The Online Citizen

God sneaks into our classrooms

August 03
11:13 2009

Lim Say Liang

In 2005, after complaints from the public, the Ministry of Education (MOE) rapped the knuckles of teachers who openly proselytize in class: “’The MOE takes a firm stand on religious proselytising by teachers,” the statement said. “Our schools are secular, and teachers should not be engaged in proselytizing their students. Otherwise we face a real risk of undoing the multicultural and multi-religious sensitivity and harmony that Singapore has built up over the years, and which our schools seek to cultivate in each new generation….”

But that hasn’t stopped some teachers from trying an end-around. Who knows exactly where coursework ends and proselytising begins? What if proselytisation looks like coursework?

Michelle (not her real name) was given two comprehension passages last year when she was in Secondary 2. The first was a National Geographic article about individuals obsessed with the Loch Ness Monster. The questions her English teacher drew up were not out of the ordinary. (The Loch Ness Monster has been used in Evangelical Christian curriculums as evidence that disproves evolution.)

The second was culled from a website. It mentioned the global flood from the biblical story of Noah and the Ark, made other biblical references, and there was criticism of those who accept the Theory of Evolution. “The questions didn’t require critical-thinking at all,” said Mullai Pathy, Michelle’s tutor who is trained by the National Institute of Education. “These were questions that sought to reinforce particular religious beliefs.”

Shortly after, a Creation-Evolution debate was staged in Michelle’s class. She and several classmates protested the topic, citing its obvious religious nature. The teacher waved aside their concerns. A visiting teacher sat in during the debate. Neither raised objections when the “Creation team” quoted from the bible. At the end of the debate, they were commended for raising “many points.” “Not everyone in my class is Christian,” said Michelle.

According to the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, “Evolution consists of changes in the heritable traits of a population of organisms as successive generations replace one another.” (For a more detailed explanation, please see here.)

Creation or Creationism is the belief that God created everything, basically. However, there are many views as far as Creationism is concerned. (See here. ) The problem arises when Creationism creeps into the secular classroom, particularly Science. Creationists tend to be scriptural literalists, who see the Theory of Evolution as a threat to their beliefs.

Michelle is learning biology this year. Recently, her biology teacher acknowledged aloud the perfection of God in the story of the Creation of Man. This occurred during a lesson on the human digestive system.

Since proselytising-educating is prohibited in most schools, some Creationists have attempted to make Creationism respectable enough for the classroom.

It’s right there in the Mini Science Encyclopedia (MSE). At least 10 Primary schools offer the “optional” reference book to their students.  Creation-material dates back eight years to the 3rd edition. (It is likely that a number of school libraries hold the title; the Lee Kong Chien Reference Library does, under “Science Encyclopedias, Juvenile.”)

“Your child’s natural curiosity is reinforced,” markets the online catalogue “and at the same time, he or she learns more about science and the world we live in.”

A depiction of what appears to be Adam and Eve heralds the chapter on Evolution. The title “Creation” floats over their naked silhouettes as they hold hands in what appears to be the biblical Garden of Eden. Below them are the title “Evolution” and the subtitle, “Hypothesis on The Origin of Species.”

“First of all, you can’t mention Creation in a chapter on Evolution, it’s completely inappropriate,” said Douglas (not his real name), a biologist. “It’s equivalent to starting a chapter on geology and saying some people believe the earth is flat and some people believe the earth is spherical. Creation is religion. Everybody knows Creation is religion. This is not supposed to be in a science book—ever.”

He went on to detail what he referred to as “errors” which Ang Woon Chuan, the author, makes in describing the Theory of Evolution. “Rubbish… Stupid…. Reference books should be rectifying mistakes, not perpetuating them.”

After Ang’s “Theory of Evolution”, Douglas came to the last page of the MSE, the other “main school of thought”: “Another view is that God created the Heavens, the Earth and all creatures including Man. This is the Theory of Creation.”

“By definition, God has nothing to do with science and this ‘Theory of Creation’ is not accepted scientific knowledge,” Douglas explained.  “It’s a matter of fact that this has been rejected over and over and over again. There is not a single article supporting this position in any of the scientific literature of the last fifty years,” he said.

For example, none of the 6000-plus scientific journals that are covered by ISI Thomson Reuters, a watchdog of scientific journals, publish Creationist or Intelligent Design articles. U.S. Courts have also repeatedly investigated Creationism and most recently, Intelligent Design, and ruled that both are religion and not science. (See here: Decision.)

Some Creationists have decided to start their own journals and peer-review each other.

Singular, “God” connotes monotheism, a belief in one Supreme Being. Where does that leave religions that technically have no gods, like Buddhism or religions which are polytheistic, like Hinduism? What of agnostics and atheists?

“How can you have this in a science reference book in a country that is supposed to be secular?” Douglas asked, agitated. “Totally unacceptable—this is discriminatory. If I am a Buddhist, what am I suppose to think? That all of a sudden, my religion is wrong? Because that’s what it is saying.”

He added, “This also causes rifts within religions; there is a whole lot of Christians who don’t have a problem with Evolution, the same goes with Muslims. Then you get the radicals and now you have a problem, because they push a literal interpretation of scriptures. For this reason alone, this book would be outlawed in a heartbeat and taken off the shelves in the U.S. and in Europe. Promoting this book in a secular school is uncivilized behaviour.”

—–

 
  • ted

    Errr…this is occurring in the schools here and in science books shelved in the science section of our libraries?

    Not too clear from the article…

  • anakin

    Well this is not new and has been going on for someone time. I can still remember a Civics teacher of mine in secondary school(govt school), nicknamed “Bible Lim” for obvious reason and he was far more direct in his approach and often quoted phrases from bible like a preacher on a pulpit. That was 20 years ago. Now people are more aware.

  • Triple-Ply

    ted #1,

    Yes, it’s here. The first paragraph can tell

  • New Renaissance

    MSE and Michelle’s Biology Teacher did go too far, but in my opinion staging a Creation-Evolution debate is nothing wrong, as it makes lessons more lively and less dull, and exposes students to a variety of opinions.

    In fact, if Michelle’s teacher stated clearly that that was her belief, there shouldn’t be such a large fuss made over it.

    Creation is also found in the texts of polytheistic faiths. Buddhism is the only religion that doesn’t have a definite position on creation/evolution, or at least none that anyone has discovered it. Agnostics have the choice which creation concept they wish to believe in. Atheists can hanker on to their link between Evolution and Scientific Materialism.

    The issue should not be whether the position was presented; that is Atheist censorship in operation. Insofar as the position is held, it is a genuine existing position and should not be culled out of the syllabuses by Atheists who wish to act as the Oracles of secularism. The real issue should be how these positions are presented.

    For instance, if Creationism was presented in an appendix or a sidebar, the debate is not necessary at all. I used to have the MSE and I know for a fact that MSE likes using sidebars, appendices and supplements e.g. Did you Know? sections.

    Attacking cover art is also quite dumb. We want to promote creativity and a vibrant arts scene, and yet people want to quibble over illustrations in a children’s Encyclopaedia. Hasn’t Douglas heard of something called artistic license?

    For goodness sake, MSE is a children’s encyclopedia, not an Encyclopaedia-Britannica-style encyclopedia! Children should be exposed to the widest range of opinions to understand all dimensions – scientific, economic, social – of an issue properly; let’s leave the technical accuracy to the research materials in Universities and the National Library.

    Seriously, using MSE as the grounds for a conspiracy theory is erecting a red herring. Douglas and Say Siang have effectively raised a red-herring argument around the MSE, which anyway is optional.

    The “World we live in” includes the social world too.

  • New Renaissance

    In fact, what critical thinking can there be if only one side is presented?

  • Pessimist

    Only Christians and Muslims believe in Creationism. That’s not enough justification to bring this topic up in school as an alternative to Evolution. Furthermore, Christian teachers are not qualified to talk about Evolution. They only know what the Creationists tell them.

  • Singaporean

    Based on your logic , are we suppose to include Creation theory from others religion like Islam , Jew , Tao , Buddhist etc in the text book ? What put one religion priority on top of others ?

    Education should be restricted to secular teaching only .. full stop .

  • Jer Bear

    @ New Renaissance:

    The other side of science is not fiction. The other side of science is science itself. One cannot disprove logic with fairy tales – therefore if you truly believe in teaching our children critical thinking, show them the thousands of articles written to refute certain scientific and mathematical explanations. Creationism or ‘intelligent design’ doesn’t count.

  • scientist

    It sounds like some people want to use “critical thinking” and “artistic license” to justify teaching religion. But only science should be discussed in a science class and/or a “science encyclopedia”. It doesn’t matter whether a book is for primary school kids or for university students. Therefore, the following statement should never be found in a science textbook: “Another view is that God created the Heavens, the Earth and all creatures including Man. This is the Theory of Creation.” I am really wondering who at MOE is vetting these books…

  • simplistic freeman

    Education should include everything, real and imagined; natural, scientific and artificial.

    Everything not manmade are natural(created), they do not evolve under your eyes, but only in your minds and theories.

    Everything made and design by man are artificial(unnatural and created according to sciences/scientific principles) and evolving all the time.

    I dreamt but did not make the dreams and I did not intend for the dreams.

    Do not flame me, I do not know what I am talking and I do believe in gods.

  • Zefly (aka Joshua Chiang)

    @ New Renaissance,

    If mention of creationism is included in science books, even as a sidebar, then someone would come along and argue that for equality’s sake, evolution should be mentioned as a sidenote in the Bible.

  • outragedparent

    Thank you TOC, for this article. A lot of proselytising by just one religious group flies under the radr in local schools and it is about time we woke up to the fact.

    This article is about creationism which by the way is COMPLETE PSEUDO-SCIENCE AND IN NO WAY EQUIVALENT TO REAL SCIENCE, EVOLUTION.

    Yes, I am sorry for shouting but there are a lot of people who around – sadly, frighteningly some of them are our school teachers- who put their fingers in their ears and go la-la-I-am-not-hearing-this-cause-it-shakes-my fragile-belief-system-to-its-core.

    Predictably, posters like new renaissance, come along to throw sand in our eyes and divert the debate to one of an atheist, secularist agenda. Nice try, buddy. but I am not buying. OUR SCHOOLS ARE SECULAR. FULLSTOP. WE TEACH SCIENCE IN CLASS. Not bullshit. Kapische?

    We do not provide alternative geography – flat earth theory. We do not provide alternative physics- fakir levitation. We do not provide alternative chemistry- abracadabra, base metal to gold! We teach the above as mistaken ideas in the history of knowledge. We should taech evidence based science to our youngsters not the hocuspocus of any one group of people.

    There are creation stories in Hindusim and most other cultures. But the salient point of this article is that NONE of the others are slyly introduced into classrooms and the the suggestion that we should present all these conflicting creation stories as serious alternatives is asinine. The only way we can present them is as cultural artefacts from an age of ignorance, each in conflict with the other and none presenting a scrap of evidence for its truth claim.

  • Devastator

    7) Singaporean on August 3rd, 2009 2.56 pm

    Based on your logic , are we suppose to include Creation theory from others religion like Islam , Jew , Tao , Buddhist etc in the text book ? What put one religion priority on top of others ?

    Because they are Christians, and only Christians think they are the best, have earned salvation and others are nothing but idol worshippers and followers of paganistic rituals which should be wiped out from the face of the earth.

    Some time back, I was invited to a church in the easter part of Singapore. On one of the noticeboard was a map of the world, with the middle third boxed out. And below the map was something that turned me off from this religion. Although I can’t remember word-for-word, the general meaning said something about people living within the X longtitude and Y latitude needs to be turned into Christians. The poster exhorts its readers to go out and spread the gospel.

    The countries in this middle third : Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Thailand, Malaysia , Singapore etc. You get the drift. Suffice to say, I never stepped into another church from that day onwards.

  • Dr Syed Alwi

    Dear People,

    There has never been any kind of compatibility between Organised Religion on one hand, and Science on the other.

    The whole premise of Organised Religion looks suspect under the microscope of Science and Reason.

    Had you been born into a Buddhist farmer’s family in Cambodia – then what are the chances that you would be Muslim or Christian today ?

    Had you been born into a Saudi Muslim family in Kuwait – then what are the chances that you would be Buddhist or Hindu today ?

    The Theory of Evolution can never sit well with religion because it rejects a supernatural cause of life. Instead one is left to deal with the Chemistry of Life. God is not in the picture at all !

    Of course – in Asia where Organised Religion has a strong following, teaching Evolution is tough indeed.

    In Muslim Malaysia – Evolution is NOT taught at all ! Fact is – Muslims reject Evolution.

    Ultimately – we have to decide how much religion is good for our children. And whether we should view religion with some scepticism.

    Evolution’s final triumph will come when Man is finally able to create life in the lab – even if its just a tiny simple virus or cell.

    Best Regards
    Dr Syed Alwi

  • Marketplace Thiologist

    This is just propagating the false image to impressionable children that Creationism is a potential scientific theory by pretending it is comparable to evolution. One has to separate theology from science, not lie to children and turn them into Christianity’s victims.

  • aygee

    I love the irony of the headline “God sneaks into our classrooms”.

    when its actually people who are doing the sneaky bits.

    Interesting to see how some churches try to sneak in their subtle messages into the schools, and from what i understand, its also mainly some vocal Christians who first raised the homosexuality element in AWARE’s sex education classes.

    Thanks for this, TOC. If not for this piece, i wonder how much does MUIS or the Buddhist or Hindu organisations actually realise what some churches are doing to proselytize in schools.

    Sometimes, i have a lot of respect for denominations such as Jehovah’s Witness or the Mormons. At least, they’re upfront with their proselytising, and do not hide behind other things.

  • I love aliens

    I believe in the existence of aliens and UFOs and that all life on earth originated from an alien experiment.

    Can we add this into our textbooks too?=)

  • Marketplace Thiologist

    Just look at the harm Christians influenced by the Cultural Mandate are doing in Singapore – from promoting LGBT discrimination to lying to school children about Creationism.

  • Stranger

    Imagination is more important than knowledge – Albert Einstein

  • Dr Syed Alwi

    Dear Aygee,

    Well Islam rejects Evolution. So what is your stand on this ? Do you support the teaching of Evolution or do you reject Evolution on the grounds that it contradicts Islamic dogma ?

    Regards
    Dr Syed Alwi

  • http://winter-lion.blogspot.com winter lion

    If teachers want to teach Creationism, they can always do it in GP lessons, or even current affairs discussion in social studies. Creationism and ID is a real issue in the US and believed by many people around the world, no doubt, and some awareness of it is good as general knowledge.

    Just don’t pretend that it is a genuine science theory because it simply isn’t. You must well teach that the sun orbits around the world and the world is flat. ID has the same status as those outdated pseudo-science.

  • patriot

    A high proportion of the World Human Population are believers(in different Faiths) in gods(religions).

    Wonder how do the believers conciliate between creation(god made beings) and evolution(changing and adapting to the environments/conditions) ?

    Why is Science(tist) not able to create life(living being) to date ?

    patriot

  • patriot

    And I like to ask how students who believe in creationism are to do when taught evolution science ? How are they to answer questions on evolution in their studies and examinations and how are their answers verify for correctness(veracity/truth) ?

    patriot

  • mice is nice

    those who are found to proselytise should be sacked!! there must be zero tolerance on those who are a threat to religious harmony.

    what is MOE’s stand on this? i think CCTVs with audio recordings should be placed in schools so prove is at hand to confront the culprits.

    those found guilty should be sent to ISA for counselling.

  • ddfb1993

    very honestly I’m against the idea of preaching religions in classrooms. It is fair that both sides are represented in the classroom, because the role of science teachers is not just to teach what has been proven but also encourage debate between students over the more theoretical issues in society, so that they can make an informed choice. but it should stop short of actually advocating one and/or leaning towards a certain side based on leading questions. now the distinction is always very hard to delineate properly, so this is something that teachers should take into account as part of their professional ethics.

    from my personal experience being taught evolution vs. creationism, there was open dialogue as to whether our perceptions of evolution as a theory were accurate, what our religious beliefs were regarding it, and the reasons why we were against it. Of course the materials shown (like videos etc.) all paint evolution in a positive light, and say that religion hinders science, but for as long as the teacher is good enough to spot it (like the students did!) and candidly discuss the intrinsic bias in sources coming from either side, that should be fine.

    the mechanism of evolution exists and works for changes within species, but for changes between species there is no conclusive evidence. some claim that a certain gene on the fruit fly caused it to split into two different species millions of years ago, and that that gene prevented any hybrid of the two from reproducing. others claim that scientists have bred, irradiated fruit flies and exposed them to varying conditions for 30 years (and considering their lifespan is days, that’s a long time) and yet beyond a certain amount of mutations, the flies don’t seem to change (i.e. are of the same species) and moreover most of the mutated ones die out because they’re not as fit as the wild-type. so because of the ambiguity of our understanding of DNA at the moment, there’s no way we can prove evolution. But there’s no way we can prove the converse either. so while science seeks out the answer, to be proven right or wrong, very honestly…

    let the topic rest. there’s no need to preach either side. you’d be doing a disservice to society if you made people believe in one side just because you said so, or some God said so (this is particularly true if you’re not a Christian), not because you made a rational choice. I am a Muslim, and my religion probably goes against evolution. But to me, I’ll wait and see the scientific proof for myself, if only for one reason – that human interpretation of pure religious text is always unpure and subjective, because we’re human and have our intrinsic biases. Let the debate rest. Notice I said my religion probably goes against it…not definitely.

    just as a side note though, i believe in the creationist theory as a Muslim. i’d prefer to wait for concrete scientific proof before i start to take a public stance to my friends, but anyway I believe the mechanism of evolution can only go a certain way in explaining things. it takes a lot of blind faith in God to believe in creationism, true, but it takes even more faith to make a logical leap that advocates of evolution have done – because there is no proof to take evolution beyond microevolution. its just that i won’t discount the possibility of a supporting discovery, and whatever it is, I hope that we wont’ kill each other over something humans intrinsically know next to nothing about.

  • ddfb1993

    and i mean neither side knows nothing. the creationists obviously have no rational proof, and the scientists are still seeking proof. and may i add that some scientists believe in God too (in particular many in the past)…

    science and religion are two distinct things – one deals with human understanding of the world, the other deals with God’s divine command. some things about God we may never understand, though science attempts to explain this independently of religion. for as long as science cannot explain evolution i cannot advocate it as fellow human, and for as long as science cannot explain the existence of God i cannot advocate it as a fellow human, but as a private individual I believe in it nonetheless. I mean, what can i say to convince you to convert to my point of view that makes vague logical sense? and if I don’t use logic then what does human knowledge rest upon? (;

  • http://thebosonicstate.blogspot.com Jackson Tan

    The comment I’ve posted this afternoon got lost… fortunately I saved a copy, so here goes:

    As much as I understand the sentiments of Say Liang regarding religious ideas masquerading as science (as, being a science graduate, I must say I do share what he feels), I think there are sentences that appear to cast (probably accidentally) scientists as arrogant, e.g.

    He went on to detail what he referred to as “errors” which Ang Woon Chuan, the author, makes in describing the Theory of Evolution. “Rubbish… Stupid…. Reference books should be rectifying mistakes, not perpetuating them.”

    Choosing to use words such as “rubbish” and “stupid” perhaps doesn’t help to win the argument. But like I said, I can understand how the Douglas feels: the sneaky way of disguising something as science, in which it will require a person well versed in logic and the philosophy of science (at least the basic ideas) to distinguish it from real science.

    I have nothing against the teaching of Creationism in classes, so long as it is taught as a religious topic. During my secondary school days (which is about ten years ago), religious ideas were taught in Civic and Moral Education lessons. If Creationism is taught appropriately in those lessons, then by all means go ahead.

    Anyway, am I the only one, or is TOC really slow today?

  • Dr Syed Alwi

    Dear ddfb1993,

    I think that the amount of evidence available today – supports Evolution without doubt. I suggest that you read the book by Jerry A Coyne titled, “Why Evolution Is True”. Macroevolution takes millions of years to see directly. And even then, the fossil record is good evidence. So to me – there are many pieces of evidence that points towards macroevolution. We cannot ignore them although we may never live long enough to see speciation taking place. And even then – there are exceptions as speciation has almost been seen to take place. See that book I recommended.

    It does not take evolution to weaken the stand of organised religion. The very premise of Absolute Truth as claimed by organised religion is already problematic.

    Had you been born into a Buddhist farmer’s family in Cambodia – then what are the chances that you would be Muslim or Christian today ?

    Had you been born into a Saudi Muslim family in Kuwait – then what are the chances that you would be Buddhist or Hindu today ?

    What is your stand on questions like these ?

    I think that the 21st century will provide a lot of challenges to organised religion.

    The truth is – a debate on Evolution makes many religious believers uncomfortable. Either one rejects deeply held religious dogma – or – one rejects plenty of concrete scientific evidence. Either way – it makes the religious among us very uncomfortable.

    I am a Muslim too. But I cannot ignore the mountain of evidence in favour of Evolution. Perhaps God used the method of Evolution to bring about Life as we know it. What else can one say ?

    Best Regards
    Dr Syed Alwi

  • jaychou321

    Dr Syed Alwi and ddbf1993

    Microevolution and Macroevolution are in fact, the same thing. Please read up “Homeotic genes”

    ddfb1993

    The “theory of evolution” is just as established as “the theory of gravity” and the “theory of electromagnetism” etc etc. So according to you, I suppose Gravity and Electromagnetism should not be taught in schools as well?

    jaychou321

  • http://tigertang.multiply.com Tang Li

    Nothing wrong with God in Singapore. We have The Father, The Son and the Holy Goh and that’s not religion – that’s a fact of life in Singapore. So, nothing wrong with telling the kids what’s actually happening on the ground. The Father did “Create” modern Singapore……..

  • Kill_netizen

    Science lesson should teach science, nothing else.
    The opposite of science is still science, the opposite of science is never religion.

    In science, there are various explanations attempting to expalin a phenomenon (in this instance, how species comes about) …. there are many competing hypothesis,

    I remember my ‘A’ level biology class, when theory of evolution (TOE) is being taught, the syllabus (not just what the teacher taught) includes: the evidence supporting TOE, the gaps that TOE cannot explained, darwin hypothesis, darwin’s flaw, molecular evolution…….
    Particularly important is “gaps of TOE” it is taught NOT as counter-proof of TOE, rather, it points out the gap so that future generations of scientist may be inspired to do more research .
    Also important is Darwin’s flaw, it demonstrate what science is, and what religion is not…. it taught biology student how scientific theory can be.

    Is there a place of creationism being taught to students in school curriculum? Perhaps yes, but definitely not during Science or Biology class… An alternative place to teach creationism may be in Comparative religion or Religious Harmony class …. when several religion can side-by-side present their view.

  • justkaypoh

    Yes, creationism is not science, nobody said is a science, neither is evolution. So why teach science class then?

  • OMG

    Religious teachings must accomodate modern science discoveries.

    Just a couple of centuries ago, religion leaders were taken aback when it was proven our Earth is not at the centre of the universe. They came to accept the fact and moved on with it.

    Similarly in the near future, dont be surprised when more scientific discoveries are made that would lead to upheavals and tensions within religious groups.

    We have to learn to accept these possiblities and learn to compromise with them. The religion leaders hold the responsibilities to prepare their followers, should the day come, again.

  • Kill_netizen

    If evolution is not science, try telling that to all the scientific bodies, and Nobel prize awarded to DNA discovery.
    The two great light (the greater = sun, the lesser = moon) ……. where does the moon gets its light from?? Our sun is a rather dim star in the universe.

  • Kill_netizen

    NUS LSM3252 Evolution and Comparative Genomics (Elective 4MC)

    Presentation of the theory of Evolution as one of the unifying disciplines in biology. The module introduces the three main themes in modern Evolutionary Biology: (1) Tree-of-Life: including processes and mechanisms of speciation, (II) Natural selection: including sexual selection and kinship selection, (III) Neutral Evolution: including genetic drift. Comparative Genomics is incorporated in the module by discussing the origin of life, whole genome comparisons, gene duplication, and using molecular data for the reconstruction of the phylogenetic relationships between species. The module emphasizes the importance of evolutionary biology as a tool that can explain a wide variety of phenomena in biology.

    Perhaps #32 Justkaypoh should raise the issue with NUS , that LSM3252 should not be offered……
    Perhaps, one should also ask whether there are more than 5 students who applied to the modules (as compared to NYU students enrolling for certain human rights course)

  • justkaypoh

    Kill_netizen, You should first find out what is the definition of scientific proof. Most scientist with common admit that evolution is not base on scientific proof, its just theory.

    Kill_netizen, you mean you based NUS subject as absolute scientific truth which can’t be wrong?

    How many scientific theories had been proven wrong? Common man.

  • Kill_netizen

    Justify your statment : Most scientist with common admit that evolution is not base on scientific proof …………

    BTW you english need improvement ………
    You still have not answer the two great light, or geo-centric teaching.

  • Kill_netizen

    #36 Justkaypoh
    Justify your statment : Most scientist with common admit that evolution is not base on scientific proof ………… Please do not throw a statement without justification. How do you quantify MOST ? Where and how do you draw this conclusion??

    If NUS biologists is not good enough to decide whether Evolution-theory belongs to Biology realm, are you saying you are better to decide that “Evolution is NOT science” as you alleged in post #32.
    Do you question why NUS teach Theory of Evolution ?? I think NUS course description answered your question: that evolutionary biology is a tool that can explain a wide variety of phenomena in biology.

    BTW your english need improvement ………
    You still have not answer the two great light, or geo-centric teaching.

  • A Tan

    I find this less subversive and offensive than AWARE’s defunct “Anal sex is normal” and “Let’s all be GLBT” programmes.

  • singapoor

    firstly

    for DR.syed alwee and proponents of the Evolution theory, can you bring forth the evidence for this theory? lets put aside religion… lets just look at it in the prespective of science…if its science, its gotto be proven before it can be accepted.

    till today this theory remains a theory… i dont know what “mountain of evidence” some of you are talking about because till today each piece of “evidence” that has been put forth has been rejected. they have simply failed to prove the theory.

    secondly

    secularism was supposed to exclude religion from politics. not education and other spheres of society. along the way secularcrats extended it. thats radicalism and extremism. my question is do we want secular extremism or should we tolerantly allow religion into our schools? dont give me the crap that religion will cause problems. secularism cause even more problems. the biggest two wars that were fought in human history were not based on religion. the biggest massacre of civilians in human history was not based on religion. the list goes on. it is about time to rethink how we redefine secularism and the role of religion in society.

  • http://sturmdesjahrhunderts.wordpress.com guojun

    All this talk about secularism is just an ideal which people should try to reach but will never reach. Secularist extremism is just as dangerous as religious extremism. I am all for keeping religion out of class, but once students are maybe in JC or in poly they should know that there are other views. They can dismiss other views as nonsense or anything but it is their choice.

    As for evolution: it is easy to mistakenly set theory = science. The EVIDENCE points towards evolution but you still can’t explain WHY there is intelligent life. Evolution explains HOW, it doesn’t explain why. And as in science, any theory is valid until proven false. Evolution is definitely not the last stage.

  • sloo

    *Singapoor
    It funny how you choose to question evolution when Creationism is itself based on a book that is filled with commandments but not much scientific rationality or logic. At least with evolution, there has been aggressive research by anthropolgoists and scientist to find evidence based on the theory and so far, with remains dating millions of years back, carbon dating, fossils, cave etchings etc, whatever research and findings have supported this theory. As for Creationism, the facts are only in the book. What scientific basis is that?

    And what kind of statement is ‘secularism was supposed to exclude religion from politics. not education and other spheres of society.’ Perhaps you have not been reading the newspapers from the past few month. So read the papers today and what SM goh and many other ministers have said about religion in secular spaces.

    If you choose to preach your faith in schools filled with students from different religious backgrounds, then you are asking for trouble. If you want to preach in schools, do so like the Muslim schools where all your students are from a similar background.

    Secularism advocates rational and logical thought and i don’t see how that is wrong for society. If we do advocate ‘tolerant’ teaching of religion in classes, which faith should we preach? All of them or a single one that the school authorities deem is superior to the rest. And if you were a parent, would you be comfortable wit your child being taught a faith in school that is different from yours? Would you be comfortable if in one classroom they are teaching one faith and the other classroom they are preaching another faith that may hold values and beliefs different from yours?

    Keep your faith private – if you want your child to be brought up correctly based on your own values, do the preaching yourself in the privacy of your homes. However what i suspect is behind your argument is the attempt to legitimize prosletyzing in secular institutions like schools, not so much the values being taught to children.

    As for the great wars that were fought, they were based on power and discrimination – the arrogance one race felt over others and the need to prove that superiority by conquering them – how is that train of thought or belief based on secularism? In fact, secularism will be the firs to question such thinking and discrimination.

    Get your facts right before you sprout unfounded statements based on your own suppositions and not facts. Most of all, before you throw barbs at others, you better check that your own beliefs is barb free.

  • Dr Syed Alwi

    Dear Singapoor,

    I will refer you to the following books :

    Why Evolution Is True – by Jerry A Coyne
    Why Intelligent Design Fails – by Young & Edis
    Evolution And The Myth Of Creationism – by Tim Berra
    Scientists Confront Creationism – by Godfrey
    Missing Links – by Robert Martin
    Evolution – by Stearns and Hoekstra
    Evolution – by Ridley
    Evolution – by Futuyma

    and many many more. You can check the references cited in these books for example.

    The evidence for Evolution is carefully presented in those books. It is very disturbing to those who are religious – to see the mountain of evidence that supports Evolution.

    I myself went through a tough time before I finally accepted Evolution. The best one can say is that – perhaps – God made use of Evolution to bring about this wonderful world.

    Regards
    Dr Syed Alwi

  • Dr Syed Alwi

    Dear People,

    Here I wish to point out that the word – theory – has a very specific meaning in Science. The theory of evolution is on par with the theory of relativity or the quantum theory. Or even the atomic theory. They are all good theories !

    A theory is supported by evidence. Evolution is a good theory !

    Please refer to the many books on the Philosophy of Science to find out about the meaning of the word – theory.

    Regards
    Dr Syed Alwi

  • Alfred

    Guojun:

    “The EVIDENCE points towards evolution but you still can’t explain WHY there is intelligent life.”

    The existence of life is in itself the purpose of life. There is no need for a reason or purpose as to why there is life; the fact that we exist is irrefutable. If there is no observer in the universe (i.e. there is no intelligent life to observe life), then we wouldn’t know, would we?

    An analogy:
    “When a tree falls in a forest without anyone around, does it make a sound?”

    If no one ever goes down to that forest, then no it doesn’t make a sound at all. Our universe is as such. An universe without life cannot be observed because there is simply no observer. Until life sneaks into the universe, whether by cosmic accidents or space exploration teams, we wouldn’t ever know of the universe’s existence.

    And secondly:

    “And as in science, any theory is valid until proven false. Evolution is definitely not the last stage.”

    Of course any theory is valid. Can you imagine all these scientific and technological progression if everyone were to maintain an absolute closed-minded thinking and reject every single new theory that comes up?

    In fact, Creationism is a theory as well; just that while evolution’s evidence is allowed for cross-examination by different people around the world, creationism’s evidence comes from a book that is less than reliable.

    I do not agree with religion being taught next to science. Science classes means Science – whether it is logical, true or real is up to the student’s discretion. You do not teach Science in Chinese classes, for example. Furthermore, Creationism and Evolution are polar opposites as it currently stands.

    Creationists who try to “scientifically” put a date on creation thinks our Earth is only ten thousand years old. I’ve read one or two books on this and personally I think it is twisted logic at its best.

    Evolution thinks our Earth is billions of years old and comes up with evidence. These evidence may not be true of course, but from where I stand, it holds more water than Creationism.

  • T

    /// 30) Tang Li on August 4th, 2009 1.23 am
    Nothing wrong with God in Singapore. We have The Father, The Son and the Holy Goh and that’s not religion – that’s a fact of life in Singapore. So, nothing wrong with telling the kids what’s actually happening on the ground. The Father did “Create” modern Singapore…….. ///

    Tang Li – that is exactly the problem with god and religion. Your god is not my god. I don’t subscribe to a 3-in-1 god. Buy one and get 2 free. Well, actually, they are not free. You pay for 3 when you only need one.

  • mice is nice

    hi T,

    i think you misunderstood Tang Li….. -.-”

  • patriot

    Dear Frens:

    do accommodate and pardon me should I make mistakes in my understandings.
    Creation to me, in the contexts of religion(s) and or sciences, means thing/life coming into beings from nothing. And why are the thing(natural- sea, stone etc) and being(life-mankind, flies,centipede etc) are in the shape and colours they are in ?
    Evolution clearly pertains to the changes, mutations, adaptation/changes to the environments/conditions after the thing/being has (born) come into existence.

    And are there life/live elsewhere that human eyes/ears are not able to perceive because they belong to a different dimension ?

    Do be kind to enlighten me and me is an atheist that accepts both creationism and evolution THEORIES.

    patriot

  • Hindu_View

    I am a deeply religious hindu and would like to share my thoughts.

    There are probably 800m to 900m hindus in this world, while not all hindus may carry my opinion, I think we definitely cannot accept this.

    While hindu texts do mention God created the Universe, there is no clear 6-day sequence or recipe. Recently I read in a book (can’t remember the title, AMK library) that energy (shakthi) transforms and we are all just manifestation of that shakti. The universe is continually born, grows and is destroyed. This view is supported by modern astrophysics too.

    According to hindu calculations the world is ~4.7billion years old. Which is what evolutionists have been telling us.

    The planets in our solar system came into being due to churning of the celestial oceans,( the big bang?)

    Lord Vishnu took 10 avatars – fish, tortoise, half-man half lion, short boy (Vamana), Ram, Krishna etc. See the sequence carefully, it seems similar to evolution.

    I have never heard of anything against science or evolution until I met my christian friends (yes, I have never heard such claims from my numerous muslim friends in India)

    So, I would actually claim that Hinduism supports the Theory of Evolution.

  • justkaypoh

    Kill_netizen , sorry my English is not good enough for you. What I meant was ‘common sense’

    Base on your logic: NUS teach Theory of Evolution , therefore it’s the TRUTH! Wow I didn’t know NUS so powder can PROOF evolution is a fact. They should be promoted to be the best Science/Bio Uni then.

    You answer me, what is the definition of scientific proof first, I’ll surely answer you on geo-centric teaching question.

  • justkaypoh

    Dr Syed Alwi, “ is on par with the theory of relativity or the quantum theory” , did you come out with this statement? Or some ‘scientist’? They will be equally good scientist who may disagree. Base on what do you say so?

    The more also evidences to show that Evolution is a bad theory.

    Regarding your bibliography of books of evolution, I can show you more books that refute evolution.

    Basically evolution is supported more by biologists who are not physicists and mathematicians. Physics and mathematics are the foundation of all sciences based on these 2 sciences Evolution does not stand well. E.g. what is the exact probability the DNA mutates from a low level to a highly advance level of combination? Even billions of year may not be enough.

  • Marketplace Thiologist

    What abuse of religious liberty! Please understand the distinction between scientific and theological theories before making misguided claims such as creationism is a competing scientific theory. Creationism should never be mentioned in a science setting such as a science encyclopaedia or a science class.

  • Andrew Loh

    The biggest irony in this debate is that Charles Darwin was himself a Christian.

    He struggled for many years before he published his Origins of Species in 1859.

    He was aware and afraid of what his findings may cause the Church. But at the same time, he could not deny the evidence before him.

    As for those who say evolution is “just a theory”, this is quite a mistaken statement which many people make because of the word “theory”.

    One must remember and be aware that the word “theory” used in Science is very very different in meaning from the ordinary use of the word in everyday discourse.

    Scientific theories are backed up and substantiated by a vast amount of evidence, testings, re-testings. It is based on observable phenomena.

    For example, the Theory of Evolution is not “just a theory”. It is supported by an enormous amount of scientific evidence, from scientists all over the world, in many different disciplines.

    The Theory of Evolution is supported by evidence from anthropology, paleontology, geology, biology, osteology, genetics, etc etc.

    It is only when a theory has overwhelming evidence to support it can it be called a Theory.

    This is why the so-called “Creation Theory” or the “Intelligent Design Theory” are not theories at all, as far as Science is concerned. This is because there is no evidence to support these theories. And the theories have not been put to tests, re-tests, empirical observation, etc – all the things that any Scientific Theory must go through.

    All that Creation offers as evidence are the words of the Bible – the same Bible which gave us a talking snake in its very first pages.

    In the court trial in Dover, United States, where Intelligent Design (which is another term for Creation) was put on trial, the Supreme Court judge, when giving his verdict on the case called Intelligent Design “breathtakingly inane”.

    I think that says it all.

  • Kill_netizen

    #50 JustKaypoh You have comprehension problem, or you (like serpent) like to turn and twist once you cannot argue the reason??

    In post #32 you wrote :Yes, creationism is not science, nobody said is a science, neither is evolution. So why teach science class then?
    You alleged that TOE is not science, and why teach TOE in science class (BTW, your english needs a lot of remedial class)

    In post # 38, i tell you that, BIOLOGISTs themselves are the best judge to decide if TOE is science, and should be taught in science class (ie, NUS Modules) what i wrote is [[[ If NUS biologists is not good enough to decide whether Evolution-theory belongs to Biology realm, are you saying you are better to decide that “Evolution is NOT science” as you alleged in post #32.
    Do you question why NUS teach Theory of Evolution ?? I think NUS course description answered your question: that evolutionary biology is a tool that can explain a wide variety of phenomena in biology. ]]]

    In post #50 you turn and twist, saying that : [[[ Base on your logic: NUS teach Theory of Evolution , therefore it’s the TRUTH! Wow I didn’t know NUS so powder can PROOF evolution is a fact. ]]]

    You see your comprehension problem. Compare my post #38 and your post #50. You see how poor your comprehension and logic faculty is ??

  • http://sturmdesjahrhunderts.wordpress.com guojun

    Alfred #45:

    “The existence of life is in itself the purpose of life. There is no need for a reason or purpose as to why there is life; the fact that we exist is irrefutable. If there is no observer in the universe (i.e. there is no intelligent life to observe life), then we wouldn’t know, would we?”

    No, we wouldn’t know and it probably isn’t relevant to science. If there is no intelligent observer to observe life, it doesn’t mean there is no life – to know that is different from being. And if the purpose of life is to exist, then life which does not exist = life without purpose? No, in fact you cannot talk about life at all if life does not exist.

    “Of course any theory is valid. Can you imagine all these scientific and technological progression if everyone were to maintain an absolute closed-minded thinking and reject every single new theory that comes up?

    In fact, Creationism is a theory as well; just that while evolution’s evidence is allowed for cross-examination by different people around the world, creationism’s evidence comes from a book that is less than reliable.”

    I wasn’t advocating an absolute closed-minded style of thought. And the difference between how and why still exists, regardless of evidence. Evolution cannot explain how life evolved from non-living organic molecules without setting the equation life = not living. So it is assumed that life came from outer space. But it still doesn’t explain the origin of life, although that question is more metaphysical and scientists tend to be anti-metaphysicists as well.

    It also doesn’t explain why evolution is a process of optimising. We describe evolution as a process of optimising but why is it so? In these cases, creationism does give an answer evolution cannot. It’s not just about evidence, it’s about explaining power, and that is why people believe in creationism, be it the Christian form, the Islam form, the Hindu form etc.

    Maybe Creationism isn’t “hard science” because you cannot prove God, but Creationism should be given as an alternative view when students are mature enough, say in JC. As a society, we have to cope with alternative views as well, even if they may not hold water or even if they cannot be substantiated physically. So yes, i am for explaining that Creationism exists as another view of things – but without advocating it.

  • Donaldson Tan

    The underlying issue in this Creationism vs Evolution debate is the perceived superiority of the role of science over the role of religion in society. The problem here is that modern society assigns economic contribution as the most important yardstick and given the utility of science has led to positive economic contribution over the years. In this aspect, science has been victimised by religious outrage and religious frustration.

  • Joe

    Catholics, (and hence, the majority of Christians in the world), do not find evolution to be incompatible with their faith. Just a couple of illuminating quotes:

    “In his encyclical Humani Generis (1950), my predecessor Pius XII has already affirmed that there is no conflict between evolution and the doctrine of the faith regarding man and his vocation, provided that we do not lose sight of certain fixed points….Today, more than a half-century after the appearance of that encyclical, some new findings lead us toward the recognition of evolution as more than a hypothesis. In fact it is remarkable that this theory has had progressively greater influence on the spirit of researchers, following a series of discoveries in different scholarly disciplines. The convergence in the results of these independent studies – which was neither planned nor sought – constitutes in itself a significant argument in favor of the theory.”

    - Pope John Paul II

    “Intelligent design isn’t science even though it pretends to be… If you want to teach it in schools, intelligent design should be taught when religion or cultural history is taught, not science.”

    - Father George V Coyne (PhD, Astronomy), Former Jesuit Director of the Vatican Observatory

  • T

    mice – that’s nice – no, I didn’t misunderstand Tang Li. Look at my post again – the tongue is also firmly in cheek….

  • Plesae lah

    It is not that we cannot prove God. We need to define what is God. If Life is God, and Life exists, then obviously God exists. I think therefore I am.

    2 interesting links about the Creation (that is explained in a clearer manner than the Bible)
    http://www.askrealjesus.com/F_LEASTKNOW/ALEASTKNOW/E39whereGod.html
    http://www.askrealjesus.com/F_LEASTKNOW/ALEASTKNOW/E40howcreateuniverse.html

    Please read with an open mind.

  • jingle bells

    Yucks! So much for keeping the schools secular. MOE has once again been derelict in her duties. Could MOE and NIE team up to convert and brainwash Singapore into a nation of God next at the expense of other religions and atheists?

  • nicholas chan

    michelle’s teacher gone too far. creationism is basically religion wrapped in pseduo-science. her teacher is sick and disgusting. out to promote religious disharmony to the extent of being seditious. i hope she is immune to cancer and organ failure. if she sticks by her creationism, she shouldn’t go to the doctor when she has terminal illness or H1N1. go to her pastor to be healed. modern medicine and epidemiology are rooted in evolution and biology.

    creationism has no evidence to prove itself. evolution has. so creationists always try to debunk evolution. but the absence of evolution doesn’t mean creation exists.

  • haha

    evolution is a fact, not just a theory anymore.

    whereas

    creation is an urban legend outside of new-age religions, comparable to aliens coming to spread genes a la scientology.

  • creducator

    TOC said: “Duplicate comment detected; it looks as though you’ve already said that!” — where got? my post didn’t appear lei.

  • creducator

    According to wikipedia.com, there are various creationist movements based in religious traditions other than Christianity (e.g. Hinduism, Islam and Judaism, etc). So to say that only Christians believe in creationism is incorrect.

    So what is creationism?
    According to http://www.allaboutcreation.org/creationism-faq.htm , “Creationism is one of only two possible origin explanations for our universe and all the life that we see on planet earth. The alternative explanation to creationism is evolution through random natural processes.”

  • creducator

    Is evolution science?
    “Oxford Dictionary of Current English defines science as, “the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.”…..

    ….Let’s examine what scientific observations, experiments, and rationale support biological evolution. First, we need to define biological evolution. To qualify as an explanation, evolution first needs to explain how original life came from inorganic matter. Secondly, it needs to explain how all life formed from original life.

    * Did anyone observe the origin of life?
    * Did anyone observe all the species being formed from another species?
    * Did anyone observe any species being formed from another kind or species with or without help from us?
    * Has anyone found fossils that represent transitional forms that would be expected if the theory of evolution were true?
    * Are the fossils found in the lowest Cambrian layer only partially formed compared with their life forms today?
    * Do we have more species that exist today compared with what we know existed at any earlier time?
    * Have experiments made life from non-living matter?
    * Have experiments to cause mutations in fruit flies been able to improve the design so their survival chances would be better?
    * Have natural scientists consistently presented facts and icons of evolution that have been credible?
    * Has the explosion of new information about DNA, RNA, the complexity of the cell and the irreducible complexity of the cell supported evolution?

    The answer is “no” over and over again! Scientific observations do not support biological evolution!….

    Do scientific observations support creation?
    All the above evidence against evolution supports creation. In addition, all the new information being learned in microbiology strongly supports creation. Evolutionists never questioned that life has apparent design. Now the unimaginable complexity of DNA and the cell have left evolutionists without a clue as to how such a thing could possibly evolve. In addition, Michael Behe discovered that the cell is irreducibly complex. It needed all of the complex chemicals and machinery to function. The cell could not have evolved through natural selection because it wouldn’t function without all its parts. Now scientists are finding evidence of human devolution in our DNA. Our basic blueprint is being degraded. Consequently, rather that evolving we are devolving.

    Source – http://www.allaboutcreation.org/creationism-faq.htm

    Further reading: “Creation vs. Evolution” – http://www.allaboutcreation.org/creation-vs-evolution-n.htm

  • abdul gafoor

    #42 sloo: “It funny how you choose to question evolution when Creationism is itself based on a book that is filled with commandments but not much scientific rationality or logic. At least with evolution, there has been aggressive research by anthropolgoists and scientist to find evidence based on the theory and so far, with remains dating millions of years back, carbon dating, fossils, cave etchings etc, whatever research and findings have supported this theory. As for Creationism, the facts are only in the book. What scientific basis is that?”

    The thought of creation comes from Prophetic revelations which is true and real. The thought of evolution was conceived within the boundaries of science and doubt as a theory and still remains as a theory. the so called books cited as being mountains of evidence have been proven invalid and it remains as theory. what i put forth earlier remains unanswered – bring forth evidence to prove evolution…. not “evidence” that has been proven invalid or insufficient…

  • singapoor

    #42 sloo: “It funny how you choose to question evolution when Creationism is itself based on a book that is filled with commandments but not much scientific rationality or logic. At least with evolution, there has been aggressive research by anthropolgoists and scientist to find evidence based on the theory and so far, with remains dating millions of years back, carbon dating, fossils, cave etchings etc, whatever research and findings have supported this theory. As for Creationism, the facts are only in the book. What scientific basis is that?”

    The thought of creation comes from Prophetic revelations which is true and real. The thought of evolution was conceived within the boundaries of science and doubt as a theory and still remains as a theory. the so called books cited as being mountains of evidence have been proven invalid and it remains as theory. what i put forth earlier remains unanswered – bring forth evidence to prove evolution…. not “evidence” that has been proven invalid or insufficient…

  • inferno

    singapoor: “till today this theory remains a theory… i dont know what “mountain of evidence” some of you are talking about because till today each piece of “evidence” that has been put forth has been rejected. they have simply failed to prove the theory. ”

    This laughable statement underscores your lack of knowledge on the topic at hand. Kindly refer to the numerous books (e.g. those put forth by Dr Syed Alwi) and marvel at the Mountain.Of.Evidence that points towards evolution, before making such sweeping statements. Even though I don’t need further convincing, I am in fact reading Jerry Coyne’s Why Evolution Is True right now, just so I know that my confidence in evolution is well-grounded, rather than merely because someone else told me it is true.

    “… they have simply failed to prove the theory”? More like the reverse, nobody has been able to provide counter-evidence to DISPROVE evolution. And mind you, there are countless possible pieces of evidence that could disprove it, e.g. J.B.S Haldane’s “fossil rabbits in the pre-Cambrian” (anachronistic fossils).

  • Dr Syed Alwi

    Dear People,

    All the available evidence supports Evolution. The Creationists objections to Evolution has been addressed and answered. Please refer to the references I cited. In addition one should also read books by Dawkins etc.

    Once again I say – in the references I cited, ALL Creationist objections have been addressed and answered.

    People like Harun Yahya is doing a disservice to Muslims. In any case – his points have been answered and addressed.

    Evolution is true…………….

    Regards
    Dr Syed Alwi

  • G.I.Joe

    Netizens with no A-levels Biology background or higher, please refrain from BASHING EVOLUTION because your ignorance is so apparent. Have an iota of shame please, especially for the fundie “creducator”.

    Misconceptions:

    1. Evolution is in no way associated with “how life came from inorganic matter”. This shows that creducator is not versed in his sciences at all.

    2. Evolution deals with the “origin of species”, not the origin of life. Another fallacy invoked prophesized by credulator.

    3. If evolution is not Science, creation is hogwash.

    The simplest evidence:

    If you keep a cat, dog, fish or hamster, you are sleeping right beside a mini demonstration of evolution (induced) via artificial selection. The FACT of EVOLUTION is a fact.

    Converging evolution of metatherians and eutherians in the mammalian line is another evidence of Evolution at work.

    Hoax of a creation

    Calling Evolution a theory is both old-fashioned and obfuscating. Weird thing about creation//artificial design is that – nothing about dinosaurs is disclosed: ancient dinosaur fossils, eggs and temporally stratified soil are testament to their existence.

    Creation itself is VERY INCOMPLETE, replete with loopholes. All along, creation proponents have been stealing the works of biologist, epidemiologists etc to cover their gaping loopholes, such as genetic bottlenecks occuring as a result of Noah’s Ark and the existence of close relatives of humans: Homo habilis, Homo neanderthalensis etc and the existence of life at the bottom of oceans near hydrothermic vents.

    Last but not least, has anyone seen a snake that can talk or has psychic powers? Besides the serpents of Harry Potter of course.

    Prove to us that creation exists instead of wasting an immense effort on vilifying evolution, which is still strong and pertinent, especially in traits breeding, Taxonomy, Clinical Microbiology and Epidemiology, even after apparent continued malicious attempts by the Church to emasculate it.

    Sad to say, at the end of the day as we reflect on the progress of medicine and pharmaceuticals in the modern society, creation has done NOTHING to benefit patients and researchers alike.

  • Dr Syed Alwi

    Dear singapoor,

    Have you read the books I cited ? And are you aware that Harun Yahya has been debunked ?

    Please do not make silly sweeping statements without first reading those books I cited where Creationist objections by Harun Yahya and others, have been answered and addressed.

    By the way – did Adam have a navel ?
    Why is it that religion does NOT talk about the Ice Ages, Cave-people like the Neanderthal, Cro-Magnon and so on ?
    Why no mention of Dinosaurs etc ?

    I have another book for you to read :

    From DNA To Diversity : Molecular Genetics And The Evolution Of Animal Design.

    Look – its tough to admit that what you hold so dearly as religious dogma – is just that – unproven dogma. Scientific evidence has shown the world that religious dogma can be wrong. This is a very difficult thing to accept – because we have been conditioned to believe religion without question from young. I myself went through a tough period before I had to admit that the scientific evidence is against religious dogma and is in favour of Evolution.

    Regards
    Dr Syed Alwi

  • justkaypoh

    is the site up already?

  • justkaypoh

    Didn’t manage to post for a day.

    Andrew Loh
    “With me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?” Charles Darwin

    Darwin himself had doubts about the theory he came out with in the aspects of mind’s convictions.
    By stating that Darwin is a Christian, do not makes the theory more true or false.

    “Scientific theories are backed up and substantiated by a vast amount of evidence, testings, re-testings. It is based on observable phenomena.”

    Its true that some theories do have significantly evidence and testings etc, but not for Evolution. Can you name just one of them? I’d read quite a lot on Evolution had not came across any facts that is really substantiated base on mathematical and scientific rigor.

    “For example, the Theory of Evolution is not “just a theory”. It is supported by an enormous amount of scientific evidence, from scientists all over the world, in many different disciplines.”

    By the same measure, theories that refute Evolution are supported by an enormous amount of scientific evidence, from scientists all over the world, in many different disciplines.

    “The Theory of Evolution is supported by evidence from anthropology, paleontology, geology, biology, osteology, genetics, etc etc.”

    The theory of Evolution is refuted with evidence from anthropology, paleontology, geology, biology, osteology, genetics, pyshics, mathematics etc. as well.

    “This is why the so-called “Creation Theory” or the “Intelligent Design Theory” are not theories at all, as far as Science is concerned. This is because there is no evidence to support these theories.”

    I don’t think any reputed scholars or scientists ever said that ‘Creation Theory’ is a scientific one. They are more like to be philosophical theories. Do you all know that the foundation of science is based on philosophical belief? You can find out more on this. If you wish to know more, I can share with you all in the next post.

    “And the theories have not been put to tests, re-tests, empirical observation, etc – all the things that any Scientific Theory must go through.”
    Neither has the theory of Evolution been put to such tests.

    “All that Creation offers as evidence are the words of the Bible – the same Bible which gave us a talking snake in its very first pages.”
    The Bible is not a scientific book in the first place.

    “In the court trial in Dover, United States, where Intelligent Design (which is another term for Creation) was put on trial, the Supreme Court judge, when giving his verdict on the case called Intelligent Design “breathtakingly inane”.”

    Do you mean to conclude that the judge is ultimately right? His judgments are base on science and philosophy? The court has jurisdiction over these fields? It may show that the judge is making a mockery of himself by giving a judgment that he does not even know much about.

  • Zefly (aka Joshua Chiang)

    ID on trail-

  • Dr Syed Alwi

    Dear justkaypoh,

    Creationism and Intelligent Design are not even theories. They do not make testable predictions. And neither do they enjoy the kind of support from evidence as Evolution does.

    Please refer to the books I cited where the arguments of Creationism and ID are refuted. Perhaps you would also like to try this book :

    The Counter-Creationism Handbook – by Isaak

    Its comprehensive in answering the challenge of Creationism.

    At this point of time – there is no doubt within the scientific community that Creationism and ID are FALSE.

    Ultimately its our upbringing. Most of us have been brought up to accept religious dogma without question. But quite a few religious dogma will crumble upon closer inspection with the microscope of Science and Reason.

    It is very difficult for most of us to accept that some religious dogma may be without any scientific basis. Thats a tough thing to do.

    Best regards
    Dr Syed Alwi

  • Andrew Loh

    jusykaypoh,

    “Neither has the theory of Evolution been put to such tests.”

    *speechless*

  • inferno

    justkaypoh: “The theory of Evolution is refuted with evidence from anthropology, paleontology, geology, biology, osteology, genetics, pyshics, mathematics etc. as well.”

    Oh really? Please do elaborate on this statement, unless of course it is a mere flipflop of the earlier quote, made for rhetorical impact. OSTEOLOGY refutes evolution? (do you even know what osteology is?) GENETICS refutes evolution? Genetics today is rife is new concepts and technologies that stem from the basic understanding that evolution is true. Yet I do not see how it could possibly REFUTE evolution, short of someone finding a hidden code in DNA that says “haha you n00bs, i’ve been conning you guys all along. -God” (and even then, it’d probably be a hoax).

    PHYSICS AND MATHEMATICS REFUTE EVOLUTION? I’d love to hear what new mathematical theory you have that refutes evolution. And for physics, please do not repeat that rubbish about the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which is clearly false, yet creationists never fail to keep quoting it to bamboozle those who don’t know better.

    If you bother to read books like Jerry Coyne’s you will see the immense amount of biological and paleontological evidence that points towards evolution having taken place. On the other hand, the vast number of imperfections and defects in organisms today is itself a testament to a lack of a creator, or at least an intelligent one.

  • inferno

    Genetics today is rife *with* new concepts and technologies that stem from the basic understanding that evolution is true.

    *edit-> typo

  • G.I.Joe

    >65) creducator on August 5th, 2009 3.06 pm

    Scientist do not believe in playing with words definitions nor petty interpretations. Let’s see how your obstinance fizzle out.

    Evolution

    * Did anyone observe the origin of life? Attack Biochemistry instead. Evolution is the “origin of species”

    Another misconception about Evolution among proponents of creation: Eukaryotic species observed today do not turn into one another (unlike creation) but instead have a common ancestor at one point or another. In addition, Evolution is an excruciating slow process if left to natural selection alone.

    * Did anyone observe all the species being formed from another species? Misconception. Retarded question.

    * Did anyone observe any species being formed from another kind or species with or without help from us? Misconception. Retarded question.

    * Has anyone found fossils that represent transitional forms that would be expected if the theory of evolution were true?
    Yes for many organism. Uninformed and ignorant. The Bible said nothing on the existence of fossils; this idea was stolen from paleontological sciences by desperate supporters of creation.

    * Are the fossils found in the lowest Cambrian layer only partially formed compared with their life forms today?
    Incomprehensible question out to confound and add bulk to the posting.

    * Do we have more species that exist today compared with what we know existed at any earlier time?
    New species are continuously discovered while existing ones become extinct. Did churches fund any species discovery expeditions for modern scientists, or any wildlife conservation programmes? Let’s not talk about the Bush administration political campaigns in the USA.

    * Have experiments made life from non-living matter?
    No. Knocking on the wrong door. Evolution does not deal with this. However if Creation experts can try their hands at such “experiments” and miraculously create life from non-living matter, I will immediately switch my faith and become a christian!

    * Have experiments to cause mutations in fruit flies been able to improve the design so their survival chances would be better?
    Do you know what you are asking? Are you lost digesting snippets from wikipedia? Scientists working with fruit flies are basically involved in genetic mapping and manipulation, not evolution.
    Additional old news for the misguided soul – scientists have engineered// mutated crops such as banana, sweet potato and rice to be resistant to pests and herbicides. Their survival chances have thus been tremendously improved.

    * Have natural scientists consistently presented facts and icons of evolution that have been credible?
    Yes, unfortunately you are not even trying to find them and yet made so much noise in TOC. For starters, try convergent Evolution of anatomical features in sharks and dolphins.

    * Has the explosion of new information about DNA, RNA, the complexity of the cell and the irreducible complexity of the cell supported evolution?
    Explosion? So cliche. Cellular mechanics. Wrong focus again. Credulator, you lack credibility; your attempts in confounding Evolution can only beguile the uneducated and the misinformed. It takes just an iota of effort to shred your argument to pieces.
    Advances in genetic mapping and bioinformatics have further enhanced the ease of epidemiologists, taxonomists, forensic scientists, among others, in establishing genetic linkages among species and individuals.

    No creation fervent seems even capable of countering my statements at #70. What a shame; what a sham.

  • justkaypoh

    good that the site accepting post now, hang in there guys, I’ll surely reply later.

  • krystal 88

    please keep religion outta our school. imagine a muslim or hindu minority having to endure the religious talks.

  • Dr Syed Alwi

    Dear krystal88,

    Likewise here. But I would go one step further – keep ALL religions out of our schools. You see – Orthodox Sunni Islam also rejects Evolution and is in favour of Creationism.

    The truth is that Evolution does NOT sit well with any religion ! Because Evolutions shows that there was no supernatural or divine origin of life on Earth.

    Regards
    Dr Syed Alwi

  • aygee

    Comment #20, Mr Alwi,

    To your question: I studied Biology, and have read Dawkins’ book, and the analytical side of me tells me there’s evidence to show the theory of evolution could be true.

    But it does not at any point affect my Iman (i.e. faith to our non-Muslim readers). I believe in God, and the Prophet Muhammad, and the prophets before him.

    I can reconcile both my belief in Evolution and God. Because for me, religion is about spirituality – to fill up an emptiness that no science textbook can ever fill.

    This is the difference between science and religion. You need faith to believe in God. To have faith, you dont need proof.

    To quote Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons (the movie, not the book),

    Camerlengo McKenna: “I did not ask if you believe what man says about God. I asked if you believe in God.”
    Langdon: “I’m an academic. My mind tells me I will never understand God.”
    Camerlengo McKenna: “And your heart?”
    Langdon: “Tells me I’m not meant to. Faith is a gift that I have yet to receive.”

    Cardinal Strauss: “God is perfect. Its religion that is flawed, because man is flawed.”

    And i’ll stop here.

  • Van Helsing

    God is so sneaky! hahaha. Spank Him.

  • creducator

    Hello G.I.Joe,

    I don’t claim I am good at biology or science. And who say that “Netizens with no A-levels Biology background or higher” cannot share what they believe at TOC? If you have read my post (65) carefully, you will know that I merely quoted from the source which I find logical in the argument. I don’t think any of us here is a scientist or archeologist. If there is one here please raise your hand. :)

    Each of us have our own beliefs and view points regarding how human comes about through reading, or hear-say, or religious teaching. So if we really want to debate about creationism vs evolution vs devolution, we would need to read a lot more, be open to opposing views and the latest discoveries which may challenge what we already ‘knew’ or believed much earlier. Please don’t use insult just because one does not agree with your views.

  • Kill_netizen

    #66 abdul gafoor #67 singapoor
    (are you the same person ?? Christians or Muslim ??)
    You wrote : ” The thought of creation comes from Prophetic revelations which is true and real. ”

    Where is the proof of truth and realism?

  • Scientific observations

    65) creducator on August 5th, 2009 3.06 pm
    “The answer is “no” over and over again! Scientific observations do not support biological evolution!….”

    i think Scientific observations support one important fact (as far as human perception is concerned) that incredible people like you do exist. and i guess to you Scientific observations also support the existence (presumed existence) of some unseen unicorn.

  • http://sturmdesjahrhunderts.wordpress.com guojun

    It seems that everyone here is either bashing Creationism or bashing evolution! Evolution has the great power of evidence (quantitative), whereas Creationism has greater explaining power (qualitative). Most posters believe that more evidence = more true, but that is not necessarily the case! Let’s use a concept most take for granted today, heliocentrism.

    Warning: you cannot say that science then was less rigorous compared to today, you have to see science then in its context.

    Heliocentrism was a theory besides geocentrism. All the empirical evidence pointed to geocentrism but heliocentrism came out to be true because of its greater explaining power. In fact today what you see in the sky still perfectly explains the geocentric system, using today’s data of sunrise and sunset, the phases of the moon, motion of the planets etc you can still calculate a reasonable set of data for geocentrism!

    You can transfer this situation to evolution vs creationism. Evolution is true until the next better theory comes, so evolution functions not with the UNDERSTANDING that it is true, it functions with the ASSUMPTION that is true. Creationism works with the understanding that it is true, because any assumption would undermine the basic principles of religion itself.

    If we should follow most posters and agree that evolution is the last bastion of science and life, then we are missing a great amount of science. You talk about progress of science up til evolution without considering that science progresses beyond evolution. We thought the atom was the smallest possible particle but the atom has been split and physicists are still going into sub-subatomic particles, etc. (personally i think its not the right direction but it doesn’t matter in this context)

    Up to the point where science can understand the last secrets of life and bind all disciplines together again, religion, especially creationism will still be a force to contend with. Pure creationism is ignorance of the facts, whereas pure empirical science is just complacency.

  • don’t use insult

    “Please don’t use insult just because one does not agree with your views.”

    and please do not say that others are using insult just because one does not agree with your views.

  • perfect

    Cardinal Strauss: “God is perfect. Its religion that is flawed, because man is flawed.”

    simply bcos flawed men create the concept of perfectness in God.

  • creducator

    (70) G.I.Joe saying “Netizens with no A-levels Biology background or higher, please refrain from BASHING EVOLUTION because your ignorance is so apparent. Have an iota of shame please, especially for the fundie “creducator”.” is an insult to those he perceived to be of lower education than himself, not so much that he disagree with me.

  • creducator

    Say what you want (70) G.I.Joe, I am entitled to my belief and air my voice here. Hope TOC is not another ‘speaker corner’ that restricts opinions like the PAP.

    My latest search found books by Michael A. Cremo, found at http://www.humandevolution.com/ which I believe could answer any of our doubts:

    “FORBIDDEN ARCHEOLOGY: THE HIDDEN HISTORY OF THE HUMAN RACE”
    Over 200,000 copies sold in 13 languages!

    “HUMAN DEVOLUTION: A VEDIC ALTERNATIVE TO DARWIN’S THEORY”
    Released on September 28, 2003

    “Forbidden Archeology documented a massive amount of evidence showing that humans have existed on earth for hundreds of millions of years. Such anomalous evidence, contradicting Darwinian evolution, catalyzed a global inquiry, “If we did not evolve from apes, then where did we come from?” Human
    Devolution is author Michael A. Cremo’s definitive answer to this question.”

