REPLY #29b 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 second 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.
QUESTION(S) REMAINING UNANSWERED
Since you choose to advance the logical fallacy of demanding proof of
non-existence rather than presenting any evidence of your own, I can safely
conclude that you have no such evidence to present. As a parallel example,
if you choose to advance the positive existential claim that a boogeyman is
hiding under your bed, the burden of proof is on you to support that claim.
You can't support it merely by saying that a skeptic can't prove that the
boogeyman *isn't* there. Therefore, if you choose to claim that the Hebrews
believed in something real, the burden of proof is on you to produce the
relevant facts in support of that claim. Until then, the skeptical position
is the stronger of the two.
- "Oh, really? Which "historians" are these [who dismiss the fact that Hebrew
mythology is derivative of the prevailing contemporary beliefs of the time]?
Can you refer me to any of their books? If you are correct, this would
certainly be a revolution in historical scholarship."
- RE: No evidence whatsoever to support any notion that the Hebrew beliefs are
*not* pure mythology.
Why not answer it with specific facts that would demonstrate that it is
incorrect? After all, showing just one such fact would prove me to be wrong.
Are you up to it?"
(R) First, your comparison of Hebraic monotheism and boogeymen is about as
ignorant and foolish as one can get.
(MB) That wasn't what I said (as can be seen above). What I said was that
positive existential claims about the reality of the Hebrews' version of
monotheism and the reality of a boogeyman under one's bed are comparable and
require shouldering the same burden of proof before they can be logically
(R) However, *any* claim is a positive claim. A positive claim is simply a
claim that affirms something.
(MB) You have forgotten the word "existential" and that is a critical omission.
A positive existential claim is a claim that affirms the existence of something.
As such, it is not the same thing as a claim that simply affirms something. For
example, to say "Blue is my favorite color" is to affirm something, but it is
not an existential claim.
(R) To say that a boogey man does not exist, you are affirming something,
therefore, you are making a positive claim.
(MB) I can see that you need to read up on basic logic, as well. Your example
is not an example of a positive claim or of an affirmation. It is an example of
a negative existential claim and is a denial of an proposition. If this was a
subject of formal debate, your example proposition would be stated as follows:
"RESOLVED: A boogeyman exists under my bed." The side advancing the proposition
(the affirmant) has the responsibility to provide evidence and argument in
support of the proposition. The opposing side rebuts the arguments presented in
support of the proposition. The affirmant bears the burden of proof. If he
fails to do so, the point must be conceded.
(R) In order to prove that Hebraic monotheism is mythology, you'd have to
somehow prove that their God does not exist, and therefore, is a myth.
(MB) Nope. The positive existential claim is "The God of Hebraic monotheism
exists". This proposition bears the burden of proof and the denial does not.
You, as the affirmant, must provide evidence in support of the proposition.
Upon such presentation, it will then be my responsibility to rebut the provided
evidence. If no evidence is presented, no rebuttal is necessary and the point
must be conceded. Are you up to it?
(R) Remember, to call it "mythology" is a positive claim, so you must be able to
(MB) Nope. The label "mythology" applies to a story (usually with supernatural
overtones) for which there is a claim of truth but for which there is no
supporting evidence. As such, to call such a story "mythology" is to deny a
positive existential claim that has not successfully borne the burden of proof.
Once again, the onus is on the affirmant -- and that's you. If you are certain
that the story is true, then there must be adundant and compelling evidence to
support it and you should have no trouble presenting at least some of
Why else try to support it by emphasizing that Hebrew beliefs are 4000
(R) You are the one who brought up the 4,000 years-old attribute. I never used
this age as an argument.
(MB) Yes, you did. Your statement can be found in Reply #27a. Do you now wish
to retract this statement?
ANSWER(S) REMAINING UNQUESTIONED
So, where are the details? If you're so sure that evolution is wrong,
there must be *some* details around to support that notion.
