finished reading the decenting decision by the Supreme
Court in reference to the Louisiana "Creationism Act". This
act would have required creationism to be taught along side
evolution in the public schools of that state.
It appeared to me from the decenting and amicus briefs that the main problem the judges and the nobel laureats had was that religion was being invoked. That the teaching of any kind religous idea is a violation of the separation clause of the the constitution. We all know that this is a ridiculously narrow and strained interpretation of the clause, but lets give them that for the sake of argument. I propose that we do what the liberals have been doing for years in renaming something for the express purpose of making it sound less offensive to the ear. (ie "pro choice" instead of "pro abortion").
Instead of calling it "Creationism", why don't we start to call it "Alternative origins"? This could not only cover creationism, but any other valid and/or equally plausible theory that does not fall under the theory of evolution.
I don't know who one would neet ot talk to in Louisiana about resubmitting their creationism act under another name, but if there are any other states thinking about doing the same thing, they may want to "neutralize" the religious fears of opponents by naming it something alittle less 'offensive' to their ears.
Just a thought.
Sincerely Ron P. LeFave
It is not about the label, it is about the content. Specifically, the lack of scientific content. No matter what you call it, it still isn't science.
Setting aside the fact that creationism contains no science, the issue of state/church seperation in this case is a real one. In creationism, you cannot escape the fact that at some point you will have to invoke miracles, and otherwise inexplicable acts of God, to account for the origins of things. This creation account is based on Genesis specifically, and cannot be introduced as a fact because not everyone shares that particular religion. Imagine the feelings of Hindu parents whose child comes home and tells them that their gods didn't create the world as they taught. I know several Hindus who are American citizens- and they cherish their religion as much as you cherish yours. You might say, "Who cares about them? They are such a small minority and this isn't a Hindu nation anyway."
Well, this isn't a Christian nation either. This is a nation where everyone can believe as they will. The Constitution is a secular document that guarantees freedom for everyone. The Bill of Rights is not about protecting the rights of the majority- it is about protecting the rights of the individual from the majority.
If you had equal time for Judeo-Christian creationism, you would also have to allow equal time for Hindu creationism, Native American creationism, Shinto creationism, Native African creationism, etc. All this in science class! Would you want your child to be taught that Shiva, Indra and Brahma are all just as real as and equal to your God? Can you see why creationism has to stay out of public school?
There are 350,000 churches in this country- that's where creationism belongs. We don't need to subsidize all those churches with our school system. And we certainly don't need the public school system (an arm of the federal government) telling us which god to believe in, or to believe in any at all. To paraphrase Thomas Jefferson, the government's responsibilty extends to people's actions only, not their opinions.
Should evolution (taught by qualified scientists) get equal time in churches?
Evolution DOES NOT stipulate that there is no god. It makes no determination on that issue. There is room for any deity to claim dominion over the forces of natural selection and mutation.
|Comment:||I have just finished reviewing your "Frenquently Asked but never answered questions" section. It should be noted that most of these questions would also apply to the evolutionist point of view. Yes, some questions do remain unanswered for the creationist. However, I have done extensive research of my own. As a nuclear engineer, I tend to have an analytical nature and am open to new ideas and recognize fact when I see it. However, after reviewing the facts, it appears to me that the evolutionist has much more to account for than the creationist. Evolution is based on theories which are purported to be fact, but are in reality, without proof. Creationism, to one that does not have faith in the Bible, is still a valid theory, without proof, but with extensive evidence to back it up. ALso, a little bit of research will answer most of the questions posted in the aforementioned section if one has a reasonably open mind; therefore I will not waste our time here going over them.|
|Response:||I beg to
differ. Creationism offers no scientific theories at all.
For example, I have yet to read a theory that addresses
"How did each species originate?"
"How did species come to be so finely adapted to their
What they have are not theories, but literal readings of Judeo-Christian scripture instead. You say "Creationism, to one that does not have faith in the Bible, is still a valid theory..."
No, there is no creationism without the bible. What kind of case would creationists have if you took away their bibles, and told them they could never again make any reference to it? They wouldn't even have the shaky foundation that they have now!
"It is precisely because Biblical revelation is
absolutely authoritative and perspicuous that the
scientific facts, rightly interpreted, will give the same
testimony as that of Scripture. There is not the slightest
possibility that the *facts* of science can contradict the
After reading that, how can anyone say that creationism is anything like science? It is a desperate attempt to substantiate the fantastical stories of biblical mythology by dressing up biblical scripture in scientific-sounding terminology, but since there is such a lack of material there, even more of their energy is directed in desperate attacks against evolution with psuedo-scientific mis-direction, fabrication and willful errors.
is priority. The argument about "evolutionism" and
"creationism" is a logical error called "complex question."
The Holy Scriptures warns us about "man centered interpretations" and as a Christian and believer in the Word of God I find it especially wrong that a group with a "man centered doctrine" tries to twist the literal meaning of light as day into some figurative interpretation: 24 hour phenomenon.
For example Genesis DOES NOT state "IN the TWO Days that the Lord created heaven and earth."
The first Light in the begining is the WORD, according to the Holy Scriptural account of the begining.
It is easy to get fooled by an angel of light because we go around the sun in circles and it does appear to go off and on in some 24 hour phenomenon. But that is only a wonderous appearance. For God there is more to it than that. That is why the Scriptures teach us to be wary about these winds of doctrines that are man centered.
The sun is a lesser light made on the 4th day for OUR DAY.
Prior to that the light was comprehended not by the darkness and there was a division to separate the light and the darkness. Then material was created. Then on the 4th day the sun.
Can anyone honestly go against what the Scriptures remind us that "Who really knows the entire length, breadth and width or creation"?
DO you honestly know? Please pay attention to the literal meaning of Scriptures not some man centered doctrine.
We should realize that the Scriptures clearly is telling ous
You have just assumed that everyone in the world is a christian, and accepts a strictly literal interpretation of the bible.
Being saved is a priority to you, because you believe that you need to be. You can be as wary as you want about "man-centered" doctrines. But are you suggesting that scientists should curb their studies because it infringes on holy scripture? Should they halt their pursuits because it conflicts with your religion-- even if your religion was held by 99% of the population? I think, sadly, that you are suggesting this...
Nothing is more dangerous than the man who thinks he has
the god-ordained truth. In the words of Ingersoll:
Perhaps you should consider that there are others who wish to exercise their rights of freedom of belief, even if it is in opposition to your own. Your descriptions of light mean something to you because you believe in the doctrine, but what has that got do to with science?
P.S. The evolution/creation controversy is not a complex question logical error. Understanding Logic and Fallacies.
|Comment:||Dear Sirs, You have evidently not studied what creation Scientists reall believe. If you had, maybe, just maybe, you would have recognized the the fact that you are a sinner, and are in need of a Savior just like all the rest of us. You would also realize that all your attempts to reason away a Creator is really a vain attempt to eliminate any accountability to the Creator. All you have to do is be honest with yourself, and your conscience , and you would realized that who you really are and what is really inside you could not possibly have come from some pri-mordial soup. But could only come from a wise Creator. But even if you choose to continue to rebel against what you really know is true, God will let you. He gave you a free will to either be honest and love Him, or be selfish and deny Him. Either way you will be held ETERNALLY rESPONSIBLY FOR YOU ACTIONS. I pray you will repent and turn to the truth and allow Christ's sacrifice save you from your wilfull sin. Romans 1:18|
seen one of these type of letters in a few weeks... we
adhere to evolution because we are seeking to avoid
accountability-- we are full of pride and denial, and we
are selfishly rebelling against what we really know to be
true because we want to be free to sin.
Well, Mr. Anonymous, not all evolutionists are atheists. Some are devout Christians who have enough intellectual honesty to accept the findings of science, and have found a way to maintain their faith in the light of science. I'm sure they do not appreciate your misguided condemnation.
Have you ever stopped to consider that we accept the inescapable conclusions drawn from the physical evidence that life has DESCENDED through millions of years from a common ancestor? We accept evolution because that's what the evidence unambiguously tells us, and for no other reason.
If you have any new scientific data on creationism, you should come forward with it. Everything so far submitted by creationists has been completely lacking in evidence and totally unsubstantiated. Science is the subject of this website, not theology.
That was on-topic. Now, to go slightly off...(since YOU brought it up):
Personally, I find your comments and self-righteous attitude extremely offensive.
You have taken it upon yourself to call me dishonest, based on your theology. Well, we all have a right to our opinions. Mine is that it is better to be brutally honest and take the world as it is, rather than to believe myths just because they are comforting. Wishing thinking does not make something true.
If you are right, then God knew before my birth what I would and would not believe. He would know every influence that formed my opinions. He would know that beliefs are not voluntary (one cannot just start believing something that does not convince one's rational mind. I could say tomorrow that I believe, but He would know I was lying.) He would know my logical nature, and know quite well my choices in life. So, I AM honest with myself.
Knowing all that, God created me anyway (at least according to you). Knowing that I would not believe, He created me (and most of the humans ever born) for the sole purpose of damning me to the infinite pain of hell. You may say that I still have free will, but an all-knowing God would always know beforehand what I would choose. Why would your God, if indeed He is all-loving, all-good and forgiving, create me only to damn me to His eternal revenge, with no chance of pardon, because of an honest opinion? Think about that (if you can).
