Fiskin’ Luskin: Anti-religious or Pro-reality

| 47 Comments

I was going to comment on the posting by Casey Luskin about “Scientific Journals Promoting Evolution alongside Materialism”, but Jim Ridlon beat me to it and has performed a nice “fiskin’ of Luskin” As I had guessed, the articles indicate a far more moderate view than one may get from Luskin’s posting.

Eventually, Luskin explains his real motive

[…], it seems that they are nonetheless working hard to disprove Judge Jones’s Kitzmiller ruling that held it is “utterly false” to believe that “evolutionary theory is antithetical to a belief in the existence of a supreme being.”

Which of course is still correct. Evolutionary theory is non antithetical to a belief in the existence of a supreme being. It’s when religion pretends to be scientific that it encroaches onto science and the fact that science disproves its claims, merely suggests the vacuity of such attempts.

Sure, evolutionary theory can be used to argue for or against religion, and neither argument is more privileged than the other, unless religion abuses evolutionary theory. Such examples include Young Earth Creationism and Intelligent Design Creationism which attempt to make scientific claims in favor of their religious faith. When science clearly and decisively exposes the scientific vacuity of their arguments, creationists may whine that evolution is anti-religion. But it is the attempts by creationists which has caused their claims to do damage to science and faith alike.

Luskin mined the following texts, one of which I have been unable to find freely available on-line:

“Evolution and the brain,” Nature, Vol. 447:753 (June 14, 2007).

I managed to locate the rest:

Now you have all the data to know the ‘rest of the story’… Fisk away

47 Comments

PvM, Interesting way how you use the terms “science” and “evolution” interchangeably, as if they are one and the same. One can be against evolution without being against science, as I am sure you know.

Then you say,

Sure, evolutionary theory can be used to argue for or against religion, and neither argument is more privileged than the other,

Actually, no, you can’t use an impersonal process (which is what evolution claims to be) as evidence for religion.

Then again, it depends on the religion you have in mind. If the religion you have in mind is Darwinism, then, yes, evolutionary philosophy can be used in favor of a particular religious worldview (Darwinism).

One can be against evolution without being against science, as I am sure you know.

Then why do anti-evolutionists so frequently deny conclusions from geology, astronomy, physics, cosmology, astrophysics, and maybe others? Those conclusions aren’t part of evolution (as you pointed out yourself), and scientists in those fields are under no obligation to support evolution if their evidence were against it.

Henry

answer:

idiots like Mats ARE anti-science. they have stated it innumerable times in their “treatises” on “materialism”, whether they realize it consciously (most don’t) or not.

what they are NOT against is engineering.

gotta have that new Ipod, right, Mats?

(btw, they are also too stupid to realize the connection between engineering and science, but that’s a subject for a different post).

if my religion insists there are no chairs, that doesn’t mean IKEA is dedicated to the downfall of religion. It just means that some religions imperil themselves by opposing scientific reality, while others are more careful about making testable claims

Matts Wrote:

Actually, no, you can’t use an impersonal process (which is what evolution claims to be) as evidence for religion.

Actually one can, and it is an interesting area of study. The development of religion can be seen as an adaptive response to a bewildering environment as humans developed the capacity to conceptualize and anthropomorphize the processes they saw in Nature. These may be among the earliest attempts by humans to make sense of their environment for survival purposes (although they would not have consciously thought of it that way).

To paraphrase Duck’s Breath Mystery Theatre: “How does Casey Luskin know the secrets of the universe? He has a Masters Degree … in Science!”

So Mats thinks that Darwinism is a religion. Never heard that one before. Even better, there’s someone over at UD claiming that the Supreme Court ruled that Secular Humanism is a religion.

Great. If they’re both religions, then I’m conflicted. Can I be a member of both? If not, how do I choose?

Really, Mats, some fresh material would be a welcome change.

As others have shown, people who reject evolution typically also tend to reject other sciences.

As I argued, evolutionary theory can be used to argue for or against religion, as we have seen in various examples. The best examples argue that evolution is no incompatible with religion, which seems a wise argument, others seem to argue that evolution is incompatible with religion.

So Mats what do you think of how Luskin represented his claims? Any suggestions as to how he may improve his batting average?

I find Mats comments to be quite helpful in showing the scientific vacuity of ID and creationism and I welcome his contributions. Man, am I missing our dear friend Sal, who could so well defend evolutionary theory by opposing it.

Engaging Casey Luskin, who is clearly out of his depth on ANY evolutinary question, is the equivalent of questioning Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on matters of the Holocaust.

Henry J

One can be against evolution without being against science, as I am sure you know.

Then why do anti-evolutionists so frequently deny conclusions from geology, astronomy, physics, cosmology, astrophysics, and maybe others?

They don’t. They deny the evolutionary conclusions associated with those fields.

Those conclusions aren’t part of evolution (as you pointed out yourself), and scientists in those fields are under no obligation to support evolution if their evidence were against it.

Are you sure about that? Let me give you an article for you to read, and for you to see how geology, for example, is twisted in order to accommodate Darwinism:

Geological Dates Adjust Catastrophically to Evolutionary Assumptions

Darwinist dochocson said:

So Mats thinks that Darwinism is a religion. Never heard that one before.

You must have been living in a parallel universe, friend. I think it was Darwinist Michael Ruse who said that evolution, as practiced by the likes of Dawkins, Julian Huxley and many others, is a religion.

