Archived blog post

Lying for God

Posted by Ben on Tuesday, December 20, 2005 | Permalink
 

Intelligent Design gets a kicking in Pennsylvania. The judge says:

"It is ironic that several of these individuals, who so staunchly and proudly touted their religious convictions in public, would time and again lie to cover their tracks and disguise the real purpose behind the ID policy...We find that the secular purposes claimed by the board amount to a pretext for the board's real purpose, which was to promote religion in the public school classroom."

Do they not fear the hellfire for bearing false witness? Or do they think God will let them off because the sinning was to help him out? Or - long shot, perhaps - are they hypocritical wankers?

Comments [ hide comments ]
ID makes sense. Genesis makes more sense than evolution.
Jesus is God, the creator of the universe. Of course you will delete these comments because you don't know want people to know this.
REV_HOLY_FIRE, 22.12.2005, 7:25pm #
Genesis makes about as much sense as any other myth. Mind you, many of the stories in Genesis were borrowed from even older mythologies.
Even while I see no compelling reasons to believe in any of the gods', the ID hypothesis would make any of them look like idiots. Why, for instance, all of the extinctions. Could the intelligent designer not get things right the first time?
benelailax, 22.12.2005, 6:45am #
Actually Ben, as you already probably know, lying for God is not an unknown phenomenon within Christianity.
The Gospel authors admit that they are writing religious propaganda (John 20:31), and Paul says that it's okay to practice mendaciousness for the glory of God (Romans 3:7).
Following these examples, one would expect that some ID proponents would have a similar propensity.
benelailax, 22.12.2005, 7:32am #
Holy Fire, you are just making blind assertions. Back them up and maybe we'll listen to you. Maybe try some logic.
Latin_lover, 22.12.2005, 8:08am #
I agree, Latin_lover, Holy Fire's exclamations are no different from that of a follower of Islam mouthing monotonously that 'Allah is the one true God, and Muhammed is his prophet.'
Both adherents to the irrational cannot provide the slightest proof to back up their dogmatic pronouncements, and proof is the basic curtesy.
benelailax, 22.12.2005, 6:06pm #
Guys, please don't feed the trolls. The Reverend there is a feeble caricature of a fundie loon, as discussed in the 'Leading a Double Life...' thread.

I'm deleting his comments as a matter of policy (unless he actually says something worthwhile, but snowballs and hell spring to mind), but will leave his first one on this thread just so it doesn't look like you're responding to thin air. To quote Robocop, thank you for your co-operation.
Ben, 22.12.2005, 7:23pm #
http://www.arn.org/

Lots of proof if you are willing to open your eyes.
Go to the FAQ section.
Of course, you will delete this, because you want to deceive people.
God is real, please read the book by Rick Warren, a purpose driven life.
God loves you, and wants to you to love God.
REV_HOLY_FIRE, 23.12.2005, 7:53pm #
To the atheists:
What is the logical flaw with ID?
Why is not possible?
Is it possible that your bias against the bible is so great, that it skews your thoughts towards this?
What would make you believe in ID?
What is the crucial piece of evidence that is required?
Math? probabilities? Jesus coming to earth?
Walk your talk atheists. Show me what you have.
Provide logical evidence why ID is wrong. Direct proof required, no proof by contradiction.
ID makes so much sense, and if you are willing to open your hearts, you will see that it is true.
REV_HOLY_FIRE, 23.12.2005, 8:00pm #
What would make me believe in ID? That's a good one. Assuming you mean the version that doesn't necessarily involve Jesus, I suppose a total frontal lobotomy then several months of brainwashing might do it. Or if I were merely to hear one rational reason that cannot be counter explained in a more logical way by science. Or if you hit me a lot in the head. Or if I was suddenly to start to apply a completely twisted, alien logic to things.
Latin_lover, 23.12.2005, 9:29pm #
Post Scriptum:
I know he's a troll. I did read the other thread. But I so love arguements when my opponents revert to nonsensical arguements or emotional appeals.
Latin_lover, 23.12.2005, 9:30pm #
Not much of an explanation.
Science can't explain everything.
Watch psychic witness and explain to me how this could happen.
There is spirit dimension beyond logic and science.
REV_HOLY_FIRE, 23.12.2005, 10:26pm #
What is the logical flaw with ID? (not really responding to the troll - it's a worthwhile question to answer)
Well, the simple fact that it merely moves the boundaries of the question therefore answers nothing. If life requires a creator due to its complexity, the creator must be even more complex and therefore, by the same reasoning, must also require a creator (and so on).
People who try to make a case for ID don't seem to realise that they are using the same argument both for and against something.
Tim, 23.12.2005, 11:16pm #
Ok, fine. But with the succession of creators, can\'t this lead to one supreme creator. I can construct a sequence 1,1.9, 1.99,1.999, each time getting closer to 2, but not quite reaching there.
I don\'t see why we can\'t have a supreme being or complexity of life that all others follow from.
It would be interesting if science could find a way to prove this.

There are some elements to our being that science can\'t explain. I believe strongly this is due to the unseen spirit dimension. If a psychic from california can look at some pictures from a person who disappeared in Michigan state and predict exactly where the body can be found, then isn\'t telling us something, i.e. that there is another frequency, or dimension that exists that can tapped into? (no way you can explain this as a coincidence)
You can\'t explain every phenemenon with science and logic.

Are you afraid of knowing that there is a spirit dimension?

Concerning Emily Rose:
The Catholic church has a an excellent scientific advisory committee. Every miracle is investigated and scrutinized carefully (including this one). This is a strong case for demon poessesion. This case goes way beyond mental illness.
REV_HOLY_FIRE, 24.12.2005, 1:12am #
The REV_HOLY_FIRE said:"It would be interesting if science could find a way to prove this."

Science only deals with the natural. It wouldn't be science otherwise. Science isn't about "Proof", its about evidence that supports a hypothesis or theory.


