Heck, when I was in 9th grade, we had a whole semester's course called
Consumer Education, where we learned about such things as the difference
between simple and compound interest, how to calculate mortgages, how
revolving credit works... being in Canada, all forms of Metric/Imperial
conversion were covered... all sorts of practical, day-to-day
applications of math.
That is quite the generalization. I haven't put much stock in evolution as
an explanation for "how we got here" since my period of paleontological
reading around 1970; the shortfalls aren't apparent until you examine the
time line and estimate the number of generations for various changes. It was
literacy that led me to my conclusions. All but one of my educated friends
are also Creationists, although I am actually a Solipsist (more exactly, a
On the contrary, creation is the only explanation for our existence that
makes any sense at all. My personal belief is that the creation comes from
what we regard as ourselves, reminiscent of Taoism. Few people agree with me
and I see no purpose in trying to explain, much less to convince anybody.
Even the simple explanation is lengthy, but my belief doesn't alter the fact
of the utter inadequacy of evolutionary theory in the origin of Mankind.
You assume we are fundamentally biological beings, but the evidence is
heavily against that. If we are fundamentally biological, we are probably
the products of evolution. But evolution falls far short of explaining why
we should have the capacity for abstract thought. There is no theoretical
mechanism for it, as natural selection is the mechanism for physical
improvements. Natural selection has only the most marginal effect on
intelligence; the intelligence of parents is not clearly related to the
intelligence of offspring. Larger brains allow for greater capacity for
skills, but abstract thought is a very different matter. Nor can we theorize
that social units containing intellectually superior individuals will
thrive - that is contrary to the process of natural selection, which
requires the suppression of weaker individuals. In addition, related lines
should show similar development - the Great Apes should compete quite
closely with us for intellectual capability.
Hominids have been around roughly five million years. At an average of 10
generations per century, this allows something like half a million
generations for the physical changes from Australopithecus to Homo Sapiens
to occur. So far so good. But the first hint of abstract thought - cave
drawings - only dates back about 30,000 years. Allowing for undiscovered
cave drawings and other uncertainties, let's place it at 100,000 years...
possibly as many as 10,000 generations ago. Agriculture appeared 10,000
years (1000 generations) ago. Writing is about as old. I don't know what
happened in the last 10,000 generations, but it clearly was not evolutionary
forces that produced our level of thought. There is no evidence whatever,
and a predominance of indications to the contrary, that 10,000 generations
ago hominids existed that could have engaged in this conversation (language
There is no evolutionary basis for art, literature, science, mathematics,
philosophy, law or religion. For the reasons I cited above, schools of
evolved beings could teach skills, but not ideas - they could not conceive
of biology. There would be no books, because books contain only symbols and
pictorial representations: abstractions. Evolved beings are fundamentally
interchangable, so individual deaths would be meaningless. That sort of
existence, what I refer to as an "earth and sky" perspective, is alien to
human existence anywhere on Earth. We are, as the saying goes, spirits in
the material world.
That's clearly your perception - do you have any evidence that is actually
the case? I very much doubt it. We have already seen in other posts in this
thread that there is a popular stereotype of adherents to creation theory as
stupid, and adherents to evolution theory as smart. I think I have dented
the first stereotype and I suggest the second isn't at all accurate;
evolutionists are often just uncritical of what they have been taught. I
don't blame people for that - is there anybody who isn't busy? It's a
question of priorities, whether to do the research and thought required to
examine controversial beliefs. I would respect an evolutionist who did the
research, if I ever meet one.
We live in a time (maybe all times are the same in this respect) where dogma
is presented as "scientific fact." Do you believe CFCs are responsible for
seasonal ozone holes over the Arctic and Antarctic? Or that the Arctic is
thawing because of global warming? Or that fossil fuels are responsible for
the rise in atmospheric CO2 in recent decades?
Where are the flaws? I've discussed this at length with an on-line friend
who is very bright and who disagrees with me about nearly everything - a
combination we both value. We have an irreconcilable disagreement about the
science behind macro evolution, mostly because his standards for science are
slightly looser than mine. He has been chewing on the failure of evolution
to explain the sudden development of the capacity for abstract thought for
more than a month now and has come up with nothing... a new record for our
discussions. Maybe I should stop tweaking him about it :-)
I have no illusions about changing your beliefs; there would be no benefit
to me in that anyway. I just hope you and others reading this will drop the
It's probably the perception of every Nobel laureate in chemistry,
medicine, or physics. How do your qualifications compare to theirs?
Not every believer in evolution is smart.
When did you do that?
Creationists who reject evolution are always uncritical of creationism.
That applies more to anti-evolution creationists.
CFCs haven't made it smaller.
Of course, because without global warming we'd average almost 100F
That's not controversial at all among scientists who study this.
Well, according to your wife... ;)
You've relied on rhetorical crutches, you know -- it's obvious, it's
apparent, clearly, it's unlikely, it just makes sense/doesn't make
sense -- without showing any proof or even correlations. I doubt that
you'd accept an engineering study full of the same.