Even better, there’s someone over at UD claiming that the Supreme Court ruled that Secular Humanism is a religion. Great. If they’re both religions, then I’m conflicted.

I guess you are, since the Humanist Manifestos I and II say:

FIRST: Religious humanists regard the universe as self-existing and not created.

(Notice how religious humanism and impersonal evolution go hand in hand. That is probably why the theory is so important for people with a given philosophical stand point, i.e., humanism/naturalism/atheism)

Mats Wrote:

PvM, Interesting way how you use the terms “science” and “evolution” interchangeably, as if they are one and the same. One can be against evolution without being against science, as I am sure you know.

Maybe so, Mats, but not logically. Biology has the same standards of evidence as do all other branches of science. If you accept the standards of evidence, you have to accept the conclusions drawn from the evidence (or you have to come up with a damn good logical reason fro rejecting those conclusions, which you have not done to date).

Mats Wrote:

Actually, no, you can’t use an impersonal process (which is what evolution claims to be) as evidence for religion.

It doesn’t take much thought to prove you wrong here, Mats. I can envisage an argument along these lines:

“We find that nature has evolved a multitude of forms based on a common ancestor and a few simple natural laws. Since God set this all up to eventually produce humanity, it proves the omniscience of God and the bounty and beauty of His creation.”

I’m not claiming this argument is a convincing one, but I can envisage it being made. QED.

Then again, it depends on the religion you have in mind. If the religion you have in mind is Darwinism, then, yes, evolutionary philosophy can be used in favor of a particular religious worldview (Darwinism).

Hmm, that’s given me some food for thought, Mats. Let’s see: is Darwinism a religion? How can I assess this question rationally?

Well, all religions of which I am aware posit the existence of a supreme being or a collection of beings with powers far beyond anything that can be witnessed today. All religions of which I am aware have a text or collection of texts that are taken as delivered from said supreme being(s). All religions of which I am aware have regular meetings to venerate said supreme being(s).

Does “Darwinism” posit a supreme being? No. Does it posit a collection of supreme beings? No. Does it have a text that is taken as the word of the supreme being(s)? No. (As an aside: much of the content of TOOS has been superseded by more recent discoveries, although its core argument in favour of natural selection remains convincing). Do “Darwinists” have regular meetings to venerate a supreme being / collection of supreme beings? No.

My conclusion, therefore, is that “Darwinism” is not a religion. Of course, this is based on my own personal knowledge of religion, so there may be a religion somewhere to which “Darwinism” bears a strong resemblance.

Incidentally, Mats, what exactly do you mean when you use the word “Darwinism”?

PVM:

Luskin said,

it seems that they are nonetheless working hard to disprove Judge Jones’s Kitzmiller ruling that held it is “utterly false” to believe that “evolutionary theory is antithetical to a belief in the existence of a supreme being.”

Which serves to emphasize Mr. Luskin’s apparent category mistake.

Evolutionary theory has absolutely nothing to say about a supreme being, other than to lead to the conclusion that if such a thing exists, then said being wrote the rules so that evolution is the name of the game.

Now, if Mr. Luskin was to say that evolutionary theory is antithetical to certain assertions portrayed as revelations from a particular instantiation of God, then he would be on much firmer ground.

However, he would also have to admit the hubris involved with putting the supreme being in a box of religion’s making.

Supreme being != religion.

One can be against evolution without being against science, as I am sure you know.

Then why do anti-evolutionists so frequently deny conclusions from geology, astronomy, physics, cosmology, astrophysics, and maybe others?

They don’t. They deny the evolutionary conclusions associated with those fields.

Which is the reason that they have to just about dismiss everything from said fields of science.

No time to read up on the article will comment on that when I get back from work.

So Mats thinks that Darwinism is a religion. Never heard that one before.

You must have been living in a parallel universe, friend. I think it was Darwinist Michael Ruse who said that evolution, as practiced by the likes of Dawkins, Julian Huxley and many others, is a religion.

Give a specific quote (not out of context) for that.

Nice twisting of the manifesto. Religion and humanism are not mutually exclusive (just like humanism and atheism are not mutually exclusive).

FIRST: Religious humanists regard the universe as self-existing and not created.

This just states that those religious people following the manifesto do not accept the creationist creed of how the world came to be.

Henry J Wrote:

Then why do anti-evolutionists so frequently deny conclusions from geology, astronomy, physics, cosmology, astrophysics, and maybe others?

Mats Wrote:

They don’t. They deny the evolutionary conclusions associated with those fields.

Actually, Mats, I think you will find that many creationists do deny a lot of data from those fields. I refer in particular to YECs, but they are not alone.

For instance, the age of the Universe has nothing to do with evolution. It is based entirely on measurements from the field of astronomy.

Henry J Wrote:

Those conclusions aren’t part of evolution (as you pointed out yourself), and scientists in those fields are under no obligation to support evolution if their evidence were against it.

Mats Wrote:

Are you sure about that? Let me give you an article for you to read, and for you to see how geology, for example, is twisted in order to accommodate Darwinism:

Geological Dates Adjust Catastrophically to Evolutionary Assumptions

Well, I hope you can find a different article, as that seems to be a dead link (or an incomplete url). However, the question may be a valid one, so let’s examine it.

Do non-biological scientists alter their data and conclusions to support evolutionary theory?

I think we need to consider several aspects of this: motive, means and evidence.

