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Thread: The Evolution Myth

  1. #61
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    Forgive my late arrival at this thread but I would like to make a few points which are generally in support of Sunwaiter

    (i) People often decide in advance what they are going to believe and then look for evidence to support their position. To many people evolution is not an attractive concept because it appears to diminish the status of human beings in the order of things. We would like to think we are pristine creations from the drawing board of the "Intelligent Designer", not some "scrapheap challenge" contraption knocked together from bits of obsolete models. Similarly, global warming is not attractive because it paints a depressing "doomsday" picture, and also requires us to change our lifestyles in ways we would prefer not to.

    (ii) The Bible may be an excellent moral authority, but it is definitely not an authority on scientific matters. I can't believe anyone having the advantage of a 21st century viewpoint would take the account of creation in Genesis as literal truth. It is not science, but myth, and I don't mean that as an insult, because it is a profound and beautiful myth, but science it ain't.

    (iii) "Intelligent design" could be seen as a misnomer. It could be argued that to design a universe in which evolution can take place is more intelligent than designing one with a fixed number of permanent species.

    (iv) Any explanantion which requires the intervention of a supernatural being isn't really an explanation at all. Historically, progress has always been made by thinking of the universe as a law-abiding system which takes care of itself.

    (v) Lots of science is not very comprehensible at common-sense level. Eg we have no feeling for relativity because we don't experience the speeds and distances at which it becomes significant. In the case of evolution, we can't easily grasp the enormous timescales involved.

    (vi) I don't find Robert's explaining away of dinosaurs as a "temporary" mutation at all convincing. If you're prepared to admit short term mutations, then why not long term ones too? And can you show me any living animals which bear the slightest similarity to a brontosaurus? Again, even if you don't admit the creation of new species, you must admit the possibility of extinction.

    (vii) I'm not clear why genetics and evolution are seen as being in opposition. As I understand it, our DNA "recipe" contains lots of redundant junk code which is never actually used, very similar to an old computer program which has been modified too often. I would have thought, if anything, this supported evolution, unless the "intelligent designer" is a very untidy worker.

    (viii) We may not be able to "defeat nature", but we certainly have the ability to alter our environment in a way which would endanger our own survival (eg in the short term by massive nuclear warfare if we were crazy enough). The mechanism of global warming is not in question - it is a question of degree (or degrees C!). Nobody talks about population control any more (perhaps it's too politically sensitive), but that is surely an important part of the equation too.

  2. #62
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    Hi there Sunwaiter,

    Thanks for your message. You write -

    ''I suppose you agree to say that we humans are of the same family that contains great apes - if you do, i won't consider you as an obtuse creationist at all (and i already don't, because you're well informed''.

    Well, no. Actually it's quite different. Man does not belong to the same family as the apes. And he never has.

    Man is different from all other living creatures in a number of very important ways. Biologically Man is not a species. He is not a member of any genus. But all species are members of a genus. Man is unique in this sense.

    As indicated before, all species belong to a genus. That is, they are members of a group or a set of other species. And the number of species in a particular genus is fixed and permanent. Interelationships between species of the same genus are possible if two different species stand in relationship to each other within the genus. But they are not possible if two species do not stand in relationship to each other within the genus.

    A simple example - '2' is consonant with '4'. But '2' is NOT consonant with '3'. Similarly, the ability/inability of different species to produce offspring (fertile or sterile) is predetermined by each species occupying a fixed and permanent place within the genus of which it is (and has always been) a member. There are therefore no 'new' species in nature but the very same species.

    The fact that mankind resembles apes and vice-versa is irrelevant. A can of soup may have a virtually identical barcode in a supermarket to that of a bar of chocolate. So the fact that 98% of the DNA of apes is like that of mankind is not an issue. The fact is that species are unique living beings within their genus.

    You ask if there is evidence that Man cannot permanently change nature. The evidence that Man cannot permanently change nature is easily found. He is completely unable to change his own nature, let alone the nature all around him. He can at best exploit nature. So says the evidence of human existence. But if you have evidence to the contrary please share it.

    Best regards

    Robert

  3. #63
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    The Bible is definitely not a Science Textbook but rather a sourcebook on how to life your life in Faith, Hope, and Love.
    *If a man wants God to hear his prayer quickly, then before he prays for anything else, even his own soul, when he stands and stretches out his hands towards God, he must pray with all his heart for his enemies. Through this action God will hear everything that he asks* -Abba Zeno-

    *Protagoras: "Truth is subjective. What is true for you, and what is true for me, is true for me. Your opinion is true by virtue of its being your opinion."

