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Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Dismembering Evolution 4: Embryonic Proof

The time has come to leave the realm of theory and speculation for awhile and dig into the so-called “proof” that evolution is true. I have asserted all along that much of the “proof” of evolution is simply wrong for one reason or another. I shall start pointing them out.

Perhaps the most familiar proof of evolution lies in the realm of embryology. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this term, embryology is the study of embryos. Evolution does, and has always maintained that proof of common ancestry in all vertebrates is found in the very earliest stages of development. The original claim, and the claim that is still most commonly found in school textbooks is that if you compare any two vertebrate embryos at the earliest stages of development they will be very similar and grow steadily less similar as they develop. This sounds fine and well, but is it true?

To look at the drawings we are all familiar with, a drawn picture known a Haeckel’s Embryos, this assertion seem to be true. But is it?

No. Haeckel’s Embryos are pure scientific fraud.

Allow me explain.

First and foremost it must be noted that the so-called first stage of development as it is presented in this drawing is, in fact, NOT the first stage of development for any of the creatures represented in the drawing. The first stage, obviously, is the fertilized egg, which typically bears a relatively strong resemblance among all species since it is merely a different sized egg combined with a single sperm. However, once the fertilized eggs begin to develop they immediately diverge in appearance. The first phase is called cleavage. Comparing the five classes of vertebrates that Haeckel used (There are seven classes of vertebrates, but the last two, jawless fish and cartilaginous fish were so divergent in embryonic development that he did not include them in his drawings.) there is almost no resemblance between them at this stage. The same is true at the end of cleavage when the appearance of the embryos is even more divergent, and also at the stage Gastrulation when even an amateur embryologist can see that the embryos are not from similar species at all. Only after all of this do we get to what Haeckel called “the first stage of development”.

But surely, they embryos must resemble each other at this stage, right? Wrong!

Haeckel faked his drawings. He exaggerated similarities and minimized differences between the embryos to create “proof” that embryology supported Darwin’s theory of evolution when, in fact, the opposite is true. A comparison of Haeckel’s drawings to photographs taken of these creatures at this stage of development shows that while there are some minor similarities, there a re enormous differences as well that cause none of the embryos to resemble each other very strongly at all. Consider the ribbed tadpole appearance presented in the famous drawings that supposedly represents every animal depicted. Now picture the following: A fish at this stage of development looks like an earthworm wrapped around a giant egg yolk. A frog at this stage looks like a butterfly pupae. A reptile actually does resemble a tadpole if you stretch your imagination enough. A bird most closely resembles . . . well, for lack of a good comparison in real life I am forced to resort to Hollywood, it looks like the embryonic form of the creature in the movie “Alien” more than anything else I can think of. A human embryo at this stage looks like . . . well, I really can’t think of any good comparisons. To see a fine comparison of these differences reference figures 5-1 p 83, 5-2 p93, and 5-3 p 95 of Icons of evolution.

This brings up another point. We have actual photographs of embryonic development, nice new ones in full color or grayscale, whatever floats your boat. Why are we using 130 year-old drawings in the first place? Oh yeah, because the photos will not match the text of any textbook claiming that embryos of the different classes of vertebrates bear a strong resemblance to each other.

Surely this is not right. Surely this is just an oversight on the part of the textbook writers, right? Wrong again!

While some textbook writers really are unaware of the developments in embryology, after all, nobody can be expected to know EVERYTHING in any given field of study, there is just too much information, others have willfully, have knowingly misrepresented the facts. Take renowned biologist and renowned Darwinist/evolutionist Stephen Jay Gould for example, the man who is famous for his bulldoggish defense of evolution in the face of theological ignorance. (Sarcasm here folks) He knew since at least 1977 that “Haeckel had exaggerated the similarities by idealizations and omissions. He also, in some cases – in a procedure that can only be called fraudulent - simply copied the same figure over and over again.” Natural History Magazine, March 2000. Well, that is refreshing honesty from someone in the academic community. Furthermore, he has acknowledged that the scientific community has known about this fraud for over 100 years, and has allowed it to continue, himself among them.

Yes, you read that right. Scientists have known about this fraud from the very beginning. Haeckel was a known huckster in the scientific community, and accusations of fraud plagued his career, not just in embryology, but many other aspects of biology as well. Yet, for some reason this shyster’s drawings are still used to “prove” evolutionary theory to this day.

100 years folks. Not quite the amount of time Ptolemy’s calculations and drawings of the geocentric universe were accepted as the truth, but long enough to be corrected if conscientious scientists cared to conduct honest science and advance real research. This is especially true when you consider that we have made more scientific advances in the last 100 years than in the previous 10,000 combined. Indeed, this massive scientific cover-up has set the field of embryology back almost 100 years. And people say evolution is a necessary foundational theory of science. In embryology, at least, it has been a setback, not a benefit.

Thre IS good news for Darwinists. The array of species on this planet is so vast that if you cherry pick enough you can produce a set of 5 embryos, one from each of the vertebrate classes represented in the original drawings Haeckel conjured up, that do bear a strong enough resemblance to each other that you can use them to try to prove that embryology supports evolution. All you have to do is ignore every other species on the face of the planet and the first four stages of development on you will be golden.

I have been harping a bit on the subject of EARLIEST stages of development in this article, and there is a reason for it. A part of Darwin’s theory of evolution that has not seen much if any change is the following: He claimed that all vertebrate embryos resemble each other most closely at the earliest stages of development. The fact is that they are wildly divergent at the earliest stages of development, grow to some slight, though not very good resemblance, and then diverge again. Once again, the theory of evolution is just plain wrong.

60 Comments:

  • Daniel: The time has come to leave the realm of theory and speculation for awhile…

    As we shall see, you should have remained in the realm of speculation where you at least had the advantage that the answers to some questions are still unknown. As soon as you venture into the realm of real evidence, you are going to be in trouble.

    Daniel: Perhaps the most familiar proof of evolution lies in the realm of embryology.

    How many times are we going to have to remind you not to use the term ‘proof’ when speaking about scientific theories? There is no proof, only evidence. Proof is for mathematicians and rum bottles.

    Daniel: Haeckel’s Embryos are pure scientific fraud.

    Yes they are. Haeckel was wrong, but his theories have nothing to do with modern evolutionary theory.

    You then proceed to regurgitate Chapter 5 from Icons of Evolution, but it’s a pointless exercise. Modern evolutionary theory does not depend on Haeckel’s drawings. Read what has to say about Wells and Haeckel’s embryos.

    Daniel: [Darwin] claimed that all vertebrate embryos resemble each other most closely at the earliest stages of development. The fact is that they are wildly divergent at the earliest stages of development, grow to some slight, though not very good resemblance, and then diverge again. Once again, the theory of evolution is just plain wrong.

    This paragraph is a strawman argument. The fact that Darwin was wrong in this particular instance doesn’t mean he was wrong about everything and it certainly has very little to do with the current theory of evolution. The modern theory of evolution does not follow Darwin dogmatically. You seem to approach evolution with the mindset of a Biblical literalist. Biologists don’t look on The Origin of Species as the Bible and believe everything in it without question.

    In fact, what you are doing here is demonstrating the strength of science: it is self-correcting. Biologists today do not accept Haeckel’s theories because, in the intervening 140 years, more observations have been made, experiments performed and evidence gathered that all show that Haeckel was wrong. You can’t say that science showed Haeckel to be wrong and then say that is a problem for science; it’s a demonstration of the effectiveness and success of the scientific method.

    By Anonymous cjb, at 3:38 AM  

  • What is the matter with blogger?! That sentence with the links in it should read:

    “Read what PZ Myers has to say about Wells and Haeckel’s embryos.”

    By Anonymous cjb, at 3:43 AM  

  • CJB,

    "Yes they are. Haeckel was wrong, but his theories have nothing to do with modern evolutionary theory."

    WRONG! They are still taught all the way through college, and his drawings are even in some graduate level biology books.

    "Modern evolutionary theory does not depend on Haeckel’s drawings."

    First, many people who believe evolution to be true still go straight to Haeckel's drawings for evidence. Second, your link, and the other links to other sites on that page do not address the earliest stages of development. Instead, they go right to where embryo's are mos tlikely to resemble each other while ignoring the other stages of development. This tactic may work for the already sold on evolution, but it comes off as a transparent attempt at deception to the knowledgable skeptical. Third, the pictographic evidence presented in these sites is exremely limited, and as I already noted, if you comb the species with a fine enough comb you can dig up a set that resemble each other most closely at the stage of development your references bothered to show, not that theybothered to do this, they did not provide any side by side comparisons at all.

    "This paragraph is a strawman argument. The fact that Darwin was wrong in this particular instance doesn’t mean he was wrong about everything and it certainly has very little to do with the current theory of evolution."

    Must you lie? It is not a stawman to point out factual errors in a theory, and factual errors in a theory have EVERYTHING to do with the theory's validity. The current theory of evolution still attempts to use embryology to try to point out phylogenic similarities that are used as evidence to try to prove evolution. WHat you are saying is that evolutionists, in the face of an agregious error are simply revising what they say to be something like "Current evolutionary theory no longer requires deiiferent species to resemble each other at the earlieststages, or late stages of development. Rather, the proof is in a few distinct species that bear a strong resemblance to each other at one or two specific point of develpment and never again. This is good evidence, pleae believe us." You will have to do MUCH better than that my friend.

    "what you are doing here is demonstrating the strength of science: it is self-correcting."

    Self correcting? MORE THAN 100 YEARS LATER THIS FRAUD IS STILL IN TEXTBOOKS AND A GOOD MANY BIOLOGISTS DON"T KNOW IT'S A FRAUD! What could posibly be "corrected" about that? When this lie is no longer being taught as truth anywhere in America I, and other sensible people, will finally consider it correced. but as long as it is being taught as truth it is not corrected.

    By Blogger Daniel Levesque, at 8:02 AM  

  • Daniel: WRONG! They are still taught all the way through college, and his drawings are even in some graduate level biology books.

    You are confusing Haeckel’s drawings with his theories, Daniel. Haeckel’s drawings may appear in some textbooks, though I doubt that any contemporary textbooks still use them and, if they do, this is a problem with the US educational system, not the theory of evolution. Haeckel’s theories were based on his belief in the now discredited biogenetic law and Lamarckism. Haeckel’s theories form no part of the modern theory of evolution. Please remember that in future discussions on this topic.

    Daniel: First, many people who believe evolution to be true still go straight to Haeckel's drawings for evidence.

    Not the biologists. Haeckel’s theories and drawings were discredited many years ago by scientists and form no part of the modern theory of evolution. I accept evolution as true, but I wouldn’t use Haeckel’s drawings as evidence. I suggest that those who do use his drawings as evidence are misguided.

    Daniel: Second, your link, and the other links to other sites on that page do not address the earliest stages of development.

    Did you read the PZ Myers article? He has a whole section on this point entitled, What about the early differences in development? Here’s the first paragraph.

    PZ Myers: Wells makes much of the fact that the biogenetic law presumes that embryos ought to be most similar at the earliest possible stage of development, yet the period of greatest similarity, the phylotypic stage, occurs well into development, and that the earliest stages exhibit seemingly significant differences. This is true, but irrelevant.

    He then goes on to explain this in detail.

    Daniel: Must you lie? It is not a stawman to point out factual errors in a theory, and factual errors in a theory have EVERYTHING to do with the theory's validity.

    Mind your language please, Daniel. I’m not lying when I say your paragraph was a strawman argument. And now you are trying to justify one strawman with another. First, let’s look at the statements you made in that paragraph.

    Daniel: Darwin] claimed that all vertebrate embryos resemble each other most closely at the earliest stages of development.

    You begin your distortion right here. Darwin said early stages, not earliest, but I suppose this is close enough.

    Daniel: The fact is that they are wildly divergent at the earliest stages of development, grow to some slight, though not very good resemblance, and then diverge again.

    This is another distortion. Here’s PZ Myers again:

    PZ Myers: What modern developmental biology has been discovering is that these earliest stages in different vertebrate embryos are substantially similar.

    Then you follow those two statements with this:

    Daniel: Once again, the theory of evolution is just plain wrong.

    Notice that you didn’t say something like, ‘One of Darwin’s thoughts about a very small part of the overall theory of evolution was not quite correct’. No, instead you say “the theory of evolution is just plain wrong”. So what do mean by this? Do you mean that the entire theory of evolution is wrong because Darwin made one minor error? That’s what it sounds like you are saying, which of course is just patently ridiculous. This is like saying that because Copernicus thought the planets’ orbits were circular instead of elliptical, heliocentrism is just plain wrong.

    So your three statements are distortions of the truth and one of them is an extreme distortion. You are distorting one minor error and attacking it as though it was the entire theory of evolution. That is a strawman argument. Then you do the same thing again by saying that the theory’s validity depends on this minor error, which, as it happens, isn’t actually an error.

    Daniel: MORE THAN 100 YEARS LATER THIS FRAUD IS STILL IN TEXTBOOKS AND A GOOD MANY BIOLOGISTS DON"T KNOW IT'S A FRAUD!

    Wrong again. Biologists do know it is a fraud and have done for the past 100 years. Myers again:

    PZ Myers: Sedgwick, for instance, compiled an extensive list of objections to recapitulation as formulated by von Baer and Haeckel, and specifically rejected it as untenable - in 1894. This represents over a century of unambiguous denial of recapitulation. The date can be pushed back even further, since von Baer published his critique of recapitulatory interpretations of his observations in 1828. Wells cites these authors to back up his argument that Haeckel's ideas are false, but at the same time he tries to pretend that evolutionary biologists are all closet fans of Haeckel. If that is the case, where are the citations to prominent modern scientists defending his theories?

    As I said before, I doubt that contemporary textbooks teach Haeckel’s theories and, if they do, this is a problem with the US educational system, not the theory of evolution.

    Science corrected Haeckel’s fraud over 100 years ago. It is not part of the modern theory of evolution. The fact that science does detect and correct frauds (sooner or later) demonstrates the strength of the scientific method. Science is still the best and most successful tool we have for discovering the workings of the natural world. Contrast what science has explained in the past 2,000 years with your religious explanations that remain mired in the dogma of unquestioning faith in a book of fairy tales.

    By Anonymous cjb, at 5:33 PM  

  • CJB,

    "Haeckel’s drawings may appear in some textbooks, though I doubt that any contemporary textbooks still use them and, if they do, this is a problem with the US educational system, not the theory of evolution"

    FIrst, yes they do appear in modern textbooks as proof of the validity of evolution. Second, no, the problem is the scientific community that allows this fraud to continue ot be taught. It is scientists who write the textbooks. Professors, experts in the field write textbooks. Textbooks are not writen by laypersons. This places the blame squarely on scientists.

    "Not the biologists. Haeckel’s theories and drawings were discredited many years ago by scientists and form no part of the modern theory of evolution."

    And yet the bilogists who write the textbooks are still slapping these drawings in them to support evolution. Wait a sec . . . that means that biologists ARE going strainght to them as evidence in favor of evolution. What a stretch that took!

    "the period of greatest similarity, the phylotypic stage, occurs well into development, and that the earliest stages exhibit seemingly significant differences. This is true, but irrelevant"

    Even worse than an omission. He is saiong that evidence that is contrary to the theory he suprorts is irrelevant without offering up any support. This stikes more as wishful thinking than as science. By all means, dismiss anything science produces that you don't lkike so you can twist the facts to meet your own biases. I expect that from Darwinists, and this man is attempting to do just that.