First, motive. What would motivate a geologist or an astronomer to falsify data so that it would support MET? Well, the only things I can come up with may apply to isolated cases, but I cannot envisage anything that would motivate an entire field of scientific endeavour to falsify data so that it supported the leading theory of a different scientific field. In fact, quite the opposite: if a geologist or astronomer were to make a discovery that completely overturned another field, and that discovery were to be independently confirmed, they would be shouting it from the rooftops, and it would certainly make the front cover of Science. That scientist would be on the gravy train for life.

Second, means. Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that we have a small sub-field of astronomy in which some data may come to light that has the potential to overturn evolutionary theory. The discoverer, for whatever reason, alters the data to avoid overturning MET, and convinces his/her entire team to go along with the deception. Another observatory concentrating on the same small sub-field would, sooner or later, come across the publication in which data had been altered, or they would make the discovery independently (if the data had been hushed up - although failing to publish the results of your work is a sure-fire way to end your career if you are a young scientist). Even if this second team also covers up the discovery, there is nothing to prevent a third team, or a fourth, or an nth, from making the same discovery. Sooner or later, the deception would come to light, to the detriment of all the scientists involved. Once again, I cannot envisage a motive that would be sufficiently compelling for a scientist to risk their entire career to support the main theory of a different field of science. Additionally, no individual team of scientists has the means to prevent other teams from checking their results or from making the same discovery independently.

Finally, evidence. Is there actually any evidence that data have been altered in geology or whichever field to support MET? I am not aware of any. However, this does not mean there is none, because such activity would be kept as secret as possible. That just leaves one question, really: if Mats is aware of such evidence, whoever was trying to cover it up has done a pretty crappy job, haven’t they? Thus, other scientists in the same field must also be aware of the evidence.

My experience of scientists is that they are scrupulously honest and rigorous, because this is the only way to behave if you wish to succeed in building a lifelong career in science. You cannot afford to fool yourself. You cannot afford to ignore data published by other scientists. Thus, if evidence of data-altering did actually exist, I am certain that other scientists would kick up a fuss about it. There would be letters to Science or Nature. There would be publications rebutting the false conclusions. In short, there would be a great big noise about it. Since there hasn’t been such a fuss, I suspect that there exists no evidence that data have been altered to support MET.

Taking these three aspects of the question together, my conclusion is that, if a team of scientists did alter their data to support MET, they simply would not get away with it. It would ruin their careers. Furthermore, I can envisage no credible motive for an entire field of endeavour to act in this way. Even if an entire field were to behave so dishonestly, all it would take is one graduate student to blow the whistle and the whole conspiracy would collapse, again taking with it the careers of everyone involved.

Thus, the idea of a global conspiracy to support MET, while possible in principle, is too implausible to have any credence.

Mats, first of all, as Mike has pointed out one can use evolution as an explanation of religion from purely secular terms.

Secondly though who said science was ever supposed to be used as evidence for religion?

I would submit that that actually is a relatively new idea (somewhat unsurprisingly).

Finally… I am curious about something. Are you religious? If so, what religion are you?

Darwinist Nigel said:

PvM, Interesting way how you use the terms “science” and “evolution” interchangeably, as if they are one and the same. One can be against evolution without being against science, as I am sure you know.

Maybe so, Mats, but not logically. Biology has the same standards of evidence as do all other branches of science.

But evolution doesn’t.

If you accept the standards of evidence, you have to accept the conclusions drawn from the evidence (or you have to come up with a damn good logical reason fro rejecting those conclusions, which you have not done to date).

There is absolutely no testable, empirical falsifiable evidence that impersonal, unguided, undirected forces of nature are able to generate the interdependent systems present in living forms. If you have any, please, show it.

Actually, no, you can’t use an impersonal process (which is what evolution claims to be) as evidence for religion.

It doesn’t take much thought to prove you wrong here, Mats. I can envisage an argument along these lines:

”We find that nature has evolved a multitude of forms based on a common ancestor and a few simple natural laws. Since God set this all up to eventually produce humanity, it proves the omniscience of God and the bounty and beauty of His creation.”

The problem of course, is that nature did not evolve anything. SO using a non-existing process (evolution) FOR religion is a waste of time. It’s like using Santa Claus as evidence that deers can fly.

I’m not claiming this argument is a convincing one, but I can envisage it being made. QED.

I agree. It’s not a convincing one. So what do you think of theists who use such a dead argument?

Darwinist Nigel adds:

Henry J Wrote:

Then why do anti-evolutionists so frequently deny conclusions from geology, astronomy, physics, cosmology, astrophysics, and maybe others?

Mats Wrote:

They don’t. They deny the evolutionary conclusions associated with those fields.

Actually, Mats, I think you will find that many creationists do deny a lot of data from those fields. I refer in particular to YECs, but they are not alone.

You didn’t read my reply, did you? Darwin skeptics deny the evolutionary conclusions attached to those fields of knowledge.

For instance, the age of the Universe has nothing to do with evolution. It is based entirely on measurements from the field of astronomy.

Actually, the age of the universe has everything to do with evolutionary nonsense. Like the saying goes: “If there is no time, then you don’t come from slime” Meaning, if the age of the universe is one that invalidates the millions of years required for evolutionism, then those dates must be changed in order to accommodate Darwinism.

As for the links, seems like that links I sent were changed. Let me post them again:

Geological Dates Adjust Catastrophically to Evolutionary Assumptions

http://creationsafaris.com/crev2007[…]tm#20070919a

Notice how geology is perverted in order to accommodate Darwin.

