How creationists distort science

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By David MacMillan

Following the joint interview with Dan Phelps and Terry Mortenson on WEKU-FM, David MacMillan wrote a letter to Dr. Mortenson. This article is based on that letter. Dr. Mortenson responded to Mr. MacMillan’s letter, but unfortunately requested that his response be kept confidential. Odd behavior, it seems to me, for someone who is itching for a debate; Dr. Mortenson is welcome to respond here any time he likes.

Panda’s Thumb recently posted a guest contribution by Dan Phelps, who was interviewed along with Answers in Genesis’s Terry Mortenson on WEKU-FM, Eastern Kentucky University’s NPR station. Dr. Mortenson, for his part, posted his own discussion of the interview on the Answers in Genesis website. As a former creationist and AIG guest author who has recently been writing about the creation-evolution controversy in light of Ken Ham’s recent debate with Bill Nye, I thought Dr. Mortenson’s comments provided a particularly good example of one of the biggest problems with the creationist movement.

I remember hearing Dr. Mortenson speak at a small church in central Kentucky eight or nine years ago. I recall being very impressed by his speaking ability at the time; he is clearly an excellent communicator (though I of course disagree with what he is communicating).

His article very cleanly demonstrates one of the central reasons I no longer accept creationism. I do not intend this article as a personal attack on him, of course; it’s just a very good example of a really serious flaw in the creationist paradigm.

Here’s what jumped out at me from his article:

By uniformitarianism, Lyell insisted that the processes of geological change (erosion, sedimentation, earthquakes, volcanoes, etc.) have always happened in the past at the same rate, power, and frequency that we observe today on average per year [emphasis mine].

How a person interprets the circumstantial evidence in the present to reconstruct that past history is enormously influenced by that person’s religious and philosophical worldview-based assumptions. [Evolutionists] also try to convince the public that they are unbiased objective pursuers of truth but that creationists are biased by religious ideas. In fact, the evolutionists are as biased as the creationists.

Evolutionists believe in absolute uniformity back to the beginning of time. But that is an assumption, a (deistic or atheistic) religious belief. They have no eyewitnesses or any other method to confirm the validity of that assumption.

This is, of course, the basic underlying argument of creationism, one I myself used to great effect on numerous occasions, to the conspicuous frustration of teachers, acquaintances, and probably far more Internet commenters than was ever profitable. It can be a very convincing argument.

If it is true – that the scientific consensus rests on a presupposition of uniformitarianism which is simply taken “on faith” – then the argument for giving equal consideration to creationism is potentially good. But I do not believe it is true at all. I believe it couldn’t be more obviously wrong. The last paragraph I quoted says the assumption of “absolute uniformity” carries no method by which it can be confirmed…but that simply is not the case.

The assumption of uniformitarianism is not a presupposition. It is only a hypothesis. That an assumption exists at the beginning of an explanation does not mean that assumption is presuppositional. Although there are certainly instances in which previously confirmed ideas play a major role in setting up interpretations, the “starting assumptions” are hypotheses, not presuppositions. They are assumed in order that they might be tested, just as in the process of “operational” science.

Take the Big Bang theory. When astronomers first discovered that the galaxy clusters were expanding away from each other, they did not assume that the expansion traced back to a single point as some presuppositional mandate. They assumed an inflationary model only in order to test the predictions that would be made by such a hypothesis: namely, that a hot dense universe consistent with the observed expansion would have released a uniform blackbody glow that would still be visible now at ~2-7 K in the microwave spectrum. When 3.7 K glow was discovered (and, now photographed at length), it became obvious that their “assumption” (that is, their hypothesis) had been correct.

Or take ice core dating. Creationists argue that scientists assume constant ice core deposition rates because they are forced to do so by a presuppositional commitment to uniformitarianism, but this claim is false. Scientists do not assume constant deposition rates; rather, they entertain the possibility of constant deposition rates in order to test that assumption: if the ice layers are indeed annual, then carbon dating of the first 30,000 layers or so will confirm this assumption, ash layers will show up at certain points based on the estimated age of volcanic eruptions, and long-term temperature variations will show up every 100,000 layers to match the known precession cycle of Earth’s orbital eccentricity. If the assumption (hypothesis) of annual deposition is correct, then the pattern of temperature will exactly match isotope variations in completely independent sources, like seafloor foram layers. And they do.

I do not know whether Dr. Mortenson has seen the following figure (Figure 1), or if he would have recognized it if he did. It is the layer-by-layer temperature variation in the Vostok ice cores, set alongside the layer-by-layer oxygen isotope variation from fossilized plankton samples buried in the seafloor.

MacMillan2_600.jpg

Figure 1. Upper curve: oxygen isotope variation in fossilized plankton buried in the seafloor, as a function of time in thousands of years before the present. Lower curve: temperature variation in unrelated ice cores. Extracted from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:M[…]andCores.png.

The insistent claim I had made all my life – that the assumptions of mainstream science were presuppositionally mandated commitments to uniformitarianism – is simply false! It could not be any more wrong. Unformitarian assumptions are testable; in fact, they exist in order to make predictions and be tested. And they are tested, and confirmed, and that is how theories are formed.

Does a low-temperature uniform glow from every corner of the universe prove that the universe started as a fiery ball of plasma 14 billion years ago? No, but the prediction of this glow’s existence, shape, and temperature based on real mathematical analysis twenty years in advance provides very convincing evidence in favor of that claim.

Is it possible for ice layers to be deposited more rapidly than once every year? Sure, but the prediction and discovery of 100,000-year cycles in the ice cores provides very convincing evidence that these particular layers were indeed annual.

Mainstream science does not require a philosophical assumption of uniformitarianism; rather it uses a speculative assumption of uniformitarianism and makes predictions based on those in individual cases. If the predictions do not pan out, the hypothesis is changed or discarded until a viable hypothesis may be found.

This notion that uniformitarianism is only assumed, never tested, is just plain wrong. Uniformitarian assumptions are tested every single time a new theory uses them to make predictions. That is how science works. It does not work like the caricature of Dr. Mortenson and other creationists.

About the author. Mr. MacMillan is a former creationist who wrote this article on Panda’s Thumb. He has a bachelor’s degree in physics.

150 Comments

The response would be that all of those tests depend upon “uniformitarian assumptions” as well, so they’re worthless.

Of course that’s absurd. In the first place, the “assumptions” of science aren’t of the same kind as the assumptions of the creationist, because science “assumptions” are nothing but conservative, while creationist assumptions are speculative in the extreme. Science does start out assuming no deviation–because it can only build upon the evidence. We’ve never had warrant to assume deviation, while we see apparent uniformitarianism now, and, at least tentatively, in the past. If you can show deviation, interventionism, or singularity, then do so.

