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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Mailvox: how to teach evolution

Mindy asks how to teach evolution to homeschooled children:
I’m off to purchase materials at a homeschooling conference in couple days. I was wondering what your thoughts were on teaching evolution to grade school level students. I want to introduce a more formal science curriculum but all of the conventional materials are saturated in evolutionary timescales and theory. 

Personally, my thoughts on creationism are rather fluid.  I don’t know that the six days of creation should be taken literally though I don’t believe man evolved from any other animal.  I would like to give my kids a firm foundation in Bible based science before teaching the conventional theory but am not sure whether to use the literal fundamentalist version to start with. Normally, when teaching younger children, we do so from the position of having a definitive answer instead of a more or less open question and yet I don’t want to confuse my first grader with my waffling.  At some point they will need to be introduced to the conventional theory of evolution.

When would you do this and how? Any science curricula that is especially good for grade school kids? I look forward to some new ideas on this. I do so enjoy your home schooling threads.
Many parents prefer to keep their children in the dark concerning intellectual concepts with which they disagree. This is true across the political spectrum. I consider this to be a huge mistake.

If you have read RGD, then you will know that my description of Keynesian economics, which I consider to be utter bollocks, is nevertheless so complete and correct that people have described it as one of the better summaries of it that they have ever encountered. My belief is that if something is false, the best way to understand its falsity is to know it better than its advocates. So read the sources and read the current champions, then critique it.

And if you're not capable of doing that, how do you know it is wrong?

As for the Theorum of Evolution by (probably) Natural Selection, Biased Mutation, Genetic Drift, and Gene Flow, or TE(p)NSBMGDaGF, I would recommend a child be 15 or 16 before studying it. Any younger and they won't be able to identify the obvious flaws and will be tend to be inclined to simply accept whatever they are told, whether it is TENS, monetarist economics, or magic garden fairies.

Start with an abridged version of The Origin of the Species. Then read one or two of Richard Dawkins's books; The Selfish Gene is much better than The Greatest Show on Earth because it is an explanation whereas the latter is an apology. That will ensure that the child is better-educated and more up-to-date on evolution than any graduate of the public or private schools.

Then introduce two or three of the critics. I can't recommend one, because I've never actually read any of the various books by TENS critics as I have no need to bolster my own reasons for being skeptical of the theorum. But there are plenty out there and I'm sure the readers here can recommend a few of them.

The point is that there is never any need for those dedicated to the truth to shy away from falsehood or fear it. Hit it head on. Study it. Master it. And then you will be able to explain its weak points to others. That being said, I can see the need for an Evolution curriculum; if we can find a suitably credentialed skeptic, we will likely publish one.

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218 Comments:

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Anonymous MrGreenMan June 17, 2015 3:27 PM  

A child has to be shown the intellectual history of evolution to realize it is, indeed, a best guess based on the assumption that (1) there is no God, and (2) there is no change, i.e., every process has been and is and shall be. (As such, they may see the problem with a big bang kicking it off if it really was initially a steady-state universe thing.) Teen years are probably the best because, by then, one would hope, they have been exposed to enough formal logic that they can understand argumentation.

Show them the drawings of embryos that were made to look like various animals, and tell them - this was once taught and appeared in US high school biology textbooks into the 1990s, and is a very well known fraud.

Show them the picture of giraffes stretching, and how Lamarck said that the stretching transferred to the offspring, and then show them the people who mocked this well until this present day, and then show them the research that was publicized earlier this year that shows that the genes (the DNA and, now, apparently, the proteins around them) carry experience, too, meaning that the slur "Lamarckianism" may not be so bad if Lamarck, who just wrote down what he observed and theorized, is more correct.

Absolutely know the research and the item more than the true believers. The secret is (1) the true believers ("I F'ing Love Science") do not question their own holy write but live out the caricature they make of religious believers, and (2) the truth will set you free, and there really is nothing that science can teach you that is incompatible with Christian faith, but (3) there are a lot of people who will attempt to say science disagrees with Christianity because they hate Jesus.

Blogger Brad Andrews June 17, 2015 3:34 PM  

Don't reject that 6 days means what it says just because "science" claims it is not possible. Note what God said to Job, "Where you there?"

Don't accept it just on that either, but encourage your children to challenge assumptions, not just accept "truth" as the latter can be rigged to fit whoever is telling it.

I would probably present the idea that we all evolved from slime as the fairy tail it is. Mock it for the younger ones, but don't dig into it heavily until your children are older as noted in the OP.

Blogger Trust June 17, 2015 3:35 PM  

Teach them thr truth. Evolution is man making a monkey of himself.

Blogger ScuzzaMan June 17, 2015 3:40 PM  

www.uncommondescent.com and evolutionnews.com provide great references to books, articles, etc ... often by atheists and evolutionists of various stripes (note that the pretense of settled unanimity is demonstrably false) who do an able job of dismantling their own theory(ies).

The arguments at both sites provide many opportunities for analysis of the logic involved, fallacy identification games, and etc.

Blogger David-2 June 17, 2015 3:40 PM  

VD - what do you think of David Stove's "Darwinian Fairytales"?

Blogger VD June 17, 2015 3:42 PM  

VD - what do you think of David Stove's "Darwinian Fairytales"?

What part of "I've never actually read any of the various books by TENS critics" did you find hard to understand? I haven't read it, so I don't have an opinion.

Anonymous Mike M. (minion #315) June 17, 2015 3:47 PM  

If nothing else, the kids need to learn that the science is never really settled. Part of the scientific process is to reexamine what you think you know in light of new data. And a theory that can't stand up to a challenge is a weak theory.

That mindset is probably more valuable than ANY theory.

Blogger Mussorgsky112 June 17, 2015 3:48 PM  

Personally, as a man who's not a parent but might eventually be one, I would teach as many different worldviews as possible and let the child(ren) decide what works. And, yes, I mean to go so far as telling the story of Ask and Embla as well as many others from different mythological systems. Of course, this is assuming that the child already understands the Judeo-Christian story and, hopefully, has an understanding of Truth. I figure that if I'm going to go into all the nonsense of a completely unproven and largely unprovable theory like evolution, I might as well tell of Odin, Lothur, and Hoenir.

Blogger Mussorgsky112 June 17, 2015 3:51 PM  

@Mike: A few years back, my mother called to tell me that one of Hawking's major theories had just been proved to be flawed and unworkable with our current understanding of the universe. She said she felt so terrible for him. I couldn't understand why until I remembered that she, like many people, doesn't actually understand how science works. Sure, his theory was disproved, but the cause of true science was advanced and the community is better for it. I seem to recall he said more or less the same. That's just one of countless examples of how real scientists behave rather than the ideologues who care about the Narrative far more than any real truths.

Blogger ScuzzaMan June 17, 2015 3:56 PM  

Teach them the (scientific) principle that we can judge the usefulness and accuracy of a theory by the predictions it makes, and how reality either behaves in accordance with those predictions or not. IOW, by experimentation we discover whether the theory should be retained or not.

Then start collecting examples of failed predictions (Darwin's ideas about the fossil "record", and infinite series of tiny changes between generations joining one species to another, just isn't there, for example) and successful predictions (God said Babylon would never again be inhabited, for example) ...

The math is quite simple and unavoidable on this basis.

Blogger Feather Blade June 17, 2015 3:58 PM  

In grade school it should be more important to teach the kids how to run experiments, how to observe and records what is, and how the scientific method works, rather than to tell them about theories that they don't have the background to comprehend.

We didn't start learning about Lamarck and Darwin until junior high at my school.

Anonymous VFM.0157 aka Forrest Bishop June 17, 2015 3:59 PM  

"Start with an abridged version of The Origin of the Species. Then read one or two of Richard Dawkins's books; The Selfish Gene is much better..." -VD

I'm neither a Christian nor a Darwinist but have read both and Dawkins in particular. This is a war of competing religions, and the Darwinists are by far the nastiest. In addition to reading the Darwinist material, I highly recommend some Creationist/Christian books:

*Darwin on Trial*, by Phillip E. Johnson
*Evolution: A Theory in Crisis*, by Michael Denton
*Icons of Evolution (Science or Myth?)*, by Johnathan Wells

There are all sorts of fascinating revelations in these books.
Example, Even St. Darwin Himself wrote that "if in coming years transitional forms are not found in the fossil record my theory will be in jeopardy if not completely dis-proven" (paraphrased). Decades later, hundreds of millions of fossils later, and still no clear and smooth transitional forms. The Darwinist answer? "Well that never was that important."

Speaking as a scientist, also highly recommended as an antidote to the religion of Scientism:
*Science Set Free (10 Paths to New Discovery)*, by Rupert Sheldrake.
This was originally titled *The Science Delusion* as a direct reply to Dawkins' *The God Delusion*.

The "10 Paths" are ten questions as chapter headings, e.g.
Is Nature Purposeless?,
Is All Biological Inheritance Material?,
Are Minds Confined to Brains?,
Is the Total Amount of Matter and Energy Fixed?

All of which are central tenants in the catechism of the Church of the State (what Moldbug calls the Cathedral).

Blogger Joshua Dyal June 17, 2015 4:00 PM  

Personally, as a man who's not a parent but might eventually be one, I would teach as many different worldviews as possible and let the child(ren) decide what works.

As a man who is a parent, I would never, ever, in a million years do that. They're going to be exposed to all kinds of really bad ideas already without me having to help them find more. While I've got the time and opportunity, I'm going to focus on teaching them truth, and how to find it.

Throwing stuff on the wall to see if it sticks is not one of the procedures I'll be teaching.

Blogger SirHamster (#201) June 17, 2015 4:01 PM  

If nothing else, the kids need to learn that the science is never really settled. Part of the scientific process is to reexamine what you think you know in light of new data. And a theory that can't stand up to a challenge is a weak theory.

That mindset is probably more valuable than ANY theory.


This. If they walk away from their science lessons thinking it's about holding dogmatic beliefs in specific scientific positions, they've completely failed to understand what science is.

It's a process for using incomplete information to increase understanding. Sometimes that means accepting the only thing we know is that we don't know.

Anonymous Passinthough June 17, 2015 4:01 PM  

Start simple. Teach the scientific theory and do simple experiments. Hypothesis, experiment conclusion, evaluate the hypothesis. Teach the history of science simplified version. I wish I had the science books I had in grade school..

Blogger Mussorgsky112 June 17, 2015 4:03 PM  

Joshua: Again, I said that this assumes the child already has a fundamental understanding of the Bible. Also, it handily includes evolution among all the false yet hilariously entertaining myths

Anonymous Drew_Deuce's June 17, 2015 4:08 PM  

Since younger children will generally believe what they are told, not knowing what you believe is a serious first misstep.

Dig into the material and make a choice. You cannot possibly wait until they are older, as many evolutionary & uniformitarian ideas are presented to kids on PBS. They won't stay blank slates for long.

And they'll eventually point out: "well that whole 6th day of creation where God made the dinosaurs is wrong, so this Jesus thing might not be right either..."

Anonymous DissidentRight June 17, 2015 4:09 PM  

Throwing stuff on the wall to see if it sticks is not one of the procedures I'll be teaching.

Certainly not, but children do need to be inoculated against some of these ideas (e.g., feminism, atheism, political correctness) and in particular learn to not fall for their rhetorical arguments.

Learning the lies clarifies the truth.

Anonymous WhiteKnightLeo #0368 June 17, 2015 4:15 PM  

RGD? What's the actual title? I read Hazlitt's takedown of Keynes's book, but I'd like to read yours.

Anonymous Curlytop June 17, 2015 4:16 PM  

I wholeheartedly concur with you, Vox regarding knowing your opponents' arguments better than they do.

Mindy asked for Grade-school curriculum so I am assuming these children are between 6-10? When our children are at that stage, we focused on Observational Sciences: Botany, Zoology, Marine Biology, Astronomy, Anatomy etc and getting them into the Scientific Method as was mentioned above. We really liked the Apologia Series because the layout was more Classical in Methodology. They were learning the terms, diagrams of the human body, etc. It reinforced their note-taking skills as well as research and questioning. Also, before go in knowing no textbook is perfect. In our home, we used it as part of the lesson. Our children do not look upon ANY textbook as the "Holy Writ." It's a tool.

With science in the grade-school ages, people get way too hung up on concepts that kids aren't ready for and skip all the basics in science. At that young age, cognitively kids are into exploring their world, identifying, drawing/labeling what they see, and performing basic experiments. It really goes from there into the above references.

Anonymous Jemsion Thorsby June 17, 2015 4:17 PM  

Return of the Great Depression. A good read.

Anonymous Kitty June 17, 2015 4:21 PM  

How old are the children? We like Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding for early elementary science.

Anonymous DissidentRight June 17, 2015 4:21 PM  

"well that whole 6th day of creation where God made the dinosaurs is wrong, so this Jesus thing might not be right either..."

That's a great moment to teach them about the difference between rhetoric and dialectic.

It doesn't in any way follow from the assertion that Genesis is non-literal (or even flat out wrong) that the Gospels are are non-literal or wrong.

Personally, I'm not confident in my ability to argue for YEC except via Scripture. Whereas arguing that Evolution and atheism are nonsense, that their proponents are liars, and that there certainly had to be a Creator is very easy.

Anonymous Drew_Deuce's June 17, 2015 4:29 PM  

@DissidentRight

Was Adam a real man?

Anonymous DissidentRight June 17, 2015 4:31 PM  

Was Adam a real man?

Yes.

Blogger automatthew June 17, 2015 4:39 PM  

Teach them primarily about the problems (in any given area), not the solutions. Teaching the solutions leads to key/value knowledge, without any real understanding.