Mats Wrote:

There is absolutely no testable, empirical falsifiable evidence that impersonal, unguided, undirected forces of nature are able to generate the interdependent systems present in living forms.

… as he shoves his fingers in his ears, shuts his eyes tight, and shouts, “Na, na, na, na, na…”

so mats is really just a person practicing his “Vancome Lady” imitation?

“lalalalallala”

http://nic0lesullivan.org/vancometop.html

makes sense.

@Mats: Seems the poster on that article you linked doesn’t understand how dating methods work. They got the time of the starting of formation of the Ethiopian Plateau as starting 30 million years ago continuing for several million years. Unfortunately for the writer of the linked article (or you) that doesn’t exclude the possibility of a later uplift as explored by the people who did a detailed analysis of the Nile gorge.

To put is in simple terms both the 30 million year age of the plateau and the uplift of said plateau happening 3 to 6 million years ago are valid.

Let me give you an article for you to read, and for you to see how geology, for example, is twisted in order to accommodate Darwinism:

What Mats doesn’t want to admit is that only Creationists think the earth is 6,000 years old. Thus, that’s entirely field that Creationism rejects. He’s trying to make us think that an old earth is ‘geology being twisted’.

Actually, the age of the universe has everything to do with evolutionary nonsense. Like the saying goes: ‘If there is no time, then you don’t come from slime’. Meaning, if the age of the universe is one that invalidates the millions of years required for evolutionism, then those dates must be changed in order to accommodate Darwinism.

So you think geology ‘invalidates the millions of years required for evolutionism’, Mats? Why do people who actually DO geology disagree?

Out of curiosity, Mats, how old do you think the world is?

Mats Wrote:

The problem of course, is that nature did not evolve anything.

Curious statement. Apparently not meant to inform but merely to provoke.

Many things in Nature evolve, and anyone can point to examples. There is still no evidence that evolutionary processes leading to complex life forms are blocked by any fundamental physical laws, and there are many tantalizing hints about the underlying details that may be understood in the not-too-distant future. Yet the ID/Creationist crowd attempts to pass civil laws to block or clutter up learning and research in these areas. It’s not hard to see where the malice lies.

Mats Wrote:

The problem of course, is that nature did not evolve anything.

Curious statement. Apparently not meant to inform but merely to provoke.

Many things in Nature evolve, and anyone can point to examples. There is still no evidence that evolutionary processes leading to complex life forms are blocked by any fundamental physical laws, and there are many tantalizing hints about the underlying details that may be understood in the not-too-distant future. Yet the ID/Creationist crowd attempts to pass civil laws to block or clutter up learning and research in these areas. It’s not hard to see where the malice lies.

So you think geology invalidates the millions of years required for evolutionism™, Mats? Why do people who actually DO geology disagree?

Duh George, obviously the geologists’ materialist presuppositions blind them to the obvious fact that all the true evidence shows that the world was created at exactly the time that a bunch of early 20th century American christian fundamentalists decided a bunch of bronze age sheepherders allegedly wrote that it was (in a book that was edited hundreds of times over the centuries by people with a vested power interest in what the book said). It’s a lot of work to fake all the hundreds of independent lines of evidence that make it seem that the world is billions of years old, but it’s worth it because every single geologist is a raving, foaming-at-the-mouth atheist (even the supposedly devout christian ones) who is deeply committed to the materialistic conspiracy to obscure the truth. Look it up. Because even though it doesn’t make the slightest bit of sense, it’s the capital-T Truth. Really. Kent Hovind told me, and he wouldn’t lie.

Mats unknowingly revealed much thusly:

There is absolutely no testable, empirical falsifiable evidence that impersonal, unguided, undirected forces of nature are able to generate the interdependent systems present in living forms.

This is an indictment of ID, not evolution, since the hypothesized guiding, personal, director that Mats refers to could be the Christian, or other, gods, and gods cannot be tested for. For this to be a scientific challenge, those adjectives would need to be objectively and specifically defined, and in such a way as to exclude the supernatural.

IOW Mats, all you are saying is “You can’t prove God didn’t do it”. You’re right, we can’t, and we aren’t even trying, for very good reason: it is impossible, and scientifically useless.

Finally Mats, if you restrict your challenge to known guiding, personal, directors (ie humans), then it is easily met, because there is an abundance of multidisciplinary testable falsifiable evidence that none of us were around to do any of the things your hypothesis would ask of us.

Mats asserted: Darwin skeptics deny the evolutionary conclusions attached to those fields of knowledge.

No, they deny the findings of those fields. Geology says the earth is billions of years old. This is the consensus view of geologists in every modern culture on the planet. Likewise, astronomy says the universe is over 10 billion years old. There are no dissenting astronomy departments anywhere on earth. If you claim the earth and universe are mere thousands of years old, you are denying the findings of geology and astronomy, whether evolution is correct or not.

Mats asserted:

Actually, the age of the universe has everything to do with evolutionary nonsense. Like the saying goes: “If there is no time, then you don’t come from slime” Meaning, if the age of the universe is one that invalidates the millions of years required for evolutionism, then those dates must be changed in order to accommodate Darwinism.

You obviously haven’t met many mathematicians, physicists, astronomers, or geologists. They would insist every biological theory that assumed otherwise to change. They couldn’t give a rats ass if evolution is correct or not. Overturning Darwin at the core would be the surest path to a Nobel Prize since Einstien for them.

