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  #151  
Old 11-15-2002, 11:55 AM
Algernon Algernon is offline
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Quote:
But most (if not all) of the creationists we encounter here on the board are the 'less informed' variety (although they feel themselves to be very well informed - that's what the creationist sources try to do).
Thank you Mangetout for your gentle chastisement of my post (which, to my regret, was written with just a little too much emotion).

I did not intend to paint all creationists with the malice brush, especially those posting here at the SDMB.
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  #152  
Old 11-15-2002, 12:06 PM
Diogenes the Cynic Diogenes the Cynic is offline
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Ouch. Careful Scott, you're scaring away all the fish.
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  #153  
Old 11-15-2002, 04:43 PM
Ben Ben is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Hebzabeb
Life can come from two sources. 1) spontaneous creation through random processes or 2) supernatural creation.


This is just a strawman. Are processes "random" if selection is involved? Or if the laws of physics are involved? The fact is that the evidence points to the origin of life being a natural process, unguided by any intelligence. See my FAQ, which can be found in this thread:

http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/...hreadid=128779




Quote:

I wanted to make a couple of book suggestions to whuckfistle.
Darwin's Black Box: The BioChemical Challenge to Evolution by M. Behe and Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds by Philip Johnson.
As for Behe's lies, try this:

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

There are other faqs there on Behe, too. Personally, I tried to read _Darwin's Black Box,_ but I think you can understand that as a molecular biologist I gave up in disgust. Behe's arguments are just too dishonest, particularly when he starts making up facts to support his foregone conclusions. Take, for example, his claim that tubulin is covered in little "needles" that fit into "holes" on adjacent tubulin monomers. It's completely false. The needles and holes simply do not exist. Behe just made them up, because he thought it would make his argument more impressive.

As for Johnson, I haven't read _Defeating Darwinism,_ but I have read _Darwin on Trial._ Johnson's favorite tactic is to decry an evolutionist argument as being "ad hoc." If you know enough about the relevant science, you see that any time he dismisses an argument as "ad hoc," it's because he can't rebut all the evidence that supports it, so he has to just lie and declare that the evidence doesn't exist. If you're interested, I'll go into some details.

Hepzabeb, what books have you read on evolution that were actually written by evolutionists?
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  #154  
Old 11-15-2002, 04:50 PM
scotth scotth is offline
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Awesome, I now know how to find a molecular biologist when I need one. (I am not kidding)

I try very hard to be accurate in what I write. I can't be an expert on everything (or anything really), so, if you see cross the line, feel free to straighten me out.... even if we are arguing the same side.
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  #155  
Old 11-15-2002, 07:08 PM
Uncommon Sense Uncommon Sense is offline
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Hepzabeb - Thanks for stepping up to the plate. At least you took strike three swinging. You will find, as myself and many have, that this is not the forum for discussing things unless you have substantiated facts and overwhelming logic to back you up.
Scott, Mangetout, and Cynic are way to sharp on these topics. As they taught me, their logic built on layers of well supported evidence can not be reasonably overturned. I love learning and the reason I joined the SD was for that reason. I also came with something to give too. I think one of my strong points is asking good, logical questions regardless of the subject. These gentlemen were able to answer all questions with absolute resolve. And if they don`t know the answers they tell you.
Enough dick sucking, I hope to see you gentlemen around the SD for some time to come.
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  #156  
Old 11-15-2002, 07:43 PM
Ben Ben is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by scotth
Awesome, I now know how to find a molecular biologist when I need one. (I am not kidding)


Actually, edwino and (iirc) DrLao are also molecular biologists of some stripe or another.

Quote:

I try very hard to be accurate in what I write. I can't be an expert on everything (or anything really), so, if you see cross the line, feel free to straighten me out.... even if we are arguing the same side.
I find your attitude to be admirable!
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  #157  
Old 11-15-2002, 09:26 PM
Darwin's Finch Darwin's Finch is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ben
As for Johnson, I haven't read _Defeating Darwinism,_ but I have read _Darwin on Trial._ Johnson's favorite tactic is to decry an evolutionist argument as being "ad hoc." If you know enough about the relevant science, you see that any time he dismisses an argument as "ad hoc," it's because he can't rebut all the evidence that supports it, so he has to just lie and declare that the evidence doesn't exist. If you're interested, I'll go into some details.
I have read Defeating Darwinism, and about all I can say is that Johnson does a remarkable job of setting up creationists for defeat when arguing against evolution. His presentation as to what evoutionsts are, or are not, allegedly reluctant to discuss is pretty wild. Example:

Quote:
Remember trhat the mechanism has to be able to design and build very complex structures like wings and eyes and brains. Remember also that it has to be have done this reliably again and again. Despite offhand references in the literature to possible alternatives, Darwinian natural selection remains the only serious candidate for a mechanism that might be able to do the job.
That, by the way, explains why many Darwinists are reluctant to make a clear distinction between microevolution and macroevolution. They have evidence for a mechanism for minor variations, as illustrated by the finch-beak example, but have no distinct mechanism for the really creative kind of evolution, the kind that builds new body plans and new complex organs. Either macroevolution is just microevolution continued over a longer time, or it's a mysterious process with no known mechanism. A process like that isn't all that different from a miraculous or God-guided process, and it certainly wouldn't support those expansive philosophical statements about evolution being purposeless and undirected.
- Defeating Darwinism, p59

Note the casual introduction of a strawman at the end there (this, mind you, only 18 pages after he defines the concept of a "strawman" argument in order to equip his readers with the neccesary "baloney detectors" to defeat Darwinism!).

He continues (immediately following the above paragraphs):
Quote:
In my experience, the distinction between the fact of evolution and the neo-Darwinian theory always turns out to be just a debating gimmick to hide the problem with the mechanism from scrutiny. Once the "fact" is established [here he refers to the "fact" of evolution, as opposed to the "theory" of evolution], it turns out to include the necessary mechanism, which is mutation and selection.
Don't let anybody tell you that the mechanism is a mere detail; it's what the controversy is mainly about. When critics subject the mechanism to detailed criticism, Darwinists very quickly run out of evidence. That's when they want to substitute a vague "fact," which will later be inflated to include the whole theory. It's another example of bait and switch.
Creationists who use the above advice is any sort of debate with someone who has actually studied evolution will be in for quite a rude awakening.

Later, Johnson falls back on the old tactic of quote-mining, this time quoting a passage from Niles Eldredge regarding the appearance of the fossil record, and how it appears to conflict with the established "fact" of evolution. Of course, anyone who has studied the topic will recognize Eldredge's quote as being a set-up for Eldredge's & Gould's theory of Punctuated Equilibrium: that is, the fossil record appears static for much of the time because, perhaps, evolution is static for much of the time, with speciation occurring quickly between periods of stasis.

The rest of the book proceeds along remarkably similar lines, and I doubt that anyone who has had any experience with creationist arguments will be surprised at what Johnson says: we've heard it all before. Lots of false claims about the nature of evolution and what evolutionsts allegedly really know (and what they allegedly really don't know), ID, probability arguments, etc. As I said, if creationists use the argument techniques as outlined in the book against anyone versed in evolutionary biology, they are destined to crash and burn.

Perhaps what is most remarkable about the book, however, is the unabashed plea to not accept evolution period. That is, not even "theistic evolution" - creation all the way, baby!
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  #158  
Old 11-15-2002, 11:17 PM
Kirkland1244 Kirkland1244 is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by whuckfistle
No-one saw Christ rise from the dead but many people saw Him AFTER He rose from the dead.


There's no evidence of that, other than the writings of his exceedingly-biased followers. That is not proof of any sort. Unless you also consider Elvis God, because a number of people have seem him after he died.

Kirk
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  #159  
Old 11-15-2002, 11:39 PM
Diogenes the Cynic Diogenes the Cynic is offline
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There's no evidence of that, other than the writings of his exceedingly-biased followers. That is not proof of any sort. Unless you also consider Elvis God, because a number of people have seem him after he died.
I know you're being facetious, Kirk, but this is actually a very good analogy. Imagine if we did not have modern technology, newspapers, video, television, etc. Look at how much the Elvis legend has grown in the last quarter century even WITH this stuff, including all the "sightings" and the Elvis is alive theories. In a much more primative culture, with no mass media, only word of mouth for information, and a population which is already very credulous about "magic," "healings," miracles," and so on, it is not hard to see how a charismatic and popular personality could be mythologized and even deified over time.
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  #160  
Old 11-16-2002, 10:07 PM
Uncommon Sense Uncommon Sense is offline
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.............Elvis is dead?
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  #161  
Old 11-17-2002, 12:19 PM
scotth scotth is offline
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I am kinda dissappointed that Hebzabeb has not returned to discuss any of the responses yet.
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  #162  
Old 11-18-2002, 04:58 PM
Dave Armstrong Dave Armstrong is offline
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Irrational Dogmatism & Ignorance Not Unknown Among Scientists

Hi Scotth,

I see you have been having a grand old time critiquing "Hebzabeb" and making out that she is an ignoramus and troglodyte creationist, unacquainted with the most basic scientific methodological assumptions and facts. I think it is a discredit to your obvious intellectual abilities that you have to make these false and unnecessary insinuations. Just make your argument without all the potshots. Is that too much to ask? You know: honey attracts better than vinegar . . .

To give a brief background on myself: I am basically an agnostic on the subject of macroevolution and the grand theory (and I am a Catholic). I fully accept microevolution, the old earth (of course), and uniformitarianism. If the current evolutionary theory as a whole
(Darwinian or otherwise) is true, I believe it must involve design and God somewhere along the line. My principle objection, in other words, is to materialism or naturalism. I don't believe it has been scientifically demonstrated that matter alone has the inherent capability to organize itself into the existing universe, according to what we know of the laws of science, and observations and scientific experiments.

Skepticism used to be highly regarded amongst a certain strain of intellectuals, generally hostile to theism in general and Christianity in particular. But now that Darwinian evolution is the reigning
orthodoxy and dogma, anyone who dares question it at all has to be "whipped" and burned at the stake of so-called "progress" and "scientific fact."

This is, of course, both nonsensical and hypocritical. No one can compel me to believe anything. I use my mind and my critical faculties to decide for myself, thank you. I don't believe things simply because someone tells me I HAVE to believe them (whether a religious person in a frock or a scientist in a white coat). That's not how critical thinking works. So if you or anyone else has a hard time with me exercising my skepticism and critical faculties with regard to difficult questions of the origins of the universe and life and currently fashionable theories about same, too bad. Learn to live with it. Life is tough. Not everyone thinks the way you do. That may be
difficult to fathom at first, but it'll come to you if you keep trying.

And not everyone is an ignoramus and science-basher simply because they disagree with your take on things. There are intelligent, educated Christians, and there are very backward, anti-intellectual Christians, of course (and many in-between). But so what? There have also been plenty of quack scientists and evil scientists. Have we so quickly forgotten the Nazi period, with the very intelligent and sophisticated Nazi scientists (not particularly Christian, if you had asked them) doing their experiments on Jews?

As recently as the 1920s many respectable scientists in America espoused phrenology and eugenicism in blatantly racist terms. There were forced sterilizations of black people, and forced abortions currently take place in China. Full-term babies are now being ruthlessly slaughtered by "doctors" by sticking scissors in their necks and sucking their brains out. This is legal in the US (it's called "partial-birth abortion"), in the name of "medicine" and social
"progressivism." At the same time we do operations on babies in the womb far younger than that. The only difference is that one parent wants the child and the other doesn't. Too bad that the child can't pick a mother which wants him or her, huh? And that is because society values "choice" so much. So moral and logical absurdity obviously has a great hold in our present society.

The history of evolutionary speculation is likewise strewn with folly, absurdity, and nonsense. We have, e.g., the example of "Nebraska Man," constructed from a single tooth, which was later determined to have come from an extinct pig. Or "Piltdown Man," which was an obvious hoax, but which was believed as authentic for more than 40 years. You can talk about the Galileo incident until Kingdom Come (and distort the details for your own ends as well), but science itself is not
immune from the usual dogmatic attitudes and resistance to change, either. Read Thomas Kuhn's _The Structure of Scientific Revolutions_ or S.J. Gould's _The Panda's Thumb_ sometime.

It's not like no scientists have expressed the same agnosticism, when it comes to specific questions of origin, mechanism, and process. I can produce a host of evolutionary scientists, who ask difficult questions and sometimes wondering aloud why no answers (or even speculative attempts at answers) have been forthcoming from within the (materialistic) evolutionary paradigm.

So if many scientists have expressed the limitations and lack of knowledge in many areas of scientific inquiry, why is it improper or unacceptable for people like myself and "Hebzabeb" to simply agree
with them to that extent? I see that Michael Behe has been one of your whipping boys on this thread (as indeed is fashionable). It's always easy to run people down in general terms. Very well, then (since you claim to be so knowledgeable in these matters): I challenge you (or someone else here) to answer the tough questions he has been asking about biochemical evolutionary mechanisms. Go ahead and tell me how the complex biochemical processes he describes have come about in an evolutionary manner. I, for one, would be eternally grateful if you could do that. Here are some statements by Behe that I would like to see answered here:

=====================================================================
Darwinian assumptions are not needed for the day-to-day work of science. As I have shown in my book, if you look in the biochemical literature for scientific papers that try to explain how biochemical systems developed step-by-step in a Darwinian fashion, there aren't any. It's startling.

There's a journal called the Journal of Molecular Evolution which is about 25 years old and has published over 1,000 papers since its inception. The journal publishes a lot about trying to determine which proteins, genes, and nucleic acids are related to which other ones by looking at their protein or nucleotide sequence. That may be interesting, and it may be a legitimate question in its own right, but comparing sequences simply can't tell you how these complex molecular
machines came to be step-by-Darwinian-step. So essentially, over its 25- year history, the Journal of Molecular Evolution has completely avoided the real question of how the heck these extremely complex systems could have been put together.

So most scientists completely ignore evolution in their work, . . .

(Biochemist Michael J. Behe, author of Darwin's Black Box, "The Evolution of a Skeptic":
http://www.origins.org/real/ri9602/behe.html )

The critics of my book . . . do not see that there is a distinction between arriving at a conclusion simply from observation of the physical world, as a scientist is supposed to do, and arriving at a conclusion based on scripture or religious beliefs . . .

