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The Crumbling Facade Of The Theory Of Evolution

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The scientific concept of the origin of life on earth begins with the premise that life first appeared billions of years ago with the formation of microscopic organisms out of inanimate matter. In the billions of years which followed, small organisms evolved into higher and more complex forms of life through random mutations, and one species evolved into another.

Over the years, a process referred to as "natural selection" weeded out those mutations and organisms less fit to survive than others. Thus, it was mostly the more "fit" that passed on their genetic character traits to subsequent generations. And that's how we and all other life forms got here.

On the surface, this sounds great. However, a deeper analysis of the underlying mechanism and the fossil record, leaves little doubt that mutations of a random nature could not possible have been the driving force behind the development of life on earth.

When it comes to a random process, there is always the question of whether it can produce organization. An analogy might be the old monkey on a typewriter: given enough time, can a monkey on a typewriter produce the works of Shakespeare purely by random keystrokes? Let's assume for the purpose of this discussion that this is possible — and that random mutations, given enough time, can also eventually produce the most complex life forms.

Let's begin by rolling a die (one "dice"). To get a "3," for example, you'd have to roll the die an average of six times (there are six numbers, so to get any one of them would take an average of six rolls). Of course, you could get lucky and roll a 3 the first time. But as you keep rolling the die, you'll find that the 3 will come up on average once every six rolls.

The same holds true for any random process. You'll get a "Royal Flush" (the five highest cards, in the same suit) in a 5-card poker game on average roughly once every 650,000 hands. In other words, for every 650,00 hands of mostly meaningless arrangements of cards (and perhaps a few other poker hands), you'll get only one Royal Flush.

Multi-million dollar lotteries are also based on this concept. If the odds against winning a big jackpot are millions to one, what will usually happen is that for every game where one person wins the big jackpot with the right combination of numbers, millions of people will not win the big jackpot because they picked millions of combinations of meaningless numbers. To my knowledge, there hasn't been a multi-million dollar lottery yet where millions of people won the top prize and only a few won little or nothing. It's always the other way around. And sometimes there isn't even one big winner.

How does this relate to evolution?

Let's take this well-understood concept about randomness and apply it the old story of a monkey on a typewriter. As mentioned earlier, for the purpose of this discussion, we'll assume that if you allow a monkey to randomly hit keys on a typewriter long enough he could eventually turn out the works of Shakespeare. Of course, it would take a very long time, and he'd produce mountains and mountains of pages of meaningless garbage in the process, but eventually (we'll assume) he could turn out the works of Shakespeare.

Now, let's say, after putting a monkey in front of a typewriter to type out Shakespeare, you decide you also want a copy of the Encyclopedia of Britannica. So you put another monkey in front of another typewriter. Then, you put a third monkey in front of third typewriter, because you also want a copy of "War And Peace." Now you shout, "Monkeys, type," and they all start banging away on their typewriters.

You leave the room and have yourself cryogenically frozen so you can come back in a few million years to see the results. (The monkeys don't have to be frozen. Let's say they're an advanced species; all they need to survive millions of years is fresh ink cartridges.)

You come back in a few million years and are shocked at what you see. What shocks you is not what you find, but what you don't find. First, you do find that the monkeys have produced the works of Shakespeare, the Encyclopedia of Britannica and "War and Peace." But all this you expected.

What shocks you is that you don't see the mountains of papers of meaningless arrangement of letters that each monkey should have produced for each literary work. You do find a few mistyped pages here and there, but they do not nearly account for the millions of pages of "mistakes" you should have found.

And even if the monkeys happened to get them all right the first time, which is a pretty big stretch of the imagination, they still should've type out millions of meaningless pages in those millions of years. (Who told them to stop typing?) Either way, each random work of art should have produced millions upon millions of meaningless typed pages.

This is precisely what the problem is with the Darwinian theory of evolution.

A random process, as depicted by Darwinian evolution and accepted by many scientists, even if one claims it can produce the most complex forms of life, should have produced at least millions of dysfunctional organisms for every functional one. And with more complex organisms (like a "Royal Flush" as opposed to a number 3 on a die), an even greater number of dysfunctional "mistakes" should have been produced (as there are so many more possibilities of "mistakes" in a 52-card deck than a 6-sided die).

The fossil record should have been bursting with billions upon billions of completely dysfunctional-looking organisms at various stages of development for the evolution of every life form. And for each higher life form — human, monkey, chimpanzee, etc. — there should have been millions of even more "mistakes."

Instead, of those fossils that are well-preserved, the fossil record shows an overwhelming number of fairly well-formed, functional-looking organisms, such as Trilobites. We haven't found the plethora of "gradually improved" or intermediate species (sometimes referred to as "missing links") that we should have, we haven't even found the vast number of "mistakes" known beyond a shadow of a doubt to be produced by every random process.

We don't need billions of years to duplicate a random process in a lab to show that it will produce chaos every time, regardless of whether or not it might eventually produce some "meaningful complexity." To say that randomness can produce organization is one thing, but to say that it won't even produce the chaos that randomness invariably produces is inconsistent with established fact.

A process that will produce organization without the chaos normally associated with randomness is the greatest proof that the process is not random.

The notion that the fossil record supports the Darwinian theory of evolution is as ludicrous as saying that a decomposed carcass proves an animal is still alive. It proves the precise opposite. The relative scarcity of deformed-looking creatures in the fossil record proves beyond a doubt that if one species spawned another (which in itself is far from an accepted fact and still seen by many as a theory) it could not possibly have been by a random process.

You may be tempted to explain that we don't see many of the "mistakes" in the fossil record because the genetic code has a repair mechanism which is able to correct DNA damage and thereby prevent most abnormal organisms from ever coming into existence.

Aside from this not being the issue, this isn't even entirely true. Although genetic code has the ability to repair or eliminate malfunctioning genes, many diseased genes fall through the cracks, despite this. There are a host of genetic diseases — hemophilia, various cancers, congenital cataract, spontaneous abortions, cystic fibrosis, color-blindness, and muscular dystrophy, to name just a few — that ravage organisms and get passed on to later generations, unhampered by the genetic repair mechanism. During earth's history of robust speciation (species spawning new ones) through, allegedly, random mutation, far more genes should have fallen through the cracks.

And, as an aside, how did the genetic repair mechanism evolve before there was a genetic repair mechanism? And where are all those millions of deformed and diseased organisms that should've been produced before the genetic repair mechanism was fully functional?

But all this is besides the point. A more serious problem is the presumption that natural selection weeded out the vast majority, or all, of the "misfits."

A genetic mutation that would have resulted in, let's say, the first cow to be born with two legs instead of four, would not necessarily be recognized as dysfunctional by the genetic repair mechanism. (I'll be using "cow" as an example throughout; but it applies to almost any organism.) From the genetic standpoint, as long as a gene is sound in its own right, there's really no difference between a cow with four legs, two legs, or six tails and an ingrown milk container. It's only after the cow is born that natural selection, on the macro level, eliminates it if it's not fit to survive.

It's these types of mutations, organisms unfit to survive on the macro level, yet genetically sound, that should have littered the planet by the billions.

Sure these deformed cows would have gotten wiped out quickly by natural selection, since they had no chance of surviving. But how many millions of dysfunctional cows alone, before you even get to the billions of other species in earth's history, should have littered the planet and fossil record before the first stable, functioning cow made its debut? If you extrapolate the random combinations from a simple deck of cards to the far greater complexity of a cow, we're probably talking about tens of millions of "mistakes" that should have cluttered planet earth for just the first functioning cow.

Where are all these relics of an evolutionary past?

Did nature miraculously get billions of species right the first time? Of the fossils well-preserved enough to study, most appear to be well-designed and functional-looking. With the low aberration ratio of fossils being no more significant, as far as speciation is concerned, than common birth deformities, there seems to have been nothing of a random nature in the development of life.

One absurd response I've gotten from a scientist as to why a plethora of deformed species never existed is: There is no such thing as speciation driven by deleterious mutation.

This is like asking, "How come everybody leaves the lecture hall through exit 5, but never through exit 4?" and getting a response, "Because people don't leave the lecture hall through exit 4." Wasn't this the question?

What scientists have apparently done is look into the fossil record and found that new species tend to make their first appearance as well-formed, healthy-looking organisms. So instead of asking themselves how can a random series of accidents seldom, if ever, produce "accidents," they've simply formulated a new rule in evolutionary biology: There is no such thing as speciation driven by deleterious mutation. This answer is about as scientific, logical and insightful as, "Because I said so."

It's one thing for the genetic code to spawn relatively flawless cows today, after years of stability. But before cows took root, a cow that might have struck us as deformed would have been no more or less "deleterious," from the genetic standpoint, than a cow that we see as normal. The genetic repair mechanism may recognize "healthy" or "diseased" genetic code, but it can't know how many legs or horns a completely new species should have, if we're talking about a trial-and-error crapshoot. If the genetic repair mechanism could predict what a functioning species should eventually look like, years before natural selection on the macro level had a chance to weed out the unfit, we'd be talking about some pretty weird, prophetic science.

In a paper published in the February 21, 2002, issue of Nature, Biologists Matthew Ronshaugen, Nadine McGinnis, and William McGinnis described how they were able to suppress some limb development in fruit flies simply by activating certain genes and suppress all limb development in some cases with additional mutations during embryonic development.

In another widely publicized experiment, genetic damage caused fruit flies to grow legs on their heads: Mutations to homeobox genes of fruit flies can produce legs where the antennae should be.

These experiments showed how easy it is to make drastic changes to an organism through genetic mutations. Ironically, although the former experiment was touted as supporting evolution, they both actually do the opposite. The apparent ease with which organisms can change so dramatically and take on bizarre properties, drives home the point that bizarre creatures, and bizarre versions of known species, should have been mass produced by nature, had earth's history consisted of billions of years of the development of life through random changes.

To claim that the random development of billions of life forms occurred, yet the massive aberrations didn't, is an absurd contradiction to everything known about randomness.

Evolutionists tend to point out that the fossil record represents only a small fraction of biological history, and this is why we don't find all the biological aberrations we should. But the issue here is not one of numbers but one of proportion.

For every fossil of a well-formed, viable-looking organism, we should have found an abundance of "strange" or deformed ones, regardless of the total number. What we're finding, however, is the proportional opposite.

Evolution through a random series of events may have made some sense in Darwin's days. But in the 21st century, random evolution appears to be little more than the figment of a brilliant imagination. Although this imaginative concept has, in the years since Darwin, amassed a fanatical cult-like following, science, it is not. Science still needs to be proven; you can't just vote ideas into "fact." And especially not when they contradict facts.

An article in a 2007 issue of Current Biology, also available on ScienceDaily.com, reports that a multi-national team of biologists has concluded that developmental evolution is orderly and not random, based on a study of different species of roundworms. This is not the evolution of Darwin.

It's ironic how evolutionists will fend off disproofs of Darwinian evolution, often calling them creationism, yet it is evolutionists' dogmatic adherence to concepts that are more imagination than fact that smacks of a belief in mystical, supernatural powers. What evolutionists have done, in effect, is invented a new god-less religion and re-invented their own version of creation-by-supernatural-means. However, the mere elimination of God from the picture doesn't exactly make it science.

So if the development of life was not an accident, how did life come about?

Well, pointing out a problem is not necessarily contingent upon whether or not a solution is presented. In this case, presenting an alternative may actually be counterproductive. Evolutionists often get so bogged down with trying to discredit a proposed alternative, frequently with nothing more than invectives, that they tend to walk away believing evolution must still work.

The objective here, therefore, is to point out that Darwinian evolution does not fall apart because a solution being presented says it happened differently. The objective here is to show that the mechanics of evolution are incompatible with empirical evidence, verifiable science and common sense, regardless of whatever else may or may not take its place.

For a true study of science, we need to put the theory of evolution to rest, as we've done with so many other primitive concepts born of ignorance. Science today is far beyond such notions as metals that turn into gold, brooms that fly, earth is flat, and mystical powers that accidentally create life. What all these foolish beliefs have in common is that they were popular in their own time, were never duplicated in a lab, and were never proven by any other means.

We'd be doing society a great service if we filled our science textbooks with verifiable facts that demonstrate how science works, instead of scintillating fabrications that demonstrate how imaginative and irrational some scientists can get.

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About jgreen

  • I’m sure you’ll get plenty of pushback on this, perhaps starting with the idea that there is a single “theory of evolution” rather than a collection of many theories, constantly, er, evolving over time.

    Anyway, I’ll just point out that current evolutionary theory describes a slight variation on your analogy. Instead of just coming back after billions of years in cryogenic sleep, you’d wake up at regular intervals (or perhaps supervise all along). You would throw away the random garbage, leaving only the coherent works.

    Because of that — the “survival of the fittest” bit — you wouldn’t be surprised to come along a few billion years later and not see the rejects.

    Of course, you might occasionally spot a reject in production in the form of mutations, but the monkeys type very, very slowly indeed.

    Anyway, I’ll leave to others who might feel more passionately about defending evolution; my cursory familiarity compelled me to point that out.

  • Like pretty much every anti-evolutionist, the author seems to think he’s hit on some fatal flaws that will bring the whole theory crashing down.

    There’s a lot to dissect here, so for now I’ll just start with the analogy of the monkeys – which again is far from original when applied to evolution.

    It’s not an especially good analogy because it ignores environmental factors. As Phillip hinted at, a better scenario would be if the pages the monkeys typed burst into flame whenever they failed to type a word or passage from Hamlet. This would happen rather a lot, but eventually a page would be produced which contained the words “Who’s there?” (The first line of the play.) Subsequently, a great deal more pages would incandesce, until the monkeys typed the words “Nay, answer me” (the second line). You now have the first two lines of Hamlet – everything else has been immolated. And so it proceeds until you eventually have the whole of Hamlet, an extraordinarily large pile of ashes and some disgruntled and hungry monkeys.

    It’s still not a perfect analogy, but it describes the mechanism of evolution rather better.

  • teano

    “Dr Dreadful: Like pretty much every anti-evolutionist, the author … ”

    This is all very “cutsie” stuff. But little substance. It refutes nothing the author has said.

  • Bear with me, Teano. I don’t want to have to repeat myself. I said, “For now…”

    What is “cutsie” when it’s at home?

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Actually, the author has a number of valid points.

    One is the vehemence with which scientists will defend a flawed theory when it is challenged. The stones and bones that make up the geologic record that proves that life did evolve indicate that it evolved, not in slow orderly progressions dictated by random mutation, but by fits and starts, exploding all at once at various times in geologic history.

    The changes were violent and massive, it appears, with large amounts of changes taking place all at nearly the same time.

    What is indeed interesting is that nature settled on only two designs for picking up and translating visual signals. One is the multiplex eyelets found in insects, and the other is the eye, found in almost all life above an insect. A fish eye and a human eye have far more in common than they have in variance. Why only one or two designs in millions of species?

    Carbon dating indicates that life did evolve over a long period of time, billions of years at least – from the way we count time, looking backwards. But the stones and bones point to something other than random mutation. So long as scientists refuse to look that fact in the face, they will continue to produce flawed theories to explain the facts.

  • This appears on the surface to be just another “creationist” trying to pick and choose what is theory and what is fact.

    Anything that he agrees with is fact, anything he disagrees with is theory. A well thought out mind could post a valid thought here and the author would (and already has)just completely reject it-proclaiming with his nose up in the air “You haven’t repudiated anything”

    Fact-We now have telescopes that can see hundreds of millions of light years away. In the likely case that you’re familiar with the term, light year-that’s a measurement in distance… time

    Fact-If this is indeed the only orb within tens of billions of stars in the universe that just happens to be in the right place and the right time to have intelligent life on it, that indeed means we’ve beaten 1-in-Ten billion odds. A 50 thousand years ago contitions on this earth were much different, as they will be 50 years from now.

    God’s creation is rather faulty here if you ask me.

    The earth is in a decaying orbit, filled with millions of massive objects aimed at it that could completely destroy it at a moment’s notice.

    Fact-The sun will eventually burn out, expand and destroy all that god created.

    We have a galaxy bearing down on our own that in a few billion years will collide with ours causing a vast cataclysm or a drastic rearrangement of gods work.

    Compare the human man of today with the human man of Jesus’ time.

    If we were to bring the people of Jesus’s time forward to our own, they couldn’t breath our present day peasoup air, drink our chlorinated and flourided water, and wouldn’t live past the age of 45 years.


    Because the human species has EVOLVED to adapt to the current conditions. Through selective breeding, and mutation every single animal, fish and even microbes have changed in order to either be able live in its current circumstances or die trying. That’s called evolution.

    Now that I’ve looked it over and read the whole thing, instead of think, I now know that this is indeed another “creationist” trying to pick and choose what is theory and what is fact.

    Picking and choosing facts to fit theories and visa verse is not only foolish, but folly…

    But of course that’s only my…


  • Cannonshop

    What’s really interesting, is that neither side seems open to the possibility that their HYPOTHESIS is flawed. “Theory” has some experimental evidence to back it up, “Fact” is a fun word thrown around to impress pundits. The six most important words in SCIENCE is “I don’t know, let’s find out.”
    Both the Creationists and the Evolutionists have this comfortable little box that they both put the question in-it’s just that their boxes have different labeling.

    That box may as well be labeled “Faith” since nobody has a couple million years to run an experiment, all we have is circumstantial evidence and hypotheticals to explain it that we are only BARELY able to test. Without knowing how much Carbon-13, for instance, is in the environment at a given period, you have a limited ability to extrapolate…from existing percentages. Likewise for Uranium dating. Time-distances pre-dating the discovery of these elements in nature are “Best Guesses”. This doesn’t mean the process is actually inaccurate, only that it MIGHT be. In that, creationists might have a point. Further, the ability to generate “life” from samplings of hydrocarbons still hasn’t been done in a lab, and the actual conditions of the earth at the time it is HYPOTHESIZED that life began still aren’t well-known, and haven’t been accurately measured-we just don’t KNOW ENOUGH yet.

    The Creationists and ID people have a point there.