One of the reasons evolution is held in such esteem is because it survived the challenges from all the findings of physics and the other sciences to which it had to conform.

Finally Mats, if you restrict your challenge to known guiding, personal, directors (ie humans), then it is easily met, because there is an abundance of multidisciplinary testable falsifiable evidence that none of us were around to do any of the things your hypothesis would ask of us.

time for ID supporters to re-introduce the time machine.

:P

I find the ignorance of Mats to be quite amazing. Does he beleive every stupid bit of propaganda he sees just because it is anti-evolutionist?

Well, if you check UcD you will notice how evolution deniers also have strong tendency to deny human caused global warming.

Certainly they are consistent in their anti-science stance.

Mats Wrote:

Actually, the age of the universe has everything to do with evolutionary nonsense. Like the saying goes: “If there is no time, then you don’t come from slime” Meaning, if the age of the universe is one that invalidates the millions of years required for evolutionism, then those dates must be changed in order to accommodate Darwinism.

Gullible as well as ignorance. There is NO and I repeat NO credible scientific evidence for a young earth. As an ex YECer I know how misleading the so called YEC science can be when ignoring most of the science while implying that somehow science is making up data to support their faith.

Don’t you realize that it is YECers who have abandoned science and faith in order to make fools of themselves and in the process violate St Augustine’s fair warning that when we as Christians are seen by others as making uninformed comments about science, especially in name of our faith, that this will affect how these people will see our faith.

I have no problem with YECers as long as they do not lie about how science works… Sadly enough there is a long history of YEC abusing science. As a Christian and recovered YECer I am appalled at the damage YEC does to our faith and to science.

I have been there, I have seen and studied all the tricks used by YEC to make their fallacious claims about science. I am not proud of having been part of this movement but at least I can share my knowledge and experience with others still under the spell of anti-science. I just do not understand why people want to deny God’s Creation by arguing that it is a young one. I cannot speak for God but I personally would not be too happy…

PvM

As an ex YECer I know how misleading the so called YEC science can be when ignoring most of the science while implying that somehow science is making up data to support their faith.

Biblical Creationism doesn’t ignore “science”. They ignore the unscientific, untestable naturalistic claims done in the name of science. I don’t know how many times I have to type this.

Don’t you realize that it is YECers who have abandoned science and faith in order to make fools of themselves and in the process violate St Augustine’s fair warning that when we as Christians are seen by others as making uninformed comments about science, especially in name of our faith, that this will affect how these people will see our faith.

I agree with Augustine. If Christians do uninformed claims about science, specially in the process of trying to use them in favor of the faith, it will affect the way people see our faith. But, refuting Darwinian claims is not “uninformed”, but very well within the realm of testable science. Since there is no impersonal, undirected force able to generate the systems present in the living world, it’s safe to say that any theory that relies on that assumption is wrong.

Mats wrote

Biblical Creationism doesn’t ignore “science”. They ignore the unscientific, untestable naturalistic claims done in the name of science. I don’t know how many times I have to type this.

You can type it until your fingers wear down to stumps, it still will not make it true. Perhaps if you give us some of the ‘unscientific, untestable naturalistic claims’ and explain, with supporting evidence, why they fit that definition you might make progress. It seems to me, for starters, that Biblical Creationism ignores all aspects of science touching on the age of the earth, evolution, ancient peoples and mythical floods. I’m sure textual analysis of the Bible and related documents would also be unscientific in your book.

For each area of study where you find an unscientific claim, perhaps you could also contrast it with a claim from the same area that you feel is scientific. That should give us a clearer idea of where you’re coming from and what your difficulties are.

Better yet, give an example or two from the recent primary literature and tell us why that particular study was unscientific and how you would have done it differently. This should be an easy task for you as, as anyone familiar with any area of research knows, there are always some papers that make claims not supported by their evidence. I will make a prediction here - if you do attempt this, you will crib your criticism from some other source.

Mats,

You wrote:

“Actually, the age of the universe has everything to do with evolutionary nonsense. Like the saying goes: “If there is no time, then you don’t come from slime” Meaning, if the age of the universe is one that invalidates the millions of years required for evolutionism, then those dates must be changed in order to accommodate Darwinism.”

Let’s keep it simple, then. How old do YOU think the Earth is, and what is the scientific evidence you use to arrive at that conclusion?

Mats wrote:

“But, refuting Darwinian claims is not “uninformed”, but very well within the realm of testable science. Since there is no impersonal, undirected force able to generate the systems present in the living world, it’s safe to say that any theory that relies on that assumption is wrong.”

Great. Now we are talking. Now all you have to do is come up with an alternative hypothesis that better explains all the avalilable data, make predictions, test the hypothesis experimentally and report your findings in the scientific literature. Piece of cake. We’ll be waiting. Oh by the say, if you say you can’t be bothered to do that, then why do you demand it of others and ignore it when they meet that criteria? Refusal to believe a current theory is not sufficient grounds for replacing it.

In fact, there is an impersonal undirected process that is entirely capable of generating the diversity of life that we see on planet Earth and much more. If you are not familiar with the scientific evidence, how would you know what it is this process can do?

Mats Wrote:

Meaning, if the age of the universe is one that invalidates the millions of years required for evolutionism, then those dates must be changed in order to accommodate Darwinism.

That is actually an interesting question when you scale of the non sequitur terms. What is the minimum time for abiogenesis of progenotes, so we can start observe current evolutionary processes on genomic cells?

