Flunk This Movie!

Ben Stein's Expelled is all worldview and no evidence.

“This is not a religious argument,” Discovery Institute President Bruce Chapman asserts in the new anti-evolution propaganda movie, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. Yet the film is free of scientific content: It gives no scientific evidence against biological evolution and none for “intelligent design.” Instead, host Ben Stein spends most of the movie asking various proponents of evolutionary theory for their religious views.

The film begins with moody shots of Stein backstage before he addresses an unidentified audience on the alleged suppression of scientific research in the name of Darwinian orthodoxy. Stein stalks onstage and suggests that we are losing our scientific freedom.

As evidence, Stein trots out a small parade of martyrs. In 2004, Richard Sternberg, then editor of Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, published an article by Stephen Meyer arguing that the “Cambrian explosion” 570 to 530 million years ago in which most of the body types of animals developed was evidence for intelligent design.

Many of Sternberg’s colleagues reacted with dismay, and the journal retracted the article. In the film, Sternberg says he lost his office at the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History, was pressured to resign, and had his religious and political beliefs questioned. Yet he still has office space in the museum and has been reappointed for three more years. True, some of his colleagues might not want to hang out with him anymore. But that is a far cry from the grim black-and-white shots of Soviet armies and concentration camps featured in the film.

In 2005, George Mason University did not renew a teaching contract with Caroline Crocker, an adjunct biology lecturer who believes in intelligent design. She tells Stein that she only wanted to teach students to question scientific orthodoxies: “I was only trying to teach what the university stands for—academic freedom.” Since George Mason let her go, she says, she can no longer find work.

Interestingly, Crocker delivered the same offending lecture at a local community college later. It didn’t turn out to be a “balanced” presentation of evidence for and against biological evolution. Why not? “There really is not a lot of evidence for evolution,” she says.

An assistant professor of astronomy, Guillermo Gonzalez, was denied tenure at Iowa State University in 2007. In 2004 Gonzalez co-wrote The Privileged Planet, which argues the Earth was precisely positioned to enable researchers like him to make scientific measurements. An Iowa State colleague, Hector Avalos, neatly skewers this conceit: “This rationale is analogous to a plumber arguing that if our planet had not been positioned precisely where it is, then he might not be able to do his work as a plumber. Lead pipes might melt if the Sun were much closer. And, if our planet were any farther from the Sun, it might be so frozen that plumbers might not exist at all. Therefore, plumbing must have been the reason that our planet was located where it is.”

Did Gonzalez fail to get tenure because of his views? The university denies it, but my guess is he did. On the evidence of The Privileged Planet, Guillermo’s colleagues could reasonably worry that his views weren’t likely to lead to fruitful research results.

The most egregious part of the movie is the attempt to link evolution with Communism and Nazism. The claim that Communism was motivated by Darwin is just silly. Official Soviet biological doctrine was Lysenkoism, and Russian Darwinists were denounced as “Trotskyite agents of international fascism” and thrown into the Gulag for their scientific sins.

And Nazism? In the film, the mathematician David Berlinski says, “Darwinism is not a sufficient condition for a phenomenon like Nazism, but I think it was a necessary one.” Berlinski is suggesting that scientific materialism undermines the notion that human beings occupy a special place in the universe. If humans aren’t special, goes this line of thinking, then morals don’t apply.

But people through the millennia have found all sorts of justifications for murdering each other, including plunder, nationalism, and, yes, religion. Meanwhile, insights from evolutionary psychology are helping us understand how our in-group/out-group dynamics contribute to our disturbing capacity for racism, xenophobia, genocide, and warfare. The field also offers new ideas about how human morality developed, including our capacities for cooperation, love, and tolerance.

At one point in the film, the science studies gadfly Steve Fuller archly poses the question: Which comes first, worldview or evidence? Fuller aims his question at the proponents of evolutionary biology. As this dreary film itself makes it painfully clear, the question is far more relevant to the supporters of intelligent design.

Ronald Bailey is reason’s science correspondent.

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  • Sam Grove||

    If I were into intellectual torture, I would watch this 'documentary'.

  • ||

    I'm glad thoreau took some of his money.

  • ||

    I enjoyed Ben Stein's career as an actor/entertainer. But this is one of those WTF? things. Like finding out someone you once respected is a Scientologist. You'll never be able to listen to another word they say without thinking "just shut up you raving idiot".

  • ||

    As much as I agree that Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed is intellectually dishonest garbage... and as much as I feel that Ben Stein is a jackass who props up a sad group of moronic losers as martyrs to Intelligent Design...what does this article contribute?

    Everything in it was hashed and rehashed over a month ago.

  • Nick_M||

    Which comes first, worldview or evidence?

    Worldview necessarily comes first.
    Karl Popper says so.


  • Episiarch||

    Like finding out someone you once respected is a Scientologist.

    Check this out.

  • ||

    madpad,

    Has the art of the pile on really fallen so far out of favor? I, for one, am an adherent. Ask me about Eliot Spitzer sometime.

  • Ashley||

    There is no such thing as a "Darwinist," Mr Bailey (any more than there are Newtonists or Einsteinists). By echoing the tainted, imaginary vocabulary of the ID crowd, you lend them credibility.

  • Nick_M||

    There is no such thing as a "Darwinist,"

    There is a diction behind the term. Evolution is decent with modification from a common ancestor. Ben Stein himself believes in that. Darwinism is the doctrine that natural selection acts on random variation, as opposed to the possibility that the variation itself was influenced by Divine Providence.

  • Nick_M||

    There is a diction behind the term.

    I meant "distinction".

  • TallDave||

    It's sort of weird that an economist is supporting such an anti-empirical position.

  • ed||

    Ben Stein has very disturbing earlobes.

  • ||

    I think he had one, small, good point to make. The fact remains that there is no solid falsifiable theory of abiogenesis so at this point the notion that man came naturally from the primeordial ooze has as much evidence under the scientific method as Xenu planting some spores or Yahweh raising life from the void.

  • TallDave||

    Ben Stein himself believes in that. Darwinism is the doctrine that natural selection acts on random variation, as opposed to the possibility that the variation itself was influenced by Divine Providence.

    That reminds me, there's an argument that the weak anthropic principle says this might actually be true in some sense (absent divinity).

    The argument goes like this: since we necessarily can only observe the universe from the vantage point of an intelligent species, it follows that the universe we inhabit(particularly life on Earth) must have evolved in such a way as to create intelligent life, no matter how unlikely a chain of coincidences that required.

    Let's say, for instance, that so many unlikely events are required that there's only a 1 in 2 ^ trillion chance that an Earth-like planet would randomly produce intelligent life once over the course of four billion years. Since we have to be here to make any observations, we could never see a situation in our world in which they did not occur, and might not realize how unlikely they actually were without a lot of analysis.

    As evolutionary biology progresses, it will be interesting to learn just how likely or unlikely we are.

  • Nick_M||

    That reminds me, there's an argument that the weak anthropic principle says this might actually be true in some sense (absent divinity)...

    Since we have to be here to make any observations, we could never see a situation in our world in which they did not occur, and might not realize how unlikely they actually were without a lot of analysis.


    In other words, if you'll forgive me for reinserting the divinity, if us being here required a miracle. And we are here. Then there must have been a miracle.

  • the innominate one||

    Mick:

    except that you're conflating two different areas of study: origin of life and evolutionary theory.

    Darwin didn't and evolutionary biologists don't have much to do with origin of life studies. People who study origin of life are generally biochemists.

  • Colin Clout||

    Ron Bailey,

    The claim that Communism was motivated by Darwin is just silly. Official Soviet biological doctrine was Lysenkoism, and Russian Darwinists were denounced as "Trotskyite agents of international fascism" and thrown into the Gulag for their scientific sins.

    Well, the philosophical naturalism/materialism argument could be employed here as well. It thus wouldn't matter if they were persecuted.

    But people through the millennia have found all sorts of justifications for murdering each other, including plunder, nationalism, and, yes, religion.

    I don't think I've ever heard anyone argue whether the holocaust could have happened without the Book of Hebrews.

  • ||

    Having not RTFA, didn't Bailey already gut the hell out of this movie once before, or was that just for HnR folks?

    Okay, so as to avoid further embarrassment, I shall RTFA.

  • ||

    I don't think I've ever heard anyone argue whether the holocaust could have happened without the Book of Hebrews.


    Or the book of the Cathols* or whatever it is that Gypsies read for fun.

  • ||

    Crap, fat fingers...
    *Cathols = Catholics. Five HitNRunner bucks to the first person to post where the reference is from.

  • ||

    Kwix,
    lol cat bible
    Now where's my money?

  • LarryA||

    Evolution is the intelligent design.

    I don't think I've ever heard anyone argue whether the holocaust could have happened without the Book of Hebrews.

    Hitler needed a scapegoat. Had it not been Jews, then Catholics, gays, blacks, gypsies, etc. would have sufficed.

  • Sam Grove||

    I recall reading an issue of 'The Plain Truth', published by some fundamentalist group, while visiting a coin laundry. This issue featureed an article which claimed to refute biological evolution by citing the similarities between man and lower organisms.

    That's about how much sense such people tend to reveal on the subject.

  • ||

    i rtfa'd. can i have that 5 minutes back?

    john derbyshire was far more devastating.

  • ||

    "I recall reading an issue of 'The Plain Truth', published by some fundamentalist group"

    My dad used to subscribe to that. It was put out by Garner Ted Armstrong's radio Church of God. Armstrong later got in trouble with his followers when it was found out he had a homosexual relationship.

  • ||

    The documentary claimed that they were simply presenting an alternative scientific view and not a religious one. So apparently Intelligent Design is science.

    It makes one wonder, then, why Ben Stein supports it. After all, science leads you to kill people:
    http://www.crooksandliars.com/2008/05/02/ben-stein-insists-science-leads-you-to-killing-people/

  • Steve Verdon||

    Did Gonzalez fail to get tenure because of his views? The university denies it, but my guess is he did. On the evidence of The Privileged Planet, Guillermo's colleagues could reasonably worry that his views weren't likely to lead to fruitful research results.



    You forgot two other things.

    1. Gonzalez' research aside from the Priviliged Planet was very low compared to before Planet.
    2. Gonzalez brought in a mere pittiance in terms of research grants, whereas colleagues were bringing in much larger grants.

    So, why keep around a guy no longer doing research and not bringing in the big bucks? Why not go out and find a bright up-and-comer who will be willing to do both? Add on the embarassment of having an IDer on the faculty and it becomes a complete no-brainer: Toss the kook.

    The fact remains that there is no solid falsifiable theory of abiogenesis so at this point the notion that man came naturally from the primeordial ooze has as much evidence under the scientific method as Xenu planting some spores or Yahweh raising life from the void.



    Which virtually nothing to do with evolutionary theory which takes as its starting point, that there is life already on the planet. Next red herring!

    The argument goes like this: since we necessarily can only observe the universe from the vantage point of an intelligent species, it follows that the universe we inhabit(particularly life on Earth) must have evolved in such a way as to create intelligent life, no matter how unlikely a chain of coincidences that required.



    Your probabilistic reasoning is off. Try using Bayes theorem next time.

  • ||

    Stein is a conservative.

    He takes a position and looks for evidence to support said position.

    see also -

    "The Iraq War is a just war."

    "The US is a Christian nation"

    "Activist judges are overturning popular will"

    "Crude oil is up mostly because tree-huggers won't let us drill"

    "Deficits don't matter"

    "Abstinence can be taught"

    "Reagan was our greatest president and standard bearer of convservatism - although he pushed amnesty through, armed Iraq, Iran, and the Taliban but ran like a pussy when 241 US Marines were killed by Islamic terr-ists in Lebanon, and put Sandy-baby on the SCOTUS"


    Stein fits the mold to a tee!

  • ||

    But people through the millennia have found all sorts of justifications for murdering each other, including plunder, nationalism, and, yes, religion.

    I don't think I've ever heard anyone argue whether the holocaust could have happened without the Book of Hebrews.



    Have you heard the arguments over whether the Crusades were religiously motivated or were really just a land-grab?

    And to go back to the original statement, there have been plenty of people murdered for religious reasons. Look at the Salem witch trials. Look at the on-going tribal wars around the world which are fueled partly by tribalism, partly by limited resources, and partly by differences in religion.