Then REV_HOLY_FIRE said:"If a psychic from california can look at some pictures from a person who disappeared in Michigan state and predict exactly where the body can be found, then isn\'t telling us something, i.e. that there is another frequency, or dimension that exists that can tapped into? (no way you can explain this as a coincidence)"

First of all there has never been a VERIFIED case of a psychic ever doing such a thing. Except in psuedoscience TV land. See this link for an example :

http://skepdic.com/psychdet.html

The paragraph which sums it up best from the site:

>>Lyons and Truzzi note that, over time, reports of psychic achievements get exaggerated and distorted. Vague claims become specific. Errors become replaced with correct predictions. Events that never happened become "facts." Often, the PD herself or himself is the source of this historical reconstructionism. Sometimes a psychic's "predictions" are made after an event, but claimed to have been made before it, like Sylvia Browne's claim after the September 11th terrorist attacks that she had predicted it.<<

Even the cartoon South Park (Episode Cartman's Incredible Gift episode #124) spoofs the 'psychic detective' myth. I love the scene with the psychic battle between Cartman and the 'Psychic Detective School' shysters.

Science, however can make astonishing predictions that do come true. Solar eclipse - science can provide an exact time and place well into the future, so far they've been 100% correct. Albert Einstein's theory of General relativity in 1905 predicted that light would bend due to gravitational influences. In 1919 during a solar eclipse his prediction was observed, measured and verified. More experiments have followed and they have been 100% correct. The theory of evolution simply summarizes that genetic changes occur that are passed to a living thing's decendants that sometimes are beneficial to that decendant's survival. Bacterium mutating to be antibiotic-resistant are a observable result that the theory of evolution predicts. It's been observed, it has evidence and it's been 100% correct so far.

Then the REV says:"I believe strongly this is due to the unseen spirit dimension."

Believe what you want. I don't. It's your delusion, do with it what you want. Your belief means dick to how reality works, reality doesn't care what you believe.

By the way REV, the Raelians (the UFO-believing cult that claimed to clone a human although never producing evidence) also believe in ID. They believe aliens designed us and all life on earth. I'm pretty sure they're deluded, you probably think so too. You wouldn't want to be associated with their cult now would you?


AA
AccursedAtheist, 24.12.2005, 6:45am #
"I know he's a troll..."
"..not really responding to the troll.."

Damn you all!!

Ah fuck it, Merry Christmas everyone, go nuts! Timnot4me, consider this thread and t'other a Christmas present, knock yourself out.
Ben, 24.12.2005, 3:21pm #
Merry Christmas.

JESUS IS THE REASON FOR THE SEASON.
REV_HOLY_FIRE, 24.12.2005, 4:06pm #
Come on guys, you love Trolls!.
Consider me a christmas present to you.
REV_HOLY_FIRE, 24.12.2005, 4:08pm #
MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

Please go to church and acknowledge the birth of your king.
He will return soon to judge the world.
REV_HOLY_FIRE, 25.12.2005, 4:24am #
Tim=Ben, your just pissed off that I caught you guys. Interesting how this holy baloney guy shows up.
Who's next , ED? Betya ED starts posting again. Sierra?
Interesting strategy, Tim, accuse someone of what you are doing.
Your pathetic!!!

Comeon Tim, create a new character, and accuse him of being them of being me.
Timnot4me, 26.12.2005, 10:24pm #
I've just been reading a book on ID - Darwin's Black Box(es). A very good read.

AA might be interested to read that not only Raelians but also one of Crick or Watson (according to this book) consider that alien creation of life on planet earth is a rational hypothesis.

My take on the subject is that ID asks all the right questions but doesn't come up with persuasive answers.

The hard questions it asks are all to do with how random mutation + natural selection coudl give you the complexity of living biological "machines". I think neo-Darwinianism fails so far to explain how that could happen. To that extent the ID mob are right.

However ID proponents seem to think that it is enough to say that something has "irreducible complexity" (IC) for them to win the argument. Doesn't follow. When you think about it IC doesn't actually mean anything. The very act of describing a complex system is an act of reduction - reducing it to its parts. I think sometimes that what they mean is that the complexity is self-referencing or inter-dependent. True, but that does not rule out evolution.

Personally I think the answer lies in the realm of what I call Interactive Evolution (the organism interacting with the environment and those interactions being coded into heritable patterns) - and which has to do with this developing science of epigenetics. I think that while random mutation cannot deliver the necessary complexity, Interactive Evolution (IE)can - since instead of waiting for some random mutation every thousands years or so, the organism is self-adjusting all the time, incrementally, and can perhaps in some small way pass on its habitual patterns.

Crucial to IE I think would be diet. Some years ago I read up on the subject a little and there certianly are scientists who think that diet has a role to play in evolution. It has already been shown to have an epigenetic effect that can be passed on to future generations.
field, 27.12.2005, 4:49pm #
If you're talking about Darwin's Black Box by Michael Behe, there's a pretty comprehensive list of his blunders here:

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/behe.html

Behe also rather amusingly embarrassed himself at the recent Dover trial when he was forced to admit that under his definition, astrology must be counted as science. (I know, I know - this is ad hominem. Don't care, the man's a numptie).

As for your own comments, "I think neo-Darwinianism fails so far to explain how that could happen" is just another argument from personal incredulity, and I reckon "To that extent the ID mob are right" should really be "to that extent I agree with the ID mob". Unless you want to be left open to accusations of a lack of humility...

Nice alternative theory though, it's got a cool name and everything. Can you explain further? What particular complexities do you think need this theory to explain them? How do you think it works? And is 'every thousand years or so' as an estimate for a mutation rate based on anything?
Ben, 28.12.2005, 1:59pm #
Ben -

It's not personal incredulity, it's what I think is a well founded observation that Behe points to - the failure of neo-Darwinianism to explain in detail step by step how the complex changes in various organisms have occurred. Instead they have supplied "Just So" stories.
If you've ever, for instance, wondered why human beings are relatively hair-less you will find 101 possible "Darwinian" explanations. But it is virtually impossible to distinguish between them. They could virtually all be true; equally none of them might be true.

