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Friday, February 15, 2013

Falsification

A scientific gauntlet is hurled:
It started like any other morning, and then we all learned that we would soon be riding cloned dinosaurs to work. All it took was a single benevolent billionaire to pay for the science stuff to get done, and boom — dinosaurs are no longer extinct. Of course, it was a pipe dream from the beginning, but these stories of cloning prehistoric creatures come up from time to time, and most people (reporters especially) don’t want to tell you how impossible it is.

It’s been years since cloned animals first appeared, so why aren’t we able to reach back to the Cretaceous yet? Well, this isn’t just a question of improving our current cloning methods. We lack the fundamental materials to clone anything from 65 million years ago. Taking into account the influence of Hollywood, you could be forgiven for thinking that dinosaur blood is flowing like rivers in labs all over the world. The fact is, we don’t have dino DNA.

In the late ’80s and early ’90s there were a wave of scientists claiming small samples of ancient DNA could be extracted from fossilized bones, eggs, and insects in amber. You probably remember that from a certain dinosaur movie of the era. In the end, all these claims were debunked. It turns out that DNA does not survive that long. The estimated life of a strand of DNA is no more than 1 million years, and even then only if it is in very cold conditions.
If I ever become the insanely wealthy supervillian nature clearly intended me to be, you can be certain that cloning a dinosaur is going to be on my shortlist of things to do.  If nothing else, only to hear the frantic revisionism and witness the attempts to somehow uphold the status quo scientific consensus.  The question is: would the estimated life of a strand of DNA be revised or would the dating methods themselves be called into doubt?

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176 Comments:

Anonymous Joe February 15, 2013 9:38 AM  

You could call your compound:
Jurass is mine Park"...

Anonymous Tad February 15, 2013 9:41 AM  

The more important question is What would your Supervillain name be? Got to get to the important stuff before dealing with the incidental stuff.

Blogger Tiny Tim February 15, 2013 9:45 AM  

It wouldn't matter. The rabbit never lets facts get in the way of what she/he believes...

Too much fluoride, ADHD meds, aspartame, BPA, and same sex fluids....the brain has been altered beyond repair I am afraid.

Blogger Tiny Tim February 15, 2013 9:47 AM  

You are expecting people who are confused about their sexuality to grasp these concepts. You are funny aren't you.

Blogger James Dixon February 15, 2013 9:47 AM  

> The estimated life of a strand of DNA is no more than 1 million years, and even then only if it is in very cold conditions.

An intact strand. If you had enough samples, you wouldn't need a single intact strand. If you had a few thousand non-intact strands of DNA, you could compare them. From that, you could probably develop a reasonably good, if not exact, match. Then experimentation would tell which options were viable. Of course, I have no idea how many non-intact strands we actually have, if any.

Blogger Nate February 15, 2013 9:47 AM  

I'm shocked that you didn't buy that Sub base in sweden. I mean... yeah I lost interest when it got that much press too... but most people have forgotten about now.

And thats probably the closest thing to a bond villian lair we'll see outside of a missile silo in Oklahoma.

Sweden or Oklahoma? Dear lord what a choice that would make.

Anonymous Outlaw X February 15, 2013 9:49 AM  

@Tad (Vox,s gay house boy)

Tadvilla

Anonymous Anonymous February 15, 2013 9:57 AM  

Couldn't we clone wooley mammoths and dress them in plate armor and middle launchers?

-Mr. B.A.D.

Blogger Nate February 15, 2013 10:01 AM  

"Couldn't we clone wooley mammoths and dress them in plate armor and middle launchers?"

and freakin' lasers.

Anonymous Alexander February 15, 2013 10:02 AM  

I'll get my hopes up for mammoths once we have bear cavalry. Start small, yeah?

Blogger Tiny Tim February 15, 2013 10:02 AM  

And Tad could ride them naked to the cheers of the rabbit people...

Anonymous Stilicho February 15, 2013 10:04 AM  

The question is: would the estimated life of a strand of DNA be revised or would the dating methods themselves be called into doubt?


Clearly, that T-Rex in your lab is just a Komodo Dragon on steroids.

On a more serious note, why not start with cloning wooly mammoths and sabre-toothed tigers? I'd pay to hunt those.

Blogger Nate February 15, 2013 10:06 AM  

Hunt? horse crap. I want STTs roaming the grounds at night.

Anonymous Stilicho February 15, 2013 10:14 AM  

Hunt? horse crap. I want STTs roaming the grounds at night.

Sheesh. Cat people. Go figure.

Anonymous Crispy February 15, 2013 10:14 AM  

The estimated life of a strand of DNA is no more than 1 million years, and even then only if it is in very cold conditions.

IIRC, the celebrated dinosaur book and movie of the era did call for some samples of dinosaur DNA from the Jurassic era, but made up for some of the missing genes from modern day animals. Hilarity ensued when it was found that some of the DNA donors are able to reproduce through parthenogenesis.

Anonymous Outlaw X February 15, 2013 10:15 AM  

Tiny Tim

Tad rides the rabbits.

Anonymous jay c February 15, 2013 10:17 AM  

"If even one base pair (denoted by those A, T, C, and G letters) is off, an entire gene can be non-functional."

And these people still accept evolution uncritically.

Blogger Giraffe February 15, 2013 10:19 AM  

The more important question is What would your Supervillain name be? Got to get to the important stuff before dealing with the incidental stuff.

I think Vox Day has plenty of infamy already.

Anonymous one in a meeeelion February 15, 2013 10:22 AM  

"The more important question is What would your Supervillain name be? Got to get to the important stuff before dealing with the incidental stuff."

Dr Bealevil

Sorry. Feel free to delete...

Anonymous Daniel February 15, 2013 10:24 AM  

But do you honestly believe that private citizens should have the right to clone, own and bear dinosaurs?

Hmmm. Bear dinosaurs.

Anonymous Mr Green Man February 15, 2013 10:27 AM  

They would challenge the observable decay rate of DNA and postulate that somehow nature changed the game between then and now because science is what sounds good to funds-granting entities; it's too essential to claim really big numbers, because they expect to escape the bonds of a finite number of generations with a large number of years and vehement zealotry.

Anonymous dh February 15, 2013 10:31 AM  

People don't give billionaires enough credit. For one thing, people don't realize how much money a billion dollars is. Or billions.

Here is a possible method of reproducing a Dino:

1. Identify a common ancestor, hopefully that is at least multi-cellular, but it could be mono-cellular. This is the starting point.

2. Cause random mutations in common ancestor, in nearly endless iterative processes. For all viable generations, repeat.

3. Eliminate viable lines that do not contain more traits of your target species. Repeat as necessary.

Sure, it took the natural process millions or billions of years, and millions or more generations. Sure, right now one generation could thousands of dollars.

But do we really think that the Elon Musks for the world are going to side on their fortunes and keep funding piddly ventures like the next Web 2.0 mashup?

A few major breakthroughs in biology, or even major process improvements, and the whole equation is quite different.

Anonymous Mob-Rules February 15, 2013 10:36 AM  

Clearly the science is lost on you! The movie laid out the FACT that Toad DNA is exactly the same as T-Rex DNA. This is why creationism is child abuse, so says Lawrence Krauss an esteemed physicist.

Creationism is Child Abuse

It's God's fault we don't have misunderstood Raptors to be taken care of by feminist lesbians.

Anonymous Tad February 15, 2013 10:46 AM  

@Giraffe

The more important question is What would your Supervillain name be? Got to get to the important stuff before dealing with the incidental stuff.

I think Vox Day has plenty of infamy already.


Naw...it must be something on the mark:

ANTI-WOMAN
WHINER MAN
AUTHOR STALKER

Blogger James Dixon February 15, 2013 10:51 AM  

> What would your Supervillain name be?

Steve, of course.

Anonymous Cinco February 15, 2013 10:57 AM  

Tad, you have no idea how big my smile would be as we lowered you into the raptor pit with a little bell around your neck....

Anonymous Tad February 15, 2013 11:02 AM  

@Cinco

Tad, you have no idea how big my smile would be as we lowered you into the raptor pit with a little bell around your neck....

And why am I not surprised you fantasize about killing people?

Anonymous Noah B. February 15, 2013 11:04 AM  

This all happens after the supervirus, right?

Anonymous Ned February 15, 2013 11:07 AM  

your bible says the earth is only 6000 years old

who is wrong? your church... or science?

Anonymous Anonymous February 15, 2013 11:09 AM  

"The question is: would the estimated life of a strand of DNA be revised or would the dating methods themselves be called into doubt?"

The first obviously. Soft tissue has been found in a "67 million year old" T Rex. It was controversial (obviously)...but it is increasingly being accepted.

http://www.nature.com/news/molecular-analysis-supports-controversial-claim-for-dinosaur-cells-1.11637

Not one scientist has suggested that radiometric dating methods are flawed. It simply means they will come up with a hypothesis to explain how soft tissue (and possibly DNA) survived 67 million years when it is generally believed to degrade in a few thousand years (the 1 million year estimate is almost certainly a high end estimate). Nope...turns out science "proves" DNA can survive for 'at least' 67 million years.

Just watch, within the next 10 years, DNA will be "proven" to be able to survive for 250 million years. No experiment will demonstrate how this is possible... but the 'fact' of radiometric dating will 'prove' it.

- Apollyon

Anonymous Tad February 15, 2013 11:10 AM  

@Ned

your bible says the earth is only 6000 years old

who is wrong? your church... or science?


Actually, the bible doesn't say this. People who want to defend the bible from the facts say the bible says this. Go with science.

Anonymous Wendy February 15, 2013 11:11 AM  

The question is: would the estimated life of a strand of DNA be revised or would the dating methods themselves be called into doubt?

Dating methods are far too sacred to be called into doubt.

Anonymous Anonymous February 15, 2013 11:12 AM  

I'd be content with Sabertooth Tigers (aside to Roissy's SWPL pitbull article), Wooly Mammoths, Giant Short-faced Bears, and Giant Sloths.

Extra credit if Neanderthals come back and solve some of the world's pressing scientific and mathematical problems.

Blogger Nate February 15, 2013 11:13 AM  

"Sheesh. Cat people. Go figure."

I hate cats. but its a fool that denies that the feline is amongst the deadlier predators on the planet.

Blogger Nate February 15, 2013 11:14 AM  

"Actually, the bible doesn't say this. People who want to defend the bible from the facts say the bible says this. Go with science."

Science doesn't actually say the world is millions or billions of years old either.

Science is mute on the matter.

That is because the "science" that is claiming some hold on the earth's age is rife with assumption. Science doesn't tolerate assumption.

Anonymous TGR White February 15, 2013 11:14 AM  

Well Vox you'll just have to settle for mammoths:

http://io9.com/5735293/the-first-mammoth-cloning-experiment-is-officially-underway

Anonymous Andre February 15, 2013 11:19 AM  

Outlaw X, I have another question for you back at the "Pope resigns" discussion.

I'm sorry to bug you with this, but you teased with information first!

Blogger JohnG February 15, 2013 11:21 AM  

May not be that hard to find dino DNA: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9VbDFCndMI&feature=player_embedded

Anonymous Tad February 15, 2013 11:22 AM  

@nate

Science is mute on the matter.

That is because the "science" that is claiming some hold on the earth's age is rife with assumption. Science doesn't tolerate assumption.


Yeah....But 6,000 years old? I mean, talk about Bible Fiction!!!

Blogger Giraffe February 15, 2013 11:24 AM  

Yeah....But 6,000 years old? I mean, talk about Bible Fiction!!!

You just got done saying that the Bible doesn't make that claim.

Blogger foxmarks February 15, 2013 11:28 AM  

Change the definition of "dinosaur". Proudly trumpet another advance in science.

Blogger foxmarks February 15, 2013 11:28 AM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Anonymous rubbermallet February 15, 2013 11:34 AM  

your bible says the earth is only 6000 years old

who is wrong? your church... or science?

neither. you are.

Anonymous Tad February 15, 2013 11:36 AM  

@Giraffe

Yeah....But 6,000 years old? I mean, talk about Bible Fiction!!!

You just got done saying that the Bible doesn't make that claim.


That's right. I said folks wanting to defend the bible against facts say the bible says this: Bible Fiction.

Anonymous Anonymous February 15, 2013 11:39 AM  

the Bible doesn't say '6,000 years old' but the chronology suggests this. There are plenty of good arguments that support this very young age.

Apollyon

Blogger Giraffe February 15, 2013 11:41 AM  

Tard, science don't have any "facts" either. Science estimates the Earth at 4.5 billion yrs. An estimate is not a fact. Especially when that estimate has changed by several orders of magnitude in the last 100 years or so.

Anonymous Tad February 15, 2013 11:42 AM  

Apollyon

the Bible doesn't say '6,000 years old' but the chronology suggests this. There are plenty of good arguments that support this very young age.

Apollyon


Yes, but all the arguments begin with "Once upon a time..."

Anonymous DrTorch February 15, 2013 11:44 AM  

"Science doesn't tolerate assumption."

All logical systems start with assumptions. Stick to gun and bourbon threads.

Blogger Nate February 15, 2013 11:58 AM  

"All logical systems start with assumptions. "

Congratulations. You have just argued that nothing is can be known to be true.

Don't you feel smart now?

Blogger Nate February 15, 2013 12:00 PM  

"Yes, but all the arguments begin with "Once upon a time...""