You say I will be held eternally responsible for my actions? How could God, a hypothetically infinite being, be in any way inconvenienced by the actions of a finite human being? Why would He assign infinite consequences to the acts of finite beings? As to what I think about Jesus sacrifice, here is what I have to say (offsite).
I would rather opt for eternal, unwaking sleep, thank you.
|Comment:||Dear talkorigins people, Your page about FAQ about creation that are not anwswered can, almost to the question be aswered by reading Scientific Creationism, edited by Henry M. Morris. If you're not inclined to read it from cover to cover, send me one question at a time and I will send back an answer. Thank you for your time and God Bless, Mitch P.S. read Not A Chance by Sproul. Very interesting book.|
Thanks for your offer. You are referring, I'm assuming, to
the Frequently Asked But Never
Answered Questions for creationists, or possibly it
could have been Stumpers for
Since the questions are posted already at the above link, why don't you pick one at a time and submit your answers at your leisure.
|Comment:||Evolution is a Fact and a Theory. What a bunch of creation-phobia freaks. Let's attack anyone and anything that is not on our side. We are right so everyone else must be wrong. Face reality and smell the coffee, there is no FACT just Theory. Some of us have evolved beyond the LAW OF EVOLUTION and realized this is just another religion based on our beliefs, nothing more. You parade around with self-bestowed degrees before the high priests beating your chest like a bunch of baboons proclaiming your ignorance. Newton, Darwin, Einstein. You do not have the privilege to put your name next to these geniuses. Begone you prattling children with your fairy tales and Dr. Seuss textbooks of FACT. Take the evolution-phobia freaks along with you since you belong in the same class of bigots. You waste my time and that of others when it is so preciously short. A few hundred years of intelligent life and you want a laurel bestowed on your locks. We know so little and there is so much to learn. There is intelligent life on Earth but the mosquitoes are making too much noise.|
|Response:||I hope that
If the reader feels that our articles do not reflect the views of mainstream science, then he should point to a specific fact and contrast it against the primary literature cited in that FAQ. If, on the other hand, the reader's dispute is with the conclusions of the underlying science, then I'm afraid we cannot be of further service.
|Comment:||I believe it is well understood that chaos is the natural state of the universe and things tend toward chaos, not toward order. I believe this is also consistent with the laws of thermodynamics. While all the seemingly scientific debunking of creationists theories are interesting, none of them give any proof of or true evidence for the evolution of thousands of species from inert matter. Can someone please tell me how consciousness evolved? Frankly, order in the universe and the existence of the laws of nature strongly suggests to me there must have been a lawgiver. The fact that you can think and reason should prove that your mind was designed. Otherwise, consciousness, if it existed at all, would likely consist merely of random unrelated thoughts.|
|Response:||On the large
scale, you are correct that the universe will tend toward
chaos and disorder. It is also true that "pockets" within a
closed system can exchange energy, thereby causing
temporary increases in order. One such area is our solar
The debunking of creationist claims, while indeed amusing, are not intended to offer proof of evolution of thousands of species. That information is contained in other articles, such as An Introduction to Evolutionary Biology, and check out the different FAQs regarding evolution.
Consciousness needs to be properly defined for this discussion. Will you admit that consciousness is found in species other than human, and that there are varying degrees of consciousness? I gave a hypothetical explanation of the origins of consciousness in the December feedback. But to demand the concrete explanation of something which left no fossilized trace is unrealistic and unreasonable.
If the existence of the laws of nature strongly suggest to you that there must have been a lawgiver, then to you there is a lawgiver. But that does not equal evidence. The existence of "natural laws" (human descriptions of natural phenomena) do not suggest a lawgiver to everyone.
Matter and energy must behave somehow... and they happen to behave like they do. The fact that they do does not mean they were necessarily designed to do so. If you feel that the properties of nature require that they have been designed, please provide evidence of such.
Scientists do not have to substantiate the idea that consciousness evolved naturally. Design advocates have to show some evidence of design, not just say that the fact that we can think means our minds were designed to do just that. Natural selection would not permit the continued evolution of a mind that produced nothing but random, unrelated thoughts. Such a species would rapidly fall to extinction. Surely this is obvious.
|Comment:||I think your site, where it talks about how creationists are fake is all wrong and very devilish. I think there had to be some kind of force that created life because life cannot come from non-living matter. So how did the first organisms appear? Where did they come from? How did all that happen? Explain that, why don't you. Because maybe we did evolve but the organisms didn't just appear out of nowhere. I am only 13 and I think your theories are BS already.|
of evolution does not deal with the creation of life. For
all the theory of evolution cares, the first organisms
could have arrived upon the Earth naturally, through the
operations of God, Zeus, or Odin, brought here by space
aliens, or magicked up with pixie dust--or even some
combination of these events. Evolution is concerned only
how those first organisms diversified into the majestic
variety of life we see today. That appears to have taken
place through the natural processes of birth, death,
reproduction, mutation, and selection. If a supernatural
force influenced the development of life on Earth, then he,
she, it, or they did so in a manner indistinguishable from
these natural processes. See the Introduction to
As for the initial development of life on Earth, that appears to have taken place according to natural processes, too, such as physics and chemistry. The dividing line between "life" and "non-life" is not so clear as one might think, especially on the very small scales of cells, viruses, and DNA. At that level, life is just the operation of certain chemical reactions. There is, however, still much we don't know about this realm yet. See the Interim Abiogenesis FAQ.
Even though natural processes led to the diversification of life on Earth, there is nothing to prevent God (or any other deity) from having a hand in the process. See the God and Evolution FAQ. I urge the reader to work over time towards a richer understanding of not just biology, but also religion.
|From:||Dr. EJ Steele|
|Comment:||We simply wish to draw your readers' attention to our recent book "Lamarck's Signature: How retrogenes are changing Darwin's natural selection paradigm " Frontiers of Science. Series Editor, Paul Davies.Allen & Unwin, Sydney, Australia; Perseus Books, Addison Wesley Longman, Reading , MT, 1998. We review all our recent evidence and analysis of our data and others on how the "somatic hypermutation" pattern of antibody genes is written into the germline DNA ie. reverse transcriptase-coupled soma-to-germline flow of genetic information, at least in the immune system of vertebrates. The strength of the evidence for Lamarckian inheritance in the immune system and its generality is discussed and evaluated.|
Steele is the researcher mentioned by Richard Dawkins in
Extended Phenotype, if I remember correctly.
I want to make a point or two:
First, if he and his collaborators are right about reverse transcription from soma to germ line, they have indeed challenged the general validity, not of Darwinian thinking, but of the Weismann Barrier, which says that Darwin's theory of pangenes (information about the body being packed back into germ cells) was false. In fact, if Steele et al are right, they are affirming Darwin, at least in part.
Second, none of this is in opposition to neo-Darwinism as such, for although it denies the germline sequestration theory, it does not affect questions of selection, drift, or adaptation. Somatic and cytological inheritance has been known for some time, and is reviewed in the (orthodox Darwinian) book
Jablonka, Eva, and Marion J. Lamb. 1995. Epigenetic inheritance and evolution: the Lamarckian dimension. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press.
If his views prevail they will be interesting and perhaps revolutionary, but I doubt they will shake the foundations of the evolutionary world. That is rhetorical flourish and should be understood that way.
|Comment:||The whole debate should have died many decades ago: how long will it take for people who believe in God(s) to grasp the idea that He/She/It/They, could, if omnipotent (or at least potent enough to create the world as we know it ex nihilo), have used evolution as the means of creation? In other words, all you strife-loving good people, what if BOTH sides are right? How difficult can it be to grasp this? WHAT ARE YOU FIGHTING ABOUT?|
creationists are biblical literalists who insist that God
created the world as per Genesis Chapter 1. No metaphors,
no interpolations, nothing allegorical. They pushed to have
their creation mythology inserted into public school
science classrooms, under the premise of "equal time". The
courts realized what they were trying to do (force their
particular brand of religion), and killed that idea.
Failing that, they are trying to show the "problems" with evolution, by using fabrications, speculations, out-of-context quotations, bad science, straw man arguments, and the like. (What wouldn't they do to save a soul? The ends justify the means). They honestly don't have a case- I've never seen ONE of their claims prove true so far, and I've been following them for about 15 years.
They are trying to undermine the theory in the eyes of the public- by causing doubt and confusion. (They don't even need to produce any real scientific data to do this... they just make generalized "one-liners" like: "evolution says rocks to humans", and their followers are dancing in the aisles.)
They certainly have a right to their opinions, and to worship in the manner that they see fit, but they don't have the right to insert their religion into public schools, and to undermine legitimate science with their nonsense. Their psuedo-scientific attacks on evolution won't go unchallenged. THAT is what we are fighting about.
|Comment:||To Whom it may concern, I am a secondary biology teacher with a degree in Biology as well as Chemistry.(just a little background info...)I am writing because I too believed in evolution for a while, but came to the realization that there is no way such a magnificent creation can be formed via the evidence or lack of for evolution. I admit, not many people in the science field would agree with me, but in science there is always opposition! I am writing this e-mail because I believe the vast majority of "people" = general population, if asked would not say they evolved from chimps or out of pond scum 190,000,000 years ago. I think most of them would say that they were created by the Lord! That is my opinion, and I plan on teaching that evolution is a theory and introducing creation as a theory! .................Tom|
|Response:||I hope you
aren't teaching in at any school in my area.