If every different kind of animal and plant was orthogonally distinct from every other kind, no one would ever have proposed Common Descent.

TENS is an attempt to solve a real problem. So is YEC. So is ID.

Teach the problems, explain the theory that you believe best answers the problems, but also explain the other competing theories and how you think they are unsatisfactory.

Anonymous Drew_Deuce's June 17, 2015 4:39 PM  

Yes.

Is death a result of his sin?

Blogger automatthew June 17, 2015 4:42 PM  

A corollary of my approach is: There's nothing wrong with kooky theories, so long as the kooks are asking interesting questions. I seek out strange and kooky theories, because I have found that they almost always point out problems with the mainstream dogmas.

Proponents of the mainstream never ask good questions.

Anonymous Porphyry June 17, 2015 4:43 PM  

This may be an off topic group question but, ask yourself if the creation story wasn't in the bible would you believe it to be the literal account of what happened at the beginning of the earth? If not, then why would you claim that you have no need of extra reasons to be skeptical of evolution. Surely any student of history would wish to draw as many conclusions as possible from hard evidence and as far as I know there is no other theory for the origins of biological life with the same amount of hard evidence. (I address this to the group b/c I know there are many people on this forum that share your opinion)

Blogger automatthew June 17, 2015 4:44 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger automatthew June 17, 2015 4:45 PM  

Is death a result of his sin?

Yes. The rebellion of Adam resulted in the rebellion of the monads which make up the universe. No longer was the hierarchical authority of monad over groups of monads universally respected. As above, so below.

Anonymous Drew_Deuce's June 17, 2015 4:46 PM  

Gotta run, can't stay...

But if death proceeded for millions of years before Adam, and death wasn't a result of sin, then it's not a matter of the Jesus story being "untrue" but rather completely unneccesary.

Anonymous VFM #0247 June 17, 2015 4:48 PM  

As a special educator who co-teaches science (9-12), I heartily endorse the previous posters who said to teach experimentation and the Nature of Science (NOS). Leave the theory of evolution alone until they are around 16. By that time they should really understand what science is and what it is not.

Science is: CONPTT (we pronounce it Con pit). Consistent, Observable, Natural, Predictable, Testable, and Tentative.

Consistent: the event happens the same way every time, given the same parameters. (I throw a tennis ball up in the air, it will go up, then be pulled back down.)
Observable: I can see the ball go up and down I feel the ball in my hand, I can hear the ball as it hits the ground.
Natural: The ball is natural as it is made by humans from natural resources. The thrower is natural as he is the dominant life form on the planet.
Predictable: I know, based on experience, that I can predict that if I throw the ball up in the air, it will come back down.
Testable: I can measure, weigh, and time various parts of this event.
Tentative: If I should get data that is different (even a little bit) from the previous events, I must continue to run experiments in order to collect data to support changing/tweaking my conclusion. (Short version: nothing is settled in science. Even laws need adjusting when data supports the adjustment.)

Have fun! I really love to do physical science with kids--they love to figure out why things happen the way they do. Newton never lies!

Anonymous Stephen J. June 17, 2015 4:48 PM  

Is "theorum" a local term of art? I had assumed it was a typo for "theorem" and was about to correct Vox on this usage -- a "theorem" is a mathematically proven statement, whereas materialist macroevolution is a "theory", i.e. a coherent explanation of a natural phenomenon consistent with empirically observed evidence.

Then I suddenly thought, "Wait -- you're going to assume that Vox either can't spell or doesn't know his terms? Bad bet. What if 'theorum' is a portmanteau for 'dumb theory' or something similar and you just don't recognize it?" Hence my question.

Anonymous Elijah Rhodes June 17, 2015 4:51 PM  

I've spent a fair amount of time watching debates between theists and atheists with my kids. What these will teach them is to recognize the difference between a cogent argument and rhetoric. Often, those that claim to be on the side of science fail in basic logic.

For example, here’s William Lane Craig pointing out various things that science can not test but are taken as matter of faith (about a minute or so in):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQL2YDY_LiM


In terms of evolution, the debates that Stephen Meyer (and company... Berlinski, Behe, etc.) have done are pretty good. Here’s one that shows the typical contempt and dismissiveness that is typical for the materialist side:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sakmq5L3IiE


And speaking of Berlinski, this is a classic takedown of evolution:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z6ElA0--JNg

Anonymous DissidentRight June 17, 2015 4:51 PM  

Is death a result of his sin?

Yes.

Blogger hank.jim June 17, 2015 4:52 PM  

I'm a Christian and hold a BS in Engineering. Evolution has a role in science, but it is more relevant in biology than STEM. I can't say I have a deep understanding of evolution. It is irrelevant to what I do for a living.

It is important to not mix up Biblical creationism with the scientific understanding of Big Bang and Evolution. They are all different topics and should be treated as mutually exclusive subjects. The problems result when you try to reconcile the discrepancies and most parents/people are not educated enough to explain it sufficiently. I avoid it for it is not worth the effort for a subject that should only take a few hours to teach.

Blogger Rhology June 17, 2015 4:55 PM  

with the scientific understanding of Big Bang and Evolution.

Not repeatable. Barely is it "science".
More like "assumption", y'all.

Blogger automatthew June 17, 2015 4:57 PM  

as far as I know there is no other theory for the origins of biological life with the same amount of hard evidence.

Evolution (d.b.a. Common Descent) has zero hard evidence. It's risibly and obviously false, contradicted by reality at every turn.

Geologic column? Fabricated. Blatant counterexamples ignored or swept under the carpet.

Transitional forms? Not a one proven.

Tree of Life: controversial even among mainstream evolutionists, let alone the new cladists.

"Microevolution" is a rhetorical march-stealing. Life forms obviously adapt and change; literally no one argues that. A coyote is not a fox is not a Pekingese. That's not speciation.

Evolution is a tissue of Just-So stories, ad hoc concoctions produced only because they are absolutely necessary to maintain the mental lifestyle of atheists.

Blogger VD June 17, 2015 5:06 PM  

This may be an off topic group question but, ask yourself if the creation story wasn't in the bible would you believe it to be the literal account of what happened at the beginning of the earth?

No.

If not, then why would you claim that you have no need of extra reasons to be skeptical of evolution.

Non sequitur. I am not skeptical of TENS for reasons related in any way, shape, or form to the Bible. I was an evolution skeptic long before I was a Christian.

Surely any student of history would wish to draw as many conclusions as possible from hard evidence and as far as I know there is no other theory for the origins of biological life with the same amount of hard evidence.

There is no hard evidence for TENS. That's why I am a skeptic. TENS is a philosophy, not a science.

Anonymous DissidentRight June 17, 2015 5:08 PM  

But if death proceeded for millions of years before Adam, and death wasn't a result of sin, then it's not a matter of the Jesus story being "untrue" but rather completely unneccesary.

Nope. It's a historical fact that Jesus preformed miracles (including resurrection), was crucified, and then rose from the dead and appeared to many witnesses, and that all this reasonably demonstrates his claims about Godhood and salvation, etc.

Theistic evolutionists can make whatever claims they want to make, but those claims have no bearing on the historical facts of Jesus.

Personally, I do reject Evolution for precisely the reason you gave, but that's merely a preference for theological consistency--but theology isn't consistent anyway.

However, I am less concerned about the inconsistency of "death before sin" and more concerned about the fact that we have no frame of reference for grasping how the laws of nature could possibly have functioned prior to the Fall...unless we tweak the definition of "death" to allow for things like the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, cell death, decomposition, microorganisms killing each other, etc. That's when you start trying to define "death" as something that has to have a spiritual connection, at which point you notice that if animals don't have souls, do their deaths have any theological significance that is non-symbolic?

I would say, we have no idea what we are talking about, so we should 1) broadly accept what Scripture seems to be saying while 2) being open minded to reasonable scientific claims, even if those claims seem to introduce theological problems.

Blogger haus frau June 17, 2015 5:08 PM  

Hi I'm mindy. My oldest is turning 6 next month but does first grade math and second grade reading. It's very early to be worrying about teaching him evolution I know this. But like I said,all our science books from the library use the evolutionary timescale so I'm forced to address it. He corrects me if I try to skip over it. I lean toward literal interpretation of Genesis but I'm open to different Christian views. Afterall, i wasnt there. I thought Stick wicks ideas were interesting. Im curgently reading an apologetics book by Peter Kreeft. He believes genesis creation model to be figurative. I'm not so sure about that. Suggestions on Christian curricula for first grade and apologetics for adults are very welcome. Sooo thank you Vox for the advice to teach TENS in high school. That's easy enough.

OpenID simplytimothy June 17, 2015 5:09 PM  

My belief is that if something is false, the best way to understand its falsity is to know it better than its advocates.

This is one hallmark of an honest mind and a precursor to fruitful debate.

Steven Meyer in his book "Darwins Doubt" (which I have only begun to read) starts by laying out the Darwinian case; Although I have nothing to compare it against, I am confident that Meyer is providing a quality primer on Darwinism as a stepping stone to its critique. Furthermore, he recommends a textbook Evolution that he claims is best of breed for understanding the subject in depth.

David Berlinski employs this cast of mind to admirable effect. One humorous effect being his catechism of quantum cosmology .

Anonymous George of the Jungle June 17, 2015 5:10 PM  

They need some information theory and 2nd law thermodynamics to get at the heart of why evolution is complete nonsense.

Or you could just tell them it's another form of ancestor worship.

Anonymous DissidentRight June 17, 2015 5:11 PM  

Personally, I do reject Evolution for precisely the reason you gave ->

Poorly worded! I reject *theistic* Evolution (i.e., the sort of thing that some ID people will tolerate in some way) for that reason (death before sin). You don't need to appeal to the Bible to reject Evolution in general.

Blogger SirHamster (#201) June 17, 2015 5:13 PM  

Is "theorum" a local term of art? I had assumed it was a typo for "theorem" and was about to correct Vox on this usage -- a "theorem" is a mathematically proven statement, whereas materialist macroevolution is a "theory", i.e. a coherent explanation of a natural phenomenon consistent with empirically observed evidence.

Searching for the word and bypassing Google autocorrect yielded this:

"Theorum (rhymes with decorum, apparently) is a neologism proposed by Richard Dawkins in The Greatest Show on Earth to distinguish the scientific meaning of theory from the colloquial meaning."

Anonymous Earl June 17, 2015 5:17 PM  

"Then introduce two or three of the critics. I can't recommend one, because I've never actually read any"

I thought you just read Karl Popper like, last year?

(See what I did there)

Blogger hank.jim June 17, 2015 5:19 PM  

"I am not skeptical of TENS for reasons related in any way, shape, or form to the Bible. I was an evolution skeptic long before I was a Christian."

I agree. Evolution's problem isn't evidence or lack of. While people might think evidence will prove the theory and thus no God, which makes atheists very happy, the issue is much deeper. There's no way Evolution can be proven to have occurred despite the scientific method. Did this happen at all? We will never know.

Blogger automatthew June 17, 2015 5:23 PM  

Walter ReMine makes the claim that Evolution can be disproved. The Biotic Message elaborates on that claim.

His thesis is that if life was designed, and if the designer wanted to make clear that life was designed, he would find a way to send that message in the very nature of the design, and in such a way that almost no amount of noise could destroy the signal.

Blogger Rabbi B June 17, 2015 5:28 PM  

"Evolution's problem isn't evidence or lack of."

Evolution fails for one simple reason: the theory cannot adequately answer causality, specifically First Cause, as a number of people have already asserted in a variety of ways.

If there was a spontaneous 'big bang', what laws already existed that governed combustion, reactions, etc.? From where did those laws originate?

Blogger SirHamster (#201) June 17, 2015 5:29 PM  

His thesis is that if life was designed, and if the designer wanted to make clear that life was designed, he would find a way to send that message in the very nature of the design, and in such a way that almost no amount of noise could destroy the signal.

Image of God?

Anonymous DissidentRight June 17, 2015 5:31 PM  

Evolution fails for one simple reason: the theory cannot adequately answer causality

That's an objection to atheism, less an objection to Universal Common Descent, unless you point out that randomness doesn't cause information.

Blogger Stephen Ward June 17, 2015 5:38 PM  

"But if death proceeded for millions of years before Adam, and death wasn't a result of sin, then it's not a matter of the Jesus story being "untrue" but rather completely unneccesary."

Did plants die before the fall? Did cockroaches?

Blogger Rabbi B June 17, 2015 5:39 PM  

"That's an objection to atheism, less an objection to Universal Common Descent . . "

There are only two possible real worldviews: The evolutionary one in all its' various forms or a Creator that created ex nihilo. Take your pick.

The former is easily disproved.

Blogger Cinco June 17, 2015 5:42 PM  

"His thesis is that if life was designed, and if the designer wanted to make clear that life was designed, he would find a way to send that message in the very nature of the design, and in such a way that almost no amount of noise could destroy the signal."

Genetic code... And code implies a coder.

Anonymous Gogu June 17, 2015 5:46 PM  

I highly recommend Genesis, Creation, and Early Man. It contains the Christian perspective on the genesis of man, notes on the philosophy and the spirituality of evolution (yes, there is such a thing), interesting ideas about why the pre-flood man lived longer than the post-flood man, why the dinosaurs went extinct and also a lot of references to many creationist books, some of them recommended for such purposes of children education.

Blogger subject by design June 17, 2015 5:49 PM  

I also like Apologia science for teaching the younger children. (And the older)

Blogger automatthew June 17, 2015 5:50 PM  

Sir Hamster & Cinco:

ReMine's idea is waaaay more interesting than that. One of his claims is that the reason that even cladistics can't identify a clear tree of life is that the Designer intentionally prevented it by the kind of cosmic practical joke that fools call "convergent evolution".