    "What modern developmental biology has been discovering is that these earliest stages in different vertebrate embryos are substantially similar."

    Not from the photo's I have seen they aren't. Note that he offers no photographic evidence of his own to back up this claim. based on the photos I have seen with my own eyes, and his lack of supporting pictoral evidence I am forced to dismiss this statement as an outright lie.

    "So what do mean by this?"

    I mean the theory of evolution is wrong. how plain can I say it before you understand it?

    "You are distorting one minor error and attacking it as though it was the entire theory of evolution."

    I have distorted nothing. From the evidence I have seen is your sources who are distorting facts and offering up provable falacies as evidence to supprot what they wish to be true. As far as using just one thing to attack evolution . . you have obviously forgotten that this is a series. I will be attacking evolution from every angle, or maybe you haven't noticed that I have already attacked it in 3 previous articles on 3 seperate subjects. this is the 4th subject where evolutionary comes up short of satisfactory.

    "Science corrected Haeckel’s fraud over 100 years ago."

    Are you ignorant or a liar? Science did NOT correct Haeckel 100 years ago because scientists have been teaching his work on embryology for over 100 years and have yet to quit.

    "Contrast what science has explained in the past 2,000 years with your religious explanations"

    Contrast? If anything there is ample evidence that they are one and the same you wouldn;t know that of course because you are firmly mired in the belief that science and religion must be antagonists. There are many goo dreasons why the following saying is extremely common: Science fact will make you a Christian, but science fiction will make you an Aetheist. HINT: It's not ignorance. Aw heck, ANSWER: Christianity is the only religion in all of world history that has support in multiple disciplines of science. Naturally, people like you are offended by this simple truth and attack any science that supports the Bible as religion masquerading as science. A rather ignorant thing to do if you ask me.

    By Blogger Daniel Levesque, at 1:38 AM  

  • Daniel: FIrst, yes they do appear in modern textbooks as proof of the validity of evolution.

    Please provide an example of this.

    Daniel: He is saiong that evidence that is contrary to the theory he suprorts is irrelevant without offering up any support.

    You’ve lost me, Daniel. What evidence and what theory are you talking about? PZ Myers is saying that the earliest stages of development exhibit seemingly significant differences, but that this is irrelevant to the theory of evolution because it doesn’t depend one way or the other on these superficial differences. These seeming differences aren’t contrary to the theory of evolution; they’re contrary to Haeckel’s theories, which is why Haeckel glossed over them.

    Daniel: I am forced to dismiss this statement as an outright lie.

    Perhaps you should have read his next sentence. He goes on to say that there are differences, but they are superficial.

    Daniel: I mean the theory of evolution is wrong. how plain can I say it before you understand it?

    I don’t really know how to respond to this, Daniel. I’m beginning to think that you are impervious to reason. Do you honestly think that whatever minor quibbles you may have with the theory of evolution negates the mountains of evidence supporting the theory of evolution that has been gathered by hundreds of thousands of scientists in various fields over the past 150 years? I’ll say it again, if you think you have evidence that deals a fatal blow to the theory of evolution then don’t bother blogging about it in this Internet backwater, show those hundreds of thousands of scientists that every piece of evidence they have gathered is false and every verification they have made is wrong. What is it that makes you think that you are right and every one of them is wrong? Are you trained in all their fields? Do you possess some blinding truth that every scientist in the world has missed?

    Perhaps you could let us in on the secret and give us a preview. Please tell us your theory that explains all the evidence better than the theory of evolution. Remember, your theory has to explain all the evidence and of course there can’t be any gaps in your theory. Otherwise people will attack it and declare it to be entirely false.

    Daniel: If anything there is ample evidence that they are one and the same you wouldn;t know that of course because you are firmly mired in the belief that science and religion must be antagonists.

    I see. Science and religion are one and the same, are they? Let’s see now, science explains the workings of the natural world. So could you please list just a few of the discoveries religion has made that explain the workings of the natural world?

    By Anonymous cjb, at 5:36 AM  

  • This series is such a blast from the past, Daniel. Are we going to get to "kinds" soon? As in "each after its own kind" in Genesis? What about a good row about "micro" versus "macro" evolution? That's always a Creationist staple.

    I don't think your problem is with evolution. I think it's with science and scientists in particular. You seem to be really bothered that science doesn't give absolute answers to your questions.

    I just cannot understand why anyone would want to stake their entire lives on literally believing ancient Hebrew mythology. The creation story, Cain & Abel, Noah's Ark; these are myths handed down to explain the unexplainable among ancient peoples. Every ancient society has them, from every part of the world. The Bible is no more compelling in this respect than The Odyssey or The Upanishads or the ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead. Whether or not God created in the Universe, the reality is that the Bible is not a scientific text, nor was it ever intended to be. And evolution is not a religion. You are treating it as though it is.

    By Blogger Samurai Sam, at 10:16 AM  

  • Sam,

    "I don't think your problem is with evolution. I think it's with science and scientists in particular. You seem to be really bothered that science doesn't give absolute answers to your questions."

    Not true. What I have a problem is when bad science is taught as truth while suppressing dissenting opinions and evidence. This practice, which is commonplace in the realm of evolution, is very bad for science, promotes ignorance, and should be stopped.

    "I just cannot understand why anyone would want to stake their entire lives on literally believing ancient Hebrew mythology."

    It's only mythology is it isn't true. WHile this is not a debate about a broad spectrum of theology, I will note, again, that the people who choose to follow the Christian faith, myself included, are satisfied enough with the evidence we have seen to believe in the faith and follow it.

    CJB,

    How new an example do you want? 2000 and later? 2005-2006 only? Post 1990? Shall be a book published during those times, or is it's use in public schools and universities during the time frame sufficient? Give parameters for your request.

    "PZ Myers is saying that the earliest stages of development exhibit seemingly significant differences, but that this is irrelevant to the theory of evolution because it doesn’t depend one way or the other on these superficial differences. These seeming differences aren’t contrary to the theory of evolution; they’re contrary to Haeckel’s theories, which is why Haeckel glossed over them."

    Let me adress this statement first: "PZ Myers is saying that the earliest stages of development exhibit seemingly significant differences, but that this is irrelevant to the theory of evolution because it doesn’t depend one way or the other on these superficial differences"

    Note the use of the words "significant" and "superficial" to describe the same differences in the same sentence. Significant and superficial are contrary terms. Significant means big and important. Superficial means trivial at best. both terms cannot be used to describe the exact same thing. It is an illogical argument, AKA: A logical fallacy, or simply a lie. There is also no proof offered to support the idea that such significant differences are actually trivial.

    Now for the rest. These differences are contrary to evolutionary theory as it relates to embryonic phylogeny. An unsupportd balnket statement of "it really doesn't matter" is insufficient evidence to discredit this conflict with evolutionary theory. It doesn't matter who is saying it, there must be actual evidence to support this, otherwise it is just an opinion, not science.

    "Perhaps you should have read his next sentence. He goes on to say that there are differences, but they are superficial."

    I repeat, he offers no evidence that these significant differences are superficial, making it nothing more that an opinion presented as fact, hence it is a lie.

    "I don’t really know how to respond to this . . ."

    First, you can respond by not exaggerating the numbers of scientists who have actually done work on evolution. Hundereds of thousands is a ridiculously bloated number. Second, numbers of scientists do not matter nearly as much as the quality of the evidence. If the quality of the evidence is poor, then it doesn't matter how many people concocted it. As for what I have . . . it's nothing new, it's just suppressed by people like,well . . . you, only these folks control the purse strings for research grants and have the ability to toss dissenters out of the scientific community. And they do it too.

    "Let’s see now, science explains the workings of the natural world. So could you please list just a few of the discoveries religion has made that explain the workings of the natural world?"

    One such theory was already presented in a previous post, you took your natural hostile view and failed to present any actual evidence that was contrary to it. you, like many others like you, simply refuse to believe it because it supports religion, and you don't like that. Something to consider . . . out of all the science ever done, the ony theory that goes against anything presented n the Bible is evolution, and even that has explanations within the Bible. For example, centuries bfore Darwin, a Jewish Scholar named Mahimonides presented a theory of evolution based entirely on the book of Genesis. Bet you didn't know that, did you?

    By Blogger Daniel Levesque, at 12:26 PM  

  • Daniel: FIrst, yes they [Haeckel’s drawings] do appear in modern textbooks as proof of the validity of evolution.

    I asked for an example and you asked me to be specific. Okay, let’s say that an example of modern is anything first published in this century. Let’s also say that an example of Haeckel’s drawings being used as proof of the validity of evolution is an extract from the text that demonstrates this point. I don’t mean simply that his drawings appear in the textbook and are noted as being a fraud or used to refute Haeckel’s theories. I want you to show us that his drawings are used as direct evidence in support of evolution.

    Daniel: Note the use of the words "significant" and "superficial" to describe the same differences in the same sentence.

    What a mealy-mouthed response. The term was ‘seemingly significant’, which means that the differences only seem significant, but aren’t actually significant. The other term was ‘superficial’, which means on the surface. What PZ Myers is saying is that when you look at the various embryos, their appearance on the surface seems to have significant differences, but when you examine them more closely, you find that at a deeper level they are substantially similar. Look at his article again and this time actually read what he says and try to understand it.

    Daniel: These differences are contrary to evolutionary theory as it relates to embryonic phylogeny.

    Read this, Daniel. Better yet, go out and buy or borrow a modern textbook on developmental biology and read it instead. Here’s one: Gilbert, S. F. (1997) Developmental Biology. Fifth edition. Sinauer Associates.

    Daniel: I repeat, he offers no evidence that these significant differences are superficial, making it nothing more that an opinion presented as fact, hence it is a lie.

    I repeat, go out and obtain a textbook and read it.

    Daniel: As for what I have . . . it's nothing new, it's just suppressed by people like,well . . . you, only these folks control the purse strings for research grants and have the ability to toss dissenters out of the scientific community. And they do it too.

    Oh, so now it’s a conspiracy against the creationists. Your problem, Daniel, is that you know very little about the theory of evolution, yet you expect us to believe that you know more than all the scientists in the field, but some shady cabal that controls research grants (what, the world over?) is suppressing your information. That’s just pathetic, Daniel. Well, I’m not suppressing your information. I’m still waiting for you to tell us your theory that explains all the evidence better than the theory of evolution. Come on, don’t be shy, let’s hear it.

    Daniel: One such theory was already presented in a previous post.

    Whoa. What? Where? I don’t remember seeing any such theory.

    Daniel: out of all the science ever done, the ony theory that goes against anything presented n the Bible is evolution, and even that has explanations within the Bible.

    Hmmm. How about cosmology, astronomy, physics, geology, palæontology, zoology and botany for a start. These are all scientific fields that contradict what is written in the Bible. And where is your explanation of evolution in the Bible? Oh wait, do you mean that when it says in Genesis “let the waters bring forth” and “let the earth bring forth” it is describing evolution as a process of nature rather than God actually creating living things directly?

    But you still haven’t answered my request, of course, which was to please list just a few of the discoveries that religion has made that explain the workings of the natural world. And I don’t mean an explanation like ‘God did it’. That wouldn’t even satisfy a child.

    By Anonymous cjb, at 3:16 PM  

  • I feel, like many of the commenters on here, that you are going round in circles with this blog. Are you sure it's not being written to wind people up on occcasion? I know I would if I were you!

    For instance: "...out of all the science ever done, the ony theory that goes against anything presented in the Bible is evolution, and even that has explanations within the Bible. For example, centuries bfore Darwin, a Jewish Scholar named Mahimonides presented a theory of evolution based entirely on the book of Genesis."

    Yeah and your point is what? Some scientist read the Bible and based a theory around Genesis? Next you'll be quoting the work of Dan Brown as truth because it has Biblical ideas in it. As many people have stated many times... Science is science. Religion is religion. One is about trying to prove ideas that make sense from a logical point of view. The other is a collection of folk tales and stories used to control people and prevent them engaging in sensible debate.

    I know whose side I'd pick in a debate on evolution. I don't want to disrespect religion but it blinds people like you to the idea of The Real World and it disturbs me how it stunts its followers logic.

    By Blogger DanProject76, at 4:01 PM  

  • Daniel: First, you can respond by not exaggerating the numbers of scientists who have actually done work on evolution. Hundereds of thousands is a ridiculously bloated number.

    It took a little searching, but here are some statistics for you. According to the US Department of Labor, these were the numbers of scientists working in 2004 in the fields that either use or confirm the theory of evolution.

    Biologists – 77,000
    Medical scientists – 77,000
    Conservation scientists and Foresters – 32,000
    Agricultural and Food scientists – 30,000
    Palæontologists and other Geoscientists – 28,000

    That’s 244,00 scientists working today in the US alone. Add to that the scientists working in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Oceania. Also add to that the scientists who have worked in these fields for the past 150 years and I think that, rather than exaggerating, I somewhat underestimated the numbers.

    Now tell us your theory that shows that all these scientists are wrong.

    Daniel: I will note, again, that the people who choose to follow the Christian faith, myself included, are satisfied enough with the evidence we have seen to believe in the faith and follow it.

    Yes, but as I noted in your last post on this subject, what you call evidence and what rational people call evidence are two totally different things. What you call evidence is usually nothing more than anecdotes, testimonials, logical fallacies, feelings and words written in a book of fairy tales.

    By Anonymous cjb, at 5:27 PM  

  • CJB,

    "What PZ Myers is saying is that when you look at the various embryos, their appearance on the surface seems to have significant differences, but when you examine them more closely, you find that at a deeper level they are substantially similar."

    Once again, it his choice to narrow his focus on onlythose few points that can be called similar and ignore the rest that destroys his credibility. If you cherry-pick the evidence enough you can concoct support for anything. The whole matters far more than a couple points of similarity at a brief part of development. Are you really too thick to grasp this concept? Consider the folowing example If you have a picture of a dog nose and a cat nose yo cannot tel which nose it what's, but as soon as you back up enough to even just see the face you knoe which is which. However, if you just use the nose as your evidence you can say that they are both the same species, which they are not. Of course, by the logic you and PZ Meyers are using the rest of the animal is merely an insignificant difference that means nothing and the nose proves they are the same. This article you keep referring to is a perfect example of how a deceptive scientist can pervert the evidence to present a lie as truth.

    "Read this, Daniel. Better yet, go out and buy or borrow a modern textbook on developmental biology and read it instead."

    I have seen it before. I am familiar with the scramble to restate evolution in terms that do not allow it to be destroyed by the mountain of evidence piling up against it the way it has been taught fo 100 years. I am also familiar with the lack of new evidence to support most of these restatements. Liek I said before, simply saying something doesn;t make it true. By trying to minimize the impact of the damning evidence against evolution the Darwinists are doing nothing but exposing their desperation. Face it, evolution is coming apart at the seams.

    "Whoa. What? Where? I don’t remember seeing any such theory."

    What? After all your arguing you don't remember the Big bang and Six Day Creation article? This does NOT help your credibilty here.

    "Oh, so now it’s a conspiracy against the creationists."

    No, it's a conspiracy against any American scientist who dares to criticize evolution. There will be much more on this later. An entire article will be dedicated to it.