Faith can serve as an armor, to protect belief. The more fragile the belief (the more it contradicts rational thinking) the stronger the faith needs to be. The armor that your faith provides must be strong indeed, if a degree in biology cannot pierce it. An obvious case of compartmentalization-
It is possible that a person can scrutinize facts for a living, perform complicated equations, think critically about complex issues, and yet when it comes to certain subjects, the critical powers of scrutiny are reigned in, steered clear, and are robbed of their ability to perform. The claims of creationism are considered “hands-off”, and are placed safely behind a wall of faith, hidden in some part of the brain into which scrutiny cannot tread. This process is called Compartmentalization- sectioning off parts of the brain so that certain subjects, like creationism, can be protected from rational, critical thinking. The underlying motive for this behavior has little to do with intelligence. It has far more to do with emotions than I.Q.
Your rejection of evolution comes from the "Argument from Personal Incredulity"-- in other words, "I just can't believe it, therefore it could not have happened." Solid scientific findings are ignored, evidence is ignored. You give no specific arguments against evolution- just vague, non-scientific objections.
It doesn't matter if the "vast majority of the population" believes in creationism. The truth is not a democratic process. 500 years ago, 99.9% percent of the population believed the earth was flat- but it continued to be round. (From what I have read, more and more people are moving to the belief of Directed Evolution/Theistic Evolution).
Your comments "evolved from chimps or out of pond scum 190,000,000 years ago" leads me to suspect the sincerity of your acceptance of evolution. Where did you get your degree?
Please go on believing that the Lord created you. That is your right. No one here wants to convince you otherwise. Everyone has the right to their own opinions-- no one has the right to their own facts.
Try to teach creationism in public school, and you better be prepared to lose your job when some concerned parent finds out his child has been forced to learn the Judeo-Christian Creation Myth as a scientific theory.
|Comment:||Could the DNA within every living organism be regarded as the creative and sustaining word of God?|
|Response:||Yes, if you
choose to regard it as such. But, that is a personal
decision. There is nothing about DNA that
requires such a belief. Certainly such an
idea cannot be offered in a science class.
DNA can be explained by purely natural processes, without the need for any divine intervention. But it isn't possible to say that God DID NOT design DNA-- He might have designed it in a way that it looks completely natural, and "wiped His fingerprints off it", so to speak. There is no way to ever know that. If you want to believe in all that, that is your right.
think talkorigins should stack up on debate transcripts
instead of some lousy accounts that don't provide any
information concerning the actual tide of the contention.
infidels.org has got
a lot more debate transcripts than talkorigins. And
isn't this site supposed to be the capitalizer of
evolutionary theory and anti-creationism? I also recommend
the staff do some studies on how to keep readers interested
in the FAQs. Although they are extremely informative and
thorough, a few are overly long and generally
Thanks for your time reading this, Anonymous
Talk.Origins Archive was created to serve primarily as
repository for FAQs written by participants of the Usenet
covering topics frequently discussed in the newsgroup. This
archive was not intended to be a general introduction to
evolution, a forum for discussion, or a place to find all
the latest tidbits in the conflict between evolution and
creationism, though one may find all of the above here.
Considering that the "staff" of this archive are unpaid volunteers, I doubt there'll be much enthusiasm by anyone to conduct detailed studies on the impact of this archive. (After all, I thought that's what this feedback was for!) Although the reader's criticism is welcomed, it would help us more if the reader provided specific detail to a FAQ author or to the archive about how a particular article might be improved.
browsing through several months of your Feedback pages, I
find it strange that your site is so quick to pooh-pooh
racial characteristics. Some of the reasons given reveal
either an "it's been well proven that..." presumption
without convincing support or, a flawed analogy. John
Wilkins, supposedly shoots down the repellent notion of
racial classification with the argument that there is more
variation within races than between them. While this is
true, it in no way undermines useful classification. Using
height as an example, American men on average stand 5'9"
tall and American women hit the 5'4" mark, a difference of
only five inches. Contrast this with the variation of
height within each sex from the shortest person to the
tallest (a difference of probably about five feet) and we
find an analogous situation. Differences between sexes is
small compared to variation within each sex. Yet this does
not prevent me from predicting, with a high rate of
accuracy that the next man I meet will be taller than the
next woman I meet. Racial classification works the same
I suppose that you ignore these facts in order to keep the spectre of being labeled RACIST as far away as possible. Yet it seems to me that "racism" implies a judgment of superior and inferior. Science cannot make such judgments. Is sexual dimorphism good or bad? Does it make men better than women? Of course not. We are only observing what is, in the light of what has come before.
My wife's calcium supplement, notes that such supplements are often necessary as aging Asian and white women often suffer from osteoperosis. Is her bottle of calcium racist? Does it infer that blacks are superior? Of course not. Blacks, on average, have denser, stronger bones and therefore much lower instances of osteoperosis.
This site has already proven that it has no fear of criticism from creationists who decry you as evil. Neither should you be afraid of those who would decry you as racist.
|Author of:||Evolution and Philosophy|
are natural groups that are similar within a species such
as humans does not make these judgements of inferiority or
superiority. For that matter, there is no such judgement
between species, let alone within them. There are
differences, that's all.
The reason why, form a biological systematics perspective, one would classify races is to mark some difference that is so marked we cannot proceed to treat the entire species as a whole, but must mark out parts of it. One reason is indeed that there are medical differences such as susceptibility to lactose intolerance, sickle cell anemia, or particular enzymes, and so forth.
The problem is that these do not answer to the categories of race. Not all African subsaharan populations carry the sickle cell anemia gene in equilibrium. Not all morphological characters, such as nose shape or hair, or skin color, or bone and skull shape, which were used to "define" races are unique to those groups.
Race is a social construct. There are no "negroes", no "whites", no "Asians". There are some geographical variant populations, but they don't match races in any of the standard typologies, a point that was first noted in the 1750s by the comte de Buffon. It is for this reason that the various anthropological associations around the world have effectively abandoned the use of the term. It is political, not biological.
|Comment:||I saw the "Five common misconceptions of evolution" page nicely done :). I am wondering about a word it has in the conclusion - "uniformitariarianism" - what does it mean?|
|Response:||The word was
coined in 1840 when a philosopher and physicist, William
Whewell, was writing a review of a book in the
then-emerging science of geology. At the turn of the 19th
century, a theory Whewell called "catastrophism" aimed to
explain such things as mountains and discontinuities in the
rocks as the result of major catastrophes, a view derived
from Hutton and made popular by Playfair.
The alternative view was promoted mostly by Darwin's friend and mentor Charles Lyell, and assumed that the causes of the geological record were the same as in operation today, and Whewell called it "uniformitarianism".
As it happens, modern scholars think Whewell got it wrong. Lyell was making a point about the causes of geology, but Whewell interpreted it to mean the rate of change - a view better called "gradualism". Darwin accepted Lyell's views that the causes in the past had better be the same as the causes operating today or we could not know anything about the past. Many thought that this meant Darwin was committed to gradual evolution, despite clear comments to the contrary in the Origin of Species.
Over the course of the century, catastrophes got smaller and uniformities got more variable so that by the time the Origin came out, there was little difference between them other than terminology and rhetoric.
Recently, in 1972, a view was revived in "orthodox" evolutionary theory about the variability of rates of change in evolution and called "punctuated equilibrium theory". Many anti-Darwinians thought that this was a fundamental challenge to Darwinism because, and this is the relevance of the FAQ comment, Darwinism had to be "uniformitarian", that is, "gradualist". Of course, it doesn't, and did not need to be, but at the time the view was proposed, many paleontologists did indeed tend to assume that the change was slow and gradual. See the Punctuated Equilibria FAQ for more information.
for your interesting and informative website.
One of the speakers whose talk I made the mistake of going to had some theory about the flood which also involved vast amounts of Lithium-3 beta-decaying to "Helium" i.e. all the atmospheric helium we've got.
I managed to ask a question about this that surely the "Helium" would be He3 not the commoner He4 but he glossed over the question and I subsequently got shouted down when I tried to press the point.
I was angry enough at this treatment that I forgot why all this Lithium/Helium stuff was supposedly necessary and I've been curious ever since at the point being made. Can you enlighten me?
|Author of:||Isochron Dating|
|Response:||The "mainstream" creationist organizations wouldn't make such an obvious blunder (there's no isotope of Lithium with atomic weight 3; that isotope couldn't decay by beta decay if it did exist because it couldn't have any neutrons; and beta decay goes in the wrong direction since it increases proton number). Therefore I suspect that this speaker was a fairly minor player and his views aren't widely known.|
|Author of:||Creation Science and the Earth's Magnetic Field|
Lithium is the third element (after Hydrogen & Helium)
it may have just been a case of the speaker failing to
express himself properly. Of course there is no isotope 3
of Lithium as Stassen has pointed out.