The baseline is uniformitarian–because that’s all that we have in the beginning, certain regularities to establish a baseline. Of course there could be evidence of some great deviation (like in physical “laws,” not an asteroid strike, for instance) in the past, there simply hasn’t been any such thing. If there were evidence of deviation, it would greatly complicate matters, but we’d see what we could do with it, find out when it ended, or, indeed, if it did completely end.

And that’s why the complaint that uniformitarianism is only tested against uniformitarianism is off the mark, to say the least. Of course it could be that all of the aspects of nature changed at one time in such a way that everything looked like nothing deviated in the least–but we simply can’t test for that. We can only start with regularities, and see if the various regularities cross-correlate with each other as they would if uniformitarianism holds. It’s a model, and not claimed to be absolute truth, and we can do science with it. All of the ad hoc miracles invented to preserve the flood story could be true, for all that we know, but there is absolutely no way to show that they fit together in any way except as an apologetic for “literalism.”

The fact is that we can do biology and paleontology because everything fits together as if uniformitarianism holds true. There is nothing that allows science to proceed if we assume that uniformitarianism does not hold true, rather, everything is thereby ad hoc speculation. We can’t find oil with ad hoc speculation, we can with uniformitarianism as understood today (constancy of physics since at least soon after the Big Bang), and evolution predicts long-term change roughly consistent with what is found in the geologic column and in genomes today.

Anything else never gets past the stage of meaningless speculation.

Glen Davidson

https://me.yahoo.com/a/JxVN0eQFqtmg[…]X_Zhn8#57cad said:

Anything else never gets past the stage of meaningless speculation.

Ah, but it gets the collection plate passed when someone like Mortensen shows up at a fundy church for a performance.

This is exactly what Ken Ham did in the debate. He was dead wrong and Bill let him get away with it. The assumptions of models used in science are testable. IN general they have been tested and they have been confirmed. IN the case of radio carbon dating they have been conformed by independent data sets and calibrated back nearly 50,000 years. Even AIG admits that they give reliable relative dates. The thing is that they just can’t admit that they give reliable absolute dates a as well. But this is because of their presuppositions and untested assumptions, not those of science.

Creationists -

I do, by necessity, tend to make certain basic assumptions, which lead me to accept science as the best way to study physical reality.

Here are the assumptions I make, tell me which you disagree with and why.

1) I exist.

2) Other people exist.

3) My senses, when not interfered with by state of consciousness, intoxication, or pathology, give me accurate information about the universe around me.

4) The method of thinking which we call “logical”, which is intuitive but can be formally defined, gives correct answers.

5) Other people perceive the same external universe as I do and they can help me by making their own observations, demonstrating things to me, helping me see my biases, and making logical inferences which I had not thought of on my own.

(I do NOT make an assumption that the most basic physical principles of the universe have been the same since the big bang. Modeling that they have seems to produce consistent results. Trying to claim that they haven’t, in a post hoc effort to falsely claim that parts of the Book of Genesis are “literal”, does not produce results that make any sense.)

I realized that I make these assumptions many years ago, actually during a freshman philosophy class.

Creationists, which of them do you disagree with, and why?

Creationists have taught me why America is “divided”.

You can’t have a reasonable conversation with someone who denies physical reality and logic.

Creationists, and many other people, operate in a different way than I do.

If something challenges what I wish to be true, I take the challenge seriously.

Creationists are, at a deep level, intensely cynical, in fact outright nihilistic. The ones that aren’t stop being creationists. If something challenges what they wish to be true, they simply deny and attack it, evidence and logic be damned.

Creationists begin with a usually unconscious commitment to pushing their own social and political agenda. Because parts of it are too inflammatory to openly push, they push “Biblical literalism” as dog whistle code. They think others are fooled by this, because they use it to fool, or at least assuage themselves. I know that because I’ve asked them questions like “what should happen to gay people” directly, and seen that they literally, I mean literally, can’t answer the question. I’ve had a creationist literally beg me to stop asking that because the answer he would have to give sounds “too brutal”. They’re like Dr Strangelove half-trying to suppress the nazi salute and half trying to do it (no comparison to nazis intended; it’s the psychological state I refer to). Their self-serving bias, which is actually incorrect, but powerful, is that they themselves benefit if “Genesis is literally true” (or in the ID bastardization, if “evolution is somehow false but we can’t say what’s true, wink, wink”).

As nihilistic authoritarians, they set out to advocate that what they wish to be true, is true. Any trick that can work for a few seconds, on themselves or others, is employed. I mentioned above that they focus on science denial, while the real agenda is a harsh social and political ideology. When “defending” science denial, they routinely use straw man misrepresentations, quote mining, arguments from authority, non sequitur arguments, ad hominem fallacy, false accusations, false analogies, censorship of their critics wherever possible, and repetition of arguments proven false elsewhere in front of naive audiences.

It doesn’t matter because their goal is not to convince anyone with reason. It’s to “win”.

They can’t understand that the rest of us are any different. They have no fear that “evolutionists” might be saying something that is true, because they project their own behavior onto others. At some level, perhaps not conscious, they know that they will say any self-contradictory, factually untrue, or illogical thing to deny science, if they think they can get away with it. So they assume we are the same, but on the opposite side - just saying anything, however false or illogical, to deny their claims.

They have total disrespect for others. If you stand in the way of their wish fulfillment, you must just be a rival authoritarian. No need to even consider your arguments. Just use every verbal trick in the book, most or all taken from the lexicon of con men, most or all observable in slight variation in ads for rip-off products, to try to shut the other guy down.

I comment here to try to enlighten third party readers. The deeply committed science deniers can’t be reached by comments.

hi sorry for my english.about the creation argument -the watch argument:. the evolutionist always says that a watch need a designer because it cant self rplicat. so if we will find a self replicat watch (with dna)we need to say that is made by itself ?

scientist even find a motor in bacteria called bacterial flagellum:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-j5kKSk_6U

and we know that a motor is evidence for design. even if its very small and organic.

what you think? have a nice day

dcscccc said:

hi sorry for my english.about the creation argument -the watch argument:. the evolutionist always says that a watch need a designer because it cant self rplicat. so if we will find a self replicat watch (with dna)we need to say that is made by itself ?

scientist even find a motor in bacteria called bacterial flagellum:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-j5kKSk_6U

and we know that a motor is evidence for design. even if its very small and organic.

what you think? have a nice day

I think that you have been lied to and you bought it.

dcscccc, you might find Berkeley’s Evolution 101 page a helpful way to address some of your misunderstandings.

http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evoli[…]ticle/evo_01

BTW, calling a bacterial flagellum a motor is a metaphor, or sometimes an equivocation, depending on the honesty of the source. It is just the result of a bunch of proteins doing what proteins following the laws of chemistry and physics do. It is not a known mechanical contrivance like a watch. If the video you sourced is any indication, you may have been equivocated to.