    But ’tis not just points to their favour. As of yet, there’s no direct evidence of the EXISTENCE of a Supreme Being, Creator, Deity, grand snaggleopppogus, or Great White Hanky. According to most existing literature of the major religions, God isn’t granting interviews, nor is Allah, Buddha, or Muhammed. What the Creationist misses, is that it’s NOT THE JOB OF SCIENCE to prove God’s Existence, or the Alien Space Brothers, or Odin. God is about FAITH. SCIENCE is about “How does it WORK”. Good science doesn’t address theological questions, it only analyzes physical processes and properties of the universe AS IT IS, or “Why does the sun consume Hydrogen and produce Helium?”, “How did I get this sun-burn?” or “How do I travel to the moon?”

    Questions of God are “Do I have a Soul, where does it go, how should I live my life?” SCIENCE does not answer these questions. Science doesn’t tell you what is right, or wrong, it does not provide guidance on how to treat your spouse, or children, it doesn’t provide a reason why bad things happen to good people, nor does it define good and evil.

    This means, basically, that science will not tell you whether or not god exists, has existed, or will exist-it’s like getting an anonymous machine marked up in a language you don’t know- science can tell you what it’s made of, what its parts do, how they interact with one another…but it can’t tell you WHO made it, or why, only what it might be for, and roughly how its parts work.

    Both sides of the debate seem to be obsessed with (mis)using science to answer a question that neither side can provide empirical proof to support.

    Ask a Creationist some time, “What is a work-day for an eternal being who is, by your own definition,all knowing and all powerful?” The correct answer is “As long as he wants (or needs) it to be.”

    The next question is “What kind of shoddy craftsman has to interfere with the workings of his device at every stage?” If god is perfect (as most Christians and other devout folk maintain he is) then he’s not a shoddy craftsman. Observably, the universe works a certain way, observably, animals adapt to their environment, and tend to breed with other animals who show traits that are successful. Experimentally, selective breeding has produced most of our domestic animals. Presuming an all-powerful, and all-knowing creator who doesn’t slack on the small details, is it really reasonable to assume that said creator would build a system that requires HIS direct intervention to produce intelligent life on one mote-speck of a planet around an unremarkable G2 yellow dwarf star in the unfashionable end of the western arm of a spiral galaxy that is one of thousands just like it?

    Is it not more reasonable to assume that a being capable of creating a universe, would build that universe to the highest quality standards as a stand-alone, able to maintain itself for the desired period of time without constant meddling by the creator?

    To a being inside that universe, would it not seem, (absent spectacular insight on the part of the observer) that these “Natural” processes are, in fact, NATURALLY Occurring, and that the mechanism follows its own internal rules, and does so seamlessly and without leaving toolmarks?

    Darwin believed in god. Darwinists try to erase god and use Darwin to try and prove Gods non-existence. Creationists use science and technology, but try to use it to prove god’s existence.

    Both are mis-using scientific observation for their own ends.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem


    Has it ever dawned on you that both evolution (as corrected by reality on the ground) and the Bible may both be right?

    True, it is not the job of the scientist to prove the existence of G-d. And it is not the job of the theologian to disprove physics or cosmology. But both might discover that they are headed in the same general direction of increasing understanding of mankind of the universe around him….

    Further it must be noted here that once one gets to quantum physics, one largely leaves physics and skirts closely into the territory of metaphysics.

    That question is not directed just at you but at all of the folks reading – particularly the author…

  • Cannonshop

    Indeed, Ruvy, it has. I have also found many similarities between various non-biblical texts and the bible, as well as features of Quantum Physics. The question of which truth is “truer” is one for Theologians. Physics, Quantum Physics, and various branches of science remain, for me, a path to finding out HOW the universe is constructed, and not paths to determining who, what, or whom might or might not be the motivating force. For the Bible to be right, the Vedas must be wrong, for the Vedas to be right, the bible must be wrong. This does not mean that the bible is entirely wrong, Things that are true observatiosn, or good hypotheses based on observations, or even lucky guesses don’t stop being true simply because of where they are recorded. Conclusions can be tossed in science, but Data is Data, so long as it is not cooked or manipulated to support a conclusion, any scrap of data must be taken on its own merits rather than the merits of the source. If a Creationist, for instance, discovers a protein complex that he or she claims is proof of god, it may, or may not be proof of god, but it is definitely a protein complex that must be examined on its own merits. If a Physicist finds a particle that reacts to the mood of the observer, that particle must be treated as a particle, it is not proof of magic, or psychic powers on its own, and so on.

    Really, there’s been a degeneration of scientific ethics in the last few generations, it seems-the unfortunate cooking-of-data and manipulation of experiments in the Global Warming debate is just as much an example of dogmatism in ‘science’ as the Evolution/Creation debate continues to be. In both cases, both sides have a nasty habit of unquestioningly supporting their own point of view while ignoring any point of data that disrupts that point of view’s conclusion. Both sides have a nasty habit of starting with a conclusion, then snipping information to fit, rather than the other way ’round, and both sides refuse to submit their hypotheses and experimental work to peer-reviewers holding the opposing viewpoint.

    Science does not progress when it becomes dogmatic, whereas religion flourishes when it is rooted in tradition. Each has a place, neither should ever serve as a substitute for the other.

  • teano

    “…refuse to submit their hypotheses and experimental work to peer-reviewers…”

    Right. Try sending anything against evolution to a science magazine. See how open-minded they are toward peer review. They’re about as closed minded as fanatics get.

  • Try sending anything against evolution to a science magazine. See how open-minded they are toward peer review. They’re about as closed minded as fanatics get.

    Or – they recognize a complete load of bollocks when they see it.

  • Cannonshop: Darwin believed in god. Darwinists try to erase god and use Darwin to try and prove Gods non-existence.

    Slight correction. Darwin did originally believe in God – he wanted to be a minister at one point – but his research led him to become agnostic.

    As Ruvy points out, there’s no logical conflict between accepting the theory of evolution and a belief in God. Most scientists don’t believe in God not just because of evolution but because, well, they’re scientists. The physical evidence, as you rightly observe, doesn’t point to his active and ongoing involvement in the universe – so one might as well proceed as if he doesn’t exist.

    Statistically, I seem to recall that the percentage of cosmologists, astrophysicists and quantum physicists – those who actually deal with the origins and building blocks of the universe – who believe in God is even lower than in the general science community. To me this is interesting, because from my – admittedly lay – reading on these subjects, I do see quite compelling evidence for some sort of design.

    I will note here that to Josh’s credit, he does not attempt to bring God into the equation in his article.

  • tenao

    “Dr Dreadful – they recognize a complete load of bollocks when they see it”

    You don’t sound very open minded yourself. You have a blanket staement for whatever is against evolution, regardless of what it says? That’s really “scientific.” I see why evolutionists believe in the lunacy they believe in.

  • And the Christian view of origins starts with a fable recorded by ancient goat herders, made up from their own imaginations (well actually the Jewish version is a revision of more ancient Sumerian and Babylonian versions).

  • Actually, Dr. Dreadful, what led Charles Darwin to his agnosticism was the passing of his daughter in 1851. His findings were being used by atheists and dissenters to attack the positions of the Church and Darwin did think that religion was a sort of “tribal” strategy because of some of his discoveries, so to speak, but it wasn’t until later that his scepticism became his dominant philosophy.

  • #13:

    Merely responding to yours in the same tone, Tenao.

    The reason why creationist/intelligent design/whatever-you-want-to-call-them papers don’t get peer-reviewed is that they’re usually based on shoddy science. The ones that do get published either (a) are often literature reviews, not original research, (b) don’t really address the topic of evolution anyway, or (c) appear in journals with sympathetic review boards or relaxed review standards.


  • #15:

    Jordan, I stand partially corrected on the reason for Darwin’s agnosticism. However, his observations in the field did lead him to question religious orthodoxy – for example, why God would have created exquisite creatures which lived in the deep ocean where no-one could see them.

  • kurzweilfreak

    Wow, what a completely incorrect article. Has the author actually done any study into evolutionary theory? Of course we don’t see billions of failed “experiments” lying around, they died before reproduction, that’s why they failed and hence didn’t pass along their genes. Darwin hypothesized about evolution, publishing in 1853. We’ve come QUITE a long way in the last 155 years.

    Actually learn something about the modern theory of evolution as supported by all the evidence instead of trying to knock down your cartoon idea of what you think it is. It’s pointless to refute the author when the author doesn’t even know what he’s talking about. Evolution is a cumulative process. Geez, read a frigging book for a change and learn something before you think you know better than the whole of modern science. It’s really not that difficult a concept to grasp.

  • Most of this article and discussion totally miss the point anyway. While there certainly has been much scientific evidence to overturn some aspects of assumptions about the details of prior evolutionary concepts, all of these scientific advances offer nothing but more scientific evidence for other naturalistic material mechanisms for evolution. In order for “Intelligent Design” to make any advances there has to be “evidence” AGAINST naturalistic material mechanisms. And this is where ID has failed, is failing, and will always fail. The real issue is an issue of naturalistic processes vs. “supernatural” processes. ID doesn’t really just rail against “Darwinian evolution”, it rails against all naturalistic mechanisms. If, for example, it were proven that “natural selection” didn’t account for all of the shaping of the characteristics of an organism (actually this has already been shown), this may be evidence against a purely Darwinian model, but it isn’t evidence against evolution in general or against naturalistic development.

    What IDers propose (Behe and Dembsky) is that they can “scientifically determine” that a given thing is impossible to have been produced via natural processes. That is their claim, and the math and procedures that they use to support this claim (specified complexity) is thoroughly and irrefutably complete bunk and total garbage. Without the ability to determine that it is impossible for something to have developed naturally, there is no science behind “Intelligent Design”. ID is nothing more that reheated Aristotelian philosophy cloaked in Christian theology. Its ancient Medieval nonsense.

  • Is the facade of evolution crumbling a little bit over a long period of time?

  • Cannonshop

    Who’s tested it? Where can I read said tests??

    Seriously. Seriously, rejecting it as medieval nonsense without testing the man’s assertions is just as much medieval nonsense.

  • Test what, Cannonshop?

    The burden of proof is on Josh (or on Behe. Not clear who you’re referring to here). He’s the one challenging the established theory here.

  • This is about as silly as the ones who say we never landed on the moon.

    The facts can be placed right in front of their eyes and they’ll still call evolution as a theory.

  • Well, evolution is a theory, Jet. The problem here is with the creationists’/IDers misrepresentation of what a theory is.

  • teano

    It’s strange how all those who keep yelling the author is “missing the point” are the ones who are missing the point. Have you people not read the article, or have you all just not comprehended it? There’s a study that he cites that proves his point and you people just keep rehashing the same old evolutionist nonsense.

    “An article in a 2007 issue of Current Biology, also available on ScienceDaily.com, reports that a multi-national team of biologists has concluded that developmental evolution is orderly and not random … ” Darwin was wrong.

    Here’s are excerpts of the article:

    “A multi-national team of biologists has concluded that developmental evolution is deterministic and orderly, rather than random, based on a study of different species of roundworms… These results demonstrate that, even where we might expect evolution to be random, it is not”

    The researchers were Karin Kiontke, a post-doctoral fellow in New York University’s Department of Biology, NYU Biology Professor David Fitch, researchers from the University of Paris, the Israel Institute of Technology, and the Max-Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Germany.

    It takes some serious arrogance to keep throwing out the same tired old stuff when science itself proves, not just Greenberger, that Darwin was wrong.

  • To #25, see my earlier post.

    Studies such as the one you cite don’t actually disprove evolution at all or support ID, they actually strengthen the case for naturalistic evolution. Disproves certain assumption of Darwin doesn’t undermine “Darwinian evolution”, and really this study doesn’t even do that. First of all, Darwin had no knowledge of genetics at all, so any of his ideas about how change occurred were of course nothing but educated guess. Secondly, Darwin used the term “random” in a different way than what it is being interpreted in the cited article. Darwin never described evolution as truly “random”, he used the word “random” to mean “not directed by God”. When Darwin said “random” he mean naturalistic and undirected. All that the study that you cited does is further reinforce materialistic determinism and further support the case for naturalistic evolution, it absolutely does nothing to bolster any case for ID. This is exactly the point I made in post #19.

    That evolution is “predictable” completely undercuts the idea that it is directed by some other “intelligent designer”. It is predicable because we can predict it the way we predict any aspect of physics, which is that it follows set laws of nature. ID claims that the development of life is outside the laws of nature. If ID were true we would predict that evolution would be unpredictable, because it would be based on the whims of the designer, which presumably we couldn’t predict. Evolution is predicable because it occurs exactly as we would expect if there is no designer.

  • Well, of course Darwin was wrong – quite often. Quite where you people get the idea that Darwin is the be-all and end-all of evolutionary theory, I don’t know.

    As an earlier commenter pointed out, we’ve come quite a way in the 150-some years since Origin of Species was published. There was a huge amount of information Darwin didn’t have access to which would have caused him to modify his ideas quite significantly – the existence of genes and DNA, for instance.

    So of course he made errors. So did Copernicus. That’s not to say that his model of a non-geocentric universe is entirely wrong.

    In case you didn’t notice, Kiontke and her team are describing a different mechanism for evolution – not that it doesn’t take place.

    All this “Aha! Gotcha!” nonsense creationists keep coming up with is really rather tiresome.

  • Cannonshop

    Evolution remains a theory until you can spend a couple million years watching a fallow environment and observing it. The problem is simply a matter of time-for Evolution to occur without external, intelligent stimuli, it’s going to tend to take longer than most observers have. (in other words, it’s based on extrapolation and comparison-but there is no experimental evidence of complex organisms spontaneously evolving.) This is why it’s a THEORY (a Hypothesis with supporting evidence that’s probably true).

    Dr. Dreadful’s right about Creationist misinterpretation as well-they misuse “Theory” where “Hypothesis” is the correct term. (It has not been subjected to, and passed, adversarial peer-review), however, this is not a flaw shared only among Creationists.

    Teano (I think that’s what it says, my screen’s a piece of crap and the font’s kinda small) points out that there are serious researchers arguing Darwin with the link posted. At this point, then, it’s time to test (as far as is technologically possible) the claim, and test it without prejudice. After all, it wasn’t THAT long ago that the consensus among Geolologists and Geophysicist stated that continental plates elevated and sank, but did not change position. Plate Tectonics was the “looney claim” that violated the common wisdom.

  • Cannonshop, organisms (whether complex or single-celled) don’t evolve spontaneously but in response to their environment.

    I point this out because it’s at the heart of Josh’s misunderstanding of how natural selection works.

  • #28 : Good call on Copernicus. What the IDers are doing is as akin to claiming that the idea that earth is not the center of the universe is undercut by the discovery that the sun wasn’t the center of the universe as Copernicus claimed, because the whole solar system is just a part of the Milky Way, etc. The Christians claimed that the earth was the center of the universe (as did many others) and held this as a matter of faith. Copernicus argued that the earth went around the sun, thus showing that the earth was not the center and that instead the sun was the center. We since learned that even the sun is not the center. Showing that the sun is not the center doesn’t support the claims of the Christian faith, it only further undermines them even more.

    The same goes with new findings about evolution. The new findings about evolution may contradict certain specific claims of Darwin, but they actually bolster the case for naturalistic development of life, which was the primary claim of Darwin, they don’t contradict it. None of these new discovers that change our understanding of evolution contradict evolution itself or support non-naturalistic development of life, they all actually support the case for naturalistic evolution even more than the case that Darwin himself made and they further undermine theological ideas.

  • After all, it wasn’t THAT long ago that the consensus among Geolologists and Geophysicist stated that continental plates elevated and sank, but did not change position. Plate Tectonics was the “looney claim” that violated the common wisdom.

    Indeed. But Wegener’s apparently wacky ideas were eventually vindicated.

    Meanwhile, creationists have been strenuously denying evolution for 150 years now, and the theory has only gotten stronger.

  • teano

    I guess what you evolutionist apologists are saying is that nature can be “predictable” and “orderly” but it’s still science. I think this is what Greenberger is trying to point out — to look into nature and say this is a what happens, that in itself doesn’t make it science unless you can explain how. Nature can be “predictable” and “orderly”, great. How does that happen? Let’s forget about creationists and religion. Explain to scientifically how that happens. Please don’t tell me “that’s how.” I know it happens. we all know it happens. The question is how. It’s okay, leave God out of the picture. I’m looking for a scientific explanation. You people don’t know what on earth you’re talking about. You’re all gong in circles.

  • Teano, you do a lot of talking about us not being open-minded, and yet you’re guilty in spades of the exact same crime you accuse us of.

    You are the terrified kid who is convinced there’s a ghost in your bedroom closet because someone else told you it was there.

    We are the ones who opened that closet door, looked saw nothing there, and you called us a liar because the person who told it was there would never lie to you-so by faith, no matter how many times we tell you the facts, you’d rather belief your faith instead.

    The difference is we’ve looked OBJECTIVELY at both “theories” and chose which one makes sense to us. Science is a set of facts that can be proven in the laboratory, Religious faith is not, and the only proof is blind faith.

    You walk around with blinders on, and if something doesn’t meet the religous bliss fog you’re walking around in, you just ignore it completely.

    Sorry to tell you this, but you are a hypocrite to the n’th degree.

    Since you completely ignore anything that disagrees with your bible, you are beyond reasoning with, and we should all just gently ignore your ignorance…

    If it’s not in the bible it didn’t exist, like dinosaurs, several different versions of the same events in different parts of the gospels, and the fact that a lot of bible stories are passed on from yet older tales from the Chinese and other ancient peoples.

    I feel sorry for you…

  • #33: Umm… that’s what science IS, it is the business of making predictions based on natural observations. If nature weren’t predictable then there could be no science.

    Science is fundamentally based on materialism, the horrid foe of religion. Materialism states that everything happens for material reasons. Religions, especially Christianity, have always claimed that nature is not predictable, that everything in nature happens at the whim of God, and since we can’t know “God’s will”, we can’t predict what he will do next.

    A hurricane, according to the traditional religious view, doesn’t happen because of predictable material forces: heat, evaporation, etc., it happens because God got angry and he decided to create a hurricane out of nowhere to punish people for being bad or to harm the enemies of your tribe, etc.

    According to longstanding religious views, everything happens at the direction of supernatural, i.e. unpredictable, forces.

    Materialism on the other hand, says just the opposite, that everything happens due to purely natural, and thus theoretically predicable, forces.

    Why are these forces predictable? Of course no one knows. It has never been an argument of any religion, however, that the natural world is predicable or that it operates via material forces. Materialism is older that Christianity, going back to about the 6th century BCE among the Greeks. When the Christians came to power they specifically denounced materialism, they specifically made the idea of atoms a heresy, they specifically stated that the idea that natural events were directed by the hand of God was heresy, they specifically declared that the idea, already developed among the Greeks, that animals developed from natural processes without a creator was heresy.

