Where gaps or contradictions exist, make stuff up (reconciling different authors, nonexistent civilizations, ignore newly discovered canons or archaeological evidence)
Step 5: Appeal to authority for 400 years

Done

Comment #183451

Posted by Henry J on June 16, 2007 6:39 PM (e)

Re “Step 1: Read the bible”

I read it. I conclude that Methuselah drowned. (Unless he died of something else shortly before drowning.) :D

That aside though, there is that gap after the last point at which the O.T. mentions a begat with an age of the parent. I’ve never quite figured out how absolute dates were assigned to events before that.

Henry

Comment #183452

Posted by Doc Bill on June 16, 2007 7:03 PM (e)

Mark,

Do you really think there is a Global Conspiracy of scientists to subvert “biblical truth?”

‘Cause if you do then let me say that I didn’t get the message. I didn’t attend the Conspiracy Class in grad school.

Now, Mark, if the basis of your religious belief is in the literal belief in the bible, as in everything must be true, then you are in big trouble. You need to rethink your position.

Now, Mark, I know you’re not a bit fan of reading stuff and studying stuff, but I suggest you start reading Bishop John Spong. He’s a real Christian but can help you with your obvious dilemma.

Finally, Mark, don’t come back here saying you want to learn stuff when it’s clear you don’t want to learn anything, rather you only want confirmation of your childish beliefs. Yes, I was perjorative using the word “childish.” However, you’ve provided no alternative.

Thread closed.

Comment #183454

Posted by Eric Finn on June 16, 2007 7:48 PM (e)

Sir_Toejam.

I do acknowledge your question:
“Why does the universe have to have a purpose?”
as a valid one.

Evolution is deemed undirected, while religions often are teleological by their nature.

Do you think that here we may have a difference in philosophical starting setups,
or do you think that non-purpose has been confirmed through observation and study?

Regards
Eric

Comment #183456

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 16, 2007 7:52 PM (e)

or do you think that non-purpose has been confirmed through observation and study

it’s a non-starter, it CAN’T be determined through observation and study.

the point is, is it even necessary to postulate to begin with to explain what we CAN observe and study.

answer:

nothing so far to indicate that a purpose is a requirement to explain our current observations.

Comment #183458

Posted by Eric Finn on June 16, 2007 7:55 PM (e)

Sir_Toejam,

Sorry, two independent questions.
Not : either - or

Regards
Eric

Comment #183459

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 16, 2007 7:55 PM (e)

I should clarify and say that the POSITIVE can’t be confirmed through observation and study: it’s essentially impossible for science to PROVE there is purpose in the universe.

that there is no apparent REQUIREMENT to including the idea of purpose to the universe is pretty clear, though.

make sense?

Comment #183461

Posted by Eric Finn on June 16, 2007 8:03 PM (e)

“However, it seems unlikely to me that these two different models would look exactly the same.”

Mark,
Where do you think we should start looking for the differences?

Regards
Eric

Comment #183462

Posted by Eric Finn on June 16, 2007 8:06 PM (e)

Sir_Toejam,

It makes sense to me.

Regards
Eric

Comment #183465

Posted by Mike Elzinga on June 16, 2007 8:26 PM (e)

Eric Finn wrote:

Evolution is deemed undirected, while religions often are teleological by their nature.
Do you think that here we may have a difference in philosophical starting setups,
or do you think that non-purpose has been confirmed through observation and study?

There is even a sense from the equations of physics (even the Schrodinger Equation) that the universe is deterministic. However, the wave function (its norm squared) represents a probability, so there is no way, even in principle, to predict the outcome of a quantum event.

Even Poincare recognized that the non-linear nature of most physical phenomena precludes certainty, and hence the development of chaos theory, which at the mesoscopic scale, merges with quantum mechanics.

A lot of goofy “religion” has been built on these notions.

Comment #183468

Posted by Eric Finn on June 16, 2007 8:50 PM (e)

Mike,

“However, the wave function (its norm squared) represents a probability, so there is no way, even in principle, to predict the outcome of a quantum event.”

Quantum theory is inherently probabilistic, and thus is not deterministic. Some physicists think that there is a good opportunity for the God to do his work (within the Heisenberg uncertainty).

“Even Poincare recognized that the non-linear nature of most physical phenomena precludes certainty, and hence the development of chaos theory, which at the mesoscopic scale, merges with quantum mechanics.”

Many phenomena may be chaotic (whether linear or non-linear), but at the same time they may be fully deterministic (in the framework of the underlying model).

Quantum statistics does produce more or less deterministic predictions, as you implied.

Regards
Eric

Comment #183471

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 16, 2007 9:34 PM (e)

Some physicists think that there is a good opportunity for the God to do his work

yes the very-small-god-of-quantum-gaps argument.

we don’t yet have a stong enough pesticide to concretely flush god out of those holes yet.

working on it though. No reason to assume he’s hiding there, either, btw.

:)

Comment #183477

Posted by Mike Elzinga on June 16, 2007 11:53 PM (e)

Quantum theory is inherently probabilistic, and thus is not deterministic. Some physicists think that there is a good opportunity for the God to do his work (within the Heisenberg uncertainty).

Some of the crappiest religious arguments attempt to build on this notion.

Many phenomena may be chaotic (whether linear or non-linear), but at the same time they may be fully deterministic (in the framework of the underlying model).
Quantum statistics does produce more or less deterministic predictions, as you implied.

I didn’t imply what you said. You need to be very careful what you are saying here. It’s not accurate or even precise.

Given the sophomoric level of philosophical argumentation by the sectarian apologist featured here, it would be inadvisable to attempt to expand on this unless you enjoy looking foolish. There are more subtleties here than you know, and it doesn’t lead to where you want to go.

Comment #183544

Posted by Thanatos on June 17, 2007 5:18 PM (e)

Eric
in a very benevolent and friendly spirit
I would advice you to follow Mike’s advice.It’s veeery sound.
Posting comments like the one numbered #183468 in the digital company of scientists
and especially physicists is ,
how to put it politely,a very baaaad choice.
Personally I would also advice you to read what
I adviced Mark to read(ie Hawking’s “A brief(+er) history of time”)
if you really want to be able ,if not to express yourself on
(for this you might need much more effort-reading),
to understand at least the essence of what specialists
have to say on the subjects on which you commented.
ciao

Comment #183553

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 17, 2007 6:24 PM (e)

By replying I admit of being very weak, but the dux of stupidity is so ludicrous that I just can’t help myself.
Next time I’ll try to keep my pledge.

More stupid and dishonest than weak, but yes, your failings are a replete category, including weakness. Christ, you’re an evil, snivelling little piss-head. Can’t write anything intelligent, and dishonest to the core.

let’s see

Supergenius Glen didn’t answer to anything I posted in comment #183259 because

Glen Davidson wrote:

(other than the typically stupid fare I quoted above), as you’re an addle-pated twit, who hates where he should learn. But I’m glad you included it, as it shows how emotions over-rule your “reason” and “judgment”, and it reveals your ignorance yet again (I can say that from reading your dull nonsense in the past)

This is of course self evident proof of his intellectual might.

How so, dipshit? Oh that’s right, you don’t make any more sense than you are ever honest.

Then he stated

Many of us have many criticisms of the US and of particular administrations or even of recent (and past, but they hardly are a major issue now)

Simple criticism equals to BS.

Simple Thanatos equals BS. The issue has been that you’re an evil, dishonest, fascist stereotyping liar who maligns people simply for being American. You’re the prime example of bigotry, dishonesty, and stupidity.

The way you energetically oppose,form groups against,post,get organised over the internet,support political parties, et cetera et cetera fighting creationism(including ID) ,the same way ,if you are indeed a democrat (literally) and anti-imperialist,you should fight your country’s imperialist and fascist actions and policies over global issues.In fact even more, cause human lifes are at stake.This is like saying in front of a camera “oh,how deeply I empathise with the dying starving poor africans” and away from the camera throwing away most of the food uneaten,(spending more money as a nation on dog food rather than on humanitarian cause) and remaining plainly egoistic.
The parenthesised text is plain evidence of ignorance on your present foreign policies.

God, you’re stupid. I didn’t say anything about the moral superiority of my position, I simply was responding to another of your vicious and stereotyping attacks. So you invent yet another out-of-context strawman and attack me for not organizing to suit your vile little hatred.

next the self proclaimed king of intellectual clarity wrote

I know what it means in English, retard. It simply didn’t make sense in your moronic attack. Richard-head.

So in other words the metaphor is valid but it doesn’t make sense.

How could it be valid if it didn’t make sense, retard? Try to think this through for once, instead of making up more retarded nonsense.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/35s39o

Comment #183554

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 17, 2007 6:27 PM (e)

And let’s say that in english it is totally wrong.
(not being a native anglophone I’m not of course an authority on this)
Although you have a minimal IQ enough to understand what I meant your argument was that it didn’t make sense.So again you’re just accusing me of poor command of the english language.Something that I have many times admitted (may be not poor but at least not very fluent in writing)
A brilliant philosophical argument!

You’re too stupid to read, as usual. The point is that you come in here with your lack of understanding and simply attack with your pidgin English and supposedly superior thinking processes. You know neither philosophy nor English, and oughtn’t to sputter around faulting your superiors, cretin.

continuing Glen wrote

Of course what I meant is that empirical confirmation is what matters in the end, and I have no idea why you’d conjure up any other sort of miraculous ideas in your mind which are so disconnected from, you know, the written word.

so the following are of course my mad miraculous ideas

Glen Davidson wrote:

Mark Hausam wrote:

It seems to me that science works in two different directions. Sometimes you build a hypothesis based on observations, then the hypoethesis makes predictions, and if the predictions come true the hypothesis is confirmed. Other times, science involves logical deduction to devise an explanation for observed phenomena.

No, it doesn’t work that way. It may seem like it, since sometimes science operates without conducting experiments or observations specifically for its conclusions, but the only difference is what evidence is already available.
The fact is that observations are not done “bare” any more than reinterpretations of the evidence are, for one has to take into account what is known about physics, chemistry, biology, etc., even to make a legitimate observation.

Let’s say that I misunderstood Glen,couldn’t he just say “Thanate you have misunderstood me…”Does my comment

You didn’t read the context, and you showed your typical belligerent, hateful, and bigoted stupidity in that above, and in the various hateful comments following. You’re taking this out of context, as you have everything you dishonest cheating wretch.

Glen Davidson wrote:

No, it doesn’t work that way. It may seem like it, since sometimes science operates without conducting experiments or observations specifically for its conclusions, but the only difference is what evidence is already available.

Glen you’re wrong;although Mark uses the few logical arguments
he makes ,ultimately to irrational ends,
ping-pongs from hypothesis to data,
and inductive to deductive,analytic to synthetic reasoning
and vice versa is very common in science.
Of course in the end,empirical-data confirmation is what matters.
If that is what you meant ,I pass.

qualify as an attack?

The whole bit constitutes an attack, dishonest fascist. You called my position stupid later on, with your usual lack of learning, evidence, intelligence, and decency.

Normal mentally healthy people from time to time disagree or miscomprehend each other;if each time in disagreement people behaved like Glen does ,well human population would be considerably small.Glen did you forget to take your pills?

Why, how clever. My goodness, how long did it take for you to come up with that cliche, idiot?

Normally mentally healthy people don’t write this, out of the blue:

Glen ie that has many times declared not believing
in reality,ontology and metaphysics (if I may be a proxy)
will discard this view as faulty,useless and perhaps stupid. :-)
(Glen am I wrong?)

You’re a tool, jackass, and nothing but a perverted dishonest dullard who attacks where he should learn.

Furthermore we have (it’s comment #183253,I’ve not included quotes of me)
this comment by his excellency

Oh, so you read the context after shooting your mouth off. Better late than never, I suppose.

Yes swear first and then read on,it’s like shoot first then ask questions,

Another dishonest, out-of-context attack from the fascistic bigoted boor. You attacked me, then admitted that the context changed things, then went on with your typical buffoonish arrogance born out of your near-total lack of philosophical learning.

And it’s not swearing, dipshit.

As context-free as your former idiotic accusation. Whether it’s your bigoted and stereotypical hatred of Americans, your rambling bad English, and your logocentrism, I fail to see much value in your posts.

although I’m certainly no genious you should have your eyes and brain checked .

Another content-free attack, the only thing of which you are capable.

Not from within your tinfoil hat and pidgin English. Your “ping-pongs” are as addled conceptually as they are stilted English.

again I’ve sinned,mi eengliss ees not goud.

And, not knowing English well, let alone philosophy, you attack as if you were entitled to, sans understanding. So you admit that your English isn’t very good, yet you feel free to attack whatever you don’t understand. Just like the IDists do.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/35s39o

Comment #183556

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 17, 2007 6:30 PM (e)

No it doesn’t, lackwit, because the scientific method isn’t dualistic. Mathematics deals with the abstractions of “reality” that we conceptualize, and whether or not we use numerical methods or geometrical manipulations of our abstractions, the process is largely one of abstract analysis and synthesis.
I’d expect such dualistic nonsense from a logocentrist, since logocentrism is largely a mistake of dualism, notably of Platonic dualism.

So let me understand,the meaning of this text is very unclear to me,isn’t empirical data important,what are you ,a dreadful Platonist?

No, that’s not it, retard. Christ, can you understand anything above your witless droning?

You stupid ass by dualistic (note that I prescribed “pseudo or not”)
I meant (and its obvious) mathematics(including obviously geometry)-logic vs empiricical data-confirmation.

Of course you did, moron. It’s just that you didn’t understand what I was writing, and you again project your imbecility onto me as if I didn’t understand your witless comments. “Stupid ass” indeed, you can’t begin to understand the monism that intelligent people handle with aplomb.

Since our “logical” brain is (or seems to be) a part of nature the dichotomy is strange and perhaps false.But the problem hasn’t been solved (at least totally).

It isn’t really a problem, idiot, or computers wouldn’t work. I know you’re too stupid to realize how this all comes out, but at least you ought to learn not to attack over your own gaping inadequacies.

For a plainly intelligent human that would be rational but for people of “IQ radikioy” ( funny greek rhyme meaning IQ of somekind of vegetable) like Glen this is logocentrism.

Oh, that is funny. Just more insults from the dolt who can’t begin to deal with another way of thinking, let alone a superior one.

As for the “mistake of dualism” and the falsification of “platonic dualism” where is the scientific objective proof ,you ignorant?

Dear shithead, philosophy isn’t about proof. Sure, you’re barely above Mark’s complete lack of knowledge of philosophy, but you ought at least to know that. Are you in some kind of home for imbeciles?

Kant proved nothing ,he is great,but his philosophy is as (equally) unproved and perhaps unprovable(unverifiable or unfalsifiable) as platonic dualism or any other major philosophical school views are.Perhaps a superposition of principles is more possible or probable.(I’m not rediscovering America,this view is evidently not new)

Nor is it competent. You’re stating the obvious about unfalsifiability, mainly because your erroneous attacks are impossible to defend.

Moving on we have

Mostly you’re stupid, uneducated, with a poor command of the language used here, and too close-minded and unintelligent even to try to understand the issues involved in what I was discussing. In your usual addled way you reduce what I have claimed down to your ignorant and bigoted stupidity, and you totally lack the means to deal honestly and intelligently with philosophical issues.

again swearing,(erroneous) guessing,projecting,using the “your english is bad” argument,ingenious,

Ooh, completely substanceless lies. You obviously don’t know what swearing is, and compound your exhibition of stupidity yet again.

I don’t doubt that you’re a proxy, meaning, in my interpretation of such a misplaced word, that you’re not a real intellectual, just a proxy poseur whose ignorance shines forth like a gamma-ray burst. Otherwise, of course, “proxy” is as ill-used as is your “philosophical knowledge,” your pidgin English, and your stupidity in merely attacking where you are so obviously ignorant even about what I write about philosophically.

again using the “your english is very poor” argument,

Bullshit. It’s that you attack based on your lack of understanding, which is not simply because your English is poor, but also because you’re a boor, a cretin, a know-it-all, and an uneducated fool.

then a plain stupid metaphor(it’s not really a metaphor,I’m not sure on what is the correct word,simile?),wow Glen knows about gamma rays!!! isn’t that cool?,

What a dumb comment. Christ, do you really think that I was making such a pedantic point, you pathetic sack of shit?

claims of “attacks” that show obviously the presence of paranoid schizophrenia,
and then of course the argument from authority “I’m the king of Philosophy”
continuing

Yes, I’m a paranoid schiz, noting what a sad case you really are. And you’ve not shown the slightest problem with my philosophical observations, you merely attack because you’re too dumb to understand it.

If you ever have anything intelligent and educated to say to me, instead of shooting off your mouth with your mindless ignorance, please do so. Until then, why don’t you just ramble on in your ignorance. You do little harm when responding to Mark, because even your very poor understanding of philosophy beats Marks even poorer understanding of philosophy and science.

we have again the usual illusion of grandeur “I’m the Emperor of philosophy ,you know sh__” and the projection on others of ignorance(both of philosophy and science)

Actually, we have again your wrenching of what I wrote out of context, and a content-free set of lying remarks. Typical for Thanatos.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/35s39o

Comment #183557

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 17, 2007 6:32 PM (e)

next in comment #183268 we read

I am denying the assumptions made by the unlearned Thanatos the learned Plato and Aristotle, and the great thinker St. Thomas Aquinas.

besides the obvious projection and paranoia here(at least his majesty concedes that some ancient folks although wrong were learned), comment #183173 must be noted

Oh, do you see projection when you look into the mirror? Well, why not project projectionism, since you still can’t begin to make a reasonable comment?