If I'm right, then my statement about the ID mob is right!

The complexities I think that need explaining are those identified by ID - to do with complex, interdependent functioning of what are in effect biological machines - various functional molecules.

Behe makes clear (though I criticise the way he expresses it) that it is virtually impossible for such systems to arise all in one go by chance. But equally they are so complex that if they have happened gradually as neo Darwinism maintains then the number of steps is formidable and would involve a huge number of successful mutations - remember of course that most mutations will simply be neutral or damaging.

My thousand years is a guess of course. It was based on the observation that large wild animals don't seem to have mutated much in the last thousand years. I will need to research that some more. I know scientists do use DNA "clocks" which are based on estimated mutation rates I think. Whether those are functional mutations or jsut any old mutation, I don't know.

Anyway I remain highly sceptical about the rate of successful natural random mutations.

My hunch is that the successful mutations reflect successful adaptations during the lives of organisms which in ways we are only gradually beginning to understand (cf epigenetics) are inherited.
Such adaptations may be happening all the time but especially at times of ecological change when organisms are placed under stress - hence the "punctuated equilibrium" effect.
field, 28.12.2005, 7:46pm #
1. Regarding hairless humans. Notice that you start by saying neo-Darwinism can't explain HOW something happens, then move in your next sentence to giving an example saying that we can't yet say for certain WHY something happened. Don't you see that in your example, what actually happened to the human body isn't lacking explanation, just what caused it to happen? What does 'why are humans hairless?' have to do with how complex changes occur? Furthermore, a lack of conclusive evidence on one small topic is hardly a damning argument against the neo-Darwinist theory in general. Just because a theory hasn't conclusively explained something yet doesn't mean that it can't or won't - you say yourself the theories could be true. In other areas, far more than 'Just So' stories are supplied (indeed, the 'hairless man' theories are more than that, but that's a favourite claim of gits like Behe and it's a shame to hear you parrot it). Which leads us to:

2. Regarding the actual 'how' of complex changes. Behe makes these claims yet whenever he is confronted by evidence, he cheerfully dismisses it as not good enough but doesn't say why. At the Dover trial, he was presented with "fifty-eight peer-reviewed publications, nine books, and several immunology textbook chapters about the evolution of the immune system", one of the complex mechanisms he says is irreducibly complex, and waved them away as 'not good enough'. The judge concluded from this that "such evidence demonstrates that the ID argument is dependent upon setting a scientifically unreasonable burden of proof for the theory of evolution".

3. I asked you for particular complexities that required your pet theory to explain. You replied with "those identified by ID - to do with complex, interdependent functioning of what are in effect biological machines - various functional molecules". Actual examples please!

4. Some reading for you regarding mutations:
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/mutations.html

5. Until you come up with a specific example with decent reasons why it couldn't have evolved via natural selection - not just 'it's really complex and I'm not convinced', then sorry mate, but it's personal incredulity.
Ben, 28.12.2005, 9:52pm #
DARWINISM IS BULLSHIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
BEN = TIM, 28.12.2005, 10:58pm #
Friends,
one of the atheists has changed sides. Go to www.ravingatheist.com.
Please read the book, " I don't have enough faith to be an atheist". You will change sides.
Don't be deceived by Tim or Ben.
I will welcome you to our side. Don't be afraid to accept the truth.
REV_HOLY_FIRE, 30.12.2005, 1:59am #
Field said:"AA might be interested to read that not only Raelians but also one of Crick or Watson (according to this book) consider that alien creation of life on planet earth is a rational hypothesis."


I doubt Crick or Watson think that Behe's intelligent designer is behind it though. Possibly they think along the lines of Fred Hoyle that life may have come from space ie by the bombardment of comets in earth's early history. Biogensis (the creation of life) isn't evolution though, and evolution doesn't say anything about how life was created, nor does it care.


Field also said:"My take on the subject is that ID asks all the right questions The hard questions it asks are all to do with how random mutation + natural selection coudl give you the complexity of living biological "machines". I think neo-Darwinianism fails so far to explain how that could happen. To that extent the ID mob are right."


That's about all the ID movement has ever done. Just ask questions. That (ID) isn't science. Science is asking the questions AND then proposing a falsifiable hypothesis backed up with measurable and verifiable observations. ID offers NOTHING scientifically. It's creationism in a new package, nothing more, regardless of who backs it. When science, in this case the 'neo-Darwinists', does give the ID movement the best answers possible they just disregard them anyways. The fields of bio-physics and bio-chemistry are making breakthroughs on how these things (biological "machines") can self organize. Undoubtedly the laws of the universe might be geared towards such complexities, again without the need of a designer, 'intelligent' or not. Just because we don't know (yet or ever) doesn't make 'goddidit' the answer by default as the ID mob thinks-as you said earlier.


Field said:"The complexities I think that need explaining are those identified by ID - to do with complex, interdependent functioning of what are in effect biological machines - various functional molecules. Behe makes clear (though I criticise the way he expresses it) that it is virtually impossible for such systems to arise all in one go by chance."


Behe's problem it seems to me is a lack of understanding regarding probabilities. Even if the chance is one in 10^18 for example, that doesn't rule out the possibility that it occurs on the very FIRST try. Or three times in a row. Behe's big problem though is explaining in his unsubstantiated claims of IC is by what method does IC occur that is testable falsifiable and verifiable using the scientific method. 'Goddidit', which seems to be his answer on this, is scientifically vacuuous and lame.