    "How about cosmology, astronomy, physics, geology, palæontology, zoology and botany for a start. These are all scientific fields that contradict what is written in the Bible"

    You really are ignorant of the Bible aren't you? none of these contradict anything in the Bible at all. In fct every event, place, and most persons have been verified through these sciences combined with archaeology. The Red Sea parted? Impossible you say! Wait, it parts every so often to this day. Okay, the burning bush must be a lie . . .wait, there is a bush that burns off it's oils without the branches getting consumed. and so on and so forth. Try actually learning about things sometime. It's a mind opening experience.

    "But you still haven’t answered my request, of course, which was to please list just a few of the discoveries that religion has made that explain the workings of the natural world."

    Either you were too lazy to read the response I posted, or you are just arguing fr the sake of arguing. What do you thnk of te fact that a Jewish Scholar used the Bible to present the theory of evolution hundreds of years before Darwin did with after his little jaunt in the Galapagos Islands? I repeat A BIBLE SCHOLAR THOUGHT UP EVOLUTION BASED ON THE BIBLE LONG BEFORE DARWIN DID! Does this mean that you are now going to turn on evolution and start dismissing it as religious bullcrap?

    "It took a little searching, but here are some statistics for you. . ."

    So you are saying that all of these scientists are working on evolution? excuse me for a second . . . BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! WHew! That was a good one. If I didn;t know better I'd swear you were actually serious about that. Almost none of these people are actually studying evolution in any way. if 1,000 of them are actualy doing any active studies on evolution I would be shocked. This just goes to show how wrapped up people like you are i evolution. You actually think everything in science revolves around evolution, when in fact, most it has nothing to do with it and stands on its own quite well.

    "Yes, but as I noted in your last post on this subject, what you call evidence and what rational people call evidence are two totally different things"

    And I shall ask you again sice you refused to answer this question in the past. If you watched someones arm grow back right in front of your eyes after a preacher laid hands on him, would you start to believe? I dont mean some magic trick where it's gone and suddenly POOF , its there! No, I mean watching the freaky, frightening rapid growth of a full arm from a bare nub just past the shoulder. What of any number of miracles you hear about, if you ever witnessed one firsthand would it change your mind? And you say there is no evidence. What I have just told you is a true story, you have not seen it, fine, that means you will chose to dismiss it like you did before, and I expect you won't even answer the actual question, just like you didn't before. And yet, you have never actually seen an atom either, or an electron, or a quark, or . . .

    By Blogger Daniel Levesque, at 3:32 AM  

  • Guys...

    Neither of you are going to win here. One of you believes that their holy book is a perfect guide to life and has been raised (I'd like to say brainwashed but that's a bit cruel) in a strict belief system and the other believes in the value of science and in questioning the world.

    Incompatible!

    By Blogger DanProject76, at 4:03 AM  

  • Daniel: This article you keep referring to is a perfect example of how a deceptive scientist can pervert the evidence to present a lie as truth.

    Perhaps you should go over to and confront PZ over his deception and lies. On second thought, I would advise against it—he’d tear your arguments and beliefs to shreds.

    Daniel: What? After all your arguing you don't remember the Big bang and Six Day Creation article?

    I’m sorry; I thought we were talking about your theory that explains the evidence of evolution better than the theory of evolution. The Big Bang has nothing to do with evolution. Do please try to stay on the topic.

    Daniel: none of these contradict anything in the Bible at all.

    Cosmology, astronomy, palæontology and physics contradict the six-day creation story, your pathetic attempt to reconcile them not withstanding. The universe, the Earth and all life on it were not created in six days. All the evidence is against you and it is ludicrous that anyone would actually believe this. Geology, zoology and botany contradict the flood story. It is so full of holes that not even a child would believe it.

    Daniel: I repeat A BIBLE SCHOLAR THOUGHT UP EVOLUTION BASED ON THE BIBLE LONG BEFORE DARWIN DID!

    I’m not sure what your point is in saying this. Are you saying that Maimonides was correct and that creation is false? Or do you discount this Biblical scholar as a crackpot?

    Daniel: So you are saying that all of these scientists are working on evolution?

    No, I didn’t say that. Go back and read what I wrote. I said that these scientists use or confirm evolution in their work. Biologists and medical scientists use parts of the theory of evolution in their daily work—genetics, for instance. Whenever they use the predictions of the theory of evolution, they are testing them and confirming them. Conservation scientists, agricultural scientists and food scientists are constantly relying on genetics as well. Palæontologists are constantly testing the predictions of the theory of evolution via biostratigraphy. If they ever found a fossil in an impossible temporal position, it would need to be investigated and explained. They don’t all have to be doing active research into a specific question of evolution to be testing the theory and confirming it. By the way, I missed the rest of the Americas in my previous post and the 76,000 post-secondary biology teachers, many of whom do actual research into evolution. So I think this could easily amount to hundreds of thousands of scientists around the world over the past 150 year verifying the theory of evolution—all of which you presume to be mistaken or engaged in some sort of conspiracy, no doubt.

    Daniel: If you watched someones arm grow back right in front of your eyes after a preacher laid hands on him, would you start to believe?

    Not without further investigation and evidence, I wouldn’t. But if this turned out to be true (a very big ‘if’) then I would have no option other than to believe in miracles and I would be converted. However, to say that I think it is highly improbable that such an event is true is a monumental understatement.

    Daniel: What I have just told you is a true story, you have not seen it, fine, that means you will chose to dismiss it

    Well, I’m certainly not going to believe it just because you say it is true. That would require faith. You are correct in saying I have not seen it, but that isn’t why I would dismiss it. I would dismiss it because I have never seen one shred of sound evidence to suggest that such an event could ever happen. You would have to provide some extremely convincing and well-tested evidence before any rational person would believe a ridiculous story like this. So, show me that evidence.

    Daniel: And yet, you have never actually seen an atom either, or an electron, or a quark, or . . .

    So? What sort of childish notion is this? You don’t have to actually see something to detect that it exists. Have you actually seen air? The fact that you can’t actually see air doesn’t mean that you can’t detect it by watching the effect of wind or detecting the presence of oxygen with a flame. The problem is that not only can you not see your fairy tale God, but it is also utterly undetectable by any means. There is no effect you can point to and say that it could only be explained by the existence of God. In other words, there is absolutely no reason to assume that it exists.

    DP76: One of you believes that their holy book is a perfect guide to life…

    You mean one of us relies on sound, real-world evidence and the other believes in a book of fairy tales. It isn’t a case of mere incompatibility. One of us is right and the other is wrong.

    By Anonymous cjb, at 5:43 AM  

  • Blogger sucks.

    By Anonymous cjb, at 5:44 AM  

  • Hey CJB, Blogger does indeed suck but you summed up your point and my point rather well there.

    I am so bored of this 'evolution' stuff. Can we start hating the gays again now? :-)

    By Blogger DanProject76, at 8:10 AM  

  • CJB,

    "Cosmology, astronomy, palæontology and physics contradict the six-day creation story, your pathetic attempt to reconcile them not withstanding."

    I see, so you only give credit to scientific evidence that agrees with your own predetermined views. How . . . typical.

    "I’m not sure what your point is in saying this. Are you saying that Maimonides was correct and that creation is false?"

    I am saying that Mahimonides was saying that what the Bible described was evolution, and if you combine this with the work of people like Schroeder you wind up with Intelligent Design. In short Intelligent Design states that everything evolutionary theory says happened happened, but that is was directed by God. Just to tantalize you a bit since I will be doing an entire post about this concept later in the series According to Mahimonides, and this is aa paraphrase, not the exact writing "Genesis staes that the Earth brought forth life. This means that God created a world capable of forming life on its own, and it did, starting from he most primitive, and advancing to humanity." He actually goes through the entire Creation and lays out a case where all life in this world had a natural rather than supernatural beginning, with certain key interventions to direct life to the many forms it takes now. Interestingly, one thing that is lost in the translations are the dinosaurs, whic are mentioned in the original Hebrew text, the are referred to as "the great reptiles", and this was before dinosaurs were discovered and recognized for what they are. This is a renowned theologian's answer to what the Bible describes, I repeat TO WHAT THE BIBLE DESCRIBES long before Darwin offered it up without using a religious text. what I am saying when I say that science supports the Bible is going off the multitude of Biblical scholars who used the Bible instead of science to put forth theories like evolution and the Big Bang centuries before any scientists ever did. Assuming for a second that these theories are correct, then it was religion that first postulated them, and science took centuries to catch up.

    "Biologists and medical scientists use parts of the theory of evolution in their daily work—genetics, for instance."

    Have you ever worked in Genetics? It works quite well with or without evolution, and the vast majority od genetic research has nothing to do with evolution and everything to do with mapping and modifying th egentic code as it stands today, any potential past evolution is pretty irrelevant. we mao the code today, we work with what we have. If it is a mutant strain of whatever is being mapped does that count as evolution? No. It only counts as evolution if it is a permanent beneficial change. So-called superbugs would count, except that within just a few generations of an antibiotic free environment the superbugs revert to their original vulnerable form. You want to know what I think of microeveolution? I think that what I just pointed out here makes it shaky at best.

    "The fact that you can’t actually see air doesn’t mean that you can’t detect it by watching the effect of wind or detecting the presence of oxygen with a flame."

    Interesting. This is the exact same argument that many people use to point out that you can literally see God everywhere in the workings of all things. It is also what I expected you to say. I just wanted to hear you say something theologians have been saying for thousands of years.

    As for the rest of what you said . . .okay. since there is NOTHING that cannot be explained without the presence of God perhaps you can explain to the world where the quantum anomalythat was the center of the Big Bang Came form, and then perhaps you can tell us all what it is that makes life live. I can think of more than a few people who would love to know this so they can have their recently deceased loved ones ressurrected. Think about it, is someone you love dead? No problem! Just bring the corpse down to ressurection Inc.! We will infuse your loved one with the stuff of life and bring him/her back to you! As soon as you can satisfactorily answer these two problems without the intervention of God we can talk about this some more. Until then, th eonly explanation that we have is God, deal with it.

    DP76,

    There never was hatred of gays here. That would require me to actually hate homosexuals, which I do not.

    By Blogger Daniel Levesque, at 9:41 AM  

  • There never was hatred of gays here. That would require me to actually hate homosexuals, which I do not.

    Yes, there was. Phantom_driver hated gays and bashed them regularly here. He seems to have disappeared, however. NOW there is only looney, selective applications of biblical law directed towards gays. That said, it is a much nicer atmosphere nowadays.

    As for this pathetic argument on evolution... WAY TO GO DANIEL!!! You pointed something out that even evolutionists (i'm sorry, or is it darwinists?) point at and cringe! Woo hoo! You have totally DESTROYED evolutionary theory now! Yay!

    Not even sure why I bother to check in here. This is just regurgitation of twisted facts from people who will lie in the name of God.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:37 PM  

  • Daniel, I assume you realised I was being ironic with my last statement.

    I think you should stop this verbal tennis with CJB over God and evolution because it's going to give you an ulcer. You need to stop the preaching and he needs to stop the atheism schtick. He is interested in facts, you in fictions. You are both right in your own eyes but you're never going to agree on this. It's the whole 'tomato tomaytoe' thing on a grander scale.

    By Blogger DanProject76, at 1:12 PM  

  • Okay, I think I’ve determined why Blogger exhibits that problem. When inserting a link, if the URL has a trailing ‘/’ then Blogger becomes confused. What really annoys me about it is that it looks perfectly okay in the preview. It isn’t until you publish the comment that it ruins it. It shouldn’t happen to me again.

    Daniel: This is a renowned theologian's answer to what the Bible describes, I repeat TO WHAT THE BIBLE DESCRIBES long before Darwin offered it up without using a religious text. what I am saying when I say that science supports the Bible is going off the multitude of Biblical scholars who used the Bible instead of science to put forth theories like evolution and the Big Bang centuries before any scientists ever did.

    This is interesting. You now seem to be saying that the Bible describes evolution and that Biblical scholars were the first to think of it. If this is so then why do you have a problem with it?

    Daniel: If it is a mutant strain of whatever is being mapped does that count as evolution? No. It only counts as evolution if it is a permanent beneficial change. So-called superbugs would count, except that within just a few generations of an antibiotic free environment the superbugs revert to their original vulnerable form. You want to know what I think of microeveolution? I think that what I just pointed out here makes it shaky at best.

    What you just pointed out here is evolution in action. Evolution is a change in the frequency of alleles in a population over time. It happens through descent with modification. Mutation is one of the mechanisms of evolution.

    Your superbugs are a perfect example of evolution at work. In any population, there is variation between individuals. Some bacteria are more resistant to antibiotics than others. After repeated exposure to antibiotics, it is only the most resistant bacteria in the population that have survived. This is natural selection.

    Mutations are also happening all the time. Some may result in bacteria less resistant to antibiotics, in which case they don’t survive to reproduce. Other mutations may result in bacteria more resistant to antibiotics, in which case they do survive to reproduce. After some generations, the selective pressure creates a population where the ratio of resistant bacteria to non-resistant bacteria has changed. The population now contains more individuals with alleles that confer antibiotic resistance than those that don’t. The frequency of these alleles in the population has changed.

    When the selective pressure of the antibiotics is removed, the bacteria that result from mutations making them non-resistant are no longer killed off and the ratio of resistant to non-resistant bacteria drifts back the other way.

    If you accept your superbug example then you accept evolution—plain and simple. You can now see how mutations can result in changes that make organisms less or more likely to survive to reproduce. Those less likely to reproduce become extinct. Those more likely to reproduce persist and the population changes. These individual changes may be slight, but their cumulative effect can push organisms a very long way from their origin down many paths.

    Daniel: This is the exact same argument that many people use to point out that you can literally see God everywhere in the workings of all things.

    Yes, they do say this, but unfortunately this is just pareidolia and wishful thinking. There is no sound evidence to back up their assumptions.

    As for the rest of what you said… There is not enough evidence yet to come to any conclusion as to the cause of the Big Bang or abiogenesis. But when there is, I think that it will again become apparent that there was no supernatural being involved—as it has been in the past for other questions that apparently could only be explained by the existence of God until the true explanation was revealed by science.

    I have no idea why you think that when an explanation for abiogenesis is found that it will mean we will be able to bring the dead back to life. They are two entirely different things.

    Daniel: Until then, th eonly explanation that we have is God, deal with it.

    ‘God did it’ explains nothing, Daniel. It’s just a pathetic cop out by weak-minded fools who don’t have the intelligence to think for themselves and who need an emotional crutch to help them deal with reality. There are some questions for which the answer remains, as yet, unknown—deal with it.

    By Anonymous cjb, at 2:45 PM  

  • After rereading the previous post, I think I may have given the wrong impression when speaking about natural selection. When I said this:

    After repeated exposure to antibiotics, it is only the most resistant bacteria in the population that have survived.

    I meant repeated over many generations, not repeated exposure to one generation. The following paragraph is an explanation of why this is so.

    By Anonymous cjb, at 3:44 PM  

  • CJB,

    "You now seem to be saying that the Bible describes evolution and that Biblical scholars were the first to think of it. If this is so then why do you have a problem with it?"