  • Teano:

    You say you want a scientific explanation – of what, exactly, I’m not clear about. Evolution is a scientific explanation for the origin and development of species on this planet. Yet apparently it doesn’t satisfy you.

    So let’s leave God out of the equation, as you request. That done, can you tell us, honestly, exactly why you are skeptical of the theory of evolution?

  • teano

    Let me repeat myself at the risk of being one of the few on this blog to make any sense. You people really are a bunch buffoons. You keep telling me about Bible and religion as if I used any of that in support of anything. The bible is not the problem here. Evolution is.

    Observation by itself is not science. Explanation is. I can watch a dog all day talking a dump and then report to you a “rule of nature:” Dogs take dumps. Any idiot can see that. Explaining to me how the dog’s esophagus works and how the dog’s intestines work, that’s science.

    Telling me that nature shows an orderly production of life is not an explanation of anything — any idiot can tell you that. Tell me how nature took the raw elements and created life — the key is how, not simply that how it happens. You’ve explained nothing of the sort.

    The random Darwinian theory made more sense than you guys. It was at least mystical enough to have been a possibility until the records showed it never happened that way. So now you’re telling me what — it wasn’t random? Then how? You haven’t said diddly squat about how it did happen.

    You just keep telling me that Darwin is old hat and now we don’t even have the random thing anymore — it just happened. And then you accuse others of your own faults.

    Tell me how it happened (not how the dog took a crap, but how the process works scientifically ). Don’t give me the rules about how evolution says this or that. The validity of evolution is the question here. Tell me by what process one species formed another one without the deformities. Genetics doesn’t explain it, as the article points out. After birth, there should have been many deformed organism. Greenberger has given some strong logical arguments of why they should’ve existed, and all you keep giving me are rules of evolution. Stop with the rules — start explaining “nuts and bolts” how it happened.

  • Teano, just because you declare you are the only one making sense does not make it so, and there lyes our problem, which is unfixable apparently.

    The very thought that you might possibly be wrong is such a foreign concept to you that you’ve deluded yourself into thinking your warped knowledge of the bible makes you God’s spokesman of all things factual.

    Are you related to George Bush by any chance?

  • “until the records showed it never happened that way”

    If you dare… What records?

  • Leslie Bohn

    Mr. Greenberger:

    Your monkey analogy is amusing, but wrong. natural selection operates primarily on the gene level, not the species level. You wouldn’t have “failed” monkeys, you’d have monkeys with less-adaptable and less-selectable genes. This is one of the fundamentals of modern evolutionary science.

    The most important and famous modern book on evolutionary biology, Dawkins’ 1976 The Selfish Gene, is all about this.

  • Teano, you could just Google ‘evolution’.

    I really don’t see why I or anyone else should have to hold you by the hand and talk you through it when there are literally billions of pages of data on the subject, but oh well.

    This site should answer a lot of your questions.

    Or this one.

    Or – heck – even this one. Shit.

    And if you don’t like those explanations, why not actually read Kiontke’s paper?

    You really are extraordinarily arrogant. You basically ignore my request to explain why you don’t think the theory of evolution is valid, and instead misrepresent the arguments of your opponents on the thread and accuse everyone else of obfuscating.

    Again, we don’t need to explain the mechanisms to you because the answers are all over the web and in any good library.

    You seem to think you have some kind of special insight into why the whole theory is invalid; that you’re the sole voice of sanity; to the extent that you don’t even bother to check the literature and have convinced yourself that the only ones opposing you are a few folks on blogs.

  • Leslie Bohn

    Mr. Teano:
    The answer to one of your assertions is the same: Not “deformed organisms” but less-selectable genes.

  • Leslie: I think you meant his cow analogy, not the monkey one. The monkeys were typing Shakespeare, they weren’t coming out deformed.


  • There isn’t a single scientist working in the field today that has produced a useful product in agriculture, medicine, or organic chemistry who uses the precepts of Intelligent Design in his or her research. They all assume evolution to be true; they work as if common descent with modification was the best– indeed the only– explanation for the varieties of biology with which they work.

    And they give us miracles. BT corn, golden rice, modern antibiotics, obestatin (a drug for fighting obesity), orexin (a drug that fights sleep disorders), the entire field of oncogenesis (understanding why some genes cause cancer) are all products and developments that the researchers themselves say could not have happened without evolutionary biology.

    Cheap food and long lives: this is what evolutionary biology gives us.

    If any of the “alternatives” to evolutionary biology were useful, don’t you think industrial laboratories would be using them? Don’t you think they’d be publishing whitepapers that start, “Assuming these contra-Darwinian precepts to be true, we discovered the following and made billions of dollars”?

    This is America. A capitalist country. No smart industrial biology lab is going to leave cash on the table. They use what works. And what works is evolutionary biology.

    Until and unless Intelligent Design starts doing the three things evolutionary theory does (give an adequate explanation for observed phenomena; give new avenues of research that fail to overturn the theory; give us better control over our environment to produce new technological breakthroughs) it is nothing but a marketing campaign.

    If my kids want to be architects, they would learn Newtonian physics, not Aristotelean, because Aristotelean physics doesn’t work. If they want to be doctors, they need to learn evolutionary biology because, so far, none of the “alternatives” have been shown to work either.

  • troll

    …as me ol’ pappy used to say: discovering the natural laws that provide the explanation which Teano is asking for (explaining evolutionary events that seem improbable) is what science is all about

  • Leslie Bohn


  • Okay, okay, here’s an example of how it happened.
    By chance a small tropical female fish called a black mollie spyed another species of fish called a green swordtail. Finding him more attractive than her own kind she mated with him, producing green swordtails with black sides, known as “Tuxedo Swordtails”

    The new fish was a completely different species from the two unrelated fish, and had become it’s own species.

    Now a little later a Red Platty mated with one of the Green tuxedo swords and produced red babies with black sides, and the were dubbed green tuxedo swordtails.

    Meanwhile a green molly male mated with an attractive black mollie and she produced silver mollies. The subspecies were never created by God, they happened by natural evolution.

    Later on nature produced a disease that was killing off the Green Swordtails, and only the strongest of them were surviving. A swordtail by then by random chance could mate with a much stronger yellow Platty, and a new subspecies EVOLVED.

    God did not create these species of fish-they evolved long after God stopped his creating. It’s happening right in front of me in my 80 gallon aquarium.

    Back when the continents were not in the position they were in when God created them, a species of monkey had to learn how to survive using its wits and cunning. Female monkeys mated with other male monkeys that had learned to adapt by running faster and thinking their way out of danger.

    As they learned these traits and passed them on to their offspring, their abilities were passed down, creating other subspecies that were stronger and smarter. They discovered it was better to stand upright, and eventually the only ones the females would mate with had smaller feet that weren’t shaped as much like hands, and other traits were formed and evolved.

    My Great grandfather was Black and his wife was a Cherokee indian, The child was black and he grew to marry my white grandmother, they produced my Father who appeared white, and he married a white woman and had me and my siblings.

    We do not have traits of our black or indian forefathers, we are unique with the athletic abilities of my black slave ancestors who were bred for strength and speed-which is why most professional athletes are black, we also have the cheekbones of indians and their ability to survive, and we have the skins of our white mother and father.

    THAT IS EVOLUTION, we are a separate subspecies than our forefathers and I’m sure my sisters will pick men who have other desirable traits and breed them into our future fathers.

    My brother in the Navy married a Phillipene(sic) girl and now our family is going towards oriental leanings.

    EVOLUTION-we are not what GOD created, we are animals who evolved with traits that allowed us to survive our conditions.

    I doubt that you’ve even read down this far, as you obviously don’t agree with that and will claim I haven’t proven anything.

    Again, you are a fool and need a better education rather than trying to push the clap-trap-crap you’re trying to push on us as science.

    But of course that’s only my opinion…

  • Well… this is frightening. Did I get the last word or is everyone jusr reloading their weaponry?

  • Well, I’m not taking off my flak jacket just yet…

  • Ah damn it and I had this whole fantasy thing going in my head too…

  • teano

    “Leslie Bohn – …natural selection operates primarily on the gene level, not the species level…”

    This response is not necessarily to Leslie Bohn, but to all of you. It’s that Leslie Bohn’s statement hits the problem right on the head.

    “natural selection operates primarily on the gene level, not the species level” — who the heck says so?

    I know it’s all over the web, and I know it’s in all textbooks, but it’s nothing but an evolutionary “rule” based on observations that do not explain why. What if I told you a rule that shoes grow in prune bushes? Does it no longer need an explanation because it’s a “rule?”

    You can yell till your ears turn blue that it’s not on the species level — but evolution just doesn’t explain why.

    You’re telling me the reason is because the deformed got wiped out on the genetic level, the article addresses exactly that — it’s trying to tell you that that simply isn’t so. They should have existed, but they don’t — and there is no logical explantion for it.

    If you disagree with that that’s your prerogative. But no one here has yet even begun to explain why it’s only on the genetic level, not on the macro level, and why ten-legged cows (before cows as we know them existed), who’s genes were okay, were not born fifty million times before nature got it right. If you like believing in voodoo, that’s fine. I know people who claim to travel by broom, I have no problem with that. But don’t tell me that’s reality.

    The article doesn’t necessarily deny the possibility of an evolutionary history. But it does disproof, logically at least, that there was nothing random about it.

    You people keep repeating the same evolutionary rules that explain nothing. I couldn’t care less how evolution “works.” I want to know how nature works. Evolution does not explain it and neither are you cultists.

  • Cannonshop

    Teano, the moment you start tossing labels at the people you’re discussing a serious topic with, you have lost the discussion. “Cultists” doesn’t further your position, it just makes you look like a nut.

    Fundamentally, the proper Scientific Method requires keeping an open mind, and accepting contravening evidence, whereby one adjusts one’s conclusions rather than trimming the evidence to fit.

  • Okay, Teano, you tell us: what line of inquiry is most promising to telling us “how nature works?”

    Obviously, the people who not only need to know how nature works, but know it well enough that they can manipulate, change, and profit from it, are using evolutionary biology.

    What’s your preference?

  • Well I have two theories here now. Either he’s too closedminded to accept rational conversation, or he’s just doing this because he’s enjoying the attention.

    Either way we’ve all wasted our time. Unless he is willing to come over and see my aquarium (I figured he didn’t read that post) I’m done wasting my time on him.

    Enjoy, the rest of you…

    Since dealing with him on an adult level appears impossible, I leave you with this final thought…

  • PS, Josh’s article is built on such shakey logic that he hasn’t even bothered to defend it here.

  • Teano

    “Cannonshop – the proper Scientific Method requires keeping an open mind, and accepting contravening evidence, whereby one adjusts one’s conclusions rather than trimming the evidence to fit.”

    Thank you Cannonshop. That’s exactly what you and your fellow evolutionists must to do. You’ve all been sticking to the same tired old story about “mindless” evolution, regardless of evidence to the contrary. You people have a wall around you not to allow anything to disturb your little comfortable “evolution cocoon.” Please do have your fellow evolutionists take your advise seriously.

    E. M. Sternberg – You make a dishonest and shaky association between biology today and evolution of yesterday. Whatever biological benefits we may have today, it says absolutely nothing about whether evolution was random or not. In fact, the experiment pointed out before shows it was not random. And that’s the whole point here. And if it’s not random, how did it happen? A mindless “It just happened,” may be good enough for you guys, but to any thinking human being it’s not. Whatever the answer is, is one thing. But “It just happened,” is just plain stupid, I don’t care how many degrees one has.

  • troll

    …so Teano – what’s your hypothesis – ?

    do you adhere to some variation of ‘intelligent design’ or do think that there are as yet undiscovered natural laws that hold the explanation – ?

  • I don’t care if Teano says he’s not a creationist or an ID proponent. He’s behaving like one.

    What he’s doing is very reminiscent of that classic creationist tactic. You know, the one where they ask where all the transitional fossils are. Then, when you show them transitional fossils, they go all quiet for a bit. Then they come back the next day and demand to know where all the transitional fossils are. This goes on and on until you eventually get fed up and start ignoring them. Whereupon they conclude that you can’t produce any transitional fossils and claim victory.

    You see? If you simply repeat something often enough, it will become true.

    All Teano has to do to find the answers to any of his questions is to go to his local library or type one or two judicious queries into Google. Yet he continues to insist that no-one has answered him and proceeds to put statements in the mouths of his opponents (“‘mindless’ evolution”, “it just happened”) just so he can shoot them down.

    Not satisfied with that, he also moves the goalposts. It’s not about evolution any more, apparently. It’s about “nature”.

  • Doc if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s probably a duck….

  • I wrote an article about the Bible not being a reliable history text. One of my arguments was that the dinosaurs were never mentioned.

    Someone came back with “That’s because they never existed, God planted those bones there to make us think they did!”

    You just have to know who you’re dealing with…

  • Okay Teano, respond to each of these… if you dare.

    > Somewhere between when God created the earth, and Jesus’ time, we’ve got some dinosaurs missing, and I’m telling you right now, them thar things are kinda hard to miss! Now I’ve heard arguments about passages in the Bible about vaguely described great beasts, but anything as memorable as a Brontosaurus, probably would be not only described in quite memorable terms, it would have been described by name.

    > Now we have Noah, who built that arc all by himself, and I’ll grant you the thing was huge, but even if it was Titanic, that wooden boat wouldn’t have floated for long if at all, with that amount of weight, especially with two of each of the other animals-baby animals or not.
    And before you tell me he held it up with his mighty hand, I’ll ask if God was so all powerful, why didn’t he save the damned (excuse me-doomed) animals himself (You know, kinda set them off to the side, and then put them all back later when he was done destroying his perfect creation), or waited till Noah herded them all up onto the nearest mountain top; which makes more sense than asking the poor mortal to build an impossibly huge boat out of wood and expecting anyone to believe it’d survive fully loaded in a storm of literally “biblical” proportions.

    > Moses broke his tablets, and God who created the world and everything in it, couldn’t put them back together, nor could he create another copy for him, but then all he could manage was a burning bush afterward????

    > Also in Egypt there are some tiny little things called pyramids that somehow got built without anyone noticing the construction crews milling around, and if HE put them up, that’s one of God’s miracles that you’d think might have rated at least an off-hand mention, if not at least a footnote, don’t you? After all, the Tower of Babel got mentioned, why slight the Egyptians?

    > Then Jesus zoooooooomed from being a baby in the manger to an adult preaching the gospels? Oh well those years weren’t important. If we’re worshiping the guy, you’d think it might rate a mention as to what he did in between the ages of say 15 and 30 in the Bible somewhere.

    > Now try squirming out ot this one… Creation Scientists, maintain that according to their considered calculations, the world is only 7000 to at the most 10,000 years old. Now for the sake of argument, let’s make it 15,000. Now stay with me here, except for a very few, most stars are more than 100,000 to millions, nay “billyons and billyons” of light years away. Now unless the speed of light has changed drastically since then, that makes it absolutely impossible for anyone in ancient times to have possibly seen any stars in the night sky!!! Why, because the light wouldn’t have reached the Earth yet!!!! But they describe them all over the Bible….Huh?

    Either someone did some powerful (and blasphemous) editing, (probably King James and his minions), or we’ve got a problem in logic here

    As for evolution, vs creationism-which theory explains why men have nipples?

    …but that’s only my opinion

  • Leslie Bohn

    Mr. Teano:

    Your questions are all good ones, but are based on faulty assumptions that a basic education in biology could correct.

    For instance: Evolution is not “random” and did’t “just happen” as you keep insisting scientists keep insisting. It happened, and happens, through natural selection.

    And: Prunes are dried plums, so “prune bushes” don’t exist.

  • I’m waiting Teano……..

  • Doc, Better yet-What’s this anti-science article doing in Science?????

  • Bennett

    “…a basic education in biology”

    No no no, can’t have anything like knowledge or fact infringe on the fuzzy logic of a believer.

    God sez “I get all my science from Watchtower.”

  • Comment 60 Teano, come on the Christian Science reading room isn’t that far away. Let’s hear it?

  • Give him time, Jet. Maybe that’s where he is right now and they don’t have internet access.

  • Oh…. of course… my bad

  • Rob

    I think that the author has made one fundamental mistake which I believe is common to the ID core belief.

    The author uses the analogy of a royal flush. Yes it’s true, that a royal flush would only occur once every few hundred thousand occurences. But yo udon’t always need a royal flush to win, sometime you can do it with just a high card……

    For example, the eye wasn’t designed, it started off a few million years ago as a patch of light-sensitive skin. But it was still good enough to beat those species without the light sensitive sking which were competing for the same resources.

  • Bennett

    I try not to believe in anything.

    I think about many subjects, and know with certainty, very few things (that I love my wife for one)(I think she loves me, as she says so, but who knows truly the mind of another person?).

    I regard “belief” is a slippery slope to mindless acceptance.

    I think that few, if any, of the folks commenting on this post “believe” in the Theory Of Evolution. We think that it is the best explanation for what has been observed over hundreds of years, by scientists in many fields of research.

    Whereas Creationists believe in the fables and religeous teachings that has been passed from generation to generation with strong disincentives to question its validity or accuracy (heresy).

    I think the best definition of “belief” is “the suspension of critical thinking”. This is what the author of this post is engaging in.

    He believes what he has been taught and has no room for thinking critically about the topic. He is unable to argue his position based on fact and critical thinking.

  • bliffle

    Looks to me like the facade of this articles attack on evolution is crumbling.

  • Teano:

    Then you misunderstand the point of science. All of the life sciences today assume that evolutionary biology is true. In order to make the discoveries I listed, evolutionary biology MUST be true; no other explanation fits all of the facts. The researchers who made those discoveries assumed evolution to be true and found it to be an effective assumption that led them to breakthroughs.

    Evolution isn’t random; it’s stochastic, with an upward ratchet on complexity as novel coping techniques emerge that allow species toe exploitat previously unreachable or unrealizable niches. Until and unless you actually understand what the whole of natural selection and common descent imply, you’re really not qualified to continue this discussion.