One of the myriad young-earth arguments is that the earth's atmosphere has too little helium. The argument is that helium is too heavy and does not escape from the earth's atmosphere; if the earth were billions of years old there should be a lot more helium. But the argument is pretty bad. For one thing, the young-earth creationists fail to properly account for the escape of ionized helium along the earth's polar magnetic field lines. Current observation shows that the escape rate is essentially in equilbrium with the radiogenic production rate [see Helium Escape from the Terrestrial Atmosphere - The Ion Outflow Mechanism, Journal of Geophysical Research (Space Physics) 101(A2): 2435-2443 (1996 Feb 1)]. Besides, since atmospheres in general are in a constant state of evolution and are quite variable with time, one cannot measure the age of the earth that way, even in principle.
But I have never heard the argument that you have related here, which is an extremely bad one, even by young-earth creationist standards. The only isotopes of Lithium that occur in nature are 6Li (7.59%) and 7Li (92.41%). But both are stable isotopes, and make up essentially 100% of natural Lithium. The only way to get Helium from Lithium is by proton emission from 5Li to 4He, or by proton emission from 4Li to 3He. But both of those isotopes of Lithium are so rare that they could never account even for the Helium we have now; not only are they less than 1% of Lithium abundance, but Lithium is already one of the least abundant elements in nature anyway.
|Comment:||After reading some of the articles I feel that both sides of the debators are honest enough. It seems that what the creationist believe is not the God, but the "science" as that of Darwinist. Both of them are not objectively enough, rather controled by some sort of emotion sometimes. What is the truth? Can scientific investigation give the truth when it has not reach that level to improve it? I don't think so. What we think is scientific may be not scientific in the future. Truth will be always the truth; while science can not represent the truth.|
|Response:||Some of the
creationists are expressing their honest beliefs. But I
have seen plenty of dishonest techniques used by them to
express those beliefs- a lot of fabrication, such as the
bullfrog genes and the man-tracks, and the Darwin
recantation, and a lot of quoting out of context, and A LOT
straw man arguments.
I would not say that what they believe in is "science". Science is self-correcting, and in science nothing is sacred accept the method. If a finding genuinely contradicted what we think is true, say, human skeletons found at the level of dinosaur fossils, scientists would have to reject either part or all of the current theory. Here I have posed a hypothetical situation that would overturn evolution. Try asking a creationist to do the same thing with their hypothesis! In 'creationism', NO OBSERVATION would EVER be allowed to overturn their biblical account of Genesis, and they will be the first to tell you so.
"But the main reason for insisting on the universal Flood as a fact of history and as the primary vehicle for geological interpretation is that God's Word plainly teaches it! No geologic difficulties, real or imagined, can be allowed to take precedence over the clear statements and necessary inferences of Scripture."
Henry Morris, _Biblical Cosmology and Modern Science_ (1970) p.32-33
This is why creationists are not practicing science. They are using scientific sounding terminology to support their creation mythology. And since there is no evidence to do so, they spend 99% of their time attacking evolution with deceptive, misleading psuedo-science in order to sway the non-scientific public and create an atmosphere hostile to science. In nearly all cases, the creationists/anti-evolutionists are not scientists at all, but preachers.
Underneath all the techno-babble you will find that their objections to evolution have nothing to do with science. They have to do with humans being reduced to the level of animals, living with no moral constraints, rejecting THEIR version of God and creation, and the elimination of Original Sin and Atonement. And (in the spirit of "the ends justify the means") they are willing to do or say anything to 'save the souls' of us evilutionists and eradicate this dangerous idea from society-- they want evolution out of schools. The the more radical ones are willing to de-fund (eliminate) the public school system in order to do so. (That is also because of sex ed.)
No, creationism has nothing to do with science, and everything to do with narrow, totalitarian theology (or should I say theocracy?)
Is it possible to keep emotions out of such debates? Of course not- we are emotional creatures. But do emotions "control" science? I don't think so. What is science? A body of knowledge? A world view? No- it is a method of uncovering why things are the way they are, and for it to work, it has to remain as objective and dispassionate as possible.
You ask: "What is the truth?" It is reality.
Then you ask: "Can scientific investigation give the truth when it has not reach that level to improve it?" I'm not entirely sure what you mean by 'improve', and what 'level' science must reach, and why... these vague statements convey nothing to me, even though they may have personal meaning for you. Science can surely uncover reality- the universe is full of such examples.
In the words of Galileo:
You say science cannot represent the truth... but that is a vague, non-scientific statement that you have not bothered to support. Why do you think so, and what specific examples lead you to this belief?
|Comment:||It was nice
to read some of the view points, however, no where in the
article was there any reference just how long the planet
has been an established member of our solar system. All the
information centered on the fact of what is now currently
present and that point is even argued. I am seeking more
information or speculation just where this piece of hot
rock came from before it joined our solar system.
reader's feedback is in reference to the Is Venus Young? FAQ.)
The planet Venus did not "come from" anywhere to "join" our solar system, but formed out of the spinning cloud of dust and gas that coalesced under the force of gravity over eons to form the Sun and the planets. As such, it is roughly 4.5 billion years old.
|Author of:||Is the Planet Venus Young?|
|Response:||I wrote "Is Venus Young?" in
response to specific claims which were alleged to prove the
Velikovskian claim that either
Venus was created only a few thousand years ago (as
maintained by Velikovsky himself) or that is came into
place a few thousand years ago, after being heated totally
into incandescence. I think I made the point that both
events are quite unlikely.
As Kenneth has already pointed out, Venus did not come from anywhere to join the solar system; it has been here all along, just like all of the other planets. There are several physical facts which make it very difficult to argue that Venus only "recently" took up its post between the earth and the sun. One of those facts is the near tidal lock between Venus and Earth; the two planets are synchronized, such that from the earth we always see the same side of Venus at each inferior conjunction. This kind of near tidal lock can happen only when the two planets are in the same orbits relative to each other for very long periods of time, many millions of years at least. Another strong point is that the eccentricity of the orbit of Venus is 0.0068, the most nearly circular of the elliptical orbits in the solar system. Orbits get circularized by tidal friction, which is once again a very time consuming process. if Venus had been injected into its current position only relatively recently, it could not have achieved an orbit so nearly circular in such a short time.
ark that size be made seaworthy?"
You guys are forgetting that GOD is in this.. Sure no man could do this alone.. God doesnt just sit back and watch.. he's right in the action :')
Such a belief is just fine as a matter of religious faith. But how can you prove such an idea scientifically? To do so, it would have to be repeatable. You have to admit that building such a big boat is hypothetically repeatable... so why haven't the creationists tried it?
You have just hit upon the fatal flaw of "scientific" creationism. As long as you must appeal to divine intervention for the explanation of an event, that event can never be provable (or even comprehensible), hence it can never be part of any scientific theories.
Too much of creationism relies completely on such miraculous interventions (the flood and the creation itself, not to mention just about all the rest of the book), that it cannot be used in the fomulation of a scientific theory. You can believe it all you want, but it must remain outside the realm of science. It can only be accepted as true based on things that never be verified, or even speculated about!. For example, how can you (or any creationist) even speculate about the methods used by a creator god in the crafting of the earth from nothing? How about the formation of man from dirt? Any ideas on how he did that?
Of course not. Because of this glaring flaw, "scientific creationism" is an oxymoron- a self-conflicting and contradictory term.
Some creationists have realized this, and introduced a new tactic. It goes something like this: "Okay, creationism is a religious belief, and we can't have it in public schools. But so is evolutionism- it is an atheistic/pagan religion that must be removed from schools."
'Fraid not. Evolution is science most pure, devoid of any religious concepts whatsoever. It is non-theistic, but it is not necessarily atheistic. You can opt to include the deity of your choice as the directing force, as long as you are willing to admit that the ancient writings of primitive desert wanderers is metaphorical (Genesis), and that they did the best they could to describe their understanding of origins. Can you do that?
challenge two of the assertions made in the FAQ file
"Introduction to Evolutionary Biology"
The article states that "Scientific creationism is 100% crap. So-called "scientific" creationists do not base their objections on scientific reasoning or data. Their ideas are based on religious dogma, and their approach is simply to attack evolution." The fact is that both evolutionists and creationists approach the same set of data with their own preconceived ideas. The Creation Research Society, whose voting membership is open only to those having earned a masters degree in natural or applied science certainly does not publish "crap."
Secondly, the attestation must be challenged that "creationists do not conduct scientific experiments, nor do they seek publication in peer-reviewed scientific journals. Much of their output is "preaching to the choir." "
I would refer you by way of example to the book "Shattering the Myths of Darwinism" by Richard Milton.
Milton is a science journalist - a secular, non-creationist writer who is also a member of Mensa. His book shows why scientists must be guarded about that they reveal to the public and why it is now "virtually impossible for any scientific paper that has anti-Darwinan implications to be published in Nature or any serious peer-review scientific journal, regardless of the scientific merits of its findings." When the Sunday Times reviewed this book, the response in Nature (vol. 358, p.698) was: "Why serious newspapers do this thing is beyond belief." So much for the critical, unbiased response of a peer group.