  • the innominate one||

    see also: The Spanish Inquisition

  • Steve Verdon||

    Here is a helpful follow up to my comment about using Bayes Theorem,

    Prob(A|B) ≠ Prob(B|A) unless Prob(A) = Prob(B).

    In the case TallDave is talking about it is,

    Prob(N|E),

    where N = Naturalism (this is any non-ID explanation for how life got here), and E = existance of humans (or any intelligent life really). The problem many people make is that

    Prob(N|E) = Prob(E|N),

    Thus, since Prob(E|N) is small, so is Prob(N|E). But the hidden assumption is that this assumes Prob(E) = Prob(N) and that Prob(E) is really, really small.

    The correct formulation would be,

    Prob(N|E) = Prob(E|N)Prob(E)/Prob(N).

    Ikeda and Jeffery's go through the math on why this kind of reasoning is flawed.

    To give a brief summary of their argument:

    Variables:

    N: Naturalism--i.e. the universe is governed by naturalistic laws.

    L: That there is life in the universe.

    F: That the universe is fine tuned.

    Axiom 1:

    P(F|N&L) = 1.

    That is given that there is life, and that the universe is governed by natural laws, the probability that he universe is fine tuned is unity--i.e. this has to be true.

    Now we want to know the following,

    P(N|F&L) = P(F|N&L)P(N|L)/P(F|L)

    = P(N|L)/P(F|L)

    >= P(N|L)

    What this means is that finding out the universe is fine tuned for life supports, or at least doesn't undermine, the hypothesis that the universe is governed by natural laws. The corollary is that the fine tuning hypothesis actually neither undermines nor help the argument for a universe that is governed by more than just natural laws--i.e. a supernatural explanation for life, God if you will.

    You can go the route of aliens if you want, but eventually you will run into the issue of natural laws vs. the supernatural eventually. And IDers really don't like aliens. They want the designer to be seen as God.

  • ||

    Shrike, I'll add to Reagan's list, allowed so much pork spending that the next President had to abandon his pledge of no new taxes.

    Reagan doesn't really fit the definition of conservatisim. Maybe if we call it religous conservatisim he might fit the religous part.

  • Steve Verdon||

    Dammit,

    ...neither undermines nor help the argument for a universe that is governed by more than just natural laws--i.e. a supernatural explanation for life, God if you will.

    Should read:

    ...either undermines and does not help the argument for a universe that is governed by more than just natural laws--i.e. a supernatural explanation for life, God if you will.

    In short, the (Weak) Anthropic Principle is at best evidence in favor of naturalism, not against it, and at worst it does nothing to the hypothesis of naturalism.

  • DannyK||

    I like Terry Pratchett's Extremely Strong Anthropic Principle:
    the universe exists in order for there to be a Professor of Anthropics at the Unseen University in Discworld. Everybody else is just tagging along.

    And it's just as proable as ID!

  • ||

    The fact remains that there is no solid falsifiable theory of abiogenesis so at this point the notion that man came naturally from the primeordial ooze has as much evidence under the scientific method as Xenu planting some spores or Yahweh raising life from the void.

    There may be no falsifiable theory yet, but biochemists have come up with several competing models for abiogenisis. It's possible one or more could become a full blown theory if abiogenesis can be shown to happen in a laboratory setting. Now, even if one or more of these models prove successful to show a viable form of abiogenis, it may very well be impossible to show that any one of those was the one that actually occurred on Earth.

    Having said that, as the innominate one pointed out, natural selection is not meant to explain the origin of life anyways. So Stein's "gotchas" are silly. Even sillier considering that Stein's conclusion seems to be: Science doesn't explain abiogenisis = God did it.

  • ||

    aaron, you nailed it.

  • ||

    That is given that there is life, and that the universe is governed by natural laws, the probability that he universe is fine tuned is unity--i.e. this has to be true.

    Agreed. The math doesn't lie. BUT, shouldn't that read "the universe is tuned" as opposed to "the universe is fine tuned." Are we confident that this is the only type of universe that could generate life?

  • ||

  • Steve Verdon||

    Ikeda and Jeffery's have a follow up that looks at that question as well. They argue that such an approach would make the hypothesis for multiple universes higher (probabilistically speaking) which, once again, gives the fundies...errr, IDCers no love.

    I have to admit to a certain level of sympathy for IDCers. Everywhere they turn they run into either math/logic or scientific results that keep pointing out the utter vacuousness of their position.

  • Russell||

    I found it so strangely illuminating that I strangely illuminated it:
    http://adamant.typepad.com/seitz/2008/05/evo-devo-at-the.html

  • ||

    This is slightly off-topic, but was asked by someone on the French/Muslim/Virginity thread.

    Why did evolution produce a being with a hymen? Why would evolution do that? What's the putative benefit?

  • M2||

    "Like finding out someone you once respected is a Scientologist.

    Check this out."

    Never respected a one of them.

  • Colin Clout||

    TheOtherOne,

    ...there have been plenty of people murdered for religious reasons.

    I wasn't suggesting otherwise.

    LarryA,

    Given the longstanding treatment (or rather, mistreatment) of Jews by European Christian polities its not surprising that Jews became social pariahs in many European societies when those societies experienced anxiety over various issues associated with cultural identity, economic status, etc.

  • M2||

    "Never respected a one of them."

    Addendum:

    Though back when she first started on Dawson's creek, I'd have been willing to give Katie Holmes head for days on end. But I'm not certain that constitutes "respect"

  • ||

    The fact remains that there is no solid falsifiable theory of abiogenesis so at this point the notion that man came naturally from the primeordial ooze has as much evidence under the scientific method as Xenu planting some spores or Yahweh raising life from the void.

    We have scientific evidence that primordial ooze existed.

  • ||

    Slightly off-topic, but if you are ever arguing w/ a creationist....

    Saw an article that made the point that if the universe was really only 5,000 years old then we'd only be able to see the stars which are 5,000 light years or less away from us.

    I'd like some of Ben Stein's money, please.

  • Nick_M||

    Steve Verdon | June 6, 2008, 2:18pm | #

    ...In short, the (Weak) Anthropic Principle is at best evidence in favor of naturalism, not against it, and at worst it does nothing to the hypothesis of naturalism.


    But there's no reason for God to break the laws of Physics to intervene in the evolutionary process.

    If the Anthropic Principle requires God to perform a miracle or a series of miracles to bring us about, then He did them, and did not violate Naturalism, if his miracles didn't break any laws of physics.

    Or, to put it another way, it would turn out that the miracles were always inherent in the configuration of the universe deterministically when it began.

  • ||

    Let's say, for instance, that so many unlikely events are required that there's only a 1 in 2 ^ trillion chance that an Earth-like planet would randomly produce intelligent life once over the course of four billion years.

    Why should we assume that?

    Out of 1 planet known to be capable of sustaining life, intelligent life has arisen on 1 of them.

    Creationists like to talk about "shaking a can full of watch parts," but look at the ripples of sand on the bottom of the ocean. Given the inputs of sun, sand, water, gravity, and wind, it isn't just possible that order could arise spontaneously, but guaranteed. That order will arise that way, all on its own, every single time.

  • the innominate one||

    Arlo:

    Not everything produced by evolution necessarily is beneficial. See Gould and Lewontin's paper "The Spandrels of San Marco and the Panglossian Paradigm: A Critique of the Adaptationist Programme"

    On abiogenesis, I'm impressed with the PAH world hypothesis. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in aqueous environment, upon exposure to UV light have replacement reactions where the hydrogens on the aromatic rings are replaced by hydrophilic atoms, resulting in amphipathic molecules. The resulting amphipathic molecules tend to form stacks, since aromatic rings are hydrophobic. The PAH molecules in the stacks are spaced at the same distance that nucleotides in nucleic acid chains are, providing a matrix for nucleotides to form and potentially polymerize on.

  • Pottsy||

    Evolution is the intelligent design.

    Bingo. Isn't the process of evolution evidence enough of an implicit order in the universe?

  • ||

    Bingo. Isn't the process of evolution evidence enough of an implicit order in the universe?

    It is.

    But then the Christ-Fags will have to admit the Bible is nothing but an elaborate fairy tale - thus making their entire case of "moral absolutism" nothing more than what it is - an empty charade.

  • Arlo||

    "Bingo. Isn't the process of evolution evidence enough of an implicit order in the universe?"

    So why the hymen?

  • Adam||

    "But then the Christ-Fags will have to admit the Bible is nothing but an elaborate fairy tale - thus making their entire case of "moral absolutism" nothing more than what it is - an empty charade."

    Ya know, there are at least a couple of us Christ-Fags that can spell "allegory".

  • ||

    Ya know, there are at least a couple of us Christ-Fags that can spell "allegory".

    Congratulations.

    You are on the road to recovery.


    This world needs less "faith" and more rationality. When a "moderate" is appeased the Big Lie still damages.

    See Sam Harris and his case against religious moderates..... It is a thing of beauty.


    http://www.beliefnet.com/story/153/story_15332_1.html

  • Adam||

    "This world needs less "faith" and more rationality. When a "moderate" is appeased the Big Lie still damages."

    No. What the world needs is less stereotyping by hateful bigots.

  • LarryA||

    Given the longstanding treatment (or rather, mistreatment) of Jews by European Christian polities its not surprising that Jews became social pariahs in many European societies when those societies experienced anxiety over various issues associated with cultural identity, economic status, etc.

    True. I wasn't saying Jews weren't first in line. I only meant had they not been available, someone else would have been the Nazis' scapegoat.

    But then the Christ-Fags will have to admit the Bible is nothing but an elaborate fairy tale - thus making their entire case of "moral absolutism" nothing more than what it is - an empty charade.

    Why? Evolution doesn't negate God. God is intelligent. Therefore He brings order to the living creatures of His universe with a divinely-inspired process, evolution.

  • Adam||

    And for Arlo's benefit, tell us, shrike, why did the hymen evolve?

  • The Hawkman||

  • ||

    shrike makes me want to join Opus Dei.

    Excuse me, sir, are these your stereotypes? I'm afraid I broke them, but in my defense, they were already quite worn.

  • Hymen||

    Where am I? Why am I here? What is this place?

  • ||

    "So why the hymen"

    Arlo, you seem to be hung up on this hymen thing. Let's push through this barrier, shall we?

    Natural selection puts no pressure on issues unrelated to survival and reproduction. Hymens haven't been enough of a reproductive barrier to be selected against. Like joined vs. connected earlobes, it's a "don't care".

  • OO===D||

    "Where am I? Why am I here? What is this place?"

    Perhaps I can help you (I'm a sucker for existentialists).

  • ||

    But then the Christ-Fags will have to admit the Bible is nothing but an elaborate fairy tale - thus making their entire case of "moral absolutism" nothing more than what it is - an empty charade.

    Why? Evolution doesn't negate God. God is intelligent. Therefore He brings order to the living creatures of His universe with a divinely-inspired process, evolution.


    Evolution doesn't negate God. But it does contradict Genesis and other creation myths. Which is, I believe, what shrike was saying.

    Although, your statement does beg the question, what would negate God?

  • Arlo||

    "Like joined vs. connected earlobes, it's a "don't care"."

    Apples and oranges.

  • Hyman Roth||

    I'm going to take a nap. When I wake up, if the money is on the table, I'll know I have a partner. If it isn't, I'll know I don't.

  • Khan||

    "Although, your statement does beg the question, what would negate God?"

    William Shatner?

  • The Shat||

  • Guy Montag||

    The most intelligent design ever was the body of the 1970 'Cuda.

    The wiring harnesses, notsomuch.

  • Steve Verdon||

    But there's no reason for God to break the laws of Physics to intervene in the evolutionary process.



    Fine, render your hypothesis completely impervious to empirical testing...but please don't call it science, and keep it the Hell out of the science classrooms. M'kay?

    By the way, this trick of trying turning the lack of evidence into evidence really does underscore a rather weak faith in one's deity of choice.

    But then the Christ-Fags....



    You're not hellllllping.

  • ||

    Pay attention, boys and girls. I'm only going to type this out once.

    Evolution, like gravity, is a fact. Darwin's Theory of Natural Selection, like Principia, may be has been proven to be, like Newton's theory of gravitation, incomplete. In their essentials both theories are correct. They will never be overturned like phlogiston theory was.