. . . A public TV show named Think Tank was interested in setting up a debate between Dawkins [author of The Blind Watchmaker - Norton: 1986] and myself. They asked if I would be willing to participate, and I happily said yes. And they approached Richard Dawkins, but he refused to appear with me, saying he was insufficiently versed in biochemistry to address the issue. But then the TV show asked Dawkins to appear by himself on the show, which he did. During the interview, which I had an opportunity to see recently, the show host asked him about my book. He seemed to grasp the idea of irreducible complexity pretty well. However, he said it was cowardly and lazy of me to come to a conclusion of intelligent design, and he said that if I thought for myself I would realize that there must be a Darwinian explanation out there somewhere, and I should get off my duff and go out and find it.

Certainly Richard Dawkins is entitled to his strongly held opinions. But, in fact, from the evidence, I think intelligent design is the best explanation. And it's not a matter of whether I like the idea or not, or whether I like to sleep late and am lazy, rather it's that Darwinism is barking up the wrong tree and I think a better scientific explanation is design. I hope to meet with Richard Dawkins in the future, though.

(Ibid.)

In the summer of 1996 Free Press published my book, Darwin’s Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution, . . . Modern biochemistry has indeed discovered stunning, unexpected complexity at the basis of life. We have learned the cell is literally run by molecular
machines. Bacteria propel themselves through liquid with a molecular outboard motor called a ‘flagellum’; molecular supplies are packed inside tiny trucks that shuttle across the cell, delivering
the cargo to specialized compartments; the cell rearranges its DNA to make new antibodies to fight disease. I argued that these systems are irreducibly complex, meaning that they require a number of parts to work. Just as a mechanical mousetrap requires each of its few parts to act as a mousetrap, so too these biochemical systems require each of their parts and so are quite unlikely to have been assembled gradually, as Darwinian theory would have it . . .

Darwin’s Black Box has been reviewed widely. In particular, a number of prominent evolutionary biologists, strong Darwinists all, have gotten a chance to take a hammer to it in print. Perhaps the best example was a two-page, lead review in Nature, the most prominent science journal in the world. The reviewer was Jerry Coyne, a professor of evolutionary biology at the University of Chicago . . . he admits in passing that, by the way, “Behe is a genuine scientist,” that I don’t believe in a young earth, and think common descent is a reasonable idea. Guilt-by-association does make a reviewer’s job easier. After more such fun, Coyne finally gets around to addressing
the design argument.

The answer to Behe’s argument lies in realizing that biochemical pathways . . . have been rigged up with pieces co-opted from other pathways. . . . Thrombin, for example, is one of the key proteins in blood-clotting, but also acts in cell division, and is related to the digestive enzyme trypsin. Who knows which function came first?

Good question—who knows which came first? No one knows. And no one knows how one function could explain the other. It’s like saying springs are found in both watches and mousetraps, so maybe one explains the other. But the question of how complex biochemical systems came together doesn’t really interest Coyne.

We may forever be unable to envisage the first (biochemical) proto-pathways. It is not valid, however, to assume that, because one man cannot imagine such pathways, they could not have existed.

Coyne’s apparent argument is that we don’t need evidence; life simply had to have arisen by Darwinian principles. Coyne is not alone in his inability to answer biochemical arguments for intelligent design. In the New York Times Book Review, science writer James Shreeve declares,
“Mr. Behe may be right that given our current state of knowledge, good old Darwinian evolution cannot explain the origin of blood clotting or cellular transport.” In National Review, microbiologist James Shapiro of the University of Chicago acknowledges, “There are no detailed
Darwinian accounts for the evolution of any fundamental biochemical or cellular system, only a variety of wishful speculations.” Andrew Pomiankowski, writing in New Scientist, declares “Pick up any biochemistry textbook, and you will find perhaps two or three references to evolution. Turn to one of these and you will be lucky to find anything better than ‘evolution selects the fittest molecules for their biological function.’”

Darwinism is dying of the same affliction that has killed other discarded theories—the progress of science itself. It seems that with each new discovery—especially discoveries about the molecular basis of life—natural selection has a new problem.

(Michael J. Behe, "Dogmatic Darwinism," in Crisis magazine, June 1998 -
http://www.catholic.net/rcc/Periodic...darwinism.html )

[Michael Behe responded to some criticisms of his book and credibility in postings to the Talk Origins Newsgroup (it seems that the charge of "ignorance" is a rather wide-ranging one, where Darwinists and their critics are concerned): ]

Reply to Robison and Ikeda
From: Mike Behe <mjb1@lehigh.edu>
Organization Lehigh University
Date: Wed, 16 Oct 1996 14:12:59 -0700
Newsgroups: talk.origins
Message-ID: <32654FDB.7A15@lehigh.edu>

[ . . . ]

. . . My book has now been reviewed quite widely, including reviews by academic biochemists. Several of them were quite hostile to my idea of design, but all agreed that the systems I described are enormously complex and currently unexplained. The hostile reviewers were confident that the systems would eventually be explained by Darwinism in the future. I do not share their confidence. Neither did James Shapiro, a biochemist at the University of Chicago who reviewed
Darwin's Black Box for National Review a few weeks ago. He, too,
thinks Darwinism has failed for these systems, but hopes that they will be explained by some other non-intelligent mechanism.

. . . I think nearly everybody is ignoring the difficulty of understanding biochemical evolution. Certainly that seems to be the case when you examine biochemistry textbooks and the biochemical literature . . . I see no sign of a serious effort to explain specific, complex systems within a Darwinian framework.

. . . I didn't intend to "dismiss" the fossil record--how could I "dismiss" it? In fact I mention it mostly to say that it can't tell us whether or not biochemical systems evolved by a Darwinian mechanism. My book concentrates entirely on Darwin's mechanism, and simply takes for granted common descent.

And again, in his article, "The Sterility of Darwinism," Dr. Behe responds to H. Allen Orr's discussion of his book in the Boston Review, Dec/Jan 97:

As it struggles to comprehend nature, science sometimes has to completely re-think how the world works . . . Revolutions in biology have included the cell theory of life in the 19th century, as well as the slow realization in this century that cells are composites of enormously complex molecular systems.

. . . A mechanical engineer can't contradict a physicist on fundamental principles of matter. And evolutionary biology can't overrule biochemistry (1) on fundamental principles of life. It's
not a question of pride--that's just the way the world works.

Curiously, some people seem offended by the way the world works . . . the evolution of biochemical systems is itself biochemistry. When a protein sequence changes, when DNA mutates, those are biochemical changes. Since inherited changes are caused by molecular changes, it is biochemists--not evolutionary biologists--who will ultimately decide whether Darwin's mechanism of natural selection can explain life. No offense--that's just the way the world works.

Orr hankers for the respect accorded physicists, and thinks
evolutionary biologists can finally lay aside their "physics envy"
because "we biologists have discovered the structure of DNA, broken
the genetic code, sequenced the entire genome of some species . . ."
Orr is like a podiatrist claiming credit for progress in brain surgery.

Biochemistry made those dramatic advances; evolutionary biology played no part. I mean no disrespect, but this is not a minor academic turf war--the point is crucial. Anyone who wants to address questions about life's basic mechanisms has to do so from a molecular
perspective. Orr does not . . .

. . . To test natural selection requires much more evidence than mere sequence similarity: it requires experimentation. In all of the scientific literature, however, no experimental evidence can be found that natural selection can produce irreducibly complex biochemical systems. To rebut my arguments Orr could simply have cited papers in the science literature where the systems I discuss have been explained. He didn't do that because explanations are nowhere to be found.

What has biochemistry found that must be explained?
Machines--literally, machines made of molecules. Let's look at just one example. The flagellum is an outboard motor that many bacteria
use to swim. It consists of a rotary propeller, motor, and stationary
framework. Yet this short description can't do justice to the machine's full complexity. Writing of the flagellum in Cell, (2) Lucy Shapiro of Stanford University marvels,

To carry out the feat of coordinating the ordered
expression of about 50 genes, delivering the protein
products of these genes to the construction site, and
moving the correct parts to the upper floors while
adhering to the design specification with a high degree of
accuracy, the cell requires impressive organizational
skills.

Without any one of a number of parts, the flagellum does not merely work less efficiently; it does not work at all. Like a mousetrap it is irreducibly complex and therefore cannot have arisen gradually.

The rotary nature of the flagellum has been recognized for about 25 years. During that time not a single paper has been published in the biochemical literature even attempting to show how such a machine might have developed by natural selection. Darwin's theory is
completely barren when it comes to explaining the origin of the
flagellum or any other complex biochemical system.

The sterility of Darwinism indicates that it is the wrong framework for understanding the basis of life. As I argue in my book, an alternative hypothesis is both natural and obvious: systems such as the flagellum were intentionally designed by an intelligent agent. Just as in the everyday world we immediately conclude design when we see a complex, interactive system such as a mousetrap, there is no reason to withhold the same conclusion from interactive molecular systems. This conclusion may have theological implications that make some people uncomfortable; nonetheless it is the job of science to follow the data wherever they lead, no matter how disturbing.

One last charge must be met: Orr maintains that the theory of intelligent design is not falsifiable. He's wrong. To falsify design theory a scientist need only experimentally demonstrate that a
bacterial flagellum, or any other comparably complex system, could
arise by natural selection. If that happened I would conclude that
neither flagella nor any system of similar or lesser complexity had to
have been designed. In short, biochemical design would be neatly
disproved . . .


Notes

1. By biochemistry I mean all sciences that investigate life at the
molecular level, including molecular biology, much of embryology,
immunology, genetics, etc.

2. Lucy Shapiro, "The Bacterial Flagellum: From Genetic Network to Complex Architecture," Cell 80 (1995): 525-27.

====================================================================

Yours,

Dave Armstrong

Scientific Materialism, Intelligent Design, and the Cosmological Argument (web page)
http://ic.net/~erasmus/RAZ15.HTM
__________________
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  #163  
Old 11-18-2002, 05:17 PM
scotth scotth is offline
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Yowza! Somebody is getting serious. Very good.

A couple quick points:

1) The OP is primarily trying to goad straight creationist and especially Young Earthers that completely deny the fossil record, etc. into looking at the evidence. It would appear from your post that even you would chastise them (feel free to correct me on if I am putting words in your mouth there).
2) That is alot of directly quoted material, I don't mind, but the mods might.
3) Regardless of point 1), this is good ground to examine and there doesn't appear any other points to address right now.

Welcome to the board.... I think I shall enjoy your stay, I hope you do as well.

I'll be back to you late tonight, or sometime tomorrow with the initial analysis.
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  #164  
Old 11-18-2002, 05:46 PM
Dave Armstrong Dave Armstrong is offline
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Introductory & Preliminary Remarks

Hi Scotth,

>Yowza! Somebody is getting serious. Very good.

Is this board known for comedy or something? LOL

>A couple quick points:

>1) The OP is primarily trying to goad straight creationist
and especially Young Earthers that completely deny the
fossil record, etc. into looking at the evidence.

Okay; that wouldn't apply to me (I don't even know why you would bother trying to reach such people); however, there is a marked tendency amongst doctrinaire-type evolutionists (which seem to be most, these days) to paint virtually all creationists with a broad brush as anti-intellectual biblical hyper-literalists, who know little about science, and so forth.

In other words, it is the same old Scopes Trial stereotypes, which are considered great fun and an endless source of amusement amongst the "intelligent folks," but which accomplish little towards the end of advancing intelligent, fruitful discussion on the vexed scientific/philosophical issue of origins. The Galileo incident is used in exactly the same sense. What Scopes is to fundamentalist Protestantism, Galileo is to Catholicism (in the eyes of those who love to cite -- and distort for their own ends -- these incidents).

When pressed, it is admitted that yes, there are old-earth creationists, and creationists who can add 2 and 2 together and spell their name correctly, and who have heard of Newton and Darwin and Einstein (some few might even have somehow amazingly attained to a BS in science!), and that there are theistic evolutionists as well. But one wouldn't find this out very readily in looking over a board like this one, would they? To be fair, I have just glanced at the posts thus far. If I missed such clarifications, I would appreciate someone directing me to them.

>It would appear from your post that even you would chastise
them (feel free to correct me on if I am putting words in
your mouth there).

Absolutely. I always have. Christianity doesn't gain by anti-intellectual folly and stupidity. I am not opposed at all to vigorous critique of young-earth type, biblically-based creationists (if one runs out of things to do), but to materialism, painting with a broad brush, and sheer (unfounded) dogmatism in the name of science.

>2) That is alot of directly quoted material, I don't mind,
but the mods might.

I thought the only limitation was on length. I posted a lot because there has been a lot of strong critique against both creationism and ID (which is NOT a young-earth fundamentalist position, contrary to your characterization of the point of this thread), so I thought there needed to be a significant reply. In common parlance, "I love a good fight." LOL

>3) Regardless of point 1), this is good ground to
examine and there doesn't appear any other points to
address right now.

Good.

>Welcome to the board.... I think I shall enjoy your stay,
I hope you do as well.

Thank you. That was nice of you to say. Is this some sort of agnostic / "rationalist" board or website? That was the impression I got, looking it over briefly.

If there is good discussion to be had, I will hang around. I also like to post my dialogues on my Christian and Catholic apologetic website, where I have exchanges with people of many, many different viewpoints (I usually ask permission -- out of courtesy -- from my opponents to post their words, but I don't regard that as an absolute ethical requirement, since these boards are already "public" in nature, and on the Internet). I like free speech, competing ideas, and I am a Socratic in philosophical and dialogical methodology.

>I'll be back to you late tonight, or sometime tomorrow
with the initial analysis.

Great! Please tell me a little about yourself too, so I have a little bit of an idea about who I am interacting with. Thanks.

Yours,

Dave
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  #165  
Old 11-18-2002, 06:28 PM
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Re: Irrational Dogmatism & Ignorance Not Unknown Among Scientists

[QUOTE]Originally posted by Dave Armstrong
You know: honey attracts better than vinegar . . .

We're trying to drive the Creationists away, not attract them.



Quote:
To give a brief background on myself: I am basically an agnostic on the subject of macroevolution ... I fully accept microevolution...
Um... if you accept microevolution, you automatically accept macroevolution. Macroevolution necessarily follows from microevolution.
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  #166  
Old 11-18-2002, 07:06 PM
scotth scotth is offline
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Re: Introductory & Preliminary Remarks

Quote:
Originally posted by Dave Armstrong
Hi Scotth,

>Yowza! Somebody is getting serious. Very good.

Is this board known for comedy or something? LOL

>A couple quick points:

>1) The OP is primarily trying to goad straight creationist
and especially Young Earthers that completely deny the
fossil record, etc. into looking at the evidence.