I told you, idiot, that I studied ancient philosophy. Of course they were learned, they were also mostly wrong. You’re too dumb to recognize that what was good then is no longer.

Thanatos wrote:

Glen ie that has many times declared not believing
in reality,ontology and metaphysics (if I may be a proxy)
will discard this view as faulty,useless and perhaps stupid. :-)
(Glen am I wrong?)

(the bolded phrase was not initially bolded) because there I specifically asked Glen whether I misrepresented him.

You completely misrepresented me, because it’s not the simplistic question that you suppose it is, imbecile. Asking if you misrepresented my position as stupid changes nothing of your jackassery.

Not that I really did(at least not overly) since many times in PT threads (including this one) Glen has atteacked realism,ontology and metaphysics.

But not with your simplistic stupidity, f-wit.

After that Glen posts commenting on Mark.Although at most major points I agree with him what strikes me is his general acceptance of religion as sound-legitimate when at the same time he thinks metaphysics is-are void.
let’s focus on

What a lie. I don’t accept religion as “sound-legitimate,” I accept that religionists (like Plato) can think well.

Well Thanatos is a bigot and a buffoon, so I can’t say what he’ll do (except that it’ll probably be ignorant, stupid, and attacking where it was neither called for nor where he understood what was written).

ok we have again psychotic swearing,paranoia,projecting and prediction on the borderline of being an oracle.
Continuing we have

Blah blah blah, the usual ranting of the a-hole who’s been trapped in the shit he spews. Again, can you at least get a dictionary and find out what swearing is? Then try to find out how and why you’re a stark raving moron.

Retarded buffoon Thanatos, it was your stupid and bigoted stereotyping that I objected to in the past, as you couldn’t make a sane comment about Americans, but rather had to spew your vindictive, ignorant, and stupid hatred even when intelligent points were being made.

I admit that I at the time I used I stereotypical antiamerican answer(I also admitted that in that thread and apologised for it to others) but this was caused by his unprovoked barbarocity(that was my first encounter with Glen ,I didn’t know till then how barbarous and paranoid he is)

Oh yeah, he’s written bigoted nonsense, but you know, it was my fault. Still is, too, given that he understands nothing about philosophy, me, or his dark and evil soul.

Reading,following the exchange in that thread of comments is very clarifying.
continuing arch-duke of moroi wrote

Btw, I didn’t read your post (other than the typically stupid fare I quoted above), as you’re an addle-pated twit, who hates where he should learn. But I’m glad you included it, as it shows how emotions over-rule your “reason” and “judgment,” and it reveals your ignorance yet again (I can say that from reading your dull nonsense in the past).
Reveal your soul, fascist effing fool. Many of us have many criticisms of the US and of particular administrations or even of recent (and past, but they hardly are a major issue now) administrations in general, but we think, we don’t just spew bile like your vacant soul does.

So (as previously noted)he didn’t read what I wrote.Nevertheless he can SEE.

Did I say that? No, I gave a different rationale, bigoted liar.

Being a prophet can be very helpful.
I can’t stop thinking that this pretty much resembles usual creatonist or fanatic attitude.
As for accusations of fascism ,my answer is that whether I am a Communist,Fascist,Democrat,Capitalist,Socialist,Nazi,Extremist,Anarchist or Taliban is irrelevant and unimportant.

Actually, that you’re a dickhead fascist pervert is the only issue with you. Since you can’t make any reasonable comments, it’s your idiocies and prejudices that obviously are driving your remarks.

My main concern is not to live in or get any close to the fascist imperialistic capitalistic racist nazi militarist USA.By that I of course I mean your presence in the global human enviroment and history as a whole,as a country.I don’t mean that all Americans are fascist imperialist capitalist racist nazi militarist pigs.
Nevetheless citizens of a democracy (infact my opinion is that all humans are more or less responsiple regardless of the regime of their country) are responsible for-of the actions of their leaders.(that is of course obviously valid for all,including me,including greece and greeks)

Typical bigoted spew. What a tool you are!

The following comments by Glen the jerk are either already addressed or too long(anyway they are worthless,being over and over the same swearing,paranoid schizophrenia and I-know-it-all-ness).
But let me focus in just a few key phrases (comment 183308)

king of stupidity wrote:

Thanatos wrote:

Oh, that’s good. “King of stupidity” is sort of, you know, fourth-grade mindlessness, but then he prefaces his own words with it. That’s just pricelessly dumb.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/35s39o

Comment #183558

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 17, 2007 6:34 PM (e)

glen
I don’t pretend to be infallible or know-it-all-ist,contrary to you.

So you start listing your great qualities with a flat-out lie. I’m not a know-it-all, of course, but I do stick with what I know when stupid gits like you start spouting your bigotry and faith in metaphysics. I learned your philosophy, you know, I just learned what was wrong with it as well.

Yes Glen ,I’m guilty,I lied, you’re not infallible nor know-it-all-ist,
you’re not always right,you don’t own the truth,it is just that all others are always wrong and know nothing .

You know, bigot, if I were wrong you’d pounce on me, as you pounced when your stupid little mind thought I was wrong. Instead of showing that I was wrong, you just want to fault me for being right, like any fascist would do.

“I learned your philosophy, you know, I just learned what was wrong with it as well.”
Yeah the Great Glen has spoken,he is the bearer of the Holy Criterion,Divine Ruler of philosophical matters,he is Wise,Ho Sophotatos ton Sophotaton.

This all in lieu of any actual argument against what I wrote.

What endless generations of humans have not yet been able to resolve,Glen dismisses in a few words.And with what ease,what beauty! Metaphysics are wrong;not true,not possible,not even non-falsifiable,just wrong.Oh world,fear not,Glen is here!

Metaphysics has been shown to be as meaningless as its spawn, ID. I know that you’re an uneducated moron, but just because you don’t know the anti-metaphysical arguments (which are too long for a post) doesn’t mean that your prejudices in favor of metaphysics have any basis in anything but your fascistic tendencies.

moving on

And anyhow, I knew from the beginning that your pseudonym means “death” in Greek, for I have studied Greek partly to study philosophy. Not that this has anything to do with your strawman attack.

Oh Lord he knows what “Thanatos” means,so therefore he indeed speaks greek!

An intelligent non-asshole wouldn’t distort what I wrote by writing the above. My point, and even one as stupid as you should understand it, is that I am not as ignorant of Greek culture and ways as you in your anti-American bigotry assume and dishonestly imply.

A wonderful proof of multilinguality
And he studied Greek to study philosophy,so his knowledge and command of greek must be infinite!!!
What a moros I am

Indeed, you are, or you wouldn’t be attacking such an obvious strawman.

,in a few courses he must have surely learned to speak Greek fluently ( regardless of that the context of my question of whether he speaks greek evidently meant neohellenic not ancient on which I’m guessing he attended some classes)
After all greek compared to english, is easy to learn.He was indeed just when accusing me of ill knowledge of english.

I was accusing you of attacking using your inability to read English and philosophy well. I made none of the claims that you’re attacking, I made a comment that spoke to the context, and you typically are too stupid/dishonest to respond decently.

continuing

For what it’s worth, as a neo-hellen I have related most to Thomas at New School University, a Greek student from Athens

This is hilarious,mentioning that I regard prominent americans as personal heros(Sagan,Feynman) and totally admirable ultrafunny comedians(Stewart and Colbert) ,I asked him with whom neohellen he relates to,that is which prominent neohellen he admires etc (if I was dubious in correctly expressing this in english,understanding what I meant is by the context obvious),and he answers to me saying that he once knew a greek-american and a greek student .That’s great.
Good for you Glen.

Again, retard, I don’t care what bogus standards you have, I was pointing out that I know something about Greeks, several of whom were decent folk quite unlike your appalling self.

moving on to another revelation

Glen the retarded fool wrote:

and I’m not exactly the type who thinks that “democracy” means that even the people collectively do so.

I thought that “democracy” means “rule,power of the people”,well,I guess I was wrong

I show that you’re a retarded fool, every time you stick your disgusting thoughts into what I’ve written. That’s the difference between my insults, which I do justify, and your idiotic strawman attacks meant to “justify” your previous fallacies and lies.

And no, democracy does not mean that de facto, as anyone who has a speck of political science knowledge recognizes. Of course you don’t….

He also proves and shares with us his infinite knowledge(having been rhetoricaly asked by me)
by writing phrases like these:

Ho Archiblax wrote:

Not a lot about that, indeed, though the Cyprus issue festers, and American support for brutal dictators of the past is remembered in Greece.Not that this has anything to do with your rank bigotry, stupid git.

Frankly, I doubt that my country crucially affects your personal everyday life, except in your bigoted reactions and lies about Americans.And I already said that many of us have many criticisms of US foreign policy and that we think. Just because you’re too dumb and close-minded to accept an honest statement doesn’t justify your continued stereotypical attack upon me just because I’m “American,” prejudicial moron.

Conclusion
Glen you shouldn’t have stopped taking your pills!!!
They are goooooood fooooor-tooooo yoouu

Not a speck of argumentation, just another mindless Greek epithet, and a cliched response that morons have to use when they can’t think of anything to say.

P.S.1 To readers others than Glen I apologise for any grammatical or of any other kind of errors-mistakes made.

Right, excuse the lies, the fallacies, the stupidities, the complete inability even to come up with an intelligent set of arguments for either his initial attack or his subsequent idiocies.

P.S.2 It’s a very tiresome but entertaining effort

Really? Tiresome and entertaining? I see what your problem is, you don’t even know when two statements conflict, even in your own sentences.

to try to count how many times Glen swears (calls people stupid etc…) in just this thread(not just to me).In fact since this is hardly a one-time habit of his,I would be very curious to see his total pandathumb scatological record

Try, try to find out what “swears” means, cretinous imbecile.

P.S.3 Having written this I conclude that in the future I must fight to refrain myself from answering-replying to this barbarous paranoid dogmatist self centered fool ,cause it is futile,overly time consuming and worthlessly boring and tiresome.

Why, for instance, don’t you try to get a bit of honesty into your devious, stupid little soul? You said you were quitting, but then I didn’t believe it.

(ok I admit it’s not that boring, his stupidity after the initial shock is very funny)

It must for once be good to laugh at what an inept cretin you are, whenever your projector is working.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/35s39o

Comment #183562

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 17, 2007 6:53 PM (e)

I guess the tool is still trying to be a philosopher:

As an addendum
I think I’ve got why Glen is so transfixed with my alleged logocentrism.

I’m of course not “transfixed,” as I’ve never bothered him first over his mindless adoption of words simply because they were written, he faulted me for disbelieving (both recently and before). It is like a religion with him, as it is with other believers in metaphysics, which is why they’re so intrinsically vile toward all of us “infidels”.

Being (I’m guessing from his stated-posted words,I’m no prophet,nor genius) a fanatic-dogmatic follower
of some branch of non-realism-positivism-instrumentalism-common language philosophy-…
he totally discards metaphysics.

See, just a litany of insults and lies from the dogmatist. He’s never shown a whit of value in metaphysics, he just insists that anyone not a “believer” is wrong to fault his unwarranted belief system.

But he can’t really deal with
axiomatic principles like causality,verifiability,falsifiability,parsimony that
for any “follower” of science and philosophy(including open minded legitimate positivists etc)
belong to the realm of metaphysics.(at least until now,so far)
(this links to a Mark Perakh article with which I don’t fully agree-and of course

Believers are always the worst, claiming that the one who doubts the “truth” are wrong because, of course, the truth is axiomatic. No real scientist would claim that any of those are “axiomatic”, and for instance causality in science today is quite unlike how it was considered as “axiomatic” by Aristotle, or even Newton.

I don’t demand that Dr Perakh should agree with me- but nevertheless
is philosophically-scientifically sound,not to mention a wonderful work)
He can’t base them on,deduce them from science
(may be he just somehow correlates them without proof)
so what he cunningly (the fool) constructs
inside his brain is perhaps something like this (which is of course plainly wrong) :
Metaphysics are wrong since they are not scientific.

It takes a true bigot to state that, of course. Nobody that I’ve ever read in continental philosophy has written such a doltish statement, and indeed it is the utter lack of the capacity to show that causality, etc., are “axiomatic” that is the indictment of such claims. True believers like Thanatos do exactly what the IDist do (and for the same reasons), they demand that we be able to “disprove” their warrantless beliefs, and pay no heed to our observations that their claims haven’t been justified, philosophically or in any other manner.

Questioning the (metaphysical) essence of concepts
like the ones mentioned is plainly a unscientific rumbling with words,that is logocentrism.

For anyone wanting an example of the mindless beliefs of the logocentrist, note the above. There are vast works which demonstrate how we have no more reason to believe in metaphysical magic than we do ID, but Thanatos simply insults us for our troubles.

In other words since questioning causality etc is not scientific (or falsifiable?)
causality itself is not metaphysical.
It’s perhaps just a useful abstract tool that although now unproven, in the future science will
explain-prove it ,so since it will be scientifically proven,there’s no need
to regard it now as metaphysical.Then generalising thusly for all -at the present-
metaphysical hypotheses,there is no reason to accept at the present any metaphysics.
So ,ending my wild goose chase,the only way
(this uniqueness is not certain,perhaps he’s got many other magical words up his sleeve)
for him to escape metaphysical problems is to call them logocentric.

Well, that’s all just typical faith-statement.

I don’t claim of course of having really gotten into his mind and head.
I’m just trying to understand how he dismisses philosophy 101 issues so easily.
Any other ideas?(glen I’m not asking you)

We’ve dealt with them, idiot. You have not.

In other examples and topics
I don’t know how he would try to escape the intrinsic “logocentrism” of mathematics
or how would he react if an IDiot named him logocentrist after having
asked for a strict definition of “information”.

No one has any problem with the “logocentrism” of mathematics (well, a few strange ones do), for it is considered to be a useful construct that is empirically shown to be valid in many areas (see, for instance, Kant). But then fools condemn what they don’t understand.

And no, I’m not going to bother with such a mindless twat any more today.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/35s39o

Comment #183563

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 17, 2007 6:53 PM (e)

I guess the tool is still trying to be a philosopher:

As an addendum
I think I’ve got why Glen is so transfixed with my alleged logocentrism.

I’m of course not “transfixed,” as I’ve never bothered him first over his mindless adoption of words simply because they were written, he faulted me for disbelieving (both recently and before). It is like a religion with him, as it is with other believers in metaphysics, which is why they’re so intrinsically vile toward all of us “infidels”.

Being (I’m guessing from his stated-posted words,I’m no prophet,nor genius) a fanatic-dogmatic follower
of some branch of non-realism-positivism-instrumentalism-common language philosophy-…
he totally discards metaphysics.

See, just a litany of insults and lies from the dogmatist. He’s never shown a whit of value in metaphysics, he just insists that anyone not a “believer” is wrong to fault his unwarranted belief system.

But he can’t really deal with
axiomatic principles like causality,verifiability,falsifiability,parsimony that
for any “follower” of science and philosophy(including open minded legitimate positivists etc)
belong to the realm of metaphysics.(at least until now,so far)
(this links to a Mark Perakh article with which I don’t fully agree-and of course

Believers are always the worst, claiming that the one who doubts the “truth” are wrong because, of course, the truth is axiomatic. No real scientist would claim that any of those are “axiomatic”, and for instance causality in science today is quite unlike how it was considered as “axiomatic” by Aristotle, or even Newton.

I don’t demand that Dr Perakh should agree with me- but nevertheless
is philosophically-scientifically sound,not to mention a wonderful work)
He can’t base them on,deduce them from science
(may be he just somehow correlates them without proof)
so what he cunningly (the fool) constructs
inside his brain is perhaps something like this (which is of course plainly wrong) :
Metaphysics are wrong since they are not scientific.

It takes a true bigot to state that, of course. Nobody that I’ve ever read in continental philosophy has written such a doltish statement, and indeed it is the utter lack of the capacity to show that causality, etc., are “axiomatic” that is the indictment of such claims. True believers like Thanatos do exactly what the IDist do (and for the same reasons), they demand that we be able to “disprove” their warrantless beliefs, and pay no heed to our observations that their claims haven’t been justified, philosophically or in any other manner.

Questioning the (metaphysical) essence of concepts
like the ones mentioned is plainly a unscientific rumbling with words,that is logocentrism.

For anyone wanting an example of the mindless beliefs of the logocentrist, note the above. There are vast works which demonstrate how we have no more reason to believe in metaphysical magic than we do ID, but Thanatos simply insults us for our troubles.

In other words since questioning causality etc is not scientific (or falsifiable?)
causality itself is not metaphysical.
It’s perhaps just a useful abstract tool that although now unproven, in the future science will
explain-prove it ,so since it will be scientifically proven,there’s no need
to regard it now as metaphysical.Then generalising thusly for all -at the present-
metaphysical hypotheses,there is no reason to accept at the present any metaphysics.
So ,ending my wild goose chase,the only way
(this uniqueness is not certain,perhaps he’s got many other magical words up his sleeve)
for him to escape metaphysical problems is to call them logocentric.

Well, that’s all just typical faith-statement.

I don’t claim of course of having really gotten into his mind and head.
I’m just trying to understand how he dismisses philosophy 101 issues so easily.
Any other ideas?(glen I’m not asking you)

We’ve dealt with them, idiot. You have not.

In other examples and topics
I don’t know how he would try to escape the intrinsic “logocentrism” of mathematics
or how would he react if an IDiot named him logocentrist after having
asked for a strict definition of “information”.

No one has any problem with the “logocentrism” of mathematics (well, a few strange ones do), for it is considered to be a useful construct that is empirically shown to be valid in many areas (see, for instance, Kant). But then fools condemn what they don’t understand.