He notes that in Britain "Darwinism is such a strictly observed taboo subject that no science programme has ever been shown or is ever likely to be shown questioning any aspect of the Darwinian theory. One British film maker (said) that few of his fellow directors would risk making a television film that questioned Darwinism because to question such a scientific sacred cow would be bad for his or her career." (pp 267-268)
With such a weight of prejudice against open debate, publication such as Creation Research Society Quarterly have an uphill struggle merely to get their articles published, never mind reviewed by a peer group.
And I thought scientists were supposed to be objective!
your first point, that the statement "Scientific
creationism is 100% crap. So-called "scientific"
creationists do not base their objections on scientific
reasoning or data. Their ideas are based on religious
dogma, and their approach is simply to attack evolution."
is untrue, I have two questions for creationists, the
answers to which will determine if what they are involved
in is science.
1) What would falsify creationisms hypotheses?
2) Is there any chance that you could be wrong, and that
Genesis is false?
Until they admit the potential of falsification (and list the circumstances which would falsify creationism), and admit the possibility of error and incorrectness in creationism, it can not be considered science.
Creationists start with the bible, not observations, and use scientific-sounding terminology to describe how things might have happened. They offer no testable theories, make no predictions, and have no evidence for any of their claims. They state quite plainly that no observations, no scientific facts, could ever contradict the bible. Having no data, theories or evidence to furnish, they instead set about attacking evolutionary biology at every opportunity, using falsified data, errors, heresay, out of context quotations, misdirection, out of date information, and scripture. They are terrified at the thought of evolution being taught in schools, and direct every effort at removing it. It is, in a word, "crap".
Now for your second point. While on the surface it may seem like you have a valid point, let's use a close analogy. What if astrologers had submitted articles to Scientific American for years, and the editors of that magazine knew quite well what it was that those articles contained... psuedoscientific nonsense. Should peer-review publications take this stuff seriously?
For one thing, how many creationists, if any, are out in "the field", making discoveries, digging fossils, doing genetic research? Do you really think that if creationists had an actual, bona fide, earth shattering discovery which overturned the theory of evolution, that they could keep it to themselves? Of course they couldn't. But they have no such information. All they have is, well, crap.
As for Milton being in Mensa, so what? High intelligence is no protection against compartmentalizing one's brain so that certain ideas are protected against rational scrutiny.
Do legitimate, mainstream scientists have a bias against psuedoscience? I sure hope so. Otherwise they'd have every brand of nonsense cluttering their desks. If creationism wants to lift itself off the dunghill of pseudoscience, it needs to come up with something new, and real.
Scientists are objective with factual data. They are skeptical of claims that fall far outside the norm, and will view the data critically. Why have creationists failed to persuade? Because the whole scientific world, across the globe, are involved in some materialistic conspiracy? Do you believe that would even be possible?
Or are they all, in different universities and labs, different disciplines ranging from genetics to zoology to paleontology to botany to embryology to geology, in different countries and cultures, just plain wrong, and they don't know it?
|Comment:||Hello: What in scientific beliefs would prevent the possibility that God created the first male and female human on the same day without any evolutionary process? Thanks. ez|
|Author of:||Punctuated Equilibria|
Nothing at all, as long as the concept of "God" includes the belief that God's creation of two humans de novo was done in such a way as to make it look just as if humans had evolved from other primates.
Specifically, humans share a general morphology that places us in the primates. Our DNA and molecular makeup show close relationship to other primates, and are consistent with humans being in the same hierarchy of life that we see here on Earth. Ethologically, we share many behaviors with other primates. If humans are due to a separate creation event, then the Creator of humans went to a great deal of trouble to make it appear that human descent by evolutionary processes is consistent with the available evidence.
Some time long, long, long ago, a tiny dense mass, it did really blow! It's bits and pieces reached far and wide, Into empty space, they ever ride.
From this mighty bang, there came to be, A rough hewn orb, the early earth, you see. O'er billions more, it was rounded like a ball. Upon its mass, we would work, walk, run and fall.
We're told in class, that in much time, there came to be the primordial slime. Out of this slick ooze, says the best guesser, came a single cell, our first ancestor.
Hold on now, the story is not done. Here and now does come the fun. The cell must split and gain a partner, to evolve its kind, with opposite gender.
And so it did, that we are told, A mate arose to preserve the fold. So now the theory's been set in motion, to bring forth more of its silly notion.
Billions more did come and go, and now, behold, watch the fable grow. Over time, our bods took shape, our early form looked like an ape. It was time and natural selection, wherein we found our own election.
In the trees, we made our habitat. Swinging limb to limb, we'd never get fat. But time and change was still around, Lo and behold, we came to the ground.
From the trees we did swing down, to become more learned, of higher renown. Now we eat and drink much better, those bananas were starting to fester.
Today our frame there in no trace, of our first ancestor's face. Old uncle cell was simple and small; We, his posterity, so handsome and tall.
They dig, they look, they go and think, in hopes they'll find the missing link. They do not know there is no chain, that's why their search is so in vain.
As this story comes to an end, the fossil record is not its friend. Darwin and Huxley, in peace may they rest, but creation still explains it best.
One man's guess began a revolution. Ever since then, its called holy evolution. Among the fables, it will have its place; In time, be sure, there will be no trace.
amusing. Now it's my turn.
Let's explore your alternative of Human Origins, using scientific thinking. God, a sentient, all-knowing all-powerful non-physical entity who apparently has no beginning (but that's another subject) decided, for some reason, to create at a specific point in time (why that moment, instead of sooner or later?) the universe, and in one teeny tiny little corner of it, a small, ordinary world, and place humans and animals on it. He did this by the sound of His voice, apparently, by a process we can never even begin to speculate about. Supposedly He created the entire vast universe for this tiny little microbe of a world, which you can't even see if you travel a little way from it, for one specific species out of millions.
He supposedly needed the company of humans. Why? If God is infinite, He is infinitely happy and infinitely complete. How can the presence of little, finite humans increase the happiness of a infinitely happy being? Can humans help Him in some way? Is He in need of our assistance? How does the pitiful sound of human worship fulfill an infinitely complete being?
He created those tens of millions of other species just so that ONE species could use and abuse them at will. Why create deep sea fish that man will never eat? Why cave crickets that never see the light of day? Why create beetles in the deep jungle that humans will never know about? What purpose could they possibly serve?
He allegedly made the first human from dirt. Why so? He made no other creatures from dirt. Does dirt have some special quality for making sentient beings? (Maybe God originally came from dirt Himself). Why didn't He make man from nothing, like everything else? Did He use any moisture to hold the dirt together (because dry dirt would be very hard to form a figure from)? Did He use mud? Did He use His "hands" to make him? How could mud suddenly take shape into different organs and tissues? Why didn't He make more than one? Why not make the Human Race all at once? Why make Adam and Eve at all, if He knew in advance that He would destroy the human race with the Great Flood, and Noah and his family would have to populate the earth? Why not just start with Noah? Everything before was just a waste!
Why make Eve from a rib, instead of mud, or from thin air? What is so special about a rib, instead of say, a finger bone? Why did He chose to create Adam and Eve without the knowledge of good and evil? To have unwitting, unthinking slaves? How could two individuals, with their limited genetic resources, populate the whole world? Do you think that event could be repeated- if we took one man and one woman, put them on an island, and left them alone to populate it? What would the population look like in 3000 years?
Why did He need to "rest" on the seventh day? Did He get tired? Did He have muscles that became fatigued? How can an ALL-POWERFUL GOD get tired? What does it mean when God rested? Did the universe come to a standstill? What did He do? Sit back and kick His feet up? What happened on the eighth day? Did He get back to work? Cound anybody notice that He went back to work?
Why did He create all this and leave no physical trace of His handiwork? Why did He make it all appear that life arose naturally and evolved by understandable means? Knowing everything in advance, He knew how it all would look to us. Why do 93% of scientists not believe in Him? Certainly He knows what science is all about, and how the world will be perceived.
No wonder parents tell their kids to shut up when they ask hard questions, and to just believe. Belief is easy. Knowlege takes effort.
The only thing offered as evidence for your creation account is a book. Words, admittedy written by human hands. These humans were pre-technological, primitive, bronze-age tribe-like wanderers. Every other major idea from that age has been overturned. (The flatness and geocenteredness of the earth, everything made of 5 elements, the heart as the seat of thinking, demons cause mental illness, gods cause lightning and earthquakes, the planets as wandering gods, etc. etc.) What reason can you give that will exclude your creation account from this scrapheap of dead ideas?
The bible is internally inconsistent and scientifically incorrect. To give authority to this creation myth, it is claimed that the book is "inspired". The only reason it is claimed to be inspired is that no one would believe it otherwise. If something is true, it doesn't matter if it is inspired or not. It is said that the bible is true because it is the word of God, and that God exists because the bible says so.
This is one creation myth out of hundreds. All societies have their creation myths. What distinguishes this one from the rest? Why is yours true and theirs false? What right do creationists have to impose their particular creation myth on anyone else?
I am not attacking Christianity, only questioning biblical literalism. Do these questions make you uncomfortable? Someone once said: "You can take the bible literally, or you can take it seriously."
Is there any way that you can keep the good parts of your religious beliefs and still accept the scientific truths of evolution? Do you think that you could still be a good person?