    If you can get hold of these books it would be good. If not, you may read for free the followings (short-cut):

    “Human Devolution Introduction”
    - at http://www.humandevolution.com/hdintro.html

    “Reviews of Human Devolution”
    - http://www.humandevolution.com/devorevu.html

    “Darwin Challenger Michael Cremo lectures on Human Devolution at APOGEE 2009 BITS Pilani”
    - http://www.prlog.org/10205608-darwin-challenger-michael-cremo-lectures-on-human-devolution-at-apogee-2009-bits-pilani.html

    “Upcoming & Archived Interviews with Michael Cremo”
    - http://www.mcremo.com/interviews.html

    interview video
    - http://video.google.com/videosearch?hl=en&q=Michael+A.+Cremo&sourceid=navclient-ff&rlz=1B3MOZA_enSG323SG323&um=1&ie=UTF-8&ei=P1R5SuDcCJrY7APgn9CUBQ&sa=X&oi=video_result_group&ct=title&resnum=4#
    - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owmYuv8rHiw&feature=related

  • creducator

    Duplicate comment detected; it looks as though you’ve already said that!
    Duplicate comment detected; it looks as though you’ve already said that!
    Duplicate comment detected; it looks as though you’ve already said that!

    Hmmn.. another version of cctv at speaker corner?

  • Dr Syed Alwi

    Dear Aygee,

    Organised Religion has problems because it makes Absolute Truth claims which have no basis in Science and Reason.

    Had you been born into a Buddhist family in Tibet – then what are the chances that you would be Muslim today ?

    The business of Science is to ask questions and to demand for evidence. True – Faith is just belief. But in today’s world – an unquestionable belief in an unquestionable dogma – is not viable. When Faith and Belief is foisted on others – or used to discriminate others – then the State must step in.

    In a multi-religious country like ours, Religion has to take a back seat when compared to the National Interest.

    In any case, its hard to justify dogma which have no scientific basis. It gets harder day by day…

    Best Regards
    Dr Syed Alwi

  • Dr Syed Alwi

    Dear Guojun,

    The scientific community does NOT assume that Evolution is true. We accept Evolution because of the vast amount of evidence that supports it.

    In the same way as other theories are accepted i.e. due to overwhelming evidence.

    The difference between Evolution and the other branches of science – is that Evolution casts a dark shadow on organised religion. Thats why many lay-persons have difficulties accepting Evolution. Because it leaves one in doubt of the many dogmas of religion.

    Best Regards
    Dr Syed Alwi

  • http://blog budamax1952

    Not all religions are incompatible with the theory of evolution. Buddhism, which is non-dependant on the God (the first cause) idea, gets along quite fine with the theory of evolution. In Buddhism all phenomena are inpermanent (anicca), constantly in a process of change(dukkha), and don’t have a constant (self) identity(anatta). This is one of the cardinal teachings of Buddhism and fits exactly with the evolutionary theory’s main idea that all species are in a constant process of evolutionary change.

  • Vincent

    creation and evolution are not mutually exclusive. i think both work hand in hand.

  • Jim

    Hi All,

    Obviously the writer is a Darwinist or anti-creationist, and I do respect his view point.

    If creationists who are trying to influence students’ thinking are deemed as despicable, what about Darwinists who claim that whatever they believe in is the Absolute Truth (which might not be so) and demand all to have absolute submission to their theories and scientific evidence? Our kids need to question even the most profound and so-called acceptable rules or principles. I am sure Albert Einstein would agree to this too.

    So let us have an open mind and be inquisitive always. I am always of the view that critique or learning how to appraise things is an integral and fundamental part of education.

    We also need to separate real scientific education from religion or philosophy, which unfortunately most Darwinists also fall into the same trap the Creationists are being accused of. (As to why Darwinism is more of a philosophy than a science, it is beyond my discussion here and I have no wish to dwell on it.)

    What about Darwinists who persecute Creationists based on their beliefs, but not on the quality of Creationists’ scientific research? Aren’t they overtly biased? So let us be fair to both parties.

    Let’s not accuse the other party by just saying they are fraudsters or the like. Do not poison the well, such as by implying or saying “Don’t listen to him. He’s an idiot.” My feeling is that the writer and some contributors here think these so-called Creationists are despicable scumbags with a hidden religious agenda. Should debates happen, then argue on evidence and facts, without attacking the people’s belief.

    If the said lessons were conducted in a mission or religious school in a neutral, open type of discussion offering arguments from both sides, I have no objections. I’ve been schooled in a Christian school and for sure I know there is no such thing as forcing religion into the student’s mind. It is simply not in the school’s interest to receive complaints from annoyed parents.

    As for me, I do not believe in Evolution as it does not explain the origins of metaphysics. I have had various experiences and encounters with spiritual beings which are beyond the scope of scientific research. I know these things are real but I don’t scoff or despise people who don’t believe in ghosts because they say they do not see or experience these stuff. I still respect their stand!

  • G.I.Joe

    Creation
    Your turn now, creation fans. Let’s see how the adam and eve’s version of creation fares.

    * Did anyone observe the origin of life? No. Neither has anyone seen Jesus or a talking snake.
    * Did anyone observe all the species being created by God?
    * Has anyone found excerpts from bibles regarding fossils of dinosaurs and extinct gymnosperms, the moment where flowering plants were “created” and the presence//shapes//names of viruses and prions?
    * Do we have the exactly same number of animal species now, and back during Noah Ark’s epoch, if we had accounted for inevitable extinctions througout history such as the Dodo and Stellar Sea Cow?
    * What were the animals brought on board Noah’s Ark? Pandas?
    * How did Noah differentiate between subspecies and geographical variants?
    * Did Noah bring any freshwater fishes like the South American Cardinal Tetra, the Thai Kissing Gourami or the Australian Spendid Rainbowfish? Freshwater fishes cannot survive in the saltwaters of the flood.
    * Have creation experiments made life from non-living matter?
    * Are creation proponents credible?
    * Are creation theories credible? Where are the geological, artifactual and genetic evidences?
    * Why hasn’t God classified and recorded all his creations for that of his favourite – mankind?
    * Are antibiotic-resistant superbugs in hospitals not a product of Evolution?
    * What is inherently wrong with evolution and natural selection, especially in the comparison of inter-species traits?
    * Why should I buy creation?

    Can any supporter of creation answer my doubts? If not, I am afraid that creation is a sham, unproven, untested.

  • G.I.Joe

    So much is said about creation and intelligent design but nothing is proven. Which does this spell? There’s no content and evidence in creation and intelligent design to yak about.

    In academic terms, this notion of creation would have been flung out of the window the split second it is reviewed.

    Question remains: can anyone prove creation is true? can creation stand alone without evolution?

  • G.I.Joe

    A matter of fact, creducator, if a proclaimer as innocuous as that you quoted made you feel as if you were being looked down on, all I can say is that you have acknowledged the fact that everything you know about biology is at the very most superficial. That you throw in the one-off mention of DNA, irreducible complexity, fruit flies and the like, is just a subtle attempt to make yourself seem more credible and learned in the field of the science.

    I chose my speciality and you chose yours I believe credulator. There are no gods and insects among the different academic disciplines. We don’t look down on other disciplines whatsoever.

    My harshest words will be reserved for flukes who attempt to mislead, convolute and confound facts with no real knowledge of the subject matter.

    To all creation proponents, there is an abundance of space below to heap praises on creation// intelligent design and prove creation exist.

    Proclaimer 2: Unbridled bashing of Evolution is not going to prove that creation exists. Even if all evolutionary biologists were to be assassinated, there could still be other schools of thought to explain biodiversity and anatomical similarities among disparate classes of organisms.

  • Zefly (aka Joshua Chiang)

    “Additional old news for the misguided soul – scientists have engineered// mutated crops such as banana, sweet potato and rice to be resistant to pests and herbicides. Their survival chances have thus been tremendously improved.”

    Useless Superbowl Halftime fact. Wild bananas look like this-

    http://www.christiancynic.com/images/wild-banana.jpg

    Ok back to the show!

  • socrates

    Keep this philosophy in mind the next time you hear or are about to repeat a rumor.

    In ancient Greece (469 – 399 BC), Socrates was widely lauded for his wisdom.

    One day the great philosopher came upon an acquaintance, who ran up to him excitedly and said, “Socrates, do you know what I just heard about one of your students…?”

    “Wait a moment,” Socrates replied. “Before you tell me, I’d like you to pass a little test. It’s called the Test of Three.”

    “Test of Three?”

    “That’s correct,” Socrates continued.

    “Before you talk to me about my student let’s take a moment to test what you’re going to say. The first test is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?”

    “No,” the man replied, “actually I just heard about it.”

    “All right,” said Socrates. “So you don’t really know if it’s true or not. Now let’s try the second test, the test of Goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about my student something good?”

    “No, on the contrary…”

    “So,” Socrates continued, “you want to tell me something bad about him even though you’re not certain it’s true?”

    The man shrugged, a little embarrassed.

    Socrates continued, “You may still pass though because there is a third test – the filter of Usefulness.

    Is what you want to tell me about my student going to be useful to me?”

    “No, not really…”

    “Well,” concluded Socrates, “if what you want to tell me is neither True nor Good nor even Useful, why tell it to me at all?”

    The man was defeated and ashamed and said no more.

    This is the reason Socrates was a great philosopher and held in such high esteem.

  • Marketplace Thiologist

    This Creationism vs Evolution debate has so many aspects.

    Are Creationists trying to present Creationism as a Scientific Theory?

    Are Creationists trying to reject Evolution as a Scientific Theory?

    Are Scientists trying to present Evolution as Religious / Philosophical Truth?

    Are Scientists trying to reject Creationism as Religious / Philosophical Truth?

    Please think about it.

  • G.I.Joe

    101) Zefly (aka Joshua Chiang) on August 5th, 2009 10.19 pm

    http://www.christiancynic.com/images/wild-banana.jpg

    Compared to the bananas today, which have been literally cultivated to death and cross-bred to insanity, the original banana fruit looks contrastingly unappetising.

    http://xmb.stuffucanuse.com/xmb/viewthread.php?action=attachment&tid=4464&pid=12997

    Artificial selection for the survival of the sweetest. Opponents of evolution who hate evolution to the core, practise what you preach – don’t keep domesticated pets or even eat farmed meat and vegetables because most have been artificially selected for – induced evolution; their genomes have already undergone drastic changes to give you what is the tastiest and most aromatic of raw ingredients.

  • G.I.Joe

    creducator,
    “you will know that I merely quoted from the source which I find logical in the argument.” – confounding, lends nothing to your defense.

    “please don’t use insult just because one does not agree with your views” – Please don’t dramatise the entire debate.
    Please don’t disguise criticisms as insults. So you go crying to your spouse when your inadequacies are laid bare in your workplace?
    Please don’t potray youself as a victim whenever you lose a debate with nothing as rebuttal.

  • Dr Syed Alwi

    Dear People,

    Science does NOT make Absolute Truth claims. It is religion that does so. In Science we are ready to embrace a new theory and reject the old – IF – sufficient new evidence is found.

    That was how the Newtonian paradigm was overthrown by Relativity and the Quantum theory.

    And because it is empirical – Science can only progress and not regress.

    Organised Religion however – is based on Faith in unproven dogma. It makes unsubstantiated Absolute Truth claims.

    You do not need Evolution to cast a shadow on Organised religion. I always ask this question :

    Had you been born into a Hindu or Buddhist family in Nepal – then what are the chances that you would be Muslim or Christian today ?

    Likewise, had you been born into a Muslim family in Saudi Arabia – then what are the chances that you will be Buddhist or Hindu today ?

    The truth is that Man has limited Free Will. That – quite often – our lives revolves around the society and family we were born into.

    How can any Organised Religion condemn the followers of other Organised Religions to an eternity in Hell – when in the first place – much is due to factors beyond Man’s Free Will ??

    And besides – I find it hard to believe that a compassionate God would put sinners into an eternity of torment. It seems to me that any and all Human sin – is far too small to merit an eternity in Hell.

    The whole business of religion is based on pre-modern concepts of society. But society evolves. 21st century Singapore is very different from 10th century Baghdad. The social structures of long ago are not available anymore. Does it not follow then – that religion must adapt to Man’s need in this new era of Post-Modernity ?

    Even the business of Spirituality is suspect. Today we know that we can affect a person’s mood by altering his brain chemistry. Anti-depressants etc can be used to simulate Spirituality ! Indeed – Prozac is called “the happy pill” !!

    is there a transcendant existence a la Kant’s noumeau ? Maybe. But the existence a God – does NOT mean that any particular religion is true. Maybe Organised Religion is only a small facet of God. That every religion only captures a small picture of God. Maybe God created this world using the method of Evolution. A directed Evolution. Why not ?

    Maybe Human society will evolve further. I look forward to the Imagine of John Lennon.

    Best Regards
    Dr Syed Alwi

  • agongkia

    Another failure in our educational system.There are worst scenarios that I heard.
    Certain profession are simply not suitable for certain people.

  • creducator

    If Evolution it to be discussed in class then the Challenge to Dawinism must also be presented so that students will learn to think critically and not just accept a one sided view.

    I would recommend the reading of HUMAN DEVOLUTION: A VEDIC ALTERNATIVE TO DARWIN’S THEORY By Michael A. Cremo (http://www.humandevolution.com/ ) or its Summary & Review at http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/ciencia/ciencia_forbiddenarcheology01.htm#Challenge%20to%20Darwinism

  • justkaypoh

    Hi Dr Syed Alwi,
    “Creationism and Intelligent Design are not even theories. They do not make testable predictions. And neither do they enjoy the kind of support from evidence as Evolution does.”

    Base on the logic of your statement, does its mean that Evolution does not stand as it “does not make testable predictions”?

    Justkaypoh: “I don’t think any reputed scholars or scientists ever said that ‘Creation Theory’ is a scientific one. They are more like to be philosophical theories. “
    Maybe you miss my point in my previous post.

    There are also many great books that touch on rebutting Evolution and scientific support for Creationism, have you read them too?
    “Most of us have been brought up to accept religious dogma without question. But quite a few religious dogma will crumble upon closer inspection with the microscope of Science and Reason.
    Perhaps even more people are brought up to accept Evolution dogma without question as well. They will crumble when asked under rigorous authentic Science and Reason.
    “It is very difficult for most of us to accept that some religious dogma may be without any scientific basis.”
    Religion itself is not under the jurisdiction of Science, so deos history, psychology, love etc. You need to understand what is the scope and limitations of Science. The methodology of science does not has scientific basis as well, this is acknowledged by top scientist and philosophers. Laymen do not know about this unless they study Theory of Knowledge and Philosophy.

  • justkaypoh

    Andrew Loh,
    “Neither has the theory of Evolution been put to such tests.”
    *speechless*

    Scientific proof/theory is based on:
    -Observation
    -Empirical evidence(experiment)
    - Measurable evidence

    The methods and evidences of Evolution fulfill none of these. Do you agree?

  • justkaypoh

    inferno

    justkaypoh: “The theory of Evolution is refuted with evidence from anthropology, paleontology, geology, biology, osteology, genetics, pyshics, mathematics etc. as well.”

    Inferno: “Oh really? Please do elaborate on this statement, unless of course it is a mere flipflop of the earlier quote, made for rhetorical impact. OSTEOLOGY refutes evolution? (do you even know what osteology is?) “

    Do you understand what is ‘refute’ ? Propositions are need in order to have refutes, if not there nothing to refute. Base on your own method of reasoning, you should elaborate first if you convicted of the above statement.

    “Genetics today is rife *with* new concepts and technologies that stem from the basic understanding that evolution is true. “

    So how true is your statement? Should all of us take it ‘religiously’ that it’s true? Forcing down subjective opinions on people’s throat? Please refer to my post (other source) on the definition of Science.

    “Yet I do not see how it could possibly REFUTE evolution”

    Again, a specific proposition is needed in order to refute. If not, I can simply make a ‘flip flop’ of your quote.

  • justkaypoh

    #106
    Dr Syed Alwi
    “Science does NOT make Absolute Truth claims. It is religion that does so. In Science we are ready to embrace a new theory and reject the old – IF – sufficient new evidence is found.”

    Are you ‘absolutely’ sure that Science does not make Absolute Truth claim?
    Some supporters of Evolution words and action seem to treat it as the Truth.
    “And because it is empirical – Science can only progress and not regress.”

    Do note that Evolution has no empirical basis.

    Organised Religion however – is based on Faith in unproven dogma

    Do you know that the methodology of Science and Evolution is base on faith ? http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/24/opinion/24davies.html

    “It makes unsubstantiated Absolute Truth claims. You do not need Evolution to cast a shadow on Organised religion.”

    Are you making an unsubstantiated Absolute Truth claim on this statement?

    “How can any Organised Religion condemn the followers of other Organised Religions to an eternity in Hell – when in the first place – much is due to factors beyond Man’s Free Will ??”

    Agree with you, nobody should condemn others.

    “Maybe Human society will evolve further”

    I’m not so optimistic as you, seems like we are heading for self destructions. By the way, all the DNA mutations that we observed in recorded human history leads to cancer, degeneration and not evolution.

  • outragedparent

    There is something wrong with TOC, loads slowly if at all and new comments cant be viewed. Perhaps admin can look into this?

  • Donaldson Tan

    Talk about religious encroachment in our common secular space…

    I want to highlight a particular event that is going to take place on the 8th and the 10th of August 2009 – the GCF-RZIM Seminar on “Called To Engage – Being Salt and Light in the Public Square”.

    The speakers include:
    1) Mrs Belinda Charles, Principal of Saint Andrew’s Secondary School.
    2) Professor Thio Li-Ann, Professor of Law at NUS
    3) Dr Toh See Kiat, Associate Professor at Nanyang Business School
    4) Dr Roland Chia, Chair of Christian Doctrine at Trinity Theological College

    The purpose of this seminar appears to provide a theological justification for faith-based discussion in the public of controversial social and political issues; identify a list of social and political issues to be targeted by Christian activists; and to compel Christians to engage in such behaviour in the public sphere as a religious obligation.

    According to its publicity materials, the purpose is so that “those in the positions of power will hear and respond favourably”. In another words, this seminar aim to exert influence to align public policy with what this group considers as Christianity-approved ideals.

    This actually contradicts the Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act White Paper which states the Government’s position that religious group must abstain from political competition. Thio Li-Ann should know this because she mentioned this point herself in a 2004 article in the Singapore Journal of Legal Studies.

    At the same time, Dr Michael Poon of the Trinity Theological College (Director of the Centre for the Study of Christianity in Asia) advocated in the August 2009 edition of the TTC magazine Trumpet that Christians need to tackle the ‘huge’ changes taking place including the ageing of the population and a moral landscape in which religion has no place in public discourse.

    Beware of the Cultural Mandate of the Christian Church. The original dominion theology of the Church speaks of submission of man’s rule to God’s rule but it appears to be distorted in the Cultural Mandate to spread Christian rule and values to all sectors of society and also dominate the culture of our shared island nation.

  • socrates

    Here is a story for rumour mongers:

    Keep this philosophy in mind the next time you hear or are about to repeat a rumor.

    In ancient Greece (469 – 399 BC), Socrates was widely lauded for his wisdom.

    One day the great philosopher came upon an acquaintance, who ran up to him excitedly and said, “Socrates, do you know what I just heard about one of your students…?”

    “Wait a moment,” Socrates replied. “Before you tell me, I’d like you to pass a little test. It’s called the Test of Three.”

    “Test of Three?”

    “That’s correct,” Socrates continued.

    “Before you talk to me about my student let’s take a moment to test what you’re going to say. The first test is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?”

    “No,” the man replied, “actually I just heard about it.”

    “All right,” said Socrates. “So you don’t really know if it’s true or not. Now let’s try the second test, the test of Goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about my student something good?”

    “No, on the contrary…”

    “So,” Socrates continued, “you want to tell me something bad about him even though you’re not certain it’s true?”

    The man shrugged, a little embarrassed.

    Socrates continued, “You may still pass though because there is a third test – the filter of Usefulness.

    Is what you want to tell me about my student going to be useful to me?”

    “No, not really…”

    “Well,” concluded Socrates, “if what you want to tell me is neither True nor Good nor even Useful, why tell it to me at all?”

    The man was defeated and ashamed and said no more.

    This is the reason Socrates was a great philosopher and held in such high esteem.

  • Donaldson Tan

    Hi Socrates,

    There is no rumour mongers on this thread.

  • Dr Syed Alwi

    Dear justkaypoh,

    You keep saying that there is no evidence for Evolution. This is patently false. Evolution is supported by tons of evidence. It is genuine empirical evidence that leads the scientific community to embrace Evolution.

    It seems to me that you are suffering from a denial syndrome !

    Like I always say – its difficult to accept Evolution because Evolution implies that life did not arise from supernatural nor divine intervention. Its equivalent to rejecting some aspects of religious dogma.

    Your denial syndrome is therefore understandable !!

    Regards
    Dr Syed Alwi

  • T

    Thought I should share what I found in another thread elsewhere (can’t remember the poster’s name):

    Religious fanatics who:

    1) vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours. (Example: Fundamentalist Christians)

    2) feel insulted and ‘dehumanized’ when scientists say that people evolved from other life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt. (Politics vs Science vs Religion)

    3) are willing to spend their life looking for little loopholes in the scientifically established age of Earth (few Billion years) but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by Bronze Age tribesmen sitting in their tents and guessing that Earth is a few generations old.

    4) While modern science, history, geology, biology and physics have failed to convince you other, some idiot rolling around the floor speaking in ‘tongues’ may be all the evidence you need to ‘prove’ their religion.

    Everyone should read Richard Dawkins’s book “The God Delusion”.

  • december

    As local unis nus ntu smu release more places amidst falling birth rates, more and more undeserving students can enter and pull down overall student quality of local unis. They next enter teaching and start preaching about their religion like a brainless pigeon. MOE has no quality control at all.

  • Arsenal ROOOX

    #119) that’s ultra-hilarious but hits the nail on the head. like just one needle can see blood.

    all kaypohster’s questions are addressed by g.i.joe & dr syed alwi above. why do humans always ask the same questions that’s already been addressed?

  • opulent

    The lowdown
    Discussion of evolution and creation has lapsed by decades. Evolution won eventually. Hence, evolution is embraced on the scientific platform while creation dominates on religious platforms.
    Suddenly in 2009, creation is back in full force with a new name called intelligent design! Creation wants evolution dispeled and the latter be replaced by ID in science textbooks.
    Who will win? Science versus religion. Not about religion and science co-existing anymore.
    If evolution loses, it’ll be excluded from textbooks. Science goes, religion stays.
    If creation loses, it’ll will not be included in textbooks. Science stays, religion stays.
    Religion can never lose. Stakes are tipped in favour of religion for this match.

  • atheishit


    atheist’s nightmare – banana


    5 Questions Every Intelligent Atheist MUST Answer
    chance
    darwin
    morality

  • Plesae lah

    We believe what we want to believe.

    If in future, science tells us that evolution is not accurate, we will probably come out with a new theory.

    If in future, God tells us that the bible is not accurate, what will you believe in?

    I do not trust a religion if it does not allow me to question its fundamental beliefs.

    Why do people tend to divide an issue into 2 camps? Can’t they find a way to transcend the issue and co-exist.

    Evolution explains how adaptations come about. Evolution does not explain how life originate. At least not yet.

    Creation explains how the universe is created and how life come about. But seriously do you think the time scale in Genesis is the same as the time scale now?

    If we accept that there is a Creator in our universe, the aim of Science is used to explain how the universe works. Religion is used to explain what the universe is, what the purpose of life is.

  • justkaypoh

    Dr Syed Alwi
    “You keep saying that there is no evidence for Evolution.”
    When did I say that?

    “Evolution is supported by tons of evidence”
    Refutation of Evolution also have tons of evidence.
    Your Logic: Tons of evidence = true , therefore Evolution is true.
    Conclude: refutation of Evolution also true?

    So are you showing biasness here?

    “It is genuine empirical evidence that leads the scientific community to embrace Evolution.”

    Do really know what is the definition of empirical?
    Empirical : Capable of being verified or disproved by observation or experiment (Merriam-Webster)

    The evidences of Evolution cannot was not experimented before, the process was never been observed before.

    “It seems to me that you are suffering from a denial syndrome !”

    Oh really? Thanks for telling me that, ‘my physiatrist told me I need to show evidence and give reasons and the exact symptoms’

    Can you give me some specifics so that I can get a better diagnosis?

    If your read your own posts carefully, they are based on one way discourse and denying reasons that refute Evolution. Maybe you should also go for a check up to see whether or not you are suffering from denial syndrome?

    “Like I always say – its difficult to accept Evolution because Evolution implies that life did not arise from supernatural nor divine intervention. Its equivalent to rejecting some aspects of religious dogma.”

    It can be partially true, some people do fall into that category. For myself, I evaluate Evolution based on authentic scientific methods and logic.

    I had said too that a lot of people if not most people are brought up in school that teaches Evolution like it’s the truth even though it had not been scientifically proven. They were not told of other alternative views, they (most Singapore students) did not learn Theory of Knowledge, perhaps that’s is why they can’t make proper reasoning.

    There are 2 types of Evolution supporters:

    1. Scientists and open minded people who understand that Evolution is not scientifically proven and acknowledge that it can be wrong.

    2. Blind believers/followers. Their words show that Evolution is almost the Truth, any refutation will be rejected and denied plainly without good reasoning. Some of these people are just religiously fanatic about Evolution. When faced with rejection, they felt threatened that the religiously dogma may not stand.

    Dr Syed, are you falling into the 2nd category?

    “Your denial syndrome is therefore understandable !!”

    Do you really understand the points that I brought? I’d not seen any specific rebutting of my points from you yet. I’ll love to hear from what you understand of me from the exacts points that I stated. (not what you perceived)

  • Dear Singapoor

    From what you said, it seems like you do not really understand science, philosophy and the idea of scientific proof.

    Please pick read up some books on philosophy of science and also epistemology. “Theory” in science is not “just a theory”. Your “just a theory” is what science calls “hypothesis”. For practical purpose, let me just say, with some simplification,that “theory” in science is like what a layman call “fact”. Hence what we all commonly accepted as fact like atomic particles, sub-atomic particles are having the technically known status of “theory” in science. So please be aware that “theory” in science has a different meaning from your ordinary use of “theory”.

    And if you are a Christian and felt threatened by the idea of evolution, then you should study some books regarding exegesis and hermeneutics. There is no conflict between creation and evolution, provided you dun subscribe to some fundamentalists’ way of understanding creation.

    After that then perhaps you can start to make sensible comments.

    Read up the works of respectable Anglican priest Dr John Polkinghorn. He was an renowned and accomplished physicist before he became join the clergy. He believes in God and evolution.

    You can explore the idea of theistic evolution.

  • loop

    U cannot ban teachers who are Christians from teaching in schools as there are already a lack of educationists. During my younger days (those born in the 70s) we do not have this problem except that I know certain schools does conduct religious classes but it’s up to the student to choose the religion they wishes to study & there is also confucian teachings.

  • summer

    For those are want to search for the truth, have an open mind and do some research. Here is a website to find out more about creation.

    http://www.answersingenesis.org/

    Someone, please supply us thruth-seekers with a good site on evolution.

  • Wondering

    How does one prove or disprove evolution or creation?

    Why are those who support creationism negatively engaging in “proselytisation”, and those who advance evolution as being “objective” or “scientific”?

    What about the freedom of speech and religion (to profess, practice and propagate) of the religious and irreligious?

  • patriot

    Reading through the Post and the Comments, I feel that I am not qualified to comment as I received little formal education and read a little of Philiosophy, Science and Religion here and there. However, I think readers could listen to what a simple layman thinks about his own being however naive it can be.

    I am always wondering about the amount of plagiarism, when students are rote learning(remembering-recalling-regurgitating), when evidence and wisdom are quoted to support and back-up ones’ argument and it seems copying is angoing process of human intelligence.
    There is a little fallacy in the claim that discovery of new species and a star is considered evolution. Whether or not the species/star is discovered, they are in existence, it due to the limit of mans’ natural faculty that the perception of the existence of being is limited. With the aid of invention through science,; telescope, microscope, spaceship, submarine, man encounters and discovers beings, both animate and otherwise, their earlier generations did not have the opportunity. Here we witness Science and Technology are improving and evolving all the time, if improving equals evolution.

    Me will not argue with anyone here or anywhere about my belief in creation, which is not god to me, as I am an atheist, I think nothingness contrast with beings(substance) show matters(abstract and otherwise, intelligent or not, animate and not) exist. And man exist as one of the matter and because man is an intelligent being, it has the power of concepts which lead us to argue and define our perceptions. Some take their gods as the only intelligent being that creates and oversee the Universe.

    Trying to define the spiritual world in religions and philosophy and trying to define the material world in science maybe the greatest ‘hobby’ of the humankind. So, we have philosophers(seeking spiritual truth) and scientists(of various kinds; physics, biology etc looking for material truth) all trying to find the Ultimate Truth. The Ultimate Truth could very well be truth of different realms; who knows.

    Evolution(as define by Science) is irrefutable as evidences exist and is replicable over and over. Scientists have conclusively proven it and I think even layman(believer and non-believer) accepts it most of the time. However, evolution of any living species is limited, otherwise all living things would have been able to live wherever they want. Mankind especially, would be able to live in air, land and water and live for thousands of years, if not infinitely , I am very sure that is what mankinds innately and consciously wish and wanted. And after millions of years or more of evolution, why is the most intelligent species not evolve successfully to achieve such an inborn wish ? Not even extending it a little over its’ natural limit. Less intelligent species of shorter life-spans than human were ‘found’(discovered- as in scientific research parlance) to be able to evolve to live on land when ‘deprived’ of their natural aquatic habitats. Or are they born that way in origins? Sometimes, we do have our doubts, don’t we ? Some will believe the doctor and some will seek spiritual healers, You have your choice.

    Creation, to me as a human, cannot be rule out because other than ourselves, countless other beings exist and all have come(came) into existences. Was(is) there a creator ? I don’t know, I take it that nature is such that we exist, but not forever, changes are ongoing(non-stop) and some of these changes are clearly ‘evolution’ in human parlance though nature may dictate that it is the normal development, just like wear and tear.

    Just live and be happy, whether or not we believe in creation or evolution, just live and enjoy in whatever You believe in. Life is too short for a conclusive answer regarding the Subject.

    patriot

  • Zefly (aka Joshua Chiang)

    I think it’s the boundaries that have to be observed. It would be improper to include creationism in a science text, just like it would be improper to introduce notes on evolution in the Book of Genesis.

    Otherwise, no one is stopping anyone from prolyterizing as long as other laws are observed.

  • tryathlete

    summer, and anyone else looking for more infomation on evolution:

    http://www.talkorigins.org

    good starting point, in my opinion.

  • Kill_netizen

    I think the discussion has lost the original direction, which is whether school teachers who are believers of creationism engage in “proselytisation” .

    some Creationists have attempted to make Creationism respectable enough for the classroom. That is dangerous. Parents of students send their children for education, not for religion brainwashing.

    It would be improper to include creationism in a science text.

    I can understand the Creationist asking for their “RIGHTS” to be heard when Theory of Evolution is taught. But could we ask the Evolutionist to ask for their “RIGHTS” too, to ask , evolution theory to be given an appendix in all the holy books (in all religions) and to be given enough air-time at pulpit, altar, in the religion place of worships ??

    Creationists are asking too much, they must be make known their space in this public space.

  • Kill_netizen

    I think the discussion has lost the original direction, we are now discussing : creationism vs evolutionism ……. this is not the original focus.

    Could we focus to discuss whether school teachers who are believers of creationism should engage in “proselytisation”, that is should these religious teacher did the right thing to cover the wolf with a sheep skin, using the disguise to evangelise to school students, who are immature and need parental guidance .

    It would cause parents of other religion distress, because these parents may want their children to learn and practice their own religion. As the discussion had shown, not all religion believes in creationism.

    I think these religious teacher has stolen the RIGHTS of the parents, trying to brainwash the student innocent mind.

  • shas

    As a primary school kid, my science teacher told us that jesus created all the living things. NONSENSE!

  • harry lee

    there is no conflict between creation and evolution. both are base on truth but seen from a different plain..a different medium.

  • Lop

    #109) creducator

    >>I would recommend the reading of HUMAN DEVOLUTION: A VEDIC ALTERNATIVE TO DARWIN’S THEORY By Michael A. Cremo (http://www.humandevolution.com/ ) or its Summary & Review at http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/ciencia/ciencia_forbiddenarcheology01.htm#Challenge%20to%20Darwinism>>

    No offense, but if I could belive that, then why couldn’t I believe Da Vinci Code as the truth too? Or that’s something the church should teach along with the Bible?

  • lol

    the church cok lah that’s why so much nonsense in the world. aiyah, long story. got time, i wrote a book you read ok? lol

  • Us

    Original focus totally lost. Creation camp really good at diverting attention. Let’s spam MOE with letters! If christian camp allowed to preach god in public school, must also allow hindu, buddhist blah teachers to preach too. Or else not fair!

  • yj

    justkaypoh:

    You use Answers in Genesis as a science resource? Oh man.
    http://www.answersingenesis.org/about/mission

    Starting off by declaring something to be absolute truth doesn’t seem to be very scientific to me.

    You also confuse evolution with speciation.

    Evolution refers to descent with modification. It just refers to the fact that groups of organisms never remain the same. The descendants, on average, will be different from their ancestors.

    And yes, evolution is science. It allows you to make testable, falsifiable predictions.

    And come on, why are we still stuck in the 18th century here? There’s been so much cool stuff that’s happened since Darwin’s time.

    For example:

    Evolution of new body structures in a lizard
    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/04/080421-lizard-evolution.html

    Fungi that can use radiation from the still-radioactive Chernobyl wreckage as an energy source
    http://www.scienceagogo.com/news/20070422222547data_trunc_sys.shtml

    And my personal favourite:
    Bacteria that can digest nylon
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nylon-eating_bacteria

    AiG has tried to discredit this evolutionary event, as usual, so here’s a rebuttal that exposes their misconceptions.
    http://www.talkorigins.org/origins/postmonth/apr04.html

    As for errr.. no new DNA generated… Dude, DNA replication takes place all the time! Though I don’t think that’s what you mean. You seem to be referring to the common creationist claim that the amount of DNA in a genome is fixed.

    Ever heard of gene duplication? Very cool stuff.

    You might wanna have a look at this paper by Brown and friends, written in ’98, that deals with how gene duplication occured in yeast, and on how the duplicated genes accumulated further mutations.
    http://mbe.oupjournals.org/cgi/reprint/15/8/931.pdf

  • nomad

    My primary teacher did it too in late 1980s. She was fiercer than Michelle’s teacher. It wass very offending in hearing jesus will throw students into hell for not beliving.

  • Southpaw

    They promote each other into positions of power to keep spreading their belief.

  • T

    /// 148) justkaypoh on August 6th, 2009 9.48 pm
    Ops, correction “as money” should be “as monkeys” ///

    I see – you are now evolving……

  • maybe lizards

    “If we did not evolve from apes, then where did we come from?” Human

    maybe lizards or maybe crochroaches or maybe the poo of apes or maybe from something that been totally erased from the long passing of time.

  • justkaypoh

    T on August 7th, 2009 9.03 am
    /// 148) justkaypoh on August 6th, 2009 9.48 pm
    ~Ops, correction “as money” should be “as monkeys” ///
    ~ I see – you are now evolving……

    Hi T , last night post was missing, must have ‘evolved’ into out space, haha

    being censored? or server prob?

  • justkaypoh

    yj

    My original post is gone, can you tell TOC to revive? Maybe they’ll listen more to Evolutionists.

    If I post a rebuttal to your post, will you reply me? If not no point

  • aygee

    I second Kill_Netizen’s point. (comment #134).
    The post is not about creationism vs evolution. Its whether science teachers should be allowed to preach in schools.

    I remember in uni, when we were about to start the module on Evolution Theory, right up front, the professor put out a disclaimer. “Everyone, some of you may have strong views against the theory of evolution, and i can understand that. Just take this as a secular study, like studying how a car engine works. Evolution theory is something you need to study because it’s a critical element in biology. If you are opposed to what i have to teach, then perhaps you need to rethink whether biology is course you’d like to continue.”

    Perhaps in primary or secondary school, kids dont have a choice yet. Should parents get involved then?

    Harry Lee comment #136.
    i dont want to get back into the Creation vs Evolution conversation, as it sways away from the original post, but i do have to disagree with you when you say both are based on “truth”.

    Creationism is based on faith – acceptance without proof. Evolution is based on evidence.

    Einstein said it best.. “Science without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind.”

  • Dr Syed Alwi

    Dear Aygee,

    Let me ask you this very straightforward question of immediate relevance :

    Now that the madrasahs have to teach science and other secular subjects, do you think that they ought to teach evolution in their biology class ? Or should they teach Islamic Creationism a la Harun Yahya ?

    Please answer that question.

    Regards
    Dr Syed Alwi

  • justkaypoh

    aygee,

    I think we are still on track of the topic, Science teacher are preaching Evolution which is also faith-based.

    Read my previous post, I’d proof that Evolution is a not proven Science.

    My Evo supporters just blindly believe and follow Evo, they don’t really understand which is Evo, Science, Creationism, Reason, as seen by the posts here.

  • Dr Syed Alwi

    Dear justkaypoh,

    I do not “just blindly believe” in Evolution. I and the larger scientific community – accept Evolution on the basis of the mountain of supporting evidence. On the basis of the verifiable predictions it makes. Thats why we accept Evolution.

    You keep denying this.

    Best Regards
    Dr Syed Alwi

  • Zefly (aka Joshua Chiang)

    IMHO, even with the evidence ‘against’ Evolution, it does not mean that creationism should automatically be promoted as an alternative science.

    I believe there is every possibility that all life on Earth came from aliens. The same aliens who built the pyramids and who made crop circles and who gave us Michael Jackson. We are all genetically bred in a lab in Oa, which is the centre of the universe, the lab powered by green light through the emotional spectrum of Willpower.

    Believe me, if you read enough, there are enough scientific evidence to back this up.

    I do believe that next to creationism and evolution this has to be taught as well.

  • tryathlete

    Zefly! You’re not supposed to tell the Muggles!

  • aygee

    justkaypoh,

    Its called “Theory of Evolution”… its not “Law of Evolution.” its still a theory, its not like Newton’s Laws of Motion. yes, its not proven, but there’s empirical evidence that supports scientific logic.

    Science is based on testing, research, evidence.

    Science teacher teaching evolution is, like what my professor said, teaching how a car engine works, or teaching about the water cycle in geography. You can take it as secular knowledge.

    Alwi – if evolution theory helps in future ulamaks in comprehending both the secular world, why not? As long as they understand that its secular knowledge. If it makes them a rounder person, having knowledge of both the secular and religious/ spiritual world, rather than only having a single point-of-view, why not?

    For example, if you want an ulamak to pass a fatwa on zakat/ interest payment, he’ll make a better judgement if he knows about current taxation systems, interest rates, secular banking systems, right?

    Recall the big hoohah in Indonesia where ulamaks wanted to pass a fatwa to make Facebook haram. Did they understand Facebook enough before they tried to push for the fatwa?

  • justkaypoh

    Dr Syed Alwi

    “I do not “just blindly believe” in Evolution. I and the larger scientific community – accept Evolution on the basis of the mountain of supporting evidence.”

    Partial agree with you, at least you read or know some of Evolution, but most posters here are just blindly believing and even worst they are proclaiming. The scientific community can be wrong, it was proven in history that they had many wrong theories. Again, if you inspect closely Evolution is not a strict science, try asking a Bio professor, he’ll confess to you that it not a strict science.

    “verifiable predictions”
    I’d not heard or read about the predictions, can you tell me more?

  • aygee

    oh and another point,

    at one point of time, everyone believed the world was flat. at one point everyone believed Earth was the centre of the universe.

    People were burnt at the stake for disagreeing.

    over time, with research and evidence, these beliefs were proven untrue.

    Now, Evolution is still a “theory”. So if there’s evidence to prove it wrong, and from the healthy discussion above, there seems so, then it remains a theory only.

  • Orchid

    This article reminds me of two unhappy learning experiences I encountered in schools donkey years ago.

    When I was in Primary four, there was this relief teacher who tried to get us to church by hook and by crook. Once, after an excursion, she, together with a male discipline teacher, instructed the bus driver to fetch us to a church near our school (the excursion ended earlier than expected) instead of back to school. We were given some refreshments and introduced to some fun activities. Then, we were pestered to make a donation. After I dropped my PRECIOUS remaining twenty cents into the donation box, I was angry to be told that the money would be used for organising future gatherings (I had thought that it would be used to help people poorer than me). The bus took us back to school before the projected excursion end-time. As I was born into a traditional Taoist family, I did not tell my parents about the incident so as not to upset them. (I think my other classmates probably did the same.)
    Our relief teacher suggested visiting the church again. A few Malay Muslim boys and I skipped that Saturday’s ECA class.
    At the end of an after school activity the following Monday, the few of us were required to stay back to be questioned. She accepted my excuse that I was not well (psychologically, my legs ached at the thought of going to the church). But to my horror, she punished the boys by drawing their lips with bright red lipsticks and making them parade around the school field with a cardboard hanging over their neck (couldn’t remember what was written on the cardboard). I knew she let me off more easily because I was one of the top students in that neighbourhood school with good conduct records (despite my below-average family background), whereas the boys lagged far behind academically.
    I couldn’t bear it (the boys could sometimes be very playful, but they would stand up for me when boys from another class tried to ‘be funny’ with me), so although I was scared, I tried to defend them. I argued with my ‘little voice’ that it was likely their parents forbade them to attend church. The teacher replied she was punishing them for ‘playing truant’, not for any other ‘reasons’.
    Fortunately, she left soon after.

    The other attempt by another school teacher to proselytise my classmates and I was during our History class in Secondary one.
    The ‘sweet-smiling’ lady teacher was transferred from an ‘Aided’ school to teach in our school (one of a most popular government school at that time). There was a short chapter that touched on the cultures and religions of a specific era, and unbelievably, she harped on it for several weeks. Worst of all, she kept singing praises of Jesus and Christianity, and condemned all other religions.
    We tamely bore with her till one day, a classmate, who suffered from very high expectations from her mother, broke it out to her, “All the other classes are way ahead of us and we are still not done with this chapter. Could you please proceed to the next chapter?”
    Dramatically, the sweet-smiling angelic face turned into a d****ish look. She shouted at my classmate for speaking rudely and told her to apologise or face the punishment of standing throughout the whole lesson. At that instance, the whole class started standing up, one by one. We told her we would only sit down TOGETHER.
    When I was walking home with a classmate that evening, she told me her fears. She said Christianity proselytising was so rampant. She was worried there might come a day when people who do not embrace the religion would be persecuted.

    I had thought her worries were unfounded as there’re more Taoists and Buddhists in our country and we’re fine with other religions. Furthermore, other moderate Christians might not agree with the aggressive ones.

    I’m not so sure now, especially when the Christians are dominating our parliament, and some are beginning to show signs of taking sides.

  • Dr Syed Alwi

    Dear Aygee,

    First allow me to address your misunderstanding of the word – “theory”.

    The word “theory” has a definite meaning in Science. Its an honour to have come up with a “theory”.

    Yes – Evolution is a theory – just like the Theory of Relativity or the Quantum Theory or the Atomic Theory.

    In Science, a “theory” must be supported by a large amount of evidence and it must make predictions.

    It is NOT the lay-man’s idea of a “theory”. Please refer to books on the Philosophy of Science to comprehend what scientists mean when they speak about a “theory”.

    Finally – there is NOT ONE shred of evidence against Evolution. Please refer to the references that I cited.

    Secondly – if we teach Evolution to madrasah students – don’t you think that they will end up confused between Religious Dogma on one hand, and Science on the other ?

    In fact – I dare say that the more conservative elements within our community will NOT accept the teaching of Evolution in madrasahs.

    The potential for conflict is great.

    Best Regards
    Dr Syed Alwi

  • Dr Syed Alwi

    Dear justkaypoh,

    If you want to know more about the verifiable predictions of Evolution, try reading the book,

    Why Evolution Is True – by Jerry A Coyne

    Regards
    Dr Syed Alwi

  • Pingback: The Singapore Daily » Blog Archive » Daily SG: 4 Aug 2009

  • justkaypoh

    Dr Syed Alwi

    Can you tell me in short the ‘verifiable’ = Evolution is observable? can be experimented or measurable?

    If not, then no point. Its not a Science then

  • Dr Syed Alwi

    Dear justkaypoh,

    Yes – the predictions of Evolution CAN BE OBSERVED. Please refer to the cited references.

    Regards
    Dr Syed Alwi

  • justkaypoh

    Dr Syed Alwi ,

    You mean Evolution or the Predictions can be observed. So what if the predictions are observed, does it proves Evolution?

  • http://blog budamax1952

    The only constant where universal phenomena is concerned is that nothing is permanent and that everything is constantly in a state of constant change, or in a state of flux; from a human mother’s egg, the size of an ant, fertilised by an almost invisible sperm cell, we have non-stop growth until we have a six-footer weighing 80kg; or from an elephant mother, from a similarly sized egg/sperm developing into 5-ton elephant; or from a seed weighing a few grams into a 100 meter tall tree. Nothing is permanent, and what we see in the qualities of universal phenomena is quite in line with what is advocated in the theory of evolution.

  • justkaypoh

    budamax1952

    “Nothing is permanent, and what we see in the qualities of universal phenomena is quite in line with what is advocated in the theory of evolution.”

    That’s a great statement to make. “Nothing is permanent” is this statement permanent?

  • Kill_netizen

    i wish creationist F*** off from our education system, As parents we sent our child to school to be taught , leave religion at home. Singapore is a multi-racial and multi-religion country. Those who like creation taught , can send their children to their own religon-place for brainwashing.,
    As parents, i have my own idea for my child believe system, i hope those creationist stop covering their wolf nature with sheep skin.

  • justkaypoh

    Kill_netizen ,

    I wish our schools can produce better refine people.

    Funny, animal don’t use *** uses, murder and hate, so its Evolution not working?

  • Kill_netizen

    Eductaion indeed wasted on creationist, Not refined.
    Murder and hatred they borught and still bringing to family discord, asking father divided against the son, and the son aainst the father; mother against the daughter, and daughter against the mother: mother-in-law against daughter-in-law, and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law

  • Kill_netizen

    With thioliban foregoing her woman hood, refusing marriage, yet claimed to cherrish family values (what wraped family values she try to promote)

    Wonder if someone is so sore that she does not have a straw in her nose ?

  • Kill_netizen

    At least taoist and buddhist family teaching their children to respect their elders, and pay last respect to deceased parents,
    yet creationists try to tear apart family ties, asking children to dishonour their parents.

  • Kill_netizen

    Warp logic of creationist ….. if children cant even honour and obey their parents, how to honour and obey their god ??

  • Kill_netizen

    At least we traditional-family parents ask our children to get married, and they obey us.
    Only Pseudo-ang mo adopting western culture gets into non-marriage, co-habit, divorve, and other deviant practise.
    What kind of western values??
    The True spirit of western civilisation is scientific thought, and quest for truth and knowledge, not blind worship …….

  • morris

    The key issue for this topic is: should teachers preach their religious beliefs in class?

    I believe for parents and would-be parents like myself, the answer is obvious.

    The scenario described by Orchid (156) is extremely disturbing and should not be allowed to happen. Disciplinary action should be taken against teachers who abuse their positions of power to proselytise.

    What I’m concerned with is not just overt acts of preaching, but also the covert and subtle ones, such as favouring students from a particular religion, or “rewarding” students by giving higher marks or granting greater leniency to those who agree to attend church etc.

    Clearly this type of situation does not only occur in the school setting, but also in some work settings, where employees or subordinates who share their superior’s religious beliefs are given more favourable appraisals and faster promotions. I have certainly seen departments in some work places which are basically dominated by people from one particular religion, and non-believers are ostracised, treated as the “outsiders” group and unfairly treated. Can we allow such things to happen in a multi-religious country like Singapore?

  • creducator

    Why is it that the post by “Eric on August 7th, 2009 1.21 pm ” which is after “165) Kill_netizen on August 7th, 2009 11.51 am ” missing here? I received that post in my email but it is not reflected here.

    Is there a censorship at TOC? Why is it censored?

  • creducator

    correction: should be “Shotgun on August 7th, 2009 1.21 pm ”

  • justkaypoh

    some posts last night also missing, can TOC help to explain? To promote transparency, which TOC advocates.

    creducator, can you repost them, will be curious to see whether is missing.

  • creducator

    The email said: There is a new comment on the post “God sneaks into our classrooms”.
    http://theonlinecitizen.com/2009/08/god-sneaks-into-our-classrooms/

    Author: Shotgun
    Comment:
    Interesting article and comments. However I do find the article more than just a little unbalanced; promoting an atheistic view point rather than coming from neutral observer’s point of view.

    Allow me to attempt what the author had not succeeded to…

    Both Creationism and Evolution are theories on creation. Yes, that is right; both are as pseudo-science as another. Both are Theories of how everything came to be, plausible accounts of what COULD have happened. Definition of theory :http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theory

    It is perhaps surprising to note that Evolutionary Theory, has remained a “Theory” today rather than a proven fact as well. It would be misleading to think otherwise when even the scientific community has debates among itself in the flawlessness of the theory. Darwin’s theories Origin of Species has been reexamined many times only to find flaw after flaw, question after question, which has begged the chief question to be answered : is interspecies evolution possible. That is something that has yet to be proven at all, since no species has been observed in the span of our human existence, to have evolved into another.

    Despite defensive arguments that “evolution takes a long time”, a theory cannot be proven until such an event occurs, which means, evolution is still a theory. Ironically, many have embraced it as “truth” as it is “scientific” despite being unproven. Which is ironically, similar to the following….

    On the other hand, Creationism claims that “creation” is what happened, and hence not a theory. A “Truth” that has been believed in and embraced despite being unproven as well. Then again, it is not a “scientific theory” is it? And thus does not require it being proved. It is a matter of belief.

    Evolution it seems, has evolved (pardon the pun) to have become like Creationism, something that has been embraced as a matter of belief rather than what it is meant to be; scientifically proven. Hence, we have what we see; a tussle of beliefs.

    So why the fuss? It is because that the 2 arguments are diametrically oppositional in their assumption. One assumes a state where there is a “God” and creator, basing their account of what happens from there. The other is a state where there was no “God” and an account of what possibly happened from there. The fuss is as clear as day now; it is a tussle between the atheistic agenda, and the monotheistic beliefs.

    Perhaps this last comment may seem rather scathing, but I do hope it does not offend too many people. I am a critical theorist. And a the topic of this article (God SNEAKS into our classrooms) speaks LOADS on the plausible agenda of the author’s. Then again, thats just a theory which i’m not inclined to prove. =)

  • justkaypoh

    Shotgun has written quite an good article, such a pity that it has gone missing. It happens to MSM also.

  • creducator

    Shotgun said,
    “the topic of this article (God SNEAKS into our classrooms) speaks LOADS on the plausible agenda of the author’s”

    I tend to agree with this statement and I guess the author, Lim Say Liang, won’t be happy with this statement.

    I also question if the incidence cited by Lim is true. Where is the report? Which school? Did Lim or any parent report the case to MOE? What did MOE say? What is Lim trying to prove in writing a fictitious case (till it is verified).

  • yj

    Well,

    what was missing were shocking displays of ignorance. Anyway, let me give you a ray of hope. It is possible for evolution to be disproved (or at least strike a large blow to our current understanding of evolution).

    All you need is to find a rabbit fossil in the Precambrian. Good luck.

    justkaypoh, if you’re really interested in debating, I suggest you go over to PZ Meyer’s blog. Both you and the commenters there will have a really fun time.

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/

    Go ahead and play with the big kids.

    _____________________________________________________________

    I agree with the posters who say that this thread has veered off topic. The issue here is whether teachers should be allowed to preach in classrooms.

    My stand is no. The classroom should be a space where anyone feels comfortable regardless of religion, race, gender, social class or sexual orientation. The prejudices of a teacher should never be allowed to affect a student’s learning.

  • morris

    There are some religious zealots who proclaim themselves to be the most “pro-family” of us all. They tout “family values” for discriminating against those who differ from themselves and for all the “moral” rules they want the rest of society to live by according to their own holy books.

    Although they claim to be “pro-family”, they will not hesitate to harass our youngsters and school children to attend their religious meetings and will even resort to instigating our children to disobey or even turn against their “non-believer” parents or grandparents should these elders disagree to their children’s conversion to the new religion.

    Some husbands or wives were also instigated to convert their spouses or to insist on their own conversion against the “non-believer” partner’s wishes. Some marriages have broken down and families torn apart as a result.

    Some children insist on giving their “non-believer” parents a type of religious funeral against the parent’s wishes. There are also some children who insist on throwing out their parent’s prayer altars because those objects are deemed “satanic”. Some children go to the extent of pressurising their elderly parents to convert to the new religion, in the name of trying to “save” their elderly parents’ souls before they die.

    These are real-life stories which we hear about every now and then happening in our midst. Disturbing as they are, nothing can be worse then the victimization of children by religious predators.

    I think parents, the MOE, the school authorities and the religious leaders of the major faiths themselves have to send a clear message to those religious predators lurking outside the school gates or within the classrooms that intimidating our children – whether overtly or convertly – into accepting the perpetuator’s religious beliefs and openly ridiculing the religious beliefs of others will not be tolerated in the classroom.

    Children should be taught to report such incidences immediately to their parents for further action against those culprits.

  • yj

    hey my post didn’t appear too. =X

    Anyway, justkaypoh and all the others who think evolution is a lie, I’ve got good news for you! You can disprove the theory of evolution! (Or at least strike a big blow to our understanding of it.)

    You just need to find rabbit fossils in the pre-Cambrian. Happy searching!

    Anyway, enough playing here. Go play with the big boys over at Pharyngula (http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/)

    I agree with the posters who said that this thread’s been hijacked.

    ___________________________________________________________

    The issue here is whether teachers should be allowed to preach their religion in class. I say no.

    The classroom/ school must remain a secular space, where no student, regardless of religion, race, class, gender, sexual identity is made to feel uncomfortable because of whatever grouping s/he belongs to.

    Preaching by teachers in essence says my religion pwns yours. Not very nice for students of other religions.

  • morris

    I think those who are trying to make evolution out to be one big “lie” is missing the point.

    Even if, and I say even if, evolution is one big mistake – extremely unlikely if you know some basic biology – creationism is still far from being a plausible replacement, and it still doesn’t give teachers the right to preach their religion in class.

    Even though the theories of science aren’t perfect yet, they have nonetheless served us well, from the planes that fly to the computers that the creationists are using to dis-credit science itself.

  • morris

    Both Creationism and Evolution are theories on creation.

    —————————————————————————

    Creationism may be a “theory” on creation. Evolution is not. Creation is a biblical term, not a scientific one.

    Richard Dawkins books are very well-written and I will recommend the “God delusion” and the “Blind-watchmaker” for your reading pleasure. Hopefully by reading around the subject, you gain enough understanding to embark on a serious analysis of evolutionary concepts. Evolution as a scientific theory may need some fine-tuning as new data emerge, but to rise to the level of a landmark theory in biology, it cannot be 100% false. The same however cannot be said of myths, stories and fairy tales.

  • hachoo

    fairy tales should not be included in science textbooks. period.

    michelle’s ‘cher should be sacked. so disrespectful to other religions and races. no apologies?

  • hachoo

    no, michelle’s ‘cher should be brutally raped to see if there is any divine intervention. i never forgot the slap for saying there are many gods instead of one in class.

  • mirax

    Lots of my posts have disappeared.

    First hachoo, that rape remark is totally uncalled for and nasty.

    Second, many people – even christians – do not realise the loopiness of the fundamentalist christian agenda. They are not aware- as I was not until recently – that the creationists have been teaching the Loch ness monster as real, as a surviving dinosaur that dispoves scientists’ views on evolution. This has been part of the ACE curriculum (originating Texas, circa 1970s) that is taught worldwide in private christian schools and as part of the homeschool prog.

    Those in the UK- parents, teachers, policy makers- were not aware either that 50 private schools used such curriculum and worse, that these were given some sort of official recognition through recognition of the christian ICCE certificate. They woke up to headlines in the Times Educational Supplement and the Guardian just over a week ago.

    Here’s the link:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2009/jul/31/creationist-exams-comparable-to-a-levels

    So the compre passage on sea monsters that your child brings home needs more scrutiny by you, parents. Tthere are loons on the young earth creation side who believe in a literal Noah’s Ark and believe that dinosaurs coexisted with humans and were saved in said ark. Some of these loons may be teaching your child.

  • based on “truth”

    “but i do have to disagree with you when you say both are based on “truth”.”

    we are always colored by our own experience (whether in the domain of science or religion or in all other areas). both (science and religion) are based on “truth”, albeit in their own ‘tested rational’ or ‘not-tested and not-provable convoluted’ way. it is a matter of degree how this ‘truth’ from either side of the science-religion spectrum that it benefits mankind (or going to destroy mankind).

    history is full of lessons for one to think deep about the pro and cons of both science and religion and there are plentiful on both sides.

  • Lop

    #187 based on “truth”

    “we are always colored by our own experience (whether in the domain of science or religion or in all other areas).”

    The fact is Science has long recognised this, from the point of data collection (e.g. parallax error) to interpretation of data (e.g. double-blind trials). The first step towards reducing bias and increase objectivity is to RECOGNISE that there is inherently a bias in human beings.

    I’m not sure if Religions even have the concept of bias to begin with.

  • marketplace thiologist

    I am quite tempted to ask this question: If Creationism is scientifically valid, does it point to one or many Creators. Haha.

  • White dwarf

    This is how loony Creationists can get:

    “Jonny Scaramanga, who was a pupil at a school in Bath that used the textbooks, has complained to Naric that the books tell pupils that the Loch Ness monster “appears to be a plesiosaur” and helps to disprove evolution.

    The textbooks also state that apartheid helped South Africa because segregated schools “made it possible for each group to maintain and pass on their culture and heritage to their children”.

    Creationist exams comparable to international A-levels, says Naric

    The Guardian.

  • Kill_netizen

    I seriously think we are off-track to debate evolution vs creationism. There are not short of forums for this (eg HardwareZone, expat singapore and many others)

    Shall we focus on whether religion should be taught in school, whether openly or covetly.
    Perhaps, as morris has pointed out, we can also discuss should religion-promotors stop harrassing minors (under 21) in the name of sharing their faith. Parents should be informed and consent must be given??

  • Donaldson Tan

    Hi Everyone,

    A number of comments posted in the last few days have been lost due to TOC migrating its internet server. Please remain cool-headed in this debate.

  • based on “truth”

    “188) Lop on August 8th, 2009 11.05 am
    The fact is Science has long recognised this, from the point of data collection (e.g. parallax error) to interpretation of data (e.g. double-blind trials). The first step towards reducing bias and increase objectivity is to RECOGNISE that there is inherently a bias in human beings.”

    I must agree with you. Science has devised the necessary mechanism (the search for better one is always in progress) to (using your words) reduce bias and increase objectivity.

    I am more concerned about the unrepairable negative consequences that certain so-called “scientific advances” have caused – like pollution, serious climatic changes, weapons of destruction, dangerous industrial chemical produced in large quantity which may be too close for comfort.

    The tenet of religion is unyeildingly consistent, too consistent but still subject to varying interpretations among various sub-groups (denominations) among its adherents.

  • yj

    hachoo:

    I am extremely disgusted that you got slapped for saying that there’re many gods in class, but advocating such brutality will not help anyone in such situations.

    It will only reinforce the perception that it is those who are most fanatical/ most willing to resort to violence win. To counter ignorance and the attempts to foist ignorance on others, we need to encourage the free flow of information, as well as strong civil society institutions. Violence is not a good way of achieving this.

    _____________________________________________________________

    #187 based on truth:

    Science has another mechanism to deal with bias – that of peer review. Fellow experts, who are your competitors, try to poke holes in your research methods and your conclusions. This greatly reduces the chances of biased research being published.

    And as Lop was saying: This is one of the key differences between science and religion. Science tries its very darned best to reduce bias!

    And this is why the teaching of religiously inspired myths in science class is wrong. You are not only intruding upon the common space, but you are also teaching students that it is ok to foist your biases on others, that it is ok to reject the work of others based on your personal biases. Which is not how science works.

  • based on “truth”

    194) yj on August 8th, 2009 12.08 pm
    “Science has another mechanism to deal with bias – that of peer review. Fellow experts, who are your competitors, try to poke holes in your research methods and your conclusions. This greatly reduces the chances of biased research being published.

    And as Lop was saying: This is one of the key differences between science and religion. Science tries its very darned best to reduce bias!”

    I agree. I am more for scientific methodology.

    The contest to convince the other side will always be there and fortunately in our country the need to prove that “we are right and the other side wrong” has not gone extreme.

    However & unfortunately, not a lot of people would appreciate (or spend enough time to appreciate) the long history of science and hence the robust necessary tools / methods developed along with it.

    On the other hand, adherents of religions have the opportunity of regular sessions to constantly reinforce their “religion discipline” & understanding – hence creating more “rootedness”.

  • patriot

    Hi, is it right to say evolution comprises of two dimensions, one is natural evolution and the other artificial, aided by human using scientific developments such as cloning, genetic modification etc ? Can human interventions in evolution be considered as part of evolution ?

    patriot

  • Anonymous

    Doctors are still the best people around when God cannot help us.

  • yj

    patriot:

    Evolution is just descent with modification. That’s just the cheem term for saying that organisms are different from their ancestors.

    Short answer:
    Human interventions can result in organisms being different from ancestors.

    This has been taking place since the dawn of history. That’s why we have crops and domesticated animals. If you’re interested, go google Siberian silver foxes.

    I’m not giving a long answer here – I think it’d be too nerdy for this thread. If you’re interested, you can have a look at these 2 websites:

    Short notes on evolution by NCSE
    http://ncseweb.org/evolution/science/evolution-primers

    Understanding Evolution
    http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/evo_01

  • Kill_netizen

    Unfortunately, Sg MOE does not have any specific directives about teaching of evolution, and prohibition of teaching of creationism (not to my knowledge). Perhaps concerned parents could join to ask MOE to take a look at the issue, it is coming to our shore.

    Legal challenges to anti-evolutionist policies began with the Scopes Trial of 1925, a case the evolutionists actually lost. Since 1968, however, U.S. courts have consistently held that “creationism” is a particular religious viewpoint and that teaching it in public schools would violate the First Amendment of the Constitution.

    For a one page summary of important court cases, see Ten Major Court Cases about Creationism and Evolution.
    http://ncseweb.org/taking-action/ten-major-court-cases-evolution-creationism

  • patriot

    Thank You very much yj for the introduction to the Two Threads.

    Will read them up for better understanding of the Subject.

    Yours Sincerely: patriot

  • Kill_netizen

    What happen to the creationist and organised religion??? Just KayPoh?? All went into hidding?

  • justkaypoh

    #181 yj
    I never said Evolution is a lie. Please read the previous posts carefully. I’d said a ‘thousand’ time that Evolution is NOT a proven science. Do you believe you can ask the most hardcore Evolution scientist they’ll have to admit.
    Please guys, go and find out the definition of science and Evolution.
    Evolution is a faith that should not be preached in class too. I read the blog, sorry I don’t quite get what they want to convey. But you can post them this question on whether Evolution is proven science or not.

  • justkaypoh

    #153 aygee

    “Its called “Theory of Evolution”… its not “Law of Evolution.” its still a theory, its not like Newton’s Laws of Motion. yes, its not proven, but there’s empirical evidence that supports scientific logic.
    Science is based on testing, research, evidence.”
    Can you tell me which part of Evolution is empirical? What was tested? If it’s true, then will be an earth shaking discovery. Aygee maybe you can written a scientific journal and get a nobel prize for that.

  • Arix

    morris (#183),

    Richard Dawkins’ books on BIOLOGY are well-written. His books on RELIGION (e.g. The God Delusion) are full of problems; his philosophical basics, without even examining his theological foundations, are way off the mark. TGD is the perfect example of a book that uses a Strawman Argument from beginning to end. His justification that “most people” use the version of Religion he attacks is merely a cop-out from having to demolish the strongest version of each argument for the existence of God. The “Arguments for the Existence of God” that he rebuts look as if they are all poached from philosophy textbooks, instead of giving proper academic assessment of the original texts, which is the duty of every legitimate philosopher.

  • marketplace-thiologist

    hi arix,

    you have to be corrected. religion invalidates philosophy.

  • justkaypoh

    #189 marketplace thiologist
    Creationism is not based on science at all.

  • Arix

    Jer Bear (#8),

    Do you realize that the argument “The other Side of Science is science itself” is a circular argument?