Okay; that wouldn't apply to me (I don't even know why you would bother trying to reach such people); however, there is a marked tendency amongst doctrinaire-type evolutionists (which seem to be most, these days) to paint virtually all creationists with a broad brush as anti-intellectual biblical hyper-literalists, who know little about science, and so forth.

In other words, it is the same old Scopes Trial stereotypes, which are considered great fun and an endless source of amusement amongst the "intelligent folks," but which accomplish little towards the end of advancing intelligent, fruitful discussion on the vexed scientific/philosophical issue of origins. The Galileo incident is used in exactly the same sense. What Scopes is to fundamentalist Protestantism, Galileo is to Catholicism (in the eyes of those who love to cite -- and distort for their own ends -- these incidents).

When pressed, it is admitted that yes, there are old-earth creationists, and creationists who can add 2 and 2 together and spell their name correctly, and who have heard of Newton and Darwin and Einstein (some few might even have somehow amazingly attained to a BS in science!), and that there are theistic evolutionists as well. But one wouldn't find this out very readily in looking over a board like this one, would they? To be fair, I have just glanced at the posts thus far. If I missed such clarifications, I would appreciate someone directing me to them.

>It would appear from your post that even you would chastise
them (feel free to correct me on if I am putting words in
your mouth there).

Absolutely. I always have. Christianity doesn't gain by anti-intellectual folly and stupidity. I am not opposed at all to vigorous critique of young-earth type, biblically-based creationists (if one runs out of things to do), but to materialism, painting with a broad brush, and sheer (unfounded) dogmatism in the name of science.

>2) That is alot of directly quoted material, I don't mind,
but the mods might.

I thought the only limitation was on length. I posted a lot because there has been a lot of strong critique against both creationism and ID (which is NOT a young-earth fundamentalist position, contrary to your characterization of the point of this thread), so I thought there needed to be a significant reply. In common parlance, "I love a good fight." LOL

>3) Regardless of point 1), this is good ground to
examine and there doesn't appear any other points to
address right now.

Good.

>Welcome to the board.... I think I shall enjoy your stay,
I hope you do as well.

Thank you. That was nice of you to say. Is this some sort of agnostic / "rationalist" board or website? That was the impression I got, looking it over briefly.

If there is good discussion to be had, I will hang around. I also like to post my dialogues on my Christian and Catholic apologetic website, where I have exchanges with people of many, many different viewpoints (I usually ask permission -- out of courtesy -- from my opponents to post their words, but I don't regard that as an absolute ethical requirement, since these boards are already "public" in nature, and on the Internet). I like free speech, competing ideas, and I am a Socratic in philosophical and dialogical methodology.

>I'll be back to you late tonight, or sometime tomorrow
with the initial analysis.

Great! Please tell me a little about yourself too, so I have a little bit of an idea about who I am interacting with. Thanks.

Yours,

Dave
Got a couple minutes here. Just got home from work and will be entertaining shortly.

Believe it or not, entertaining in this case will actually be a debate with a guy who insists on a literal interpretation of genesis.

I live in North Texas. By what you have said so far, it would appear that you consider the "literal Genesis" crowd is pretty small, but here it is very very prevelant. That is another story, though.

I'll go for easy stuff while I am here for the moment.

Me:
33 y.o. male. Write software for a living. Grew up in Indiana, moved to west Texas in my teens and graduated HS there. Joined the Marines when I was 19 and spent 8 years doing that. I spent most of my time in 29 Palms, CA... (that sucks like you wouldn't believe) and was a Radar Tech (on a couple of radars) and also spent a couple years flying the Pioneer RPV. Got tired of being dirt poor and got out of the Marines and came to Dallas. If you are looking for a real "credentialed" science background here, you aren't gonna find it in me. None the less, don't expect that I will be too ignorant.

Feel free to quote our exchanges, like you said, this is a public forum and I don't feel like I have any right to privacy here. If I didn't want my opinion known or scrutinized I would be picking a pretty poor hobby in this.

I will make a quick observation on your opening before I have to adjorn for my guest. Your opening was pretty short on honey and pretty long on vinegar.... But then, you probably had me pegged as a guy that wasn't gonna be scared off.

You might considered that some of my remarks directed at other posters were somewhat over the top, deliberately.... and really, you have to admit the assertions made by Hebzabeb were far enough afield to indicate a serioius lack of understanding.

I freely admit I made of accusation of ignorance there. Looked to be fairly well supported by the statements made. I'll stand by it as at least a reasonable working idea until Hebzabeb returns and makes at least a showing.

Anyway, I will start addressing the real issues in earnest after my "debate"... who knows when that will be, but I will give it a shot tonight.

If you don't object. I may address your post in pieces as I have time instead of in one big post, as there is so much of it.
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  #167  
Old 11-18-2002, 07:13 PM
Dave Armstrong Dave Armstrong is offline
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Nice try

Funny line about driving creationists away. :-)

>Um... if you accept microevolution, you automatically
accept macroevolution. Macroevolution necessarily
follows from microevolution.

It does, huh? Okay; then I'm sure you can explain the step-by-step process of evolution of the sorts of biochemical organisms that Behe describes, not to mention other fun discussion topics such as the evolution of flight, or whales, or the reptile-to-mammal transition. I look forward to learning from you how all these things work.

Yours,

Dave
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  #168  
Old 11-18-2002, 07:25 PM
Darwin's Finch Darwin's Finch is offline
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Re: Irrational Dogmatism & Ignorance Not Unknown Among Scientists

Quote:
Originally posted by Dave Armstrong
Go ahead and tell me how the complex biochemical processes he describes have come about in an evolutionary manner. I, for one, would be eternally grateful if you could do that. Here are some statements by Behe that I would like to see answered here:

=====================================================================

Quote:
Without any one of a number of parts, the flagellum does not merely work less efficiently; it does not work at all. Like a mousetrap it is irreducibly complex and therefore cannot have arisen gradually.
Well, for starters, this statement is incorrect. See here.

Quote:
Quote:
The rotary nature of the flagellum has been recognized for about 25 years. During that time not a single paper has been published in the biochemical literature even attempting to show how such a machine might have developed by natural selection. Darwin's theory is completely barren when it comes to explaining the origin of the flagellum or any other complex biochemical system.
See the article I just linked to. Behe fails to distinguish between an absence in the literature being the result of lack of study, and his perception that the absence is the result of lack of evidence, period. This sounds very much like an appeal to a "God of the gaps": if we don't know, it must be design. However, the key word missing from such an inference is "we don't know yet." And that is one of the basic problems with ID: so long as gaps in our knowledge exist, for whatever reason, these will be pointed to as being "evidence" for ID. However, as indicated in the linked article, pieces are beginning to come together in the case of the flagellum.

Quote:
Quote:
The sterility of Darwinism indicates that it is the wrong framework for understanding the basis of life. As I argue in my book, an alternative hypothesis is both natural and obvious: systems such as the flagellum were intentionally designed by an intelligent agent. Just as in the everyday world we immediately conclude design when we see a complex, interactive system such as a mousetrap, there is no reason to withhold the same conclusion from interactive molecular systems.
Here, I have a philosphical disagreement. We know certain things to be designed, because we know we were responsible for them (e.g., mousetraps, pocket watches lying in fields). One cannot carry that same thinking over to nature, because we do not know a priori that complex structures were designed. We may surmise as much, but we must then be able to test that theory. Behe's version of ID hinges on its proof being in the absence of a naturalistic explanation; in other words, it relies on the absence of evidence from another theory. ID, in order to have any merit, must stand, or fall, completely on its own.

Quote:
Quote:
One last charge must be met: Orr maintains that the theory of intelligent design is not falsifiable. He's wrong. To falsify design theory a scientist need only experimentally demonstrate that a bacterial flagellum, or any other comparably complex system, could arise by natural selection. If that happened I would conclude that neither flagella nor any system of similar or lesser complexity had to have been designed. In short, biochemical design would be neatly disproved . . .
And this quote from Behe's book is a perfect example of what I just said. Producing a Darwinian pathway only verifies that natural selection may have been involved. It still says nothing whatsoever about any original design intent (or realization of that intent). Nor does the absence of such a pathway provide verification of ID. Again, ID cannot rely on gaps in knowledge from another theory, it must be able to produce experiments all on its own which can verify or falsify it. Thus far, to my knowledge, none have been put forth.
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  #169  
Old 11-18-2002, 07:29 PM
Darwin's Finch Darwin's Finch is offline
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Re: Nice try

Quote:
Originally posted by Dave Armstrong
[...]or the reptile-to-mammal transition. I look forward to learning from you how all these things work.
You will, unfortunatley, not learn much about how this particular sequence works, since there is no "reptile-to-mammal" transition - reptiles did not evolve into mammals.
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  #170  
Old 11-18-2002, 07:30 PM
Darwin's Finch Darwin's Finch is offline
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Oh...sorry about screwing up the margins by quoting the double-underline thingy.
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  #171  
Old 11-18-2002, 07:32 PM
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In order to create a new species, all that's necessary is for a few genes that affect fertility to be affected. For example, there are insect species that are defined solely by the structure of their genitals; in all other ways, they're identical to other insect species. If the genes responsible for sperm-egg compatibility shift even slightly, a population of animals can split into mutually infertile subspecies relatively quickly.

There have been lots of hypotheses about how and why flight evolved, but none of them require anything more than the accumulation of minor genetic changes.

Mammals probably didn't evolve from reptiles. It's more likely that they had a common ancestor. Some think that the dinosaurs were warm-blooded; do they qualify as reptiles?

Evolution can have some rather strange effects. For example, many reptiles have highly efficient kidneys that can remove most of the water from their urine. This gives them an edge in desert survival. For some reason, mammalian kidneys seem to have a maximum water-extraction of about 30%.

Clearly, one system couldn't evolve into the other without some fairly improbable mutations that altered characteristics of the entire system. However, a more basic and simple system can easily be imagined to have acquired new and different characteristics over time, some of which were incompatible, in different groups of organisms.
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  #172  
Old 11-18-2002, 07:34 PM
Darwin's Finch Darwin's Finch is offline
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Sorry about all the successive posts....

Quote:
Originally posted by Dave Armstrong
Okay; then I'm sure you can explain the step-by-step process of evolution of the sorts of biochemical organisms that Behe describes, not to mention other fun discussion topics such as the evolution of flight, or whales, or the reptile-to-mammal transition. I look forward to learning from you how all these things work.
A good starting place for vertebrate flight.

And a good place to start for whale evolution.
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  #173  
Old 11-18-2002, 09:47 PM
Ben Ben is offline
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Re: Nice try

Quote:
Originally posted by Dave Armstrong

It does, huh? Okay; then I'm sure you can explain the step-by-step process of evolution of the sorts of biochemical organisms that Behe describes, not to mention other fun discussion topics such as the evolution of flight, or whales, or the reptile-to-mammal transition. I look forward to learning from you how all these things work.
Four questions, SVP:

1.) What do you make of the accusations of dishonesty which have been leveled at Behe?

2.) How are your arguments different from a God-of-the-Gaps argument?

3.) What books on evolution have you read which have been written by evolutionists? Because plenty has been written about the topics you mention above. (Although I'm surprised by the comment that there was no reptile-to-mammal transition. Aren't therapsids the transitional species, like dimetrodon?)

4.) If a single system were claimed to be IC, and it could be shown that it was not, wouldn't that destroy the validity of the argument from IC once and for all? After all, the argument is entirely an argument by default. Behe is claiming that one can so definitively determine that it was impossible for evolution to have produced a particular structure that one is forced to conclude that it was ID. But if it can be shown that that determination isn't conclusive after all, how can you claim to have "proven" that evolution couldn't be at work?
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  #174  
Old 11-19-2002, 12:48 AM
scotth scotth is offline
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I don't see that alot was left for me to tackle.

I had in mind to basically start with Darwin's Finch's "philosphical disagreement" line, but I think he might have done a better job with than I had quite worked out.

Its late here, guess I will see where this sits in the morning.
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  #175  
Old 11-19-2002, 12:53 AM
Darwin's Finch Darwin's Finch is offline
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Re: Re: Nice try

Quote:
Originally posted by Ben
(Although I'm surprised by the comment that there was no reptile-to-mammal transition. Aren't therapsids the transitional species, like dimetrodon?)
Synapsids (including therapsids) share a common ancestor with anapsids (turtles, et al.) and the other reptiles.

To break it down: Amniotes gave rise to Synapsids on the one hand, and Sauropsids on the other hand. Synapsida is the branch which includes the therapsids, cynodonts, and mammals. Sauropsida is the branch which includes the anapsids (turtles, et al.) and diapsid (pretty much everything else reptilian) reptiles. Since reptiles and mammals were never on the same branch, one cannot be considered the ancestor of the other.

Now, Synapsids did come from lizardy-looking things, but those things were just amniotes, not true reptiles. And the early therapsids are generally known as "mammal-like reptiles", but that's quite a misnomer, as they were really neither. So, there was a transition from lizardy-looking things to "mammal-like reptiles" to mammals proper, but it is not, technically, a "reptile to mammal" transition.
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  #176  
Old 11-19-2002, 01:00 AM
Dave Armstrong Dave Armstrong is offline
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Hi DF,

The author of the article you link to (Ian Musgrave) wrote:

>As I said this is speculative, and a more detailed analysis of FliG and the FliG homologs, plus other components of the system, is needed to get a clearer picture.

Is this sort of mere "speculation" considered by you to be scientific demonstration and observation of a process of evolution, as Behe has challenged Darwinians to produce?

He goes on:

>I have presented evidence that eubacterial flagellar systems evolved from, and still function today as, secretory systems.

This is a very tentative sketch,

A "very tentative sketch" is a scientific observation of process and causal explanation?

>but it does seem that a fully detailed evolutionary explanation for eubacterial flagella is not so distant.

Oh, of course. As always, the explanation is right around the corner. But it is not here yet, it seems to me. So Behe's point about it not yet having been explained is true. He then makes a judgment of IC. I understand that you guys disagree with that, but it is neither dishonest nor the death of science to make such a claim.

>While the details of the motor/rotor/filament system assembly
seem reasonably clear, the details of the evolution of the FliG,M,N torque generating sytem are lacking, as we know little about how these systems generate torque.

Case in point again. The actual course of evolution is neither known or described. So the point stands.

>See the article I just linked to.