    A god/intelligent designer is not requireed to explain the mysteries of life any more than Apollo and his chariot is needed to explain the suns apparent movement across the sky. Get over it.

    I am consistently amazed that people can't see this. It doesn't speak well for science education in our public schools. Or the intelligence of the species H. sapiens.

  • TallDave||

    Your probabilistic reasoning is off. Try using Bayes theorem next time.

    Category error. I did not make a statement of probability, I stated a truism: we can't exist if the conditions required for our existence are absent.

    In the case TallDave is talking about it is, Prob(N|E), where N = Naturalism (this is any non-ID explanation for how life got here), and E = existance of humans (or any intelligent life really).

    Well, you're re-inserting divinity, which was absent from my observation. I also make no claim as to probability, I just note there is no limit on how improbable it might be.

    It's entirely possible in my argument that intelligent life is highly likely. As I said, I'll be interested to find out just how likely or unlikely we are.

  • Marx||

    "I am consistently amazed that people can't see this. It doesn't speak well for science education in our public schools. Or the intelligence of the species H. sapiens."

    Were you to read "Personal Knowledge, towards a post-critical philosphy" by Michael Polyani, you might see it differently.

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0226672883/reasonmagazineA/

  • TallDave||

    In short, the (Weak) Anthropic Principle is at best evidence in favor of naturalism, not against it, and at worst it does nothing to the hypothesis of naturalism.

    Yes.

  • Marx||

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    The tendency to make knowledge impersonal in our culture has split fact from value, science from humanity. Polanyi wishes to substitute for the objective, impersonal ideal of scientific detachment an alternative ideal which gives attention to the personal involvement of the knower in all acts of understanding. His book should help to restore science to its rightful place in an integrated culture, as part of the whole person's continuing endeavor to make sense of the totality of his experience. In honor of this work and his The Study of Man Polanyi was presented with the Lecomte de Noüy Award for 1959.

  • TallDave||

    Although, that said, should it be determined that the rise of intelligent life is extremely unlikely given the mass and age of the Universe, there is no Multiverse (the Universe is unique), and the Big Bang really is the beginning of time, one might reasonably construe that as evidence of some kind of intervention to create intelligent life, because in that case our presence no longer determines the state of the Universe (the one and only Universe just happens to be in this very very unlikely state with no explanation).

  • ||

    Arlo,

    The hymen is a protection against premature (literally) conception and/or God's way of ensuring that the evolution of the male gender includes developing a long enough pecker to conceive with.

    Short pecker = on your way down the evolutionary chain. Sorry, it's God's will.

  • ||

    Warren | June 6, 2008, 1:18pm | #
    Kwix,
    lol cat bible
    Now where's my money?


    Errm, no. My source predates the LOLcat Bible by a decade. Give you a hint: his name's not Tracy.

  • ||

    The religious moderates ENABLE the fundies - thus their implicit danger.

    Stein has brainpower. Why does he insist on holding Genesis/Creationism up? Why, in the face of ridicule and the lack of credible evidence?

    Because the relevancy and literal truth of the Bible is at stake. If one may question Creationism, one may question the reality of the Resurrection.

    The entire myth, the legend itself, honed for years by zealous keepers of the Word before Gutenburg, before King James - they were all etching in their "interpretation" of scripture in the thousands of iterations of the Bible before King James.

    The four Gospels were originally penned in Greek some 90-120 AD - NOT by the illiterate Jews who were not even eyewitnesses to the central events of the religion.

    This whole deal is a Kubuki theatre - but whatever! You must NOT QUESTION the Word!!!

  • ||

    Although, that said, should it be determined that the rise of intelligent life is extremely unlikely given the mass and age of the Universe, there is no Multiverse (the Universe is unique), and the Big Bang really is the beginning of time, one might reasonably construe that as evidence of some kind of intervention to create intelligent life, because in that case our presence no longer determines the state of the Universe (the one and only Universe just happens to be in this very very unlikely state with no explanation).

    So in that scenario you explain something extremely unlikely and complex (intelligent life) with something extremely unlikely and complex (sentient creator). I'm afraid that's not an explanation at all but a restatement of the original problem.

  • TallDave||

    So in that scenario you explain something extremely unlikely and complex (intelligent life) with something extremely unlikely and complex (sentient creator). I'm afraid that's not an explanation at all but a restatement of the original problem.

    No, because in the original problem we have no idea whether intelligent life is likely or not, just that it's complex. It might be overwhelmingly likely, given the size and age of this Universe, or there might be so many different Universes that it's inevitable one would harbor intelligent life.

  • TallDave||

    Or perhaps you're referring to original problem specifically in that scenario. In that case, I tend to agree. It's not very persuasive evidence -- but it's probably the best-case scenario for ID believers, since as you point out they only have to trade one unliekly proposition for another as opposed to inventing ID by itself.

    My guess it won't work out that way. I suspect in the end, decades or centuries from now, we'll discover that there is one unique Universe, but intelligent life is not especially unlikely.

  • Informed Voter||

    No, Ron Bailey, you're the fool who's all materialist religion and no science. So are all you other government-funded charlatans bashing this film in your atheist echo chambers. And, I might add, the idiots at "Reason" who reposted this statist garbage of yours.

  • Spaghetti Monster||

    A scientific hypothesis must be testable and observable, it's as simple as that. You can't test or observe ID or creationism.

  • ||

    Given the mentality that IDers have, I take it they would agree if someone once got a Royal Flush that proves the existence of the Poker Fairy....

  • Travis||

    My blind aunt really wanted to see(hear) this movie. She asked if I would take her to it I reluctantly agreed. My Aunt thought it was great, but for me it was a painful experience. Trying to link Darwin & Hitler just infuriated me. When Neocons like Stein are gung ho about bombing muslims in foreign lands.

  • ||

    Things have only gotten worse since the brilliant Peter Feyeraband wrote--
    In society at large the judgement of the scientist is received with the same reverence as the judgement of bishops and cardinals was accepted not too long ago. Science has now become as oppressive as the ideologies it had once to fight. Do not be misled by the fact that today hardly anyone gets killed for joining a scientific heresy. This has nothing to do with science. It has something to do with the general quality of our civilization. Heretics in science are still made to suffer from the most severe sanctions this relatively tolerant civilization has to offer.
    --Paul Feyerabend, How to defend Society against Science, 1975

  • ||

    I always thought that ID--->Metaphysics--->Philosophy/Religion

    Evolutionary Theory--->Biology--->Physics--->Scientific Method


    In a way, we're still talking about a dialectic between a Platonic and an Aristotelian worldview. The only way to resolve any tensions, if there is a way to do so, is through the scientific method.

    see "Parallel Universes" Max Tegmark in Scientific American Special Reports; 2008, 2003.

    The problem I have w/ ID proponents is their seeming unwillingness to have their metaphysical theory placed within the context of philosophy, rather than in science. Great intellectual developments and ideas can be found across the disciplines of religion, philosophy and axiomatic mathematics or science, but syncretism must be implemented thoughtfully.
    In fact, from glancing at the summary of Polanyi's book, he seems to be making a similar point.
    To me, and a lot of people, ID proponents seem to be obfuscating these difficulties.

  • ||

    Heretics in science are still made to suffer from the most severe sanctions this relatively tolerant civilization has to offer.

    The death penalty?

  • ||

    Do not be misled by the fact that today hardly anyone gets killed for joining a scientific heresy.

    "Hardly" anyone??? WTF???

    Who has been killed for a scientific disagre... oh sorry, "heresy?"

  • ||

    The death penalty?

    Don't be daft. He means life imprisonment. Last I checked, 5% of the U.S.'s prison population is made of scientists who support ID, young earth and the existence of the Loch Ness Monster.

  • ||

    Why is there a scientology ad plastered over the right hand side of a page which claims to be "reason" magazine?

  • ||

    Saw the movie EXPELLED a month ago. It was a matinee and the only other person in the theater was a Born-Again Older lady who couldn't believe I could see anything other in the movie than the triumph of Intelligent Design over Evolution. She may have been a little biased in her thoughts. And also she seems to have missed the point of the movie.

    Saw this article today while surfing. Science Correspondent Bailey, because he's a science guy, takes the side of Evolution. He states "the film is free from scientific content" to make his point. Mr. Bailey's scientific training seems to enable him to miss the point of the film too - a sort of a "forest or the trees" type thing.

    The only way to finally resolve the Evolution versus Intelligent Design debate would be for God to hold a press conference in the Rose Garden and say either, "Yes, it was me. I created the universe." Or "No, it wasn't me. Wish I'd thought of it though." Until then, we're all stuck with this debate.

    The point of Stein's movie is "how" the debate of a controversial issue (in this case Evolution) is being conducted by academia. He could just as easily substituted the issue of Global Warming to demonstrate the power academia possesses to control the direction of debate on a controversial and unresolved subject. He chose a religious topic because of the greater emotional involvement most people would have to the subject. The above comments seem to bear this out.

    Those in academic power utilize tenure, money grants, and the publication of academic papers to control discussion in the classroom in order to endorse a preferred theory on controversial subjects. I could be wrong, but I don't believe the lively comments above, discussing all sides of the Evolution/Intelligent Design issue, would be tolerated in a college classroom today. I think Stein believes a free forum to discuss controversial subjects has been EXPELLED from today's classroom, and that is the issue he wished to present in his movie.

  • ||

    Yeah, these comments would be tolerated...in a Philosophy class.*

    *If your Philosophy teacher was any good. Mine was.

  • ||

    And I don't see the Scientology ads. :(

  • ||

    Nick_M wrote:
    "There is a diction [distinction] behind the term. Evolution is decent with modification from a common ancestor."

    False. Evolution is change in allele frequencies in a population over time. No "common ancestor" is in the definition, although Darwin's hypothesis regarding the mechanism of evolutionary change proposed one. Evolution is an observable (even in real time) fact. The theories and hypotheses relate to the underlying mechanisms.

    "Ben Stein himself believes in that. Darwinism is the doctrine that natural selection acts on random variation, as opposed to the possibility that the variation itself was influenced by Divine Providence."

    BS. "Darwinism" is a dishonest political term used by dishonest hacks like Stein. Darwin said absolutely nothing about whether variation was random; his hypothesis required only that some of the variation be heritable. "Random" is a straw man inserted by dishonest hacks.

  • ||

    Pat wrote:
    "The point of Stein's movie is "how" the debate of a controversial issue (in this case Evolution) is being conducted by academia."

    The reason the movie has nothing to do with science is the fact that in science, disputes are decided by new evidence, something for which no one on the ID side has sufficient faith to seek.

    That's why they lie and pretend that science is like a high-school debate meet.

    "He could just as easily substituted the issue of Global Warming to demonstrate the power academia..."

    You misspelled "evidence." Again, your side doesn't produce any new evidence there either--just hot air.

    "Those in academic power utilize tenure, money grants, and the publication of academic papers to control discussion in the classroom in order to endorse a preferred theory on controversial subjects."

    I just love the attempt to portray the goals of "those in academic power" as deciding what will be taught in the classroom, instead of things like Nobel Prizes. Of course, the best way to win a Nobel Prize is to overturn long-held scientific dogma; the way that real scientists do this is with new evidence, something that will never come from the ID movement. In fact, the ID movement has their very own journal, but the movement is so dead that it hasn't published an issue in over two years. Even when it was published, it was all apologetics and no new evidence.

    "I could be wrong, but I don't believe the lively comments above, discussing all sides of the Evolution/Intelligent Design issue, would be tolerated in a college classroom today."

    You're wrong.

    "I think Stein believes a free forum to discuss controversial subjects has been EXPELLED from today's classroom, and that is the issue he wished to present in his movie."

    No scientific disputes have ever been decided in classrooms either. They are decided by new evidence, something that the movie ignores for good reason--the ID movement hasn't produced any.

  • ||

    Let me state more clearly - I don't have a dog (evolved or created) in the Evolution fight.

    Stein's movie is an examination of Political Correctness, not Evolution. In the movie, Stein repeatedly utilized black-and-white images of repressive societies that silenced dissent in making his point. He utilized Evolution/Intelligent Design as the vehicle to present the subject of Political Correctnes.