And no, I’m not going to bother with such a mindless twat any more today.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/35s39o

Comment #183564

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 17, 2007 6:53 PM (e)

I guess the tool is still trying to be a philosopher:

As an addendum
I think I’ve got why Glen is so transfixed with my alleged logocentrism.

I’m of course not “transfixed,” as I’ve never bothered him first over his mindless adoption of words simply because they were written, he faulted me for disbelieving (both recently and before). It is like a religion with him, as it is with other believers in metaphysics, which is why they’re so intrinsically vile toward all of us “infidels”.

Being (I’m guessing from his stated-posted words,I’m no prophet,nor genius) a fanatic-dogmatic follower
of some branch of non-realism-positivism-instrumentalism-common language philosophy-…
he totally discards metaphysics.

See, just a litany of insults and lies from the dogmatist. He’s never shown a whit of value in metaphysics, he just insists that anyone not a “believer” is wrong to fault his unwarranted belief system.

But he can’t really deal with
axiomatic principles like causality,verifiability,falsifiability,parsimony that
for any “follower” of science and philosophy(including open minded legitimate positivists etc)
belong to the realm of metaphysics.(at least until now,so far)
(this links to a Mark Perakh article with which I don’t fully agree-and of course

Believers are always the worst, claiming that the one who doubts the “truth” are wrong because, of course, the truth is axiomatic. No real scientist would claim that any of those are “axiomatic”, and for instance causality in science today is quite unlike how it was considered as “axiomatic” by Aristotle, or even Newton.

I don’t demand that Dr Perakh should agree with me- but nevertheless
is philosophically-scientifically sound,not to mention a wonderful work)
He can’t base them on,deduce them from science
(may be he just somehow correlates them without proof)
so what he cunningly (the fool) constructs
inside his brain is perhaps something like this (which is of course plainly wrong) :
Metaphysics are wrong since they are not scientific.

It takes a true bigot to state that, of course. Nobody that I’ve ever read in continental philosophy has written such a doltish statement, and indeed it is the utter lack of the capacity to show that causality, etc., are “axiomatic” that is the indictment of such claims. True believers like Thanatos do exactly what the IDist do (and for the same reasons), they demand that we be able to “disprove” their warrantless beliefs, and pay no heed to our observations that their claims haven’t been justified, philosophically or in any other manner.

Questioning the (metaphysical) essence of concepts
like the ones mentioned is plainly a unscientific rumbling with words,that is logocentrism.

For anyone wanting an example of the mindless beliefs of the logocentrist, note the above. There are vast works which demonstrate how we have no more reason to believe in metaphysical magic than we do ID, but Thanatos simply insults us for our troubles.

In other words since questioning causality etc is not scientific (or falsifiable?)
causality itself is not metaphysical.
It’s perhaps just a useful abstract tool that although now unproven, in the future science will
explain-prove it ,so since it will be scientifically proven,there’s no need
to regard it now as metaphysical.Then generalising thusly for all -at the present-
metaphysical hypotheses,there is no reason to accept at the present any metaphysics.
So ,ending my wild goose chase,the only way
(this uniqueness is not certain,perhaps he’s got many other magical words up his sleeve)
for him to escape metaphysical problems is to call them logocentric.

Well, that’s all just typical faith-statement.

I don’t claim of course of having really gotten into his mind and head.
I’m just trying to understand how he dismisses philosophy 101 issues so easily.
Any other ideas?(glen I’m not asking you)

We’ve dealt with them, idiot. You have not.

In other examples and topics
I don’t know how he would try to escape the intrinsic “logocentrism” of mathematics
or how would he react if an IDiot named him logocentrist after having
asked for a strict definition of “information”.

No one has any problem with the “logocentrism” of mathematics (well, a few strange ones do), for it is considered to be a useful construct that is empirically shown to be valid in many areas (see, for instance, Kant). But then fools condemn what they don’t understand.

And no, I’m not going to bother with such a mindless twat any more today.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/35s39o

Comment #183566

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 17, 2007 7:34 PM (e)

I dunno, Glen, ya think 8 consecutive posts is enough to make your message clear?

better keep going. after all, english is obviously not his first language.

Comment #183571

Posted by Thanatos on June 17, 2007 7:53 PM (e)

:-) :) :-) :) :-)
Glen since and because I’ve passed,got over the past initial shock
you are ,are being,have been very funny.
But you’re being also once again very boring.

PS
I remembered one more magic word of yours: (philosophical) fundamentalism

So now we have
Glen can’t escape the metaphysical nature of axiomatic principles->
logocentrism
Glen can’t evade fundamental philosophical questions->
(philosophical) fundamentalism

You naughty naughty logocentrist (philosophical) fundamentalists!!!
Bad bad boys(and girls)!!!

PS (to readers other than Glen)
I know ,I know,once again I replied to the “Philosophiae Imperator” .
(left “imperator” uninflected-undeclined cause in english it would be strange,bizarre-looking)
Well,I’m only human.
At least this time it was a short reply.
(after all once again he’s repeating his usual “argumentation”,
so the effort would be very very very boring-useless)

Comment #183575

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 17, 2007 8:15 PM (e)

…and you, Mr. death, could try to stop baiting him with your nonsense. You’re obviously aware of the pointless nature of it.

Comment #183590

Posted by Thanatos on June 17, 2007 11:39 PM (e)

Sir_Toejam the following are explanatory but rhetorical
meaning I don’t want you to reply cause I don’t have in mind to bring you
into a difficult position,to turn you against Glen or to turn one against the other.
Anyway I don’t believe that this would ever happen cause it’s obvious that you’re pro-Glen. :-)
I haven’t got a problem with that,I’m just clarifying my intentions of writing this.
ok let’s go:

Sir_Toejam wrote:

after all, english is obviously not his first language

yes it’s obvious,yes I’ve admitted it many many times,yes,yes,yes
I lack serious practice in writing,speaking but not in reading,listening comprehension.
I’ve read many,many books(texts etc) written in english,
I constantly surf in the english dominated www,
I’ve watched and I watch millions of anglophonous movies,series,films,documentaries,shows,etc
without reading the subtitles
(here we don’t translate foreign movies etc,we subtitle them);
but I don’t oftenly speak or write in english.
I stopped seriously practicing speaking-writing
many,many,many years ago when I got my english language certificate.
After all in Greece,we speak greek,we write in greek.
It is my opinion that he should have (had) the manners,the decency to bare with me;
after all I’m honoring him and his people by speaking,knowing,speaking and using
his language.

It’s obvious that Glen doesn’t want to bare with me,
doesn’t want to try to understand what I’m saying
(I ‘m focusing here on language problems,let’s forget about the other “problems”).

Continuing,I state again, I’m not super fluent in english but again
I think he should have the manners and the decency to bare with me,
cause we’re discussing non-trivial issues,
I’m writing about philosophy ,science,politics,history,etc
in a foreign (non native ,not first) to me language,
I’m not ordering coffee in a NY coffee-shop.

Let’s see some of my mistakes:

example:

I wrote (bolded characters were not initially bolded):

Glen ie that has many times declared not believing
in reality,ontology and metaphysics (if I may be a proxy)
will discard this view as faulty,useless and perhaps stupid. :-)
(Glen am I wrong?)

He understood:

Asking if you misrepresented my position as stupid changes nothing of your jackassery.

Ok ,
“as faulty,useless and perhaps stupid. :-)”
should instead have been something like this
(again I’m not sure of whether I’m using the correct words-expressions)
“for being faulty…”
or all along from the begining of the line
“would dismiss,discard the concepts of
reality,ontology,metaphysics because(according to his view)
they are,(for being) faulty,useless and perhaps stupid :-)”

Ex post facto,a posteriori I realise that I was “directly”-“literally” (if you get what I mean)
translating greek into english,I’m guilty,it’s wrong,it’s erroneous.
But isn’t the meaning of what I meant obvious by the context??
Didn’t you ,Sir_Toejam,understand what I meant?
And if not ,if indeed it’s not obvious ,then again couldn’t he just have asked me
what I meant before starting the “fight”?
Is it so difficult?

another example:

(I’ve already explained it to you but let’s be more analytical cause
I’m not sure that I was understood even after explaining) :

I wrote
if ….(this) is what you meant,I pass
I meant
if ….(this) is what you meant,(then) I have no objection (sorry,my mistake),I concur,it’s correct

what in greek would be
an ….(ayto ennooyses),(tote) paso
and
an ….(ayto ennooyses),(tote) kammia antirresi(syngome,lathos moy),symphono,einai ortho

I understand that in english you are not free to express yourselfs
(metaphorically or not) so freely.
Greek language for a beginner is enormously difficult cause the grammar is huge.
once one has learned the grammar the rest come very easy and expression
is minimaly restrictive(of context or not).
On the other hand english is minimal in grammar
so very easy at the beginning but enormously difficult afterwards
cause it’s very restrictive(on context etc).
(I will not bother here to mention pronounciation difficulties.)

Anyway is it so difficult to understand what I meant?
And again what’s the fuss?

last example:

swear-swearing
(hereafter I’m not interested in,I exclude other uses like “I swear I’m innocent”)

in greek
calling,naming names,insulting ie “you’re stupid”,
using “bad” language (ie “shit”),
swearing -is this the correct use or the above or the one below?- ie “Moth__fu___”
and using blasphemous expressions ie “Christ” accompanied by many epithets and expressions
can be and are expressed
by using a unique word for each meaning but also
by using a general,an umbrella term-word that corresponds more to your word “swear”.
In fact there isn’t even a 1-1 mapping,a unique correspondence of meanings between languages due to cultural differences.
In other words and in order to be specific “insulting” in greek cultural context
is equal to “swearing” when addressing a stranger or when in foul mood.

Glen being a stranger to me isn’t just insulting me,
he is “swearing me” when he calls me stupid.
Do you get it Glen?Since you claim to have knowledge of modern greek
culture perhaps you should have know this.

Apropos, in the other hand saying “Christ” in greek isn’t blasphemous
because the Orthodox Christians (Greeks are 98% Orthodox) contrary
to most Protestand doctrines ,subdoctrines and churches
don’t follow “literally” the old testament rules;
the OT is far less important in Orthodox Christianity
from the NT and the other orthodox liturgical,ecclesiastical etc texts.

Ending what’s the fuss?Me writting “insult” or “swear” he got what I meant.

Conclusion

Context is crucial whether it is cultural,lingual or of any other kind

PS1 I hope I haven’t bored many people.
I apologise for the long,out of thread topic post
ciao

PS2 Sir_Toejam I’l pretend that you didn’t wrote that what I write is nonsense :-(

Comment #183594

Posted by Mark Hausam on June 18, 2007 12:35 AM (e)

“However, it seems unlikely to me that these two different models would look exactly the same.”

“Mark,
Where do you think we should start looking for the differences?”

Well, this is a major part of what I am trying to figure out myself. You may know more than I currently do about the geological issues, so you may know more where to start than I do. The creation scientists have been dealing with this issue for a long time. I got another response from ICR (I don’t know if you were lurking when I pasted my questions to ICR earlier and their first response). This time, because I had mentioned I was talking to people on the Panda’s Thumb, they sent me more weblinks. I don’t know if you have really seriously read any creationist writings (books, articles, web articles, etc.) before, but, obviously, if you want to see what creation scientists have come up with, that would be the place to go. One site they gave me that looks particularly useful so far is http://www.trueorigin.org/. It is a creationist alternative to Talkorigins.org. Some other websites they referred me to are “The Revolution Against Evolution,” “The Anti-Creationists,” and “Creation Science FAQs.” I haven’t had a chance to look at these other sites yet. Anyway, I wish I could be more help in answering your question directly, but I am still at the stage of beginning to try to answer the question myself.

“However, even though Mark did not have time to look at the evidence, he did have time to post almost a million words on Biblical inerrancy and naturalism. Now, you be the judge.”

I am looking at the evidence, David. I have also been involved in other related topics of conversation on these threads that I happen to know more about. Those aren’t mutually exclusive practices. Since when did I agree to never discuss any other subject until I had finished researching the physical evidence to my satisfaction? But there is really no point in trying to reason with you about this. You are not really interested in evaluating this conversation objectively; you are more interested in making out that you have confirmed all your biases and prejudices about creationists you obviously cling to so dearly.

“yes the very-small-god-of-quantum-gaps argument. we don’t yet have a stong enough pesticide to concretely flush god out of those holes yet. working on it though. No reason to assume he’s hiding there, either, btw.”

No naturalistic biases here, no! Here’s a question for you all: How many of you believe that the ultimate goal of science, if it could be carried to its ideal goal, is to provide a completely naturalistic description of all of reality–in other words, a description that doesn’t include “the supernatural” (whatever that is), particularly God?

Mark

Comment #183601

Posted by Delurks on June 18, 2007 1:58 AM (e)

Mark,

I think you’re missing the point. Science doesn’t have the goal of eliminating God - our aim as scientists is to understand the world around as best we can, interpreting the data rationally and as completely as possible. If evidence for a supernatural being (outside of our current understanding) comes to light, then science will consider the evidence and if it pans out, fold it into our universe-model. Science would seek to understand the nature of the ‘being’ and the mechanisms by which he/she/it works. Once we understand nature/mechanism, the supernatural being would then by definition no longer be ‘supernatural’.

I’ve suggested a couple of times that you give us an idea of what evidence/data you would require to falsify young-earth creationism. What would you regard as necessary?

Delurks

Comment #183603

Posted by Mike Elzinga on June 18, 2007 2:22 AM (e)

…particularly God?

Not even willing to consider another god or gods?

Your religion apparently hasn’t done you any favors as far as your own education is concerned. So why do you think that your particular sectarian monotheistic concept of a god is the goal that science should be striving to include? Do you have objections to other people’s religions and spiritual quests? Do you want your sectarian views to have the exclusive imprimatur of science?

By now you must realize that no one here believes you are sincere about learning anything about science. Is there a gallery out there you are still playing to?

Comment #183619

Posted by Richard Simons on June 18, 2007 7:05 AM (e)

I don’t know if you have really seriously read any creationist writings (books, articles, web articles, etc.) before,

Of course we have. And they consist almost entirely of Bronze Age mythology, long-refuted lies and deception.

Comment #183624

Posted by David Stanton on June 18, 2007 8:21 AM (e)

Mark wrote:

“I am looking at the evidence, David. I have also been involved in other related topics of conversation on these threads that I happen to know more about. Those aren’t mutually exclusive practices. Since when did I agree to never discuss any other subject until I had finished researching the physical evidence to my satisfaction? But there is really no point in trying to reason with you about this. You are not really interested in evaluating this conversation objectively; you are more interested in making out that you have confirmed all your biases and prejudices about creationists you obviously cling to so dearly.”

Yea, it is all my fault. It’s my fault that Mark can’t be bothered to even figure out the predictions of his hypothesis and how it would differ from evolution. It’s my fault that Mark, who claims to want to look at evidence, has not bothered to do so for his entire life. It’s my fault that he is more interested in discussing the Bible than science.

One last time Mark, did God copy the mistakes? It is a simple question, one I have posed at least four times now. If you still won’t answer then allow me to answer for you, since I have looked at the evidence. No, God did not copy the mistakes. She isn’t that stupid. All the evidence shows that descent with modification is true. Deal with it.

As for evaluating the conversation objectively, you are right, I don’t care in the least. As for confirming all my biases and prejudices, you are right again. You have confirmed all of them by steadfastly refusing to look at the evidence. If you ever do get around to it, I hope you can have the courage to face up to the answer it provides.

Comment #183629

Posted by Raging Bee on June 18, 2007 9:49 AM (e)

The choice between belief in the past and LTism is a metaphysical choice–it cannot be made by empirical observation apart from metaphysics.

No, Mark, it is most certainly NOT a “metaphysical” choice; it’s a practical one. If we assume that we cannot trust our own observations of the Universe, and our ability to draw reasoned conclusions from what we observe, then we are left in stifling, static bubble-verses where nothing can be learned and no progress can be made. But if we assume we CAN do so, than we are able to increase our understanding and get a lot of useful things done – things which, in fact, scientists have accomplished and reactionary theists have not. This is why we – and, as I’ve said before, the overwhelming majority of sensible theists – reject Last-Thursdayism, Last-Tuesdayism, and all of your clearly-made-up “appearance of age” and “God’s not really lying if he does it for aesthetic purposes” crap.

This is why the basic assumptions that underlie methodological naturalism are more valid than those that underlie Mark’s young-Earth bubble-verse: the naturalists are able to explain, enlighten, understand and predict; and the theists can only use ever-increasing amounts of word-salad to hide from the truth, refuse to understand what is obvious to everyone else, and pretend everyone else is as blind and befuddled as they have chosen to be.

Mark, after identifying yourself as a Christian and asserting that the Bible is an “infallible” source of Truth, you have been amazingly silent in response to the theological and spiritual questions put to you by other theists such as myself – questions that a committed theist such as yourself should be both able and eager to answer. This leads me to conclude that your religious pretensions are just as empty and dishonest as your scientific and philosophical pretensions.

Comment #183630

Posted by Mark Hausam on June 18, 2007 9:53 AM (e)

“I’ve suggested a couple of times that you give us an idea of what evidence/data you would require to falsify young-earth creationism. What would you regard as necessary?”