    Better question: Why do you have a problem with it? Intelligent Design puts forth the unity of what the Bible says andd what science indicates may hava happened, but people like you sue over it being taught and x\scream about it being nothing but theological nonsense. People like me say it bastardizes the faith and cheapens the word of God by seeking to unite Biblical truth with a scientific fraud. The difference is that people like me don't sue over it.
    What you just pointed out here is evolution in action. Evolution is a change in the frequency of alleles in a population over time. It happens through descent with modification. Mutation is one of the mechanisms of evolution"

    But you left out the most important factor, they must be retained. No mutation can lead to evolution if it is not retained. The current problem this situation is experiencing is that the mutations are not retained at levels any higher than they were prior to the introduction of antibiotics. Hence, it is not evolution because the organisms actually revert at the earliest possible opportunity rather than staying advanced. Personally, I'm glad for that or it's possible none of our antibiotics would work anymore. It is not evolution at all, and it certainly does not produce any significant morphological change, which is absolutely essenntial to evolutionary theory.

    "There is no sound evidence to back up their assumptions."

    Once agin, untrue. It is only evidence you personaly choose not to trust. note the word choose. You even admitted in this debate that if you witnessed a miracle personally you would exhaust all other possible explanations before looking to God, even if that miracle violates everything in nature. Personally, I appreciate your honesty in this, and I respect your choice to be a skeptic, even Jesus' disciple, Thomas, had to put his fingers through the holes on Jesus' hands before he would believe Jesus had risen from the dead.

    "There is not enough evidence yet to come to any conclusion as to the cause of the Big Bang or abiogenesis"

    We have ruled every explanation ever procued except God, which is only debatable as a matter of faith to most people. I debate it as a matter of fact because God is real, I know it for a fact, but you will not accept any evidence I provide for you because you were not there. This is why I brought up atoms and quarks. You seem to accept quarks. Have you ever witnessed a quark doing anything? Or have you just read what other people say have witnessed and tested using quarks? Why do you believe them, but not people who say they have witnessed God firsthand? could it be that it is just that you chose to trust an anonomys scientists, not all of whom are any good at their job, over let's say, someone who was born without eyes who says that God healed him, instantly giving him eyes where he had never had them before? What if his medical record shows that he never had eyes, and one day his doctor noted that he did? would this be sufficient evidence for you to believe that the story he tells you is true despite the fact that you did not witness the miracle personally? Be careful how you answer because this is a true story and I don't want you to trap yourself thoughtlessly. On a side note, you should know that it took a long before peopl ewho didn;t know him intimately believed he was the same person. After all, this is impossible, right?

    Keep on with your no evidence argument, I will keep telling you true stories of God doing stuff in our lifetime that you were not lucky enough to see.

    "I have no idea why you think that when an explanation for abiogenesis is found that it will mean we will be able to bring the dead back to life."

    You missed the whole point didn't you? In order for a cell to live it must be complete. So if you know how to spark life ito a fully formed cell you can spark into a fully formed organism as long as you get to said organism before decomposition goes too far. IT is this idea that has people buying into cryogenics. they have their reecently deceased bodies flash frozen in the hopes tha one day science will discover not only a cure to what killed them, but also be able to respark their corpse back to life. Do you honestly believe that if we can discover the secret to the source of life itself that there won't be mad race to produce the technology that works on whole organisms? You also wrecked the abiogenesis argument yourself with your example of decomposition. you said that would not be so in a sterile environment, but you wrong then too. Sunlight alone is enough to destroy dead cells. Not to mention wind, heat, freezing, and a myriad of other non-biological forces that destroy cells. no living cell could have formed on its own on this planet at any point in its history beecause the non-organic forces that destroy dead cells would have destroyed the not yet living cells, just like sunlight destroys every amino acid produced by the Miller-Urey experiement.

    "‘God did it’ explains nothing, Daniel. It’s just a pathetic cop out by weak-minded fools who don’t have the intelligence to think for themselves and who need an emotional crutch to help them deal with reality. There are some questions for which the answer remains, as yet, unknown—deal with it."

    Once again untrue. It is the natural answer for anyone who is sufficiently satisfied with the evidence in favor of God that we accept his power and rulership over all of creation. It was not a decision I came to lightly myself, just it is not a decision most thinking men come to lightly. Skepticism and a dependence on the intelligence factor of the human mind over the wisdom factor always go together. The Greeks had a word for people like this "Sophmore", meaning "wise fool". You know what I'm talking about. Think about some of the extreme cases out there. Have you ever played golf with a college professor who had to ask you if he should get out of the rain when it started pouring with lightning mixed in? Birlliant man, but a fool.

    By Blogger Daniel Levesque, at 8:33 AM  

  • Daniel: "We have ruled every explanation ever procued except God, which is only debatable as a matter of faith to most people. I debate it as a matter of fact because God is real, I know it for a fact, but you will not accept any evidence I provide for you because you were not there."

    Huh? You know God is real, how? Because he speaks to you? Is this GodBlog? CJB will love this!

    "let's say, someone who was born without eyes who says that God healed him, instantly giving him eyes where he had never had them before? What if his medical record shows that he never had eyes, and one day his doctor noted that he did? "

    Man, you sound as crazy as Tom Cruise now! What are your thoughts on silent births and psychological medication? You're not doing yourself any favours by sounding like a crazy Bible Basher, mate.

    I am a tad scared by your post.

    By Blogger DanProject76, at 3:43 PM  

  • DP76,

    Scared? All I'm saying is what if what I just told you actually happened? What if the records are there for you to see? How does that change things for you?

    By Blogger Daniel Levesque, at 3:52 PM  

  • I must admit, Daniel, that you argue your points very well. Your arguments are thoughtful and articulately expressed. However, the underlying difference between you and me is that you believe the things you do because you want to believe them whereas I believe things because I am forced to believe them. Because you want to believe some things, you are willing to accept subjective inference as evidence and you tend to ignore real evidence that conflicts with your beliefs. You may be doing this subconsciously, of course, but you are doing it nonetheless. No doubt you are thinking the same of me, but I don’t accept evolution because I want to; I accept it because I am forced to by the overwhelming evidence that supports it as an explanation of what we see around us. I cannot believe that I will never really die and that I will live forever in paradise because there just isn’t any sound evidence that forces me to believe that it is true. There is more on what I mean by sound evidence further below.

    Daniel: The difference is that people like me don't sue over it.

    People like you don’t sue over ID because ID is a religious belief and people like you want to see religious beliefs taught in school science classes rather than be confronted with a scientific theory that doesn’t need God. ID proponents admit that ID requires the intervention of a supernatural being, which puts it beyond the realm of science.

    Daniel: But you left out the most important factor, they must be retained.

    This shows that you have a basic misconception about the nature of evolution, Daniel. Evolution only states that the frequency of alleles in a population changes over time. There is no requirement for any mutation to be retained. Evolution is the result of changes in selective pressure. In your superbug example, if the antibiotic environment had persisted then the mutation would have been retained. If the environment changes then the selective pressure changes and the population will respond. Mutations aren’t necessarily independent, either. It could be that the mutation that confers antibiotic resistance results in the bacteria being less likely to survive in an antibiotic free environment by reducing their ability to absorb food for instance, but the pressure to resist the antibiotics is greater than that produced by reduced food supply. Then, when the antibiotics are removed, there is actually pressure to lose the mutation.

    I think that you are harbouring another misconception here as well. You seem to think that evolution moves in an upward direction, like stepping up the rungs of a ladder. This is not so. Evolution results in different organisms, not necessarily ‘better’ organisms. They are better suited to their particular environment, of course, but they aren’t necessarily better in any continuously progressive sense. Evolution fills niches. Once an organism is successful in a niche and there is no selective pressure, there is no impetus for it to evolve much further. Look at sharks or crocodiles or cockroaches.

    Think of evolution as organisms scattered across a landscape filled with peaks and valleys. The chances of survival are highest on the peaks and lowest in the valleys. A mutation is a step in a random direction. If a mutation takes an organism down the slope, it is less likely to survive. If it takes it up the slope, it is more likely to survive. When I say organism here, I mean a population moving through generations, not just an individual. Over time, organisms will move up to a peak in their immediate vicinity. Here is the important point. Because evolution is a blind process, it cannot look out across the valleys, see that there is an even higher peak, and head for that instead. This may happen if the intervening valley is narrow and shallow and it could serendipitously ‘jump’ to the next peak. In other words if the number of mutations required is small and the chances of survival are not diminished too much. In most cases, however, the distance and depth are too great for this to happen.

    Daniel: Once agin, untrue. It is only evidence you personaly choose not to trust. note the word choose. You even admitted in this debate that if you witnessed a miracle personally you would exhaust all other possible explanations before looking to God, even if that miracle violates everything in nature.

    Yes, I choose not to trust evidence that isn’t sound. By sound evidence, I mean evidence that has been independently and objectively tested and confirmed many times, not anecdotes, testimonials or untested eyewitness accounts. And of course I would exhaust all other possible explanations before looking to God because experience has shown that there is usually a far more mundane and plausible explanation for supposed miracles than the existence of some supernatural being for which, as yet, there has never been a shred of sound evidence. Show me sound evidence and I will be forced to believe in miracles.

    Daniel: We have ruled every explanation ever procued except God, which is only debatable as a matter of faith to most people. I debate it as a matter of fact because God is real, I know it for a fact, but you will not accept any evidence I provide for you because you were not there.

    Here again is a fundamental problem with your way of thinking. We may have ruled out every explanation ever produced, but we are a long, long way from ruling out every explanation yet to be produced. But, in search of affirmation for your irrational beliefs, you want to jump to a conclusion right now that it must be God despite there being a complete lack of sound evidence to support that conclusion. Your God only survives as a default where we don’t yet have an answer and it is being squeezed out of existence by science.

    Your other problem here is your unshakeable certainty in your beliefs. You know that there is a God. There can be no possibility that you are mistaken in this belief—none. Very few rational people would say that there is no possibility they could be mistaken about something. I don’t know that evolution is true and I and others could be mistaken about it. Future discoveries could prove us all wrong, but all the current evidence points to it being true.

    I don’t have to be there as an eyewitness to accept something as being true, but I do want to see sound evidence supporting it before I accept its truth. If you can show me sound, incontrovertible evidence that God exists then I will be forced to accept it.

    Daniel: Have you ever witnessed a quark doing anything? Or have you just read what other people say have witnessed and tested using quarks? Why do you believe them, but not people who say they have witnessed God firsthand?

    No, I’ve never witnessed a quark doing anything; I’m not a nuclear physicist. I accept what the many nuclear physicists say about quarks. But it isn’t just a few of them that imagine that quarks exist, write it in a book somewhere and expect everyone to believe them. They have used the scientific method to confirm the existence of quarks and others have tested their results. They have made observations, formed hypotheses and made predictions from those hypotheses. Then they’ve tested those predictions by conducting experiments or making further observations in an attempt to falsify those hypotheses. They haven’t yet falsified the hypotheses after countless experiments and observations so it is reasonable to assume, tentatively, that quarks exist. Notice that scientists don’t attempt to confirm a hypothesis, they attempt to falsify it and, if they can’t, they tentatively assume it to be confirmed.

    A scientific theory must be falsifiable and it must pass all tests attempting to falsify it. It must do this many, many times using many different tests, preferably in many different disciplines. Every scientific theory has to do this. If it can do this constantly then it eventually becomes accepted as a fact. So it is with the theory of evolution. Has creation or ID been tested in this way: no. Could they even be tested in this way: no again. Is there any sound evidence at all supporting them: of course not. Their proponents cannot produce any sound evidence supporting them because none exists so their only option is to mount contrived negative attacks against evolution in the vain hope that gullible believers will accept a false dichotomy.

    Now perhaps you can see why I wouldn’t simply believe some individual who says he witnessed God firsthand. But if you can provide me with evidence that has survived the scientific method then I will be forced to believe in God’s existence.

    Daniel: Keep on with your no evidence argument, I will keep telling you true stories of God doing stuff in our lifetime that you were not lucky enough to see.

    Telling me stories is not going to convince me, Daniel, whether you are gullible enough to believe they are true or not. Show me the sound evidence. You haven’t once shown me any evidence. All you do is assert that these stories of yours are true. If I told you that I had once seen a unicorn—no, really, it’s true—would you just believe me? Would you expect any rational person to believe me?

    Daniel: So if you know how to spark life ito a fully formed cell

    This is another misconception; this time with abiogenesis. What do you think, that abiogenesis went from some amino acids to the fully formed cells that comprise us in one easy step? It took many steps over the course of 100 million years to go from amino acids to the first self-replicating molecules then still more steps and another 100 million years before the first prokaryotes appeared. Then it took another 1.8 billion years of evolution before eukaryotes, the cells that comprise us, formed. The point is that once prokaryotes had formed then life had begun and evolution took over from there. It took 1.8 billion years of evolution for eukaryotes to form from something that was already alive. You can’t just take the molecules that make up our cells and zap life into them; evolution is required.

    Daniel: just like sunlight destroys every amino acid produced by the Miller-Urey experiement.

    What, and you can’t think of one place on Earth where sunlight doesn’t reach; like, say, a few feet below the ocean’s surface?

    Daniel: It is the natural answer for anyone who is sufficiently satisfied with the evidence in favor of God that we accept his power and rulership over all of creation.

    It’s a cop out to absolve yourself of responsibility for your own actions and to allay your fear of the unknown.

    By Anonymous cjb, at 7:15 PM  

  • CJB,

    "ID proponents admit that ID requires the intervention of a supernatural being, which puts it beyond the realm of science"

    And what of the fact that the ID people seek the n\merger of the cienc eyou trust with the religion I hve totyal faith in? Is it not a victoruy for you to have people of faith acceot what you believe scientifically, even if it is religiously motivated?

    "This shows that you have a basic misconception about the nature of evolution, Daniel. Evolution only states that the frequency of alleles in a population changes over time."

    Exactly. If those alleles are not retained they cannot grow in frequency. What bacteriological experimants have shown us that we can force the retention of alleles by maintaining a constantly hostile environment that only allows those organisms e\withthose alleles to exist, but as soon as the environment reverts back to normal the original alleles become dominant aain and al lreverts back to the way it was. we have yet to witness anything in nature that approaches the kind of long term ( centuries at least) substantivity ti sipe out thepreviously dominant alleles and leave only the new ones that are suited to the new environment. even then, it does not account for entire chromosomes. This is gettign a bit ahead of the series, but you do not get entire cgromosome pairs added or deleted the way we have observed occur with individual genes in microbes. Until we can explain ho wsuch a thing can ocur, with appropriate experimentation to back it up, this remains a problem as yet unsolved by evolutionary scientists. WIthout a proven ability to alter thenumebr of entire chromosomes n an organism, and by alter I mean beneficially, not things like Down Syndrome, we cannot explain how th evariety of life in any class came to be. Heck, we cant even explain how the different kingdoms of the taxonomy managed to hapen.

    "You seem to think that evolution moves in an upward direction, like stepping up the rungs of a ladder. This is not so"

    No. I am quite clear that the theory of evolution allows for movement in al directions. But I alsi know tat it requires organisms to change species at som epoint. so far we have not been able to force so drastic a change on any population of organisms. Such a change must be proven possible to account for the variety of life in this world, but it is not.

    "Your God only survives as a default where we don’t yet have an answer and it is being squeezed out of existence by science."

    Hence the relvance of the simple quote fromSherlock holes at the begining of my previous post "When yu have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth." So far, all that remains is God.