I did, and I don't see the answer there. I see (by the author's own admission), a "speculative" scenario and a "very tentative sketch."
You may find that to be an actual detailed explanation, and compelling. I do not; sorry.

>Behe fails to distinguish between an absence in the literature being the result of lack of study, and his perception that the absence is the result of lack of evidence, period.

This is a distinction without a difference. You say it is due to a lack of study, and we will solve the mystery with further study. But that is always the Darwinist reply. We will solve the mystery of the origin of life with "just a bit more study" (yeah, right). We will discover life elsewhere in the universe pretty soon (yeah, right). The fact remains that the answer is not here NOW.

>This sounds very much like an appeal to a "God of the gaps": if we don't know, it must be design.

This is always the retort too: "God of the gaps." I could write and write on this, but I don't have the energy; the issues are many and complex. At this point I will simply say that, philosophically, there is little distinction between a bare evolutionary speculation with an unproven materialistic axiom behind it and a bare intelligent design speculation with an ultimately unprovable theistic axiom behind it. One always gets to a place where something is assumed, unproven, and unprovable. My argument here (bottom line) is that materialism is untenable as a starting-point. It is not necessary to do science (as most of the great early scientists were both Christians and creationists, and that didn't seem to hamper their scientific abilities). Science itself begins with many unproven assumptions. Christianity provided many of those, which explains much about the time and place of the origin of modern science.

My opinion is that both competing views reduce eventually to philosophy, where it is a different ballgame. What you call "god of the gaps" is simply an acknowledgement that there are things that science cannot answer in its own purview and field of study. The honest scientists who knows his philosophy and epistemology will acknowledge this. But the pompous one who thinks science is the be-all and end-all of knowledge, will not.

Therefore, I say that appealing to God is no more an appeal to ignorance, or a "default" position as appeal to the supposed miraculous capabilites of mutations to create all evolutionary changes in due course, given enough time. Time is the other "quasi-God" concept co-opted. Matter can do anything, and time makes anything possible. As I wrote in another essay, materialistic science has merely substituted the all-powerful atom for the all-powerful God, and Time is the goddess that helps to make all things possible as well. It is a religious position at bottom.

Once one understands that science cannot be totally isolated from the philosophy of which it is but one branch, then they will realize that speculation about design and a Creator are not impermissible, simply because they cannot strictly be proven. They are concepts of spirit, not matter, but so is much of evolutionary speculation, which has no real basis in observation and demonstration. This gets into another huge discussion of the compartmentalization of knowledge: one of my long-running pet peeves.

>However, the key word missing from such an inference is "we don't know yet." And that is one of the basic problems with ID: so long as gaps in our knowledge exist, for whatever reason, these will be pointed to as being "evidence" for ID.

How is that substantially different from relentless appeal to the omnipotent mutation and the omnipotent atom, which can do absolutely anything we see in the universe? You can't prove that and you can't disprove that a God might be involved.

>However, as indicated in the linked article,
pieces are beginning to come together in the case of the flagellum.

That's not good enough. If we are going to go by current scientific knowledge, then it ain't there yet.

>Here, I have a philosphical disagreement.

Glad to see that you recognize philosophy as a field of knowledge, too.

>We know certain things to be designed, because we know we were
responsible for them (e.g., mousetraps, pocket watches lying in fields). One cannot carry that same thinking over to
nature, because we do not know a priori that complex structures were designed.

It's an analogy. Of course we don't "know" that there was design, by science, and I don't see how we could know that by laws of physics. But analogical logic is a valid analysis of a set of facts because we use this sort of analysis all the time, in many fields of study.

>We may surmise as much, but we
must then be able to test that theory.

What would be a test of such a thing? I contend that it is philosophical, but it is not inconsistent with science. I think Behe would also admit this, if pressed, and that is probably what he means.

>Behe's version of ID hinges on its proof being in the absence of a naturalistic explanation; in other words, it relies on the absence of evidence from another theory.

Not necessarily. I think he would say that in the absence of explanatory value of one theory, that we ought to be allowed to think "outside the box" and contemplate perhaps another explanation: that of theistic evolution or intelligent design. But dogmatic thinking structures do not permit thinking outside the box.

>ID, in order to have any merit,
must stand, or fall, completely on its own.

It can do so on philosophical grounds, in terms not inconsistent with science, though not technically within science as a field, epistemologically or methodologically. Materialistic evolution, on the other hand, is not so self-consistent. It claims to be demonstrable on scientific, empirical grounds alone, yet it fails to produce the goods all too often, and cannot be demonstrated, But it is believed anyway (which, to me, is the equivalent of "faith" in scientific circles: going beyond what is demonstrable). But materialism keeps pretending that it has all the answers when it clearly does not, and refuses to allow any alternative to have any airing whatever. It's a sort of ongoing game or charade.

> . . . Producing a Darwinian pathway only verifies
that natural selection may have been involved. It still says nothing whatsoever about any original design intent (or realization of that intent). Nor does the absence of such a pathway provide verification of ID. Again, ID cannot rely on
gaps in knowledge from another theory, it must be able to produce experiments all on its own which can verify or falsify
it. Thus far, to my knowledge, none have been put forth.

I can't imagine any such experiment. It is a philosophical construct in the first place, dealing with spirit and not matter, though the relationship between the two is highly complex, as anyone who has studied the classic mind-body question in philosophy knows.

Yours,

Dave
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  #177  
Old 11-19-2002, 01:34 AM
Dave Armstrong Dave Armstrong is offline
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Behe's challenge not yet answered (not even an attempt)

[Darwin's Finch then provided links to articles explaining whale evolution and the origin of flight:

http://www.neoucom.edu/Depts/Anat/whaleorigins.htm
http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/vertebr...ht/evolve.html ]

Neither of your articles gives me the step-by-step explanation that I am demanding. It's mere speculation, as always. Instead, we have statements like, "Perhaps the most perplexing and controversial aspect of the study of flight is the study of how and why flight evolved." Or: "In this convergence, we can see some semblance of general 'rules' that may govern how animals evolve flight, and from these rules we can perhaps glean a hint of what it takes for an animal to have potential for flight." Or: "Why wings (and hence flight) evolved from this point is a matter of contention among scientists." He then gives four hypotheses which have been proposed (apparently not an exhausive list), one of which is, we are told, "non-falsifiable."

This is not empirical demonstration, and it is hardly compelling. The true believer finds it to be marvelously persuasive "evidence," though, because he manages to fit almost every conceivable
observation, theory, hypothesis, or merest speculation into a materialistic evolutionary framework in some fashion. Likewise, the article on whale evolution gives no hypothetical step-by-step
process whatever: not even a bare hypothetical speculation.

Therefore, no one has yet answered my challenge: "step-by-step process of evolution of the sorts of biochemical organisms that Behe describes, not to mention other fun discussion topics such as
the evolution of flight, or whales, or the reptile-to-mammal transition." No one has even tried, let alone tackle the processes involved in Behe's biochemical scenarios. You guys have all this
knowledge, just waiting to share it with inquirers and skeptics such as myself? I'm all ears. I've seen nothing of any significance in reply yet. You wanna claim that all these alleged evolutionary
step-by-step processes have been scientifically demonstrated? By all means show me, and please put it in layman's terms. All good thinkers are able to simplify complicated data and information for the sake of teaching laymen.

Yours,

Dave
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  #178  
Old 11-19-2002, 01:57 AM
Dave Armstrong Dave Armstrong is offline
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The Four Questions

Ben wrote:

>Four questions, SVP:

>1.) What do you make of the accusations of dishonesty
which have been leveled at Behe?

I think it is the same old tired tactic of demonizing and personally attacking any critic of evolutionary theory -- ad hominem fallacy.

>2.) How are your arguments different from a
God-of-the-Gaps argument?

Explained in another post, above.

>3.) What books on evolution have you read which have
been written by evolutionists? Because plenty has been
written about the topics you mention above. (Although
I'm surprised by the comment that there was no
reptile-to-mammal transition. Aren't therapsids the
transitional species, like dimetrodon?)

The issue is not how much I know or don't know. It is irrelevant how educated I am on the topic. I can hold my own, I think, but I approach the topic primarily in a philosophical way, as a philosopher of science would do. I am also playing the skeptic, and Socrates: I'm asking you to, in effect, "put up or shut up." Even if one is relatively ignorant of a subject, if he has a logical and critical mind, he can see logical flaws in arguments.

You claim to have all this demonstrated evidence of process, whereas Behe says that you don't? Very well, then; I am willing to listen to what you have to say. Explain to me this step-by-step process (of his biochemical organisms) in simple layman's terms, without recourse to all sorts of technical information that can obfuscate the basic issues at hand by creating a facade of knowledge where in fact, there is none (about processes).

You write, "plenty has been written about the topics you mention above." I'm delighted to hear this. That means, then, that you will find it very easy, certainly, to cut-and-paste something from the Internet. Thus far, no one has done any such thing. The cited articles so far were either entirely lacking in real, causal explanations of process, or tentative to such an extent that they were underwhelming in their persuasive force (to put it mildly). You only dig your own rhetorical grave if you make such comments and then fail to fulfill a simple request for information.

>4.) If a single system were claimed to be IC, and it
could be shown that it was not, wouldn't that destroy
the validity of the argument from IC once and for all?

It might for that particular system; I don't think it would disprove the entire outlook, anymore than tons of unexplained phenomena or anomalies do not cause the slightest dent in the materialistic evolutionary edifice, where the true believers are concerned.

>After all, the argument is entirely an argument by
default.

It is entirely a philosophical argument, which is not -- by its very nature -- anti-scientific or contrary to science. It is simply different from materialistic science, and goes beyond empiricism, which is not the only valid form of knowledge.

>Behe is claiming that one can so definitively
determine that it was impossible for evolution to have
produced a particular structure that one is forced to
conclude that it was ID.

This gets into plausibility and inductive leaps: very difficult subjects.

>But if it can be shown that that determination isn't conclusive after all, how can you claim to have "proven" that evolution couldn't be at
work?

I don't think "proof" is the right word. What I'm arguing is a fair-minded look at the epistemology and root assumptions of both competing thought-systems. I would talk in terms of relative degrees of plausibility or believability. For me, ID is much more plausible and believable than materialistic evolution. You think the opposite. I wanna know why, and I wanna see demonstration of the processes that Behe claims have not been demonstrated in the literature.

Yours,

Dave
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  #179  
Old 11-19-2002, 02:17 AM
Darwin's Finch Darwin's Finch is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dave Armstrong
>I have presented evidence that eubacterial flagellar systems evolved from, and still function today as, secretory systems.

This is a very tentative sketch,

A "very tentative sketch" is a scientific observation of process and causal explanation?

>but it does seem that a fully detailed evolutionary explanation for eubacterial flagella is not so distant.

Oh, of course. As always, the explanation is right around the corner. But it is not here yet, it seems to me. So Behe's point about it not yet having been explained is true. He then makes a judgment of IC. I understand that you guys disagree with that, but it is neither dishonest nor the death of science to make such a claim.
It may not have been fully explained, but the process is under way. And his judgment of IC, had you read the article with an unbiased eye, you would have seen to be false. It is not the case that all flagella everywhere require 50 different proteins to function. Nor is it the case that if indivudal parts are removed, the parts of the flagellum necessarily cease to function.

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>While the details of the motor/rotor/filament system assembly
seem reasonably clear, the details of the evolution of the FliG,M,N torque generating sytem are lacking, as we know little about how these systems generate torque.

Case in point again. The actual course of evolution is neither known or described. So the point stands.
The point does not stand. A theoretical pathway has been put forth. If you don't agree with it, refute it. That's the way these things work. That the particular pathway hasn't been "proven" is irrelevant.

Quote:
I did, and I don't see the answer there. I see (by the author's own admission), a "speculative" scenario and a "very tentative sketch."
You may find that to be an actual detailed explanation, and compelling. I do not; sorry.
I do not find it to be detailed explanation. But I don't see any IDers putting forth any rebuttals, either, other than the handwaving you exhibit here. Why is that?

Quote:
>Behe fails to distinguish between an absence in the literature being the result of lack of study, and his perception that the absence is the result of lack of evidence, period.

This is a distinction without a difference. You say it is due to a lack of study, and we will solve the mystery with further study. But that is always the Darwinist reply. We will solve the mystery of the origin of life with "just a bit more study" (yeah, right). We will discover life elsewhere in the universe pretty soon (yeah, right). The fact remains that the answer is not here NOW.
Which is precisely why Behe's ID is nothing more than "God of the gaps." As I said, if the theory cannot stand on its own merit, it is useless. Put forth one experiment, independent of any Darwinian theory, which can be used to falsify ID.

Quote:
>This sounds very much like an appeal to a "God of the gaps": if we don't know, it must be design.

This is always the retort too: "God of the gaps." I could write and write on this, but I don't have the energy; the issues are many and complex. At this point I will simply say that, philosophically, there is little distinction between a bare evolutionary speculation with an unproven materialistic axiom behind it and a bare intelligent design speculation with an ultimately unprovable theistic axiom behind it. One always gets to a place where something is assumed, unproven, and unprovable.
I just explained why "God of the gaps" is so often trotted out. It has nothing to do with evolution - it has everything to do with the fact that ID does not, nor can it, make any claims which stand on their own.

Quote:
My opinion is that both competing views reduce eventually to philosophy, where it is a different ballgame. What you call "god of the gaps" is simply an acknowledgement that there are things that science cannot answer in its own purview and field of study. The honest scientists who knows his philosophy and epistemology will acknowledge this. But the pompous one who thinks science is the be-all and end-all of knowledge, will not.
Which, of course, disqualifies IDers as "honest scientists", since none are capable of disassociating the theory from its metaphysic. In the eyes of any IDer, naturalism must be false. Not "might be", must be. Science, however, does not require ontological naturalism - it only requires methodological naturalism, which is not the same thing.

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Therefore, I say that appealing to God is no more an appeal to ignorance, or a "default" position as appeal to the supposed miraculous capabilites of mutations to create all evolutionary changes in due course, given enough time. Time is the other "quasi-God" concept co-opted. Matter can do anything, and time makes anything possible. As I wrote in another essay, materialistic science has merely substituted the all-powerful atom for the all-powerful God, and Time is the goddess that helps to make all things possible as well. It is a religious position at bottom.
You can say that, but it doesn't make your position tenable. The alleged "miraculous capabilities of mutations", aside from being a strawman (mutations in and of themselves are not the creative force of evolution) have a logical, and empirical, basis. In short, there is, in fact, nothing miraculous about them.