As opposed to the geological arguement that starts off... "Well if we assume that forces that can be observed at work today have always been at work... at the same rate... and none of that changed over millions of years... then..."

Its just a longer slightly less honest version of "once upon a time..."

Blogger Nate February 15, 2013 12:01 PM  

"All logical systems start with assumptions. Stick to gun and bourbon threads."

do explain what assumptions are at the base of the Scientific Method.

Anonymous Shutup, Tad February 15, 2013 12:04 PM  

You people know that if you feed it, it just gets fatter and dumber.

Blogger IM2L844 February 15, 2013 12:04 PM  

Yes, but all the arguments begin with "Once upon a time..."

Yep. The old primordial soup gambit. PBS and textbooks are fond of that one.

Blogger James Dixon February 15, 2013 12:07 PM  

> Yes, but all the arguments begin with "Once upon a time..."

You were asking for examples of you lying, Tad?

Sure, you'll claim it's an exaggeration made for effect, but...

I told you you would make my points for me.

> do explain what assumptions are at the base of the Scientific Method.

The most basic one is that the laws of nature don't change over time, or do so in predictable ways. This is a necessary assumption for results to be reproducible.

Blogger Giraffe February 15, 2013 12:08 PM  

Stick to gun and bourbon threads.

It's Friday. Yes it is.


Blogger IM2L844 February 15, 2013 12:12 PM  

You people know that if you feed it, it just gets fatter and dumber.

Of course it's getting fatter, but there is no empirical evidence it could possibly get any dumber.

Anonymous Mystery Man February 15, 2013 12:18 PM  

What would your Supervillain name be?

The Iconoclast.

Blogger James Dixon February 15, 2013 12:20 PM  

> but there is no empirical evidence it could possibly get any dumber.

Oh, that's the worst of it. Tad's not dumb. He could come here and make the case for liberal viewpoints quite well if he chose to do so. He could explain their basis and at what points they disagree with our views and why.

But that would require admitting the truth about their positions. Dh is willing to do that, but he's more of a classical liberal. Tad isn't.

Anonymous Mystery Man February 15, 2013 12:25 PM  

Yes, but all the arguments begin with "Once upon a time..."

The obvious solution is to stop lurking around school playgrounds and talk to adults.

Anonymous scoobius dubious February 15, 2013 12:25 PM  

By all means clone a dinosaur, VD, but be careful to keep it out of your secret base underneath the volcano, and don't let it get near your private army of guys in orange jumpsuits who drive around in golf-carts connected to monorails and who can't shoot straight at the intruder in the tuxedo... (btw, what the heck did you hire all those guys for, anyway? I fed all of mine to the piranhas ages ago.)

Anonymous DrTorch February 15, 2013 12:32 PM  

"All logical systems start with assumptions. Stick to gun and bourbon threads."

do explain what assumptions are at the base of the Scientific Method.



Pfft. So easy. I don't think I can name them all, but a couple suffice to prove the point.

1. Cause and effect. Science assumes this. It actually does try to prove specific cause/effect relationships using inductive logic (valid approach) but experiments are based upon the assumption that cause and effect happens. In fact, so are scientific instruments.

2. Physics doesn't change over time. Those fundamental constants are assumed to be constant. Again, this is often tested and proven inductively, but there is no way to "prove" that physics in some far off galaxy wasn't different last Tue and that's why asteroids and meteors showed up today.

Anonymous jay c February 15, 2013 12:39 PM  

Yes, but all the arguments begin with "Once upon a time..."

Indeed they do.

P.S. They're both wrong.

Blogger Doom February 15, 2013 12:44 PM  

The question is: would the estimated life of a strand of DNA be revised or would the dating methods themselves be called into doubt?

How long have you been... seeing the problems with academia? You should know this answer. It is, "Yes". Hell, they might create two new colleges, within each college, both claiming to be right, based on the differing notions, and have great calamities and internecine fighting that, along with the new beasts, helps destroy man, even knowing both schools are wrong. Amen, mostly.

Gotta love teh eggheads, at least the ones who would rather claim to be right than seek the truth, while claiming to be better than those successful bastards who don't even speak or write up to their lost high school glory teacher's pet status tastes. It's funny when they mock high school jocks who ended their careers there. There is little difference.

Anonymous Outlaw X February 15, 2013 12:45 PM  

@ Tad (Vox's favorite faggot)

Yes, but all the arguments begin with "Once upon a time..."

ummm, No some start with once upon a stump.

Anonymous Mr Cassandra February 15, 2013 12:49 PM  

"but all the arguments begin with "Once upon a time...there was a Big Bang and it happened ______________________________"(insert however many of trillions of years it takes 1 million monkeys to type one line of Shakespeare to fulfill your scientific fantasy story)

Anonymous I Am Irony, Man February 15, 2013 12:50 PM  

Shutup, Tad: "You people know that if you feed it, it just gets fatter and dumber."

...says the head chef.

Blogger Scott February 15, 2013 12:58 PM  

If you really wanted to bring a prehistoric creature back to life, you probably wouldn't do it by recovering its DNA. You would sequence little fragments until you knew the whole code, and then you would 'edit' a modern organism with a similar sequence (using recombinant DNA techniques) until you 'converted' it to the organism you wanted.

http://bostinno.com/2013/01/22/harvard-professor-george-church-neanderthal-cloning-interview/

Something like that...

Blogger Kentucky Packrat February 15, 2013 1:06 PM  

It's interesting that DNA has a half-life of no more than 514 years in absolute pristine preservation conditions (according to the New Zealanders), but we can still get DNA capable of being sequenced out of "million-year-old" Neanderthals(which should be equivalent to putting today's New York Times back together out of a newsstand's worth of cross-cut shredded paper). Occam's razor insists that the samples are newer than dated, instead of DNA lasting longer.

Radioisotopic data is useless. Fresh lava dates millions of years old, and no two lava patches date the same. The "same" layers across the earth date "wrong" all of the time, despite being supposedly the same ages.

The assumptions behind radioisotopic data are simple:
1. The Earth remained molten for a long time(*), rotating in orbit.
2. Because of 1, the radioisotopic state of the materials in the Earth became homogenous globally.

This makes a 1 -> 2 implication. However, we can clearly document that 2 is NOT true; radioisotopic dating varies widely. !2 -> !1. Of course, this isn't an adequate proof of a young Earth. The Earth could have been semi-molten, or only been molten for a short period of time (disallowing sufficient time for uniform mixing), or molten a long time but not well-mixed through some unexplained mechanism.

It really isn't that hard to turn old-Earth "scientism" on its ear. The whole thing is built on a few very simple assumptions that can be explained equally well with a different set. My favorite: Scientism assumes that the Universe is finite but unbounded (think the surface of a 4-D beach ball). I happen to believe that the Universe is finite AND bounded (think the inside of a 3-D beach ball). As the latter universe expanded, first very rapidly, and then slowing down, an observer at or near the very center would notice very little time pass, while further edges could experience millions or even billions of years of time. Once done, observers near said center would notice a fairly uniform universe in all directions. And image that, this is exactly what we notice. (And it's not just Christian YECs noticing this; young Earth Jews and Muslims are catching on to this math as well.)

Also, look at what happens if c (the speed of light) is decaying. A LOT of our "universe is old" assumptions break down if c is slowing down over time (especially if doing so in a polynomial fashion approaching a constant limit). I know that there are people trying to prove this one; if they could, it would blow every current old Universe theory out of the water.

Anonymous Stingray February 15, 2013 1:08 PM  

If I ever become the insanely wealthy supervillian nature clearly intended me to be, you can be certain that cloning a dinosaur is going to be on my shortlist of things to do.

Time machine. It would solve all your problems.

Anonymous Outlaw X February 15, 2013 1:14 PM  

Andre, Done. Feeling better today.

Blogger James Dixon February 15, 2013 1:16 PM  

> Time machine. It would solve all your problems.

And undoubtedly create a whole batch of new ones.

Blogger Kentucky Packrat February 15, 2013 1:19 PM  

2. Physics doesn't change over time. Those fundamental constants are assumed to be constant. Again, this is often tested and proven inductively,

You can't prove an assumption. (Come on, did I really have to say that?)

Let's pick c, since a lot of young-universe people are trying to prove that c isn't a fixed constant, but instead a polynomial approaching a fixed limit. The measures previously recorded in history have a margin of error sufficient to hide the approach to the current limit. Without clear historical evidence otherwise, c as a fixed constant is an assumption (albeit a quite reasonable one), not "proven".

This whole topic is the number 1 "steal" from Christianity. The Greeks tried to come up with the basics of this idea, but they never could figure out how or why it was true. It took the Christians and their idea that God was orderly and rational, and that the Universe would reflect His nature.

Anonymous NRO February 15, 2013 1:21 PM  

Might be OT .but from Jonah Goldberg's G-File today (email only)...

I don't have the essay in front of me, and I can't find it on the web, but I did find an excerpt from Wright's interview with Fredkin in LexisNexis (from the Sydney Morning Herald):

Physicists, Fredkin says, make no attempt to explain why things obey the laws of, say, electromagnetism or gravitation. The law is the law and that is that.

He refuses to accept authority so blindly.Fredkinposits laws but also a law enforcement agency -- a computer.

There is, he believes, a machine-like thing that keeps the universe ticking over and makes every bit of the universe abide by the rule of "universal cellular automaton".

He will not back down on his belief that the universe is a computer. He says he is amazed that rational scientists believe in "a form of mysticism; that things just happen because they happen".

Why does this giant computer of a universe exist? "The reason is there is no way to know the answer to some question any faster than what's going on."

Suppose, he says, there is an all-powerful God. "And He's thinking of creating this universe. He's going to spend seven days on the job -- this is totally allegorical -- or six days on the job. Okay, now, if He's as all-powerful as you might imagine, He can say to Himself: 'Wait a minute, why waste the time? I can create the whole thing, or I can just think about it for a minute and just realise what's going to happen so that I don't have to bother'.

"Now, ordinary physics says, 'Well, yeah you got an all-powerful God, He can probably do that.' What I can say is . . . I don't care how powerful God is; He cannot know the answer to the question any faster than doing it.

"Now, He can have various ways of doing it, but He has to do every goddam single step with every bit or He won't get the right answer.

"There's no short cut.

"Every astrophysical phenomenon that's going is always assumed to be just accident. To me, this is a fairly arrogant position, in that intelligence -- and computation, which includes intelligence, in my view -- is a much more universal thing than people think. It's hard for me to believe that everything out there is just an accident."

Anonymous Stickwick February 15, 2013 1:23 PM  

Also, look at what happens if c (the speed of light) is decaying. A LOT of our "universe is old" assumptions break down if c is slowing down over time (especially if doing so in a polynomial fashion approaching a constant limit).

The c-decay conjecture introduces a whole new set of insurmountable problems.

You people seem to have no idea that the acceptance of big bang cosmology was a victory for all Bible-believing people. Do you understand how much secular scientists hate the idea that science confirms the first three words of the Bible? Whether the universe is thousands of years old or billions of years old is not nearly as important as the fact that we went from millennia of philosophy dictating that the universe was eternal (very difficult to reconcile with Genesis 1:1) to science confirming that the universe had a beginning (100% consistent with Genesis 1:1).

For those who think an age of billions of years is conjured up, because that's what Darwinists need to make their model work, that's been proven wrong. Billions of years are not nearly enough to account for the Darwinian model of life emerging and changing as it has -- what they need is an eternity, and they thought they had it until big bang cosmology destroyed that idea. So, very predictably, these people are now trying desperately to find a way around this, either through the unscientific multiverse conjecture or by trying to come up with plausible models showing the universe is, against all appearances, eternal.

Y'all won, atheists are on the ropes, and you don't even know it.

Blogger Robert Wilson February 15, 2013 1:35 PM  

I've always been impressed with how perfectly the Big Bang theory matches Genesis:

God said, let there be light, and there was light.

Prior to the Big Bang theory, many scientists believed the universe had no beginning. Then the Big Bang theory comes along and claims that the universe was "without form and void," and then created at some point, and the very first step was the creation of a near infinite amount of electromagnetic energy (light).

If that's not an endorsement of Genesis, I don't know what is.

As far as the "days," I've heard that the original word used for day in Genesis did not always mean an actual 24 hour day, but sometimes referred to a longer period of time(era or epoch.) I very much doubt that a vocabulary thing like that would be a coincidence, all things considered. They could have been 24 hour days, but Genesis doesn't require it.

Anonymous Lana February 15, 2013 1:41 PM  

Stickwick, that reminded me of a great quote:

"For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountain of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries." - Robert Jastrow

Anonymous Mystery Man February 15, 2013 1:47 PM  

God said, let there be light, and there was light.

And the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.

Blogger Giraffe February 15, 2013 1:50 PM  

Y'all won, atheists are on the ropes, and you don't even know it.

I don't think we are the ones in denial, Stickwick.

@Lana, That is probably my favorite science related quote.

Anonymous bob k. mando February 15, 2013 1:54 PM  

Tad February 15, 2013 9:41 AM
The more important question is What would your Supervillain name be?




"Vox Day" is already more outre than "Lex Luthor" and is already a pseudonym.

seriously, Tad, you're SO slow.

Anonymous Outlaw X February 15, 2013 1:55 PM  

You people seem to have no idea that the acceptance of big bang cosmology was a victory for all Bible-believing people. Do you understand how much secular scientists hate the idea that science confirms the first three words of the Bible?

Who is you people? Pope Pius XII celebrated the big bang theory as a place where science and religion collide. He didn't say it that way but I just did.