    "They have made observations, formed hypotheses and made predictions from those hypotheses."

    Ah, observations . . . like the many firsthand accounts of meeting and speaking to God and hi semmisaries (angels) recorded by eyewitnesses in the Bible? Is an observation not something yu can detect with your five senses? Is it only the age of the observations that makes them unreliable to you, or is it the nature of the observations that causes you to reject them?

    "A scientific theory must be falsifiable and it must pass all tests attempting to falsify it. It must do this many, many times using many different tests, preferably in many different disciplines."

    Well, as this post has demonstrated . . . some scientific evedence HAS been falsified, and it has persisted in beign taught as truth for over a century despite teh fact it was a known falsehood.

    " If I told you that I had once seen a unicorn—no, really, it’s true—would you just believe me? Would you expect any rational person to believe me?"

    Depends. How many witnesse can yo scare up? God has literally millons throughout history.

    "It took many steps over the course of 100 million years to go from amino acids to the first self-replicating molecules then still more steps and another 100 million years before the first prokaryotes appeared."

    And these amino acids are detroyed by mere sunlight. DO you really think they could have survived 100 million years of UV light exposure inorder to form the proteins that form cells, then still surivied the same destructive condiotions to eventually form a cell, and even then there is still the problem of life sparking within the cell to cause it to self replicate, feed, and perform all the oher aspects of life. It could not hapen, and this isn;lt me, this is actual scientists, you klnow, like chemists talking. Abiogenisis is an established impossibilty.

    "What, and you can’t think of one place on Earth where sunlight doesn’t reach; like, say, a few feet below the ocean’s surface?"

    not that had the conditions neccesary for the Miller-Urey experiment top occur in, no. Of course, this argument totally ignores the fac that the Miller-Ure experioment was based on asumptions about the composition of the Earth's atmosphere that peleogeology has proven to be false.

    "It’s a cop out to absolve yourself of responsibility for your own actions and to allay your fear of the unknown."

    You really have no idea about what Christanity teaches do you? If anything, Christianity teaches that we are far more responsible for our actions as believers than non-believers ever will be. As far as fearing the unknown goes . . . what exactly is there to fear? there is so much that is unknown that religion does not even try to explain, and it it doesn't have to because it has nothing to do with the spititual realm.If you are referring exclusively to wat happens after death, I know exactly what happens, so that is not an unknown. And truthfully, there is nothing for me to fear. The fact that you assume that I must have some fear of what lies beyond death says far more about your own fears and doubts than about me.

    By Blogger Daniel Levesque, at 1:21 AM  

  • Daniel: And what of the fact that the ID people seek the n\merger of the cienc eyou trust with the religion I hve totyal faith in?

    No, they seek to replace science with faith.

    Daniel: If those alleles are not retained they cannot grow in frequency.

    You know, a decrease is also a change. There is nothing that says the frequency must only grow.

    Daniel: What bacteriological experimants have shown us that we can force the retention of alleles by maintaining a constantly hostile environment that only allows those organisms e\withthose alleles to exist, but as soon as the environment reverts back to normal the original alleles become dominant aain and al lreverts back to the way it was.

    Dang, I wish I could think of an example. Oh wait, here’s one:

    Daniel: So-called superbugs would count, except that within just a few generations of an antibiotic free environment the superbugs revert to their original vulnerable form.

    I’m struggling to understand the gobbledygook about chromosomes and changing species in the rest of that paragraph and the next so I’ll leave it until your post on the subject. I think you need some sleep; I can barely understand your writing with all the typos in it.

    Daniel: Hence the relvance of the simple quote fromSherlock holes at the begining of my previous post "When yu have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth."

    But the problem is, we haven’t yet eliminated all the possibilities.

    Daniel: Is it only the age of the observations that makes them unreliable to you, or is it the nature of the observations that causes you to reject them?

    The nature of them, of course. They are simply anecdotes. When you can produce evidence derived from the scientific method, I’ll consider it.

    I’m surprised you didn’t immediately tell me that of course you believe in unicorns. After all, they’re mentioned in the Bible quite a few times.

    Daniel: Abiogenisis is an established impossibilty.

    You didn’t even read what I wrote about the ocean’s, did you? Never mind, here is some recent thinking on the subject.

    Daniel: If anything, Christianity teaches that we are far more responsible for our actions as believers than non-believers ever will be.

    How can you be totally responsible for your own actions when God has power and rulership over all creation? He can make you do anything he wants. Are you responsible for your actions then as well? In fact, all your actions are pre-ordained because God is supposedly omniscient so you aren’t responsible for any of your actions at all.

    Daniel: If you are referring exclusively to wat happens after death, I know exactly what happens, so that is not an unknown. And truthfully, there is nothing for me to fear.

    Well of course there is nothing for you to fear now; you’ve already deluded yourself into thinking that you’ll never really die because you believe your ridiculous fairy tales. You’ve allayed any fear you may have had by clinging to your beliefs.

    Here’s something for you to think about; when you die, that’s it, you just stop. You’d better make the most of your life on this planet because that’s all there is. Your soul doesn’t move on to a better place because it is non-existent. That’s right, you have no soul. There is no such thing. How do I know this for a fact? It’s because I have total faith that there is no such thing as a soul—and you can’t deny faith.

    By Anonymous cjb, at 3:37 AM  

  • I think cjb speaks for me in relation to your last question.

    I live a good life being a good person and do not need an old book of stories interpreted by men to control the masses telling me how to live my life. I have one life to live and I live it well.

    I believe in science and the scientific way of looking at the world in an open minded way. I do not need a religion.

    I don't want to be preached to.

    All I can see in organised religion is negativity. It makes people say and do ridiculous things in the name of their 'one true god' and it has no place in my life.

    You love this. It gives you something to blog comment on and go round and round in circles. It's all a bit silly trying to convince atheists that God exists.

    End of my rant.

    By Blogger DanProject76, at 5:42 AM  

  • CJB,

    "You know, a decrease is also a change. There is nothing that says the frequency must only grow."

    True, but for an organism to evolve an allele must crow in frequency and stay there, or it must decrease until it is nonextistent and stay that way. Cycling between frequencies with no net long term change is not evolution, it's stability.

    "I’m struggling to understand the gobbledygook about chromosomes and changing species in the rest of that paragraph and the next"

    I do have a post coming up that will go into this in far more detail. Suffice it to say that a human has 23 Chromosome pairs, a potato has over 300, and yet we are to believe that both forms of life arose from the same primoridal common ancestor that birthed all life.

    "Dang, I wish I could think of an example. Oh wait, here’s one: . ."

    The quote you used from me was evidence AGAINST evolution. It demostrated that long term change has not gbeen observed and that all life goes back to the way it was as soon as the environment allows it to.

    "But the problem is, we haven’t yet eliminated all the possibilities."

    We have elimated every possibilty we have been able to think of with the sole exception of God. By definition we HAVE eliminated every possibility. This s not to say that other possibilities won't be thought up and tested, but at the same it doesn't mean that any will either.

    "I’m surprised you didn’t immediately tell me that of course you believe in unicorns. After all, they’re mentioned in the Bible quite a few times"

    You have unicorns mixed up with Dragons. There are many theories about what Dragons truly are as noted in the Bible. My favorite is that it is reference to Dinosaurs. This is not to say that dinosaurs walked the Earth alongside man, but thier bones have been found for all of human history. For example, the Chinese spent thousands of years grinding up dinosaur bones for medicine, but said they were grinding up dragon bones. They thought the dinosaurs were dragons, or perhaps dragon is the most ancient term for dinosaur and the mythlogy that we are familiar with rose up later. It's fascinating stuff.

    "You didn’t even read what I wrote about the ocean’s, did you?"

    I did. You never even read what I said about oxygen also destroying these amino acids in teh Origins article, did you? Sunlight is not the only thing that destoys these amino acids, oxygen breks them up just as fast. Are you trying to say that there is no oxygen just a few feet under the surface of the oceans. Oh, and sunlight pentrates more than just a few feet through the water as well. I will concede that it gets exponentially weaker as it posses through until it is almost nonexistent after about 200 feet.

    "How can you be totally responsible for your own actions when God has power and rulership over all creation?"

    This may be the easiest question you have ever asked me.

    God has given free will. without fre will we would not have the ability to sin. We would be utterly blameless as we would never be able to make the choice to go against the law of God. The very existence of sin proves our free will, as well as God's willingness to let us excersize it.

    Given that we have free will, we are able to make our choices in life. We are all responsible for the choices we make. However, Christians are far more responsible for the choices we make we have the truth of God's law laid upon us every day in our prayer, Bible studies, and fellowship with other Christians. With the Spirit of the Lord dwellign within us any sin we perpetrate is far more grievous to the Lord than any sin a non-believer can do. It says so right there in the Bible. We who profess to follow our God, but violate his law are going to be held far more responsible for our actions than any non-believer will be. The people who will have it the worst in Hell are the hyppocrites and the false teachers. This fact underscores the need for genuine repentance and the mercy provided by God's grace and forgiveness through the blood of His Son Jesus Christ. Without this all are doomed, and the fake Christians are doomed worst of all.

    "Here’s something for you to think about; when you die, that’s it, you just stop."

    Ignoring the obvious fallacy of this staement for a minute I will as you a question in response instead:

    And what hapens to you if you are wrong? What will you do if (when) you find yourself standing before God and are commanded to give an accounting of you life for judgement? will you take comfort in the knowledge that you spent your whole life denying that day would ever come?

    "You’d better make the most of your life on this planet . . ."

    I absolutely do make the most of my life. My life would be so empty without my God that I could not imagine the decrease in the quality of my life. Tell me, in your own frantic scrambling to "Make the most of your life" are you happy? Are you satisfied? Does all you do to maximize your life leave you at peace at the end of the day and satisfied with all you have done? My life does this for me.

    DP76,

    Same question for yu as I just asked CJB.

    By Blogger Daniel Levesque, at 9:29 AM  

  • In answer to your question:

    Man, my life is great! I have a happy healthy family, a wonderful soon-to-be-husband, a good job, a nice house and lots of friends. I am not mean to people, I am charitable and kind. I care about people and the environment. I don't post nasty bigoted things on the internet and I don't preach to people.

    I have no problem with how I've lived my life. I just believe that it's the only life I have and I should live it well. Just because I don't think I am being judged by a supernatural being it does not make me a bad person!

    Can we stop talking about religion?

    By Blogger DanProject76, at 11:07 AM  

  • "So far, all that remains is God."

    Um... no.

    By Anonymous Todd Sayre, at 2:56 PM  

  • Daniel: Suffice it to say that a human has 23 Chromosome pairs, a potato has over 300, and yet we are to believe that both forms of life arose from the same primoridal common ancestor that birthed all life.

    I’m guessing you’ve never heard of gene duplication, chromosomal translocation and polyploidy. It’s becoming apparent, Daniel, that this series is simply highlighting your ignorance and misunderstanding of the theory of evolution. There is far more evidence for the theory of evolution than you will ever mention in this series and there is no evidence to support your mythical alternative. A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence so it would be wise for you and others to accept what the evidence shows rather than clinging to your fairy tales.

    Daniel: You have unicorns mixed up with Dragons.

    No, I meant unicorns as in Numbers 23:22 and elsewhere, but that’s not the point. The point is that you again deflected my request for you to provide sound evidence to support your claims.

    Daniel: God has given free will.

    We’ve been over this before, Daniel, but of course you simply ignored my argument then. Very well, here it is again. If God is omniscient then there is no such thing as free will. Omniscient means all-knowing, knowledge of all things past, present and future. This means that God knows what choices you are going to make before you make them and, if he is never wrong, you are forced to make that foreseen choice. You have no free will in the matter—God has foreseen it so it must inevitably come to pass. But perhaps God doesn’t know everything or he makes mistakes so you could have free will if God is not omniscient or he is fallible. So which is it: omniscience, fallibility or free will?

    Daniel: Ignoring the obvious fallacy of this staement for a minute

    I’m sorry; perhaps I’m missing something, but could you please point out the obvious fallacy. As far as I or anyone else can tell, when you die, you cease to be—there is nothing more. There is no heaven, no hell, no everlasting life—there is nothing.

    Daniel: And what hapens to you if you are wrong? What will you do if (when) you find yourself standing before God and are commanded to give an accounting of you life for judgement?

    I think it is far more important to be accountable to real people such as my family, my friends, my work colleagues and society as a whole than to some fairy tale god. After all, they are the people who are actually affected by the way I behave. It’s too late to apologise to them after I’m dead.

    I could ask the same question of you. What will you do when you find yourself standing before Allah and are commanded to explain why you believed in a false god. The books these gods supposedly inspire show them to be rather petty and vindictive when it comes to people who worship false gods. I’d rather my chances as an atheist before Allah than yours as a believer in a false god.

    Daniel: are you happy? Are you satisfied? Does all you do to maximize your life leave you at peace at the end of the day and satisfied with all you have done?

    Yes I am happy, at peace and satisfied with my life. In fact, I really have no worries to speak of at all. As an atheist, I don’t need a belief in fairy tales for my life to have meaning or purpose. And I wouldn’t be surprised if it is the same for you.

    By Anonymous cjb, at 4:03 PM  

  • CJB,

    "I’m guessing you’ve never heard of gene duplication, chromosomal translocation and polyploidy."

    Wrong, but you seem to have miised the fact it has never produced a new species that we have observed. Come to think of it, I can't think of one case where it has done anything but cripple, kill, and/or sterilize the afflicted organism. So far all the evidence incicates that these are very bad things on the macro scale. There may be a bactrium or two that has not been decimated by this pprocess that I am unaware of, but, like I said before, I have an entire post onthis comin gup and intend to say no more on the subject in this portion of the debate.

    "No, I meant unicorns as in Numbers 23:22"

    This passage reads as follows: God Brings them out of Egypt; He has strength like a wild ox.

    You obviously have no idea what you are talking about.

    "If God is omniscient then there is no such thing as free will. . ."

    Your argument is fundamentally, and logically flawed. Omnicience does mean that God forces us to engage in the decision we will make, it only means that He knows it. The decision was all yours. If God were to decide to change the decision He could, He has the power, but He allows us to make the decisions we do, that He has forseen, anyway. Perhaps if God meddled more in the day-to-day affairs of individuals your argument would hold some credence, but since He does not, since He allows us to do our thing, it does not.

    "As far as I or anyone else can tell, when you die, you cease to be—there is nothing more."

    See ther you go making assumptions again. Had you stopped when you said "As far as I" then said the rest you would would have at least presented an honest reply. However, there are humdreds of millions of people like me around the world, and a far greater number throughout history, who have decided that the evidence they have seen, which you will reject because it's only an eyewitness account (let's ignore the fact that eyewitness accounts are blockbuster evidence in the courtroom for a bit), to convince us that what the Bible records is true. Some of the best eyewitness accounts of Heaven and Hell are recorded inthe bible. and Dont forget that Jesus is the Son of God, who was crucified and rose on the third day by his own power, and He spoke as one who lived in Heaven before coming to dwell among us for a time about these things. Of course, I'm sure YOU think Jesus was just a madman or a liar.

    "I think it is far more important to be accountable to real people such as my family, my friends, my work colleagues and society as a whole . . ."