Blogger automatthew June 17, 2015 5:57 PM  

As a sidebar, ReMine was also very interested in Haldane's Dilemma, which is very close to what Vox has apparently independently invented with his hard questions about quantifying the rate of evolution.

Blogger Rantor June 17, 2015 5:57 PM  

I like some of the resources at reasons to believe, a group of scientists who are simply described as old earth creationists. They may be wrong on that, but their chemical explanation of why the primordial ooze couldn't produce life as we know it is convincing.

Blogger Rantor June 17, 2015 5:58 PM  

Sorry, reasons to believe web site is reasons.org.

Anonymous Wyrd June 17, 2015 6:04 PM  

If evolution simply means that a positive thing called an ape turned very slowly into a positive thing called a man, then it is stingless for the most orthodox; for a personal God might just as well do things slowly as quickly, especially if, like the Christian God, he were outside time.
-G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

Anonymous BGS June 17, 2015 6:08 PM  

would teach as many different worldviews as possible and let the child(ren) decide what works.

Don't you worry LaQueeffa has those covered. You should decide what you believe then teach it to your kids, then teach skepticism for when they encounter." If Quinton has 5 apples and Trayboon has 1 apple how much white privilege does Quinton have?"
https://soundcloud.com/pbaklinski/lesbian-math-teacher-quotes
"A lesbian teacher ‘married’ to another woman revealed at a pro-gay teachers’ conference in April 2015 how she teaches grade 4-5 students to accept homosexuality through what she called “social justice” math."

Blogger Feather Blade June 17, 2015 6:09 PM  

But like I said,all our science books from the library use the evolutionary timescale so I'm forced to address it. He corrects me if I try to skip over it.

Perhaps an explanation like: "This is a story that people invented to explain the origins of life the universe and everything without involving God. We'll study more about it after you understand what science is, what it isn't, and how to do it."

It's all a matter of explaining at an age-appropriate level - for example, if a three-year-old asks "Where do babies come from?", most people panic and try to explain junior highschool level biology concepts... when all you have to say is "Babies come from Mommies and Daddies."

Blogger Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus June 17, 2015 6:15 PM  

It's all a matter of explaining at an age-appropriate level - for example, if a three-year-old asks "Where do babies come from?", most people panic and try to explain junior highschool level biology concepts... when all you have to say is "Babies come from Mommies and Daddies."

Apparently, when I was about six or seven, I solved this one for myself by reading all about it in my Mom's anatomy and physiology textbook she had left over from nursing school. As the family story goes, one day, about a year later, I was walking with my Aunt, and we saw two mayflies gettin' biddy. I asked her about it, and she started to make up one of those "adults avoiding embarrassment" explanations, and I was like, "Oh no, Aunt Ellen, they're..." and proceeded to go into the gory details.

Blogger Feather Blade June 17, 2015 6:15 PM  

If there was a spontaneous 'big bang', what laws already existed that governed combustion, reactions, etc.? From where did those laws originate?

In the beginning, there was Nothing, which exploded...

Blogger SirHamster (#201) June 17, 2015 6:20 PM  

ReMine's idea is waaaay more interesting than that. One of his claims is that the reason that even cladistics can't identify a clear tree of life is that the Designer intentionally prevented it by the kind of cosmic practical joke that fools call "convergent evolution".

Or that the analysis tool is just innately worthless.

Can one build a "tree of life" for any designed product? Did those designers even have to try to make it impossible to confuse their artifact with a random unguided process?

That said, point on apparentness of design extending far beyond humanity. It should be obvious even without looking at biological life.

Blogger Eraser June 17, 2015 6:27 PM  

I'm trying to understand something and I hope the regulars of the blog can enlighten me about it: What is the main objection that Christians have against the theory of evolution? Why the focus against this specific theory?

I know some reasons it's not:

It's not just an anti-science bias because Christians are, in general, not anti-science. The objections seem to be specific to evolution and genetics.

It shouldn't be for lack of empirical support. This support may have been weak decades ago, but ever since we've been able to sequence DNA, the empirical base for evolution has been pretty strong. Certainly stronger than that of the early days of Quantum Mechanics and Relativity, when both of those theories hung on the result of a few obscure experiments that could only be interpreted by specialists (and I don't remember a backlash against them).

Neither would evolution "disprove" the existence of God. Evolution could simply be the way God chose to populate the Earth. Unless you happen to believe that the six days are literally six days, but I understand that's a minority position among evangelicals while the Catholic church explicitly disavows biblical literalism.

So what could be the reason? Is it some theological argument that I'm not aware of? Or maybe it's because, in practice, many champions of evolution have been rabid anti-christians (I'm talking Dawkins et al., even though it didn't have to be so)?

Anonymous PhillipGeorge©2015 June 17, 2015 6:33 PM  

there is never any need for those dedicated to the truth to shy away from falsehood

the sheer diversion of resources/ the simple "opportunity cost"/ time badly wasted.

to the day I leave earth I'll be ignorant of dozens, hundreds of details about Islam, Mormonism. It would waste my time.

three hours of reading on thermodynamics / entropy and basic information theory is all you need to tell you evolution is a crock of shit and proponents are highly qualified fools. Fools of the highest order.

Most People Are Idiots who will pay for their arrogance, not their ignorance. Global Warming was sciences last hurrah. Intellectual death to academia, an entire generation laid waste. Economies in ruin.

Anonymous Forrest Bishop VFM #0167 June 17, 2015 6:40 PM  

64. Feather Blade

Perhaps an explanation like: "This is a story that people invented to explain the origins of life the universe and everything without involving God. We'll study more about it after you understand what science is, what it isn't, and how to do it."
--------------------

Explaining the origin of life and the Universe is not science at all: if it were it would be a reproducible result. This is where alleged scientists are overstepping and creating a new, State-sponsored religion, creation mythology and all.
No one has ever created a Universe out of no-thing.
No one has ever created a living thing out of non-living things.
No one has ever created a new species by accelerated mutation, despite many attempts such as bombarding microorganisms with radiation over thousands of generations.
(One way we know of to create a new species is by combining two older ones. That is reproducible. It's also the exact antithesis of Darwinism, being a form of saltation.)
A scientist has got to know his limits.

Anonymous PhillipGeorge©2015 June 17, 2015 6:43 PM  

Eraser, cut to the chase. Go into a laboratory and randomly expend energy in any way you like and demonstrate entropy randomly lowering.
Randomly apply energetic noise to any information and watch the information content improve. Like Eminem become Shakespeare.
Explode any big bangs you like and explain usable energy gradients coalescing out of the explosion.

Blogger Feather Blade June 17, 2015 6:45 PM  

This is where alleged scientists are overstepping and creating a new, State-sponsored religion, creation mythology and all.

Exactly! And when one points this out to them, saying that their myth is boring and suffers from pacing problems, they have the gall to assert that the Big Bang theory and evolutionary theory can't be connected into a single narrative.

Blogger SirHamster (#201) June 17, 2015 6:45 PM  

I'm trying to understand something and I hope the regulars of the blog can enlighten me about it: What is the main objection that Christians have against the theory of evolution? Why the focus against this specific theory?

As an engineer, because it's worthless as an explanation for anything.

As a Christian then, the theory not having truth to it is reason enough to object. Its history as a weapon against Christianity does encourage some extra antipathy. As a YEC Christian, I also disbelieve that death precedes Man's Fall.

That said, evolution does not exclude the historical facts of Christianity. The universe and life have a beginning, and God would be the Cause even if evolution had happened. (if evolution did happen, it would require repeated miraculous intervention to make new designs appear on the evolutionary timescales)

It shouldn't be for lack of empirical support. This support may have been weak decades ago, but ever since we've been able to sequence DNA, the empirical base for evolution has been pretty strong.

Being able to find common "code" between two designs is not exclusively explained by the theory that there was a gradual iteration between them. A common designer also explains the observation.

Blogger Joe A. June 17, 2015 6:48 PM  

Forgive my ignorance, but is a creationist someone who strictly believes in God creating the universe in six days, or does it also include other theistic time spans?

Blogger Feather Blade June 17, 2015 6:53 PM  

Neither would evolution "disprove" the existence of God. Evolution could simply be the way God chose to populate the Earth.

If one accepts the Genesis account as true, it is written that God created the plants and gave them fruit and seeds according to their own kinds, and that He created the animals, each according to its own kind, and He created man according to his kind, and that among the animal none were found to be a suitable match for the man, so God created Woman as the appropriate counterpart to Man.

The "created each according to its own kind" part directly contradicts the evolutionary ideas of "all life from a common ancestor" and "environmental pressure changes one species to another different species (e.g. reptiles becoming birds, or lower apes becoming humans)"

Blogger S1AL June 17, 2015 6:55 PM  

Joe A. - former is a "young-earth" creationist, latter is "old-earth" creationist. A few people use a hybrid of the two that involves time modulation, but that is essentially an old-earth position.

Blogger Rooted in Him June 17, 2015 6:55 PM  

Oh my Lord. What a loaded subject. I am a born-again Christian, teaching biology and earth science in public schools. I have had DECADES to think about this, but I am not going to put my conclusions here. Well, except for this, "I believe that the heavens and the earth are full of the glory of God."

On the other hand, when I was just starting out in biology, back in the 1970's I was given some of the foundational books on Creation Science and Creatianism.

I never did figure out if the people who wrote them did not understand science, how science works, and basic scientific principles; or whether they were lying through their teeth.

I do know that they fooled an awful lot of people. That is, there is a power there that is not of the Lord.

My suggestion? Do what VoxDay recommends to read some basic evolution texts and read some legitimate criticism, but stay away from the Creationists.

Blogger SirHamster (#201) June 17, 2015 6:56 PM  

Forgive my ignorance, but is a creationist someone who strictly believes in God creating the universe in six days, or does it also include other theistic time spans?

A creationist is usually used to refer to Young Earth Creationist ... but strictly speaking would include anyone who believes that life/the universe was created by god(s).

Old Earth Creationists are a subset of "creationist". OEC may believe some form of theistic evolution, but not necessarily.

Trying to contrast "creationist" with "evolutionist" can get messy very quickly due to that. Extra confusion if it is being argued that evolution is a only a theory of life's origin, as creationist does include the origin of the universe.

Anonymous sconzey June 17, 2015 7:04 PM  

I can see the need for an Evolution curriculum; if we can find a suitably credentialed skeptic, we will likely publish one.

Shameless plug: My mother probably isn't sufficiently credentialed, but the parents here might be interested in her Creation Family Science sessions.

Anonymous Forrest Bishop VFM #0167 June 17, 2015 7:11 PM  

72. Feather Blade June 17, 2015 6:45 PM

" This is where alleged scientists are overstepping and creating a new, State-sponsored religion, creation mythology and all." -FB

Exactly! And when one points this out to them, saying that their myth is boring and suffers from pacing problems, they have the gall to assert that the Big Bang theory and evolutionary theory can't be connected into a single narrative. -the other FB

Haven't heard that one. The usual Canon of the State cribs from Genesis (in the beginning was the Big Bang...), adds some details about galaxy and stellar evolution, then to stars forming the heavier elements, then onto the nebular hypothesis of planet formation, the condensation of the Earth and its ocean, the primordial soup, then Darwin. Each and every step of this mythology is either demonstrably false or subject to revision beyond recognition.

OpenID simplytimothy June 17, 2015 7:14 PM  

Forgive my ignorance, but is a creationist someone who strictly believes in God creating the universe in six days, or does it also include other theistic time spans?

What SirHamster (#201) said

Frequent commenter Stickwick has an interesting proposed synthesis that will resolve the YEC/OEC debate if it holds up. You can read about that here: http://sixdayscience.com/six-days-2/



Blogger Giraffe June 17, 2015 7:15 PM  

I second the recommendation for Icons of Evolution

Darwins Black Box by Michael Behe is a little tougher read. I don't think I even finished it myself. The TLDR on it is irreducible complexity, which is an important concept.

OpenID simplytimothy June 17, 2015 7:17 PM  

My suggestion? Do what VoxDay recommends to read some basic evolution texts and read some legitimate criticism, but stay away from the Creationists.

Or take the time to fully understand the various Creationist arguments such that one can state them in terms that they will agree is the best summary of the position evah(!) and from that starting point, build a counter case.

Anonymous PhillipGeorge©2015 June 17, 2015 7:20 PM  

suitably credentialed skeptic love it. If one goes into a whore house prudence is unlikely to receive recognition, less likely to be awarded honors. In modern academia a stretched orifice is considered 'credentialed'. And now they have the Jade coloured Helm of government steering. Cry havoc.

good to see U in form Sir Hamster.

Anonymous Forrest Bishop VFM #0167 June 17, 2015 7:36 PM  

82. Giraffe June
I second the recommendation for Icons of Evolution

Darwins Black Box by Michael Behe is a little tougher read. I don't think I even finished it myself. The TLDR on it is irreducible complexity, which is an important concept.
----------------------------

Yes! I would have added Behe but I couldn't locate his book fast enough. Do you have the first paperback edition of *Icons of Evolution*? My (ex) Mexican girlfriend thinks the protohuman, just behind the white man, just ahead of the erectus dude, looks like a Mexican. She hates Mexicans (sorry Vox).

OpenID simplytimothy June 17, 2015 7:38 PM  

PhillipGeorge©2015 weaves into an idea I have with this statement:

to the day I leave earth I'll be ignorant of dozens, hundreds of details about Islam, Mormonism. It would waste my time.

How can we safely ignore an idea?