  • ||

    shrike at June 6, 2008, 1:52pm

    (In mockery):

    "Crude oil is up mostly because tree-huggers won't let us drill"

    That's true. It would be cheaper sans the government restrictions against drilling.

    (In mockery with a qualifier):

    Reagan was our greatest president and standard bearer of convservatism - although he ...ran like a pussy when 241 US Marines were killed by Islamic terr-ists in Lebanon

    Leaving was the right thing to do. The troops shouldn't have been there in the first place. Also, those who killed them shouldn't be called "terrorists" cuz those troops weren't innocent civilians.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Also, those who killed them shouldn't be called "terrorists" cuz those troops weren't innocent civilians.

    Wrong, wrong, wrong. I don't agree at all that bombing somebody's barracks is the same thing as engaging them in a military action.

  • ||

    Tall Dave:

    It's entirely possible in my argument that intelligent life is highly likely. As I said, I'll be interested to find out just how likely or unlikely we are.

    It seems to me that the the problem needs to be further reduced. First a probability that life would happen at all needs to ne figured. I make it 100% outside of quantum mechanical considerations cuz QM is supposed to be truly random. So we have a deterministic universe that had to develop life unless it's possible a quantum fluctuation could have caused it not to develop life.

    What I'm positing is a strong anthropic principal vis a vis the event of life with a possible quantum qualifier.

    Also, we have to consider the definition of intelligent life and determine if any other intelligent life is in our linage and if they had free will. It's weird but the question of the free will of our kind's ancestry figures into the probability of our existence.

  • ||

    Art-P.O.G.,

    I'm right, right, right. Bombing somebody's barracks is indeed not the same thing as engaging them in a military action, but it's also not terrorism.

  • ||

    TallDave,

    BTW. Free will requires QM.

  • ||

    Rick Barton wrote: BTW. Free will requires QM.

    Not if compatibilism is true.

  • ||

    "Darwin didn't and evolutionary biologists don't have much to do with origin of life studies."

    Standard cop out. Use Evolutionary theory to promote an atheistic point of view, then retreat to the "science" when your position is challenged.

    Face it, Evolution is the creation myth for Secular Religion. If you don't know how it started, you do not know how it "evolved".

    Evolution is a narrative which fits particular data points in time. This does not constitute proof, merely a working hypothesis that will stand or fall as time reveals new information.

    My personal belief: Evolution is absolutely, 100% true for lower organisims which reproduce rapidly in extremely large numbers. We can see that happen right before our eyes. However, the odds of higher forms of life "evolving" in the lines we observe today via completely random processes are vanishingly small. I believe there is a deeper mathematical formalism, a fractal pattern to which the progress of evolution must conform, which has yet to be discovered. As to whether that mathematical framework was instituted by a creator or "just happened", I do not have enough evidence to choose one way or the other. I do, however, believe that the reigning orthodoxy is a hindrance to finding the deeper laws which have guided the development of life on this planet. And, to the degree Stein is questioning that rigid orthodoxy, I applaud him.

  • Dave||

    Clearly his 'martyrs' are not the cleanest of cohorts for presenting his views... and although I do not doubt academia is capable of rejecting people it deems 'stupid' for this or any other reason, I'm not sure they're all that far along in the process... YET.

    However, you dismissed Stein's argument that the Nazis depended in part on Darwinism for their tragic view of 'other races' as less than human. Your dismissal was weak. Just because people find all sorts of reasons to murder each other doesn't mean the Nazis didn't use THAT as a reason; I think history shows they did. Even Neitszche has to be partly moved by the Evolutionary Theory when he arrives at his icy "what does not kill you makes you stronger" assertion. He sees people as organisms in a food chain, as do Nazis, who view Jews and dark skinned people as lower than themselves.

    Darwin did make it possible for those not inclined to hold human beings as sacred to justify their view.

  • ||

    My personal belief: Evolution is absolutely, 100% true for lower organisims which reproduce rapidly in extremely large numbers. We can see that happen right before our eyes. However, the odds of higher forms of life "evolving" in the lines we observe today via completely random processes are vanishingly small."

    Thank you for so aptly displaying the concept of worldview before evidence. Personally i believe my vote can affect an election locally because i can plausibly count and see the result, but it has no affect whatsoever nationally. Therefore democracy only exists on the smallest scales. Although i have not developed any mechanism for how this could possible be so and what scale the crossover occurs.

  • ||

    My personal belief: Evolution is absolutely, 100% true for lower organisims which reproduce rapidly in extremely large numbers. We can see that happen right before our eyes. However, the odds of higher forms of life "evolving" in the lines we observe today via completely random processes are vanishingly small.

    Your personal beliefs are of no consequence when it comes to matters that require evidence. Yes, "the odds of higher forms of life "evolving" in the lines we observe today via completely random processes are vanishingly small." I mean, that is obviously true. But guess what, Bart. Natural selection is a non-random process. It has a random element (mutation) but the selection is decidedly non-random.

    But go ahead. Keep spreading the false distinction of macro vs. micro evolution to your heart's content.

  • ||

    "Darwin didn't and evolutionary biologists don't have much to do with origin of life studies."

    Standard cop out. Use Evolutionary theory to promote an atheistic point of view, then retreat to the "science" when your position is challenged.


    How is this a cop out? Admitting ignorance is a cop out? WTF?

    Scientists don't know how life originated. This is a fact.

    Scientists (biochemists) have some ideas of how life originated. These ideas are being flushed out, analyzed, and tested where possible.

    Natural selection explains how life evolves. Strictly speaking, it doesn't explain how life originated. But who knows? Maybe we'll find a natural-selection-like explanation to the origin of life. In the meantime some of us won't put "God did it" in that empty explanatory slot.

  • ||

    TO: Ronald Bailey
    RE: What....

    "Ben Stein's Expelled is all worldview and no evidence." -- Ronald Bailey

    ....sort of 'evidence' are you looking for? Even more importantly, if you were presented with 'evidence', would you accept it?

    I've seen a lot of people say they are 'scientifically' minded and require 'evidence' to prove something. But then again, despite their getting 'evidence', they still refuse to accept the theory.

    Case in point....up until Levi-Shoemaker slammed into Jupiter, a lot of members of the 'scientific community' refused to accept the theory of catastrophism. After that rather convincing bit of 'evidence' that big nasty things do fall out of the sky and make life misearble for everything on Earth, there are still hold-outs. One might refer to them as 'latter-day flat earthers'.


    Evidence that God exists is much more difficult to elucidate. Most of what I've seen is (1) extremely personal and/or (2) indirect, i.e., by inference, if you will.

    On the other hand, there is a certain degree of resistance in what is laughingly called the 'scientific community' to ANY such evidence. But I touched on that above.

    On the third hand, when such evidence is brought forward and some 'open-minded' people begin to understand it, I've found that the operators of such blogs as this tend to kill the messenger. Case in point, LGF two weeks ago in a discussion about this very subject.

    Hope that helps....

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)
    [Education, n., Replacing an empty mind with an open one.]

  • Michael McNeil||

    (Reposting after Reason's posting system crapped out.)

    The Spaghetti Monster wrote:
    A scientific hypothesis must be testable and observable, it's as simple as that. You can't test or observe ID or creationism.

    It's incorrect, as asserted above, to believe that Intelligent Design, along with its progenitor Creationism, make no predictions. It's true that they're both quite poverty stricken in the scientific-theory "predictions" department, their general explanation for most everything being "God did it!" - but they do make at least one quite specific, implicit prediction: that transitional fossils linking disparate living groups (those that are supposedly independently designed or created according to ID and its ilk) do not exist - yet exist they indubitably do.

    In a particularly telling irony, occurring about a decade and a half ago, no sooner had Intelligent Design guru Michael Behe published a supposedly penetrating inquiry, as to how the lack of known fossils of the precursors to whales (legless sea mammals) was powerful indication of "Intelligent Design" being afoot, so to speak - when mere months later, the first of what are now several known fossils of early whales (whales with legs!) turned up in the fossil record. *

    Similar fossil remains have been discovered in recent years almost exactly transitioning between lobe-finned lungfish and tetrapods (four-legged land animals: e.g., amphibians and us).

    Thus, the specific predictions of ID (and Creationism, for that matter) are not satisfied, and they thereby fail as scientific theories.


    *Almost as dazzling a philosophic comeuppance as the historical episode occurring around the turn of the 19th century, when philosopher G.W.F. Hegel pompously "proved" philosophically (or so he thought) that the number of planets (regardless of how the concept of planet had changed over the years) can never be different than seven - arriving in print with this philosophic wonderpiece nearly simultaneous with the discovery, by Giuseppe Piazzi in 1801, of the eighth planet Ceres. Ceres is today regarded technically as a "dwarf planet," in a bout of latter-day definitional handwaving - in actuality, it is a world, forged out of the original solar nebula, orbiting the Sun. Since Hegel's chagrin, of course, other much more sizable undoubted planets (e.g., Uranus and Neptune) have also been discovered.

    Shakespeare had it far wiser than Hegel:

    Fool: The reason why the seven stars are no more than seven is a pretty reason.
    Lear: Because they are not eight?
    Fool: Yes, indeed. Thou wouldst make a good fool.

    William Shakespeare, King Lear, Act I, Scene 5

  • ||

    ....sort of 'evidence' are you looking for?

    Physical evidence. Scientific evidence. Rabbit fossils in the pre-Cambrian.

    Even more importantly, if you were presented with 'evidence', would you accept it?

    Can't speak for Ron. But I would.

    I've seen a lot of people say they are 'scientifically' minded and require 'evidence' to prove something.

    Indeed that's correct. That's the whole point. You claim something? Show us the evidence first. Then we'll talk.

    But then again, despite their getting 'evidence', they still refuse to accept the theory.

    Show us this evidence you are talking about.

    Evidence that God exists is much more difficult to elucidate. Most of what I've seen is (1) extremely personal and/or (2) indirect, i.e., by inference, if you will.

    So basically, no evidence.

    On the other hand, there is a certain degree of resistance in what is laughingly called the 'scientific community' to ANY such evidence.

    The default position of the scientific community is skepticism. That skepticism can be overcome with evidence.

    On the third hand, when such evidence is brought forward and some 'open-minded' people begin to understand it,

    Show us the evidence.

  • ||

    Legged whales? Not exactly.

    The "worldview" vs. "new evidence" complaint is useless. The evidence is the same. What you do with that evidence is the crux of the matter. To assume that the universe we can see came about by a process that we CANNOT see requires interpretation of the evidence. Stein is positing that the Darwiniacs are insecure enough about their interpretation that they are willing to stifle dissent.

    Let us not forget that the FSM was not telling the whole of the story. For a theory to be scientific, it has to be : Observable, Testable REPEATABLE and FALISIFIABLE ... Evolution (and Darwinistic evolution) fails all of these.

    Anyone can look at two animals and say that they are similar. It takes a completely different kind of thinking to say that one evolved from the other or that they both evolved from another animal. This is interpreting evidence. Since no one has ever seen this happening, then we must explain why. This is where the age of the Earth discussion comes in. It solved all of the problems. It created a magical fantasy world where (when) all of this changing happened that no one has observed. This is where the game changes when it comes to unravelling the Darwinist theories.

  • ||

    Observable, Testable REPEATABLE and FALISIFIABLE ... Evolution (and Darwinistic evolution) fails all of these.

    This is a straight up LIE.

  • ||

    Observable,

    We've observed organisms evolve via artificial selection (animal breeding) and via natural selection (from microbes to lizards).

    Testable

    Easily testable. See micro-organisms adapting with the lifespan of a human.

    REPEATABLE and

    See above.

    FALISIFIABLE

    Rabbit fossils in the pre-Cambrian.

  • ||

    TO: Soda
    RE: I'm From Missouri....

    "Show us the evidence." -- Soda

    ...show me.

    And which evidence are you searching for? The theory that God exists? Or that Intelligent Design (ID) is a plausible theory?

    Actually, if the former is supported, the latter is also supported. So....should we cut to the chase?

    How well read are you in that Old Book? When was the last time you read Genesis? In particular, the first two chapters?

    I ask this to get an understanding of you as an 'audience'.

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)

  • ||

    It takes a completely different kind of thinking to say that one evolved from the other or that they both evolved from another animal. This is interpreting evidence. Since no one has ever seen this happening,

    This is a lie. Not only have we observed organisms evolving we've even observed speciation (which is what you are talking about).