    How ironic. God says you are accountable for you actions to these people as well. He even commands us to love them as we love ourselves, and has spoken about how mistreating them is a greivous sin. And it is also too late to apologize to God once you are dead as well.

    "What will you do when you find yourself standing before Allah . . ."

    Well, since Allah is not God, but a demon masquarding as God there is nothing for me to worry about. Historicaly speaking, Allah was around long before Mohammed was. Mohammad just took the high god of the local pantheon in Mecca at the time and started claiming he was the only god in an effort to raise an army of religious zealots for the purposes of military conquest, and he succeeded. It is why Islam has been bathed in blood nonstop since it was founded. Christianity teaches us to look at the fruits of persons to see if they are of God, or of the devil. The fruits of Islam are so anti-God that it is demonstrably demonic. Christianiy has its occasional villains as well, and they are going to have it especialy bad in Hell, however, a look at history shows thet the religion as a whole has been the best thing to ever happen to the world. One good book on the subject, and I may have the title wrong, but I am at least close, is "How the Church Built Europe". Islam on the other hand, has not produced any of the positive changes in society that Christianity has, and has actually rversed societal progress everywhere it has gone. Want all of your precious liberties to vanish overnight? Let America become a Muslim country. Want all of our scientific advancement to be stifled if it even remotely goes against a religion? Make America amMuslim country. Heck, Islam is so ridiculous that it teaches that sperm comes from you back rather than your testacles.

    "In fact, I really have no worries to speak of at all."

    Good for you. Wil you still say if everything in your life falls apart at the seams? I can. I can say that no matter what happens I have peace, even in strife, and I have had MUCH strife in my life.

    DP76,

    "Man, my life is great! I have a happy healthy family, a wonderful soon-to-be-husband . . ."

    And if you lost it all would you stil be able to say how great your life is? Would you still be able to pull joy out an abys of despair and carry on in satisfaction?

    Guys, you are saying that you are happy because of circumstances. I am happy under all circumstances because my God gives me the strength to do so. And with the strength He lends me I am able to help bring others up as well in their times of despair. It is how I was able to comfort my wife every time we lost a child while not recieving the same cofort from others. It is how I am Able to say that God is good in the worst of circumstances. Perhaps one day you will understand this, but you have shown that you do not just yet.

    By Blogger Daniel Levesque, at 8:22 AM  

  • Daniel, you are a perfect example of why religious preachy people annoy me. You don't listen to others, have your answers already prepared ("It was God what done it!") and realy do not want to listen to anybody who disagrees with you. I have no idea why you have a blog that allows comments! You say things like "Well, since Allah is not God, but a demon masquarding as God there is nothing for me to worry about" but get upset when people call Jesus a fairytale. Are you really that naive? Or just so incredibly arrogant as to assume you are right about everything you have been taught/brainwashed into believing?

    You ask us atheists if we are truly happy and don't believe us when we say we are because we don't have God. Get over it, man. You're not right about everything, you're just right in your little narrow-minded view of the world. Stay in it, live in it and be happy.

    By Blogger DanProject76, at 12:24 PM  

  • DP76,

    "You ask us atheists if we are truly happy and don't believe us . . ."

    I believe you. I have no reason not to. You sound like you are very happy with your current situation in life. What I asked is if your happiness is strictly linked to your current situation in life or if you can be happy in any situation. There really is a difference.

    "I have no idea why you have a blog that allows comments!"

    I love to hear what other people have to say, even if they do not agree with me. I find it enlightening to hear other viewpoints, those that are similar to my own as well as those that differ wildly from my own. I especially enjoy the opposing views.

    By Blogger Daniel Levesque, at 8:36 PM  

  • Daniel: This passage reads as follows: God Brings them out of Egypt; He has strength like a wild ox.

    That’s strange; in my KJV Bible it says unicorn instead of wild ox. And I notice that in the Douay-Rheims, Challoner revision, it says rhinoceros. It really makes one wonder which version is correct. It just goes to show that you can’t believe everything you read in the Bible.

    Daniel: Omnicience does mean that God forces us to engage in the decision we will make, it only means that He knows it. The decision was all yours. If God were to decide to change the decision He could, He has the power, but He allows us to make the decisions we do, that He has forseen, anyway.

    I’ll try to explain this again more clearly. I’m going to make three assumptions as to your beliefs. I’m sure you’ll correct me if I’m wrong.

    1. God is omniscient. He knows everything. He knows all about you and knew it even before you were born. He knows how you feel and the decisions you will make before you make them.

    2. God is infallible. He is never wrong.

    3. God gave us free will.

    Are any of these incorrect? For instance, maybe he doesn’t know everything. Maybe he doesn’t know any more about the future than you or me. Perhaps he isn’t infallible and makes a lot of mistakes. Perhaps he thinks he knows things, but often gets them wrong.

    If you agree with the three points above, let’s work through an example. You come to a decision in your life and you have two choices: A and B. God is omniscient, he knows everything, he already knows you will choose A and he is never wrong. So, are you free to choose B? No, you can’t because God already knows your choice will be A so it doesn’t matter how much you vacillate, it is inevitable that you will choose A. Ergo, you have no free will in the matter. God isn’t forcing you to choose A, but the mere fact that he knows your choice beforehand and he cannot be wrong, means you are locked into choosing A. You have no choice and you have no free will.

    So one of those three premises is wrong—he isn’t omniscient, he isn’t infallible or there is no free will. Which is it?

    Daniel: there are humdreds of millions of people like me around the world, and a far greater number throughout history, who have decided that the evidence they have seen, which you will reject because it's only an eyewitness account (let's ignore the fact that eyewitness accounts are blockbuster evidence in the courtroom for a bit), to convince us that what the Bible records is true.

    There are several points to be made here. First, you are making an appeal to popularity, a common logical fallacy employed by believers. If a hundred million people believe that it is true then it must be true–right? Wrong. It just means that a hundred million people have deluded themselves into thinking it is true. If it’s numbers you want then consider that Christianity forms only a third of the world’s population. Two thirds of the world’s population (four billion people) think that you are wrong. Second, eyewitness accounts of events are notoriously unreliable, but juries place great stock in them because they are ignorant of the problems and, basically, gullible—just like believers.


    Daniel: Some of the best eyewitness accounts of Heaven and Hell are recorded inthe bible.

    As we’ve seen above, you can’t rely on what is written in the Bible. It’s fiction, Daniel. It’s just a book of fairy tales. Quoting the Bible is worthless as evidence for anything.

    Daniel: I'm sure YOU think Jesus was just a madman or a liar.

    Actually, I think it is likely that no such person existed. There are no contemporary historical accounts of his existence. The only accounts we have are those in the Bible or those that appeared decades or centuries after he supposedly lived. The mention of Jesus in the earliest non-Biblical account, the Testimonium Flavianum by Josephus, is widely held to be a forgery interpolated later by a Christian scribe. In fact, Josephus, Pliny the Younger, Suetonius and Tacitus were all born after the supposed death of Jesus so they could hardly have been eyewitnesses to his existence.


    Daniel: Well, since Allah is not God, but a demon masquarding as God there is nothing for me to worry about.

    And yet 1.8 billion Muslims would disagree with you on this. How could so many people be wrong in their religious beliefs?

    Daniel: I am happy under all circumstances because my God gives me the strength to do so.

    I wonder why people call religious beliefs an emotional crutch.

    By Anonymous cjb, at 9:45 PM  

  • Sorry, that should have been 1.3 billion Muslims, not 1.8 billion.

    By Anonymous cjb, at 9:54 PM  

  • Wrong, but you seem to have miised the fact it has never produced a new species that we have observed.

    First, a little Speciation FAQ.

    Just as a matter of curiosity, how many instances of creation have we ever observed? I know the Intelligent Design group like to gloss over this little hole in their theory, but it's there. At some point even the best design has to be implemented if you want to anything with it. I can design an omlette, but I'll still need to break some eggs if I want to eat it. With all the species in the world, I would figure that some video camera would have captured one being created. We have video evidence for UFOs and Bigfoot, but not one example of a "creation event". Scientists find new species all the time, but last I checked, that wasn't because they materialized before their eyes or appeared in a puff of smoke.

    This might make for an interesting experiment. Everyone sterilize a mason jar and set it in a cool dry place for a year. That should be enough time for the Intelligent Designer to design a new species into the jar. I expect a byline on anybody's science fair project that uses this idea.

    Come to think of it, I can't think of one case where it has done anything but cripple, kill, and/or sterilize the afflicted organism.

    Think about this a bit then.

    However, there are humdreds of millions of people like me around the world, and a far greater number throughout history, who have decided that the evidence they have seen, which you will reject because it's only an eyewitness account (let's ignore the fact that eyewitness accounts are blockbuster evidence in the courtroom for a bit), to convince us that what the Bible records is true.

    Eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable.

    Everyone within a religion believes that the evidence in their holy text is true and can give you justifications for believing that. Muslims are convinced that the Qu'ran is true. Mormons are convinced that the Book of Mormon is true. Christian Scientists are convinced that Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures is true. Scientologists are convinced that Dianetics is true.

    Do you think all these people are just making this stuff up? Did you not see Tom Cruise on Oprah? Did he not look happy? Do you not want Tom Cruise to be happy? Scientology has changed his life, maybe it could change . Are you truly happy? How many couches have you jumped this week?

    What about the many amazing things that happended to Muhammad? Do you think he would just make this stuff up? The holy Qu'ran has changed the lives of so many people over the centuries, how could they all be wrong?

    Christian Scientists believe that god can heal people, don't you think god can heal people?

    Mormons had to go all the way to Utah to avoid persecution for their beliefs. This was not an easy journey either, there were no airplanes or interstates back then. But the strength of their faith saw them through. That took real courage. Why do you think they stuck with their faith when they knew that it would only bring them scorn?

    Some of the best eyewitness accounts of Heaven and Hell are recorded inthe bible. and Dont forget that Jesus is the Son of God, who was crucified and rose on the third day by his own power, and He spoke as one who lived in Heaven before coming to dwell among us for a time about these things.

    And there have been eyewitness accounts for reincarnation as well. How does that fit within your world view? And don't forget eyewitness accounts for alien abductions and miracles of a non-Christian variety.

    Of course, I'm sure YOU think Jesus was just a madman or a liar.

    Neither. I consider him a legend.

    How ironic. God says you are accountable for you actions to these people as well. He even commands us to love them as we love ourselves, and has spoken about how mistreating them is a greivous sin.

    Despite what you may believe, your religion does not hold exclusive rights to the espousal of ethical behavior.

    And it is also too late to apologize to God once you are dead as well.

    I don't think Allah or Zeus or Anubis is any more forgiving. When your heart is placed on the balance, who will you pray to then?

    Well, since Allah is not God, but a demon masquarding as God there is nothing for me to worry about.

    Purely as a matter of curiousity. How could I tell if you were a demon masquerading as a blogger? Or for that matter, if I were a demon masquerading as a commenter?

    Good for you. Wil you still say if everything in your life falls apart at the seams? I can. I can say that no matter what happens I have peace, even in strife, and I have had MUCH strife in my life.

    Yes and you have managed to keep it together and stayed a productive member of society because you have been convinced that no matter how bad it may get, it is all for a higher purpose. Mighty fine social engineering, that is.

    Guys, you are saying that you are happy because of circumstances. I am happy under all circumstances because my God gives me the strength to do so. And with the strength He lends me I am able to help bring others up as well in their times of despair. It is how I was able to comfort my wife every time we lost a child while not recieving the same cofort from others. It is how I am Able to say that God is good in the worst of circumstances. Perhaps one day you will understand this, but you have shown that you do not just yet.

    Have you been touched by His Noodly Appendage? Even if I were to have all my limbs aputated without anaesthetic and then anally raped continuiously for decades on end by horny gorillas, so long as His Noodly Appendage still touches my heart, I would be happy. Can you say that? Maybe one day you too will allow His Noodly Apendage to touch your heart too.

    By Anonymous Todd Sayre, at 5:56 AM  

  • "What I asked is if your happiness is strictly linked to your current situation in life or if you can be happy in any situation. There really is a difference."

    Well you never know how future events will affect you, do you? I am happy in my life and happy in myself which is the most anyone could ask for. If my entire family was brutally murdered I would not be happy but that would be for obvious reasons. I'm not happy because of a God Figure. I'm happy because I enjoy my life and the experiences it brings. I control my own destiny as much as I can but the universe certainly has an input. I am strong enough not to need a religious slant on things.

    By Blogger DanProject76, at 11:46 AM  

  • CJB,

    "That’s strange; in my KJV Bible it says unicorn instead of wild ox."

    Interesting. I used the King James Version myself.

    "If you agree with the three points above, let’s work through an example . . ."

    Once again, you are mistaking foreknowledge of a decision with mainipulating the decision making process. As long you keep inserting forcibly making someone to make the choice where it does not happen you will continue to present arguments that are so logically flawed they are invalid. For example: You are presented with a choice, A or B. God knows you will choose B, but he does nothing to force your choice on you. You choose B. At thi spoint you have made a choice that is entioreely your own, and although God had the power to force you to make a different decision, He did not do it. Therefore, it was entirely you. Quit mixing up knowledge with the excersize of force, and quit mixing up knowledge with with a locked future. There are a tone of metaphysical ideas I could present about this situation which can be distilled into the simple fact that sice God created time He is not ruled by it. How this affects His interractions I do not pretend to know. How this affects anything I do not pretend to fully comprehend. I do know that it does not eliminate choice. After all, if God were making our choices for us we wouldn't be having this debate right. He would have caused everyone in the world to come to the same conclusion regarding His existence and lordship.

    "eyewitness accounts of events are notoriously unreliable, but juries place great stock in them because they are ignorant of the problems and, basically, gullible—just like believers."

    And your view of people comes out too. We are all fools . . . unless we agree with you, of course. I am fully aware of the distortions caused by perception. For example, you percieve the entire Bible to nothing but fairy tales, and yet archeaology has shown that an overwhelming number of the events recorded in the Bible actually happened, which is why it is legal to teach the Bible as history in every classroom in America. This is despite your assertion that "Quoting the Bible is worthless as evidence for anything." A provably wrong statement as archaeology has shown.

    "And yet 1.3 billion Muslims would disagree with you on this. How could so many people be wrong in their religious beliefs?"

    Once again, I can say this with confidence because the fruits of Islam are so evil that it can only be a demonic religion. As an Atheist, I know you ut no more stock in the Koran than in the bible, but the Koran is so much more to pick at because it presents biology, cosmology, and geology that is so out of line with everythiing, like saying that sperm is produced in a man's back, and that god used man and woman to create man and woman that it decimates itself.

    By Blogger Daniel Levesque, at 11:15 PM  

  • Todd Sayre,

    "Just as a matter of curiosity, how many instances of creation have we ever observed?"

    Assuming that every species on Earth was ceated according to s strict interperetation of the timeline listed in Genesis, the would be no newly created species to observe simply popping into existence.

    "Think about this a bit then."

    According to what I gather from the experiment in this link you are simply proving my point since every alteration of chromosomes resulted in reduced fertility, and therefore reduced species survivability.

    "Everyone within a religion believes that the evidence in their holy text is true and can give you justifications for believing that."

    Very true, and while there are explanations for this I do not have the tim eor spce to list them all here with explanations. The general Christian view in regards to anything miraculous happening outside of the Christian faith is that it is a manifestation of the devil designed to decieve people into following him rather God. As far as your Mohammed example goes . . . I am inclined to say he made it all up, or, if not, then he was high on hashish at the time.