I’ve already given a general answer to this a number of times previously. Given all the weight of other sorts of evidence pointing to the accuracy of the Bible and the six-day interpretation of it, it would have to be something that could be shown conclusively that it could not be reasonably or plausibly reconciled with YEC, including the belief in a non-deceptive God. Specific candidates will have to be judged on a case-by-case basis. If it turned out that there were many lines of converging evidence that clearly and unmistakeably pointed to a very specific history, with specific events, of life on earth, and could not reasonably or plausibly be interpreted in another way, I would find that strongly unexpected for a six-day model. But it would have to be very specific indications of particular history. If I walk into my house and there is a message on the answering machine–a specific person saying something specific about specific things, this is an example of a record of a very specific history. If evidence was conclusively found of something that specific in the record of the history of the earth, it would at least be very odd, and I would have trouble reconciling it with a YEC view. But, as I said, it would have to be a very strong, very clear, conclusive indication of real past events that must indicate a very long passage of time. This sort of reasoning is why creationists don’t generally take the fossil record as something originally created as part of the rocks, but as indicating past events. Of course God could put images of creatures in the rocks if he wanted to, and if the images were not so full of specific indications of history, that would be a more plausible take on them. But the fossils record not just images of creatures but skeletons of creatures, sometimes broken and scattered, missing bits here and there, sometimes caught in the act of doing something specific like giving birth or fighting or eating, etc. These images are so strongly suggestive of specific events that almost no creationist takes the fossil record as anything but a record of real history. But for a piece of evidence, or lines of evidence, to be deemed to falisfy or present an unresolvable challenge to a position I have very good reason to accept on other grounds, it would have to be extraordinarily conclusive and rationally rule out other possibilities. This is where I expect our different beliefs about what sort of evidence is out there and whether there is good, conclusive evidence to believe the Bible from other sources are very likely to come into play and lead us to interpret things differently. That is, we are very likely to have significantly different criteria for what constitutes conclusive evidence for an old earth.

“One last time Mark, did God copy the mistakes?”

If I recall correctly, you are referring to what you take to be examples of mutations in the genes of certain life forms, such as pseudogenes. The example of this we have discussed previously is the alleged broken vitamin-C gene. I just came across a good article on this from a creationist perspective on the trueorigin.org website I mentioned earlier. Here is the link: http://www.trueorigin.org/theobald1c.asp#pred7. The discussion of pseudogenes occurs under the heading of “preediction 7: molecular vestigial characters.” (The previous section on vestigial organs, etc., is applicable as well.) This seems like a good article that raises some good points and questions. Do we know there are such things as pseudogenes? Often, what we think has no function turns out to have a function. We don’t know enough to be too presumptuous. And even if there are true pseudogenes (which is not ruled out in a creationist model), they do not necessarily indicate common ancestry when they occur in different life forms. The actual characteristics of various life forms is frequently hard to reconcile with the proposed branchings of the evolutionary tree of life. That is, reality frequently doesn’t fit the theory. The existence of the concept of “convergent evolution” and the frequency with which it is invoked seem to be admissions of this lack of fitting that frequently occurs. If it is true that most primates have a “broken vitamin-C gene,” and we assume such a thing really is a pseudogene, there are many possible reasons for why the gene might have been broken in the specific primates in which it is in fact broken. The article mentions the possibility of certain non-random causes of mutation such as viruses. I would suggest also the possibility of certain similar characteristics of the primate genome and other shared or similar characteristics that might render certain mutations more likely or even highly probable in primates. More research needs to be done to determine precisely what these genes are and what has happened, but it is clear that such genes do not prove the creationist view false since they haven’t been shown to require the hypotheses of common ancestry and lack of an intelligent designer. It would be presumptuous to claim that we know enough to prove common ancestry from such genes at this time. It will be interesting to see what further research turns up as we continue to explore the nature and possible functions of these genes and continue to explore possibilities of what they might be able to tell us about the past. But there is nothing in all this at this time that conclusively refutes or contradicts my position. (See the article for more details, including some links to further research.)

Mark

Comment #183632

Posted by Eric Finn on June 18, 2007 10:12 AM (e)

Mark wrote:

Some other websites they referred me to are “The Revolution Against Evolution,” “The Anti-Creationists,” and “Creation Science FAQs.”

I tried “Creation Science FAQs” and noticed that they have given up claiming that evolution violates the second law of thermodynamics.
On the other hand, “CreationWiki” is more vague on this and indicates that macroevolution and “the evolutionary origin of life” are most likely to violate the 2nd law.
Also, “Revolution Against Evolution” gives the impression that 2nd law would be problematic for evolution.
Could not find “The Anti-Creationists”

Creation Science FAQS states that

Evolution theory also fails to adequately explain many observations such as the evolution of symbiotic relationships, the evolution of stereoscopic vision and other parts of anatomy that would require thousands of compounding, complementary, beneficial mutations.

Transitional fossils (or the lack of them) is a problem for the evolutionary theory. Bacterial resistance to antibiotics does not support evolution, since it is a result of horizontal transfer rather than mutations.

Young earth and young universe evidence include: the decay of earths magnetic field, tree rings can be traced back only a few thousand years, erosion of Niagara falls makes it only a few thousand years old (this one might be accurate), existence of short-period comets, shrinking sun, shortage of solar neutrinos, presence of Uranium-236 and Thorium-230 on the moon.

Unfortunately, no clear predictions.

Regard
Eric

Comment #183634

Posted by Delurks on June 18, 2007 10:24 AM (e)

I’m not sure there’s much more to be discussed, then, given your approach …

“Given all the weight of other sorts of evidence pointing to the accuracy of the Bible and the six-day interpretation of it, it would have to be something that could be shown conclusively that it could not be reasonably or plausibly reconciled with YEC, including the belief in a non-deceptive God”

Your position appears to be that in science, the Bible has primacy - you will interpret all the evidence in this light. As many more eloquent people than I have pointed out in this thread, you’re unlikely to have a productive discussion with scientists if you follow this route.

When the bible and science are contradictory, you accept the bible. For the rest of us (and for many xtians), when the bible and science are contradictory, science wins every time.

Comment #183636

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 18, 2007 10:42 AM (e)

STJ wrote:

I dunno, Glen, ya think 8 consecutive posts is enough to make your message clear?

better keep going. after all, english is obviously not his first language.

It’s not really his language at all. Though I doubt that he’s clear or capable in any language.

:-) :) :-) :) :-)
Glen since and because I’ve passed,got over the past initial shock
you are ,are being,have been very funny.
But you’re being also once again very boring.

That is the kind of amazingly stupid thing that only you are capable of coming up with, completely contradictory.

PS
I remembered one more magic word of yours: (philosophical) fundamentalism

You’d know if it was magic, since you’re virtually a theist. I wouldn’t know, as I don’t believe in your hocus-pocus, or that you even understand your own idiotic beliefs.

So now we have
Glen can’t escape the metaphysical nature of axiomatic principles->

Here’s the incoherent liar, just restating his whining idiocy. Since he can’t show any value to metaphysics, or that his “axioms” are in fact “axiomatic,” he pulls the old mindless trick of quoting his own tripe.

logocentrism
Glen can’t evade fundamental philosophical questions->
(philosophical) fundamentalism

Of course I can evade them all, as you have no warrant for your claims whatsoever, hence all you have is your mosquito whine.

You naughty naughty logocentrist (philosophical) fundamentalists!!!
Bad bad boys(and girls)!!!

That the best you can do? Apparently you’re not even competent to argue without substance, let alone with any.

PS (to readers other than Glen)
I know ,I know,once again I replied to the “Philosophiae Imperator” .
(left “imperator” uninflected-undeclined cause in english it would be strange,bizarre-looking)

Everything your write is strange-looking, and incompetent. Not only is your grammar idiotic, you don’t write or think in paragraphs, you simply type your scattered prejudices and lies in a disconnected fashion, never coming to anything like an intelligent conclusion.

Well,I’m only human.
At least this time it was a short reply.
(after all once again he’s repeating his usual “argumentation”,
so the effort would be very very very boring-useless)

First off, I only repeat because you tell colossal lies, shift the goalposts, and attack strawmen. That said, I have arguments, you onlyl have lies, insults, and prejudice.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/35s39o

Comment #183638

Posted by David Stanton on June 18, 2007 10:46 AM (e)

Mark,

Thanks for at least trying to answer the question. However, it would have been better to answer the question I asked. It did not have to do with vitamin C or pseudogenes. But, as long as we are on the subject, you cannot presume to call anyone presumptuous in an area where you yourself are completely ingorant. Pseudogenes are indeed good evidence for evolution and cannot be reasonably reconciled with intelligent design. Your hand-waving argument about possible function has no support, especially when we consider that some of the genes in question are of mitochondrial origin. Even the genetic code is different for these genes.

As far as retroviral transposons are concerned, you obviously still have not read the talkorigins article on plagarized errors. When you finally do, you will find that that evidence cannot possibly be reconciled with a young earth either.

You claim that any evidence of a specific history would invaliudate your hypothesis. You have been given many examples of exactly that. You say that converging lines of evidence would count against your hypothesis, well they certainly do. You say that you will not take our word for anything and you shouldn’t. But if you refuse to look at any evidence, then no rational discussion is possible. You will find that this is all that scientists care about. You can gripe about it all you want, but if you want to play the game those are the rules.

Comment #183640

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 18, 2007 10:48 AM (e)

As to post #183590, it’s another place where his lie about quitting is revealed for all of its wretchedness, and it’s another random driveling rant, neither responding to what I actually wrote, nor shoring up any of his pathetic lies. I only scanned part of it, as I’ve treated him as if he were intelligent for too long now.

Babble on, Thanatos, and try to keep your drool off your keyboard.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/35s39o

Comment #183645

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 18, 2007 10:56 AM (e)

Here, I thought it might do to refresh memories of what a rank prejudicial fascist the idiot Thanatos is. Here’s the “apology” he mentioned for his anti-American bigotry, and as you can see it’s really nothing but a repetition of his bigotry, despite the fact that what he writes is very difficult to understand:

Thanatos wrote:

Dear dear Glen
I started visiting this site some time ago interested in the american religion vs science-evolution wars having -I admit-in my mind the American=Idiot stereotype.
The blog is wonderful,so
I started to think then ,following this and relevant blogs that there may be hope for the transatlantic barbarians.
Unfortunately your kind of thinking although evidently not religion-wise dogmatism,is a dogmatism,and is unfortunately refueling my stereotypism(sic).
I can’t really answer when you’re failing to see that your argumentation is a philosophy,is a point of view.You fail to see all the metaproblems.You fail to see that I’m not saying that my view is correct and yours wrong.(which is my view by the way?)
I just mentioned ,in hummoristical manner by the way,read between the lines MORE (more (vocativus-kletike) by the way not moron,please when naming me in greek names ,use my language correctly, that we’re are talking about very fuzzy things and one should have in mind the complexity of them.
I apologise to any bystander for the harsh words I use,but unfortunately it comes to this:
for any non USAer talking to USAers usually-statistically is the same whatever the USAer may be,a fanatic christian YEC-OEC,a
kill_all_the arabs_they_are_all_terrorists_peaceloving jew
,an IDiot,a self centered overspecialised scientist in a desperate need of sphaerical education.
Charein!

There’s not much to add to such an addled rant, except to note that it comes from the PT blog “Note from Kansas”, comment #161655. Yes, he’s the victim.

I’ll be cutting back on answers to someone as hideous as Thanatos, but I will respond at length to one more post, as it cuts to the heart of how his metaphysics aids and abets the religion that he hates and doesn’t understand (like there’s anything he does understand at all well).

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/35s39o

Comment #183646

Posted by Mike Elzinga on June 18, 2007 11:03 AM (e)

Raging Bee wrote:

Mark, after identifying yourself as a Christian and asserting that the Bible is an “infallible” source of Truth, you have been amazingly silent in response to the theological and spiritual questions put to you by other theists such as myself – questions that a committed theist such as yourself should be both able and eager to answer. This leads me to conclude that your religious pretensions are just as empty and dishonest as your scientific and philosophical pretensions.

There is considerable concurrence here with Raging Bee’s observations. You never answer questions about why your sectarian views are “special” and demand special consideration in science, and science classes.

What are your problems with other religious views?

Do you deny the political nature of this ploy?

Do you want a theocracy based on your religious views? Do other religious views count for anything?

Why do all the objections to and the political activity against science come from a rather restricted range of sectarian groups such as yours?

Is all this repetition of yours due to some kind of mental illness?

We are quite sure that you know the answers to these questions.

You can stop playing the “sincere seeker” role now. As you will recall, we figured that out long ago.

Forget the science; we already know where your answers to that are going.

Answer some substantial questions for a change.

Comment #183647

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 18, 2007 11:09 AM (e)

I totally respect your opinion,I also totally respect Glen’s opinion.

My opinion is that all of Thanatos’s metaphysics is a species of dishonesty at this time. See, philosophy isn’t a useless stupid churning of thoughts, it is actually capable of coming to conclusions, and just as science (and philosophy) disrespects ID, any good philosophy (including much of analytic now, btw) disrespects unwarranted and unmerited metaphysical claims.

We’re supposed to believe that Thanatos has something in his prejudices, simply because they’re written down by the ancients. This is why he’s a short stone’s throw from being an IDist, and as we said of Michael Finley, he’s a man of much mental masturbation.

Non-realism,total disregard of metaphysics etc are perfectly sound and legitimate.

Indeed, disregard of metaphysics is the only reasonable view at this time, as ours is the side that is properly skeptical up until the point at which they can actually make a case for their positive claims. It’s not surprising that I’m saying the same thing that we say to IDists, since they have nothing except their metaphysical prejudices as a “basis” for their claims.

What I don’t respect is Glen’s total disrespect of
realism,platonism et cetera ,and his claim that the non-“existence” of metaphysics etc
has really been (in an objective logical and/or scientific way) proven.

You can tell that he’s lying again, because he actually wrote something there. I don’t have “total disrespect” for realism platonism, etc., and I have demonstrated this repeatedly in various ways. That I have the intelligence to discard what has never proven itself (and on a practical level, is important to the maintenance of religion and creationism in America) only shows my integrity, vs. Thanatos whose lies repeat endlessly and without even any clear knowledge of where and how he’s lying (it’s easier to lie when you’re too stupid to know the truth).

And of course I totally disrespect Glen’s barbarous uncaused swearing-naming.
His total disrespect of me.

You’re a lying piece of scum, who started in with me with your hatred of Americans and has never improved.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/35s39o

Comment #183648

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 18, 2007 11:55 AM (e)

Now to someone who is a breath of fresh air, after the random words and hatreds of the evil Thanatos:

Hausam wrote:

I do agree that science is different from philosophy–they have different focuses and emphases. I do, however, think that they are much more similar than they are different

Unfortunately, you conflate the parts that are different as if they were the same.

They both study the real world, the real universe, and try to understand that world.

No, you’re really quite wrong about that. Metaphysics makes claims about the universe or “real world” which cannot be supported. Philosophy at large is mostly concerned with logic, language, and conceptions, and how these relate to perceptions and the rest of epistemology. Some philosophy makes greater claims, it is true, but these claims cannot be substantiated (look at Thanatos telling his bald-faced lies to try to cover up his inability to show any value to his prejudices).

And (if we are dealing with what I would consider good philosophy) they both have the same basic methodology in a broad sense.

One has to really stretch the meaning of “broad” if one is to even make that claim. No, philosophy deals with the means by which we consider the perceptions which are the (initial, anyhow) basis of science, and helps to inform science of what is a reasonable inference, induction, or conclusion. Yes, there is where overlap exists, however, for instance, science is not typically considered to be where the meaning and value of logic and mathematics is studied (even if a scientist is doing so—Einstein is spoken of as philosophizing where he is considering these issues apart from his science) per se, while science is thought to be what uses the logic propounded in philosophy.

To be sure, science is not necessarily dependent upon philosophy, as Newton and other pioneers of modern science were able to do the science while bypassing the rotten metaphysics of which philosophy had been constituted previously. However, philosophy reconstituted itself in order to deal with problems of integrating science into the intellectual universe, and it now helps to integrate both going and coming.

That is, they both rely on evidence-based reasoning, starting from the known, learning more about the known, reasoning to the unknown, etc.

You’re straining the word “evidence” there. In one sense, yes, Kant and Nietzsche were using “evidence” in their philosophies, but this is not the sort of evidence of which science speaks (the usual distinction becomes problematic when neuroscience and cognition are the sciences at issue, which indeed is a big reason why I studied philosophy). Science typically uses “objective evidence” (“intersubjective,” if you wish) which is available for cross-examination of the various parties, that is to say, empirical evidence. The evidence in philosophy is real, but more difficult to pin down, to strip of bias, and most importantly, to use in order to come to a definite answer (not that I think definite answers in philosophy don’t exist).

Again, you conflate where you should try to understand.

I differ with many here in that I believe that much of the historic, metaphysical theistic reasoning works.

We know that, and neither you nor Thanatos can give us any basis for that belief.

(I don’t agree with every argument advanced by every theist, of course, including Thomas Aquinas.) I think that such reasoning is really nothing more than a deep and intense form of logical thinking based on valid observation.

You have never questioned your biases, as any good scientist or philosopher would do. I noted before that metaphysics is a set of anthropocentric biases which are what lead (reasonably, if one accepts your unwarranted premises) to your anthropomorphization of cosmic order as the result of a God.

This difference between us has profuund implications epistemologically, and leads us to view what is considered evidence very differently. I don’t think this is the only difference between us, but it does seem to be a major one.

Actually, I know very well that you don’t consider evidence “very differently,” except when you want to make space for your a priori beliefs.

I don’t believe it is possible to escape metaphysics. No one really avoids it.