First, we can note that the question isn’t about evolution as such, but about the preceding period.

Second, we can note that no one knows yet. From the fossil record we have traces of life from very early in Earth history. But in the earliest cases I don’t think we can trace whether it was progenotes or genomic viruses and/or cells. (The later I’m going to call “genotes” here.) Further, progenotes and genotes can have become extinct many times over before our LCA(s).

But the leaders of the exoplanet hunters expect seeing habitable Earth-like planets in about a year, and being able to detect life on such planets within 20-40 years. With some statistics on planetary systems and their ages it should be possible over time to establish some rough estimate on minimum time, probability for life, et cetera.

More exciting, that should help constrain abiogenesis research. So while evolution has nothing to do with cosmological time (except if you want to describe our current biological record) or abiogenesis, cosmology has a lot to do with abiogenesis.

Biblical Creationism doesn’t ignore “science”. They ignore the unscientific, untestable naturalistic claims done in the name of science. I don’t know how many times I have to type this.

Until you stop believe it. I understand, as an ex-YECer I understand the amount of self denial that happens when one is confronted with the levels of scientific misrepresentation by YEC ‘scientists’. For instance, YECers ignore the vast amount of evidence of an old earth and universe, which is testable and has been tested as such.

I agree with Augustine. If Christians do uninformed claims about science, specially in the process of trying to use them in favor of the faith, it will affect the way people see our faith. But, refuting Darwinian claims is not “uninformed”, but very well within the realm of testable science. Since there is no impersonal, undirected force able to generate the systems present in the living world, it’s safe to say that any theory that relies on that assumption is wrong.

There you go again, violating St Augustine’s statement. In fact, we know that selection adds direction to variation, your statement is meaningless. See, it is your ignorance of evolutionary theory that is wrong, not the theory itself.

Don’t worry, you will find a supportive crowd here, to help you through these rough times. Asa a Christian and ex-YECer myself, I have gone through much of this.

I am sorry to tell you that I have seen many examples of creationists, some even ‘scientists’ distorting science in name of their faith. It is not pretty, and as a Christian it pains me, as a scientist it saddens me.

Since Michael Ruse is often quoted by creationists, it is always helpful to check what he actually said

So, what does our history tell us? Three things. First, if the claim is that all contemporary evolutionism is merely an excuse to promote moral and societal norms, this is simply false. Today’s professional evolutionism is no more a secular religion than is industrial chemistry. Second, there is indeed a thriving area of more popular evolutionism, where evolution is used to underpin claims about the nature of the universe, the meaning of it all for us humans, and the way we should behave. I am not saying that this area is all bad or that it should be stamped out. I am all in favor of saving the rainforests. I am saying that this popular evolutionism–often an alternative to religion–exists. Third, we who cherish science should be careful to distinguish when we are doing science and when we are extrapolating from it, particularly when we are teaching our students. If it is science that is to be taught, then teach science and nothing more. Leave the other discussions for a more appropriate time.

Source

Hope this helps?

I have often wondered what caused me, with a master’s degree in physics, to accept the claims by YEC? Two reasons: 1) the book scientific creationism by Morris sounded convincing enough 2) I was in a vulnerable condition, just after my mother had passed away. Religion was providing me with a way to cope, and reducing grief was more important than scientific accuracy. Only a bit later, when I started to do some research, it became incredibly clear to me how my grief had caused me to take a step towards ignorance and denial. For a while, I dropped all interests in religion, only to slowly recover over time and find a position in which my faith and my sense of scientist can co-exist adding to my satisfaction of life, my sense of just.

Just my two cents, worth every penny…

OK, it’s been a couple of days since I visited this thread and a lot seems to have happened …

First of all, Mats, you call me a “Darwinist”. Please define what you mean when you use this term.

When I said “Biology has the same standards of evidence as do all other branches of science.” your reply, Mats, was

But evolution doesn’t.

Perhaps you would care to elaborate. After all, this is a rather bold statement. I will not accept you as an authority to make that judgement, so you’ll have to back up your assertion with some facts.

Mats Wrote:

There is absolutely no testable, empirical falsifiable evidence that impersonal, unguided, undirected forces of nature are able to generate the interdependent systems present in living forms. If you have any, please, show it.

You are now showing your ignorance of how science works, as well as your ignorance of the evidence.

First, there is ample evidence that evolution is unguided. It is not my job to defend it from your bald, unsupported assertions. It is your task, if you wish to gainsay it, to find out what the evidence is, understand it and what it all means, and then to come up with convincing, logical arguments to support your position. You are the one criticising widely-accepted science. Therefore, the burden of proof is yours.

Second, there is plenty of evidence that evolution occurs only through natural forces. In fact, this point is a non-sequitur, because there exists no such thing as evidence of the supernatural, by definition.

Third, what do you mean by “testable, empirical, falsifiable evidence”? Evidence exists. It is all empirical. Evidence does not ever possess the properties of testability or falsifiability, because those are properties of ideas. MET is the result of nearly 150 years of testing of Darwin’s theory of evolution, centred on Natural Selection. Darwin suggested several ways in which his original theory could be falsified. Subsequent discoveries have either (1) supported evolutionary theory, or (2) caused ET to be modified to accommodate and explain the new evidence. In nearly 150 years, no evidence has come to light that challenges the central ideas of evolutionary theory. The result is a modern theory of evolution that unites all of biology and explains observations from morphology, paleontology, molecular biology, genetics, behavioural biology and more.