    "Neither. I consider him a legend."

    Thee is far more reliable historical evidene surrounding the fac that Jesus lived and walke don this Earth than there is of most historical figures the world over. Legend is hardly the appropriate term.

    "Despite what you may believe, your religion does not hold exclusive rights to the espousal of ethical behavior."

    It does if you believe in one universal set or rules that determine what is right and what is wrong.

    "Christian Scientists believe that god can heal people, don't you think god can heal people?"

    This is an ignorant question if I ever saw one. The Bible records many instances of God healing people as well as of Him afflicting people. Based on this I am quite certain that He can heal people. Had you bothered to read my previous comments you would seen me peresenting real life examples of God healing people in ways that have no other explanation but miraculous in the modern day. At the same time, I would be a fool to assume that He will choose to heal everyone willy-nilly. Our afflictions work for His glory as much as our joy and ease.

    "I don't think Allah or Zeus or Anubis is any more forgiving. When your heart is placed on the balance, who will you pray to then?"

    Please refernece what I have said about Allah and apply it to these demons as well.

    "Purely as a matter of curiousity. How could I tell if you were a demon masquerading as a blogger? Or for that matter, if I were a demon masquerading as a commenter?"

    Based on your link to a modernized version of the old "how do you know this is not all just a dream" debate (the world as a computer simulation site) I would say there is absolutely way that Todd Sayre can truly satisfy himnslef with any definitive answer to ths question. I would ahazard a guess that you subscribe to moral and societal relativism, and quite possible even metaphysical relativism. you know, the old "if you think God exists then He exists for, but since I think He does not then He doesn't for me" situation. Any of these philosophical relativisms produce nothing useful, and are actually quite destructive to individuals and communities that subscribe to them.

    "Yes and you have managed to keep it together and stayed a productive member of society because you have been convinced that no matter how bad it may get, it is all for a higher purpose. Mighty fine social engineering, that is."

    And your problem with this is what, exactly?

    "Have you been touched by His Noodly Appendage?"

    Perhaps you would be better served by not using the intentionally ridiculous to back up your arguments, unless you sole purpose was to make me laugh, in which case, you succeeded.

    By Blogger Daniel Levesque, at 12:54 AM  

  • Daniel: For example: You are presented with a choice, A or B. God knows you will choose B, but he does nothing to force your choice on you. You choose B.

    Amazing. You really seem to have a blind spot here. I wonder if we are seeing the effect your beliefs have on your ability to reason. Look at your example above and tell me whether or not you could have chosen A instead. Think about it for a moment. How can you choose A if God knows you will choose B and he is never wrong? It is inevitable that you will choose B. You have no choice. You have no free will.

    Daniel: And your view of people comes out too. We are all fools . . . unless we agree with you, of course.

    That depends on whom you are including in ‘we’. I don’t think all people are fools. I do, however, think that people who hold irrational beliefs are gullible. It appears that most lay people on juries believe that eyewitness testimony is highly reliable.

    Daniel: the fact that eyewitness accounts are blockbuster evidence in the courtroom

    You expressed a similar misconception yourself.

    Daniel: Once again, I can say this with confidence because the fruits of Islam are so evil that it can only be a demonic religion.

    I imagine that they think exactly the same of your religion. You can’t both be right, but you can certainly both be wrong.

    Daniel: the Koran is so much more to pick at because it presents biology, cosmology, and geology that is so out of line with everything

    …Whereas the Bible is so much more believable and accurate. For instance, the entire universe was created in just six days, snakes and bushes speak, water spontaneously turns to wine, loaves and dead fish multiply by themselves, people walk on water, water comes from nowhere to cover the entire Earth then disappears to nowhere again and so on and so on… Give me a break.

    By Anonymous cjb, at 12:54 AM  

  • Daniel: Thee is far more reliable historical evidene surrounding the fac that Jesus lived and walke don this Earth than there is of most historical figures the world over.

    I challenge you to produce this evidence. Show us some reliable historical evidence that such a person existed. Read again what I said about this above. None of the earliest historians could refer to any contemporary records of Jesus’ existence; they were just repeating Christian stories.

    By Anonymous cjb, at 1:26 AM  

  • I am inclined to say he made it all up, or, if not, then he was high on hashish at the time.

    I do not believe those to be mutually exclusive. Temporal lobe epilepsy should also not be discounted. But at least we agree on something.

    Based on your link to a modernized version of the old "how do you know this is not all just a dream" debate (the world as a computer simulation site) I would say there is absolutely way that Todd Sayre can truly satisfy himnslef with any definitive answer to ths question. I would ahazard a guess that you subscribe to moral and societal relativism, and quite possible even metaphysical relativism. you know, the old "if you think God exists then He exists for, but since I think He does not then He doesn't for me" situation. Any of these philosophical relativisms produce nothing useful, and are actually quite destructive to individuals and communities that subscribe to them.

    Not quite. Objectivism is the closest formalized description I've seen to how I view the world.

    Nonetheless, I recognize that it is possible to formulate an explanation for the universe that lies outside of that which is (at least currently) scientifically testable. "It's all a dream", "it's all a computer simulation" or "it was started by some deity who then wandered off" are all equally valid explanations in my book. But I really don't know if any of them are true at this point.

    I also admit that those aren't the only possibilities as well. It could be some explanation that is really simple but no one has thought of yet.

    I'm content to wait for more data.

    In the meantime, I believe we are far better served concentrating on the here and now than just making up stories to fill in the gaps in our knowledge.

    And your problem with this is what, exactly?

    Absolutely none.

    I remember an American Government class in college where the textbook had a little subsection about the way that we teach our children the value of living in a democracy and the republic and freedom and equality and whatnot in the Declaration of Independence and Constitution (along with reciting the Pledge of Alleigance every morning). The book made several references to how instilling these values in kids at an early age is a form of social engineering. This particular professor collected 3 written questions, regarding what we had been assigned to read, from everyone at the start of every class period. This particular morning I had written a question about how the book uses the term "social engineering" in the way I would think the term "brain washing" could have been used instead. The professor picked that question to be one of the ones he would expound on and basically said: "Yes, that's exactly what we're doing". I cannot recall all that he said (that was 7 years ago now) but the gist of it was that "brain washing" is what we call it when it is something we disapprove of and "social engineering" is what we call it when we approve of it. It's like the difference between "terrorists" and "freedom fighters".

    Again, absolutely nothing wrong with it.

    Perhaps you would be better served by not using the intentionally ridiculous to back up your arguments, unless you sole purpose was to make me laugh, in which case, you succeeded.

    My point was to demonstrate the absurdity of citing the level of happiness one experiences whilst a member of a religion or a member of no religion as somehow being a measure of its truthiness.

    "I'm happy"
    "Well, I'm happier"
    "And I'm even happier"
    "Sure you're happy now, but what about when bad stuff happens? I don't believe you'll be happy then. And remember, I'm happy no matter what!"
    "You might not believe I'm happy, but I am."
    "I do believe you are happy because you have a happy life. The question is, will you be happy when your life sucks?"
    "Sarcastic ad hominem"

    If the true measure of happiness is how happy you can be under bad circumstances, then I was just trying to come up with the ultimate bad circumstance to prove my happiness.

    My ultimate point was that the entire dialogue was basically pointless.

    And to be funny.

    By Anonymous todd.sayre, at 7:19 AM  

  • CJB,

    "Look at your example above and tell me whether or not you could have chosen A instead."

    You could have, but you didn't. Possiblities and whatactually happens do not iminge on free will. It is only direct action taken on behalf of a third party to change your deciosion that interferes with free will. Are you truly incapable of understanding that? Maybe I can simplify this for you somehow . . . You have decided to make choice A. Someone knows you are going to make choice A. This entity then has the choice to allow you make choice A, or to push you make choice B instead. This entity decides to sit back and allow you to make choice A. Has this foreknowledge resulted in any interferrence in your own free decision to make choice A? No. Do you understand now, or do I need to try to make it even simpler? I suppose if I change a few words I can make this bit of third grade communication understandable to preschoolers. Would that help you grasp the concept?

    "Whereas the Bible is so much more believable and accurate. . ."

    With divine intervention in these events, yes. And you left out the raising of the dead, one man being strong enough to rip arart a stone temple with his bare hands, the instantanoues curing of diease, he miraculaous restoration of senses and mobility, visions of angels, and God personally talking ot people, not to mention a whole host of events that in no way seek to explain biology, geology, cosmology, of any other discipline of science. The Bible records events, it does not present scientific theories the way the Koran attempts to.

    "None of the earliest historians could refer to any contemporary records of Jesus’ existence; they were just repeating Christian stories"

    Bulcrap. Ever Heard of Josephus? No? Try going to this website, http://members.aol.com/FLJOSEPHUS/home.htm then do a websearch, then maybe try reading his renowned multivolume history. Oh, and he was NOT a Christian. Why this website? It's just the firstone I clicked when I typed the word Josephus into a google search. Enjoy.

    "Not quite. Objectivism is the closest formalized description I've seen to how I view the world."

    Well, at least it is a far more practical and useful worldview than the entirely too popular relativism. I do think that the ide of pure reason being the only guide to action is flawed simly because so many people have flawed reasoning skills. I also think "Man—every man—is an end in himself, not the means to the ends of others. He must exist for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself. The pursuit of his own rational self-interest and of his own happiness is the highest moral purpose of his life." is a destructive philosophy that places the individual above society and degrades any sense of personal nobilty by removing any purpose to life other than the pursuit of pleasure. Still, it is far superior to relativism.

    "My point was to demonstrate the absurdity of citing the level of happiness one experiences whilst a member of a religion or a member of no religion as somehow being a measure of its truthiness."

    I totally agree with you on this. My original question had nothign to do with happines, and everything to do with satisfaction and fulfilment. However, CJB and DP76 instantly translated that into terms of happiness, so I went ahead and argued the point on their level, which is a mistake O will readily acknowledge here. The measure I was trying to use was fulfilment, which is very different from happiness.

    This said,
    CJB,
    DP76,
    Are you fulfilled, or are you simply seeking to place yourslef in circumstances to make you happy?

    By Blogger Daniel Levesque, at 10:13 AM  

  • is a destructive philosophy that places the individual above society and degrades any sense of personal nobilty by removing any purpose to life other than the pursuit of pleasure.

    More destructive than telling people a story about how the best thing to do when they have a voice in their head telling them to kill their children is to do exactly what that voice commands?

    That isn't exactly fair, I admit. She should have figured something out after successfully killing her first son. That second one was all her fault. Same for the third one that was just maimed. But I really think you have to excuse that first one.

    The measure I was trying to use was fulfilment, which is very different from happiness.

    Different they may be, but I think they are both very subjective.

    I don't doubt that you could come up with criteria to measure them. But I think doing so would be very hard in blog comments.

    By Anonymous Todd Sayre, at 2:57 PM  

  • I’m losing respect for your intelligence again, Daniel. It really seems from your responses that the need to protect your irrational beliefs has reduced your ability to reason and comprehend.

    Daniel: For example: You are presented with a choice, A or B. God knows you will choose B, but he does nothing to force your choice on you. You choose B.

    Cjb: Look at your example above and tell me whether or not you could have chosen A instead.

    Daniel: You could have, but you didn't.

    I see… You could have… Okay then, let’s say you take that option and choose A instead. But God already knows will choose B. That means God was wrong; he isn’t infallible.

    Daniel: …not to mention a whole host of events that in no way seek to explain biology, geology, cosmology, of any other discipline of science. The Bible records events, it does not present scientific theories the way the Koran attempts to.

    So the creation myth is not an attempt to explain biology, geology or cosmology. That’s strange, it appears to me that it is trying to do just that. It is saying that God created life (that’s biology), the Earth (that’s geology) and the universe (that’s cosmology). Of course, it doesn’t provide any testable evidence for any of this so, in that sense, I suppose you could say that it is in no way scientific. It is just a bunch of stories with nothing to back them up.

    Daniel: Bulcrap. Ever Heard of Josephus? No?

    Are your eyes painted on or have your irrational beliefs blinded you to the point where you simply ignore anything that opposes your view. If you look at my comment nine comments above yours, you will see that I specifically spoke about Josephus and his Testimonium Flavianum and the supposed reference to Jesus in it. If you read Josephus, you will see that he begins his treatise with a regurgitation of the Bible. His account is not purely historical. It is filled with Christian myths and stories. The single passage that refers to Jesus is now considered to be an interpolation by later Christian scribes. Regardless of anything else, he wrote this so-called history around 60 years after the supposed death of Jesus. It isn’t contemporary and there are no other records of the existence of Jesus before Josephus despite there having been numerous contemporary historical accounts of the area. None of those other authors thought to mention a person performing miracles. It is far more likely that Josephus was just repeating another Christian story he had heard.

    Daniel: However, CJB and DP76 instantly translated that into terms of happiness, so I went ahead and argued the point on their level, which is a mistake O will readily acknowledge here.

    If you had looked at my initial response to your question, you would have seen that I mentioned happiness, peace, satisfaction, meaning and purpose not merely happiness alone. Your comprehension skills are abysmal.

    By Anonymous cjb, at 4:22 PM  

  • Todd,

    "More destructive than telling people a story about how the best thing to do when they have a voice in their head telling them to kill their children is to do exactly what that voice commands?"

    You have ignored something vital here. Abraham did not actually kill Isaac. And at no point in the Bible does God demand human sacrifice of anyone but His own Son, Jesus, who died on the cross for our sins as the only human sacrifice. Human sacrifice, and especially the sacrifice of children is demonized throughout the Bible.

    "Different they may be, but I think they are both very subjective."

    Very true. The subjectivity lies thusly: What fills you to satisfaction regardless of circunstances or emotion?

    By Blogger Daniel Levesque, at 7:21 PM  

  • CJB,

    "I see… You could have… Okay then, let’s say you take that option and choose A instead. But God already knows will choose B. That means God was wrong; he isn’t infallible."

    You could have chosen A, but you didn't. You made A your choice of your own free will. What I find most interesting is your own inability to seperate knowledge from force. For example: If I put a bowl of food on the floor I know that my dog will choose to eat it every time. It happens without fail. Does this then mean that he is predestined to eat that food against his will no matter what? obviously, the answer is "no". However, just like clockwork, food goes down, dog comes running and eats it in about 2 minutes. Now, I havethe ability, knowing what my dog will do, to force him to not eat it. I can plce the food on the floor, but I physically block him from eatining it until he chooses to give up and leave. I can offer a second bowl of food that he likes bater to get him ot not eat his isual bowl of food. I can hose the food down with yuck soray so it tastes so foul that he refuses to eat. In this way I have caused my dog to choose not to eat the food by excersizing my own abilities. The choices you make every day, that God has foreknowledge of, are entireoly yours He has excersized no force to make you pick a different choice. Hence, due to the inaction of God to change your mind, which He has the power to do, you have retained your free will and made your own decision. Does this make God fallible if you make a different choice? You never make a different choice, so He is never wrong. WHat I find most compelling in this debate s your own inability to grasp the simple concepts I have been presenting you with. You don;t come across as mentally deficicient, so I must assume you are ignoring sensible arguments on principle rather than logic.