Quote:
>However, the key word missing from such an inference is "we don't know yet." And that is one of the basic problems with ID: so long as gaps in our knowledge exist, for whatever reason, these will be pointed to as being "evidence" for ID.

How is that substantially different from relentless appeal to the omnipotent mutation and the omnipotent atom, which can do absolutely anything we see in the universe? You can't prove that and you can't disprove that a God might be involved.
Another strawman. Mutations have never been put forth as being "omnipotent".

Quote:
>However, as indicated in the linked article,
pieces are beginning to come together in the case of the flagellum.

That's not good enough. If we are going to go by current scientific knowledge, then it ain't there yet.
It ain't there yet, but it's a heck of a lot farther along than the ID alternative, now isn't it? And what is that alternative? "God designed it." Which, if you wish to put forth as a statement of faith is all fine and dandy. If, however, you wish to make that a scientific statement, you're going to have to provide some real evidence. Feel free to do so.

Quote:
>We know certain things to be designed, because we know we were
responsible for them (e.g., mousetraps, pocket watches lying in fields). One cannot carry that same thinking over to
nature, because we do not know a priori that complex structures were designed.

It's an analogy. Of course we don't "know" that there was design, by science, and I don't see how we could know that by laws of physics. But analogical logic is a valid analysis of a set of facts because we use this sort of analysis all the time, in many fields of study.
Exactly - it's a false analogy. One which is based in circular logic: nature cannot have designed itself. Therefore, anything which has the appearace of design in nature, must have had an exterior designer.

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>We may surmise as much, but we
must then be able to test that theory.

What would be a test of such a thing? I contend that it is philosophical, but it is not inconsistent with science. I think Behe would also admit this, if pressed, and that is probably what he means.
That's the point: one cannot test, and thereby falsify, such a thing. It may not be inconsistent with science, but it surely falls outside of its purview as a consequence.

Quote:
>Behe's version of ID hinges on its proof being in the absence of a naturalistic explanation; in other words, it relies on the absence of evidence from another theory.

Not necessarily. I think he would say that in the absence of explanatory value of one theory, that we ought to be allowed to think "outside the box" and contemplate perhaps another explanation: that of theistic evolution or intelligent design. But dogmatic thinking structures do not permit thinking outside the box.
Well, we could also think "outside the box" and posit that it's all fairy magic. But where does that get us?
This is a common complaint amongst IDers: that dogmatic thinking will not allow scientists to consider such a thing. Which is, of course, completely false. One is free to explore any philosophical possibilities one cares to; however, just because one can posit a non-scientific alternative does not make it valid.

Quote:
>ID, in order to have any merit,
must stand, or fall, completely on its own.

It can do so on philosophical grounds, in terms not inconsistent with science, though not technically within science as a field, epistemologically or methodologically. Materialistic evolution, on the other hand, is not so self-consistent. It claims to be demonstrable on scientific, empirical grounds alone, yet it fails to produce the goods all too often, and cannot be demonstrated, But it is believed anyway (which, to me, is the equivalent of "faith" in scientific circles: going beyond what is demonstrable). But materialism keeps pretending that it has all the answers when it clearly does not, and refuses to allow any alternative to have any airing whatever. It's a sort of ongoing game or charade.
"It's too complex for nature to have done it" is hardly valid philosophical grounds for ID to stand on. And your claim that evolution cannot be demonstrated only shows the depth of your bias...and ignorance.

And, as I said, you can air any alternative you like. But if you're going to fall back on the "non-scientific" philosophy of ID, then you must likewise admit that fairy magic is every bit as valid as an alternative.

Quote:
> . . . Producing a Darwinian pathway only verifies
that natural selection may have been involved. It still says nothing whatsoever about any original design intent (or realization of that intent). Nor does the absence of such a pathway provide verification of ID. Again, ID cannot rely on
gaps in knowledge from another theory, it must be able to produce experiments all on its own which can verify or falsify
it. Thus far, to my knowledge, none have been put forth.

I can't imagine any such experiment. It is a philosophical construct in the first place, dealing with spirit and not matter, though the relationship between the two is highly complex, as anyone who has studied the classic mind-body question in philosophy knows.
Which, as mentioned, places it firmly in the realm of faith, not science. It has as much merit in this position as standard young-earth creationism. Which you've already claimed to reject - why do you accept the one but not the other?
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  #180  
Old 11-19-2002, 02:34 AM
Darwin's Finch Darwin's Finch is offline
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Re: The Four Questions

Quote:
Originally posted by Dave Armstrong
You claim to have all this demonstrated evidence of process, whereas Behe says that you don't? Very well, then; I am willing to listen to what you have to say. Explain to me this step-by-step process (of his biochemical organisms) in simple layman's terms, without recourse to all sorts of technical information that can obfuscate the basic issues at hand by creating a facade of knowledge where in fact, there is none (about processes).
What do you feel are the "basic issues at hand"? Please give examples of this "facade of knowledge".

Can you explain how ID represents a philosophically more satisfying argument than materialism?

Suppose, for a moment, that we accept that ID is plausible. What then? What "knowledge" is gained thereby that a naturalistic methodology fails to provide? Of what practical use is such a position?

Quote:
The cited articles so far were either entirely lacking in real, causal explanations of process, or tentative to such an extent that they were underwhelming in their persuasive force (to put it mildly).
What sort of "real, causal explanations of process" are you looking for?
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  #181  
Old 11-19-2002, 02:47 AM
Mangetout Mangetout is online now
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Dave Armstrong; Sorry to pick over such a silly little thing, but could you try to use the quote tags in your posts? - I'm finding that tracking who is saying what detracts from the message.

Instructions may be found here, or alternatively just click the 'quote' button below somebody's post and you'll see how they are constructed.

Thanks
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  #182  
Old 11-19-2002, 02:52 AM
Darwin's Finch Darwin's Finch is offline
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Re: Behe's challenge not yet answered (not even an attempt)

Quote:
Originally posted by Dave Armstrong
Neither of your articles gives me the step-by-step explanation that I am demanding.
And again I ask, what step-by-step explanation are you looking for? Do you want us to provide examples of each and every organism from step A to step B?

Quote:
This is not empirical demonstration, and it is hardly compelling.
And where is it written that science consists solely of the empirical? If this is what you are looking for, then you proceed from a false premise. Especially given that you yourself claimed that empiricism is not the only valid form of knowledge.

You have built up not only a strawman of evolution that you can beat up, but one of scientific methodologies in general, as well. As such, our failure to priovide what you are looking for is rooted in your own erroneous expectations. Science is not pure observation and nothing more. Particularly so with historical sciences, and the study of history in general. Inference is a valid tool in science. So, perhaps you can explain why the inferences made with respect to, say, bird flight, are invalid.

Quote:
You guys have all this knowledge, just waiting to share it with inquirers and skeptics such as myself? I'm all ears. I've seen nothing of any significance in reply yet. You wanna claim that all these alleged evolutionary step-by-step processes have been scientifically demonstrated? By all means show me, and please put it in layman's terms. All good thinkers are able to simplify complicated data and information for the sake of teaching laymen.
Only if those laymen are actually willing to learn. You have been given starting points, and dismissed those out of hand. As such, anything else we might produce will likewise be dismissed. Your mind is closed at this point; it's not worth the effort to teach this pig to sing.
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  #183  
Old 11-19-2002, 05:23 AM
Icerigger Icerigger is offline
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Dave, all of your "arguments" are refuted here:

http://fp.bio.utk.edu/skeptic/
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  #184  
Old 11-19-2002, 06:38 AM
Mangetout Mangetout is online now
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Good grief Icerigger; there's certainly no evidence of intelligent design in those web pages. What a mess.

I'd stick with TalkOrigins.
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  #185  
Old 11-19-2002, 08:57 AM
Ben Ben is offline
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Re: The Four Questions

Quote:
Originally posted by Dave Armstrong
Ben wrote:

>Four questions, SVP:

>1.) What do you make of the accusations of dishonesty
which have been leveled at Behe?

I think it is the same old tired tactic of demonizing and personally attacking any critic of evolutionary theory -- ad hominem fallacy.


Ah, well then. It should be trivially easy for you to refute them, so go to it. Frankly, I'm getting a little tired of your rather wordy handwaving.

Quote:

It might for that particular system; I don't think it would disprove the entire outlook, anymore than tons of unexplained phenomena or anomalies do not cause the slightest dent in the materialistic evolutionary edifice, where the true believers are concerned.


And this, to me, is where it becomes clear that you're not interested in serious argument so much as you want to yank our chains. What is your defense of IC against contrary evidence? You declare that evolutionist "true believers" are too narrow minded to accept the evidence, so you shouldn't have to be open minded, either.

That, and the fact that you keep going on about how we're unwilling to admit that theistic evolutionists exist, unless pressed.

Quote:

It is entirely a philosophical argument, which is not -- by its very nature -- anti-scientific or contrary to science. It is simply different from materialistic science, and goes beyond empiricism, which is not the only valid form of knowledge.


You didn't address my point. Your argument is an argument by default. If evolution can't explain it, you trot out God. If you're so hot on philosophy, why aren't you aware of the fallacy of the argument from ignorance?

Quote:

I don't think "proof" is the right word. What I'm arguing is a fair-minded look at the epistemology and root assumptions of both competing thought-systems. I would talk in terms of relative degrees of plausibility or believability. For me, ID is much more plausible and believable than materialistic evolution. You think the opposite. I wanna know why, and I wanna see demonstration of the processes that Behe claims have not been demonstrated in the literature.

Exactly my point. All your "philosophical" verbiage about epistemology and thought-systems is just creating a facade of knowledge. Ultimately, it's just a GotG argument, based in the fallacy of argument from ignorance. You've presented a false dichotomy: ID vs. evolution. And if evolution can't be demonstrated to explain absolutely everything, you can just declare ID to be the winner by default. You declare that somehow evolution's triumphs are always just around the corner, but you don't acknowledge what evolution is already able to explain.

That "Tower of Why" is nice, if you want to maintain a belief that the existence of God is proven by science (or philosophy or whatever you want to call your application of the argument from ignorance.) Or, for that matter, if you want to feel smarter than anyone else. There's no chance that your security blanket will ever be taken away from you. Even if someone here presented you with a detailed, step-by-step explanation of how the clotting cascade evolved, backed by a mountain of evidence, you could still declare that we have to explain the bacterial flagellum, or the evolution of flight, or any number of things. And if someone then accused you of being narrow-minded, you could throw a few accusations of narrow-mindedness back at them.

If you really knew a single thing about epistemology, you'd know that if you don't know the answer, then you don't know the answer. If mainstream science can't explain something yet, the honest responses are, "evolution can probably explain this, given how well evolution works in similar areas," or, "I just don't know the answer one way or the other." A dishonest answer is, "You can't explain it, you narrow-minded true believer, so that means I'm right. And that's not argument by default- it's just a philosophical argument comparing two thought-systems." But ID is so intellectually bankrupt that that's all you can really do to support it. If you put it in the ring with evolution, it would get knocked out in the first round. So you just shadow-box in rings that evolution hasn't stepped into yet. And by your own admission, if evolution stepped into the ring, you'd jump out and run to the next ring.
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  #186  
Old 11-19-2002, 09:02 AM
Ben Ben is offline
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While I have little faith that DA has any interest in a real discussion, I thought I would trot out the rough draft of the abiogenesis FAQ. It's funny- it used to be that Beheists would claim that there was a "vast and thundering silence" on questions of how IC systems evolved. Supposedly, Behe had posed questions so difficult that no one could even begin to explain them Now they seem to have downgraded it to, "Well, your explanation isn't detailed enough," or, "well, that's just a just-so story."

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Here is the rough draft of the abiogenesis mini-FAQ. There is an additional section I wanted to write on the early evolution of the genetic code, detailing how new codons were added as organisms evolved the ability to make new amino acids, but I haven't gotten around to it yet.

If you're not familiar with DNA and proteins and suchlike, you might want to read the first few sections of the Molecular Genetics FAQ in order to get up to speed.

ABIOGENESIS MINI-FAQ

Creationists are fond of attacking the idea of abiogenesis. No matter how many times you tell them that abiogenesis is a separate issue from evolution, they throw it in the face of evolutionists, usually with some sneers about "if you can explain that, there’s a Nobel Prize waiting for you." Frequently you hear them say that the question of the origin of life (and in particular the origin of the genetic code) is so difficult that mainstream scientific journals contain a "thundering silence" on the issue. Of course, this is all nonsense. Aside from the fact that the creationists are using a classic God-of-the-Gaps argument, there’s plenty of fascinating work being done on a variety of issues relating to abiogenesis, and I’ve written this FAQ to present some of this work to laymen.

This FAQ is not meant to be comprehensive. There are a large number of issues relating to abiogenesis, and I’m simply not familiar with them all. For example, many scientists are working on the question of what chemical conditions are necessary to produce the basic building blocks of life. In this FAQ I’m not going to answer the chemical questions, and instead I will try to address some of the informational questions. Moreover, I am only going to address the informational questions in broad outline, without detailing some of the debates over the precise details (if you’re curious, you can read the papers in the bibliography.) The real questions that creationists are demanding answers to are these: how did those building blocks organize themselves into the first living organism? If the genetic code is irreducibly complex, how could it evolve? I don’t expect my presentation of the answers to these questions to convince any creationists, but that’s not the point. All I want to do is to show that the questions aren’t so impossible as creationists would have us believe, and I hope to teach you some interesting stuff along the way.

The RNA world

In modern organisms, DNA stores genetic information which directs the synthesis of protein machines, which carry out the work of the cell by catalyzing chemical reactions (for example, digesting food, copying DNA, and so forth.) As first blush, this system is irreducibly complex: the DNA can’t do anything without proteins, and the cell doesn’t know how to make proteins without the information in DNA. How could such a system evolve?

In 1986 Walter Gilbert suggested that the answer might lie with RNA. RNA is a DNA-like molecule that is heavily involved in the steps by which the information in DNA is used to make proteins. Gilbert suggested that at an early stage in the history of life, the machinery of life was entirely made of RNA, which served both to store information (like DNA) and to do work (like proteins.) Later, the RNA lifeforms evolved the ability to use DNA for information storage and proteins for catalysis. This idea was vindicated when Thomas Cech and Sidney Altman discovered that RNA molecules can, in fact, catalyze reactions just like proteins can. For this work, they won the 1989 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. (See? The creationists were right- there really are Nobel prizes available for scientists who work on abiogenesis!)