KP

harold said:

I know that because I’ve asked them questions like “what should happen to gay people” directly, and seen that they literally, I mean literally, can’t answer the question. I’ve had a creationist literally beg me to stop asking that because the answer he would have to give sounds “too brutal”.

I caught one off guard once, or maybe he didn’t think he needed to be on guard. It was a fellow teacher who was giving me a ride to pick up my car at the repair shop. Somehow the conversation turned to witches, that is real-life Wiccans, and whether their beliefs were entitled to the same rights as his religion. Asked what he would do about Wiccans, he said, in all seriousness, “I would burn them. Pile them up and burn them.”

I got out of the car at the next stoplight.

Asked what he would do about Wiccans, he said, in all seriousness, “I would burn them. Pile them up and burn them.”

I got out of the car at the next stoplight.

Oh I know, they’re way too wet to burn in piles.

How can you be a teacher and not know that?

Glen Davidson

harold said: “Biblical literalism” as dog whistle code.

A lot of what they say as no Biblical backing to it: Noah’s Flood carved the Grand Canyon; “kinds” with super-evolution producing all the modern species; … While they ignore the clear Biblical geocentrism. The Bible is only a tool for which to silence others.

TomS said:

harold said: “Biblical literalism” as dog whistle code.

A lot of what they say as no Biblical backing to it: Noah’s Flood carved the Grand Canyon; “kinds” with super-evolution producing all the modern species; … While they ignore the clear Biblical geocentrism. The Bible is only a tool for which to silence others.

And a vanishingly tiny percentage of them have actually READ the thing, cover-to-cover. It’s all perfectly true, and the very words of their god, but somehow they rarely seem motivated to actually READ those holy words.

Actually a question for David M.

When you were a fundamentalist creationist, had you read the Bible all the way through, Genesis to Revelation?

Were you or members of your group encouraged to do that?

Just Bob said:

TomS said:

harold said: “Biblical literalism” as dog whistle code.

A lot of what they say as no Biblical backing to it: Noah’s Flood carved the Grand Canyon; “kinds” with super-evolution producing all the modern species; … While they ignore the clear Biblical geocentrism. The Bible is only a tool for which to silence others.

And a vanishingly tiny percentage of them have actually READ the thing, cover-to-cover. It’s all perfectly true, and the very words of their god, but somehow they rarely seem motivated to actually READ those holy words.

As it is the Word of God, one would be driven to read it in the original languages.

Just Bob, your story reminds me of a conversation I had with my brother, who, knowing that I’m an atheist, had informed me that “the truth” was available if only I were willing to accept it.

I told him that among the reasons I was not willing to accept “the truth” that he was talking about (i.e. his Christian god his bible) was the fact that this deity orders genocide and promises a person numberless progeny and territory based on his willingness to kill his own son.

Of course he responded with the usual nonsensical apologetics on the matter, so I asked him if he, too, would be willing to participate in genocide if his god ordered him to do so, and if so, how exactly he would be different than the Muslim terrorists we love to hate so much. He replied that yes, he would.

Unfortunately, it’s a bit more difficult to get out at the next stoplight when it’s your own brother.

harold said:

Creationists have taught me why America is “divided”.

On a related note, the Sensuous Curmudgeon has referenced David Klinghoffer’s sneer at the upcoming 13-part Cosmos series with Neil DeGrasse Tyson starting tomorrow, Sunday, March 9.

Klinghoffer ends ominously with:

“We’ll have more to say about Cosmos after we’ve seen the first episode on Sunday.”

Always on the lookout to twist and misrepresent science for their followers.

As a result of the years of debunking of ID/creationism, these characters have developed a gritty meanness in their demeanor and attitudes about the secular world around them. Ken Ham apparently keeps finding people to give him money while riding high on the back of Bill Nye; and the people at the DI and UD snarl and spit like the demons they think they are slaying.

I have known a number of YECs and other followers of ID/creationism who can’t leave because of a palpable fear of their cohorts and leaders. When one looks at the science bashing over at UD and reads the writings of people like Klinghoffer and Ham, one can see the meanness.

These people can be real thugs to their followers. People raised in that subculture often have nowhere to turn for character references and support in finding jobs and getting on with the rest of their lives if they question authority. Anyone in that subculture who manages to keep their head down to get an “secular” education while retaining their beliefs can quickly rise to the top of that subculture and become the intimidating gurus that keep the movement going.

Politicians recognize the anger and meanness; and they exploit it for political gain by pandering to it and learning all the hot buttons to push.

I don’t think the battle with ID/creationism can be over as long as powerful political interests and money keep stoking the demons in that movement. Fear is its ultimate power over people who want to leave.

… forgot to mention. The genocide and Abraham/Isaac verses had always been my trump card til then. No one that I had put the question to in that way had ever answered yes.

Just Bob said:

Actually a question for David M.

When you were a fundamentalist creationist, had you read the Bible all the way through, Genesis to Revelation?

Were you or members of your group encouraged to do that?

I have read every book of the bible at least two or three times, mostly while I was still YEC. I’ve read the New Testament cover to cover and individual sections of the OT in the same way. It was and is strongly encouraged by most of the fundamentalist circles. Every January, churches hand out numerous “read the Bible in a year” schedules.

TomS said: As it is the Word of God, one would be driven to read it in the original languages.

Ah, but we all know what happened to Bart D. Ehrman when he did that!

From a recent Christian Post interview:

CP: You shared before that you grew up in a Christian household and went through a period of struggling with your faith. Of course, you are no longer struggling, so how would you describe where you are now?

Ehrman: I am an agnostic. This kind of scholarship, when I first confronted it as a seminarian at Princeton Theological Seminary, I reacted against it the way a lot of people reading The Huffington Post have reacted. I simply didn’t accept what scholars were saying, until I started digging deeper and deeper and deeper into the evidence. Then, I finally, reluctantly, started getting convinced that Paul, for example, didn’t write 1 Timothy. That ended up making me turn away from my evangelical form of Christianity, and for a large number of years I was a liberal Christian. I accepted what the findings of historical scholarship were, but I continued to be a believer in a kind of a liberal sense.

He later became agnostic after grappling with The Problem of Evil. Obviously this just proves AiG’s argument that Liberal “Christians” are turning away from God! The only problem is, it doesn’t come from learning about that evil Evolutionism, but from learning more about Christianity and the Bible. Whoops!