Field, I can't comment on your thoughts regarding epigenetics because I'm not very much up on it. Sometime I'll look into a bit. However on your concept of IE, you say:"the organism is self-adjusting all the time, incrementally, and can perhaps in some small way pass on its habitual patterns". I have a few questions on this as follow:

1. Are you saying that evolution is goal- or perhaps purpose-oriented?
2. What would this goal or purpose be?
3. By what mechanism can an organism pass on it's 'learned behaviour' (habits) other than say like teaching, as we humans do or a pack of wolves do to their pups, ie is this what epigenetics says?
4. Why doesn't evidence of this show that IE ALWAYS produces a 'better' descandent?
5. Would this IE work for all living things?


AA
AccursedAtheist, 30.12.2005, 2:59am #
What is the ID response to the extinction record? Take the Permian extinction, as an example, where up to ninety-plus percent of life perished. What does this suggest about the competence of a proposed intelligent designer?
Why, in order to bring about the contemporary world, was it necessary to destroy who knows how many species, habitats, and ecosystems.
benelailax, 01.01.2006, 2:24am #
Rev Holy, turns out he has NOT changed sides. Read the rest of his blog before you use it in your arguments.
Latin_lover, 03.01.2006, 3:38pm #
I have changed sides because the truth was given to me. This truth would have been discovered no matter where I was born.
I don\'t have enough faith to be an atheist.
RHF, 03.01.2006, 10:11pm #
What is that "truth", RHF, and does one have to surrender reason, sensory evidence and rational proof, in order to receive it?
benelailax, 04.01.2006, 2:43am #
AA - Answers to your questions;

1. Are you saying that evolution is goal- or perhaps purpose-oriented?

To the extent that the organism can be said to be goal or purpose oriented, yes.

2. What would this goal or purpose be?

Depends on the context. But for most of evolution one would be talking about the goal of survival. Animals certainly act to survive. If they have any sort of consciousness they will also be experiencing such actions and looking to achieve certain things.

3. By what mechanism can an organism pass on it's 'learned behaviour' (habits) other than say like teaching, as we humans do or a pack of wolves do to their pups, ie is this what epigenetics says?

In short, yes that is, as I understand it, what epigenetics - or part of it - is saying. Specifically, for instance, it has shown that the individual's response to starvation can be inherited. I think the key process is methylation but as I am not a scientist I have to keep returning to sources to remind myself of what has been said. But certainly this isn't a prodcut of my imagination and I am sure if you do a google search you will find lots of explanatory material.

4. Why doesn't evidence of this show that IE ALWAYS produces a 'better' descandent?

That's easily explained. For one thing no one is denying that you have the same gene shuffling DNA processes going on that neo-Darwinianism has set out. So
there's no guarantee of improvement. Secondly, an "improvement" for one generation e.g. a starvation response might be inappropriate in a following generation, just as (by analogy) in one era say a person who can work a lathe is highly employable but in the next he finds himself unemployable. Also, higher organisms are so complex that there must be an element of pure chance as to how the organism turns out as it interacts with its environment. For example an organism has only to eat a poisonous plant to potentially be damaged for life.

5. Would this IE work for all living things?

I doubt it. Or perhaps I should say we don't know. But I would have thought it most likely that IE would have emerged through natural selection as a much more efficient evolutionary adaptatino than natural selection on random mutation. The sequence would be: "random" chemical bonding; creation of hereditary mechanism; natural selection acting on random mutations to the mechanism; development of interactive evolutionary mechanisms; and (when you get to the higher mammals) cultural evolution (which is now just beginning to impact on the DNA mechanism). So my guess would be that very primitive types of life forms don't have IE.
field, 04.01.2006, 8:57am #
Ben

1. No. I think my point is that for any phenomenon one can come up with a 100 neo-Darwinian "explanations". The fact that you can do so easily means that the ability to offer such an explanation is in no way a proof.

2. I think the judge may be confusing two things (and Behe - presumably because he is religiously motivated? - doesn;t help dispel the confusion): one can agree that something involved in stages but at the same time dispute whether natural selection acting on random mutatino produced such staged changes. Why are you all of a sudden happy to accept the word of a non-scientist - a judge?

3. Well I think that all higher level functioning is unlikely to be the product of random mutation - so take your choice. I would choose the same sort of processes Behe refers to where you have several inter-related processes, so that not only does a random mutation have to prodcue something new, but it has to be something new which doesn't disrupt in any negative way all the other processes. Given that every medecine known to man has negative side effects on an organism, I think we can see that this is not an easy thing for random mutation to achieve. And even if every million years say RM can produce such a change, is that rate of change sufficient to supply all the incremental stages which neo-Darwinianism posits.

4. Some reading for you regarding mutations:
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/mutations.html

I'll take a look as soon as I can.

5. Well this is the nub of the issue. I could equally say with Behe until neo-Darwinianism gives a detailed chemical record of every single incremental stage of evolution I ain't going to believe it. That doesn't get us v. far. I have already shown that epigenetics has identified an alternative mechanism to natural selection acting on random mutation. So my scenario cannot be dismissed as impossible, given that this information about the alternative mechanism has only been discovered in the last ten years or so.
field, 04.01.2006, 9:13am #
Genesis...it is not a myth. The problem with most Western people is that they try analyse and interpret the bible according to western understandings and philosophies. This is wrong, it is not a western book. It is an Eastern Book. It is a Jewish book, written by Jews, about Jews, for Jews. And to understand it we need to understand how their language, including grammar, syntaxt, and everything else that goes along with this including idioms and other such items. Genesis is not so difficult but I wont expound it here as I do not have the time right now. However, there are some good books about... Please do some genuine research and back up your facts before speaking out opinions. You say all these things, and according to Law since you have said all these things above, then the burden of proof falls upon you to produce the evidence to support it...and you have not done it. And as for the link where the ten commandments are expouunded, the author has nto done any research into this subject and has no authoratitive references to back up his opinions and therefore the analysis is invalid. Come now...surely you can do some real research...but first go and learn the standards needed to complete proper research... thank you.
Shaun, 04.01.2006, 9:45pm #
Benelailax, regarding the competence of an 'intelligent' designer - there's a decent article here, if you haven't already read it:

http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&call_pageid=971358637177&c
=Article&cid=1136069409330

[EDIT: sorry, URL difficulties! Copy each section into your address bar, it wouldn't fit in the comment otherwise]
Ben, 04.01.2006, 11:54pm #
The ID is surely better than the loser hosting this website. Get out in the real world, and see what life's about.
RHF, 05.01.2006, 12:43am #
Thanks, Ben!
Your recommendation lead me to locate many allied articles.
Apparently the intelligent designer is, in fact, a bit of a clot.
benelailax, 05.01.2006, 1:12am #
Shaun -

You can't get away with such a vague defence. Either the Old Testament is meant to be literally true or it is something else. If something else, it could be jsut about anything else.