RNA is, as I said, used heavily in protein synthesis. First, the information in the DNA is copied to RNA. This "messenger RNA" is then sent to the RNA-rich ribosome, which assembles amino acids into the protein whose sequence is encoded in the messenger RNA. The ribosome grabs onto the amino acids by RNA handles called "transfer RNA." (For a fuller explanation, see my molecular genetics FAQ xxx.) The parts of the ribosome that are directly involved in the chemical reactions that link the amino acids together are made of RNA, and the RNA forms a "catalytic triad" that mimics the triad found in digestive enzymes that catalyze similar reactions. The proteins in the ribosome have been compared to "mortar" that holds the RNA "bricks" together: the RNA does the real work, and the proteins just make the RNA more stable. In fact, the ribosome retains much of its ability to synthesise proteins even if you strip away all the ribosomal proteins, leaving behind pure RNA. The fact that the protein-synthesizing machinery is so heavily built of RNA lends support to the idea that RNA-based lifeforms gradually gained the ability to manipulate amino acids and link them together to make proteins. Moreover, other "molecular fossils" of the RNA world can be found in our biochemistry. For example, our cells store energy in the form of ATP, which is one of the components of RNA. Other biomolecules have a "handle" of ribose, another component of RNA, which they use to interact with proteins.

How did these first, RNA-based lifeforms come to be? Ultimately, all one needs for life to begin is a molecule of RNA that can replicate itself, or a small number of RNAs (say, three or four) that form a self-replicating system. Once that RNA starts replicating, it can mutate, which means that it can evolve into more complicated RNA-replicating systems which contain more and more different RNAs with specialized functions. There’s nothing particularly inconceivable about the idea that the initial, self-replicating RNA could come to be. For example, suppose that if you made an RNA at random, there’s a one in a billion chance that the RNA will be able to self-replicate. If the primordial ocean contains (just for the sake of argument) a trillion random RNA molecules, then a thousand of them will be able to self-replicate! Of course, in reality less than one in a billion RNA molecules will have that ability. On the other hand, the number of random RNA molecules available might be quite large: if you hold up a pin against the background of the night sky, the head of that pin blots out thousands of galaxies, each containing trillions of stars. (Mind you, my estimate of "thousands" is probably far too conservative.) How many planets are there on which the conditions are right for forming random RNA molecules? Scientists are currently trying to put more specific numbers on this argument. First, they are trying to find an RNA molecule that can replicate itself (RNA molecules have already been found which can replicate other RNA’s.) Once they do this, they will be able to determine which parts of the RNA are critical to its function, and thus they can calculate what percentage of random RNA molecules will have the same function. Secondly, scientists are trying to find out roughly how many planets have the right conditions for these processes to take place.

Amino acids enter the scene

How did this RNA world gain the ability to synthesise proteins? It is thought that the first interactions between RNA and amino acids came about when RNA enzymes (or "ribozymes") evolved the ability to use amino acids as cofactors. Cofactors are molecules that proteins use to enhance their chemical abilities. For example, hemoglobin uses a heme cofactor to bind oxygen more efficiently than amino acids alone could. In an RNA world, the diverse chemical functionalities of amino acids would make amino acids attractive cofactors. Ribozymes thus evolved which had the ability to bind to amino acids and use them in chemical reactions. (Even today, some ribozymes still use amino acids as cofactors.)

However, the loops of RNA which are needed for a ribozyme to recognize and bind a particular amino acid are complicated, and it’s inefficient for each ribozyme to have to independently evolve such structures. On the other hand, it’s easy for one RNA loop to recognize another. The ribozyme lifeforms thus evolved a system by which some ribozymes would recognize particular amino acids and attach themselves as "handles" to individual amino acid molecules. Other ribozymes could then simply evolve a short stretch of sequence that would bind to the handle, and they would thereby be able to snag an amino acid molecule for use as a cofactor. These ribozyme handles ultimately evolved into the transfer RNAs which serve as handles for amino acids during protein synthesis.

(I should mention that there are a number of differing opinions on the details of this step. Some scientists follow the model I describe above, whereas others argue that instead of binding individual amino acids, the ribozyme handles bound chains composed of one type of amino acid repeated over and over. Some scientists also believe that the association of particular amino acids with particular handles- and therefore with particular codons in the modern genetic code- is entirely arbitrary, whereas others believe that the codon assignments are the result of a physical affinity between the particular amino acid and an RNA handle containing its anticodon. Currently, experiments are underway to determine which of these views is correct. Again, if you want more details, see the papers in the bibliography.)

Over time, ribozymes evolved which could use two or more amino acid cofactors for the same reaction. As time went on, the RNA parts of the ribozymes started to shrink as they waned in importance, while more and more cofactors were added. Meanwhile, ribozymes evolved which could link these amino acids into short chains, perhaps to enhance the stability of the enzyme. Ultimately, most ribozymes became nothing more than recognition sequences that could grab onto the appropriate RNA handles and bring together the right combination of amino acids for a job; these ribozymes became our modern messenger RNA. The handles became transfer RNA, while the ribozymes that linked the amino acids together became ribosomes.
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  #187  
Old 11-19-2002, 11:19 AM
JS Princeton JS Princeton is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by UDS
It’s somewhat ironic that Galileo was condemned by the Catholic Church and received support from Protestants, and the whole Galileo episode was frequently (and rightly) used by Protestants to attack either an anti-intellectual culture in Catholicism or the abuse of power within Catholicism, while strict creationism nowadays is an exclusively Protestant phenomenon. (Although, of course, the great majority of Protestants are not strict creationists.)
Creationism is not, as you say, an exclusively Protestant phenomenon. As Evangelical Fundamentalists and Catholics get cosier and cosier, we're beginning to see a lot of cross-overs in theology and philosophies. Here is an example of Catholic Creationism from the Keeping It Catholic Homeschool Site. And lest you think it is an isolated case, here is yet another self-described Catholic site that is profoundly biased toward Ignorant Design and Cretinism. (Oops, sorry about the typos.)
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  #188  
Old 11-19-2002, 11:40 AM
UDS UDS is offline
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I stand corrected.
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  #189  
Old 11-19-2002, 02:06 PM
Dave Armstrong Dave Armstrong is offline
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Fairy Magic and Dogmatic Wizards

Quote:
Originally posted by Darwin's Finch
[B]It may not have been fully explained, but the process is under way. And his judgment of IC, had you read the article with an unbiased eye, you would have seen to be false.
Behe contended that it had not been explained. That contention has not been overthrown. As for my bias: well, go ahead and think that I am biased in my way and you are not in your direction. That only helps prove my point.

Quote:
It is not the case that all flagella everywhere require 50 different proteins to function. Nor is it the case that if indivudal parts are removed, the parts of the flagellum necessarily cease to function.

The point does not stand. A theoretical pathway has been put forth. If you don't agree with it, refute it. That's the way these things work. That the particular pathway hasn't been "proven" is irrelevant.
I'm not here to "do" science, as I am not a scientist. I am functioning as a philosopher of evolutionary science as presently conceived. I am asking for evidence to refute Behe's claims, and to demonstrate step-by-step evolution. I am being skeptical of your explanations. I dissent from them. Or is that not permitted because we are in this area of dogma where no questioning is permitted?

Quote:
I do not find it to be detailed explanation. But I don't see any IDers putting forth any rebuttals, either, other than the handwaving you exhibit here. Why is that?
A variation of the "your dad's uglier than my dad" schoolyard routine. When one cannot defend their own position, they will often switch over to an opposing position, as if the alleged weakness of the other position is an argument in favor of the first position. Sorry; not playing that game.

Quote:
Which is precisely why Behe's ID is nothing more than "God of the gaps." As I said, if the theory cannot stand on its own merit, it is useless. Put forth one experiment, independent of any Darwinian theory, which can be used to falsify ID.
I dealt with this in one of my posts, obviously to no avail. I already said there was no conceivable experiment, as ID deals with a spirit Being. The point here is that Darwinism IS claiming to be strictly scientific. Therefore, it has to provide the scientific demonstrations. My complaint is that these are never admitted to be inadequate to the extent that the entire theory of materialistic evolution might be questioned. Only particular applications can be questioned as inadequate or incomplete. Well, some of us think that dozens and dozens of inadequacies in particulars add up to one big general inadequacy.

Quote:
I just explained why "God of the gaps" is so often trotted out. It has nothing to do with evolution - it has everything to do with the fact that ID does not, nor can it, make any claims which stand on their own.
Not empirically, because that is impossible. It is a philosophical argument. But if one disallows philosophy in the pursuit of truth about the universe, or thinks that metaphysics is vastly inferior to empirical philosophy (i.e., science), then they will tend to argue as you do.

Quote:
Which, of course, disqualifies IDers as "honest scientists", since none are capable of disassociating the theory from its metaphysic.
And of course, this is precisely the attitude I am critiquing: this refusal to allow any thinking about the universe except materialistic empirical thinking, and the inevitable charge of dishonesty.

Quote:
In the eyes of any IDer, naturalism must be false. Not "might be", must be.
If ID is true, that would seem to follow. I don't see how this is any more objectionable than people like you saying that ID must be false, and its adherents dishonest or equivalent to young-earth creationists. Ours is simply an honest position; yours is filled with the usual prejudices against dissenters and those who dare to disagree.

Quote:
Science, however, does not require ontological naturalism - it only requires methodological naturalism, which is not the same thing.
I agree with this; however, when you argue your points, you don't appear to me to allow the possibility that ontological naturalism could be wrong, or if you do at all; you quickly dismiss the alternative derisively as "God of the Gaps" -- as if by giving it a derogative name decisively refutes it and makes it a position that only simpletons and anti-intellectuals (and, of course, "dishonest people") take.

Quote:
The alleged "miraculous capabilities of mutations", aside from being a strawman (mutations in and of themselves are not the creative force of evolution) have a logical, and empirical, basis. In short, there is, in fact, nothing miraculous about them.
What natural process can create the new structures necessary for evolution to proceed, besides mutations?

Quote:
Another strawman. Mutations have never been put forth as being "omnipotent".
You miss my sarcasm, which is a commentary on the attitudes of materialist evolutionists, who frown upon God, yet introduce concepts that are essentially the same in attributes. God is disallowed, but the omnipotent atom is put in His place. Matter supposedly has this inherent capability to produce all the wonders of the universe. How this is seen to require less faith than belief in a God Who does the same thing (whether by evolution or special creation) is beyond me.

Quote:
It ain't there yet, but it's a heck of a lot farther along than the ID alternative, now isn't it? And what is that alternative? "God designed it." Which, if you wish to put forth as a statement of faith is all fine and dandy. If, however, you wish to make that a scientific statement, you're going to have to provide some real evidence. Feel free to do so.
You can keep demanding empirical proofs where none can be had if you wish. Keep missing the point. I've come to expect this from folks who seem incapable of comprehending any point of view other than their own. They merely keep repeating their own position as if they haven't even heard or understood another. Materiualistic evolution, in the end, requires every bit as much "faith" as ID or some species of "straight creationism."

Quote:
Exactly - it's a false analogy. One which is based in circular logic: nature cannot have designed itself. Therefore, anything which has the appearace of design in nature, must have had an exterior designer.
Not quite. My position is that "if you believe that nature designed itself in accord with natural processes and laws as we now know them, then explain to me how that happened. If you cannot, then I am entitled to posit a Designer, as at least equally plausible explanation, whether this falls within the range of the definition of science as you conceive it or not."

Quote:
That's the point: one cannot test, and thereby falsify, such a thing. It may not be inconsistent with science, but it surely falls outside of its purview as a consequence.
This is a pretty good statement, especially given other of your remarks. I have no problem with something being outside of science. One only would if they think that science is the sum of all knowledge. I do not, and if you do, please tell me why. I'm dying to find out.

Quote:
Well, we could also think "outside the box" and posit that it's all fairy magic. But where does that get us?
LOL It gets us back to the old standard silly arguments against God and anything not within currently fashionable materialistic dogma. We must dismiss all that as the equivalent of "fairy magic" or (another favorite) "Santa Claus." I love it. You're so "textbook" it is hilarious. Never mind all the great philosophers who have believed in God through the centuries (including even such a one as David Hume). We must dismiss all that speculation as "fairy magic." LOL

Quote:
This is a common complaint amongst IDers: that dogmatic thinking will not allow scientists to consider such a thing. Which is, of course, completely false.
Okay; how about this?: "scientists are allowed to consider such a thing as long as they realize it is the epistemological equivalent to fairy magic." Do you like that better?

Quote:
One is free to explore any philosophical possibilities one cares to;
I see, as long as such positions can be characterized as having "as much merit" as "standard young-earth creationism"? Gee, thanks. How open-minded and tolerant of you.

Quote:
however, just because one can posit a non-scientific alternative does not make it valid.
No kidding. And just because someone can come up with a fanciful "theoretical" scenario for the pathway of evolution in particulars and appeal to the future where we will, of course, figure everything out, does not make THAT true, either.

Quote:
"It's too complex for nature to have done it" is hardly valid philosophical grounds for ID to stand on.
"It's impossible for anything but materialistic evolution to have done it" is hardly valid philosophical grounds for materialistic evolutionism to stand on.

Quote:
And your claim that evolution cannot be demonstrated only shows the depth of your bias...and ignorance.
That's funny. I never made such a claim (only as a judgment in particular cases; that it HAS not been, not that it CANNOT be), yet this shows my profound "bias" and "ignorance." Keep calling me names and ignoring my challenge to demonstrate the step-by-step process of evolution in particulars, and I will keep showing that you have nothing to back up your particular claims.

Quote:
And, as I said, you can air any alternative you like. But if you're going to fall back on the "non-scientific" philosophy of ID, then you must likewise admit that fairy magic is every bit as valid as an alternative.
No, that is your game, not mine. I don't see the great philosophers and great theistic scientists defending fairy magic. I see them defending God. You can pretend that there is no philosophical distinction if you like, and that will show YOUR
"bias...and ignorance" of the history of philosophy and science.

Quote:
Which, as mentioned, places it firmly in the realm of faith, not science. It has as much merit in this position as standard young-earth creationism. Which you've already claimed to reject - why do you accept the one but not the other?
Of course, any dissent is always pure religious faith, whereas materialistic evolution is solid science, always based on observation. You paint with a very broad brush and can't see beyond your own nose. Now why don't you get down to business and produce these proofs and demonstrations that you say are there, rather than doing Philosophy 0101, and rather badly at that?