  • teano


    The author uses the analogy of a royal flush. Yes it’s true, that a royal flush would only occur once every few hundred thousand occurences. But yo udon’t always need a royal flush to win, sometime you can do it with just a high card……

    For example, the eye wasn’t designed, it started off a few million years ago as a patch of light-sensitive skin. But it was still good enough to beat those species without the light sensitive sking which were competing for the same resources.”

    Finally, Rob (post 68), someone who actually put forth a decent argument and a position of some sort.

    Most responses here, besides Bob, are of people who have no idea what their position is. Instead of presenting a logical argument they tell you to go read it somewhere else. There’s plenty of literature disproving many aspects of an evolutionary past — I haven’t told anyone to read anything. My views are presented right here. You need me to read your views elsewhere because, like most evolutionists, you have no views. All you have is an emotional, fanatical, cultist mindset.

    You have an article presented on this blog that gives forth an argument in a very logical and unique way. It made no mention of god or the bible, and you idiots keep talking about god, jesus, the bible. That’s typical evolutionists copout from addressing the issue.

    Stop telling people to read things elsewhere. You want others to do your homework? Why don’t you just present a logical argument for something — I haven’t seen it yet. You’re regurgitating the same old evolutionists nonsense as if no one ever heard your ideas before. I’m beginning to believe may humans do come from apes.

    To Bob: You make a good point. The problem, though, is minor developments of life until the full organism comes into existence is not so much the problem as the idea that even in that case there would have to be many “mistakes” (on the macro level – in addition to the genetic level). The mutations eliminated on the macro level (unlike those on the genetic level) would have left massive traces littering the planet. It hasn’t. Which means it never happened. Which means it was not random. That’s the whole point.

    p.s. If you don’t hear from too often it’s because I actually have things to do, unlike, obviously, many on this blog.

  • Teano, I will inarguably PROVE that evolution is fact, by asking you to answer me one EXTREEMLY important question, which you can’t and will evade with very little tact or intelligence.

    It sounds like a smartass question, but goes DIRECTLY to the heart of this entire discussion. You need look no further and need no more proof of Evolution than your own chest.

    Why do male humans have nipples.

    The answer is that at one point in human evolution, the human species evolved from a biolocically unisexual creature into one that has two sexes and that we share traits of both sexes, both physical and non-physical.

    As to the rest of your drivvel-Nice attempt at trying to distract us from your feeble explanations Deano, or should I describe it as pathetic. I’m still waiting for that responce to #60….

    Aside from having to publish an entire science book here in the comments section, which you’d say was theory anyway, so it’d be a waste of time, (though others have tried valiantly to no avail) you’ve yet to prove YOUR hypothesis.

    Show us YOUR facts, instead of desparately trying to distract us from the FACT that you have none…

    Again, explain the items in #60… plus any ONE of these…

    Explain why God would create a perfect earth for his chosen to live on, then he would destroy it repeatedly by
    1. The biblical flood
    2. Several Ice ages
    3. The asteroid collision that destroyed almost all life (and those pesky dinosaurs that don’t exist)

    4. Why would almighty God (our Holy creator)choose to flood the earth instead of just waving his mighty hand and making all that he disapproved of simply vanish from existance?

    5. If God did indeed create this world, then left us alone to our own devices and will, why did he come back to

    A. Destroy Sodom and Gamorra?
    B. Save Moses by parting the red sea, and in the process Charleton Heston by parting the waters on that movie set?

    We’ve wasted a lot of time here trying to open a closed mind. Some of us with serious discussings, others with humor and yet others by expressing their outrage at your ignorance.

    All here will cringe as I once again quote Simon and Garfunkle…

    A man hears what he wants to hear,
    and disregards the rest…..

  • Rob

    To Bob: You make a good point. The problem, though, is minor developments of life until the full organism comes into existence is not so much the problem as the idea that even in that case there would have to be many “mistakes” (on the macro level – in addition to the genetic level). The mutations eliminated on the macro level (unlike those on the genetic level) would have left massive traces littering the planet. It hasn’t. Which means it never happened. Which means it was not random. That’s the whole point.

    I think I see where you’re coming from, but bear in mind that each change is usually very gradual, hardly noticeable, and even if it is significant, may have absoloutely no impact on imperatives such as survival. For example different eye colour. I’m fairly sure that all the different eye colours didn’t just spring into being through one generation. Perhaps they started off brown until a random mutation made one blue. As long as it didn’t impair that person’s ability to hunt or reproduce then it’s a candidate for parrallell existence alongside brown. Neither really give an advantage, so sometimes you’ll get brown and sometimes blue.

    To address the other thread of your rebuttal, do you mean that you’d expect to see various types of skeleton as creatures evolved? Bear in mind that soft tissue from one generation to the next even with fairly hefty mutations, will likely leave no real evidence. Also skimming back on my earlier point, remember that many mutations do not have obvious symptoms. I think records do show some fairly obvious evolution in terms of skeletal types but I’d need to do some research to quote accurately.

    Can I assume that you believe in Intelligent design / Creation (are they exactly the same thing?) and if so who or what designed or created us? Do you think that all evolution is nonsense or that a ‘base design’ was created and creatures evolved from there?

    Tks, Rob (The Unknown Player)

  • Most responses here, besides Bob, are of people who have no idea what their position is. Instead of presenting a logical argument they tell you to go read it somewhere else.

    I’ve been presenting logical arguments since my very first post, which was in response to Josh’s monkey analogy and which you imperiously dismissed as ‘cutesy’.

    Why should I rewrite theory which is supported by masses of literature? I don’t take my car to the mechanic because of a sticky transmission and demand that he build me a whole new car from scratch.

    There’s plenty of literature disproving many aspects of an evolutionary past

    Then cite some of it.

    I haven’t told anyone to read anything.

    The Kiontke research.

    My views are presented right here.

    You’ve been challenged several times to explain why you’re dissatisfied with evolution and what your alternative theory is. No response so far. I’ve no idea what your views are, other than that you think evolution doesn’t happen.

    You need me to read your views elsewhere because, like most evolutionists, you have no views.

    Where do you get your views from? Do you pluck them out of thin air? Or do you formulate them based on the knowledge available to you?

    You have an article presented on this blog that gives forth an argument in a very logical and unique way.

    I wouldn’t say unique. I’ve seen every one of Josh’s arguments before in one form or another.

    It made no mention of god or the bible, and you idiots keep talking about god, jesus, the bible.

    I can’t speak for some of the other commenters, but at no point have I brought any of those things into the discussion. Actually, if you track back on the thread you’ll see that I gave kudos to Josh for not invoking God in his article.

    I spoke of creationist/ID arguments because your position seems to line up with that camp. Shit, I’ve got to call it something.

    The problem, though, is minor developments of life until the full organism comes into existence is not so much the problem as the idea that even in that case there would have to be many “mistakes” (on the macro level – in addition to the genetic level). The mutations eliminated on the macro level (unlike those on the genetic level) would have left massive traces littering the planet.

    Again, despite what you say, most mutations are copy errors on the genetic level that don’t make it past gestation. As far as the ones on the macro scale go, well, firstly, the definition of ‘mistake’ is somewhat subjective. Is a fly with an extra pair of wings a mistake – or just a neutral mutation? As you’ll be aware, the truly horrendous mutations – those involving major body deformities – are thankfully very rare and examples of such surviving to perpetuate their genes are few to non-existent. There aren’t that many fossils of two-headed velociraptors (for example) lying around because two-headed animals generally aren’t viable and didn’t make it to reproductive age. Fossilization is also extremely rare and it would have taken an outrageous fluke for the very first two-headed velociraptor to have just happened to end up as a fossil.

    Even with the billions of species that have existed over the history of the planet, it’s not looking too good for your ‘massive traces’.

    And finally:

    All you have is an emotional, fanatical, cultist mindset…
    You idiots…
    typical evolutionists copout…
    I actually have things to do, unlike, obviously, many on this blog.

    As Cannonshop reminded you earlier, name-calling and insults do not incline us to take your position any more seriously. It just makes you look like a nutball trying to defend the indefensible.

  • Did I miss a memo somewhere? Where is the almighty Mr. Rose, who has much to say of this subject?

  • Rob (The Unknown Player)

    To address one other point (apologies for doing this piecemeal but there’s a lot of material in your article!). I think you’re assuming that the vast majority of examples of each species yo usee are free from mutations? Not so. I wish I’d bookmarked the article which reported the number of genetic mutations on average in each newborn baby. The point I’m heading towards is that every example of every living organism carries a number of mutations. For most, this simply won’t show at all, for others this could show as a gradual change, and for others (perhaps where several of these mutations have combined and compounded) these will manifest as obvious ‘mutations’ such as new traits/characteristics, or diseases such as cancer.

    To address, and I hope succinctly sumarise what I hope will be a counter to your central precept – “why isn’t the planet littered with these evolutionary dead ends”:
    I believe that it is.
    We’re all walking around as them. It’s just not all of the dead ends exist in one person or one creature at the same time. All of us will carry tens or thousands of gene mutations which will probably come to nothing when we reproduce.

    To counter the monkey theory, bear in mind that the old quotation was “if an infinite number of monkeys bashed away randomly at an infinite number of typewriters for an infinite length of time, eventually they would produce the complete works of Shakespear”. But reproduction isn’t truly random in the way the monkeys typing would be. The genes are templates – instruction sets. Sure they allow for some minor variation (hence the mutations) but they aren’t the same as handing a monkey a blank sheet of paper. A more accurate analogy would be to hand the monkeys the complete works of shakespear but with a handful of missing letters. The keys the monkeys pressed would automatically be fed into the gaps where the missing characters would go. In this hastily thought-up example, let’s say there were 1 million characters in the works, and there were 100 characters which could be picked by the monkeys, each of these would be a 1 in (102 keys?) of getting it right, but the net effect is a 100 parts per million deviation. Is that blue eyes or cancer? We won’t know until the baby is born…chances are it’s nothing and that same template is then used for the next generation with another 100 characters which can be randomly comleted by monkeys and so on…….

    Apologies if my analogy isn’t very clear, I can put it another way if I’ve confused everyone!

  • Ah peace at last……..

  • Jet (#73), I came across a list of “odd things about humans” today that included male nipples, and that reminded me of this article, so I thought I’d check back in.


    Anyway, male nipples actually probably have more to do with ontogeny than anything else. Whether we evolved from a unisex creature or not, we start out as physically unisex creature early in our embryonic development, and “settle” on a gender later in development, keeping the nipples. Still an interesting question for an anti-evolutionist, but not conclusive on its own.

    The other oddities mentioned on the site were:

    1. Subclavius muscle – useful for walking on all fours, but not for two-leggers like us. I don’t know if it’s useful in crawling or not, which could be an answer.

    2. Appendix – useful for vegetarians still, rare as they are.

    3. Male nipples – already addressed.

    4. Wisdom teeth – again, still useful for vegetarians.

    5. Extrinsic ear muscles – my father can wiggle his ears; none of his seven children can.

    6. Neck rib – less than 1%! That’s an odd one. Maybe David Icke is right about reptilians living among us!

    7. Third eyelid – I think the common explanation from anti-evolutionist for traits like these is that a common designer reuses patterns that work well.

    8. Palmaris muscle – 11% of people don’t have them. I wonder if I do?

    9. Body hair – I’m afraid this might lead to a completely different discussion, so I’ll say no more!

    10. Erector pili – I think goose bumps can be sexy, so they’re not completely useless!

    11. Plantaris muscle – 9% don’t have them any more, but I’m sure I do. I grip things with my feet all the time; drives my wife crazy!

    12. Coccyx – Useful for hurting like heck when you’re learning how to skate!

    13. 13th rib – Only present in 8% of humans (and 100% of chimps and gorillas).

    The details of my view will remain my own, but I’ll just say that we’re unlikely to resolve this problem here. Much of science we owe to Christians and other people of faith who wanted to learn more about the world they believed God had create for them to explore, but that legacy has been largely abandoned, and Christians tend to find themselves on the anti-evolution and, coincidentally (?) anti-progress side of things these days. This doesn’t have to be so, and wasn’t so for hundreds, even thousands of years.

    Anyway, these comments are unlikely to sway the views of either side, and I do think that people have a tendency to get their backs up when their pet theory isn’t respected. In this case, Teano seems to be doing that a bit more than those he/she is accusing, but it’s certainly been true on both sides. I think anti-evolutionsts are sometimes kept out of journals for reasons unrelated to the quality of their work, though not so often as most anti-evolutionists would like to believe.

    And on it goes.

  • Phillip QUICK! Someone used your name to post a sensible intelligent comment on this string!!!

  • teano

    I’d love to address many issues here. I really would. But it’s been so overwhelming, I’m going to need some time to answer.

    Those who have “not yet taken off their flak jackets,” don’t — I’ll be back. I really need time to look it all over. If not respond to eac
    h individual post, maybe one post that will address many issues.

    Rob – I’d especially like to respond to some of your comments, to those that I can. You make some sensible, honest-sounding remarks.

    Jet in Columbus – In all honesty, your long post #60 is one of the few I did not even read. When I browsed through it and saw Moses Jesus, Noah, I just moved on. First, this discussion is not about that. Even a discussion about God wouldn’t necessarily be about those details. They are a totally different topic. On top of that, I’m not a rabbi, minister, mullah, or whatever. Even if one does believe in God, it doesn’t make him an expert on all those details. But I’ll give it another look to see if (big IF) I can answer any of it.

    If I don’t “speak” to you guys soon — you all have a great weekend.

  • uh teano, your whole argument revolves around a creator, if not God, just who did you have in mind?

    As I’ve said before…

    Teano hears what he wants to hear an disregards the rest…

    typical creationist

  • Again… What happened to Christopher Rose??? I’d have thought he’d be all over this by now??

  • Personally, I’m wondering where Duane’s got to. He always has a thoroughly rational, well-worded and urbane take on this sort of thing.

  • And Jet, to be fair, although Teano does seem to align with the creationists he actually hasn’t brought God into the mix – yet.

    Although I’m still waiting for clarification on what exactly his argument does revolve around.

  • He’s probably come to the same conclusion I have, it’s not worth the bother, teano is more closeminded than all of us combined…

  • His whole argument Doc revolves, indeed depends on a creator, if not God who: Gene Roddenberry?

    Arthur C. Clark?

  • Cannonshop

    “Thank you Cannonshop. That’s exactly what you and your fellow evolutionists must to do. You’ve all been sticking to the same tired old story about “mindless” evolution, regardless of evidence to the contrary. You people have a wall around you not to allow anything to disturb your little comfortable “evolution cocoon.” Please do have your fellow evolutionists take your advise seriously.”

    Actually, Teano, I’m not an “Evolutionist” as you seem to define the term… I’m also not a Creationist, or ID’er, as some of our fellow posters would define those terms.

    I consider the whole question to be un-settled. That is, I keep an open mind and am careful not to fall for anything I can’t test, or find reliable tests for that were done by others. that is, I’m skeptical. I tend to dis-believe any claim that includes words like “Absolutely” or “Truth” (as opposed to “truth”-one is a common reference for confirmable fact, the other is a philosophical ideal-I mistrust the philosophical ideal.)

    Being skeptical does not mean rejecting everything, it means you accept both the possibility that something is true, and the possibility that it is horseshit, equally until you have sufficient evidence-and a skeptic applies a certain amount of examination to that proof, as well.

    In questions of science, it is my belief that, as was discovered in the realm of Physics, an older belief system may be flawed, and yet be of use (Newtonian physics as opposed to Einsteinian physics, for instance) but one must recognize that even the most common theories are no more than Hypotheses with a bit more experimental weight (i.e. they’ve been tested more often and did not fail the testing), that ‘Fact’ is elusive and subjective, that ‘Objective Facts’ are hard to find and genuine treasures that can be evaporated with but the lightest wave of contravening evidence, and that God (if he or she or it exists) is likely beyond the comprehension of human beings, so we probably should not be humanizing it/him/them, or assuming that people are more significant to the universe (or the planet) than they really are.

    I also have a tendency to believe that IF there is a god, a creator, a maker of the universe, THEN, it follows that we, being part of that universe, part of the creation, and limited by the mechanisms by which it works, are not equipped to find anything within that universe that does not follow the rules by which it functions. In other words, a Cosmologist isn’t going to find god’s fingerprints scientifically, if they even exist. It is reasonable that a Cosmologist or other student of fundamental processes, being human, is going to be rightly skeptical of any claims of outside involvement in the structure of the universe-one would have to be able to get outside that structure (without being destroyed) before such evidence could be obtained.

    This does NOT mean there is no god, goddess, creator, whatever-it-is, merely that it’s irrelevant to learning how things inside this universe work-ergo, Science is not a replacement for Religion, and Religion is not a replacement for Science, they are separate disciplines as different as carpentry is from auto-mechanics, or machine-work is from ballet dancing. Any resemblance between the two is purely coincidental at best.

  • Rob (The Unknown Player)

    I think I mostly agree with you Cannonshop. I’d like to believe there is something higher than us out there, but I also strongly believe that every living organism on this planet evolved. Science and religion can live together in harmony, people just need to be tolerant. I respect the right of people to believe in Intelligent Design but I don’t agree with it and I don’t believe it should be taught as a credible alternative. I’ll keep an open mind; if someone can give me rock solid proof that ID happened – a microscopic text on every cell wall saying “Copyright Cosmic Design 4000BC” then I’ll believe it, but currently I see ID as little more than a curiosity.

  • Gee, I guess Teano’s still at the library… Not that I’m at all surprised of course, but it would have been interesting to read his snappy retort to all of our challenges…

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    The comment thread has more or less been interesting…. But the bottom line is rather simple. The basic concept of evolution has already been proven by the stones and bones. The fact that life is hundreds of millions of years old is reasonably clear from carbon dating.

    What is not clear is this:

    How did all this come about?

    One can argue (and these arguments carry less and less conviction to me) that life came about “spontaneously”. These arguments go hand in hand with a rejection by those making them of a Creator.

    One can argue that there are no souls, no afterlives, no nothing. Life’s a bitch and then you die.

    That is one argument. But this argument, often espoused by “scientifically” minded people, ignores the fact that people do come back from the dead on the operating table and elsewhere, and of those who have memories of the time they were “out”, about 20 percent, the overwhelming majority have memories of a white light, relatives and a great deal of love. A tiny minority have memories of a dark tunnel and of fear. From this there is evidence of an afterlife of some kind.