    The fact remains that the teacher in question was an English teacher, not a Science teacher, and as far as the purposes of Language Education are concerned, educating students on social realities is just as important as educating them on scientific truths.

    Scientist (#9),

    It is valid to include such details as part of General Knowledge taught to students. And the “Artistic License” comment is over the illustrations, not the written content. Once again, the scientific profession(s) doesn’t operate within a vacuum.

  • Arix

    MT (#205),

    Really? Theology is a subset of Philosophy. In fact, religious thinkers (e.g. Thomas Aquinas) feature as prominent philosophers in history.

  • marketplace-thiologist

    Hi Justkaypoh,

    Every bit of Evolution is science. Every bit of Creationism isn’t. Evolution does not prescribe or reject a Creator (or Multiple Creators). Yes, it has a mixture of consistencies and inconsistencies, but that is what science is.

    Every generation of scientists seek to either refine the theory or replace it with a better theory. For example, while Quantum Mechanics (QM) and General Relativity (GR) replaced Newtonian Mechanics, it has been shown many times that both QM and GR can be reduced to Newtonian Mechanics under certain assumptions.

    Please stop rejecting evolution as science. We all know this is a futile exercise.

  • marketplace-thiologist

    Hi Arix,

    You said, “Theology is a subset of Philosophy. In fact, religious thinkers (e.g. Thomas Aquinas) feature as prominent philosophers in history.”

    Woah. Thanks for informing us that religious activists are not only out to hijack science but also philosophy. Religious activists really know no boundaries.

  • Arix

    To add on: There is a branch of philosophy called “Philosophy of Religion”.

  • justkaypoh

    #198 yj

    The websites you posted still does not tell us that Evolution is proven, experimented and observed.

  • Arix

    MT (#210),

    Ermm …. Aquinas died 600 years ago? LOL. Religious thinkers have not “hijacked” philosophy; they have always been part of philosophy.

    I can only surmise that you are being blinded by Atheistic fervour that tends to erupt nowadays…

  • marketplace-thiologist

    Hi Arix #211,

    Thanks for informing us about the success of religious activists in hijacking philosophy. Now what people like me to do is to isolate religious thinkers from the philosophers’ circles. We have to save philosophy from the poison of religion.

  • Arix

    yj (#194),

    Peer-review only applies to the natural sciences; it does not apply to social sciences or to history.

  • Arix

    MT (#214),

    Seriously, you need more mental clarity…

  • justkaypoh

    “Every bit of Evolution is science.”
    Can you win a nobel prize for proving Evolution to be a proven science. You can say whatever you want just by typing, but you need to show prove.
    I’ve already proven to all that Evolution does not even satisfy the very 3 BASIC principle of Science.

    “ Every bit of Creationism isn’t.”
    I had already to you that.

    “Every generation of scientists seek to either refine the theory or replace it with a better theory. For example, while Quantum Mechanics (QM) and General Relativity (GR) replaced Newtonian Mechanics”

    To put Evolution theory side by side with QM and GR is an ‘insult’ to these highly experimented theories. These are experimented observed and proven with maths. Evolution does not fit into a single fact.

  • marketplace-thiologist

    Hi Arix #216,

    Seriously, you have to convert Atheism.

  • White dwarf

    “Evolution is not science. Evolution is not science. Evolution is not science. Evolution is not science. Evolution is not science. Evolution is not science.” <— justkaypoh.

    LOLOLOL!!

    If a lie is repeated often enough, the liar will start to even believe his own lie. LOLOLOL!!

  • justkaypoh

    marketplace-thiologist

    I hope to see you answer all my points in my reply to you. If you are serious in debating.

    I often find posters just keep quiet when they can’t reply or got rebutted logically.

  • justkaypoh

    219# White dwarf

    I really hate to repeat this, but posters keep commenting that, so I reply.

    So can you prove the Evolution is Science? Prove leh.

  • White dwarf

    Why would I waste my time with you? You’ve already made up your mind. ;))

    LOLOLOL!!

    “Evolution is not science. Evolution is not science. Evolution is not science. Evolution is not science. Evolution is not science. Evolution is not science.” <— justkaypoh.

  • marketplace-thiologist

    hi justkaypoh,

    Dr Syed Alwi has made many good points I don’t intend to repeat. I also don’t intend to be serious with someone who posts rubbish as if his postings deserve any legitimacy.

  • justkaypoh

    White dwarf

    I can understand that the feelings that the faith in Evolution which many had believed for many years is being rebutted is not good.

    But we have to accept a fact as a fact

  • justkaypoh

    223# marketplace-thiologist

    “someone who posts rubbish”

    Again the keyboard is yours, you can type anything you want. Just type ‘rubbish’ when you can answer, hmmm. That’s quite a smart way out. ’36 tactics, used the best tactic”

  • justkaypoh

    typo , Just type ‘rubbish’ when you can’t answer,

  • creducator

    210) marketplace-thiologist,
    “Woah. Thanks for informing us that religious activists are not only out to hijack science but also philosophy. Religious activists really know no boundaries.”

    I have to agree with (211) Arix that “There is a branch of philosophy called “Philosophy of Religion”.

    What is Philosophy?

    You can just go and google for the answer. According to http://www.dartmouth.edu/~phil/whatis/wsa.html , “Philosophy’s goal is nothing less than a systematic world view. Other fields study particular kinds of things. Philosophy asks how it all fits together…. This goal also means that you can study anything under the name of philosophy. Philosophy encompasses subfields called philosophy of religion, of law, of economics, of biology, of physics, of mathematics, of computers, of psychology, of art, of music, of literature, and so on. Any and all of these topics can be studied in a philosophical way when one asks how they are related to each other in an overall world view.”

    You can also watch the youtube version at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5IG1IAzSC0U

    This debate will have no end and we are just arguing about fictitious case if the author, Lim, does not want to tell us if the cited incidence is true. Where is the report? Which school? Did Lim or any parent report the case to MOE? What did MOE say? What is Lim trying to prove in writing a fictitious case (till it is verified).

    Ok, I shall stop debating over this thread.

  • White dwarf

    Accept a fact? The only fact so far from you is your repeating “Evolution is not science. Evolution is not science. Evolution is not science. Evolution is not science. Evolution is not science. Evolution is not science. ”

    LOLOLOL!! What fact?

    You have not disprove evolution is science. Prove leh.

    All you’ve done so far is to parrot like a parrot. LOLOL!!

  • White dwarf

    My comment above (#228) is for justkaypoh.

  • yj

    justkaypoh:

    You’ve ‘proven’ that evolution is not a science? No. All you’ve done is make an assertion that evolution is not science. And anyway, science deals with evidence, and varying levels of uncertainty. It’s math that deals with proofs.

    Anyway, the last 2 links were for info. For others who asked nicely.
    _______________________________________________________________

    All we have from you are assertions after assertions. All rhetoric and no substance.

    Show us that you have some knowledge. Tell us what science is. Show us that you understand what the term ‘theory’ means in science.

    Explain your understanding of evolution. What is the difference between evolution and speciation? Since you seem to confuse the 2.

    Most of all, tell us what the principles of creationism are and how this can allow us to form testable and falsifiable hypotheses.

    Play fair if you dare. We’ve tried to educate u on the principles of science and evolution, and we’ve given you an example of how predictions made by evolution can be falsified. (Rabbits in the pre-Cambrian). Now it’s your turn.
    __________________________________________________________

    Of course, you can choose to repeat your assertions once more and behave like a little kid at the playground. Show us that you have zlich understanding of science, and that you’re just here to confuse the main issue in the article. Go ahead.

    Just stick your fingers into your ears and scream “lalalalla… I can’t hear you”

  • zztop

    Creationism is pure poppycock and has no place in a science classroom. Unless of course we are also going to teach levitation alongside physics and alchemy with chemistry. Evolution is demonstrable theory, Creationism is not. There are no “2 sides” to the debate. There is no serious debate because there is no serious science behind Creationism. A debate does not exist simply because some religious fanatics insist there be one.

    Unfortunately some of the posters here are wrong. In the USA, there are some school districts which teach Creationism under the less obvious moniker of “Intelligent design” or use disingenuous language to confuse students about evolution ( such as never using the word evolution). These tend to be same school districts with very low test scores, low literacy, low percentage of college graduates etc etc etc. You get the idea. These would be the people other Americans call the ” flat earthers”. That’s right. They still believe the Earth is flat.

    S’poreans cannot possibly want these same outcomes. Teachers caught evangelising to their students should be fired immediately. They obviously have a conflict of interest or do not understand their jobs. In the US, It’s not unheard of for proponents of this pseudo-science to deliberately seek jobs as science teachers in order to spread their lunacy. So be on the look out for AWARE take over type attempts at the MOE.

  • Lop

    I’d like to explain it to those who insist that Evolution is a ‘theory’ and therefore not proven.

    Scientific theories usually began with an hypothesis or what you might call an intelligent guess. However, scientists will find more facts and evidences to support their hypothesis. With enough facts and evidences, the hypothesis will become a ‘theory’. Do however take note that, a hypothesis cannot become a theory when there are enough facts and evidences to indicate contrary to what the hypothesis suggests.

    Let me use jigsaw puzzle as an analogy for the Evolution theory. Each piece of puzzle represents facts and evidence from various science disciplines from geology to genetics. A hypothesis is like when you only have a few pieces of the whole jigsaw puzzle. In these few pieces that you have you see a trunk, so you make an intellgent guess that it is an elephant. But you can’t conclude that it’s an elephant, it might well be an alien creature that happens to have a elephant-like trunk. As you gather more pieces of the jigsaw puzzle, slowly the tusks, the ears, eyes, the body and the legs are revealed. They all belong to an elephant, but the tail is missing. Even though the puzzle is not complete, you can still safely say that it is an elephant – this is when the hypothesis becomes a ‘theory’.

    For most of us, we are quite happy to accept that it is an elephant – Evolution is true – even though the puzzle is not complete. For others, they insist that they must see the tail before they accept that it is indeed an elephant. Some might even want to argue that the missing piece might show a dragon tail instead an elephant tail, thus proving that it is not an elephant. We can all decide how rational or irrational we want to be.

  • Zefly (aka Joshua Chiang)

    Lop,

    It’s more than just a choice between irrationality and rationality. The argument really isn’t about how complete should the elephant before people admit it’s an elephant.

    The elephant represents something that is completely at odds with their worldview, a worldview that they have spent their entire life invested in.

    Even acknowledging the possibility that the elephant could be true is tatamount to saying that everything they believed in was wrong. They don’t want to know that they had been eating the blue pill all their lives, so the red pill must be destroyed.

    The crux of this whole debate really is that some people mistakenly see Evolution as a threat that takes people away from the belief in God. If Genesis is not ‘true’ in the factual sense, it opens the hoy scriptures up to all sorts of questioning thereby challenging its authority as the last word on human conduct. (which also explains all that huge waste of money and time to ‘prove’ Noah’s flood, the parting of the Red Sea etc – money which could be better spent to alleviate suffering)

    So you see, it’s not about rationality. In fact, denying evolution is the RATIONAL decision to make for some people who are obsessed with keeping their status and authority as God’s appointed people.

    Which is a shame because most of us are satisfied with simply having a relationship with a God who does not insist you believe in the literal version of Creation.

  • justkaypoh

    230# yj
    “You’ve ‘proven’ that evolution is not a science? No. All you’ve done is make an assertion that evolution is not science. “
    Yes, I’d posted quite a few times to show that Evolution Theory did not fulfill the very basic requirements of Science till a stage that someone say that I keep repeating and parroting.

    “And anyway, science deals with evidence, and varying levels of uncertainty. It’s math that deals with proofs.”
    Oh, that’s something new that I learn, maybe all the Science professors should also learn. Science definitely deals with proof. It is true that it’s very difficult to make a scientific proof.

    “Show us that you have some knowledge. Tell us what science is. Show us that you understand what the term ‘theory’ means in science.”
    You can press “ctrl F” find search ‘justkaypoh’, you guys should be able to find the answer. If I type again I’m afraid someone will accuse me of repeating.
    I do know the basic of definition of Science, Evolution and Creationism which is enough to know whether a claim fulfills the criteria.

    Many posters here made BIG claims on the 3 subjects to an extent that they will be earth shaking discovery if it’s true. What they don’t know is the even the most hardcore Evolutionist dare not make such claims. If not from the posts, we can tell that they really don’t know the definitions of the 3 subjects. Can you all please find out from my previous post and also find from Wikipedia or Google?
    My advice to you guys, please understand and read up more before you make ‘proclamations’ if not you’ll only tarnish the name of Evolution.

    For the many out there who conclude and made Truth style of claims without a fundamental understanding, doesn’t this show blind faith? Agree? ( I know it’s very difficult to agree even its true, if you touch your heart, you know what I mean)

    “Play fair if you dare. We’ve tried to educate u on the principles of science and evolution”
    IMO, I’d try to be fair, I’d even agree with my contender where it deems so. If you did not think I was fair, please give me an exact quotation of my comments.
    I don’t mean to be rude, I’ll choose not to be educated by you all on the wrong principles of Science and Evolution. Why don’t we all refer to reliable texts and sources instead? (on the definition part)

    “and we’ve given you an example of how predictions made by evolution can be falsified. (Rabbits in the pre-Cambrian). Now it’s your turn.”
    Sorry, I don’t get what you mean, I don’t have knowledge in this particular subject. Did you mean the predictions are wrong?
    In order to disprove something, you need to have a proposition. Can you give us a very clear points on why Evolution is a proven Science, then I can disprove. If no proposition, what should I disprove?

    I don’t think I’m here to confuse the main issue. One of the main issue is NOT to preach faith in Science class right? Ya, I’d shown that Evolution is faith based, at least to those who don’t know and keep believing.

  • Artemov

    This seems to be a common trickery of fundies of the xtian sort, pushing their literal worldview as an equal or valid alternative, a kind of “wedge” tactic (refer to the IDiots).

    They did this with the gays when they argued that it’s their freedom of religion, speech and expression to discriminate and spew hate speech against them, as justifiable as the gays’ fight against discrimination. Of course when the “wedge” succeeds, they will then argue that their views are the more correct one.

    I wonder what’s next? Abortion? Working on the Sabbath?

    But anyway, the Science classroom should be reserve for valid scientific treatise, not pseudoscience nor pure hogwash.

  • justkaypoh

    #232 Lop

    I’ll like to commend that your post has some logic behind. It’s is more in line with in a platform for intellectual debate.

    “Scientific theories usually began with an hypothesis or what you might call an intelligent guess. However, scientists will find more facts and evidences to support their hypothesis. With enough facts and evidences, the hypothesis will become a ‘theory’. Do however take note that, a hypothesis cannot become a theory when there are enough facts and evidences to indicate contrary to what the hypothesis suggests.

    “With enough facts and evidences, the hypothesis will become a ‘theory’”
    I don’t know where you got this definition of theory, but it don’t seems quite right.

    From Wikipedia:
    A theory, in the scientific sense of the word, is an analytic structure designed to explain a set of empirical observations. A scientific theory does two things:
    1. it identifies this set of distinct observations as a class of phenomena, and
    2. makes assertions about the underlying reality that brings about or affects this class.

    “Let me use jigsaw puzzle as an analogy for the Evolution theory. Each piece of puzzle represents facts and evidence from various science disciplines from geology to genetics. A hypothesis is like when you only have a few pieces of the whole jigsaw puzzle. In these few pieces that you have you see a trunk, so you make an intellgent guess that it is an elephant. …..”

    “Even though the puzzle is not complete, you can still safely say that it is an elephant – this is when the hypothesis becomes a ‘theory’.”
    I will say this is quite a good analogy. The problem the people who ‘plays’ the jigsaw puzzle don’t know how big is the puzzle. They may think that is the puzzle is 1000 pieces, and ‘safely’ think that it should be the elephant when the completed say 800 of the pieces. Well, the puzzle could be a billion pieces. So the 800 pieces of information will be close to negligible.

    The human chromosome has 3 000 000 000 (3 billion) nucleotides. If you do a permutations on this number, that works out to be billions of billions of combinations. Can you see that the chances of Evolution are very slim?

    “For most of us, we are quite happy to accept that it is an elephant – Evolution is true – even though the puzzle is not complete.”
    Based on exactly what that makes you accept? Faith? Over confidence? Definitely not a theory, if you read why is the definition of a theory.

  • justkaypoh

    #233 Zefly
    “The elephant represents something that is completely at odds with their worldview, a worldview that they have spent their entire life invested in.”
    It’s does applies to believers of Evolution, when they thought the it was the ‘elephant’ but may not be the truth. Most people are taught that or mislead that Evolution is proven or near truth. But the facts shows that is a very weak ‘theory’

    “The crux of this whole debate really is that some people mistakenly see Evolution as a threat that takes people away from the belief in God.”
    No doubt, there will be some people who views it as a threat. But actually they should not, if they understand that Creationism itself is not Science-based. On the other hand, many supporters find it threatened, when they knew that Evolution is not fit to be a scientific theory in a strict sense.

    “(which also explains all that huge waste of money and time to ‘prove’ Noah’s flood, the parting of the Red Sea etc – money which could be better spent to alleviate suffering)”
    Many Christians organizations had put into billions of dollars and countless hours to ‘alleviate suffering’. E.g. World Visions etc.

    Not sure had the Evolutionists had done any charity that is on par?
    Do you also meant the Evolutionists wasted money also on their research?

  • justkaypoh

    White dwarf

    “You have not disprove evolution is science. Prove leh.”

    Please read my previous post. If I say it again, you’ll accuse me of repeating.

  • inferno

    justkaypoh:

    I think the best way forward here is for you to elaborate on what precisely you understand by the term ‘evolution’, before we proceed further. There is no point arguing about who knows what until this is cleared up. On my part, I have taken the effort to read up in detail in books and such, on the support for evolution. Even though I am sure evolution is right, I do not take it for granted that it is “The Truth”, and still check out the facts as they appear to make sure that my “faith” is well-grounded. From what I’ve read on this thread, I am quite sure that many of my fellow posters here have done their groundwork before hand, and thus are not being dogmatic in any way when they say they believe evolution is true.

    I have been following numerous Evolution-Creationism discussions on the internet, and from what I’ve seen, until you have achieved a satisfactory level of understanding of what EXACTLY the theory of evolution is about, this thread will go round and round to no end.

    Examples of things people say that show their ignorance when it comes to evolution:

    “Evolution isn’t a fact. It is *just* a theory.”
    “Since we can’t see evolution taking place before us, we can’t prove that it’s true.”
    “The fossil record is incomplete.”

    On the other hand, there is no further elaboration required as to what Creationism entails, so I shan’t waste any time on that part.

    Finally, it appears that my earlier posts that provided substantial examples of evidence for evolution were lost by TOC, I shall attempt to re-post them soon.

  • inferno

    Dear TOC editor(s):

    177) inferno on Your comment is awaiting moderation. August 7th, 2009 5.57 pm

    Kindly moderate my comment posthaste, as I believe it’s content is highly pertinent to the topic at hand.

    Thanks!

  • justkaypoh

    #240) inferno on
    “I think the best way forward here is for you to elaborate on what precisely you understand by the term ‘evolution’, before we proceed further. There is no point arguing about who knows what until this is cleared up.”
    That’s a very good and constructive suggestion. Why don’t we each come up with a concise definition of :

    1. Science and Scientific Theory
    2. Evolution

    I promise you that I’ll do that. Do you agree to come out with a definition too? Only, then we can ‘talk’ on the same ‘platform’ (premise). Preferably this should be in point form, clear and concise.
    I think I’d save a record of your comments, let me try to find it and re-post them.

  • inferno

    1. Science and Scientific Theory

    Science is based on empirical observations and experimentation. Scientists observe things that happen around us in the natural world, and draw up theories to explain them based on these observations, for example, Newton’s thoughts on gravity after that apple fell on his head. In some situations, one cannot expect to have observed everything, and thus contextual evidence is used to support one’s theory as to how things came about / happened.

    Examples of this are the Big Bang Theory; since we can never go back to “replay” what happened at the beginning of the universe, physicists “look to the stars” for clues as to what may have happened. Science can also make predictions, based on what we can see (even if we cannot actually observe the process at hand), such as how astrophysicists concluded that the universe is expanding based on the red-shifting light from stars in other galaxies.

    Science does not claim to know everything, on the contrary, it is precisely the mystery of the unknown that drives much of science today. However at some points, we have to draw a line. That is when science declares something as a ‘fact’. Just because something is a fact does not mean that it is 100% true. For example, the theory of gravitation states that an object will accelerate to the ground if you drop it on Earth. But there is always that nagging, almost-negligible possibility that one day something anomalous will happen and an object will, say, float away instead of dropping downwards.

    Theories such as gravitation are merely the best explanation based on our current best understanding of the subject, that enable us to make predictions about the unknown. For example, astronomers predicted the existence of the planet Neptune BEFORE anyone actually saw it, based on the orbits of the other planets and gravitational theory. This is a powerful example of the predictive power of science, upon which theories rise or fall.

    Just because evolutionary biologists call Evolution a ‘theory’ does not mean they are claiming it is a universal truth, BUT neither does it mean that they lack the confidence to call it anything else. The word ‘theory’ has neither of these connotations, it implies that we are 99.999999 (recurring)% sure of it’s veracity, but the scientific method ALWAYS accommodates that teeny chance of it being wrong.

    Theories are always subject to debate and refinement, and this is also why they must be falsifiable. Falsifiability means that there must be some POSSIBLE observations that COULD prove the theory wrong. For example, an observation that would clearly disprove gravitational theory would be an apple that fails to drop to the ground when released from one’s hand. Similarly, this is why several posters have mentioned “fossil rabbits in the Pre-Cambrian”, which is a classic example of an observation / piece of evidence that would disprove modern evolutionary theory, i.e. anachronistic fossil records.

    More on Evolution itself in my next post.

  • Lop

    #237 justkaypoh

    It seems to me that you misunderstood the scientific term ‘observations’. An observation in science does not restrict to sensory input. Let me give you an example, in medical science we regard high blood cholesterol as increased cardiovascular risks because of the formation of plaque in the blood vessels. However not only that these plaque take years to form, but how do you expect scientists to actually ‘see’ cholesterol turning into plaque? Moreover, not everyone with high cholesterol will have plaque in their blood vessels. Does that mean the theory that high blood cholesterol poses cardiovascular risks is not proven so patients should not be treated?

    “On your ‘how big is the puzzle’ question”. This is the beauty of Science – because Science does not claim absolute truth – as long as new evidence appears, Science is *willing* to change its conclusion. Let me use back the example on cholesterol. For many years, medical science believed in managing cholesterol level by restricting cholesterol intake from diet, which definitely seemed logical. However as more and more evidences surface, it appears that cholesterol intake from diet is not the *whole* picture. Because our body also manufactures cholestetol from saturated fat taken in the diet. Therefore medical science has revised its position on dietary cholesterol management – restrict both cholesterol and saturated fat intake in the diet.

    Is what we know about Evolution now the whole picture? It may or may not be. But regardless, you cannot deny the elephant that you see just because of the possibilty that there’s something else that we haven’t seen.

    As for the argument on ‘slim chances’. I’d say if someone jumped from 20 storey building, his chance of survival was very slim. However if someone really did jump and survived, can I deny that he’s alive just because his chances were very slim?

  • Lop

    #233 Zefly (aka Joshua Chiang)

    I reread your post which led me to think:

    What if God were powerless, would that render his teaching invalid? Did one build his relationship with God based on ‘power’?

    Suddenly it’s like asking would you still love your wife if she weren’t pretty or if husband were’t rich. LOL

  • White dwarf

    justkaypoh,

    I’ve read all your comments and I find nothing in them which explains that evolution is not science.

    You only give your opinions.

    So, please provide proof that evolution is not science leh.

    Maybe you should start with understanding words such as “theory”, “science” and “evolution” in the scientific context. Or else, you’re just a laughing stock. LOLOLOL!!!

  • Arix

    Artemove (#235),

    It is also the “wedge” tactic of Atheists to use “hate speech”, “superstition” and “fundamentalists” as terms to shield Atheism from criticism.

    Lop (#243),

    1) Interesting. If scientific observations are not limited to sensory input, then why are Religious Experiences not counted as part of scientific observations?

    Besides, it is possible for scientists to regenerate in a laboratory the conditions for turning cholesterol into plaque, and add in enzymes to speed up the process.

    2) It is logically invalid for science to make an absolute claim that there is no absolute truth. The hidden assumption in science is that there is a truth or set of truths that can be discovered about the natural world; but just that prior to complete verification, a principle should not be judged to be 100% accurate.

    If there is no absolute truth, then science is pointless.

    3) True, but it raises the question of whether Evolution is the complete story. After all, the elephant should rightfully come from somewhere.

    4) No, not.

  • ddfb1993

    @ Dr Syed Alwi:

    From what I know of Islam, everyone will come across Islam one way or another in their lifetime, and they can thus make their choice – I’m not sure we can interpret this literally, but it could be that the concept of monotheism could touch anyone, even in the most insular African societies. That said, I doubt that that is relevant to the current argument – because despite the problems we face in proving the credibility of religion, there are a lot of things about God we still don’t understand, and to me personally, religion isn’t meant to be ‘proven’.

    in any case there is so much literature for and against evolution, and while I don’t doubt the existence of fossil records, it is merely circumstantial evidence, because just because different forms exist in different times, it doesn’t mean that one progressed into the other, very logically speaking. my point is, it’s impossible to prove either side of the theory, and until I find a clear, concrete logical link, it’s impossible to just assume based on what little we know. we’re making what is known as a logical leap, because it may simply have been that God put different creatures at different times just like that (now obviously that sounds a bit hard to prove too, which supports my point – hard to prove either.) I wouldn’t bet everything on one book, that’s the problem, particularly from the point of a historian, books written by any author taking a stance usually have the author’s premeditated bias too. that doesn’t mean we dont read any books, it means we take them with a pinch of salt.

    @jaychou

    hmm the mechanism is the same for both micro and macro evolution. you seem to have missed my point, because some studies state that beyond a certain number of genetic mutations, evolution seems to be halted within species, because most of them die of deleterious mutations, or that most mutated animals which survive do not outperform the wild-type. that said, there is another set of studies which claim that how two genetic strains differentiate themselves is if the original strain developed a gene that made the genotype separate into two and inhibit any combination of those two strands through reproduction (i.e. the hybrid will die).

    in any case, I don’t think it’s fair to accuse me of not wanting to teach Gravity, or Electromagnetism, in schools, because that’s a false analogy. they are theories too, but they are laws of physics that have been (relatively) conclusively proven, there are no alternative theories at present, and so on. anyway I’m not saying we shouldn’t teach evolution, I’m just saying that given the controversy over it, as compared to laws of physics (unless you’re talking quantum!) then show both sides of the issue, and show scientific evidence for and against either side (believe me there is evidence for both). and we can’t say that there is more evidence for one than the other, because the strength of an argument isn’t determined by the amount of evidence there is numerically, but by the reliability of the sources and how much they concretely prove.

  • ddfb1993

    argh and looking at all the weird arguments…

    evolution is not conclusively proven if you take Hume’s theory of falsificationism as a criterion for proving scientific fact.

    i correct myself. gravity and electromagnetism are theories – they are explanations we offer for phenomena which occur in our natural world. and while we cannot ‘test’ gravity, we can observe effects which correlate to our theoretical understanding of gravity. it doesn’t mean we can ‘see’ it, or touch it, or smell it, or hear it, or taste it, but by indirect evidence we know it’s there, or at least its some mysterious force we label as gravity. in any case we teach it, just like we teach evolution. they remain theories, not fact, because they were not meant to be facts. but the facts we observe, support the truth of the theories. you get the distinction between theory and fact? fact – raw data. theory – explanation behind the trend of raw data. like germ theory wasn’t exactly fact in the 1800s until you observe them in a microscope.

    with biological theories i personally think it is easier to prove empirically, with controlled experiments, than say, laws of physics, because well (correct me if I’m wrong) they’re sort of fundamental axioms, while unlike the artificial construct of 1+1=2, are also hard to prove by themselves. after all, for every theory, it cannot become fact because we have not seen an infinite amount of examples which support it, and absolutely nothing contradictory, which explains the flaw of the inductive theory of science.

    but evolution is unique in the sense that it cannot be observed directly in action. mutation and natural selection can be observed, but evolution across species (forgive my looseness of terms) has not been conclusively observed thus far, because of genetic limitations, limitations of human understanding, and not having millions of years to play with (even with the fruit flies.) so it remains an unproven theory.

    but unproven doesn’t mean wrong…

    so correct my scientific understanding if i’m wrong… but seriously i think apart from the scientists, we’re all quite wrong in our understanding of science…

  • Arix

    inferno (#242),

    5) The problem is not really Evolutionary Biologists, whom do get unnecessary bullying from Creationists, whether Christian or Muslim. The problem is Atheistic Evolutionists like Richard Dawkins who formally acknowledge the 0.00001% chance of falsification of the Theory of Evolution but present it as an infallible theory in order to put up an impenetrable barrier around Atheism as a philosophy. When they present the Theory of Evolution against Religion, they present it in unfalsifiable form.

    (Not to mention the arrogance people like him display towards Theology as an academic discipline.)

    Their version of Scientific Materialism faces the problem of Infinite Regress. The only thing that any material can come out of is another material, therefore there is an infinite series of sub-materials that exist, which is logically untenable.

    Evolution can explain how something gets from the starting point to the ending point, but it cannot explain where its starting point comes from.

  • inferno

    2. The Theory of Evolution (too long, so in two parts):

    Each individual within a given species is unique thanks to it’s genetic make up, which it inherited from its parents. However sometimes new genes are ‘created’ between generations, due to copy errors and other in-built reshuffling mechanisms within the formation of gametes (sperm and eggs). What this means in a nutshell is that there is genetic variation across individuals within a species. For example, we humans are not all of the same height, and display a range of heights (continuous variation). There is also discontinuous variation, such as eye colour, etc.

    Some individuals will receive a “better” set of genes that improves their “fitness” in their environment, and this gives them a reproductive advantage over their peers. This means that on average, they will survive long enough to produce offspring (compared to others who die young due to, say, disease), and may be more fertile than others (i.e. produce more offspring). What this means is that on average (i.e. over a long period of time), genes that confer a reproductive advantage will tend to spread within the population, and genes that are detrimental will be selected against and become rarer. This is the essence of natural selection, also known as the “survival of the fittest”. Individuals who do not adapt well enough are culled from the population, and their “weaker” genes are removed (because they do not reproduce). The next generation will then contain more genes that are suited to the current environment.

    Thus over a period of time, any species that survives will tend to become stronger as a whole, or more well-adapted to their ecological niche. For example, successive generations of lions will, in theory, be able to run faster in order to catch their prey, because the slower, weaker ones would have starved to death before they could reproduce. But on the other side of the equation, weaker, slower gazelles would have been caught and eaten, thus only the faster, fitter gazelles will survive to bear offspring. Here we see an arms race between two competing species, predator and prey. Of course, there is an upper limit as to how fast you’ll see lions and gazelles running, because once you reach a certain point, the net return to increase your speed is negative due to the added energy cost of growing bigger muscles, etc.

    This is so-called “micro-evolution”, i.e. current species becoming more and more adapted to their environments. Creationists do not attempt to dispute this at all, because it is impossible to deny. Micro-evolution is everywhere, e.g. bacteria gaining drug resistance, or a species of bees developing new strategies to counter invading wasps.

    The true bone of contention is “macro-evolution” which is linked to speciation. Speciation is the creation of new species. A good working definition of species is whether two organisms can interbreed AND produce viable offspring. If they cannot fulfill this condition, then they belong to different species. For example, a horse and a donkey can mate to produce a mule offspring, but the mule is sterile, thus horses and donkeys belong to different species. Creationists dispute that macro-evolution ever took place, i.e. an intelligent creator created all the organisms we see today they way they are. Note that many tend to assume that this ‘creator’ is the Christian god Yahweh, which is itself subject to contention, as numerous other religions and cultures have their own beliefs as to how we came about.

  • inferno

    Part two:

    Proof of evolution? Yes it is true that within our tiny lifespans, we probably can never hope to ever observe huge changes in organisms. For example, we cannot expect to see a species develop wings within such a short period of time. What we CAN see is the “smoking gun”, i.e. the evidence of our evolutionary history. For example, whales actually have leg bones, though we cannot see them from the outside. This is strong supporting evidence for the theory that whales evolved from ancestral land mammals that resemble the cows we see today. There are also fossils of other intermediate species that show the evolutionary transition from land to sea, and all pictures of these can be found in Jerry Coyne’s book Why Evolution is True.

    Most people take issue with this point, in that they cannot conceive of how, say, mammals could have evolved from reptiles, which evolved from amphibians, which evolved from fish. But before you resort to the “I can’t possibly believe that could have happened” position, do consider the HUGE amount of time we’re looking at here.

    Remember that when we talk about the evolutionary timescale, we are referring to up to MILLIONS OF YEARS between each species. Homo Sapiens as a species is at most a few thousand years old, which is but a heartbeat when we look at how old the fossils are. Fossils have also been found for species such as Homo Habilis and Homo Neanderthalensis, which show significant relationships with both ourselves and chimpanzees (our closest primate relatives), which strongly support the conclusion that we humans descended from a common ancestor as the apes.

    DNA also provides clues. One always reads about how we share XX% of our genes with XXXX organism. This figure represents how closely correlated the human genome is to that of other species. Based on the average mutation rate due to DNA replication, we can backtrack and ‘reverse engineer’ the times of divergence by comparing the genomes of different species. Simply put, the closer the genomes of two species are, the MORE RECENTLY they diverged from the “most recent common ancestor”. After construction of the phylogenetic tree (the so-called “tree of life”), with all the estimated times of divergence, we find that these dates coincide nicely with precise carbon dating of fossil evidence.

    For example, let’s say we have a species A diverging into two species, B and C. Upon comparison of DNA, we estimate that B and C diverged, say 50 million years ago (mya). When we go back to the fossil record, we should not see ANY fossils of B and C that are older than 50 mya. Conversely, we should start seeing fossils of A starting from 50 mya and before. This test has been repeated countless times by paleontologists and evolutionary biologists, and evolution has not yet fallen at this hurdle.

    For more examples of how the predictions of evolutionary theory have been confirmed by research, as well as observations that strongly push us away from the “solution” of invoking a special Creator, please refer to my earlier posts when they appear eventually. Also, you can search for Atavisms and Vestigiality on Wikipedia, for examples of “smoking gun” evidence that confirms our suspicion that organisms descended from evolutionary ancestors which had different forms from the ones we see today.

    Personally, while I believe in Evolution now, I do not assume that it will never be proven wrong. However I find that there is sufficient evidence of BAD DESIGN in today’s organisms that makes me very sure that they were not intelligently designed.

  • ddfb1993

    actually to be frank, though not meaning to be rude, i find it quite disappointing that some arguments on this site end with LOLOLOLOL, as if that’s going to help us understand something. I’m quite irritated by the fact that people are using nothing but their emotion to argue their way through, or to poke fun and insult others…we’re not that kind of people right?

    anyway, when i read some of the other posts, i disagree that all theories imply 99.9% proof – theories are strictly speaking human interpretations and ideas on phenomena – and the level of proof depends on the scientific literature existent in the field, not the name “theory”. that is why theories are debunked all the time, or supported. Lamarck’s idea of evolution was a “theory” – disproved by people of his time. Darwin came up with a better theory, it now depends on how far we can stretch his logic – to natural selection between species, within species (which does not entail species morphing into new ones, but merely the survival of existing species), or the use of mutation as that ‘morphing’ mechanism, and how far that can extend to – within species, or between them, or further than that? will a bird remain a bird? are there some genes you just cannot change, or that if you mate with another species, the genetic self-checking mechanism will destroy that new copy?

    what’s a species anyway? is there a strict definition as to the delineation between different species. what constitutes a different species? very hard to tell, because even Linnaeus’ classification system of living beings is pretty much under scrutiny… its only a system of classification..

  • ddfb1993

    and sorry to spam

    but has anyone ever wondered what genes we share in common with animals like mice and chimps? is it the DNA that codes for the unique characteristics of our family or order, or is it the basic DNA (up to 90+%?) that codes for the basic systems of life i.e. your kingdom and perhaps your phylum?

  • ddfb1993

    btw this whole intelligent design theory is rubbish frankly, because 1) not everything is so perfectly designed and 2) who assumes God intended for everything to be perfect? Maybe Christians believe that God made humans in His likeness – to other religions perhaps not. I believe sometimes we face deformities and hardships and disease (though thats not related to creation of man) as a test.

    actually, they could be intelligently designed after all, just not the perfect way we thought it to be (: its a fundamentally unprovable theory of science, but it serves a good deal as a philosophical one, provides a lot of food for thought. =D don’t treat it as a scientific theory and start bashing it, it wasn’t meant to be, it was the work of a few people who wanted to debunk evolution through philosophy, and manipulated by another group to explain how God intelligently created beings through the mechanism of evolution.

  • Zefly (aka Joshua Chiang)

    “Suddenly it’s like asking would you still love your wife if she weren’t pretty or if husband were’t rich.”

    I guess, the answer I would give is, I would. That’s what love is. Love isn’t going around insisting, bribing, coercing that everyone else see your wife as the beauty queen you think she is. You don’t need to. She is your beauty queen and that’s good enough.

  • Oxford Dude

    Hi Arix #246,

    Christians are well known for making hate speech in the name of God’s love. There is no need to go beyond this established fact, unless you want to deconstruct everything – from establishing morality is independent of religion and there is no such thing as divine authority. Now back to the original topic of this thread.

    I think some points should be made very clear:
    1) Is Creationism vs Evolution framed as a debate of philosophical truth?
    2) Is Creationism vs Evolution framed as a debate of scientific pursuit?

    My gut feeling is that most Creationists are going along the line of (1) while most Scientists are going alone the line of (2). You are pretty obvious that you are moving along the line of (1).

    You seem quite misguided about whether scientific observations include Religious Experiences. They are counted as scientific observation, but the interpretation of the religious experience is hardly religious – from monitoring brain wave patterns to comparing people under different faiths subjected to stimulated religious experience and analysing brain chemistry.

    Science never makes claim on Philosophical Truth. In the study of the theory of evolution, students are taught its concept, its evidence and what it failed to explain. You said, “if there is no absolute truth, then science is pointless.” Science was never about Philosophical Truth but for things like “what happens when I mix aqueous Hydrochloric Acid with Calcium Carbonate?”

    The claims that science makes are of factual nature because they are attempts to explain specific natural phenomena. There is no theory of everything or grand unified theory in science (so far). Scientists have yet to unify General Relativity with Quantum Mechanics, which explain natural phenomena well within its own domain (Planets vs Sub-Atomic). If somehow the factual nature of science has invalidated certain theological explanation, perhaps the theologians got it all wrong. You have to recognise that science is a collection of theories and evidence and it is always up for revision.

  • Oxford Dude

    Arix #246,

    One very important point that you must take in consideration:

    The Philosophy of Science is Philosophy, not Science.

  • patriot

    Please bear with me and forgive me if my naivety tickles or irritates anyone. I take it that when mankinds became believers enmass thousands of years back, few believers ever asked for proof of god’s existence. Today, not much has changed, majority of humans are still believers(of gods) and still few ask or demand for proof. Now commenters here are wanting proof for evolution and creation and they either belong to the evolution or creation faction. And yet amongst the commenters for(in support of) evolution, many are believers. Here it becomes very confusing, on one hand they believe in gods without the need for proof and on the other hand they claimed that evolution has been proven(by scientific theories and experiments).

    In China, before Bhuddhism, Christianity, Islam and other religions were introduced into it, the Chinese were known to worship ancestors with no specific religious name to the ritual of paying respects to their departed kins. They worshipped/worship their departed members as a form of memorial ritual, those departed members were actual humans they were personally related to and known. It is not known whether the Pre-(organized)religion Chinese believed in heaven and or hell then or any other non provable belief. When the Chinese adopted the alien religions, there were changes in their cultural practices, can that be called a cultural evolution ? Did the cultural evolution lead to changes in their habits such as abstaining from sex, beef, pork and alcohol etc lead to biological changes that could be termed as Biological evolution ?

    As for gravity, I have wondered but not seek an answer for the fly away balloon filled with Helium as I regard it as inconsequential to my living. The balloon itself is a mass and so is the Helium in it and it seems the more Helium is hold in the balloon(became heavier ?), the easier it(balloon filled with Helium) flies away from gravity, hope I saw it right, why ?

    If my curiosity seems laughable, please excuse me.

    patriot

  • Oxford Dude

    258) patriot on August 9th, 2009 10.32 pm

    As for gravity, I have wondered but not seek an answer for the fly away balloon filled with Helium as I regard it as inconsequential to my living. The balloon itself is a mass and so is the Helium in it and it seems the more Helium is hold in the balloon(became heavier ?), the easier it(balloon filled with Helium) flies away from gravity, hope I saw it right, why ?

    This can be explained by Archimedes’ Principle of Buoyancy. Helium is far less dense than atmospheric air while the buoyant force is equivalent to the weight of the air displaced by the balloon.

  • patriot

    To Oxford Dude #Post 259:

    Thank You Sir ! You make today a good day to me.

    patriot

  • Lop

    #246 Arix

    1) Gotta read that in the context of my reply to justkaypoh. My suspicion was that juskaypoh read the word ‘observation’ literally as direct sensory input – as in actually ‘seeing it’, which may not always be the case in scientific observations. Let me illustrate what I mean with examples. In confirming myocardial infraction or heart attack, you don’t open up the patient’s chest to ‘see’ if the heart is receiving enough blood supply. Instead we rely on ECG, cardiac enzymes. In confirming HIV infection, we don’t test for the virus but the antibodies induced. Similarly, we don’t need to actually ‘see’ a dinosaur to believe that they were once upon the Earth.
    But I certainly don’t mean that scientific observations include ‘extra-sensory’ input. Moreover, a valid observation must also be one that’s VERIFIABLE. Another important principle behind scientific observation is, proper measures must be put in place to reduce bias and ambiguity. Unfortunately religious experiences failed on the last 2 counts if not all 3 to be considered scientific observation.

    I’m not sure how they established the link between cholesterol and formation of plaque but I doubt it was done in the laboratory. I would think it more cost effective to conduct a post-mortem and analyse the plaque composition. No need to see a dinosaur to confirm it was there ;p

    2) I don’t think Science concerns itself with ‘absolute truth’. In fact more often than not, scientific conclusions often come with specific conditions. For example, we all know water boils at 100 degree Celsius – but that’s provided the water sample is pure and at atmospheric pressure. Even then, is that an absolute truth? Science doesn’t claim absolute truth, neither does it claim there is no absolute truth. Science just doesn’t care.

    Would you say knowing that pure water boils at 100 degree Celsius under atmospheric pressure is pointless?

    3) Even hypothesis is not built on thin air. You can’t *imagine* something and then try to find evidence to support your imagination, that is not science. Before you suspect the elephant is not the complete story, where are the few pieces of the puzzle that pique your suspicion?

  • Arix

    Oxford Dude (#256),

    Hopefully being in close proximity to Richard Dawkins hasn’t dulled your mind.

    1) Yes, unfortunately, many Christians do make genuine hate speech. But just because a Christian makes a critique of something else based on God’s Love, doesn’t instantly validate that critique being called “hate speech”.

    The problem moderate Christians are facing is that every statement they make that doesn’t cohere with the predominant liberal line is being regarded as “hate speech”. If we say abortion is wrong, it is “hate speech” to rape victims. If we argue Euthanasia is immoral, again it is “hate speech” (to the patient?). The moment the LGBT Lobby hears the word “disorder”, again the criticism is called “hate speech”.

    “hate speech” is way too frequently misused in current usage.

    2-3) Yes, I am going along the line of (1). As I mentioned earlier, the problem is not with the scientists who see evolution as a matter of scientific pursuit i.e. a means of understanding natural history. The problem is with Atheists who attempt to transform the Scientific Theory of Evolution into a Philosophical rebuttal of Theism. These Atheists hide behind the mask of science. They pretend that they follow (2), while in practice they follow (1).

    The real argument is between Creationism (Young Earth and Intelligent Design) and Evolutionism. Evolutionism I define as the Theory of Evolution wrongly elevated to a philosophical level. That is apart from the truth of the Theory of Evolution itself.

    Even Darwin admitted in no less than the Origin of Species that Evolution cannot account for the Origin of Life.

    4) I think we should leave this topic, because it is irrelevant to the discussion. But what I had meant was the actual Experience itself being treated as an Observation by the person Experiencing it.

    5) There are many levels of Truth. Philosophical Truth is one; Material Truth is one. If there is no absolute Truth, the it makes no sense to ask the question “What happens when I mix HCl with CaCO3″ because there is no fixed answer to it. A question is only worthwhile asking if you know that there is a definite answer somewhere down the line e.g. that you get CaCl2, water and CO2. That is a Material Truth.

    6) The Key Point is that Pure Science can never invalidate Pure Theology, because it works on a more restricted scope, that is natural phenomenon. Theology works on the meta-natural, thus in a way NOMA applies.

    Oxford Dude (#257),

    Yes, you are correct. But Philosophy of Science covers the methodology and rationale for science; it is the basis of all Science. So in a way, it still is Science.

  • Arix

    Lop (#261),

    1) Apologies for misreading you here.

    2) That applies to the natural sciences, but not necessarily historiography. Historiography, which is considered a science, relies on evidence that is RELIABLE. Religious Experiences, when occurring in the context of quantitative measurement tools, like those mentioned by Oxford Dude in #256, do show that there is something being experienced, although they can’t tell what exactly. There are also mass visions like those of the Virgin Mary in 1917.

    3) Where did you get the idea that a medical laboratory need have a dinosaur in it? Have you ever visited a life science lab? I meant that they could replicate the chemical reactions in the lab, perhaps using bacteria or rats. No need dinosaur fossils.

    4-5) Okay, this discussion is confusing, because technically “Water boils at 100 degrees celsius at atmospheric pressure” is an Absolute Truth in itself, only one with a different terminal clause. Anyway, discussions on Absolute Truth are discussions on epistemology, which are too far away from the topic of this thread.

    But to keep it simple, what I would find pointless is to say “pure water might boil at 100 degrees celsius under atmospheric pressure.” This would be the only possible claim if Science had no concern for Absolute Truth.

    6) Haha, to keep within the analogy, because the elephant needs to have a parent.

    Outside which, there is the Origin of Life question and the question that I asked in the previous post, which is how evolution can explain the origins of its own starting point? If Y evolved from X, where did X come from?

    If the Theory of Evolution can answer that question, then it can decisively unseat Theology. But no Evolutionary Biologist, even Dawkins, has succeeded in answering that question, as far as I can see. Perhaps you could try.

  • yj

    Wah so many new comments.

    In reply to:
    #234 justkaypoh

    Inferno’s put up a summary of basics of science and evolution. Since we’re all at this now, I might as well continue, while I await your definitions of science and evolution.
    _______________________________________________________________________
    Quote from #234
    “And anyway, science deals with evidence, and varying levels of uncertainty. It’s math that deals with proofs.”

    Oh, that’s something new that I learn, maybe all the Science professors should also learn. Science definitely deals with proof. It is true that it’s very difficult to make a scientific proof…….

    …….In order to disprove something, you need to have a proposition. Can you give us a very clear points on why Evolution is a proven Science, then I can disprove. If no proposition, what should I disprove?
    ________________________________________________________________________

    We were using the words differently. I was referring to formal proof; you were using the term colloquially.

    What I meant was this: In science, it is meaningless to talk about proving something 100%. What science can do is to accumulate enough evidence to be very sure (perhaps 99.999% sure) that something is correct. Once we are at that level, we proceed with the assumption that X is correct. The theory of evolution is at this level.

    This is the case not just for evolution, but for the theories of plate tectonics, special and general relativity.

    To add on to what Inferno has said about a scientific theory:
    The theories must also be backed up by multiple sets of observations and/or experiments. The results of these observations and experiments must be consistent with what the theory tries to explain. Inferno has already given quite a few examples of how there are multiple lines of evidence for evolution.

    I’m not sure what you mean exactly about evolution as a proven science. If you are talking about the evidence for evolution, Inferno has given a pretty good overview.

    If you are talking about why evolution is science, then the main things are that:

    1. There are multiple lines of evidence that point to there being evolution by natural selection. (Inferno has summarized a small part of the evidence)

    2. The TOE provides the most parsimonious explanations for a range of observations.

    3. The theory of evolution allows one to make verifiable predictions.
    Here’s a famous one. In one of Darwin’s books, “On the Various Contrivances by which British and Foreign Orchids are Fertilised by Insects”, he observed that an orchid from Madagascar had a flower about 28cm long, with only the bottom 2-3 cm filled with nectar. Using the principles of evolution by natural selection, he was able to predict that there’d be a moth with a proboscis that was at least 25-30cm long. (Note: these units are rough conversions from inches)

    Such a moth was found sometime later, and its colloquial name is Darwin’s hawk moth.

    4. And finally, as has been mentioned a few times previously, the TOE is falsifiable.
    I.e. it is possible that one can make observations that will invalidate the TOE.

  • yj

    Arix:

    The TOE doesn’t deal with the origins of life, though there’s a great deal of research on abiogenisis going on. These experiments cannot show, as of now, that life on Earth did start in a particular way, but they do show that organic molecules and self-organising systems arise far more easily than many thought possible.

    I’m sure you’re familiar with the Urey-Miller experiments, where amino acids were synthesized out of water, nitrogen, ammonia and hydrogen, in conditions that tried to simulate those of early Earth, in just 1 week.

    I’m aware of the criticisms of this experiment, that the conditions on early earth might not have been the same. However, this type of experiment has since been repeated with different starting conditions, and all have ended up with organic molecules.

    Anyway, interesting though the topic of abiogenisis is, shall we keep it aside for now? Otherwise it’ll prob make the discussion here even more confused than it already is.

  • yj

    To #253 ddfb1993

    When you talk about genes, I assume you’re talking about the parts of our DNA that code for proteins. One example I can think of offhand are the genes that code for proteins (e.g. cytochrome c) required in respiration. These are found not just in mice or chimps, but even in plants and unicellular organisms.

    If you’re talking about very closely related species such as chimps and humans, that’s where things start to get more interesting. A very large part of the differences are due to differences in how genes are turned on and off in the two species.

  • squit

    Well my comments got swallowed by the move, but yes!!! kudos to yj for bringing up Darwin’s comet orchid. It was exactly the same example that I put down.

    I think pop cultural representations of science has warped people’s understanding of how science works, especially since many people seem to have fallen for the positivism trap (Evolution cannot be proven, therefore it is unscientific).

    Basically is this: You cannot prove anything in science. But you can disprove it. This is the most powerful idea that governs all scientific endeavour. This is known as falsifiability http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falsifiability, otherwise known as the Popper’s white swan hypothesis.

    Take the statement “All swans are white”.

    The statement becomes scientific when you go out there to observe the swans (too many comments here delve into the abstract without actually looking at the plants and animals that make up the evidence). You can observe a hundred, a thousand, million white swans, but it doesn’t “prove” the theory is right, because the minute you see a black one, bang goes that theory.

    This is the driving force of science, to find the black swan. Which is to say, I see too many anti-evolution commenters portray scientists as evil minions trying to support this vast conspiracy of… evil/stupidity/denial (oh, irony) with no evidence when the opposite is true. Every experiment conducted that involves multiple generations of living things is an opportunity to prove evolution is FALSE.

    Scientists don’t go around reinforcing the status quo (unlike religions), the honour and glory for them comes in showing how everything we thought we knew was wrong. Imagine the drama if a scientist could find something, anything that could demonstrably show the falseness of evolution! Fossil rabbits in the pre-Cambrian (thanks inferno!) being the most famous of them.

    But none of that has happened, and why? That’s because evolution has not been proven wrong yet. Furthermore, it makes predictions about things that we didn’t use to know (like the moth to Darwin’s orchid, the sickle cell anaemia to Plasmodium fulciparum (malaria, passed to us from chimpanzees, which is another marvellous example of the evolution of host-switching right there, and so many others. If you want I can send you an entire internet library’s worth of biological reality that is predicted from evolution). A philosopher of science would say that a theory that is right for many things is not necessarily true (such as the flat earth theory, which feels right under my feet) but evolution has been “not neccessarily true”, i.e. accepted for the time being a heckuva lot longer than all the others. That’s how science works. Evolution is a great juggernaut of a theory not because scientists are shadow ninjas of an evil empire designed to strip people of their belief/humiliate them/profit from the lies to extend the grasp of their evilness, but because we haven’t obtained a single shred of evidence that can disprove evolution so far. Get me a completely novel protein, or another mechanism of DNA replication, or fossil rabbits, and I can assure you the theory goes down.

    The creation story, or intelligent design story is just that. It doesn’t not merit the term theory, because it cannot be disproved. I could give you every biological example that exists on this earth and you’d say “But the higher power/s made it to be exactly this way, see?” And that would mean nothing, because a theory like that cannot be used to predict anything in lieu of gaps in our knowledge of observed phenomena. How empty and sad that is, how anti-science the sentiment! Gravity can be explained as intelligent falling, with no demonstrable loss of power (god makes everything stick to earth) but it can’t predict the amount of compensation a commercial airplane needs to fly properly.

  • ddfb1993

    frankly speaking the whole falsification thing has been misquoted…

    in order for the mechanism of falsification to work, the theory in question must first find a few examples to make the theory ostensibly valid – that is the nature of inductive logic, to infer a generalization from a few instances (or as many instances as possible). the problem is, like religious theory, as i already said, evolution is fundamentally unprovable. you cannot find a direct instance where you observe evolution at work across species via controlled experiments (e.g. the new finch experiment off the Galapagos Islands in a repetition of Darwin’s studies, or the fruit fly studies – breeding them and observing genetic changes, introducing variables like mutation and so on).

    what we can at most see are fossils which do point towards a trend, but are circumstantial at best, and if you follow strict standards of the scientific academia, that is no way to prove a theory – and thus it is obviously unfair if you expect us to find an example of evolution being proved wrong, because neither example, for or against, currently exists within our observation! the best bet is to continue with the fruit fly studies or something similar because we see the repeated reproduction of successive generations of organisms in a controlled environment. that’s all.

    not against or for evolution – i stated originally that i’m ambivalent cos i can’t find conclusive proof for either. why won’t people stop caring about this…

  • Oxford Dude

    Hi Arix #262,

    Thank you for confirming that Christians are blind to their own hate speeches. Now back to the main topic…

    Philosophy of Science includes the philosophical implication of science. This includes issues such as the Moral Zeitgeist (Evolution-Equivalent of Morality) and the “God Plays Dice” debate (Philosophical Implication of Quantum Mechanics). If you want to fault Richard Dawkins, please fault him as a philosopher, not as an evolutionary biologist.

    Science alone can’t invalidate religion. The invalidation of religion not only requires philosophical rebut but also a comprehensive substitute that covers a way of life and an approach to interpret daily musings. Hence, you have philosophers who use science and rationality as a basis to build such a comprehensive doctrine bottom-up. One such doctrine is Secular Humanism and it has quite a sizeable following. I am pretty sure further contribution from the Philosophies of Chemistry, Physics, Biology and Economics can further refine Secular Humanism to make it a better candidate to replace religion.

  • justkaypoh

    #243 inferno
    Your post is quite well written and appreciate that you put in efforts to engage in a objective debate. I’m beginning to like this debate, it’s move away from sweeping statements and emotional rants.
    “Science is based on empirical observations and experimentation”
    I agree with you.

    “Examples of this are the Big Bang Theory; since we can never go back to “replay” what happened at the beginning of the universe ……….. astrophysicists concluded that the universe is expanding based on the red-shifting light from stars in other galaxies.”
    Well said. That is a very real life observation.

    “Just because something is a fact does not mean that it is 100% true.”
    I believe you are talking about induction reasoning and generalization which Scientific facts are based on.
    “Theories such as gravitation are merely the best explanation”
    Everyone, even kids can do the experiment on the effect of gravity themselves.

    “Just because evolutionary biologists call Evolution a ‘theory’ does not mean they are claiming it is a universal truth, BUT neither does it mean that they lack the confidence to call it anything else. The word ‘theory’ has neither of these connotations, it implies that we are 99.999999 (recurring)% sure of it’s veracity, but the scientific method ALWAYS accommodates that teeny chance of it being wrong.”

    Your previous examples fit into the criteria of the definition of Science which we both agreed. But suddenly your example on Evolution does not fit into them. Can I know how did you get the 99.999999 (recurring)% figure?

  • Arix

    Oxford Dude (#269),

    1) That wasn’t my only point. My other point was that valid criticisms from Christians are being deliberately misrepresented as “hate speech”.

    2) I don’t fault Richard Dawkins for his evolutionary biology. I fault him for his misuse of evolutionary biology as a philosophical rebuttal of Theism.

    3) You hit the nail there. Unfortunately, Secular Humanism is not a substitute for Theism, not the least because it merely co-opts values from religion and passes them off as “secular”. In fact, Christian Humanism and Islamic Humanism both predate Secular Humanism.

    Philosophy of Science cannot contribute to Secular Humanism because each deals with different subject matter. Philosophy of Science deals with ontology (Theory of Knowledge). Secular Humanism deals with Ethics (Theory of Morality). While they may apparently overlap at some points, they are not exactly complementary.

  • Lop

    #263 Arix

    1) No problem.

    2) Ok I know nuts about Historiography, so don’t smoke me ok LOL. But if I understand you correctly, we are talking about 2 different scenarios with 2 distinct objectives.
    Scenario #1 – in the case of Historiography, the primary objective is to document an event or experiences of an event.
    Scenario #2 – in scientific observation, the primary objective is to support or disprove a theory or hypothesis.
    You can’t prove or disprove whether the test subjects were hallucinating just based on what they experienced. But certainly no one can dispute an honest documentation of what the test subjects had experienced.

    3) Ok, not going to continue on this line of discussion.

    4-5) Not sure if you notice, there are 2 kinds of people: one that prefers to leave things open-ended and one that likes things closed. The first type looks forward to new possibilities and the changes that come along with new possibilities, whereas the second type wants firm conclusions and the stability that comes with firm conclusions.

    People who believe in Science belongs to the first type and people who believe in ‘Absolute Truth’ the second.

    Seriously I think a lot of people like me don’t really care whether ‘water boils at 100 degree Celsius under atmospheric pressure’ is an absolute truth. But people who believe in ‘absolute truth’ might disagree that you could have conditions *attached* to ‘absolute truth’. Because that opens up a can of worms like: “God exists *provided* that people believe in Him”, “Euthanasia is not immoral *if* it’s the patient’s wish” etc. Science is always open for negotiation when new evidences present themselves. Absolute Truth does not negotiate, however.

    6) I think readers like yj and inferno have already explained clearly what Evolution is and isn’t, so I’m not going to repeat. If I claim to be an expert in Biology, you can’t refute my claim just because I couldn’t answer your question on Microbiology right?

  • justkaypoh

    #252 Inferno,
    I’ll try to post a more detail reply later.
    It seems, that the examples more of 看图说故事, creating stories by looking at pictures. “Intelligent guessing/speculations”?

    But in short can you tell me to what extent that the examples of ‘evidence’ of Evolution fit into the criteria of Science?

  • Oxford Dude

    Hi Arix #271,

    As far as I am concerned, the valid criticisms held by Christians are rare, so I don’t think misrepresentation is a big problem. Moral codes are handy rule of thumbs but to knowing when to make an exception to the moral code is an act of wisdom. I am sure you can observe this in Jesus’ life too. Those examples of hate speech which you cited are reflection of Christians’ poor wisdom.

    You said you fault Richard Dawkin for “his misuse of evolutionary biology as a philosophical rebuttal of Theism”, This “misuse” belongs to a subset of philosophy of science which deals with the philosophical implication of science. Are you rejecting non-theological philosophies as a basis of Truth? Secular humanism actually prescribes a rational approach towards appreciating Truth, and not actually prescribing what this Truth is.

    While it is true that Secular Humanism is a recent phenomena, the ideas and principles in it are at least as old as religion. You seem quite misinformed that moral values originate from religion. That is untrue. Morality is actually independent of any religion and it comes about by our need to survive and cooperate in society. Atheists have always been rejecting religion but there was no need to offer a substitute. The emergence of Secular Humanism is merely an organised response to keep rising religiosity from encroaching into atheists’ moral space.

  • inferno

    justkaypoh:

    My point in using the 99.999% recurring figure is not to quantify scientists’ certainty in the validity of the theory of evolution, or any other theory. The point is that when scientists declare something as “fact” or “law” , it does not mean that they are claiming 100% certainty that it is true. The figure of 100% is very powerful because it implies that there is ABSOLUTELY NO CHANCE that the law is wrong. Which is patently false, as Squit mentioned in his post, because even if I spend all of eternity observing an infinite number of white swans in this universe, I still cannot prove that ALL swans or white (i.e. “There are NO black swans.”) Thus while any naturalist / zoologist probably could not be faulted for making the statement “All swans are white”, there is the unsaid disclaimer tagged behind that reads “For all working purposes, this conclusion can be considered as true.” Thus when I say I believe Evolution is true, it’s not the same as saying “Evolution is true, and it will never be proven false by anyone in the future.” In science, it is not dogmatic to declare something as fact, law, or in this case “theory” (for the scientific definition of the word). That was my point.

    I think Evolution can be considered an empirical theory, because most of the evidence we have for it is based on observing things in the natural world, and then postulating possible explanations for these observations. For example. If I notice that a certain liquid X turns red in acidic solution, and blue in alkaline solution, I might draw the hypothesis that X is a pH indicator, which would be a plausible explanation for my observations.

    Assuming I cannot conduct chemical analysis to determine the exact identity/composition of X, the only way for me to support my hypothesis would be to give it a (acid, literally) test. So I would dump it in many different types of acids and bases, and if my hypothesis holds true EVERY single time, i.e. X always turns red in acids and blue in bases, I would gain substantial confidence in my hypothesis. This is akin to conducting a stress test to see how solid my hypothesis is; whether it stands up in practice. Each time I put X into a new acid/base is a fresh opportunity for my hypothesis to be proven wrong (e.g. it does NOT turn red in aqueous HCL). If I dump X in every (within reasonable limits) known acid/base, and it changes AS PREDICTED every single time, then I would be justified in concluding that my hypothesis is true.

    In fact, if we wanted to be even more precise, I CANNOT actually claim that my hypothesis is true, rather I can only say that HAS NOT BEEN PROVEN FALSE. This may seem to be mere wordplay at first glance, but it has significant implication, as in my first paragraph of this post.

    So back Evolution. All the details of the theory, down to speciation, natural selection, etc, can be considered as a hypothesis, or rather a group of interlinked hypotheses. Just as we can test my hypothesis about substance X by reacting X with various acids and bases, almost any observation of organisms in the wild can be considered a test of the theory of evolution. Is this an observation that we would EXPECT if the theory was true?

    For example, biogeography. Islands are usually a goldmine for field biologists, due to their rich, diverse, and (most remarkably) unique biodiversity. Islands can be classified into two categories, oceanic and continental. Oceanic islands are those that rose from the sea floor, e.g. Hawaii. Continental islands are those that used to be connected to the mainland, but got separated during continental drift, e.g. Madagascar.

    When we look at the NATIVE flora and fauna of oceanic islands, (assuming evolution to be true) we would expect these to be descendants of species that can be found in the coastal areas nearest to the island itself, since these species must have migrated from somewhere else. In addition, we can also make the prediction that these would only consist of specific groups of animals, namely birds, insects, amphibians and small flying mammals. Why? Because only these groups of animals would be able to make the journey across a wide expanse of sea from the mainland to the island, be it by their own flying ability or being borne by the wind. On the other hand, we would not expect to see large terrestrial mammals, reptiles, or freshwater fish, since it is nearly impossible for them to make this journey. This is an example of a testable prediction. True enough, studies of oceanic islands have shown that all their native species could possibly be linked to evolutionary relatives on the nearby mainland, and these consist ONLY of those that could have crossed the sea to get there without special intervention. There are also no species that could not have crossed the sea without special intervention (i.e. rats on ships). This is a test, a “hurdle” that the theory has passed. If one day, someone found a species of animal that could not possibly have crossed a wide expanse of ocean by itself (e.g. a local population of sheep), and could also prove that there was no human intervention that brought it there, then critics of Evolution would have a strong case against it. But first you must prove that the sheep could not have been dropped off by a passing trade ship, for example.