Anonymous Athor Pel February 15, 2013 1:56 PM  

I seem to remember this story.

http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?org=NSF&cntn_id=103152&preview=false

Don't know if any DNA was extracted though.

Blogger IM2L844 February 15, 2013 2:01 PM  

You people seem to have no idea...

Stickwick's in a bad mood today...

Billions of years are not nearly enough to account for the Darwinian model of life emerging and changing as it has

They are simply having none of it. when you bring out the facts, they either a) run and hide or b) respond with with various derisive rhetorical devices that are contextually meaningless. (See Tad's arguments which usually consit of nothing more substantive than a few superfluous neener-neeners strung together).

Blogger Kentucky Packrat February 15, 2013 2:03 PM  

The c-decay conjecture introduces a whole new set of insurmountable problems.

Of course it does; that's why I don't think it's true any more. I just happen to wish it was; physics gets really FUN when the nice and tidy rules start breaking down. (Look at quantum mechanics, for example.)

As far as the "days," I've heard that the original word used for day in Genesis did not always mean an actual 24 hour day, but sometimes referred to a longer period of time(era or epoch.)

English is very similar here. "In my day, we had to walk uphill 2 miles uphill both ways to school." However, if your grandfather told you, "The fifth day I went to that school, the teacher beat me up", you wouldn't think "he got beat up in the fifth era of going to school".

Likewise, look up an interlinear Hebrew-English Bible. The first day sentence basically transliterates to "and·he-is-becoming evening and·he-is-becoming morning day one". A little less rough "being evening and being morning day one". Every day is exactly the same, "being evening and being morning day X".

The author of Genesis 1 clearly wants us to believe he was talking about 6 evenings and 6 mornings. Perhaps in the first few "days", that's not exactly 24 hours, but claiming that there wasn't more than a single night between "day 5" and "day 6" when secular history says they took hundreds of millions of years doesn't work.

Hebrew has the capacity to talk about 6 indeterminate periods of time. The author of Genesis 1 didn't use them. He means days, and he wants YOU to know it.

I know lots of people whose theology doesn't care if Genesis 1-10 is historically accurate. If you're one of those people, that's fine by me. Just don't twist the language into a pretzel trying to claim that Genesis 1 is something it's not.

Anonymous Mystery Man February 15, 2013 2:03 PM  

See Tad's arguments which usually consit of nothing more substantive than a few superfluous neener-neeners strung together.

Yet another sterling reason for him to stop haunting playgrounds.

Anonymous Stickwick February 15, 2013 2:04 PM  

As far as the "days," I've heard that the original word used for day in Genesis did not always mean an actual 24 hour day, but sometimes referred to a longer period of time(era or epoch.) I very much doubt that a vocabulary thing like that would be a coincidence, all things considered. They could have been 24 hour days, but Genesis doesn't require it.

The Hebrew word for 'day' is yom. Unlike the modern English language, which contains well over a million words, ancient Hebrew only had a few thousand words; this meant most Hebrew words, including yom, had multiple meanings. Yom means a literal 24-hour day, but it also means a very long period of time. One must be careful to examine the context to establish which meaning applies in any given passage of the Bible.

Nahmanides, the ancient biblical commentator, says that yom in Genesis 1 does indeed mean 24 hours. However, there are some very important things to keep in mind WRT time described in Genesis.

1. The Jewish calendar does not include the first six days. The six days of creation are set apart, because there is something different about them. Look at the way time is described in Genesis 1 compared to the rest of Genesis. Blocks of events are described as having occurred, followed by the statement that a day has passed. This changes once Adam appears on Day Six, and from then on time is described as being concretely tied to earthly events.

2. There are hints all over the Bible that time for God is not the same as time for humans. See Psalm 90:4. There are other passages that indicate a relative view of time, as well: Genesis 2:4, Genesis 5:1.

3. Since the Bible seems to acknowledge the relative nature of time, we must establish from whose perspective the six days of Genesis are being described. In relativity, the flow of time depends entirely on whose frame of reference you're talking about. Physicist and theologian Gerald Schroeder makes a convincing argument that the events of Genesis 1 are described solely from God's perspective. One hint is that there isn't even an earth, let alone a conscious being, on Day One, so God is the only one looking at the clock. So, six 24-hour days from God's perspective, which is described in Genesis 1 as looking forward in time; but how much time is that from our earthly perspective, which necessarily looks backward in time?

This is where Schroeder shows -- conclusively, in my opinion -- that six literal 24-hour days from God's perspective amounts to ~14 billion years from our perspective. This arises from the stretching of the universe (mentioned several times in scripture), which also stretches time from our perspective.

Genesis 1 is literal. A Genesis day is, in fact, a day, but only from God's perspective. The Bible shifts from God's view of time to the earthly view of time, but only after Adam appears. This is why the Jewish calendar does not include the first six days. A literal interpretation of Genesis 1 is also 100% consistent with a billions year-old universe from our earthly perspective. There is no discrepancy.

Anonymous Mystery Man February 15, 2013 2:05 PM  

Just don't twist the language into a pretzel trying to claim that Genesis 1 is something it's not.

But the SCIENTISTS say it's not possible! They have rocks and everything!

Anonymous Mystery Man February 15, 2013 2:07 PM  

A Genesis day is, in fact, a day, but only from God's perspective.

I think you meant to say "from a certain point of view".

Say it like Alec Guinness for extra credit.

Anonymous Stickwick February 15, 2013 2:07 PM  

One hint is that there isn't even an earth, let alone a conscious being, on Day One, so God is the only one looking at the clock.

This should say: One hint is that there isn't even an earth, let alone another conscious being, on Day One, so God is the only one looking at the clock.

Anonymous JBL February 15, 2013 2:10 PM  

"Hebrew has the capacity to talk about 6 indeterminate periods of time. The author of Genesis 1 didn't use them. He means days, and he wants YOU to know it."

Days ... on WHAT PLANET?

or are you ASSuming the author of genesis is talking about the rotation of the earth AD 2013? (See above...why are laws of physics ASSumed to be eternally constant?)

Anonymous Mystery Man February 15, 2013 2:12 PM  

or are you ASSuming the author of genesis is talking about the rotation of the earth AD 2013? (See above...why are laws of physics ASSumed to be eternally constant?)

Nice injection of an insult there. Kind of pASSive-aggressive. Gamma Rabbit would be proud.

Anonymous Imatiger February 15, 2013 2:13 PM  

Meh. God is powerful enough to create a universe billions of years old, along with evolution, even if we don't understand all the mechanisms yet or always describe what we do know well. Never understood the big deal over evolution anyways. Its principles underlie so much of the progress in microbiology and things such as drugs used to treat common diseases.

Anonymous Mystery Man February 15, 2013 2:18 PM  

God is powerful enough to create a universe billions of years old, along with evolution, even if we don't understand all the mechanisms yet or always describe what we do know well.

But not powerful enough to convey that part of history. Clearly not.

Never understood the big deal over evolution anyways.

Apotheosis, dear boy.

Its principles underlie so much of the progress in microbiology and things such as drugs used to treat common diseases.

Who knew that chemistry was based on natural selection?

Blogger ajw308 February 15, 2013 2:29 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Anonymous MC February 15, 2013 2:34 PM  

As Vox has said before, why teach evolution anyway?

Oh and by the way how old was Adam on his first day on earth?

Anonymous Outlaw X February 15, 2013 2:43 PM  

Stickwick and I have different ideas about astrophysics, but she is spot on here, I've studied all I can study she is right. She is more right than many of her colleagues and wonder if she has tenure and if so how she got it believing truth?.

Blogger Nate February 15, 2013 2:55 PM  

"Pfft. So easy. I don't think I can name them all, but a couple suffice to prove the point.
"

So easy... and yet the specific two you choose to mention are both incorrect.

1) This is not an assumption. This is reality as it is observed. The scientific method doesn't even assume something that is repeatable is true. It only says its true as long as it continues to work.

2) Science doesn't assume cause and effect at all. It tests cause and effect.

You are inserting assumption into a method that has none.

Blogger Giraffe February 15, 2013 3:05 PM  

Stickwick and I have different ideas about astrophysics, but she is spot on here, I've studied all I can study she is right. She is more right than many of her colleagues and wonder if she has tenure and if so how she got it believing truth?.

“If we need an atheist for a debate, we go to the philosophy department. The physics department isn’t much use.”

–Robert Griffiths, winner of the Heinemann Prize in mathematical physics.

Blogger Kentucky Packrat February 15, 2013 3:13 PM  

Nice passive aggressiveness there, JBL. It really says a lot about the quality of your character.

I will fully concede that days 1 through 4 may have taken more than 3.176e15 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the caesium 133 atom(*). IMHO, days 5 and 6 give people less room to language lawyer. The earth, sun, and moon exist, and "yom" is a day in the Earth-Sun-Moon system in normal conversational use. 1 yom might be more than 86400 seconds at this time, but there's a difference between 86401 and 3.2e15. The existence of nocturnal animals require days 5 and 6 to have nighttime (billions of them) in the secular timeframe, but the author says "evening and morning, day 6", not "nights and days, day 6". The only way to come up with "billions of evenings and billions of mornings, day 5/6" is to override Genesis 1 with information outside the Bible. (We can't stop you if you want to do that; you just have little theological room to stop others from doing so when THEY want to do so too.)

Two final questions, and I'll leave Genesis 1 alone: why does the author of Genesis 1 have birds created the day before fish and land animals? The evolutionary timeline clearly requires that birds are created out of land animals, which were created out of fish. If the author of Genesis 1 was trying to "retell" the story of creation as secular science tells us is true, then this is like a person banging a gong in the middle of a violin recital. IMHO, this is even less reconcilable than "yom".

Second, if the stories cannot be historically reconciled (i.e. at most one can be historically true no matter no matter how much spiritualization/metaphorization one attempts), why try? Why come up with the crappy "day" junk in the first place? Just call it "spiritually true but factually false". People spiritualize(**) other parts of the Bible they don't like all the time; just add this to your list.

(*) Yes, that was fairly dweebish. So is the "Inherit the Wind" style "Could it have been 25 hours?" slippery-slope argument.

(**) *cough* ignore *cough*

Anonymous DT February 15, 2013 3:18 PM  

I'm torn on the age of the Earth because there are good arguments for both interpretations of Genesis, and good scientific arguments for both an old and a young Earth view. It's actually surprising to me how many different ways there are to try and estimate the age of the Earth, and how two seemingly solid methods can yield radically different estimates.

But I can live with either, thanks in large part to Schroeder's excellent books.

Radiometric dating doesn't bother me in the least because it is based on ridiculous assumptions and observed to be wildly inaccurate, as Kentucky Packrat pointed out. I roll my eyes whenever someone cites it as iron clad proof of anything.

Speaking on a personal level, what bothers me about the idea of an old Earth where God experimented with and refined life is that this would mean some characteristics of the world normally associated with the fall are in fact normal and not sinful. Namely violent competition, struggle, and death. Insects seem robotic to me. But it's hard to have loved pets and think that for millions of years mammals, who seem to have some self awareness and emotion, tore each other apart and suffered immeasurably.

Do I think too highly of them? Do I misunderstand God's nature to think that this would bother Him and be less than "good"? When the Bible talks about all of creation suffering due to man's sin, I always assumed this is what was meant, that the higher forms of animals also experienced suffering and death due to our sin. But that can't be true if suffering and death was part of their existence before the arrival of man.

Anonymous Imatiger February 15, 2013 3:41 PM  

@ Mystery Man

I never said chemistry is based on natural selection. You did. I find that statement rather odd.

One simple example that comes to mind is how some antibiotics were discovered, and then how bacteria evolved resistance to them. A bunch of a pathogenic bacteria was smeared on agar in many petri dishes. Then, different potential antibiotics were added to different dishes. Most pathogen dishes were fine. A few bacterial smears were obliterated to the naked eye. Next, scientists took smears from those obliterated dishes, and transferred them to new dishes. Most grew nothing. A few did. The ones that did were put side by side against the original parent strain of the pathogenic bacteria. The assumed antibiotic was again added to both dishes. This time, enough bacteria survived to be seen by the naked eye in the strain that had been already treated by assumed antibiotic. In the other dish, nothing could be seen by the naked eye. The conclusion was that the bacteria was being selected on by the antibiotic and some of the bacteria were inheriting resistance to the antibiotic. Thus, why it could be seen in the 2nd stage of the experiment. Taken across 10 or 100 or how ever many replications of this experiment, it seems that the basic principle of evolution was working here.

Anonymous scoobius dubious February 15, 2013 3:59 PM  

"Taken across 10 or 100 or how ever many replications of this experiment, it seems that the basic principle of evolution was working here."

I try not to wade into debates like this, but I believe many people here think there is a difference between natural selection and evolution. What you've illustrated in this example is natural selection, and you're right, it's readily observable, I don't think many here would dispute that.

Evolution is when you repeat the experiment with the bacteria a zillion times, and when you look into the petri dish on the zillionth time, you don't find bacteria, you somehow find a talking bumblebee with a British accent.

Anonymous DT February 15, 2013 4:06 PM  

One simple example that comes to mind is how some antibiotics were discovered, and then how bacteria evolved resistance to them.

They didn't evolve resistance. Resistance varies in the population based on the expression of already existing genetic information. You're just selecting for a particular expression and making it more prevalent. No new information has spontaneously arisen in the genomes of bacteria due to pressure from antibiotics.