QUESTION(S) REMAINING UNANSWERED
- "Science reaches conclusions by examining the available evidence. Religion
starts with the conclusions it desires and cares little for whether or not there
is any evidence to support them. These are not "blanket stigmas". They are,
respectively, short definitons of the scientific method and blind faith. Please
support (in detail) your assertions that neither science nor religion works in
- "You claimed: "There are instances of this stigmata in only isolated cases" and
I asked you to detail some of those cases. No details have yet been
(R) There are plenty of details. I just disagree with you and other Darwinists
that are so blind and arrogant that they reject the obvious problems
presented by credible scientists such as Denton, and Behe.
(MB) I've already provided the links through which you can find critical
examination of the flaws in Denton's and Behe's books. These are not a simple
rejection of the arguments in those books -- as you do when you just dismiss
things as being "psycho-babble" without any details of your objections or when
you call people "blind and arrogant" without detailing what's actually wrong
with their refutations.
It should also be noted that you have, once again, claimed that there are
"plenty of details" which show evolution to be wrong without presenting even one
of them for examination. Need I even mention that you're still basing this
claim upon an inaccurate understanding of what the word "evolution"
(R) Also, those reviews of their books didn't even discuss many of the more
substantive issues that they raised against evolution.
(MB) Do you have a few examples of these "substantive
(R) Did you even read those books or do you just read the reviews?
(MB) I've read Denton's book, but not Behe's. However, I'm very familiar with
Behe's "irreducible complexity" argument.
QUESTION(S) REMAINING UNANSWERED
The worth of a theory is not determined by who advances it, but by the quality
of the scholarship that goes into producing it. Creationists are ostracized
since they have never provided so much as one single argument against evolution
or in favor of the religious alternative that has ever withstood scrutiny
despite several decades of intensive efforts, yet they continue to hang onto all
of their arguments as if they were bedrock facts.
- "What sort of evidence would satisfy your standards? Why is it that you don't
apply the same rigorous standards to your own beliefs?"
(R) In that case, I disagree with your opinion that their research is not
(MB) Why? What have Creationists ever produced in favor of their own religious
alternative to evolution that has withstood scrutiny?
Of course, you won't have anything upon which to refute the arguments
against the Creationists' alternative ideas and will simply fall back upon
calling such arguments "psycho-babble", right?
(R) I reject much of the evolutionary theoretical psycho-babble you
present as disproof for their contentions.
(MB) Gee, imagine that. Of course, you can't provide any details about any of
these arguments and why you simply reject them? So, you'll just simply blow
them all off and demand more, right?
(R) If you have some other type of disproof, I'll consider it.
(MB) I guess I'm right again, eh? Why don't you present some specific
Creationist evidence in favor of their religious alternative to religion? Until
you do so, you haven't even begun to satisfy the burden of proof and there's
nothing to be refuted.
Congratulations on getting away. I'm curious, however, as to how the
JWs can be labeled as "pseudo-Christian". Could you explain?
(R) Thanks. The JW's are pseudo-Christian because they have a different
Jesus and a different gospel from the ones presented in the Bible.
(MB) This is interesting. How are their Jesus and their gospel different? Why
are the JWs ideas wrong and yours right?
The concept of Adam and Eve has nothing whatsoever to do with
evolution in either its secular or theistic versions. In addition, since
Jesus never mentions Adam or Eve by name at any point in any of the
Gospels, how can you find any contradiction?
(R) Oh really? Adam and Eve have *everything* to do with evolution in
(MB) How does that work? What do you claim that "evolution" means in theistic
terms and why is it different from "evolution" in scientific terms?
(R) If Adam and Eve were not "created from the dust," then the "*God* who
created man from dust" cannot exist.
(MB) I agree completely. This is another proposition for which you bear the
burden of proof. To successfully do so, you will need to show three things:
(1) Dust contains all essential elements necessary to create a human being.
(2) A force or process exists which can create human beings from dust.
(3) Given (1) and (2), it was the Christian God who created human beings from
(R) Jesus referred to this God all the time throughout all the gospels. If that
God did not exist, then Jesus was a false teacher.
(MB) Quite true. Therefore, God's existence will need to be proven in addition
to the three things listed above in order to make a further claim that Jesus'
teachings about God can be trusted. This may also beg two further questions
about whether or not Jesus actually existed and whether or not the accounts in
the New Testament are accurate.