    On the other hand, continental islands would probably have contained similar flora and fauna as the mainland they were connected to at the time of separation, thus we would expect that almost all species found on continental islands are descended from relatives on the mainland, and this time there is no restriction as to what type (mammal, reptile, etc) they can be. In addition, due to the relative isolation of these organisms from the mainland, it is not to be surprising if they have diverged from their cousins and evolved into unique forms, depending on their environment at hand. A classic example of this would be the astounding native fauna of Madagascar, many of which are endemic (i.e. they exist ONLY on Madagascar).

    These are but two clear-cut examples of how evolutionary theory is strongly supported by scientific observations and conclusions. Countless others exist, such as Convergent Evolution and Biogeography. Unfortunately, my earlier post that discussed these examples in detail got lost in translation, and I will not attempt to re-post it for now, as it’ll probably be in vain.

    Squit- It would be great if you could post the link to the resource library you mentioned that has examples of predictions made by evolutionary theory.

  • justkaypoh

    Lop and Inferno
    “It seems to me that you misunderstood the scientific term ‘observations’. An observation in science does not restrict to sensory input. Let me give you an example, in medical science we regard high blood However not only that these plaque take years to form, but how do you expect scientists to actually ’see’ cholesterol turning into plaque? “

    What evidence make you think that I misunderstood the term ‘observations’? For the plaque case, there must be a form of ‘observation’ right?
    There are no real credible observations made by Evolutionists.

    “As for the argument on ’slim chances’. I’d say if someone jumped from 20 storey building, his chance of survival was very slim. However if someone really did jump and survived, can I deny that he’s alive just because his chances were very slim?”

    You are right, 1 million divide by infinity is still infinity. But the 1 million is still a valid number. The so alled evidences found really touched on the very surface of a very very complex propose ‘theory ‘ of Evolution. If the Evolutionists dare to work a out a probability figure (the minimum) for the chances of Evolution to happen over so called unproven billions of years. This method will make or break the theory.

    e.g.
    A stack of poker cards that are placed face up in complete sequence in a windowless small room with a big powerful ceiling fan.
    Yes there’ll be some chance that the cards are stacked by the blowing of the fan. But don’t the probability of someone who stacked them up properly much more higher than the former?

    In the same way, we can compare the probability of Evolution versus a Creator.

  • Zefly (aka Joshua Chiang)

    What are the chances of the Creator being the Greek Goddess Gaia, Mother of the Titans? Just wondering.

  • inferno

    It is but an exercise in futility to attempt to compare probabilities of whether Evolution or Intelligent Design is correct. How can one possibly compute the probability that ID is true? One must first compute the probability of a Creator existing in the first place, which leads to a whole set of (arguably much tougher and more complicated) problems.

    Similarly, trying to calculate the probability of Evolution having taken place is just as impossible. Creationists love to quote Fred Hoyle in saying that Evolution is akin to a hurricane tearing through a scrapyard and forming a Boeing 747 (which is analogous to your deck of cards example), with the implication being that the probability is impossibly minuscule This is false because Evolution is most definitely NOT random. Evolution is the non-random selection of random variants. Evolution may be ‘blind’, in that there is no ultimate ‘goal’ for species to work towards, but that does not make it ‘directionless’.

    Ultimately, we would make predictions thus: “If Evolution were true, I would expect to see _______. Conversely, I would NOT expect to see _______.”
    The theory has stood up to the test countless times, which is why scientists have reasonably strong confidence in it’s veracity.

  • justkaypoh

    Inferno
    In the meanwhile I reply your posts in more detail. Can you give a conclusion whether or not TOE is a proven Science? I do understand the falsibility of induction reasoning.
    In other words, is it in the same league as Theory of Gravity, Relativity?

    If we say that Theory of Gravity is proven true.
    Can we say that TOE is proven true? Yes/No ?

  • squit

    Dear inferno,

    I actually did, because of the tired old saw of “Evolution is unfalsifiable!” argument that’s just been raised, which really, is just another version of “Evolution is unprovable!” argument. (Please, just read that wikipedia article, and visit the link in the subsection of Evolution, ddfb1993. I dread becoming such a bore, restating refutations and ideas that are out there already.)

    Unfortunately I posted so much and so many my comment “is awaiting moderation”, probably for being longer than the article. If you want I can post up some of the more pertinent examples.

    Dear justkaypoh. The fact that you can accept that plaque is based on cholesterol buildup and yet cannot see that my hand and a bat’s wing share common ancestry just strains all credulity. And unlike cholesterol, which requires superincredible microscopy to see individual molecules, you can observe the mechanisms that generate evolution with your naked eye. Go out and look at the mynahs.

    re: card stacking/water flowing uphill/boeing 747 assembled by wind/watch making/reconstituting shredded paper etc new and iterative forms of Paley’s watchmaker argument. Ah, an old frenemy this one, this utterly fatuous non-argument about how evolution violates the second law of thermodynamics (which by the way, yes, is a theory, and incidentally in case you want to know, is as accepted by the scientific community at large as evolution. The real world is not an XKCD cartoon about purity.) The act of creation, actually, violates these same card stacking laws. (What’s the odds an invisible ghost comes in and stacks your cards for you, Who created the creator, etc) If I play according to scenario, and evolution’s rules, more orderly stacks of cards survive the culling of the environment, having offspring-stacks that grow more orderly. The most orderly-stacked offspring will have a better chance and so on. But you must know that already.

    Right if I actually go into detail about why I will kena moderated again. Read this. If you cannot understand/think it is wrong, I can go through it paragraph by paragraph. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watchmaker_analogy

  • yj

    From justkaypoh #241
    “That’s a very good and constructive suggestion. Why don’t we each come up with a concise definition of :

    1. Science and Scientific Theory
    2. Evolution

    I promise you that I’ll do that. Do you agree to come out with a definition too? Only, then we can ‘talk’ on the same ‘platform’ (premise). Preferably this should be in point form, clear and concise.
    I think I’d save a record of your comments, let me try to find it and re-post them.”

    ______________________________________________________________

    justkaypoh, we’re all still eagerly awaiting your posts regarding your understanding of:

    1. Science
    2. what the term theory means in science
    3. evolution.

    We’ve set out in detail what we mean by a scientific theory, what evolution is, what it covers and what it does not cover. Isn’t it about time you started showing us what you understand those terms to mean?

    On a side note:
    The theory of gravity has been superseded by the theory of general relativity actually. Does that mean that gravitational theory is not a science? No. It still has predictive power, and in the vast majority of situations we’re likely to encounter, it is still useful.

  • inferno

    I believe that the Theory of Evolution is still incomplete, indeed it is very possiblye that it may never be completed, since we cannot hope to see every single fossil, such that only an insane person could deny it. Our most optimistic outcome is a (very) strongly supported hypothesis. This is analogous to the theories as to how the dinosaurs became extinct. We can never actually revisit that time period (well, at least with the current lack of time-travel technology, but again, who knows?), so based on contextual evidence (meteorite shards, etc), and the knowledge that ALL the dinosaurs were wiped out simultaneously does point us strongly in the direction of the asteroid theory. But we’ll probably never know for sure.

    Honestly speaking, I do not think it is fair to compare the Theory of Evolution to something such as Gravitation, which is tangible to the extent that validating it is almost trivial. Clearly only an insane person would deny gravitation, and all that remains is (no small) task of ironing out the details (laws) of how it works precisely. On the other hand, Evolution is very much a work in progress, as fossils are unearthed regularly, and researchers observe new phenomena in nature that spark new avenues of thought. If Evolution is true, almost every aspect of animal behaviour can be accounted for / must be aligned with natural selection, etc. Thus along these lines we have the relatively young field of Sociobiology, with Dawkins’ Selfish Gene theory an engine of discovery.

    But to conclude this long-winded post. I would say the theory of Evolution has very strong scientific support, with significant interlocking evidence from paleontology, genetics and biogeography that definitely give us some semblance of an explanation for how we came about. Given what knowledge we know today, there is no doubt in my mind that Evolution is the best explanation available. However I will stop short of saying declaring that it is a ‘proven science’ to the extent of gravitation, because it is true that we cannot observe major changes in our lifetimes, thus some level of induction is necessary. But if this were a court case, it is clear to me that Evolution is the culprit beyond any reasonable doubt.

    I’ll leave you all with a simple story:

    (Scene: In a court room)
    Defense Lawyer (to witness): Sir, did you see my client bite of that man’s ear?
    Witness: No I didn’t.
    Defense Lawyer: Then what makes you so sure he did it?
    Witness: I saw him spit it out.

  • justkaypoh

    yj

    For the Scientific part, I had few previous posts that comment on the definition. Hang in there for the Evolution part

  • justkaypoh

    Inferno
    “Thus while any naturalist / zoologist probably could not be faulted for making the statement “All swans are white”, there is the unsaid disclaimer tagged behind that reads”

    The swans example is an excellent one. “All swans are white” is a weak induction, you can check out Wikipedia, they had this exact example. With knowledge of DNA, we may know that it is possible to be non-white. In fact, Biological theories are harder to proof then Physical theories.

    The inductive reasons for TOE is weak.
    Versus, “All unsupported objects will fall on earth”, Theory of Gravity
    “I do not think it is fair to compare the Theory of Evolution to something such as Gravitation”
    Can I conclude that TOE is less rigorous and less true compared to Theory of Gravity?
    The million dollar question we have not is what extent of methodological rigor do you deem the evidences of TOE to be conclusive?

    “I would say the theory of Evolution has very strong scientific support, with significant interlocking evidence from paleontology, genetics and biogeography that definitely give us some semblance of an explanation for how we came about.”

    To me no single evidences I had read (from your post, or outside) is conclusive enough. They are filled “ifs”, ‘maybe’ , ‘perhaps’, ‘possible’ and big jumping of conclusions.

  • Arix

    yj (#265),

    It might surprise you, but there are Creationists who argue that the Urey-Miller Experiments prove that only a distinct set of conditions favours abiogenesis, and therefore the existence of a distinct set of conditions proves that a distinct Intelligent Designer or group of Intelligent Designers were present to “fine-tune” the Universe, which is known also as the “Fine-Tuning Argument”.

    And actually, this is the real Fine-Tuning Argument that has not been refuted as yet, although several strawman versions have been.

  • yj

    Inferno,

    I agree with most of what you say, but I’ve got to disagree when you say that evolution is a very strongly supported hypothesis.

    A theory is a scientific explanation so strongly backed up that it is highly unlikely to be untrue. That is exactly what you’ve been describing evolution as, and that is what evolution is!

    A well supported description and explanation of how life today arose from a common ancestor eons ago.

    As you, and others have mentioned time and time again, a vast mountain of facts, confirmed and reconfirmed by numerous observations and experiments by conducted and repeated by different, often competing, scientists.

    Some of the evidence has been covered, I’ll just add one or 2 more.

    Pesticide resistance in insects, for example. A classic example of natural selection in action.

    Evolution of nylonase in bacteria grown in the lab on a medium without any nutrients other than nylon.

    I fear I’m becoming a bore, so I’ll just end off with a response to justkaypoh’s post #284:
    Yes, no single isolated piece of evidence, for any theory, is enough to conclusively prove or disprove it. It is only when the accumulated weight of facts, observations and experiments from different disciplines and researchers all point towards the same conclusion that we call the explanation based on that conclusion a theory.

    It is the case for evolution, and it is the case for gravity as well. Just because you have a single type of observation – that of objects falling towards the earth, does not mean that objects must fall due to gravity. Objects could plausibly fall due to electrostatic attraction, magnetic attraction, the weak nuclear force or some other as yet undiscovered force.

    The theory of gravity was accepted not just because objects were observed to fall towards the ground, but also due to other observations and experiments. E.g. the rotation of planets around the sun, of galaxies around the center of mass in clusters of galaxies etc.

    This is the case for evolution as well. There are many superficially plausible explanations for the variety of life we observe around us today, but the theory of evolution currently gives the most well supported and comprehensive explanation we have for this diversity.

    This is why evolution is science, just as germ theory, general relativity and quantum mechanics are science.

  • Arix

    Lop (#272),

    2) Historiography is considered a science too, just not one of the natural sciences.

    4) That is a false dichotomy. I belong to both groups. I am always open to new possibilities, but at the same time I accept that there are Absolute Truths that exist, although we haven’t discovered them yet.

    It is equally as fallacious to be always looking for new possibilities as it is to deny – at least at current – that there are new possibilities. For instance, there is no point in trying to look for a triangle with four sides.

    6) Of course, Absolute Truth does not negotiate; because it is Absolute Truth. I am not going to debate the two issues you raise, because that is not relevant to this thread’s main topic. Although I would say that the first one is illogical and the second one is complex.

    7) No and no. I am still waiting for my question to be answered: From where does the Start-point of Evolution originate?

  • yj

    Arix:

    You raise fun points. =)

    Anyway, I’m familiar with the fine tuning argument.

    To me, it seems that it’s a moot point. If the conditions for were not conducive for life to arise at the start, we wouldn’t be here arguing about how life began would we?

    Of course, that doesn’t give an explanation about why there is life now. Leonard Susskind has an interesting explanation in his book, The Cosmic Landscape about the string theory landscape.

    I must confess that I’m not proficient enough in math to understand his arguments properly, but his general argument that different parts of the universe might have different fundamental constants seems to make sense.

  • inferno

    -justkaypoh

    You are definitely entitled to your personal opinion, and if you feel that the evidence in support of Evolution is insufficient to convince you, then I suppose nothing more we say can convince you. And you are not alone in this position either. But I hope you have achieved a better understanding of what Evolution truly entails, and not the wishy-washy, popular interpretations we see peddled around the internet. But one parting shot from me: Why is it that chickens have the gene for teeth in their genome, when modern chickens do not have teeth at all? If this isn’t a huge hint, I don’t know what is =D

    -Arix

    Just wanted to add in something here. I believe the start point of Evolution is at the point in time when we have self-replicating molecules.

  • justkaypoh

    The premises of Evolution:
    1. Heredity
    2. Mutation, must be random
    3. Sex and recombination
    4. Natural selection.
    5. Speciation

  • justkaypoh

    Inferno
    Can you answer my simple questions?
    Can I conclude that TOE is less rigorous and less true compared to Theory of Gravity?
    Yes/No?

    The million dollar question we have not is what extent of methodological rigor do you deem the evidences of TOE to be conclusive?

    Please be specific, if not it will show that the conclusions are drawn from very informal (rough, vagues) ideas. Without methodology there’ll be no Science to talk about.

  • justkaypoh

    inferno
    “then I suppose nothing more we say can convince you”

    It not a matter of convincing me or not. You have to convince yourself based on very explicit set of rules to conclude that Evolution is ‘somewhat’ Science. Maybe you had not thought before, now should be the time to think about it.

  • James

    We are all human beings with limited brain and mind power. How can we ever understand fully or even know the real truth about the universe, earth, their origins and future? Believing in God or Gods or no god is based on faith, not facts. We are not God, and we’ll never know for sure until we meet Him or not, eventually. As long as we are here on earth as human beings, we are forever trying to learn and find out more. Science is also evolving all the time and is never exact. Education doesn’t end (“Singaporean”, there is no full stop to education, unless you want to stop learning). Education is about continuous learning; there are many sides to topics like evolution and creationism, whichever you believe, that’s for you to decide. How can our kids learn if they are taught or subjected to only one side. The most important point about education or anything else is “don’t believe anything you hear, read or come across”; decide for yourself. Learning to make up your own mind is the greatest gift of education. It’s the pedants and dogmatics of this world that are mental and emotional terrorists.

  • inferno

    I would strongly disagree that the theory of Evolution is less rigorous than that of the theory of Gravitation. Both theories have stood the test of time, and have emerged with but a few knocks along the way. Both theories have been refined and updated in line with new observations made with new advances in technology. Yet the core of both theories remains unchanged.

    The fact remains that despite countless attempts to disprove it, the theory of Evolution has survived spectacularly. The best you can do to try and discredit it is to argue from irreducible complexity, and even then it’s probably only a matter of time before someone finds a plausible path in which so and so trait developed.

    For all purposes, the theory of Evolution is true given what knowledge we have today. As the evolutionary biologist Theodosius Dobzhansky said, “Nothing in Biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.” It is precisely an imperfect, impartial process like Evolution that can account for all the flaws we see in today’s seemingly-perfect organisms, as well as atavisms and vestigial traits, for which nobody has been able to propose any other remotely plausible answer.

  • Dr Syed Alwi

    Dear James,

    We can figure out the Universe using the Scientific Method ! The very fact that we are in cyberspace debating this – is proof enough for me of the power of Science.

    Religion is NOT an education – it is an INDOCTRINATION.

    If we subject Religion to Science and Reason, it will fall apart.

    Regards
    Dr Syed Alwi

  • Zefly (aka Joshua Chiang)

    Why doesn’t take my belief in Goddess Gaia as the Creator of Earth seriously?

  • inferno

    -justkaypoh

    The quote from Dobzhansky is the title of his famous essay that he wrote shortly before his death. The full text can be found at:
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/10/2/text_pop/l_102_01.html

    I strongly encourage you to read it thoroughly, in order appreciate the thought process scientists go through before they accept theories such as Evolution as true. I shall quote a key paragraph:

    (In the context of Copernicus’ theory of heliocentricity)
    “Parts of the Copernican world model, such as the contention that the earth rotates around the sun, and not vice versa, have not been verified by direct observations even to the extent the sphericity of the earth has been. Yet scientists accept the model as an accurate representation of reality. Why? Because it makes sense of a multitude of facts which are otherwise meaningless or extravagant. To non-specialists most of these facts are unfamiliar. Why then do we accept the “mere theory” that the earth is a sphere revolving around a spherical sun? Are we simply submitting to authority? Not quite: we know that those who took the time to study the evidence found it convincing.”

    Allow me to emphasise, “Because it makes sense of a multitude of facts which are otherwise meaningless or extravagant.”

  • squit

    Justkaypoh:

    I don’t think that’s how melanism (black swan) works. Genomes are not like machines. Just having a gene may not mean you will express it, express it enough, express it in a functional manner, express it in a form that is modified for something else, and so on. Take it from a biologist, we are nowhere able to predict how species look like based on their genomes. We could if we used evolution, but let’s hold that aside since it is the issue under contention.

    Also, I must insist that a valid alternative to gravity is intelligent falling. Gravity is unsupported by the fact that the equations for the total amount of observed mass in the universe not matching up to the total amount of mass there should be to keep the universe from dissipating into a thin misty fog of particles. Of course, those physicists want to sell you on the existence of dark matter, but that is of course NOT TRUE since no one has seen it or observed it in any way or form and we can only induce its existence. And of course, since you consider induction to be bad science, this can only be so. much. nonsense. Intelligent falling, however, doesn’t suffer from any of these problems since everything is kept together by An Alternative.

    - Right, reply done with.

    This endless debate of which scientific theory is more better correct than another, it grows tedious. Science is a process, not an orthodoxy. This endless debate of epistemology completely misses the point. ABSOLUTE TRUTH might exist, and we might very well know some of them, but this sort of stuff is poison to science. Once we all fall down on our knees in front of ABSOLUTE TRUTH, there is no science, because there is no point. Also might I mention that we are human being isolated in our own brains mired in our dimensional limitations, hence science is our way of groping in the dark? The elephant to our three blind men? Let’s have that beautiful little parable by Pharyngula http://www.white-pebble.net/?p=4774

    Let’s discuss real animals, real plants, real world here. I think we’re missing the point. Science (evolution) is not just some pissing contest where people get to feel more right than others, it’s based on observable examples in the real world. I think earth (the universe, etc) is too big and marvellous to waste to keep harping on the same boring stuff over and over again. I don’t think I can persuade anyone if they have already made up their minds about things, but I can provide biological examples that I consider to be best explained by evolution, beyond Galapagos birds.

    Right now I have better things to do than get moderated again, so look these case studies up yourself: the panda’s thumb, the blind cave Mexican tetra (Astyanax spp.), Endler’s Trinidad guppies, shared genetic code, Drosophila simulans reproductive complex, biogeography. Ratite birds in South America and Africa, mate choice, ring species (check out the gulls in the Pacific Ring and the salamanders in California), the cichlid fish at Lake Tanganyika and Lake Victoria, the fossil record, the amber record, the whale fossils of Pakistan are a particular favourite of mine. Lenski’s cit+ E. coli, the occurence and rarity of parthenogenesis, vestigial legs in whales, vestigial legs in snakes, ontogeny of animals, antibiotic resistance, the lesser short-tailed bat of New Zealand, isoforms of the haemoglobin subunit, just off the top of my head and a cursory search on the internet.

  • justkaypoh

    Quoted Evo examples:
    “Homo Sapiens as a species is at most a few thousand years old, which is but a heartbeat when we look at how old the fossils are. Fossils have also been found for species such as Homo Habilis and Homo Neanderthalensis”

    “For example, let’s say we have a species A diverging into two species, B and C. Upon comparison of DNA, we estimate that B and C diverged, say 50 million years ago (mya). When we go back to the fossil record, we should not see ANY fossils of B and C that are older than 50 mya.”

    One very simple explanation is that B and C extinct at about the same time.

    Yj: “Pesticide resistance in insects, for example. A classic example of natural selection in action.”
    “Why is it that chickens have the gene for teeth in their genome, when modern chickens do not have teeth at all? If this isn’t a huge hint, I don’t know what is =D”

    All these are WEAK premises and very inconclusive to say the shows TOE is true.
    Please put all these examples into our agreed definitions of Science and TOE (remember we did that?)
    So which one stand the tests?

    By having a lot (as many as possible) premises and ‘evidences’ doesn’t make a conclusion more true. It is the quality that counts.

  • Dr Syed Alwi

    Dear justkaypoh,

    Why don’t you do a degree in Biology ? Take up the challenge of proving Evolution wrong !

    I dare you and I challenge you to take up the study of Biology to a higher level.

    Don’t just listen to the pulpit. Come join in the real world of science.

    Regards
    Dr Syed Alwi

  • justkaypoh

    inferno
    “I would strongly disagree that the theory of Evolution is less rigorous than that of the theory of Gravitation. Both theories have stood the test of time”
    Stood the test of time is very vague and unscientific. A lot of wrong ideas lasted very long in time.

    You said in your own words:
    “On the other hand, Evolution is very much a work in progress,”
    Are you going back on them?

  • Zefly (aka Joshua Chiang)

    Justkaypoh,

    So do you agree with me that Goddess Gaia created life or not?

  • justkaypoh

    Dr Syed Alwi

    How do you know that I did not learn Biology at a higher level? Your assumption not scientific and without reason

  • Lop

    #299 justkaypoh

    “By having a lot (as many as possible) premises and ‘evidences’ doesn’t make a conclusion more true. It is the quality that counts.”

    If you remember my jigsaw puzzle analogy – each individual piece of the puzzle of course doesn’t say much, the answer lies with the picture you get when you put the pieces together. It seems you insist on looking at each piece of the puzzle in isolation and refuse to see the picture presented by the pieces put together.

  • justkaypoh

    To all TOE supporters

    Which examples/facts/evidences are really experimented? And can be re-experimented?
    Remember the very BASIC premises of Science?

    It’s doesn’t really pass the very most basic premises. No point giving long drawn complicated examples. Just say whether they fulfill the premises will do.

  • Arix

    Oxford Dude (#274),

    1) As a matter of fact, I didn’t actually give examples of what I considered to be ahte speech. What I gave examples of was what I see as opinions that are being demonized as “hate speech”.

    Jesus didn’t breach Moral Codes, unless of course they were fake Moral Codes to begin with.

    2) Well, it is a misuse because it is using a scientific discipline as a philosophical discipline. What do you mean by “non-theological”?

    I reject any philosophy that claims that Truth does not come from a Divine/Metaphysical/Trans-universal Reality. Secular Humanism uses as a basis Metaphysical Naturalism which claims just that. Therefore I reject Secular Humanism.

    I do not have an issue with rational approaches. I have an issue with rational approaches that are forcefully constrained within the material world.

    Read here for a definition of rationalism:-

    http://www.progressiveliving.org/rationalism_defined.htm

    3) Religiosity is independent of religion and spirituality, although it appears otherwise.

    Before we proceed, I will define Morality. The Morality I refer to is the Moral sense, as opposed to the moral code. Moral Sense comes from Innate Religion/ Religious Yearning. Around this Moral Sense, Organized Religion or Organized Secular Humanism springs up and devises its own Moral Code.

    Actually, Secular Humanism “steals” aspects of moral codes from Organized Religion. And no, I am not misinformed about this. The earliest Moral Codes were passed down orally and in example, and they pre-date what we identify today as Organized Religion. These coagulated into proto-Organized-Religion.

    When these early Organized Religions died off, the Moral Codes which were already imbued in the population did not, and instead passed down the generations as Cultural Norms. These Cultural Norms are absorbed into Secular Humanism as “Secular” items.

    Here is something interesting to look at:

    http://www.progressiveliving.org/ETHI_AND_RELI.htm

    (This site embraces Humanism but rejects Atheism and Secular Humanism.)

    “Morality comes from our need to survive” is not a very good explanation, because it doesn’t cover why our survival requires morality; it also doesn’t cover why some moral codes prevent war, which certainly is not a good medium for ensuring the survival of the species (for obvious reasons).

    But I agree with you: Secular Humanism exists as a defensive mechanism for Atheists.

  • Dr Syed Alwi

    Dear justkaypoh,

    Your ignorance of Biological issues and facts – proves that you cannot possibly be a Biology major from a reasonable, accredited college. Certainly you are not an NUS Biology graduate for example. Your knowledge of Biology is clearly very weak.

    Forgive me for saying all this.

    Regards
    Dr Syed Alwi

  • justkaypoh

    Lop
    “If you remember my jigsaw puzzle analogy – each individual piece of the puzzle of course doesn’t say much, the answer lies with the picture you get when you put the pieces together. It seems you insist on looking at each piece of the puzzle in isolation and refuse to see the picture presented by the pieces put together.”

    Yes I remember. Your analogy is not appropriate. As the saying goes, many ‘wrongs’ don’t’ make a ‘right’

    It’s more like having the wrong pieces of jigsaw parcel from other boxes to place on this particular puzzle. So the quantity of the each piece will not help one to form the whole picture.

  • inferno

    “For example, let’s say we have a species A diverging into two species, B and C. Upon comparison of DNA, we estimate that B and C diverged, say 50 million years ago (mya). When we go back to the fossil record, we should not see ANY fossils of B and C that are older than 50 mya.”

    One very simple explanation is that B and C extinct at about the same time.

    For the record, though I guess it won’t make a difference at this point in time, you seem to have missed the point completely here. I am talking about species B and C still in existence TODAY, so your “simple” explanation about them going extinct is completely off-tangent.

    And to your last post, no I am not going back against my word in any way. Just because Evolution is a work in progress does not make it any less correct. As new observations come in, new light will be shone on the mystery, and scientists will refine it along the way. Even Darwin’s original theory of Evolution was imperfect and (in some sense) “wrong”, but then again Science at that time had not learned of genes and DNA. Yet we do not see people saying it is wrong. Similar (as others have mentioned), Newton’s laws of gravitation are not universal, and thus they are not universal facts, yet nobody tries to deny their veracity. I have confidence that as we learn more about the natural world, new insights will be made that will continue to strengthen the theory even further.

    When I say “work in progress”, I mean it in the context of scientific discovery, not as how an unfinished building cannot be called a building. Many things in science can be considered “works in progress”, for if there’s an unsolved mystery out there, then there is work to be done, and if there are no mysteries left then Science itself is doomed.

    Much as your quest for scientific accuracy and integrity is to be admired, one starts to wonder whether it is truly scientific purism that drives your arguments, or the nagging thought at the back of your head that you inherently refuse to accept whatever evidence is thrown your way….


    And it appears that while I’m drafting thoughtfully-worded replies, you shoot off yet another post that borders on bellicosity.

    “Which examples/facts/evidences are really experimented? And can be re-experimented?
    Remember the very BASIC premises of Science?

    It’s doesn’t really pass the very most basic premises. No point giving long drawn complicated examples. Just say whether they fulfill the premises will do.”

    It is clear from your comments that despite the numerous breadcrumbs we have provided you to try and enlighten you on the fruits of decades of combined research across numerous fields, you still persist on keeping the blindfold tight over your own eyes.

    If you wish for me to be blunt, then so be it: I observe that newly-born whale calves sometimes have partially-developed hind legs. After recovering from my initial shock, I think about it and realise that the only possible explanation for this is if whales evolved from land mammals, and kept some of the genes for leg-formation silenced in the genome, where they can be accidentally activated due to unexpected mutations.

    Evolution is Science at its finest. Nowhere else do we see convergence between multiple naturalistic fields of such epic proportions.

  • justkaypoh

    Dr Syed Alwi

    I don’t mind what you said, as you can saying anything you want to.

    If you really know what is Science, please answer my question in #306, so far you had not said anything that is our REAL scientific substance.

    Sweeping statement to say this or that is science does not help. It has to withstand the very basic premises of Science.

  • squit

    300 Justkaypoh): Sometimes I get the impression that you are just throwing examples without actually understanding what they mean. But I believe that correcting your skewed ideas of how biology works will lead to a more nuanced opposition, so here I go.

    Paragraph 1 (Homo fossils): ….And your point is?

    Paragraph 2 (A(B, C)):…Okay, the example is Species A = parent Species B and C = Offspring. Whatever do you mean by B and C going extinct at the same time, and what does that have to do with the fossil record? Fossils are formed from animals that were once alive, not extinct at the time. Maybe you need a diagram to help explain it better? I can do this in greater detail if you cannot understand why I think your example makes no sense whatsoever. Just imagine a Y shape in a graph with positive x-axis being the direction of time. A is at the root, B and C at the tips. What they are saying is you can never find B and C fossils in rocks the age of A and below.

    Paragraph 3: For goodness sakes, just saying it’s weak and inconclusive doesn’t make it weak and inconclusive. It is insulting to inferno, who had the presence of mind to give you what you asked for (not yj). That’s a subjective value you are attaching to an observed piece of evidence. Science would just scratch a chalk line for evolution in the scoreboard of [ Evolution | Creation ]

    If you want to disbelieve in evolution for whatever pet idea you have, feel free to do so. But don’t you dare denigrate the evidence that other people bring you. It is wholly unpalatable to me that you’d 1) say X isn’t true, then 2) say all the evidence is weak, and demand for evidence, 3) misrepresent all the biological examples you bring up and to top it off 4) when people do so you minge that it isn’t CONCLUSIVE (what do you need, hundred-foot tall letters burning EVOLUTION IS TRUE – GOD)? Face it, the real world is far messier and more complicated than some suppaaa overwhelming special case study that will blow everyone’s doubts to nowhereland, forever and ever (well I personally think that Pakicetus fits that category but something tells me you’ll disagree)

    Sorry but nothing in science has amazing quality evidence that is undisputably explained by only one thing. Imagination makes us human, and imagination means we can have a million fanciful ways of explaining away practically everything we can think of.

    I agree with Dr. Syed Alwi. Come join us! Be a biologist and design that ultimate experiment based on reality to disprove evolution once and for all. I eagerly await that day so I can tell my grandkids that I lived in that brilliant age where one of the most powerful ideas about how we think the world works of the 20th century was toppled and replaced by an even more brilliant idea in the 21st.

  • Arix

    yj (#288),

    1) Thanks for the compliment.

    4) The question then is where the Fundamental Constants come from. And just to confuse a little further, the idea of Constants itself comes from the Philosophy of Mathematics, so that Constants and other Numbers are merely symbols of non-boundable realities.

  • Arix

    inferno (#289),

    Then the question is: where did the self-replicating molecules originate? And I don’t think Evolution is set up to answer that question.

    Dr Syed Alwi (#295),

    Perhaps you should change your name to an Atheistic Name. More importantly, Religion is not just indoctrination; it is instinct too.

    If full Science and Full Reason were used, Religion would be justified, and would not fall apart. What would fall apart is Materialist Atheism.

    Zef (#296),

    I think that the Navajo might still take you seriously.=)

    More seriously, it is because belief in the Goddess Gaia is a belief at the animistic level of social development, whereas most societies are now at the Mythic level of development.

    Some Societies are in the Materialist Level, and the USA is split between Materialist Atheists and Power-Figure Evangelical Christianity. Europe has embraced the Pluralist Level more fully.

    For more, read Ken Wilber’s A Theory of Everything.

  • inferno

    I used to think the lowest creationists could go would be when they try time and again to pussyfoot around the countless examples of clear evidence in favour of Evolution, such as transitional fossils, etc. But justkaypoh has just brought things to a whole new (lower) level. Instead of attempting to base arguments on any kind of scientific evidence of any kind, he bulldozes right in and starts claiming that all the evidence for Evolution is, I quote exactly, “WEAK”.

    The impression I have forming inside my head is of a guy covering his ears with his hands, running around screaming “YOUR EVIDENCE IS WEAK! I CAN’T HEAR YOU NAH NAH NAH! what was that you just said again, or right it doesn’t matter, YOUR EVIDENCE IS WEAK!”

    It appears that your posts are bordering on self-gratification. This is precisely why I have seen numerous supporters of Evolution give up trying to argue their point on online forums, because the other party just dances around the points and pretends to form a coherent argument. For all that you have posted here, it just boils down to “THIS ISN’T REAL SCIENCE NAH NAH NAH”, and I wonder if you have the temerity to respond this way in a face-to-face debate. Perhaps you have been learning from the late Duane Gish, inventor of the fabled Gish Gallop?

  • inferno

    -Arix

    Yes Evolution most definitely is not set up to answer that question. But then again, nobody has ever claimed to answer that question on Evolution’s behalf either…

  • Arix

    Inferno (#315),

    Indeed, my point all along: Evolution is not set up to answer that question.

    Evolution is not set up to answer that question, but theism (in its widest sense) is.

    On the other hand, people like Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens are busy running claims that Evolution can indeed answer that question. That’s why I strongly disapprove these two and their followers. Looking on Dawkins’ website, it is clear that most of its members are fond of anti-theistic diatribes, with no interest in argument whatsoever. Like Teacher, Like Student, I suppose.

  • squit

    Dear Arix,

    Nice way to make the argument personal now.

    Are you seriously implying that all atheists are immoral and/or secretly worship God only they are so benighted they don’t know what they do? My jaw dropped at that one. To assume that you need god to be a good person is incredibly rude to all the law-abiding helpful people who don’t have religion. I donate blood, money, and the occasional community service myself, without the help of a supernatural police and the threat of suffering utter torment for all eternity. Heck, isn’t it surprising that I control myself and not rape donkeys and kill babies for their lunch money before 10am every day, given how much I disbelieve in organised religion. I do good things because I know they are good, not because some religious guy said so in year 400.

    People are good/bad whether or not they believe in God. And don’t trot out the boring atheist dictators (Hitler/Stalin/Mao). Every crazy atheist you can bring me, I can match with equally insane religious madman, and I throw in the Crusades, Ireland, Al Qaeda etc so on.

    Just as he doesn’t use gravity to rebut the moral imperative to help those less fortunate than himself, Dawkins doesn’t use evolution as a replacement for God. Please, do read the source material before stating what he did or did not say.

    You know what predated ideas of civil liberties? Treating women as chattel, and the righteous murder or infidels. Just because a group came up with a good idea doesn’t mean that everything about that particular group or ideology is unanimously great. Just because the bible had some great ideas about being a decent human being doesn’t mean that it has the bloody copyright.

    I also notice that the Greeks are conspicuously missing from your discussion.

    How insulting are you? You deny atheists and agnostics, us, ME our moral compasses unless it comes with God attached. Our sense of right and wrong isn’t just restricted to humans with access to philosophical texts, some higher mammals also display it. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/wildlife/5373379/Animals-can-tell-right-from-wrong.html

    I don’t expect an apology from you, but I think you better think very very carefully about what you said regarding hate speech. Words can be perfectly civil but the intent not neccessarily so.

  • to justkaypoh
  • justkaypoh

    inferno
    “For the record, though I guess it won’t make a difference at this point in time, you seem to have missed the point completely here. I am talking about species B and C still in existence TODAY, so your “simple” explanation about them going extinct is completely off-tangent.”
    You did not state clearly the points clear, so it’s not consider off-tangent.
    Anyway this example can’t be experimented right?

    “And it appears that while I’m drafting thoughtfully-worded replies, you shoot off yet another post that borders on bellicosity. ”

    I think you got me wrong, which points of mine are bases on emotional rants and contra-logic reasons?
    I did learn some knowledge on philosophy and logic, I’ll only accepts facts tested with logic.

    Justkaypoh: “Which examples/facts/evidences are really experimented? And can be re-experimented?
    “Remember the very BASIC premises of Science?”

    You may ‘feel offended’ by questioning again? Didn’t we agree that we come out with agreed definition of Science? Why don’t we put them to use? Are they irrelevant for TOE? I still hope that you can sincerely answer this question which I sincerely ask.
    “It is clear from your comments that despite the numerous breadcrumbs we have provided you to try and enlighten you on the fruits of decades of combined research across numerous fields, you still persist on keeping the blindfold tight over your own eyes.”

    I believe and hope that you are not imposing your views on me. I rejected the examples/facts/evidences on the basis that they did NOT pass the ‘Science test’. They are not even experimented before, so should I blindly accept them due to peer pressure or pressure by majority?

    “After recovering from my initial shock, I think about it and realise that the only possible explanation for this is if whales evolved from land mammals, and kept some of the genes for leg-formation silenced in the genome, where they can be accidentally activated due to unexpected mutations.”

    “only possible explanation”

    You are jumping conclusions again, without good scientific reasons.

  • Zefly (aka Joshua Chiang)

    Actually, regarding Nazism and Communism.. well Nazism isn’t exactly an aethist belief. And according to Sam Harris, Communism can be considered as a form of ‘Godless’ religion in the way it’s ideology is doctrinal and can’t be questioned.

    Oh which reminds me… go read The End of Faith.

  • justkaypoh

    inferno

    What is the point of agreeing on the definition of Science when we are not using it on TOE?

  • inferno

    According to the United States National Academy of Sciences,

    Some scientific explanations are so well established that no new evidence is likely to alter them. The explanation becomes a scientific theory. In everyday language a theory means a hunch or speculation. Not so in science. In science, the word theory refers to a comprehensive explanation of an important feature of nature supported by facts gathered over time. Theories also allow scientists to make predictions about as yet unobserved phenomena,

    A scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on a body of facts that have been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experiment. Such fact-supported theories are not “guesses” but reliable accounts of the real world. The theory of biological evolution is more than “just a theory.” It is as factual an explanation of the universe as the atomic theory of matter or the germ theory of disease. Our understanding of gravity is still a work in progress. But the phenomenon of gravity, like evolution, is an accepted fact.

    If:

    1. Every thing we observe in nature can be explained by Evolution, such as atavisms, vestigial traits and even animal behaviour.

    2. NOT ONE piece of evidence exists that goes against the principles of Evolution.

    3. For decades, the theory of Evolution has empowered scientists to make intelligent predictions. For another simple yet elegant example, we can trace the ancestry of marsupials. The first marsupial fossils appear in North and South America between 80 and 40 million years ago (mya). However, the oldest marsupial fossils found in Australia are dated to 30 mya. Researchers then theorized that the time gap could be accounted for by the time it took for ancient marsupials to migrate from the Americas to Australia. Based on continental drift and the reconstructed “map” of Gondwana, the land mass that connected the two places then, is Antarctica today. When the scientists went to Antarctica, they found marsupial fossils that were 35-40 million years old, which were PRECISELY the age that was expected of them according to evolutionary theory.

    So everything we see supports it, nothing we see refutes it, and it is capable of making non-trivial, precisely-defined predictions that turn out to be astoundingly true. That makes it Science with a capital S in every sense of the word.

  • justkaypoh

    inferno
    “examples of clear evidence in favour of Evolution, such as transitional fossils, etc. “

    The evidences maybe clear to you, but again they are not experimented before. So its very subjective to say so.

    “But justkaypoh has just brought things to a whole new (lower) level. “
    Does this help to improve an intellectual debate?

    “Instead of attempting to base arguments on any kind of scientific evidence of any kind, he bulldozes right in and starts claiming that all the evidence for Evolution is, I quote exactly, “WEAK”.”

    Please read my posts carefully, I did explain why I label the evidences as ‘weak’. Again, here. They did not fulfill the definition of Science.

    “and I wonder if you have the temerity to respond this way in a face-to-face debate. Perhaps you have been learning from the late Duane Gish, inventor of the fabled Gish Gallop?”

    A false will not be more true or made true just because more people support it. Or how emotional one gets.

    Yea, why not, let’s meet face to face for a good intellectual debate. Are you game?

  • inferno

    There are some fundamental issues that we disagree on, and if the vast amount of evidence shown to you (I wonder if you have actually bothered to go through it and actually think about it) has not made a difference, digging up more will not either.

    Frankly, I feel that I’m reaching the upper limit as to time spent on this debate already. Not that I’m about to shy off from a face-to-face debate, but there probably is no point given the merry-go-round we see on this page. I have repeatedly defined ‘Science’ and ‘theory’ for you, and elaborated as to how Evolution meet every reasonable criteria. Yet you choose to dismiss everything by claiming it “did not fulfill the definition of Science.” Fair enough. So now I pose the question to you:

    How about you give us YOUR definition of Science and scientific theory. And then elaborate as to how Evolution has failed to meet your criteria.

  • justkaypoh

    “ A scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on a body of facts that have been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experiment.”

    In your own quotations. Where are the experiments in any specific case?

    “marsupial fossils” , in conclusion, how does this example proof TOE?

  • inferno

    First and foremost:

    “So now I pose the question to you:

    How about you give us YOUR definition of Science and scientific theory. And then elaborate as to how Evolution has failed to meet your criteria.”

    Second. The marsupial fossils example is merely to demonstrate that Evolution more than satisfies the criteria of predictive power.

    Third. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E._coli_long-term_evolution_experiment
    This experiment has been ongoing for 21 years now, and counting. One clear proof of evolution having taken place was one particular strain of E. Coli evolving the ability to subsist on citric acid, i.e. the ability to metabolise citrate. This is especially astounding because the inability of wild-type E. Coli to survive only on citric acid is a test used to differentiate E. Coli from Salmonella bacteria.

    Here we have another clear-cut example of an experiment that has been carried out worldwide for many centuries:

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/7/7e/IMG013biglittledogFX_wb.jpg/180px-IMG013biglittledogFX_wb.jpg

    Of course, if you are looking for experiments such as organisms growing a new limb, well good luck on waiting for that to happen, and we can meet again in a couple million years’ time to see if anything has changed.

  • justkaypoh

    inferno
    “There are some fundamental issues that we disagree on, and if the vast amount of evidence shown to you (I wonder if you have actually bothered to go through it and actually think about it) has not made a difference, digging up more will not either.”

    Well, if I didn’t read how then did I debate base on the facts? How did I conclude that the were not ‘seemingly’ experimented?

    I’m questioning more on your methodology. You method ‘seems’ to be: the more evidences to show = theory more true. By the same logic, the we can throw up equal numbers of refutation or creationist evidences which drafted by scientist as well. In fact, Newton and Einstein are believers of God.

    “Frankly, I feel that I’m reaching the upper limit as to time spent on this debate already. Not that I’m about to shy off from a face-to-face debate,
    Well, we can consider skype?

    “but there probably is no point given the merry-go-round we see on this page. I have repeatedly defined ‘Science’ and ‘theory’ for you, and elaborated as to how Evolution meet every reasonable criteria. Yet you choose to dismiss everything by claiming it “did not fulfill the definition of Science.” Fair enough. So now I pose the question to you:”

    Yes, you had defined Science and Theory. And you had given a lot of ‘evidences’ and example. But I did not see any posts that you showed they had met the criteria.
    “How about you give us YOUR definition of Science and scientific theory. And then elaborate as to how Evolution has failed to meet your criteria.”

    I’ve given multiple posts on the definition already. I’ll collate them into a single post to show more clearly how they did not met the criteria of Science (not mine)

    I don’t meant to be stringent and strict to your examples, but Science is. So please don’t blame me for ‘nagging’

  • White dwarf

    As expected, justkaypoh has not proved that “evolution is not science”. This is because he can’t.

    All he can do is to keep parroting that lie: “Evolution is not science. Evolution is not science. Evolution is not science. Evolution is not science. Evolution is not science. Evolution is not science.”

    Repeating a lie does not make the lie true, justkaypoh.

    So, please leh. Prove that evolution is not science leh. LOLOLOLOL!!

  • inferno

    -whitedwarf

    While your comments speak the truth, they don’t really contribute to improving the quality of the discussion. And your LOLOLOL pretty much prevents anyone from taking you seriously.

    -justkaypoh

    You requested experimental evidence for Evolution, which has been provided.

    Unfortunately, I do not currently have the equipment necessary to conduct a conversation over Skype. It appears that this medium will have to suffice.

  • Lop

    justkaypoh

    I’m not sure if this helps, but I lifted it from wiki -list of misconception anyway:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_misconceptions

    Scientific Method
    There is no single, strict Scientific method used by all scientists, a misconception popularized by elementary science textbooks. The rigid “Hypothesis/Experiment/Conclusion” model of science is an important part of many fields, particularly basic sciences like Physics and Chemistry, but is not the only way to perform genuine science. Many sciences do not fit well into this mold (astronomy, paleontology, mathematics), and much important scientific work has come from curiosity and unguided exploration, for example, the discovery of cosmic microwave background radiation, or the development of the Atomic force microscope.

    *sigh*

  • Arix

    Squit (#317),

    1) I was talking to inferno, not to you. And I was critiquing Atheists as a group generally, except of course for Dawkins and Hitchens who in all honesty disgrace even fellow Atheists and Agnostics.

    Yes, I know your argument. But my argument is not that you need belief in God to be a Good Person, but that God needs to exist (in the simpler form of the argument) in order for you to have a conception of what a Good Person is. Please don’t misread me.

    I am not interested in whether you do something because you think it is good or because some “religious guy” told you to, which incidentally is very insulting to these people too, because they were good people who loved their neighbours. The way you regard them displays the same sort of arrogance that Dawkins displays in his book.

    What I am interested in is why that religious guy thinks so, or why you think so.

    2) Well, thanks for trotting them out to me then.=)

    But honestly, the fact that both sides can match each other doesn’t prove that Atheism propels people towards goodness more than religion does. The proper argument to use towards Atheist dictators is that their Atheism/ “Enlightnement” did not prevent them from committing their barbaric deeds.

    3) Yes, he does. In The God Delusion, he firmly states that “The Theory of Evolution conclusively demonstrates that the Existence of God is unnecessary, and thus it is a logical conclusion that God does not exist.” I did read the Source Material.

    4) I didn’t say the Bible had any “bloody copyright”. Lol, you are being far more emotional than I have been at all on this thread. I have been using the more abstract term “Religion” so that I can cover as many faiths as possible.

    Anyway, I dislike copyright itself, and I think it ought to be abolished.

    Incidentally, deifying civil liberties is not without its demerits. Too much civil liberties result in anarchy. Civil Liberties fulfill their purpose when they are implemented relatively, not when everybody implements them absolutely.

    5) In case you were wondering, I did not INTENTIONALLY omit the Greeks. I did not mention the Greeks because I didn’t find them relevant to the discussion. In fact, the only people I mentioned directly were Dawkins and Hitchens.

    I have been talking in the abstract, so I haven’t even mentioned the names of Religious Figures, except for the brief mention of Jesus, whom Inferno referred to.

    I generally don’t include new elements unless someone injects them. My style is mainly to respond, unless explicitly stated.

    6) I admit I don’t exactly understand what you mean by “with God attached”, but I guess that it isn’t a very flattering portrayal of theism.

    Your point on animal ethical standards is interesting but it doesn’t really illuminate whatever point you are trying to make. It just proves that the Moral Sense is just as alive in animals as in humans, but doesn’t explain where the Moral Sense comes from in the first place.

    7) Hate Speech is “speech intended to offend” (taken from Wikipedia). It is not “speech that is intended to critique and help”. I understand the phenomenon of “sweet talkers”, but I also think that it is wrong to label every religious person who argues from the point of love – but from a perspective opposite to yours – as a “sweet-talker”.

    And please don’t try to be moralistic. Given that you are the one who is misrepresenting me, the logic states that you should be apologizing to me, not the other way round.

    Your post is not even civil to begin with.

    Note too: The Constitution of Hate Speech is under vigorous debate.

  • inferno

    -Lop

    Wow I’m truly astounded to see you’re still here after almost two hours of inactivity. Anyway, great pickup on that article, I wanted to bring it up earlier but forgot it in a flurry of thought.

    -justkaypoh

    We cannot possibly conduct experiments to find out more about black holes; in fact, by definition, we cannot even observe them. Yet we don’t see people trying to poke holes (pun not intended) in black hole theory.

    Also, as it is getting late, if you do not reply by 2am I shall assume the debate is adjourned and will retire to bed.

  • justkaypoh

    gimme a sec

  • justkaypoh

    A theory, in the scientific sense of the word, is an analytic structure that requires:
    1. empirical observations.

    2. it identifies this set of distinct observations as a class of phenomena, and

    3. makes assertions about the underlying reality that brings about or affects this class. The assertions have to be based on reason and mathematical logic.

    The premises of Evolution:
    1. Heredity
    2. Mutation, must be random
    3. Sex and recombination
    4. Natural selection.
    5. Speciation

    Quoted Evo examples:
    “Homo Sapiens as a species is at most a few thousand years old, which is but a heartbeat when we look at how old the fossils are. Fossils have also been found for species such as Homo Habilis and Homo Neanderthalensis”

    Fail 3 points of ST (Scientific Theory)

    “For example, let’s say we have a species A diverging into two species, B and C. Upon comparison of DNA, we estimate that B and C diverged, say 50 million years ago (mya). When we go back to the fossil record, we should not see ANY fossils of B and C that are older than 50 mya.”

    Fail 3 points of ST (Scientific Theory)

    Yj: “Pesticide resistance in insects, for example. A classic example of natural selection in action.”
    “Why is it that chickens have the gene for teeth in their genome, when modern chickens do not have teeth at all? If this isn’t a huge hint, I don’t know what is =D”

    Fail 3 points of ST (Scientific Theory)

  • inferno

    I believe you omitted any elaboration of your point from your previous post. What exactly does “Fail 3 points of ST (Scientific Theory)” mean in the context of the first part of your post, and do explain how those specified examples seem to apparently fail the criteria.

    In fact, you should be critiquing the Theory of Evolution itself, not the purported evidence for it, which would be an exercise in futility thanks to the tonnes of evidence I can throw at you. The criteria you have stated are specific to Theories, not Evidence.

    Finally, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, post #327. If you do not address this in your next post then clearly you are not taking this debate seriously.

  • justkaypoh

    Inferno
    I copied the extraction of your examples from my previous post, do you want me to quote the full text?
    “In fact, you should be critiquing the Theory of Evolution itself, not the purported evidence for it, which would be an exercise in futility thanks to the tonnes of evidence I can throw at you. The criteria you have stated are specific to Theories, not Evidence.”

    You assumption and methodology in this IMO is wrong. My assumption a Theory is supported by empirical evidence/observations. By the same league, refutation has to be made in according to the evidences/observation. A theory can’t be claim to be True or False plainly on the Theory itself, agree?
    I’ll surely reply post #327.

  • inferno

    -justkaypoh

    No doubt you have quoted examples that were given earlier, but you still fail to pinpoint precisely WHY you consider them to have failed the “test”. Case in point:

    “For example, let’s say we have a species A diverging into two species, B and C. Upon comparison of DNA, we estimate that B and C diverged, say 50 million years ago (mya). When we go back to the fossil record, we should not see ANY fossils of B and C that are older than 50 mya.”

    Is this an EMPIRICIAL OBSERVATION? It most certainly is. Point One, check.

    Does the TOE identify a distinct set of observations as a class of phenomena? Definitely. In fact there are numerous different sets of observations here, notably the patterns we see the in the fossil record, or more simply, the biogeographic distribution of species we see today, especially on islands. Point Two, check.

    Does the TOE “make assertions about the underlying reality that brings about or affects” these observations? Most definitely so. In fact, the TOE provides a perfectly plausible explanation for, amongst countless other things, why we don’t see native terrestrial mammals on oceanic islands (refer my post #276). Point Three, check.

    ~ ~ ~

    Off topic, but anyway.

    -Arix

    It appears that you belong to the school of thought that claims that all goodness in humanity stems from religion (or moral values have their roots in religion, etc). I shall start by assuming that you did not intend to insult irreligious people such as myself with statements such as those; while I personally would not consider them as “hate speech”, they most certainly are offensive. There are limits as to how much people can accept as “well-meaningness”, beyond which it can and will be construed as “crossing the line” outright, regardless of your intention.

    You stated earlier that Secular Humanism derives its values from ancient religions, such as Christian and Islamic Humanism. Where then, may I ask, would an ancient Chinese man draw his inspiration for “goodness” from? I think it is a tad rich to claim that *every* single “good” value is derived from a religious origin. I’m pretty certain that humans across the globe would converge on numerous common values that transcend borders, not least of all honesty and integrity.

    If you have read The Selfish Gene, you would also be aware that certain moral values can be explained by evolutionary biology, most notably in the Robert Axelrod’s Iterated Prisoner’s Dilemma tournament:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Evolution_of_Cooperation

    These conclusions are drawn entirely from game theory, and are thus derived from “first principles”, as it were.

  • squit

    Dear Arix,

    Blast I talk too much. Got another awaiting moderation reply. Sorry everyone if you see it twice. Will post in two parts.

    1)Right, sorry for butting in. But now that you’re addressing me directly, let’s just say that Dawkins at least (you can have Hitchens) rarely raises a point without merit. It’s just that he’s the only one with courage to deal with that giant untalked-about elephant in the room.

    You expect an atheist to believe that God needs to exist so that we have a role model for goodness? – This is exactly the point I saw, so no misreading here. This sentence has an internal contradiction, by the way. Why do you need a messianic figure of absolute greatness? The whole point is that we think that’s stuff and nonsense and completely unnecessary to being a good person. Atheists and agnostics just live with the idea that everyone does their best in a complicated world.

    I was giving a personal example, since we were talking about how people govern themselves, and I have an opposite position. You know, perils of being scientist, means I always gotta have examples. Religious guy is like agnostic girl. It’s a casual term. I think you took offence where none was intended, same on my side. It’s not arrogance as much as it is a complete lack of reverence without justification. Everyone deserves equal respect (irreverence), so I’m not about to kowtow to religious guy (I had St. Augustine of Hippo in mind). Well the day you see how I don’t think Dawkins is arrogant, that’s when you figure out how I think.

    2) Those examples are lame, but I felt I had to preempt anyone who was going to go down the HITLER HITLER path. Atheists are not enlightened, the terminology is all wrong for atheists. Well okay Dawkins was offensive when he called Secular Humanists “Brights”. What are we, lightbulbs? I think we’re just people who believe in less gods than everyone else. But this in no way makes us better than religious people. (Okay I am agnostic but will align myself with atheist position right now). But we have no motivation to blow each other up because of absolutely mutually exclusive world paradigms. From the viewpoint of a person outside those religions, all the killing and suffering and prohibitions and curtailing of the rights of females and gays and whatever disgraced flavour of the week are so pointless, so profoundly stupid.

  • justkaypoh

    inferno

    good that you check your example against the ‘rules’. I disagree with some of the points.

    I’ll post a reply on that, shall we adjourned the debate?

  • squit

    GAH KENA AGAIN.

    3) I went back to check what I wrote and I mentioned that Dawkins does not use evolution to /replace/ God. Specifically, I was discussing what you said in context to the whole good thing, not debating the existence of the Supreme Ineffable. I was not demonstrate that God does not exist (that I think is one of the few logical leaps he makes, and requires further explanation through parsimony and the like). You mentioned that you needed God for goodness right? I say in response to that, he doesn’t use evolution as a moral paradigm. In fact, he says quite the opposite, that evolution means dick behaviour is rewarded but we evolved a moral sense which contravenes dickishness that’s ingrained.

    4) I use swearing as emphasis, personal writing style. But let’s not pussyfoot around here and say that we are considering the gods of the Dine or the Aztecs or the Buddhists. Many of those religion paradigms don’t teach people how to be good. Loki transformed into a female horse, fucks Svaðilfari and gives birth to Sleipnir, Anansi goes around being a bum and steals bananas, the Greek and Roman gods were bored satyrbeasts who threw tantrums etc etc. I’m sure the people who had these creation myths were as moral as the next guy (even St. Augustine). So now what about point 1)

    Copyright – mehhh complicated not touching. Civil liberties – Complicated issue #2 my post is too long to deal with this let’s have it out elsewhere

    5)Yes but Greek people came up with half that humanism stuff. Also see above for needed examples not just beautiful words. Know my feelings towards D and H. Have discussed alt creation myths and how they make life kind of weird if you use them as symbol of goodness, esp Loki (love the guy, but can’t trust him with anything). Sure, but there’s all this stuff you don’t say that I wonder whatever you could be referring to?

    6 & 7) Atheists, animals, don’t believe in God but need to acknowledge god…confusing! Discussed this already. Blah blah blah mutual fingerpointing you think I insult you I think you insult me we agree to disagree since both of us are insulted, let’s call it even.

  • Kill_netizen

    Lim Say Liang wrote:
    In 2005, after complaints from the public, the Ministry of Education (MOE) rapped the knuckles of teachers who openly proselytize in class
    Lim wrote about Michell’s english teacher put up evolution-creation debate.
    Lim question :”Who knows exactly where coursework ends and proselytising begins? What if proselytisation looks like coursework?”

    I think this is the issue Lim wished to address…….

    I think the argument now was twisted into repeat the evolution-creation debate.

    While i question what is the intention of Lim bring up the issue, but i at the same time also question why the creationism-supporters try to push the discussion away from Lim’s to a more controversial topic………

    Could we get back to the original focus,

    lastly, i just like to ask JustKaypoh, are you Solo Bear???

  • Kill_netizen

    The key issue for this topic is: should teachers preach their religious beliefs in class?

    I believe for many parents (myself included), the answer is obvious.

  • http://blog budamax1952

    Hi Arix ;;; Good morning to you ;;; Seeing how much you are a man of the book and believe, therefore for your perusal, i would like to recommend some ideas that might be helpful in mind development ;;; [1] do not believe what you have heard [2] do not believe in tradition which is handed down many generations [3] do not believe in anything that has been spoken of many times [4] do not believe because the written statement came from some old sage [5] do not believe in conjecture [6] do not believe in authority or teachers or elders ;;;;; but after ;;;;; (a) careful observation and analysis (b) when it agrees with reason (c) when it will benefit one and all —— THEN ACCEPT IT AND LIVE BY IT.

  • Arix

    buda (#343),

    I follow (b) and (c), that is why I am willing to defend Christianity against Atheist Propagandists like Dawkins and Hitchens. I would also defend other religions of course.

    On [2], for a person that preaches “the Middle Way”, that doesn’t seem to quite cut it. Tradition is not always right, but neither is it always wrong. And for [3], what matters is that that something has been spoken of in (relatively) uncorrupted form. After all, Evolution has also been “spoken of many times”, and yet it apparently hasn’t lost its lustre.

    on [4], I will believe the sage if it meets (a), (b) and (c); And the reason why these people are called sages is because what they taught matches (a), (b) and (c) perfectly.

    on [5], I go through my own analytical processes before making any statement.

  • Arix

    inferno (#337),

    1) No, I did not mean to be offensive, unlike Squit, who most certainly intended to offend me. It is good to have a rational Atheist to talk with, even if we disagree.

    I speak as matter-of-fact, not as offence. To avoid responses of the Squit-type, I even defined what religion and morality means. I specifically indicated that Religion in my use is not referring to organized religion, but to the Innate Spirituality/ Religious Yearning. This Yearning produces Moral Codes that are either “religious” or “secular”. The only distinction between “Religious” and “Secular” Codes is that the former connects the codes to a metaphysical presence.

    2) Well, actually that is a slight misunderstanding of my point. Early Secular Humanism – a philosophy born in the West – appropriated Christian and Islamic ideas while stripping them of their theological basis. Post-war Secular Humanism interjected these stolen ideas with ideas appropriated from Eastern Philosophies, whom the ignorant Europeans and Americans saw as “secular” philosophies.

    In actuality, as I explained to Zef (or you) earlier, these Eastern Philosophies are all religious in nature. So no, the Chinese man did not get his “goodness” from Christian or Islamic Humanism derived respectively from Christianity and Islam. He derived his “goodness” from ancient Chinese Religion, the same religion that Confucius lamented had died out in substance by his time. (Many modern scholars believe that Confucius was a Secular Humanist; close reading of his Classics prove that he was instead a Religious Humanist.)

    (to be con-d)

  • yj

    too busy to post any long responses anytime soon.

    Here’s a post by PZ Meyers on a recent visit by the Secular Student Alliance to the Creation “Museum” in the states.
    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/08/the_creation_museum_1.php

    He explains the misunderstandings and perhaps outright lies by the people who run that theme park that masquerades as a museum.

    here’s a quote from part of his extremely long post:
    _________________________________________
    “The younger Asian fellow in front says, and I paraphrase, “This animal died about a hundred million years ago. Its body dried in the sun for several days before being slowly buried under layers of sediment in a local flood.” Then the avuncular creationist says, “I see the same bones, but I believe this dinosaur was killed suddenly about 4400 years ago in a huge global flood, which buried it deeply all at once.” And then he goes on to explain that see, they have the very same evidence, but he understands it in the light of God’s word.

    It is a profoundly dishonest display. No, they are not using the same evidence: the creationist is ignoring all but the most superficial appearances. The scientist says a few details about this particular dinosaur, but what Ken Ham hides is that every statement would have a large body of evidence in its support. This isn’t two guys stating their mere beliefs in a field…it’s one guy, the creationist, closing his eyes to the evidence and spouting Biblical gibberish, and one scientist stating the conclusions of substantial investigations.

    The scientist does not say a particular fossil is 125 million years old simply because he feels like it. It’s a conclusion built on careful observation of the geology — if you read a paleontology paper, you’ll often find a substantial discussion of the details of the rocks surrounding the specimen — and by the morphology of the rocks, the history of the area, the physics of the radioisotopes present, the other animal and plant fossils found in the same plane (which, in turn, had their ages evaluated). It is the product of an impressive consilience of evidence, all of which the creationist is rejecting, or more likely, of which he is utterly ignorant.”
    _______________________________________

  • http://blog budamax1952

    # 344 Arix /// Tadition is not always right, but neither is it always wrong /// ;;; Hi Arix ;;; Yes, tradition is not always right, but neither is it always wrong, but you must only accept it and live by it after careful observation and analysis, when it agrees with reason and when it will benefit one and all. All the tenets of the teachings of the ‘middle-way’ have to pass these 3 criteria before they can be called the ‘middle-way’. It is the individual’s responsibility, who goes through the practice of the Innate Spirituality/Religious Yearning, that you talk about, that these 3 criteria are met in all that he accepts/believes in the course of his practice, otherwise it will just be blind faith, which won’t lead the spiritual aspirant far or deep, if he/she is aiming for that high level of spirituality, which is the aim of all true Spiritual/Religious aspirants..

  • rwkc

    #331

    Arix: “And I was critiquing Atheists as a group generally, except of course for Dawkins and Hitchens who in all honesty disgrace even fellow Atheists and Agnostics.”

    That’s a mouthful there, Arix, and I would like to request you to justify your assertions with evidence or, shall I say, rational arguments, not wishy-washy rhetoric.

    And I would like you to answer, to the point, these questions:

    [a] All atheists may NOT think alike, hence, if you are not irrational, the answer has to be ‘yes’, right?

    [b] Then would you say that you were acting irrationally for ‘critiquing Atheists as a group generally’? Yes/no?

    I am an atheist, and I think Dawkins and Hitchens have done an excellent job in arguing their case against irrational, religious beliefs. Their books, ‘The God Delusion’ and ‘God is Not Great’, have outturned as best-sellers. Please elaborate, with facts, how Dawkins and Hitchens disgrace or are a disgrace to fellow Atheists and Agnostics.