    If these memories were mere hallucinations of a brain shutting down, the main argument made against this, then all (or almost all) those who “came back” would have these memories. All dying brains have to shut down and produce chemicals that may produce hallucinations to guard the dying body against shock.

    But given that not all persons have these memories, it is unlikely that they are mere hallucinations.

    And this is the point. There is more to existence than mere Matter. There is also Mind. This is a conclusion that many scientists are reluctantly coming to.

    What is referred to as “afterlife” may merely be another stage in existence in a series of existences.

  • Ruvy, after studying most of the major religions, and with what my life has been for the last 4 years, I’ve come to the conclusion that life after death is exactly the same as life before death…


    That doesn’t mean that I begrudge your beliefs if they give you comfort.


  • Jet,

    I’d rather not answer you on-line about this. What I would say would seem to some vicious and hurtful, and it would not be meant that way at all. But contact me off-line, and I’ll explain my thoughts to you.

    Speaking of hereafters, sr, who used to comment here either under that screen name, or under the screen name, village idiot, died on 12 March. Contact me off-line and I’ll forward you the note I received, if it interests you.


  • Ruvy, your “argument” for an afterlife is back to front and illogical. If there definitely was one, then surely all people who had near death experiences would have broadly the same experience, regardless of their beliefs?

    The fact that some do and others don’t actually supports the view that there is no such thing. Different people have differing biochemistry and beliefs, so it would be expected that the details of their demise or experience would vary. That is one of the ways that mind can affect one’s understanding of matter.

    Personally, I am willing to accept any explanation that makes sense or even manages not to offend reason. However, you and your ilk have never managed to come up with a coherent explanation or a single scrap of supporting evidence for your creed after thousands of years effort.

    Hopefully, the world will continue to embrace the wondrous reality of our existence and the old superstitions will continue to fall away, as we have done ever since we evolved. If not, a return to a darker age than we have yet seen in all our existence may engulf us all.

  • troll

    …the afterlife is reserved for the ‘chosen people’

  • You mean the Jews, Christians and Muslims?


  • troll


  • Unfortunately for you, Chris, I do not have to produce the “scrap of evidence” to prove my assertions. The studies that do so are already there for the reading, particularly one study in Lancet Magazine.

    And here, it is your own logic that is faulty. All brains produce chemicals in response to dying, chemicals that either are endomorphines. These chemicals make you feel better – natural highs, I guess, designed to shield the body from the trauma of shutting down.

    The question is – if all brains produce these endomorphines in shutting down, why do not ALL returnees from death in the OR remember some kind of experience? True, different religious bents would influence the nature of the experience – that is the only thing you have right in your comment.

    The point is that the endomorphines do not cause the visions of light and love (or darkness and fear). The endomorphines may act on the mind, but do not produce visions. The visions are the product of something else entirely, something that cannot be pinned down to a chemical hallucinogen or even psychological causes.

    That is the significance of the study published in Lancet Magazine.

    In attempting to classify what these visions are, given that they are not chemically induced, they are NOT hallucinations. They are something else.

    The scientists who conducted the study were reluctant to come to the reasonably obvious conclusion that they represented a Mind outside of the human mind.

    For them (or you) to refuse to do so is the equivalent of rabbis insisting that dinosaur bones are really twisted by G-d to test the faith of the scientists in the “fact” that the earth was created a mere 6,000 years ago. Such garbage actually is put forth by the less educated rabbis who ignore (they would say “do not hold with”) Ramba”m (Maimonides) in his dictum on Genesis – that the story of Creation is recondite and hidden, and the text as you see it is for those who can draw their moral lessons no other way.

    In other words, you are no better than the closed minded rabbis who would shut out the reality of science.

  • Ruvy, I actually took the time to read this article (which I don’t normally do for links you provide as your sources are usually ideologically loaded) and it doesn’t actually support your point at all. No surprise there then.

    You seem to be incapable of grasping the childishly obvious point that just because something is as yet unexplained doesn’t mean it is unexplainable.

    Your prejudiced perception is leaving you grasping at straws so tenuous they couldn’t help a droning ant, let alone support you point of view.

    One of the many flaws in your “reasoning” is the apparent presumption that all brains would react the same way to imminent death.

    Similarly, I’m not refusing to accept the theory that there might possibly be an external greater mind shaping these events, I’m just not presuming it to be so, which is what you are doing.

    I suspect you are never, ever, going to be able to present any coherent information as you aren’t starting from a position of “I don’t know, let’s find out” but rather “I already know due to my prior belief system”.

    This is the thinking of the superstitious and the mystic, both of which are typical of the dark age of ignorance and fear that all theists have a vested interest in sustaining. In my book, that makes them the enemies of humanity and progress.

  • Rob (The Unknown Player)

    One of the things which seems glaringly wrong to me is the assertion that because there is lots of circumstantial ‘evidence’ of ‘bright lights’ and ‘family’ that this is ‘proof’ of an afterlife.

    Assuming these people didn’t all read the same books/articles, or, failing that, made it up, all it ‘proves’ is that lots of people have the same or similar experience.

    This is like me saying that 20 people see an orange carrott and 5 people see a brown-ish carrot and that being proof that all onions are grown in Peru.

  • No one wants to take on my true test of evolution. It sounds stupid, but it is not. Why to men have nipples. It is the most glaring proof of evolution, because god would not give them to a “perfect creator.”

    It also contradicts the notion that man was “created” before women.

    This is a very serious question that no one wants to tackle, which is sad.

    Evolution is as plain as the nipples on a man’s chest.

  • I’m sad to hear about the passing of SR. Thanks for sharing the news, Ruvy.

    His… um… wisdom also appeared under the names ‘Stinkey’ and ‘Billybob’, among others. He projected himelf as an ignorant hick but only fooled those who were as dumb as his persona. For the rest of us, it was great fun to play along.

    BC has certainly been lacking a certain je ne sais quoi since he stopped commenting.

  • The following is in memory of SR. All who knew him know he used to posts these in fun and with a little love


    He was a good friend and an intelligent man and I’ll miss him a lot


  • On a point of order, Ruvy, fossils can’t be dated using radiocarbon dating. The carbon-14 isotope decays in about 60,000 years, which makes the technique useless in regard to most fossils because they no longer contain any carbon.

    Radiocarbon dating is mainly used on organic material found at archaeological sites, and is impressively accurate.

    Fossil dating involves a variety of methods including stratigraphy, radioisotope dating (if certain radioactive isotopes like uranium-235 are present in the rock where the fossil was found) and comparison with other fossils of the same species whose age is known.

    I bring this up because, sooner or later, there’s bound to be some young-Earth creationist on here invoking the limitations of C-14 dating as support for their beliefs.

  • Facts are just perverted opinions?

  • No, but they can be perverted in support of opinions.

  • Cannonshop

    Radioactive isotope dating doesn’t just come in Carbon flavour. Potassium 40, Uranium 235, and U-238 are all used in radioactive dating. The process of said dating being to compare isopes with their “Daughter” isotope. For instance, Carbon 14 decays into Nitrogen 14, U=238 decays into Lead-206, and so on, (Potassium to Argon, for another example.)

    From the AGI laboratory manual in Physical Geology P. 138, there is a chart that shows the Decay parameters for radioactive decay pairs. the second paragraph of page 139 has a text explanation that’s probably easier for non-geologists or mathematicisns (and non-scientists) to wrap their head around.
    (mind you, this is a textbook that’s a bit old…)

    The example reads:
    “For Example, a Sample of Precabrian Granite contains biotite mineral crystals, so it can be dated using the Potasium-40 to Argon-40 decay pair. If there are 3 Potassium-40 Atoms in the sample for every 1 Argon-40 atom, then the sample is 25.0% Potssium-40 parent atoms, and 75% argon-40 daughter atoms. This means that 2 half-lives have elapsed, so the age of the biotite, (and the granite) is 2.0 times 1.3 billion years, which eqauls 2.6 billion years.”

    Now, mind you, nobody’s spent a billion years watching Potassium-40 decay, but (simplest explanation) measurement of small-sample decays of Potassium 40 in a physics lab does allow some calculation as to the likely half-life of the isotope, from which using the tendency of atomic decay to follow experimentally checked rules, means that it’s a strong bit of evidence that the atoms are decaying at a specific rate, that they’re going to consistently behave in specific ways that follow mathematically consistent rules, thus, ceterus-paribus, provides strong evidence that the sample is (2.00xT(1/2)) 2 billion years old.

    What’s this got to do with Evolution? Paleontology relies heavily on Geology, which in turn relies heavily on chemistry and physics. For the Paleontologist to be wrong, the Geologist must be wrong, for the Geologist to be wrong, there’s a problem with the chemistry and the physics. In this case, the ATOMIC physics must be wrong, as well as the chemistry. Admitted, there’s a lot of steps between each, and a lot of places where someone can forget to carry the one, say, or mis-count the sample during examination. This is why experiments and data are subject to “peer Review”, because mistakes can be made.

  • Male nipples kids, come on somebody explain that they’re not a left over from evolution.

  • Nope. Sorry, Jet. They are.

    But I can tweak one of yours if it’ll make you feel better.


  • Cannonshop: It’s always struck me as deliciously ironic that while alchemists strove for centuries trying to turn one element into another, the rocks beneath their feet were doing it all by themselves.

    Only a heck of a lot slower.

  • Doc, thanks but no… I’m being completely serious and no one seems to taking the question as such.

    Why would a creator put something on his perfect creation that has no function? It is as unescapable and undeniable as that?

    He/she/it wouldn’t.

    It would however be a product of evolution.


    SO stop giggling and answer the question!

  • Jet, I wholeheartedly agree with you but will play devil’s advocate (irony intended) if you like.

    The infamous creationist Answers In Genesis site offers this rather unconvincing explanation that because male nipples are sensitive and a source of sexual stimuli, they do in fact have a function.

    Which rather begs the question that since God originally designed Adam (and Eve) to be innocent of sex, why would nipples have needed a sexual function? AIG can only offer the usual copout that because God is all-knowing, he foresaw that his creations would fall into sin and designed accordingly.

  • Paging Mr. Greenberger: It’s customary to clean up after shitting on the sidewalk. I’d say that this article pretty much fits that criteria.

    “Disregard that man behind the curtain!”

  • Um…….I’ll be back in a minute……. well five maybe

  • teano

    To “Jet in Columbus” –

    Here’s a response to some of your statements (your statements being in quotes):

    – “…tens of billions of stars in the universe…”

    You seem to have not the faintest idea what the real astronomical figures are.

    The estimates for the number of stars just in our own galaxy, The Milky way, range from 200 billion to 400 billion stars. “tens of billions of stars” would be a gross underestimate even for one galaxy. (The Milky Way is an “average” sized galaxy.)

    Some estimates for the number of galaxies in the universe range from 250 billion to 500 billion (according to NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center).

    The number of stars in the universe are in the billions of billions, not “tens of billions.”

    Your grossly inaccurate statement makes me wonder how pathetically ignorant one can get with the very facts he presents for his arguments.

    – “If this is indeed the only orb within tens of billions of stars in the universe…”

    What the heck does this statement even mean? How do you “orbit within” stars?

    Our plant orbits “around” our sun. Our solar system revolves around the center of our galaxy. Our entire galaxy spins like a wheel. Do you have any idea what a solar system or a galaxy even is? This is grade school science.

    – “Science is a set of facts that can be proven in the laboratory.”

    Is that so?

    Black holes have never been reproduced in a laboratory. They “exist” largely as a product of logical deductions, based on their observed influence on neighboring bodies.

    New species have never been produced from old ones in a laboratory.
    These are only two of a host of concepts that have never been reproduced in a laboratory, yet many scientists consider them “science.”

    Your misleading and blatantly false statement can only be expected from an evolutionists who cares nothing about the truth. I must say, you’re a true representative of you cause.

    – “to be in the right place and the right time to have intelligent life on it, that indeed means we’ve beaten 1-in-Ten billion odds…”

    Sounds more like you’re supporting an Intelligent Creator.

    – “We now have telescopes that can see hundreds of millions of light years away”

    This would be true if someone just woke up from a several-year sleep and came out of his cave for a breath of fresh air.

    In the current world, the Hubble telescope can see several billion light-years into space. A light-year is the distance light travels in 1 year, which is about 5,865,696,000,000 miles. Do you even know how to read this number? What time does your library close?

    – “We have a galaxy bearing down on our own that in a few billion years will collide with ours causing a vast cataclysm … ”

    I think I saw this movie. It was a sequel to “Honey! I Shrunk My Brain and I’m Thinking Gibberish.”

    – “If we were to bring the people of Jesus’s time forward to our own, they couldn’t breath our present day peasoup air, drink our chlorinated and flourided water, and wouldn’t live past the age of 45 years.”

    I don’t know what you base this stuff on, but it certainly sounds like a great plot for a zombie movie.

    – “You walk around with blinders on, and if something doesn’t meet the religous bliss fog you’re walking around in, you just ignore it completely.”

    It’s ironic how someone [like myself] on the topic of disproving evolution has made no mention of religion, God or the Bible, yet it’s you, the evolutionist, who obsessively rants about Noah, Moses, and such things.

    There’s something in psychology called “projection” (“the tendency to ascribe to another person feelings, thoughts, or attitudes present in oneself.”) You’ve described yourself in the above statement to the T.

    Although there are many people on this blog who believe in evolution to one degree or another, they still seem honestly interested in an exchange of ideas to make sense of all this. Your “evolution,” on the other hand, is as fanatical a “religion” as that of people who fly planes into buildings. With all the ignorance you’ve displayed here, you’re still so cocksure about everything you believe in. Welcome to the world of cults.

    – “Moses broke his tablets … all he could manage was a burning bush afterward???”

    You know as much about Biblical matters as you know about science. The story of the burning bush happened before the story of the broken Tablets (over 200 years before). And while we’re on the topic, Charlton Heston is not really Moses.

    You’d think that someone who keeps bringing up religious matters would have at least a cursory knowledge of his own topics. It’s like nobody’s home. I realize science is too complicated for you, but a few simple facts about the Bible? Geez.

    – “Then Jesus zoooooooomed … ”

    Whatever your views are on Jesus is fine with me. I do not believe in Jesus, never have, and know very little about him. When I speak of God (which I haven’t done much of here, except in addressing your obsessions), I never speak of Jesus.

    Frankly, I don’t think evolution issues are what’s bothering you. You sound like you have some serious childhood/religious issues. You’re on the wrong blog. Have you tried HowDoIGetMYHeadStraight.com?

  • teano

    In light of the many responses, it’s difficult to really respond to each one individually. But I’ll try to address at least many issues in this one response.

    First, the issue of “random” and “not random.” When you look at a structure, for example, whether a pile of garbage or a building, the individual pieces were put together either at random or not at random. Those are the only two options; there is nothing in between. And “not random,” is, by definition, “on purpose” — whether you call it “deliberate,” “design,” “by intelligence,” it doesn’t matter. But you can’t say something is not random yet not by design; there is no such concept.

    Further, an “accidental event” that produced no “accidents” is an oxymoronical (to coin a word) concept. An event is either an accident or deliberate; you can’t have both or neither.

    The notion that anything accidentally designed itself by a long series of improvements, whether gradual or sudden, the only way you can say it was an accident is if you can find the “accidents,” i.e. those attempts that didn’t work out. If you don’t find those accidents, then the improvements had to have an underlying mechanism that directed its formation; it could not have been an accident.

    Probably the main difference between slow improvements and sudden changes would be that in slow improvements the “accidents” would be stretched over a longer period of time. But you’d still have to find those massive “accidents.” And if those “small” changes happened to be to things like the liver, the heart, blood cells, or other vital organs, you’d have some potentially fatal diseases.

    So the “eyes” that Rob mentions, perhaps they might have gotten through some evolutionary process without producing all sorts of diseased carcasses. But changes to many vital organs, even in small doses, would in all likelihood left massive traces. Even changes that wouldn’t have produced disease, but only the suppression or addition of extra limbs, would have left innumerable relics.

    But the real problem with the “gradual change” theory is that there is evidence that it never happened. In fact, scientists themselves have come up with a version of evolution, Punctuated Equilibrium, many years ago because the fossil record shows that the gradual-change scenario never happened.

    Punctuated Equilibrium.

    “[punctuated equilibrium] states that most sexually reproducing populations will show little change for most of their geological history, and that when phenotypic evolution does occur, it is localized in rare, rapid events of branching speciation (called cladogenesis).

    “In 1972 paleontologists Niles Eldredge and Stephen Jay Gould published a landmark paper developing this [punctuated equilibrium] idea. Their paper was built upon Ernst Mayr’s theory of geographic speciation, I. Michael Lerner’s theories of developmental and genetic homeostasis, as well as their own empirical research. Eldredge and Gould proposed that the degree of gradualism championed by Charles Darwin was virtually nonexistent in the fossil record, and that stasis [inactivity] dominates the history of most fossil species.”

    Mark Pagel (head of the Evolution Laboratory in the Division of Zoology, University of Reading; editor-in-chief of the award winning Oxford Encyclopaedia of Evolution; co-author of “The Comparative Method in Evolutionary Biology”) said in Nature, February 25, 1999:

    ” … instead of finding the slow, smooth and progressive changes Lyell and Darwin had expected, they [scientists] saw in the fossil records rapid bursts of change, new species appearing seemingly out of nowhere and then remaining unchanged for millions of years … ”

    In short, there was no slow, gradual evolution. Life seemed to just suddenly appear. And we’re not talking about Creation — we’re talking about science, backed by empirical evidence. Apparently, nothing evolved — it just appeared. This is a very difficult concept for evolutionists to accept after investing so much in a theory that seemed to hold the answer to how they got here, and are now faced with the horrifying prospect that evolution is beginning to look more like Creation than evolution.

    Furthermore, you don’t have to prove God created anything, as I never mentioned it in support of anything I’ve said so far. Simply proving that life did not develop by accident, does automatically prove it was purposefully designed. There are no other choices; it’s one or the other.

  • teano

    To Dr Dreadful –

    – “The reason why creationist/intelligent design/whatever-you-want-to-call-them papers don’t get peer-reviewed is that they’re usually based on shoddy science.”

    I think you have your sides mixed up. The deliberate fraud on the part of evolutionists reads like the itinerary of a phony-ID salesman.

    Here are only a couple of the many frauds that evolutionists were convinced supported evolution and got through “scientific” peer reviews.

