REPLY #28c TO
"EVOLUTION VS. CREATIONISM"
are parts of the original essay (or a subsequent reply) to which the respondent has directed his comments.
prefaced by (R) are those of the respondent and are presented unedited.
My replies appear under the respondent's comments in blue text
and are prefaced by my initials (MB)
This is the third of a five-part reply. Select the "Go to next reply" link at the end of each part to read the next part of the reply.
Religion's "philosophical dogma" is that Man is the pinnacle of creation. Clearly, this is not so.
(R) What? You changed the subject again. We are not talking about religion. We are talking about evolution.
(MB) Indeed, we are. But, since you have brushed aside the evolutionary scenario, I can only assume that you support the competing alternative. Therefore, it is valid to bring it up. If you support neither evolution's view nor religion's view, just what *do* you support?
So long as it continues to be a statement whose truth is unquestioned by thinking people, I will continue to state it. Given the incredible amount of solid evidence which supports evolution, it will take a monumental disproof to tear it down.
(R) I agree - In order for the ceasing of a scientific paradigm, there must be a massive amount of evidence. I am a "thinking person" and I *do* question it. (And I'm certainly not the only one)
(MB) Your main difficulty is that all you *do* is question it. You don't show any understanding of it and you don't offer any alternative ideas. This is not the stuff that will provide any part of the evidence that will be required to undo evolutionary theory.
At best, Creationists might be able to make small dents in one or more of the numerous mechanics that are a part of the overall theory, but they haven't even managed that so far after nearly four decades of intensive efforts. What chance can they possibly have of uprooting the entire theory?
(R) The paradigm of evolution will die out. It will eventually be replaced by a better theory. Whether this happens in a few years or a few decades, no one knows.
(MB) Considering that no theory in the history of science which has even approached the level of supporting evidence enjoyed by evolution has ever died out or been replaced, on what basis do you predict this fate for evolution? What will replace it if it is overturned? Why do you predict that this will happen shortly?
(R) Scientific paradigms come and go, and in a couple hundred years, the 20th century will be know as the century of naturalism and materialism; when science was in its dark ages of believing man came from monkeys.
(MB) The only "dark ages" we have ever endured have been the periods when religion ran the show. As a result, we are at least 1000 years behind where our technological and scientific knowledge would otherwise be. I'd say that history will look back at the decline of religion in the 20th century as the beginning of our greatest period of advancement and will look back on Creationists as little more than a speed bump in the path of that progress. Perhaps you'd like to
[read a scholarly paper on Creationist objections to naturalism]
Oh, by the way, science has never believed that man came from monkeys. Science says that man and monkeys diverged separately from a common ancestor.
The subject was not changed. I was only taking your earlier criticism of evolution and showing how it more properly applies to the religious dogma of Creationism. I notice that you didn't deny that.
(R) Yes, but I was not talking about religion. I don't know why you keep bringing it up and changing the subject. I want to talk about evolution.
(MB) Since the title of my essay and of this debate section is "Evolution vs. Creationism", both subjects are fair game. The only time a subject has being changed is when you bring up such things as questions of origins which fall outside the scope of evolution.
Why must I believe that? Why put "science" in quotes? I'm assuming that your definition of "science" (should you offer one) will answer that question. Certainly, you can't denigrate the entire discipline in one fell swoop, can you?
(R) What are you talking about? Am I "denigrating science in one fell swoop" simply because I put it in quotes? I already gave you my defintion of science in a previous response. You don't have to believe it if you don't want to. You can choose to be naive.
(MB) *snicker* You give an insufficient, four-word definition for science and call *me* "naive". Oh, well...
Perhaps, you can answer the original question for me. Why can't humans be involved in science if science is an objective system?
After all, it is science that has provided you with the computer you are using to debate me. It works, doesn't it? Therefore, the methods employed by science must be sound.
(R) The science that built this computer was based on empiricism and mathematics. Empiricism and mathematics have created the age of technology. Evolution is based on philosophy and theoretical assumption. There is a big difference. But nice try.
(MB) Evolution, like any scientific theory, is *much* more than philosophy and assumption. I know you won't like this, but it is the alternative posited by Creationists that is devoid of empiricism and mathematics. Why do you think that they are so reluctant to defend their own ideas and concentrate almost entirely on attacking evolution?