    [c] And why was it necessary to spell ‘atheists’ and ‘agnostics’ with a capital ‘A’?

    Arix: “……but that God needs to exist (in the simpler form of the argument) in order for you to have a conception of what a Good Person”

    [d] Can you first of all define the term ‘God’?

    [e] Does it exist?

    [f] Or is it a he or a she or some combination of it/she/he?

    [g] Does God already exists or needs to exist? Please give us facts, not wishy-washy rhetoric of no substance.

    Arix: “Anyway, I dislike copyright itself, and I think it ought to be abolished.”

    [h] Just because you dislike copyright, you think that it ought to be abolished?

    [i] Is that a rational justification for abolishing copyrights?

  • yj

    From:
    334) justkaypoh on August 11th, 2009 2.05 am

    A theory, in the scientific sense of the word, is an analytic structure that requires:
    1. empirical observations.

    2. it identifies this set of distinct observations as a class of phenomena, and

    3. makes assertions about the underlying reality that brings about or affects this class. The assertions have to be based on reason and mathematical logic.

    The premises of Evolution:
    1. Heredity
    2. Mutation, must be random
    3. Sex and recombination
    4. Natural selection.
    5. Speciation
    __________________________________________________________

    Sigh. I wrote a very long post, then decided that it’s not worth it. Wwhat you wrote on what you think evolution is all about comes up to 15 words. Including your header.

    Why don’t you try explaining, in detail this time, what you understand by evolution?

  • justkaypoh

    yj,

    in terms of definition, it is the conciseness that counts not the quantity. Note that all the requirements have to be met.

  • inferno

    -justkaypoh

    Still awaiting your response to my post #326, as well as your detailed justification (reasoning!) as to why Evolution fails the criteria for a scientific theory, as you claimed in your post #334.

  • justkaypoh

    inferno

    just got back, writing now, will get back soon

  • yj

    Interestingly, this discussion seems to have moved from creationism in the classroom –> creationism vs evolution –> general philosophy.

    Yeah. move from an indefensible stand to muddying the waters to using a bulldozer to dump sand into the water.

    I’ll wade in anyway, cos it’s still fun for now =)

    Arix:
    1. What might offend you might not offend squit. Why are you so quick in projecting your emotions on squit?

    2. Even if some of secular humanism’s ideas come from Christianity, so what. Good ideas are good ideas, no matter where they come from. The philosophical landscape of Europe in the middle ages was dominated by the church. Not surprisng

    Next: I’d like some clarifications on your points:

    3. You make quite a sweeping statement when you say that the eastern philosophies you mentioned are religious. What exactly do you mean by religious and what eastern philosophies are you talking about?

    4. You assert that morality comes out of some yearning for religion. It seems like a very weak argument to me. Evidence? Define this yearning for religion. Explain how this yearning for religion leads to morality.

    5. Rgd your point on animal ethical standards, and where they come from. Are you trying to suggest that animals have this undefined yearning for religion too? How advanced does an animal’s cognitive skills have to be before this yearning for religion comes into play, may I ask?

    As for how morals might arise without this undefined yearning for altruism: There’s tons of research into the evolution of altruism. Kin selection might have played a role, reciprocal altruism helps too.

  • justkaypoh

    Inferno

    Re #327 of the E. coli experiment. I’ll post more details reply later. In the meanwhile, while this experiment show good and bad results for and against Evolution. To what extent can we infer the certainty of Evolution from the conclusion of this experiment?
    I’ll post the diverging example check against Science soon.

  • justkaypoh

    yj and Kill netizen

    my post had not really shifted topic, my first post was to question whether Evolution (unproven) is qualified to be included in Science classes.

  • yj

    justkaypoh:

    Science is a little more complicated than that.

    Anyway, conciseness is important. So is accuracy. You don’t want to be so concise that you are no longer accurate.

    As for your 15 word definition of evolution… Well… It’s warped. I don’t know where to start.

    Are you talking about just evolution, or are you talking about evolution by natural selection? What do you mean when you say that these are the premises of evolution? What do you mean by all of the other terms you try to throw in? Do you know what they mean and how each fits in?

    Throwing random words around does not show understanding of a topic.

    And when you say note that all the requirements have to be met.. do you mean for evolution? or for what you deem science to be?

  • justkaypoh

    yj

    Can you come out with your version of the definition of this 2 subject first?

    This is very important, without the foundation, there’ll no Science to talk about.

  • inferno

    -justkaypoh

    All this while, you have been posing questions as to the validity of Evolution (and the numerous evidences we have provided) as proper science, without actually providing any sort of supporting arguments as to why you consider the evidences to be weak. More recently, you provided an outline as to the criteria for the theory (is it yours or are you quoting someone else?), and promptly QED-ed at that point, as if that alone was supposed to have demonstrated the validity of your stand. Please provide some real substance (i.e. proper, structured, detailed arguments) in your subsequent posts.

    And regarding your post in #355, you are at it again, posing questions to others without offering any constructive input on your part. While I am fully capable of explaining why the E. Coli experiment validates evolutionary theory, I feel that it will lead to a dead end on your part anyway. Thus I shall reply with another example that is analogous to the case at hand:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gold_foil_experiment
    Also known as the Geiger-Marsden experiment, this was the basis on which Ernest Rutherford postulated his ground-breaking theory of atomic structure. Till this day, we still do not have the technology to actually look into an atom, yet chemists and physicists have been able to harness it’s predictive power to make countless breakthroughs in scientific research. Which means to say that we do not actually have RIGHT-BEFORE-YOUR-VERY-EYES type of evidence for the planetary model of atomic structure, but everybody accepts that it is true.

    Why is this so? Because Rutherford’s theory is supported by every experiment ever conducted (each of which was a hurdle to be overcome. remember the hurdles I mentioned earlier?). Because it empowers scientists to make accurate, reliable predictions about the behaviour of atoms and molecules, and these predictions are repeatedly confirmed in the laboratory. Because there exists no other competing theory that comes remotely close in terms of congruence with the evidence, and in terms of pure elegance.

    Evolution fulfills all these criteria, arguably to an even greater extent than the atomic structure theory. This is because the natural world is far more chaotic and unpredictable than the kinetics of alpha particles and gold nuclei, and DESPITE IT ALL, everything we see in it conforms to what evolutionary theory would expect it to be.

  • justkaypoh

    Do you really understand the importance of my question in #355?

    Do you know as a ‘proposer’ of the theory, you/one have the responsibility to know how certain is the logic behind supporting of TOE.

    Give you an example:
    An experiment we call ‘experiment A’ to test for the Theory of Gravity TOG
    An equipment testing a car moving straight and is tested for its acceleration. Assume that this experiment is done perfectly. And the results are great.

    And the conclusion is : experiment A show that the TOG is true beyond reasonable doubt.

  • Arix

    Buda (#347),

    I agree with you on this philosophical point.

  • Lop

    “4. You assert that morality comes out of some yearning for religion. It seems like a very weak argument to me. Evidence? Define this yearning for religion. Explain how this yearning for religion leads to morality.”

    Since we are all going off topic…I might as well lol

    I think religions originated from the men’s fear of perishment – not so much of a ‘yearning’. So the common thread that runs through religions and morality is SURVIVABILITY.

  • justkaypoh

    inferno
    “Is this an EMPIRICIAL OBSERVATION? It most certainly is. Point One, check.”
    Can I know what is the exact observation you are talking about?
    -Species A,B and C (which are fictitious right?)?
    -Comparison of DNA?

    What is empirical about the observation?

    “Does the TOE “make assertions about the underlying reality that brings about or affects” these observations? Most definitely so. In fact, the TOE provides a perfectly plausible explanation for, amongst countless other things, why we don’t see native terrestrial mammals on oceanic islands (refer my post #276). Point Three, check.”

    From you’re A,B and C example I can’t find good reasons to conclude. For you #276 post, perhaps you want to simplify it? I don’t fully grasp the meaning. To test the soundness of whether it can pass point 3. TOE the only plausible explanation? The formal language(logic statement) we can construct:

    don’t see native terrestrial mammals on oceanic islands –> TOE is true?

    It will be helpful if you can construct formal language which all proven science can be done. Remember point 3 states that it must fulfill mathematical logic

  • Arix

    Heya ALL,

    I have a number of posts, to answer, so I will answer them in order. The rest go on stack.

    Squit (#338),

    1) 500-word limit, LOL.

    2) Dawkins argues his case with apparent merit. Not surprising of course, because he demolishes strawmen, which are easy to demolish. His rationale for this is an ad populorum (bandwagon) argument – because his “religious majority” believes in these strawman versions, therefore they are what the actual religion is. If one of his premises is already a Fallacy to begin with, how can the rest of his argument be sound?

    Take his famous Cosmic Teapot argument. It is a wonderful-sounding reductio ad absurdum, but just in case a Religious Experience turns out to be true, the Cosmic Teapot argument instantly collapses because its chief premise is that nobody has ever experienced God, just like nobody has ever experienced the Cosmic Teapot. That he chooses to position the Cosmic Teapot before his argument against Religious Experience (which in essence turns out to be a Hitchens-style Argument) shows that he is not cognizant of that fact.

    At least Dawkins attempts to be logical. Hitchens’ is basically an appeal to emotion: “I dislike religion, therefore it is false”.

    3) You make the same mistake as Dawkins. God is not some “Messianic Figure”; treating God as a “Messianic Figure” is a corruption of Christian Doctrine.

    And you have misread me again. My argument is: In order for the concept of Goodness to exist, God must exist. Okay, maybe it is my fault for not making the concept intuitive enough. I shall try to use an analogy here. (Please note: it is an analogy, not a description.)

    Imagine an art class with an Instructor (God) and students (humans). God creates a model of a house (Goodness) and puts it on the table in front of the class. Each student attempts to re-create the model. Each approaches the creation of the model differently. Some (the Theists) start by modelling the fireplace and the furniture (character and ethics and faith). Some (the Atheists) start by modelling the front porch (Logic and Science). Some (the Agnostics) approximate basic forms (skepticism).

    The point is, no student would be modelling a house if the instructor did not set the task in the first place.

    God is not a Figure, although He/It is portrayed as so in religious art. God is an Intelligent Presence. The best analogy for the physical nature of God would be an artificial intelligence script in execution. Ironically, it is the best analogy because it also cannot be visualized. This is the real God that Christianity argues for, not the straw man of a “Messianic Figure”.

    And remember, I mentioned that God Exists is a simplification of the actual argument of the Divine Reality. If you want to know it, I can share it with you. If not, well we will leave it at that.

    (to be con-d)

  • tj

    ah, this reminds me of the good old days of AWARE.

    certain people (you know who you are) remind me A LOT of certain other people – just keep bashing the other side without really answering any arguments. i’ve given up; it’s useless crafting intricate, intelligent arguments for people who only know how to use sledgehammers.

  • Kill_netizen

    #356 Just Kaypoh
    You wrote : <>

    This is precisely you subtly shift the post……….
    The original question is, should teachers preach their religious beliefs in class?

    WHy you avoid the issue of WHETHER teachers should preach religion in ENGLISH class in guise of evolution-creation debate…….

    The question is not WHether evolution should be included in science class…

    What is your motive???

  • Kill_netizen

    THis is for YJ #357, not for Just Kaypoh

    In post #357, you said JKP has a 15 words definition For evolution…….
    Which 15 words??? These <<<>>>>

    I think YJ has problem, how can these 15 words be definition??

  • Arix

    Squit (#338),

    (con-d)

    4) I will give you the benefit of the doubt, since you are so gracious. But I still disagree with you that Dawkins is not arrogant. Even the writer of the Atheist Manifesto, who is certainly an Atheist, thinks so.

    Does your “Everybody deserves equal respect” exclude meritocracy?

    5) Hmm, calling people “Brights” is not considered as arrogance by you?

    In general, most rights that are curtailed by religions are not curtailed by the religion per se, but by people who claim to curtail them in the name of religion. Though, there are certain rights that are of a dubious nature, and seem more to be the product of victim-card strategies, rather than genuine oppression.

    For instance, the headdress of the Muslims that has been made infamous was originally intended as a policy to protect Muslim women from being raped by men. And while people like Dawkins and Hitchens like to wax lyrical about the Spanish Inquisition, the Church was responsible in curbing the spread of the Spanish Inquisition in the Americas. The Archbishop of Brazil protested against the organs of the Spanish Inquisition being extended to Spain’s American colonies. (I will not provide a link here, because my source is a book at the National Library.)

  • Kill_netizen

    Amendment to post #366
    You wrote:

    This is precisely you subtly shift the lamp post : The original question is, Should teachers preach their religious beliefs in class….

    Subtly shifting LampPost :: reminds me of Lucifer, Did god REALLY tell you not to eat fruit from any tree in the garden?

    Notice how Lucifer and JustKaypoh craftily added the word, REALLY

    This prompt me to ask JustKaypoh, what is your MOTIVE ???

  • Kill_netizen

    Sorry every body, all my cut and past from post #356 by JUstKayPoh keep disappear from appearing, i am going to type it out…..

    Amendment to my #366 and #369
    YOU (JustKayPoh) wrote : My Post had not REALLY shifted topic, my first post was to question whether Evolution (unproven) is qulified to be included in Science Classes……

    Please note how JustKayPoh added the word: REALLY, and SCIENCE CLASS….

    the rest please read from my post #369.

    I also add, true, JKP did not shift his position after that ( just like lucifer asked eve that question, after that Lucifer did not shift lampPost)
    After adding in REALLY and shift ENGLISH class into SCIENCE class, JKP persist to argue the Evo-Cre debate…….

    But we must question JKP motive on casting in doubt by adding in REALLY

  • Arix

    Squit (#340),

    1) Ahh .. okay there was a confusion there. I see you get it, so I won’t go further on this.

    2) I am talking about the Divine Reality in general, independent of any creed.

    It is a misrepresentation to say that these religions do not teach people to be good.

    I read the Anansi story when I was young. It is a moral tale about lying; Anansi makes a deal on the bananas where he allows the owner to take a bite out of him each time he takes bananas; you can guess the end-result.

    The Aztecs also had moral teachings, although they are mostly lost to us now.

    Buddhism likewise has its set of moral teachings, although they are more abstract. Perhaps you should ask Budamax to teach you those.

    Loki is the devil in Norse Mythology. Whatever he does is not seen as a paradigm for Goodness by the Vikings.

    As for the Greek and Roman gods, your comment does not show that you have a good knowledge of Greek Mythology. There is, for instance, the tale of Bacchus and Philemon, which perhaps can be considered the Greek Great Flood Story. Zeus and Hermes visit earth and find that mankind is wicked, so Zeus promises to drown the whole of mankind in one colossal flood. But there is an elderly couple (B & P) who impress the gods with their hospitality, and so Zeus grants them one request, which is to allow them to stay together on earth forever.

    And swearing is poor practice that you should avoid; plus, I remember that it is against TOC’s rules.

    3) Agreed.

    4) Not really. Humanism is an outgrowth of the Renaissance.

    5) Who are you to say what animals believe or don’t believe in?

    The point is that Atheists might deny the existence of God, but they can’t avoid God because God is ever-present, even in their lives. I explain this in the previous post.

    Anyway, since you are an Agnostic, why are you trying to play Atheist? I am a Theist, and I don’t try to play otherwise.

    On the insulting, yes let’s call it even.

  • Arix

    Inferno (#337),

    (con-d from #345)

    3) Evolution is about natural selection, but it does not tell you where the choices came from. So Evolution of Cooperation tells you how Altruism was selected, but not why it exists as a choice in the first place.

  • tj

    oops, sorry, this is about whether teaching of creationism is allowed in science class or not. no shifting goalposts.

    gotta primary school story to share. my ‘cher said, yes evolution happened, but it stopped at mammals. humans are not mammals because humans are created by god. hah, imagine the havoc it caused to my poor developing brain, i still have to go for therapy today… cautionary tale about what happened when one mixes science with beliefs. they both have their own place, one in the classroom the other in the church/mosque/temple…

  • justkaypoh

    Kill netizen

    my motive is quite simple

    Creationism is not proven Science then CAN teach in Science class

    Evolution is not proven Science then CAN teach in Science class

    So tell me where is the logic?

  • kill_netizen

    JKP…
    DOnt shift the focus again….
    I am asking you, what is your motive to shift the original topic of Lim (should teacher preached their religion in class) , to turn and twist into what you wrote in post 3356 (question whether Evolution-unproven is qualified to be included in science classes)

    i am asking you , what is your motive of shifting the lamppost— twisting the focus of debate. You are shifting the focus to answer the question: What is your motive of joining the debate as you wrote in #373

    I demonstrated your similar tactics as Satan…..
    You surely learn fast from SATAN to use “REALLY” and change scenario of ENGLISH class to Science class.

  • Arix

    rkwc (#348),

    Always enjoy talking to you.

    2) Just go and google “critcism of Dawkins” yourself. I already provided one example, the fellow who wrote the Atheist Manifesto. There are a number more. I don’t think that is rhetoric, do you?

    3-4) To be technically correct, I will say yes. But I feel compelled to comment – and that is a figure of speech – that I haven’t really seen any Atheists with strikingly different views from Dawkins and/or Hitchens.

    5) A book can be best-selling because of reasons other than quality. There is lots of best selling pulp-fiction for instance. Dawkins’ TGD and Hitchens’ GING are not best-selling because of quality, but because they appeal to the popular imagination. There are equally best-selling rebuttals of both books e.g. Why I don’t believe in Atheists; The Dawkins Delusion.

    As for the facts, don’t take it from me; go to the bookstore (PageOne at Vivo is a good bet) and see for yourself.

    6) Because these are key terms in my argument. It is a stylistic feature; no need to read too much into it.

    7) God is the Divine Reality. God is the – for lack of a better term – the Whole Entity that imbues its character in humans and animals, and provides the Universe with Life. It is because God is the Ultimate Whole that God cannot be described by words alone, or images for that matter.

    8) Simply, yes. In full form, yes and no.

    Think of a field called Chaos. We put a Fence in the middle of the field, which divides the field into two areas: Existence and Imagination. The Fence is God. So, does the Fence exist or not exist? You give the answer.

    9) The best approximation is “it”. Though, most accurately, God is all and neither of the pronouns, because God is formless in material terms.

    10) Yes. If you can understand my Cosmic Fence Argument, you can see why.

    11) That isn’t my claim, so please don’t misrepresent me.

    12) In a nutshell, because Copyrights do not fit in the New Economy. I would love to discuss this topic in detail with you, but this is far off the topic of this thread.

  • Arix

    tj (#372),

    Please note: the teacher at issue in the article is an English teacher, not a Science teacher.

  • Arix

    yj (#353),

    2) You ought to qualify your statement, and specify which “creationism” you are referring to.

    4) Hmm, when did I “project” my emotions onto Squit? I said that I felt what Squit said was offensive, and that he/she believed that what I said was offensive, that’s all.

    5) So, Secular Humanists should acknowledge their debt to Christianity (and Islam), instead of claiming originality. That is simple honesty.

    6) “religious” means that at some point they refer to a Divine/Transcendent Reality. “Eastern Philosophies” is as commonly used: Confucianism, Taoism, Hinduism, Shintoism.

    7) Religious Yearning or Yearning For Religion is Yearning for the achievement of something “perfect” or “good”. Morality is formed through the definition of what constitutes “perfect” and “good”. Moral Codes are formed through the application of Morality.

    8) Yes, I am suggesting that. It was Inferno who suggested the idea that animals had ethical standards too, and ethical standards imply the existence of Moral Sense.

    As for the second part, I admit that I don’t know exactly, but it suffices to say that the animal needs to have conscious cognition of its environment, and not just act on pure instinct.

    9) Yes, I know of those research. But altruism is defined as altruistic behaviour in those studies. Those theories do not aim to describe how animals gain cognition of the concept of altruism in the first place.

  • Arix

    ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZz………………

  • Lop

    #363 Arix

    I’m intrigued by your argument that -In order for the concept of Goodness to exist, God must exist – and its Instructor-student analogy. How about:

    (1) In order for the concept of Goodness to exist, Evil must exist?
    (2) If god created the model of goodness, he must have also created the model of evil along with it, intentionally or unintentionally.
    (3) Whenever we do good, intentionally or unintentionally, we are also doing an equal amount of evil.
    (4) The Instructor would lose his job if the students were not interested in learning to build a house.
    (5) Once the students have learnt to build a house, they don’t need an instructor anymore. Given time, the students may build even better houses than the Instructor.

  • Lop

    #375 Arix

    “Think of a field called Chaos. We put a Fence in the middle of the field, which divides the field into two areas: Existence and Imagination. The Fence is God. So, does the Fence exist or not exist? You give the answer.”

    We put a fence because we were insecure. Really there’s no need to, because Existence and Imagination don’t mix. If anything, the fence existed only because there were Existence and Imagination, not because it *had* to.

  • Arix

    Lop (#379),

    1 & 2) Agreed. Good/Evil is a dualism.

    3) hmm? Please elaborate.

    4) This point is irrelevant to the analogy.

    5) Not if the Instructor is perfect.

    Please remember that the instructor-student analogy is an analogy, not a one-to-one function. What is important in the analogy is the students imitating the house that the instructor built. Anything else is reading too much into the analogy.

    Lop (#380),

    Without the Fence there is no Existence and Imagination. It is the Fence that defines the “Existence” of Existence and Imagination, so the Fence is necessary for Existence and Imagination to exist.

    If the fence didn’t exist, we wouldn’t have the chance to feel insecure, because we wouldn’t exist either. We noticed the fence, not put it there.

  • Oxford Dude

    Hi Arix #306,

    Hate speech is defined as “bigoted speech attacking or disparaging a class of people”, so the examples you gave are hate speech. In fact, to further elaborate what I had mentioned about knowing when to make exception to moral codes, there is actually a Christian ethical theory that supports my view on the need to make exceptions (FYI). The moral sense is not as rigid as you had thought.

    What’s the implication of the adjective “non-theological”? Theology refers to the systematic study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truth. I understand the complication of the term “non-theological” because there are religions that reject the label “theology”. For example, Buddhists use the term “Buddhist Philosophy”. It is Religious People / Philosophers who makes claims on Absolute Truth but we must remember that these claims are not necessarily Absolute Truth. If so, why is there not universal acceptance?

    Religiosity independent of religion and spirituality? Poppycock! Religiosity is a comprehensive sociological term used to refer to the numerous aspects of religious activity, dedication, belief and religious doctrine. It has everything to do with religion and spirituality. Inferno and I have rightly pointed out that the moral sense came about through our need to survive and cooperate and there is empirical evidence from game theory and evolutionary psychology to support this. Organised religion merely did a public service by codifying moral values. Please don’t over-glorify religion. It is an extremely unintelligent thing to do.

  • Oxford Dude

    Hi Arix #306,

    Hate speech is defined as “bigoted speech attacking or disparaging a class of people”, so the examples you gave are hate speech. In fact, to further elaborate what I had mentioned about knowing when to make exception to moral codes, there is actually a Christian ethical theory that supports my view on the need to make exceptions (FYI). The moral sense is not as rigid as you had thought.

    What’s the implication of the adjective “non-theological”? Theology refers to the systematic study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truth. I understand the complication of the term “non-theological” because there are religions that reject the label “theology”. For example, Buddhists use the term “Buddhist Philosophy”. It is Religious People / Philosophers who makes claims on Absolute Truth but we must remember that these claims are not necessarily Absolute Truth. If so, why is there not universal acceptance?

    Religiosity independent of religion and spirituality? Religiosity is a comprehensive sociological term used to refer to the numerous aspects of religious activity, dedication, belief and religious doctrine. It has everything to do with religion and spirituality. Inferno and I have rightly pointed out that the moral sense came about through our need to survive and cooperate and there is empirical evidence from game theory and evolutionary psychology to support this. Organised religion merely did a public service by codifying moral values. Please don’t over-glorify religion. It is an extremely unintelligent thing to do.

  • Oxford Dude

    The Christian Ethical Theory I mentioned in my previous post is called Situational Ethics. Refer to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Situational_ethics for more information.

  • yj

    JKP: The topic has shifted.

    It was originally about whether creationism should even be mentioned in class.

    Though numerous posters have written about the scientific validity of the theory of evolution, we should remember that the whether creationism should be taught in class is independent of the merits of evolution.

    The brand of creationism we tend to see spread in Singapore, and other countries more influenced by the US tends to be the creation myth that Yahweh created the Earth.

    I’d find it highly unlikely for anyone in Singapore to push, as truth, the idea of Pan Gu creating the earth by chopping up an egg or the idea that clouds come from Ymir’s brains or soil from Ymir’s ground flesh.

    There is a place for creation myths in classes on comparative religion/ in the social sciences where creation myths are used to study the societies from which these myths emerged. I.e. there is a place for critical analysis of creation myths in the classroom. In literature class too perhaps – I find many creation myths very entertaining and revealing of the society in which they developed.

    The situation is complicated a little more in Singapore by the fact that we are not very homogenous. You can believe your own personal creation myth for all anyone cares. But you cannot push your creation myth as true in the common space, for there is no shred of evidence that any creation myth is more true than the others. This is an infringement of public space – and the classroom forms part of the public space as well.

    To end off:
    Despite my fondness for fiction, these creation myths are not science. Neither is it likely that these myths are true. Hence, there is absolutely NO place for any creation myth to be pushed as truth or science in the classroom.

    __________________________________________________________
    Anyway, for those who go on and on about the teacher in the teacher being an English teacher, the passage mentions a bio teacher too.

    “Michelle is learning biology this year. Recently, her biology teacher acknowledged aloud the perfection of God in the story of the Creation of Man. This occurred during a lesson on the human digestive system.”

    This is unacceptable!

  • rwkc

    Arix #375

    1. Tks for the response.

    2. I suppose we can now resume where we left off, in our previous discussions concerning God/religion.

    3. Before I respond specifically to your comments in #375, I would like further clarification, to ensure there is no misunderstanding concerning where you stand or your beliefs. However, in seeking clarification, it may be necessary for me to bring onboard some old baggage.

    4. For example: You said:
    [a] you were a Roman Catholic
    [b] you believed in science and scientific findings
    [c] you believed the Earth is 4.5 billion years old
    [d] you believed that Homo Sapiens [referring to us human beings] first appeared on the scene only about, give or take, 200,000 years ago

    [5] Are you still a Roman Catholic and do you still hold the beliefs as stated in [b] to [c]?

    [6] In your current post [#375] you stated “God is the Divine Reality. God is the – for lack of a better term – the Whole Entity that imbues its character in humans and animals, and provides the Universe with Life. It is because God is the Ultimate Whole that God cannot be described by words alone, or images for that matter. .. The best approximation is “it”. Though, most accurately, God is all and neither of the pronouns, because God is formless in material terms.”

    [7] If you are still a RC, would you say the Divine Reality referred to above is none other than the God of Abraham spoken of in the Judeo-Christian Bible?

    [8] In your #377 [addressed to yj] you said “You ought to qualify your statement, and specify which “creationism” you are referring to.” Similarly, I have to say to you: you ought to specify which particular Christian denomination you are defending? There are, it seems, over 30,000 Christian denominations.

    [9] I recall you saying “All moral codes have their origins in religion” and something about morality being “objectively grounded, but not in terms of metres and grammes, but in terms of relative human emotions.” Do you still stand by these assertions?

    So Arix, to summarise, you need to answer to only [5], [7], [8] and [9].

    The Buda [no pun intended] once said: “Arix has a complex mind.” But I prefer simplicity, so please give answers that we can all see as unequivocal and that we can all understand.

  • inferno

    -justkaypoh

    I am still eagerly awaiting your input regarding the E. Coli experiment, which I have posted as evidence of Evolution having taken place before our own eyes.

    “What is empirical about the observation?”

    An empirical observation is one that can be made by the five senses. Thus, if I can SEE it, it is empirical, full stop. An example of an empirical observation is the fact that there exist no terrestrial mammals that are native to oceanic islands.

    “Does the TOE “make assertions about the underlying reality that brings about or affects” these observations? Most definitely so. In fact, the TOE provides a perfectly plausible explanation for, amongst countless other things, why we don’t see native terrestrial mammals on oceanic islands (refer my post #276). Point Three, check.”

    You say that you do not understand my point here, so I shall simplify it. The third criterion you postulated: “make(s) assertions about the underlying reality that brings about or affects these observations” means that in order to be considered a scientific theory, my hypothesis must provide some sort of explanation as to how the observations came about. For example, when Rutherford observed alpha particles rebounding from the gold foil, he concluded that the mass of the atom must be concentrated in a single point in the centre (i.e. the nucleus). Similarly, when we observe that the native fauna of oceanic islands consist only of organisms that could have traversed a large expanse of ocean (i.e. birds, insects, small flying mammals), we can hypothesize that this is because they migrated there (whether intentionally or not) from the nearest mainland. This hypothesis is strong because accounts for why all the other groups of organisms are missing (i.e. terrestrial mammals, reptiles, freshwater fish). Suffice to say, it gives a perfectly plausible explanation as to why we only see certain groups of animals on oceanic islands. Whereas continental islands display the full range of native fauna as the mainland itself.

    Finally, in my previous post #358, I have detailed why I consider the TOE to have at least equal scientific justification (read: proof and evidence) as Rutherford’s planetary model of atomic structure. To save time, how about you try and critique my arguments there.

    -Arix #377

    “5) So, Secular Humanists should acknowledge their debt to Christianity (and Islam), instead of claiming originality. That is simple honesty.”

    Some leap of faith you have made here. So basically, you are claiming that all the morality and “sense of goodness” in the world today stems from Christianity and Islam? I’m not even going to start on the painfully obvious exclusion of countless other belief systems that you have conveniently excluded. From your statement alone, I can be certain that you are either Christian or Muslim (most probably the former), and your arguments seem to be a form of self-gratification.

    Remember the Chinese man I mentioned earlier? Or how about the system of morality in the tribes of Papua New Guinea? Or of the aborigines of Australia? Is Secular Humanism to acknowledge its purported “debt” to all these other religions, extinct or otherwise?

    “3) Evolution is about natural selection, but it does not tell you where the choices came from. So Evolution of Cooperation tells you how Altruism was selected, but not why it exists as a choice in the first place.”

    Let me try and understand your point here. You are acknowledging the fact that altruism and cooperation could have developed based on the principles of evolutionary theory. But you say that the CHOICE of whether to be altruistic or not is somehow the key factor that warrants the invoking of a God or Gods? If this is your argument, I do not buy it, because there is no special distinction between choice and natural selection. Whether you choose to be altruistic or not, natural selection has programmed us such that ON AVERAGE, we will tend to be altruistic. We cannot decouple the choice from the evolutionary baggage.

    If you think that the choice is inspired from some version of religiosity, then there is no need for the evolutionary background. Conversely, if you agree that evolution can easily account for altruism in organisms, then the issue of choice is irrelevant. This is because there is only one issue here: the point at which we make the decision whether to be altruistic or not. And everything else follows from that single decision. I.e. there is only one route to that decision point, and you take one of two (or more) available routes after that point.

    Finally,

    “2) Well, actually that is a slight misunderstanding of my point. Early Secular Humanism – a philosophy born in the West – appropriated Christian and Islamic ideas while stripping them of their theological basis.”

    Here you say that the ideas were “strip(ped) … of their theological basis”. Based on this statement, even if Secular Humanism concedes that its idea of morality today was “co-opted” from religion, the fact remains that the true root of morality lies outside religion anyway, and the “inheritance” mentioned here is merely a cosmic accident. I.e. morality would have come to us one way or another, even if not via religion?

  • inferno

    Here I present one of my favourite essays:

    http://www.ebonmusings.org/atheism/carrot&stick.html

    The author of this site has covered numerous issues from an atheist perspective. Here he details how morality can be achieved from a “first principles” start point, i.e. no need for divine intervention. What differentiates him from many other would-be philosophers is that he takes the work of established thinkers into account in his arguments.

  • yj

    Inferno #387:

    Just one thing to add to your comments on empirical observations: They should include observations made by instruments that allow us to extend the range of our senses as well. E.g. telescopes, radioactive probes that bind to DNA etc.

    As always, a caveat: The observations made by these instruments need to, and are backed up by other observations and/or accurate predictions made on the basis of the first observations.

    Kill netizen #366
    My bad! I humbly admit my mistake. You’re right, the entire theory of evolution is too broad to be summed up in 15 words (of which 4 make up the title at that)

    Those 15 words were words that were thrown together to create a very slight semblance of a definition (for want of a better word) of what seems to be the theory of evolution by natural selection.

  • justkaypoh

    Inferno
    Regarding the E. coli experiment.

    1. DNA mechanisms in bacteria is very different from higher level organisms/ mammals
    a. E.g. Gene swapping

    2. After mutations and adaptation, DNA information is actually lost. So can’t explain the additional of DNA info in higher organisms (or different organisms)

    3. “However, although this mutation increased fitness under these conditions, it also increased the bacteria’s sensitivity to osmotic stress and decreased their ability to survive long periods in stationary phase cultures, so the phenotype of this adaption depends on the environment of the cells”

    This extract is taken from the results section journal you gave. The cells were actually weaker and don’t survive as well after mutations. Note that the environment is highly controlled. In real life the environment is a lot more harsh.

    I don’t think this experiment can infer the whole of TOE. Conclusions and inference can be drawn only for E. coli or bacteria. Note that bacteria and mammals have perhaps millions and billions of difference.

  • justkaypoh

    yj
    “ They should include observations made by instruments that allow us to extend the range of our senses as well. E.g. telescopes, radioactive probes that bind to DNA etc. “

    Agree with you.

    “My bad! I humbly admit my mistake. You’re right, the entire theory of evolution is too broad to be summed up in 15 words (of which 4 make up the title at that)”

    These are the bare minimum requirements for Evolution to occur, of course there are more. The more criteria there are the chances of happening will be slimmer. I asked you to come out with your own definition, haven’t hear from you yet. If you believe in Evolution without understanding all these, it shows that your faith is somewhat blind. Not meant to be rude, most posters here are like that, they are not even sure which is Science and whether Evolution is proven Science or not.

  • inferno

    -justkaypoh

    1. DNA mechanisms in bacteria is very different from higher level organisms/ mammals
    a. E.g. Gene swapping

    Larger organisms also happen to possess a convenient mechanism called sexual reproduction, which leads to infinitely more genetic variation than mere bacterial conjugation. Arguably, this means that larger organisms with larger genomes have exponentially higher rate of genetic recombination between generations, thus higher chance to generate beneficial mutations.

    2. After mutations and adaptation, DNA information is actually lost. So can’t explain the additional of DNA info in higher organisms (or different organisms)

    What makes you think that DNA information is lost during mutation and adaptation? Modification =/= lost. Also, what do you mean exactly by “DNA information is actually lost”, do you mean it in the sense that pre-existing genes will “disappear” (changed to another gene) or that the DNA sequence (i.e. nucleotides) itself is chopped off somehow?

    Higher organisms have many ways to multiply their genomes, not least of all when entire sequences are duplicated by accident. Polyploidy goes to the next level, when extra copies of entire chromosomes are created during gamete production.

    3. “However, although this mutation increased fitness under these conditions, it also increased the bacteria’s sensitivity to osmotic stress and decreased their ability to survive long periods in stationary phase cultures, so the phenotype of this adaption depends on the environment of the cells”

    “The cells were actually weaker and don’t survive as well after mutations. Note that the environment is highly controlled. In real life the environment is a lot more harsh.”

    Your conclusion here is vacuous. As I mentioned in an earlier post, it is obvious that organisms that adapt to a specific environment will inherently become less fit relative to another environment. This is the concept of ecological niches. The cells became weaker after mutation ONLY in the context of a “normal” environment, but the fact remains that only the mutated cells could survive in the specially modified environment, which is the only one that is relevant here.

    Simple example: If I send you to a cold country to live for a few years, after awhile you will become adapted to the colder climate. But this also means that chances are, you will be less comfortable in a warm climate like Singapore. Does this mean that you are “weaker” now? Obviously not, the fact is that you’re more well adapted to your current environment NOW, which is the cold climate. The original warm climate is completely irrelevant at this point because it has no link to your chances of reproductive survival.

    You asked for evidence of Evolution, and I think it is pretty clear right now that this is the only evidence of the RIGHT-BEFORE-YOUR-VERY-EYES category that you or anyone else is going to be able to see within one lifetime. If you have any grasp of evolutionary concepts at all, you should have accepted by now that it is unreasonable and impossible to observe macroevolution take place, given that it normally takes MILLIONS OF YEARS to happen. Yet there is plenty of circumstantial and supporting evidence from multiple fields that lead to the TOE.

    As I said in my analogy, we cannot “look” inside an atom to see its structure, but that does not mean the planetary model of atomic structure is not proven Science.

    You agreed earlier on that red-shifting light is strong evidence for expansion of the universe. Yet given the current level of technology, there is no way for us to LITERALLY observe the universe’s expansion. That does not mean this theory isn’t proven science.

    If I saw Mike Tyson spitting out Evander Holyfield’s ear, but didn’t witness the precise ACT OF BITING IT OFF, does that mean I have no proof that he did it?

  • justkaypoh

    inferno

    “An empirical observation is one that can be made by the five senses. Thus, if I can SEE it, it is empirical, full stop. An example of an empirical observation is the fact that there exist no terrestrial mammals that are native to oceanic islands.”

    I think your definition of Empirical is too simple for Scientific use. You may consult scientist whether your simple assumption is good enough.

    The definition that I found:
    “Empirical” refers to the use of working hypotheses that are testable using observation or experiment.

    Point One: Fail

    “Similarly, when we observe that the native fauna of oceanic islands consist only of organisms that could have traversed a large expanse of ocean (i.e. birds, insects, small flying mammals), we can hypothesize ……………………….. Whereas continental islands display the full range of native fauna as the mainland itself.”

    These example, can somewhat infer migration. What has it got to do with TOE?

    Infer only migration, fail to infer TOE. Point Three: fail

    “Finally, in my previous post #358, I have detailed why I consider the TOE to have at least equal scientific justification (read: proof and evidence) as Rutherford’s planetary model of atomic structure. To save time, how about you try and critique my arguments there.”

    Now the post is #359, that article is drawn from Wikipedia that can be edited by anyone, including you and me. How you check the accuracy of the conclusions?

    One must know that scientific conclusions are specific to a define set. E.g. Newton’s laws are valid only in a specific set. Out of the set, it may not be absolute.

    Rutherford’s experiments are very precise and the inference are done within the scope of atoms. I.e. is does not infer about molecules or other things. For TOE, the bacteria experiments can only infer on certain strains of bacteria the experiment works on. If it infers in other organisms, it will be out of scope. Have you seen actual formal scientific paper that infers so? I doubt so, if not the Scientist will be ‘fired’.

  • yj

    Let me try to clear up the misconceptions thrown into the discussion by JKP.

    Part 1

    JKP conflates the fact of evolution with natural selection, which is one of the mechanisms (albeit the major mechanism) proposed to explain the fact of evolution. Here’s why.

    Evolution alone is just descent with modification aka change in a population over time aka changes in the genome (DNA) of a population over time. Evolution need not necessarily lead to speciation.

    Evolution happens, and the mountain of empirical observations that have led scientists to conclude that evolution happens is too long to fully describe here.

    Alas, I’m too lazy right now to write another post dealing with the multiple lines of evidence that led scientists to this conclusion. I might try boring everyone with more verbosity in future though.

    The modern theory of evolution covers the fact that evolution occurs (and the large set of observations that led scientists to this conclusion), as well as the explanations for how evolution could have occurred.

    It’s important to bear this in mind because JKP seems to consistently conflate natural selection (the explanation for evolution) with the entire theory of evolution or with the fact of evolution itself.

    This is why JKP’s constant questions as to whether evolution is a proven science does not make sense. What does he mean by proven science? Does he mean if there is proof that evolution occurs? Does he mean that evolution is not science? Does he demand proof that natural selection takes place?

  • yj

    Part 2

    The key point here is that the evidence for the fact of evolution, and the reasons why natural selection is accepted as the main mechanism for evolution are different.

    Here’s an analogy to show what I mean:

    JKP consistently raises the theory of gravity as proven science. Why, I do not know. Perhaps that’s because it’s the one he’s most familiar with. I’ll assume that he’s referring to Newton’s theory instead of the theory of general relativity (which is a theory of gravity that provides a different explanation for the existence of gravity), since he mentions these two theories of gravity side by side.

    Let’s have a look at why he says the theory of gravity is a proven science.
    From justkaypoh #270:
    “Everyone, even kids can do the experiment on the effect of gravity themselves.”

    I don’t know what experiment he’s referring to, but I’ll assume it’s a falling stone/ object or whatever for now (Correct me if I’m wrong). That is the observation of gravity. That an object, once released, will move towards the surface of the earth.

    In other words, he says that Newton’s theory of gravity is a proven science because of the fact that there is gravity.

    Never once does he mention the explanation Newton provides for it: That this observation, or other observations that show the effect of gravity, is due to the attraction between two objects with mass. Never once does he mention how the predictions that this theory allows scientists to make can allow them to plan experiments to falsify this theory. Never once does he mention that the wrong predictions made by Newton’s explanation were part of what made scientists accept Einstein’s theory of gravity.

    This is what helped muddle the discussion. Asserting that Newton’s explanation for gravity is proven because one is sure of the fact that there is gravity is like asserting that natural selection is the mechanism/explanation for evolution because one is sure of the fact that evolution takes place.

    So JKP, what exactly are you asking about? Are you asking why natural selection is accepted as the explanation for the fact of evolution, or are you asking why there is evidence that evolution takes place?

    Or are you trying to assert that the methods used to study evolution do not conform to your rigid textbook definitions of science?

    We need to know exactly what question you are asking before we can answer your questions.

  • inferno

    “The definition that I found:
    “Empirical” refers to the use of working hypotheses that are testable using observation or experiment.

    Point One: Fail”

    “Testable” is not restricted to conducting an experiment. By “testable” we mean that the hypothesis makes predictions about what observable evidence would be consistent and what would be incompatible with the hypothesis. As I have shown numerous times already, every time we see something in nature, we check whether it is something that would be predicted by Evolution. These are all tests, and Evolution has passed Every. Single. One.

    ““Similarly, when we observe that the native fauna of oceanic islands consist only of organisms that could have traversed a large expanse of ocean (i.e. birds, insects, small flying mammals), we can hypothesize ……………………….. Whereas continental islands display the full range of native fauna as the mainland itself.”

    These example, can somewhat infer migration. What has it got to do with TOE?

    Infer only migration, fail to infer TOE. Point Three: fail”

    You fail to see the significance of the observations here. It isn’t merely that the species on oceanic islands are identical to their counterparts on the mainland. On the contrary, the native species of oceanic islands are descendants of their evolutionary ancestors on the mainland. In addition, oceanic island archipelagos exhibit radiation of species, which is strong evidence for the founder effect, i.e. several members of a single species migrated to the island and as speciation took place, the further a species is from the “founding point”, the more divergent it is from the original founder. This radiation effect is never observed on continental islands, because the native species were there all along (there was never a need for migration).

    Point Three fail, are you kidding me? The entire TOE explains tonnes of phenomena in the natural world beautifully and elegantly.

    “Now the post is #359, that article is drawn from Wikipedia that can be edited by anyone, including you and me. How you check the accuracy of the conclusions? ”

    Now you’re trying to play the ignorance card? Any science student worth his salt knows EXACTLY what the Geiger-Marsden experiment was about, and EXACTLY what the conclusions were, and why they were made. Don’t come and pussyfoot about “Wikipedia might be wrong”. This is one of the major landmark breakthroughs in science EVER.

    “For TOE, the bacteria experiments can only infer on certain strains of bacteria the experiment works on. If it infers in other organisms, it will be out of scope.”

    You asked for evidence of Evolution taking place in real time, and I provided it. The validity of Evolution does not hinge on this single experiment. All it does is provide another clue to the puzzle, that microevolution can take place. As it is impossible to observe macroevolution is action, we then turn to other evidence such as transitional fossils and phylogenetics.

    Do you not see the significance of the fact that the divergence times predicted by phylogenetics are precisely the exact same times we see in the fossil record?

  • http://blog budamax1952

    #386 rwkc /// The Buda (no pun intended) once said: “Arix has a complex mind” /// ;;; Hi rwkc ;;; The extreme complexity of the the human mind can be seen if we will to just break-up the mind into its various components :– [A] Consciousness—which consists of sight consciousness, sound consciousness, taste consciousness, tactile consciousness, smell consciousness and mind consciousness [B] Perception—which consists of sight perception, sound perception, taste perception, tactile perception, smell perception and mind perception [C] Feelings—which consists of feeling good, feeling bad and neutral i.e not feeling either good or bad [D] Mental Objects (of which there are over 50, but i will list only about 30)—modesty, mindfulness, insight, discretion, confidence, composure, non-attachment, non-aversion, impartiality, buoyancy, pliancy, adaptability, proficiency, rectitude, delusion, false view, shamelessness, egoism, agitation, greed, aversion, envy, avarice, worry, contraction, torpor, perplexity, memory, compassion.;;; So wouldn’t you agree that the human mind is an extremely complex thing ?

  • yj

    From justkaypoh #393
    “Rutherford’s experiments are very precise and the inference are done within the scope of atoms. I.e. is does not infer about molecules or other things. For TOE, the bacteria experiments can only infer on certain strains of bacteria the experiment works on. If it infers in other organisms, it will be out of scope. Have you seen actual formal scientific paper that infers so? I doubt so, if not the Scientist will be ‘fired’.”
    _______________________________________________________________

    Once again, JKP demonstrates that he does not understand how science works.

    Science does not progress based on any single genius. The explanations provided by these geniuses have to be corroborated by the work of many more scientists before they are accepted.

    What many posters here have been trying to do is point out examples of experiments that could possibly invalidate natural selection as an explanation for evolution.

    No single experiment is the reason why natural selection is accepted as the mechanism for evolution.

    It is the sum of all field studies, experiments and simulations that have been conducted since Darwin wrote his book that leads scientists to conclude that natural selection is a major mechanism for evolution.

    Natural selection is accepted as the major mechanism because accepting it as the major mechanism allows us to plan experiments/ field studies based natural selection.

    Scientists expect certain outcomes from these experiments/ field studies. If contrary results were obtained from these field studies/ experiments, then either something is wrong with the experimental setup, or something is wrong with the explanation the mchanism of natural selection provides.

    For example, natural selection would lead one to predict that the trait of citrate metabolism would arise only in bacteria living on plates containing citrate. If the trait of citrate metabolism arose in plates that did not contain citrate, and if the results were reproduced by independent groups consistently, this would be the black swan that could invalidate natural selection.

    The sum of all results from all of these experiments and field studies have not invalidated natural selection as an explanation. That’s why the scientific community tentatively accepts natural selection as the major mechanism for evolution.

    Natural selection is accepted as the major explanation for why evolution occurs now as:
    1. It has great explanatory power – it can provide a unified, parsimonious explanation for the many effects of evolution we see around us.

    2. The proposed mechanism of natural selection allows predictions to be made.

    3. These predictions allow scientists to carry out experiments that could possibly invalidate natural selection as an explanation for evolution.

  • justkaypoh

    budamax1952

    I think we need a objective referee for our debate, if not it may just go in circle. budamax1952 can you be our referee? inferno, do you agree?

  • yj

    Last post of the night for me.

    Edit to post no 398 last para:
    3. These predictions allow scientists to carry out STUDIES that could possibly invalidate natural selection as an explanation for evolution. And no study has ever invalidated natural selection as an explanation for evolution.

    This, coupled with the explanatory and predictive power of natural selection is what results in the scientific consensus that natural selection IS the major mechanism for evolution.
    _________________________________________________________

    Last point to ponder on for the night:

    There is NO scientific controversy over the fact of evolution. Scientists do not debate about whether evolution by natural selection occurs. They debate over its fine details.

    What we have here is a cultural controversy brought about by misunderstandings of of evolution.

    Just because there is disagreement amongst the general public does not mean that evolution is false. It just means that many don’t understand the principles of evolution.

  • inferno

    No offense, but budamax seems to be more interested in the religion debate on this thread, and has not really participated in the one regarding Evolution itself.
    Thus we currently have no basis to judge his understanding of Evolution in the first place, which is a prerequisite to referee such a debate.

    On the other hand, individuals such as squit and yj have demonstrated their thorough understanding of the topic, and have repeatedly pointed out the misconceptions that you have in your understanding of the subject matter, to the extent that even the questions you ask are either misleading or pointless. On my part, I have been repeatedly prompting you to state your stand clearly, which means that you declare your definitions and assumptions upfront, and then explain in detail why you think Evolution / natural selection fails to meet YOUR standard for scientific rigour.

    Allow me to remind you at this point that the mountain of evidence accumulated in favour of Evolution is not mere hyperbole, and that this year marks the 150th anniversary of the publishing of the Origin of Species. While I’m obviously not claiming that established theories will never be disproved, the point here is that for the past 150 years, there has been no hurdle, no speed bump, no obstacle the theory has not been able to overcome with flair. This means that the onus is on YOU, the detractor, to lay out your arguments why you think 150 years of combined research and thought of countless scientists worldwide is fundamentally flawed.

    You have claimed that the evidence for Evolution is weak. Yet the people who are actually trained in the relevant disciplines are confident that the evidence points unambiguously and unequivocally towards Evolution. Has it occurred to you that perhaps your basic understanding of what is and is not Science could be fatally flawed?

  • yj

    JKP #391:

    I’ve given a detailed response rgd your confused questioning, but here’s a quick reply.

    It summarizes what Inferno, Lop, myself and other posters have been saying.

    1. Evolution, by itself, is just descent with modification.
    A simplistic explanation would be that the traits of organisms change with time. Evolution NEED NOT lead to speciation.

    2. Whether natural selection is the mechanism for evolution is a separate argument from whether evolution occurs.

    3. Natural selection is currently accepted as the major mechanism for evolution. Other mechanisms include genetic drift, artificial selection and sexual selection.

    4. Those 15 words you threw out show some weirdness in your understanding. 1st off, of course there must be some form of heredity, if not the advantageous traits will not be passed on.

    By the way, here’s why I think your answer is weird. You seem to love short 1 word answers and spend 7 out of 15 words where 1 single word – variation would do? Then when it comes to the meat of the mechanism – the changes in proportion of organisms with certain traits, you sum it up in 2 words. Natural selection. There seems to be some confusion of concepts there dude.

    Natural selection – the explanation of how descent with modification occurs.
    a. Competition for resources/ chances for reproduction.
    If there’s no competition for resources, or if every organism has an equal chance of reproducing, there’ll be no evolution.

    b. There must be variation in a population.
    This variation can come from mutations, sex or genetic recombination. It is variation that is key for natural selection, not sex or genetic recombination.
    It’s key cos if there’s no variation, there will be no individuals in the population that produce more offspring than the rest.

    c. Organisms with some traits will be able to reproduce more in certain environments. These are said to be at selective advantage. This is where the concept of fitness comes from. Fit organisms in an environment = those able to produce more viable offspring.

    d. These organisms with the favorable traits will then produce more offspring. Frequency of the trait in the population rises.
    This trait might be so advantageous that eventually all the individuals with the non-favorable versions of the traits are out-reproduced and only individuals with the favorable trait are left in the population.

    Therefore, natural selection leads to descent (population of parents has offspring) with modification (frequency of traits on population changes). I.e. evolution.

    This need not lead to speciation in all cases. In the long run, in populations that don’t interbreed, natural selection can lead to speciation.

  • justkaypoh

    JKP: 1. DNA mechanisms in bacteria is very different from higher level organisms/ mammals a. E.g. Gene swapping

    “Larger organisms also happen to possess a convenient mechanism called sexual reproduction, which leads to infinitely more genetic variation than mere bacterial conjugation. Arguably, this means that larger organisms with larger genomes have exponentially higher rate of genetic recombination between generations, thus higher chance to generate beneficial mutations.”

    I’m talking about the qualitative difference not the quantitative difference. E.g. although a car moves faster than a bicycle we can’t compare apple to apple the mechanism of these 2. Alter the mechanical parts are made of metal. 2 sets of things will produces totally different issues. The inference will be different to too. In short, in Science one has to compare apple to apple.

    Bacteria say may survive say 10% of inherited mutations, humans may hardly survive cancer if there’s no intervention(treatment)

    2. After mutations and adaptation, DNA information is actually lost. So can’t explain the additional of DNA info in higher organisms (or different organisms)

    What makes you think that DNA information is lost during mutation and adaptation? Modification =/= lost. Also, what do you mean exactly by “DNA information is actually lost”, do you mean it in the sense that pre-existing genes will “disappear” (changed to another gene) or that the DNA sequence (i.e. nucleotides) itself is chopped off somehow?

    You can read this experiment example, its quite short

    http://www.springerlink.com/content/ku3015xk16168364/fulltext.pdf?page=1

    3. “However, although this mutation increased fitness under these conditions, it also increased the bacteria’s sensitivity to osmotic stress and decreased their ability to survive long periods in stationary phase cultures, so the phenotype of this adaption depends on the environment of the cells”

    “The cells were actually weaker and don’t survive as well after mutations. Note that the environment is highly controlled. In real life the environment is a lot more harsh.”

    “Your conclusion here is vacuous. As I mentioned in an earlier post, it is obvious that organisms that adapt to a specific environment will inherently become less fit relative to another environment. This is the concept of ecological niches. The cells became weaker after mutation ONLY in the context of a “normal” environment, but the fact remains that only the mutated cells could survive in the specially modified environment, which is the only one that is relevant here.”

    “Simple example: If I send you to a cold country to live for a few years, after awhile you will become adapted to the colder climate. But this also means that chances are, you will be less comfortable in a warm climate like Singapore. Does this mean that you are “weaker” now? Obviously not, the fact is that you’re more well adapted to your current environment NOW, which is the cold climate. The original warm climate is completely irrelevant at this point because it has no link to your chances of reproductive survival.”

    In this experiment there only one controlled environment, so why are you talking about multiple environments? In this case, let name the experiment environment A. The E. coli bacteria are stronger before mutation, after mutation they are weaker in the same environment A. Please do not be confused with multiple environments. We are talking the E. coli experiment you quoted, please keep in scope.

    “You asked for evidence of Evolution, and I think it is pretty clear right now that this is the only evidence of the RIGHT-BEFORE-YOUR-VERY-EYES category that you or anyone else is going to be able to see within one lifetime. If you have any grasp of evolutionary concepts at all, you should have accepted by now that it is unreasonable and impossible to observe macroevolution take place, given that it normally takes MILLIONS OF YEARS to happen. Yet there is plenty of circumstantial and supporting evidence from multiple fields that lead to the TOE. “

    Do you mean that macroevolution can’t be practically proven?

    Do you agree that “millions of years” and ‘supporting evidence’ premises is very debatable among scientists? Have you read of famous scientist refute TOE? We hardly ‘see’ any scientists refute TOG , atomic theory fundamentally.

    “As I said in my analogy, we cannot “look” inside an atom to see its structure, but that does not mean the planetary model of atomic structure is not proven Science.”

    Did you mean that I said must “look”? I was saying that the scope(set) of the atomic experiments concludes/inference only about atoms. But so can bacteria experiments infer about the whole TOE? Please answer.

    “You agreed earlier on that red-shifting light is strong evidence for expansion of the universe. Yet given the current level of technology, there is no way for us to LITERALLY observe the universe’s expansion. That does not mean this theory isn’t proven science.”

    I told yj that observation can include instruments and reliable methods.

    Verdict : E. coli experiment can’t infer TOE. You can counter check with Biology professors. I’ll already check with a researcher who holds a Master in Bioscience, that TOE can’t be proven formally.

  • inferno

    “In this experiment there only one controlled environment, so why are you talking about multiple environments? In this case, let name the experiment environment A. The E. coli bacteria are stronger before mutation, after mutation they are weaker in the same environment A. Please do not be confused with multiple environments. We are talking the E. coli experiment you quoted, please keep in scope.”

    You’re completely confused here. The conclusion of the researchers was that the mutations weakened the bacteria only if it was in normal environments. I.e. they put the mutated bacteria back inside a normal culture environment, and yes, in THIS SPECIFIC environment, they were weaker than unmutated ones. But in the citrate-only environment, OBVIOUSLY ONLY THE MUTANTS WERE ABLE TO SURVIVE. Please clear up this simple error on your part.

    “Do you mean that macroevolution can’t be practically proven? ”

    If by “practically proven” you mean RIGHT-BEFORE-YOUR-VERY-EYES type of macroevolution, such as a cow growing wings, yes then I agree that it cannot be proven this way. As we have told you a million times before, macroevolution takes millions of years to take place, and we know this thanks to the fossil record. The “millions of years” period is not randomly generated by myself or any other person.

    “I told yj that observation can include instruments and reliable methods. ”

    Well now that’s a fallacy called Special Pleading. Red-shifting light is like a smoking gun; we can’t actually observe the universe expanding, so this clue tells us what is going on. Likewise, we can’t see evolution that took place in the past, but the fossil record is a giant hint as to what happened in the past. There is no difference in the validity or quality of the evidence in both cases.

    “Do you agree that “millions of years” and ‘supporting evidence’ premises is very debatable among scientists? Have you read of famous scientist refute TOE? We hardly ‘see’ any scientists refute TOG , atomic theory fundamentally.”

    Apparently you seem to have overlooked my post #402. So let me clarify this point unambiguously. There is ABSOLUTELY NO DOUBT IN SCIENTIFIC CIRCLES THAT EVOLUTION IS TRUE. Of course, there are internal debates as to the SPECIFIC DETAILS of HOW it works, but EVERYBODY AGREES THAT IT IS TRUE. This is NOT a sign of dispute. This is HEALTHY SCIENTIFIC DEBATE, i.e. evolutionary biologists disagree on some issue and they argue about it. Look at Dawkins vs Gould, they are both evolutionary biologists, and they argued about stuff like whether punctuated equilibrium takes place or not.

    “Have you read of famous scientist refute TOE?” Ah. This is the point when you take out your creationist book that quote mines (read: takes out of context) numerous eminent biologists to make them sound as if they think evolution is false. Go on, humour us. What “famous scientists” do you have in mind here? I hope you’re not about to quote Fred Hoyle, who’s Boeing 747 debacle can be considered as a classic example of the general public’s lack of understanding of what evolution entails. And please refrain from quoting non-biologists/paleontologists/archaeologists, i.e. scientists whose disciplines have nothing to do with the subject matter.

  • justkaypoh

    Inferno: “Testable” is not restricted to conducting an experiment. By “testable” we mean that the hypothesis makes predictions about what observable evidence would be consistent and what would be incompatible with the hypothesis. As I have shown numerous times already, every time we see something in nature, we check whether it is something that would be predicted by Evolution. These are all tests, and Evolution has passed Every. Single. One.
    So far it not very clear.
    Pertaining to your specific example
    Please fill in the blank to make it very clear scientifically
    Hypothesis:
    Empirical Data:
    What is being tested:

    ““Similarly, when we observe that the native fauna of oceanic islands consist only of organisms that could have traversed a large expanse of ocean (i.e. birds, insects, small flying mammals), we can hypothesize ……………………….. Whereas continental islands display the full range of native fauna as the mainland itself.”

    These example, can somewhat infer migration. What has it got to do with TOE?

    Infer only migration, fail to infer TOE. Point Three: fail”

    Inferno: You fail to see the significance of the observations here. It isn’t merely that the species on oceanic islands are identical to their counterparts on the mainland. On the contrary, the native species of oceanic islands are descendants of their evolutionary ancestors on the mainland. In addition, oceanic island archipelagos exhibit radiation of species, which is strong evidence for the founder effect, i.e. several members of a single species migrated to the island and as speciation took place, the further a species is from the “founding point”, the more divergent it is from the original founder. This radiation effect is never observed on continental islands, because the native species were there all along (there was never a need for migration).

    Its seems that there’s jumping of conclusion after vague description
    Can you write clearly in close to formal languages statement?
    e.g. “All swans see are white” , “All swans – - > White”
    “Point Three fail, are you kidding me? The entire TOE explains tonnes of phenomena in the natural world beautifully and elegantly.”
    My statements:
    TOE explains tones of phenomena – - -> TOE is right.
    Anti-TOE explains tones of phenomena – - -> Anti-TOE is right . ? is it?

    Do you understand the your logic behind your statement?

    Inferno: Now you’re trying to play the ignorance card? Any science student worth his salt knows EXACTLY what the Geiger-Marsden experiment was about, and EXACTLY what the conclusions were, and why they were made. Don’t come and pussyfoot about “Wikipedia might be wrong”. This is one of the major landmark breakthroughs in science EVER.
    Please read my paragraph of my post carefully. You seem to misunderstood what I said.

    “For TOE, the bacteria experiments can only infer on certain strains of bacteria the experiment works on. If it infers in other organisms, it will be out of scope.”
    You asked for evidence of Evolution taking place in real time, and I provided it. The validity of Evolution does not hinge on this single experiment. All it does is provide another clue to the puzzle, that microevolution can take place. As it is impossible to observe macroevolution is action, we then turn to other evidence such as transitional fossils and phylogenetics.
    Remember that was the very first question I post to you? But you didn’t reply. I said it was an important question.
    I don’t dispute microevolution. In short macroevolution can’t be proven by experiment right?

  • rwkc

    #397 budamax1952

    “So wouldn’t you agree that the human mind is an extremely complex thing?”

    But of course!

    And I believe that the human brain, with its billions of cells, is arguably the most complex entity known to us.

    I threw in your comment about Arix having a complex mind as a reminder to Arix to avoid giving responses that are too complex for us to understand. As you yourself have or may have noticed, several posters have found some of Arix’s messages to be complex or confusing.

  • fearandignorance

    from justkaypoh,
    “I don’t dispute microevolution. In short macroevolution can’t be proven by experiment right?”

    At last this magical statement is out.
    At least you now sound like a credible creationist scientist.
    congratulation.

    We can now move on to proving macroevolution since you have agreed that microevoulution is proven.

  • inferno

    Hypothesis: If evolutionary theory is true, and given the fossil record, I should expect to find marsupial fossils in Antarctica.

    Empirical Data: Most recent marsupial fossils in South America are 40 million years old. Oldest marsupial fossils in Australia are 30 million years old.

    What is being tested: During the ten-year gap, marsupials should have migrated (and evolved along the way) from South America to Australia. During the relevant period, these two land masses were connected by today’s Antarctica. Thus we should find marsupial fossils in Antarctica.

    Why this is relevant to the TOE: Modern marsupials in Australia descended from ancestral species whose fossils are found in the Americas, as predicted by evolutionary theory.

    “TOE explains tones of phenomena – – -> TOE is right.
    Anti-TOE explains tones of phenomena – – -> Anti-TOE is right . ? is it?”

    Anti-TOE explains tonnes of phenomena? Do enlighten me on what this “Anti-TOE” theory is.

    “Now the post is #359, that article is drawn from Wikipedia that can be edited by anyone, including you and me. How you check the accuracy of the conclusions?”

    Now you claim that I have misread you. Fair enough, then explain yourself clearly then. In proper, grammatical English, lest further misunderstandings arise.

    “I don’t dispute microevolution. In short macroevolution can’t be proven by experiment right?”

    If you have any kind of knowledge about evolution, you know that this question is retarded:

    Q: Can macroevolution be proven by experiment WITHIN THE TIME OF A HUMAN LIFESPAN?

    A: Most probably NO.

    Q: Can macroevolution be proven by experiment?

    A: Since you didn’t specify a time limit, YES. One merely has to sit around for several millenia, and if evolution is true then one would definitely see big changes taking place.

    I hope you have not been leading us on a wild goose chase with your directionless questioning all this while, just to hit upon these pitiful conclusion. And isn’t it about time you revealed your creationist agenda? After all, it isn’t every day that someone comes along trying to disprove evolution for the it’s own sake. Let alone someone whose credentials are questionable in the first place.

    I await your reply to my post #406, otherwise I’ll assume you’re just evading points you’re uncomfortable with (again).

  • justkaypoh

    Hi fearandignorance, welcome in.

    Anyway Creationism is not a Science and Science does not prove everything, in fact Science can’t prove itself Scientifically. Only philosophy and logic can prove Science.

    Macroevolution and speciation is the contention that even renown and credible Scientists dispute.

  • rwkc

    Inferno and yj,

    I think both of you have advanced excellent arguments for Evolution [TOE].

    Dr Syed Alwi has highlighted several sources of reference to justkaypoh re TOE.