Anonymous Stickwick February 15, 2013 4:07 PM  

She is more right than many of her colleagues and wonder if she has tenure and if so how she got it believing truth?

I'm not in a tenure-track position, but I've been at the same institution for many years. Physics/astrophysics is more tolerant of Christian believers than many other fields of study, probably in large part because it's historically been dominated by Christian figures (Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Newton, etc., all the way up to Lemaitre in modern times). You'd probably be surprised by how many Christians and theists there are in my field. Since most of us are "progressive" in terms of our views on cosmology, nobody seems to notice or care.

Blogger Lud VanB February 15, 2013 4:34 PM  

"They didn't evolve resistance. Resistance varies in the population based on the expression of already existing genetic information. You're just selecting for a particular expression and making it more prevalent. No new information has spontaneously arisen in the genomes of bacteria due to pressure from antibiotics."

thats not how it works at all. genetic "information" is just a term we use to understand the genomic structures we observe in the genes of living organisms. But these structures are in a constant state of flux, changing over successive generations because of the mutations that occur during cell replication. most of the time, those change dont have any discernible impact on the organism but occasionaly they do. sometimes the effect is negative, other times its positive and this depends on a wide variaty of factors, much of which has to do with the environemental pressures being exerted on the organism. Take the case of antibiotic. In order to be effective against bacteria, they require a specific set of biochemical interactions, all of which is dependent on the chemical makeup of the anti biotics AND the genetic structure of the bacteria. But when the genetic structure changes enough, through mutations, so does the biochemical interaction between antibiotic and bacteria. In some cases it can make them more vulnerable to antibiotic medications but in other cases, render the medication less effective or even completely useless. And this observed change in organisms over several generations, thats evolution.

Anonymous kh123 February 15, 2013 5:02 PM  

Remember hearing several years ago about controversy surrounding supposed red blood cells and ligamentary soft tissue found on one or several (IIRC) T-Rex or Hadrosaur fossils - not all that far-fetched for the latter, considering these are one of the few specimens that have been found as fossilised mummies, skin and other soft tissue textures preserved; as well as one of several kinds that tend to be found in mass burials herded together.

The alleged red blood cells were written off by some as "naturally occurring iron deposits" on the fossils; forget how they wrote off the soft tissue.

Anonymous The Master Cylinder! February 15, 2013 5:07 PM  

"In some cases it can make them more vulnerable to antibiotic medications but in other cases, render the medication less effective or even completely useless. And this observed change in organisms over several generations, thats evolution."

I don't think many people here would be at all surprised to observe selection pressures turning a bacterium into a slightly stronger bacterium, or a red-tailed swallow into a black-tailed one. I think the stumbling block they have is in the idea that over time, no matter how much time, a clam for instance could turn into an octopus. Developing an internal structural response to an outside stimulus within the existing structure is not hard to grasp, and difficult to deny; but having the entire structure change into an entirely different, vastly more sophisticated structure over time is the thing that causes doubt.

Anonymous DrTorch February 15, 2013 5:36 PM  

Nate

You're not even good at twisting words.

When you're wrong, it's better just to admit it. You should try it. This is an excellent opportunity for you. Don't worry, I won't think less of you. You're from Alabama, I couldn't think less of you.

Anonymous Imatiger February 15, 2013 5:39 PM  

@ The Master Cylinder!

I agree, it is hard to believe. I think part of the problem is that we are talking about vast scales of time that dwarf human perception. If you assume that the Earth has supported life for far more than 6,000 years, let's say any number of millions or billions of years, we talk about a time scale that is very far-removed from our understanding of time on a day to day or even year to year basis. I've tried to imagine in my own mind how it could happen, and it's a struggle. I can't show evidence for evolution except in the short-term. But if we assume that God put the universe into motion, well, why not evolution? He's God. He could easily set a process in place that we find frankly alien to our everyday lives.

But then again, does the concept of evolution matter much to most people anyway? I have no idea.

Blogger tz February 15, 2013 5:42 PM  

Although you can't prove an assumption, 8/15 is a holy day of obligation.

It was very early on, probably before Vox was in college when I was looking deeply into the topic and found that no two geochronometers gave even close dates for the age of the earth or any particular event.

At best you MIGHT be able to put things into chirological order (chiros v.s. chronos - events v.s. linear clock time). But placing a date on anything ends up being ... madness. Only mad scientists attempt it, but that is perhaps why PZ&co are always angry. Or worse.

"Shut Up!" can be an answer to "Please explain and detail the evidence", but not one that bolsters the case for that side.

Blogger Lud VanB February 15, 2013 5:55 PM  

"Developing an internal structural response to an outside stimulus within the existing structure is not hard to grasp,"

the internal structure doesnt change in response to external stimuli...it changes because the cells mutate during replication. the effect that external stimuli have is not on individual organisms per say but on populations where certain gene structures may over time become more or less favorable to the organisms. And this has an impact on population distribution where the favorable gene structures is distributed among more offsprings than the less favorable gene structures. again case in point the bacterias who's genetic structure mutates to the point where anti-biotics become less likely to kill them get to replicate through their offsprings while the bacteria who are still vulnerable die off. And then you have a new population of bacteria resistant to anti biotic in place of the old one. as to wether or not this process can turn a clam into a squid given enough time, why wouldnt it. genetic structure doesnt just give an organism increased resistance to certain chemical interactions...it literally give it its form and biological make up. cumulate enough change over time and voila. there no actual wall that keeps gene from mutating beyond a certain point in living organims...like the old addage...if you can walk 10 yards, you can walk 10 miles.

Blogger tz February 15, 2013 5:56 PM  

When I hibernate one virtual machine on PC #1 which has been running for 100 days, and awaken it on PC #2 several hours later, how "old" is the image?

So for the last THREE BILLION YEARS, the output of the sun, and the radiation from the Mantle and core has been balanced so we are neither a ball of ice nor a boiling cauldron? Assume nothing has been controlling things to allow life to emerge and evolve? Or that the age is way off but so the complexity has zero chance of arising (it has nearly zero chance with 4 billion, maybe with 10**17 years).

It takes fewer assumptions to believe for Mary, mother of Jesus to have been bodily taken into heaven at death than to believe in the mythology the paleo-biologists are attempting to pawn off on us.

Anonymous The Master Cylinder! February 15, 2013 6:06 PM  

Imatiger: "But if we assume that God put the universe into motion, well, why not evolution? He's God. He could easily set a process in place"

Naturally... so to speak. Such concepts don't bother me, but since God is, how do they say, non-falsifiable, we have to sort of put Him in brackets when we're talking science. But in any event if the process is in any way conscious or planned, this contradicts the essential platform of Darwinism, which is that the mutations are random; the essence of the definition is that it's NOT in any way planned. My own feeling is that the exploration of these matters is in its infancy, and that there are processes and forces at work, whether divine or not, which we simply have not yet observed, nor even conceived.

My analogy is always to the progression Kepler --> Newton --> Einstein --> Heisenberg --> WTF?!?. I feel like Darwin is analogous to Kepler; Kepler was looking directly at the Laws of Motion, in fact he had sort of identified them, but he didn't know what they were, and thought they were something else. Newton went ahead and formulated them, and then for a long time the theory was so neat and all-explaining that everybody thought cosmology and physics were sort of done and accounted for. It turned out they were just getting started.

I think we're at a place like that w/r/t biology. I mean I think we're still very much at the Kepler stage, and as things progress, our heads are going to spin. The confidence of the Darwinists strikes me as based not so much science as a sort of conditioned smugness which is a cultural phenomenon. Brains cause consciousness after all; and leftist brains cause smug, condescending consciousness.

Blogger Lud VanB February 15, 2013 6:12 PM  

"So for the last THREE BILLION YEARS, the output of the sun, and the radiation from the Mantle and core has been balanced so we are neither a ball of ice nor a boiling cauldron? Assume nothing has been controlling things to allow life to emerge and evolve? Or that the age is way off but so the complexity has zero chance of arising (it has nearly zero chance with 4 billion, maybe with 10**17 years)."


I m not sure if i d really use the word
"balanced" here. the history if life on earth is one of constant strugle for survival against a harsh environment that that seems to be going out of its way to try and kill life at every moment of every day of every year of every millenia since life first appeared. and the fossil record indicates that 99% of all species that once existed on earth dont exist anymore...hardly the picture of a divinely constructed biosphere created for our benefit.

Anonymous The Master Cylinder! February 15, 2013 6:20 PM  

"accumulate enough change over time and voila. there no actual wall that keeps gene from mutating beyond a certain point in living organims..."

I'm not advocating either way (this is not my hobby-horse), but I think you're oversimplifying: let's say there's a creature called Proto-Spider One, which has four legs, doesn't spin webs, and eats leaves instead of drinking the blood of its prey. So the argument is that after say two million years of random mutations and responses to selection pressures, we arrive at Spider-90-gazillion, which is the eight-legged, blood-drinking, web-spinning darling we know today.

But the question is the survival advantage granted during the interim iterations, by half-formed (not even half-formed) versions of a randomly-acquired proto web-spinning, blood-digesting, hunter-focused apparatus in a creature which formerly had none of these. Consider the complexity of the web-spinning apparatus, and the brain software which needs to go with it. Say it takes 1.5 million years to get from the germs of these things, through all the failed (and all the time, useless for survival the whole time, because they don't work yet!) iterations, til we finally get a web that actually captures prey. What was the survival advantage for 1.5 million years of carrying around the rudiments of a system which was not yet operational?

"like the old addage...if you can walk 10 yards, you can walk 10 miles"

But that's not what we're talking about. It's more like, if you can walk 10 yards, then over time you can spontaneously develop a diesel-powered pogo stick with a Def Leppard sticker on it, which springs right out of your shins. How reasonable does that sound?

Anonymous Sojourner February 15, 2013 6:25 PM  

Has the discussion ever come up asking why the Rig Veda describes nuclear war? Or something that is very similar to our understanding? I tend to have a wary eye when it comes to some of the more out there subjects that do nothing in regards to faith and what Jesus came to do for us but I must admit there is some fascinating stuff in ancient texts outside the Bible (and even those things within like the Nephilim). Obviously there's individuals here who know a thing or two about these things and I'd love to maybe cover the topic of that are truly mysterious in the Bible.

Blogger Jehu February 15, 2013 7:22 PM  

Sojourner,
Are you making the implicit assumption that Pre-Flood humans were extremely low technology---herders and the like? We don't really have any basis for that assumption from Scripture. What would technology and the like look like with developers with extremely long lifespans?

Anonymous Sojourner February 15, 2013 7:41 PM  

Not implying anything. I putting it out there because it's something I've been curious about considering the discussion on what existed in our past. Pre-Flood must've been a fascinating time (and terrible obviously because there's a reason the Flood came about).

Anonymous Jeromus February 15, 2013 7:59 PM  

The dating system is already in doubt.

Anonymous Jeromus February 15, 2013 8:16 PM  

hardly the picture of a divinely constructed biosphere created for our benefit.

And thus Genesis 3.

Anonymous DT February 15, 2013 8:17 PM  

thats not how it works at all.

That is exactly how it works.

From:
http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2011Natur.477..457D

These results show conclusively that antibiotic resistance is a natural phenomenon that predates the modern selective pressure of clinical antibiotic use.

The genes were always there.

There are more studies and papers which support this point if you want me to look them up for you.

genetic "information" is just a term we use to understand the genomic structures we observe in the genes of living organisms. But these structures are in a constant state of flux, changing over successive generations because of the mutations that occur during cell replication. most of the time, those change dont have any discernible impact on the organism but occasionaly they do. sometimes the effect is negative, other times its positive and this depends on a wide variaty of factors, much of which has to do with the environemental pressures being exerted on the organism.

Mutations always and invariably lead to a loss of information. In some cases that loss of information might actually lead to an advantage in a specific environment. But it's still devolution, not evolution.

Take the case of antibiotic. In order to be effective against bacteria, they require a specific set of biochemical interactions, all of which is dependent on the chemical makeup of the anti biotics AND the genetic structure of the bacteria. But when the genetic structure changes enough, through mutations, so does the biochemical interaction between antibiotic and bacteria. In some cases it can make them more vulnerable to antibiotic medications but in other cases, render the medication less effective or even completely useless. And this observed change in organisms over several generations, thats evolution.

Nope. At best that's an expression of existing information. At worse it's a loss of information which may make the bacteria more resistant to antibiotics, but never the less is devolution which will make them less adaptable in the future. (The information was there for a reason.)

Biologists live in a strange world where they act as if the laws of thermodynamics are malleable, or mere suggestions. They are not. Randomness never leads to order. Noise never leads to data.* Suggesting that mutation can add new, functional information to a genome is like suggesting that running a magnet over a hard drive can create an entirely new operating system. It cannot in this universe.

* This, btw, is why Tad's posts never amount to anything.

Anonymous DT February 15, 2013 8:33 PM  

I agree, it is hard to believe. I think part of the problem is that we are talking about vast scales of time that dwarf human perception. If you assume that the Earth has supported life for far more than 6,000 years, let's say any number of millions or billions of years, we talk about a time scale that is very far-removed from our understanding of time on a day to day or even year to year basis.

The problem is that billions of years is still not sufficient for the spontaneous, random formation of information. The gap between your concept of time and billions of years is nothing compared to the gap between billions of years and the odds against this happening even once.