    Sorry. This:

    "See micro-organisms adapting with the lifespan of a human."

    Should have been

    "See micro-organisms adapting WITHIN the lifespan of a human."

  • ||

    TO: Soda
    RE: Evolution & God

    "Not only have we observed organisms evolving we've even observed speciation (which is what you are talking about)." -- Soda

    Do you think that God is incapable of using a tool such as evolution to achieve His goals?

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)
    [Optimization hinders evolution.]

  • ||

    And which evidence are you searching for? The theory that God exists? Or that Intelligent Design (ID) is a plausible theory?

    Both.

    Actually, if the former is supported, the latter is also supported.

    Agreed if ID is simply "Evolution by God."

    How well read are you in that Old Book?

    Books read through (English and Spanish):
    1. Genesis, Ge-Bereshit (בראשית)
    2. Exodus, Ex-Shemot (שמות)
    3. Leviticus, Le-Vayikra (ויקרא)
    4. Numbers, Nu-Bamidbar (במדבר)
    5. Deuteronomy, Dt-Devarim (דברים)

    I have not read the rest of the Old Testament.

    I've read the 4 Gospels, Revelations, and Psalms.

    So what?

    When was the last time you read Genesis? In particular, the first two chapters?

    A year ago in English. As a child in Spanish.

  • ||

    Do you think that God is incapable of using a tool such as evolution to achieve His goals?

    If YOUR God exists and is omnipotent then sure. He can do whatever he wants.

    I was only responding to Jeremy's demonstrably false statement that "It takes a completely different kind of thinking to say that one evolved from the other or that they both evolved from another animal. This is interpreting evidence. Since no one has ever seen this happening,"

    We have seen that happening. So either Jeremy is ignorant about the facts or is lying.

  • ||

    TO: Soda
    RE: You & Jeremey & Evolution & God...Oh My!

    "We have seen that happening. So either Jeremy is ignorant about the facts or is lying." -- Soda

    I was just latching on to your comment, as it will come in handy in further discussion.

    Personally? I believe that evolution is an extremely effective way of explaining how we got to where we are today. More on that later.

    "If YOUR God exists and is omnipotent then sure. He can do whatever he wants." -- Soda

    Thanks.

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)
    [God himself does not speak prose, but communicates with us by hints, omens, inference and dark resemblances in objects lying all around us. -- Ralph Waldo Emerson]

  • ||

    Thanks.

    You're welcome?

  • ||

    TO: Soda
    RE: Evolution and God

    "Agreed if ID is simply "Evolution by God." -- Soda

    I see it as such. More about 'evidence' to that affect later.

    RE: Readings

    "Books read through (English and Spanish):
    1. Genesis, Ge-Bereshit (בראשית)
    2. Exodus, Ex-Shemot (שמות)
    3. Leviticus, Le-Vayikra (ויקרא)
    4. Numbers, Nu-Bamidbar (במדבר)
    5. Deuteronomy, Dt-Devarim (דברים)" -- Soda

    "I have not read the rest of the Old Testament." -- Soda

    "I've read the 4 Gospels, Revelations, and Psalms." -- Soda

    "When was the last time you read Genesis? In particular, the first two chapters?" -- Chuck Pelto

    "A year ago in English. As a child in Spanish." -- Soda

    Better read than many I've encountered of late.


    RE: And So It Begins

    "So what?" -- Soda


    As I stated above, there are two forms of evidence available to us relating to the existence of God. The first, and most powerful, is epiphany. It is VERY personal, like Paul on the road to Damascus. It can only be shared with others. And whether those others accept or reject it is purely up to them. I've had my epiphany. Actually, several of them. I'm convinced. I'd relate them to you, but its best done over fine scotch and fine tobacco. Even thinking about them instills a desire for strong drink. It's not every day, thank God, your life is saved by a still small voice screaming in your mind's ear; "PREPARE TO LAND!" or "DON'T DO THAT!". And then there are other experiences.

    The other form is inferred evidence. Not quite as compelling, but worthy of consideration. But, once again, it's up to the recipient as to whether or not they'll accept the evidence. Some times it requires them to do a little research on their own, before they'll accept it. And that's a good think. Why? Because it's better to figure things out for yourself than to merely have people hand, or in this instance, preach them to you. Or at least that's the way thinks work best for me. But I'm an ENTJ (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator). I enjoy solving problems.

    So, let's do that, the inferred approach....

    Here are a few simple questions and a recommended reading.

    Questions: Do you believe in the existence, or past existence, of Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon Man? If so, where are they today? And if they are not here, why are we here instead?

    Recommended Reading: Chapters 1 and 2 of Genesis.

    I'll wait....

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)
    [Don't tell me what you know. Tell me what you think.]

  • ||

    As I stated above, there are two forms of evidence available to us relating to the existence of God. The first, and most powerful, is epiphany. It is VERY personal, like Paul on the road to Damascus. It can only be shared with others. And whether those others accept or reject it is purely up to them. I've had my epiphany. Actually, several of them. I'm convinced. I'd relate them to you, but its best done over fine scotch and fine tobacco. Even thinking about them instills a desire for strong drink. It's not every day, thank God, your life is saved by a still small voice screaming in your mind's ear; "PREPARE TO LAND!" or "DON'T DO THAT!". And then there are other experiences.

    But you do see why this "evidence" is less than compelling to those of us that have not experienced revelation, epiphany, or any other direct contact with God, correct?

    Do you believe in the existence, or past existence, of Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon Man?

    Yes. By the way, Cro-Magnon Man is part of the species homo sapiens (like us).

    If so, where are they today?

    Archeological evidence suggests Neanderthals were killed off by Cro-Magnon. So the answer to your question is that they are all dead. Their remains lie underground and in museums around the world.

    And if they are not here, why are we here instead?

    I don't understand the question. That "they are not here" isn't necessarily tied to us "being here." Presumably it's not a physical impossibility for two species of the genus homo to be alive at the same time (in fact this overlap was a matter of course 10's of thousands of years ago).

    Recommended Reading: Chapters 1 and 2 of Genesis.

    I'll wait....


    Am I being punked?

  • ||

    Archeological evidence suggests Neanderthals were killed off by Cro-Magnon.

    Further reading suggests that this is only one theory. But we do know Neanderthals are extinct.

  • kcrady||

    Big Science has hexpelled Wizardry from the classroom. But they forget, every generation has its REBEL!* Ben Stein rises to defend magic and superstition from the onslaught of science and reason!

    Hexpelled! No Wizardry Allowed

    Part 1: http://youtube.com/watch?v=rxR0nkk10bU

    Part 2: http://youtube.com/watch?v=k4_9MY6gw5U


    *And our generation's rebel is *Ben Stein?!* The friggin *Eisenhower generation* got James Dean, for cryin' out loud!

  • kcrady||

    The notion that the Universe was "fine-tuned" for human life is ludicrous. Virtually all of the Universe is so inimical to human life, it would kill you instantly. Even on this one little dust-mote where we can survive, most of its surface would be fatal to an unprotected human within a week.

    Unless we want to posit Intelligent Designers who were inconceivably wasteful and inefficient, this Universe must be either a natural phenomenon (the most parsimonious explanation) or designed for some other purpose.

    Maybe as a home for the intelligent machines we'll create someday. After all, an intelligent version of the Voyager probe could survive within nearly all of the Universe... :)

    The idea that the Universe was designed to be a home for human beings is even more absurd than the idea that human beings were created to provide a habitat for mouth bacteria.

    "Intelligent Design" is just looking at the Universe through human-colored glasses.

  • ||

    TO: Soda
    RE: Evidence & Readings & Inference

    "But you do see why this "evidence" is less than compelling to those of us that have not experienced revelation, epiphany, or any other direct contact with God, correct?" -- Soda

    I see such ALL THE TIME. I think I even mentioned it. And, let me clarify something here about 'direct contact'....that "Prepare to Land!" business was 20 years before the "Don't do that!" business. And I wasn't a christian at that time. I didn't recognize that earlier 'still small voice' as being absolutely identical to the latter one until a few days after the 18-wheeler tried to drive over me in the dark on I25.

    So, there it could well be that some people don't recognize 'direct contact' when it comes. They're kind of 'asleep'.

    But inference is not as powerful as 'direct contact', but it's something that can be used. More on that below.

    "Do you believe in the existence, or past existence, of Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon Man?" -- Chuck Pelto

    "Yes. By the way, Cro-Magnon Man is part of the species homo sapiens (like us)." -- Soda

    Excellent! My observation too. More on that below.

    "If so, where are they today?" -- Chuck Pelto

    "Archeological evidence suggests Neanderthals were killed off by Cro-Magnon. So the answer to your question is that they are all dead. Their remains lie underground and in museums around the world." -- Soda

    So we are agreed that Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon Man existed in the past. And simultaneously, as I understand it.

    "And if they are not here, why are we here instead?" -- Chuck Pelto

    "I don't understand the question. That "they are not here" isn't necessarily tied to us "being here." Presumably it's not a physical impossibility for two species of the genus homo to be alive at the same time (in fact this overlap was a matter of course 10's of thousands of years ago)." -- Soda

    Actually, there is a distinct possiblity that their non-existence is tied to our existence.

    "Recommended Reading: Chapters 1 and 2 of Genesis.

    I'll wait...." -- Chuck Pelto

    "Am I being punked?" -- Soda

    Nope. I'm hardly a 'punk'. Nor a punker, if I understand your meaning properly. Rather, I'm asking you to re-read those chapters, as it has a direct bearing on the discussion of Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon Man.

    "Archeological evidence suggests Neanderthals were killed off by Cro-Magnon." -- Soda

    Is this 'inference'?

    We have no proof of that. Furthermore, where are the Cro-Magnons today, if they were superior to Neanderthal? Also, if they had a greater cranial capacity for brains, why are we here and they are not?

    "Further reading suggests that this is only one theory. But we do know Neanderthals are extinct." -- Soda

    Other readings suggest that God exists. But since he isn't dead, there aren't any 'bones' for us to examine.

    Please read chapters 1 and 2 of Genesis.

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)
    ["God is dead." -- Nietzsche (c. 1895) "Nietzsche is dead." -- God (c. Today)]

  • ||

    "But you do see why this "evidence" is less than compelling to those of us that have not experienced revelation, epiphany, or any other direct contact with God, correct?"

    I'm sure the evidence for Einstein's speed of light limit is less compelling to those who swear they are regular probe subjects of big headed visitors with a penchant for sodomy. Science doesnt allow much for personal conviction on the matter. Reproduceability is king. Speaking of which, when was the last time ID cured a disease? Because the principles that evolution laid down allow for it every day. A lot of us are alive because of evolutionary theory. ID may have saved some souls, but not any lives that i am aware of.

  • ||

    TO: Mark Buehner
    RE: This....

    "....when was the last time ID cured a disease?" -- Mark Buehner

    ...indicates a serious lack of understanding as to what ID is. ID is not God. God cures diseases. Not ID.

    One could point out that Evolution, in and of itself, does not 'cure' a disease....except over the dead bodies of those who succumb to it; rather messy that business and it takes a LONG time. But it does work. I've known God to work a LOT faster. Ask me about my gout.

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)
    P.S. ID and evolution are very similar. The only difference, as these here 'scientists' put it is that 'there is no God'. All they are are atheists in disguise. They'd be more honorable if they just proclaimed themselves such up front, instead of hiding behind the skirts of 'science'. Don't you think?

  • ||

    "Please read chapters 1 and 2 of Genesis."

    Do these chapters explain how god was created? If not, do you see how this doesn't help the problem of abiogenesis?

    If you were to succeed in convincing a critical mass of scientists that "creation" has occurred / is occurring, their very next step would be to develop a branch of science concerned with how god did it. As well, we would want to know what created god, what created the thing that created the thing that created god, and so forth.

    Chuck, is it turtles all the way down?

  • ||

    TO: jasa
    RE: Maybe....

    "Do these chapters explain how god was created? If not, do you see how this doesn't help the problem of abiogenesis?" -- jasa

    ...you should (1) follow the discussion a little better and (2) read the chapters yourself.

    Hope that helps....

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)
    [There is nothing to which men will not stoop in order to avoid having to actually think.]