    It may jkp some time to read up – and there are so many internet sites that provide a comprehensive account of TOE.

    There is a probability that jkp is prejudiced against TOE that no matter what has been written about it, he would still reject it as a sound scietific theory, even though it has found acceptance, not only among many people in the scientific field but among laypeople as well.

    The disagreement here seems no different from that between a theist and an atheist concerning God/religion; neither the theist, nor the atheist, can hope to achieve resolution over the question of God’s existence or non-existence.

    But that should not stop us from continuing with our discussions. Readers who have been following the discussions/arguments may have formed some opinion as to which side[s] provide[s] a more coherent picture.

  • fearandignorance

    I can only be an observer in this creationism vs evolution debate. Though I studied A-level biology, my field of study is not biology or even related to biology in University. But this debate is so interesting that it sparks my interest to refresh my knowledge on evolution and watch documentaries on creationism vs evolution controversy in the States. I must thank many who are well versed in evolution for sharing their knowledge and the latest discoveries on evolution to laymen like me. So far, supporters of creationism in this forum and other local forums have shown poor understanding of evolution and are nth but agents of misinformation.

  • justkaypoh

    JKP: Re #327 of the E. coli experiment. I’ll post more details reply later. In the meanwhile, while this experiment show good and bad results for and against Evolution. To what extent can we infer the certainty of Evolution from the conclusion of this experiment?

    I’ll post the diverging example check against Science soon.
    Before we went into details of the E coli experiment I asked you this inferring the certainty of Evolution (in this case, both micro and macro included right?)

    You didn’t answer this, that’s why pre-supposition is very important. You can’t complaining that I keep questioning, without proper questioning there can be no answer and truths.

  • inferno

    “Before we went into details of the E coli experiment I asked you this inferring the certainty of Evolution (in this case, both micro and macro included right?)”

    Yes this experiment PROVES MICROEVOLUTION. FULL STOP. However, unless we actually see macroevolution taking place, there is no such thing as absolute certainty for it. But, I have explained before how scientists do not claim 100% certainty for many theories. For example, you can’t look into an atom, so Rutherford’s theory is not 100% certain. But every experiment confirms it so far, and it explains / predicts perfectly, and there is no competing theory available. Thus scientists accept it as true.

    The observation of red-shifting light does not necessarily equate an expanding universe. But an expanding universe is a plausible explanation, in fact THE ONLY plausible explanation we know of. Thus we say it is valid so far.

    I am truly getting tired of having to repeat myself over and over again over the concept of the SMOKING GUN. If all you have inside your head is I-MUST-SEE-COWS-GROWING-WINGS-BEFORE-I-ACCEPT-EVOLUTION then kindly stop wasting everybody’s time and declare upfront that no amount of evidence will convince you.

    And I shall repeat my challenge that I issued a few posts ago (which you conveniently ignored, as usual):

    “Allow me to remind you at this point that the mountain of evidence accumulated in favour of Evolution is not mere hyperbole, and that this year marks the 150th anniversary of the publishing of the Origin of Species. While I’m obviously not claiming that established theories will never be disproved, the point here is that for the past 150 years, there has been no hurdle, no speed bump, no obstacle the theory has not been able to overcome with flair. This means that the onus is on YOU, the detractor, to lay out your arguments why you think 150 years of combined research and thought of countless scientists worldwide is fundamentally flawed.”

    We have put up with your beating around the bush for numerous posts already, and we have sincerely attempted to educate you on principles of evolution and science which, clearly, you lack sufficient understanding on. We have engaged you in dialogue based on the assumption that you are honestly here with the intention to either:

    1. Learn more about evolution and clarify personal doubts
    2. Disprove evolution, using some new evidence you have acquired

    Anything other than these two premises is a waste of time. Obviously you don’t belong to category 1, because throughout this entire time you show no hint of intending to be convinced at any point. Thus far, you do not fall in category 2 either, because you have not put forth any arguments of your own. So tell me, why should we continue to put up with your random jumping around? If you want to ask a sincere question, then be prepared to debate the issue to the end until either party concedes. Not vacillate from point to point every time you hit a brick wall.

  • kill_netizen

    Dear Inferno
    Just Kaypoh, as you rightly wrote , had been beating around the bush for numerous posts……. THis is typical way of satan, JustKaypoh is a serpent.

    No amount of education can ever change him, a serpent just wriggle and wriggle and avoid , trying to shift lampPost, eg using premises masquarade as definition, when he refused to come to give a definition…

    If he cant even gve a definition of TOE, only giving premises only, how can you ever be engaged in dialogue??

  • justkaypoh

    “Before we went into details of the E coli experiment I asked you this inferring the certainty of Evolution (in this case, both micro and macro included right?)”
    “Yes this experiment PROVES MICROEVOLUTION. FULL STOP. However, unless we actually see macroevolution taking place, there is no such thing as absolute certainty for it. But, I have explained before how scientists do not claim 100% certainty for many theories. For example, you can’t look into an atom, so Rutherford’s theory is not 100% certain. But every experiment confirms it so far, and it explains / predicts perfectly, and there is no competing theory available. Thus scientists accept it as true.”
    You SHOULD have reply that this experiment does not prove macro-evolution.

    “The observation of red-shifting light does not necessarily equate an expanding universe. But an expanding universe is a plausible explanation, in fact THE ONLY plausible explanation we know of. Thus we say it is valid so far.
    I am truly getting tired of having to repeat myself over and over again over the concept of the SMOKING GUN. If all you have inside your head is I-MUST-SEE-COWS-GROWING-WINGS-BEFORE-I-ACCEPT-EVOLUTION then kindly stop wasting everybody’s time and declare upfront that no amount of evidence will convince you.”
    By looking at the fossil records is there evolution ONLY plausible explanation? Did is say “I must see cows growing…”? We can meet up logicians or physicists and biologist to show that the quality of the evidences of the 2 are different.

    And I shall repeat my challenge that I issued a few posts ago (which you conveniently ignored, as usual):
    “Allow me to remind you at this point that the mountain of evidence accumulated in favour of Evolution is not mere hyperbole, and that this year marks the 150th anniversary of the publishing of the Origin of Species. While I’m obviously not claiming that established theories will never be disproved, the point here is that for the past 150 years, there has been no hurdle, no speed bump, no obstacle the theory has not been able to overcome with flair. This means that the onus is on YOU, the detractor, to lay out your arguments why you think 150 years of combined research and thought of countless scientists worldwide is fundamentally flawed.”

    There are also a mountain of evidence accumulated against TOE.

    http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Acropolis/1082/quotesof.htm

    “there has been no hurdle, no speed bump, no obstacle” very subjective statement. A reverse statement can be made too. “arguments why you think 150 years of combined research and thought of countless scientists worldwide is fundamentally flawed.” This doesn’t mean that is MUST be right. I shall later on test the logic of your of your Australian hypothesis.

    “We have put up with your beating around the bush for numerous posts already, and we have sincerely attempted to educate you on principles of evolution and science which, clearly, you lack sufficient understanding on. We have engaged you in dialogue based on the assumption that you are honestly here with the intention to either:

    1. Learn more about evolution and clarify personal doubts 2. Disprove evolution, using some new evidence you have acquired
    Anything other than these two premises is a waste of time. Obviously you don’t belong to category 1, because throughout this entire time you show no hint of intending to be convinced at any point. Thus far, you do not fall in category 2 either, because you have not put forth any arguments of your own. So tell me, why should we continue to put up with your random jumping around? If you want to ask a sincere question, then be prepared to debate the issue to the end until either party concedes. Not vacillate from point to point every time you hit a brick wall.”

    You had put up too much info too fast, I’d yet to find time to reply them with quality, unless you want me to anyhow reply? I felt that I’m very close to logically disprove your macro-evolution pre-supposition. If I say now that they are weak induction (you’ll complain). Let’s focus and go in depth on this first, then we can come into good conclusion for a point first.

  • kill_netizen

    Fearandignorance at post #413
    You have rightly observed “so far, supporters of creationism in this forum and other local forums have shown poor understanding of evolution and are nothing but agents of misinformation”

    Some writers at asiaone is not bad.
    JustKaypoh are agents of misinformation….. he uses Satan’s type of argument, take a look ag Genesis, see how SATAN use the word REALLY and shift the tree of knowledge of good and evil, into all fruits in the garden of eden.
    Justkaypoh are using such satanic methodology, JKY aim is to confused, so that people will not discuss the issues.

  • justkaypoh

    “ABSOLUTELY NO DOUBT IN SCIENTIFIC CIRCLES THAT EVOLUTION IS TRUE. ”
    No scientists ever refuted? Don’t be too absolute.

    “Well now that’s a fallacy called Special Pleading. ” what pleading are you talking about? Evidence?

    “Red-shifting light is like a smoking gun; we can’t actually observe the universe expanding, so this clue tells us what is going on. Likewise, we can’t see evolution that took place in the past, but the fossil record is a giant hint as to what happened in the past. There is no difference in the validity or quality of the evidence in both cases.”

    Red-shifting light is a current phenomena and can be calculated by math, to equate this with fossil records is quite far fetch, did you conclude this or you read somewhere of this un-substantiated ridiculous conclusions?

  • fearandignorance

    justkaypoh,
    about the link you have provided,
    http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Acropolis/1082/quotesof.htm
    a significant number of quotes are arguments against origin of life happening by natural processes.
    You do know after this long debate that TOE does not explain the origin of life but origin of species and diversity of life.
    By putting up this link, you are clearly showing yet again your lack of understanding of TOE.

  • rwkc

    #413 inferno

    Excellent points.

  • rwkc

    #417 justkaypoh

    “No scientists ever refuted? Don’t be too absolute.”

    No question of absolutism, I agree.

    Please find some time to read a comprehensive write-up, available on this link
    http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=6024#description
    concerning evolutionary theory.

    Excerpted from this link:

    Don’t many famous scientists reject evolution?
    No. The scientific consensus around evolution is overwhelming. Those opposed to the teaching of evolution sometimes use quotations from prominent scientists out of context to claim that scientists do not support evolution. However, examination of the quotations reveals that the scientists are actually disputing some aspect of how evolution occurs, not whether evolution occurred. For example, the biologist Stephen Jay Gould once wrote that “the extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology.” But Gould, an accomplished paleontologist and eloquent educator about evolution, was arguing about how evolution takes place. He was discussing whether the rate of change of species is slow and gradual or whether it takes place in bursts after long periods when little change occurs—an idea known as punctuated equilibrium. As Gould writes in response, “This quotation, although accurate as a partial citation, is dishonest in leaving out the following explanatory material showing my true purpose—to discuss rates of evolutionary change, not to deny the fact of evolution itself.”

  • justkaypoh

    fearandignorance

    “a significant number of quotes are arguments against origin of life happening by natural processes.
    You do know after this long debate that TOE does not explain the origin of life but origin of species and diversity of life.
    By putting up this link, you are clearly showing yet again your lack of understanding of TOE.”

    I fail to understand your ‘profound’ logic. “significant number” what is the exact percentage? What is considered significant so as to infer that I don’t understand TOE? Not meant to be rude, I think do you not understand about logic

  • justkaypoh

    rwkc
    “No scientists ever refuted? Don’t be too absolute.”

    No question of absolutism, I agree.

    Please read this site, there are just short quotations

    http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Acropolis/1082/quotesof.htm

    Don’t seems like not refuting TOE harshly?

  • fearandignorance

    correction: you OUGHT to know that TOE does not explain the origin of life but origin of species and diversity of life after this long debate.

    1) Crick, Francis, Life Itself: Its Origin and Nature
    2) Denton, Michael, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis
    3) Hoyle, Sir Fred, and Chandra Wickramasinghe, Evolution from Space
    4) Hoyle, Sir Fred, The Intelligent Universe
    5) Mora, Peter T., “The Folly of Probability,” in The Origins of Prebiological Systems
    6) Wald, George, “The Origin of Life,”
    7) Wickramasinghe, C., Interview in London Daily Express
    8) Yockey, Hubert P., “Self-Organization Origin of Life Scenarios and Information Theory,” Journal of Theoretical Biology
    9) Cohen, Jon, “Getting All Turned Around Over the Origins of Life on Earth,”
    10) Dose, Professor Dr. Klaus, “The Origin of Life; More Questions than Answers,”
    11) Dyson, Freeman, “Honoring Dirac,”
    12) Gould, Stephen Jay, “An Early Start,” Natural History
    13) Haskins, Caryl P., “Advances and Challenges in Science in 1970,”
    14) Hofstadter, Douglas R., Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid
    15) Maddox, John, “The Genesis Code by Numbers,”
    16) Orgel, Leslie E., “Darwinism at the Very Beginning of Life,”
    17) Orgel, Leslie E., “The Origin of Life on the Earth,”
    18) Yockey, Hubert P., “A Calculation of the Probability of Spontaneous Biogenesis by Information Theory,”
    19) Anonymous,”Hoyle on Evolution,”

    19 out of 58 quotes are talking about the difficulities of life formation from non-life.

    On Radiometric Dating and Alleged Transitional Forms, most of the quotes are from old outdated studies conducted in the 70′-80′. Are you telling me that there is no development since the 80′ on radiometric dating to improve on its reliability and accuracy? Are there no new discovery of new transitional fossils to fill in the gaps in the Tree of Life or explaination for the lack of transitional fossils?

    If you believe that radiometric dating is wrong and the ages of fossils should not be in the billions, you are sounding more and more like a creationist who believe in the young Earth theory which states that the Earth is 6,000 to 10,000 years old using the ages given in the genealogies and other dates in the Bible.

  • justkaypoh

    Part I
    Fearandignorance , inferno and guys
    “correction: you OUGHT to know that TOE does not explain the origin of life but origin of species and diversity of life after this long debate. “
    Yes I know. In fact most supports of TOE are biologist they don’t know much other aspects that may affect the chances of TOE, e.g. chemistry, physics and mathematics(e.g. probability)

    Let me give you a simple illustration. A + B = C , we call (A + B) process X . (A, B, C are constants)
    In order for process X be true to conclude C . A and B must be true.
    Let origin of Life be OL
    Evolved organisms as EO
    Y be string of other factors that contribute to TOE
    We can formulate OL + Y = EO , (OL + Y ) is process TOE
    Therefore OL and Y (many factors) must be true in order to conclude that TOE is true.

    Currently biologists have to admit that its beyond their knowledge to prove OL.
    As you can see clearly it is very very very difficult to process TOE true beyond reasonable doubt.

    Part II to be cont

  • fearandignorance

    Clearly, you dun understand TOE
    TOE is used to explain:
    1) why is there so many species of plants, animals and other living things on Earth?
    2) do species change over time and how?
    3) will we see new species?

    TOE is based on the assumption that there is life on Earth and this is true since otherwise I wont be talking to you in this forum.

    This is analogue to the usage of English in our daily life. Do we need to know the origin of languages or the English language to learn the mechanism to speak and write English?

  • inferno

    For the last time, TOE has absolutely nothing to do with the origin of life. Stop harping on this obvious strawman.

    Fearandignorance has saved me the trouble of detailing why your link to those quotes is irrelevant and outdated. It clearly shows that you googled “quotes by scientists against evolution” or something to that effect, quite possibly clicking “i’m feeling lucky” to boot. You then proceeded to copy the URL of that page here, as if we are too stupid to actually read the arguments there, and would accept it as true without questioning. So either you are posting without bothering to check the relevance of your so-called evidence, or your understanding of evolution is too pitiful to be engaging in a discussion such as this. You would have been better off quoting Behe, Johnson and their ilk. Then again, that would at least have shown that you have actually done some research on your part. The fact that you picked such a useless link, and continue to defend it, speaks volumes of your ignorance.

    “Currently biologists have to admit that its beyond their knowledge to prove OL.
    As you can see clearly it is very very very difficult to process TOE true beyond reasonable doubt.”

    Absolutely no link between the first and second statements. We have stated unambiguously that TOE and OL are two completely distinct issues. If you persist on discussing the improbability of life arising from molecules, then you are merely going off-topic.

    ““there has been no hurdle, no speed bump, no obstacle” very subjective statement. A reverse statement can be made too. “arguments why you think 150 years of combined research and thought of countless scientists worldwide is fundamentally flawed.” This doesn’t mean that is MUST be right. I shall later on test the logic of your of your Australian hypothesis.”

    Of course, nobody has ever said that the TOE MUST BE RIGHT. But if you insist of demanding RIGHT-BEFORE-YOUR-VERY-EYES type of evidence, then by your standards, a significant number of scientific theories are not justified.

    “Red-shifting light is a current phenomena and can be calculated by math, to equate this with fossil records is quite far fetch, did you conclude this or you read somewhere of this un-substantiated ridiculous conclusions?”

    More misleading statements on your part. Red-shifting light “can be calculated by math”, just as the ages of fossils “can be calculated by radiometric dating”. Both types of evidence fall under the SMOKING GUN category, which you claim is insufficient to validate a theory.

    We are still waiting with bated breath for your proposition. Take a stand (e.g. the current evidence for TOE is not strong enough to conclude that it is true) and TELL US WHY YOU THINK YOU ARE RIGHT.

  • fearandignorance

    424) justkaypoh on August 13th, 2009 1.06 pm

    Theory of Life == Evolution of Life + Origin of Life

    TOE =/= Theory of Life

    TOE == Evolution of Life

    Explain in your own language.

    Is this clear enuff?

  • yj

    Fearandignorance,

    I think it’s cool that you’re inspired to read up on evolution. If, like me, you were of a batch that took the A levels more than 3 yrs ago, what we learnt about evolution back then was peanuts. The topic back then basically only refuted Lamarck and covered natural selection.

    Lots of cool stuff has happened in the field of evolutionary bio since then. I suggest you get some books by Matt Ridley, Richard Dawkins or Stephen Jay Gould. Matt’s the most accesible reader. Dick and Steve write clearly, but are more understandable if you’ve got some basic knowledge.

    Have fun exploring!

  • justkaypoh

    Let’s try in both English and formal language (similar) .
    Let me know which statement is wrong if you think so and why. You and I ‘may’ be wrong, that’s why we are discussing.

    Life, single cell organism with DNA is the perquisite for TOE, right?

    Life is a premise to TOE.

    Origin of Life OL is an explanation for Life.

    Without Origin of Life there will not be Life. Unless there is sudden miracle. 2 possible root cause. By
    Chance or (by design/purpose)

    OL is not directly related to TOE, as they belongs to different sets.

    OL is indirectly related to TOE if the above statement deems true.

    That may be the reason some ‘creationists’ want to touch on OL.

    Although less than half of the quotations in my reference url may talk about OL. I did NOT propose to discuss OL there.
    Fearandignorance brought up this topic (perhaps he infer that I want discuss this topic from the reference of the url)

    Let’s move on to TOE instead.

    To be con’t….

  • yj

    Let me try to improve everyone’s understanding of biology by correcting misconceptions.

    From JKP #403
    “Bacteria say may survive say 10% of inherited mutations, humans may hardly survive cancer if there’s no intervention(treatment)”

    The key misconception here is this:
    JKP conflates harmful mutations that lead to cancer with all types of mutation.

    First of all, not all mutations will result in an adverse effect. Mutations that occur in unimportant regions of DNA have no effect on survival. (E.g. Introns, endogenous retroviruses, pseudogenes etc.)

    Mutations can even occur in our genes (the important part of our DNA) without having an effect on survival. That’s cos the mutations might not result in a change in the amino acid coded for, or the changed amino acid might have very similar properties to the old one, or the changed amino acid might be in a region of the protein that’s not very important in maintaining the shape of the protein.

    For cancer to occur, a number of mutations need to occur in genes (the important part of our DNA) that code for proteins that are involved in cell division. This means that mutations that result in cancer are just a small proportion of all the mutations that have occurred in humans.

    In other words, even before cancer occurred, we were walking around just fine with many mutations in our DNA.

    In fact, we survive fine with mutations. We pass them on to our children too. That’s cos most of our mutations happen in the unimportant parts of our DNA which make up about 95% of the DNA in us.
    ________________________________________________________________

    Again from the same post #403,
    “After mutations and adaptation, DNA information is actually lost. So can’t explain the additional of DNA info in higher organisms (or different organisms)”

    What do you mean by DNA information? The number of nucleotides in a chromosome? The number of genes? The number of chromosomes?

    This question is meaningless unless you specify if it’s the total amount of nucleotides you’re talking about or if it’s genes you’re talking about.

    Anyway, because I want to raise a cool concept, I’ll assume you’re talking about the total number of nucleotides.
    Have you ever heard of gene duplication? Or integration of retroviral DNA into a host genome? Both of these will result in the total number of nucleotides in an organism’s genome.
    _________________________________________________________________

    Next example, from post # 403 again:
    I used to wonder why people used ROTFL. I mean, who does that? But this next example nearly made me do that.

    From post #403 by JKP again:
    “You can read this experiment example, its quite short
    http://www.springerlink.com/content/ku3015xk16168364/fulltext.pdf?page=1”

    1st things 1st. The paper is from 1964!!! No one quotes papers from that era and expects to be taken seriously. So much research has taken place since then!

    And…. Oh man. Of course it’s short. The link only shows the abstract (the summary of the paper) and part of the introduction.

    I was worried that JKP just linked wrongly, so I went to search for the paper. Turns out that access is restricted to those with either personal or institutional access to the journal.

    So JKP, unless you have a personal subscription or institutional access to the journal, you’ve just made the extremely embarrassing mistake of taking the abstract to be the full paper.

  • inferno

    From your post #424:

    “Let me give you a simple illustration. A + B = C , we call (A + B) process X . (A, B, C are constants)
    In order for process X be true to conclude C . A and B must be true.
    Let origin of Life be OL
    Evolved organisms as EO
    Y be string of other factors that contribute to TOE
    We can formulate OL + Y = EO , (OL + Y ) is process TOE
    Therefore OL and Y (many factors) MUST BE TRUE in order to conclude that TOE is true. (my emphasis)

    Currently biologists have to admit that its beyond their knowledge to prove OL.
    As you can see clearly it is very very very difficult to process TOE true beyond reasonable doubt.”

    From your post #429:

    “Although less than half of the quotations in my reference url may talk about OL. I did NOT propose to discuss OL there.
    Fearandignorance brought up this topic (perhaps he infer that I want discuss this topic from the reference of the url)”

    You just denied bringing up the Origin of Life in this discussion when you had actually done so a mere 5 posts earlier. More evasion again?

  • yj

    From post #403 by JKP again:
    (This post is turning out to be a gem man!)

    “In this experiment there only one controlled environment, so why are you talking about multiple environments? In this case, let name the experiment environment A. The E. coli bacteria are stronger before mutation, after mutation they are weaker in the same environment A. Please do not be confused with multiple environments. We are talking the E. coli experiment you quoted, please keep in scope.”

    What do you mean by stronger or weaker???

    In biology, fitness has a very specific meaning. It’s the ability of an organism to produce viable and fertile offspring. Fitness is dependent on the particular environment. A trait that confers fitness in one environment might reduce fitness in another.

    When explaining the concept of fitness, it is crucial that you mention the different effects a particular trait has on fitness when the organism is in different environments.

    So what exactly do you mean when you say that E.coli are stronger before mutation and weaker after? Which mutation are you talking about, may I ask? Not the citrate one, I hope. That would be one embarrassment too many.
    _______________________________________________________________

    Next example:

    “Verdict : E. coli experiment can’t infer TOE. You can counter check with Biology professors. I’ll already check with a researcher who holds a Master in Bioscience, that TOE can’t be proven formally.”

    I kind of like this paragraph actually. A combination of ignorance and argument from false authority.

    Your sentence is extremely confused. What do you mean when you say that the E.coli experiment can’t infer the TOE?

    As we’ve said so patiently for so many times, what an experiment based on the predictions of the modern theory of evolution does is that it basically tries to falsify it. If the experiment does not produce a result that is consistent with the predictions that can be made by modern TOE, then there might just be something wrong with our understanding of it.

    For example, it would have been extremely surprising if the E.coli had evolved the ability to metabolise citrate in the absence of citrate in the culture medium. Natural selection does not predict that adaptations will appear in the absence of a selection pressure.

    Yes, I know what your next objection’s gonna be. But the researchers didn’t include citrate in the growth medium, you say. Yes, I know. But the dead E.coli cells break open. That’s what dead cells do. The enzymes found within E.coli can still break glucose down into citrate.

    Lastly, I really love your argument from false authority. Oohh.. I’ve spoken with someone with a Master’s in bioscience!

    She says something that sorta sounds like what I’d like to be true! Therefore, what she says is true!

    So? One unverified and unsubstantiated opinion, against the consensus of the entire community of evolutionary biologists? Whose lowest qualifications are a PhD? Oh please. Talk about giving an argument from false authority.

  • justkaypoh

    Inferno
    //419) fearandignorance on August 13th, 2009 2.35 am
    justkaypoh,
    about the link you have provided,
    http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Acropolis/1082/quotesof.htm
    a significant number of quotes are arguments against origin of life happening by natural processes.
    You do know after this long debate that TOE does not explain the origin of life but origin of species and diversity of life.
    By putting up this link, you are clearly showing yet again your lack of understanding of TOE.
    //

    Prior to post #419 , did you see me mention about OL? The posts speak for themselves

  • inferno

    “Prior to post #419 , did you see me mention about OL? The posts speak for themselves”

    This is becoming so stupid that I am running out of polite things to say. You posted a link, containing quite a number of quotes that you claimed are by scientists who refute evolution. Fearandignorance went into the details and showed that a significant amount of these so-called quotes were actually about OL, i.e. completely irrelevant to the discussion at hand. You then proceeded to defend yourself, using the “we can’t prove OL so TOE is false” fallacy in your next post.

    It doesn’t matter whether you mentioned it before #419 or not. As I already said earlier, if you admit that OL should not be in this discussion at all, then you are also admitting that you provided an irrelevant link. Either you couldn’t be bothered to even check the basic relevance of your sources, or your knowledge was too weak to even realise that they were irrelevant. Which of these two is more accurate may I ask?

  • yj

    More gems from JKP:

    JKP #405
    “I don’t dispute microevolution. In short macroevolution can’t be proven by experiment right?”

    A classic argument from personal incredulity. I can’t imagine it happening, therefore it can’t happen. I love these arguments.

    Dude, macroevolution IS microevolution. It just takes place over longer periods of time. It’s interesting that you use the E.coli experiment as an example, since they’re asexual.

    Which means that the usual concept of species being 2 populations that are unable to interbreed doesn’t apply here. For asexual organisms, the concept of a species gets a little fuzzy. Part of how scientists classify bacteria into species is by their structure and characteristics.

    It just so happens that the ability to survive on media containing citrate is a key feature distinguishing E.coli from Salmonella. Gasp! How? Are we on the road to macroevolution?!!?!
    _________________________________________________________________

    JKP #415
    “There are also a mountain of evidence accumulated against TOE.
    http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Acropolis/1082/quotesof.htm”

    Ah. Classic quote mining by creationists.

    Of course, not all are quote mines. Many are just comments from people who have very little understanding of biology.

    And… A mountain of evidence? More like a molehill of quotes.

    It’s funny how you demand empirical evidence for evolution (which is actually not wrong), and then turn around and accept quotes, many of which are outdated or misquoted, as evidence that refutes the theory of evolution. Well done.

  • justkaypoh

    Please clarify by answering every question.
    Can I say you presume I that posted the url with less 50% of OL = I bring up OL?

    Inferno: to fill up

    Jkp: I don’t mean to bring OL up, and not evidence to show I brought it up first. Since Fearandignorance brought I up first, do I have the right to reply?

    “admitting that you provided an irrelevant link” , please prove with evidence.
    “It doesn’t matter whether you mentioned it before #419 or not. ” , according to your own special rules.

    If you infer that I reply on OL to Fearandignorance is wrong, then Fearandignorance brought up OL whether first or not also wrong? Yes/no?

  • inferno

    Can I say you presume I that posted the url with less 50% of OL = I bring up OL?

    Yes, because you claimed that this link was your “mountain of evidence against TOE”. At no point did you qualify your claim by admitting that some of the quotes in their were actually irrelevant. To make things worse, you continued to bring up OL in your next post, as to why TOE cannot be inferred. I think we are all willing to let this issue rest. But let’s hope the quality of your “evidence” improves drastically from now on.

    “admitting that you provided an irrelevant link” , please prove with evidence.”
    How about you take a good look at your own link now, and read through the quotes properly (hopefully not for the first time), and come back and tell us how many out of the 58 of them are:

    1. Truly “refuting” the TOE
    2. Made by scientists in the relevant disciplines, i.e. biologists, geneticists, or paleontologists. Chemists, physicists and astrophysicists stake no claim here.

    “If you infer that I reply on OL to Fearandignorance is wrong, then Fearandignorance brought up OL whether first or not also wrong? Yes/no?”

    It is perfectly understandable that he brought up OL, in fact, I would have done so if he had not already detailed the flaws in your link. The fact remains that wholly 1/3 of your link is useless outright thanks to OL. And out of the remaining 2/3, numerous are from individuals whose opinions on the matter carry as much weight as George W. Bush.

  • fearandignorance

    justkaypoh,
    I have the impression that all along you have been saying “evolution is unproven science” without elaborating exactly which parts of TOE do you think are unproven. So they started by showing you experiments that prove microevolution in the labs. It sure took a long time before you finally agree that microevolution is proven science.
    Then you posted a link that contains a list of quotes that refute TOE. Since you did not make any clarification, it is logical to infer that you believe all the quotes are valid arguments against TOE. This time it did not take long for you to concede that TOE does not explain the origin of life. Thank God ;-)
    But the million dollar question is which parts of TOE are unproven and why. Do not keep your opponents from assuming and guessing your stand which you have so far not stated clearly.

  • justkaypoh

    fearandignorance

    “Then you posted a link that contains a list of quotes that refute TOE. Since you did not make any clarification, it is logical to infer that you believe all the quotes are valid arguments against TOE. This time it did not take long for you to concede that TOE does not explain the origin of life. Thank God ;-) But the million dollar question is which parts of TOE are unproven and why. Do not keep your opponents from assuming and guessing your stand which you have so far not stated clearly.”

    The original context of posting the url of quotes, is to show that there are scientists who are strong against Evolution. Please read the context carefully.

    Analogy:

    John need a knife to cut an apple. Peter said to John, you can use the my swiss army knife to cut an apple.

    If John use the other functions say to open can or even hurt some. John can’t accuse Peter that Peter wanted John to use the knife to open the can and hurt someone.

    Do you understand the application of context now?

  • fearandignorance

    How about:
    John ask Peter for a weapon to kill someone.

    Peter shows John a knife and say that this knife can be used to kill.

    Is Peter innocent now?

    This is exactly what is happening here.

    Someone asked for proof of scientists who disbelieve in TOE. You provide a link of scientists who refute evolution and you personally do not believe in them at all? Then why do u provide the link in the first place?

  • squit

    Hey Arix, sorry I fell off the internet. Final days of writing my thesis (evolutionary biology, surprise, surprise), means that procrastinating on this thread is the most entertainment I get these days. I’m kind of pressed for time, so here’s short answers for everything

    Brights = yes I think it’s lame, like primary school. An arrogant idea of Dawkins == Dawkins arrogant in general.

    Anansi/Loki learn to be nice like we do it. Is like saying Aesop’s turtle and hare /fox and grapes = God. Like this everything = God.

    Isn’t it very insulting to men to say that they cannot control their bestial urges at the sight of some hair? It’s an agent of control. Incidentally I just found out how they execute female virgins in Iraq.

    Cosmic teapot/schoolteacher house analogy – I’d only be restating my earlier reply, so it’s probably something that needs like, coffee and face to face to understand (obv text on screen means we can’t understand each other)

    Swearing – You’re right but it’s something I do so well! = ( Also I relish it as a form of personal liberty.

    Sure, you can believe (anyone can) animals can believe in God, but you have to own the idea that chimps, dogs, badgers and slime mould believe in God.

    I play Atheist because no one loves them, and because I don’t like seeing people’s ability to be moral/reasonable being put down. I consider them the only two things that separate Homo sapiens from say, a nice butterfly or a birch tree.

  • justkaypoh

    fearandignorance

    “John ask Peter for a weapon to kill someone.”

    See whether you understand what is the ‘Original’ context of the John and Peter example.

    Can you tell us what is the of what Peter said to John.

    “John ask Peter for a weapon to kill someone.” Is what fearandignorance assume not in the Original context.

  • fearandignorance

    442) justkaypoh on August 13th, 2009 8.38 pm

    I dun comprehend what you are saying at all.

    can you rephrase better to communicate what you are trying to say?

  • justkaypoh

    “John need a knife to cut an apple. Peter said to John, you can use the my swiss army knife to cut an
    apple. “

    This is the only statement from a source. Can you tell us what did Peter say to John according to the above statement?

  • justkaypoh

    fearandignorance

    sorry for the typo in #443, suppose to mean be:

    “John ask Peter for a weapon to kill someone.”

    See whether you understand what is the ‘Original’ context of the John and Peter example.

    Can you tell us what is the context of what Peter said to John.

    “John ask Peter for a weapon to kill someone.”
    This is what fearandignorance assume, it’s not in the Original context.

  • fearandignorance

    justkaypoh,
    I still dun understand what you are trying to prove.
    Anyway, this is irrelevant and it is best we get back to the relevant discussion.
    Tell us clearly what you are unhappy with TOE and your supporting evidences.

  • Arix

    Oxford Dude (#383),

    1) May I ask you what is your distinction between criticism and disparagement?

    Wiki “Situational Theory” again and look at the list of criticisms of it, especially on its claims about Jesus.

    But basically, the objection against Situational Theory in this form is making Love equal unconditional acceptance of all behaviours, which is inaccurate. Love is equal unconditional acceptance of all people, but only acceptance for goodness and order, in order to be Godly/moral.

    The problem, more technically, is Proposition 4, where the neighbour’s “good” needs to be defined. “good” in Christianity does not merely mean somebody’s pleasure and satisfaction.

    Proposition 5 is also contra to Christianity.

    2) Oh okay, you see “non-theological” in this way. By the way, it is valid to say Buddhism has a Theology because Buddhism does have a concept of devas/gods, although in a much more limited form.

    People can reject claims of Absolute Truth for a number of reasons:-

    (a) The claim is false.

    (b) the claim is true, but it conflicts with preference.

    (c) The claim is true, but incomplete.

    (d) The claim is true, but the claimant does not act as if it were true. That is, the claimant is a hypocrite.

    Thus, rejection of a claim does not invalidate its accuracy.

    Incidentally, the claim that “There is no Absolute Truth” is a self-contradiction. If there is indeed no Absolute Truth, then this claim itself has no force, because then for some people there will be Absolute Truth, and for some people there will be no Absolute Truth, since in order for the claim to be fulfilled to the letter, the claim itself cannot be an Absolute Truth. Since it is logically incoherent for both Absolute Truth and Relative Truth to co-exist, the claim is thus proven to be illogical.

    This conclusion applies even if you limit the scope of the Truth. For instance, “There is no absolute moral truth.” You can follow the logic yourself. (If you are smart enough to be in Oxford, you should be able to follow it.)

    (To be con-d)

  • Oxford Dude

    Hi Arix #447,

    People can accept claims of Absolute Truth for a number of reasons:-

    (a) The claim is true

    (b) the claim is false, but it reasonates with preference.

    (c) The claim is false, but they trust the claimant (this is how religion works).

    Hate speech is hate speech. Stop wringle your way out of this. There are objections to Situation Ethics within Christian Circles. There are also objection to your ethnics model within the Christian Circles. On abortion, pro-choice Christian groups exist too. On LGBT issues, there are Christian groups who reject homosexuality as a sin. Besides, I didn’t make the claim that “There is no Absolute Truth”. All I am saying is that religion is not the sole way to the Absolute Truth and followers of religion should not monopolise the claim on Absolute Truth.

  • Oxford Dude

    Made a typo in my previous post

    Hi Arix #447,

    People can accept claims of Absolute Truth for a number of reasons:-

    (a) The claim is true

    (b) the claim is false, but it reasonates with preference.

    (c) The claim is false, but they trust the claimant (this is how religion works).

    Hate speech is hate speech. Stop wriggle your way out of this. There are objections to Situation Ethics within Christian Circles. There are also objection to your ethnics model within the Christian Circles. On abortion, pro-choice Christian groups exist too. On LGBT issues, there are Christian groups who reject homosexuality as a sin. Besides, I didn’t make the claim that “There is no Absolute Truth”. All I am saying is that religion is not the sole way to the Absolute Truth and followers of religion should not monopolise the claim on Absolute Truth.

  • fearandignorance

    428) yj on August 13th, 2009 4.00 pm

    A positive outcome from this ID/creation vs evolution controversy is getting many interested in science especially evolution. This is similar to an equivalent thread in another local forum where many passive readers thank the contribution of the biological scientists for sharing their knowledge.
    I hope the Christian fundamentalist will attack my field of study next :-)

  • Arix

    Oxford Dude (#449),

    In case you didn’t realize, I only replied to your first paragraph. I would apply my (b) to Atheism and my (d) to Fundamentalism.

    “hate Speech is hate speech” is hardly a good argument at all; it is only an appeal to emotion. Why do you consider all those examples as hate speech?

    It also seems to be the case that religion – whichever the flavour – is currently the only discipline that argues for the seeking of an Absolute Truth. Even philosophy is somewhat caught up in postmodern deconstruction.

    Incidentally, were you around when I last shared my ethics model? Do you even know what it is?

  • Arix

    Oxford Dude (#383),

    (con-d from #447)

    3) The key of the term “religiosity” is “dedication to a particular religion”. The “Religion” used in this sense refers primarily to the Moral Codes and the ritual practices associated with the group that practices that religion. It is a materialist definition of Religion. This is extrinsic religion.

    The “religion” in my “religion and spirituality” is intrinsic religion. This is religion (and spirituality) that comes from the innate Moral Sense that also connects with a Oneness that people perceive as “The Beyond”. This Religion and Spirituality also provides everybody – regardless of belief in god and souls – with a conscience.

    Extrinsic religion can be used to express intrinsic religion (and spirituality), or it can just be followed for the sake of being followed.

    As I have stated in a previous post (and I remember Inferno agreed with that), natural selection is only a theory of selection, not a theory of origins. So Moral Sense “emerged” from natural selection, but was not generated by natural selection.

    I would not over-glorify Organised Religion, but I will not downplay Moral Sense either just to suit your (Atheistic) whim.

  • Arix

    yj (#385),

    2-3, 6) Yes, certainly teaching Pan Gu and Ymir as science does not fit. In comparison with these though, the “Creation Myth” in genesis is extremely straightforward; not only that, but the general order of creation is logical and coherent with the current scientific orthodoxy. The only real difference between the Genesis narrative and paleontology is the time-period.

    In fact, the Theory of the Big Bang was first proposed by a Russian Orthodox priest! Genesis lines up with the Big Bang perfectly.

    “Let there be Light” corresponds with the initial state of the Big Bang which released large amounts of radiation. The “waters” the Spirit of God hovers over matches the liquid state of the Universe for trillions of years.

    The formation of Earths and Seas mirrors the cooling of some parts of the liquid to form solids (planetoids and asteroids). And then the creation of the sun, moon and stars corresponding with the formation of stars from the remainder of the liquid.

    Plants are created first before animals, and animals (including carnivores) in turn are created before humans, matching the order posited by the Theory of Evolution.

    This is unlike other creation myths, which talk about plants and animals springing out of the bodies of deities. Yahweh is treated on a different qualitative level from deities like Pan Gu and Ymir, so don’t confuse the former with the latter.

    Refer to here for a more eloquent version of this argument:

    http://www.godandscience.org/apologetics/day-age.html

    (I do have reservations about the last 3-4 sentences on the “human generations” though. But this doesn’t affect the basic order.)

  • Arix

    rwkc (#386),

    1) You are welcome. And Thanks for your prompt response again.

    2) No problem, but let’s agree to do it civilly, okay? (Not that you have been uncivil in the past, I just request this of everybody now.)

    3) No problem.

    4-5) Yes, I still claim (a) to (c). I don’t remember ever making a specific claim on (d). Anyway, just to be precise, I would like you to qualify (d). I would say that Australopehticus Bossini (I think that’s the accurate name) fits 200k years.Homo Sapiens Sapiens would be 50k years at the most (given that the European Migration comes before the Australian Migration, and the aborigines date themselves to around 10,000 BC).

    7) I hope this is not a trap question. Yes, I see this Divine Reality as being Congruent with the God of Abraham in Judaeo-Christian-Islamic setting. However, I also see the Divine Reality as Congruent with the nameless Sky God of the African Tribes, Tao and Tian in China, the Creator of Ameratsu in Shinto, the Nibbhana in Buddhism, and the Brahman in Hinduism. Abraham is the Father of many nations, and God is God of all mankind.

    8) I am defending Original Christianity, which is RC/Orthodox/EC(/Coptic/Indian).

    9) Yes, in fact that is what I am debating with Inferno and Oxford Dude now.

    11) Sure. But be fair to me – tell me straight up if you can’t comprehend certain arguments I make. Haha, I am an aspiring philosophy student.

    Welcome back to the discussion!! (However, it does seem that JKP is taking up much space on this thread….)

  • Arix

    Inferno (#387),

    Sorry for taking so long to reply. I was kept up by other things of a more mundane nature.

    1-3) I am a Christian, but I am not arguing out of self-gratification, in fact I don’t like self-gratification, and one of my contentions about homosexuality is that it promotes self-gratification. (But homosexuality is not part of this debate, so I will not cover it.)

    Secular Humanism is a philosophy that grew out of 19th-Century Europe, and in that period, most Europeans had very little understanding of religions other than the three that they were already familiar with in Europe: Christianity, Judaism, Islam. Pioneering Secular Humanists were raised in religious backgrounds, and appropriated elements of their upbringing, while denying the theistic basis for those elements.

    The Europeans, through colonization and some, exported their Secular Humanism to the rest of the world. Insofar as these other Secular Humanists “converted” to Secular Humanism from other religions.cultures, they owe a “debt” to those religions and cultures. Where they converted to Christianity first, they owe a “debt” to the elements of their previous religions that they preserved.

    4) Read this analogy and see if you have misunderstood me earlier:-

    A supermarket (biosphere) sells many different goods (genes, feelings, thoughts, etc). I can come up with a theory (natural selection) that explains how consumers (humans) choose certain goods (altruism) over others, but this theory need not contain an explanation as to where the supermarket obtains/obtained its supplies from. So we can have another theory (existence of a creator/creative force) that discusses the supplier (termed as God).

    This is my theistic evolution stand.

    5-6) I think, before we continue to discuss religion and religiosity, we should clear out our definitions of both terms, so that we don’t have unnecessary misunderstandings of each others’ views. My definitions are in my post to Oxford Dude in #452; what are yours?

  • squit

    Hey Arix, just to clear up a misconception in 456

    “Plants are created first before animals, and animals (including carnivores) in turn are created before humans, matching the order posited by the Theory of Evolution.” – This is so incredibly wrong.

    First, the theoretical objection: Evolution doesn’t rank “Carnivores first, then omnivores”. It’s the survival of whatever works: Carnivores evolve to become herbivores (pandas), and the other way around (butterflies) ENTIRELY based on selection pressure from a combination of environmental and inter/intra-sexual factors

    Second, the plant animal objection: Plants have one more endosymbiotic organ (chloroplasts) making the first unicellular photosynthetic organism younger than the first unicellular carnivorous organism. (photosynthetic bacteria are neither plant nor animal). If we go that far back, into the Protoctista (single-celled living things), the tree of life becomes a reticulate mess so no one can say for sure what is the first true plant or true animal.

    By the way, heterosexuality is self-gratification too.

  • inferno

    -Arix

    My definitions are as follows:

    Religion-> Exclusively referring to ORGANISED religion, though not limited to the major players we see today (i.e. Abrahamic religions, Hinduism, etc).

    Religiosity-> The so-called “yearning for religion” that you have brought up before. Perhaps humans are hardwired with a pre-disposition to seek some sort of religion, and some have an urge that is inherently greater than that of others.

    I do not have any issue with theistic evolution (i.e. Francis Collins’ ‘Biologos’ concept) as it is merely standard evolution with a divine creator added in at the start point. And I’m not about to get into a debate about the existence of such a creator. My issue is about your statements regarding Secular Humanism and morality.

    So just to clear the air, what is your precise opinion on this matter? Because I do not wish to argue based on assumptions and misconceptions. Are you saying that there is NO secular basis for morality? Or is your point about the “debt to religion” merely a matter-of-fact discussion of the origins of secular humanism? There is a world of difference between these two stands, and it is quite possible that I have not even guessed what your position is at all. So kindly enlighten me.

  • Arix

    squit (#456),

    1-2) It is a natural derivative. Carnivores cannot survive unless in the first place there are other animals for them to eat. Thus, natural selection would – for the first animals on the planet – necessitate that their diet be purely vegetarian. But logically speaking, a herbivore cannot survive without having plants to eat, therefore plants would have had to evolve first in order to support herbivores.

    It is logic that follows from food chain. The lower sections of the foodchain have to evolve first before the higher sections.

    “””
    The first plants on Earth were a form of blue-green algae which appeared and lived in the oceans about 3.4 billion years ago according to the fossil record, protected from the harmful high energy radiation of the Sun. In the oceans, these plants were able to grow and photosynthesize as this high energy radiation was absorbed by the water. Now, to be perfectly clear about it, the first true algae (the kingdom protoctista) most likely made their first appearance about 2.4 billion years ago, but for sure by 1.8 billion years ago as the first acritarchs.
    “””

    http://ecology.com/features/quietevolutiontrees/quietevolutiontrees.html

    3) However, you still need oxygen for respiration. So where does this oxygen come from?

  • Arix

    Inferno (#457),

    1) Okay. It is good to know that I have got it right.

    2) Noted.

    3) The “debt to religion” is a matter-of-fact argument pertaining to the history of Secular Humanism. The “Religion” here is Organized Religion, as pertains to your definition.

    Since you are treating as “religiosity” what I defined as “Innate Religion” or “Religious Yearning”, then to clear the air I shall say that both Secular Humanism and Organised Religion (and Religious Humanism) seek to express this religiosity, which is the origin of innate morality.

    so, in summary:

    (1) Secular Humanism is a Western-originating phenomenon. It appropriates the ethical standards of Christianity and/or Islam, but rejects to acknowledge so.

    (2) Religiosity is the source of morality.

    Just to clarify one thing more: For the rest of this discussion, I am going to eliminate prayer, fasting, meditation, church-going etc as parts of religiosity, since innate religion does not necessarily require all these.

  • squit

    Arix @458,

    Err the earliest unicellular organisms didn’t use oxygen. It was a toxic byproduct.

    Also blue-green algae are not plants. They are bacteria, and hence on a completely different kingdom from green algae. The first plant-like organism actually assimilated photosynthetic bacteria as food which later became chloroplast organelles. But plants also have mitochondria, meaning that the plant-like organism was…animal like.

  • yj

    Hi Arix,

    Of course we can be civil. I just have a thing about people passing off abstracts of papers as full papers.

    Sorry for taking so long to reply, I was having too much fun back there. Anyway, in response to your post #453,

    “The only real difference between the Genesis narrative and paleontology is the time-period.”

    1. Correlation in a single case does not mean much. Given a large enough set of variables, you will find relationships between 2 variables purely by chance.

    2. Next: I went to have a closer look at Genesis and had some nerdy fun.

    Here’s my source:
    http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis%201

    ====================================
    Quote:
    9 And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good.

    11 Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. 12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to the
    =========================================

    My comments:
    So, it seems that this version of the bible says flowering plants on land evolved first. Well, as squit has said before, life first started in the oceans.

    Besides, angiosperms (the nerdy name for flowering plants) only came relatively late in the evolution of plants. For example, mosses came much earlier.

    The bit directly after that deals with lights in the sky and seasons, so I’ll skip that, though I seems a little ridiculous to me to assert that the gigantic nuclear fusion reactors that are the stars were put there just to mark the seasons.

    (to be con’t)

  • yj

    Next passage:
    =======================================
    Quote:
    20 And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky.” 21 So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” 23 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day.
    ========================================

    My comments:
    I don’t think those cute little birdies came first. Birdies evolved from dinosaurs. And again, life began in the sea. Plants didn’t come before life did in the sea.

    The two passages after that make even more mistakes in the timeline:
    ========================================
    Quote:
    24 And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so. 25 God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.

    26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, [b] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
    ==============================================

    My comments:
    It’s a little hard for me to swallow that.

    Domesticated animals came before humans and were docilely grazing, waiting for us? Cereal crops with their gigantic seeds were sitting around in fields without any care from humans?

    The animals would be eaten by predators and the crops, having wasted so much resources on producing humungous seeds, would be outcompeted by wild plants that produce far more seeds as they spend just enough resources to produce seeds that can germinate and survive.

    An example of a domesticated plant, corn, looks nothing like its ancestor, a wild grass called teosinte. They look so different, scientists were wondering for years about where corn came from.

    And, we know that corn came after human settlement of the area because maize only started appearing in archeological remains about 6k years or so ago. Long after humans had settled Mexico.

    As for the part about humans ruling over all creatures? I wish that those pesky organisms such as mozzies, parasitic tapeworms that live in human guts or Plasmodium, the single celled organism that causes malaria, knew that we rule over them.

    Conclusion:
    The assertion that the Genesis narrative and what we know about the tree of life might make sense at a very superficial level. However, the devil’s in the details. Closer analysis shows that Genesis and the evolutionary timeline don’t match.

  • yj

    Before I start, here’s a quick point on theistic evolution.

    It seems to me to introduce an unnecessary component to the theory of evolution. Evolution works well as a blind, unguided process. Postulating guidance from a supernatural being reduces the parsimony of the explanation. But anyway, that’s a debate for another time.

    Moving along,
    Again, from #453,

    “In fact, the Theory of the Big Bang was first proposed by a Russian Orthodox priest!”

    People are perfectly capable of rationalising two conflicting worldviews held by themselves.

    Anyway, I’m not clear about the history of the reserach into the Big Bang theory, but that doesn’t matter here.

    Good ideas are good ideas, no matter where they come from. The ideal in science is that ideas that are coherent and supported by evidence are accepted, those that don’t are cast aside.

    It doesn’t matter if the person who came up with the idea is a priest or an atheist.

    That brings me to your point from a long-ago post about secular humanism and Christianity.

    I said that it’s not surprising that some ideas, might have come from Christianity. Ideas we develop are highly influenced by the intellectual landscape of the society we live in.

    Ideas such as the Golden Rule had been stated before Christianity arose. People already believed in the resurrection of supernatural beings before the purpoted resurrection of Jesu.

    So Christianity should attribute those ideas to the belief systems that came before it as well, yah?

    Besides, modern worship of Yaweh has been influenced by ideas from humanism as well. I find plenty of verses supporting slavery in the bible, but I haven’t yet come across one condemning slavery as an institution.

  • rwkc

    [Caveat: I have not read the most recent exchanges involving yj, squit and inferno]

    Arix #375 & #454

    [1] Regarding criticism of Richard Dawkins, we must not forget his achievements, and the praises and awards heaped on him; these links will provide you with info you appear to be lacking:
    http://www.answers.com/topic/richard-dawkins-british-ethologist
    http://www.richarddawkins.net/article,2084,Archbishop-of-Canterbury-Praises-Richard-Dawkins,Times-Online

    [2] I am glad that you admit your were irrational in criticizing all atheists as a group on the basis of just a couple of atheists.

    [3]Arix: “that I haven’t really seen any Atheists with strikingly different views from Dawkins and/or Hitchens.”
    Of course you haven’t, Arix? How many atheists are there in the world, and have you spoken to every one of them?

    [4] Arix: “A book can be best-selling because of reasons other than quality. There is lots of best selling pulp-fiction for instance. Dawkins’ TGD and Hitchens’ GING are not best-selling because of quality, but because they appeal to the popular imagination. There are equally best-selling rebuttals of both books e.g. Why I don’t believe in Atheists; The Dawkins Delusion.”
    The fact that a book sells well is a reflection of its popularity. Of course, different people may look on its popularity for different reasons. For me, for instance, TGD and GING have a quality that is outstanding. So, to gauge why a book is on the best-sellers list, you will have to do a poll of its readership.

    [5] From Arix:
    [a] “God is the Divine Reality. God is the – for lack of a better term – the Whole Entity that imbues its character in humans and animals, and provides the Universe with Life. It is because God is the Ultimate Whole that God cannot be described by words alone, or images for that matter.”
    [b] “The best approximation is “it”. Though, most accurately, God is all and neither of the pronouns, because God is formless in material terms.”
    [c] “I hope this is not a trap question. Yes, I see this Divine Reality as being Congruent with the God of Abraham in Judaeo-Christian-Islamic setting. However, I also see the Divine Reality as Congruent with the nameless Sky God of the African Tribes, Tao and Tian in China, the Creator of Ameratsu in Shinto, the Nibbhana in Buddhism, and the Brahman in Hinduism. Abraham is the Father of many nations, and God is God of all mankind.”

    I disagree; as an atheist, I do not believe in God/god being a reality. According to my dictionary, reality is defined as [a] the quality of being real, actuality, actual existence, being, that which underlies appearances [b] truth, fact [c] that which is real and not counterfeit, imaginary, supposed etc.

    [to be continued in another post]]

  • rwkc

    [continuation of #464, to Arix]

    [6] Many nations and many people do not embrace Judaism, Christianity or Islam and thus they do not consider they have any relationship, past or present, with Abraham; I had never heard of Abraham until I started reading the Bible; to me Abraham is nothing more than myth. To see whether the God of Abraham is congruent with “the nameless Sky God of the African Tribes, Tao and Tian in China, the Creator of Ameratsu in Shinto, the Nibbhana in Buddhism, and the Brahman in Hinduism”, one has to read the religious script, if any, relative to each of these religions. Hindus, for example, do not think the God of Abraham has anything to do with Hinduism; to Hindus, Brahman is an “IT” but Roman Catholics have since the advent of Christianity been worshipping the God of Abraham as a father figure, a ‘he’ in other words.

    [7] I am surprised that your approximation of God is an “It” and coming as it were from a Roman Catholic out to defend his religion, this is indeed shocking. Have you forgotten the meaning of the words in the Lord’s Prayer, the Apostles Creed or the Nicene Creed? I am sure you have recited them on a regular basis and can remember those words.

    [8] However, since the God you are worshipping is the God of Abraham, I shall continue with our discussions in accordance with what I have learnt from reading the Bible and other sources. I shall be using the New International Version for my biblical quotations – do you have any objections to this version?

    [9]Statements from Arix: “All moral codes have their origins in religion” and something about morality being “objectively grounded, but not in terms of metres and grammes, but in terms of relative human emotions.”

    [10] There were/are numerous religions, and many of these religions preceded Christianity. Please give me some examples [say half a dozen] of the moral codes that in your views have their origin in religion, and name the religion[s] concerned.

    [11] If morality is objectively grounded in human emotions, as you claim, then it would be contradictory to claim that moral codes have their origins in religion. And here, I am taking religion and human emotions as two separate, distinct areas.

    Arix, please apply the numeric references I have designated in your response [you can number your paras but please state “in response to your….quote number]”

  • inferno

    Personally, I think there is way too much evidence against creationism for it to be taken seriously at all. Theistic evolution on the other hand is, by definition, equally acceptable as evolution by itself, since the extra component (a divine being) cannot be proven or disproven by any known means currently.

    You can’t seriously be taking Genesis literally, I hope. If birds were created they way they are now, then why do chickens have the gene for forming teeth in their genome? The only plausible explanation we have available now is that they are descended from ancestors who had teeth, which, based on the fossil record, leads us to dinosaurs. There are simply far too many cases of bad design which convince us otherwise, and yet could be unwanted by-products of evolution, which is inherently neutral and blind.

  • rwkc

    yj, inferno and squit,

    Some points to keep in mind when discussing with Arxi about God.

    [a] Arix has professed to be a Roman Catholic
    [b] Roman Catholicism has the Pope as the earthly representative of God
    [c] The Bible is believed to be the inspired word of God [written with the inspiration of the so-called Holy Spirit]
    [d] But Arix in previous discussions with me has said he didn’t believe in every part of the Bible as true accounts
    [e] So as a precaution, before you quote from the Bible, ask Arix to specify which parts or areas of the Bible he does not believe to be true accounts or to have been inspired by God

  • squit

    Dear rwkc,

    re 470: Yes well, I actually think Arix’s input is valuable. I learn so much more interacting with creationists (how to be careful of what to say for example, to make sure my words are never distorted. Logical fallacies and different worldviews for another). People who think evolution makes sense may sometimes be just credulous.

    I’ve stopped debating the God/morality issue because I don’t think there’s anything to be gained from further discussion other than animosity. The last time I responded about animals acting morally only to get a response that animals may believe in God. That just broke my tolerance level for unprovable statements. From what I’ve been reading between Arix, OxfordDude, Inferno and yj, I feel like the goalposts have been stretched apart so far that the minute there is any sort of feeling of a part of something bigger than oneself = God. And I cannot believe that the excitement I feel when I water my plants is proof of a divine presence.

    So as far as I am concerned, my moral compass has NOTHING to do with God. End of story.

    I’ll keep on commenting if I see any sort of misinformation of a biological nature. The biosphere deserves more interest and respect, given how we’re absolutely dependent on it: We breathe air and need water and food to live, not logic and self-righteousness.

  • Arix

    squit (#460),

    Actually Bacteria belong to a totally different set of organisms than algae. Algae, at least, used to be classified under plants.

  • rwkc

    #468 squit

    Tks for the feedback.

    As for me, I do not consider it a waste of time to engage in discussions concerning God/religion. I realize that in the end the opposing parties may just have to agree to disagree.

    However, I also hold the view that we all have to discuss rationally or logically, regardless of our beliefs. Where a point in contention is all but metaphysical, it may not be possible of resolution through the use of logic or reason. But where an argument can be resolved through logic and/or facts, we can expect logic and/or facts to prevail.

    It seems that some people can be swayed more easily by their beliefs or prejudices than by logic or reason. On the other hand there are people who have come to realize how blind they have been with regard to their beliefs, after getting engaged in dialogue with non-believers or after reflecting deeply on what they have heard or read.

    Please stay tuned.

  • Arix

    yj (#461 and $462),

    I did anticipate your reactions.

    Firstly, I would qualify that in order to understand Genesis properly, we must adopt the classifications used in the time of Moses. Our own classifications, most of which only came about after the Enlightenment, would muddle things up.

    For instance, “waters” refers in their culture, not just to our water, but also to other liquids that are also “watery” in character. Similarly, “wild animals” and “livestock” are classifications that relate to the people reading or hearing Genesis. Gen 1:25 does not indicate that God designated animals as wild animals and as livestock, otherwise it contradicts Gen 1:29 where Man is given stewardship over all of creation.

    Where Man is given stewardship over all creation, there is nowhere that says that the animals are cognizant of the fact; that, I think answers your concern over plasmodium and viruses.

    The word, which is also translated as “dominion”, implies that Man is given the ability to control creation. That we have that ability is not under dispute. On plasmodium and viruses, we have the knowledge to create medicines that destroy them, and so in that sense we “rule over” them.

    Secondly, you need to be careful about lifting quotes from Bible Gateway. Not because Bible Gateway writes the Bible wrongly, but because the version it uses, like all other English versions, is based on translation from the Hebrew Text. Translating from Hebrew is just like Translating from English: sometimes one word has multiple translations. Also, the word order, grammar, and punctuation. Perhaps you would prefer to refer to a parallel Bible instead.

    I am using this one:-
    http://www.scripture4all.org/OnlineInterlinear/OTpdf/gen1.pdf

    On specifics:-

    The translation that says “produce” and also be translated into “bring forth”, which does not have to be instantaneous. That is, on the Third “day”, the generative/evolutionary mechanism of plants was set into being, but was not completed.

    the translation of “birds” actually is more accurately “winged creatures”, and this includes insects, which certainly existed before birds, and even before the Triassic dinosaurs.

    The translation of “creatures” in “sea creatures” is “nephesh”, which means “soulish animal” or “animal that can relate to humans”. The marine organisms that evolved before land plants were crustaceans (crabs, trilobites, lobsters) and fish. These are not animals that “can relate to humans” or that humans can relate with on say the same level as dogs or cats or dolphins or whales.

  • yj

    Arix:

    Blue-green algae ARE bacteria. It’s the commonly used name for cyanobacteria, a phylum of bacteria that can photosynthesize.

    The green algae and red algae arose later – it seems likely that they ate some cyanobacteria and didn’t digest it properly. Lots of evidence for endosymbiosis here.

    Anyway, you’re arguing with an evolutionary biologist about classification? Well done. Do you happen to be a taxonomist?

  • squit

    Dear Arix @472

    …Which is what I said? Blue green algae are not algae. They are cyanobacteria, with different chlorophylls from green algae, which share more chlorophyll profile with green land plants. Check it.

    Dear rwkc,

    Yes, but as I said, when I ran up against the wall of unprovable statements like “That feeling of rightness = God”, or “Chimpanzees believe in God”, there’s not much logic and reason can do. I guess I’m just more cynical about whether facts/logic will prevail and the human capacity to abandon psychological crutches.

    With a big enough mob you can demolish even the best of things. Creationists rewriting science isn’t just an isolated incident. Take American town hall meetings on health care, where the senators are being shouted down, hung in effigy, threatened with murder.

    In the end I’d much rather talk science than religion. The latter is represented to me by its visible effects on the world, such as war (holy, Iraq, Irish civil, anti-abortion fanatics who assassinate doctors, fatwas, homophobia, suicide bombings, child soldiers, fatuous sayings, oppression of women and so on. Slug genitals and mating rituals on the other hand, are the better kind of graphic, and so much more interesting.

  • yj

    hi squit,

    #472 was me responding to Arix’s apparent misunderstanding that blue-green algae were true algae actually. The evo biologist I referred to was u.. Not a good argument, I know. But I couldn’t resist it. =X

  • Arix

    yj (#463),

    3-6) The comment on the Russian Orthodox priest is used to imply that Religion doesn’t hinder the progress of science. In fact, if we replace the cosmology of the ancients with ours, then Gen 1:1-10 matches Big Bang Theory perfectly. Gen1:1-2 describe the situation before the Bang; Gen 1:3-5 describe the Bang itself; Gen 1:6-8 describes the cooling of the Universe. Gen 1:9-10 describes the formation of the planets and the oceans on Planet Earth.

    The “six days” problem is resolved if we look at the Hebrew Text. The literal word-for-word translation is as follows: And [God] is becoming evening; And [God] is becoming morning, day X. You can translate it in the conventional way: “And Evening Came and Morning came; [and that was] the Xth day.” Or you can translate it as “And [history] reached the Evening and Morning of Day X”. The latter translation does not make an assumption as to how long it took to reach the particular day, and so can be compatible with the billions of years. Plus, the word “yom”/”ium”, translated as “day”, can be translated also into “period”.

    You would not get this from an English translation, of course.

    7-9) My comment was a matter-of-fact. Even though Christianity (and Islam) may not have been the direct originator of those ideas, it was the pool where the (European) Secular Humanists obtained their ideas from.

    Christianity, in fact, accepts that the ideas are from God, and thus God can give them to any individual – even a non-Christian – if God so chooses. Whether Christianity owes a debt to the other philosophies is secondary to whether it has gotten its facts right.

    10) Remember the cultural context. When we think of slavery today, we think of the slavery of Africans by Europeans that occurred from the 15th to 19th centuries. The Bible does not condone this form of slavery.

    In contrast, the slavery referenced to in the Bible is debt slavery, where the slave and the slave’s family works for the master in return for the master providing them food and lodging and even money. It is called “debt slavery” because the children can be asked to continue working to pay off the master’s debt. This kind of slavery existed even here in Southeast Asia, in Thailand for instance before Mongkut’s reforms.

    In principle, Debt Slavery is fair. Of course, either the Master or the Slave can abuse their rights. If the Master over-charges interest (in the form of labour), or witholds payment, or refuses to release the slaves after their bond has been served, then it becomes the equivalent of European Slavery. This, the Bible condemns equivocally in Leviticus, even to the extent – if I remember correctly – of pronouncing a death penalty on the Master. The verses in the Epistles in which St Paul “condones” slavery are rather verses that remind the Slave to serve out the bond properly where the master is treating them fairly, since not all Masters are bad.