This begs a question about what other beasts walking the earth are philosophical.
(R) Okay, I'll rephrase it. - Man is a philosophical beast by nature.
(MB) Why would you say that? Philosophy is a rather recent innovation of Man.
Why not? And, why is this important (or even relevant)? Putting two and two together and getting "four" as the answer is not philosophy.
(R) Yeah you're right, its not. Its mathematics! Were we talking about mathematics? I thought we were talking about evolution?
(MB) We are. And, evolution puts two and two together to get four. In other words, it combines available data to reach proper conclusions -- as does any science.
As I said previously, science puts facts together to reach conclusions. Religion starts with the conclusions and invents "facts" to fit them.
(R) Evolutionists start with conclusions and invent "theories" to fit them.
(MB) Please give an example or three to illustrate this.
(R) Why do you keep bringing up Religion?
(MB) Because it's the other side of the story under debate and is the side which you support.
Please give an example or three of "philosophical biases" and historical examples of how they negate the proper interpretation of empirical evidence.
(R) It is a philosophy that nothing exists but nature.
(MB) If there is no evidence of anything else, why would such a claim be considered to be nothing more than philosophy?
(R) Upon that philosophical assumption, it follows that everything must have a naturalistic explanation. This is the basis of evolutionary theory and its pure philosophy.
(MB) By that logic, you must consider almost every branch of science to be nothing more than philosophy since there are no branches of science which postulate anything other than naturalistic explanations for what we observe. If this is what you believe, then you are doing what you previously denied -- you are attempting to denigrate the whole of science.
No, the history of such hoaxes as Piltdown Man shows how science is a
self-policing discipline which never rests on theories but continually
tests them to ensure that they are sound.
(R) Here again is your characterization of science as a "self-policing discipline," as if it were an inhuman, mechanical system.
(MB) This demonstrates a poor understanding of the scientific method. While facts are facts regardless of who is interpreting them, the methodology of science is to continuously subject its findings to scrutiny and testing. This ensures that mistakes will be uncovered and that theories which continue to survive will get stronger.
(R) The fact that these hoaxes survived so long before they were exposed demonstrates that the science world is less skeptical of discoveries that confirm what scientists want to believe.
(MB) The hoax of Piltdown Man survived only until additional evidence was uncovered in the same area that brought the original into question. Sure, scientists *wanted* to believe that Piltdown Man was genuine. But, no theory is safe from scrutiny and none is so cherished that it couldn't fall victim to disproof at any time. Certainly, Creationists don't apply the same standards to their own notions.
The important thing is that the theories of science are constantly being tested and that the mistakes are corrected when discovered. This is the major failing of religion dogma. It considers doubt and skepticism to be sins and will hang on to the most ridiculous nonsense for centuries after it has been proven conclusively wrong.
(R) Here you bring up religion again. You must really be hung up on it!
(MB) Why are you so afraid of it? Even though you believe in it, why do you not want to discuss or support it in the context of this debate?
(R) First, skepticism and doubt are not sins mention in the Bible.
(MB) Isn't it a sin not to believe in God? The Bible also contains many verses which denigrate any attitude other than pure faith.
(R) What "ridiculous nonsense" has been hung on to for centuries after it has been proven wrong?
(MB) For example, how long did Christians continue to believe that the Earth was flat after the ancient Greeks had proven otherwise? How about the creation tales and Flood story of Genesis? Perhaps you'd like to join my Religion debate and get more into detail on these and other related matters.
Now, let's consider all the school children who have been deceived by the depredations of religious education or the attempts of Creationists to force their views into the classroom. Is this OK by you?
(R) I don't want my children being endoctrinated with naturalistic philosophy and taught pseudo-scientific theories such as evolution in the classroom.
(MB) On the other hand, you see no problem with them being taught supernatural garbage like Creationism and being indoctrinated with Christian dogma?
(R) My tax-dollars fund public education so I should have a say in what is taught.
(MB) As should we all. However, that "say" should be informed and intelligent rather than emotional and dogmatic.
(R) I think the Creation model of origins should get equal time with evolution, and let the kids make up their own minds.