    *Socrates: "My opinion is: Truth is absolute, not opinion, and that you are in absolute error. Since this is my opinion, then according to your philosophy you must grant that it is true."

    "Improvisational Art": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSxVO3EoCRM

  4. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by jhnbrbr View Post
    Forgive my late arrival at this thread but I would like to make a few points which are generally in support of Sunwaiter

    (i) People often decide in advance what they are going to believe and then look for evidence to support their position. To many people evolution is not an attractive concept because it appears to diminish the status of human beings in the order of things. We would like to think we are pristine creations from the drawing board of the "Intelligent Designer", not some "scrapheap challenge" contraption knocked together from bits of obsolete models. Similarly, global warming is not attractive because it paints a depressing "doomsday" picture, and also requires us to change our lifestyles in ways we would prefer not to.

    (ii) The Bible may be an excellent moral authority, but it is definitely not an authority on scientific matters. I can't believe anyone having the advantage of a 21st century viewpoint would take the account of creation in Genesis as literal truth. It is not science, but myth, and I don't mean that as an insult, because it is a profound and beautiful myth, but science it ain't.

    (iii) "Intelligent design" could be seen as a misnomer. It could be argued that to design a universe in which evolution can take place is more intelligent than designing one with a fixed number of permanent species.

    (iv) Any explanantion which requires the intervention of a supernatural being isn't really an explanation at all. Historically, progress has always been made by thinking of the universe as a law-abiding system which takes care of itself.

    (v) Lots of science is not very comprehensible at common-sense level. Eg we have no feeling for relativity because we don't experience the speeds and distances at which it becomes significant. In the case of evolution, we can't easily grasp the enormous timescales involved.

    (vi) I don't find Robert's explaining away of dinosaurs as a "temporary" mutation at all convincing. If you're prepared to admit short term mutations, then why not long term ones too? And can you show me any living animals which bear the slightest similarity to a brontosaurus? Again, even if you don't admit the creation of new species, you must admit the possibility of extinction.

    (vii) I'm not clear why genetics and evolution are seen as being in opposition. As I understand it, our DNA "recipe" contains lots of redundant junk code which is never actually used, very similar to an old computer program which has been modified too often. I would have thought, if anything, this supported evolution, unless the "intelligent designer" is a very untidy worker.

    (viii) We may not be able to "defeat nature", but we certainly have the ability to alter our environment in a way which would endanger our own survival (eg in the short term by massive nuclear warfare if we were crazy enough). The mechanism of global warming is not in question - it is a question of degree (or degrees C!). Nobody talks about population control any more (perhaps it's too politically sensitive), but that is surely an important part of the equation too.
    Hi there jhnbrbr,

    Thanks for your detailed letter. In reply -

    1. I already agree that Man can change his environment. He can pollute the seas, chop down trees, contaminate rivers, etc. etc. The question is whether the destructiveness and stupidity of man can lead to permanent changes. In my considered view Nature is much more powerful. Nature will eventually re-assert itself. For every action has a reaction. Nature's reaction to massive pollution is (as we see) increasing temperatures, more storm damage, etc. etc. But the forces of nature will, eventually, re-assert themselves.

    2. You say, 'The Bible may be an excellent moral authority, but it is definitely not an authority on scientific matters'.

    Well, on what authority do you say this ? You will agree that the bible speaks about a great number of things, doesn't it ? It speaks, for example, about human history, doesn't it ? It even provides us with a version of human history. It IS an authority on whatever it speaks. But I respect the fact that you do not believe in its accuracy and reliability. It nevertheless speaks many things about history, biology, botany, history, astronomy etc etc. Doesn't it ? The question is whether it is reliable as a source on these issues. In my view it is completely reliable. And I base this on not a few but literally thousands of facts. The bible is a book of faith. It is also an accurate source on many issues that can be studied and confirmed. By science.