  • ||

    Chuck,

    No it doesn't help. Plenty of discussion about abiogenesis above, perhaps you should pay closer attention. Regarding Genesis (the bible chapters) they don't explain squat about the origin of god, do they? So stop hiding behind BS and tell us about the turtles.

    I won't be holding my breath.

  • ||

    TO: jasa
    RE: The Origin of God

    "Regarding Genesis (the bible chapters) they don't explain squat about the origin of god, do they? So stop hiding behind BS and tell us about the turtles." -- jasa

    Too bad you don't grasp the scope of the discussion with Soda. I'll deal with you later, after Soda and I have had our discussion.

    In the meantime, you can continue observing and jeering from the sidelines....

    ...you might even learn something.

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)
    [Worst thing that could happen here is someone might learn something. -- Letterman]

  • ||

    Chuck,

    I grasp the scope of your discussion with Soda just fine. You're explaining how religious epiphany is a valid source of data concerning the existence of god. He's a far more patient man than I for entertaining a discussion along those lines. Since I'm not interested in your epiphanies, and you're not able to hold more than one thought in your head at the same time, carry on.

    Do think about the turtle problem though, you just might learn something.

  • Michael McNeil||

    I don't normally involve Genesis in discussions of evolution and the origin of the universe myself, but since the subject has been so vigorously proclaimed, perhaps Chuck(le) can explain to us the perplexing text of Genesis 1, where God separated the land and sea parts of Earth, and also caused the Earth to produce seeds, growing things, and trees bearing fruit, on the third day of creation, whereas the Sun, Moon, and all the stars weren't created until the fourth day - an enormous (nine billion year) discrepancy versus what observations of the enormous universe we see around us informs us was actually going on.

    Mind clarifying for us how the Earth could have seas and growing things without the Sun and the stars and the entire gargantuan Cosmos having come into existence around it first?

  • ||

    Nope. I'm hardly a 'punk'. Nor a punker

    Well Judy is!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cyj9TZ_DLuA

    Sheena too!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t0dkZO3ZOGE

  • ||

    More evidence against ID:

    There are eye conditions, retinopathies, where blood vessels in the retina leak. Sometimes, in various parts of our anatomy, the body limits the damage caused from leaking blood vessels and saves organs and functions by growing new blood vessels. But with some retinopathies, the new blood vessels grow on the surface of the retina as well, causing blindness.

    It's easy to see the mechanisms of adaptation and selection (evolution) at work here. It's rather harder to see design, unless the designer was thought to be malicious or not too intelligent.

  • ||

    Furthermore, where are the Cro-Magnons today, if they were superior to Neanderthal? Also, if they had a greater cranial capacity for brains, why are we here and they are not?

    Cro-Magnons are homo sapiens. Presumably we are their descendants (any anthropologists here?). In any event, greater cranial capacity doesn't necessarily mean smarter.

    Other readings suggest that God exists. But since he isn't dead, there aren't any 'bones' for us to examine.

    God has bones?

    I re-read Chapters 1 and 2 of Genesis. Now what? Is this the start of a scavenger hunt?

    Is Chapter 1 the Neanderthal creation myth and Chapter 2 the Homo Sapiens creation myth?

    Are you trying to retro-fit current scientific knowledge into Genesis?

    By the way, here's a neat video. Using language pre-Christian people could understand how would you go about recounting the history of the universe in a scientifically accurate way?

    Here's a guy doing it in 5 minutes.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qymoktf0wY

  • ||

    Mark Buehner | June 9, 2008, 10:22am | #

    'Thank you for so aptly displaying the concept of worldview before evidence. Personally i believe my vote can affect an election locally because i can plausibly count and see the result, but it has no affect whatsoever nationally. Therefore democracy only exists on the smallest scales. Although i have not developed any mechanism for how this could possible be so and what scale the crossover occurs.'

    That is a really stupid analogy.

    Soda | June 9, 2008, 10:47am | # et al.

    'But guess what, Bart. Natural selection is a non-random process. It has a random element (mutation) but the selection is decidedly non-random.'

    Natural selection is not random? Is God directing it? I thought you were pro-evolution at first, but perhaps I was mistaken.

    Natural selection is, of course, random, depending on such vagaries as the weather and happenstance encounters with predators. But, even in whatever ideal conceptualization you have of it, it is merely a sifting algorithm, and the rate of convergence of sifting algorithms is too slow to allow for all the mutations that are required to advance you from an amoeba to a polar bear in the time allotted.

    'How is this a cop out? Admitting ignorance is a cop out? WTF?'

    From your lips to Richard Dawkins' ears.

    'Scientists don't know how life originated. This is a fact.'

    Thank you. And, given the unimaginably miraculous fact of even the existence of molecules that can cling together into self-replicating patterns to produce life, don't you think it is a mite hubristic to assume that you then know everything about life after that monumental moment of creation?

    'Scientists (biochemists) have some ideas of how life originated. These ideas are being flushed out, analyzed, and tested where possible.'

    Call me when they have the answer. I'll be long dead, but maybe by then, they'll have discovered the means to resusitate the lifeless dust of my remains. Seriously, though, your thinking is too shallow. Suppose someday, scientists can mix a few chemicals together in a test tube, zap it with just the right electric current, and produce little creepy crawly creatures. Would that explain to you how life originated? What I want to know is, how the hell does this reality exist in which such processes can even occur? And, if I do not know that, how can I discount the possibility that it was constructed by some being whose most basic form I, in my 3-dimensionally limited imagination, cannot even begin to fathom?

    'Natural selection explains how life evolves.'

    No, there you're wrong. Natural selection provides a thin patina of scientific respectability to a 19th century, deterministic world view that should have been bypassed like the concepts of absolute space and time long ago, but for the brownnosers who can't think for themselves but can bully everyone else into accepting even their most absurd speculations as fact.

    'Strictly speaking, it doesn't explain how life originated.'

    Strictly speaking, it doesn't explain much at all.

    'But who knows? Maybe we'll find a natural-selection-like explanation to the origin of life.'

    Who knows? Maybe we'll discover fairies at the bottom of Loch Ness.

    'In the meantime some of us won't put "God did it" in that empty explanatory slot.'

    If you review what I have said, I have not evinced any opinion about God one way or another. The IDers worry me, because when you bring in supernatural explanations, there science ends. As for me, fu** God, or at least the popular concept of him/her/it. I don't give a rat's patootie about some puffed up universal ruler who arbitrarily throws people into a fiery pit of eternal dispair for the mere sin of not believing in him. But, I do believe that Evolution has assumed the trappings of a religion, and that the orthodox view has served its purpose, and is now holding us back. When you throw up your hands and say "evolution explains it all", there science ends also.

  • ||

    Bart,

    "Natural selection is not random? Is God directing it?"

    Natural selection is not random in the thermodynamic sense, i.e. it causes order (complexity) to occur from disorder (simplicity). This is allowed in an open system, one where energy is put in.

    "Natural selection provides a thin patina of scientific respectability..."

    Like the man said, "all models are wrong, but some are useful". You got a better idea for a more useful model? Please enlighten us. Otherwise, I smell BS.

  • ||

    Natural selection is not random?

    You got it, Bart.

    Is God directing it?

    If God exists and if everything non-random is directed by God then... yes?

    I thought you were pro-evolution at first,

    I am.

    but perhaps I was mistaken.

    You seem to be mistaken about many things.

    Natural selection is, of course, random, depending on such vagaries as the weather and happenstance encounters with predators.

    If a process is random by mere virtue of being touched by a random variable then everything in the world is random, no? In any event, jasa already explained in what sense natural selection is non-random.

    and the rate of convergence of sifting algorithms is too slow to allow for all the mutations that are required to advance you from an amoeba to a polar bear in the time allotted.

    Data please. 4 billion years is a long ass time.


    And, given the unimaginably miraculous fact of even the existence of molecules that can cling together into self-replicating patterns to produce life, don't you think it is a mite hubristic to assume that you then know everything about life after that monumental moment of creation?

    It's not hubristic if it's true. In any event who claimed we know "everything about life?"


    Suppose someday, scientists can mix a few chemicals together in a test tube, zap it with just the right electric current, and produce little creepy crawly creatures. Would that explain to you how life originated?

    Read my previous posts. I've already said that even if scientists are successful in creating life in the lab we might never find out how life originated on Earth. BUT, we will have found a way life COULD have originated on Earth.

    By the way, this sounds like some goal post moving on your part. You are already belittleing what would be a monumental moment in science.

    Scientists: We've created life!
    Bart: So what?

    Uh-huh.

    What I want to know is, how the hell does this reality exist in which such processes can even occur?
    What???

    And, if I do not know that, how can I discount the possibility that it was constructed by some being whose most basic form I, in my 3-dimensionally limited imagination, cannot even begin to fathom?

    Luckily reality does not depend on Bart understanding it.

    No, there you're wrong. Natural selection provides a thin patina of scientific respectability to a 19th century, deterministic world view that should have been bypassed like the concepts of absolute space and time long ago, but for the brownnosers who can't think for themselves but can bully everyone else into accepting even their most absurd speculations as fact.

    Uh huh.

    Strictly speaking, it doesn't explain much at all.

    Wow. That's some breathtaking stupidity, Bart.

    'But who knows? Maybe we'll find a natural-selection-like explanation to the origin of life.'

    Who knows? Maybe we'll discover fairies at the bottom of Loch Ness.


    What a horrid and possibly dishonest analogy. Especially after you wrote: "how can I discount the possibility that it was constructed by some being whose most basic form I, in my 3-dimensionally limited imagination, cannot even begin to fathom?"

    Sheesh. If you have an alternative explanation for evolution then put up or shut up.

    If you review what I have said, I have not evinced any opinion about God one way or another. The IDers worry me, because when you bring in supernatural explanations, there science ends. As for me, fu** God, or at least the popular concept of him/her/it. I don't give a rat's patootie about some puffed up universal ruler who arbitrarily throws people into a fiery pit of eternal dispair for the mere sin of not believing in him. But, I do believe that Evolution has assumed the trappings of a religion, and that the orthodox view has served its purpose, and is now holding us back. When you throw up your hands and say "evolution explains it all", there science ends also.

    This is a load of bullshit. If anyone comes up with convincing evidence against evolution he/she would win the Nobel prize. You are confusing confidence with religious fundamentalism. Bart, do you have evidence to show evolution is impossible? Care to write a paper? Care to show your experimental data?

  • ||

    TO: Michael McNeil
    RE: Other 'Perplexing' Parts

    "I don't normally involve Genesis in discussions of evolution and the origin of the universe myself, but since the subject has been so vigorously proclaimed, perhaps Chuck(le) can explain to us the perplexing text of Genesis 1...." -- Michael McNeil

    Actually, I was intending to get into my interpretation of that, as well as how such an understanding can be applied in other perplexing parts of that Old Book. Actually, it all kind of works together, in the long run, once you grasp the key premise.

    But one think at a time, please.

    Have YOU read the reading assignment?

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)
    [Walk a mile in my shoes.
    Walk a mile in my shooooooes.
    Hey! Before you acuse;
    Criticize and abuuuuse;
    Walk a mile in my shooooooes. -- Folk song from the late 60s]

    P.S. Here's a clue. Replace "my" with "his".....

  • ||

    TO: Soda
    RE: Haven't....

    ....forgotten you. Just noticed YOUR comments after McNeil's. But I've got to dash out the door for a meeting.

    More later....

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)
    [Never a dull moment. But it would be nice if some of them weren't so troublesome.]

  • ||

    Natural selection provides a thin patina of scientific respectability to a 19th century, deterministic world view that should have been bypassed like the concepts of absolute space and time long ago,

    By the way, absolute space and time were bypassed because they were replaced by something else (thanks to Einstein).

    Why should we bypass evolution? Again, do you have something better to replace it?

  • Michael McNeil||

    Chuck(le): my reading assignment is the world.

    As Galileo Galilei wrote in The Assayer (1623): "True knowledge is written in this enormous book which is continuously opened before our eyes. I speak of the universe. But one can't understand it unless first one learns to understand the language and recognize the characters in which it is written. It is written in the language of mathematics."

  • Michael McNeil||

    Bart wrote:
    Natural selection is not random? Is God directing it? I thought you were pro-evolution at first, but perhaps I was mistaken.
    Natural selection is, of course, random, depending on such vagaries as the weather and happenstance encounters with predators.