Yes, I said that you don’t know philosophy. Try some Nietzsche, instead of merely droning on about how you can’t disbelieve your prejudices. The latter is far too obvious.

As Thanatos suggests (if I understand him right–I apologize if I’ve gotten him wrong here), it is metaphysical reasoning that establishes everything else. For example, belief that the external world is real depends on metaphysical reasoning.

Only in the philosophical sense. But yes, in the philosophical sense the “external world” cannot be established as real (“real” is a problematic word apart from this particular observation), not by Descartes’ appeal to God, nor by your jibber-jabber.

However, in a more mundane scientific sense we are able to recognize how it is that evolving organisms would adapt in order to see straight lines where there are, in fact, straight lines. That is to say, we actually have an explanation for our ability to understand the world in the realm of “practical reason,” while you have no explanation for how we could understand a world which was “created apart from us”.

It is a metaphysical position about the nature of reality. No metaphysics at all would mean no belief about the existence of the external world.

And science does not need a belief in the “external world” at all, as many neo-Kantians and phenomenologists have been scientists and done just fine. Science only requires the phenomena to be observed, it needs nothing else. Believing that “the external world is real” is likewise no impediment, it just can’t be established with the magic you and Thanatos believe in.

Another example is Last Thursdayism. A person who denies metaphysical reasoning has no ability to fefute Last Thursdayism. For such a person, LTism is just as logical a position as the real existence of the past (beyond last Thursday). The choice between belief in the past and LTism is a metaphysical choice–it cannot be made by empirical observation apart from metaphysics.

Of course it’s just a biased metaphysical choice, one that you make no matter how unjustified it is. We (at least we philosophers) don’t say that Last Thursdayism is wrong, we say that it is totally unknowable, epistemologically worthless. Virtually all evidence points to an old earth, and we accept that conclusion knowing that any number of unevidenced “possibilities” could render this conclusion false (aliens made everything to look old, for example). The point, the one you avoid repeatedly, is that it is a reasonable working model, the only reasonable working model. Because you don’t care about science, you are unconcerned about reasonable working models, like evolution.

My metaphysical, philosophical reasoning gives me a foundation on which to show the errors of LTism and so rationally reject it.

If you had that foundation I’m sure you’d present it. Your mere belief in an ancient myth is not a “foundation,” it is the abdication of thought.

Without metaphysical reasoning, LTism is no more or less probable than the existence of the past. In fact, as I said, you can know nothing without metaphysical reasoning, because it is the sort of foundational reasoning that establishes the very nature of the empirical world that is the observational basis of science.

You need to learn philosophy, especially phenomenology (stick more with the Husserlian strain, not the Heideggerian one).

The nature of the empirical world is in fact not known definitely, and science exists to find out whatever it can about the “empirical world,” subject, naturally, to human limitations of perception and cognition.

This issue above all is the dividing issue, for you begin with “certainty” about a world which you do not understand. Reasonable philosophy and good science begin without your prejudices, and model the world as best they can based upon the evidence accepted as openly as possible.

For science to claim knowledge, it must deal with metaphysics.

It doesn’t claim knowledge in your sense. It claims knowledge based upon the contingencies of observation, of perceptual biases and limitations, and upon human interpretive faculties and unavoidable coloring.

This is why you understand virtually nothing about science, for you don’t want to understand the world as it presents itself to you, you wish to impose metaphysics on it and to label it “God’s creation” despite the fact that none of the observed facts comport with the inherent predictions from your “mechanisms” (like the flood).

If it doesn’t claim knowledge, it is nothing more than a hobby some people like to do that has no more reason to be trusted than reading fairy-tales.

It claims contingent knowledge, the only kind available through human perceptions. You and the egregious Thanatos claim absolute knowledge without being able to demonstrate any value to your prejudices. Indeed, the contingent and temporal knowledge of science has been far more successful than your and Thanatos’s dogmatic retention of ancient prejudices.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/35s39o

Comment #183649

Posted by Mike Elzinga on June 18, 2007 12:51 PM (e)

Mark exhibits a profile that seems remarkably standard in several other cases I have seen in the past. These people (they were all males) tried to make themselves high-profile figures on various college and university campuses.

1. They all had a brief foray into teaching in a secular institution (high school or community college) that ended in failure and non-renewal of contract, which they attributed to religious persecution.

2. They each held a fairly important position within the hierarchy of their church (deacon, elder, youth leader, etc.)

3. They buttressed themselves with a set of standard rebuttals to scientific and philosophical arguments that questioned their sectarian claims. Lots of repetition in their answers.

4. They enhanced their position within their religious sect by taking on the “heroic role.” Like the grandmaster chess player who could play multiple games, they displayed their “virtuosity” to their peers by replying to multiple challengers with long-winded obfuscations that their peers saw as overwhelming the “enemy.”

5. They consciously trained on campus quads after having trained in sessions involving disputation, rhetoric, forensics, and logic.

6. They learned to speak loudly, interrupt frequently, and redirect the conversation.

7. They memorized and could quote many passages from their bible.

8. They used their atrocious knowledge of science and their indirect insults of other religious views to make people angry, and then exploited that anger to make themselves appear rational and reasonable.

9. In any “debate” they always surrounded themselves with a group of followers and cheerleaders who jeered at the right places. There was always a support group that could make it appear that they were winning even when they looked ridiculous. Getting heard was sufficient for them.

10. They all had a similar belief in biblical inerrancy.

I think most of us have seen these characters on campuses around the country and could add to the profile. The “more prestigious” the campus, the more extreme these characteristics.

I could be wrong, but I suspect Mark is in training after some similar failures in his own life. I would even guess that he holds some position of importance in his church. He is too entrenched in the culture of his church to risk changing his views. Delurker pointed that out. He isn’t trying to learn science. He is too much of a stereotype.

Comment #183650

Posted by GuyeFaux on June 18, 2007 12:57 PM (e)

This is called begging the question:

Mark, in response to what exactly would falsify a 6kyo Earth, wrote:

I’ve already given a general answer to this a number of times previously. Given all the weight of other sorts of evidence pointing to the accuracy of the Bible and the six-day interpretation of it, it would have to be something that could be shown conclusively that it could not be reasonably or plausibly reconciled with YEC, including the belief in a non-deceptive God.

Emphasis mine.

Comment #183656

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 18, 2007 1:43 PM (e)

I could be wrong, but I suspect Mark is in training after some similar failures in his own life. I would even guess that he holds some position of importance in his church. He is too entrenched in the culture of his church to risk changing his views. Delurker pointed that out. He isn’t trying to learn science. He is too much of a stereotype.

Your post is an interesting list of the syndrome, something I’m not too familiar with as a campus phenomenon. I think it’s a good guess. I’ve mentioned the Mormon connection in the past, as one “Mark Hausam” seems to have attended some Mormon conventions, etc.

However, there are also converts, who seem a bit shaky on certain questions, who have some position in their church and act as the “bulldog” of orthodoxy, sometimes creationist orthodoxy. I don’t bring this up to disagree, but to note that with which I am more familiar.

My church, up until my teens, was the Seventh-day Adventist church. They have a Clifford Goldstein who was converted from an Jewish atheist past, who acts somewhat like Mark does. He’s not looking for a position, though. And indeed he is somewhat refreshing in attempting to “dialog” with the SDA detractors (mostly ex-members), though the usual hit-and-run, pick what you want to answer, tactics are used.

He, too, tends to retreat into metaphysics, to ask what sort of “meaning” one could have with “Darwinism,” without troubling to tell us how we might have meaning through ancient myths. In a sense, one might even just wish him well (he seems to be retreating from what he claimed was his childhood religion, the Holocaust—don’t blame me, it’s what he said), for he seems to be trying to get to what he seemingly was missing in his past. The trouble is that he ends up confusing the issues for those who want more openness to the evidence from “God’s creation” than has been allowed in that church.

This isn’t a very good reference, but I feel I should at least include some means of getting to what Cliff is: www.atomorrow.com/discus/messages/8/12153.html?1181874946. It’s a forum where we’ve discussed his articles and apologetics, and much more can be found on that site. I’m not saying go to it, I’m just giving an easy reference for what I’m writing about him and his kind.

Anyhow, he has a good position with the SDAs (he’s intelligent, but not very well educated—almost wholly ignorant of science), and defends their orthodoxy as an intelligent convert would be expected to do, looking only to defeat his opponents, without ever truly reconsidering his own positions. Like Mark, but I do think he’s a bit easier to reach, despite the fact that neither one is at all likely to change during the time left in their lives.

Not surprisingly, there is overlap between the type you explicated, and a convert like Cliff Goldstein. They both have their audiences that they’re keen to impress, they’re stuck in a metaphysics which denies the questions that empiricism poses (such as about causality, and verification). And, both in their positions and socialization, the costs of changing would be huge, even as the comfort of constantly denying nagging questions is likewise enormous.

One surely must question the wisdom of giving a pulpit here to anyone like Hausam or Goldstein. Those of us who have debated creationists have encountered both relatively open ones (increasingly rare on these forums, however) and evidently completely recalcitrant types like Hausam. Nick has never justified his statements in giving Hausam his pulpit from which to preach, nor his judgment that we’re not open to people who are “willing to discuss” like Mark supposedly is.

However, at least for now the pulpit exists. What we really should be doing is noting how a certain type of creationist like Hausam (or Goldstein) is so thoroughly convinced of the necessity of God to vouchsafe their beliefs and supposedly the beliefs of scientists, that just about any of the real justifications and practices of science are invisible to them. While these a priori beliefs are strongest in those who have had a course or two in college (or in the case of Michael Finley, a whole lot of propaganda that he’ll spin in a circular manner no matter how many points are brought up), these are also often the “strong points” that your rank-and-file creationist has.

Mark is probably one of the least likely to change who comes in here, indeed. But what’s important is that probably most creationists/IDists really have this metaphysical blockade to any better alternatives, or even to the understanding of what sort of approach is necessary to do science.

The “arguments” that they throw at us are not what they believe in, as has been pointed out numerous times. These are simply projectiles, which if they work are worth using again, and if they don’t they die a quiet death. The real issue is that they understand the world in a certain manner that makes sense to them (whether via Bible, metaphysics, or both), and anything else threatens the firmness and safety that they think that have grabbed onto.

And this is true of Hausam even if (which is likely) he is seeking to enhance his church position through this pulpit conveniently provided by Nick. Their little knowledge of science makes preaching of the essential need for God, metaphysics, and their “firm foundation” built upon nothing, all the easier for them.

The one thing I’m virtually certain about is that Hausam’s here for some reason other than to “discuss”, that is, even to preach to us. There’s an audience other than us that he is speaking to, even though it may be very small.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/35s39o

Comment #183657

Posted by Mike Elzinga on June 18, 2007 2:21 PM (e)

Glen Davidson wrote:

The one thing I’m virtually certain about is that Hausam’s here for some reason other than to “discuss”, that is, even to preach to us. There’s an audience other than us that he is speaking to, even though it may be very small.

No doubt we are being watched also. I wonder who is doing the analysis. :-)

Your observation about converts squares with some of my observations as well. There is a kind of euphoria in their “epiphany” that drives them and makes them sure they are right. And certainly the hierarchy in these kinds of churches is more than willing to exploit that.

Way back in the beginning of this and the previous thread I had mentioned some of the persistent misconceptions we had noted back in the 1970s and 80s. In the cases of these religious fundamentalists, they were especially difficult to root out. The suspicion was that these misconceptions developed in a way that permitted a prior commitment to a sectarian world view.

Only rarely do we get to see the construction of these misconceptions in progress. I’ve seen it before, but not on a web forum in which there is a clear record that can be archived. At least Nick has provided that, and it was of some interest; if not entirely new for me, then maybe for some others.

Comment #183687

Posted by Thanatos on June 18, 2007 7:14 PM (e)

Glen
you’re boring
bye

Comment #183691

Posted by Mike Elzinga on June 18, 2007 8:44 PM (e)

I forgot to mention in my list of characteristics of the “quad preachers” that many of them at that time (back in the 1950s to 1980s) were taking as their model the hero in John Bunyan’s allegory, Pilgrim’s Progress.

I don’t know if that is what is being done today. C.S Lewis seems to be in vogue now.

Comment #183693

Posted by Thanatos on June 18, 2007 9:08 PM (e)

Glen Davidson wrote:

Believers are always the worst, claiming that the one who doubts the “truth” are wrong because, of course, the truth is axiomatic. No real scientist would claim that any of those are “axiomatic”, and for instance causality in science today is quite unlike how it was considered as “axiomatic” by Aristotle, or even Newton.

he just insists that anyone not a “believer” is wrong to fault his unwarranted belief system.

philosophy isn’t about proof

If philosophy isn’t about proof,Glen, you can have it ,it’s all yours,I don’t want it.:-)

Guys

What I mean by philosophy is what it etymogically,literally means and traditionally and classicaly had been ,has been,is (but of course evolven as science went forth).
I don’t follow or accept present,modern “trends” in philosophy,whether they are continental or anglosaxonian.Accepting the views of trends solely because they are the most modern ones,the ones popular now,the present trends (allegedly surpassed-disproved previous ones) is totally wrong according to me.

Philosophy without science,not based on science at all, equals IMO to BS (modern continentals) .
Self restricted science-philosophy-of-science (modern anglosaxons), that is, science that isn’t at all meant to solve the problem of reality or other basic problems
-is there a reality?is it unique,only one?can it be accessed?how can it be accessed? etc
is IMO plain Masochism or just hobbies of some in order to pass,to spend their time
Although the science per se part of it is obviously legitimate and sound and many times leads to some practical useful technology,applications and knowledge(like this computer or medicine that saves lifes) why in example would one research black hole theory?There is minimal possibility in the next at most 100 years of his-her life to visit them,to go through them and see where they lead(to his-her death probably :-)).
Why should the public or anybody care?

What I understand as Philosophy is the “sum”,the superpotition of all sciences,disciplines with physics at its core
(physics dealing with fundamental principles and general common to all fields laws).
And its use,purpose and value is to explain,prove everything logically with an empirical data based confirmation.
That is meant to include all “high”,”medium” or “low” level phaenomena,basic or holistic-emergent properties.

Following this line of reasoning another term must be examined;metaphysics.
Metaphysics is a term historically “charged” with a theological ,
astrological, magical and other kinds of foul heritage.
So the term and concept became unpopular
(along with the post Kant superbly anti-ontological anti-metaphysical trend of western philosophy).

Hence to a modern physicist-scientist not educated in,aware of (classical) philosophy and philosophical terminology, metaphysics may sound weird used next to words like (axiomatic) principles of science.
But one shouldn’t fear it,once one understands what is meant.In fact one will find it quite common.Because
one should or may ,where “metaphysical principles of science” is written , read “fundamental principles of physics”.
Metaphysics in this sense is nothing more than fundamental physics or “physics of physics” ,fundamental principles of physics and the reasoning-research on them.

(along or perplexed perhaps with the general study of science or “science of science” let’s say metascience,and “mathematics of mathematics” metamathematics).
-note : fields like astronomy,cosmology are herein considered fields of physics.

In fact it includes concepts in existence,essence,practice,and use every day.
It has nothing to do with gods,theology,psychics ,magic or …

So following the classical definition of philosophy
(again remember what PhD stands for and think about it)
a plain scientist even without philosophising is by definition a philosopher.
According to my view, Great Philosophers, were people,personae that dealt both with
specific topics-disciplines of science and with a general sythesis of them ,
people like Plato,Aristotle,DaVinci,Galileo,Newton,Kant,Poincare,Russell,Einstein,Heisenberg.

But nowadays due to the huge “expondential” development-progress of science, few scientists express their views on these issues or anyway have the time even to work on or reflect on them.
But there are some exceptions,mainly (fundamental) physicists and theories of physics.
Examples(present,recent or a bit older) include famous guys like Hawkings ,the various subviews of the Copenhagen Interpretation(ie consciousness causes collapse,dualistic,platonic,solipsistic) ,multiverses,parallel cosmoi,black holes and wormholes.
And this is due to that all these deal with fundamental,basic to human thought concepts like space and time.

In physics there two major trends concerning fundamental questions ,if one should ask physicists what their personal core beliefs are;they are devided in two major camps,
modelists(instrumentalists,etc) and realists(platonists etc).
-I myself swing from time to time from one camp to the other
-In other words I don’t know who is correct but I also know that nobody has been
-proven wrong
There are of course superpositions ,subdivisions of the two and also correlations of them with respect to other concepts like verifiability and falsifiability.And of course this is not the only possible division.

A famous recent example in physics of such comrades in friendly “battle” against each other but also in assistance to each other is the old long duel between Stephen Hawking and Roger Penrose;
Hawkins being a modelist and Penrose a realist.

The two groops don’t fight,they compete, they use the same methods(generally speaking),they are dear friends,they work together,they are in concorde,do you know why?

Because whether they believe that physics shows what reality is, or doesn’t really show,or just crudely (in approximation) represents it,
they think and operate following,accepting one basic assumption,hypothesis,principle,axiom,belief:
that everything in nature-physis-“reality” can be modeled,can be explained-expressed in mathematical terms,follows laws.
In one word CAUSALITY.
And they follow causality to one end; to explain how nature,how things,how everything works.

An important fact here to be noted is that if causality wasn’t “in power”,physics-science would simply be impossible to work.
Discarding causality equals to discarding physics-science-logic.

This isn’t rendered void by alleged problems or new findings like the non-determinism of Quantum Mechanics because even the non-determinism of QM is causal.
Nor by Chaos theory since again it is causal and further more, deterministic causal.