    We can take the science of Egyptology or studies of Middle Eastern cultures and civilizations. The bible is a supremely accurate source on such matters. In fact, the earliest Egyptologists used the bible extensively. That's a plain fact. For example, Sir Leonard Wolley discovered and excavated the ancient city of Ur, in Mesopotamia. The same city described in the book of Genesis. It really existed. And the dates offered for Sumerian/Babylonian and Egyptian civilization are today recognised to be very accurate in the biblical record - something that was for over a century disputed by those who do not believe in the bible. Is it not fair to say, therefore, that the bible has been an accurate and reliable guide in such studies ?

    Or, take astronomy. In the book of Isaiah we have a clear statement on the Earth where it speaks (in the 40th chapter) of -

    'the circle of the earth'.

    How's that for accuracy at a time when most people believed the world was flat ? (The Hebrew word here for 'circle' is also the same word they used for 'sphere').

    It would be quicker to tell you that the bible condenses its truths. But, in fact, it is phenomenally accurate and reliable in what it says. It's more accurate and more reliable than any promise you might find printed on a modern banknote.

    As to your other points I will answer them later.

    Regards

  5. #65
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    Good morning Robert - I take my hat off to you - you can argue the most preposterous nonsense (eg man is not a species) in a most convincing manner!! I think your comments support my view that there is a certain hubris in the creationist position - ie wanting to give human beings some sort of exalted position in the scheme of things - not satisfied with being top of the heap, wanting to be separate from the heap altogether. We should not be too snobbish to acknowledge our close relationship with the chimpanzee - apparently the "spelling" of the DNA is so close that if I went for tea with a chimpanzee and a gorilla it is the gorilla who would be the odd one out, not me.

    As for whether man can permanently change nature, the word "nature" is too vague - obviously man cannot change the "laws of nature", but if we re-frame the question as "Can man permanently change the environment?" then there can surely only be one answer - yes!

  6. #66
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    here is a link about an interesting animal with an interesting genus:
    http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releas...-rbt091406.php

    here is a youtube link about primates and men
    http://fr.youtube.com/watch?v=BXdQRvSdLAs&NR=1

    the whole video:
    http://fr.youtube.com/watch?v=JVRsWAjvQSg

    i don't say Ken Miller is more legitimate in his reasoning than Michael Behe, among other people, and i listen and read with my modest means and with moderate empathy, but i have to take EVERYTHING in consideration, including voles.

    i'm not only looking for documentation that allows me to support ONE theory or reasoning only. you noticed i have made at least "une concession" earlier. Mendel was not an enemy of Darwin. On a discussion forum i randomly found a person had the guts to credit the holocaust to Darwin, because his observations had led him to believe in a natural selection. well, i won't get any further with this kind of example because it's not your style, but i quote it because it's very far-fetched. and i think it's exagerated and funny.

    as a relatively ignorant man who simply looks around him and who has already gone to a zoo (without studying in Yale, Sorbonne or any university)i believe you're in a kind of denial when you affirm that we can't be an evolved form of a great ape.

    I also believe that you're in a kind of denial when you say that books about probability and theory of chaos can't be kept in the science section of a library. i don't say this only because the library i work for is full of these books but also because i personnaly think these fields are worthy and interesting.

    i agree with jhnbrbr on this:

    "(vi) I don't find Robert's explaining away of dinosaurs as a "temporary" mutation at all convincing. If you're prepared to admit short term mutations, then why not long term ones too? And can you show me any living animals which bear the slightest similarity to a brontosaurus? Again, even if you don't admit the creation of new species, you must admit the possibility of extinction."

    thank you. not only for your attention but also because you taught me things. well, there's still a lot to explore for me.

  7. #67
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    Jhnbrbr,

    To continue my reply -

    Your point 3 on 'intelligent design' doesn't really raise any questions so I will move on to your point 4. You write -

    (iv) Any explanantion which requires the intervention of a supernatural being isn't really an explanation at all. Historically, progress has always been made by thinking of the universe as a law-abiding system which takes care of itself.

    That sounds very smug. But how can a 'law abiding system' exist without laws having been formed in the first place ?

    You then write -

    5. (v) Lots of science is not very comprehensible at common-sense level. Eg we have no feeling for relativity because we don't experience the speeds and distances at which it becomes significant. In the case of evolution, we can't easily grasp the enormous timescales involved.