It's not good enough for you to tell us only you (and perhpas a few other people) understand its meaning. There are two Genesis creation stories anyway. Is one more accurate than the other?
field, 05.01.2006, 1:47pm #
I just want to say that those of you who have argued against the mythical ID (you rock!) As for those the believe in ID I think you should just kill yourselves and hasten your accension to heaven. :) We are all tired of you anyway. After all thats all your life is anyway, preparation for the next level of your life right. Death after all is just an extension of life. So, hurry up go for it take the plung. LOL Your creator is waiting, so step up, after all your number is up from the day your born. :)
James, 05.01.2006, 3:48pm #
Field:

1. Sorry, but that's not the point you made. If you didn't mean it then say so, and you can ignore the following. You said that Behe discusses how neo-Darwinism fails '€œto explain in detail step by step how the complex changes in various ' and cite hairless humans as an example, implying that the various theories as to why humans are relatively hairless (aquatic ape theory, parasite theory) are “Just ¢ stories which could all be equally true. But these are WHY theories. Behe has a problem with HOW the changes occur, so your example is meaningless. Also, if we're going to debate properly this time, can we drop the hyperbole? Give me 100 neo-darwinian explanations for any complex feature, all of which are equally likely and have equal amounts of evidence. Hell, give me 10! And please, tell me how your Interactive Evolution could explain anything any better on your terms defined above - you know, with, like, evidence and stuff, and not just as 'equally likely' as any neo-Darwinian theory? You say you favour IE over natural selection and yet you've not yet given any good reason why.

2. I accept what Judge Jones said because HE listened to the scientists.

3. I don't want to take my choice. Stop waving your hands about and put your money where your mouth is, or are you worried that any specific example you give will turn out to have been thoroughly documented and you'll have to pull a Behe? You admit you've got to read up on mutation, and yet you're willing to spout stuff like 'every million year' and '“can't have negative effects'with complete assurance. Positive mutations are far more common than that, and all that is required is a net positive as long as the mutation increases the survival chances of the organism overall, it can have other negative effects.

4. You're welcome

5. "I could equally say with Behe until neo-Darwinianism gives a detailed chemical record of every single incremental stage of evolution I ain't going to believe it." Notice that you say this in reply to my request for an actual example of something you think couldn't have evolved via natural selection. I ask you to justify your argument, and you ask for the moon on a stick. No wonder Judge Jones talked about "setting a scientifically unreasonable burden of proof for the theory of evolution". By the way please note, as I've said before, that I don't have a problem with epigenetic inheritance as such, just the manner in which you use it in your arguments. I've never dismissed it as impossible, so stop trying to straw man me.
Ben, 05.01.2006, 9:48pm #
This is what I said on hairless humans: "If you've ever, for instance, wondered why human beings are relatively hair-less you will find 101 possible "Darwinian" explanations. But it is virtually impossible to distinguish between them. They could virtually all be true; equally none of them might be true."

I'm in rush but here are a few of the possible explanations for human hair pattern I've heard: for sexual attraction; for warmth (in terms of long head hair); for camouflage; for heat loss; for recognition; a random mutation that serves no purpose. I sure that on those basic themes there are lots of variations.

I don't think anyone has given an adequate Darwinian explanatino of the explosion in brain size in hominids over a v. short period of time. Remember hominid populations were very small and long lived. There isn't the scope for millions of successful random mutations.
Every account I have read accepts that it led inevitably ot a much higher death rate in mother and baby.

I also don't think that lots of animal behaviour has evolved under neo-Darwinian rules e.g. elaborate courtship rules of birds.

You say you don't have a problem with epigenetic inheritance as such, just the manner in which I use it in my arguments. You've "never dismissed it as impossible". Well it that's the case then you have to accept that I could be right since epigenetic inheritance appears now to be a fact. This fact has only emerged in the last ten years or so. What other facts await us?
field, 06.01.2006, 2:04pm #
Come on then Field, which is it - are you crank, troll or numptie? Now you've moved from 'why are humans relatively hairless?' to 'why hair?' What's the point of debating you when you change the topic each time you post?
Ben, 08.01.2006, 7:21pm #
Field, thanks for the replies to my questions. I have a few comments.

"1. Are you saying that evolution is goal- or perhaps purpose-oriented?

-To the extent that the organism can be said to be goal or purpose oriented, yes."


So we as an organism can choose our own descendants' traits and features to some extant already using the process of sexual selection, for example, and I'd say that applies among many birds and other creatures as well. So if I'm understanding your take on evolution, we can ourselves control evolution direction. Sort of makes us 'gods'? Cool.


"2. What would this goal or purpose be?

-Depends on the context. But for most of evolution one would be talking about the goal of survival. Animals certainly act to survive. If they have any sort of consciousness they will also be experiencing such actions and looking to achieve certain things."


So far no disagreement in principle with Darwin's natural selection's basic premise: Surviving organisms get to pass on their traits.


"3. By what mechanism can an organism pass on it's 'learned behaviour' (habits) other than say like teaching, as we humans do or a pack of wolves do to their pups, ie is this what epigenetics says?