When I started reading his books it struck me how similar his experience was to mine, except much more pronounced at both ends. I never became a born-again Evangelical, and I never got to the point of learning the original languages and studying the ancient manuscripts. The acknowledged problem of biblical authorship did provide a big spark, though.

david.starling.macmillan said:

I have read every book of the bible at least two or three times, mostly while I was still YEC. I’ve read the New Testament cover to cover and individual sections of the OT in the same way. It was and is strongly encouraged by most of the fundamentalist circles. Every January, churches hand out numerous “read the Bible in a year” schedules.

Excellent (and I mean that seriously). Now I have to ask if any of your careful and thorough reading give you qualms about the factuality or morality of any parts of the Bible. Or was your ‘deprogramming’ strictly a result of discovering real science?

Another fantastic article, David! Thank you for your contributions

This comment has been moved to The Bathroom Wall.

Robert Byers said:

A layer of ice was created from freezing water. Not from yearly snow on top of a lower layer that then turned to ice. Its easily explained as a freezing rain episode and these episodes happening several times a day or during a week during a special climate problem. The ice age was from freezing rain episodes all happening quickly. Within biblical boundaries. then a big quick melt. No need for annual snow accumulation. Thats a lack of imagination and unlikely.

It’s not terribly unlikely, you see, because that’s exactly what we observe every year in the present. A new layer, every year, from snow accumulation. Like clockwork.

BUT we are NOT so foolish as to assume that just because we see it in the present, it must have always been this way. No, that would be fallacious presuppositionalism, and science doesn’t work that way, nosiree-Bob.

Instead, we set out to do a test and see whether it has always been that way. If it has always been this way – if every layer really is annual accumulation – then, by golly, we should see spikes in temperature markers every 100,000 layers. And, by golly, we do.

See how neatly that works?

Robert Byers said:

Why not just see things as they really are. A layer of ice was created from freezing water. Not from yearly snow on top of a lower layer that then turned to ice. Its easily explained as a freezing rain episode and these episodes happening several times a day or during a week during a special climate problem. The ice age was from freezing rain episodes all happening quickly. Within biblical boundaries. then a big quick melt. No need for annual snow accumulation. Thats a lack of imagination and unlikely.

But, the weather in Greenland doesn’t work that way. We’ve been recording the weather in Greenland for over 100 years now, carefully recording what happens to the snow and ice. It doesn’t work the way your imagination thinks it might work.

Just because it might work in your imagination, doesn’t make it real. Actual “Science” is not about making shit up in our imaginations, and then calling it “truthy”.

Robert Byers said:

Oh no. This ice core thing is a failing of you guys. Your testing your ice core hypothesis by carbon dating of ash in the ice thing AND THEN saying you proved the annual layering by snow. Give me a break already. Your can’t confirm a dating method by another unconfirmed dating method.

Why not just see things as they really are. A layer of ice was created from freezing water. Not from yearly snow on top of a lower layer that then turned to ice. Its easily explained as a freezing rain episode and these episodes happening several times a day or during a week during a special climate problem. The ice age was from freezing rain episodes all happening quickly. Within biblical boundaries. then a big quick melt. No need for annual snow accumulation. Thats a lack of imagination and unlikely.

And which chapter and verse of the bible tells us this, Byers? Or are you making it up again?

How is your effort to stop immigration into Canada coming along?

david.starling.macmillan said:

Robert Byers said:

A layer of ice was created from freezing water. Not from yearly snow on top of a lower layer that then turned to ice. Its easily explained as a freezing rain episode and these episodes happening several times a day or during a week during a special climate problem. The ice age was from freezing rain episodes all happening quickly. Within biblical boundaries. then a big quick melt. No need for annual snow accumulation. Thats a lack of imagination and unlikely.

It’s not terribly unlikely, you see, because that’s exactly what we observe every year in the present. A new layer, every year, from snow accumulation. Like clockwork.

BUT we are NOT so foolish as to assume that just because we see it in the present, it must have always been this way. No, that would be fallacious presuppositionalism, and science doesn’t work that way, nosiree-Bob.

Instead, we set out to do a test and see whether it has always been that way. If it has always been this way – if every layer really is annual accumulation – then, by golly, we should see spikes in temperature markers every 100,000 layers. And, by golly, we do.

See how neatly that works?

No, David, Booby will not see that at all. He is profoundly science illiterate, for one thing - with no desire whatsoever to actually study science. Add to that an even more profound indoctrination to young earth creationism, biblical literalism (perhaps both self-induced), and the ability to casually hand-wave away any evidence on a whim that is contrary to his nutty notions - and you are simply wasting your finger-tips. I gave up on the Booby long ago. I just laugh and tell him that he is still clueless. Of course, you probably figured all that out yourself after his first post. Booby is just a very cheap FL type chew-toy.

david.starling.macmillan said:

Robert Byers said:

A layer of ice was created from freezing water. Not from yearly snow on top of a lower layer that then turned to ice. Its easily explained as a freezing rain episode and these episodes happening several times a day or during a week during a special climate problem. The ice age was from freezing rain episodes all happening quickly. Within biblical boundaries. then a big quick melt. No need for annual snow accumulation. Thats a lack of imagination and unlikely.

It’s not terribly unlikely, you see, because that’s exactly what we observe every year in the present. A new layer, every year, from snow accumulation. Like clockwork.

BUT we are NOT so foolish as to assume that just because we see it in the present, it must have always been this way. No, that would be fallacious presuppositionalism, and science doesn’t work that way, nosiree-Bob.

Instead, we set out to do a test and see whether it has always been that way. If it has always been this way – if every layer really is annual accumulation – then, by golly, we should see spikes in temperature markers every 100,000 layers. And, by golly, we do.

See how neatly that works?

Byers doesn’t believe in science.

I’m serious.

Just Bob said:

david.starling.macmillan said:

I have read every book of the bible at least two or three times, mostly while I was still YEC. I’ve read the New Testament cover to cover and individual sections of the OT in the same way. It was and is strongly encouraged by most of the fundamentalist circles. Every January, churches hand out numerous “read the Bible in a year” schedules.

Excellent (and I mean that seriously). Now I have to ask if any of your careful and thorough reading give you qualms about the factuality or morality of any parts of the Bible. Or was your ‘deprogramming’ strictly a result of discovering real science?

I assume you meant to say “gave you qualms” rather than “give you qualms”.