I find that the approach you take to the verification of the Noah's ark is not credible. It is the same approach that the adversaries of Dr. Samuelweiss took in eventually removing him from his job after he established that the washing of hands between patients greatly reduced the mortality rates. All your arguments will not be eliminate the truth. Persistent attempts at discrediting the truth of scripture has only produced evidence to support the biblical record.
|Response:||Hi. If you
can read through all the points of Problems with a Global
Flood and remain unphased, then your faith is strongly
shielded indeed. Strongly shielded from reason, I
would say. Mark Isaak constructed an exceedingly strong,
exhaustively complete and very well written article.
Instead of vague, credulous objections, you might offer
point by point refutations, something that could be
addressed. Or are you simply in denial?
I have a suggestion. To illustrate that Noah's Ark is not a complete and utter fabrication, creationists should duplicate the construction of the vessel- 450 feet long, using comparable materials and similar primitive techniques, with the same amount of manpower, under similar conditions and time frames.
Then load it with two of everything.
Then you'll have my attention.
|Comment:||Dobzhansky's comment that it is either emotional blockage or bigotry which explains some scientists' rejection of evolution itself is false. There cannot be evidence beyond a reasonable doubt of things in the past. We see many forms, and clearly they were gradual steps, changes, yes, this does not mean that a species itself evolved into another one, but that each one was made as the next step, gradual changes at a time. Reconstruction is NOT beyond a reasonable doubt, it is conjecture. We know intermediary forms in anatomy, in embryology, in age differences. Not speciation.|
speciation, since we have witnessed it, both in nature and
in the wild. The reader's sources are misinformed. See the
Observed Instances of
Speciation FAQ and the More Observed Instances of
Moreover, in the United States, juries convict people of crimes based on the "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard every day, and many of those convictions are based on a piece-by-piece reconstruction of past events from currently existing physical evidence. Yet I see little call to completely eradicate the U.S. criminal justice system and release all prisoners convicted on physical evidence alone. I leave it to the reader to decide why this double standard might exist.
|Comment:||I'm writing a paper for a class and I'm to pursaude my readers that evolution it true. It is due on Monday, March 2, and I was hoping you could send me some valuable information to help me prove some points. Thank-you for your time and help. Sincierly Heather Kaiser|
|Response:||To try to
present a more or less complete defense of evolution in a
single class paper is a pretty tall order! However, you
might start by clicking on my web page and
some of its many links to other web sites.
I would suggest that you tackle just two subjects, namely, the creationist theory of formation of the Grand Canyon, and the falsehood that evolution REQUIRES creation by mere chance. As you may already know, the Grand Canyon is at least a hundred miles long, is cut into a solid rock horizontal plateau consisting of about 20 horizontal layers of different kinds of rock: limestone alternating with sandstone. It is several miles wide, a mile deep, with walls that are generally almost vertical. It is a branching system, with several tributary branches. It has a meandering configuration, with actual U-turns in several locations. Creationism teaches that this magnificent formation was formed in less than a year, as the result of a catastrophic Genesis flood. The obvious conclusion that the formations were formed over millions of years and that the Colorado River acted as a "conveyor belt" to carry the eroded material into the Gulf of California is rejected simply because it doen't conform to creationist religious dogma.
There is nothing in evolution that requires creation by mere chance. Evolution merely states that present life forms are descended from primitive ancestors. It does not rule the possibility that God directed the process. However, evolution does not take a position on matters of religion.
|Comment:||There have been bacterial fossils found on earth that date back almost 4 billion years. This does not give proper time for evolution to take effect. The age of earth is put at around 4.5 billion years. If fossils are found at that age then this would have been a very short time (on a evolutionary scale) for these life forms to form. This would also make an extremly more hostile enviroment than the warm shallow seas that were thought to spawn life. I don't know if I buy the whole argument of evolution. I do believe in Natural Selection. That is fact, but the changing of a species over to another with a genetic mutant trait that can actually be passed on to offspring, I don't buy. I like the discussion. Although you could take out the idiotic reasons for doubting evolution in the FAQS. "Noah's Ark" come on|
|Author of:||Creation Science and the Earth's Magnetic Field|
|Response:||The oldest known fossils date from about 3,500,000,000 years ago. The oldest known rocks date from just over 4,000,000,000 years ago (this is a brand new result, see " Priscoan (4.00-4.03 Ga) orthogneisses from northwestern Canada", Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology 134(1): 3-16 (January 1999), by Samuel A. Bowring & Ian S. Williams). The early bombardment of the earth during its formation came to an end about 3,800,000,000 years ago. That leaves a window of about 300,000,000 years for abiogenesis to take place. But this is not that big a problem; all of the known relevant chemistry happens quite briskly. See "How long did it take for life to begin and evolve to cyanobacteria", Journal of Molecular Evolution 39(6): 546-554 (December 1994), by A. Lazcano & S.L. Miller. Lazcano & Miller give a pretty strong argument in support of the conclusion that the time frame for abiogenesis through the advent of cyanobacteria will fit well inside that window, and probably only take about 7,000,000 years altogether.|
|Comment:||Theory: an offered opinion which may possibly,but not positively, be true. ref. "Webster`s dictionary" In other words, the word theory means "guess"! The scientific community has faith in their guess about Evolution. And does the religious community have faith in their God and creation. To date there is no definitive proof of evolution, there are no known missing links of any kind, plant, animal or mineral! There is evidence of many extinct species, but there is no way to accurately date these specimens without a known written record! Carbon dating and the like fall under the theory "guess" definition!|
has obviously assumed that the common-language usage of the
word "theory" applies to science. It seems I post this
definition once a month, but it is so complete and accurate
that it bears repeating. This comes from The National
Academy of Science in their book on teaching evolution.
"Is Evolution a fact or a theory?
Why isn't evolution called a law?
As for there not being any "missing links", assuming you mean transitional forms, the reader is badly misinformed. (I wonder what kind of "mineral" missing links he expects). He is likewise uninformed regarding radiometric dating methods.
|Comment:||I have read the response by Michael Behe to his book, Darwins Black Box. I thought his responses were to the point, and exposed that neither creationists, nor darwinists have the answers, except that darwinists claim to have it, when they do not actually have it. It continues to be obvious that in both points of view, neither has any more proof than the other. Neither is a fact, and the conclusion is the same as it always has been, what do you believe? Evolution is as much a belief, as creationism is, except creationism answers the fundamental question of where we came from. It is sad the dogma of evolution, as unbelievable as it is, is forced on this society, without any alternative. It is the source of many of our social ill's we are now suffering, with the value of human life decreasing with each generation. You are not defending a scientific theory, you are defending your religion, the anti god religion of evolution; when your last hours come to you, who will you call out to, darwin, or God? Who will save you?|
Creationists have contributed nothing to science, either as a body of knowledge or a method of discovery. They have advanced no testable theories, but they claim to have all the answers. The darwininsts are the ones saying: "We don't have all the answers. Knowledge is tentative."
To you, neither explanation has more proof than the other. But the theory of evolution has a body of supportive evidence which creationism lacks. As far as evolution is concerned, it is not a matter of belief. Either the facts support evolution, or the facts don't. The facts happen to support it (otherwise there would be no such thing as darwinism). Creationism, like all religions, requires belief.
Creationism tries to answer the question of where we came from with Genesis, without the slightest regard to that book's scientific accuracy. Creationism has consistently ignored the reality of the physical world in favor of the literal adherence to an ancient myth, all the while using the language of science.
Evolution is science, and as such, is presented in it's proper place and in proper perspective with every other branch of science. And it always will be.
Evolution is biology-- it has about as much to do with religion as does chemistry, geology, physics and math. It is a scientific theory, and a good one. It isn't religion in any sense. It does not have a deity, it does not claim to be incapable of error, it is falsifiable, is based on observation and evidence, has no unchanging dogma, does not persecute those who disagree, and is compatable with any other belief. How does it qualify as a religion?
As far as my last hours, what business is that of yours?
|Comment:||I am a Deist evolutionist. I believe that evolution was God's design and that He put the spark of life to set the beautiful plan into motion. My question to atheists is simply this-without a starter, what began life? You must agree that one second on this planet there existed absolutely no life; and the next second life existed. I cannot conceive of anything more absurd than life coming from no-life. My experience is, life must come from life, and the original life must have been therefore sparked by the eternal Creator. So how do you think life came around without a Creator? I am aware of scientists reproducing evolution in laboratory situations; have they reproduced "life from no life"? I am interested to know.|
instance of life would not be anything that you or most
people would recognize as "life"... a chain molecule that
made a copy of itself from surrounding free-floating
molecules. In one second, it had not yet copied itself, and
in the next second, it did. There is a first time for
You need to take a look at the Abiogenesis FAQ. Of course, there is no way to prove that a creator did not create the first spark of life. There is no way to prove that aliens didn't seed the earth with extra-terrestrial DNA either. There is no way to prove that a meteor did not hit the earth, bringing life with it. All of these scenarios make a lot of assumptions. A creator could have caused life, but then you make the assumption that it's possible for such a being to exist-- then you have to speculate about his method of creation. I prefer using Occam's Razor, and devoting my attention to the possibilities that make the least assumptions.