I'll have to dig up the book for the reference, but as I recall the odds of the simplest possible self replicating life form spontaneously arising are around 1 in 10^450. From that point every single step up the evolutionary ladder has similar odds. Your time frame has 9 zeros. To get from primordial soup to modern mammal involves millions of zeros.

The extreme odds are just a mathematical way of expressing the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics as it applies to information. If the Earth is billions of years old and life "evolved" over that time, then it happened via periodic manipulation of life forms by God and/or beings created by God. (Which, btw, is a hell of a lot more consistent with the fossil record than TENS.) Random chance mutation had nothing to do with it, beyond possibly shuffling existing information once in a while.

Anonymous DT February 15, 2013 8:41 PM  

the internal structure doesnt change in response to external stimuli...it changes because the cells mutate during replication.
...
...

as to wether or not this process can turn a clam into a squid given enough time, why wouldnt it.

Because mutation never leads to new information, or new functional structures. Just like noise never adds to a communication signal or data store, and randomness never leads to order.

That is what we consistently and without exception observe to be true in this universe.

Anonymous p-dawg February 15, 2013 9:26 PM  

You mean the dating methods which say that freshly-formed lava rocks are 3 million years old and live sea slugs are 30k years old....those dating methods might be called into question? Gee....

Anonymous kh123 February 15, 2013 9:54 PM  

-"hardly the picture of a divinely constructed biosphere created for our benefit."

~ "And thus Genesis 3.


It's gotten to the point where I can safely assume, without having to slog through the commentary, not only the general conversation in the above, but who the players are, just from scanning the quoted.

It's a new game: How long before the "Dubito" trope pops up. Where's Waldoubt.

Anonymous kh123 February 15, 2013 9:55 PM  

"cumulate enough change over time and voila. there no actual wall that keeps gene from mutating beyond a certain point in living organims"

I wonder what Turgot would have said about the law of diminishing returns here.

Anonymous Mudz February 15, 2013 10:45 PM  

It's probably been mentioned already but I think we've already had this happen with the T-rex 'soft tissue' thing. As far as I can remember, they revised the speculative DNA life-time. Basically, 'Well I guess it just can last that long after all'.

(Not that they've recovered DNA yet as far as I know, but they're probably covering their bases after the controversy was kicked up.)

Anonymous Mudz February 15, 2013 10:46 PM  

http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CC/CC371_1.html

Anonymous Anonymous February 15, 2013 10:47 PM  

Greencarman here...

Turgot favored distributive taxes, i.e. reduce the tax incidence of people with a lower ability-to-pay, as they shift the incidence increasingly to those with a higher ability-to-pay. Moreover, when France endured a famine from 1770–1771, he enforced on landowners "the obligation of relieving the poor" by organizing work programs (at the expense of those landowners) for the able-bodied and financial assistance for the infirm.

Socialist!

Anonymous kh123 February 15, 2013 11:56 PM  

I may have mentioned Turgot in passing here, but you're aim's off by a whole post.

And the name/URL option is still available.

Anonymous kh123 February 15, 2013 11:58 PM  

"As far as I can remember, they revised the speculative DNA life-time. Basically, 'Well I guess it just can last that long after all'."

There's the missing link to my train of thought earlier. Good call.

Blogger Kentucky Packrat February 16, 2013 12:10 AM  

First, I have to correct myself. I have been saying that the fish were created on the sixth day in Genesis 1. This is entirely and utterly incorrect. The fish were created in day 5. Land creatures, including insects, were created day 6. I apologize.

One aside: Most English translations say that the whales were created day 5. The Hebrew is closer to saying that the "water monsters" or "water giants" were created. Can't be sure here that the water mammals were created day 5.

I'll have to dig up the book for the reference, but as I recall the odds of the simplest possible self replicating life form spontaneously arising are around 1 in 10^450. From that point every single step up the evolutionary ladder has similar odds. Your time frame has 9 zeros. To get from primordial soup to modern mammal involves millions of zeros.

Behe's Darwin's Black Box, among others.

The Big Four arguments I've never heard convincingly answered are:
1. By what mechanism did life begin? (Behe excludes random formation and activation of DNA)
2. How does TENS create structures of irreducible complexity (i.e. they don't work unless the entire system is in place)?
3. By what mechanism is new information introduced into DNA?
4. If the TENS evolutionary timeline is true, AND the Bible is the inspired word of God(*), then why is Genesis 1 irreconcilably inconsistent with the evolutionary timeline when it doesn't need to be?

Every answer I've seen to 1 ignores Behe's math argument, to the point where it's the Great Open Question of TENS, IMHO. Question 2 basically gets ignored or get turned into a "scaffolding" issue (i.e. a 20 part system gets turned into a 19 part system, etc.).

In Boston, there isn't a storm drain system, there is only a sewer system that overflows when it storms bad. The only way to replace the current system with a two-sided system would be to break the current one. Likewise, the only way to turn a light sensor spot into an eye eventually involves a step that breaks the light sensor. That step will be selected against, because it makes the creature less suited for its environment.

I'm going to skip #3, since its too complex to even consider in a post of this size. Now, number 4 is focused almost entirely on orthodox Christians who also believe that the consensus view of TENS is also true (because everyone else basically doesn't care). Since Stickwick and some others here are trying to claim that Genesis 1 and the evolutionary timeline can be reconciled, they tapdance around the biggest problem in the story. Let me pose the problem as an Official Question(TM) for Stickwick and anyone else interested.

For the two-part Official Question: Do you believe that God was involved in directing or influencing the writing of Genesis?(*) If so, why do you think that God directed or allowed the author to record a clear falsehood (that God created birds before land creatures) in days 5 and 6 of Genesis 1 when it would be trivial to make the story "right"?

(*) Bonus question: If you don't believe that Genesis is the least bit inspired by God, why do you care if Genesis 1 and the evolutionary timeline are reconciled? It'd be like me trying to reconcile TENS with Norse mythology.

Blogger Kentucky Packrat February 16, 2013 12:30 AM  

The extreme odds are just a mathematical way of expressing the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics as it applies to information.

To be fair, the Earth is not a closed system. The Earth can receive information (as defined under information theory) from the Sun and from other parts of the universe without violating entropy.

However, information theory isn't enough to understand DNA. DNA is information, but its also a programming language, and cells are Turing equivalent machines(*). DNA has both components AND syntax. Just sticking a random piece of information into a DNA strand doesn't necessarily make a working DNA program. To get new features, you have to make a change that is
* not just a copy of a previously-working feature (or it's ignored)
* non-disruptive (doesn't break a previously-working feature)
* adds something useful.

As any programmer can tell you, it's incredibly difficult to randomly pick a spot in a program, and then randomly add a piece of information randomly that actually improves the program. The odds are vanishingly low, in fact. Yet TENS not only requires these vanishingly low odds events, it requires them over and over again all throughout history, in such a form that we have very little evidence that they ever happened in small groups.

(*) NOT necessarily Turing Complete though.

Anonymous Sensei February 16, 2013 12:57 AM  

1. Genesis was written in ancient Hebrew. Arguments based on the English are assuming it lines up perfectly with the Hebrew but it only approximates it, sometimes relying heavily on a translation team's judgement.

2. Verse 1, in Hebrew, functions as a sort of summary header, not the beginning of the narrative. Therefore notice the next words: (using english out of necessity) now the earth....

Genesis 1 does not describe the original creation act. Look up "tohu wa-bohu" on wikipedia for a good start.

Anonymous kh123 February 16, 2013 2:30 AM  

"Verse 1, in Hebrew, functions as a sort of summary header, not the beginning of the narrative. Therefore notice the next words: (using english out of necessity) now the earth...."

"In the beginning, created God the heavens and the land; and the land was..." [As literal a translation as I can come up with off the top of my head.]

Given the Hebrew, the entire thing is, IIRC, written as past perfect tense, and as a continual narrative (hence the "and" formula throughout the creation up to 2:4a, where the presumably first tablet ends). There's no need for a "when" or "now then", and as far as I know; they'd be a clumsy fit for the rules of ancient Hebrew. The only reason they're inserted into English translations from the 19th century on seems to be a need to make the text harmonize with certain trends in the church at the time.

Is best to keep in mind there are many word plays all throughout Genesis; homonyms, heterographs, polysemes - "B'rashith bara" being the first and one of the more artistic ("In the beginning, created/began"). It's much the same as how "I AM THAT I AM" is in the original language, using the literal term used in everyday language at the time ("ah'yeh" - h'yah) and the tetragrammaton name of God (YHWH; YHVH), which use the same letters, spelling, and to some degree meaning.

Also, "formless and void" (tohu v'bohu) is similar to how "King of kings" or "Behemoth" (plural term of behemah used to denote singular entity) are word constructs to express totality or immensity. In this case, if I remember correctly, it means barren in a fairly complete and emphatic way; almost as if to preclude the idea that life came from any pre-existent germ seeds that somehow slipped mentioning in the narrative. "Tohu v'bohu" is used later on in one of the prophetic books, about the land being lain waste in an judgmental sense - one can argue that God means to break up the soil on a subatomic level over unknown eons to punish the Israelites and their neighbors, but it's a bit of a stretch in that context.

Blogger bethyada February 16, 2013 2:32 AM  

They have already found dinosaur DNA. I blogged on this last year: DNA in dinosaur bones.

Blogger bethyada February 16, 2013 2:38 AM  

The question is: would the estimated life of a strand of DNA be revised or would the dating methods themselves be called into doubt?

Of course the latter:

A recent paper by Allentoft et al. (2012) hypothesizes a half-life for DNA of ~ 521 years in an optimal depositional environment, suggesting that DNA should be degraded to single bases by a little under 7 million years, even though they also state that “considerable sample-to-sample variance in DNA preservation could not be accounted for by geologic age”. Their half-life estimate was based upon extrapolations of data taken from > 150 relatively recent Holocene bones (less than 10,000 years old). Fossils older than this were not examined for DNA. All of our assays require at least 4 or more bases to generate reactivity, particularly with the intercalating stains. While ultimately, sequence data is required to verify the endogeneity of this material, it is unlikely that four independent assays, each capitalizing on different aspects of the chemistry of DNA, would show identical patterns of localization interior to these cellular structures, and different from antibodies to various proteins. Therefore we suggest more rigorous testing of extrapolation models on actual fossil material from older specimens. Additionally we have found that chemical reactions interfere with analyses of DNA and proteins and should be taken into account before assigning a definitive half-life.

In other words, the rock age stays the same and we calibrate DNA half-life based on the "known" age of the fossil.

The paper is behind a pay wall.

Blogger bethyada February 16, 2013 2:39 AM  

Correction: Of course the former

Anonymous Stickwick February 16, 2013 3:19 AM  

Since Stickwick and some others here are trying to claim that Genesis 1 and the evolutionary timeline can be reconciled, they tapdance around the biggest problem in the story. Let me pose the problem as an Official Question(TM) for Stickwick and anyone else interested.

For the two-part Official Question: Do you believe that God was involved in directing or influencing the writing of Genesis?(*) If so, why do you think that God directed or allowed the author to record a clear falsehood (that God created birds before land creatures) in days 5 and 6 of Genesis 1 when it would be trivial to make the story "right"?


Yes, I believe God dictated the Torah. God did not allow the author to record a clear falsehood. Genesis 1:20-23 refer to "winged animals" or "flying creatures," not birds. This corresponds to the time when winged insects first appeared.

Blogger Lud VanB February 16, 2013 3:43 AM  

"Because mutation never leads to new information, or new functional structures. Just like noise never adds to a communication signal or data store, and randomness never leads to order.

That is what we consistently and without exception observe to be true in this universe"


would you please stop with this information gain\loss nonsense. dna is not an encyclopedia or a computer program. it is a bio structure...a pattern that determines how the organism will develop and function. and this structure is in constant flux, changing with each mutation and with each generation of offspring to whom those mutations are passed on. and this in turn causes the population of organisms to change over time according to the pressures to which they are being subjected by their environment. think of it this way....a fertilized egg looks absolutely nothing like the organism it will eventually turn into...its a blueprint of what the final product will become...but if you change the blueprint, you also change the final product...that 's how evolution occurs...with every change in each successive blueprints.

Blogger Lud VanB February 16, 2013 4:05 AM  

~ "And thus Genesis 3...what...what about genesis 3? where in genesis 3 is there even the remotest hint of any change to the nature of the world Adam and Eve were living in? the only thing that changes is the geographic location they are permitted to occupy and the amount of work that will now be required on their part to sustain themselves.

Anonymous kh123 February 16, 2013 4:26 AM  

"would you please stop with this information gain\loss nonsense. "

Refer to the Turgot post before this. Is it possible to have a law of diminishing returns in biology; or is it Keynesian all the way down.

Anonymous Mudz February 16, 2013 4:44 AM  

@ Lud

What a silly comment. It's the 'change in the blueprints' that's being discussed. I don't think anyone was arguing evolution on a morphological basis. And a computer program is an extremely useful analogy for genetics. You're just trying to wiggle out of a mathematical argument by appealing to gooeyness.

Personally, I think you've proven that arguing with you is pointless for anything other than an intellectual exercise. I asked you myself if you were actually interested in answers, and you never replied. I can only assume that one way or another, that was your version of a no.

Blogger Lud VanB February 16, 2013 5:17 AM  

"What a silly comment. It's the 'change in the blueprints' that's being discussed. I don't think anyone was arguing evolution on a morphological basis. And a computer program is an extremely useful analogy for genetics. You're just trying to wiggle out of a mathematical argument by appealing to gooeyness."