As a fundamentalist, there was a host of defenses used to great effect against the less savory bits in the Bible. First and most important was “description is not endorsement”. In other words, just because the Bible describes events (e.g. the dismemberment of the gang-raped concubine from Judges 19) doesn’t mean it’s endorsing those events. Of course, we used this approach even when the text did seem to be literally endorsing things (“blessed is he who dashes your children against the rocks”).

But when this approach couldn’t be exploited, it was a steady progression of “well, times were different then” and “God had reasons we might not understand” and “who are we to question God anyway??!!”. Which works, as long as you’re continually surrounded by other Christians who are saying the same thing and no one wants to look like the apostate who is asking too many questions.

A few years ago, I heard someone argue that even if God was fully in control of what did and didn’t end up in the Bible, there’s no reason to think that everyone in the Bible who claimed to be speaking for God actually was telling the truth. There’s nothing (in theory) to prohibit God from including examples of what happens when religious leaders claim to speak for God but aren’t. At the time, I was incredulous, but it does make a good deal of sense. Nowadays, I view the Old Testament as a constant back-and-forth tug of war between God revealing himself and the Hebrew people trying to mold that revelation into something more palatable to themselves.

My deprogramming from creationism occurred in the following steps:

1. “Wow, now that I am more familiar with the scientific method, I can see that evolution and long ages are really useful for making predictions. I wonder how that can be. Maybe I can figure out my own model to explain why they’re so useful even when they’re wrong.” 2. “Not only do evolution and long ages make useful predictions, but they actually explain everything really well. Huh. I mean, I don’t believe them, but I can see why someone would.” 3. “Wait a minute, the Bible doesn’t actually teach YEC-style creationism at all. It can be harmonized with evolution pretty easily.” 4. “Hold on, these pieces of evidence are TOTALLY inconsistent with the YEC view. No way they can fit. I can’t believe I didn’t see these before.”

Step 3 was definitely informed in part by my shifting perspective on the Bible, which certainly depended on my view of the less savory bits. Of course, step 4 could have never happened without steps 2 and 3 already being firmly in place. That’s the problem with debating creationists; we like to jump straight to step 4 when our targets haven’t even begun to grasp step 1.

david.starling.macmillan said:

3. “Wait a minute, the Bible doesn’t actually teach YEC-style creationism at all. It can be harmonized with evolution pretty easily.”

You suggest that there are other steps needed before 3. Are they needed? Maybe one can see that there is no Biblical warrant for a lot of is being taught in YEC, but people may be making stuff up? Because the Bible doesn’t concern with matters that science treats, so people make up stuff up to address matters that science treats (and “making stuff up” does not stand a chance with science).

TomS said:

david.starling.macmillan said:

3. “Wait a minute, the Bible doesn’t actually teach YEC-style creationism at all. It can be harmonized with evolution pretty easily.”

You suggest that there are other steps needed before 3. Are they needed? Maybe one can see that there is no Biblical warrant for a lot of is being taught in YEC, but people may be making stuff up? Because the Bible doesn’t concern with matters that science treats, so people make up stuff up to address matters that science treats (and “making stuff up” does not stand a chance with science).

For some, Step 3 may be a good enough starting point. It wasn’t for me, simply because I had such a strong belief that creationism was the only evidentially viable model. I had no impetus to consider a non-YEC interpretation of the Bible because I was so certain of the science. Of course, my view of the science was being skewed by theological concerns, but I didn’t recognize this.

FOR a detailed discussion of the possible functions of the butterfly fish coloration pattern see here:

http://jrscience.wcp.muohio.edu/Fie[…]lseEyes.html

Contrary to creationist claims, the color patterns actually serve several functions, and are undoubtedly selected on. The pattern is definitely not an “artistic design” and even if it were, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It doesn’t matter at all to the fish if anyone finds it attractive, indeed it would probably be better of if were perceived as ugly. Bud how it is seen by other fish, potential predators and potential mates is critical to survival and reproduction. Hence the eye camouflage, the false eye spots, the disruptive coloration, etc.

Before you go claiming that something could not evolve, it is best to find out what it is used for.

Keelyn said:

htspringer said:

You cannot address scientific challenges.

What scientific challenges?? All I notice is that you didn’t (or won’t? or can”t) answer a single question I asked you in my first post.

Instead, you resort to your unalterable FAITH in the almighty evo-fairy. You close your eyes to the obvious and imagine that your idiotic bedtime stories can explain the whole of nature without God.

Where did you get the silly notion that anyone can “explain the whole of nature” (with or without imaginary deities)? Anyone who could do that would put science out of business? [Admittedly, imaginary deities do make the work a lot easier - it’s just not productive]

Does it feel good to be wallowing in the putrid stench of atheism?

It works quite well for me, yes. One person’s putrid stench is another person’s sweet smelling rose.

Developmental genetics does not tell us that random mutations can produce complexity. What you are doing is blindly parroting dogma.

htspringer said:

You guys are nothing but garden-variety atheist stooges.

Well, this will be surprising “news” to the handful posters here at Panda’s Thumb that advocate evolution (several even being scientists) and are theists.

However much theists and non-theists disagree with each other on theology and philosophy, theists and non-theists can still be on common ground regarding the strong evidence for biological evolution. In this short video, well known evolution advocate Ken Miller (Brown University biologist as well as theist) gives an informative and humorous take on how he and atheist Richard Dawkins generally agree with each other on science if not religion.

Actually, several of us here at Panda’s Thumb are former anti-evolutionists that now accept evolution. Some like me are even ex-YECs that grew up in fundamentalist households; I used my well-worn copy of The Genesis Flood (Whitcomb & Morris) almost as much as the Scriptures. Some ex-YECs (like me) remain theists, other ex-YECs are no longer theists, but at least we generally agree regarding scientific matters.

I’ve heard all of your canned rhetoric before. You cannot address scientific challenges. Instead, you resort to your unalterable FAITH in the almighty evo-fairy.

Biological evolution is strongly supported by multiple lines of independent evidence. Such as bio-geography of living species. Such as comparative anatomy of living species. Such as comparative behaviorism of living speices. Such as comparative embryology of living species. Such as fossils. Such as molecular genetics. Such as the relatively new field of “evo-devo” (look it up if you have never heard of evo-devo). If just one of these independent lines of evidence did not agree with the others, evolution could have gone down for the count from a Chuck Norris roundhouse kick. But all these lines of evidence arrive at the same conclusion; biological evolution. This particular video of this video series on science and Christianity drives home this overall point.

Also, acceptance of biological evolution does not require faith because the scientific evidence can indeed be tested. In fact, everything in science is considered to have tentative acceptance regardless of how strong the scientific evidence seems at the moment. There is never “total proof” in science. There are no absolute science theories, no absolute science laws, no absolute science facts. Everything in science is capable of being revised or even overturned. Since science goes by scientific evidence and not authority/faith, even the most junior scientist can overturn something in science, provided he/she shows the scientific evidence and then earns the support of the general scientific community.