-In short, yes that is, as I understand it, what epigenetics - or part of it - is saying. Specifically, for instance, it has shown that the individual's response to starvation can be inherited. I think the key process is methylation but as I am not a scientist I have to keep returning to sources to remind myself of what has been said. But certainly this isn't a prodcut of my imagination and I am sure if you do a google search you will find lots of explanatory material."


I googled "epigenetics starvation" and found this page:

https://notes.utk.edu/Bio/greenberg.nsf/0/b360905554fdb7d985256ec5006a7755?OpenDocument

It's a very interesting process. From the article: "When a methylated DNA sequence replicates, only one strand of the next-generation double helix has all its methyl markers intact". As I understand it, epigenetics state the descendants of a successfully surviving parent gets to keep a possible survival trait, to be possibly triggered if needed. Also from the article: "The environmental ability of epigenetic inheritance may not necessarily bring to mind Lamarckian images of giraffes stretching their necks to reach the treetops (and then giving birth to progeny with similarly stretched necks), but it does give researchers reason to reconsider long-refuted notions about the inheritance of acquired characteristics." So epigenitics isn't quite Lamarckian in the best known sense.

So with epigenitics, we still operate in the known area of genetics: genotype + environment -> individual phenotype.

Whereas evolution is driven by :genotype + environment + random-variation -> individual phenotype's genotype. Lots of random variations probably drive the process of evolution. Again this does nothing to refute Darwin. Then again epigenitics may be one of those random variatons or selection mechanisms. It is interesting though.

"4. Why doesn't evidence of this show that IE ALWAYS produces a 'better' descandent?

-That's easily explained. For one thing no one is denying that you have the same gene shuffling DNA processes going on that neo-Darwinianism has set out. So there's no guarantee of improvement. Secondly, an "improvement" for one generation e.g. a starvation response might be inappropriate in a following generation, just as (by analogy) in one era say a person who can work a lathe is highly employable but in the next he finds himself unemployable. Also, higher organisms are so complex that there must be an element of pure chance as to how the organism turns out as it interacts with its environment. For example an organism has only to eat a poisonous plant to potentially be damaged for life."


I don't see how your example differs from neo-Darwinian natural selection as you state so yourself. Darwin's still safe here, just another possible mechanism to create more offspring that differ a little bit from their parents. So on this question we're on the same page.

"5. Would this IE work for all living things?

-I doubt it. Or perhaps I should say we don't know. But I would have thought it most likely that IE would have emerged through natural selection as a much more efficient evolutionary adaptatino than natural selection on random mutation. The sequence would be: "random" chemical bonding; creation of hereditary mechanism; natural selection acting on random mutations to the mechanism; development of interactive evolutionary mechanisms; and (when you get to the higher mammals) cultural evolution (which is now just beginning to impact on the DNA mechanism). So my guess would be that very primitive types of life forms don't have IE."

I would say plants are a good example of exclusion too, which is why I asked the question. Critics of Darwinism often forget that we have excellent examples of how plants evolve to take advantage of their survivability.

Thanks for the intellectual honesty here in this debate Field. It's an interesting take on things, and it beats arguing with ID/creationist fundie, especially some of the zombie worshipping kinds.

AA
AccursedAtheist, 09.01.2006, 6:26am #
Field said:"I don't think anyone has given an adequate Darwinian explanatino of the explosion in brain size in hominids over a v. short period of time. Remember hominid populations were very small and long lived. There isn't the scope for millions of successful random mutations.
Every account I have read accepts that it led inevitably ot a much higher death rate in mother and baby."


For a good take on that question, Scientific American's excellent 2003 Special Edition "New Look at Human Evolution" has an article starting on page 62 (entitled Food for Thought) which discuuses the role that diet had on hominiod development, on pages 66-68 the article links factors that may have increased brain size, ie fire and meat in the diet. Page 80 of the same edition has an article(The Evolution of Human Birth) that addresses some of these issues(specifically on pages 84-85 in regards to brain size). You just can't google all the answers Field! Sometimes you got to buy the book (or at least visit the library) to get more detailed info. ;-)

http://www.sciamdigital.com/browse.cfm?sequencenameCHAR=item&methodnameCHAR=resource_getitembrowse&interfacenameCHAR=browse.cfm&ISSUEID_CHAR=4162B5FD-F647-054F-1EE56488B04DB853

AA
AccursedAtheist, 09.01.2006, 6:36am #
AA -

"So we as an organism can choose our own descendants' traits and features to some extant already using the process of sexual selection, for example, and I'd say that applies among many birds and other creatures as well. So if I'm understanding your take on evolution, we can ourselves control evolution direction. Sort of makes us 'gods'? Cool."

I don't think there's any surprise about this. People have known for a long time that soaking a foetus in alcohol is a bad idea and that damage done can be passed down the generations. Is it so odd to think that say for a pregnant woman to have access to the full range of vitamins and minerals used in metabolic processes could be a good idea and that benefits might be passed down the generations? I think not.

"So with epigenitics, we still operate in the known area of genetics: genotype + environment -> individual phenotype.

Whereas evolution is driven by :genotype + environment + random-variation -> individual phenotype's genotype. Lots of random variations probably drive the process of evolution. Again this does nothing to refute Darwin. Then again epigenitics may be one of those random variatons or selection mechanisms. It is interesting though."

Well it certainly does udnermine those neo-Darwinists who once confidently claimed that information could not as it were "pass up the chain" to the DNA. I've read elsewhere that old Mendel and his peas - which you'll find quoted lovingly in text books - was a lucky strike. He just happened to choose a life form that obeyed such simple rules.

"I don't see how your example differs from neo-Darwinian natural selection as you state so yourself. Darwin's still safe here, just another possible mechanism to create more offspring that differ a little bit from their parents. So on this question we're on the same page."