(MB) Ah, yes, the famous "equal time" whine. Since Creationism is clearly not science (as determined by the Supreme Court), why should it get equal time (or *any* time) in a science classroom? Should we also introduce every other piece of pseudoscientific or paranormal nonsense that opposes science? Finally, do you believe in "equal time" to the point where you would willingly invite scientists, atheists, and the clergy of other religions into your church to get equal time with the clergy in the interest of letting the congregation hear all sides in order to make up their own minds?
Unfortunately for your argument, your doubts are completely unsupported by any facts.
(R) My doubts are supported by a great deal of facts.
(MB) Then, why not present some of them?
Do you have similar doubts about the ideas posited by your religion?
(R) What? Religion again?!? Anyway, I don't have a "religion," since the word "relgion" simply means "ritual."
(MB) Wrong. A religion is a system of belief in a divine or supernatural entity. Religion normally includes rituals, but it is much more.
(R) Christianity is a way of life, not a ritual, but yes, I did have doubts but they all have been answered through my research and study.
(MB) Just what did you research and study to answer all of your doubts?
History strongly supports that Man created God in his own image and likeness and not vice-versa.
(R) Wrong. History strongly supports the existence of the God of Christian theism.
(MB) How does it do this? What extra-Biblical historical reference is there that provides evidence for the existence of God? For that matter, what in the Bible provides evidence for it? What about the history of the Egyptians, Indians, and Chinese (among many others) that include references to many different gods -- none of which are the one that you worship? Finally, are you claiming Yahweh for the Christians and discarding the claims of the Jews and Muslims?
It also supports that Man has done so hundreds of times in many mutually-exclusive variations -- all of which are claimed to be the "one true way" by their adherents and none of which have the first bit of evidence to support them. It would seem reasonable to conclude that a convoluted series of unsupported fairy tales that have been ongoing since before Man even began to write them down would qualify as the biggest hoax of all time.
(R) You are simply making an argument against theism in general. So are you saying that "GOD" is the biggest hoax of all time?
(MB) That's about the size of it. What else would you consider a story that has been repeated in numerous incompatible versions and which has hoodwinked billions of people for thousands of years?
(R) If so, show me some empirical evidence that God was not creating the universe 10 billion years ago.
(MB) Again, you're committing the twin logical fallacies of asking for proof of non-existence of a being that has not been shown to exist at all. But, I'm a fair man. I'll provide the evidence you want if you can first provide empirical evidence that no other entity was responsible for the creation of the universe.
(R) Show me some empirical evidence that the big bang produced a life-permitting universe when the odds were 1 to 10 billion to the 124th power.
(MB) OK, as soon as you can demonstrate how the Big Bang is a part of the theory of evolution and how you computed those ridiculous odds.
(R) Show me that multi-dimensional realities do not exist.
(MB) They *do* exist. After all, we live in a reality with four macroscopic dimensions (length, width, depth, time), don't we?
(R) Show me how polymers could turn into protobiont.
(MB) Perhaps you need to
[read this info one more time]
(R) Show me how a mindless, irrational, illogical, and unconscious universe could have produced beings with minds, rationality, logic, and consciousness.
(MB) Since everything in the universe is made of the same component elements and since Man contains nothing other than those elements, why couldn't the universe produce Man? Maybe you'd like to check out the following paper:
[Turning a Corner in the Search for the Origin of Life]
(R) If you can do all these, I will agree that God is the biggest hoax.
(MB) OK, so you're on my side now, eh? Needless to say, I suspect you'll find some other reason(s) to hang on to what you want to believe.
(R) I think the idea that God is the biggest hoax is itself, the biggest hoax.
(MB) I suppose I should feel honored to have advanced the "biggest hoax of all time" in just one sentence. But, I'm afraid I'll have to defer to some ancient Hebrew shepherds.
A fossil *is* "the past".
(R) Yes, but the fossil exists independently of your interpretation of it.
(MB) Exactly. It also exists independently of *your* interpretation of it. The key here is that it *exists*. Because it exists, it constitutes evidence.
So is a sample of geologic strata which was laid down millions or billions of years ago.
(R) The geological stata exist independently of your partitioning and interpretation of them.
(MB) See above...
So is the light from any star in the sky.
(R) What does starlight have to do with anything?
(MB) The current point is whether or not we have anything from the past that can be tested. You suggested that we do not. I'm proving otherwise.
Also, we can also test and observe the effects of evolution in the present by examining its effects on small organisms which reproduce and evolve over short time scales.