So, no we don’t have unalterable “faith” in evolution or in Charles Darwin (or Alfred Wallace and others that developed evolutionary theory). Just acceptance of a century and a half of hard earned science that supports evolution. To be sure, science has supported a lot of Darwin’s ideas from 150 or so years ago, which is remarkable. At the same time, a few of Darwin’s ideas turned out to be way off the mark (like his ideas how inheritance worked). While natural selection is backed up by science in many cases, natural selection was shown by science to be wrong in a few cases as long ago as the 1960s (with other mechinisms like genetic drift being a factor in evolution and not natural selection). Thus, science tests Darwin’s ideas, accepts what he got right, discards what he got wrong, and moves on to testing other ideas about evolution.

You close your eyes to the obvious and imagine that your idiotic bedtime stories can explain the whole of nature without God. Does it feel good to be wallowing in the putrid stench of atheism?

Do you really believe that your particular “Creator” would purposely install exact matching genetic defects in the same exact places in chimps, gorillas and humans? Including the same identical defects in the same Beta-Globin pseudogene (the Beta-Globin gene cluster, minus the one broken gene, is involved in producing hemoglobin), including the defect of three consecutive genetic stop switches in the same spot in all three species? If you saw at a street intersection three consecutive stop signs close together in single file, would you not question the county engineer that put up the signs?

Do you really believe that your particular “Creator” would purposely install a broken GULO gene (GULO gene is part of process of making Vitaman C) in the exact same places in humans and in all apes (like chimps, bonobos, gorillas) and in most non-ape primates (like monkeys)? Again, all broken in the exact same spot in all these species??? At the same time, why do some primates like lemurs have perfectly working GULOs and thus they can make Vitamin C? Why do most other mammals like dogs and pigs also have working GULOs??? Why make humans and most primates vunerable to scurvy, but not lemurs, dogs and pigs?? Does your particular creator like lemur primates more than human primates? Does your creator like pigs more than humans??

To be sure, theists here at Panda’s Thumb (and elsewhere) that accept evolution may have strong faith that God is Creator, but they nevertheless strongly reject the idea of a clumsy inept creator, or a creator that likes to yank the chains of us mere mortals.

I have no idea what is meant by “developmental genetics”, which is a compound I have not seen before, but I do know that natural forces acting from natural law produce enormous complexity, as a cascade emergent from their interaction. Landscapes. Starscapes. Rainbows. The aurora. Galaxies. Life. The diversity of life.

Random mutation there may be, within what is possible for the genome and the naturally-caused effects on it, but the selection from these mutations is not random. The false attribution of randomness is what lies at the heart of the creationist misapprehension; for an effect may be non-random, and yet not be purposeful, and they confuse the two.

htspringer said:

Keelyn said:

htspringer said:

You cannot address scientific challenges.

What scientific challenges?? All I notice is that you didn’t (or won’t? or can”t) answer a single question I asked you in my first post.

Instead, you resort to your unalterable FAITH in the almighty evo-fairy. You close your eyes to the obvious and imagine that your idiotic bedtime stories can explain the whole of nature without God.

Where did you get the silly notion that anyone can “explain the whole of nature” (with or without imaginary deities)? Anyone who could do that would put science out of business? [Admittedly, imaginary deities do make the work a lot easier - it’s just not productive]

Does it feel good to be wallowing in the putrid stench of atheism?

It works quite well for me, yes. One person’s putrid stench is another person’s sweet smelling rose.

Developmental genetics does not tell us that random mutations can produce complexity. What you are doing is blindly parroting dogma.

Excuse me, but I see you are going to be quite the tutoring challenge – I will have to increase my fee substantially (a penny of which you have yet to cough up). I do not believe I ever mentioned developmental genetics, nor have I “parroted” anything. I have only made a number of interrogatives, which you have totally failed to answer. Nevertheless, I can see that you are quite the biology illiterate (if not science illiterate in general). What makes you “think” for a moment that genetics is constrained only to random mutations? And what, exactly, do random mutations have to do with complexity? And what does developmental genetics tell us? And who is “us?”

It’s quite past my usual bedtime – so do have something to enlighten me in the morning. It may be late in the evening before I can digest it.

htspringer said:

Keelyn said:

htspringer said:

You cannot address scientific challenges.

What scientific challenges?? All I notice is that you didn’t (or won’t? or can”t) answer a single question I asked you in my first post.

Instead, you resort to your unalterable FAITH in the almighty evo-fairy. You close your eyes to the obvious and imagine that your idiotic bedtime stories can explain the whole of nature without God.

Where did you get the silly notion that anyone can “explain the whole of nature” (with or without imaginary deities)? Anyone who could do that would put science out of business? [Admittedly, imaginary deities do make the work a lot easier - it’s just not productive]

Does it feel good to be wallowing in the putrid stench of atheism?

It works quite well for me, yes. One person’s putrid stench is another person’s sweet smelling rose.

Developmental genetics does not tell us that random mutations can produce complexity. What you are doing is blindly parroting dogma.

Hmmm. Maybe my original prediction was correct – it runs out as fast as it ran in. Hello htspringer? Still with us? I have to go for a while – in the meantime, you still have not answered the last batch of questions:

1) What makes you “think” for a moment that genetics is constrained only to random mutations?

2) What, exactly, do random mutations have to do with complexity? [Hint: random mutations can generate all kinds of complexity]

3) What does developmental genetics tell us?

4) Who is “us” you are referring to?

Anytime, please.

One thing which I think is so often misunderstood: random mutations.

htspringer said:

Developmental genetics does not tell us that random mutations can produce complexity. What you are doing is blindly parroting dogma.

Well if you had bothered to actually study developmental genetics, you would realize how wrong you are. If you are interested in learning something about developmental genetics, here is a reference to get you started:

Strewlman et. al. (2007) Developmental Genetics of Adaptation in FIshes: The Case for Novelty. Annual Review of Ecology and Evolutionary Systematics 38:655-681.

And let me know when you have learned about the functional significance of coloration in fish. The pretty colors were not created by an omnipotent being just to make you feel good. What you are doing is blindly parroting dogma.

htspringer said:

If you deny a superior intelligence, you are denying scientific observation…that random forces have no observable capacity to create complexity.

“Snowflake”.

Unless, perhaps, you are suggesting that every single snowflake was directly created by a “superior intelligence”? Or, perhaps you are suggesting that a snowflake is not “complex”?