BS...a computer program actually serves as a very poor analogy to dna because they operate on very different sets of guiding principles. a computer program is a a fixed set of instruction for the computer to perform a series of specific predetermined actions. it does not replicate itself in anyway and when it is copied by an agency external to itself, the desired result is to obtain an exact duplicate....dna on the other hand is self replicating but none of the duplicates are ever identical to the original nor are they ever intended to be...and through each successive generation, more modifications are accumulated until you eventually get a distant descendant to the "original" dna structure that bears little resemblance to it

Blogger Brad Andrews February 16, 2013 7:02 AM  

Taking the Scriptures seriously pushes against anything but 6 days as we know it. I believe it is Exodus, where the Sabbath is set, that indicates that God made things in 6 days and rested, so should we. I am sure some will still argue with that, but the context indicates a day as we know it, not something else.

The Scriptures also indicate that sin came with Adam's fall, and death with that. I have never seen a good explanation of how millions of years fits with that key Biblical principle.


We need to also keep in mind that only 1 being was here more than 7,000 years ago. I will take the eyewitness report myself.

Anonymous Mudz February 16, 2013 7:05 AM  

And yet we have all these evolutionists excited about how they've modelled a living bacteria, or programs to simulate evolution.

And 'guiding principles'? You wouldn't by chance be talking about teleology in biology would you? Blasphemy!

The overall point here is that mathematics can be used in describing largely every material thing. Statistics was apparently invented simply for the purposes of evolutionary population theory. So I've been told by evolutionists.

And DNA does duplicate itself exactly. DNA has a huge hissy fit about defective genes, though they sometimes get through. What you're talking about though, is DNA recombination. Which is part of the 'program'.

The difference between computer programs and living organisms is not that one uses information and other doesn't, but that computer programs are linear and organisms are non-linear. And hellaciously more complex than any program humanly devised.

Don't pretend it's bullshit. It isn't. It's always been how genetics have been conceptualised. Because genes hold, yes, the information that is necessary for proteins and enzymes. And it's always one for one. A particular gene will enable a particular codon, a particular sequence will result in a particular protein. Yay for math. And the DNA replication process in itself is actually quite linear in itself.

And you have to give us an example of organisms (genetic structure) allowing itself to be modified to the extent of destroying the original organism. You can't rearrange trivial characteristics and then turn a snail into a whale. DNA actually can claim the title of 'self-correcting'.

Anonymous Mudz February 16, 2013 7:10 AM  

@ Sorry, that should have been something like 'particular sequence of codons will enable a particular gene.'

Rush typed.

Anonymous Imatiger February 16, 2013 9:55 AM  

@ Mudz

Actually, DNA does not usually duplicate itself exactly. So much of the base pairs are essentially filler, or at least that's how the current understanding presents it, that inaccurate duplication does not always have much of an effect. A insertion or complete deletion of a base pair will however have a more drastic effect.

Replication does have quite a few ways to detect changes and destroy the result. I'm trying to find exactly how many base pairs are replicated in a body per day, but my google-fu is not working. Let's say it's in the trillions. Multiple that times billions of people. That is a pretty damn large number that could result in all sorts of changes that could be beneficial or detrimental to individual fitness.

Anonymous NewAnubis February 16, 2013 11:33 AM  

Isn't there a more 'scientific' reason?

I thought that the current rate of oxygen/carbon dioxide would not be rich enough to support creatures of that size. So even if cloned, they'd never reach maturity--it'd be a ranch full of mini-me's.

Blogger Lud VanB February 16, 2013 2:25 PM  

human parents pass on an average of 60 mutations to their offsprings. This means that everytime humans conceive, the genetic blueprint is slightly different and while those changes are minor from one generation to the next they are permanent changes and accumulate over time. And those mutation are random...they dont occur as part of a specific set of plans front loaded into the dna to emerge at a specified later date and consequently they cant "repair" themselves generations later. it is neither a loss nor a gain of information...it is a change in the patern along which the organism will develop from fertilized egg to fully grown adult. And this is the mechanism that makes evolution possible in the first place.

Anonymous kh123 February 16, 2013 2:55 PM  

One would wonder if Lud doesn't subscribe to phylogenetic studies using programs to deduce evolutionary parsimony and lineage.

Blogger Lud VanB February 16, 2013 3:11 PM  

"One would wonder if Lud doesn't subscribe to phylogenetic studies using programs to deduce evolutionary parsimony and lineage."

its certainly an interesting field of study. btw, i m still waiting for you to tell me where exactly in genesis 3 is there any mention of the world suddently transforming itself from a peacefull paradize into the harsh life killing environment we observe today.

Anonymous kh123 February 16, 2013 3:59 PM  

"[Phylogenetic parsimony programs are] certainly an interesting field of study."

It certainly is. By your estimation, it's also fairly worthless.

Blogger Lud VanB February 16, 2013 4:27 PM  

"It certainly is. By your estimation, it's also fairly worthless."


it would be if it was used to try and predict how an organism living today would evolve in the future. but as a forenzic tool, it certainly has its uses.

Anonymous kh123 February 16, 2013 5:13 PM  

Forenzikz.

Anonymous Mudz February 16, 2013 9:06 PM  

@ Imatiger & Lud

I am corrected. Mutation is more prevalent than had occurred to me.

The rest of what I put forth, still stands.

Come to think of it, I wasn't been entirely consistent in my thought. Because I have the suspicion that mutation is actually a part of the program, so to speak. I wonder if mutations are actually random at all, or if the gene code is simply rotating the barrels in it's guns, or something similiar. For making sure things like diseases won't kill an entire population, etc, because there's sure to be a certain number of immune to the particular disease. Generally speaking, of course. I also think there is genetic degradation which is not part of the plan.

That said, I'd have to read more about it.

For example, I found this interesting: "The mutation rate of an organism is an evolved characteristic and is strongly influenced by the genetics of each organism, in addition to strong influence from the environment. The upper and lower limits to which mutation rates can evolve is the subject of ongoing investigation." (wiki)

Regardless of the eyebrow raising of 'mutation evolved' (chicken and the egg, anyone?), it reinforces the conviction methinks. People tried to tell me that elephants losing their tusks due to poachers was just a lucky chance of random accident, but it always seemed to me that epigenetics or some physiological factor was more likely responsible. (I've always been sympathetic to Lamarckism, I guess. I grew up with the conviction that I inherited my natural strength from my dad, who was a bodybuilder.)
In any case, I'm certain that it is a designed factor. It would be interesting, I think, if DNA cycled through alternative gene sequences like 'tusklessness', and used the principle of natural selection in 'when to express'.

So all things considered, you're both right. DNA does have a high level of fidelity, from what I've read, self-correcting and all, but there is also consistent generational mutation, and I wonder if that's part of the system. Or maybe DNA is a scientist. :D

The question is though, is where can mutations take a species? How far? At a certain point it stops being 'modification' in trivial but useful aspects of animal to environment adaption, and then becomes destructive to the original body plan, the original organism. I don't believe that can occur. I don't think organisms can handle that kind of self-destructive 'transition'. There's also just no reason for it. If an organism got out of line, then would it not simply readapt to its most immediately favourable 'evolution'? It would simply renormulate. Like HIV.

Any environment change drastic enough to require a new sort of organism, should just kill the present ones.

All the practical experiments done so far to demonstrate evolution have yielded little more than crippled flies, and bacteria that will tolerate citrate. Hardly stunning stuff.

Anonymous Mudz February 16, 2013 9:06 PM  

And those mutation are random...they dont occur as part of a specific set of plans front loaded into the dna to emerge at a specified later date and consequently they cant "repair" themselves generations later. it is neither a loss nor a gain of information...it is a change in the patern along which the organism will develop from fertilized egg to fully grown adult.

I agree with the logic. Obviously I speculatively disagree with the premise, but I have only speculation to offer. In any case, I would point out that genetic information is preserved in large populations.
Assuming that there is no metadata to reproduce it, or that it's not part of a repeating mutation pattern, anyway.

Species can lose information, genetically degrade due to time or accidents, no doubt there. It's the independent 'gain' of information, or 'novel genes' that's really the issue with evolution.

Also the 'change in the pattern' that determines development, is a 'change in the information'. You are aware of the connection between 'pattern' and 'information'? If the pattern determines genetic expression, then it is information.

If it isn't information, then why can we use DNA to ID a species? Or even a specific person?

You didn't provide enough in the example to say if it was a gain or loss. Perhaps both. It could be simply a 'change'.

Blogger Kentucky Packrat February 16, 2013 11:42 PM  

Yes, I believe God dictated the Torah. God did not allow the author to record a clear falsehood. Genesis 1:20-23 refer to "winged animals" or "flying creatures," not birds. This corresponds to the time when winged insects first appeared.

Cute idea. So when are the birds created in Genesis 1? It's not day 6; the Hebrew there is land creatures and the crawling creatures.

The word `ouph does come from the verb for flying, so "flying creatures" is the general idea. However, look at Strong's; every single time it's used in the Torah to mean flying insects, the number of feet are mentioned. Otherwise, the word either means ALL flying animals or it means the birds. (Oh, and yes, I forgot the bats. How silly of me.)

David Reagan talks about a minister who didn't believe that Jesus was returning physically to Earth again. David read Zechariah 14:9, which says "the Lord will be king over all the earth." The minister read it, and told David, "Son I don't know what it means, but I'll guarantee you one thing: it doesn't mean what it says!"

Thomas Jefferson was at least honest and forthright with his scissors and razor blades in making up his Life and Morals of Jesus Christ. You should aim to be equally honest with yourself. Just get out your shears and cut Genesis 1 through 11 out of your Bible, since they don't really mean what they say they mean.

Anonymous kh123 February 17, 2013 3:49 AM  

Re: the flying creature discussion above:

Although this may not apply to ancient Hebrew, bugs or flies are more specifically called (what translates as) "buzzing wings", tziltzal k'naphayim if memory serves. In any case, from what I know, flying insects are referred to in Leviticus as "crawling/swarming flyers" (sheretz ha'oph; "sheretz" is used elsewhere for anything that crawls or undulates).

"Oph" by itself may apparently also include angels, cherubim and seraphim.

So we're left with general terms in Genesis that cut both ways: It's not all inclusive - unless mankind was given dominion over angelic beings along with insects as part of the initial Dominion Mandate after creation; neither is the term (solely in Genesis) insanely specific to the exclusion of either insects or birds.

I tend to lean towards how the other formulas or uses of "oph" or "kanaph" are used in the Bible to help determine what the meaning here is; KP has pointed some of this out already. "All [flying creatures]" in Genesis would have to mean what it says, since nowhere else in Genesis 1 is the creation of any additional flying creatures mentioned - by extensions this would have to include birds.

In any case, the terms used in Genesis are:

-1:20 "v'oph y'ophaeph..." ("and flyers flying [on the earth, on the face of the expanse of the sky/the heavens]")

-1:21: "kal oph kanaph..." ("all flyer wing [after their kind]")

-1:22 "v'ha'oph..." ("and the flyer [increase in/on the earth]")

-1:26, 1:28 "uv'oph ha'shamayim" ("and with/over flyer of the skies/heavens")

-1:30 "ul'kal-oph" ("and to all flyer [of the skies/heavens]")

Anonymous kh123 February 17, 2013 3:52 AM  

...I should probably correct that to mean: "All [flying creatures]" in Genesis would more than likely mean what it says,"...

Blogger Kentucky Packrat February 17, 2013 9:37 AM  

So we're left with general terms in Genesis that cut both ways: It's not all inclusive - unless mankind was given dominion over angelic beings along with insects as part of the initial Dominion Mandate after creation; neither is the term (solely in Genesis) insanely specific to the exclusion of either insects or birds.

I know we're WAY off topic here, but I can't help but comment on this. 1 Corithians 6:3: "Do you not know that we will judge angels?" Pre-fall, Adam may well have had dominion over the angels even, and then lost it as part of the Fall.

However, context makes this really easy. God just got done creating the creatures of the water, He creates the creatures of the air. The next day, He creates the creatures of the land. Angels might possibly be creatures of the air in context, but that's a big fat leap. The Genesis author meant the birds, bats, and flying insects.

Again, I'll go back to David Reagan's plain sense theory of Bible interpretation. Look at a specific section of the Bible. Forgetting everything else you know, what does that specific section say in plain meaning? You can look elsewhere in the Bible to help if there are unanswered questions.

Here it's simple. Stickwick is ignoring the plain sense of Genesis 1 AND the clear reinforcement of the rest of the Bible, and changing Genesis 1's meaning based on secular history. As I've said before, Stickwick is free to do so, but should be honest in it.

Anonymous Stickwick February 17, 2013 2:17 PM  

Cute idea. So when are the birds created in Genesis 1? It's not day 6; the Hebrew there is land creatures and the crawling creatures.

The word `ouph does come from the verb for flying, so "flying creatures" is the general idea. However, look at Strong's; every single time it's used in the Torah to mean flying insects, the number of feet are mentioned. Otherwise, the word either means ALL flying animals or it means the birds. (Oh, and yes, I forgot the bats. How silly of me.)


My source for all this is Gerald Schroeder, an applied theologian who is fluent in modern and ancient Hebrew. I am not a scholar in ancient Hebrew, but based on what research I've done, I trust his translation and interpretation. Schroeder says that ouph is often mistranslated as "bird." It literally means "winged animal." The Hebrew word for bird is tzippor. Why didn't Genesis 1 use tzipoor here, if God was unambiguously referring to birds instead stating that the first of the winged animals first appeared on Day Five?