    Piltdown Man —
    In 1912 Charles Dawson reconstructed Piltdown Man out of a jaw, 2 molar teeth, and a piece of skull. In 1953 the hoax was exposed. The jawbone turned out to be that of a modern orangutan, the teeth had been filed down and the bones artificially colored to deceive the public. For over 40 years evolutionists promoted his findings as fact. The British Museum has documented other discoveries by Dawson as being fakes. Imagine if you lived during that time, placing your faith in evolution based upon Dawson’s findings. Wouldn’t you be a little upset when you discovered the truth?

    Watch this fascinating video of the Piltdown Man.

    Nebraska Man —
    How many skeletons do you think were found of Nebraska Man? 100? 50? 25? 10? How about one complete skeleton? How about half a skeleton? Maybe 1/10 of a skeleton?

    Nebraska man was reconstructed from a single tooth! What is even more amazing–the tooth turned out to be a pig’s tooth! How could anyone be so gullible as to believe a man could be reconstructed from a tooth? Yet many people placed their faith in Nebraska man until the hoax was exposed.

    See here for more.

    Apparently your reviewers don’t know their monkeys from their monkeys’ behinds.

  • teano

    To troll –

    “discovering the natural laws that provide the explanation which Teano is asking for (explaining evolutionary events that seem improbable) is what science is all about”

    Exactly right. I would rephrase that to, “what science is [supposed to be] all about”

  • teano

    To troll –

    – “do you adhere to some variation of ‘intelligent design’ or do [you] think that there are as yet undiscovered natural laws that hold the explanation”

    That’s an excellent question. I believe both.

    I believe there must be some kind of underlying “unified genetic code,” to coin a phrase, that directs the development of all life forms. Which means, almost any species can, given the right environmental circumstance, evolve, or “sprout” is a better word, into just about any other species, either immediately or in a later generation. And all this would be strictly by natural laws, except there is obviously nothing random about it.

    If we were to find such a “unified genetic code,” it would explain what we’re seeing in the fossil record. Interestingly, it would also be compatible with Creation.

    But this would only add an extra step, as far as needing to recognize that ultimately all this has to come to head — where did all this design and planning come from? By saying that somewhere up the line it all came from some other chaos on a higher level, we’d be back to square one — how did chaos create such planning and design?

    I’m convinced that with a little more sophistication in science, most, if not all, scientists will eventually realize there is no answer to all this, except that there had to be a Designer.

  • troll

    thanks for the response teano…

    newly discovered natural laws will explain discrepancies in data…questions of cosmology are a separate issue

  • troll

    …guess I left ’empirical’ out of that last

  • An infantile deversion from the discussion is to pick at everything, label it, and not actually answer the question Deano…

    Most intelligent designers claim there far less stars in the universe than there really are-I was giving you the benifit of the doubt, rather than get into it with you over numbers. The case remains that if you think the odds are rediculous that one store out of several billion could by chance evolve and harbor intelligent life, well we’re the case that beat the odds.

    We can only marginally study stars tens of millions of light years away, we can see a lot farther, but not study at those distances. as usual you skirted the issue rather clumsily that light year is a measure of distance AND time. If our universe is as young as the intelligent designers claim, Jesus would not have been able to see stars as their light wouldn’t have reached us yet. Lame attempt at distraction.

    I state again Deano-a universe that’s designed rather than evolves requires a creator. You keep sidestepping and claiming your not an intelligent designer, despite the fact that you quote chapter and verse from their bible… godless or not. You still refuse to answer the question-if the universe was created-that requires a creator.

    The zombie remark shows how much you try to distract from the fact that people from Jesus’ time couldn’t survive present day conditions. Because humans have evolved to survive their current circumstances. Again if you can’t disprove it, you snidely label some other aspect of the argument-hoping everyone will pat you on the back for the great smartass comeback without actually answering the question.

    Another lame distraction about Charleton Heston-probably a hero of yours from the National Rifle association? Rather than address the issue=again a smartass and uninspired but snappy retort.

    God didn’t need to part the red sea for Moses, he could’ve willed them to the other side, without the need of special effects. the Creator had no need to flood the world, nor freeze it with an ice age. Unless your creator has very limited powers… doubtfull because it did create the world and universe… maybe he was just tired?

    You blithely have sidestepped every question asked of you with smartassed distractions that have only proven to everyone here just how unsure you are of your own “knowledge”

    I feel more sorry for you than I did before…

  • Forgive me I meant teano, typing and failing eyes

  • One day St. Peter discovered he could time travel, so first he went far into the past, then he zoomed far into the future. After his little excursion, he looked over at Jesus across the table and asked, “Why won’t the dinosaurs ever be mentioned in the bible?”

    Jesus blinked at that and admitted he didn’t know, so he went off to ask his father and when he came back he looked at St. Peter and said, “Well, that’s an embarrassing bit of news.”

    “How so?” asked St. Peter

    “Well see, God created the earth in 6 days and then on the 7th he rested. Well what most people don’t know was on the 8th day he smoked all the marijuana he’d just created, you know-just to ‘test the first batch’ to see if it worked right. Then on the 9th day he smoked all the opium he’d just created, you know-just to ‘test’ the first batch to see if it worked right.

    “Now on the 309th day… when he woke up, he created all the monsters he’d seen the 8th and 9th day!”

    St. Peter’s eyes widened, “Yikes, I hope that story never gets out!”

    Eddie Izzard

  • teano

    Jet in Columbu –

    I think you’re missing something. I sent several replies to other people and addressed their issues directly. I did not skirt their issues. Why do you think that is? Because you make so little sense (I’m sure it all makes sense in your head), and some of your responses are so not connected to what’s been said, that my answers reflect how seriously I take you. If a 5 year old asked me why does cotton candy sing “London Bridges,” aside from having no idea what that means, you think I’d spend my time putting together a logical answer?

    My answer to the others on this site, I think shows that I don’t skirt the issues.

    I gotta run now, I do have other matters to tend to.

  • You just go on living in your little fantasy world Teanie, we understand…

  • Teano,

    I see that you have managed in your comments to reproduce many of the ideas of Gerald Schroeder, ideas that guide me in my discourse with all of you here on this comment thread.

    One of his telling points is the concept of punctuated equilibrium you referred to above that attempts to explain how it is that the stones and bones, the geologic record, seems to explode out at certain points in time, and produce no evidence of change at others.

    Dr. Schroeder has attempted to put in rational and intelligent form the basic intellectual mind-set of many Jews, including the author of this article, that yes, G-d did indeed create the universe, but that our understanding of that Creation is superficial for the most part and requires close and careful study – particularly of science, and most particularly, of physics, mathematics and cosmology. If you the comment thread carefully, you’ll see a better reference to the Lancet article I referred to above, along with much tougher argumentation of the issues barely pursued here. You will also realize that the concept of punctuated equilibrium lies at the base of Schroeder’s own view of the universe.

    On a different topic entirely, one of my obligations as a Jew is to attempt to “foster peace between a man and his fellow”. Please take what I say here in this spirit.

    Before going after Jet further, I suggest you read this article carefully, following his updates to it. There, you will see many of the reasons why he has been examining the issue of whether G-d exists or not over the last four years. In short, you will see the bare-bones origin to this comment of his to me…..

    Ruvy, after studying most of the major religions, and with what my life has been for the last 4 years, I’ve come to the conclusion that life after death is exactly the same as life before death…


    That doesn’t mean that I begrudge your beliefs if they give you comfort.

    Knowing this background is also the reason that I’ve restrained myself from going after his views that he expresses here.

    If you are indeed the gentleman I think you are, I think you’ll apologize to Jet for some of the remarks you’ve made above in comment #115.

  • My word, Teano, you’ve certainly been busy. It’ll take me a while to trawl through everything, so for now I’d just like to address a few things that jumped out.

    1. Piltdown Man and Nebraska Man: The Piltdown hoax did indeed fool a lot of serious scientists for a long time and caused major embarrassment when the deception was uncovered. Part of the problem was cultural: many genuine hominid remains had been found, like Neanderthal Man in Germany and Peking Man in China… but nothing in Britain. When Dawson announced his ‘discovery’, national pride got the better of scientific skepticism.

    But to hold up the Piltdown incident as evidence of systematic ‘deliberate fraud on the part of evolutionists’ is disingenuous to say the least. No-one knows what Dawson’s motivation was, and it’s not even certain that it was actually Dawson himself who perpetuated the hoax.

    As for Nebraska Man, the scientific community never took seriously the claim that the tooth was from an extinct hominid. The reconstruction you talk about was done for a popular magazine, not a scientific paper. There’s a piece on the case here.

    2. You claim that ‘new species have never been produced from old ones in a laboratory’. This statement is false. Speciation has been observed many times, both under laboratory conditions and in the wild. Some examples are listed here. (BTW, I’m aware that I’m providing a lot of links from the same source. But (a) it is an excellent resource on the subject and (b) the data can all be referenced.)

    3. You scoff at Jet’s claim that another galaxy is on a collision course with ours, but he is actually spot on here. The Andromeda Galaxy will indeed likely ‘collide’ with the Milky Way in about 3 billion years. Whether this will result in a cataclysm is unknown. Galaxies tend to be rather tenuous things, and astronomers have observed varying effects from such collisions elsewhere in the cosmos. The two will probably not physically collide but rather merge. There’s an interesting piece about it, complete with video of a computer simulation of the event, here.

    4. Lastly (for now), I’m glad to see that you’ve gotten over your aversion to referencing the work of others to help make a point. I should tell you that besides being your nemesis on this thread 😉 I’m also the assistant comments editor for Blogcritics. In that capacity, may I suggest that it would be helpful if in future you could code the websites you reference as clickable links using HTML. (I’ve already fixed the links you provided in your earlier comments.) If you’re not sure how to do this, there’s a quick tutorial here.

  • Cannonshop

    Responding to #110: Ain’t it though? We live in a damn fine universe on a damn fine planet that’s a hell of a lot more reliable and durable than people tend to realize-and a lot more unusual, I think, than most people CAN realize. As an amatuer scientist (that means I don’t have the sheepskins to get paid for it) I’m often surprised and amazed at just how many things this nasty, dangerous, marvelous ball of rock and gas can do. I’m also astounded at times when someone over-estimates just how significant we puny humans are.

  • Thanks Ruvy, actually I phrased it wrong, life after death is like life before birth… non existance.

    We have enough mutual respect to know better than to try to forcefully to push our beliefs on each other. That’s why I like you…

  • Thanks for the backup Doc. I’ve actually written a few articles on astronomy, and I’m guilty of oversimplification regarding Galaxy collisions.

    considering who I was speaking to, I thought it was for the best.

    I think the hardest one to write was on having to let go of Pluto as a planet… Jupiter’s red spot’s companion and expected asteroid collisions.

    I could write stuff that would satisfy the scientific community, but I prefer to couch it in terms that the common man can read and/or enjoy without having to resort to looking things up in a dictionary every 10 minutes.

    my bad.

  • Just to show off, here’s an exerpt from a four page article I wrote on this very subject…

    Evolution Is Only A Theory

    As reported by the Washington Post, President Bush has been quoted as saying that intelligent design should be taught in public schools and that evolution should be taught as only a theory.

    He’s not alone.

    In a 1925 courtroom, a self-righteous man laughed sarcastically and asserted that you only have to look at an ape to see that man couldn’t possibly have come from one. If you were able to go back in time and present that same man with a photo of a stem cell he would laugh equally as loud and hard in your face. It would be impossible for such a thing to ever turn into a human being or any part of one. He’d righteously declare you an evil, lying heretic for saying such a thing. However if that same man were to come with you forward in time to today, he’d hypocritically be calling the killing of that very same cell the murder of a human life.

    History and science prove that even today man is evolving. Compare yourself to your great-great-grandfather, and you’d find that you live longer, and you are taller, stronger and healthier. The process of interjecting genes into your family history may even find that you’re of a different race as your own forefathers. That’s evolution. When weaknesses are bred out of a species so it can better adapt to its changing environment — that’s evolution. Even though it’s an undeniable fact, it is currently being taught in some places as just a theory in public schools across the United States, resulting in several lawsuits.

    Moses, John the Baptist, King James and George Washington would probably die within days if they were brought forward in time, because man has evolved in order to tolerate diseases such as measles and smallpox that easily killed our forbears. As recently as seventy years ago it was possible for thousands of people to die in a flu epidemic. Our cherished forefathers wouldn’t have the ability to tolerate the amount of hydrocarbons and pollutants in our atmosphere against which our bodies have built up a resistance.

    Just as any species of animal adapts to its environment through evolution, so have we. Polar bears, through natural selection, are white to blend in defensively to their surroundings, just as black bears did. Reptiles that lose their water habitats through changing seasons adapt by being able to live out of the water as well as in.

    The very same people that can readily accept radically different breeds of dogs in all shapes colors and sizes can’t accept that Man, chimpanzees and gorillas all come from the same species. It would be easier to believe that a man was swallowed by a whale and lived to tell about it, or a woman was turned into a pillar of salt.

    Strict adherence to religion means that anything not spelled out in the bible or whichever text is worshipped is wrong. That means flatly ignoring the advanced age that such biblical people as Noah (602 by some accounts) were said to live to, in order to claim that mankind is exactly the same animal as God created him, starting with Adam and Eve.

    It is asserted that astronomers are wrong in teaching that stars can be millions of light years away, because the religious texts written thousands of years ago say that the universe is only mere thousands of years old. Religious leaders are beginning to assert the ridiculous as fact. Nothing existed before God created the universe mere thousands of years ago. It is more acceptable to say that trillions of eons passed of empty nothing, until the almighty decided one day to create the universe and everything in it about ten thousand years ago.

    Creation scientists actually refute carbon-dating techniques as fraudulent methods by anti-Christians in order to falsify Biblical claims of the age of the universe. Fossils of dinosaurs and ape-like cavemen were created by god and planted where we could find them to test our faith, but according to many preachers they never really existed.

    From there I took on those that claim that the moon landing s were faked and that the nazi holocaust never happened…

  • Jet:

    I ran across this on my e-mail today.

    I’m not a science writer – you are, or have made yourself into one, and you have articles here to prove it. The minute I read this ad, I thought of you.

    An academic institution in the center of the country is looking for professional and experienced science writers to work on a freelance basis. Candidates must be able to translate the latest advances in science into popular and lively lay language.
    Send CV (curriculum vitae – similar to a resume) and writing samples to the Editor at:

    You’ll have to contact me off-line at my own e-mail (found at my blogspot) to get the e-mail address of the editor.

  • I have to get ready to go to the hospital heart clinic, but I’ll get back to you…thanks

  • teano


    I’m glad you brought up Dr. Gerald Shroeder. I read his fascinating book GENESIS AND THE BIG BANG. However, I did not get punctuated equilibrium from there. In fact, I don’t even recall his mentioning it, it’s been a few years that I read it. I read about punctuated equilibrium at least 20 years ago, way before I read Schroeder’s book.

    What stands out in my mind about Schroeder’s book, though, is he did some calculations, being a physicist I believe, that showed that the six days of creation could very well have been 15 billions years or so, according to Einstein’s general theory of relativity. He calculated that the mass of the entire universe at the big bang was powerful enough to slow time down to the point where one day (at that time) could have been billions of years (our time). Frankly, I’m not convinced that it happened this way, maybe it did. But the idea is very interesting, and an interesting possibility.

    As far as Jet is concerned, frankly I do feel bad about some of my remarks. I’m not sure I’d go as far as an apology, since my remarks were a result of some uncomfortable words on his part. I’m not familiar with his situation, but I am getting the sense that something’s going on beyond what meets the eye, so to speak. So let’s leave it that. I’m not “going after” him. I have neither the time nor the inclination.

    Thanks for bringing up Schroeder.

  • teano

    Dr Dreadful-

    I stand corrected about speciation in the lab. The article itself, The Crumbling Facade Of The Theory Of Evolution, references a case of speciation in the lab; “An article in a 2007 issue of Current Biology, also available on ScienceDaily.com … ”

    In fact, I remember reading some years ago (I googled it but couldn’t find it) where scientists found a species of cactus that had mutated from another species. They took the original and subjected it to the same environmental conditions, sure that a random process would spawn all sorts of different configurations of cacti. To there amazement, the cactus kept mutating into only this one mutation. This is another good example of speciation not being a random process.

    Thanks for bringing up the link stuff, I didn’t know whether this comments section could handle html links.

    As far as evolutionary and scientific hoaxes that convinced the world of many falsehoods, that passed a lot more than the usual peer review, there are plenty of them. Here’s an interesting one from WHo Let The Apes Out:

    On August 14, 1986, ABC-TV’s news program 20/20 aired a segment on the Tasaday tribesmen in the Philippine jungles, uncovering a hoax of monumental proportions.

    In the early 1970’s, a tribe was found in the Philippine jungles “living” under the most primitive conditions. The Tasaday tribesmen, as they became known, seemed “untouched by modern civilization.” Their mode of life resembled modern man’s image of cavemen: they hunted for food, wore clothes made of leaves, and lived in caves. Nothing could be more exciting — and more convincing.

    The discovery of a “prehistoric” tribe in modern times was so fascinating that it got front-page coverage worldwide, a book was written on the discovery, and pages of “history” were added to some encyclopedias.

    Twelve years passed before it was uncovered that the world had been taken in by a sinister hoax. By the mid 1980’s, in attempts to follow up on earlier suspicions, the news media learned that these “tribesmen” were in fact modern-day Philippine natives; they ordinarily wore blue jeans and sweat shirts, smoked cigarettes, etc. They had been put up to this charade by a Philippine official who led them to believe that they would receive financial or other assistance if they “looked poor” for the cameras. In the end, they received no assistance, were abandoned by the Philippine official, and the charade was over.

    And so, a “major anthropological find” enjoyed over a decade of “historical significance” before turning into a “major historical fraud.” And had it not been for diligent investigation by the news media, this hoax could very well have remained the “anthropological find of the twentieth century” in history books.

    The fact is scientists are human beings and subject to the same type of biases and inclinations as other people. They are not free of dishonesty and falsehood to foster their career or their beliefs. The reason many articles opposing the theory of evolution do not get through “peer review” is quite simply because most of the reviewers believe in evolution and a great number of them are as biased against contrary beliefs as a KKK member is against a non-white.

    I absolutely do not share you pristine views of scientists that they are a wholesome, honest bunch. They can be as dishonest and as deceitful as any other lowly-criminal, and some of them are.