Off hand, I have a few metrics

1. What is its root idea, from whence did this leaf spring? I consider the source ideas as flawed and therefore I can safely reject the leaf based on the root.
2. What are its fruits?
3. Do I need to know this for a specific task? (war with Islam would be an example of this need to know)

This raises some questions.

What other metrics are there?
What ideas are 'root' ideas? For if I know these, I "know" most things.
Is this model safe? I.e. will I be falsely rejecting 'root' ideas?

meh. Some dude in Egypt probably tackled this 5000 years ago.


Anonymous Porphyry June 17, 2015 7:40 PM  

@VD "There is no hard evidence for TENS." There is hard evidence for random genetic mutation. I think you would say that this doesn't apply. But it clearly provides an example of the suggested mechanism creating change. Surely one doesn't need to observe a specific murder taking place to believe that a man that has access to the only gun in the room shot the gunshot victim.

Blogger Shevi S June 17, 2015 7:47 PM  

When I taught evolution to high school students, I told them that it was something that scientists said, not necessarily the truth. Some of them said that they didn't believe ti because it didn't make sense, or that it contradicted the Bible. And I skipped the pages with Heackel's faked embryo drawings.

Blogger Shevi S June 17, 2015 7:49 PM  

Behe's "The Edge of Evolution" is good since it quantifies stuff.

Blogger VD June 17, 2015 7:49 PM  

There is hard evidence for random genetic mutation.

Yes.

But it clearly provides an example of the suggested mechanism creating change.

No. Your logic is incompetent.

Surely one doesn't need to observe a specific murder taking place to believe that a man that has access to the only gun in the room shot the gunshot victim.

Yowzers. That's akin to trying to use the fact that sparks can start a fire to prove that someone who wasn't there used a gun you can't find shot the gunshot victim. Do you not understand how your inept arguments only reinforce our skepticism? Look, you aren't even capable of constructing a reasonable analogy and you seriously think you're going to successfully address MY skepticism on the subject?

I mean, I welcome the efforts, but that's beyond optimistic.

Anonymous Porphyry June 17, 2015 7:51 PM  

@Rabbi "Evolution fails for one simple reason: the theory cannot adequately answer causality, specifically" A theory doesn't have to have an explanation for everything. For example general relativity and quantum mechanics in their current state contradict one another. That doesn't mean I'm forced to act as if both of them didn't exist, or even be a skeptic about either one. However for this particular example that is irrelevant as someone already pointed out this is an objection to atheism not ens. So, not to be rude, but your doubly wrong.

Blogger SirHamster (#201) June 17, 2015 7:54 PM  

"There is no hard evidence for TENS."

There is hard evidence for random genetic mutation. I think you would say that this doesn't apply. But it clearly provides an example of the suggested mechanism creating change.


That change is an example of evolution if you define evolution as any type of change.

It is not an example of evolution if you define evolution as the progressive development of single-celled organisms into complex multi-cellular organisms like human beings.

Surely one doesn't need to observe a specific murder taking place to believe that a man that has access to the only gun in the room shot the gunshot victim.

Yes. That's called Intelligent Design.

TENS is closer to a theory that the gun spontaneously assembled itself from raw materials and shot the man without anyone pulling the trigger. If you question that version of events, why do you hate Settled Science?

Anonymous Porphyry June 17, 2015 7:57 PM  

@VD "prove" Perhaps your logic needs reworking Ive taken a couple undergrad classes so lets hope I do better than Scalzi. --- what I am looking to do here is to draw the best conclusion from the evidence available. So far the only options are that God granted that he necessarily exists popped animals of all species into existence at some point in the past over a time period of 6 days. Or creatures gradually diverged from one common ancestor as a result of genetic mutation to the current state they are today. So which case is more like your example and which is more like mine? Ill give you a hint one of them uses the word popped.

Blogger automatthew June 17, 2015 8:02 PM  

So far the only options are that God granted that he necessarily exists popped animals of all species into existence at some point in the past over a time period of 6 days. Or creatures gradually diverged from one common ancestor as a result of genetic mutation to the current state they are today.

Facepalm dichotomy.

Blogger automatthew June 17, 2015 8:04 PM  

Evolutionists always lie.

Anonymous Porphyry June 17, 2015 8:06 PM  

@automatthew give me another option

Blogger automatthew June 17, 2015 8:07 PM  

Porphyry,

Lloyd Pie

Ted Holden

Koanic Soul

Walter ReMine

Michael Behe

William Dembski

Anonymous Porphyry June 17, 2015 8:07 PM  

@automatthew does this help: aliens popped all animals into existence

Blogger kh123 June 17, 2015 8:07 PM  

...So we're at the point that it needs be said: Murder investigations largely revolve around possible motives, i.e., intent. Either before any evidence is gathered or when it has gone as far as it can.

Blogger automatthew June 17, 2015 8:08 PM  

Because I know you're a lying dunce, I'll help you out in one case. ReMine appears to have proposed something that might be called Designer Saltation.

Blogger J Thomas June 17, 2015 8:10 PM  

Vox, are you somewhat agnostic on the whole young earth/old earth debate? Have you made a post before on your specific views of creation? That is, how it happened? And do you consider reading genesis allegorically dangerous or heretical?

Anonymous DissidentRight June 17, 2015 8:11 PM  

There are only two possible real worldviews: The evolutionary one in all its' various forms or a Creator that created ex nihilo. Take your pick.

The former is easily disproved.


True. But if someone wants to propose a particular mode of creation, based on reasonable arguments, I'm willing to listen.

What is the main objection that Christians have against the theory of evolution?

The main objection that EVERYONE should have against the TOE is that life is engineered (designed, coded, specified, whatever) and no mechanism (other than a designER) has *actually* been proposed that can account for this engineering. Randomness + selection doesn't actually design anything. (The fact that all credible origins theories point to theism is hardly the fault of theism.)

It shouldn't be for lack of empirical support.

There is no data that unambiguously supports the TOE, which is not surprising given that all TOE predictions are either ambiguous or flat out wrong.

There is hard evidence for random genetic mutation. I think you would say that this doesn't apply. But it clearly provides an example of the suggested mechanism creating change.

Change != engineering, RM+NS is irrelevant.

Anonymous Porphyry June 17, 2015 8:13 PM  

@automatthewK Im not going to go through all of these guys looking for their own account of whata happened bc 99% of it is them poking fun at evolution all Im looking for is a creationist theory that doesnt use evolution and doesn't use the word popped or some equivalent. I was homeschooled and I had apologetics in highschool so Ive had countless hours of exposure to intellectual heavyweight creationists and I've yet to see one, but Im happy to be shown otherwise.

Anonymous Anonymous June 17, 2015 8:15 PM  

DNA based cladistics paints a remarkably clear picture of a sequential process of change. I wonder what we could call it? Other hints are written in the rocks.

But maybe all seeming evidences for evolution are lies set to deceive us. Step right up, Manicheanism beckons.

Anonymous Porphyry June 17, 2015 8:19 PM  

@DRight"The main objection that EVERYONE should have against the TOE is that life is engineered (designed, coded, specified, whatever) and no mechanism (other than a designER) has *actually* been proposed that can account for this engineering." Mental causes are the weakest explanation b/c they can have an arbitrarily large number of prerequisites.

Anonymous DissidentRight June 17, 2015 8:20 PM  

Im not going to go through all of these guys looking for their own account of whata happened bc 99% of it is them poking fun at evolution all Im looking for is a creationist theory that doesnt use evolution and doesn't use the word popped or some equivalent.

Until you can explain how HUMAN designers / engineers / coders / authors / etc. produce THEIR works without the equivalent of "popping", you are hardly in a position to criticize God for doing it.

YECs do not object to the existence of RM + NS, or (lower case) evolution, or even some limited form of common descent. What we deny is that RM + NS can possibly engineer or design anything, and we deny that life has a UNIVERSAL common ancestor, since both of those claims are silly. Obviously all dogs had a common dog ancestor, for example.

We don't even deny that God reused a lot of his code, all over the place. But just because all life has DNA, or because there are classifications like "mammals", that doesn't magically imply a UCA.

Anonymous DissidentRight June 17, 2015 8:24 PM  

Mental causes are the weakest explanation b/c they can have an arbitrarily large number of prerequisites.

They are also the strongest explanation for design. Since they, are in fact, the only explanation. RM + NS is not an explanation for design. RM + NS is just something irrelevant that happens in the background, like the erosion of Mt. Rushmore.

Anonymous Porphyry June 17, 2015 8:24 PM  

Let's get this straight. The question is not whether God created the universe. I believe that it is a logical necessity that he did. But whether or not ENS actually happened.

Anonymous Porphyry June 17, 2015 8:26 PM  

"They are also the strongest explanation for design." natural selection could be considered a form of designing. Now do you see my point?

Anonymous DissidentRight June 17, 2015 8:30 PM  

natural selection could be considered a form of designing

Wrong, unless you think the erosion of Mt. Rushmore is a "form of designing", or waves crashing into your sand castle is a "form of designing". So we'll stick with wrong.

Blogger maniacprovost June 17, 2015 8:30 PM  

"What is the main objection that Christians have against the theory of evolution?"

Poorly educated atheists think that the historical theory of evolution, if true, disproves divine creation and therefore the existence of God for some reason. Clearly that's nonsense, so we just argue that TENS is a stupid theory.

Personally, I have no problem with most of the underlying processes that are theorized such as genetic algorithms.

Blogger VD June 17, 2015 8:34 PM  

So far the only options are that God granted that he necessarily exists popped animals of all species into existence at some point in the past over a time period of 6 days. Or creatures gradually diverged from one common ancestor as a result of genetic mutation to the current state they are today. So which case is more like your example and which is more like mine? Ill give you a hint one of them uses the word popped.

As I pointed out, your logic is incompetent. There are considerably more options than the two you present. What you have presented is a false dichotomy.

You are clearly in considerably over your head here. You've already made two major blunders. You should probably stop trying to argue now.

Blogger VD June 17, 2015 8:36 PM  

Vox, are you somewhat agnostic on the whole young earth/old earth debate? Have you made a post before on your specific views of creation? That is, how it happened? And do you consider reading genesis allegorically dangerous or heretical?

I lean pretty strongly old earth, but I'm open-minded on the subject. No, I have no views on them. No, I think one can read a text multiple ways in attempting to understand it.

Anonymous Porphyry June 17, 2015 8:38 PM  

"Wrong, unless you think the erosion of Mt. Rushmore is a "form of designing", or waves crashing into your sand castle is a "form of designing". So we'll stick with wrong." Wait so if I drove a motorboat 20 ft from shore and the wake crashed your sandcastle I have no responsibility for doing so? ---- "you are hardly in a position to criticize God for doing it."
Anyway ,if you take a disagreement on historical method as criticizing God, then there is no point in us continuing this.

Blogger SirHamster (#201) June 17, 2015 8:38 PM  

Learning to use line-breaks in the meantime would also be nice.

Anonymous Forrest Bishop VFM #0167 June 17, 2015 8:44 PM  

98. Porphyry
@automatthew does this help: aliens popped all animals into existence

And a quantum fluctuation in a non-existent void popped the entire Universe into existence.

Anonymous Porphyry June 17, 2015 8:47 PM  

@VD Ah Vox so quick to apply falacies; Red herring much? I was pointing out literally the only two topics that were seriously under discussion in this thread. Its not a freakin dichotomy. Do the words "so far" mean nothing to you? Who ever heard of a time stamped dichotomy? Now that I got my rant out of the way. Lemme try to explain your argument since you have failed to do so: Evolution is so bad that presumably any other theory for how the world works is better than it. I sincerely hope that is not your belief and i have good reason to doubt that it is, but you seem to be slowly chipping away at those reasons.

Blogger SirHamster (#201) June 17, 2015 8:49 PM  

"you seem to be"

Drink!

Anonymous Earl June 17, 2015 8:49 PM  

Evolution is pop after pop into existence- organs, behaviors, cooperation. The Cambrian explosion popped too.

Bible has talking animals!
Evolution has talking animals!
YouTube has talking animals!

Blogger Daniel June 17, 2015 8:52 PM  

Evolution has had a precipitous fall since 2010 or so vs. the harder sciences. The textbooks are simply lagging. Teaching evolution as anything but an important historical error is akin to teaching global warming.

Anonymous mattos June 17, 2015 8:54 PM  

I recommend Darwin's Black Box for high school kids.

Anonymous Porphyry June 17, 2015 8:56 PM  

"you seem to be" Used as a warning it doesn't count. I believe you owe me a drink sir.

Anonymous mattos June 17, 2015 8:56 PM  

For a book written by a skeptic I mean.

Blogger Bernard Brandt June 17, 2015 9:02 PM  

By the bye, Vox, the title of Darwin's work is "On The Origin of Species", though it can be shortened to "The Origin of Species".

It is not "The Origin of The Species".

Knowing that you like to get things exactly right, I just thought you might like to know.

Cheers.

Anonymous Forrest Bishop VFM #0167 June 17, 2015 9:03 PM  

100. automatthew
Because I know you're a lying dunce, I'll help you out in one case. ReMine appears to have proposed something that might be called Designer Saltation.
-------------------

That's interesting. Who is ReMine? The idea fits the fossil record if you allow for an incremental Creation and/or creation. The fossil record states (among other things) in fairly certain terms:

1) A species appears as if from out of nowhere.
2) That species persists unchanged in its form, sometimes for millions of years (or 'a long time'*).
3) The species goes extinct.
4) New species appear in the same, sudden way, some of which look similar to the others.