Stickwick is ignoring the plain sense of Genesis 1 AND the clear reinforcement of the rest of the Bible, and changing Genesis 1's meaning based on secular history. As I've said before, Stickwick is free to do so, but should be honest in it.

I'm doing no such thing. It's not "secular" history; it's history as perceived by humankind, and up until relatively recently, the study of natural philosophy was the domain of Christian scholars. The history is either correct or it isn't. It's the interpretation of the evidence that matters. All I have done here is show that atheists are wrong, that it is entirely possible to reconcile the written word of God with what we understand about nature using our God-given senses and intellect.

This is what gets me about people like you. You've allowed atheists to establish the frame, and you concede to them that the Bible and our study of the natural world do not agree. The only part you disagree about is which is correct. However, as I've repeatedly pointed out on this blog, there is ample evidence that the natural world reflects the word of God. But this idea is absolutely abhorrent to atheists. As long as atheists can keep you where you are, they're happy. You seem to have no awareness that you are exactly where atheists want you.

Anonymous kh123 February 17, 2013 3:47 PM  

"Angels might possibly be creatures of the air in context, but that's a big fat leap. The Genesis author meant the birds, bats, and flying insects."

I said as much eventually, and even referenced you generally at that point.

Upshot is that even though I lean more towards what you're saying, I didn't want to rush off and say that the text absolutely precludes what SW had claimed.

I'd never thought about insect life being mentioned twice in Genesis til now, but I suppose the general terms for "flyer" would also include another set or subset of lifeforms already covered under "creeping things". Linnaean Orders tend to be spread over more than one description in Genesis (e.g., cetaceans as aquatic tan'nanim ha'gadolim, although mammals are described later on as land dwelling nephesh chayyot. There's also the mammalian bat "oph" you mentioned).

I think the reason why I precluded cherubim or seraphim under the term "oph kanaph" was the later mention in the Dominion Mandate of the diet for the creation; "it shall be food for you, and for the beast of the field," etc - I'd always assumed angels are incorporeal and have no need for physical sustenance.

Anyhow, interesting things.

Anonymous kh123 February 17, 2013 4:41 PM  

"The Hebrew word for bird is tzippor. Why didn't Genesis 1 use tzipoor here, if God was unambiguously referring to birds instead stating that the first of the winged animals first appeared on Day Five? "

Argument cuts both ways - why wasn't "tziltzal k'naphayim" or the like used if winged insects were all that was intended under "oph kanaph". As I mentioned above, the descriptions used for animal and plant life in Gen 1 seem extremely broad, and transgress across Class and even Phylum levels; the only criteria for Animalia seems to be either what they do ("flyers", "swarmers") or their general habitat.

In fact, this argument from specificity cuts through the notion that "day" can be a generalized term for epochs - why weren't several other more specific word constructs used instead of "yom" to denote the long timespans. Unless the argument is Genesis has specificity in nomenclature, but not timeframe.

Anonymous kh123 February 17, 2013 4:50 PM  

...I will say this though: If cherubim/seraphim are not included in the definition of "oph kanaph" or the like, then we have a created entity that was made at an undisclosed time and place, thus outside of the Genesis narrative.

Now, one can argue that if these are truly spiritual beings, and Genesis concerns itself with the creation of material existence, then the angelic creation is a moot point. But if angels are to be included as some form of created creature, why no mention of it in Genesis?, which would seem to lend a bit more to SW's argument (I would think) that indeed the creation narrative is not comprehensive in all aspects, and may allow for insects to be mentioned in one place under the term "oph kanaph", but that all other flying creatures can be headed under the same term later on without having to mention their specific creation - thus allowing for a creation timeline closer to what she and Schroeder are advocating.

I don't subscribe to this, and I generally shun what I think to be rabbinical musings, but I do want to be fair in weighing out both sides.

Anonymous Stickwick February 17, 2013 7:18 PM  

Argument cuts both ways - why wasn't "tziltzal k'naphayim" or the like used if winged insects were all that was intended under "oph kanaph".

Likely for the same reason Genesis 1:11-12 is not traditionally interpreted as meaning that all plant life developed on Day Three. Nahmanides explained -- hundreds of years before anyone had any idea what order "secular" science would place on the emergence of the various forms of life on Earth -- that Day Three marked the start of plant life, which would continue during the subsequent creation days. Likewise, Gen. 1:20-23 marks the start of winged animals on Earth, which would continue to emerge through the rest of Day Five. Nahmanides explains that in some places, the Bible will either only mention the start of something or will condense long-term events into a verse or two in order to preserve the flow of the narrative. I can identify at least three places where this condensing occurs in Genesis alone (see the account of the life and death of Terah in Genesis 11). This is why Genesis 1:20-23 uses the more general "winged animals" instead of the more specific "winged insects" or "birds."

In fact, this argument from specificity cuts through the notion that "day" can be a generalized term for epochs - why weren't several other more specific word constructs used instead of "yom" to denote the long timespans. Unless the argument is Genesis has specificity in nomenclature, but not timeframe.

As I have mentioned here before, Schroeder interprets yom in Genesis 1 to mean a literal 24-hour day. This is again based on the wisdom of Nahmanides. That yom also happens to mean very long timespans is poetic, and is a testament to the utter beauty and genius of Genesis 1. As I explained above, the billions of years we observe for our universe are from our earthly perspective looking backward in time. The six 24-hour days are from God's perspective looking forward in time from Day One. Strictly speaking, it is the 24-hour meaning of yom that applies in Genesis 1, since the events are described from God's perspective. But, from our earthly point of view, the other meaning of yom is also valid. See? Poetic.

I seem to recall in a previous discussion encouraging you to read Schroeder's book, The Science of God. I dunno if you have, but if not, I again encourage you to do so. Genesis 1 is literal. Properly understood, it is a work of staggering genius. As such, Schroeder's goal is to show that Genesis 1, carefully translated and interpreted, is wonderfully consistent with the natural world as perceived through modern science. His purpose is only to show that the perceived conflict between biblical wisdom and "secular" science does not exist. Unless, I guess, one is really determined to find conflict.

Anonymous kh123 February 17, 2013 9:42 PM  

"Nahmanides... explained that Day Three marked the start of plant life, which would continue during the subsequent creation days...Gen. 1:20-23 marks the start of winged animals on Earth, which would continue to emerge through the rest of Day Five."

Said as much myself; refer to my 4:50 pm comment above.

As I said before, the terms used in Gen 1 for life in general, plant or animal, are just that - quite general; and for Animalia, are rooted only to some extremely generalized shared aspect of the creatures under one umbrella, like movement or habitat.

All fine and good, and in fact it helps support somewhat your contention against KP that "oph kanaph" doesn't necessarily denote birds, if at all.

True; but since it is such a generalized term, it also doesn't support the definition of winged insects to the exclusion of all else. It could mean anything from birds to insects to pterosaurs to seraphim - or all of the above. To suggest anything more specific is to run the risk of inserting rather than extrapolating. I'm not ruling it out entirely, but I'm also not subscribing to it either, given the exe/eisegesis cited in support.


"Nahmanides explains that in some places, the Bible will either only mention the start of something or will condense long-term events into a verse or two in order to preserve the flow of the narrative. I can identify at least three places where this condensing occurs in Genesis alone (see the account of the life and death of Terah in Genesis 11)."


I'm assuming you mean 11:27 on.

As condensed as I can make it:

Gen 11:27a is the colophon ending Terah's account, which seems to have started at 11:10b as a genealogy following Shem's account. From 11:27b on to 25:12a is more than likely a single unit, which seems to have been written or compiled by Ishmael, given the colophon.

This then explains the redundancy of why Terah's death is repeated twice only one or two verses apart, or why his life is mentioned again after the first mention of his death.

Some English translations have "Now" at the beginning of verse 27, and there is an "And" at the beginning of that verse in Hebrew; the King James translators probably took this as an "intro" into the following genealogy rather than a wrap-up to the previous one. But as it stands, the "And" formula is, as far as I know, rare to non-existent to the beginning of a Biblical book, let alone anything in Genesis; hence why the beginning of Genesis is "In [the] beginning", not "And in the beginning", which would've made little sense otherwise. The same applies to 11:27a.

So it would seem that we don't have Nahmanides' condensation, but rather two accounts being compiled together, with the colophon demarcation being lost on later medieval translators and commentators.

If there are other examples in Genesis you have in mind of this specific condensing as per above, feel free to forward them - I'd be curious to see if they're like the one mentioned, or are similar to the thrice repeated motifs in Gen 6, which seem to be Noah's sons' accounts of the flood compiled.

This is also why I don't like taking suit behind rabbinical interpretations, be they Ashkenaz or Sephardic: They tend to overlook peshat and insert some fairly interesting but ultimately wrong-headed interpretations in the meanwhile - in this case, overlooking of a colophon and suggesting that a redundancy is an example of literary style of condensation. To be fair, even the King James translators didn't catch the colophonic endings; hence the chapter/verse numbering obscuring where ancient tablets presumably began and ended all throughout Genesis.

I do actually have The Science of God and have had it for awhile; was a good find for $11. Haven't made my way through it yet, which is why I kept any of the back-and-forth here to just the textual arguments.

Anonymous kh123 February 17, 2013 9:50 PM  

...Also, figured you'd enjoy this. I actually bought a copy when it first came out around or before the first film in the series was released, and is more than likely out-of-print at this point. If you see one, grab it; great color and attention to detail for the environments and all.

Anonymous Stickwick February 18, 2013 12:03 AM  

To suggest anything more specific is to run the risk of inserting rather than extrapolating. I'm not ruling it out entirely, but I'm also not subscribing to it either, given the exe/eisegesis cited in support.

Schroeder doesn't try to insert. As I said before, all he does is show that the Bible and modern science can be reconciled, in contrast to the atheist claim. Genesis 1:20-23 says "flying animals"; modern science says winged insects appeared at that time. He leaves it to the reader to decide whether that's a convincing match. This is one reason I respect Schroeder so much; nowhere does he claim that any of this is conclusive, just that it's reasonable.

I'm assuming you mean 11:27 on.

Yes. I refer you to Appendix E in Schroeder's book, which I'll reproduce here for anyone else following the discussion.

The rationale for Nahmanides' commentary [on Genesis 1:11-12] is found elsewhere in Genesis. When the Bible is relating a topic of immediate but not continuing interest, it condenses the chronology of that topic and presents the entire account in one place rather than break into the narrative at a later point.

At the close of Genesis 11, we learn that Terah, the father of Abraham, took his family from Ur and traveled toward Canaan. Partway there, they settled in the city of Haran. Terah was seventy years old when Abraham was born (Gen. 11:26). He died in Haran at the age of 205 (Gen. 11:32). The very next verse (Gen. 12:1) tells us that the Eternal called to Abraham and told him to go to Canaan, which he and his household did. We learn that "Abraham was seventy-five years old when he left Haran" (Gen 12:4). The order of the sentences would imply that Terah died and then Abraham left. But a simple bit of arithmetic reveals that Terah lived another sixty years after Abraham's departure. Abraham and Sarah have their first child, Isaac, twenty-five years later (Gen. 21) and still Terah had a further thirty-five years of life, but Terah is never mentioned after the close of Genesis 11. Terah was important because he was of the lineage leading to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. But he was not of continuing significance to the narrative. Rather than break into the text later during the account of Isaac's life to tell us of his death, Genesis condenses the account of Terah's life but gives us the needed information (the various ages) to make the accounting ourselves, and to learn this crucial technique of biblical exegesis.


Schroeder relates this to the account of the appearance of plant-life in Genesis 1. And while he argues that the description of plant-life is the only place in Genesis 1 where this condensing occurs, it's not the only place where the start of something is mentioned, which then continues to develop throughout that day or into the following days.

Anonymous Stickwick February 18, 2013 12:22 AM  

...Also, figured you'd enjoy this. I actually bought a copy when it first came out around or before the first film in the series was released, and is more than likely out-of-print at this point. If you see one, grab it; great color and attention to detail for the environments and all.

Yes, indeed. It's wonderfully illustrated. I actually have two-thirds of it -- I bought it many years ago, when it was first released in three separate volumes. Unfortunately, I only have the first two (the covers are quite different than the one in the link you provided), and I'd been hoping to find a copy of the third volume rather than buying the one-volume version. Our neighborhood Android's Dungeon carries the newer one-volume edition, and now I'm thinking I should pick it up before it disappears ...

Blogger Kentucky Packrat February 18, 2013 12:56 AM  

A professor was badgering a student about one of Harlan Ellison's books, and a meaning the professor was sure it had. The student was equally sure meaning X wasn't there, and contacted (or knew) Ellison. The next available class, the student took Ellison with him, and sat him in the lecture. The professor restates that Ellison must have meant X, and the strange little man in the front says "Of course he didn't mean X". "And who are you?" "I'm Harlan Ellison, and I know I didn't mean X."

Thank you, Stickwick, for attempting to defend your argument. Your defense of your position is the best I've heard to date. My problem is, I can't help but think of Moses (or whomever wrote Genesis 1) popping up saying "but that's NOT what I said" (and since it's midnight here, Moses looks and sounds a lot like Mel Brooks. I'm sending you my therapy bill).