I think you are re-defining Darwinism to include Lamarckism. I've no problem with that. But until recently it was the other way round. People used to define Darwinism so as to exclude Lamarckism.

By the way - not sure what you meant by "exclusion" in the final para.

AA - well of course I would say - as an advocate of Interactive Evolution - that diet would have a major effect on hominid development. Neo-Darwinists cannot say diet has any direct effect. They can only say that the organism through natural selection acting on random mutation may as a species change its diet.

I am not claiming any in depth knowledge of this whole subject area. This is my take on what I have read - in books as well as on the internet.

HAving read quite a lot on the subject (and attended the odd lecture) - I can assure you that that article in Scientific American will be as specualtive as all other theorising on hominid development. Not to say it mught not be true - just that there are no certainties.
field, 09.01.2006, 8:52am #
Just to weigh in on Field and AAs discussion, Field said 'Well it certainly does udnermine those neo-Darwinists who once confidently claimed that information could not as it were "pass up the chain" to the DNA.'.

From the - admittedly limited - reading I've done, I believe epigenetic changes don't actually change the DNA sequence, just how certain genes are expressed. Just clarifying, like.

Field, what books have you read? Are there any in particular you recommend?
Ben, 09.01.2006, 7:58pm #
Good post! I plan to move into this stuff after I'm done with school, as most of it is time consuming. It's a great post to reference back to. My blog needs more time to gain in popularity anyway.
flyff gold, 29.06.2009, 9:22am #
Hmm Well I was just searching on Google for some psychic readings and psychic articles and just came across your blog, generally I just only visit blogs and retrieve my required information but this time the useful information that you posted in this post compelled me to reply here and appreciate your good work. I just bookmarked your blog.
Psychic, 13.02.2010, 3:25pm #
Hmm Well I was just searching on Google for some psychic readings and psychic

articles and just came across your blog, generally I just only visit blogs and retrieve my

required information but this time the useful information that you posted in this post

compelled me to reply here and appreciate your good work. I just bookmarked your

blog.
Psychic, 23.02.2010, 2:05pm #
Strange... two thousand years ago, people believed in god because "science could not explain everything". Like lightnings for example. Without electricity, I admit it is rather challenging to explain what these things are. There were many questions then that could only be answered by "God" and not by science. The fact is that, now, science can answer ALL of these previous questions. Hopefully for those religious fanatics, we have new questions now (that's the point of science, giving answers AND questions - and usually more questions than answers, that's science).
But weren't these people quite stupid believing in god for reasons that we know, now, are wrong (because science gave answers) ? These things, not explained by science, weren't actually proof of god's existence then. Lightnings are just electricity and have always been, even when we did not know it.
And if you believe in god now, don't you think that these people were dumbasses and that they were believing in god just because of their ignorance ? And now, what is going to happen ? Do you think science has explained everything and has reached its limits ? That science will stop tomorrow ? No it will continue, and in 2000 years all of these religious fanatics will look as stupid as those 2000 years ago. Actually for some people they already look stupid right now. Just admitting this would give them 2000 years of evolution in some minutes. I can understand the shock.
qsdf, 15.04.2011, 12:21am #
What scientists constantly try to explain is how. How does lightning work? How does a plant grow? How this? How that? The real question is why. Why does lightning do what it does? Why do plants grow
? It seems awfully odd to me to believe that the universe has no meaning, yet all these things happen unexplainably. If there was no meaning to life, why would life be what it is today?
Superboy, 18.04.2011, 6:12pm #
Tell you what.
Explain exactly why plants grow and I will leave this website never to return again.
Superboy, 18.04.2011, 6:13pm #
Ken Boa http://www.kenboa.org/text_resources/teaching_letters/kens_teaching_letter/2112
People Without a Purpose
€œThe tragedy of modern man is not that he knows less and less about the meaning of his own life, but that it bothers him less and less.clav Havel
I find it astounding that the bulk of people on our planet seem to journey through years and even decades without seriously wrestling with the fundamental question of why they are here and what they want their lives to add up to in the end. Many business and professional people get on a fast track in pursuit of an elusive vision of success without questioning whether they are selling themselves too cheaply by investing their precious years of life in something that, even if attained, will never satisfy. It is like the two-edged story of the airline pilot who announced the good news that due to a strong tail wind, the plane was making great time, but the bad news that due to an equipment failure, they were hopelessly lost. Many people appear to be making great time on a journey to futility. They may experience the thrill of the bungee jump without realizing the cord is not attached to their ankles or waists, but to their necks.
In a conversation from Alice in Wonderland, Alice asks the Cheshire Cat, €œWould you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?€œThat depends a good deal on where you want to get to, said the Cat. ¢t much care where, said Alice. €œThen it doesn't matter which way you go, said the Cat. If we have not decided where we are going, one road will do as well or as poorly as another. The problem is that the outcome of the unexamined life is rarely satisfactory. If we fail to pursue God's purpose for our lives, we are likely to suffer from destination sickness, the discovery that when we reach our destination, it's not all it was cracked up to be (cf. Eccles. 2:17). This sickness is captured in John Steinbecks summation of a character in East of Eden who gave his life for that which let him down in the end: €œHe took no rest, no recreation, and he became rich without pleasure and respected without friends.
Letting the Destiny Determine the Journey
It is much wiser to follow Kierkegaard's advice to define life backwards and live it forwardsstart from the destiny and define the journey in light of it. Few of us would think of taking a two-week vacation without any plans as to where we will go or what we will do. But what many wouldn't dream of doing on this scale, they do on the greatest scale of all: their entire earthly existence. To avoid this fatal error we should ask ourselves, What do I want my life to add up to, and why?€œAt the end of my sojourn, what will I want to see when I look back? From a biblical perspective, the real question is not what we will leave behind (the answer to this is always the samewe will leave everything behind), but what will we send on ahead (cf. Matt. 6:20).
Many people define themselves in terms of their activities and accomplishments. But those who have experienced the grace, forgiveness, and newness of life in Christ are recipients of a new source of identity that redefines their mission and purpose on earth. Instead of seeking purpose by comparing themselves with others, they can discover God's purpose for their lives in the pages of His revealed Word.
God's Ultimate Purpose
It has been observed that there are three dimensions of purpose in Scripture (see the helpful booklet, Establishing Your Purpose, published by Vision Foundation, Inc., 8901 Strafford Circle, Knoxville, TN 37923). The first is God's ultimate purpose in creating all things. Prior to creating time, space, energy, and matter, God alone existed, complete and perfect in Himself. As a triune, loving community of being, He had no needs, and it was not out of loneliness or boredom that He created the realms of angels and men. We know from Scripture that part of God's ultimate purpose in creation is the manifestation of His glory to intelligent moral agents who bear His image and who can respond in praise and wonder to His awesome person, powers, and perfections. But in our present state, we can hardly scratch the surface of the unfathomable wisdom of God's ultimate purpose for the created order.
God's Universal Purpose
The second dimension of biblical purpose is God's universal purpose, the intention He has for all people who acknowledge the lordship of Jesus. This level of purpose is shared by all believers and is communicated to us in a number of passages. There are various ways of expressing it, but they can be reduced to two essential areas: knowing God experientially (spiritual growth), and making God known to others (spiritual reproduction).
In His high priestly prayer after the Upper Room Discourse, Jesus said, €œthis is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have (John 17:3). This knowledge is not merely propositional and theological, but also personal and devotional. Eternal life is the experiential knowledge of God, and it involves a growth process that is inaugurated when a person trusts Christ and receives His gift of forgiveness and new life. The greatest treasure a person can own is increasing intimacy with the living Lord of all creation. Although this should be our highest ambition, many believers give their hearts to the quest for lesser goods and boast and delight in things that are destined to perish. This is why we should frequently heed the powerful words of Jeremiah 9:23-24: €œThus says the Lord, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice, and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things, declares the Lord.
The Scriptures expressly communicate the purpose for which we have been created: €œFor whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren (Rom. 8:29). God's purpose for us is nothing less than Christlikeness! Let me conclude with several observations on this high and holy purpose. (1) It is impossible for us to attain. Only when we recognize our weakness and inability to be conformed to the image of Christ will we be ready to allow Him to live His life through us, for this is the genius of the spiritual life. (2) On the human side of the coin, we will only be as spiritually mature as we chose to be. If we do not engage in the disciplines of discipleship, such as habitual time in the Word of God and prayer, we will not become more intimate with God. (3) Growing intimacy with God is crucial to Christ-like character. The personal, experiential knowledge of God transforms the heart and expresses itself in sacrificial acts of love and service toward others. (4) If God's purpose for us is not the focus of our lives, something else will be, and whatever it is will not be worthy of our ultimate allegiance. Therefore ask God for the grace to make it your highest ambition to be pleasing to Him (2 Cor. 5:9).
Superboy, 20.04.2011, 11:53pm #
I really don't have a side on these arguments. I just find it quite fascinating that people still have this kind of enthusiasm for a lively and purposeful debate. :)