No more time just now. I’ll address your other points when I get the chance.

PvM Wrote:

I am sorry to tell you that I have seen many examples of creationists, some even ‘scientists’ distorting science in name of their faith. It is not pretty, and as a Christian it pains me, as a scientist it saddens me.

The political activities of the ID/Creationists is solid evidence for the truth of that old adage,”Idle minds are the Devil’s workshop”.

Mats Wrote:

“There is absolutely no testable, empirical falsifiable evidence that impersonal, unguided, undirected forces of nature are able to generate the interdependent systems present in living forms. If you have any, please, show it.”

OK Mats, so is there any empirical evidence that there is a personal guided force that is able to generate living forms? What could that even possibly be? How could it be “personal”? Personal to who? Personal to you? Personal to all humans? Persoanl to all living things? If it’s so “personal” shouldn’t you be able to produce some evidence for it? How can it be “directed”? Directed toward what goal? Directed toward humans? Are humans the ultimate life form? Is creation now over? Will no other species ever arise? If so, we could be in big trouble, since the current extinction rate is so high.

Come on Mats, you demand evidence from others. You complain that others hold opinions not based on evidence, where is your evidence? Or are you just being hypocritical? By the way, evidence is not falsifiable, hypotheses are falsifiable. If you don’t even know how science works, why do you presume to criticize real scientists?

Mats, if I can add something to what PvM has been saying, I would say this.

Not ONLY are you wrong on the scientific aspects, but I think you are not seeing the theological aspects of ID. It’s not surprising, as very few people ever talk about them. But quite frankly, ID will prove more destructive to religious belief than evolution ever could.

You can harmonize evolution with religion. Not ALL religions, but at least with Christianity it’s possible. On the other hand, in regards to Paley and his watch, yeah you can praise God for the intricacy and design of living things.

Then you hit things like HIV. Ebola. They are “designed” by any ID test existant. Course… if you are going to praise a being for things like human beings, the eye… all that stuff… then you really have to blame him for things like HIV and the like.

Here we go with some more addressing of points raised in response to my previous posts …

Mats Wrote:

The problem of course, is that nature did not evolve anything.

Well, that assertion is contrary to a large body of evidence. On what do you base it?

SO using a non-existing process (evolution) FOR religion is a waste of time.

Erm, non-existent processes such as images of Jesus in a crepe, for example? Since there exists no hard evidence for anything miraculous, you could just be trashing the entire field of apologetics with that one sentence.

What arguments do you consider to be convincing pro-religious ones?

It’s like using Santa Claus as evidence that deers can fly.

What? Are you saying Santa Claus doesn’t exist?

Seriously, though, your parallel is false: there is ample evidence that evolution has happened in the past. There is ample evidence that it happens now. There is ample evidence that the mechanisms for evolution as described in modern evolutionary theory (that I abbreviate to MET) can account for the diversity of life that we find today.

This essay summarises many of the areas from which that evidence arises: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/

When I went on to state that I did not claim my imaginary pro-God argument to be a convincing one, Mats responded:

I agree. It’s not a convincing one. So what do you think of theists who use such a dead argument?

Actually, Mats, I think better of them than I do of people who try to deny the science. the thing about science is that anything it discovers is checked against reality. If you can’t check an idea against reality, it’s not science.

In other words, the only way that two people can substantively agree on the truth or otherwise of any proposition is to test it against reality. This way, we can develop a universally-consensual form of truth. No-one has to take anyone’s word for something, because they can, in principle, perform the test for themselves.

This is how science functions.

Now, modern science has become so technical that it can often take a great deal of training and background knowledge to be able to understand the methods by which we make new discoveries. Modern scientific instruments have become so sophisticated that it can be a major job to understand the capabilities and limitations of any particular instrument. Thus, to a layman it may seem rather arcane.

It is also hard to keep up with the latest technical knowledge in any given field. However, the knowledge is published, and it is, in principle, available to everyone.

Therefore, anyone who criticises modern science without making a significant effort to first understand what the scientists are doing and why they have reached the conclusions that they have, is speaking from a position of vast ignorance. At least a theist who interprets the discoveries of modern science as evidence for a God is acknowledging the expertise of the experts. I consider this to be a far more rational (and respectful) philosophical position than sniping at science from ignorance.

There’s more:

Mats Wrote:

You didn’t read my reply, did you? Darwin skeptics deny the evolutionary conclusions attached to those fields of knowledge.

Yes, Mats, I did read your reply. Perhaps it didn’t mean what you wanted it to mean.

Astronomy and geology and the rest of those fields record data and draw conclusions that are entirely independent of biology. Evolutionary theory is a theory of biology and paleontology. The only overlap is that evolutionary theory postulates a large timescale for the operation of evolutionary mechanisms to achieve the diversity we find today. So, if you like, that is a prediction of evolutionary theory. It has been confirmed by observations in other fields: the Earth is old.

YECs and other creos deny huge swathes of data that have nothing to do with biology. The conclusions of astronomy, for instance, are nothing to do with biological evolution. In fact, there are probably many astronomers who know very little about MET in biology.

Mats Wrote:

Actually, the age of the universe has everything to do with evolutionary nonsense.

That is simply wrong. The age of the universe has nothing to do with biological evolution. How can distant galaxies or quasars influence what is happening to biological entities here on Earth?

The only overlap is this: MET requires that a large amount of time has elapsed since the most recent common ancestor. The age of the Earth sets an upper limit on the amount of time available. The age of the universe sets an upper limit on the age of the Earth.