* We really do not know what "a long time" means. Radioactive decay is pretty good for things like Al26 on a scale of ~100,000 years (I'm not double checking facts here), really doubleplus flaky for C14 on a scale of 0-40,000 years, and totally unreliable in the cases of millions or billions of years, for numerous reasons.

Blogger Foster June 17, 2015 9:03 PM  

This smells like a trap, but it's *The Origin of Species*, not *The Origin of the Species*.

Anonymous Toby Temple June 17, 2015 9:10 PM  

Porphyry. Evolution is not synonymous with change. FYI

Anonymous Prophryry June 17, 2015 9:12 PM  

As fun as this back and forth is, people are going to have start disagreeing with me by by premise letter if they want to get anywhere.
A: Evolution is the the theory with the most hard evidence
B: Some hard evidence counts more than others
C: Hard evidence of a designer only counts against evolution in a minimal way. Similar to the way that knowing that someone built a building doesn't tell you anything about the tools
D: for a skeptic of evolutionary theory the burden of proof is such that they must show that there is a particular theory that is better than evolution.
E: in the absence of a specific alternative one must assume that the skeptic is claiming that all theories are better.

Blogger J Thomas June 17, 2015 9:13 PM  

No, I have no views on them.

Is that due to just a lack of interest in comparison to other topics you find more interesting and/or more important (you don't care)? Or is the general question outside of your focus/expertise? Or do you think the current state of affairs/"known knowledge" cannot prove it one way or another? Honestly just curious.

Anonymous Chip Sodbury June 17, 2015 9:16 PM  

Vox, you need to grow out of this nonsense.

I admire how bullheaded you are but bullheadedness when you're wrong -- and have no excuse not to know it -- is taking it too far.


Anonymous The other robot June 17, 2015 9:33 PM  

By the bye, Vox, the title of Darwin's work is "On The Origin of Species", though it can be shortened to "The Origin of Species".

Isn't it actually: On the origin of species by means of natural selection

Although, the "by means of natural selection" was the second line and in a smaller typeface.

Anonymous Porphyry June 17, 2015 9:33 PM  

@Toby I believe that to be a disagreement with premise A: If so, mostly, irrelevant: evolution is synonymous with change on a largish scale; unless you don't believe in genetic mutation. And I would also call your attention to D.

Anonymous Stickwick June 17, 2015 9:47 PM  

Drew_Deuce's: But if death proceeded for millions of years before Adam, and death wasn't a result of sin, then it's not a matter of the Jesus story being "untrue" but rather completely unneccesary.

Physicist and theologian, Gerald Schroeder, makes a convincing case that the death brought into the world due to Adam's sin was a spiritual death rather than a physical one. Interpreting Genesis this way makes more sense to me, and it resolves a lot of problems.

Anonymous PhillipGeorge©2015 June 17, 2015 10:00 PM  

turn your bullshitometers on:

On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life

is the full title.

favoured by what or by whom?

like Dawkins' strand of chemicals can be 'selfish'. Locate the vanity end of the same string of DNA.

variations between species within genus and families are largely trivial. No kind of animal has ever morphed into another kind of animal through x number of random beneficial mutations. It's mathematically impossible.

Anonymous Porphyry June 17, 2015 10:04 PM  

" It's mathematically impossible." oh really? Im open to changing my mind. show me the equations.

Blogger automatthew June 17, 2015 10:08 PM  

Porphyria's a midwit with an unusually innocuous case of D/K.

Forrest Bishop VFM #0167: Search this thread for my earlier mention of Walter ReMine.

Anonymous The other robot June 17, 2015 10:16 PM  

@Toby I believe that to be a disagreement with premise A: If so, mostly, irrelevant: evolution is synonymous with change on a largish scale; unless you don't believe in genetic mutation. And I would also call your attention to D.

Actually, I think that Evolution is a change in allele frequency.

R = H^2 * S.

So, for example, the changes in the allele frequencies of the likely thousands of genes responsible for the difference in average IQ of savages (or half-savages) and Europeans is an example of Evolution, as is, say, the increase of the frequency of the Lactase Persistence allele from very low (around zero in most groups) several thousand years ago to 90+% in Northern Europeans is another example of Evolution.

Reproductive isolation, on the other hand, takes much longer, like several million years, even in the absence of gene flow.

Robertsonian translocations are one way to get reproductive isolation going. Have a look at Muntjacs (Rapid and Parallel Chromosomal Number Reductions in Muntjac Deer Inferred from Mitochondrial DNA Phylogeny however there is a more recent reevaluation.) where three species exist that have differing numbers of chromosomes in males and females (thus putting the lie to the claim that the Y chromosome will disappear.)

Quite a number of Robertsonian Translocations appear to have happened.

Blogger Stephen Ashby June 17, 2015 10:17 PM  

One of the things that crystallized my certainty that evolution is false was Genetic Entropy by John Sandford. In the book he points out that evolution is not possible even in principal, and no amount of time is going to fix that because RM + NS will actually degrade the genome rather than improve it. (To be more precise, he calculates that natural selection is insufficient to counteract the degrading effects of random mutations.)

If correct, this means that the human genome (as well as the genomes of all other lifeforms) is constantly going downhill.

This has some interesting implications, which he doesn't go into in the book, but that I think are fairly obvious. For example, it seems that (barring divine intervention) if the human race is to survive in the long term then genetic engineering to counteract this trend will be a necessity.

In Genetic Entropy, John comments that the results of inbreeding give us a 'sneak peek' at the eventual fate of the human race. It seems to me then, that the reverse should be true as well. Inbreeding occurs when members of a species that are too genetically similar to each other reproduce. Therefore we should look at the results of pairings from members that are as genetically distinct from one another as possible - i.e. from distinct racial groups. If the theory is correct these hybrids should tend to genetically superior to almost all non-hybrid members.
This may anecdotally explain why our esteemed host constantly feels like the world is populated by inbred twits.

Anonymous Ain June 17, 2015 10:19 PM  

As far as critics, I like Michael Behe's Darwin's Black Box. It describes systems that the author believes to be irreducibly complex, and contends that they would have had no reason to exist outside of their finished form. One of the most memorable parts to me is when he compared a cell to a city, containing support pillars, factories, rail systems, locks and keys.

Anonymous Porphry June 17, 2015 10:20 PM  

@automathewnlololololol no-wits trying to play? Walter Remine clearly falls victim to B. If your going to publicly insult someone I usually go by the rule pics or it didn't happen

Anonymous The other robot June 17, 2015 10:20 PM  

To be more precise, he calculates that natural selection is insufficient to counteract the degrading effects of random mutations.

Could you provide the calculation?

Anonymous The other robot June 17, 2015 10:22 PM  

If the theory is correct these hybrids should tend to genetically superior to almost all non-hybrid members.

We actually know how hybrid vigor works ... so there is no need for new theories or speculation.

Blogger rcocean June 17, 2015 10:25 PM  

All I know is that when smart guys like Bill Maher and Chris Hitchens believe in TENS it has to be scientific.

Anonymous PhillipGeorge©2015 June 17, 2015 10:25 PM  

Where in nature is there a necessity for complexity?
There isn't.
Thought experiment. If numbers are success the most successful/ preferred organisms on earth are yeast?
Given their selfishness and success why didn't they declare victory and stop there?
No victory had to wait another 3.5 billion years. Ha Ha Ha.

All this would be perfectly hilarious if "science falsely socalled" wasn't the basis for fools neglecting the salvation of Jesus Christ. But being wise in their own eyes they ignored Haldane's dilemma maths and all the others.

You can't prove what "you know" is apriori fact. It can't be done. You just know it!

Blogger rcocean June 17, 2015 10:27 PM  

Evolution has pretty much proven the Bible wrong as shown by Demolition of WJ Bryan in "Inherit the wind".

Blogger rcocean June 17, 2015 10:28 PM  

90 percent of all talk show hosts and liberal art majors believe in Evolution.

Scientific Consensus.

Anonymous PhillipGeorge©2015 June 17, 2015 10:30 PM  

Hybrid vigor, you mean like infertile mules?

Anonymous Porphry June 17, 2015 10:33 PM  

"Where in nature is there a necessity for complexity?" Well there doesn't seem to be a huge penalty for it either. This also goes with the complexity problem. Just because a certain so called beneficial change doesn't arrive doesn't prevent life forms from developing alternative biological solutions to problems that already exist.

Anonymous Porphyry June 17, 2015 10:34 PM  

*already have solutions

Anonymous Porphyry June 17, 2015 10:39 PM  

shit sorry automatthew jokes on on me its actually C that the philosopher your talking about falls victim to b/c all of his arguments (as far as I read) were giving reasons for a specific designer to have played a part.

Anonymous The other robot June 17, 2015 10:44 PM  

Hybrid vigor, you mean like infertile mules?

No Phillip. If you had been paying attention you would know that the original poster was not talking about different species but different races. Horses and donkeys are different species and have different numbers of chromosomes and usually do not produce fertile offspring when crossed, although some back-crossings between mule mares and horses have been successful, it seems.

Hybrid vigor usually refers to crossings between different sub-groups of the same species (different races, for example). It is usually a single generation thing, because each of the parent groups have different sets of deleterious alleles, so an outcrossing is much less likely to have two copies of a deleterious allele of one or more genes and thus a lower mutational load than two people from the same group. However, continued mating within the pool of hybrids can eventually result in the deleterious alleles of both parental groups being concentrated.

Anonymous PhillipGeorge©2015 June 17, 2015 11:02 PM  

The other robot.
Like does eugenic type population replacement increase total diversity and potential? No. You are decreasing the gene pool not increasing it or its complexity.

people routinely confuse epigenetically driven generational adaptation and speciation with random expressions or mutation/ which superficially increase complexity without increasing potential.

The genetic gates/ bottle necks of history are a bummer because they only explain speciations expressed with losses in total information/ genetic potential, not any increases/ quasi Cambrian explosions..

heat death/ entropy isn't only a Theological/ Philosophical dilemma, it's a biological one. Doing permutations of what already exists and then eliminating groups hasn't increased total complexity or information.


Blogger Jeff Y June 17, 2015 11:20 PM  

I recommend "Darwinian Fairy Tales" by David Stove. It contains an excellent summary of Darwinian and modern accounts of evolution, and in dashing prose style delivers a withering critique.

(Dashing, withering. Mixed metaphor? No matter, get the book.)

Anonymous The other robot June 17, 2015 11:25 PM  

people routinely confuse epigenetically driven generational adaptation and speciation .

What is epigenetically driven generational adaption?

Blogger Big Rich June 17, 2015 11:27 PM  

I'm sure it's been mentioned, but as I understand it, Discovery Institute has a criculum for teaching evolution to students and it points out the weaknesses and contrasts it with intelligent design. If I were interested in understanding the issues involved in the debate to be able to teach it to my children, I would definitely start reading their blog, Evolution News and Views and a related blog, Uncommon Descent.

Anonymous The other robot June 17, 2015 11:30 PM  

Like does eugenic type population replacement increase total diversity and potential?

It is hard to understand what you are asking here. By eugenic type population replacement do you mean something like the replacement of Early European Farmers etc by the Indo-European expansion?

However, selection on one set of genes/alleles, eg, the thousands associated with high intelligence, is going to reduce diversity on that set of genes. Selection for resistance to HIV (and there seems to have been such) or Influenza is also going to reduce diversity in the selected genes/alleles.

Of course, diversity is always being generated. Males generate it much more than females do because those sperm are always being produced and meiosis (ant thus copy mistakes in the germ line of males) is always occurring.

Anonymous The other robot June 17, 2015 11:42 PM  

Looks like someone is trying to start a race war

Anonymous Legatus June 18, 2015 12:57 AM  

Is Genesis to be taken literally or as allegory? The problem is that the people who claim to be reading it literally are not doing so, but are taking out what the text says and adding in what the text does not say. Specifically, they say that, when it says “let there be light”, it either means that, since there must have existed light before this, the text is not literal and must be taken as allegory, or that we must say that light did not exist before that instant, even though the universe had existed for some 9 billions years already, apparently without light (causing some to insist that the universe is not so old, even though the text never says any such thing). Yet, the text spells it out clearly, when one sees that it stated prior to this that the point of view was “the surface of the deep”, specifically, Earth at sea level. Once you insist on reading exactly what it says, neither more nor less, one finds that it suddenly matches what science says about the early earth, that is, that it was dark at sea level because the earth was surrounded by thick clouds since it was so hot that water could not exist on the surface. Just to beat us with a clue stick, God actually wrote exactly that in Job, where it states “thick darkness” and a layer of cloud completely covering the entire earth, a clue, maybe the clouds cause the darkness, duh!

One would think that someone would get a clue by trying a simple experiment. Take your Bible, and go to a mirror. Now, open it to the first chapter of Genesis, hold it up, and just peek over the top, what do you see in the mirror? What you see is a human, who, as most do, lives pretty near sea level. That book was, after all, written for humans, and not space aliens, or deep see mollusks, or some such, after all, and thus it should not be surprising that, if it was written for humans, it was written from our perspective, one we can relate to, that is, earth at sea level. I mean, that should be a clue, right?

Now that you know the text is true from the point of view of Earth at sea level, it will make perfect sense, and tracks exactly what science says. First it was hot and cloudy, hence dark, then it cooled and there was less vulcanism and dust and the like, and there was light and the Earth was completely covered with a shallow sea. This is seen from the oldest rocks we can date, 100% of them showing that they were formed in the presence of water. Then the crust cooled more, wrinkled, and dry land started to appear.

And now is where I read (again) exactly what is in the text, neither more nor less, and get a different result from anyone else. This is merely because I am reading the text, rather than reading into the text, and comparing it to what science says and does not say (not scientists opinions, science, actual data from experiment and observation).