    Volumes of books have been writen within the Christian Church debating the whole fate versus free will debate. each side has a great deal to offer in the realm of philosophical arguments, and each side ha many compelling arguments. I happen to be of Calvanist school of thought which subscribes to free will. The Fatalists believe thta all was decided for us from before creation and we are simply playing out our roles. You and me, we could run circles around this debate for the rest of our lives and never satisfy each other.

    " . . . Regardless of anything else, he wrote this so-called history around 60 years after the supposed death of Jesus. . ."

    Joephus was not a Christian. His History is considered the most authritative on the time of Christ and the dispersion of the Jews after the revolt of AD 67. ( I think it was 67, but I may be just a few years off ) But since you are opposed to anything that is conmtrary to your beliefs, allow me to present other evidence.

    First, the eyewitness acounts of the Apostles who knoew Jesus personally as recorded in the Bible. You may choose not to believe their accounts of His works or ressurection, butHis existence is establishable by the fact that the men who knew Him wrote bout Him. The Gispe of Luke has seen almost 2,000 years of scrutiny, and is hailed by most historians as the most accurate historical account ever written. (I know YOU will dispute this, but your desperate desire for it to be intrue does not make it so.) Also, feel free to check out the following: http://www.probe.org/content/view/18/77/ and http://www.westarkchurchofchrist.org/library/extrabiblical.htm both accounts from Cornelius Tacitus, a non-Cristian Roman.

    Feel free to review the following book "The Historical Evidence for Jesus" for a thorough study into what history reveals about the life of Jesus Christ, as well as a rebuttal to what you have stated regarding Josephus' works.

    Furthermore, it is widely acknowledged that the existence of every historical figure in the bible has been challenged in an attempt to disprove the Bible. Take Pilate for examle:

    "Prior to 1961, some skeptics challenged whether Pontius Pilate ever existed. Although Pilate is mentioned in all four Gospels (plus in Acts and 1 Timothy), skeptics claimed that there was no independent, direct verification that Pilate lived.

    All that changed in 1961 at Caesarea Maritima. An Italian expedition discovered a 2 foot by 3 foot stone with Pilate's name on it, in the Roman theater. The inscription read:

    ]S TIBERIEUM

    PON]TIUS PILATUS

    PRAEF]ECTUS IUDA[EA]E

    ...Tiberium

    Pontius Pilate,

    Prefect of Judea

    (McRay, p. 204)"

    From the site http://www.sundayschoolcourses.com/histjesu/histjesu.htm

    Or, if you would prefer a more neurtal presentation you might actually enjoy reading the scolarly, and non-religious report at http://www.sonic.net/sentinel/naij3.html

    Put simply, there is a great deal of evidence that has been gone over, some is accepted, some is not. Your assertion that there is no evidence in favor of the existence of Jesus is as laughable to me as my insintence that evolution is scientifically unsound is to you. For you to continue believe that Jesus is a mere legend you are forced to ignore the evidence. If you do not ignore it you must dismiss it out of hand simply because you do not want to trust the source, not out of any demonstrable unreliability of the source. Your arguments against historical accounts of Jesus' based on the idea that it was almost entirely Christians and Jews that wrote about him is laugable. It as ludicrous as saying the since only the Chinese wrote about and erected monuments to Qin Shi Huangdi that he must not be a true historical figure. Equally ludicrous is the assertion that since only Americans wrote about Crazy Horse that he must be a mere legend, not an actual man who lived and walked among us. The fact that a religion was built around Jesus does not miraculously change the accounts of His life into myth.

    By Blogger Daniel Levesque, at 8:04 PM  

  • You have ignored something vital here. Abraham did not actually kill Isaac.

    No. That was my point. As I said: "She should have figured something out after successfully killing her first son". Maybe that wasn't terribly clear, let me be more specific: She should have figured something out after god allowed her to successfully kill her first son.

    I'm not saying that what she did was any god's fault since they allowed it to happen. It was all her fault, she was crazy. But I believe she genuinely thought she was doing what some god commanded her to do. She might have even been expecting an Isaac-esque scenario. The fact that it didn't happen since she was able to successfully kill that first son, just should have clued her in on something. (Where something is perhaps her own insanity.)

    And at no point in the Bible does God demand human sacrifice of anyone but His own Son, Jesus, who died on the cross for our sins as the only human sacrifice.

    You sure you're reading the same bible I am?

    Admittedly the moral of the story is about what a practical joker god is. I suppose you could argue that since it ended with god saying "psyche!" at the end, it didn't count as real sacrifice.

    Human sacrifice, and especially the sacrifice of children is demonized throughout the Bible.

    Except for Genesis 22:1-12

    Very true. The subjectivity lies thusly: What fills you to satisfaction regardless of circunstances or emotion?

    I was referring more to the lack of any kind of satisfaction-o-meter. Does Tom Cruise get more satisfaction from Scientology than the Dalai Lama gets from Buddhism? Was Mother Theresa more satisfied by her works than Jeffery Dhamer?

    I'm not sure I understand your question. I read that as asking what gives fulfillment besides those things outside of your mind and inside of it. I think that covers it. I'm not so much concerned with what gives you a sense of fulfilment as how do we know that you are really fulfilled.

    By Anonymous Todd Sayre, at 8:28 PM  

  • Please pardon my frustration, Daniel, but I find your behaviour maddeningly obtuse. So obtuse, in fact, that it appears to me to be a wilful misunderstanding of the argument. I’m going to try this one last time and then I’m going to let you live in your fantasy world.

    I take it from your responses so far that you agree that God has foreknowledge of all the choices I will make in life and he can never be wrong. So let’s take just one of those decisions I make that has two possible choices: A and B. God knows, from before I was even born, that my choice will be A. I’d like to pin down the source of your misunderstanding so could you please answer the following questions.

    Remember, God has always known that my choice will be A and he is never wrong. So is it possible for me to choose B instead? Don’t answer this with, “Oh, but you didn’t choose B.” I haven’t made my decision yet and if I truly have free will then I should be free to choose either A or B. So is it actually possible for me to choose B: yes or no?

    If your answer to the question above is ‘no’ then please explain why you think it is not possible for me to choose as I wish and how that lack of freedom of choice could be considered free will.

    If you do think that I have free will then your answer to the previous question has to be, “Yes, it is possible for you to choose B.” In that case, I choose B. But God has known since before I was born that I was going to choose A. So was he right or wrong?

    By Anonymous cjb, at 1:20 AM  

  • "DP76,Are you fulfilled, or are you simply seeking to place yourslef in circumstances to make you happy?"

    Oh yes. Very very fulfilled. Why is it so hard for you to believe? Do you think all people who don't have Jesus as their imaginary friend are missing something from their lives? That's sad. People get fulfillment from all sorts of things in their lives. I have, like you, a job and a family that fulfill me very much. And friends and acquintances and a full happy life that I enjoy every day. I just don't have a God figure.

    By Blogger DanProject76, at 6:23 AM  

  • Todd,

    You are right in saying that because God did not allow Abraham to follow through with the sacrifice of his son that it does not count as evidence for human secrifice being demanded by God.

    "I'm not sure I understand your question. I read that as asking what gives fulfillment besides those things outside of your mind and inside of it."

    The question I ask is at the core of of a human dilemma. How is it that someone who has everything he or she could ever want could so miserable that they kill themselves? This person has every possible circumstance to make him hapy, he is mentally healthy by all accounts, and he even appears happy to everyone around him. then one day, without warning, he kills himself andleaves a note that reads something like this: I hate my life. I have spent it all in the persuit of things to make me happy, and none of it makes me happy. I have done nothing but seek the greatest pleasure from my life, and yet I am miserable. There is nothing more. I have no reason to live. Goodbye."

    This is why I keep asking about satisfaction, and yes, even happiness to a degree. Any nromal person, if the philosophy that states we are autonomous moral agents built to seek happiness out in every form were true then this should never happen. I keep trying to point out that any state of happiness or satisfaction that is derived from circumstances is futile and temporary. What happens when you get bored with your circumstances but also fear changing them? What happens when what once made you happy now makes you miserable? What happens when the satisfaction you sought in life eventually leaves you hollow inside? The questions are only valid because they describe circumstances that are so common to the human experience that they could be called endemic to the species.

    CJB,

    You continue to ignore the force factor. Are you incapable of formulating a rational argument to my assertions? If so you have lost this debate beyond any reasonable doubt.

    DP76,

    "Do you think all people who don't have Jesus as their imaginary friend are missing something from their lives?"

    Yes, because they are missing Jesus, duh!Think about it, everything you say makes you happy, everything you say satisfies you right this minute, it will all change, and you will change, and it will no longer be sufficient. Jesus does not change, so if He is sufficient now, He will ALWAYS be sufficient.

    By Blogger Daniel Levesque, at 8:53 AM  

  • My final word on this before I get annoyed:

    "Think about it, everything you say makes you happy, everything you say satisfies you right this minute, it will all change, and you will change, and it will no longer be sufficient. Jesus does not change, so if He is sufficient now, He will ALWAYS be sufficient"

    Brainwashing!

    I am glad that this can keep you happy. It's not for me though.

    By Blogger DanProject76, at 10:35 AM  

  • Daniel: You continue to ignore the force factor. Are you incapable of formulating a rational argument to my assertions? If so you have lost this debate beyond any reasonable doubt.

    You really don’t want to answer those questions in my last post; do you?

    Okay, let me address your argument concerning force. There are at least two mechanisms by which free will—our freedom to make choices—can be eliminated; one is, as you say, force; the other is predestination. God is said to be omnipotent so he could, if he chose, force a choice upon me and we both agree that would eliminate my free will. You say that he doesn’t choose to force decisions upon us (most of the time) and I agree with this as well.

    However, this still leaves predestination as a mechanism that eliminates freedom of choice and this is what my last post addressed. God is said to be omniscient, which also implies infallibility. If God thinks he knows something, but is shown to be wrong, then he didn’t really know it after all. Ergo, to be truly omniscient, he must also be infallible.

    In my last post, I am not implying that God is forcing me to do anything. He is sitting idly by as I try to choose B. He doesn’t lift a finger to stop me; he doesn’t have to. It is his passive and infallible knowledge that I will choose A that eliminates my freedom to choose. If you answer my two questions then you will see why this is so.

    So either God is omniscient or we have free will; they can’t both be true. Which one is false?

    By Anonymous cjb, at 4:14 PM  

  • CJB,

    I have answered them with my point regarding force being neccessary to overiide free will rather then mere foreknowledge. You have continued to ignore that point and only now are finally addressing it, which you have gone ahead and conceeded.

    Good. Now that we have a common ground o build upon let me expound more on your point.

    "However, this still leaves predestination as a mechanism that eliminates freedom of choice and this is what my last post addressed."

    Predestination is force. By setting a gurantee that you will make a decision regardless of you own free will you are applying force and eradicating free will. Foreknowledge and predestination are not the same thing though they have vast similarities, vast enough to spark this same debate debate we are having regarding free will withing the Christian Church. There are 2 schools of thought. Calvanists say free will with only occasional interference by God as absolutely neccessary. I belong to this school of thought. Fatalists say that everything we have done and will ever do is predestined, intricately planned out to fit into God's greaer plan for the demonstration off His power and Glory and for the redemption of man. The fatalists must contend with the question of how an infallible God uses imperfect actions by men to fulfill a perfect plan. The Calvanists must contend with how God knows all that will ever be without specifically directing it. The prime difference between fate and foreknowledge appears to be force. If a foreknown decision is not coerced in any way it is still a free will decision. If it is coerced it is predestined. Most Calvanists, myself included, openly acknowledge that some of our actions are indeed predestined, that is, forced upon us by God. BUt we also say that most of our decisions in life are not predestined, and that GGod has foreknowledge of them by vitrue of the fact that He is not only everywhere at once, He is also everyWHEN at once as well. God existing in all times at the same time explains His foreknowledge while eliminating any sense of predestination save for those few specific times in our lives when we MUST make a certain decision that is vital to the fulfilment of God's plan for the world. Those decisions are out of our hands.

    You ask whether freewill or omniscience is false, I believe I have demostrated how both can be true.

    By Blogger Daniel Levesque, at 12:13 PM  

  • Daniel: Most Calvanists, myself included, openly acknowledge that some of our actions are indeed predestined, that is, forced upon us by God. BUt we also say that most of our decisions in life are not predestined, and that GGod has foreknowledge of them by vitrue of the fact that He is not only everywhere at once, He is also everyWHEN at once as well.

    The problem is, Daniel, that God’s foreknowledge is infallible. He cannot be mistaken. What he has foreseen must happen. He has foreseen your choice so you are fated, predestined, call it what you will, to make that choice and no other. It is inescapable. You have no free will. Again, if you answer my two questions above, even to yourself, you will see why this is so.

    Of course, you could solve all these worries about fate, predestination, God’s plan and free will by simply realising that God doesn’t exist and that what you were told as a child was just a bunch of fairy tales.

    By Anonymous cjb, at 2:23 PM  

  • CJB,

    "The problem is, Daniel, that God’s foreknowledge is infallible. He cannot be mistaken."

    Are you blind or daft? You constantly ignore the points I make just so can repeat you tired old talking points that I have repeatedly addressed for you. It is this tired and lazy way of thinking, this intentional self-blinding, this enforced ignorance you place on yourself that is so typical of people like you that seek to justify your own point of view in spite of the facts. You say evolution is well supprted only because you choose to ignore the evidence that contradicts it. You repeat yourself into utter futility regarding fate or free will by ignoring every point that is made that goes against what you want to to be true. You are demonstrating a complete lack of critical thinking capacity while showing a bland stubbornness that only comes from ignorance and self denial. Until you are able to actually adress the points other put forth you will continue to be unable to present convincing evidence for your point of view. Until you can adress the everywhere and everwhen nature of God you have no ability to make a fate argument. If a being exixsts in every point in time at the same time, that being has complete foreknowledge while not creating a fated situation. If all is now there is no future and there is no past. Therefore, there is no predestination. Do you posess the intellectual capacity to adress this issue or not?

    By Blogger Daniel Levesque, at 6:24 PM  

  • Daniel: Are you blind or daft? [rest of a 164 word diatribe]

    Yes, thank you for that. That really helps.

    Daniel: If all is now there is no future and there is no past. Therefore, there is no predestination.

    That may be the case for God, but it isn’t for us. From our point of view, time proceeds linearly. For us, there is a past, present and future so knowledge of events in our future is foreknowledge. If our future choices are already known as having been made then, from our point of view, we have no free will. Just answer this one question.

    If I have two choices, A and B, and God knows I will choose A, is it possible for me to choose B? Yes or no?

    If you answer ‘no’ to this question then we have no free will. If you answer ‘yes’ to this question then God is not infallible because I will choose B, thus rendering his knowledge imperfect.

    I’d like a second opinion on this because it seems to be just you and me discussing it. I can understand why Rebekah, Mary-Ann, Gayle and others don’t enter into the scientific discussion because they’ve admitted they know little about science and the natural world, but why are you all silent on this. Surely this forms part of your basic beliefs. How would you answer the question above? How does your answer fit with your beliefs?

    By Anonymous cjb, at 8:03 PM  

  • Can't help you there cjb as I don't subscribe to that kind of belief system. Where are those God-Botherers when you need them? :-)

    By Blogger DanProject76, at 12:43 PM  

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