You are fond of putting evolution down for supposedly being based upon
little more than assumptions. Yet, the preceding paragraphs show that there are
at least seven assumptions that must be accepted in order to affirm a single
proposition of your religious beliefs concerning the creation of Man. For your
arguments to be consistent, you must reject the religious belief as thoroughly
as you reject evolution.
(R) So theistic evolution flies in the face of the teachings of Jesus. So a
theistic evolutionist who is also a "Christian," is a contradiction in
(MB) This statement depends on a flawed definition of theistic evolution and on
the aforementioned series of unsupported assumptions.
So, what caused your conversion to Christianity? Certainly, there's no
empirical evidence to support its doctrines.
(R) Actually it was empirical facts. Facts that stem from archeology, Hebrew
history, manuscript evidences for the Bible, evidence of predictive
prophecy, the science of statistical probability, legal evidences, among
(MB) You said almost exactly the same thing once before and didn't provide any
examples when asked for them. Perhaps you'll do better this time. Please
provide at least one example of an empirical fact from each of the categories
you listed (including ones falling under "among many more") along with the
details of how they support Christian doctrine.
QUESTION(S) REMAINING UNANSWERED
I think you've missed a show-stopper of a point here. Let's assume
that evolution is conclusively disproved and that the Christian God is
accepted as the reason why everything is the way it is.
- "I think you need to define and support "true Christian" and explain why the
Pope may not qualify."
(R) There's the false premise right there. Everything the way it is now is
not the result of God's moral or valitional action.
(MB) Please give examples of things that came to be the way they are without
being the results of God's actions. While attempting to do so, please remember
that nothing can be any other way than how God wants it to be if God exists and
is all-powerful and all-knowing.
(R) The premise of my point was that God's creative "method" was not
(MB) Noted. Then, what was it? And, why does all the available evidence point
to a "creative method" that most certainly *looks* like evolution? In fact, if
a perfect God created everything, why would anything even similar to evolution
exist at all?
What will have changed on Earth? Won't living things still die? Won't
they still use each other for food? Won't the strong still survive longer
while the weak die sooner? Won't snakes still kill their prey by such cruel
methods as constriction and poisoning? Won't lions still kill their prey by
burying their teeth into their victim's neck and hanging on until it slowly
asphyxiates or bleeds to death? Won't humans still suffer from all make and
manner of diseases and depredations caused by precisely-adapted microbes
and other small creatures?
(R) In the Christian world-view, all of these things are not the product of
God's creative method, but rather, the result of the curse that God
pronounced on Adam's home as a result of his disobedience. God's creative
method was not natural.
(MB) The answers to my questions do not depend on any given method you might
care to advance. If God is responsible for life on planet Earth, then
everything about those living beings is God's doing.
According to Genesis, the only living creatures that were cursed by God were
humans and the serpent. So, how does your attempted argument apply to any other
living things? If the terrible things I listed above are a result of God
pronouncing a curse, then they are God's will. It cannot be denied that all of
those terrible things certainly exist no matter how they came to be. If
evolution doesn't exist and if all these things come from God's will, then it is
God himself who is (using your previous description of evolution) "bloody,
cruel, nasty and downright evil". It is God's will that creatures be "terminated
cruelly and then replaced". It is God's will that life is "ruled by death,
extinction, and obsolescence". Therefore, to paraphrase your previous
conclusion, "if one wants to believe in God; fine, just don't blame evolution
The only "facts" upon which Christianity is built are the stories
written in the Bible. There is no physical or extra-Biblical evidence to
support any part of Christian dogma. Please give examples of what you think
*does* support the existence and divinity of Jesus. Quoting the Bible is
not sufficient as that would be using circular reasoning.
(R) Extra-biblical sources that support Christianity do exist. For example,
the writings of historians such as Josephus, Irenaeous of Lyons, and
Erasimus all provide information which confirms the reliability of the
historical accounts upon which Christian doctrine has been formed.
(MB) This is a common claim of apologists, but none have ever been able to
produce the actual support that they claim from these authors. Can you do
better? Please give detailed examples of how each of those authors confirms the
historical accounts which support Christian doctrine.