Gen 1:11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass ect. “And God said”, well, since God is spirit, which does not have extension in space, “said” does not mean “spoke with a human mouth” but should mean “and God transmitted information”, though the text says “said” because it was written to humans and that is how we understand the transmission of information. Let the earth bring forth grass , note that it specifies an earthly, IE natural, process, not a breaking of natural law, which we know as a miracle. Thus, Genesis does not deny evolution, in fact, it demands it.

Anonymous Legatus June 18, 2015 12:58 AM  

”BUT”, you say, evolution (specifically abiogenesis) is impossible, it has been tried for decades in laboratories, using multiple methods, and it has not worked. In fact, when scientists looked into why it has not worked, they discovered that the various things that all must take place in one place at one time are so unlikely, especially in one place (the conditions to allow one preclude the others) that it is statistically impossible. One simple example, all the amino acids MUST be “left handed” amino acids, yet if made by natural, non living processes, they are half left handed and half right. Thus, it is as if one sees a man in a field flipping coins up in the air, and they all, without exception, land heads up. That is impossible unless that man is God, who can understand all possible future influences on said coins, and thus know exactly when and how to flip them to achieve the desired result.

The problem, you see, is that the scientists are saying that evolution, specifically abiogenesis (life from non living matter) was made by natural processes by random chance, however, the proof from the laboratories is that it is impossible by random chance, thus that idea has been conclusively falsified. Thus, the creationists are saying it must be a miracle, IE breaking of natural law, because they are allowing the scientists to set the terms, random chance or nothing, a false dichotomy. However, if they would just read the text of Genesis, where it specifies “let the Earth bring forth plants”, they see that it demands an earthly and natural process and thus cannot be an unearthly one, cannot be a breaking of natural law.

Now, if we go back to the big bang, we can see how this can be so. The problem with the big bang is that the universe started with an absurdly low amount of entropy, that is, it started very very ordered. Now, order does not come by “random chance”, thus, it looks like some sentient being of immense power and infinite intelligence created all this. Scientists then try to invent an infinite number of other universes to account for this, for which there is not one smidgen of evidence nor any way to get any, which means the idea cannot be falsified, and is not science. In addition, these other universes must, by definition, be outside our realm of nature, and are thus, by definition, supernatural, thus, to get rid of the supernatural, scientists invoke the supernatural.

So, for the universe to exist, as we know it, there must be a God, who started it with order. Well, if it was started with order, why not with very specific order, with a goal in mind? That is, that billions of years after it's initial creation, at one certain place, a single spot on Earth, and one time, a series of extremely unlikely events happened in exactly the right order, and one minute there was no life, and the next, there was. Think of it as a long, billions of years long, string of dominoes falling, starting at the big bang, and all ending up on one spot on earth, all the various strings of dominoes arriving at exactly the right time. From what science knows, this is, in fact, the only possible way it can happen. Specifically, there are two possibilities based on the laboratory evidence we know, either it happened by a breaking of natural law, a miracle, or by the method I described above, what I would call a “Natural Miracle”, something happening that is statistically impossible yet physically possible, like a whole bunch of coins landing head up. The text of Genesis specifies the latter, an earthly, natural process.

Science has searched for evidence of abiogenesis, in the laboratory and in nature, they have not only not found it , they have falsified the idea. However, the fossil record indicates that evolution happened anyway, thus we see that the proven impossible happened. The text of Genesis is the only evidence we have that abiogenesis and evolution happened. It is impossible, it happened anyway. This shows two things:
1. There is a God.
2. Your not it.

Anonymous Legatus June 18, 2015 12:59 AM  

After this, Genesis says that the Sun and Moon became visible on Earth at sea level, after the creation of plants, since the first plants were cynobacteria which converted the early atmosphere to the oxy/nitro atmosphere we know and love today, which can be seen through. Then came fish (or earlier equivelent, see trilobites) and birds. Since this was written to mankind, who have never seen them, it says birds, which we have seen, and not their ancestors, dinosaurs, which we have not. Then came land animals (non Dino variety), and finally man. Now, if it had stopped there, we might say man evolved, but it does not, the second chapter specifies the creation of the man and women, and that is definitely not evolution. This makes sense, why fill heaven, or hell, with semi sentient beings? The scientific evidence backs this up, with “Mitochondriel Eve” and “Y-chromosonal Adam” who is actually Noah.

Further reading, http://www.godandscience.org/youngearth/genesis1.html these people get the literal text, but are still stuck on “evolution is impossible”, to which I reply “is anything impossible with God?”. There is a lot there that goes into great detail about the exact matchup with what Genesis says and science says. It shows, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that the six twenty four hour days of creation is not in the original text, the only reason moderns believe that is ignorance. As for the flood, it is simple, the text specifies the people living “east of Eden”, or here http://www.livescience.com/10340-lost-civilization-existed-beneath-persian-gulf.html , and the whole flood thing is simple, for several millions of years now, 9 of the lest 10 years have been ice ages, with the seas 400 feet lower. People living “east of Eden” thus drowned when the ice ages currently happening then ended. Simple really. After that, they spread out, and stayed on higher ground, since the flood stories are found in every culture, and served as a warning.

Blogger Doc Rampage June 18, 2015 1:21 AM  

As it happens, I'm an evolution skeptic as well, but to the people who are arguing against evolution from thermodynamics or the impossibility of randomness to produce order, you are just wrong. Randomness cannot by itself produce order, but randomness combined with a filtering mechanism such as natural selection or Maxwell's Demon certainly can produce order.

You see this happen every time you play 7-card stud. The cards are randomly distributed, but at the end of the hand, typically the ones remaining are the most organized ones--the less organized hands having dropped out.

Anonymous Wyrd June 18, 2015 1:36 AM  

...to which I reply “is anything impossible with God?”.

For long centuries God perfected the animal form which was to become the vehicle of humanity and the image of Himself. He gave it hands whose thumb could be applied to each of the fingers, and jaws and teeth and throat capable of articulation, and a brain sufficiently complex to execute all the material motions whereby rational thought is incarnated. The creature may have existed for ages in this state before it became man: it may even been clever enough to make things which a modern archaeologist would accept as proof of its humanity. But it was only an animal because all its physical and psychical processes were directed to purely material and natural ends. Then, in the fullness of time, God caused to descent upon this organism, both on its psychology and physiology,a new kind of consciousness which could say 'I' and 'me', which could look upon itself as an object, which knew God, which could make judgements of truth, beauty, and goodness, and which was so far above time that it could perceive time flowing past.
-C.S. Lewis, The Problem Of Pain

Blogger ScuzzaMan June 18, 2015 3:04 AM  

Porphyry; you are totally wrong about everything. Just one example: TOE does not have any evidence, hard or otherwise.

WE all have all of the evidence and we have constructed competing theories to explain that evidence.

Your implied claim that TOE explains more of it than any competing theory is merely an assertion. But truth is not established by assertion. Further, science is a process of error-avoidance and not truth-seeking so you are working in entirely the wrong direction.

As Vox advised, you should learn something of the subject before tilting at this windmill.

Anonymous AbuDhabi June 18, 2015 3:14 AM  

I'm rather confused by all this. Vox's stance is apparently "evolution is false" but I'm not sure what he means by "evolution", since he apparently believes in several elements of the overarching evolutionary idea at the same time. Is there a blog post I could read to see what his beef with evolution is?

Anonymous AbuDhabi June 18, 2015 3:16 AM  

Is there a blog post I could read to see what Vox's beef with evolution is?

Blogger guest June 18, 2015 3:18 AM  

Age 6 is too young to enjoy models of evolutionary mechanisms. Age 6 likes to do things and watch things. Like growing seeds in jars, watching ants on a sidewalk, watching fungus grow on rotting fruit, looking at bacteria under a slide. They like to do things, and watch things. I really don't believe that a six year old is going to enjoy reviewing models of evolution. But when they see enough of real living organisms, they might enjoy a healthy spirited debate about the merits.

Anonymous Forrest Bishop VFM #0167 June 18, 2015 3:42 AM  

161. Doc Rampage
As it happens, I'm an evolution skeptic as well, but to the people who are arguing against evolution from thermodynamics or the impossibility of randomness to produce order, you are just wrong. Randomness cannot by itself produce order, but randomness combined with a filtering mechanism such as natural selection or Maxwell's Demon certainly can produce order.

You see this happen every time you play 7-card stud. The cards are randomly distributed, but at the end of the hand, typically the ones remaining are the most organized ones--the less organized hands having dropped out.
-------

That's an excellent example of Intelligent Design.

Anonymous PhillipGeorge©2015 June 18, 2015 4:30 AM  

randomness combined with a filtering

isn't randomness!

take three alphabets and do permutations and combinations all day long you, won't write an essay, even a sentence. They are all energy equivalent. Nothing to confer selection/ preference exists randomly in nature. Until you get the entire sentence you have nothing to grade, consider, select. It's got to be all there for you to select it.

Lamarck was right, random is wrong.

Anonymous anonymous coward June 18, 2015 5:19 AM  

randomness combined with a filtering mechanism

Lol. Any such 'filtering mechanism' would have to be intelligent by design.

(Of course, the intelligence in a 'random' card game is in the guy who invented to game rules.)

Anonymous George of the Jungle June 18, 2015 5:45 AM  

re Doc Rampage

In addition to the previous comments, there is one other point...
You seem to be laboring under the assumption that Maxwell's Demon is actually around somewhere to counteract entropy. Sorry to give you the bad news, but it's nowhere to be found in the real world, which is where the rest of us live. Furthermore, if you equate natural selection to M's D, then once again you've negated your own argument.

Anonymous DissidentRight June 18, 2015 5:47 AM  

Stickwick wrote:

Drew_Deuce's: But if death proceeded for millions of years before Adam, and death wasn't a result of sin, then it's not a matter of the Jesus story being "untrue" but rather completely unneccesary.

Physicist and theologian, Gerald Schroeder, makes a convincing case that the death brought into the world due to Adam's sin was a spiritual death rather than a physical one. Interpreting Genesis this way makes more sense to me, and it resolves a lot of problems.

But sin is physical and spiritual.

1) Jesus' miracles: spiritual only, or also physical?
2) Jesus resurrection: spiritual only, or also physical?
3) Our promised resurrection: spiritual only, or also physical?
4) Physical malfunctions (like those introduced by mutation): "very good"?

It's not in any way clear to what degree physical events (e.g., the way organisms deal with waste) can be described as sinful, but I think the argument that death is *merely* spiritual is very hard to swallow.

Anonymous DissidentRight June 18, 2015 5:51 AM  

Randomness cannot by itself produce order, but randomness combined with a filtering mechanism such as natural selection or Maxwell's Demon certainly can produce order.

"Order" does not satisfy the requirement. Waves crashing onto a beach produces "order". We need to explain why the beach is covered in sand castles.

And there's one and only one plausible explanation for that: a designer.

If a designer is absolutely necessary to explain sand castles, how much more life.

Anonymous Linguist77 June 18, 2015 6:00 AM  

Apologia is really very good. Our older kids (ages 11 and 14) just finished a couple modules in their General Science course (roughly 7th grade level) that covered uniformitarianism vs. catastrophism. The author of the textbook states at the beginning of this that he is biased toward catastrophism, but encourages students to look at the evidence for both and come to their own conclusions. Both views are well-represented and pretty thorough, and the problems with each are also discussed. The boys have told me they are looking forward to Biology (year after next), when they will get to dig into evolution vs. creation. I just started our 5yo on one of the grade school textbooks (astronomy) and am quite pleased with it thus far. It's a tremendous relief not to have to wade through a book that presents evolution THEORY as the only truth.

Anonymous szook June 18, 2015 7:40 AM  

Not necessarily in this order but:

Darwin's Black Box - by M. Behe
The Edge of Evolution - also M. Behe
The Soul of Science - Thraxton and Pearcy
In the Beginning - by Walt Brown

additionally I don't strongly recommend it but:

The Biotic Message - by Walter J. Remine

Anonymous Legatus June 18, 2015 9:16 AM  

Wyrd, your C. S. Lewis quote has two fatal flaws, Lewis is not God, and did not witness the events in question, the creation of man, and also, it does not match the text of the second chapter of Genesis, which is quite specific about the exact method used to create the first man and then the first woman. What does the text say, God was the only witness to the creation of man, and described this witness to Moses, who wrote it down. Lewis is not Moses. Jesus did not affirm Lewis as a writer of the Bible, as He did Moses. Is Lewis now God, that he can speak with authority about something he did not see? Should we include Lewis's books in the Bible now?

And you should read your newspapers accounts of the discovery of “ancient humanoid” bones. It is always the same, the latest, a 3 inch piece of jawbone with a few teeth, followed by using pre existing prejudices to imagine a whole skeleton where non has actually been found, followed by admitting that whole skeletons, or really much more than a few similar tiny bone fragments and a lot of wishful thinking, have ever been found. Generally, science says, if you don't have actual evidence, it ain't necessarily so. Believing in ancient hominids sans evidence, as they do, is not science.

Anonymous Didas Kalos June 18, 2015 9:17 AM  

All evolutionists lie. Exactly. If you follow evolution logically backwards then you have life "popping" out of a rock. Which rock evolved out of "nothing" that just "popped" one moment in time.

As for "avoiding Creationists," that would mean avoiding most of the scientists from the past. Newton, etc.

There is abundance of evidence for a young earth, meaning about 6,000 years old.