    When a particular individual dies under selection (eaten by a predator or whatever) is to a considerable degree random, but in the aggregate not so. When horses are bred by human breeders into gradually assuming the guise of Thoroughbreds, or similarly wild horses get predated by wolves snapping at their heels, and selection acts to produce a faster running strain of horses as a result, in neither case is the overall direction in which the genome of the species proceeds as well as the particular genes selected for and against random.

    I like to think of it as akin to firing a shotgun at a target hidden behind a paper mask. Although each shotgun pellet strikes in a largely random spot, as blast after blast is fired and the pellets in the aggregate tear more and more holes through the mask, the symbols incised in the target shine through the ripped mask more and more clearly.

    Thus, the myth that many folk share that evolution is mere helpless chance - being tossed to and fro on a sea of chaos - is far being from the case, in general.

  • ||

    TO: Soda
    RE: God's Bones

    "God has bones?" -- Soda

    Why am I reminded of that famous BC cartoon from decades ago, "Clams got hands!"

    RE: Cro-Magnon and Homo sapiens and Mythologies

    "Cro-Magnons are homo sapiens. Presumably we are their descendants (any anthropologists here?). In any event, greater cranial capacity doesn't necessarily mean smarter.

    I re-read Chapters 1 and 2 of Genesis. Now what? Is this the start of a scavenger hunt?

    Is Chapter 1 the Neanderthal creation myth and Chapter 2 the Homo Sapiens creation myth?" -- Soda

    Glad to see you're up to speed on this.

    Remember. A good number of mythologies are based, in one way or another, on facts that some people just could not completely explain....in modern scientific terms.

    Lost Atlantis could well have been a particularly rich sea-going merchant kingdom. Perhaps even Minoan, which was destroyed by the eruption of Thera.

    The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah could been wiped out by a Tunguska event of that time.

    Then there's that 'myth' about the Biblical Great Flood. Also correlating with a number of other 'myths' found world-wide. Even the Apache have a 'myth' about a great flood.

    Maybe this will help you by shedding some light on this particular 'myth'.

    http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/planetearth/comet_bronzeage_011113-1.html

    Then, more recently, there is this....

    http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200806/asteroids

    Then again, have you ever read Niven and Pournelle's classic Lucifer's Hammer?

    How would a man from the 3d millenium BC describe the results of a cometary impact in a shallow sea at the mouth of the Euphrates River? Anything like a massive flood beyond all belief? How about rain for 40 days and 40 nights? How much sea water would be vaporized by a cometary impact and come back to Earth in the form of a very long rain?

    So, the 'myth' of a cataclysmic flood may be true after all.

    RE: Trying

    "Are you trying to retro-fit current scientific knowledge into Genesis?" -- Soda

    No and maybe a little 'yes'. [Note: Hadn't thought of the idea as 'retro'.

    Rather I'm trying to understand how God would give a vision to a man for him to pass on to his contemporaries and how that man might have done it.

    "By the way, here's a neat video. Using language pre-Christian people could understand how would you go about recounting the history of the universe in a scientifically accurate way?" -- Soda

    Excellent point. What I've been thinking for quite some time. Maybe it has something to do with looking at it [a vision of how He did it] from the perspective and frame-of-reference that the guy who was given the vision, and his contemporaries, could comprehend. After all....how would a man from pre-history explain the Big Bang? Could it be "And the Lord said, 'Let there be light'?" Some kinda 'light' that.

    "Here's a guy doing it in 5 minutes.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qymoktf0wY" -- Soda

    Very good. And the latter crying, or rather pissing and moaning, regarding missing details reinforces my comment about putting what is written in the first chapter into the context of what the writer's perspective and frame-of-reference could relate to his contemporaries.

    He knew only what he had been shown. God didn't give him details of DNA and evolution and galaxies and stars. He just showed him how He did it and let the writer carry it from there. Just like He did with John for Revelation.

    John had no knowledge of nuclear reactors or attack helicopters. And yet, if you look at parts of Revelation, you can see where John might have seen such things in a vision. And tried, in his manner and frame-of-reference, to relate them to his contemporaries.

    I appreciated that the maker of that video admits that there is a correlation between what is written in Genesis 1 and some 40 [did I hear that right?] facts for scientific knowledge.

    Maybe if the author of I Know More than God had been there, he would have asked about the missing details; DNA, galaxies, stars, etc., etc., etc. Too bad he wasn't and all he has is what this shoddy chronicler had remembered. Or maybe the original writer DID ask such questions AND got answers. But the speakers of the oral-tradition mode that recounted the initial report lost the details because they couldn't quite grasp the concepts of things they could not see. And figuring they were mere details, omitted them.

    Thanks for sharing that.

    Maybe we'll be better prepared NEXT time. Especially if the author if that video is around.....

    RE: Back to Neanderthal, Cro-Magnon and Us

    Yes. I think that Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon and us are all related. And that the Neanderthal were developed before the Cro-Magnon. And that their genes were capable of inter-breeding.

    And, I think that Genesis 1 and 2 do report two creations of man. First the Neanderthals, coming up through whatever evolutionary tools God decided on. Then the creation of an advanced form of human life; Cro-Magnon.

    I think it interesting that you think Cro-Magnon 'killed off' Neanderthal. It hadn't occurred to me as such, but it correlates well with what became of Cain. Wouldn't put it past him and his off-spring to do such. Thanks for that bit of insight.

    [A digression: Do you think that the 'myth' of Beowulf and Grendal may be based on a factual struggle between the last remnant of Neanderthal and us in Scandinavia? That there is a correlation between that myth and the 922AD manuscript of Ibn Fadlan?

    See how there's possibly a gram of truth in a 'myth'?]

    Back on track....

    By the way, do you, on occasion, see a face on the street that reminds you of Neanderthal man? I have. And I cannot help but wonder about the idea that we are possibly a combination of Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon, with the Cro-Magnon genes being dominant. But not so dominant as to completely obliterate some of the genes of Neanderthal. Then again. Remember the 80s sitcom Cheers? Carla's ex-husband? Also, where does the hirsute gene come from?


    But enough bandwidth for the moment. Got other things I have to do now.

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)
    [The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet. - Aristotle]

  • ||

    4 billion years is a long ass time.


    Maybe for you, mortal loser.

  • ||

    TO: Michael McNeil
    RE: So....

    "Chuck(le): my reading assignment is the world." -- Michael McNeil

    So is mine.

    RE: Failure

    If you didn't want to engage in intelligent discussion, why did you jump in?

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)
    [Never hold discussions with the monkey when the organ grinder is in the room. -- Winston Churchill]

  • ||

    A digression: Do you think that the 'myth' of Beowulf and Grendal may be based on a factual struggle between the last remnant of Neanderthal and us in Scandinavia? That there is a correlation between that myth and the 922AD manuscript of Ibn Fadlan

    You're reading too much Michael Criton. Ibn Fadlan never mentioned the Wends at all.

  • ||

    thanks now i will never be able to take Doug E. Fresh's human beat box seriously now that i know he is a scientologist.

    I think its about time Ben Stein gets introduced as a guest teacher on South Park.

    Ben really did a dis-service to his side of the argument by putting all the concentration camp footage in the film. It's textbook failed technique....when all else fails paint your opponent as a nazi or compare them to hitler. Look up Godwin's Law....stein's movie fits the defintion to a tee.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin's_law

  • Michael McNeil||

    "far being from" → "far from being"

  • Michael McNeil||

    Chuck Pelto wrote:
    RE: Failure
    If you didn't want to engage in intelligent discussion, why did you jump in?


    I'll give myself reading assignments, thank you very much. The book of the world is wide enough as it is.

    If you don't want to explain the 9 billion year discrepancy in Genesis 1 (I can see why you might be reluctant), then don't do so.

  • Michael McNeil||

    So, the 'myth' of a cataclysmic flood may be true after all.

    Hardly. There have been floods throughout the ages, but none of them, nor what you suggested, are anywhere near the object lesson from God - humanity destroying but for a deliberately and solely saved remnant (not only of mankind but of all the species) - that is the myth laid out in the Bible.

  • ||

    Glad to see you're up to speed on this.

    No disrepect, Chuck, honest, but I was actually joking. You really believe that the repetition of Chapters 1 and 2 is explained by Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon? You don't think there might be another, more parsimonious explanation (for example, after-the-fact editors, mistranslations etc.?)

    Biblical scholars must have theories on this that are less fanciful than yours.

    I appreciated that the maker of that video admits that there is a correlation between what is written in Genesis 1 and some 40 [did I hear that right?] facts for scientific knowledge.

    That's not correct. The maker of the video was pointing out 40 scientific facts NOT in Genesis.

    I really do believe you are taking scientific facts and trying to recocile them with a notoriously unreliable text (Genesis in this case). That way lies madness. For one, it's difficult to believe the communication channel of an omnipotent being has such a low signal to noise ratio. Why is God so oblique about this stuff. Why so "cute?" Why so hard to get?

    Occam's Razor slashes through stuff.

    1. Either Genesis is an extremely garbled communication by God.

    2. Or it was made up, using our limited knowledge about nature for inspiration.

    Occam pushes me to #2. I guess your faith and private revelation takes you to #1.

    In any event thanks for the long chat. I gotta let this topic go.

  • Michael McNeil||

    I think that Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon and us are all related.

    No doubt that's true. In particular, Cro-Magnons were anatomically modern humans. Thus, best one can tell from the anatomy (until DNA comparisons have been done), they are us.

    And that the Neanderthal were developed before the Cro-Magnon.

    It's more correct to say that ancestors of modern humans (including Cro-Magnons) and neanderthals diverged from each other the better part of a million years ago.

    And that their genes were capable of inter-breeding.

    That's unknown at present. However, there's no evidence as yet that such interbreeding occurred - and if they were supposedly capable of it, why didn't they? In any case, the answer will be known before much longer. The neanderthal genome is presently being deciphered by dual academic projects, using 38,000 year old neanderthal bone as a source. Once that project is completed in another year or two (they intend doing six different neanderthal individuals), human and neanderthal DNA can be compared in detail to see if its genetically compatible, or like the horse and donkey where they cannot produce fertile offspring.

  • ||

    TO: Michael McNeil
    RE: Well...

    "There have been floods throughout the ages, but none of them, nor what you suggested, are anywhere near the object lesson from God..." -- Michael McNeil

    ...you obviously have a problem with either reading or comprehension or thinking outside-the-proverbial-box. Maybe all three.

    Thanks for playing.

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)
    [It is not my responsibility to educate people who refuse to learn.]

  • ||

    P.S. There might be a fourth explanation for your behavior. One that is much worse than the other three combined......three guesses as to what that might be. First two don't count.....

  • Michael McNeil||

    Chuck(le): who cares if some real (minor) flood might have inspired the Biblical story. That's supposed to reinforce confidence in the veracity of the Bible? Hardly.

    Meanwhile, you've revealed yourself as an asshole, so good-bye and good riddance.

  • ||

    TO: Soda
    RE: Speed Demon

    "Glad to see you're up to speed on this." -- Chuck Pelto

    "No disrepect, Chuck, honest, but I was actually joking." -- Soda

    Don't worry about offending me. I've been abused by the best. One each Colonel 'No-Slack' Stack comes to mind.

    So. Were you joking about re-reading Gen 1 and 2? Or about something else?

    RE: Belief Anyone?

    "You really believe that the repetition of Chapters 1 and 2 is explained by Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon? You don't think there might be another, more parsimonious explanation (for example, after-the-fact editors, mistranslations etc.?)" -- Soda

    It's a possibility that it was garbled in transmission. After all....didn't I touch on that vis-a-vis the author of the I Know More than God video? Maybe God DID give all the 'missing details' on DNA and galaxies and such to the guy who received the vision. And they too got 'mistranslated'.

    "Biblical scholars must have theories on this that are less fanciful than yours." -- Soda

    I've discussed this with a LOT of 'Biblical scholars'. I've found that the self-educated are more open-minded about this than those whose careers are based on regurgitating what they learned in seminary.