(R) In order for you to tell me I can't quote from the Bible to support an event
it claimed occurred, you'd have to show how and why the Bible fails as a
reliable source of the events it contains. In one sentence: the support for
Jesus' divinity lies in the immutable fact of his resurrection.
(MB) You've just given a shining example of how the Biblical accounts can't be
trusted. In fact, there is a standing prize of $1,000 for anybody who can
harmonize all four Gospel accounts of the resurrection into a consistent and
coherent chronology and accounting of the events associated with the purported
resurrection of Jesus. Can you accomplish this? If not, it will be a clear
demonstration of where the Bible fails as a reliable source of information for
even something so important as a major point of Christianity. Then, we could go
from there to the well-known problems with the genealogy of Jesus as given in
the contradictory and erroneous accounts of Matthew and Luke. These fail so
utterly that Jesus cannot even be said to qualify as the Messiah under Jewish
Finally, what's so special about the resurrection? Jesus was not the only
person to have been recorded as rising from the dead -- even if we accept the
ludicrous idea that a divine Jesus could have "died" at all.
ANSWER(S) REMAINING UNQUESTIONED
How? All you've done is copy selected excerpts from a Creationist web
site. How do you check the validity of those excerpts?
- "At this point, I provided the first of several examples documenting Creationist
misquoting and other intellectual chicanery. Since none of these examples have
been challenged, it is safe to assume that any further anti-evolution
"quotations" will be equally suspect."
(R) Thats not all I have done. I have researched this issue for a while
(MB) Oh? Approximately how long is a "while"?
(R) ...and have made many trips to libraries, bookstores, and museums to
formulate my beliefs. I could care less if you believe this or not. I don't
feel compelled to constantly convince you of my personal investment into these
(MB) It's not a matter of what you claim or what I believe. The only evidence
that can be used to make a judgment is what you say here. The only things you
should feel compelled to do is to present any details that are requested in
support of your arguments and to answer the questions that have been asked of
you. So far, this has been so poorly addressed that the only judgment that one
could likely arrive at concerning your position would be an unfavorable
If so, then why do you set limits as to how far that this variation
can go or on what it could eventually produce? And, this still wouldn't
explain why there are so many extinct species that are only known from the
fossil record and why there are so many current species for which there are
either no fossils at all or for which the only fossil examples are very
young. If evolution didn't cause this, then you are going to have to
support the notion of there having been multiple creation events.
(R) (See earlier response about genetical variation)
(MB) I did. All it says is "variation has limits". It doesn't say *why* or
what those limits are. It also doesn't address the other shortcomings I pointed
out above. Can you rectify this?
QUESTION(S) REMAINING UNANSWERED
Let me suggest a couple of places where you could start. First, please
define "life" and how "living matter" differs from "dead matter". I would
also be interested in your explanation of the difference between "dead
matter" and "abiotic matter" as well as the difference between "abiotic"
matter and "biotic" matter.
- "To dispute this [the chain of natural events that leads to living organisms],
you will have to attack each link in the chain and show precisely why it could
not occur. How will you succeed in doing this when the arguments you will copy
off that Creationist web site have already failed?"
(R) Life: The quality that distinguishes living organisms from dead organisms
and *inanimate matter,* manifested in functions such as metabolism, growth,
reproduction, and response to stimuli.
(MB) That's not sufficient as it fails to state just what that "quality" is.
You've listed some effects, but they are neither sufficient nor exclusive to
living organisms. For example, crystals certainly grow but are most certainly
not "alive". Fire behaves in ways that are very similar to metabolism and
reproduction, but it is not "alive", either. Finally, almost anything (whether
"living", "dead", or "inanimate") will respond to external stimuli of various
(R) Living matter: Matter that possesses the quality of life.
Dead matter: Matter that does not possess the quality of life.
(MB) These are derivative from your inadequate definition of "life". Until that
problem is cleared up, the difference between "living" and "dead" matter will
remain unclear. Furthermore, by these definitions, wouldn't "inanimate" matter
be the same as "dead" matter?
(R) (I think the difference between abiotic and biotic matter is self-evident by
(MB) The exact opposite is actually the case. The only way they could be
self-evident is if "abiotic" and "biotic" are circularly defined in terms of
each other. Clearly, that would be insufficient.