    This is not to say that scientists have not given is some obviously good tech stuff. But that’s like everything else in life. There good doctors and bad doctors, good lawyers and bad lawyers, etc. By the same token the same doctor will sometimes heal, sometimes not. The same lawyer will sometimes win a case, sometimes not. I think you get the point.

  • Teano: Yes, of course scientists are human and subject to all the moral and ethical failings of their fellow hominids. My point is that science is self-correcting, and I think that if you trace the hoaxes and mistakes forward, you’ll find that final confirmation of the untruth of most of them would have been provided by… scientists.

    I quite take your point about crooked doctors and such. That doesn’t change the fact that the overall thrust of the work of doctors over time has been to provide us with vastly improved medical care.

    Rest assured, if evolution does turn out not to be the mechanism behind speciation, science will eventually come around to the idea. I’m not holding my breath, though, because the thrust of scientific research and discovery for the past 150 years has only served to strengthen the theory.

  • teano

    Dr Dreadful-

    There’s something I forgot, which I intended to add before.

    The issue of a galaxy colliding with ours in billions of years from now, I don’t take seriously even if it is based on legitimate observations. I find such predictions laughable. Scientists cannot predict where storms will hit here on earth days, sometimes hours, in advance, I don’t see how anyone can take predictions of billions of year from now seriously. Especially when there’s no “risk” involved in making such predictions — will those scientists be around then to the heat on false predictions?

    p.s. My qualm with evolution is not so much that it did or did not happened; we’re here, so obviously something happened. It’s just that I believe it was neither random nor gradual.

  • Bennett


    Wow, you’ve done a lot of work to address all of the protests/questions. I am impressed!

    My only comment is:

    Who the heck said weathermen are scientists?

  • Scientists cannot predict where storms will hit here on earth days, sometimes hours, in advance, I don’t see how anyone can take predictions of billions of year from now seriously.

    Well, the motions of astronomical objects can be forecast with a lot more precision than earthly weather – there are somewhat fewer variables. For example, solar eclipses hundreds or thousands of years from now can be predicted to the second.

    And if you check my link again, the Hayden Planetarium is careful to stress that the collision is only possible. A lot can happen in three billion years. It’s a certainty that human beings won’t be around to witness it – although whatever we evolve into might!

    Galactic collisions do happen, though. For a beautiful image of one, if you’re interested, go here.

    My qualm with evolution is not so much that it did or did not happened; we’re here, so obviously something happened. It’s just that I believe it was neither random nor gradual.

    Evolutionary theory does not hold that the process is random nor always gradual. That’s kind of the whole point.

  • duane

    This has been one of the best threads I’ve read in quite some time. My compliments to all the participants.

    Recently, teano has mentioned the Piltdown hoax, followed by some comments that scientists are prone to human failings like anyone else (#136), which occasionally results in cases of fraud, sometimes in the interest of gaining notoriety, sometimes in the interest of securing grant money. Quite right. Occasionally. But as Dr. Dreadful points out (#137), there is a mechanism at work that has proven to be extremely effective — peer review. I have reviewed papers for scientific journals, and I’m familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of the process. A typical scenario might go like this:

    Joe submits a paper to The Journal positing The New Theory with supporting data collected in his laboratory at The Institute. Bill is asked by The Editor to referee the paper. Bill consents, only to find out three days later that he has to make a presentation to The Committee, which then occupies most of his time and attention. The journal article sits on his desk. Joe gets impatient with the delay and inquires. The Editor asks Bill, “Hey, what gives?” and Bill quickly reads the paper, makes a few comments, says the paper is fine provided that a few minor corrections are made. The paper appears in the July issue of The Journal.

    The Director at The Institute needs to enhance the reputation of The Institute because the funding situation is tight, what with our overseas military commitments and whatnot. The Director contacts a science writer at The Times and says that Joe’s article might be of some interest to the readership. A month later, The Times publishes an article on Joe’s results.

    Beatrice, who works at The University, and who specializes in the same research as Joe, had, a few months earlier, read a preprint of the article, and simply rolled her eyes. She has never been impressed by Joe’s research, and assumes that this is just another example of slipshod work.

    She reads The Times on the the way to work, and says to herself, “Holy shit! This is going too far.” She and her colleagues at The University decide that Joe is setting himself up to get a research grant from The Foundation. Beatrice was planning to write a research proposal to The Foundation, and determines that Joe needs to be shot down. There’s enough competition without this high-profile project that The Institute is promoting.

    Beatrice decides to attempt to reproduce Joe’s result, but first, figures she should go over Joe’s paper very carefully. Later that evening, on page 9 of the article, she discovers that Joe had used a sigma instead of an alpha in generating numerical results. “Good grief! How did this get by the referee?” She is aghast. Right there in Equation 7! She abandons the experiment, and writes a rebuttal paper instead, showing that The New Theory is not valid, owing to some numerical inaccuracies in the analysis.

    A year later, Beatrice is at dinner with some friends of her husband, one of whom keeps abreast of developments in science research, and mentions the article in The Times, knowing that Beatrice works in this same field. “So, that New Theory must have shaken things up a bit, eh?” Beatrice notes that she wrote a rebuttal article which recently appeared in The Journal. The Friend wonders who’s right, but doesn’t say anything more. Beatrice is at least content with the fact that Joe’s proposal got shot down by The Foundation based on her paper. End of story.

    Entirely human motivations leading to self-correction. It works, in spite of all our human foibles.


    Concerning galaxy collisions, Dr. D. is all over it, but let me just back up his comments and say that problems involving gravity are child’s play compared to sorting out all the details of biological evolution. There is no question that Andromeda and The Milky Way will meet up with each other in the distant future. When 400 billion stars are tugging on 400 billion other stars, and when the relative center-of-mass kinetic energy is less than the gravitational potential energy, the outcome is inevitable and indisputable. Terrestrial weather, on the other hand, though seemingly more prosaic than colliding galaxies, is actually much more complicated. Much.

    But that has nothing to do with “random” mutation, does it?

    And where’s Josh?

  • Dan

    teano, you’re doing some good work here. Evolution fanatics would like to pretend that all skepticism of speciation through evolution is based on religous faith. Those types aren’t easily shaken from their own non-religous faith.

    My own skepticism that evolutionary theorists might not be the follow-the-evidence-where-it-leads objective experts they purport was bolstered when I first thought of the implications of the more recently introduced adjunct theory, punctuated equilibrium.

    The evidence for punctuated equilibrium seems to
    be that the evidence for the earlier, gradual transformation theory turned out to be false.

    This would seem to be like a claim that you didn’t smoke marijuana, maintained upon furthur evidence, by saying you didn’t inhale.

    Of course, it’s a fine thing to fit the theory with the evidence. But the history of some evolutionary scientists; changing their mind about some things, denouncing scientists with dissenting views as charlatans, and the fraudulant manipulation of some evidence, seems evidence for a rather un-scientific desire.

    Although I actually sort of like the theory of punctuated eq. Stabilized species in stabilized environments, and radical morphing to adapt to unstable environments.

    In another sense, it seems like the sort of feature an intelligent designer would want to build in to their creation.

  • Josh appears to be one of those BC writers who -like Realist and Selwyn Duke – choose not to respond to comments on their articles. It’s not an attitude which impresses me, since feedback is the essence of a site like Blogcritics. But site policy gives them that option.

  • Dan, you appear to be laboring under a misunderstanding of the word ‘theory’ as used in science.

    Modifications to a standing theory to incorporate new data do not constitute an invalidation of the whole theory.

  • Dan

    Dr Dread, I’m not aware that I’ve violated any scientific protocol by describing theories within theories.

    But I do know that I haven’t suggested that a modification to a theory invalidates the whole theory.

  • teano

    I think some of my comments are being seriously misunderstood.

    I do not question whether galaxies collide. I question whether the prediction that a particular galaxy will collide with a particular galaxy billions of years into the future makes any sense.

    No, meteorologists are not scientists, but predicting weather is a science developed by scientists. I know that first hand since I worked for NASA in precisely that are — weather modelling and forecasting. It is a science, regardless of who uses the tool. You don’t have to be a scientists to use a radio, but scientists are the one’s who invent it. So if, let’s say, radios in general did not do what they’re supposed to, I wouldn’t blame the guy who’s using it, I’d blame the people who invented it.

    My association of galaxies and weather was simply that if scientists haven’t perfected weather predictions to the point of predicting weather patterns more than a few days in advance, I’m not going to take seriously scientific predictions about events of billions of years into future.

    But, as duane points out, all this has nothing to do with the topic at hand. I shouldn’t even be addresisng it at all.

    In fact, I did not address issues about galaxy collisions and the like when first presented by Jet because they have nothing to do with the discussion here on evolution being random or not. It’s only in subsequent discussions that I decided to give my opinion on it.

    I think I’ve spent a considerable amount of time handling many appropriate comments, the sheer volume of my responses shows that. Some people may not agree with something here and there, but that’s not the same as not addressing them. Furthermore, I can tell you up front I cannot possibly address absolutely everything everyone throws out because I do not have the time. So I have to sometimes pick and choose from the mountain of stuff being presented. Again, that also is not the same as not addressing any issues.

    Dr Dreadful, I think you and I may actually agree on more aspects of evolution than we disagree. Our differences, I think, lie more in what “origins” will some day be vindicated. Well, all we can do is wait.

  • duane

    Teano: “…if scientists haven’t perfected weather predictions to the point of predicting weather patterns more than a few days in advance, I’m not going to take seriously scientific predictions about events of billions of years into future.”

    Oh, sigh. Why do I get into these discussions?

    So, I suppose you also don’t believe that the sun will turn into a white dwarf in about 4 billion years. That’s even farther into the future.

    Don’t you accept the basic laws of physics? You know, F=ma and all that?

  • teano

    Dan, you are so right. ALthough I appreciate duane’s insight on how the process works, and obviously it does work to a certain degree, but like many things in life — TVs, Radios, sex — sometimes things just break down, and on some days more than others.

    AN article on an upcoming documentary by Ben Stein speaks of this. Frankly I have not yet read the article, but it looks interesting.

    Thanks for the input.

  • teano


    I can accept the sun blowing up someday more readily than the galaxy scenario. The sun taking the course you described is a “process,” a galaxy colliding with a particular other galaxy is a “trajectory.” No, I don’t believe they have that down pat. The same is actually true in weather predictions. Predicting that a storm is brewing is easier than predicting its trajectory.

  • teano

    That article link came out wrong. Here it is again.

  • troll

    geeze…just reread the comments and where I wrote ‘questions of cosmology’ in #120 above please read ‘questions of cosmetology’

    …what a fuck-up

  • Uh, point or order, several galaxy collisions on the magnitude ot three, four or even five galaxies in the process of massive collisions have been discovered by the Hubble telescope.

    We’re not talking billions of years in the future, we’re talking now…

    …well relatively speaking. actually (and don’t get confused by the light speed factor) they were happening millions or even billions of years ago and undoubtedly are still happening now.

    what does that have to do with this article?

    Any one/thing/creator with the power and knowledge enough to create all of this would have done a better job and would’ve foreseen the consequences and corrected them.

  • troll

    you assume that that creator isn’t a malevolent som’ beeatch

  • duane

    OK, teano, “process” vs. “trajectory.” Let’s put into an historical perspective. Newton devised his theory of gravitation, which is perfectly adequate to calculate very delicate flybys of Jovian moons, in the 17th Century. Two 400 billion stellar mass objects on a collision course is easy by comparison. “Trajectories.”

    The evolution of the sun is a horribly complex bunch of physics, an understanding of which was not possible until the advent of quantum mechanics in the 20th Century. But it’s been worked on so much that it’s reasonably well understood. That’s largely because the evolution is slow compared to the relevant physical processes, and can be modeled as a series of quasi-static configurations in which gravity is balanced by pressure produced by heating of the interior by nuclear fusion. In effect, if you’ve studied continuum mechanics, as you must have, since you worked in climatology at NASA, all the time derivatives can be set to zero, and a relatively tractable set of equations results. But it’s still a mess. Still, the sun will go white dwarf at some point roughly 4 billion years from now — unless God or super-engineers of the future intervene. Process.

    Weather systems draw their life blood from non-zero time derivatives — the response time of the “system” is comparable to the time variation of the inputs. What you have is a three-dimensional time-dependent set of coupled partial differential equations over a non-uniform grid [oceans, mountains, ice, cities, clouds (ha! whew!), plains, deserts, forests] in a non-inertial frame. Yuk. A challenge for the fastest supercomputers. And since meteorologists would like to predict weather down to an uncertainty of hours, all the empirical parameters that go into the equations matter. And those aren’t all well constrained by theory or experiment. But it’s an ongoing problem. Process.

    So, if you can understand that, you should be able to see that dismissing the colliding galaxy prediction based on our inability to predict the weather is meaningless.

    Finally, to give the folks running colliding galaxy simulations their rightful due, it’s not all that easy. But it only gets tough when the galaxies are fairly near to each other, say a few galactic diameters. Then the actual structure of the galaxy starts to matter, and one needs a clever way to account for that — you can’t hold the gravitational force of 400 billion stars on 400 billion other stars in memory and expect to time step the problem with any kind of realistic hopes that the simulation will finish before the actual collision occurs.

    But, armed only with freshman physics and first year calculus, you teano, on one sheet of paper, could calculate the time of impact to a decent approximation. Trajectory. There’s nothing to it. But just try to calculate cloud formation over Mt. Rainier. Ha! There’s a problem. Process.

    I know this has nothing to do with biology, but I did use the word “evolution” in this comment, so there.

    I have to run off and earn my pay, but I’ll be back later.

    Carry on.

  • Dan

    “Any one/thing/creator with the power and knowledge enough to create all of this would have done a better job and would’ve foreseen the consequences and corrected them.”

    Jet. maybe the beings in the colliding galaxies were being bad.

  • Ah,

    I see all the usual criminals are here to shoot the breeze and pass the wind – except Gonzo Marx, another fellow who has gone missing.

    As for Josh, I visited his web-site and have the feeling he’ll not be around. I’m the closest thing you guys have to a bona fide believer in Divine Creation who says so up front; I’m clearly on the side that says it took “billyuns and billyuns of years”, and I’ll put down the ignorant rabbis who assert the contrary – because they are ignorant – not of science – but of their own rabbinical tradition. If Josh shows up, he’ll have to defend what he says at his web-site. I don’t think he really wants to with me making Dr. Schroeder’s arguments here.

    Teano, Duane is right about predicting when galaxies will collide. The galaxies are on paths that not even a whole planet full of Supermen flying faster than bullets from a banana clip from an AK 47 could change; ultimately, they will collide. It’s like watching a car accident in slow motion – VERY slow motion…. Actually, it is more like watching grass grow.

    My real reason for commenting is this. The mere fact that G-d is all-powerful does not mean that He has to use all of His power all of the time.

    From the way the universe presents itself, it appears to me that the Creator withdrew a tiny part of Himself to allow space for a universe to grow, and set in motion events that would cause that universe to grow. Looking at it that way you have a Prime Cause that has a taste for using the least effort to achieve the maximum result. Hence you have laws of energy conservation functioning in the universe.

    The key here is that we are all subject to these laws. One of them appears to be that there is slack in the universe, so things can occur which are not perfection or even “very good”. Where you have the greatest amount of slack, you have the greatest amount of imperfection in the universe; these imperfections can be anything, from muggings that nearly kill pizza delivery drivers to asteroids that take millions of years to cross a galaxy to destroy dinosaurs. Thus it is that bad things happen to good people, for example.

    Finally we come to a very basic question that bothered my twelve year old son about five years ago – what’s in it for G-d? What does He get out of all this?

    Apparently, he gets company. We, on this planet, and presumably other sentient beings on other planets, develop the desire to know G-d, and upon learning more about Him, to partner in the Creation – helping to rectify in small ways the imperfections that the slack He allowed in the universe He created to exist.

    That little soupçon of addition to the universe is what we are all about – a tiny bit of intelligence that G-d did not create, and that has, at least for a limited time, free will.

  • Ruvy, as you know I used to have enough faith that I wanted to be a Presbyterian minister…

    After dealing with the ordeal of Job, I’m still clinging on to what little I have let.

    It takes the form of being ourraged at people putting words in God’s mouth.

  • teano

    Also have to run off and won’t back for a while, so let me make this quick.

    I actually don’t question the scenario you describe. My issue is completely different. We seem to discover new phenomena at every turn. Even the big bang has been turned on its head with the discovery of a universe whose expansion is increasing instead of slowing down. Yes, this has nothing to do with it, but bear with me.

    If things go according to your plan, based the calculations you describe, I believe the galaxy collision will probably happen. However, I don’t believe we know everything there is to know, what other forces will interact with that galaxy over such a long distance.

    Again, what your saying will probably happen as described, if nothing new is discovered. But if nature throws us a few nasty surprises before that galaxy gets here, it may be a different story.

    The weather issue I brought in is not for the purpose of comparing the processes involved, but to show that there are complications and variables that sometime make predictions difficult, although the two do not involve the same science.

    In short, I believe we have the now-how to predict the collision at this point in time, but if I had to actually bet that all will go as planned, I would not.

    Hope this clears things up.

    Catch you all later.

  • teano


    For the record Josh’s book was written (1980’s) years before Schroeder came out with his book. I’m sure many things have changed on many fronts. But calling rabbis ignorant is grossly disrespectful. Give your point of view, but that kind of desrespect is inappropriate.

    Like I said, I’m off and out.

  • teano

    I’m logging on one more time to bid you all farewell. I think I’ve out-surfed my usefulness here. Originally logging on to discuss random/not-random evolution, I wound up touching on Galaxies, Moses, the burning bush, weather, and I forget what else. I have plenty more to say about all of this. But that’s what I’m afraid of. I just can’t spend that much more time with it.

    Jet, I want to apologize for my harsh words. If I knew what you were going through I would not have reacted that way. It sounds like you have little faith in God, but I hope God helps you anyway.

    It’s been nice chatting with you all.

    With that said,

    ladies and gentlemen …

    …teano has left the building.

  • Second best news I’ve heard today.

  • troll

    …staring at the speck of dust in the distance: “come back teano…”

  • @ #161: What was the first best?