References, please, and some indication of why they believe it - are they
just parroting the line, or have they engaged in the research themselves?.
You say "nearly every", so you must be ready to share with us a census with
the stated opinions of the great majority of the "Nobel laureate[s] in
chemistry, medicine, or physics". Otherwise, you are just parading your
What is the basis for your assertion for my stupidity? That is what you
claim if you are firm in your stereotyping of creationists as stupid, you
*Always?* You have spoken to each one of them? How many is that, anyway, and
how long did it take you?
Creationism isn't the only explanation for humanity as we know it; it only
beats whatever is in second place. The debate comes down to the same sort of
bottom line as the quest for a Grand Unified theory of physics: reconciling
the known facts of the situation only produces unlikely looking
explanations, while the simplest and most likely explanation is that the
universe (or man) can't possibly exist. But here we are.
To some, certainly. Ditto for Evolutionists.
That's not an answer. You have undoubtedly swallowed the line about CFCs and
ozone depletion, just as you have swallowed everything else. But in 1997
NASA/NOAA launched a joint mission called POLARIS (Photochemistry of Ozone
Loss in the Arctic Region in Summer) to determine what was actually
happening. Making in situ measurements to avoid the contamination that
started the whole controversy in the first place, they reached the
conclusion the ozone thinning was being caused by "an increased role of NOx
catalytic cycles for ozone destruction during periods of prolonged solar
illumination such as occur at high latitudes during summer." (see the End of
Mission statement on NASA's archive site:
100F???? And you believe this because...? (Check out
http://laurentian.ca/geology/FACULTY/copper.html for at least some more
credible numbers; the argument is that by burning fossil fuels we are
approaching ancient conditions before the carbon was sequestered.) Arctic
thawing is a well-known regional weather phenomenon called the Arctic
Oscillation (see http://tao.atmos.washington.edu/ao /), not some global
effect. But belief that it is due to "global warming" is as prevalent as the
belief that evolution has produced mankind, and is as poorly questioned.
Do you always rely on such lousy scientists? The two things we know with
great certainty are that (1) atmospheric CO2 levels have risen 36% in recent
times and 20% in the last half century, an average of over 0.4% per year for
the last 50 years (http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2005/s2412.htm ) and
(2) that fossil carbon introduced since 1890 comprises only 2% of the
atmospheric carbon today (http://www.c14dating.com/corr.html ). If we were to
remove every molecule of fossil carbon from the atmosphere, we could turn
back the clock on CO2 increases about five years. The data is there, but few
people seek it out. They blindly believe as you do: "most experts...." and
feed their ignorance instead of their knowledge.
Seriously - what are the logical flaws in my argument? That's what this is
all about; whether creation theory is untenable. So far you have not
addressed that issue except to say "Creationists who reject evolution are
always uncritical of creationism." How about something we can work with -
any original thought.
Well, at least we know digesting reports isn't your strong suit. If you have
some specific arguments or data, please come out with them. Your cavalier
reliance on hordes of unspecified "experts" who are supposed to do your
thinking for you is unconvincing. As the saying goes, "62.87% of statistics
are made up." So far, it appears 100% of yours are made up.
I've explained my qualifications; what are yours?
They're not confusing their religions with their sciences.
I won't make a 100% blanket statement, although in this case I should
It's absolutely ridiculous of you to accuse me of parading my
superstition when you're the one who's pushing his religion as science.
I had none, but I do now -- a question isn't an assertion.
Don't be silly.
It's not an explanation, period, just as the flat earth theory doesn't
explain the shape of our planet.
That makes no sense. You've cut something into 2 pieces and gotten >
It's not a question.
Most of my information about this came from our company chemists,
although they specialize in water and the lower atmosphere, not the
The science advisor of that leftist enviro-Nazi, Ronald Reagan, must
have swallowed the CFC/ozone depletion propaganda as well because he
believe the connection was strongly supported.
Look, I know ozone depletion can't be correlated perfectly with CFC
releases, and photochemists and atmospheric scientists look at many
factors, including particulates, mists, solar output, and wind patterns
as well. But since the mid-late 1980s the vast majority of scientists
qualified to understand all this have concluded that CFCs are strongly
responsible for ozone depletion.
That's approximately the amount of natural global warming. Were you
assuming that global warming was only bad and couldn't be good?
Notice I didn't say anything about a connection between manmade CO2 and
A conclusion unsupported by any evidence you've seen. Frankly you're
giving a "salesman's argument," touting the skimpiest evidence as
absolute proof, a common tactic among charlatans and kooks.
That assertion could certainly be made about proponents of creationism
or its new twin, intelligent design, but its validity with regard to
evolutionary theory is questionable at best.