    If you see it this way, then the condition of properly-treated debt slaves in Biblical times is even better than the condition of FDWs in Singapore today!

  • squit

    Also, Arix @414,

    We rule over and destroy viruses, bacteria, protoctists and nematodes and guinea worms and and and inasmuch as we are trying to stay one step ahead of them. All it takes is one good epidemic, and then most of us get wiped out (there is good evidence from the homogeneity of our haplotypes in comparison to chimps, that we did have something like that that killed most of us early on in our evolution). Just that we don’t have memories and records for that long.

    The latest I heard was that artemisinin-resistant malaria has emerged in Cambodia. Incidentally malaria parasites (Plasmodium spp which are unicellular protoctists, not bacteria or viruses, just in case anyone wants to know) are the greatest disease-type scourge of humanity, but beyond our own species, these parasites have been afflicting vertebrates since the time of the dinosaurs, and are intimately associated (I’d say coevolved, but there are creationists in the audience) with the suborder Culicomorpha (mosquitos, sandflies, blackflies, midges), affecting birds, amphibians, reptiles, and other mammals. Inasmuch as animals are subject to human will, why do the animals need to get malaria? A servant cannot serve two masters.

    Why do you imagine the WHO is freaking out about H5N1 and H1N1? Because something like that would work very well in trying to kill us all by making our immune systems choke on themselves. Some dominion we have.

    Well there’s no point coming up with new drugs if evolution doesn’t happen. We can use good old quinine for creationists.

  • Arix

    yj (#472),

    I had no idea that Squit was an Evolutionary Biologist.

    I have been reading up on taxonomy and classification. haha:D Hey, I like the Theory of Evolution too!

  • Arix

    Squit (#476),

    Are you that negative about humans? At least, we have the potential to create cures for the diseases; whether we manage to use that potential is something else.=)

  • squit

    Hi yj,

    I was a bit confused over who the biologist was until I realised that. Well I think evolutionary biologists can learn stuff about evolution from people who aren’t so it’s not really a super big deal to be one *embarassed*. Like inferno’s example of genes to make teeth in birds.

    But I thought that example doesn’t need any biologist. My brother’s 12 and he knows that.

  • squit

    Hey Arix @ 480, 481

    Yes I am (research interests: cladistics, taxonomy, phylogenetics, botany, entomology, co-evolution, Southeast Asian biogeography). I keep feeling like I have to apologise or something.

    No, I’m not being negative, I just have a less romantic picture of how medical breakthroughs in disease cures are made, that’s all. Prevention is the way to go. Cheaper, less mess (bodily fluids everywhere), less anguish, less long-term impact.

  • Arix

    rwkc (#464),

    1) I have no qualms about praising Richard Dawkins for his work as a scientist, which is what he is being honoured for in the first article you linked to. I am criticizing as a philosopher and theologian.

    The second article you linked to shows the archbishop praising Dawkins on one of his attitudes, his attitude towards the environment. This does not mean, as is implied by the way Dawkins presents this article, that the Archbishop gave Dawkins full endorsement on all his positions. The title Dawkins gives to this article is misleading, as his name is mentioned only once in the entire article.

    2) Okay.

    3) I will give you the benefit of the doubt.

    4) Yes, you are correct. But I doubt many readers are as sophisticated as you are. Anyway, I still feel puzzled by your stand: I can see how you can be taken in by Dawkins’ eloquence and apparent logic, but seriously Hitchens’ GING is a polemic as bad as Mein Kampf.

    5) Err … and how does God not fit that definition? What exactly is your definition of God?

  • yj

    Hi Arix,

    In response to #471:
    1. I don’t mind using your version of the bible, but I’m curious. Why does the version you provide have a better/ more accurate translation than the one at bible gateway? I’m not being snarky here, I’m genuinely curious.

    2. Saying that to understand genesis, you need to adopt the classifications used at the time of moses is…. meaningless to me.

    The Jews lived in a tiny area containing a tiny fraction of the diversity of life present on Earth. I doubt they had the instruments or inclination to properly observe even the limited diversity of life they had in their little corner of the Earth.

    If you try to match their extremely vague classifications to anything, it’s likely that you’d succeed.

    Matching their vague classification to our current understanding of evolutionary history is like matching JKP’s 15 word attempt at describing evolution to the modern theory of evolution. Or like matching newspaper astrology columns to your day.

    You can twist the words around till they sort of fit. Not a hard task at all.

    3. On your point that humans have the ability to create medicine that can destroy plasmodium and viruses, thus we have ‘dominion’ over them:

    I never mentioned viruses in my post at all. I actually mentioned tapeworms, since I thought that they were cooler.

    But since you mentioned viruses, the most famous viral disease we can’t treat is AIDS. Which is caused by HIV. We can slow down the progression of the disease, but as yet, we can’t clear the virus from our bodies. We don’t seem very effective at destroying HIV.

    HIV seems to be fantastically good at evolving resistance to the drugs we use though.

    4. I was able to be more specific when I talked about the implausiblity of there being domesticated animals/ plants before humans existed. You don’t seem to have addressed that point.

    5. Looking thru your version of the bible, I noticed that great whales were mentioned quite early on. Before the supposed creation of land creatures, actually. Whales came before mammals? That’s new to me.

    6. The Jews lived in an area where they must have been able to see reptiles, amphibians and mammals. Why aren’t these different groups mentioned in genesis?

    I’ll repeat again, the lack of precision in the terms used in genesis makes matching them to anything at all meaningless. It’s just too easy to find links between vague words and the events you want to match them to.

    7. Lastly:
    Damn. And there I was thinking that I had this special connection with my best lobster friend. Dear lobsie, don’t worry. You’re still special to me.

  • yj

    Hi squit and Arix:

    haha.. Like I said, it was just me being snarky.

    Arix:
    I realise you like the theory of evolution – you wouldn’t be trying so hard to match the events in genesis to evolutionary history if you didn’t like it.

    Anyway, I know some of my comments can be quite sharp, but don’t get offended at them. It’s not personal, it’s just the way I write.. and talk. Though the person I poke the most in real life is myself =)

    Ok.. and on this friendly note… I shall go to zzz.

  • Arix

    rwkc (#465),

    1) And I have been reading, at least the Koran, the Gita and the Tao Te Ching. (I tried the Yi Jing, but it is a little too abstract for me.)

    Whether the Hindus – or anyone else, including Atheists – think so does not necessarily determine the truth of the proposition. Just like Flat-Earthers.

    And mind the capitals. “God” is different from “god”, whichever religion we are talking about.

    The “he” in Catholicism is an anthropomorphism, not a direct description. “He” simply gels well with the limitations of the term “fatherhood”, which is used to analogise the personal relationship, and not actually define God the Father as a father of anyone in the biological sense. Assuming that God has a gender while praying to Him is idolatry, violates the First Commandment.

    2) No, I haven’t forgotten my prayers. I am just expressing what the technical physical nature” of God is. God is sexless, therefore God must be closest to an “it”. “It” is not used in Christian texts because of the discriminatory connotation and because it makes people forget the personal nature of God and retreat into Deism, which is considered a heresy by the Church.

    3) I would rather use the New American Bible, which is an ecumenical translation (translation approved by both Catholics and Protestants). NIV skews towards a more Protestant/Fundamentalist translation.

    http://usccb.org/nab/bible

    4) (quote skipped)

    1. Filial Piety – Ancient Chinese Religion (defunct by 221 BC/ removed in 1911) [referenced by Confucius]

    2. Golden Rule – Christianity

    3. Restraint in Relationships – Hindusim (and Surprise! Surprise! it comes from the Karma Sutra)

    4. Equality of Mankind – Hinduism (Bhagavad Gita, chapter on the Caste System)

    5. Unity and Harmony with nature (Paganism)

    6. forgiveness (Judaism)

    7. Mercy – Buddhism

    … and so on and so forth. Please note the examples are not exclusive. Each value often belongs to more than just one religion.

    5) My fault; I apologize for not making things clearer previously. Now I shall clarify:

    In saying that Morality is “objectively grounded” in relative human emotions, I mean that the amount of morality can be measured in terms of units of emotions, just like mass can be measured in g and kg, and length in m or cm. The only limitation we have now is that we don’t have an SI unit for human emotions.

    This statement, I recall, was used to explain the standard I use to determine the Ideal Moral Standard.

    When I say “morality originates from religion”, (1) the “Religion” is Innate Religion or Moral Sense, not Organized Religion; (2) I am referring to the source of Religion; equivalent analogies would be “silk comes from silk worms” and “water comes from oceans”.

    This is an answer to the question, “how do we come to know right from wrong?”

    So, conclusion: my statements refer to two separate issues, and so do not contradict each other.

    6) I always use the same numbering system, which is according to paragraph order. So all the paragraphs of this post under “1)” reply to the first paragraph of your post (#465) after the greeting, and so on and so forth. So this paragraph and the subsequent paragraphs are under “6)” because it is replying the 6th paragraph of your post #465.

    Technically, this particular para – you label as [11] – I am replying to is para 7. But I ignored para 4 because it is a direct quote of what I had said on another thread. So the numbering omitting that quote is 6.

    Conversely, I treat sub-parts as independent paragraphs on their own, unless they are direct quotes from other posts.

    Hope that helps you understand my numbering scheme.

  • Arix

    yj (#482),

    I must zzzz soon too, so pardon me if I seem a little … off.

    1) Because my version I gave you has the actual Hebrew Text, the original text. (I hope by “Version” you mean the parallel bible I asked you to refer to, not the NAB I asked rwkc to quote from.

    http://www.scripture4all.org/OnlineInterlinear/OTpdf/gen1.pdf

    This version has word-to-word translation of the ORIGINAL Hebrew Text.

    2-3) This is the standard requirement for Biblical Exegesis, to work within the biblical context, and not let any anachronisms creep in. I am not asking you to do anything out of the ordinary in academic study of the Bible.

    4-5) The point is to match their emotional conception to ours, because that remains the same; the rest is due to deficiencies in historical experience. What the Bible means is as important as what it says.

    9) Again, we have the potential to develop a HIV cure.

    10) Simple answer: They didn’t have our taxonomy, and they weren’t able to dive underwater. I am too tired to give a more complex explanation now. Incidentally, too, the Jews were living in a desert, not a rainforest.

    11) It makes sense if you were a Jew living in the time when Genesis was written. So our challenge is to tell how the Israelites in Ancient times would have viewed the Genesis Text, because obviously each of the terms would have referred to something specific, something that most English translations just guess at at present.

    Anyway, Good Night!!

  • rwkc

    [squit #473]

    “In the end I’d much rather talk science than religion. The latter is represented to me by its visible effects on the world, such as war (holy, Iraq, Irish civil, anti-abortion fanatics who assassinate doctors, fatwas, homophobia, suicide bombings, child soldiers, fatuous sayings, oppression of women and so on. Slug genitals and mating rituals on the other hand, are the better kind of graphic, and so much more interesting.”

    Science is based on facts and therefore there is no room for any wiggling when it comes to discussing science. There are established principles or norms to be used as guidelines in the event of disputes. Not so when it comes to religion; religion is principally a matter of faith and on that basis discussions can plausibly, or very likely, end up where they first started. That said, I have to state that, arguably, what we believe or choose to believe, or what we do not believe or choose not to believe, will greatly influence our lives or the way we live and our attitudes toward ourselves and others. Hence we can never over-emphasize that any belief system, especially the religious kind, is a powerful force in the affairs of humanity, so powerful that wars have been fought, and people have died or suffered and others are willing to risk their health or wealth, or even to die as martyrs or to risk or sacrifice the lives of others, all for the sake of their beliefs.

    The fact that some of our beliefs tell us only how things seem to be, not what they are, seems to be lost on some people. It can be ignorance or intentional disregard. But to have no doubts at all about one’s beliefs can be symptomatic of irrationality, insanity or arrogant irresponsibility than of sound thinking. To face reality requires some courage. To engage in mystical magic thinking is not to face reality but can be seen as an attempt to produce a pseudo effect or solution to a real problem.

  • http://wherebearsroamfree.blogspot.com/2009/08/creation-vs-evolution.html fearandignorance

    There is a interesting debate on creationism vs evolution at solo bear’s blog. I had put forth the ring species of salamander Ensatina eschscholtzii as a living evidence of macroevolution. However, there is a debate whether there is a scientific consensus on Ensatina eschscholtzii on being a ring species.

    Solo Bear thinks that evolution is not science and put forth the following arguments:
    1) biologists are undecided on the definition of species which is known as the species problems and this causes problems for proving speciation (macroevolution).
    My question: How does biologists propose the naming of a newly discovered species and when does a species differ enuff from its parent species to be considered a different species? How does biologists solve the ambiguous definition of species?
    2) There is no consensus or credible evidences for human evolution from another species.

    Do join in the fun if you have the time at solo bear’s blog

  • squit

    Dear fearandignorance

    490: Hahaha! This is the best part of evolution!

    1. That’s due to the fact that definitions of species emphasize certain aspects, such as reproductive isolation or geographical isolation or ecological function and so on. Some species, due to their life history, will sometimes violate one species concept or the other. For most species there is absolutely no question about species identity (what has been described, which is anywhere from 20% to 0.0001% of life, and this excludes bacteria and protoctists and fungi) The great majority (say 90%) works under any concept. But we must always keep in mind that species concepts = human-based classification system.

    Actually they are best evidence to support evolution. Young species especially, because unless the creator is super devious and keeps magicking new species that look very much like and older sister species. While we cannot observe speciation process from start to finish, we can naturally expect that since evolution is a continual process, that there’d be a proportion of life on earth for every stage of evolution into different species. Look at the Drosophila simulans reproductive complex.

    Since most species on earth have been evolving independently for a long enough period of time, there is rarely a problem when a new species is discovered (it looks/croaks/has male genitalia nothing like anything else). And before you think I’m being flippant for talking about genitalia all the time, the male genitalia is the single most important body part of telling apart species in insects.

    If things are more subtle (cryptic species), we use DNA and reproductive isolate, or any method specified by the species concept. So if two populations of rabbits were not interbreeding, or interbreeding to generate only first generation steriles, we’d say that under the reproductive species concept these two are different species. I generally consider the reproductive species concept the most powerful because once a group cannot interbreed with another group, their evolutionary paths are By Definition separate and independent, and we can say with certainty that they have different species paths. However this sort of thing will obviously not work with bacteria or fungi or plants that are promiscuous and also like to duplicate their genome, so we generally have to use the phylogenetic species concept or the ecological species concept. See in this case it’s not because it’s a weakness in evolution, it’s a weakness in our definition, since the repro isolation doesn’t work life that doesn’t either a. have sex in the traditional sense or b. can use tricks to get around so as to mix genes with different species.

    We don’t think that species definitions are ambiguous inasmuch as the concept used to define any species is explicit. We obviously use the morphology and ecological species concept for bacteria, and the reproductive species concept for pretty much all animals.

    2 – Gosh and the fossil record is so interesting too. Homo habilis, Homo erectus. There is definitely consensus in the large part, people are just fighting over which genus of Homo were our DIRECT ancestor. What about Homo floriensis? Also we managed to sequence fragments of neanderthal DNA that are added into the data matrix of all apes and guess what, we are sisters to neanderthals! We must have shared a common ancestor which obviously would have to be named some other species.

    http://www.ecotao.com/holism/huevo/body_index.html – Discussion of human fossil record here.

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/homs/species.html – Look up species one by one here, with a short discussion of their finding, and a nice timelime map of what existed when at the bottom of the page.

  • Lop

    hello guys

    I’ve been lurking on this thread and I want to thank you for the huge amount of knowledge and insights that you brought.

    I was reading #475 by Arix on the loss of meaning in translation of Hebrew to English. So was there an implication that the Bible had to be read with a pinch of salt? Or you wouldn’t get the true meaning from the words of God if you could not understand Hebrew and had to rely on a translated Bible?

    It was said that, the Bible was written under the inspiriation of ‘holy spirit’ – were other versions of the Bible translated under such influence too? Then It was also said that the ‘holy spirit’ would help a reader to understand the words of God, so the different versions didn’t matter. But look at the different interpretations of the Bible we have, it sure seems like there are many holy spirits around. Whatever happened to the ‘Absolute Truth’ that was supposed to be found in the Bible?

    It sure amazes me to read Arix’s interpretation of slavery – the slavery supported in the Bible was not the same slavery as how we understand it today. It bears an uncanny resemblance to gay activists’ claim that “the homosexuality condemned in the Bible was not the same homosexuality as how we understand it today”.

    Read in conjunction with rwkc’s post #486, I can’t help but to conclude that religions are really a man-made thing – you make up what you want to believe in.

  • http://wherebearsroamfree.blogspot.com/2009/08/creation-vs-evolution.html fearandignorance

    488) squit on August 15th, 2009 11.59 am

    thk for your reply.

    you may want to join me at solo bear’s blog (the link is on my nickname.) since justkaypoh had MIA :-)

    current debate is on Ensatina eschscholtzii.

  • justkaypoh

    fearandignorance and all

    I’d not MIA, taking a short break,

    Also disappointed with inferno, initially I thought he’s a gentleman with integrity, but turn out to be otherwise.

    I’m post some comments later on

  • http://wherebearsroamfree.blogspot.com/2009/08/creation-vs-evolution.html fearandignorance

    welcome back, justkaypoh.

    we need opposing sides to make the debate interesting.

    But you do need to be a responsible debater by stating your position clearly.

    Do not just post vague answers and conclusion without clearly elaborating your views and giving us proof of your conclusion.

    Do not just post any link without showing clearly why the link support your views.

    Do answer the million dollar question on why u think ToE is wrong and your supporting theories and evidences.

    I hope I have not frighten you away. :-)

  • squit

    Dear fearandignorance

    493: I went and checked out the blog entry and it’s just a whole bunch of technical facts and the 2nd law of thermodynamics + Goldilocks argument (not too hot, not too cold, the universe is just right). The massive stupidity of that argument astounds me. If the parameters were wrong, we wouldn’t be around to feel smug about it in the first place.

    We’ve beaten the 2nd law to death (Paley’s watchmaker) on this thread, so if solo bear is not willing to spend some time reading the comments here I don’t see why I should make his life easier. Plus, I haven’t recovered from the massive tsunami of Not-Even-Wrong on this page as it is.

    Get him to give you 26 clear exampes for creationism that could not possibly be evolved. Anyone can sit and bitch about how “evolution, it is so wrong” because they are ignorant from having not gone out there to test it for themselves, because they live in denial, whatever, but it takes time and effort to go to the jungle, wade in the muddy swamps, live in a tent for months and years among botflies and mosquitos to collect the evidence. I don’t see creationists doing that. All they can do is pounce on evolution-related threads and whine about chance and how they’ve never seen it. Obviously, since they never bother to investigate it for themselves – how many of these creationists are have done the tent thing and donated blood to rattan and leeches in the name of their precious alternative, which incidentally explains and predicts exactly NOTHING other than “OH IT IS SO MAGIC AND SHOWS HOW INEFFABLE AND MYSTERIOUS OUR CREATOR IS”? Even Behe, who has been pushed into the “microevolution happens but not macroevolution!” corner with his new book. Which is just lame, and shows a complete lack of understanding of the timescales involved.

    To me, this is just utterly despicable behaviour. Time for them to do some work, for a change. I have better things to do (field work, writing up my results, graduating) than to sit there and go through this rigmarole of having to educate some ignorant person about logical fallacies and the real world.

  • inferno

    “Also disappointed with inferno, initially I thought he’s a gentleman with integrity, but turn out to be otherwise.”

    Wow just when you thought things couldn’t get more exciting, now you’re questioning my integrity. Do elaborate.

  • Arix

    Lop (#489),

    1) Oh, you still are lurking here? I thought most people would be ignoring this thread because it is so old already…

    2) No, the point is that apparent contradictions in the Bible’s English translations are not actually contradictions in the original Greek and Hebrew Texts. The Bible needs to be read in the light of Biblical Times, not with a pinch of salt. The Original Texts are still “divinely inspired”, and the translators – even if they make some syntactic errors – are still guided by the desire to maintain truth, so the message and flow of the Bible is not harmed by these human errors.

    3) Well, whether the translations were “divinely inspired” is a debatable point. However, the people who were doing translations were interested in establishing the real truth as passed down directly from Jesus and Apostolic Tradition, therefore the translations would strive to be as close as possible to the original texts.

    Note too, however, that there are not only translations of the Bible, but Transliterations of the Bible as well. Transliterations of English re-writings of English Bibles to couch them in more “modern” language or more “simplified” language. About 80% of English Bibles fall under this category. Transliterations are neither guided by Divine Inspiration, or the desire to preserve the Truth.

    4) The Absolute Truth is still in the Bible; only that each interpreter has his or her own prejudices when it comes to interpretations, and we need to iron that out. Not to mention that there are also “revisionist” interpreters who seek to force-fit Bible Truth into something that is more palatable to Atheists, and others who try to use Bible Truths to stoke their own ego.

    5) Well, my point on slavery is a historical one, and you can verify by checking whichever non-Biblical source you wish to. It is inappropriate to make anachronistic relations.

    And my argument rests on what slavery was is those times, not what people believed/understood it to be. Gay activists, conversely can only conjecture about historical instances of homosexuality, because it is honestly close to impossible to distinguish between voluntary and involuntary homosexual behaviour.

    6) There is the Temporal aspect, the rituals, the clergy and so on, that are man-made, or at least man-designed. There is also the Spiritual aspect, the morality and the yearning for order whose emergence cannot be explained by evolution alone (natural selection is a theory of selection, not a theory of origins), although evolution . In between the Temporal aspect and the Spiritual aspect is the Theological aspect, which is where man uses human terms and figures to comprehend the spiritual. The Spiritual is something much larger than all of mankind, therefore naturally there are differences in Theological analyses, since each Theologian is to some degree trapped within his or her own society or subculture with its attendant prejudices.

  • Arix

    squit and fearandignorance,

    what is your take on how evolution can produce the creatures that are almost identical in body structure, but differ in genetic coding?

    See here: http://www.accuracyingenesis.com/kind.html

    I wonder what you make of the simiarities between Lake Tanganyika Species.

    Also, I looked at Solo Bear’s blog, and perhaps you guys need to look at the Blind Watchmaker analogy as Solo applies it, and not as Paley applies it. Solo, from what I read, is using the Watchmaker analogy to describe the complexity of natural systems, such as the water cycle and the food webs in ecology.

    I think that this is a question that evolutionists like Dawkins need to answer if they wish to use TOE to decisively refute theism. The problem is that natural selection assumes all these cycles to be already present, so it cannot account for how these cycles and complex natural systems came about. This is a higher-level version of my argument-from-the-supermarket-shelves that I presented earlier on.

    As I see, Inferno seems to have agreed with that argument, while fear calls it the “familiar straw man argument”.

    I look forward to seeing your replies on this intriguing subject.

  • squit

    Dear Arix @499,
    So! *cracks knuckles* This is, like chapter 3 of my thesis. Maybe I should CTRL-C CTRL-V it over, hahaha.

    How do species become distinct? The one that most people imagine is based on environment, such as when populations stratify based on their colour. Melanic forms survive on dark backgrounds better, paler forms on pale environments. It’s natural to expect that as these populations segregate and do not interbreed (or if they do let’s assume hybrids don’t survive very long, being patchy and hence show up on either environment, yay for predators). With this you’d obviously expect sister species to look very different from each other.

    But that’s not the case for these fish, why? Because speciation is being driven not just by ecological selection, but also by sexual selection. That’s why life on earth looks as amazing as it does, and not a whole bunch of small brown things. Being boring and fast is very good for ecological selection, but it’s not very attractive and doesn’t really allow for potential mates to assess quality.

    In an environment where there is an optimal morphology that maximises their survival, evolution will not work on how organisms look, but more on how males and females recognise each other. Hence male genitals for insects to tell them apart. The problem is that we’re a very visual kind of ape, so we use what we see to interpret the world all the time. This works when we’re trying to differentiate species that also use visual cues to assess the quality and identity of their mates, like birds (peacocks famous example).

    Not all species have the same sort of preoccupation with visual cues. Lots of species interpret the world through sound (mosquitos, which sing a love duet, Drosophila, which drums the ground, whales etc) and smell (snakes, moths). It would be obvious in those cases that the mechanism of speciation would work on to make individuals more attractive to the opposite sex in the way that they respond to.

    Of course, even when these species will look different over long enough time. This is simply because they are not interbreeding (they smell wrong or sound wrong), and not exchanging the genes that would retain a consistent morphology throughout the species.

    So these fish are examples of this.

    As for website, I wish the webmaster would read, like, the rest of the articles that s/he throws about without just picking what s/he wanted and assuming that – “A-Ha! morphological distinction! mitochondrial distances! not reproducing!, but they look alike! The creator, so devious, making species that are distinct but look so like! Therefore God exists, QED”

  • http://wherebearsroamfree.blogspot.com/2009/08/creation-vs-evolution.html fearandignorance

    disclaimer: I am not a biologist and my answer should not be taken as expert opinion.

    Not sure why your question is directed at me since I am no expert in evolution.
    But I try to answer anyway.

    I consider argument of amazing occurrences of similar body structures in genetically diverse organisms as just another variant of argument of ignorance like the irreducible complexity argument?

    Is the eye structure of the cephalopods (nautili, cuttlefish, squids, and octopods) remarkably similar to that of the vertebrates? Not according to wiki entry.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cephalopod_eye

    Cephalopods, as active marine predators, possess sensory organs specialized for use in aquatic conditions.[1] They have a camera-type eye, which consists of a lens projecting an image onto a retina. Unlike the vertebrate camera eye, the cephalopods’ form as invaginations of the body surface (rather than outgrowths of the brain), and consequently they lack a cornea. Unlike the vertebrate eye, a cephalopod eye is focused through movement, much like the lens of a camera or telescope, rather than changing shape as the lens in the human eye does.
    The eye is approximately spherical, as is the lens, which is fully internal.

    What is so similar about cephalopods and vertebrate eye?

    As for eye of sandlance (a fish) and the chameleon (a reptile) being remarkably similar.
    Probably due to similar selection pressure for hunting their preys resulted in their similar eye structure. (a wild guess :-))

    No, I do not consider Solo Bear’s argument as strawman but rather as the God of the Gaps. Thus evolution and creation is not incompatible and one can believe in both evolution and creation.

  • fearandignorance

    correction:
    No, I do not consider Solo Bear’s argument as strawman but rather as the God of the Gaps. Thus evolution and God are not incompatible and one can believe in both evolution and God.

  • squit

    Dear Arix,

    Wow I don’t even know where to start. Probably with the Goldilocks argument. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthropic_principle.

    Ecological webs = That’s because again, you have not actually questioned that assumption that everything works well together and we are the big circle of cooperative life. It doesn’t work that way. Things are kept in check in an ecological web, not working together. Hence the storm being raised by invasive species.

    I have an explanation about the African lake cichlids that’s being held up by moderation. I’ll come back tomorrow and see whether it’s still being blocked. Comment threads are not exactly the best place to explain science (blasted word limit).

    Dawkins isn’t even allowed to get that far because he, like many other biologists, spend all their time refuting the really stupid big massive wrongs. Plus, he’s been so busy promoting science and refuting creationists he’s not doing these experiments.

  • inferno

    -Arix

    Regarding your link, what we have here is a phenomena called convergent evolution. Given two separate but similar ecological niches, it is only to be expected that we see two genetically distinct species “converge” on that niche, and thus have so many common phenotypic traits.

    Here i re-post one of my posts that disappeared earlier in the thread:

    Cacti versus Euphorbs

    Most people know what cacti are, but are less aware of euphorbs, which are desert succulents that greatly resemble their more famous cousins, yet are genetically separate, i.e. the two come from completely distinct families of plants.

    http://cactiguide.com/graphics/x_noncacti_euphorbia_600.jpg

    Cacti are native to North and South America, whereas Euphorbs are native to Asia, Australia and Africa. These two groups of deserts are so environmentally similar that cacti and euphorbs have been shown to thrive perfectly in each others’ native regions. For example, the prickly pear cactus is native to North and Central America, but when it was imported to Australia for commercial purposes, it spread so fast that it overran huge tracts of farmland (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prickly_pear_cactus#Ecology).

    The point behind this example is, why would a Creator design two families of plants to be so phenotypically similar, yet genetically different, for two regions of desert that are for all purposes identical? When the more straightforward and logical option would be to design a single family of plants for ALL deserts worldwide? Of course one can simply argue that a Creator could have done so to provide more diversity, etc, which ends up in the “God works in mysterious ways” argument.

    Yet, evolution has a perfectly simple and elegant answer to this conundrum, which is that both families of plants evolved convergently until they ended up resembling each other so closely. Convergent evolution can be seen in numerous other such “pairs”, such as the Sugar Glider (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sugar_glider) and the Flying Squirrel (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flying_squirrel), and the Banded Anteater (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banded_Anteater) and the Anteater (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anteater). In both pairs, the former organism is a marsupial, whereas the latter is a placental, i.e. genetically speaking, they come from completely distinct families and lineages. But what we observe is precisely what is predicted by genetic drift and natural selection, whereby a previously empty niche in an isolated ecosystem (e.g. Australia) can easily be filled by the evolution of pre-existing native species. And if a niche in two distinct ecosystems is very similar, it is only to be expected that the evolved species in both cases will evolve into very similar forms.

  • inferno

    TOC mods PLEASE DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS

    501) inferno on Your comment is awaiting moderation. August 15th, 2009 10.27 pm

  • rwkc

    Arix #481 & #484

    [1`] For #481 I think the only point that requires my response is item [5] of #481. I would define God as “a being created out of human imagination to serve human purposes, for better or worse.”

    Arix: “Whether the Hindus – or anyone else, including Atheists – think so does not necessarily determine the truth of the proposition. Just like Flat-Earthers.”

    [2] Seems logical; the truth or falsity of a proposition is not dependent on how a person thinks of it. But what is the proposition here, Arix? The proposition [yours] is that “the Divine Reality is congruent with the God of Abraham in Judeo …..and the Brahman in Hinduism “ – which is false, as I have pointed out. The God of Hinduism is supposedly a being distinct from the Bible God. And that is why Hinduism is considered to be a religion different from Judaism, Christianity or Islam, not only in terms of doctrinal concept but also in ceremonial religious practices. Are you aware that about a million people died at about the time [in 1947] of the break-up of India into India and Pakistan? The split-up of the Indian sub-continent into two separate nations at the time and the accompanying horrible death toll were largely due to conflicting religious beliefs between Hinduism and Islam.

    [3] Being a Catholic, you appear to be ignorant of what Jesus aka Son of God allegedly said to his disciples [John 14.9]: “…Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father…”

    [4] Would you agree that it would be heretic of you to think of your God as an “It” in the circumstances? But I wouldn’t be surprised if you were to disagree. You seem to have a bizarre idea of your God; and if you are keen on finding out whether it is true, just ask some devout Catholic friends and hear what they have to say.

    Arix: “The “he” in Catholicism is an anthropomorphism, not a direct description. “He” simply gels well with the limitations of the term “fatherhood”, which is used to analogise the personal relationship, and not actually define God the Father as a father of anyone in the biological sense..”

    [5] What or whoever gave you the idea that thinking of or worshipping God as a “he” is in a way defining him as a father of anyone in the biological sense? The Holy Spirit impregnated Mary and Mary gave birth to Jesus as a result? In this case God can be seen as the biological father of Jesus – that would not be illogical, provided what is scripted is true.

    [to be continued]

  • fearandignorance

    i found out one possibility that posts get moderated is due to excessive links.

    In order to avoid moderation, reduce the number of links or break up the structure of the url.

  • inferno

    I shall test fearandignorance’s hypothesis by splitting up my post:

    -Arix

    Regarding your link, what we have here is a phenomena called convergent evolution. Given two separate but similar ecological niches, it is only to be expected that we see two genetically distinct species “converge” on that niche, and thus have so many common phenotypic traits.

    Here i re-post one of my posts that disappeared earlier in the thread:

    Cacti versus Euphorbs

    Most people know what cacti are, but are less aware of euphorbs, which are desert succulents that greatly resemble their more famous cousins, yet are genetically separate, i.e. the two come from completely distinct families of plants.

    http://cactiguide.com/graphics/x_noncacti_euphorbia_600.jpg

    Cacti are native to North and South America, whereas Euphorbs are native to Asia, Australia and Africa. These two groups of deserts are so environmentally similar that cacti and euphorbs have been shown to thrive perfectly in each others’ native regions. For example, the prickly pear cactus is native to North and Central America, but when it was imported to Australia for commercial purposes, it spread so fast that it overran huge tracts of farmland (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prickly_pear_cactus#Ecology).

    The point behind this example is, why would a Creator design two families of plants to be so phenotypically similar, yet genetically different, for two regions of desert that are for all purposes identical? When the more straightforward and logical option would be to design a single family of plants for ALL deserts worldwide? Of course one can simply argue that a Creator could have done so to provide more diversity, etc, which ends up in the “God works in mysterious ways” argument.

    tbc part two

  • inferno

    part two:

    Yet, evolution has a perfectly simple and elegant answer to this conundrum, which is that both families of plants evolved convergently until they ended up resembling each other so closely. Convergent evolution can be seen in numerous other such “pairs”, such as the Sugar Glider (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sugar_glider) and the Flying Squirrel (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flying_squirrel), and the Banded Anteater (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banded_Anteater) and the Anteater (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anteater). In both pairs, the former organism is a marsupial, whereas the latter is a placental, i.e. genetically speaking, they come from completely distinct families and lineages. But what we observe is precisely what is predicted by genetic drift and natural selection, whereby a previously empty niche in an isolated ecosystem (e.g. Australia) can easily be filled by the evolution of pre-existing native species. And if a niche in two distinct ecosystems is very similar, it is only to be expected that the evolved species in both cases will evolve into very similar forms.

  • inferno

    part two (reposted without links… please wiki them yourself if you like):

    Yet, evolution has a perfectly simple and elegant answer to this conundrum, which is that both families of plants evolved convergently until they ended up resembling each other so closely. Convergent evolution can be seen in numerous other such “pairs”, such as the Sugar Glider and the Flying Squirrel, and the Banded Anteater and the Anteater. In both pairs, the former organism is a marsupial, whereas the latter is a placental, i.e. genetically speaking, they come from completely distinct families and lineages. But what we observe is precisely what is predicted by genetic drift and natural selection, whereby a previously empty niche in an isolated ecosystem (e.g. Australia) can easily be filled by the evolution of pre-existing native species. And if a niche in two distinct ecosystems is very similar, it is only to be expected that the evolved species in both cases will evolve into very similar forms.

  • squit

    Dear inferno,

    That’s a good example of things looking similar, and works in all the cases you mentioned, but in the case of the African lake cichlids, the story is different, in that the fish shared a common ancestor and did not evolve to look similar. I’ll split my comment here

    Dear Arix @499,
    So! *cracks knuckles* This is, like chapter 3 of my thesis. Maybe I should CTRL-C CTRL-V it over, hahaha.

    How do species become distinct? The one that most people imagine is based on environment, such as when populations stratify based on their colour. Melanic forms survive on dark backgrounds better, paler forms on pale environments. It’s natural to expect that as these populations segregate and do not interbreed (or if they do let’s assume hybrids don’t survive very long, being patchy and hence show up on either environment, yay for predators). With this you’d obviously expect sister species to look very different from each other.

    But that’s not the case for these fish, why? Because speciation is being driven not just by ecological selection, but also by sexual selection. That’s why life on earth looks as amazing as it does, and not a whole bunch of small brown things. Being boring and fast is very good for ecological selection, but it’s not very attractive and doesn’t really allow for potential mates to assess quality.

    In an environment where there is an optimal morphology that maximises their survival, evolution will not work on how organisms look, but more on how males and females recognise each other. Hence male genitals for insects to tell them apart. The problem is that we’re a very visual kind of ape, so we use what we see to interpret the world all the time. This works when we’re trying to differentiate species that also use visual cues to assess the quality and identity of their mates, like birds (peacocks famous example).

  • squit

    Dear inferno,

    That’s a good example of things looking similar, and works in all the cases you mentioned, but in the case of the African lake cichlids, the story is different, in that the fish shared a common ancestor and did not evolve to look similar.

    The moderation is driving me CRAZY but here’s a link to someone who explains the cichlid example http://hagblomfoto.com/article_evolution.htm. Keyword: Sexual selection. Look it up! We use our eyes, but other animals use smell or sound cues.

    BTW I fail to see what water cycle has to do with this.

    Also accuracyingenesis, the webmaster has to cultivate the habit of read the whole article from which s/he is getting his examples. There is a disturbing tendency to distort the examples by picking only the parts s/he thinks is impossible to explain by evolution, when the truth is quite the opposite.

  • rwkc

    [continuation of #501]

    [6] Ok, I shall use the New American Bible when I need to quote from the Bible. And there are many examples of the immorality of God as he is portrayed. I shall revert on this.

    [7] Many of the moral standards mentioned by you could have been basic foundations of morality recognized by cultures throughout the world, including people with no affiliation to any religion. The Golden Rule is one example; it was supposedly propounded by Confucius and the Greeks long before the advent of Christianity.

    [8] “Is what is moral commanded by God because it is moral, or is it moral because it is commanded by God?”

    [9] Back to your assertions concerning your beliefs in science; you believe as a result of scientific research that the earth is about 4.5 billion years’ old and you believe that Homo Sapiens first made their appearance about 50,000 years ago.

    [10] Some centuries ago, a Christian bishop by the name of James Ussher (1581-1656) made a claim that the Earth was about 6,000 years’ old. Ussher was the Archbishop of Armagh, Primate of All Ireland, and Vice-Chancellor of Trinity College in Dublin and was highly regarded in his day as a churchman and as a scholar. He determined the age of the Earth by adding up the genealogical lists from the Bible, in other words, he used the ages of the characters mentioned in the Bible – from Adam [supposedly the first human] down to people in his own generation, from birth to death to the present, to calculate or estimate how old the Earth is. By his own reckoning he allegedly made the claim that the first day of creation happened on Sunday 23 October 4004 BC. He also allegedly calculated the dates of other biblical events and allegedly made several conclusions, for example, that Adam and Eve were driven from Paradise on Monday 10 November 4004 BC and that the ark [read biblical story of Genesis/Noah] touched down on Mt Ararat on 5 May 2348 BC, a Wednesday.

    Surprisingly, notwithstanding the overwhelming evidence from science, there are people in the US who still cling to the idea of a young earth; approximately 10,000 years’ old, in their view.

    [11] My point in bringing up [10] is to show how divergent Christians can be over an issue such as the age of the earth.

    [12] So as a Catholic who believes that God incarnated himself on earth about 2,000 years ago and lived and preached on this planet for about one to three years before departing back to Heaven, would you not wonder why God appeared to have been folding his arms for billions of years and only intervened in the last 2,000 years? If we base on the scientific theory that Homo Sapiens came around about 50,000 years ago, then for about 48,000 years they were presumably left to struggle on their own. WTF was God doing all this while? Any ideas?

  • justkaypoh

    inferno
    “It doesn’t matter whether you mentioned it before #419 or not. As I already said earlier, if you admit that OL should not be in this discussion at all, then you are also admitting that you provided an irrelevant link. Either you couldn’t be bothered to even check the basic relevance of your sources, or your knowledge was too weak to even realise that they were irrelevant. Which of these two is more accurate may I ask?”

    From the facts of the previous post, we can infer:

    Posting of url :
    Jpk:
    <50% quotations are on OL
    Not intended to bring up OL
    And did NOT say to bring OL from the url

    Fearandignorance:
    May or may not thought that jkp brought up OL
    Brought the ACTUAL term OL in the current posts (explicitly)
    - This can be an original issue to raise
    - Could be an response to jkp on the ‘pre-assumption that jkp brought OL

    Jkp exact words: “Although less than half of the quotations in my reference url may talk about OL. I did NOT propose to discuss OL there.”

    Inferno exact words: “if you admit that OL should not be in this discussion at all”

    Jkp Conclude: Totally wrong assumption, when did jkp say : ‘OL should not be in this discussion at all’ ?

    Inferno claims: jkp meant that OL should not be in this discussion at all

    Inferno further claims: “then you are also admitting that you provided an irrelevant link. “
    = inferno claims: jkp admit that he provided irrelevant link based on previous assumed claimed.

    Jkp conclude: the 2 claims are baseless assumptions that inferno came out from his own.

    Inferno: “Either you couldn't be bothered to even check the basic relevance of your sources (A), or your knowledge was too weak to even realise that they were irrelevant (B). Which of these two is more accurate may I ask?”

    Inferno infer: url is irrelevant
    Jkp reply: based on inferno own subjective judgment (inference) or base on facts?

    Inferno assumes A or B are the only 2 plausible explanations?
    Jkp : neither A nor B.

    Inferno, I’m starting to discover your complicated ‘wiring’ of thoughts and assumption. These are my simplified inference based on the exact words that are exchanged.

  • justkaypoh

    testing, I don’t hv url, but my post just don’t go thru

  • justkaypoh

    Part I
    Old post that didn’t get through

    inferno
    “It doesn’t matter whether you mentioned it before #419 or not. As I already said earlier, if you admit that OL should not be in this discussion at all, then you are also admitting that you provided an irrelevant link. Either you couldn’t be bothered to even check the basic relevance of your sources, or your knowledge was too weak to even realise that they were irrelevant. Which of these two is more accurate may I ask?”

    From the facts of the previous post, we can infer:
    Posting of url :
    Jpk:
    <50% quotations are on OL
    Not intended to bring up OL
    And did NOT say to bring OL from the url

    Fearandignorance:
    May or may not thought that jkp brought up OL
    Brought the ACTUAL term OL in the current posts (explicitly)
    - This can be an original issue to raise
    - Could be an response to jkp on the ‘pre-assumption that jkp brought OL

  • justkaypoh

    Part II
    Jkp exact words: “Although less than half of the quotations in my reference url may talk about OL. I did NOT propose to discuss OL there.”

    Inferno exact words: “if you admit that OL should not be in this discussion at all”

    Jkp Conclude: Totally wrong assumption, when did jkp say : ‘OL should not be in this discussion at all’ ?

    Inferno claims: jkp meant that OL should not be in this discussion at all

    Inferno further claims: “then you are also admitting that you provided an irrelevant link. “
    = inferno claims: jkp admit that he provided irrelevant link based on previous assumed claimed.

    Jkp conclude: the 2 claims are baseless assumptions that inferno came out from his own.

    Inferno: “Either you couldn’t be bothered to even check the basic relevance of your sources (A), or your knowledge was too weak to even realise that they were irrelevant (B). Which of these two is more accurate may I ask?”

    Inferno infer: url is irrelevant
    Jkp reply: based on inferno own subjective judgment (inference) or base on facts?

    Inferno assumes A or B are the only 2 plausible explanations?
    Jkp : neither A nor B.

    Inferno, I’m starting to discover your complicated ‘wiring’ of thoughts and assumption. These are my simplified inference based on the exact words that are exchanged.

  • inferno

    Since you insist on pushing the envelope, I shall dissect your link to demonstrate why I say it is irrelevant.

    Let me put one of the quotes here just to show how little thought went into the creating of the website:
    Wald, George, “The Origin of Life,” in The Physics and Chemistry of Life (Simon & Schuster, 1955, 270 pp.)
    “The important point is that since the origin of life belongs in the category of at-least-once phenomena, time is on its side. However improbable we regard this event, . . given enough time it will almost certainly happen at least once.

    “Time is in fact the hero of the plot. The time with which we have to deal is of the order of two billion years. What we regard as impossible on the basis of human experience is meaningless here. Given so much time, the ‘impossible’ becomes possible, the possible probable, and the probable virtually certain. One has only to wait: time itself performs miracles.” p. 12

    If you bother to read this properly, the guy here is actually arguing FOR a non-divine origin of life: “However improbable we regard this event, . . given enough time it will almost certainly happen at least once.” Even though it is about OL, it does set the tone for the rest of the quotes on that page. And I thought that creationists would actually be smart enough to use misquote scientists in a way that makes them sound like they’re “refuting” evolution.

    I originally intended to go through each quote individually, so as to show that most if not all are either irrelevant or misquotes. However I was stumped by the magnitude of the task, due to the huge number of quotes. Suffice to say, most of them fall under the category of “too improbable to be true” (i.e. similar to the misquote of Darwin on the evolution of the eye).

    Out of 59 quotes, 24 talk about OL, the influence of Evolution on Nazism, and the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, etc. I.e. completely off-topic / fallacy (in the case of thermodynamics). That’s practically half eliminated, off the cuff.

    Let’s take a look at some of the remaining ones

    “What’s in a word? Several nucleotides, some researchers might say. By applying statistical methods developed by linguists, investigators have found that ‘junk’ parts of the genomes of many organisms may be expressing a language. These regions have traditionally been regarded as useless accumulations of material from millions of years of evolution. ‘The feeling is,’ says Boston University physicist H. Eugene Stanley, ‘that there’s something going on in the noncoding region.’”

    “Junk DNA got its name because the nucleotides there (the fundamental pieces of DNA, combined into so-called base pairs) do not encode instructions for making proteins, the basis for life. In fact, the vast majority of genetic material in organisms from bacteria to mammals consists of noncoding DNA segments, which are interspersed with the coding parts. In humans, about 97 percent of the genome is junk.”

    “Over the past 10 years, biologists began to suspect that this feature is not entirely trivial.” p. 24

    Pardon my language, but how the hell is this supposed to “refute” evolution? There is even a quote from STEPHEN JAY GOULD no less, talking about punctuated equilibria. Again, how the hell is this suppose to “refute” evolution?

    “The problems of reconstructing possible pathways of prebiotic evolution in the absence of any kind of fossil evidence are indeed formidable. Successful attack on these problems will require, on the one hand, the boldness to imagine and create new concepts describing the organization of not-yet-living populations of molecules and, on the other hand, the humility to learn the hard way, by laborious experiment, which molecular pathways are consistent with the stubborn facts of chemistry. We are still at the very beginning of the quest for understanding of the origin of life. We do not yet have even a rough picture of the nature of the obstacles that prebiotic evolution has had to overcome. We do not have a well-defined set of criteria by which to judge whether any given theory of the origin of life is adequate.” p. 1161

    This quote was from Freeman Dyson. Yes, you got that right. Freeman Dyson, the PHYSICIST AND MATHEMATICIAN. Even if we ignore that fact, the quote merely states that the path ahead is unclear and arduous. Not that a divine creator is the only possible answer, etc.

    There are also several quotes from Michael Denton, who was a founder of the Discovery Institute, and we all know what an oasis of critical thinking exists at that place. Oh wait, did I mention that the quotes here are from his book published in NINETEEN EIGHTY-FIVE? To make things worse, Denton effectively RECANTED HIS VIEWS IN HIS SECOND BOOK.

    The most recent quote is in 1995. There are quite a few others from 1950s, 60s, and 70s. This is not even taking into account the fact that majority of the people quoted are not even biologists/paleontologists in the first place.

    Finally, this link is from talkorigins.org, and it highlights and refutes several famous creationist misquotes:
    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/quotes/mine/author.html

    justkaypoh: I challenge you to post ONE quote from your link here, and elaborate on how it supports your argument that (I quote) “There are also a mountain of evidence accumulated against TOE. “

  • justkaypoh

    inferno

    are you replying to my previous post? Or replying to others?

  • inferno

    -jkp

    I am replying specifically to your post. Since you claimed that I have integrity issues for questioning the relevance of your link, I decided to back up my argument with a more detailed discussion.

    On a separate note:

    427) inferno on August 13th, 2009 1.36 pm
    We are still waiting with bated breath for your proposition. Take a stand (e.g. the current evidence for TOE is not strong enough to conclude that it is true) and TELL US WHY YOU THINK YOU ARE RIGHT.

  • justkaypoh

    inferno

    Thanks for replying,

    I’d spent time and effort to clear write the statement that you falsely accuse me of.

    I wrote them in clear predicate logic form.

    Please note any point that you disagree. If not can I assume that the points are correct?

  • justkaypoh

    I’ll surely I’ll post comments on TOE later

  • inferno

    Jkp exact words: “Although less than half of the quotations in my reference url may talk about OL. I did NOT propose to discuss OL there.”

    Inferno exact words: “if you admit that OL should not be in this discussion at all”

    Jkp Conclude: Totally wrong assumption, when did jkp say : ‘OL should not be in this discussion at all’ ?

    me>> I’m not claiming that you said OL should not be included. Notice the “IF” in the statement.<> First claim is untrue, as stated above. Second claim is also untrue. I’m trying to decide whether you’re intentionally misquoting me, or innocently misunderstanding me. To clear all doubts I shall paraphrase my original lines in more simple language.

    Original: “As I already said earlier, if you admit that OL should not be in this discussion at all, then you are also admitting that you provided an irrelevant link.”

    Paraphrase: There are two questions you have to answer. Firstly, do you think OL should be omitted from this discussion? If the answer to this first question is YES, then you have to admit that your link is largely irrelevant as fearandignorance has already shown how much of it consists of OL topics.

    Complete misunderstanding on your part. I am not putting words into your mouth at any point.<>My post #512 details why I consider the link to be irrelevant.<> Simple logic here, I shall it out unambiguously.
    Premise (0): The link is irrelevant. (assume premise is true for sake of discussion)
    Statements:
    1. justkaypoh bothered to actually check out the link to ascertain if the points within were relevant to discussion.
    From 0,1->
    2. Thus we can only conclude that his understanding of the topic was too weak to realise that the points were irrelevant, since he posted the link despite having conducted a so-called “QC”. (quality check)
    If not 2, therefore not 1-> justkaypoh didn’t bother to check out the link to ascertain if the points within were relevant to discussion.

    “Inferno assumes A or B are the only 2 plausible explanations?
    Jkp : neither A nor B.”

    OK, how about you propose your explanation then?

  • Arix

    fearandignorance (#497),

    7) Hmm, how would the eye structure that is good for hunting one kind of prey be useful for hunting a totally different kind of prey, in a totally different environment with totally different conditions.

    8) Do you really mean what you say when you say “not incompatible”?

    Squit (#499),

    I know how ecological webs work; whenever did I say that they were cooperative?

    The point is in each chain in the web. Natural Selection assumes that these chains are pre-existent. Each organism evolves to fit each particular link in the chain. So the question is, where do these chains come from in the first place? Do animals decide what to eat, or does their diet determine what they are?

    And Dawkins is spending time refuting all of Religion, not just Creationism. Seriously, he should go back to be biology lab and leave the debate on God’s existence to be sorted out by Philosophers and Theologians.

  • justkaypoh

    inferno

    before I post a reply, let try to clear this.

    In English and languages there can be multiple interpretations to a text.

    You try to draw all possible plausible explanations from this short text?

    Inferno original text: “, if you admit that OL should not be in this discussion at all, then you are also admitting that you provided an irrelevant link.”

    Inferno explanation : “me>> I’m not claiming that you said OL should not be included. Notice the “IF” in the statement. First claim is untrue, as stated above. Second claim is also untrue”

  • Arix

    Inferno (#501),

    4) First, remember that I am a Theistic Evolutionist, although the author of the article I quoted is assuredly at least an Old-Earth Creationist.

    But attempting to argue from the Old-Earth Creationist viewpoint, I would say: Because there are subtle variations within and among desert regions that we, as humans, are not able to detect. Therefore, the cacti are designed in a way that allows their genetics maximum survival, while granting them physical survival for the coarser features.

    5) Hmm … I accept this theory as sound.

  • justkaypoh

    Inferno if you admit that you lied, then you are also admitting that you are posting dishonestly

  • fearandignorance

    520) Arix on August 16th, 2009 1.05 am

    What makes you think that the characteristic and behaviour of the preys of chameleon and sandlance are totally different and their hunting behaviour totally different. In fact, a quick rough research on the web tells me that both creatures require their body to be totally motionless to not frighten away their preys while they wait in camouflage and looking 360″ and eyes moving independently to cover a larger area for preys.

    I have not objection to theistic evolution. So the God may not be the Christian God if the Book of Genesis is to be interpreted literally or is if the Book of Genesis is not literal account of creation.

  • squit

    Dear Arix

    That part where you imagine that there is this big invisible Plan, and things just kind of…assume their “rightful” position. The word cooperation doesn’t quite fit the spirit of what you’re suggesting, but still.

    I haven’t gotten angry at anything you’ve said for a long while, but asking Dawkins to go back to the biology lab? Let me tell you (and all you other creationists and Intelligent Design proponents), and listen up good:

    There is nothing, NOTHING we’d love better than to do that. We’re scientists, not preachers or talk show hosts or politicians. But does the rest of the world allow us the deceny to “stay in our labs” like the good lab rats that we are, trying to discover more about the world? No. Why? Because there is this incessant chorus of “EVOLUTION IS NOT SCIENCE” from a mob of people who have nothing to lose by spending all their time butchering and distorting practically everything that scientists have to say or show because they think that it impinges on their precious faith. Not much of a faith if you have to resort to attacking scientists to do it.

    Tell me, why do you think evolutionary biologists go into their field? Do you think we have been recruited by some big shadowy anti-religious (and let’s not play coy with which religions are the major culprits. Rely on the evidence!) organisation to spread misinformation? Do you think that we are truly so stupid that we spend twenty years trying to understand our observations based on a sham theory and never think for a second that OH MAYBE IT IS SOME BIG DIVINE COSMIC PLAN that THIS caterpillar is being eaten alive from inside out by THAT ichneumonid wasp with the help from the genes from THIS virus OH WELL I WAS ALL WRONG *goes home to write a bestselling book*?

    All the ridiculous attempts at forcing it out from the textbooks because of OBVIOUS religiously-motivated reasons. You can do anything you like with your religion, and say anything you like in your places of worship, but this is oppression, and superstition, and ignorance and smallmindedness and it has to stop.

    We engage you because that’s what we do in science, and we are always stunned when you turn around and display your ignorance and your ridiculous lack of understanding/care of….everything that makes science useful in the first place

    Pandas! Let’s discuss pandas! Pandas eat bamboo right! So something decided that pandas should eat bamboo shoots, or did the panda just pop into existence and think “Ah, bamboo”? Because let me tell you this, the panda is SUPREMELY undesigned for bamboo. The intestines are too short, the body is too big, the hands are all wrong (closest relatives do no have thumbs, so it had to evolve, oh sorry, magically come up with, a spur on its wrist to help strip the tough outer sheath) I could go on.

    Here you go making that point in italics like GASP IT IS THE DEATHBLOW TO EVOLUTION when this is obviously just a biological example of the anthropic principle. If there are no carnivores obviously there’d be no link for carnivores on the chain. There are just ways to obtain calories, whether it’s from plants or animals or hair or blood or the shit of caterpillars (Yes there are flies that eat that. How? Well closest relatives are plant-feeders, and over time they developed a commensal relationship, so no it is not evidence that creation is so magic, it even came up with a way to get right of butterfly larvae crap). I’d give you examples of animals that have shifted diet preferences via evolution but that doesn’t change the point. Obviously you have in your brain some sort of really complex web that you don’t understand how it came about in the first place, without understanding that when life evolves, it CO-EVOLVES with the rest of its environment, which takes into account both its prey and predators and also the other biological components in the background, hence that big web, it is just an example of how powerful Darwin’s idea is.

    Finally, Who were the ones to bring up God on this thread?

  • squit

    So Arix, imagine why Dawkins got so upset and decided to write the God Delusion? Why, thirty years and eight books about evolution and science later, did he finally think to challenge this incessant puling segment of humanity who have usually shown no compunction in doing whatever it takes to get rid of ideas that may even challenge the shining edifice of their absolute power over all things, having to retreat like a wounded, puling beast every. single. time. decades, centuries after the fact, from Galileo to Darwin because these scientists were RIGHT?

    Did you really think that Dawkins, who has hordes of devoted fans and fame from his very powerful idea in evolution and entertainment from his own feuds within the field of evolutionary biology because of disagreements in the process of speciation, did you think he actually sat down on day and thought “Ah, I think I shall cause the Christian mobs, with occasional Muslim whackjob to rise up against me and declare that I shall burn in hell/deserve death! I shall risk death by self-righteous religious fundamentalists and put my loved ones in danger everywhere for the fun of it! This evolution thing, it is perfect! I shall substitute that for god!”

  • Arix

    rwkc (#503),

    1) That is not a definition; that is a description.

    2) There is a different concept of God in Hinduism than there is in Christianity, but at the ultimate it is the same God.

    3) I would look at the word translated as “see” before coming to any conclusions. Jesus more likely referred to God in a spiritual sense, as opposed to a physical sense, like in many of His parables.

    4) As I said before, depends on the connotations attached to the word. If “it” necessarily has to apply to something impersonal, then yes I would admit to being a heretic. But I am using the pronoun in its widest scope, thus I am not being heretical.

    5) The Holy Spirit is a Spirit, and spirits have superhuman capabilities. The Holy Spirit impregnating Mary is not referring to the Holy Spirit materializing in human form and having sex with her. She remains a Virgin even at the birth of Christ, so that would be contradictory. Plus, “impregnating” is a shortened from of “and brought forth child” which is arguably more generic.

  • Arix

    rwkc (#510),

    2) Please, Religion is not just Christianity.

    I think I have already spent a number of posts arguing that Confucius’ morality came from Ancient Chinese Religion (no longer practiced in its original form).

    As for the Greeks, before Plato and Aristotle there were all the stories about the Olympian Gods. And many of these have morals attached. In a previous post, I gave the example of Bacchus and Philemon. It is irrational to argue that Olympianism stole morality from Plato and Aristotle because its heyday was before the birth of Plato and Aristotle. So Plato and Aristotle would have “stolen” their ideas from Olympianism.

    3) God defines what is Good, and sticks by that definition.

    4-5) That is why knowing the scriptures properly is important. Ussher used a KJV, not the original Hebrew Texts. Therefore, he did not have access to the punctuation in the Hebrew Texts that denote skipping of generations. That was a miscalculation on his part.

    By the way, Ussher himself proposed the theory. The Church neither endorsed nor rejected it, as far as I see.

    6) And your point in that is?

    7) That is your conjecture, that they were left to “suffer alone”. And your 2000 years is off the mark. The Old Testament carries at least up to 11000 BC (and that reaches to Abraham only) . And the other 35000 years? There is no evidence that God hasn’t been present. Religion has been observed in fact since Neantherdal Men, who had burial rites, indicating that they believed in an afterlife. Religious Ceremonies were painted on the walls of the Cro-Magnon caves in Southern France.

  • Non Religious

    You strip the clothings, all are naked and pretty much the same?

  • Arix

    fearandignorance (#524),

    1) And yet the bodies of the preys are different, aren’t they?

    2) Somehow your language seems unclear here.

  • Non Religious

    All said and done, the whole objective is behavioral control isn’t it?

  • Arix

    Squit (#525),

    2) I have already specified: I am a Theistic Evolutionist, not a Creationist or an ID-proponent.

    3) Darwin started it:

    (from wiki)

    “””
    Darwin made his views clearer to others, telling Lyell that if each step in evolution was providentially planned, the whole procedure would be a miracle and natural selection superfluous.
    “””

    And Thomas Huxley magnified it:-

    “””
    On 10 February 1860 Huxley gave a lecture titled On Species and Races, and their Origin at the Royal Institution,[20] reviewing Darwin’s theory with fancy pigeons on hand to demonstrate artificial selection, as well as using the occasion to confront the clergy with his aim of wresting science from ecclesiastical control. He referred to Galileo’s persecution by the church, “the little Canutes of the hour enthroned in solemn state, bidding that great wave to stay, and threatening to check its beneficent progress”. He hailed the Origin as heralding a “new Reformation” in a battle against “those who would silence and crush” science, and called on the public to cherish Science and “follow her methods faithfully and implicitly in their application to all branches of human thought”, for the future of England.[21]
    “””

    So I guess it is the scientists (and Atheists) who are responsible after all.

    4) No I don’t. I accept Evolution, but I don’t accept that Evolution implies the logical necessity of Atheism.

    5) Please, that doesn’t refer to me. I do not support those Creationists.

    6) Actually, the Panda Argument cuts both ways. Since Panda’s diet is bamboo, shouldn’t natural selection have given the panda some features that are advantageous to bamboo-eaters? Actually, I remember there is something about the Panda’s stomach…

    7) And that has what to do with your six paras of polemic above?

    Anyway, the whole issue is whether an animal evolves to fit its means of calorie intake, or whether it fits its means of calorie intake to its body structure; and also how it determines which means of calorie intake is the best. After all, Carnivores do not all eat the same thing; why don’t they? After all, if every Carnivore ate the largest variety of food, it would enhance their chance of survival to the maximum. Why doesn’t this occur?

    You still haven’t answered that question.

    Since you mention co-evolution, how does Co-Evolution explain animals moving up and down food chains?

    Oh, and all this still doesn’t explain the Water Cycle. Does evolution apply to the Water Cycle as well?

  • Arix

    Non Religious (#529 and #531),

    Sorry, please elaborate.

  • fearandignorance

    530) Arix on August 16th, 2009 2.44 am

    1) And yet the bodies of the preys are different, aren’t they?

    Are you saying that the chameleon is supposed to look like a fish and sandlance is supposed to look like a reptile? If that is the case, this will invalidate natural selection since organisms most adapted to their living environment will survive and breed. How is the chameleon with grills and fins (no legs) supposed to survive on land and Is sandlance, a wholly aquatic creature with two pairs of reptile legs, an efficient swimmer?
    Due to their similar hunting behaviours, they do not move their bodies so there is a selection pressure for their eyes to be highly flexible for searching preys without alerting them of their presence. There is no selection pressure for the sandlance on land or the chameleon under the waters, thus the different body structures for life on the land and aquatic life respectively.

    2) Do you really mean what you say when you say evolution and God are “not incompatible”?

    In other words, i am saying that evolution and God can be made compatible.
    Since theistic evolution is the bridge between evolution and religion, this is true.
    Since you are a believer in theistic evolution, I shouldn’t need to explain theistic evolution to you.

  • fearandignorance

    1) And yet the bodies of the preys are different, aren’t they?

    I notice that i had read the question wrongly.
    Why would the different bodies of their preys matters? What is most important is the characteristics and behaviours of their preys.
    Before I continue, it would be responsible for you to state what are the difference in the bodies of their preys and why the differences in their preys’ bodies matter in the evolution of their eyes?

    Remember your provided link about similarity of cephalopods and vertebrate eye.
    I found out that the only similarity is both have single-lens eyes. Other than that, their eyes are structurally very different.

  • squit

    It’s amazing that for such a garrulous guy like Darwin you choose only the selected bits that fit. But I broke my own promise to myself to not even touch God in this discussion.

    Anyway a bible-based idea of evolution is massively constraining don’t you think? Fills your head with all sorts of unproved assumptions before you go out there. Lots of baggage. What I really don’t understand is why God has to come into the picture here as well. We don’t bring it up, so why do you guys? I know what you’d say; the evolutionists brought it up first. Well why can’t religious people do all this fighting with the scientists outside science?

    Anyway, the whole issue is whether an animal evolves to fit its means of calorie intake, or whether it fits its means of calorie intake to its body structure; and also how it determines which means of calorie intake is the best. After all, Carnivores do not all eat the same thing; why don’t they? After all, if every Carnivore ate the largest variety of food, it would enhance their chance of survival to the maximum. Why doesn’t this occur?

    Because evolution is not design. It is making do with the current environment when situation calls for it. See lesser-short tailed bat. Basically, you eat whatever’s there if your prey goes extinct.

    That is a stupid question. Animals don’t want to be eaten, so you’ll have to learn/be very good at eating only a few things and develop skills for certain things. Pred-prey interactions are like kabuki dances usually, every step super familiar and ritualised (evolved to be this way, minimal energy expenditure on both sides). Generalists need big brains, which are expensive.

    Since you mention co-evolution, how does Co-Evolution explain animals moving up and down food chains?

    Aberrations occur of course, hence animals move up and down (and so do plants, how do you think some became carnivorous?). When their prey becomes scarce and they supplement their diet with exotic things (Which they are supremely bad at, but if no one competes with them they don’t go extinct, see bat) or while they are eating whatever they do the alternative food source is always there and more calorific (caterpillar-shit-eating fly larvae who follow leaf mining caterpillars whose closest relatives eat leaves), and over time they make the switch.