Anonymous Legatus June 18, 2015 9:39 AM  

First, death, God said you will surely die to Adam, he was talking about man dying, not everything else. Also, he said die, did he not, ask yourself, how did Adam understand the word die? Because it had existed before him, he understood the concept. If death had not existed before Adam, he would not have even understood the word. Of course, Adam himself had not died, there had been no human death up to this point. The text was written for humans, animals cannot read. Also, if death came by Adam, that death need not be at the same time as the sin, God can backdate it to the beginning of time, because God is outside time, if you insist that God meant all death of everything, even though he did not say that in the text. What does the text say. Am I the only one who can read??

As for randomness, uh, what if God is playing seven card stud, can he arrange for some non randomness? If God flips a coin, he can cause it to land heads up every time, even if he does not “cheat” and break natural laws, simply by using His knowledge of all future possible forces that would effect the coin, and then simply using skill to flip the coin at the right time and place in the right way. Abiogenesis, or evolution of life from non life, is a lot more complex than a coin toss, so the “impossible” merely takes a little longer (9+ billion years to arrange it). God is not allowed in Vegas, for obvious reasons. Fortunatly for them, He does not need the money, because they couldn't stop Him anyway.

Blogger Bro. Longtail June 18, 2015 10:07 AM  

I'm finding that most books critiquing natural selection and random mutation, are now somewhat out of date - though I would still recommend David Stove's Darwinian Fairytales. Even fervent evolutionists are gradually conceding most of the criticisms (though only among themselves. You'll never hear one say that Philip Johnson, a Christian, was right. You'll only hear them say that Jerry Fodor, an atheist, was right, even though they make the same argument). Nowadays, it seems we're moving past Darwin's outdated theory, toward epigenetics and non-random mutations. Natural selection plays a part, but the 'universal acid' of Darwinian evolution is being diluted and reductionism is apparently on the way out. You won't hear the atheists conceding the logic any time soon, but we do appear to be moving toward a re-evaluation of the contention that evolution and genesis are incompatible. Thank God.

Personally, I take the position argued by John Mark Reynolds. I embrace Young Earth Creationism, recognising its evidential problems, but embracing it because it seems to be the most straight forward reading of Genesis and, frankly, it's kinda fun to think about. While never for a moment questioning the orthodoxy of someone who opts for a different, albeit Creationist/ID, reading of Genesis.

Anonymous Imnobody June 18, 2015 10:59 AM  

Porphyry is playing a dishonest game. He wants us to disprove darwinism in a combox. He asks us questions and, when we provide the answers, he is able to deny them, because our answers are typed quicly and not elaborated.

If Porphyry really wanted to educate himself about what the anti-darwinism scientists say, he would read a book about it, like the ones that have been cited here. Then, knowing both sides of the controversy, he would be able to reach his own conclusions, whatever they might be.

But it's nothing about learning. It's about getting cheap wins with disnonest tactics, like fallacies (such as false dicotomies) and sarcasm.

Anonymous Legatus June 18, 2015 4:38 PM  

For those of you saying that young earth creationism is the best reading of the text, what text are you referring to? It is not in the original text, which was not English. The word used is YOM, which can mean a period of time from 12 hours to infinity, and has been used for all of those. It is only recently, when less people are educated in the original languages the Bible was written in, that anyone has thought that the Genesis account refers to six 24 hour days. You can read all about how YOM does not mean only 24 hours here http://www.godandscience.org/youngearth/sixdays.html .

One example, which shows how both YOM and “evening” and “morning” do not always mean 24 hours is here "The vision of the evenings [ereb] and mornings [boqer] Which has been told is true; But keep the vision secret, For it pertains to many days [yom] in the future." (Daniel 8:26). This verse uses the exact same language as Genesis, yet refers to a prophecy that has not yet come true after 3000 years. 3000 years is a tad longer than 24 hours.

Another example, Day 6 is also a problem for the 24-hour interpretation. During this day, God planted a garden in Eden, and caused the garden to sprout and grow. Then God brought all the birds, cattle and wild animals to Adam to name. God put Adam to sleep, took a part of him and formed Eve (Genesis 2:21-22). Adam's response to Eve's creation was "at last," indicating that he thought the day was very long indeed. Clearly, all that could not be done in 24 hours. Note also that God “planted” the garden, and let it sprout, that takes time, we are talking from seed to full size trees here long. Just seeing and naming the animals would take a long time.

Finally, we have dated this Earth and this universe, the dates are far longer than 6000 years (and where, exactly, do you get that number from??). Now, if God said six 24 hour days, than the universe, that God made, and which shows a far longer age, is a gigantic lie. Why would God make a universe size lie? Are you calling God a liar? On what do you base that, if not the text in the original language of Genesis? Do you think Genesis was written in English? You are reading this, right, and so I assume you know there is this thing called “the internet”, right? So, look up “echad yom” on that internet for yourself, for those are the exact words used, not “day”. Here is an exhaustive look at it, everything you ever wanted to know about the EXACT words used, but where afraid to ask http://www.godandscience.org/youngearth/genesis_one_age_earth.html .

BTW, the idea that you can get the age of the earth from the biblical genealogies is also wrong, the word “father” there is a word that can also mean “grandfather” or great/great/great...great grandfather. It is not a word that can mean only one thing. This is also show by the New Testament genealogies, which differ slightly from each other because some contain a few more names than others, since they are not exhaustive and are merely hitting the highlight names, the notables and quotables, not all the names back to Adam, which would simply not fit, even if the author knew them.

Conclusion, the original text of Genesis cannot and does not mean six 24 hour days. The only reason to believe that is ignorance, click on any of the above links to become educated.

"Be on guard against giving interpretations of Scripture that are farfetched or opposed to science, and so exposing the Word of God to the ridicule of unbelievers." St. Augustine
(Most of the early church fathers, knowing the language, did NOT believe in six 24 hour days.)

Anonymous Legatus June 18, 2015 5:45 PM  

Two points:

1) “Random chance”, if there is a God, is there “random chance” in a planned universe? And what, exactly, is the chance of life evolving from non life? Do you know that after decades of trying to find out, the scientists have thrown up their hands and given up, having pretty much proven that the chance by “random chance” is too small to even be guessed at? They now say “we may never know” how life came to be. And there is the fact that the universe started out at extremely low entropy, so low that the chance of that happening by “random chance” is 1 over a number with so many zeroes that the observable universe itself cannot contain them all https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GvV2Xzh11r8 .Conclusion, not one but two different things that are said to happen by “random chance” are now said to be impossible by “random chance”, yet are said to have happened anyway, so there must be something that is not random, there must be a plan, and a planner.

2) The age of the earth and universe, you can only say it is 6000 years (a number seen nowhere in the Bible or anywhere else, where do you get it?) IF you look only at very specific “evidence”, do NOT look at any problems with that evidence, and ignore the VAST amount of evidence that the Earth and universe are very old. That method of looking for “truth” is what is known as bald faced lying, to yourself and others. If you think that way, you are a SJW.

3) This idea, 6000 years, from...where, exactly? Did the Bible say that? Provide a quote. What does the Bible say about adding something to it that it does not say? Rev 22:18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book., perhaps you might want to rethink that. Perhaps you are thinking of the passage “a days is as a thousand years”, well, look at it, “is as” is not the same as saying “when I say day I really mean a thousand years” that would be “is” not “is as”. And the idea is, 2000 yrs + 2000 yrs + 2000 yrs (have you looked at a calendar lately, that number you see is larger than 2000, that should be a clue, right?) + 1000 year “millennial kingdom”, well, after it says “a day is as a thousand years” it says “and a thousand years is as a day”, so I guess that millennial kingdom will last exactly one day, right? I mean, do you just read part of it and cut out the second part? Rev 22:19 And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. Man, look at those negative vibes! You really should rethink this whole 6000 years thing.

Conclusion, there is nowhere where one can say “God said the universe is 6000 years old”, so there is no reason to believe it, and MANY reasons to disbelieve it.

Blogger Eraser June 18, 2015 6:10 PM  

@SirHamster
Thank you for your complete answer. I have one comment:

Being able to find common "code" between two designs is not exclusively explained by the theory that there was a gradual iteration between them. A common designer also explains the observation.

The case for RM+NS is stronger than just common code. The differences in DNA between related species look very much like random mutations, especially those of non-coding DNA (the large part of genetic code that doesn't seem to be part of any genes, used to be called "junk DNA"; it probably has a purpose, but we don't know what it is). Geneticists use the number of these differences to estimate (with a large margin of error) the time since two species diverged.

Blogger SirHamster (#201) June 18, 2015 6:30 PM  

@Eraser:
You're welcome.

The case for RM+NS is stronger than just common code. The differences in DNA between related species look very much like random mutations, especially those of non-coding DNA (the large part of genetic code that doesn't seem to be part of any genes, used to be called "junk DNA"; it probably has a purpose, but we don't know what it is).

The randomized aspects can also be interpreted as a design incorporating randomized attributes, like computer code using an RNG. Again, the observation does not exclusively point to RM+NS.

In fact, that genetic code harnesses/tolerates randomized chunks is evidence of it being a more sophisticated design, which further undermines the claim that it was the result of TENS, an unintelligent and unguided process.

Geneticists use the number of these differences to estimate (with a large margin of error) the time since two species diverged.

The ability to create unverifiable historical speculation from a scientific observation is not evidence that the scientific theory driving the speculation is correct.

Blogger kh123 June 18, 2015 7:42 PM  

"It is not in the original text, which was not English."

Well, fairly soon neither will whatever Constitution the U.S. has. And look at how often the 1st and 2nd Amendment's been interpreted while the English it was written in has been primary.

Are we certain "is" really means what we think it means.

Anonymous DissidentRight June 18, 2015 10:03 PM  

Legatus:

Exodus 20:8-11 substantiates a 24-hour creation week.

Clearly, all that could not be done in 24 hours. -> Clearly you are confusing Genesis 1 with Genesis 2.

and where, exactly, do you get that number from?? -> Genealogies in Genesis 5, 11, etc.

Now, if God said six 24 hour days, than the universe, that God made, and which shows a far longer age, is a gigantic lie. -> Yeah, uh-huh. Trouble is, now we have general relativity with which to render plausible some speculative theology: "God stretched out the heavens", e.g., massive time dialation for the galaxies. We also have plenty of reasons to be skeptical of radiometric dating methods, as discussed by AIG, etc. Now, I do accept that these dating methods do have _some_ weight. But they are simply not conclusive.

BTW, the idea that you can get the age of the earth from the biblical genealogies is also wrong -> Nope. Even they (implausibly) skipped over 10 entries for every 1 recorded, that increases your estimated age by...an order of magnitude. Four billion >> 60,000. But six thousand years is an extremely reasonable estimate.

Conclusion, the original text of Genesis cannot and does not mean six 24 hour days. -> At no point did you substantiate this "conclusion". The fact, of course, is that it is entirely within the realm of scientific and theological plausibility that God created the universe over a period of six 24-hour days, roughly 6,000 "earth years" ago. However, it is substantially less plausible to imagine that the rest of the universe is only 6,000 years old. It is also scientifically and (mostly) theologically plausible to imagine the earth is ~4.5 billion years old.

Eraser:

The case for RM+NS -> Nobody disputes the existence of RM or NS, or that they play a role in the divergence of species. But the evolutionists are making a much stronger and much more absurd claim than that, aren't they?

Geneticists use the number of these differences to estimate (with a large margin of error) the time since two species diverged. -> Molecular clocks cannot be taken seriously, according to the very reasonable arguments made by Stephen Meyer and others.

Anonymous Richardthughes June 19, 2015 12:45 AM  

Jerry Coyne's "Why Evolution is True" is a well written primer.

Anonymous Legatus June 19, 2015 1:06 AM  

Exodus 20:8-11 substantiates a 24-hour creation week.
Does Exodus use the same, or a different word for “day”? In fact, it uses the same word, YOM, which can mean a period of time from 12 hours to infinity. As such, it can mean one thing in Genesis and another in Exodus, although in both in means seven periods of time. It should be noted that this is what you call the seventh “day” right this minute, does this seem like 24 hours to you?

and where, exactly, do you get that number from?? -> Genealogies in Genesis 5, 11, etc.
Here you can read about that http://www.godandscience.org/youngearth/genesis_genealogies.html . If you read that, you will read about how the language used IS NOT ENGLISH and uses different words in different ways. If you decide not to click that link, then you have decided you do not care what God actually said in the language He chose to say it in, and you can explain that to Him yourself. Good luck with that.

Need I point out that people lived much longer in those days? Need I point out that if, as the original language allows and even demands, many names are skipped over, that we do not know how many names were skipped over? Since we do not know the exact ages of all those names, nor how many names were skipped over, we cannot use the genealogies for any kind of dating. It is as if we said x+y=z and that proves 6000 years, while refusing to define the numbers of x, y, or z. Unknown plus unknown equals unknown, not known.

Conclusion, the original text of Genesis cannot and does not mean six 24 hour days. -> At no point did you substantiate this "conclusion". The fact, of course, is that it is entirely within the realm of scientific and theological plausibility that God created the universe over a period of six 24-hour days, roughly 6,000 "earth years" ago. However, it is substantially less plausible to imagine that the rest of the universe is only 6,000 years old. It is also scientifically and (mostly) theologically plausible to imagine the earth is ~4.5 billion years old.

I did in fact substantiate that conclusion, providing both reasoning and links to far more detailed reasoning, you simply chose to pretend I did not.. Because of that, you are ignorant that this statement it is entirely within the realm of scientific and theological plausibility that God created the universe over a period of six 24-hour days, roughly 6,000 "earth years" ago is a statement wildly at odds with actual reality. For instance, do you know that there are many many methods of dating the age of the earth, and that they all, without exception, come up with an age far older than 6000 years http://www.lpl.arizona.edu/~matthewt/yeclaimsbeta.html ?