It isn’t even rendered void by the possibility of
future non-classicaly temporal or non-temporal,non-spatial theories.
Cause for change to happen there will have to exist a more abstract variable a “hyper-time” with respect to which change will take place.
So these would just be or become causal “hyperspacial-hypertemporal theories”
(or something like that anyway).
This means in other words ,that IF causality is wrong,
everything,I repeat everything in science and human thought-reasoning will have to be totally changed,redone,restructed,rebuilt.

Concluding ,I have one thing to focus on ,one thing to say, that is
physicists believe and/or hope that physics will one day explain everything(most or many of them anyway).
That one day “The Theory of Everything” will be found,discovered.
That the ultimate basic set of fundamental equations along with the equations for complexity- based-emergent properties will be enough and able to describe everything.
Whether the word “everything” would mean or include the words “real”,“modeled real”,”modeled alleged real” I don’t know;
it will be shown in the future (if humans/aliens/AIs :-) wouldn’t have by then been gone or self-destructed)
But I hope,I believe in that future theory-ies.
In other words I believe that physics-science-philosophy explains(proves) in principle everything.
Therefore from that perspective, yes Glen,
I’m indeed a “believer”. (most of the time anyway :-) )

Comment #183698

Posted by Mike Elzinga on June 18, 2007 11:31 PM (e)

Thanatos,

I don’t think that this is helpful here.

Even the “spark plugs” at the Discovery Institute aren’t much more advanced in their philosophical reasoning than Mark. And this isn’t helping us understand Mark’s reasons for appearing here.

Comment #183700

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 19, 2007 12:01 AM (e)

C.S Lewis seems to be in vogue now.

*yawn*

his arguments were trashed decades ago.

Comment #183702

Posted by Mike Elzinga on June 19, 2007 12:59 AM (e)

*yawn*
his arguments were trashed decades ago.

Yeah.

I was thinking of the allegorical stuff that appeals to the way the fundamentalists feel about themselves relative to the rest of the world. That stuff seems to be selling around here.

It’s just some speculation on my part, but perhaps the literature that appeals to them might give some additional insight into their motives.

You don’t suppose it is the Left Behind series? Yikes!

Comment #183743

Posted by David Stanton on June 19, 2007 8:47 AM (e)

Wow, four hundred posts, that has to be some kind of record around here (I hope). Time for one final review before this thread closes for good (I hope). Here are some of Mark’s responses to scientific evidence:

Tree rings - created by God to make the insides of trees look pretty (they just happen to provide the same exact paleoclimate record as the ice cores).

All other evidence for an ancient earth - created by God to give the appearance of age not history (even thought they all give a consistent answer about one and only one specific history).

Radiometric dating - not reliable because of measurement error (despite the fact that this does not address the issue of how things could possibly be determined to be drastically different ages regardless of the magnitude of the error).

Geologic column - hydrologic sorting (even though he was specifically told that that is what the AIG people would say and that every one already knew it was completely wrong).

Gravitational lensing - no response.

Tree of life - no response.

Vitamin C genes - they all happen to be broken in exactly the same way in exactly the same place in all primates by coincidence, or maybe for some unknown reason (I guess God has a pretty evil sense of humor).

Pseudogenes - they really do have a functiopn after all, we’re just not smart enough to figure out what it is (even though many are mitochondrial in origin and couldn’t possibly be expressed in the nucleus, even though they mutate at rates consistent with lack of functional constraint, even though many lack regulatory elements essential to function, etc.).

Retroviral transposons - no response (even though they demonstrate conclusively that cetaceans were derived from terrestrial ancestors, etc.).

The fact that all data sets converge on the exact same answer - no response.

Mike has tried valiantly to deduce Mark’s true motivation for trying to engage in conversation here. From his responses it is pretty clear that he has no idea of how to deal with evidence and no desire to increase his knowledge. I guess that is why everyone eventually gave up on trying to educate him. Oh well, maybe he is right, maybe God is just a lying fool who is trying to get us to believe things that can’t be true. Maybe that is his definition of faith. She sure did go to a lot of trouble to fake the evidence.

I don’t think Mark ever convinced anyone of Biblical inerrancy. If that was what he was after I would say he failed at that as well. He also failed to convince anyone that they were committed to naturalism, even though he demonstrated beyond doubt that he is committed to supernaturalism.

The only conclusion that can be drawn from all of this is that Mark is a time traveler who is hopelessly stuck in the Dark Ages and wants all of us to join him there. Pretty pathetic really, until you realize that someone with absolutely not scientific knowledge somehow managed to travel in time.

Comment #183745

Posted by GuyeFaux on June 19, 2007 9:13 AM (e)

In way of summary, don’t forget that Mark said that the Bible is infallible except when it isn’t:
1) The Bible must be interpreted in context,
2) Some bits are “poetic”, and therefore not literal (e.g. Psalms),
3) The Bible is “selective” in its recording of history,
4) There are plausible explanations to every Biblical contradiction,
5) Quotations are often “loose” in the Bible,
6) Unnatural stuff in the Bible is simply “supernatural”, whereas in other religious texts it’s it’s simply “absurd”.
7) People have a psychological tendency to believe in god(s), but for some reason Mark’s preference is better than others’.

Comment #183755

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 19, 2007 10:36 AM (e)

quote miner Thanatos wrote:

philosophy isn’t about proof

If philosophy isn’t about proof,Glen, you can have it ,it’s all yours,I don’t want it.:-)

Lying anti-American bigot, this was the exchange:

As for the “mistake of dualism” and the falsification of “platonic dualism” where is the scientific objective proof ,you ignorant?

Dear shithead, philosophy isn’t about proof. Sure, you’re barely above Mark’s complete lack of knowledge of philosophy, but you ought at least to know that. Are you in some kind of home for imbeciles?

Of course it’s the usual with you, incompetent English as you write “you ignorant.” Christ, for someone who wants to claim ignorance by me, you sure do show how ignorant you are, repeatedly.

I suppose I could have guessed that you’d take it out of context. While it’s true that much of philosophy is not about proof (and enough is), I was clearly referring to your “objective scientific proof” when I wrote that “philosophy is not about proof”. I would have done better to have written “philosophy is not about objective scientific proof,” but only a lying weasel like you would rip it out of its context like you did to try to fault me for something that I never meant.

I didn’t go past this dishonest misuse of what I’d written. There is nothing honest, true, decent, intelligent, or learned about you. This is visible once again after you have finally gone with one lie (“you’re boring”) after previously using two mutually contradictory lies (‘you’re boring and entertaining’), yet shown once again that you can’t even stick to that lie, or the one where once again you implied that you were gone.

This remarkable dishonesty, and your repeated blatant lack of concern even that your dishonesty be revealed again and again, makes further consideration of your ignorant twaddle unnecessary.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/35s39o

Comment #183759

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 19, 2007 10:56 AM (e)

C.S Lewis seems to be in vogue now.

*yawn*

his arguments were trashed decades ago.

Quite, except that they were out of date when he wrote them. It’s really little more than Plato with him, which he learned in his classical education, and then never bothered to learn anything else.

Because Xianity is heavily influenced by Plato’s ideas, C.S. Lewis appeals immensely to many Xians, and reinforces their particular outmoded thought. What they like is that Lewis writes with the authority of a secular classical education, and lo and behold it meshes with their own beliefs. As these sorts of Xians in fact don’t know any more about the evolution of Xianity than they do about the evolution of life, the confirmation seems remarkable (as it would be, if Xianity didn’t come from Athens about as much as from (pre-Babylonian captivity) Jerusalem).

Certainly many Xians, I’d note Catholic philosophers and theologians in particular, do recognize how Lewis himself swallowed his classical education whole, and then recognized the remarkable consistency between “truths coming from Plato” and Xianity. They’re not impressed with Lewis, other than that he writes fairly well (he does, even though I know some say otherwise). Lewis sells well among those who’ve never seen classical thought before, and think that somehow Lewis was inspired to his great “insights” by becoming a Xian.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/35s39o

Comment #183760

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 19, 2007 11:19 AM (e)

Stanton, this isn’t close to the record. One thread went well above 700 posts, maybe above 800. This is long for recent times, however.

It looks like this is winding down, with little to show for it than that Hausam is interested only in one thing, denying evolution and anything else that threatens his belief.

What’s remarkable (yes, remarkable in the sense of worth remarking upon, no matter that it’s common with the anti- and pseudo-scientists) is that Hausam has his conclusions well in hand, and goes off to creationists in order to get “evidence” for his conclusions.

Stanton has his list (good) of questions not answered, or anyway, not answered at all convincingly. We could increase that list by an order of magnitude, I’m sure.

What I really wanted to say about it is that it was Mark who was asked, not the ICR, AIG, or any other devious anti-science organization. If we wanted the ICR’s answers, we’d have gone there ourselves and read their material, or asked point-blank. But we don’t want their “answers”, we’ve heard them repeatedly, and they fail to reach the level of science.

We wanted sufficient answers from Mark, since he claims to have reasons for his conclusions. Did he? Usually he didn’t even have the ICR tripe down. He’s asked, and he trots off to get some disgusting nonsense from the ICR, as if that were a legitimate source.

I’m not claiming that we don’t go off to get information for specific matters relating to these issues, but for most of the general matters of geological and evolutionary evidence we already know the answers, and most of the nonsense coming from the ICR as well. That is, we’ve actually considered the evidence in order to come to our conclusions, not looked desperately for reasons to cling to an a priori position.

And that is the crucial difference between an open mind that considers the evidence, and the closed mind that desires only to refute the implications of the evidence presented.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/35s39o

Comment #183765

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 19, 2007 11:40 AM (e)

More for the sake of those who argue with creationists than for Mark’s unwilling mind, I thought I’d point out the astronomical dating that meshes with, and for more recent times often bests, radiometric dating.

This astronomical dating relies on the changes that occur in the earth’s climate and isotopic signatures due to orbital and rotational variances. It’s an independent verification of radiometric dating using entirely different methods than radioactive decay, as the orbital changes are predictable using classical science, and have nothing to do with the other regularities which are used for other dating methods.

Here’s a bit from Nature:

The new timescale takes advantage of a growing ability to date rocks using astronomical events, says Felix Gradstein of the University of Oslo, Norway, ICS chairman and another of the timescale’s editors. Using this technique, the past 23 million years–the Neogene period–has been dated to within plus or minus 40,000 years. “This is the single most exciting scientific development in the new timescale,” says Gradstein. “Every geologist should be amazed by this.” John Whitfield. “Time lords.” pp. 124-125 v. 429 13 May 2004. Nature. p. 125.

This dating method goes back to well before the 23 million figure mentioned, I believe at least as far back as the Cretaceous. It’s just not as accurate for that time period as for the past 23 million years. It’s not directly useful for dating many fossils, either, but helps to pin down the accuracy of other dating methods.

The only problem with this dating method, that I can see, is that it’s even harder to explain to those new to science than is radiometric dating. However, it is exactly the kind of convergent phenomena which Mark claims he’d accept, though he wouldn’t bother to go out and learn it on his own.

One thing I’d say about tree rings is that I would expect them to exist if God made trees full-grown. The rings are not simply “beautiful” or whatever, they’re part of the composite strength of wood. Why they’d show a history of weather patterns, though, I’m afraid I have no idea.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/35s39o

Comment #183766

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 19, 2007 12:21 PM (e)

Some more questions for “Mark”:

How did the Colorado River climb the Kaibab Plateau to carve the Grand Canyon?

Why does DNA dating correlate so well with radiometric dating, astronomical dating, etc.? Note that I’m not talking about the “same dates” being given by both DNA and, say, radiometric dating, since DNA dating is relative. The point is that DNA dating generally indicates that twice as much time has passed when radiometric dating indicates twice as much time has passed, during, for instance, a particular vertebrate evolutionary sequence (I use vertebrates because they’re reasonably well-documneted in the fossil record)?

Why does relative “fossil dating” correlate with radiometric dating in the same way, and relative to similar conditions?

This is related to the two foregoing questions, but worthwhile because it emphasizes evolution: Why do vertebrate fossil transitionals appear at the time when DNA dating suggests that these events occurred? Tiktaalik being the most famous, since it was not only “predicted by theory”, it was predicted in practice. Is this all just some grand conspiracy, did God, scientists, Satan, somehow put transitionals into “flood layers” in such a manner that they would be in the right place for DNA dating, radiometric dating, and relative dating would all agree and point to evolution?

Why are there “nested hierarchies” at all if organisms were simply created? And have similar nested hierarchies ever been produced by human invention (and I don’t mean attempts to recreate evolutionary observationis)?

Most important of all, since it deals with epistemology and the honest evaluation of evidence, why would you accept the evidence that (most) Britains, HIV strains, and OJ Simpson and his blood found at the crime scene are related, while the exact same kind of evidence that humans and chimps are related are denied by you (whether retroviruses, pseudogenes, or coding and non-coding sequences are considered)? I’ve never gotten a good answer from you, the ICR, or the IDists (‘the “Designer” didn’t want to change those particular data’ doesn’t cut it).

Answer that one first, how about, then go beyond and try to answer that plus the fact that DNA dating, radiometric dating, and the fossil evidence show a roughly consistent (there are extant issues, of course) picture of humans diverging from chimps.

See, we have your correlations. You have exactly none in your scenario, mainly because you have no (or vanishingly little, depending on definition) evidence for your scenario.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/35s39o

Comment #183782

Posted by Thanatos on June 19, 2007 2:10 PM (e)

Mike Elzinga wrote:

I don’t think that this is helpful here.

Even the “spark plugs” at the Discovery Institute aren’t much more advanced in their philosophical reasoning than Mark. And this isn’t helping us understand Mark’s reasons for appearing here.

you’re right,I apologise,
I’m only human.:-)
see you

Comment #183783

Posted by Mark Hausam on June 19, 2007 2:17 PM (e)

Glen,

I don’t know. I cannot answer your claims.

I oould probably answer some of them to some degree, as I have (such as with the vitamin-C genes). I can suggest directions from which possible solutions might come, and I could probably follow those directions to some degree. But I cannot at this time give you an adequate answer to most of your claims.

This doesn’t prove your claims are unanswerable, of course. It just proves that I can’t answer them now. I can’t answer the claims of creationists either. That doesn’t prove them right. It proves I am incapable of debating this particular subject to anywhere near an adequate degree with my current state of knowledge of the relevant subjects and data, which I already knew and have been saying all along.

I am in the process of slowly researching these things so that that situation will change. The claims of correlation are particularly interesting to me. I agree with you, as far as I can tell these things, that if the data correlates in the way you suggest, that would be very odd from a creationist perspective. I think one of the most important things I need to do to check your claims (and the claims of creationists) is to try to get a hold of some of the raw data on which those claims are based. I would like to see some actual diagrams of actual fossil strata. I would like to see diagrams of the ice cores and the tree rings. I would like to see the raw data of the genetic similarities and differences between various creatures. I would like to see the specific results of the specific experiments, including any discordant data and the methods used to interpret the data, that have been used to ascertain the dates of rocks, fossils, etc. Basically, you have given me claims and interpretations of the evidence. I want to see the evidence itself to check your claims and interpretations of it. I want to hear proposals of alternative interpretations of the evidence and investigate those as well. I want to compare various interpretations of the data, and gain an understanding of the bases of those interpretations, to see which ones make more sense in light of all the evidence (physical and otherwise).

Probably my next step in this process, beyond continuing to read Stahler and Dalrymple and various articles, will be to try to get a hold of diagrams of observed strata. If you have any other suggestions, feel free to pass them on.

By the way, I emailed ICR again this morning re-asking my question number two from my original email to them. I don’t know if anyone there will have time to answer my question directly. If they do, that will be helpful. Below this post I have pasted my email to ICR.

All the reconstructions of my past and my motives are very interesting. You all are amazingly suspicious, at least of creationists. It is interesting to watch people try to figure things out from googling my name, etc. If you want to know something, I will probably be happy to tell you. But you will think I am lying. Oh well. I’m not sure how to break through that barrier in your minds. I guess you will break through it yourselves if you ever really want to. If you don’t want to, there’s probably nothing I can do about it. (Glen, I get the impression you may be doubting whether my name really is “Mark.” Haven’t you googled me? Do you think I am using “Mark Hausam” as a pseudonym at Mormon conferences and everywhere else, including at my own church? I would think Occam’s razor might lead you to a better interpretation–like I call myself “Mark Hausam” all these places because my name happens to be Mark Hausam. I am a Presbyterian, by the way, but if you have googled me thoroughly you surely must already know that.)

I have no interest in hiding my religious views or whatever. I don’t remember now all of Raging Bee’s questions or everybody else’s, but here are some I do remember:

I haven’t reported any of my own revelations because I don’t receive personal revelations.

I haven’t checked out the Augustine quote, but I’m sure he was more literal-minded than the quote gives the impression of. I know he interpreted the six days metaphorically because he thought it made more sense that everything should have been created at once. I disagree with his interpretation. (I like the Galileo letter, by the way. I haven’t read it all yet, but what I have seen I agree with. He seems to think the same way I do. Interpret the dubious or unclear data in light of the more clear data, whether the more clear is Scripture or the physical evidence.)

I do believe my own religious views are better than those of other religions (where they disagree). Everyone, unless they are lying about their own beliefs, believes their views to be better than everyone else’s (where they disagree). If they didn’t, they wouldn’t hold those views. On what basis do I think my views are better? The evidence. Same as just about everyone else.

I believe nations should be Christian nations because I believe Christianity is true and I believe groups of people as well as individuals should accept reality as it really is and work from within that framework. That’s why I earlier described my view on this as something like a Christian version of CFI.

I don’t remember any more specific questions off the top of my head.