I could also, with fairness, ask you the same question regarding the eternal creator. If life only comes from life, in your words, then where did the eternal creator come from? How could a sentient being have no beginning? Is that reasonable? You seem perfectly comfortable asking this question of Talk.Origins, why have you not asked it of yourself?
|Comment:||Poking fun at the Flat Earth Society is a bit like shooting at the side of a barn while you are locked inside. It is too easy. As far as I can tell from their literature -- and assuming that the whole thing is serious, for someone, which is not entirely clear -- these people appear to be ignorant, harmless, and frightened by the fast pace of a world they do not understand and cannot "join." A more worthy target for ridicule are the Creationists, who actually have an agenda that has the potential for serious mischief. The whole arena is a bit spooky.|
|Response:||I agree wholeheartedly with the reader. The purpose of the Flat Earth Society page is not to make fun of them, but rather to demonstrate that even Biblical literalists disagree on their interpretation of the Bible. Moreover, "scientific creationism" has precisely as much base in science as does "flat-Earthism"; that is to say, none.|
|Comment:||I am quite interested in the controversy between creation and evolution. However, I still have some questions that I am unsure of: 1) Do the Big Bang theory and the theory of evolution come hand in hand? 2) How did the first living cell appear? Does creation still have to exist?|
|Author of:||Creation Science and the Earth's Magnetic Field|
of evolution is nothing more involved than the theory that
all life forms change over time, and that given sufficient
time, the changes can be very large. It is of no
consequence to that theory how the first life came to be,
nor is it significant how the first elements on which life
is based were formed. Evolution and the big bang do not go
Nobody knows how the first living cells appeared, but it is widely thought that they arose by successive modifications of more primitive protocells. There is good reason to think that many of the constituent parts of a modern cell (such as the mitochondria perhaps) were once independent living organisms on their own, but became absorbed into the more complex cell, perhaps as part of some symbiotic process, or as part of a colony.
Does creation still have to exist? Have to? No, not "have to". It might, but I see no reason why it must. We do not know what brought "the spark of life" to inanimate matter; it may have required some form of supernatural cause or not, but we are still far too low on the learning curve to assert that this could not possibly have happened by purely natural means.
|Comment:||I have a question. If a species fills a gap in the evolutionary chain and has no higher plane to reach because the place immideatly above it or beside it on the evolution highways is already filled, does it stop, accept its fate and stop evolving. Can something evolve to fill an already filled position on the evolutionary ladder. If so, what happens to the usurped species. If the usurped species also moves on to a higher level is it true to say that only this highest species actualy moves on.|
|Author of:||Darwin's precursors and influences|
of evolution you are using in this question is the
Lamarckian view. There is no evolutionary chain, except,
perhaps, in hindsight. There is no set place for species.
There are no evolutionary highways, and evolution never
stops, although the rate of change can be slowed down in
Read through the Introduction to Evolutionary Biology FAQ to get a better idea of what evolution is.
|Comment:||Just a question: Why no post of the month since September?|
there, they just don't show up on the top level page. Click
on the 1998 link
and all will be revealed. We'll fix this fairly soon.
Post of the Month Coordinator
|Comment:||I am not sure that I believe the theory of evolution. I think this way due to several reasons. First of all, I can not figure out why the apes that are existing now, have not evolved into humans or more intelligent creatures. If we did not come from apes but instead "ape like" creatures, then where did the modern ape come from, and why did they not evolve. I have asked this question many times and many people state that they simply did not need to, but if that is true then why did we need to. I may be only 13, but I would like to figure out the answers to these questions.|
|Response:||It's not too
hard to understand the answer to your question. It is true
that one reason that apes still exist is that we did not
evolve from them at all. Modern apes and humans share a
common ancestor. We did not evolve from any group of modern
apes-- therefore apes are unaffected by human evolution.
All of human evolution occured after the split.
You express the belief that a when a new species evolves, it must replace the original species. This is a misunderstanding of the evolutionary process. When one segment of a species adapts to certain survival pressures, and (over thousands of years) changes to better take advantage of its environment, there is no reason that the original form of the species needs to make the same changes. Why should it? It's just like you and your brothers... you all do not necessarily share the same fate, do you? If your brother moves to another country, do his actions and descendants have any affect on you and yours?
If the new species gives the original species too much competition, then the new species could replace the original one. But there are many reasons why the new species might not replace the old one... such as changing location away from the old species, a change in diet, an abundance of food... you get the idea. The original species can still continue as long as it can make a living. The concept is called Cladistics.
Another way to think about it is that a species is like a river. If that river branches off, there is no reason that both should go in the same direction. For more go Evolution and Philosophy: Why are natural kinds supposed to stay fixed?.
years, the problem of keeping Noah's Ark afloat in a
worst-case, torrential, cataclysmic deluge has been a
constant bugger to creationists, considering that its size
is some 450 feet in length, and that, even with our
state-of-the-art technology, we have only the ability to
construct mere 300 foot wooden ships. However, in
occassional visits to the CARM Creation/Evolution bulletin
board, I have noticed a creationist response to this
challenge. It proposes that, since waves---which cause all
the watery upheaval---occur because of water lapping
against coastlines, and since there were no coastlines at
the time of the Flood (recall that, according to
creationists, the whole Earth was totally submerged in
water for at least 40 days or more), the inhabitants of the
Ark took a long, though easy ride through the what was
previously concepted as a "storm" (or maybe not).
Please offer your ideas about this proposal.
|Author of:||Creation Science and the Earth's Magnetic Field|
|Response:||I hang around CARM regularly myself, but never noticed that one. Waves are certainly not caused by water lapping against coastlines! Waves are caused by wind blowing over the sea surface. I think the oceanographer's term is "fetch". Once the tiniest wave starts, the wind catches the water like a sail and makes the waves ever stronger. Storm surges and swells are common fare for people who hang around the beach a lot. They are well aquainted with the habit waves have of pounding the shore from the direction of a storm's approach.|
|Comment:||It is now 8
days (more than one week) into the month of February and
there is still no feedback for January. Are the
Talk.Origins Archive administration personnel slackers or
do they just not have enough time to answer the tremendous
amount of responses? Do they leave all till the end or do
they simply have other, more important tasks that need to
This lag has quite disappointed me regarding the enthusiasm and dignity of the Talk.Origins Archive administration, and I am sure this has also affected some other visitors to the Talk.Origins Archive website.
I hope you manage to resolve this problem.
|Response:||My, my. A
bit eager, are we?
The "personnel" involved in posting the feedback onto the Archive is one person, Brett Vickers, the maintainer of this site. Brett does so out of the goodness of his heart, the generosity of his pocketbook, and most importantly, the quantity of his spare time. It does take some time and effort to arrange the responses in a sensible order, eliminate duplicated feedbacks, and format the remainder in a fashion that is pleasing to the eye. Brett does have a great deal to occupy his time outside of maintaining this site.
Also, Brett does wait some time so that the questions that come in at the end of the month have an opportunity to be answered. Most questions are answered by someone within a week or so, but often not immediately. If Brett didn't wait, readers who sent their feedback at the end of the month would not receive an answer. After all, everyone who contributes to this site does so in his free time.
If any reader desires swift responses to questions or discussions of origins, this site is not the place to find them. The reader should instead direct her attention to the Usenet newsgroup talk.origins, where she will always find people ready and eager to discuss origins with her.
|Comment:||How did God create the earth and the animals on it? He spoke it and it was. If God is big enough to create the heavens and the earth, then surely He is big enough to sustain the animals on the ark. Do you not believe in the supernatural? Or do you believe and have a scientific explaination for the supernatural? There is hope, freedom, and joy in creation. What becomes of your soul when your life on this earth is over? If we evolved, there is no God(unless he evolved on a higher level than we did). I choose to believe there is more to life than evolving into some higher creature. May God become real in your life, Tammy|
Belief is easy. Knowledge takes effort.
This website is not about what anyone believes. It is about what can be substantiated with physical evidence and theorized through logical inference.
Creationism is unsupportable. If creationists were barred from consulting or quoting from their bibles, how could they provide any information on creationism at all? All of their "science" comes from a book written by non-scientific, pre-technological primitives. Where is the evidence for your statement "He spoke it and it was"? Answer: It says so in the bible. How do we know the bible is true? It says so in the bible.
To answer your question on the supernatural, I personally have never seen nor have I ever heard of any authentic event that truly qualifies as supernatural.
Everything you write after "There is hope, freedom and joy..." supports my hypothesis of compartmentalization. You believe in what is irrational simply because it is comforting and brings you joy, and are willing to suspend your questioning, logical mind in order to believe. That is your right. But you cannot expect science to formulate theories around your beliefs.
In the words of Ingersoll: "I do not regard religious opinions or political opinions as exotics that have to be kept under glass, protected from the frosts of common sense or the tyrannous north wind of logic. Such plants are hardly worth preserving. They certainly ought to be hardy enough to stand the climate of free discussion, and if they cannot, the sooner they die the better."
Have a nice day.
4.Thermodynamics does not deal with situations requiring
human thought and effort in order to create order from
disorder. Thermodynamics is limited by the equations and
mathematics of thermodynamics. If it can't be expressed
mathematically, it isn't thermodynamics!