And what exactly is a “superior” intelligence? “Superior” to what? A disembodied “intelligence” that knows more that you do? As in, I don’t know how it works, therefore “Jesus”? Heck, if that is your standard, even phhht is more intelligent that you.

htspringer said:

Also, remember that in any attempts to ascribe these patterns to natural selection, it must be remembered that every creature on earth is blind to aesthetics except man.

Perhaps you are saying that a peahen is blind to the aesthetics of a peacock? Perhaps you are saying that a female bowerbird cannot evaluate the aesthetics of the bower of a prospective mate?

Well htspringer, I see that you have no desire to actually look at evidence. With one broad sweep you dismiss evidence without even looking at it. Beauty is not a manifestation of complexity…and random forces can create complexity. You don’t even know how to mathematically define elements of design… but you still think you do “no” that the patterns seen if reef fish could not evolve. THis is simply “god-of-gaps” logic… that is what you do…you embrace “god-of-the-gaps” logic. You cannot imagine a scientific explanation for the observations. You assume by default that everything in nature cannot be explained without God. When presented with evidence, you resort to your faith that goddidit with pixie dust. How typical.

htspringer said:

First, he assumes that by disproving the earth to be 10,000 years old he has proven evolution… that is absurd.

You are correct that disproving a young earth “proves” evolution. That truly would be absurd. Fortunately for David, that isn’t what he was assuming at all. What you have created is what is called a “straw man”.

Proving that the earth is billions of years old does not “prove” evolution. What it does is to show that there is enough time in which evolution by natural selection can act. Evolution requires time, and lots of it.

Second, proving that the earth is billions of years old does prove that Young Earth Creationists are liars, or at the very least, are guilty of repeating statements that are known to be false, and in conflict with reality.

Oh wow. I decide to stop checking this for what – a day? – and look what happened.

prongs said:

htspringer said:

MacMillan makes several grave errors of scientific logic. First, he assumes that by disproving the earth to be 10,000 years old he has proven evolution… that is absurd. Intelligent design cannot be assumed to be confined to only a 6,000 year old earth. Second, he assumes that if God created the earth he did not start with pre-existing matter…another scientifically illogical assumption. God might have organized this earth from a planet with pre-existing ice caps. Third, he assumes radiometric carbon-14 dating to be accurate for 30,000+ years…another scientifically baseless assumption. Finally, he assumes that volcanic ash can be accurately dated when it has been scientifically proven to be worthless…as documented in blind tests of lava flows of known dates. All theories of evolution presume an old earth… something that cannot be scientifically proven, regardless of all of the wishful thinking promoted by atheists. Ultimately, all theories promoted in the name of evolution, as evidenced in this worthless article, are based on philosophical assumptions that conform to an a priori commitment to atheism.

David,

Can you recognize this rhetoric as one of your former compatriots at AiG?

It makes sense to me that they are very aware of your apostasy, and seek to fight it with every fiber of their being.

It’s just my hunch, but I think this comes directly from AiG. And I believe your previous creationist posts are slowly being wiped clean from creationist websites, including AiG (keep watch).

I’m sure htspringer is no one who works at AiG, if that’s what you’re asking. He’s definitely familiar with some of AiG’s material, but some of his objections are too distant from AiG’s explanations for him to be an actual AiG-er.

So far, my two articles on the AiG remain.

htspringer said:

You guys are nothing but garden-variety atheist stooges. You resort to your unalterable FAITH in the almighty evo-fairy.

You do realize the irony of writing such a comment on a post written by a theist, don’t you?

Is he gone? I think he’s gone. Too bad.

htspringer ironically and conveniently provides examples of “how creationists distort science” in a thread titled How creationists distort science.

Thanks, chew toy.

david.starling.macmillan said:

Is he gone? I think he’s gone. Too bad.

Yea, just another drive by troll. He claimed he had evidence for intelligent design. All he had was a picture of a pretty fish. I guess he didn’t understand what evidence is. He demanded an evolutionary explanation, then ignored it when he was provided with one. Quite hypocritical for someone who claimed that others were not willing to look at the evidence. And of course he used the parrot strategy. Every criticism he had ever heard he just parroted back, projecting his own inadequacies unto others. In other words, he’s a typical creationist.

Perhaps I was too hasty. Maybe ht is reading the reference I provided. Maybe he will be back to admit that he was wrong. Maybe.

DS said:

Perhaps I was too hasty. Maybe ht is reading the reference I provided. Maybe he will be back to admit that he was wrong. Maybe.

He smells a lot like a Raytard.

Mortenson rides again (in a forum where he cannot be questioned): http://www.answersingenesis.org/art[…]darwin-right

http://forums.bcseweb.org.uk/viewto[…]8&t=3473

With regards to that link, it is truly hideous to watch the degradation of scientific argument into a series of flat assertions, made without the faintest hint of evidential support. Tiktaalik was so not a transitional form, because Mortensen says so. The fossil record doesn’t support evolution, because Mortensen says so. It confirms Genesis because Mortensen says so.

Of course he’s preaching to the choir. But the choir in his case numbers in the millions, and they send money, and Mortensen knows what moves them. Forget evidence. Forget argument. Authority and repetition is the go. And he provides them.

Probably long gone, never to be seen again, but…

Pretty fish? Yeah? Well, then, ‘splain why most fish aren’t especially pretty–just sort of plain. And then for every fish you think is surpassingly beautiful, and therefore HAD to have been created, I’ll offer one that is surpassingly UGLY.

Now what does that prove about your designer? That he finds things beautiful that you find hideous? That he didn’t care about most fish? That he was too lazy to bother painting all of them to please you?

Or… wait a minute… maybe Somebody Else designed all those deep ocean monstrosities!

Bob is correct. If pretty fish are evidence for design, then ugly fish are evidence for evolution. And man are there some ugly fish out there:

http://www.chicagonow.com/lists-tha[…]inues/#image/12

When it comes to fish, beauty is in the eye of the bait holder.

DS said:

Bob is correct. If pretty fish are evidence for design, then ugly fish are evidence for evolution. And man are there some ugly fish out there:

http://www.chicagonow.com/lists-tha[…]inues/#image/12

The moronic troll for Jesus wrongly assumes that animals have no aesthetic sense, nevermind that without an aesthetic sense, we would not have sexual selection, nor pets’ preferences for specific toys, etc.

The moronic troll for Jesus also wrongly assumes that humans have a uniform sense of aesthetics, nevermind that one human may have an awe-filled appreciation of all fishes, another may pick and choice what fishes they like, and bicker with another over whether or not fancy goldfish are freakishly unpleasant, and yet another human may dismiss all fish as “disgusting and slimy.”