    "I appreciated that the maker of that video admits that there is a correlation between what is written in Genesis 1 and some 40 [did I hear that right?] facts for scientific knowledge." -- Chuck Pelto

    "That's not correct. The maker of the video was pointing out 40 scientific facts NOT in Genesis." -- Soda

    There are not just 40 scientific facts missing from Genesis. There are gazillions. Like the molecular structure of water. Or the parts of penicillin that kill bacteria. Or E=MC2. Or the Law of Thermodynamics.

    What's your point? That because ALL the answers to Life, the Universe and Everything were not all handed to you on a piece of parchment handed down through the millenia what IS written there can't possibly be true? Where's you game of Wff n Proof? Your premise is illogical. And this guy-who made this video-thinks himself a logical, 'scientist'? It is to laugh...ha! ha!

    Here's a clue for your consideration.....42.

    Happier?

    "I really do believe you are taking scientific facts and trying to recocile them with a notoriously unreliable text (Genesis in this case)." -- Soda

    Show me-rather PROVE to me-that Genesis is 'unreliable'. Remember, I require you to explain it from the frame-of-reference of the original recorder.

    First step....show me how verses Genesis 1:1-3

    "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light."

    What in here is in violation of our understanding of the Big Bang?

    How would a man without knowledge of quantum physics explain a vision of the Big Bang? And try to be as poetic in your prose as this passage is.

    "That way lies madness." -- Soda

    Well....I'm certifiable. I took to jumping out of perfectly good airplanes in flight as a young man. Must have come from a deep-seated, mad desire to recreate the sensation of being smacked in the head with a baseball bat at the tender age of four.

    "For one, it's difficult to believe the communication channel of an omnipotent being has such a low signal to noise ratio." -- Soda

    When was the last time you watched Dogma? It's an interesting idea, that; that we cannot communicate directly with God, as it would destroy us. Remember, Moses had to hide in the cleft of a rock and let God cover the opening with His 'hand' while He passed by. But that's another of the stupid 'myths', isn't it. Just like the Great Flood or Sodom and Gomorrah or Beowulf and Grendal or Atlantis.

    Just because something isn't exactly proven as 'scientists' would like it to be doesn't mean it isn't true. It might just be a matter of (1) perspective or (2) information or (3) open-mindedness, or lack thereof.

    "Why is God so oblique about this stuff. Why so "cute?" Why so hard to get?" -- Soda

    WHEN did you say you last read that Old Book? Did you overlook the parts about 'Faith'? 'Righteousness'? 'Justification'?

    Why the hide and seek? Probably what we in the Army would refer to as a 'Field Problems Test'; very interesting problem-solving exercises given to cadets to see if they can think 'out-of-the-box'. Very effective.

    After all. If He wanted us to see Him in order to believe in Him, why doesn't He show Himself. Or is it He's more interested in people who are REALLY free thinkers. Especially in THIS day and age.

    I've found it very similar to that movie, The Matrix. That there's much more to this world than our regular five senses can perceive. The challenge is to challenge yourself.

    "Occam's Razor slashes through stuff.

    1. Either Genesis is an extremely garbled communication by God.

    2. Or it was made up, using our limited knowledge about nature for inspiration.

    Occam pushes me to #2. I guess your faith and private revelation takes you to #1." -- Soda

    How interesting. You accept the more complicated option over the simpler. Is it not simpler to copy a message than to make something up by pulling it out of your fouth-point-of-contact....if that's where this joker kept his brain?

    "In any event thanks for the long chat. I gotta let this topic go." -- Soda

    Such as sham(e). But I can understand breaking off. You might actually have learned something that could upset your carefully constructed understanding of Life, the Universe and Everything.

    Vaya Con Dios, Compadre....

    Chuck(le)
    [Runaway! -- Monty Python]

    P.S. How are you EVER going to get to the bottom of these questions you asked if you don't bother to discuss them further?

  • ||

    TO: All
    RE: Witness....

    "Meanwhile, you've revealed yourself as an asshole, so good-bye and good riddance." -- Michael McNeil

    ...a classic example of 'projection' in the field.

    'nuff said.

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)
    [The Lawyers Rule:

    [1] If the Law is against you, argue the facts.
    [2] If the facts are against you, argue the Law.
    [3] If the Law and the facts are against you, call the other side names.

    The Official Rules: A Compendium of Truths and Laws for Living]

  • ||

    TO: Ron Bailey
    RE: This 'Movie'

    I've not actually seen the film yet. The town where I live (1) isn't big enough and (2) has too many 'Liberals' in it to have had a showing.

    I'm waiting for the DVD, which I certainly WILL buy.

    After I've seen it, I WILL get in touch with you, one way or another, to discuss your comments vis-a-vis the actual film. But, at first impression, I get the distinct idea that you seem to have overlooked the REAL premise of Stein's effort....that acadamia is not being honest with itself in the realm of open and candid discussion of theories.

    More on that....later....

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)
    [Things are never as good nor as bad as initially reported. -- US Army staff puke axiom]

  • ||

    P.S. And, if acadamia is anything like some of the people I've encountered here....

    ....three guesses.....first two don't count

  • ||

    "And, if acadamia is anything like some of the people I've encountered here...."

    No doubt they are, as some of the people here are from academia. You, on the other hand, appear to specialize in adding mass to the left side of the bell curve.

  • ||

    TO: jasa
    RE: Okay....

    "You, on the other hand, appear to specialize in adding mass to the left side of the bell curve." -- jasa

    ...show me your Mensa membership number.

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)

  • ||

    "...show me your Mensa membership number."

    Nice try. I'm amused you think I would hand over something like that to some j-random nut case on teh intertubes.

    Tell us about the turtles, Chuck.

  • ||

    TO: jasa
    RE: What's the Matter?

    "I'm amused you think I would hand over something like that to some j-random nut case on teh intertubes." -- jasa

    'fraid someone will steal your 'identity'? Such as it is.... Or are you still trying to find someone who will sell you an IQ?

    So, I suspect you don't have one. And therefore all you're doing now is obfuscating.

    So enough of the left-side arg. I suspect I'm more to the 'Right' than you are; in more ways than one.

    However, I will give you credit for having more gonads and perseverance than Soda and McNeil. I respect that sort of 'fighting spirit'. Combine that with an (1) inquiring and (2) open mind and you've got a LOT going for you.

    Certainly much more than some others around here seem to have.

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)
    [The day of days, the great day of the feast of life, is that in which the inward eye opens to the Unity of things.... It is not in us so much as we are in it. -- Ralph Waldo Emerson]

  • ||

    P.S. Interesting....

    "It is not in us so much as we are in it." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

    I just noticed this. And it seems particularly applicable to the difference between christians and atheists.

    Atheists refuse to believe that they are 'part' of ANY thing. They are gods unto themselves.

    Christians, on the other hand, recognize there is an authority, a power, beyond themselves.

    Therein lies the differentiation.

    [Atheist, n., One hoping to God that He doesn't exist.]

  • ||

    TO: jasa
    RE: While Fixing Supper and the Turtles

    "Tell us about the turtles, Chuck." -- jasa

    Excellent rock group from the mid-60s. Did some very well structured and hamonized songs such as You Know She'd Rather Be With Me. Did the music for the smash-hit comedy on infidelity The Guide for the Married Man; Walter Matthau, and a galaxy of cameo star, Jack Benny, Terry Thomas, Jane Mansfield, Phil Silvers, Joey Bishop, Imogen Coca, Art Carny, Ingrid Stevens, and a host of others.

    Thanks for reminding me. I think I'll watch it tonight. After all....it's my turn to pick.

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)
    P.S. Or were you thinking of some other form of 'turtle'?

  • ||

    P.P.S. Other forms make a very nice soup. I recommend restaurants in the Chesapeake Bay area.

    Personally? I prefer beef, pork, chicken, water moccasin, rattlesnake, fer de lance, monkey....

    ...whatever I can catch, when I'm hungry. Something they taught me at some 'spa' I attended in the late 70s; the US Army Ranger Course.

    I'm not known as the gourmet grunt for no reason.

  • ||

    "Or are you still trying to find someone who will sell you an IQ?"

    Heh. Pretty rude, for a xtian. I'm hurt. No, really, that was harsh. As Twain said,
    "Man is kind enough when he is not excited about religion".

    Regarding Soda: He is a much more patient man than I. He at least tried to argue some science with you, although that was wasted effort in my opinion. I immediately suspected you were full of it, and you didn't disappoint.

    Regarding Mensa: just what percentage of Mensa members would support your notions about I.D.? We'd run from you like you were radioactive.

    Regarding turtles: try searching "turtles all the way down". On second thought, why bother? The fact that you're not already familiar with the concept tells me what I need to know. Go read Genesis again. All the answers -you- need are in there.

  • ||

    TO: jasa
    RE: So Much....

    ...lies and jest.

    So be it.

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)
    [The field behind rhetoric is oft mined with equivocation.]

  • ||

    P.S. There is no commandment against being 'rude',if it is for educational purposes. If there is, please cite book/chapter/verse.

    Even Christ was 'rude', pointing out the truth of matters to those who didn't want to hear it.

  • ||

    Ever since I was in 8th grade I wondered if perhaps the Creator made mankind THROUGH evolution. I mean, what does a DAY mean to the Creator anyway? Millions or Billions of years? This must sound as if I'm trying to have it both ways. Maybe so. For me, I'm trying to reconsile my religious beliefs and scientific fact. Call me a romantic, but I believe the two do not have to be mutually exclusive. I suppose one could say that I have faith in reason and reason in faith.

  • ||

    TO: Tim Washburn
    RE: I Agree

    "....the two do not have to be mutually exclusive." -- Tim Washburn

    They are not exclusive. But that's the problem for the atheists. And hence their vitriol at the very suggestion.


    "I suppose one could say that I have faith in reason and reason in faith." -- Tim Washburn

    Elegantly put. May I quote you on that?

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)
    [I am the lord my god. Thou shalt have no other god before ME! -- First Commandment of the Atheists]

    P.S. I think it is an issue of pride and lowered self-esteem if there is something greater than themselves.

  • ||

    Tim,

    "...perhaps the Creator made mankind THROUGH evolution."

    To restate the problem in more appropriate scope, why is there a seemingly infinite quantity of hydrogen in the universe, such that a big bang was able to occur in the first place? No one knows. Feel free to posit a god if it helps you sleep, but know that it solves no problems, just changes the nature of some and adds others.

    The first thing we note when we posit a god is that an infinite regression problem arises. What created the god? What created that which created god?

    Then we note that the "hydrogen" problem remains, i.e. god was created out of what raw material? Sure, you could try to dodge this by positing that god is pure energy, or god resides on some ethereal plane, but the problem just changes to what created the energy / ethereal plane?

    As you can see, positing a god just complicates the creation question. This is why most scientists invoke Occam's razor.

    At the end of the day, you choose between:
    In the beginning, there was god, or
    In the beginning, there was hydrogen.

    Lots of evidence for hydrogen, not so much for god.

  • ||

    TO: jasa
    RE: Maybe....

    ....you should re-read this entire thread, including ALL the comments thereon.

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)
    [For additional information, please read this message again.]

  • ||

    TO: All
    RE: Just....

    ....as I suspected-and have experienced in the past....these so-called 'scientists' are just a bunch of gutless wonders who run-away when they meet someone who can present a formidable argument correlating words in that Old Book against widely-accepted scientific knowledge.

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)
    [The field behind rhetoric is oft mined with equivocation and people screaming RUN AWAY!]

  • Kristin||

    The point of the film is not to prove intelligent design is true but to show that it is not being considered as a possible answer for certain questions.

    The film does dip into probabilities, etc. as it tries to give the intelligent design theory some credibility, but ultimately, it doesn't matter if it's a reasonable theory or not. (1) if any of the religions based on intelligent design are true--Christianity in particular--then they are bound to be beyond human reason anyway. (2) Freedom of speech is dishonored. Some of those interviewed did not even claim intelligent design as their belief, yet they were reprimanded for exploring it as a possibility. Reasonable or not, intelligent design theory is highlighting the crippling of America as it restricts freedom of speech.

    The purpose of the film is to show things as they are: the battles between scientists that are said to be won by the side with more power, though the fight is far from settled. The fact that people are being discriminated against because they disagree with "the norm" or, as "Chuck(le)" says, that which is "widely-accepted." It's true, intelligent design isn't presently the most popular belief, but popularity cannot be equated with truth.

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