Yours,

Dave
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  #190  
Old 11-19-2002, 02:47 PM
Diogenes the Cynic Diogenes the Cynic is offline
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Quote:
Not empirically, because that is impossible. It is a philosophical argument. But if one disallows philosophy in the pursuit of truth about the universe, or thinks that metaphysics is vastly inferior to empirical philosophy (i.e., science), then they will tend to argue as you do.
This not a philosophical "argument," it is simply tautology. There is a difference. Philosophical "argument" has a specific meaning within the discipline. if you actually have any background in philosophy (which I am starting to doubt) you should know that in order for a philosophical position to be meaningful it must syllogistically defensible. in other words you have to start with certain stipulated facts (called "predicates" in philosophy) and use them to demonstrate that a postulated position must be "true." (this is called "logic." maybe you've heard of it)

You are simply starting with an unfalsifiable assertion and claiming that this, per se, is a philosophical argument. It is not. What it is is religion. Please do not confuse philosophy with religion. Philosophy does not mean simply pulling random theories out of your ass or believing anything on faith. Philosophy is a rational discipline with strict rules. It is more akin to mathematics than to religion.


You have failed, for instance, to make any case, philosophically or scientifically, as to why your hypothetical "god" is any more rational than Darwin's Finch's fairy dust, or invisible goblins, or Zeus, or aliens from Neptune.

An assertion of faith is not a crime, and it's not necessarily stupid or wrong, but has no real value in a scientific, or even philosophical debate.
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  #191  
Old 11-19-2002, 02:49 PM
Dave Armstrong Dave Armstrong is offline
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The Basic Issues (Darwin's Finch's Questions)

Reply to Darwin's Finch:

Quote:
What do you feel are the "basic issues at hand"?
Descriptions of the step-by-step process that supposedly occurs, and has been demonstrated. No
one has shown this with regard to the bacterial flagella, and the further examples of flight and
whales were equally deficient.

Quote:
Please give examples of this "facade of knowledge".
Your last post, which was a masterful attempt at evasion, topic-switching, and silly equations of
anything other than materialism to "fairy magic" and "young-earth creationism." Your brush is so
broad that you couldn't paint Japan without hitting California too.

Quote:
Can you explain how ID represents a philosophically more satisfying argument than
materialism?
You prove your case first and then we can move on to ID. I refuse to go along with the usual
topic-switching tactics, which enable one to escape close scrutiny of the weaknesses and flaws of
their own position.

Quote:
Suppose, for a moment, that we accept that ID is plausible. What then? What
"knowledge" is gained thereby that a naturalistic methodology fails to provide? Of what practical
use is such a position?
We go on doing our science in the same fashion; we simply acknowledge that it is apparent that
design is necessary for what we see in nature. If you believe in evolution, you keep doing science
within that framework, but without the materialism and dogmatic "science-only" mentality.

Quote:
What sort of "real, causal explanations of process" are you looking for?
The sort described by these scientists and philosophers of science:

The real difficulty of Darwinism is the well-known problem of explaining an evolution
which prima facie may look goal-directed, such as that of our eyes, by an incredibly large
number of very small steps; for according to Darwinism, each of these steps is the result of
a purely accidental mutation. That all these independent accidental mutations should have
had survival value is difficult to explain.

(Sir Karl Popper, widely regarded as the foremost philosopher of science, Objective
Knowledge, rev. ed., 1979, 269-270)

Neither Darwin, nor any Darwinian has so far given an actual causal explanation of the
adaptive evolution of any single organism or any single organ.

(Sir Karl Popper, in "Evolution: Myth, Metaphysics, or Science?," John Little, New
Scientist, 4 September 1980, 709)

To postulate that the development and survival of the fittest is entirely a consequence of
chance mutations seems to me a hypothesis based on no evidence and irreconcilable with
the facts. These classical evolutionary theories are a gross oversimplification of an
immensely complex and intricate mass of facts, and it amazes me that they are swallowed
so uncritically and readily, and for such a long time, by so many scientists without a murmur
of protest.

(Ernst Chain, biologist who won a Nobel Prize for penicillin research, cited in "Was Darwin
Wrong?," Francis Hitching, Life, April 1982, 50)

Are we justified in making the leap from gradual small-scale changes, like selection in
peppered moths, or speciation in the galapagos . . . to large-scale results, like the existence
of elephants and oak trees? Some evolutionists have felt unhappy about this.

(Colin Patterson, Senior Paleontologist at the British Museum, Evolution, 1978, 141)

Development is the greatest mystery in biology, but we may need to understand its
complexity in biolochemical detail before we can understand the alterations of ontogeny
that are the history of evolution. the developmental how of evolution is largely unanswered
because the mechanisms of development are so poorly understood.

(D.J. Futuyma, Evolutionary Biology, 1979, 182-183)

A causal explanation can be given for past biological events. Yet such an explanation will
often have to be so unspecific and so purely formal that its explanatory value can certainly
be challenged. In dealing with a complex system, an explanation can hardly be considered
very illuminating that states: "Phenomenon A is caused by a complex set of interacting
factors, one of which is B." Yet often this is about all one can say.

(Ernst Mayr, Science, vol. 134, 1961, 1503)

. . . the ability of a theory, here materialistic evolution, to supply "facts" to the true
believer that the mere, neglected, primary data in no way warrant. The believer
looks upon the most innocuous facts and sees in them a stunning confirmation of
his theory, where a person who is not committed to the hypothesis sees
irrelevant or, sometimes, hostile information. Thus the believer builds a great
edifice of pseudo-knowledge which, like cotton candy, is spun from a little bit of
sugar and a lot of air.

(Michael J. Behe, "Darwinism: Science or Philosophy" - Chapter 10a; Response to K.
John Morrow, Jr. - http://www.leaderu.com/orgs/fte/darw...hapter10a.html )

Christian philosopher Alvin Plantinga (no dummy: in fact, I have had atheists tell me he is arguably
the greatest living philosopher) chronicles how some leading materialist evolutionists think that not
only the fundamentalist, young-earth creationists are invincibly ignorant and incorrigible, but all
who would dare doubt doctrinaire evolutionism at all:

[Daniel Dennett:] To put it bluntly but fairly, anyone today who doubts
that the variety of life on this planet was produced by a process of
evolution is simply ignorant--inexcusably ignorant . . . .

Note that you don't have to reject evolution in order to qualify as inexcusably
ignorant: all you have to do is harbor a doubt or two. You study the evidence with
great care, but are finally doubtful that God did it that way: according to Dennett,
you are then inexcusably ignorant. Here Dennett is stealing a march on Richard
Dawkins, who wrote in a New York Times book review that,

It is absolutely safe to say that if you meet someone who claims not to
believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid or insane (or
wicked, but I'd rather not consider that).

I say Dennett goes Dawkins one better here, because at least Dawkins gives us
skeptics a choice. We could be ignorant, or stupid, or insane or maybe even wicked.
But Dennett is made of sterner stuff: he gives us no options at all, and in fact plumps
for two of Dawkins' possibilities: we evolutionary skeptics are both ignorant and
wicked (inexcusably). Apparently evolution is like the law: ignorance of it is no
excuse. Here Dennett and Dawkins remind one of a certain kind of religious
personality with which we are all too familiar: if you disagree with them, you are not
only wrong, but wicked, and should be punished, if not in this world then certainly in
the next.

("Darwin, Mind, and Meaning,"
http://id-www.ucsb.edu/fscf/library/...a/dennett.html )
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  #192  
Old 11-19-2002, 03:11 PM
Darwin's Finch Darwin's Finch is offline
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Re: Fairy Magic and Dogmatic Wizards

Quote:
Originally posted by Dave Armstrong
I'm not here to "do" science, as I am not a scientist. I am functioning as a philosopher of evolutionary science as presently conceived. I am asking for evidence to refute Behe's claims, and to demonstrate step-by-step evolution. I am being skeptical of your explanations. I dissent from them. Or is that not permitted because we are in this area of dogma where no questioning is permitted?
Given that you admit to ignorance as to the basics of evolution, how can you possibly claim that you are functioning as a "philosopher of evolutionary science"? You don't even know the philosophy, and I suspect you know little of the history, that provides the foundation for evolution, or even science in general. And it takes more to being skeptical than saying "I don't believe you." That's being hard-headed, not skeptical.

Quote:
A variation of the "your dad's uglier than my dad" schoolyard routine. When one cannot defend their own position, they will often switch over to an opposing position, as if the alleged weakness of the other position is an argument in favor of the first position. Sorry; not playing that game.
Sorry, but that's exactly the game you're playing. You cannot defend ID or IC, so you revert ot making ludicrous requests of evolutionary science by creating, and attacking, strawmen which likewise cannot be defended.

Quote:
The point here is that Darwinism IS claiming to be strictly scientific. Therefore, it has to provide the scientific demonstrations. My complaint is that these are never admitted to be inadequate to the extent that the entire theory of materialistic evolution might be questioned. Only particular applications can be questioned as inadequate or incomplete. Well, some of us think that dozens and dozens of inadequacies in particulars add up to one big general inadequacy.
Given that you know little, if anything, about evolutionary processes, and what is, or is not known (beyond what Behe has written about), how can you justify any claims about Darwinism being non-scientific? Do you even know the fundamental logic of Darwinism? Three statements of fact and a syllogism. If you don't know them, you cannot pretend to be able to question them. It's really that simple.

Quote:
And of course, this is precisely the attitude I am critiquing: this refusal to allow any thinking about the universe except materialistic empirical thinking, and the inevitable charge of dishonesty.
Another strawman. Philosophical thinking is not disallowed. What you fail to comprehend is that metaphysics cannot be verified, nor falsified. They therefore provide little in the way of knowledge about the physical world.

Quote:
If ID is true, that would seem to follow. I don't see how this is any more objectionable than people like you saying that ID must be false, and its adherents dishonest or equivalent to young-earth creationists. Ours is simply an honest position; yours is filled with the usual prejudices against dissenters and those who dare to disagree.
Yet more strawmen. I have never claimed that ID must be false. I have claimed it is unverifiable. If you don't understand the difference, you fail as a philosopher.

Quote:
I agree with this; however, when you argue your points, you don't appear to me to allow the possibility that ontological naturalism could be wrong, or if you do at all; you quickly dismiss the alternative derisively as "God of the Gaps" -- as if by giving it a derogative name decisively refutes it and makes it a position that only simpletons and anti-intellectuals (and, of course, "dishonest people") take.
Ontological naturalism could, indeed, be false. But that has little impact on the methodology. The scientific method is not built around investigating the metaphysic of naturalism.

Quote:
What natural process can create the new structures necessary for evolution to proceed, besides mutations?
Natural selection.

Quote:
"It's impossible for anything but materialistic evolution to have done it" is hardly valid philosophical grounds for materialistic evolutionism to stand on.
Good thing that your statement doesn't represent the foundation of evolution, then, huh?
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  #193  
Old 11-19-2002, 03:24 PM
Dave Armstrong Dave Armstrong is offline
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Re: Re: Behe's challenge not yet answered (not even an attempt)

Reply to Darwin's Finch:

Quote:
Originally posted by Darwin's Finch
And again I ask, what step-by-step explanation are you looking for? Do you want us to provide examples of each and every organism from step A to step B?
And again, I answer, for about the 5th time now (but with a bit more specificity): something that goes beyond Mayr's description:

Quote:
In dealing with a complex system, an explanation can hardly be considered
very illuminating that states: "Phenomenon A is caused by a complex set of interacting
factors, one of which is B." Yet often this is about all one can say.
Why is this so difficult? What part of "causal explanation" don't you get? The very fact that a simple demand (of something which is supposedly universally demonstrable) is met with derision, obfuscation, and all sorts of name-calling and second-guessing of my open-mindedness, fairness, and basic education, etc. (perhaps my patriotism, sanity, and loyalty to my wife and kids will be next? LOL), proves the existence of the problem here critiqued: the irrational dogmatism of materialistic evolutionism (as seen in Alvin Plantinga's comment).

I'm happy to record all these insulting potshots on my website. If you want to be perceived as pompous asses by readers of my website (which is fairly popular), feel free. I follow the talk radio dictum: "if someone is making a fool of themselves, you get out of the way and let them."

Quote:
And where is it written that science consists solely of the empirical? If this is what you are looking for, then you proceed from a false premise. Especially given that you yourself claimed that empiricism is not the only valid form of knowledge.
Science is the philosophy of empiricism. That doesn't mean that it has no theoretical elements. Of course it does. But if your "proofs" are only of a theoretical nature, and not empirical and falsifiable, then I must ask: how are they any different, or at all superior to ID, which you have been lambasting as "non-scientific" (as if that were a dirty word)?

Quote:
You have built up not only a strawman of evolution that you can beat up, but one of scientific methodologies in general, as well. As such, our failure to priovide what you are looking for is rooted in your own erroneous expectations.
I see. I will keep awaiting your detailed step-by-step explanations that you say are there.

Quote:
Science is not pure observation and nothing more. Particularly so with historical sciences, and the study of history in general. Inference is a valid tool in science. So, perhaps you can explain why the inferences made with respect to, say, bird flight, are invalid.
I don't; I say that inference in a certain (materialist evolutionist) direction, to the exclusion of hard empirical evidence and observation is no more worthy of belief than ID.
If your only recourse is to fall back on the abstract grand theory, then truly the two alternatives are epistemologically equal, and equally plausible. Your theory succeeds to the extent that it can demonstrate and explain better than ID (and according to standard scientific methodology). Show me these processes! Quit beating around the bush and produce the goods. I will keep hounding you till you do, and you can call me all the names you wish. I'm in the mood for some folly and a good laugh. I rather enjoy it once in a while.

Quote:
Only if those laymen are actually willing to learn.
Here we go! LOL "And in this ring, blurting out personal attacks, is Darwin's Finch" (drum roll and twirling monkeys and spotlights.....).

Quote:
You have been given starting points, and dismissed those out of hand.
Nope; I disagreed and dissented on the strength of the evidence. There is a difference, believe it or not. I don't "have to accept it because I HAVE to, because 'all intelligent folks do'," which seems to be your position. I looked at it and I have a different opinion than you do. Do you find it difficult to handle such diversity of opinion without name-calling?

Quote:
As such, anything else we might produce will likewise be dismissed. Your mind is closed at this point; it's not worth the effort to teach this pig to sing.
I see. This is a very convenient escape route for you to take. Unable to produce the hard evidence which you say is there for all to see --, instead you attack me and pretend that I won't accept any evidence because I have not accepted your paltry evidence thus far. I must congratulate you on your chutzpah, if nothing else. If your backbone is THAT weak, then indeed I have underestimated your ability to substantiate your position.