Mark

Comment #183784

Posted by Mark Hausam on June 19, 2007 2:25 PM (e)

Oops, forgot to paste the email to ICR. Here it is:

Mr. Wood,

Thank you for your further advice and resources. Thank you especially for referring me to some resources that deal with the sort of internet format encountered at Panda’s Thumb, Talkorigins, etc. Those are especially helpful. I wasn’t aware of any of the websites. I have already found a great deal of help from trueorigins.org in particular.

One thing I have not been able to find as of yet is the answer to the second question I asked in my first email. That may be because the question itself contains faulty premises. According to the people at Panda’s Thumb, various dating methods consistently give older dates for lower strata, younger dates for higher strata, etc. If this is true, it seems very odd from a creationist perspective. If the dating methods are off due to faulty assumptions, which seems very likely, why would they consistently date lower strata older? This would seem like too much of a coincidence to discount. I would rather expect the strata to date the same or randomly. So my first question is, Is it in fact the case that dating methods consistently assign older dates to lower strata, or is that conclusion reached by means of faulty assumptions, selective use of data, etc.? If the answer to the first question is that the methods do indeed date lower strata as older, how have creationists accounted or tried to account for that?

I realize you are very busy and don’t have time to have an ongoing conversation with me. I will not be offended if you cannot answer my specific question. I’ll find the answer myself as I continue to research. But if you are able to shed some light on it for me, it would be helpful to me.

Thanks again for all the help you have given me.

Mark

Comment #183785

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 19, 2007 2:34 PM (e)

(Glen, I get the impression you may be doubting whether my name really is “Mark.” Haven’t you googled me? Do you think I am using “Mark Hausam” as a pseudonym at Mormon conferences and everywhere else, including at my own church? I would think Occam’s razor might lead you to a better interpretation–like I call myself “Mark Hausam” all these places because my name happens to be Mark Hausam. I am a Presbyterian, by the way, but if you have googled me thoroughly you surely must already know that.)

I didn’t know that. I googled you once, noticed that you were at a Mormon conference once, and pretty much accepted that it was you there, as I have noted in at least one post.

The only reason I wrote “Mark” in parentheses was that I wasn’t sure if you were coming back here at all (it had been longer than usual), and meant to imply that it was for lurkers, regular commenters here, or really just anyone, inclusive of “Mark”. I thought about writing “Mark or anyone else” or some such thing, but used the scare quotes instead. Probably should have suspected it could easily come across not quite right.

If you are serious about looking into these matters in the same way you might look into the archaeology of Pericles’ Athens, and not merely trying to escape reasonable inferences, then good luck with it.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/35s39o

Comment #183788

Posted by Mike Elzinga on June 19, 2007 2:47 PM (e)

Mark Hausam wrote:

You all are amazingly suspicious, at least of creationists.

That’s because you fit the profile, and we have seen repeatedly how activists from your sects go out of their way to disrupt the education of others in the public schools.

If it were not for that, most people wouldn’t care what beliefs you held, so long as you don’t use them to scuttle the legitimate attempts of others who don’t hold your views to get on with their own educations.

We’ve read the Wedge Document, and we’ve seen the history, so we know what your leaders think of science, and what they hope to do about it. Their activities continue even as we post here.

So there is nothing “amazing” about our “suspicions” as you choose to call them.

Comment #183789

Posted by David Stanton on June 19, 2007 2:58 PM (e)

Mark wrote:

“It proves I am incapable of debating this particular subject to anywhere near an adequate degree with my current state of knowledge of the relevant subjects and data, which I already knew and have been saying all along.”

“On what basis do I think my views are better? The evidence. Same as just about everyone else.”

So, I have made up my mind, based on the evidence, even though I have not looked at the evidence, nor am I qualified to do so. Still, I don’t intend to take anyone’s word for anything when it comes to evidence, unless they agree with me and give me some excuse to ignore the evidence. I suppose that this could make some kind of sense, given a sufficiently nebulous definition of evidence. Unfortunately for Mark, that isn’t going to work when talking to people who have examined the real evidence professionally. Still no clue as to why his religious views are preferable and still no hint of this evidence he has claimed exists over and over again.

I suggest that Mark get degrees in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Astronomy, Paleoclimatology, Geology, Palentology and Anthropology. Then he can come back and discuss the scientific issues intelligently, at least theoretically. At least then he wouldn’t have the excuse of lack of expertise to ignore evidence any longer. All the data Mark says he is looking for can be found in the college textbooks for these courses and in the primary literature. Until then, here are some tips: don’t try to debate science with scientists if you have no clue what you are talking about; and don’t claim your views are based on evidence until you are at least in a position to try to examine the evidence. By the way, even if Mark did get degrees in all of the above subjects, science will have advanced and there will be at least another ten years worth of evidence to explain away. Oh well, at least he would appear to be trying.

Comment #183802

Posted by Eric Finn on June 19, 2007 4:32 PM (e)

I don’t know. I cannot answer your claims.

Mark,
I wonder, if you find the claims presented by “Creation Science FAQs” convincing ?
Reference: Comment #183 632

Regards
Eric

Comment #183859

Posted by Mike Elzinga on June 20, 2007 1:50 AM (e)

The strategy Mark claims he is using to study all the evidence is a classic set-up for procrastination and failure. As David Stanton points out, he will have to get degrees in multiple fields, and advanced degrees at that. You notice that he is always turning to the creationists for reassurance, and makes the suggestion that we may not know about these. Is he reading anything that people are posting here?

Even the short reads he has been pointed to he hasn’t read. Raging Bee even provided the quotes from St. Augustine in comment #181007. I was fairly certain Mark wouldn’t get very far with Galileo’s letter to the Grand Duchess Christina, and he just confirmed that. It appears he didn’t get past the first page and thus has missed the entire gist of the letter (as well as some other interesting items).

He seems to scan only far enough into something to find some confirmation of his preconceptions, and then he stops. It’s as though he is stuck at some earlier time in his development and everything since that time has to be bent to conform to what he has already learned. If what I understand from the researchers on brain development is any indication, that is not a good sign, especially as he gets into his senior years.

If he cannot find the time to read something that takes less than 15 minutes (and maybe an hour to re-read several times and savor the thoughts), how does he expect to find the time to read and digest all the things he claims he is going to study?

So I am still asking: what is the real reason he chose to appear on this and the previous thread?

Comment #183872

Posted by Delurks on June 20, 2007 7:29 AM (e)

This raises an interesting question, how far is it necessary to be able to personally and critically evaluate the (raw) evidence in order to be personally sure that the conclusions drawn are appropriate.

Even if I could get my hands on a bunch of ice cores, I doubt I’d have the remotest chance of interpreting the data sufficiently well to challenge the authors of a paper on ice core dating, at least without doing a PhD in ice-core-dating. Still less astrophysics!

How far should we allow the ‘argument from authority’ to persuade us - ie if enough renowned and respected scientists agree on a topic, that’s pretty much good enough?

Of course, we have the alternative - one which I espouse - I know who I trust, or can usually find a colleague who I trust in a given discipline. Because it’s impractical to get a degree in every subject under the sun, we trust, in general, the body of scientific literature. When a paper is controversial, we go ask someone who’s educated in that area.

Mark’s problem is that he’s arguing against the consensus (99.5% of the world’s scientific community are unlikely to be wrong when they together date the earth as old).

Comment #183883

Posted by David Stanton on June 20, 2007 8:10 AM (e)

Delurks,

You make an excellent point. No, we should not in general trust any authority, no matter how presumably trustworthy. However, due to practical considerations, this becomes almost inevitable.

To me the answer is three-fold. First, I tend to trust in the peer review process more than in any one individual. I know that the process is far from perfect. However, with peer review, at least you have the possibility of real experts with no obvious bias or conflict of interest making evaluations. The reputation of any particular journal then becomes very important, at least as a first indicator of quality. But more importantly, publishing in top notch journals virtually guarantees scrutiny from the entire scientiic community. There is nowhere to hide if others cannot confirm your results.

Second, I want to do the research myself. Since it is impossible to become an expert in every field, I choose one field that I thought was of primary importance to evolution and to me that is genetics. I sequenced the genes myself. I collected the specimens, extracted the DNA did the sequencing and analyzed the data myself. Then I published the results for all to see so that they could be confirmed or refuted. You can’t do that in every field of course, but you can do it in at least one field.

Third, if you are not an expert you have to trust the experts, at least sometimes. There eventually comes a point where evidence for the concensus view becomes overwhelming. If you don’t believe it, or don’t want to believe it, the burden of proof is on you to prove the experts wrong. UNtil you can do that, no amount of whining is going to convince anybody.

Mark does not appear to want to do any of these things. He has totally avoided the primary literature, preferring creationist web sites as a source of information. He is not capable of performing original research in any relevant field as far as I can tell. He also refuses to accept the concensus view, despite being totally unfamiliar with the eivdence on which it is based. His problem is that he must find some way to do away with all the evidence and he cannot.

Comment #183886

Posted by Mark Hausam on June 20, 2007 9:27 AM (e)

“Mark,
I wonder, if you find the claims presented by “Creation Science FAQs” convincing ?
Reference: Comment #183 632”

I really can’t say. I am in the same position with them that I am in with regard to the mainstream arguments at this point, for the most part.

David, I didn’t come here to debate scientists. I didn’t come here with any particular purpose, except to look at some of the articles on Panda’s Thumb. I posted a couple of comments and ended up in a conversation I had no idea was coming.

Delurks, I think your method is a good one in many cases. But I’m afraid in this case I lack your confidence in the scientific consensus. If you had lived in the middle ages, the consensus of maintream European intellectuals was that medieval Christianity was true. This didn’t prove it true or put it beyond question. The consensus can be wrong. The vast majority of those who craft the mainstream consensus are either naturalists are sympathetic to naturalism in science. That is why most of them affirm methodological naturalism as an a priori and part of the very essence of science. All of you on this thread have fit this description as well. You all think that only naturalism “works,” even with regard to the history of life on earth (even if a few of you don’t want to assume naturalism as an a priori). None of you (that have spoken up anyway) take the Bible seriously as containing real history. Maybe you were objectively convinced of your positions by the objective evidence, but I have no reason to assume that. Even if you started out with non-naturalist assumptions, the existence of a consensus can be overwhelming and convince people of ways of thinking or particular beliefs by the force of “everybody thinks this way” rather than by a careful, thorough, objective look at all the evidence. Since I do take theism and the Bible seriously, I do not expect naturalism to work with regard to understanding the entire history of the earth from the very beginning, so I have reason to question the consensus. I also have reason to suspect that your naturalistic biases influence your views of the evidence, and this is even more true probably of those scientists who have actually been instrumental in formulating the consensus on these issues. That doesn’t mean I discount everything you say, but it does mean I will not take your word for it. Imagine yourself living in a culture where the scientific community was dominated by a vast majority of fundamentalist Christians. The mainstream consensus coming from that community was that the objective evidence supported a young earth and that evolution didn’t happen. Many of them (pretty much all those highest up) claimed explicitly that biblical Christianity should be assumed a priori as part of the essence and definition of science. When you protest this, they say they don’t mean the biblical view should be accepted arbitrarily but because it works. A minority deny that biblical Christianity should be an a priori, but they are fundamentalists also or at least sympathetic to fundamentalism, and they themselves think the consensus is right and makes sense. You can hardly find anyone with a purely naturalistic worldview in the mainstream group, including on mainstream blogs. Yuu hear a couple of bloggers and others saying that it is too much of a task to examine every bit of evidence oneself; it is more wise to trust the scientific consensus. 99.8 percent of scientists are unlikely to be wrong. You suggest that maybe they have come to the young earth conclusions they have because they are influenced by their biblical assumptions, which you take to be wrong. They assure you (with some irritation) that they are not, but that an objective view of the evidence led them to their position. Biblical Christianity just happens to work. Some even tell you that they started out as naturalists but were overwhelmed by the objective evidence for the more biblical view, and now they naturally think in biblical terms. Here’s the question: Would you trust the scientific community implicitly on the age of the earth and evolution or would you want to do your own research? This is the position I am in in relation to the mainstream scientific community. Just replace biblical, fundamentalist Christianity with naturalism, deism, and the like.

Also, as I’ve said before, your confidence in psychoanalyzing me reduces my confidence in the objectivity of some of you even further. I know that I have told you the truth about myself and my reasons for being here. I know that I am truly interested in learning and looking at the evidence. The absurd arrogance and overconfidence of people like Elzinga, quite sure they know about my REAL motives, doesn’t exactly scream out “objectivity”! Elzinga is the worse, probably, but some others have come close (like David Stanton). Those of you who indulge in this kind of behavior make yourselves look more like consipiracy theorists deluded with paranoia than objective investigators. To put it mildly, your attitude and overconfidence in assuming you know all about me just because I am a creationist–when, being me, I can see how ridiculously wrong you are–does not increase my confidence in your ability to evaluate the creationist views objectively. You exhibit all the symptoms of bitterness and closed-mindedness. And you complain that I don’t trust people like you implicitly?

Mark

Comment #183890

Posted by Delurks on June 20, 2007 10:11 AM (e)

Mark,

The difference is that in the 21st century, we start from a substantially more informed perspective than in the medieval ages as we interpret our findings.

Your argument is that you are sufficiently persuaded by the Bible’s authority that you feel science should be interpreted exclusively in it’s light. Why should we vest authority this way around? Should we have a Bible on our lab shelves alongside our textbooks, and check whether the results of our experiments are somehow in conflict with what’s written? And if not, why not?

Many christian theists say that we should interpret the Bible in the light of the scientific knowledge we now have - where there is a conflict, the rationalisation is that the Bible was written in a civilisation which lived 1000s of years ago, with a necessarily limited understanding.

As I said when I made my first post, for many years I had the same YEC viewpoint that you appear to. However, after looking at the evidence critically, it just made no sense at all to say that the earth is only 6ky old, and that the evidence of age was created ex nihilo by God.

Comment #183891

Posted by Raging Bee on June 20, 2007 10:17 AM (e)

Mark: you have expressed “amazement” at how mistrustful we are of creationists. And yet you have not followed up by actually asking us WHY we might be so mistrustful; and you have completely failed even to acknowledge, let alone honestly address, any of the numerous posts in which we have explicitly stated why we don’t trust creationists. If you had the guts to read what we’ve already written here (and in the previous thread), you would not be at all “amazed” at our mistrust. And if you really were a well-meaning Christian, you would be eager to acknowledge and dispel all of the suspicions we’ve raised here – both to protect your own reputation, and to better represent the religion you want us to embrace as THE source of all Truth.

Instead, you insist on pretending that our objections to creationist behavior, explicitly stated in plain English, simply don’t exist. This longstanding pattern of behavior on your part leads me to one, count it, one, conclusion: you are knowingly and willingly participating in the creationist con-game, and (despite rules against such behavior set forth in your own Bible) consider such rank dishonesty to be perfectly acceptable behavior in a Christian.

This conclusion is further reinforced by the fact that you worship a God who systematically deceives his creations, then make up “aesthetic” rationalizations to justify such deception. And, as if that weren’t enough, you shamelessly ignore all of our points about philosophy and Biblical interpretation (the root and basis of all your reasoning), while pretending to embark on a long and arduous fact-finding expedition as an excuse to run away (as you ran away once before) and avoid addressing any of the issues raised here.

Mark, we’ve given you plenty of chances to prove yourself; and you have proven yourself to be just another lying creationist, albeit with a bigger vocabulary, and with no more integrity than Salvador Cordova or Larry the Confederate Information Minister. I, for one, see no point in wasting any more time trying to have a rational dialogue with someone who has proven himself as dishonest as you have.

Comment #183893

Posted by Mike Elzinga on June 20, 2007 10:31 AM (e)

Mark claims that people here are trying to psychoanalyze him. I doubt that anyone here would claim that they are in any way qualified in psychoanalysis.

However some of us do claim that we understand and have considerable experience with evidence, and that we know the processes by which it is obtained, checked and cross-checked. We know the histories of our disciplines as well as the history of the development of science in relation to the intellectual and religious history of our current civilization. We know our colleagues, and we can rag on them when they get things wrong or don’t follow proper procedures and validation measures. In other words, we don’t have to be experts in everything, but we do have to know when claims have been through the crucible of the scientific process. Mark knows none of this, and I repeat, not even the history of his own religion.

If they haven’t already done it, here is a simple exercise for the PT gang, especially for those who have so patiently given Mark some specific scientific findings for him to consider. (Mark doesn’t need to do this.)

Read Galileo’s Letter to the Grand Dutchess Christina. Re-read it and savor it.

Now read this.

Mark Hausam wrote:

I like the Galileo letter, by the way. I haven’t read it all yet, but what I have seen I agree with. He seems to think the same way I do. Interpret the dubious or unclear data in light of the more clear data, whether the more clear is Scripture or the physical evidence.

I would suggest that any reasonable individual would agree that no psychoanalysis is necessary.

Comment #183897

Posted by David Stanton on June 20, 2007 11:17 AM (e)

Mark wrote:

“Here’s the question: Would you trust the scientific community implicitly on the age of the earth and evolution or would you want to do your own research?”

As I carefully explained three weeks ago, I was raised in a culture where I was taught that the earth was 6,000 years old and all species were created by God fixed and perfect. After examining some of the evidence, I had good reason to doubt that this was the case. So, what did I do? Did I take anyone’s word for it? NO, I did not. I got a BS in biology. Then I got an MS in Biology. Then I got a PhD in Biology, specializing in molecular systematics. Then I did three postdocs and published ten papers in the field of molecular evolution. I have my answer and I didn’t get it from anyone else.