love psychic
love psychic, 22.07.2011, 3:48am #
I don't really think that God would advocate lying as something to be done for Him. It should be that the things we do or aim for are directed towards the good.
Best Psychics
Best Psychics, 29.07.2011, 7:28am #
I have to add in a few things. We do realize that concepts are a mere fragment of the mind. Theory never advances when we cease to recreate it in reality. The important thing about making decisions is that we should get to be able to walk the talk and risk for the things that we believe in. That's essentially what makes changes possible.

God does not lead us to being deceiving. That is not the concept of change that He wants to implore.
Best psychics, 12.08.2011, 3:08am #
Lying for God is a concept that is absurd enough to almost cause brief insanity by its contemplation. As for the "arguments" on this post, observe them to see which ones are attempting to "win" and which ones are attempting to arrive at a sound "conclusion". To be willing to entertain and to argue only ones own side of an argument is to be unjustified since you have not given as much diligence to the others point of view as you have to your own. When winning matters most, reason is a tool. When accuracy matters most, reason is the point. If a fool argues with a wise man, how can you tell them apart?
antivenom, 21.12.2011, 4:02am #
If you believe in intelligent Design do you think the designer could write his own book? Think about it.
Tryreason, 20.05.2012, 5:32pm #
Okay Ben, so here's the thing. I am a Christian (which, by the way is not a religion) and I agree with you. I don't think that Christians should lie, even for the greater good because it's wrong. Because God (who does exist, if not to you) tells us not to cheat and not to lie, and if you've done your research, I needn't write the rest of the commandments, but as in every social and "religious" and, well, any other group, no one follows along in the exact same way. Everyone interprets the bible in a different way. You as hogwash, me as an incredible truth and anybody else an anywhere in between.

 So what if there are people who give Christianity a bad name by constantly sinning and never asking for forgiveness (because you see, like all humans I and you are both dirty sinners who deserve nothing better than to burn forever in a lake of fire, the difference is in asking for forgivness and redemption and MEANING IT!) and still claiming to be Christians. So if you managed to read through this, you're probably still atheist, but I'll include you in my prayers (you might find that weird but I really don't want you to go to hell, it's a terrible place, I heard) and I have an inkling of a hope that my prayers and my quirky comment will change, if not your whole mind about my wonderful father, at least your point of view.
Sincerely,
Julia (a random person who happens to believe in the very divine being you ridicule)

PS. Reverend, if that's what you are you should have some idea of how to present relevant facts to back up your little sermons. I'm not even sure that we see our God in the same way because of your remarks about psychics, you can't use that to prove that god exists because it seems to me that kind of thing comes from Satan.
Julia, 31.05.2012, 1:50pm #

New comments disabled due to spam