I've held your position, and argued it against YEC people before. When I say I can't come up with a way to make Genesis 1 reconcile with the evolutionary timeline, it's because I DID try(*). I folded because the plain text of Genesis 1 in the Hebrew does NOT match the evolutionary timeline. There's no serious effort in Hebrew scholarship to support yom == age in Genesis 1 (and several outspoken opponents of it, including secular scholars). It's the scientists pushing this in spite of the Hebrew, not in support of it.

You ask me to believe your interpretation solely because of the science. Sorry, I've looked at the science too. No, I don't have the paper, but I do have eyes. I've been told that the rock layers took millions of years, but I see the wave ripples in the sandstone. Wave ripples last seconds, not decades or centuries. The evidence doesn't prove an old Earth; there is some evidence of an old Earth, and a lot of evidence of a young Earth. And an eyewitness testimony that says He created it in 6 days.

As for "playing into the hands of atheists", atheists really don't care about Genesis 1 in the first place, except as a lever to grab hold of Christians whose faith is weak anyway. Look at infidels.org: their positive points for The Science of God are, um, problematic:Although he is sometimes banal[1], sometimes both sententious and absurd[2], and occasionally given to grand, undefended--and I think indefensible--claims[3], he more often writes with verve and charm. Talking about damning with faint praise (although the reviewer keeps damning the book anyway; it is infidels.org). Atheists hate old-earth Christians and Intelligent Design proponents MORE than YEC people, and that's saying a lot, yet (excluding Behe) I've had zero use out of any Intelligent Design or old-earth Christian thinker in any apologetic situation.

In 22+ years of apologetics, I have never, ever seen a non-believer say "I get that Christ died for my sins, I get grace, I get it all. I just can't surrender my life to Christ because I can't believe the Earth is 7000 years old". Oh, some occasionally mention Genesis 1, but it's an excuse, a way to deflect discussion from the real sticking point; mankind's inherent sinfulness. The closest I've seen at a distance was Templeton, and his problem was himself, not science (Billy Graham faced the same problems, and shrugged them off in a step of faith).

I can tell that Spacebunny isn't very active any more; we'd have all been deleted for going this far off-topic by now. If someone is willing to try to take this to a more formal Internet debate structure with time to research each side, I'd love to participate on one side. Otherwise, I think we've taken it as far here as we can go. Thanks for the effort to answer a question.

(*) If you can't argue your opponent's position as well as, or better, than your opponent can, you don't know your own position.

Anonymous Stickwick February 18, 2013 9:15 AM  

I folded because the plain text of Genesis 1 in the Hebrew does NOT match the evolutionary timeline. There's no serious effort in Hebrew scholarship to support yom == age in Genesis 1 (and several outspoken opponents of it, including secular scholars). It's the scientists pushing this in spite of the Hebrew, not in support of it.

Do you recall the words of Solomon about a word well spoken? He said they're like apples of gold in a bowl of silver. The bowl of silver is the plain reading of Genesis 1; the apples of gold are the profound wisdom revealed when we dig deeper into the text. Genesis 1 was intended to be read two ways: at the plain level, for those who lack the knowledge/understanding to go any further with it, and at a much deeper level, for those who possess the knowledge to pursue it. Four thousand years ago, no one could understand the deeper meaning. But we now have that knowledge. Certainly not all of it, but enough to begin to make sense of the deeper meaning and the sheer wonder of it.

You ask me to believe your interpretation solely because of the science. ... And an eyewitness testimony that says He created it in 6 days.

No, I do not. ... Yes, precisely. God was the only eyewitness during those six days. Reread my comments about yom. I've stated repeatedly that Schroeder interprets yom as a literal 24-hour day, from the perspective of the only eyewitness who was there. When coupled with modern science (relativity in particular), the words of Genesis reveal an astonishing level of wisdom. So astonishing, that for people like me and Antony Flew, it was convincing enough bring us out of atheism and into theism.

Anonymous Stickwick February 18, 2013 9:21 AM  

In 22+ years of apologetics, I have never, ever seen a non-believer say "I get that Christ died for my sins, I get grace, I get it all. I just can't surrender my life to Christ because I can't believe the Earth is 7000 years old".

I've never seen that either; perhaps that's because it doesn't work that way. Antony Flew died shortly after converting to theism, and therefore, sadly, did not have the opportunity to go further with this beliefs. In my case, there was a progression that led to my acceptance of Christ. You could not have gotten me to the point of saying "I get that Christ died for my sins, but I can't accept it because of the timeline" etc., because I couldn't get past the idea of there being a Creator God in the first place. Once I could accept Genesis as literal and fully compatible with what I knew about the natural world, I converted to theism. At that point, I also reasoned that if I could accept the Old Testament, then the New Testament bears investigation, as well. After a couple more years of study, I decided I could accept the entire Bible, and was baptized into the Christian faith. It may not be the most common route to Christ, but there are people like me, who open up to Christ gradually, in carefully considered steps.

You've perhaps read here that I have a nascent science and faith ministry. Despite the fact that Schroeder's argument has the proven ability to lead people to faith, I did not start my ministry with the hope or intention of converting anyone. My purpose is to help believers maintain their faith, and it is motivated by what I've witnessed over 15+ years in academia. There is a relentless assault on Christian students, and most of them do not have the ability to withstand it. There was one incident in particular that got this thing started. A student approached me, very tentatively, after a lecture about big bang cosmology, and asked me if it was okay to believe in God and to be a scientist. I told her "of course," and explained that I was a believer. She was relieved and quite pleased that someone in my position was telling her it was okay to be a believer and accept all the wonderful things she was learning about our natural world. She was enjoying what she was learning, and it had not occurred to her that it was in conflict with her faith, but a nasty old reptile who taught in the biology department had told her it was impossible to believe in God and accept science. Not knowing any better, she felt torn. I was able to relieve that tension with a brief explanation and a recommendation to read Schroeder. What I've wanted to do ever since is help all believers in this position to maintain their faith, especially young people, who are the most vulnerable to this kind of attack. The students who want to cling to their faith, they find the help I offer to be a comfort. The students who are having doubts and looking for ways to rationalize their way out of faith, this gives them one less excuse -- in fact, it makes it that much more difficult for them to deny the truth of any part of the Bible.

Anonymous Stickwick February 18, 2013 9:40 AM  

As for "playing into the hands of atheists", atheists really don't care about Genesis 1 in the first place, except as a lever to grab hold of Christians whose faith is weak anyway.

Yes, they do care about Genesis 1. It is a focal point of atheist attacks, and if you interact with students on a regular basis, you come to realize the extent to which those attacks impact them. And even if it was just a lever for those of weak faith, why give them that power?

Atheists hate old-earth Christians and Intelligent Design proponents MORE than YEC people, and that's saying a lot, yet (excluding Behe) I've had zero use out of any Intelligent Design or old-earth Christian thinker in any apologetic situation.

That's precisely what I've been saying. Atheists don't hate YECs, because they're fundamentally on the same side as YEC people. Do not misunderstand me here. YECs are to be commended for their stalwartness in faith, while atheists deserve nothing but contempt. But both groups agree that the Bible and modern science are hopelessly at odds, and that's exactly what atheists want. They don't hate YECs. In fact, they're quite pleased with them. As we've seen with charlatans like Richard Dawkins and PZ Myers, they easily play off of YECs. They have no identity without YECs.

On the other hand, atheists intensely dislike people like me. They fear people like me. Why? Because they can't easily refute anything we say. They have no foothold, they have no way to make us look foolish in the eyes of others. We're not playing into their game, we're not playing our designated role in their theater. We're outside of their game, and they have no idea what to do with us.

Anonymous kh123 February 18, 2013 7:28 PM  

Looks like I jumped the gun on what I thought the Nahmanides argument was going to be, so my bad on that front.

That said, and given the argument both Nahmanides and Schroeder present, it's essentially saying that a text can have an important nebulous or unspoken if not specifically excluded, and therefore allows room for that subject or event; in both cases cited, either Terah's continued life and events after he's dropped from mention, or the continued development of life after the initial stated day of creation.

Again, we come back to inserting something within what some might say is a semantic gap. It doesn't necessarily rule out the inserted concept, any more than KP's musing that angelic beings are also included in the term "oph kanaph" for instance, or that whenever Christ isn't mentioned in the Gospels, he must be incorporeally floating or walking on water; but it is an eisegetical insert nonetheless if no other text within Genesis or Scripture supports it tacitly or otherwise.

(Notice KP's appeal to another scriptural passage that mentions humanity's dominion over the angelic. And there is mention not only of Christ's specific miracles, but also that he performed many other things outside the scope of the books, both during and after his ministry.)

Further, we have the existence, lineage, and lifespan (quite numerically specific I might add) of Terah by two different accounts (Shem's and Ishmael's). We don't have the same scriptural specificity for the theistic evolutionary deep time concept - apart from the "1 day is as a Millennium; a Millennium as as a day" in Peter - but rather it's mainly from the interpretations of earth's history by mostly 19th, 20th, and now 21st century naturalists. And the musings of medieval rabbis. Again, as well founded as some are convinced the Victorian and current hypotheses to be, it is largely an insertion into scriptural text, from what seems to be outside of the text.

Anonymous kh123 February 18, 2013 7:29 PM  

"But both groups (YEC and atheists) agree that the Bible and modern science are hopelessly at odds,"

This I think should read "the Bible and the current interpretations of past events". Interpretation of purported historic events ≠ Science, automatically or if at all.

I doubt the two sides would disagree on anything replicable in the lab; it's when any past event, chronology, teleology or lack thereof is said to have proceeded from the evidence. YEC's argue against the atheist interpretations (insertions really) of a universal die-hard materialism for all things, and atheists argue likewise against insertion by religious advocates of concepts like design, creation, or the like over the (what they see as exclusively their) tricks of the trade.

I think this is what KP was getting at, that the atheist camp will lambaste either side of the theological coin regardless, simply because of a hint of that divine foot in the door, and doubly so when they feel that their own sacred scrolls - the Books of Lyell and Darwin - are seemingly being co-opted and merged with some difficulty into a faith not their own. Likewise on some level, YEC's see it as theistic evolutionists placating to the specifically designed anti-Biblical axioms of Lyell and (to a lesser extent) Darwin, much like how some in the Orthodox Church tried to find a way to fashion the diadems of Marx and Lenin over and upon Christ's brow.

(And on this point, YEC's will say "Why should we allow Darwin, Huxley, and Lyell reign in the scientific study of the world when we've had Linnaeus, Blythe, Newton and the like preceding them on the matter?" I'm sure the more forward thinking Orthodox thought something similar; "Why should we allow Marxian redistribution of wealth to supersede and compel the church, when we've been doing that very thing voluntarily from our own coffers for the past 2 millennia?" It is I think what Vox would call "not allowing the opposition to frame the argument", especially when there's no need to.)

In any case, on to Schroeder's book, so that the next conversation can have a bit more common ground between us.

Anonymous kh123 February 19, 2013 3:58 AM  

One last point:

"As we've seen with charlatans like Richard Dawkins and PZ Myers, they easily play off of YECs. They have no identity without YECs. "

We might as well be lauding the Lombards for their barbarity in steamrolling other tribes, not to mention Catholic Rome.

It is worth noting that there has been a share of atheists or opponents to Christianity that just as easily play off what they see as compromise or mental gymnastic positions held by OECs, and have said as much. Would Dawkins or Myers have been any more accommodating to Christ simply because one says they agree with the tenants of evolution or uniformitarianism? Are Lombards impressed by the Pope paying homage to Odin by growing a beard?

Taunting or shaming neither proves nor disproves the position logically, unless the whole sphere of scientific discourse is now purely fueled by rhetoric and the proper handshakes. Leave the Pharyngulans and the Warren to their Masonic rituals; we are not of those who grow feint in this pursuit.

"[Atheists] have no way to make us look foolish in the eyes of others."

Although not a Lombard, Phillip Johnson had quite a few choice things to say near the end of "Darwin on Trial". And not all of it rhetorical.

"[Atheists] have no foothold, they have no way to make us look foolish in the eyes of others. We're not playing into their game, we're not playing our designated role in their theater."

I can't help but be reminded that for all of their professionalism, their professions of being fellow countrymen, it did nothing for German Jacke Jews - the Nazis didn't care if they or their fathers served in the Imperial Army or were descended from the Maccabean line, if they were modern intellectuals or had lost the Ost caftans and traditions.

At some point, wolves simply don't care if you run alongside them for a time; all they will see is a pelt.

Again, it seems to be a desire to not want to be seen as foolish, left out of the group, that fuels some of this need for Christians to regain some sense of an intellectual foothold their culture once had two or more centuries ago. I can understand this, especially if the group encompasses one's profession. We're seeing it currently in the culture, the positions discussed and held here on this blog being ridiculed by the SWPL, their need to shame and guilt folks for being non-progressive, not-like, and not "moving on". (And is it coincidental that this very zeitgeist of rabbitology is a major component on many campuses, and by extension the fields of study there?)

Whether one knows it or not, this desire to be taken seriously is simply another dance prepared. I suspect though that it's more than an entity such as Dawkins assigning the role.

But Truth isn't determined by whether or not one is forced to wear a yellow star, if it's shameful or humiliating to be spat upon while on one's via crucis, or if their Jerusalem is now an Aelia Capitolina. The message was neither accommodating nor compromised with Sadduceism or circumcision: The resurrection, the life, the completion of the Law didn't balk when the learned scribes and doctors of law scoffed at him.

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