  • Actually it was interesting debating Teano. (Can’t be having with people not capitalizing their names – sorry, troll… will make an exception in your case though.) Pretty much everything he argued can be effectively refuted given enough time, care and research; nevertheless, as Cannonshop acknowledged, he did put forward a number of valid points in support of his skepticism.

    The unfortunate thing about him was that he kept insisting that I, Jet, Sternberg, Rob and his other opponents were being dogmatic. This sort of accusation is usually a form of projection by anti-evolutionists, who are for the most part arguing from a religious standpoint and are themselves bound by dogma.

    I can’t definitively say that Teano has a religious agenda – although one or two things he said did hint at his belief system – but I will acknowledge, again, my appreciation that neither he nor the author of the article (which, BTW, I don’t think we’ve dissected nearly as mercilessly as we ought) tried to drag God into the argument.

    I personally take the view that any scientific theory should be probed and questioned, as long as the questions are reasonable and valid. Too much criticism of evolution arises from (often willful) ignorance of the theory, not to mention downright intellectual dishonesty. Teano knows the theory. He did, I think, start out attacking evolution by the back door, but eventually had to concede that it does happen, even if we disagreed about the mechanisms.

  • If he actually did work at NASA, that’d explain a lot that’s happened in that agency in the last twenty years…

  • The two points that are still unanswered are,

    1-how you create a universe(s) without a God/Creator


    2-how do you explain away evolution and yet ignore the nipples on your own chest?

    He never will answer them either…

  • 1. That is indeed still unanswered. But it really doesn’t have anything to do with evolution.
    2. You can’t.

  • @ #165:

    NASA is in the business of astronautics, aeronautics and Earth observation. Working there doesn’t make you an expert in evolution.

  • ??? his argument is that the universe was created not evolved, that’s the crux of this article isn’t it?

    How could it have been created without a creator/god?

  • 1-how you create a universe(s) without a God/Creator?

    That is indeed still unanswered. But it really doesn’t have anything to do with evolution.


    Indeed, the answer to Jet’s question is “you can’t” – and the answer has everything to do with evolution.

    Evolution is one of the concepts the Creator allowed to come into existence in order to further life in the universe He created. But, like everything else in the universe, there is a certain amount of slack to allow free will and to allow for mistakes – and to allow for G-d’s partners in Creation – sentient beings on planets all over the universe who become aware of G-d and want to be close to Him – to help repair the mistakes.

    In addition, evolution is subject to G-d’s will – thus it is that mammals, and not dinosaurs, evolved into intelligent and sentient beings. Had the dinosaurs not died en masse millions of years ago, they could have possibly emerged as the sentient and self-aware beings of this planet.

  • Ruvy, there isn’t a single part of your scenario that actually requires the intervention of a God.

  • An agency like NASA’s main goal is to discover how the moon, Earth, Sun, galaxies were created.

    By putting instruments into space such as the Hubble space telescope, to put men on other planets in order to discover other life.

    It is however folly for NASA to contain members of its staff as determined as Teano is, to prove that that agency’s science is wrong, who’s beliefe that the universe is much younger than science says it is is incredibly counter-productive, and to dispute every scientific fact concerning our universe is either faulty or downright lies.

    God or no god, that is undeniably wrong and may explain many of the failures of the very acency created to confirm established scientific fact.

    …but of course that’s only my opinion!


  • By the way, I’ve created new graphics for the titles of my blogs, tell me what you think?

  • duane

    Well, again, this has nothing to do with Josh’s article (who should really pay us a visit), but morning coffee and yakking at BC is sometimes a good combination.

    Jet, NASA is primarily tasked with manned space flight. They do have a number of bona fide scientists whose “main goal is to discover how the moon, Earth, Sun, galaxies were created,” but that’s a side line for them. Most of modern astronomy and astrophysics in America is conducted in academia, with a small contribution from other (non-NASA) government labs. NASA also oversees large grant programs, so that an astronomer at, let’s say, Ohio State, will be NASA-funded, which usually covers some salary and a post-doc.

    So, when you refer to spacecraft, NASA is the main player. When you talk about science, they’re not. Orbiters, such as Hubble, are “facilities,” maintained by NASA and sub-contractors, which generate data for academics. The National Science Foundation, on the other hand, oversees observatories, which again, are facilities for use by astronomers in academia.

    And let’s not forget that the U.S. is not the only player. In fact. I seem to recall that the guy making the fantastic computer sims of colliding galaxies works at the Canadian Institute of Theoretical Astrophysics (CITA). Other countries making substantial contributions to modern astronomy are: the U.K., France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Australia, The Netherlands, Russia, and others whom I wouldn’t wish to offend by omitting.

    NASA employs thousands of people, and it’s only natural that their employment roster is drawn from people whose abilities, personalities, and beliefs span the spectrum of possibilities. The proportion of “believers” is smaller than the American average, but non-negligible. There are always those holding out for the possibility that science and religion are compatible.

  • Other countries making substantial contributions to modern astronomy are: the U.K.

    I’m not sure how much longer British astronomers may be able to make those contributions because the government is too cheap to pay for their telescope time.

  • duane

    Things are tough all over, Dr. D. If you really want to hear about some funding debacles, take a look at the massive layoff programs slated for the particle physics world. And then there’s the U.S. stupid decision to back out of the ITER project.

  • All of which is overshadowed by the death of science giant Arthur C. Clarke, which has just been announced.

    Clarke was one of my heroes and one of the few celebrities I wished I’d met in person. In deference to the sense of wonder at the majesty of the universe that he was able to impart in his writings, I’ll refrain for now from locking horns over which mutation did what to whom, and content myself with marvelling at those photos and simulations of colliding galaxies.

    Arthur, you’ll be very much missed.

  • Bennett

    Sad news indeed Dr. Dreadful. I won’t say I have everything he’s written, but I have quite a lot of it. A master at bringing real science into fiction, I think his talent as a story teller is matched by his superb vision of the human potential.

    Too many great books to list, but “Childhood’s End” and “The Light Of Other Days” both make my top 20 Clarke works.

    He will be missed, but never forgotten. After all, he is the man that figured out that we could orbit satellites around our planet (The Clarke Belt).

    I’ll be re-reading his books until my time comes around.

  • I hope they make movies out of Oddsey 2061 and 3001-both up to and equal to 2001 & 2010

    …but of course that’s only my opinion!

  • Yet another novel of Clarke’s, “The Fountains of Paradise,” helped spark the real-world efforts to build a space elevator from Earth to orbit. The idea is still being pursued, although its realization may still be decades away.

    I copied this from the link you provided, DD. This is one of Clarke’s novels that I have read. I once read 2001 in a bookstore, but was too cheap to buy it. However, I did read the seminal story that inspired the novel The Sentinel, published circa 1951.

    Truly a great man has passed away – the Jules Vernes of the 20th Century.

  • A true visionary. Even though many of the technological ideas in his books weren’t his originally, he had the gift of expanding them and making them real in a truly inspirational way. It’s safe to say that the idea of the space elevator wouldn’t be anything like as well known today without The Fountains of Paradise.

    Interestingly, when Clarke wrote the novel he had to be careful not to name the super-strong material used to build the elevator. He later highlighted buckminsterfullerine, a form of carbon which hadn’t been discovered at the time, as a potential candidate.

    I enjoy his more philosophical works like Childhood’s End and 2001, but I have to say I particularly enjoy his earlier, more adventure-based novels – such as Islands in the Sky (originally written for kids) and The Sands of Mars – as dated as they quickly became.

    However, he had major weaknesses as a novelist – wooden characterization being the glaring one – so my absolute favorite of his writings are his non-fiction essay collections. Some of the concepts and ideas in those are stunning and really highlight his great gift for popularizing science, inspiring optimism and faith in humanity, and conveying a sense of wonder at the universe.

  • Doc, if you haven’t read 3001, you must. It takes up where 2010 left off. after HAL kills Frank Poole while he tries to fix the AE35 unit and he’s sent off into space in his ruptured space suit, his body is recovered 1000 years later and restored to life.

    Frank tries to find Dave and Hal.

    3001 the final Odessy is the best sequel I’ve ever read

    …but of course that’s only my opinion!


  • DD,

    The weaknesses you cite in Clarke’s novels were precisely those I found in Vernes’ work as well – wooden characters. In 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, the Nautilus seemed to be more alive than Captain Nemo at times, and the other character were, if not wooden, sodden with seaweed.

  • forgetaboutit

    Came across this blog by accident. Wanted to discuss evolution. But you guys are discussing something els. What’s going on, bro?

  • Wanted to discuss evolution. But you guys are discussing something els. What’s going on, bro?

    After 180 comments, we all said what we wanted to say pretty much. If you have a new insight, though, feel free to share your point of view….

  • Germane to both the Clarke memorial and the original evolution thread: Arthur had some choice things to say about creationists. For example:

    “I have encountered a few creationists and because they were usually nice, intelligent people, I have been unable to decide whether they were really mad, or only pretending to be mad. If I was a religious person, I would consider creationism nothing less than blasphemy. Do its adherents imagine that God is a cosmic hoaxer who has created that whole vast fossil record for the sole purpose of misleading mankind?”

    “I would defend the liberty of consenting adult creationists to practice whatever intellectual perversions they like in the privacy of their own homes; but it is also necessary to protect the young and innocent.”

  • A very profound quote Doc…

  • Clarke Jr.

    “Germane to both the Clarke memorial and”

    So if Clarke was a horse’s ass what does that make you?

  • The only noteworthy thing about the above comment is how much disrespect for both the dead and the living ‘Jr’ was able to pack into a single sentence.

  • Clarke Jr.

    Respect must be earned. Someone who was an ass when he was alive is just a dead ass when he dies.

  • Cannonshop

    #190 I rather think that Dr. Clarke’s respect was well-earned, actually. In addition to being a major figure in the science FICTION community, the man also contributed quite a bit to the real world, including an earned credit for the development of that device that has made world-wide communication possible, the Communications Sattelite.
    Some of his philosophies were all-wet, but he’s never done that which deserves DIS-respect, and a lot of his work has spawned things scientists and engineers are currently working on, as well as things that people DO use every day. That Mulit-function cell-phone with the text messenger, web access, camera, etc etc?

    Clarke described it forty years ago.

    I don’t agree with the man’s politics, but his grasp of hardware and its possibilities was pretty damn hard to beat.

  • Clarke Jr


    Those things do not garner respect. Character is the only thing that garners respect.

  • Cannonshop

    Competence in areas that are not a matter of subjective opinion is ALWAYS worth respect, junior. As for Dr. Clarke’s Character-can you provide examples of his CHARACTER (as opposed to politics) which demonstrate a reason NOT to respect him?

  • Leslie Bohn

    Afflecks are the only things that Garners respect.

    Perhaps Mr. Jr. could back up his accusations of lack of character? Artie C was a great thinker and was aces with me. I’ve got cable!

  • jr.

    “back up his accusations of lack of character”

    How bad are the comprehension and analytical abilities on this site? You people are praising the swine for the wrong reasons. What I said was those are not reasons for praise. No one here has backed up claims of his good character.

  • His achievements are thousands of times more than you’ll ever see…

  • I thought the great Wizard of Winn had fixxed the comment posting problem?????

  • It was a simple enough and perfectly reasonable question, Jr.

    Especially since you were the one who brought the subject up in the first place.

    Stop trying to weasel out of it.

  • He’s probably related to Teano Doc?

  • Different IP address. Further than that, I couldn’t tell you.

  • Jr.

    “Arthur had some choice things to say ”

    You quote some weasel who displays an utter disdain and disrespect for those who do not share his myopic intolerant point of view and you shower praise upon him. You don’t set the bar very high for character and integrity. That’s very telling of your own personality. Talk about weasels.

    p.s. You evolutionists just love that word “weasel.” I wonder why.

  • You quote some weasel who displays an utter disdain and disrespect for those who do not share his myopic intolerant point of view

    So basically, Jr, your only problem with Clarke is that he hurt your feelings.

    Your characterization of his point of view as ‘myopic and intolerant’ is your own. If that’s your only criterion for respecting someone, then your world must be miserably impoverished. It would exclude such luminaries as…

    1. Winston Churchill:
    ‘He [Clement Attlee] is a modest man, who has much to be modest about.’
    2. Mark Twain:
    ‘I do not believe I could learn to like her [Lillian Aldrich] except on a raft at sea with no other provisions in sight.’
    3. Dorothy Parker:
    ‘It may be that this autobiography [Aimee Semple McPherson’s] is set down in sincerity, frankness and simple effort. It may be, too, that the Statue of Liberty is situated in Lake Ontario.’
    4. Margaret Thatcher:
    ‘I wish I could say that the Chancellor of the Exchequer had done himself less than justice. Unfortunately, I can only say that I believe he has done himself justice. Some Chancellors are macro-economic. Other Chancellors are fiscal. This one [Denis Healey] is just plain cheap.’
    5. Theodore Roosevelt:
    ‘When they call the roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to answer “Present” or “Not guilty.”‘

    Oh, and:

    You evolutionists just love that word “weasel.”

    Bit rich coming from someone who used the word three times in the same comment.

    But hey – if the cap fits…

  • Clavos

    Boy, am I sorry I only just found this thread…

    I just spent literally all evening reading the article and the thread.

    I’m too late to add anything substantive to the evolution discussion (which arrogantly presumes I could, I know), but I do want to add my tuppence to the mourning for the death of Clarke.

    Agree with you as to the woodenness of his characters, Doc.

    Nonetheless, a great body of work, and a towering figure who will be missed.

  • Baronius

    So much to say… Oddly, none of it is particularly about evolution.

    #34 – RationlRevolution: Your history of religion and science is completely wrong. Monotheistic culture developed science. These are the religions that saw regularity in the universe, and believed it to be the work of a single god. Yes, some learning came from some classical Greeks, mostly those oddballs who believed in Truth. But the tradition of empiricism came from Christian Europe.

    If all means of understanding truth point to the same truth, then they cannot be in contradiction. There is no battle between religion and science, and most every Christian realizes that.

    #43 – EM Sternberg: Modern biology is based on Mendel. Darwin has very little to do with it.

    #73 – Jet: Male nipples aren’t some evolutionary quirk. Every species of mammal has two sexes, so nipples can’t be a unisexual leftover.

    In the first two months of development, we’re all rudimentary females. Then (for half of us), male hormones kick in and the structures develop toward the male. Male nipples are a byproduct of our early development.

  • Baronius,

    Much of medieval science was backed by the Church, but that was because the only people with any degree of learning were churchmen. Furthermore, all science was shackled by the requirement for it to support Church dogma, which had settled on Aristotle* as the only ‘valid’ ancient authority. Findings which were deemed to depart from Aristotle were suppressed or ignored – often by the churchmen themselves.

    As a result, Western science scarcely progressed between the fall of Rome and the Renaissance.

    Also, Mendel was the pioneer of genetics, which explains some of Darwin’s theory but does not supplant it. Evolution, together with genetics, cell theory and homeostasis, is considered to be one of the foundations of modern biology.

    * Who was wildly and completely wrong about almost everything.

  • Baronius

    Yes, Dread, most of the learned people were churchmen… but that proves my point. The church was the center of learning. Guys like William of Occam, Thomas Aquinas, and Blaise Pascal did some pretty good thinking on the church dime. Also the aforementioned Copernicus and Mendel.

    You say that nothing interesting happened between Rome and the Renaissance. That’s wrong. Roman science was crude and unsystemitized. It was mostly military applications of Greek scholarship. From Arabic math to the circumnavigation of the globe, from the printing press to the philosophy that encouraged scientific thinking, the monotheistic cultures have nothing to apologize for.

    It’s easy to be pro-science today. We’ve got cell phones. What you need to remember is that, in pre-Christian Europe, there was no intellectual or commercial underpinning for science. If there was a lightning storm, it was because the sky god was angry. That was a sufficient explanation. Christianity proposed that all things were part of God’s plan, so churchmen began to look at the world as a single regularized system. Polytheists accept chaos; monotheists look for order.

    The point being, systematic science was a child of religious thought.

  • I’m not disputing the huge debt science owes to the Church in terms of systematized thinking. But pre-Renaissance thought did stifle scientific development in one very significant way: William of Occam, Aquinas and Pascal all deferred to Church doctrine. Often, such men self-censored if they perceived that their conclusions might be heretical: not out of fear, but because they assumed the Church possessed superior wisdom.

    Aquinas, although arguably the most brilliant Christian philosopher of all time, was constrained in his thought by his obligatory assumption that Church doctrine was the final authority.

    You also shouldn’t confuse science with engineering. Medieval Europe did make significant progress, particularly in the military field – but they were building on existing technology that had been known since the Greeks and Romans. Many major developments, though, were introduced or adapted from other cultures – algebra from the Arabs, gunpowder and the printing press from China.

    And Magellan, who commanded the first expedition to circumnavigate the globe, was certainly a Renaissance man.

  • Baronius

    Dread – We’re basically on the same page here. Near the same page, at least. I see the Renaissance as the flowering of rational thought, founded on the Christian (and Jewish and Muslim) idea of a rational universe. The great minds of the era thought that way too. The idea that religion and science would be in conflict is strictly late-Enlightenment.

    I don’t see medieval thinkers as limited by church doctrine, because I don’t see church doctrine as wrong. But the rest of our analysis matches pretty well. I appreciate your distinction between science and engineering – I was clumsily trying to make the same point about Rome.

  • Fair enough, Baronius. But by ‘Church doctrine’ I wasn’t referring to biblical teaching but to the Church settling on Aristotle as the final and infallible authority on all matters scientific. It held the West back for a millennium.

  • Baronius

    I dunno… Aquinas and Roger Bacon were the leading proponents of Aristotle, who was viewed with suspicion – if read at all – before the 1200’s. But Bacon and Albertus Magnus (Aquinas’ teacher) were in many respects the fathers of modern science. By the 1600’s, you had theoretical math, the beginnings of modern philosophy, and high-quality lenses. So that really leaves only 400 years for Aristotle to have been prominent, and even then he was not authoritative.

  • David Fitch

    Well, I’m the author of the article, and I have read it too. We do NOT claim that “Darwin was wrong.” We claim that evolution HAS OCCURRED, AND is often non-random in particular ways. This is fully consistent with selection or with genetic constraint. By the way, natural selection cannot be a random process. Creationists like to say it is, but it isn’t. Selection depends on the high fidelity of heredity. If you think heredity is random, then maybe you should question who your mama really is.