    It’s the principle of least frustration. Everyday animals have to deal with the stress over how to get food where to hide how to have offspring and they have strategies for all these. But once the stress > benefit, they will try to do something else, and over time with successive generations doing this else, the strongest do the best and you know the rest of the story.

  • squit

    “But once the stress > benefit, they will try to do something else, and over time with successive generations doing this else, the strongest do the best and you know the rest of the story.”

    Oops sounds like Lamarckism. What I meant was, the ones that are show the greatest propensity to explore this alternative path make it into the next generation in greater and greater proportion until they make the switch for good.

  • kill_netizen

    Post #527 JustKayPoh
    I demonstrated JKP used the satanic way of arugument by inserting the word “REALLY” and tried to twist ‘English class’ into “Science class’……. and questioned JKP integrity and ulterior motive, then that is also proof that JKP are posting dishonestly.
    Besides, JKP has always tried to say, he will come to the point later, but never.

    Shame on you, JustKaypoh

  • fearandignorance

    Something that I found out during AWARE Saga and this debate is science is not very accessible to the general public. The journals and various scientific researches publications are usually lock up in some subscription based sites where full access to the text are unavailable. Whereas the other side (the creationist and NARTH) gives free and open full access to their researches, including misleading rebuttal to most scientific researches that conflict with their beliefs.
    The scientific community is not doing a good job in being accessible to the general public and allows the other side to take advantage of this situation to mislead the public.

  • http://blog budamax1952

    To put into proper perspective, Evolution studies worldly (material) phenomena through the scientific method, whereas Spiritualism studies abstract phenomena (God, Mind, Meditation, etc.) through the mind. Both has brought immense benefits for mankind; spiritualism puts a restraint on man (otherwise man, IMHO, would have been an extinct species by now) and science has brought us into our present fairly advanced technological era. However, on the flip side both science and spiritualism has its negative side ; religion bringing division, wars and misunderstanding whereas science has brought us the nuclear bomb, which threatens the wholesale annihilation of man. Therefore, from this perspective both spiritualism and science has their rightful place in the affairs of man. Next, we come to ‘Man’ . Man is basically an egoistic entity. Every man is attached to certain views. Views are not the real or absolute truth, because views originate from the ego, and once ego is involved, man is actually quite far away from the truth. Therefore, we come to this maxim “To be attached to a certain view and to look down upon another view, this the wise man calls a fetter”, Another aspect of man is his innate desire to always wanting to be a ‘winner’, whether in a chess-game, a debate, a football match, or in a war. This aspect wanting to win at all cost, also originates from man’s ego (and coincidentally, one of the main aims of spiritualism is to subjugate and annihilate ‘ego’ and in this way man can realise his true being). In regards to this innate tendency of man in always wanting to be a ‘winner’, we have this maxim ” The conqueror begets enmity; the defeated lie down in distress. Giving up both victory and defeat the wise man rests peacefully in happiness”. Thus, from this short analysis of mine, we can see that Evolution and Spiritualism are not mortal enemies; both can live peacefully side by side, if man allows to.

  • yj

    wah. so many posts.

    Arix: I’ve got no time to reply in detail to your post to me.

    quick comments before i get back to work:

    1. fearandignorance:
    I agree with you. I’d love for journals to be free. Anyway, there’s this new set of journals by an organisation called the Public Library of Science that gives access to anyone.
    http://www.plos.org/

    Scientists often blog about their own work and recently published research too. Find some at:
    scienceblog.com

    2. To Arix:

    (a) Sigh.
    If the nitrogen/ water/ carbon cycles were different, we either wouldn’t be here to argue about it, or we would be a totally different form of autonomous, self-replicating organism.

    (b)
    =============
    Quote from Arix::
    “6) Actually, the Panda Argument cuts both ways. Since Panda’s diet is bamboo, shouldn’t natural selection have given the panda some features that are advantageous to bamboo-eaters? Actually, I remember there is something about the Panda’s stomach…”
    =============

    You seem to show a misconception that natural selection will result in organisms that are optimal for their environment.

    Yes, pandas have features that are advantageous to bamboo eaters in comparison to bears.

    However, pandas are not optimized for their environment. Looking at the panda at a whole, one would conclude that if the panda were designed, the designer was a supremely incompetent one.

    But natural selection predicts this. That’s cos any variation that natural selection can act upon must already exist in the population. That means the adaptions of these pandas relied upon their evolutionary history, and their developmental pathways.

    Because of this, natural selection never results in organisms that are optimized. The organisms we see today are just about good enough to survive in their environments.

    IF there were a designer, I’d say that what we observe today is the product of a rather lazy designer. Especially if that designer were omnipotent.

  • yj

    Edit:

    Sorry fearandignorance,

    it should be:
    http://scienceblogs.com

  • rwkc

    Arix #527

    [1] I defined God as ““a being created out of human imagination to serve human purposes, for better or worse.”

    [2] You defined God as quote: “God is the Divine Reality. God is the – for lack of a better term – the Whole Entity that imbues its character in humans and animals, and provides the Universe with Life. It is because God is the Ultimate Whole that God cannot be described by words alone, or images for that matter” unquote

    [3] But you claim mine definition is not a “definition” but a description. You have to be kidding. Please look up the dictionary for the meaning of “define” or “definition”.

    [4] To briefly digress, to say something about reasoning or using reason; the Buda [#343] has given you some useful tips on mind development by advising you to not believe this or that and to, quote: “(a) careful observation and analysis (b) when it agrees with reason (c) when it will benefit one and all —— THEN ACCEPT IT AND LIVE BY IT” unquote and your response was “I follow (b) and (c) …” You cannot claim to be using reason if you do not observe and analyze, right? So, would you say that in agreeing to adopt the Buda’s advice, it would have been more appropriate to say, yes, I follow [a], [b] and [c]?

    [5] Now to your definition of God; if you have any reasoning power you would have to agree that you were contradicting yourself by trying to define God, because if “God cannot be described by words alone”, then to say “God is the Divine Reality, the Whole Entity etc” is not saying anything of substance. I have to agree with Buda you have a complex mind and I can see that complexity can also mean confusion.

    Arix: “There is a different concept of God in Hinduism than there is in Christianity, but at the ultimate it is the same God.”

    [6] You agree that Hinduism’s conception of God is different from that of Christianity, yet you claim that “at the ultimate is the same God.” So would you also say that people who believed/believe in Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Thor, Odin, Dionysus, Mithra, Isis, Horus, Jupiter, Ganesh, etc believed/believe in the same God?

    Arix: “The Holy Spirit is a Spirit, and spirits have superhuman capabilities. The Holy Spirit impregnating Mary is not referring to the Holy Spirit materializing in human form and having sex with her. She remains a Virgin even at the birth of Christ, so that would be contradictory. Plus, “impregnating” is a shortened from of “and brought forth child” which is arguably more generic.”

    [7] I shall return to this area later.

    [8] Arix, if you have to use your imagination, please try using it in a rational or logical manner.

  • fearandignorance

    TY yj
    i had been using http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/index.aspx
    as a last resort if google search fails to find any useful access.

    But not all journals and research publications are fully accessible and the website is horribly slow.

  • rwkc

    Arix, back to my #503 and your #527.

    I said [item 5 of #503]: “What or whoever gave you the idea that thinking of or worshipping God as a “he” is in a way defining him as a father of anyone in the biological sense? The Holy Spirit impregnated Mary and Mary gave birth to Jesus as a result? In this case God can be seen as the biological father of Jesus – that would not be illogical, provided what is scripted is true.”

    You responded with: “The Holy Spirit is a Spirit, and spirits have superhuman capabilities. The Holy Spirit impregnating Mary is not referring to the Holy Spirit materializing in human form and having sex with her. She remains a Virgin even at the birth of Christ, so that would be contradictory. Plus, “impregnating” is a shortened from of “and brought forth child” which is arguably more generic.”

    Arix, your response is a reflection of an inability to understand what’s presented to you; I asked you a simple question: “What or whoever gave you the idea that thinking of or worshipping God as a “he” is in a way defining him as a father of anyone in the biological sense? And what would be your answer was something I could not be sure of, right? Then I posed a second question and that question was merely an attempt to ascertain whether it would have something to do with your having the idea that thinking of or worshipping God as a “he” is in a way defining him as a father of anyone in the biological sense. Now I would like you to read your response and tell me whether you have answered to my question. Needlessly to say, you have given me a completely irrelevant answer. Yes/No?

  • fearandignorance

    in reference to 536) squit on August 16th, 2009 9.56 am

    this is a drawing of New Zealand lesser short-tailed bat.
    http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/resources/Grzimek_mammals/Mystacinidae/Mystacina_tuberculata.jpg/view.html

    this is a seriously humorous looking creature :-D

  • rwkc

    Arix #528

    Arix :” Please, Religion is not just Christianity”

    [1] Who told you or gave you the idea that there are no other religions besides Christianity?

    Arix: “God defines what is Good, and sticks by that definition.”

    [2] You define God, and God defines what is Good and sticks by that definition. Brilliant! But we shall see the behavior of God as he is portrayed in the Bible.

    Arix: “Ussher used a KJV, not the original Hebrew Texts. Therefore, he did not have access to the punctuation in the Hebrew Texts that denote skipping of generations. That was a miscalculation on his part. By the way, Ussher himself proposed the theory. The Church neither endorsed nor rejected it, as far as I see.”

    [3] So Arix, you are directly or indirectly saying the KJV is not a reliable version. And you are saying that Ussher, by using an unreliable biblical version, had arrived at a wrong calculation of the age of the earth. And, presumably, you are sure the New American Bible is a reliable version, since you have recommended that I use it for reference and argument purposes?

    [4] But let’s get something straight – you have not changed your belief in science and you agree with science’s findings that the earth is about 4.5 billion years old?

    Arix: “That is your conjecture, that they were left to “suffer alone”. And your 2000 years is off the mark. The Old Testament carries at least up to 11000 BC (and that reaches to Abraham only) . And the other 35000 years? There is no evidence that God hasn’t been present. Religion has been observed in fact since Neantherdal Men, who had burial rites, indicating that they believed in an afterlife. Religious Ceremonies were painted on the walls of the Cro-Magnon caves in Southern France.”

    [5] Neantherdal Men could have embraced belief in an afterlife, but that does not in any way show that they believed in the existence of god/God, let alone the Bible God. Buddhists also believe in an afterlife without believing in or worshipping God/god.

    [6] Catholics and some other Christians believe that God came down to earth about 2,000 years ago to preach to mankind, after having allegedly sent numerous other prophets, one after another, to bring home his message[s]. Would you say that Muhammad was one of his prophets, and by Islamic doctrine, the last prophet?

    [7] That the Bible God was incarnated on earth is only a matter of faith – are you agreeable to this?

  • inferno

    524) justkaypoh on August 16th, 2009 1.31 am

    Inferno if you admit that you lied, then you are also admitting that you are posting dishonestly

    Your statement is a tautology. Obviously if I lied, I must have posted dishonestly. What’s your point? And what, incredulously, did I lie about?

  • tj

    Arix #376,

    I wasn’t talking about the article, but about my own experience.

    With respect to the article, though, since you brought it up, the nice picture of “CREATION” above came from the Mini Science Encyclopedia, no?

    There is also this paragraph “Michelle is learning biology this year. Recently, her biology teacher acknowledged aloud the perfection of God in the story of the Creation of Man. This occurred during a lesson on the human digestive system.”

    Wish one of the kids was quick enough to bring up the appendix. :)

  • justkaypoh

    inferno,

    Does the 2 statements ring any bell?

    “Inferno if you admit that you lied, then you are also admitting that you are posting dishonestly”

    “if you admit that OL should not be in this discussion at all, then you are also admitting that you provided an irrelevant link.”

  • rwkc

    Justkaypoh,

    Please clarify and correct me if I am wrong. I have read only bits here and there with regard to the discussions about TOE between you on one hand and inferno and others on the other.

    [1] You have stated you believe in microevolution – yes/no?
    [2] So in the context of [1] you believe, at least partially, in TOE – yes/no?
    [3] TOE is a scientific theory to me and many others, but is it a scientific theory to you – yes/no?
    [4] If your answer to [3] is ‘no’, please explain why.
    [5] TOE is not concerned with the explanation of the nature or origin of life itself; no one knows how life originated on earth; would you say this has been mentioned several times by those who have been discussing with you re TOE?
    [6] TOE is not synonymous with Darwinism.
    [7] TOE makes no statement that all living forms are tending toward man, or that any present species is changing into any other species.
    [8] TOE makes no statement that man “came from” the monkey.
    [9] Through several scientific processes, the age of the earth has been determined to be about 4.6 billion years; do you agree or disagree?
    [10] Assuming you are not in agreement with TOE, notwithstanding your acceptance of microevolution, please tell us the reason[s].

  • Arix

    fearandignorance (#536),

    1) Note to Editor: Please provide an option to delete posts.

    2) well, the bodies are part of the prey’s characteristics, aren’t they? Do you perhaps need bigger eyes to see bigger prey?

  • Arix

    squit (#537),

    1) I quoted from wiki. Maybe Darwin changed his beliefs throughout his lifetime – like Einstein did – but that doesn’t excuse him from that one quote. Anyway, I think that Huxley is the real agent-provocateur.

    2) There is a small subset of religious people fighting the battle within science; but the other moderates bring the battle outside science. Theistic Evolutionists – like yours truly – accept the science of evolution, but we dispute that Metaphysical Naturalism (Scientific Materialism) need follow. So the battlegrounds are in philosophy. The problem is, some scientists – like Dawkins – are hiding behind the “inerrancy” of science to defend metaphysical naturalism. Thus it sometimes appears that even the moderates are out to “bash science”.

    4) Actually, as a follow-up, I would ask: then why aren’t all animals vegetarians? That would solve the “kabuki-dance” problem since plants really can’t escape from you. And there are plants of different sizes too.

    6) So then, does an animal act by choice or by instinct? I have to be honest: I do admire the smooth way that Evolution has put itself together, but I seem to be discovering more and more holes as we go along this discussion.

    I fear that I might turn into a Creationist (like JKP) after this discussion.

  • Arix

    buda (#541),

    Indeed.

  • Arix

    yj (#542),

    1) Ironic; that is the main form of the argument creationists use, isn’t it?=)

    2-4) Look here: http://www.geocities.com/rainforest/vines/2695/genetics.html

    On natural selection: we treat each creature as independently influenced by its environment, therefore adaptations are absolutely tuned to the environment, not relatively tuned?

    5) Except, I suppose, when there are mutations. Or are mutations naturally-selected as well?

    The current question I wish to clarify is: Are mutations due to recombinations of already existing genetic variation, or are they due to de novo generation of genes/alleles.

    Oh incidentally – what is your response to Creationists who claim that Darwin contradicts Mendel, and hence genetics?

    7-8) Then, natural selection is also not particularly efficient, is it?

    I am also too tired now to attempt a substantive.

  • Arix

    rwkc (#546),

    I thought that your first statement was rhetorical, or some sarcastic jab at me. Plus, you made a claim in the third sentence.

    My reply was directly directed at the third sentence, where you claimed that “impregnated” was logical to imply that God was the biological father of Jesus. So my response is to show how illogical your reasoning can be.

  • Arix

    rwkc (#548),

    1) Because you seem to have the impression that my references to “Religion” only refer to Christianity.

    2) What do you mean by “you define God”? If you mean “I create God”, then I will tell you I create God as much as scientists create lesser-tailed bats.

    3) No. I am saying that English translations are somewhat inaccurate, because they leave out the Hebrew punctuation. That is all. (And of course that Ussher should have been more careful.) That would apply to the NAB too. However, this only applies to the geneologies in the Bible, not the other Sections.

    4) Yes.

    5) Belief in an afterlife usually assumes God in charge of an afterlife.

    Oh, and interestingly, in one of the Chapters of the Classic of Rites, Confucius mentions that religious belief was part-and-parcel of Chinese culture, even while “the kings lived in caves”. So at least, religion would date back to the Paleolithic.

    Buddhism has doctrines that are really complex to interpret; I would warn you in being to hasty to reach your conclusion.

    Buddhism doesn’t believe in an afterlife, but paradoxically it doesn’t believe in reincarnation either, at least not the Taoist or Hindu kind.

    Hinduism has had two major philosophical schools – Impersonalism and Personalism. Buddhism rejects both of these, but mysteriously studying the doctrine of Nibbhana/Nirvana carefully, the doctrine somewhat resembles the Christian Idea of the Holy Spirit.

    The Original/Theravada Buddhism has doctrines that are truly abstract; Buddha appears to have been somewhat of an intellectual, which explains why a number of these were distilled into lesser forms in the Mahayana Buddhisms. I suspect that the Dalai Lama doesn’t realize that the Tibetans’ belief in the reincarnation of their lamas is actually a violation/corruption of Buddha’s teachings.

    6) I am slightly a heretic on this point, so I would say yes and no. I would say that the Prophet was the last Prophet in his time, but the last Prophet to date would be Bahai’hullah.

    7) Yes, with conditions. My condition is “only at this moment in time”.

  • rwkc

    Arix #557
    “I thought….. My reply was directly directed at the third sentence, where you claimed that “impregnated” was logical to imply that God was the biological father of Jesus. So my response is to show how illogical your reasoning can be.”

    You thought irrationally, Arix.

    Let me repeat what I said exactly: “What or whoever gave you the idea that thinking of or worshipping God as a “he” is in a way defining him as a father of anyone in the biological sense? The Holy Spirit impregnated Mary and Mary gave birth to Jesus as a result? In this case God can be seen as the biological father of Jesus – that would not be illogical, provided what is scripted is true.”

    And let me break this paragraph into their separate components:

    Q1. “What or whoever gave you the idea that thinking of or worshipping God as a “he” is in a way defining him as a father of anyone in the biological sense?
    Q2. Was this idea linked to the script about the Holy Spirit impregnating Mary and Mary gave birth to Jesus as a result?
    Q3. [enthymematic] If thinking of or worshipping God as a “he” is linked to the script that says the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary and Mary gave birth to Jesus as a result, then it would not be illogical to think of God as a “he” provided the script about the Holy Spirit impregnating Mary is a true account.

    And you responded irrelevantly with: “The Holy Spirit is a Spirit, and spirits have superhuman capabilities. The Holy Spirit impregnating Mary is not referring to the Holy Spirit materializing in human form and having sex with her. She remains a Virgin even at the birth of Christ, so that would be contradictory. Plus, “impregnating” is a shortened from of “and brought forth child” which is arguably more generic.”

    And now you claim that your response was to the third sentence. But the third sentence was never a question, Arxi. There was, in effect, only one question and you have not responded to that. It’s so simple but, unsurprisingly, the complexity of your mind has led you to misinterpret simple questions/propositions.

  • rwkc

    Arix #558

    Arix : “1) Because you seem to have the impression that my references to “Religion” only refer to Christianity.”

    We are living in modern times, Arix, and anyone who is not blind can see that Singapore is a multi-religious society. But if you cannot see the forest for the trees, then it’s probably a case of your being inattentive.

    Arix:” 2) What do you mean by “you define God”? If you mean “I create God”, then I will tell you I create God as much as scientists create lesser-tailed bats.”

    The term “define” cannot in any sense be conflated with the term “create” – they have completely different meanings: To “define” according to my dictionary is to, inter alia, “describe”. To “create” is to, inter alia, “cause to exist”, “produce, to bring into existence”.

    When I said: “God is a being created out of human imagination etc”, I was merely giving a description of God, in terms of my experiences and beliefs. You can create God, or gods/goddesses, yes, through your imagination and that fits nicely with my definition, but you would be creating only mythic beings in a mythic world. J.K. Rowling created Harry Potter and Arthur Conan Doyle created Sherlock Holmes. And their creations will probably live on but only within the pages on which their stories are written.

    Arix :”5) Belief in an afterlife usually assumes God in charge of an afterlife.”

    Ok, this sounds reasonable.

    Arix: “Buddhism has doctrines etc. Buddhism doesn’t believe in an afterlife, but paradoxically it doesn’t believe in reincarnation either, at least not the Taoist or Hindu kind. Hinduism has had two major philosophical schools – Impersonalism and Personalism. Buddhism rejects both of these, but mysteriously studying the doctrine of Nibbhana/Nirvana carefully, the doctrine somewhat resembles the Christian Idea of the Holy Spirit. The Original/Theravada Buddhism has doctrines etc;; Buddha appears to have been somewhat of an intellectual, which explains why a number of these were distilled into lesser forms in the Mahayana Buddhisms. I suspect that the Dalai Lama doesn’t realize etc.”

    Budamax, care to comment on this area?

    Arix “ 6) I am slightly a heretic on this point, so I would say yes and no. I would say that the Prophet was the last Prophet in his time, but the last Prophet to date would be Bahai’hullah.”

    So you believe that Muhammad was a prophet of the God of Abraham, Moses, Elijah, etc but on up-to-date basis he was NOT the last prophet?

    Bahai’hullah (November 12, 1817 – May 29, 1892), born Mírzá Ḥusayn-`Alí Nuri, is NOT the last prophet of Allah [God] where Muslims are concerned; for Islam/Muslims, Muhammad was and still is the last prophet.
    Anyone can claim to be a prophet, as did David Koresh in the 20th century.

    Arix: “7) Yes, with conditions. My condition is “only at this moment in time”.

    Ok, Arix, at this moment in time your belief in the Bible God being incarnated on earth is nothing but a matter of faith.

  • justkaypoh

    rwkc and others,

    I’ll try to give a quick answer first. I do like your style of questioning (straight forward)

    [1] You have stated you believe in microevolution – yes/no?
    yes

    [2] So in the context of [1] you believe, at least partially, in TOE – yes/no?
    if micro-evo is part of TOE then its Yes (partially)

    [3] TOE is a scientific theory to me and many others, but is it a scientific theory to you – yes/no?
    To me its a ‘lesser’ theory, not so scientific

    [4] If your answer to [3] is ‘no’, please explain why.

    No paper on macro-evolution had prove it or conclude to a higher degree certainty that it is the only plausible explanations.

    Most people who say TOE is almost true and very certain are not scientist.
    Sometimes ‘scientist’ support TOE they are voicing their own oppinion. They did not concluded in a formal paper.

    Can I know, how certain is your stand on TOE? and why?

  • squit

    Dear Arix

    1) Agree with you. Huxley was the growly one. Darwin was just terribly nice. Even his enemies thought so.

    2) My final word on it (evolution in any way outside science) is: It’s a free country. I think it’s just that atheists have traditionally been extremely low key for sheer self protection. So it’s a good thing in a way, for free speech and exchange of ideas

    4) Because plants have no calories. Ask any dieting supermodel. In fact, leaf eaters (leaf monkeys, sloths, koalas, pandas) spend lots of time not moving and sleeping, because they need all the energy they can get. There’s nothing like fresh meat, or warm fat, really. Brains, yum. And there are plants of different sizes too – This is another result of competition and neutral walking in evolution. Stephen Jay Gould has a nice essay on the drunkard’s walk.

    6) It’s not as simple as that. There are predispositions. Like impulsive people vs calm ones, meat lovers vs. vegetarians. This diversity exists within animals as well. So there are twitchy, aggressive animals, and there are friendlier ones. Some are more exploratory, some not.

    The holes you are discovering is because you’re no longer stuck at Evolution 101. It’s actually a lot more complicated than people think, definitely more complicated than the lame classes we had in school, and requires a very strong grasp of some fundamentals (math, genetics, the idea of fitness being maximum reproductive fitness, and not health fitness) before you can go out and see the subtle effects of evolution on life.

    It’s also a lot more complicated than…say physics theories, because the emergent effects of evolution are a lot more multilayered. Fields used to be separated based on size of scale. But biology as we know it right now is terribly messy, and runs the gamut from biophysics to the biosphere of Earth. Evolution works, by its very nature, on every living thing at every scale from molecules onwards.

    I fear that I might turn into a Creationist (like JKP) after this discussion.

    Well that’s remarkably sad, rejecting a theory that you say is full of holes for a non-theory. It’s like saying “Geez this is all so complicated! Let’s all go home and hide under our bunkers” It’s exactly that this theory is massive and there’s so many places that are unexplored and/or difficult to understand that it’s fun to try to topple it. Imagine!

  • yj

    oh yeah justkaypoh?

    I hope you’ve learnt how to distinguish between the abstract of a paper and the full paper itself.

    1. What the heck do you mean by a lesser theory? Do you understand what a theory entails? Not so scientific? What exactly do you mean by that?

    2. No paper on macroevolution? What do you mean by macroevolution?

    3. The theory of evolution covers not just the fact of evolution, but the mechanism of evolution. It’s accepted not just cos there’s tons of evidence for it, but also because it has great predictive power.

    Find us another theory that can explain the fact of evolution as well, and allow us to make predictions as well as the TOE can, and maybe you’re on to something.

  • yj

    To Arix #556

    1. Huh? Why is providing fearandignorance with the url of a site that gives free access to journals or a site where scientists blog abt their views or explain published research an argument creationists use? Your numbering system is confusing.

    Edit: Oh… you mean the fine tuning argument. No. I’m saying it’s irrelevant to this discussion. Some evidence from astronomy and physics seems to show the evidence of a multiverse where there are universes with different physical constants. I’m not qualified enough to talk more about the multiverse here. Any physicists around?

    2-4) I need more elaboration by what you mean by absolutely tuned/ relatively tuned.

    5) Your numbering system is seriously confusing. Can you at quote the part you’re referring to in future? Please? Please, in a sickly sweet tone?

    Anyway, natural selection works on the level of the phenotype. Mutations have got to result in changes in the phenotype (e.g. longer beaks/ larger eyes/ smaller eyes etc) for natural selection to act upon it

    Natural selection isn’t able to look at the DNA in the nucleus of your cell and say: I don’t like this sequence. You die!

    Next:
    From Arix: “The current question I wish to clarify is: Are mutations due to recombinations of already existing genetic variation, or are they due to de novo generation of genes/alleles.”
    It depends on what you define by mutation. Some talk about chromosomal mutations – that can include inversions of a chromosome, for example. That’s reshuffling genetic variation around.

    What most people mean by mutation is the change to the DNA sequence itself. I assume that’s what you mean by de-novo generation of genes and alleles?

    An additional point: the rates of mutation are actually far higher than most people think they are. It’s so high that all the sperms any male is likely to produce from his testis will have a DNA sequence different from the guy’s DNA sequence due to mutations.

    Last: My view on creationists who say Darwin contradicts Mendel?

    I’d say – go study some genetics.

    I assume they’re talking about blending of traits vs discrete inheritance? That issue was settled at the turn of the century by scientists such as R.A. Fisher.
    In short, continuous variation can arise when a single trait is affected by many genes (e.g. height in humans), and when the trait is influenced by environmental factors. What we’re learning about gene regulatory pathways and epigenetic modification shows us more ways by which continuous variation can arise.

    7-8) Yes, natural selection is not particularly efficient. Neither is it particularly kind. Starving an cute little bat to death isn’t my favourite way of helping bats become more adapted to their environment.

  • yj

    Lastly:
    As squit said:

    Just cos there’re areas that the theory of evolution can’t fully explain doesn’t mean that it should be discarded altogether. Many of the inadequacies of the TOE have already been patched, but it remains a seriously cool field to work in.

    It can explain so much! From social structures in insects to why we still have an appendix that’s useless to predicting that Tamiflu resistance would arise given the rate we’ve been prescribing it.

    I don’t love the subject cos it seems to contradict some worldviews. I love the subject cos it can explain so much, and cos it’s fascinating!

  • yj

    Further edit:

    The creationists tend to use the strong anthropomorphic argument:
    The fundamental constants seem to be just nice for life. Therefore, god!

    What I was saying was: We wouldn’t be here if the fundamental constants are different. Therefore I feel that it’s meaningless to discuss this question. No mention of any supernatural being at all.
    (if it really is true that there’s only a narrow range that permits life. I’m not sure how true that is. As I said, I’m not proficient enough in this to discuss it properly.)

    Greater minds than mine have contemplated this question. As I said, it’s a field string theorists et al would feel more comfy in.

  • justkaypoh

    Yj

    Instead saying so much, why don’t you just reference a full paper?
    If you like many others who had not seen full proper scientific paper that proves TOE(both micro and macro) then you just believing plainly.

  • rwkc

    [#561 justkaypoh]

    “Can I know, how certain is your stand on TOE? and why?”

    yj in #563 has apparently answered it for me, in these terms:
    “The theory of evolution covers not just the fact of evolution, but the mechanism of evolution. It’s accepted not just cos there’s tons of evidence for it, but also because it has great predictive power.”

  • justkaypoh

    rwkc

    “The theory of evolution covers not just the fact of evolution, but the mechanism of evolution. It’s accepted not just cos there’s tons of evidence for it, but also because it has great predictive power.”

    These are very general statement which anyone can make ? What is the most solid evidence to proof?

  • rwkc

    justkaypoh

    Here’s a link you can try; a write-up about evolution from the US National Academy of Sciences:
    http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=6024#description

  • squit

    Dear justkaypoh @ 571,

    Did the idea of nothing in science is provable not sink in, or are you just being obtuse?

    And why are you sulking and demanding that the world do your research for you? After all, you’re in the intellectual minority, you know? Evolution is still established science, and the courts are still ruling creationism to be not science.

    Read this: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v457/n7231/abs/nature07894.html

    And there’s this thing, it’s called Google Scholar. Use it. Even google “macroevolution”, I dare you. Go ahead and enlighten us all on any selected 15 papers are nonsense.

    Don’t expect other people to do all your heavy lifting for you. Complaining that other people are talking too much when they are nicely trying to explain things to you, it reeks of extreme ingratitude and bad form.

  • justkaypoh

    This extracted from the front page of NAP.

    “While the mechanisms of evolution are still under investigation, scientists universally accept that the cosmos, our planet, and life evolved and continue to evolve. Yet the teaching of evolution to schoolchildren is still contentious.”

    Well the mechanisms of TOE is not that so clear yet. How then can we be very very certain that TOE is correct? Note: teaching schoolchildren is still contentious

  • squit

    @576

    QUOTE MINING!

    What’s the next line?

    “In Science and Creationism, The National Academy of Sciences states unequivocally that creationism has no place in any science curriculum at any level.”

    Note: JKP, I don’t know whether you honestly don’t know what the first paragraph was a stylistic literary device used to allude to a social phenomenon which is eroding science in schools, or whether you are intentionally forgetting to include the next line, where the intent of the blurb writer becomes clear. Either way, you make it almost too easy.

    Here’s a link, for everyone who actually pays attention to detail: http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=6024

    Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, my work here is done.

  • justkaypoh

    squit

    Perhaps you are quite new here, the topic we discussing is focusing on the certainty of TOE as science.

    In case you are not aware( don’t mean to be rude), most credible creationists don’t claim that creation is a science.

  • kill_netizen

    Squit
    Perhaps you are quite new here, but the topic we discuss is “Should Teachers Preach Their Religious Beliefs In Class?”

    THe serpent aka lucifer here has used the satan methodology of argument to add the word “really” and also twist the scene from a English Class into Science CLass, trying to difuse the focus of discussion.

    That “certain organised religion” attempt to erode into public space had been dealt with in National Day Rally 2009,

  • squit

    Dear JKP, kill_netizen

    Precisely. So the debate about evolution being science is directly related to whether it should be taught in science class. The existence of that ridiculous unscientific alternative and the fact that people laughably imagine that this means that evolution should therefore not be taught in a classroom has obvious religious grounds.

    I believe that NDP rally portion you are referring to answers the issue of whether proselytisation should occur in /any/ class (the answer is no), but there was not a peep out of the PM about religiously-motivated encroachment into scientifically-established ideas. Pulling evolution out of the curriculum may not strike some to be “Should Teachers Preach Their Religious Beliefs In Class?”, as you say, but is more insidious and depressing, because it eliminates understanding of the natural world by children by restricting access.

  • rwkc

    #572 justkaypoh

    What about reading the rest? – eg the contents under these headings:

    Introduction
    The Origin of the Universe, Earth, and Life
    Evidence Supporting Biological Evolution
    Human Evolution
    Conclusion
    Appendix: Frequently Asked Questions
    Recommended Readings
    Reviewers
    NAS Council

    Are you being obscurantist or evasive?

    Please do some sensible reading and then raise your questions – don’t put the cart befoe the horse.

  • fearandignorance

    553) Arix on August 17th, 2009 1.55 am

    >> 2) well, the bodies are part of the prey’s characteristics, aren’t they? Do you perhaps need bigger eyes to see bigger prey? <<

    diet of chameleon: locusts, mantis, crickets, grasshopper and other small insects
    diet of sandlance: primarily copepods (typically 1 to 2 mm, at most 1 cm)

    characteristic of their prey being small-sized and mobile (for the chameleon: including flying insects). Both chameleon and sandlance have no hope of catching their preys in a speed chase.

    Not sure why the need for bigger eyes to see bigger prey applies to both creatures since firstly, their eyeballs are not fixed but highly flexible (they can always move their eyeballs up and down to survey a bigger creature) and secondly spotting their tiny preys is more likely the problem. (you may ask why dun they have double or triple lens for tele and wide angle zooming. Some animals do have such eyes :-D)

    The significance of their eyes being stereoscopic (sensation of depth from the two slightly different projections of the world onto the retinas of the two eyes) allows for accurate tracking of their preys' positions and aids the tongue of the chameleon hitting the prey accurately. (not sure for sandlance yet: likely by pouncing)

  • fearandignorance

    553) Arix on August 17th, 2009 1.55 am

    >> 2) well, the bodies are part of the prey’s characteristics, aren’t they? Do you perhaps need bigger eyes to see bigger prey? <<

    diet of chameleon: locusts, mantis, crickets, grasshopper and other small insects
    diet of sandlance: primarily copepods (typically 1 to 2 mm, at most 1 cm)

    characteristic of their prey being small-sized and mobile (for the chameleon: including flying insects). Both chameleon and sandlance have no hope of catching their preys in a speed chase.

    Not sure why the need for bigger eyes to see bigger prey applies to both creatures since firstly, their eyeballs are not fixed but highly flexible (they can always move their eyeballs up and down to survey a bigger creature) and secondly spotting their tiny preys is more likely the problem. (you may ask why dun they have double or triple lens for tele and wide angle zooming. Some animals do have such eyes.)

    The significance of their eyes being stereoscopic (sensation of depth from the two slightly different projections of the world onto the retinas of the two eyes) allows for accurate tracking of their preys' positions and aids the tongue of the chameleon hitting the prey accurately. (Not sure for sandlance yet: likely by pouncing)

  • inferno

    -yj, rwkc, squit, kill_netizen, fearandignorance:

    In case anyone was wondering, I am still following this thread, though I have given up trying to reason with JKP. I have contributed a good 30+ posts by myself, and every time, I have attempted to sincerely dig up evidence and information, and phrase arguments in accessible language. Despite numerous analogies and comparisons to other scientific concepts such as gravitation, expansion of the universe and structure of the atom, he patently refuses to see the connection, and continues to insist that TOE is not science. He fails to see the magnitude of the evidence that is he is going against, and instead expects everyone else to prove him wrong, without putting up any kind of defensible proposition of his own. Thus I have concluded that it is a waste of effort participating any further. It is akin to trying to convince someone that they are believing in the wrong religion (no offense to theists here, just couldn’t find a more apt comparison). Since the other party isn’t going to change his mind no matter what you show him, it is pointless to continue.

  • http://blog budamax1952

    #560 rwkc, Arix ;;; Hi rwkc, Arix ;;; Most major religions believe in the existence of a PERMANENT entity called soul or spirit (in Christianity, Islam, Judaism) or atma (in Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism). This soul, spirit or atma is defined as the spiritual part of the sentient being, which is distinctly separate from the physical part, the body. In the Abrahamic religions, mentioned above, after a single life, the soul is destined for either hell or heaven, whereas in the Indian religions, mentioned above, the permanent atma can reincarnate into 184,000 different lifeforms. Buddhism, however, doesn’t believe in any permanence in any universal phenomena, and thus has the no-soul (anatta) teaching, which is one of the cardinal teachings of the Buddha. According to the anatta teaching, the human is just a composite of form (the physical body) and mind (which consists of consciousness, feelings, perception and over 50 “mental objects”) and there is no existence of anything like the permanent soul or atma. Thus, after death there is nothing (as opposed to the atma that is the permanent entity in the other Indian religions mentioned above) that is reincarnated. However Buddhism believes that after death the sentient being is reborn through a powerful force, the Karmic force, which is the only ‘power’ ( this, however, is not something permanent as the soul or atma) that transmigrates from life to life .Buddhism, thus has transmigration into innumerable lifeforms, with nothing permanent moving from one life to another as opposed to Hinduism’s reincarnation, where a permanent soul moves from one life to another. In short Karma links one life to the next in Buddhism’s transmigration, whereas the atma links one life to the next in Hinduism’s reincarnation.

  • yj

    justkaypoh,

    I don’t reference a full paper because

    1. Most people still on this thread don’t have access to subscription based journals.

    2. Because you mistook an abstract for a full paper, and because that abstract you quoted was from the depths of history – 1964! I doubt you’d have the skills required to read a technical paper properly.

    3. I talk alot because evolution is a complex topic.

  • yj

    inferno:

    Awww… Can’t I have fun exposing his misconceptions? Anyway, I derive nerdy fun out of explaining things too. When I have the time to. Otherwise u see posts like that one directly above. =P

  • fearandignorance

    I found this website that shows a video of chameleon-like eyes of a sand lance.

    http://www.uq.edu.au/nuq/jack/sandlance.html

  • rwkc

    #581 budamax1952

    Tks for your valuable input.

  • rwkc

    Arix,

    Since the Judeo-Christian Bible [henceforth Bible] is believed by most if not all Christians to be the word of the God of Abraham [henceforth God], I shall now use the Bible as a source of reference in our discussions about God. In a previous post I mentioned that I would be using the New American Bible [version recommended by you], when quoting biblical text, but I have just discovered that prior permission is required in excerpting any text from NAB and in addition a fee needs to be paid when applying for permission. So I shall be using the New International Version [Biblegateway] instead; if any part of the text taken from NIV differs in meaning from the relevant section of NAB, please point out.

    As a Catholic, you are presumably guided by Catholic doctrines, beliefs and practices and you are required to follow the guidance of your Pope in matters affecting your life as a member of the Catholic Church [CC]. For instance, condom use as a means of birth control is prohibited by the CC but as aid for prevention of the spread of HIV or other form of venereal disease it is not. Please correct me if I am wrong. Pope Leo Xlll on Nov 18, 1893: “For all the books which the Church receives as sacred and canonical, are written wholly and entirely, with all their parts, at the dictation of the Holy Ghost: and so far is it from being possible that any error can co-exist with inspiration, that inspiration not only is essentially incompatible with error, but excludes and rejects it as absolutely and necessarily as it is impossible that God Himself, the supreme Truth, can utter that which is not true.”

    [Partial excerpts from http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_const_19651118_dei-verbum_en.html

    “Those divinely revealed realities which are contained and presented in Sacred Scripture have been committed to writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. For holy mother Church, relying on the belief of the Apostles (see John 20:31; 2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Peter 1:19-20, 3:15-16), holds that the books of both the Old and New Testaments in their entirety, with all their parts, are sacred and canonical because written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they have God as their author and have been handed on as such to the Church herself.(1) In composing the sacred books, God chose men and while employed by Him (2) they made use of their powers and abilities, so that with Him acting in them and through them, (3) they, as true authors, consigned to writing everything and only those things which He wanted. (4)
    Therefore, since everything asserted by the inspired authors or sacred writers must be held to be asserted by the Holy Spirit, it follows that the books of Scripture must be acknowledged as teaching solidly, faithfully and without error that truth which God wanted put into sacred writings (5) for the sake of salvation. Therefore ‘all Scripture is divinely inspired etc’”

    Your views?

  • Arix

    rwkc (#586),

    2-4) I feel tired, so I will keep it short. Yes, I agree with all that you quoted from VA, with one condition: You should interpret the first quote in the light of the second. So, “Dictated” doesn’t mean “dictated” in the normal sense; that is emphasized to us again and again.

    1) In that case, RSV would be a better choice, because it is at least an Ecumenical Translation. But I wasn’t aware of the rules you cited; I don’t think it is logical for the Bible to be copyrighted. Hmm…

  • rwkc

    #588 to #591

    So, Arix, the account of creation as told in Genesis 1.1-31 to Genesis 2.1 -25

    First question I wish to ask is: this being called God supposedly ‘created the heavens and the earth’, but who created God?

    Q2: Who heard or saw God saying or doing this or that?
    Q3: Who wrote Genesis?
    Q3: God created light through a simple, verbal announcement, but there was darkness before the creation of light. Agree/disagree?
    Q4. As with light – vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit were allegedly created through a simple, verbal announcement from God, right? This happened on the third day, right? Genesis 1.11-13
    Q5: So the earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed before God made two great lights and set them in the firmament of heavens to give light upon the earth. Presumably these two great lights can be interpreted as the Sun and the Moon, Yes/No? The creation of the Sun and the Moon happened on the fourth day, right? [Genesis 1.15-19]
    Q6: “swarms of living creatures, birds, great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, were allegedly created on the fifth day, right? Genesis 1.20 -23
    Q7: living creatures according to their kinds: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds and everything that creeps upon the ground were all allegedly created on the sixth day, right?
    Q8: And then man was created, also on the sixth day, right? Vide 1.27: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”

    In 1.28 we hear God saying: “And God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.”

    In 2.2-3 we hear God resting on the seventh day from all his work which he has done and blessing and hallowing the seventh day.

    In 2.7-25 there seems to be another account of creation, quite distinct from the account described in Genesis 1.1-31. In Genesis 2 we see man being created out of the dust of the earth, and in this section man was apparently created before the creation of trees, birds and every beast of the field. A female human [woman] was created last, from a rib taken from the man’s rib; the woman was allegedly created because God started thinking: “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” The creation of the woman was to provide help to the man in tilling and maintaining the so-called Garden of Eden.

    Arix, would you agree that the creation account is not science, however, you want to imagine it to be? TOE is in a different class altogether; agree?

    Pl evaluate carefully before responding.

  • yj

    fearandignorance:

    cool! Have you ever seen the cordyceps fungus infecting insects? (yes, that chinese herb is actually a parasitic fungus)

    am tempted to keep this thread alive just so we can share cool stuff

  • Arix

    rwkc (#588),

    1) That is technically irrelevant. The theological answer is, however, that God simply exists, or that is, exists due to deductive necessity. As an analogy, consider fractals.

    2) Gen 1 is making a spiritual statement, not a historical statement. Also note that whenever the word “history” comes up in Church documents, it usually refers to salvific history, not archaeological history.

    3) It is generally established that the Book of Genesis was written by Moses in c. 1400s BC. The actual content of Genesis would, however, be older than Moses or the Egyptian/Josephian Exile. Logically, then, the Genesis accounts exist in oral form from the time of Adam and Eve.

    4-5) No. “Said” means “communicated”, not actually said. Logically, it is impossible for God to have said anything prior to Creation, because Sound was not created yet.

    6) Yes. This can be accounted for by considering that the Earth was covered by a cloud cover for many years, like Jupiter or Saturn, and is only on/after the fourth “day” that the cloud cover was removed.

    7-9) Yes.

    12) Genesis 2 mentions the Creation of a Garden, not of the entire world. The Garden is created after Adam and Eve but the rest of creation exists before they do, so there is no contradiction. Also, Genesis 2 can be interpreted as saying that God brought already-created animals before Adam and Eve. This is Theistic Evolution’s argument, which can be found on his website:-

    http://www.theistic-evolution.com/theisticevolution.html

    13) Of course, but it still has scientific correlates. I will not agree with you that TOE is in anyway superior to Creation, because there is no basis for word-for-word comparison.

  • Arix

    Going back to the past…

    rkwc (#559),

    Okay, I will answer your three questions, as you have broken it down:-

    5) You.

    6) Not necessarily. Mostly from a wrong concept of Mary’s role in Theology.

    7) It would be illogical, because the Holy Spirit without a corporeal or semi-corporeal/ghostly body that is either male or female. The Holy Spirit is not to be understood as a Christian Casper.

    Do these three answers clear up any previous confusion we might have had earlier?

    rkwc (#560),

    1) Hmm, you got the subject and object of the sentence wrong.

    2) Good. We agree on that point.

    3) We can create conceptions of God, just like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle can manufacture a character – a set of concepts strung together – called Sherlock Holmes. But we cannot create God in the sense that we can build a car or construct a skyscraper; neither can Sir Doyle make a Frankenstein of a Sherlock Holmes.

    So, either God exists as a reality, or God doesn’t.

    That is also one of Dawkins’ greatest mistakes in TGD, in my opinion. He equates belief in God with existence of God, which is a great logical fallacy. Existence and Belief are not mutually dependent.

    6) I think I mis-stated my self on this. I believe that there is a possibility that Muhammed was not the last Prophet, but I need to study the teachings of Bahai in detail before I can come to a conclusion. Circumstantially, there is nothing that goes against this beliefs. Muslims argues that Bahai is a derivative cult of Islam, an argument which is equivalent to the Jewish argument that Christianity is a distorted cult of Judaism and Christ is a False Prophet. (Of course, the Jews do not make this claim publicly anymore, but it lurks around.)

    My reasoning is: If Christianity can be partially derived from Judaism and still be a True Revelation, why can’t Bahai be partially derived from Islam/Sufism and still be a True Revelation?

    I would say that there is a historical-cultural parallel between the circumstances of the Islamic World in the time of Bahai’ullah, and the circumstances of Israel in the time of Christ, that lends credence to the argument that Bahai’ullah’s Revelation was valid.

    Many People can claim to be Prophets, but Prophets have the character of Prophets. Prophets may be strict, but they are caring, loving, non-discriminatory (except towards ungodly behaviours). In other words, Prophets have the same characteristics as Sages, except for an additional point that Prophets come to their conclusions and characteristics through Divine Revelation, while Sages use Human Reason.

    David Koresh is NOT a Prophet, because his character is anything but Prophetic. A Prophet will not commit crimes or have a power-complex (because he or she submits entirely to God). Koresh’s biography (on wiki) speaks for itself; contrast that with the biographies of Jesus or Mohammed.

    In fact, the actual theological disagreements between Christians and Muslims on the Prophetic Character of Mohammed are on more minor things such as limited polygamy. What Koresh did would be condemned by all the Three Monotheistic Religions.

    7) By the standards of Scientific Materialism, yes.

  • Arix

    squit (#562),

    1) Haha.

    2) Well, as long as you are not trying to silence your opponents.

    3) Hmmm? But ultimately, all nutrition comes from plants, so where do herbivores get their calories from if plants have no calories, according to you?

    4) Haha:D Just like there are Presuppositions in Arguments.

    But if there are Predispositions, then something must have generated this, don’t you think?

    5-6) Then perhaps Evolution is just a set of theories under a similar topical heading, rather than a Grand Unified Theory of Origins?

    7) Well, by Ockham’s Razor, Creationism is more logical than Evolution.

  • Arix

    yj (#564),

    1-2) [Response to paras 1 and 2] Then, let us leave our discussion on that theory at that.

    3) [Response to para 3] “Relatively tuned” means “adapted to be more suitable to the environment than other species”. “Absolutely tuned” means “developing the best adaptations for survival as an individual, with no reference to other species”.

    4) [Response to paragraph 4] Really, it is simple. Rwkc seems to be able to get it. Anyway, for your benefit, I have inserted helper text in this post; hopefully you can see the pattern.

    5&6) [Response to paragraphs 5 and 6] Isn’t it more accurate to say that selection works on the level of the genotype, because mutations affect genes after all. Plus, not all mutations are as crude – in the scientific sense – as beaks and eyes. Responses and Attitudes are to some extent shaped by genetics as well, aren’t they?

    7) [Response to paragraph 7 - omitting the quote as para 7] No sophistry here, I hope. Let me clarify: what is your definition of mutation?

    8) [Response to paragraph 8 - the smiley is the numbering] This is irrelevant to the point, which is that to be complete, TOE needs to be able to debunk all arguments of de-novo generation, which it clearly hasn’t. If new new genes are created during mutations, then there needs to be an explanation as to how these new genes are created from existing ones. If genes are reshuffled during mutations, we still need to explain where the genes came from?

    9) [Response to para 9 - first para after Quote #2 in your post] No, unfortunately they are talking about what I – and perhaps JKP – have been trying to express. That is, whether genes are generated de-novo or are simply recombined when mutation occurs.

    This is the central argument concerning whether macroevolution (e.g. fish to man) is possible. According to this argument, macroevolution is only possible if natural selection can result in de-novo generation of genes.

    What is your response?

    For a full version of the argument, look here:-

    http://honeymanrp.blogspot.com/2009/02/mendel-was-true-scientist-not-darwin.html

    10) What do you think would be a more efficient alternative to natural selection?

  • Arix

    yj (#565),

    I suppose the bone to pick with you is that whether these inadequacies arise from lack of data or whether they arise due to any naturalistic presuppositions inherent in the basis of the theory. (I think that this is a point JKP has been trying to raise too, only that he is doing it in bits and pieces.)

    yj (#566),

    Numbers are the indicators of an Intelligence; whether that Intelligence is “anthropomorphic” is another question altogether.

  • fearandignorance

    589) yj on August 19th, 2009 9.14 pm

    I think i saw it before in hwz forum :-)

  • squit

    2) I believe that’s the speciality of organised religion. Science dies the minute this happens.

    3) Plants have very little calories (excepting durian, avocado the like). That was a casual statement which I assumed people would understand. Go look at an ecological food pyramid. Efficient? I think not.

    4) No, actually, it’s not like presuppositions. Predispositions exist independent of learned behaviour. Yes. It’s called genetic variation or epigenetic inheritance. I keep not understanding why there needs to be agent-based intelligence in anything.

    The holes you are discovering is because you’re no longer stuck at Evolution 101. It’s actually a lot more complicated than people think, definitely more complicated than the lame classes we had in school, and requires a very strong grasp of some fundamentals (math, genetics, the idea of fitness being maximum reproductive fitness, and not health fitness) before you can go out and see the subtle effects of evolution on life.

    It’s also a lot more complicated than…say physics theories, because the emergent effects of evolution are a lot more multilayered. Fields used to be separated based on size of scale. But biology as we know it right now is terribly messy, and runs the gamut from biophysics to the biosphere of Earth. Evolution works, by its very nature, on every living thing at every scale from molecules onwards.

    I fear that I might turn into a Creationist (like JKP) after this discussion.

    Well that’s remarkably sad, rejecting a theory that you say is full of holes for a non-theory. It’s like saying “Geez this is all so complicated! Let’s all go home and hide under our bunkers” It’s exactly that this theory is massive and there’s so many places that are unexplored and/or difficult to understand that it’s fun to try to topple it. Imagine!

    5-6) No, evolution is summarised into a few lines: this is IT. All the complaining by creationists when they cannot dispute these five lines effectively.

    1. Variation: There is Variation in Every Population.
    2. Competition: Organisms Compete for limited resources.
    3. Offspring: Organisms produce more Offspring than can survive.
    4. Genetics: Organisms pass Genetic traits on to their offspring.
    5. Natural Selection: Those organisms with the Most Beneficial Traits
    are more likely to Survive and Reproduce.

    From spaceandmotion.com/Charles-Darwin-Theory-Evolution.htm

    It’s the implications of evolution that are vast, because life on earth is complex. It’s all the emergent properties of these five statements that people dispute because they don’t have all the facts.

    7) Er. No. So wrong there are not enough atoms in the universe to calculate how wrong it is. The act of creation requires the assembly of an organism from component materials. The probability that all the atoms are pushed together into the appropriate configuration to make, say, a pigeon, is so improbable the statistical improbability value exceeds the total number of atoms in this universe.

  • rwkc

    Arix #595

    By saying ‘You’ you have given an answer to the question I posed, but whether the answer is accurate is another matter. Glad to see your correction to your earlier response. An improvement!

    Whatever you wish to ascribe to the Holy Spirit, for example, as a being without a body, neither male nor female etc, it is still a belief idiosyncratic only to Christianity. Christians would not of course wish to take the view that if Mary became pregnant through insemination, spiritual or whatever, by the Holy Spirit, and gave birth to Jesus, then the Holy Spirit can be ruled as the father of Jesus. Christians would not of course consider that Jesus was born as a result of sexual intercourse between two human beings, a male and a female. The confusion lies not in reality but in faith and miracles.

    Re my #560: In which sentence did I get the subject and object wrong? Please quote the sentence, verbatim.

    [From Arix]: “My reasoning is: If Christianity can be partially derived from Judaism and still be a True Revelation, why can’t Bahai be partially derived from Islam/Sufism and still be a True Revelation? I would say that there is a historical-cultural parallel between the circumstances of the Islamic World in the time of Bahai’ullah, and the circumstances of Israel in the time of Christ, that lends credence to the argument that Bahai’ullah’s Revelation was valid.”

    My response is this: take any two religions and compare their doctrines; if they do not contradict each other, then there is no question of saying: if one is true, the other must be false. But if one clearly contradicts a core belief of the other, then if one is true, then the other cannot be true. Mainstream Christians consider Jesus to be both human and divine but Islam takes the view that Jesus was purely a human born of human parents and was never divine. So, Arix, you cannot escape the law of contradiction in this case; if Islam is true, then Christianity is false and if Christianity is true, then Islam is false. They can never both be true but there is a plausibility that both are false.

    There is an article about Bahá’u’lláh in Wikipedia. As a Catholic you cannot believe in the Bahá’í Faith without exposing yourself as a maverick Catholic or rebel.

    Re prophets, the Bible is full of them. Let’s reserve some space for them at a later date.

  • rwkc

    Arix #597

    All you need to do is this: if you are responding to a post that has numbered paras or sentences, with each para or sentence dealing with a point or a particular area, then you should have your response numbered correspondingly. For example, I initiated a post and there are five paras, numbered 1-5; your response should then be similarly numbered, with your 3 relating to my 3, your 5 to my 5 etc. If you are responding to say 3 and 4 together, then preamble your response with “[3 and 4]“.

  • Arix

    Squit (#596),

    1) I read somewhere before that the first person who proposed continental drift also got pushed aside – by scientists.

    2) Hmm … I will check it out again. So where do herbivores get their calories from then?

    3-6) Exactly why are you repeating your own post over again?

    7) Ahh … then the bone that Creationists are picking – as I see it – is with propositions 1 & 4: Extent of Variation and Genetic Information.

    8) Err … where do atoms come into the picture?

    Oh … well, the objection would be that such a high statistical improbability leads to the conclusion that it would be almost impossible to generate such configurations – and preserve them – on a random basis.

    Or, as expressed in two ways:-

    (1) It is easy to score slots if you fix each slot one at a time.

    (2) Can an Earthquake build the Esplanade?

    Did you read the section on Absolute Randomness versus Statistical Randomness in the link I posted you?

    http://honeymanrp.blogspot.com/2009/02/mendel-was-true-scientist-not-darwin.html

    By the way: next time, please state which post you are quoting from.

  • Arix

    rwkc (#598),

    And what for those posts without numbered paragraphs?

  • rwkc

    Arix #594

    [1] I put this poser: “First question I wish to ask is: this being called God supposedly ‘created the heavens and the earth’, but who created God?” and you responded with “That is technically irrelevant. The theological answer is, however, that God simply exists, or that is, exists due to deductive necessity. As an analogy, consider fractals.”

    [2] Fractals have nothing to do with the question of God’s existence or non-existence. You believe that God created you through Adam and Eve but who created God is a very legitimate question. Of course you may think the only avenue open to you as a Christian is to say “God simply exists, uncreated” but you know there is not a scrap of evidence in support. To say that God exists was no different from saying Santa Claus exists, but once children have grown up they would realize that they had been duped about Santa’s existence. You wouldn’t believe Zeus existed and may still be somewhere at Mount Olympus. Neither would you believe in Thor, Dionysus and the other ancient pagan gods, because you were probably nurtured to believe in God from an early age.

    [3] Crucified saviors other than Jesus Christ were a dime a dozen in the decades or centuries predating Christianity, for example: Krishna, Sakia, Thamuz, Wittobe, Iao, Hesus, Quexalcote, Quirinus, Prometheus, Thulis, Indra, Mithra etc.

    [4] Most religious historians believe that many elements of the Christian observance of Easter were derived from earlier Pagan celebrations [http://www.religioustolerance.org/easter.htm]

    [5] You believe that the earth is 4.6 billion years, right? And you claim that Ussher was self-deluded in using the KJV Bible to calculate the age of the earth. Well, Henry Madison Morris [a PH.D holder, (1918-2006)] strongly defended the use of the King James Bible. Morris was an American young earth creationist and Christian apologist. There are other Christian apologists with doctorate degrees who think that the earth is about 6,000 years old and one of them is Bert Thompson. Bert has taken a view similar to Ussher’s. Here’s a link to Bert’s article re the age of the earth. [http://www.apologeticspress.org/modules.php?name=Read&cat=1&itemid=454]

    [6] It seems that about 40 percent of North Americans believe that the earth is about 10,000 years’ old.

    [7] People who believe in a young earth are oblivious to the fact that we now have telescopes that can see stars that are allegedly billions of light years away. So the creation account narrated in Genesis seems to be out of kilter with the age of the universe, which is currently believed to be around 14 billion years. Anyone who believes the universe to be infinite [think of space; can you imagine space being a creation?], with no boundary, may hold the view that the universe has no beginning, hence may think of creation as just a myth.

    [8] Are you still holding the view that Moses allegedly wrote the Pentateuch? You have not a scrap of evidence apart from wishy-washy thinking filtered down from earlier ages. Agree?

  • Arix

    rwkc (#597),

    1) Okay.

    2) Not really; Muslims believe in the Virgin Birth of Christ too; they just reject that Christ should be part of a Trinity (because that is idolatry to them).

    3) This one:-

    “””
    But if you cannot see the forest for the trees, then it’s probably a case of your being inattentive.
    “””

    It is ironic; because in my mind I was using that idea to refer to you, not myself.
    Anyway, I think you have (implicitly) clarified your meaning, so we will let this rest.

    4) Hmm, well I can say that either:

    (1) The Christians misinterpreted the Bible; (Jesus did not actually call himself “The Son of God”; that is an interpretation by the Church Fathers.)

    (2) The Muslims misunderstood the Koran; (Sura 4:171 refers to a heretical Trinitarian Concept)

    (3) Both the Muslims and Christians are uncertain of what Divinity actually means;

    (4) Muslims misunderstand the meaning of “Christ”; (they assume that it refers to the same “annointed” as the earlier Jewish prophets)

    (5) Christians confuse “God” and “Godhead”.

    5) Well, I never said that I wasn’t a maverick. haha:D

    Anyway, Bahai is actually very similar to the other Abrahamic religions, except of course it has its own Holy Texts, and the Monotheism bit (which it disagrees only with Christianity).

    6) No problem. Whenever it suits you.

  • rwkc

    Arix #604

    “And what for those posts without numbered paragraphs?”

    You just answer to the points in the order they appear in the post. For ref purposes you should number your para so that the party responding to your post can quote the relative para number to avoid confusion as to which area is under discussion.

  • rwkc

    Arix #606

    #597 did not emanate from me.

    Pl quote the correct post ref no.

  • Arix

    rwkc (#604)/(#607),

    You seem to have 3 additional posts which are not accessible on my end, since the post you are responding to is labelled #602 on my end, but is labelled #606 on your end…

    Hmm… I wonder why?

  • squit

    Dear Arix @603

    1) So? It was scientists that put him back. It’s like refuting creationism all over again. “but scientists were “wrong” about a certain phenomenon X! Therefore science is flawed.” Read Kuhn’s structure of Scientific Revolutions.
    2) My goodness, please go refer to food chain food web ecology. Plants (esp leaves. Obviously fruit are more high calorie) provide SOME nutrition, but it is inadequate, and they also have fun surprises like oxalic acid and poisons. Koalas are perpetually having to deal with eucalyptus toxins. Arms race, etc. I can’t be explaining ECOLOGY on top of all this.
    3-6)Sorry, fail whale on my part. Distracted, posted wrongly.
    7) Well, we COULD be made of particles of magic, but I’d prefer to think it’s DNA. It’s pretty hard to dispute mutation, or population genetics, since that’s an issue of hard data rather than bigger picture. Even a creationist can tell an AATC from an AGTC.
    Atoms = just an example of how infinitely big that improbability is. There’s estimations on how many atoms exist in this universe. Can go find a number value.
    Generate spontaneously (Creationism), definitely statistically improbable. An open system of life on earth means that entropy can be reduced locally in the case of living systems while increasing net entropy. Which happens in evolution. It has to do with the energetic source of sun
    The explanation is so trivial I don’t feel like creating a new explanation, so here’s the link you should read. Go visit link 17 on that page.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_law_of_thermodynamics#Applications_to_living_systems
    I don’t know the point of the esplanade/slots thing, other than that the first one is more probable than all at once and the second one is enormously pointless thought experiment
    Re your link: Yes. It was long and rambling and mixed in logical fallacy with complete unfamiliarity with molecular biology as it progressed over the past 50 years. That’s ten minutes of my life gone forever.
    Some highlights: The random mutation is random! is one clue (it’s not, some protoctists would like a word with the author on this) the mutation is all harmful bad losing limbs one is another, since the difference between a bat’s wing and a rat’s paw has less to do with mutation than it has to do with hox genes, same with my eye and one of a housefly, mutations are usually neutral or only very mildly optimal or suboptimal, and this doesn’t even include conditionally advantageous/disadvantageous mutations, geez where is this guy getting his data from???

    For someone who’s a self-declared evolutionist (theistic or whatever conditions/qualifications/issues aside) you seem to be browsing creationist articles for most of your information on biology.

  • rwkc

    Arix,

    Pl review:

    #597, 598, 603, 604, 606 and 609 [all initiated by you]

    #599 [fearandignorance]

    #600 and 610 [squit]

    #601, 602, 605, 607 and 608 [from me]

    As appeared to me when I opened TOC’s webpage at about 1.15 pm on 21 Aug.

  • rwkc

    [squit #610]

    “For someone who’s a self-declared evolutionist (theistic or whatever conditions/qualifications/issues aside) you seem to be browsing creationist articles for most of your information on biology.”

    Yup, I cannot agree more with you, squit.

    Creationism has been defeated in US courts on at least 3 occasions [if my recollections hold]; creationism or its more modern label ‘intelligent design’ has not even a shred of scientific legitimacy but people like Arxi are still trying to fit scientific evolution to their theologocal framework or religious beliefs.

    But no way can that happen; science and religion are incomparable, in completely different classes; one uses a rational approach and empirical observation/testing, the other is just a wishy-washy something called faith.

    Until recently, it was ‘creation, creation’ to the Christian clergy but with the ability od science in explaining a lot of things in naturalistic terms, including of course biological evolution and all the rest, some religious people, including the clergy, have now come to accept evolution as an explanation for the live forms we see around us BUT, repeat BUT, with a caveat: God CREATED evolution. So, there is no argument, God exists and everything you see is the result of God’s work. It’s no longer creation, creation but creation, evolution!

    Some theistic people have an uncanny habit of coming up with explanations that no one but only theistic thinking can produce.

  • Arix

    Squit (#606),

    1) The point is to prove that Scientists do silence “unorthodox views” too, not that Scientists are always wrong, as you seem to be suggesting.

    2) Yes, I know the ecological pyramid very well. I was just trying to get you to admit that plants do have calories, which you have.

    Well, as I said before, Herbivores fully feed on plants, so their caloric intake has to be sufficient to sustain growth.

    3) You are forgiven.

    4) You have to admit though, that the further down quantum physics goes, the more space we seem to have. This is Real Science.

    6) Haha, the Creationists argue that macroevolution requires “spontaneous generation” of genes too.

    9) The Esplanade/Slots thing is to prove how design improves the statistical probability of the statistically-improbable creatures. The “Earthquake Hypothesis” (as I term it) is an attempted reductio ad absurdum to the claim that purely random events can result in the semblance of design; The Earthquake is considered the instrument of randomness.

    11) Sorry, what are hox genes?

    12) Nope, I am trying to re-hash Creationist articles to test out their arguments, not because I endorse them.

    Actually, he does state his sources in his article.

    (1) Brown, Walt; “The Beginning”
    (2) Gish, Duane T.; “A Few Reaso