    Sorry but that simply doesn't wash. If you claim evolution is a scientifically valid theory adding 'millions of years' to it doesn't prove it, one way or the other. What is scientifically valid can be and must be proved by demonstrated fact. Everything that is worthy of belief in science can be and has been proved by demonstrated fact and by replication. Evolution theory is not science. It's plain wrong. It lacks any empirical evidence and is contrary to the discoveries of science. Its exponents are simply not able to survive cross-examination of their ideas. It is really a fairystory for adults. Why not just accept it's a failed idea and move on ?

    You next write -


    (vi) I don't find Robert's explaining away of dinosaurs as a "temporary" mutation at all convincing. If you're prepared to admit short term mutations, then why not long term ones too? And can you show me any living animals which bear the slightest similarity to a brontosaurus? Again, even if you don't admit the creation of new species, you must admit the possibility of extinction.

    OK, let's look more closely at this. Let me talk for a moment in your language. You're an 'evolutionist', yes ? You believe, therefore, that dinosaurs (which include some of the largest living beings who ever lived), must have 'evolved'. Yes ?

    Can you name a single book on the 'evolution of dinosaurs' ? Or, can you give us the name of a single book on the 'evolution of plants' ?

    Dinosaurs very suddenly appeared. That's not 'evolution' is it ? These were populations of ordinary species who lived in areas of the world that were affected by extremely hostile environments associated with earth movements. They are in fact mutational forms that were never typical of all life forms. Many of them in lowland areas.

    You ask whether I believe any species have been made extinct. No, I don't believe a single species has ever been made extinct. Perhaps you can give us an example ?

    There is clear evidence, of course, that various varieties of species have disappeared from the Earth. But to argue that species themselves have been made extinct, no, I see no evidence of this.

    And, to end -

    No, I see no evidence the seasons of nature can be defeated by pollution or any act of man. Whatever damage is done to the ecosystem will produce storms and violent earth movements with increasing severity until the damage is stopped. At that time nature will re-assert itself, as always. The forces and cycles of nature will remain and will re-assert themselves despite Man's stupidity and his ignorance.

    Regards

    Robert

  8. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by jhnbrbr View Post
    Good morning Robert - I take my hat off to you - you can argue the most preposterous nonsense (eg man is not a species) in a most convincing manner!! I think your comments support my view that there is a certain hubris in the creationist position - ie wanting to give human beings some sort of exalted position in the scheme of things - not satisfied with being top of the heap, wanting to be separate from the heap altogether. We should not be too snobbish to acknowledge our close relationship with the chimpanzee - apparently the "spelling" of the DNA is so close that if I went for tea with a chimpanzee and a gorilla it is the gorilla who would be the odd one out, not me.

    As for whether man can permanently change nature, the word "nature" is too vague - obviously man cannot change the "laws of nature", but if we re-frame the question as "Can man permanently change the environment?" then there can surely only be one answer - yes!
    I have a can of beans which has virtually the same bar-code as a bunch of bananas. And I have a C.D. player whose bar code is virtually identical to a notebook - both bought at the same supermarket. Proof that they are genetically related, right ?

    Man is not a species. He is NOT in the same genus as the apes and never has been. They cannot give you a blood transfusion and vice-versa. But if you don't believe me, fine.

    As far as mutations are concerned, yes, some mutations may continue for generations and be ended by interactions with unaffected populations. That's how the last Neanderthals ended. They were incorporated in to other, unaffected populations. Rather simple, yes ?


    Regards

  9. #69
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    a can is not a living being, so i think the example doesn't work. a can of beans can look a lot like a can of soup but yeah they will never ever be from the same family. but families of goods produced by man are not to be compared with species, wich can be observed and studied naked and without a metallic or plastic enveloppe.

    i hope you have some time to watch my links.

  10. #70
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    I can tell you very simply why the Bible is not an authority on scientific matters -scientific truth is expressed in the language of mathematics while the Bible is largely narrative. I don't have the exact quote to hand but I think Lord Kelvin said somthing along the lines of "If my knowledge of something cannot be expressed in numbers, that knowledge is of a very superficial kind." Now, I suggest you would have to read the Bible for a very long time before you discovered the inverse square law of gravitation!