I don't quite understand this one. Is it possible for other intelligent beings to expend effort and create order? And if so, can their actions be described using the four laws? You would say no, thermodynamics does not deal with intelligent beings creating order from disorder. I agree! So where does the order come from?
5.In the case of organic change, like seeds growing into trees and chicks developing from eggs, creationists believe that the directed energy conversion mechanism that overcomes the laws of thermodynamics comes from God.
Maybe so, but the mechanism is information in the seeds and eggs. The question is, did this encoded information just happen or was it designed. Where do you think it comes from?
By the way, concerning the word "mainstream," was Gallileo "mainstream" when he voiced his scientific opinions?
The fact that you call yourselves "mainstream" tends to refute your assumed standing as scientists. I do not say this disrespectfully. I only say it because I learned as a high school junior that science was based on unbiased observation of experiment. Based on this definition, it is possible that we will never be able to prove anything about our origins. And certainly biological sciences and paleaontology cannot be considered experimental sciences in that conditions that gave rise to the observations made now are not defined clearly enough to verify any conclusions as to what processes caused the events observed.
to this one would have to be: "render unto thermo the
things that are thermo." Thermodynamics has been very
developed for heat/work relationships and for known
chemical changes.It does get into a detailed analysis of
creativity and thought processes.
Unfortunately, persons who clearly don't understand the basics of thermodynamics have given new meaning to the phrase "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing." For example, a ball bearing resting on the floor will not spontaneously jump into the air; or will it? A ball bearing frozen to the edge of a table will spontaneously drop when the ice melts, and when it strikes the floor it will spontaneously jump (rebound) into the air. Most creationist thermo arguments ignore the factor of energy input, for example, solar energy. The chemical changes involving thought processes and human creativity, are, as far as we know, consistent with, but not analyzed by, the laws of thermodynamics. There is no reason to believe otherwise.
Order is spontaneously created just about every place you look: snowflake formation, eggs developing into chicks, seeds growing into trees, etc. etc. The notion that all this violates thermodynamics is totally false and based on a misunderstanding of the laws of thermodynamics. All that is required is a source of energy; in our ball bearing example the energy is the kinetic energy of the ball just before it strikes the floor.
|Response:||Well, I'm no
expert on thermodynamics. Maybe that's a good thing...
On point four: The "order" comes directly from the "intelligent beings", conceived in the mind and brought about by the physical effort. Thermodynamics is not applicable in this type of situation. The creationist tactic of using thermodynamics (mathematical equations) to dispel biological processes (just because it sounds scientific) is improper.
5. The information, the DNA, in the seeds and eggs did not just happen, but we have no evidence that it was deliberately designed. The evidence shows clearly that it evolved through a very specific process over hundreds of millions of years. That certainly sounds like a long time to us, but we are like moths who live but a day, trying to comprehend the lifetime of a man. If you wish to learn specifically where the information came from, please read on. Explanations abound.
As far as Galileo's situation, it is hard to qualify any science contemporary with Galileo as "mainstream". Scientific ideas were endorsed and approved by the church. Copernicus was too frightened to publish his heliocentric theory for fear of church prosecution. Bruno advanced Copernicus' heliocentrism, at the cost of his own life-- he was imprisoned in Rome in 1593 for seven years, then he was burned at the stake on Feb. 17, 1600. Galileo would have suffered the same fate except that he renounced his theory before the Roman Catholic Inquisition. That's the only 17th century mainstream I can come up with. Needless to say, I think the term "mainstream" has changed over the centuries (since the church no longer has the power to execute those who hold different views).
To say that the scientists associated with Talk.Origins have refuted their scientific standing by claiming that they are mainstream only shows that you do not know what it means to be scientifically mainstream. You might want to think twice (or once) about relying on what you claim you learned in high school about science. Not all science is experimental. Is archeology also invalid as science? Do you think that genetics is not experimental?
|Comment:||It is so
important to understanding evolution to see that neither
the processes of genetic change nor competition between
species occurs as matters of chance. Thank-you for your
clear FAQ on the subject.
I think the question of why organisms are not destroyed by 'random' genetic change reflects on the fundamental credibility of science. The answer is that this is a malformed question. What we observe is that genetic change is independent, not random, and that we don't understand it very well, that's all. Random change in the instructions of life would certainly be destructive.
If you're interested, I've given the continuity of natural change a fair amount of thought: [Dynamic Evolution in plankton size....]
|Response:||Thank you for your comments. Your web page, although technical, is most interesting.|
|Comment:||Hello. Entering this website was for a zoology assignment, and the chances of me EVER entering this website would be only due to an assignment. I read all of the posted information and I especially enjoyed reading the other feedback. I would like to comment on one particular subject. Whenever someone criticized that evolutionists were not Christians and that for being evolutionists, none had any true Christian foundation. I'm not seeing the point here. How could someone be a Christian and still believe that we somehow are ancestors to primates and such??? I guess it all boils down to this. How do YOU define what makes a person become a "Christian"? Is it good works? Believing that there's a higher forces somewhere out in the blue yonder? Being born and raised in a Christian home? I will wait for your reply, but let me tell you, none of these are right answers! Being a Christian is believing that there is one God and only one! He created man out of his own image. He did this in a very special way. Genesis 2:7 says "the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being." No where in the entire Bible does it ever say that we evolved from simple primates! That's another problem that I had when I read in another feedback that you didn't believe that the Bible was really the truth. You gave the example in Genesis, where you said that Michal had no children until she died. Then, you stated another reference where "she" had five sons. For the first time in my life, that really challenge by beliefs of the Bible's truth. I went home and looked up those verses. I came to find out that in YOUR reference, your names were wrong. In the first verse, it was Michal who did not have any children until her death. It was in the next verse that you made another womans' name be Michal, so show that the Bible was contradicting. I was apalled, yet relieved! As a true believer, it's good to be challenged on what you believe and grow in the faith. I really feel sorry for those of you who do not know what it's like to have such a relationship with God--and maybe you do. As I was driving home last night, I started thinking about what will happen in the future. I started thinking about what you people are going to tell the Creator when He comes back. What will your reasoning be for trying to justify how we all got here without going through Him! It's also kind-of sad too that you all spend your whole lives trying to figure out what happened in the PAST, instead of preparing yourselves for the future. One day, and one day very soon, the sky will open and you will hear the sound of trumpets. For me, this will be a joyous day. For those who are unbelievers, it won't be such a great day. You said that you've read to entire Bible from front to back several times. Yes, good job, well done, blah, blah, blah...that doesn't mean anything if you don't UNDERSTAND IT!!! I'm making no comparison, but Satan knows every single word of the Bible too. I am a born again Christian. I believe in the creation of the earth, of all that is in the earth, and that I'm created in the image of God Almighty. You can slam all that ancestory gibberish as much as you want, but I will be the one laughing in the end. Genesis 22:7 "Behold, I am coming soon! Blessed is he who keeps the word of the prophecy in this book." Thank you, Jesus!|
|Response:||If you want
to know how a Christian can accept evolution, you might try
reading this statement from
an evangelical evolutionist. You might also read this
about what the
pope said. I hear he's a Christian. The bottom line is
that you do not have to cease being a Christian to accept
evolution. You will have to find a way to accept that
Genesis is metaphorical, however. You can put your head in
the sand and hope evolutionary biology will go away... but
The point about biblical contradictions is that they are really there, and the bible cannot be relied upon as a factual account of history or science. The "Michal" example is from the books of Samuel, not Genesis. And BOTH verses refer to the same woman, Michal daughter of Saul. To say that I "made another woman's name be Michal", I really don't know how to answer that... except to say that you have quite a creative way of interpreting scripture. I did nothing of the kind-- I would never intentionally fabricate a contradiction.
If you think there are no contradictions, please email me personally and we can discuss it. This really isn't the forum. In the meantime, you can look up the fate of the Apostle Judas...
(Matthew 27:5) Judas threw down the pieces of silver in
the temple, he departed and he went and hanged
That is a contradiction. He cannot have both left the money in the temple and purchased a field with it. He cannot have both hanged himself and threw himself face down into a field and exploded. One account must be false.
If you have really read Revelations, you would know that the Second Coming wouldn't really be a good day for anybody... except the 144,000 Jewish male virgins who receive the mark of the Lord.
I am not attacking Christianity. I am questioning biblical LITERALISM, and how it relates to science, if at all. Just because the bible doesn't mention that humans evolved from other primates does not mean it did not happen. The bible nowhere mentions that the earth goes around the sun, but it does. The bible does not mention DNA, but it exists. Science will not be constrained by a literal interpretation.
I'm glad you're happy- but maybe you should try to be less judgemental. I intend to spend the remainder of my days as happy, fulfilled, and prosperous as they are right now-- thanks for caring.
I was informed that Darwin recanted his theory of evolution, when he was near death. However I feel he was half right. Man indeed descended from the apes. But women were created by God. comments/critique?
|Author of:||Evolution and Philosophy|
not "recant": evolution is not a religious belief, and
anyway the story is a dishonest fraud perpetrated in order
to make believers in creationism feel better. See the
As to the sexist and untenable comment about men and women, the less said the better. Either both sexes were created by God or neither were, and that is irrelevant to the question of evolution, which might have been the method by which God created.