Every scientific theory presented as orthodoxy in science classes
began in exactly the position that ID/Creationism occupies today - a
heresy believed by a handful of people who don't buy the orthodox
view. But the heretics have always been required to earn their place
in the curriculum by producing peer-reviewed evidence, not by
appealing directly to school boards and state legislatures.
ID advocates provide no evidence in favor of their beliefs, only
criticisms of evolutionary theory. While there are obviously gaps in
evolutionary science, the positive evidence for evolution is massive.
There are thousands of mutually corroborating observations from many
different fields, including geology, paleontology, comparative
anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, ethology, biogeography, embryology,
and molecular genetics.
When asked what might disprove evolution, the biologist JBS Haldane
replied, "fossil rabbits in the pre-Cambrian." Not a single authentic
fossil has ever been found in the wrong place in the evolutionary
sequence. Evolution, like all good theories (and unlike ID), makes
itself vulnerable to disproof.
A theory isn't just a bunch of criticisms, even if they're valid. A
theory ties things together. It explains and predicts. Intelligent
design does neither. And it makes no attempt to explain obvious design
My problem is not with the biological side - that works pretty well, as you
say. (There are unresolved debates within evolutionary theory of course,
particularly whether life began as a single instance or if there were
multiple beginnings throughout the eons.) It is the practice of trying to
extend it to beings capable of the deep abstract thought such as we are that
evolution falls critically short. By way of analogy, theoretical physics
does a good job of explaining how metals came into existence, but extending
that to explain the existence of automobiles is unwarranted.
Intelligent design (which I feel is a more accurate description of the
theory than "creationism" because of the religious overtones) gains much of
its currency from the famous Sherlock Holmes observation, "When you have
eliminated all which is impossible, then whatever remains, however
improbable, must be the truth." Failing any alternatives to evolution to
explain our existence, and the failure of evolution to bridge the gap to
sentient being, intelligent design - in all its breadth - is the best fit.
My rejection of evolution as the source of mankind dates from right around
1970, when I was a confirmed atheist. My religion, adopted when I was 10
(yes, there was a specific moment) was Scientist, and in practice I remain
an old school scientist in the mold of Sir Francis Bacon and Anton Von
Leuwenhoek (talk about geeky childhood heroes!) today. Science was what
convinced me of the inadequacy of evolution to produce people. Ironically,
Leuwenhoek made my list ahead of Benjamin Franklin mostly for his excellent
methodology in demonstrating that the then-popular theory of spontaneous
generation was untenable. (Well, that and his pioneering work in microscopy,
which was my big passion before electronics.) I adopted the Material
Agnostic philosophy a few years later as a result of science, while my
religion and practice were still Scientist. I changed my faith to Christian
in 1978 as a result of personal experiences, remaining a scientist in
practice and a material agnostic in philosophy.
I think you can see why I think it is a mistake to assume creationists are
driven by religious doctrine. Personally, I feel all creation myths are only
interesting as literature.
A final note: as I pointed out and nobody has tried to refute in any of the
posts so far - not a single idea in this post (your excellent post or my
reply) can be attributed to the products of evolutionary processes.
On 9/26/2005 10:24 PM Michael Pardee spake these words of knowledge:
Michael, Doyle was wrong. A correct statement would be, "When you have
eliminated all which is impossible, then whatever remains, however
improbable, must be possible." Not at all the same, but accurate,
unlike the statement of Holmes, which supposes that all evidence is
known *and* incontrovertible, or impossible.
Here is the crux of the problem with your stance. You surely recognize
that it is disingenuous to refute those who don't accept teaching
creationism with the canard, 'you haven't proved me wrong,' particularly
in this discussion.
The difference between the two theories boils down to this: evolution
fits the science that we now have and understand, so far. In the
future, we may find that our comprehensive abilities grow, and the
theory of evolution needs changing. Conversely, we may find something
within our existing scientific purview that doesn't fit with the theory
of evolution, again necessitating an adjustment.
Creationism - intelligent design is simply that, unless you posit an
intelligence which didn't do the designing - can, without adjustment,
encompass any and all data. One may choose to say that the intelligent
designer chose to create the world from a drop of sweat from the brow of
Ganesha, or incorporate it on the back of a giant turtle, supported by
four elephants. This cannot be verified, but it cannot be disproven.
Simply put, intelligent design is not testable. It falls outside the
realm of science and cam not be taught as science.
To claim that intelligent design is not religion simply points out that
you don't know what religion means. Religions have been proposed since
time immemorial for two reasons: to explain things otherwise not
explained, such as where we came from and what happens when we die, and
for control of other humans. In supposing intelligent design, ipso
facto you suppose an intelligent designer. That's religion, no
different in substance from many other religions throughout the history
of mankind, promulgated to explain the origin of man (ironic overtones
mine) and universe. It's religion because it's not testable! Your
particular, lucid view of the situation highlights the primary weakness
of the entire idea: lack of data never justifies a conclusion.
... "If you can get people to ask the wrong questions, they'll never
find the right answers." -- Thomas Pyncheon
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