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    Quote Originally Posted by jhnbrbr View Post
    I can tell you very simply why the Bible is not an authority on scientific matters -scientific truth is expressed in the language of mathematics while the Bible is largely narrative. I don't have the exact quote to hand but I think Lord Kelvin said somthing along the lines of "If my knowledge of something cannot be expressed in numbers, that knowledge is of a very superficial kind." Now, I suggest you would have to read the Bible for a very long time before you discovered the inverse square law of gravitation!
    Well, thank you for your advice. Since you mention Lord Kelvin he was, himself, a fierce critic of 'evolution theory' throughout his career and considered it to be nonsense. After years of trying to be diplomatic he finally lost his patience with Darwinists. Here are Kelvin's own words, having studied in great detail Darwin's 'Origin of Species' -

    I have omitted two sentences which come between them, describing briefly the hypothesis of "the origin of species by natural selection," because I have always felt that this hypothesis simply does not contain the true theory of evolution, if 'evolution' there has ever been, in biology. Sir John Herschel, in expressing a favourable judgment on the hypothesis of zoological evolution, however, some reservation in respect to the origin of man, objected to the doctrine of natural selection, that it was too like the Laputan method of making books, and that it did not sufficiently take into account a continually guiding and controlling intelligence. This seems to me a most valuable and instructive criticism. I feel profoundly convinced that the argument of design has been greatly too much lost sight of in recent zoological speculations. Reaction against frivolities of teleology, such as are to be found, not rarely, in the notes of learned Commentators on Paley's "Natural Theology," has I believe had a temporary effect in turning attention from the solid and irrefragable argument so well put forward in that excellent old book. But overpoweringly strong proofs of intelligent and benevolent design lie all round us, and if ever perplexities, whether metaphysical or scientific, turn us away from them for a time, they come back upon us with irresistible force, showing to us through nature the influence of a free will, and teaching us that all living beings depend on one ever-acting Creator and Ruler.

    Lord Kelvin - Address to the British Association for the Advancement of Science (1871) 'On the Origin of Life'. This delivered decades before Mendel's discoveries were finally (and grudgingly) acknowleged.

    Regards
    Last edited by Robert Newman; Jan-11-2009 at 15:12.

  12. #72
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    hey Robert what do you think of my links?

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    Quote Originally Posted by jhnbrbr View Post
    I can tell you very simply why the Bible is not an authority on scientific matters -scientific truth is expressed in the language of mathematics while the Bible is largely narrative. I don't have the exact quote to hand but I think Lord Kelvin said somthing along the lines of "If my knowledge of something cannot be expressed in numbers, that knowledge is of a very superficial kind." Now, I suggest you would have to read the Bible for a very long time before you discovered the inverse square law of gravitation!
    You say the Bible is largely narrative. You say it is not an authority on scientific matters. And on what authority do you say this ? Please tell us. History is a science. So is botany. So is zoology. So is astronomy. Aren't they ? These are all sciences and on all of these we have remarkable, verifiably accurate, statements from the bible as already said.

    The simple fact is that you do not accept the authority of the bible in anything that it says. Which is of course your choice. But please do not say that it has nothing to say on all of these subjects when it so clearly does.

    Regards

  14. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by sunwaiter View Post
    hey Robert what do you think of my links?
    Your links are interesting, for sure. But, these days, students are under great pressure to conform to what is being taught to them and have little time to question the underlying reliability of what they are being taught. You should attend a fair debate on these issues. Only then can you form a fair judgement. But do so after you've been 'educated' or people would be offended. LOL !!

    The great discoveries of science have almost totally been made by men and women who recognised that creation is filled with order, moderated by laws, and that pseudo-science and outright speculation is today widely being taught in place of reality.

    You should remain an 'evolutionist' if you so choose but, be sure, any great discoveries on species and on living things will be made by non-evolutionists. As usual.



    Regards

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    i never said i was an "evolutionist". i wonder if you've read my posts with the attention expected.

    i did not check wether the man who made this interesting discovery about the VOLE is a "non-evolutionist" or any other "-ist", and i don't mind what "side" he's on, since his discovery can make you think about the relevance of man's almost magical uniqueness.

    i will try not to focus too much on Ken Miller, but here is what he says in a conclusion to one of his texts:

    "I do not believe, even for an instant, that Darwin's vision has weakened or diminished the sense of wonder and awe that one should feel in confronting the magnificence and diversity of the living world. Rather, to a person of faith it should enhance their sense of the Creator's majesty and wisdom. Against such a backdrop, the struggles of the intelligent design movement are best understood as clamorous and disappointing double failures – rejected by science because they do not fit the facts, and having failed religion because they think too little of God."

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