Now I ask you the same question. Do you want to trust anyone else to answer the question for you? If not, why have you not done anything about it? Why are you still unqualified to address any of the evidence? Why do you go to creationists web sites for your answers and repeat them back to people who already know better?

You say that you did not come here to debate scientists but in fact you came here claiming to be interested in evidence. Then you proceeded to rationalize away every piece of evidence presented without even looking at it. If you don’t want to learn and you don’t want to debate, what’s the point? Come back when you are prepared to discuss science, or not.

Comment #183906

Posted by Robert King on June 20, 2007 1:00 PM (e)

Mark,

I agree that some issues are sufficiently serious that one needs to take extra care in evaluating them. However, I have to say that your approach is bound to fail unless you actually start thinking critically for yourself. For example, if you urgently needed heart surgery would you study the history of cardiology and demand all of the statistics and then learn how to analyze them yourself before having the surgery? If your ideas are wrong then your life on this planet may be all you have and, therefore, there is some urgency in trying to figure out what the actual evidence says. But, in addition to points already raised here are a few things to consider.

(i) Why would scientists from so many different fields arrive at the same conclusions independently? Is there a vast conspiracy that relates solely to issues related to evolution? After all, science seems to work extremely well in other areas. Or do you get a degree in engineering before boarding a plane?

(ii) If there is a conspiracy then all it would take is for someone to enter one of the suspect scientific fields and obtain actual evidence for such a conspiracy. This evidence would take two forms: (a) evidence that data was being faked or wrongly analyzed and (b) evidence that contrary findings were being suppressed or destroyed. Given the vast resources available to the creationist camp this would seem to be a relatively simple thing to do.

(iii) As has been noted already, some of the methods and concepts used for dating etc. are the same methods - and rely on the same principals - as are used in many other areas of life. Blood typing has already been mentioned. But many methods used were not invented to date the Earth or study evolution. Instead they are methods which have been developed based on findings unrelated to that goal. Nuclear physics exists independently of carbon-14 dating.

(iv) Any scientist who could prove that the earth was 6000 years old would get an immediate Nobel prize. It would be a huge coup. In fact, the modern view of how old the earth is (and, partly, of evolution) was arrived at because of the total failure of flood-based geology to explain observations. Why would scientists hide evidence that the earth is 6000 years old. What would they they gain? What would they lose (think: recognition, grants, fame)?

(v) When evidence is found that seems to support some aspect of creationism what happens? Do the creationists apply the same level of skepticism to that evidence that they do to other evidence? Or do they pick and choose to find evidence that suits their beliefs.

(vi) When evidence is found that contradicts a well established scientific theory then what happens? Who is actually open to examination of the evidence?

(vii) Why do no other societies beyond those related to the ancient Jews have a history in which Noah and his family are known by name? The flood happened only 4000 years ago. Is that reasonable? There are many questions like this. How did kangaroos get from Australia to the ark and then back to Australia without leaving a trace?

(viii) Here’s another. The flood happened around 2300 BC according to biblical chronology. The Exodus happened around 1500 BC after 400 years of the Jews being captive in Egypt. So, in about 400 years from Noah and his family coming to of the ark a lot of history happened including the construction of the pyramids, and that happened in the aftermath of a huge catastrophe.

(ix) Had you been born in China what are the odds that the Bible would now constitute your view of Earth’s history.

(x) Had you been born in China what are the odds that science would now govern your view of Earth’s history?

As I say, it’s not entirely about evidence but about thinking about the evidence and the implications of literal Bible chronology.

Comment #183909

Posted by JimV on June 20, 2007 2:03 PM (e)

I’ve been periodically downloading all the comments of this and the previous thread with the thought that, with a lot of editing, it could be compressed into the best science-creationist debate I’ve seen. That’s not saying a lot, but usually the creationist side comes off as loony, and the scientific side comes off as snarky and arrogant.

I take Mark at his word, and anyway his motivations aren’t the primary issue, so I would delete all the speculations about them, as well as a bunch of off-topic stuff. That would cut down the word count by at least half. Then I would select what I thought were the best arguments. The result would still be fairly long, but would leave readers wanting more instead of less.

I would probably delete well-meant but not terribly strong comments like the following:

To the list of recommended reading material, I would add “The Big Bang” by Simon Singh. It is a history of the accumulation of evidence and thinking that went into the Big Bang theory (over hundreds of years).

I too have been thinking about when to and when not to accept a scientific consensus. I am not a scientist myself, but there are some scientific positions I would be willing to bet large amounts of money on and others which I wouldn’t. The idea of “dark matter” seemed very ad hoc to me, until I read the post about the “bullet cluster” at Cosmic Variance. So a major criterion for me would be how much evidence has been gathered. (Is there enough to justify a strong conclusion?) There are still passionate voices on both sides of the “global warming” issue, but I think that enough evidence has been accumulated and analyzed to make it likely that the consensus of climate scientists is not wrong in a major way.

Secondarily, I try to evaluate the credibility of the people on each side. As I look around me, everything man-made thing I see (houses, cars, medicine, electronics, etc.) was produced by technology based on science, discovered without recourse to supernatural causes. I don’t know of any theories based on supernatural effects which have produced useable results. I have heard of claims of such, but the James Randi million-dollar prize still goes un-won.

So when all the major scientific organizations support evolution and an old Earth over creationism, and continue to do so as more is discovered about DNA and fossils each day, the amount of evidence and the credibility of the proponents would cause me to wager my life’s savings on the consensus side – if Las Vegas had a line on it.

Comment #183910

Posted by Mark Hausam on June 20, 2007 2:20 PM (e)

“Should we have a Bible on our lab shelves alongside our textbooks, and check whether the results of our experiments are somehow in conflict with what’s written?”

Yes.

“This conclusion is further reinforced by the fact that you worship a God who systematically deceives his creations, then make up “aesthetic” rationalizations to justify such deception. And, as if that weren’t enough, you shamelessly ignore all of our points …”

Raging Bee, I have no intention of ignoring anyone’s points, although I may not answer every point that everyone makes all the time. However, why do you continue to ignore my points? How many times do I have to say that I don’t believe that God has employed deceptive tactics? If God being deceptive is the only way to preserve a young earth view, that would discredit a young earth view in my opinion. Will you acknowledge my real viewpoint please?

“As I carefully explained three weeks ago, I was raised in a culture where I was taught that the earth was 6,000 years old and all species were created by God fixed and perfect. After examining some of the evidence, I had good reason to doubt that this was the case. So, what did I do? Did I take anyone’s word for it? NO, I did not. I got a BS in biology. Then I got an MS in Biology. Then I got a PhD in Biology, specializing in molecular systematics. Then I did three postdocs and published ten papers in the field of molecular evolution. I have my answer and I didn’t get it from anyone else.”

Good for you. People can give personal accounts of how they started out atheist and evolutionist and coverted to creationism because of the evidence as well. In fact, there are probably personal accounts of just about every sort of conversion the world has ever seen. Personal accounts are interesting, but cannot by themselves prove that a position is true.

“Now I ask you the same question. Do you want to trust anyone else to answer the question for you? If not, why have you not done anything about it? Why are you still unqualified to address any of the evidence? Why do you go to creationists web sites for your answers and repeat them back to people who already know better?”

I am doing something about it, whether you care to acknowledge it or not. I’m so sorry I haven’t been persuaded by your authoritative claims to abandon what I believe I have good reason from other sources to hold in all the vast amount of time (three or four weeks, by golly!) I’ve been talking to you. If you don’t know why I go to creationist websites as well as mainstream websites by now, you have no excuse, and I am not going to nursemaid you by answering a question you should be able to answer for yourself.

“I agree that some issues are sufficiently serious that one needs to take extra care in evaluating them. However, I have to say that your approach is bound to fail unless you actually start thinking critically for yourself.”

Why do you think I am not thinking critically for myself? Because I am a theist, a traditional Bible-believing Christian? Because I haven’t immediately abandoned my former perspective because a few evolutionist bloggers tell me I should without giving me a chance to look at their claims in my own way?

“For example, if you urgently needed heart surgery would you study the history of cardiology and demand all of the statistics and then learn how to analyze them yourself before having the surgery? If your ideas are wrong then your life on this planet may be all you have and, therefore, there is some urgency in trying to figure out what the actual evidence says.”

I would not do exhaustive research on heart surgery. But I don’t trust evolutionists to get the interpretations of the facts right. If I have to default anywhere with my trust, it will be the creationists, who share my assumptions. And please, everyone, get this right once and for all: I did NOT say I will believe the creationists, or even the Bible, in spite of contradictory evidence. But I do default to them until I see that contradictory evidence for myself.

“(i) Why would scientists from so many different fields arrive at the same conclusions independently? Is there a vast conspiracy that relates solely to issues related to evolution? After all, science seems to work extremely well in other areas. Or do you get a degree in engineering before boarding a plane?”

An a priori worldview that is assumed to be obviously the case can create a tremendous amount of something like group-think, especially when that worldview dominates a community that is seen in the culture as being the intellectual, authoritative guide to getting reality right. It can cause people to think in a certain way. I am not saying all people will consciously ignore evidence that contradicts the consensus view, but evidence against becomes very hard to see properly when a certain viewpoint is so closely and automatically associated with right thinking in people’s minds. This is not a complete account, but gives you some hints as to why I might not implicitly trust the mainstream scientific community, particularly when I have good reason to think that they are wrong from other sources.

“(iv) Any scientist who could prove that the earth was 6000 years old would get an immediate Nobel prize. It would be a huge coup. In fact, the modern view of how old the earth is (and, partly, of evolution) was arrived at because of the total failure of flood-based geology to explain observations. Why would scientists hide evidence that the earth is 6000 years old. What would they they gain? What would they lose (think: recognition, grants, fame)?”

It is difficult and costly to challenge a reigning paradigm that almost all the authorities who have the power are absolutely convinced is obviously true and supremely important.

“(v) When evidence is found that seems to support some aspect of creationism what happens? Do the creationists apply the same level of skepticism to that evidence that they do to other evidence? Or do they pick and choose to find evidence that suits their beliefs.”

I have no reason to accept your charges against creation scientists.

“(vi) When evidence is found that contradicts a well established scientific theory then what happens? Who is actually open to examination of the evidence?”

As far as I know, creationists are.

“(vii) Why do no other societies beyond those related to the ancient Jews have a history in which Noah and his family are known by name? The flood happened only 4000 years ago. Is that reasonable? There are many questions like this. How did kangaroos get from Australia to the ark and then back to Australia without leaving a trace?”

You reveal your bias as a non-fundamentalist (i.e. historic, traditional) Christian. This is, of course, not surprising. There are many flood legends from around the world. I don’t know if animals were spread the same way before the flood as after. Apparently they had supernatural help getting to and into the ark; they may have had such help getting re-settled afterwards, but I don’t know of any reason right now why that would be necessary. Creationists have ideas and theories on these things.

“(viii) Here’s another. The flood happened around 2300 BC according to biblical chronology. The Exodus happened around 1500 BC after 400 years of the Jews being captive in Egypt. So, in about 400 years from Noah and his family coming to of the ark a lot of history happened including the construction of the pyramids, and that happened in the aftermath of a huge catastrophe.”

You raise some good questions. It is worth looking into further, but for now I don’t see any reason why those things could not have happened.

“(ix) Had you been born in China what are the odds that the Bible would now constitute your view of Earth’s history.”

It depends on whether I heard the preaching of the gospel and was brought to accept it by the work of the Spirit causing me to honestly acknowledge the truth. Your expected answer, of course, assumes that traditional Christianity (and therefore the Bible) isn’t true. You assume that it is merely cultural prejudice that brings a person to believe the Bible over whatever is popular in China (atheism at this time), or at least that a straigtforward, historical Christian interpretation of the Bible has no rational foundation.

“(x) Had you been born in China what are the odds that science would now govern your view of Earth’s history?”

You assume that holding the Bible as infallible and science are contradictory. I don’t believe they are. So I would hope that the Bible and science would govern my view of earth history.

“As I say, it’s not entirely about evidence but about thinking about the evidence and the implications of literal Bible chronology.”

Yes.

Blogs are very addictive. I am spending too much time on this. I am not going to disappear entirely, but I am going to stop trying to answer everyone’s questions all the time. I will post briefly when I think I reasonably should and can. That’s what I was trying to do before, but this time I am going to try harder! : ) Consider the thread focused on discussion with me closed.

Mark

Comment #183911

Posted by Mark Hausam on June 20, 2007 2:28 PM (e)

“I’ve been periodically downloading all the comments of this and the previous thread with the thought that, with a lot of editing, it could be compressed into the best science-creationist debate I’ve seen.”

Please don’t think this is the best evolution-creationist debate you’ve seen. I cannot fairly represent the creationist side, for reasons that surely are clear from the thread. This wasn’t even really supposed to be a debate. There are lots of better examples of debate elsewhere. If you do anything with this thread, please don’t represent me as an adequate defender of creationism or anything close to it.

Thanks,
Mark

Comment #183917

Posted by Robert King on June 20, 2007 3:05 PM (e)

Mark wrote: You reveal your bias as a non-fundamentalist (i.e. historic, traditional) Christian

Actually, the opposite: I was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness and most of the creationist arguments are present in their literature, with entire books and pamphlets devoted to this topic. It was going to University - strongly discouraged by the JWs - and becoming a researcher and actually researching the topics we are discussing which brought me to my present views. That’s what I mean by critical thinking.

Comment #183918

Posted by Mike Elzinga on June 20, 2007 3:08 PM (e)

JimV wrote:

I take Mark at his word, and anyway his motivations aren’t the primary issue, so I would delete all the speculations about them …

Perhaps you should first check with the administrators and read their conditions-of-use policy.

Leaving out speculations about motives deletes the context in which this kind of “debate” is taking place. Be sure to read the Wedge Document and look at the Dover trial transcripts as well as the situation with the Kansas State Board of Education and other states. There is a declared war going on, and science didn’t do the declaring as far as I know.

The idea of “dark matter” seemed very ad hoc to me, until I read the post about the “bullet cluster” at Cosmic Variance. So a major criterion for me would be how much evidence has been gathered. (Is there enough to justify a strong conclusion?)

For a map and discussion of the distribution of dark matter using gravitational lensing, see Physics Today, Vol. 60, No. 3 (March 2007), pp 20-23.

For some history on early evidence of seeing the effects of dark matter on the distribution of velocities of stars in galaxies, see Vera Rubin in Physics Today, Vol. 59, No. 12, (December 2006), pp 8-9.

Comment #183919

Posted by David Stanton on June 20, 2007 3:22 PM (e)

Mark wrote:

“I am doing something about it, whether you care to acknowledge it or not. I’m so sorry I haven’t been persuaded by your authoritative claims to abandon what I believe I have good reason from other sources to hold in all the vast amount of time (three or four weeks, by golly!) I’ve been talking to you. If you don’t know why I go to creationist websites as well as mainstream websites by now, you have no excuse, and I am not going to nursemaid you by answering a question you should be able to answer for yourself.”

Mark, I defy you to give one example of anything I asked you to take my word for. I never said such a thing, nor would I ever. What I did say, over and over again, was that you should not take anyone’s word for anything. I proved to you that I did not, you have not done likewise. I urged you to read the literature, you did not. I urged you to take a course and get a degree, you did not even express the slightest interest. I gave you web sites with credible information with scientific references, you didn’t read them. Instead you went to creationist web sites and got rotten old arguments that have been discredited for many years. You seem content to take their word for anything. Why is that Mark? Do you really want me to answer that question for you as well?

Just for the record, I have absolutely no interest whatsoever in what you believe. You are perfectly free to live out the rest of your life in ignorance. In fact, I suspect that you would be much happier doing just that. Since you have utterly failed to address even one scientific issue in a scientific manner in over a month now, I conclude that such will indeed be your fate.

Comment #183921

Posted by Robert King on June 20, 2007 3:48 PM (e)

Mark,

You make other faulty assumptions about the questions I raised. Again, it comes down to critical thinking. For example, unless God is somehow biased against the Chinese then you’d expect that the Holy Spirit would draw similar numbers of people irrespective of their cultural background. I’m not assuming that the Bible is simply the result of cultural prejudice. I am asking what the expected consequences would be if the Bible were actually true.

And my point about Chinese people coming to the Bible versus science was not about whether the two are contradictory or not. It was making the point that science tells a story that is universally accepted (and acceptable) across cultures. This pertains to the point about whether we should accept the consensus view of science. It is a consensus across many cultures and even religions. Also, some of your responses indicate that while - and this is not meant as an insult, merely and observation - you obviously don’t understand at all how science operates you talk as if you actually do understand the process. In fact, your view is exactly the same as many other YECs but it isn’t an accurate picture. So how is that an example of critical thinking? Your position is exactly the same as a person who claims that medical science is quackery. As a former JW I know all of the distorted arguments JWs make against blood transfusions and the faulty logic they engage in to allow some blood parts but not others. And, that logic is functionally equivalent to the arguments and methods used by YECs. But only you can discover that and it doesn’t take a degree in science to do so - just some critical thinking and an honest examination of Creationist arguments which range from the dishonest and/or ad hoc to outright misrepresentation of what various scientists have said. In a nutshell it’s like the Proverb which warns against speaking about a matter until one has heard it. Also, Job 13 the first few versus should give any Christian pause.

I appreciate your taking the time to respond to the questions I raised but they were questions that, if you are so inclined, you might try answering convincingly - and honestly - to yourself. I’m already convinced.

Good luck,

Robert

Comment #183927

Posted by Richard Simons on June 20, 2007 4:38 PM