(R) What, like viruses and bacteria?
(MB) Yep. Is there some problem with using bacteria for testing purposes?
No, that's the snake oil mathematics of the ICR's Henry Morris which was popularized by Fred Hoyle and which has already been discussed at length in other postings on this site (use my search engine to look up "Hoyle" or "747"). Briefly, Morris conveniently ignores the fact that organic compounds are self-assembling, do not form one at a time and do not form at random.
(R) What organic compounds are you talking about? RNA? DNA? Proteinoids? Amino acids or amino acid chains?
(MB) I see you don't know what an organic compound is, either. Simply stated, an organic compound is a carbon compound. They are self-assembling because of the unique associative properties of the carbon atom. Basic chemistry shows how this works. In addition, here's another paper for you to read:
[Self-Reproducing Molecules Reported by MIT Researchers]
Then he leaps to a howler of a comparison between living creatures and an inorganic airplane whose parts do not self-assemble. In addition, your argument is one that does not concern evolution directly. Evolution is not a theory of origins. It is a theory of how life on Earth has developed and diversified *after* it first appeared.
(R) Unless it can be explained how life appeared, evolution is a meaningless
(MB) If you continue to insist that evolution is a theory of origins, you only demonstrate further ignorance about it. Demanding that evolution explain things outside of its scope is a common Creationist tactic, but it makes no logical sense.
(R) If this doesn't concern evolution, then please tell me what a "Prebiotic Evolutionist" is?
(MB) A "prebiotic evolutionist" would be somebody who studies developments prior to the appearance and evolution of life. Hence, the name. It should be obvious that there could be no evolution in the Darwinian sense before life first appeared.
Oh? What chemical reactions are these and how would they cause this unsuitability?
(R) The Acyl transferase and Ribozyme-Nucleotide chemical parts between Nucleotide and amino acids, negate eachother when mixed together, thus, chemical reactions would occur during any kind of a RNA or DNA synthesis, yet, all of these components are *required* for RNA or DNA synthesis.
(MB) Perhaps you would care to use the link below to read a paper which should clear up your misconceptions.
[Experimental Testing of Theories of an Early RNA World]
Again, any questions about "prebiotic soup" are questions of origins and not ones about evolution. Other subjects commonly brought up by Creationists which have nothing to do with evolution are the Big Bang, the creation of the universe, and the existence of God.
(R) Those arguments don't directly related to evolution but they do *indirectly* relate to evolution because the Big Bang, the creation of the universe, and the existence of God are antithetical to the philosophy of naturalism. Naturalism is the philosophy of evolution.
(MB) This is nothing but desperate and incoherent rambling. I would agree that the existence of God is antithetical to naturalism, but how would the Big Bang qualify? Isn't that theorized to be a purely natural process? Also, you'll have to say which "creation of the universe" theory you are referring to. Finally, whatever the "philosophy of evolution" might be, it makes no difference as concerns whether or not the mechanics of evolution theory are right or wrong.
As to your "indirect" relationships, they are exclusively one-way. The Big Bang, for example, leads to evolution and not the other way around.
Therefore, it is not logical to demand that evolution explain the Big Bang.
[More reading on evolution and philosophy]
I'm sure you would contest it. However, I notice that you haven't yet offered up any of this evidence. Could this be because I was right and that there is none to offer?
(R) No, you are incorrect. There is a great deal of evidence that supports the creation model of origins. I have a library of books on these evidences. Do you expect me to email you my library?
(MB) No, I expect that you will actually start to deliver up some of this so-called "evidence of the creation model". In an earlier comment, you said that you didn't own any Creationist books. Now, you say you have a whole library of them. Which is the true story?
Translation: "We Creationists don't have any idea what science says, but we know that we don't like it. We also know that we can't support our own ideas, so we'll try to hide that fact by concentrating on nitpicking at science and hope nobody notices."
(R) That was actually a quite insulting mistranslation.
(MB) Since I've demonstrated the accuracy of what I said, how can this be any sort of mistranslation? You haven't shown any grasp of what science actually tells us, but you've repeatedly said that you disagree with it. You haven't even begun to support (or even advance) your own ideas and have concentrated solely on chipping away at random pieces of science. You get upset whenever the religious alternative is brought up. How have I mistranslated you in any way? If it's the truth, it can't be an insult.