Just one example of one of the many many evidences for an old earth: River Deltas The claim is that the size and growth rate of river deltas proves that they cannot be very old. The error here seems to lie in thinking that the delta consists only of what are actually the very youngest delta deposits (the parts that still look like delta deposits). In fact, the Mississippi Delta, which is used by young-Earth advocates as an example, actually consists of a seven-mile-thick layer of sediment covering much of the south-central U.S. (by contrast, sedimentary rocks in most places on Earth are only one mile thick). The same is generally true at the Earth's other great river deltas. River deltas are actually a potent argument against the young-Earth hypothesis. Not only are the 7 miles of Mississippi delta sediments far more than could accumulate in 10,000 years (especially since delta deposits cannot accumulate underwater, and thus could not have been accelerated by Noah's Flood), but the observed sinking of the crust under the weight of the delta, which keeps the surface at sea level and allows the delta to continue forming, could only happen very slowly.

Blogger kh123 June 19, 2015 2:51 AM  

Here's the part where the bear on the unicycle comes out.

Russian bear, take note. Not English.

Anonymous DissidentRight June 19, 2015 10:44 AM  

8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

Every use of the word "day", in verses 8-11, has the same root: yom. Ergo, you are liar. In case you need it spelled out: this passage uses the exact same word to indicate 24 hour periods and "creation days", with the strongest possible implication that they are, in this context, the same thing.

Anonymous Legatus June 19, 2015 9:01 PM  

Every use of the word "day", in verses 8-11, has the same root: yom. Ergo, you are liar. In case you need it spelled out: this passage uses the exact same word to indicate 24 hour periods and "creation days", with the strongest possible implication that they are, in this context, the same thing.

So, if it has the same root, it must always mean “day”? Lets look at that:

Scriptural Reference
Period of Time
Verses
Genesis 2:4
6 "days"
This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made earth and heaven. (Genesis 2:4)
Genesis 2:16-17, 5:5
900+ years
And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, "From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die." (Genesis 2:16-17)
So all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years, and he died. (Genesis 5:5)
Daniel 8:26
3000+ years
"And the vision of the evenings and mornings which has been told is true; but keep the vision secret, for it pertains to many days in the future." (Daniel 8:26)
Genesis 2:2, Hebrews 4:4-11
6000+ years
The seventh day of Genesis is not closed. In all other days, "there is the morning and the evening, the n day."
And by the seventh day God completed His work which He had done; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. (Genesis 2:2)
In the book of Hebrews, the author tells us to labor to enter into God's seventh day of rest, which continues to this day. By any calculation, God's seventh day of rest has been at least 6,000 years long: 
For He has thus said somewhere concerning the seventh day, "And God rested on the seventh day from all His works"... Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall through following the same example of disobedience. (Hebrews 4:4-11)

Anonymous WY! June 19, 2015 10:26 PM  

http://creationsafaris.com/epoi_tp.htm

Anonymous DissidentRight June 19, 2015 10:48 PM  

"Remember the Sabbath YOM by keeping it holy. 9 Six YOM you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh YOM is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six YOM the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh YOM. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath YOM and made it holy."

To claim that a six 24-hour day creation is outside the bounds of Scripture is a pathetic lie, which makes you a pathetic liar.

Blogger J Thomas June 19, 2015 11:24 PM  

You know, I think the real problem here is not the meaning of the word "yom", but rather literalist innerancy, which looks for the Bible to be perfectly correct and clear in it's "natural" descriptions, at all times.

Regardless of yom, it's quite clear to me that Genesis 1 is not meant to be taken exactly literally, and that, as the narrative of scripture progresses, "specificity" is gradually increased in the descriptions of peoples and events in the Bible.

I think an honest reading of scripture will admit that there is much more vagueness in "natural descriptors" near the beginning of Genesis, and thus, regardless of it's usage of words like "yom", there must be flexibility in interpretation, as it seems that God has left significant ambiguity in Genesis.

Blogger kh123 June 20, 2015 3:27 AM  

"Regardless of yom, it's quite clear to me that Genesis 1 is not meant to be taken exactly literally, and that, as the narrative of scripture progresses, "specificity" is gradually increased in the descriptions of peoples and events in the Bible. "

With the exception of man, if the progression of days in Genesis gradually becomes any more specific in its description of flora and fauna - more specific than say the range between modern Kingdom and Order - then I'm all ears.

Other than that, the description range is pretty consistent regardless of days. One might as well say that going from the plagues in Egypt to the resurrection of Jesus proves a progressive scripture which gradually increases in "specificity;" therefore neither Gospels nor Exodus were to be taken literally. Both were one-off supernatural events in history after all.

Anonymous Legatus June 20, 2015 8:17 AM  

"Regardless of yom, it's quite clear to me that Genesis 1 is not meant to be taken exactly literally,

You may think that, but how would you know if what you say is true? Well, you could see what the exact words in Genesis say, in the original language, and then see if they match the science of the early earth, as it went from a bunch of asteroids and comets mashed together to the blue ball we know today ( God is describing terraforming here, making the planet habitable for humans). If you do that, you find the Genesis and science match up exactly. I have provided multiple links already that you can follow where others have done all the work for you. Go look at them and decide for yourself. http://www.godandscience.org/youngearth/genesis1.html It is one thing to think something is so, it is another to know something is so, and that involves using evidence rather than just saying “I think that it is so”.

And if one is to decide, without evidence, that some parts of the Bible are not literal, and other parts are, even in the same book (Genesis, in this case), why, then Abraham and Moses are not literal characters either. Someone named Jesus said that they were, so, if that part is literal, should not the earlier part of Genesis also be literal? I mean, does it slide from not literal to literal without bothering to tell us where it changed over, and if so, how are we to know which is which? If you take it upon yourself to decide, verse by verse, which verses you will call literal, and which you will not, without evidence, such as, say, the text, which will say something like “and Jesus spoke a parable” or “Rev 1:1 The revelation of Jesus Christ, well then, by calling anything you want “not literal”, or “an allegory”, you can make the text say anything you want, resulting in mass confusion, or the ability to say “It really didn't mean what it actually said” (you can reduce the entire Bible, or pretty much any other writing, to utter meaninglessness that way). If the later parts of Genesis were said by Jesus himself to be literal, then the earlier parts are also literal. And if Jesus said literal, and you say not literal, decide yourself who to believe.

Otherwise, I shall simply decide that your words above are not to be taken literally, and are actually talking about, say, bears on unicycles. Why not, if you did not mean exactly what you wrote, I can put whatever meaning I want into it. What you wrote is...an allegory...about the circus, why not?

Anonymous Legatus June 20, 2015 8:24 AM  

DissidentRight, rather than admit that I have provided multiple examples of that same word, YOM, meaning 6 days, 900+ years, 3000+ years, and 6000+ years (and that is by no mean an exhaustive list), you double down and simply repeat the one passage which you say “proves” your point. You know what that reminds me of? THIS:

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Anonymous DissidentRight June 20, 2015 8:45 AM  

but rather literalist innerancy, which looks for the Bible to be perfectly correct and clear in it's "natural" descriptions, at all times.

Oh yes, that can be a problem. Another problem is claiming that Genesis cannot possibly refer to 24 hour days meaning, despite Exodus 20:8-11. (Let alone God's omnipotence...)

there must be flexibility in interpretation

An absolute rejection of 24 hour creation days--does that seem flexible to you?

Legatus: you double down and simply repeat the one passage which you say “proves” your point

I said none of those things. My only point that's been proven is that you are a liar.

Anonymous Legatus June 20, 2015 5:36 PM  

Oh yes, that can be a problem. Another problem is claiming that Genesis cannot possibly refer to 24 hour days meaning, despite Exodus 20:8-11. (Let alone God's omnipotence...)

Despite also Genesis 2:4, where yom means 6 "days" (you cannot mean one 24 hour day and also mean six 24 hour days, can you?), Genesis 2:16-17, 5:5, where yom means 900+ years, Daniel 8:26, where yom means 3000+ years, and Genesis 2:2, Hebrews 4:4-11, where it means 6000+ years? Why only focus on one instance of the word yom, when there are all these others (and that is the short list)? Did you know the Hebrew only has a bit over 8000 words, and thus one word must stand for multiple meanings, determined by the context of the other words around it? If God had wanted to use the word “day”, a word meaning only one 24 hour day, He could have chosen a language and word to do exactly that, He did not. This is God, after all, if He wants to say something just so, He says it, and no one can question Him, or say “what are you doing?”. When God says something, He says exactly what He means, and means exactly what He says. He is, after all, omnipotent, and has the ability to choose to have the Bible written in any language using any words He chooses, having chosen to do so before time began, choosing from an infinite number of words in an infinite number of possible languages.

there must be flexibility in interpretation

What does God say about “flexible” interpretation? He says, in two of the last verses in that Bible, Rev 22:18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. Rev 22:19 And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. God, it appears, does not like “flexible” interpretation, He demands that you read it exactly as written, where it is very clear, each word being chosen with literally infinite care.

And if you choose to interpret “flexibly”, well, I can do that to, I choose to interpret the above sentence you wrote to mean that one should read while holding the book behind you in your toes and bending over backwards to read it. What, that is not what you said? What, you insist on me reading it as written, yet not reading what is in Genesis as written? You know they teach whole SJW courses in college on how to do that, you should look up French Narrative Theory sometime.

“Flexible” interpretation merely means “I don't like what it says, so I will twist the meaning to something I do like”.

Anonymous Legatus June 20, 2015 5:37 PM  

An absolute rejection of 24 hour creation days--does that seem flexible to you?

An absolute insistence on 24 hour “days”, despite the text using a word that does not insist on that, does that seem flexible to you?

The text is written in Hebrew, you must interpret it in the language it is was written in. That language uses the word yom, which means an unspecified length of time, which can be specified from the context of the other words around it, that being the way Hebrew works. Let us look at that:

Gen 1:24-31 And God said, "Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds:... So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them...And there was evening, and there was morning--the sixth day.

If that was all there was, we could say that God created animals, and both the male and female humans, on the same, 24 hour day, but then we see Genesis 2, where that “sixth day” is covered in greater detail. In Genesis 2, we see God planting he specified “planted”, as in, planted seedlings and the like, that being the only interpretation of that word) a garden , and creating only Adam in it after all that. It was only after He brought all the animals to Adam and Adam observed and named them (this was God's little talk, you know, the birds and the bees talk, using observation of real birds and bees and animals which came in two sexes, so that Adam understood the term “two sexes”) that Adam was put to sleep and Eve created. All that must have taken some time, longer than 24 hours. Even if you say God could do some of this instantly (although the text, especially the word “planted”, says that He did not), Adam could not observe and name all the animals instantly, that is a LOT of animals after all. Read what is says Gen 2:20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field. But for Adam no suitable helper was found.. All, that is a LOT, and he had to observe them long enough to both choose a suitable name, based on how they looked and acted, and also to understand the concept of a mate, a “suitable helper”, as the other animals (some of them anyway) had. And only after all that did God put him to sleep and create Eve. Yet above, you insist that Gen 1:31 means that all happened in 24 hours. How? Why? God, after all, has plenty of time, why rush things? Adam, however, did not, he could not rush things, Adam could not oprtate at warp speed. And why specify the word "planted", why not say "and God created a gerden instantly from nothing", God could have said that, yet He specified "planted", why?

Therefore, the context of the word yom, which in the original language can mean any period of time, must be longer than 24 hours. Context is how you must interpret the Hebrew word yom, because it is Hebrew, and not English.

And you should ask yourself, “why am I not flexible with this interpretation, why do I insist on six 24 hour days, why is it so important to me that it only be six 24 hour days?” Whats the big deal? Can you tell me why it is so important, what difference it makes? And why 6000 years, something never mentioned once in the Bible, why is that so important? And three 2000 year periods, have you noticed the calendar lately? And why 2000, shouldn't it be six 1000 year periods, why lump two of them together? Where did all this come from??

Blogger J Thomas June 20, 2015 7:15 PM  

Ok, let me completely re-state this, as I didn't do a good summary job.

First of all, regarding syntax and grammar, and the word yom...there is one question to ask primarily: Is the word "yom" ever used as an idiom elsewhere in scripture? If it is, then the other question is, when does it happen as an idiom, and when does it happen literally?

But going past all of this to the more important issue, the point that I was getting at before (which I know many here will probably find heretical), is that scripture follows a line of "progressive revelation".

As an example, the Old Testament has next to nil when it comes to an established demonology. It is much more developed in the New Testament. SO MUCH SO, that it could be argued that even some of the saints and patriarchs of old, seemed to not even be aware of their existence.

And the fact of the matter is that, if you were a person in OT times and wanted to create a system of explanation of demons, you would actually have to wait for more history to unfold, in order to explicate that.

Now here's my point. Genesis doesn't say that the serpent was a demon. But further scriptures (especially the NT), does heavily imply a demonic presence in the snake.

Now are we gonna get all hung up on the fact that Genesis calls it a serpent, just to prove our point that it wasn't a demon? No. Because even though, yes, you would probably (or maybe not) be correct in proving that word *only* refers to snakes, it still wouldn't matter, and you would spend all that time to prove a point that just misses the main point in general, which is that later scripture (progressive revelation) would confirm that indeed, the snake was "demonic".

So could yom mean only a literal day? Maybe. But if we have other reasons to not take it that way (especially from later scriptures, but in general along the line of progressive revelation), then it's not necessarily unreasonable to take it more metaphorically or allegorically. Like it or not, there is much ambiguity in Genesis, and if you guys want me to unpack all that ambiguity, I can do so.

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