So you go run and hide from close scrutiny of your viewpoint. That's usually what the true believer and the dogmatist with blind faith does. Like Plantinga pointed out, I am, on the other hand, obviously "wicked" and "inexcusably ignorant" because I don't agree with you. LOL

Yours,

Dave
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  #194  
Old 11-19-2002, 03:29 PM
Darwin's Finch Darwin's Finch is offline
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Re: The Basic Issues (Darwin's Finch's Questions)

Quote:
Originally posted by Dave Armstrong
Descriptions of the step-by-step process that supposedly occurs, and has been demonstrated. No one has shown this with regard to the bacterial flagella, and the further examples of flight and whales were equally deficient.
What you are asking is to be spoon-fed data. Not going to happen. As I have mentioned, logical inference is a valid scientific tool; as such, one does not need to demonstrate each indiviudal step in a lineage. One need only demonstrate that the result is a logical conclusion, based upon facts in evidence. And that has been demonstrated, starting with the articles I linked to. You dismissed them simply because you cling to the obstinate belief that science = direct observation, and nothing more.

Quote:
Your last post, which was a masterful attempt at evasion, topic-switching, and silly equations of anything other than materialism to "fairy magic" and "young-earth creationism." Your brush is so broad that you couldn't paint Japan without hitting California too.
Interesting that you didn't really answer the question. "Facade", indeed. How about you tone down the invective and actually try answering the question.

Quote:
You prove your case first and then we can move on to ID. I refuse to go along with the usual topic-switching tactics, which enable one to escape close scrutiny of the weaknesses and flaws of their own position.
You have already dismissed out of hand "[my] case". I'm giving you the opportunity to actually provide some enlightenment here, rather than the handwaving and pseudo-philosophical mumbo-jumbo you've been engaging in so far. Have I overestimated you?

Quote:
We go on doing our science in the same fashion; we simply acknowledge that it is apparent that design is necessary for what we see in nature. If you believe in evolution, you keep doing science within that framework, but without the materialism and dogmatic "science-only" mentality.
In other words, nothing whatever is gained. You substitute one perceived metaphysic for another one.

Quote:
The sort described by these scientists and philosophers of science:
In other words, you seek only a metaphysical explanation for first cause. Sorry, science won't help you there. And, as you can see from your quotes, scientists are well aware of that fact. To rail against evolutionary science because it does not provide you with your desired metaphysic simply adds yet another strawman to the already enormous pile you have created.
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  #195  
Old 11-19-2002, 03:32 PM
TVAA TVAA is offline
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Um, Dave, the laws of probability imply evolution.

They imply evaporation, too.

Would you like a description of how each and every water molecule surpasses surface tension and escapes?
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  #196  
Old 11-19-2002, 03:41 PM
Cervaise Cervaise is offline
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Quote:
That all these independent accidental mutations should have had survival value is difficult to explain.
It's easy to explain. Accidental mutations that have no survival value disappear, and we don't see them. We see the march of accumulated value.

Hello? --tap tap-- Is this thing on?
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  #197  
Old 11-19-2002, 04:06 PM
Darwin's Finch Darwin's Finch is offline
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Re: Re: Re: Behe's challenge not yet answered (not even an attempt)

Quote:
Originally posted by Dave Armstrong
I'm happy to record all these insulting potshots on my website. If you want to be perceived as pompous asses by readers of my website (which is fairly popular), feel free. I follow the talk radio dictum: "if someone is making a fool of themselves, you get out of the way and let them."
And you're doing an admirable job, I must say!

Quote:
Science is the philosophy of empiricism. That doesn't mean that it has no theoretical elements. Of course it does. But if your "proofs" are only of a theoretical nature, and not empirical and falsifiable, then I must ask: how are they any different, or at all superior to ID, which you have been lambasting as "non-scientific" (as if that were a dirty word)?
Even if these "proofs" are of a theoretical nature, they can still be falsified. Note that falsification does not come by sticking your fingers in your ears and singing, "Lalala - I can't hear you!" Which is, to date, all you have done.

Quote:
Show me these processes! Quit beating around the bush and produce the goods. I will keep hounding you till you do, and you can call me all the names you wish.
You have been shown the goods: you have stated you "believe in" microevolution (even though you demonstrate an utter lack of knowledge as to what it actually entails). What more do you wish to be shown? (Step-by-step processes aren't going to happen, so you can give that up.)

You quote Mayr and Futuyma - have you actually read any of their works? Futuyma, for example, has written a number of textbooks on the subject. For the logical and theoritical foundations of the various mechanisms, you can start there. If you wish to learn about the processes in action, you can check out the Talkorigins website, or pick up any issue of Nature. You can learn more by reading anyof a number of palaeontological texts.

Quote:
Here we go! LOL "And in this ring, blurting out personal attacks, is Darwin's Finch" (drum roll and twirling monkeys and spotlights.....).
Personal attacks? Hardly.

Quote:
Nope; I disagreed and dissented on the strength of the evidence. There is a difference, believe it or not. I don't "have to accept it because I HAVE to, because 'all intelligent folks do'," which seems to be your position. I looked at it and I have a different opinion than you do. Do you find it difficult to handle such diversity of opinion without name-calling?
You looked at it and immediately formed an opinion, without investigating any further. I said they were starting points: you know, something to get you started? From there, you can make inquiries regarding specific aspects, or, you can do as you did and just "harumph" your way through it because it may not agree with your metaphysical philosophy. You looked at it and formed a knee-jerk opinion, not an informed one.

And you don't really understand what the phrase "name-calling" means, do you?

Quote:
I see. This is a very convenient escape route for you to take. Unable to produce the hard evidence which you say is there for all to see --, instead you attack me and pretend that I won't accept any evidence because I have not accepted your paltry evidence thus far. I must congratulate you on your chutzpah, if nothing else. If your backbone is THAT weak, then indeed I have underestimated your ability to substantiate your position.
Yawn. You won't accept the evidence because it suits you not to.

How about this: summarize the evidence presented in, say, the link on whale evolution. Just so we know you actually read and understood it. Then, come up with a list of critiques that amount to more than just handwaving about first-causes. THEN we can talk about whether you have truly dismissed the information pesented thus far for valid reasons.
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  #198  
Old 11-19-2002, 04:17 PM
Dave Armstrong Dave Armstrong is offline
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Big Ben

Quote:
Originally posted by Ben

Ah, well then. It should be trivially easy for you to refute them, so go to it. Frankly, I'm getting a little tired of your rather wordy handwaving.
So now you're gonna start in with the attacks too? Okay folks; fasten your seatbelts for another mudfest!

Quote:
And this, to me, is where it becomes clear that you're not interested in serious argument so much as you want to yank our chains.
Translation: because we can't produce the evidence that our empty rhetoric implied that we have, therefore we have to attack the person who demands that we live up to our own standards of evidence and demonstration, and make out that he is a closed-minded simpleton."

Very impressive, Ben.

Quote:
What is your defense of IC against contrary evidence?
This switches the topic again. One thing at a time.

Quote:
You declare that evolutionist "true believers" are too narrow minded to accept the evidence, so you shouldn't have to be open minded, either.
Is that what I said? LOL Coulda fooled me. Perhaps my memory fails me, though. Can you remind me where I made such a remark? Thanks.

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That, and the fact that you keep going on about how we're unwilling to admit that theistic evolutionists exist, unless pressed.
Alright; this is progress. What do you think, then, of the intellectual capacities and open-mindedness of theistic evolutionists?

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You didn't address my point. Your argument is an argument by default. If evolution can't explain it, you trot out God. If you're so hot on philosophy, why aren't you aware of the fallacy of the argument from ignorance?
I responded at length to this "God of the Gaps" business. It is a tired, silly platitude.

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Exactly my point. All your "philosophical" verbiage about epistemology and thought-systems is just creating a facade of knowledge. Ultimately, it's just a GotG argument, based in the fallacy of argument from ignorance.
Whatever. I await your replies to Behe and the step-by-step demonstrations of evolution-in-process.

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You've presented a false dichotomy: ID vs. evolution. And if evolution can't be demonstrated to explain absolutely everything, you can just declare ID to be the winner by default. You declare that somehow evolution's triumphs are always just around the corner, but you don't acknowledge what evolution is already able to explain.
I sure do: it can explain much about microevolutionary process, which has been demonstrated time and again. It is not so explanatory when it comes to macroevolution.

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That "Tower of Why" is nice, if you want to maintain a belief that the existence of God is proven by science (or philosophy or whatever you want to call your application of the argument from ignorance.)
I think the word "proof" is used far too much. You know very little about what I believe, but keep talking; I enjoy the diversion. :-)

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Or, for that matter, if you want to feel smarter than anyone else. There's no chance that your security blanket will ever be taken away from you.
Oh, good: two new groundless personal attacks to add to my collection! LOL My goal now is to be called incorrigibly wicked and insane. I won't give up till I hear those words. Then perhaps I'll conclude that I have hit a nerve. :-)

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Even if someone here presented you with a detailed, step-by-step explanation of how the clotting cascade evolved, backed by a mountain of evidence, you could still declare that we have to explain the bacterial flagellum, or the evolution of flight, or any number of things.
Keep showing me your evidence and I'll give you my honest opinion. Keep thinking you'll never convince me; that it ain't possible because of my profoundly "closed mind." That's what my Catholic friends thought before I converted to Catholicism, too.

It's funny that skeptics about Christianity operate in much the same fashion: they question anything and everything and no evidence of any sort is ever sufficient for them. But when the same sort of (methodologically) honest, sincere skepticism is applied towards materialistic evolution, all of the sudden it is Chicken Little and proof that a madman and anti-intellectual troglodyte is on the loose. I find that uproariously hilarious and ironic.

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And if someone then accused you of being narrow-minded, you could throw a few accusations of narrow-mindedness back at them.
I'm talking about tendencies and systems of thought; you guys are the ones getting personal. So kindly don't project your deficiencies onto me, thank you.

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If you really knew a single thing about epistemology,
Okay; marking in notebook, "completely ignorant about epistemology, cuz Ben said so, and he can't be wrong."

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you'd know that if you don't know the answer, then you don't know the answer. If mainstream science can't explain something yet, the honest responses are, "evolution can probably explain this, given how well evolution works in similar areas," or, "I just don't know the answer one way or the other."
Great; so this is another admission that indeed you can't explain what Behe stated that you can't explain. Good. So we've come full circle. Now, tell me: how does that show that Behe was being dishonest or incompetent in his original claim? It, of course, backs him up rather solidly. Now you are getting angry because you didn't know all this stuff that you made out that you did know. Hence, name-calling, etc., and blame-shifting so you can get off the hot seat. How quickly things change. First everyone was in a frenzy showing how ignorant and stupid "Hebzabeb" was. Now when the tables are turned it is an altogether different ballgame, and the silly personal attacks show that the answers are not forthcoming, more quickly than anything else.

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A dishonest answer is, "You can't explain it, you narrow-minded true believer, so that means I'm right. And that's not argument by default- it's just a philosophical argument comparing two thought-systems."
Is THIS how you conceive my argument? LOL Wow . . . .

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But ID is so intellectually bankrupt that that's all you can really do to support it. If you put it in the ring with evolution, it would get knocked out in the first round.
Yeah, it's a ROCKY road for you, alright. I'm curious: is theistic evolution also "intellectually bankrupt"?

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So you just shadow-box in rings that evolution hasn't stepped into yet.
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Neither Darwin, nor any Darwinian has so far given an actual causal explanation of the
adaptive evolution of any single organism or any single organ.

(Sir Karl Popper, in "Evolution: Myth, Metaphysics, or Science?," John Little, New
Scientist, 4 September 1980, 709)

Development is the greatest mystery in biology, but we may need to understand its
complexity in biolochemical detail before we can understand the alterations of ontogeny
that are the history of evolution. the developmental how of evolution is largely unanswered
because the mechanisms of development are so poorly understood.

(D.J. Futuyma, Evolutionary Biology, 1979, 182-183)
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And by your own admission, if evolution stepped into the ring, you'd jump out and run to the next ring.
Sorry; my memory escapes me again. Where did I say this? What I said was that I was an agnostic on the question of evolution. I am not an agnostic on the question of theism. I am a theist, and at the moment I am not convinced that a materialistic brand of evolutionary theory is sufficient to explain biological diversity and transformation. Theistic evolution might very well be the true state of affairs. I'm open to being convinced of that position.

But it's true that you'll never convince me of materialism, in all likelihood, because that would entail a denial of God's existence, and my Christian belief is far too strong for that to occur. If I have any "unyielding dogmatism," it is with regard to the existence of God and the truth of Christianity (but not without an abundance of cumulative rational evidences, I would say -- not "blind faith" at all). But evolution itself is, of course, a completely different question; one that is open for examination.

One of the ironies I have always savored in this debate is that the Christian need not necessarily adopt evolution or some species of creationism simply because he is a Christian. We are free to adopt either, as long as evolution is not regarded as a replacement or disproof of God (which would be a contradiction for a Christian).

The materialist atheist, on the other hand, is in no such position. He must adopt materialistic evolution as his brand of "creation" because his position allows him no other option. Hence, the rigid, irrational dogmatism from these circles (fully in evidence already, in this dialogue). It becomes a dogma precisely because it serves largely the same function that religion serves for the Christian: an explanation for the origin and wonder of the universe.

But the materialist pretends that no faith at all is involved on his part: that his is the "hard-nosed, scientific" outlook and all opposition is snake-handling Neanderthal, Scopes Trial young-earth fundamentalism.. This is where the initial folly enters in, and taints the discussion (which could be a very enjoyable and fruitful one) from the outset.

God bless,

Dave
__________________
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http://www.biblicalcatholic.com
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  #199  
Old 11-19-2002, 04:38 PM
Darwin's Finch Darwin's Finch is offline
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How about you leave the hysterics behind, Dave? You're no martyr to whatever the hell your cause is. If you can't discuss the topic without resorting to foolish, "Oooh! I'm being attacked!" nonsense, then you are only demonstrating immaturity. You sure as hell aren't scoring any "debate points" by doing so.
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  #200  
Old 11-19-2002, 04:51 PM
Ben Ben is offline
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For those of you who are interested, here's DA's webpage:

http://ic.net/~erasmus/RAZHOME.HTM
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