What do the data tell us? The Earth is approximately 4.3 billion years old. That’s plenty of time for MET. The data also tell us that the universe is about 13.5 billion years old (IIRC).

However, the methods and processes used to measure these ages have nothing to do with the investigative tools of biology. By virtue of being measured using a different methodology, these figures are completely independent of any conclusions that may be reached by biologists.

Like the saying goes: “If there is no time, then you don’t come from slime”

Very witty. I’ve never heard of that one. Maybe it’s only a saying if you have had a YEC-style indoctrination.

Meaning, if the age of the universe is one that invalidates the millions of years required for evolutionism, then those dates must be changed in order to accommodate Darwinism.

That’s just nonsense.

Science does not work that way. You are accusing scientists of a global conspiracy. Back that up with some evidence, or retract it.

As I pointed out when you raised this point in a different thread (oh, haven’t you read my reply there?), your scenario is utterly implausible. It is disingenuous of you to post the exact same point without addressing my response to it. Either that or downright dishonest.

As for the links, seems like that links I sent were changed. Let me post them again:

Geological Dates Adjust Catastrophically to Evolutionary Assumptions

http://creationsafaris.com/crev2007[…]htm#20070919

I read about a third of your linked page.

All I could see was a severe case of quote-mining, with no effort made to actually understand the work being described.

Science is always looking to improve its data. Geologists can accurately measure the ages of rocks, but they have to use other data to infer the times at which those rocks moved. The author of that page obviously has a problem with this, but other scientists do not. This is because there are some things that cannot be measured directly; instead they have to be deduced, and the more independent data from which the deductions can be made, the more reliable will those deductions be.

You will, if you choose to be honest with yourself, notice that the author of your linked page does not discuss the data on which the 30-million-year age of the plateau was based. Obviously, the scientists carrying out the study in question will have considered that. Presumably, this is why they tried to obtain data from three different sources (rather than just one or two).

Notice how geology is perverted in order to accommodate Darwin.

Actually, I noticed just the opposite. What I saw was a scientific report being misrepresented in order to cast doubt on its authenticity and rigour.

Perhaps you could make some effort to understand how the authors of that scientific study arrived at their conclusion that the plateau’s age had been over-estimated. Then you would be able to assess for yourself whether or not their conclusion was justified. Go back to the original report from which those excerpts were taken. Since the Discovery Channel does not routinely publish the source for the primary work from which that report was compiled, you will have to email them to find out where the work was published. You can then assess it for yourself.

Also, you can suggest to the author on Creation Safaris that (s)he should actually investigate the primary literature him-/her- self. The Discovery Channel is not a scientific journal - they merely report interesting developments from science. If you wish to criticise science, it behooves you to at least try to understand exactly what is being claimed and why.

Do you have any other links to reports of geologists twisting their data? Because, to be fair, that study was one of many thousands that will have been carried out recently. If that is the best or only example you can find of geologists distorting their data to support evolution, then, frankly, you have no case.

Additionally, MET describes the process of evolution. Even if some scientists have got their timing measurements wrong, it does not logically follow that MET is in doubt.

And there’s more.

Mats Wrote:

Biblical Creationism doesn’t ignore “science”.

Yes, they do. Simple as that, Mats. Anyone who takes biblical creation literally is ignoring the findings of science. In so doing, they are dismissing the methodology that led to those findings. Ergo, they are ignoring science.

They ignore the unscientific, untestable naturalistic claims done in the name of science.

Actually, everything claimed by science has been tested against reality. That’s what science is.

I challenge you to find me one paper in the scientific literature that has claimed something to be true without any reference to reality and data acquired through observation or experiment.

I don’t know how many times I have to type this.

It doesn’t matter how many times you type it: it will never be the truth.

Science is a means of finding truth. It does this by testing ideas against reality. If any idea does not fit, it is discarded. YEC does not fit with reality.

Mats Wrote:

I agree with Augustine. If Christians do uninformed claims about science, specially in the process of trying to use them in favor of the faith, it will affect the way people see our faith.

But Mats, to anyone who knows about science, your claims are overflowing with ignorance. Either you need to be less credulous when you are told something, or you need to find some more reliable sources.

YEC directly contradicts reality. Therefore, anyone supporting YEC is denying reality.

But, refuting Darwinian claims is not “uninformed”, but very well within the realm of testable science.

Maybe so, but all of the tests have been done and evolutionary theory has emerged in its modern form. This is a theory that has been tested many times over. It has been found to be a good theory.

Since there is no impersonal, undirected force able to generate the systems present in the living world,

You make a bold assertion here. Maybe you could back that up with some evidence?

it’s safe to say that any theory that relies on that assumption is wrong.

Actually, the opposite is true.

Logically, we must assume that mechanisms which we can observe today (as described by MET) have generated the diversity we observe unless there is additional evidence that compels us to do otherwise. If you think there is evidence that demonstrates that the mechanisms that have been observed cannot account for the diversity of life we observe, by all means share it with the rest of us.

Bear in mind, however, that millions of scientists remain convinced that the mechanisms described in MET can and do account for the diversity of life. Maybe they’re onto something.

Commenters on this blog will not accept arguments from personal incredulity, or arguments from ignorance. Remember that extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence. If you have such evidence, we want to know about it.

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This page contains a single entry by PvM published on September 24, 2007 10:55 AM.

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