Not all people who believe in God are in the exact same mind as “Creationists”. This is what this particular people who believe in God say about the beginning. Facility to read and listen at the same time.

http://www.jw.org/en/publications/m[…]of-creation/

htspringer said:

I have made a logical scientific deduction. Intelligent design is the only PROVEN force in the universe capable of creating complexity. If you deny a superior intelligence, you are denying scientific observation…that random forces have no observable capacity to create complexity. I’m not suggesting that I can scientifically prove “an invisible superman with magical powers”… Do you think a conclusion of intelligent design means that I believe in “magic”? I conclude that science points to (demands) that an intelligence was required to create life. You have no scientific evidence whatsoever to argue that life can be created by random forces… The problem with atheists is that they demand evidence according to their own predetermined criteria. Why isn’t the evidence of the complexity of nature sufficient to convince you that a higher power exists? What sort of “evidence” are you looking for? What would convince you that there is a God?

I have a question. What exactly is a random force? Is gravity a random force? Are the physics that govern chemical reactions random forces? I’ve never heard of random force.

As far as I know, natural forces operate in ways that are very specific, uniform, predictable (for the most part) and non-random. For instance if I jump out of a plane, I don’t expect gravity to act randomly at all; It will most definitely pull me towards the earth in every single case. And if I planned ahead and had a parachute, then I would expect the air resistance of the parachute to partially counteract gravitational force making my landing survivable. And yes the parachute is designed based on the scientific knowledge of how these non-random forces operate, but nature can exploit these forces without any plan. All it takes is populations of organisms with genetic variation (created through probablistic mutation), and natural selection (or an environment with a vast array of ecological niches which can be exploited by the variants). Of course, the natural world isn’t quite that simple, but what I am saying is a better approximation than what you said about random forces and complexity.

Marilyn said:

Not all people who believe in God are in the exact same mind as “Creationists”. This is what this particular people who believe in God say about the beginning. Facility to read and listen at the same time.

http://www.jw.org/en/publications/m[…]of-creation/

It would help a great deal if Creationists were to cease incessantly screeching about how their own personal beliefs are the only way to believe in God, under pain of death, torture and eternal damnation, AND it would also help a great deal if Creationists were to cease incessantly trying to deliberately conflate science with religion while trying to force everyone to worship their beliefs as Golden Calves.

IANscientist, but I think that there are several different meanings of “random”.

In discussing evolution, there is the statement that natural selection operates on random changes. What is means is that the changes are not determined by their effect on their effect on the living thing that will be produced. It isn’t as if there is a some way that changes were directed toward making a “better”, or even just a “survival” thing. When the change has made its effect on its product, then “natural selection” (or anything else which can do selection) operates on the product. This does not mean that “anything is possible”, or “anything is as likely as anything else”. It does not mean that there are no natural laws which determine the results.

When changes are produced by radioactivity, then they are random in another meaning. Radioactivity means that the changes are governed by the strange laws of quantum mechanics which mean that there is no determined, only one outcome.

In the case of mathematical theories, such as information theory, there is still another meaning which I would not pretend to understand, but it’s worth mentioning because (1) It does not mean that every outcome is equally probable. There are all sorts of functions which describe the different probabilities. (2) In information theory, the signal which is produced by the equally probable random function has the most information.

As far as being concerned with the appearance of random in evolutionary being atheistic:

A) There is a long tradition of orthodox theology which is accepts random acts of nature being consistent with Divine Providence.

B) If there is randomness in the science of evolution, the same is so in genetics and the science of reproduction. Evolution is no worse than reproduction

htspringer said:

Here is my evidence for intelligent design. First, study the copper banded butterflyfish…

http://www.flickr.com/photos/wildsi[…]e/427626109/

The symmetrical vertical stripes on its skin, with one band squarely traversing the eye, shows evidence of deliberate artistic design. Now look closer. Note the ornamental outlines of the fins with color coordinated stripes. Finally, note the central five banded stripe in the midline of the head which extends toward the beak. Think of the genetic instructions to produce such a NON-RANDOM pattern. First, the genetic instructions to produce the vertical skin stripes had to coordinate perfectly with the instructions to create the matching eye stripe. Second, the symmetrical patterns of stripes on each side of the fish were presumably derived from one set of genetic instructions…hence, the symmetry. That being the case, why is there a five banded stripe where the two halves of the fish join, that matches perfectly the lateral stripes? If one set of genetic instructions produced the symmetrical patterns, then one would expect a “seam” as would be created in Photoshop when two halves are mirrored.

Contrast the many species of ornamented reef fish with the koi…

http://www.turbosquid.com/3d-models[…]h-max/656683

The koi is a carp that has been selectively bred for color. If evolution produced colorful reef fish, then those fish would look like koi and would not display the aesthetic embellishments that are seen in nature.

Also, remember that in any attempts to ascribe these patterns to natural selection, it must be remembered that every creature on earth is blind to aesthetics except man.

Htspringer, as others have said you may be long gone. But if you are still around, perhaps you could clarify the point you are making here.

Are you claiming that random mutation could not have produced the genetic instructions required to generate the symmetry, or that the genetic instructions, created by the Designer, are insufficient in themselves to produce the symmetry? That is, the designer has to sprinkle a little magic onto each and every butterfly fish.

Dave Lovell said: Are you claiming that random mutation could not have produced the genetic instructions required to generate the symmetry, or that the genetic instructions, created by the Designer, are insufficient in themselves to produce the symmetry? That is, the designer has to sprinkle a little magic onto each and every butterfly fish.

I am interested in whether your question would be consistent with the kind of question that I ask about many of the complaints against evolution:

Does this complaint apply with at least as force if directed against reproduction?

TomS said:

Dave Lovell said: Are you claiming that random mutation could not have produced the genetic instructions required to generate the symmetry, or that the genetic instructions, created by the Designer, are insufficient in themselves to produce the symmetry? That is, the designer has to sprinkle a little magic onto each and every butterfly fish.

I am interested in whether your question would be consistent with the kind of question that I ask about many of the complaints against evolution:

Does this complaint apply with at least as force if directed against reproduction?

TomS, I’m not sure exactly what you mean. The impression I got from htspringer’s post was whilst he was happy to accept the scientific view that the development of an organism was essentially defined by its genome (i.e. the Designer’s input has to be limited to fiddling with DNA), he then seemed to want “genetic insrtuctions” to be incapable of creating the symmetry, presumably even if those instructions were created by the Designer. I wondered if he was trying to postulate something akin to the otherwise totally undetectable Morphic Field, beloved of Bozo Joe.

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This page contains a single entry by Matt Young published on March 8, 2014 12:18 PM.

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