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stevestory



Posts: 10432
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 17 2006,14:08   

Quote
Comment #97009

Posted by afdave on April 17, 2006 06:58 PM (e)

I can see that the Flank and Davidson have read the book ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ … I have an idea for a simple, fun exercise. I’m an Electrical Engineer and business man and I used to fly AF jets. I like simple, uncomplicated arguments and I like people to cut to the chase … fast. Let’s say I was undecided about where life on earth came from or how it began. I hear the YECs and the ID people saying it came from an Intelligent Agent/God or whatever. I hear the Darwinists saying it happened by chance evolution. And everybody quotes all these long-winded academic sources. I would love to hear from each of you, everybody in YOUR OWN WORDS, not referring to a single outside source what YOUR theory is and WHY you believe it in 5 simple statements, i.e. the top 5 reasons for your belief. Take me from when and how it all began to where you think its going and why … very short and simple so my pea brain can understand it … try explaining it nicely and politely.

   
Corkscrew



Posts: 20
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 17 2006,14:33   

I'm afraid I'm going to go a couple over the five-statement limit - sorry about that :(

1) We know that artificial selective pressures (with a few random mutations thrown in) can give rise to substantial changes in organisms (e.g. chihuahuas vs great danes).

2) We know that the various natural selective pressures can give rise to similar changes, albeit (usually) more slowly (e.g. finch beaks, moth colour schemes, etc).

3) We have a fossil record in which many quite radical transitions are documented in sufficient detail that the individual steps are quite obviously within the scope of the aformentioned selective pressures (e.g. mesonychids to whales).

4) We can even make and confirm non-trivial predictions based on the premise that life is limited to naturalistic evolutionary processes (e.g. the resemblance between one human chromosome and two chimp chromosomes, haemocyanin in stoneflies, Tiktaalik). In other words, it's extremely useful.

5) There is no direct scientific evidence for the presence of a Designer of any sort.

6) The premise that an unspecified intelligent designer did something unspecified at some unspecified point in the process (which is all that ID claims) hasn't given rise to any testable predictions whatsoever. In other words, it's bloody useless.

7) Hence, it's fairly sensible to affirm evolution as a useful scientific concept, and fairly daft to affirm Intelligent Design as a useful scientific concept.

  
Henry J



Posts: 4834
Joined: Mar. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 17 2006,17:48   

Re "what YOUR theory is and WHY you believe it in 5 simple statements"

I don't have a theory that could be called mine.

But as to why I accept the core conclusions of the current theory-

Theory predicts several places in which unexplained contrary evidence could be found*; any such find would put limits on usefulness of the theory. Lots of such finds together would eventually lead to rewrite of theory.

Antievolutionists aren't publishing lists of verifiable contrary evidence.

*Fossils of a taxonomic group way earlier than expected for that taxa; extensive similarity of DNA between one species and a distant taxa, that doesn't show up in closer relatives of that species; close relatives far outside geographic range of their presumed ancestors; a member of a species giving birth to something in a distant taxa.

Henry

  
UnMark



Posts: 97
Joined: Mar. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 17 2006,18:26   

5 easy steps....  Harumph!  That's today's American society for you: 10 second news bites because that's the duration of a typical person's attention span.  It's so much easier to believe than to actually think and learn the truth.

Hey, what's that shiny thing? :D

  
GCT



Posts: 1001
Joined: Aug. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 18 2006,00:41   

If I were to play devil's advocate here, could I come up with 5 reasons to accept ID?  Hmmm, maybe I should try...

1.  Um, goddidit.

2.  Evilutionists are just church-burnin', ebola-spreadin', atheists (and atheism is evil, evil, evil!;)

3.  Jesus loves you.

4.  I just can't believe that evolution could be true and my personal disbelief is stronger than any evidence you could come up with.

5.  Goddidit...and did I mention how evil the atheists are?

  
afdave



Posts: 1621
Joined: April 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 18 2006,03:32   

Thankyou, corkscrew and Henry J for your polite answers.  I would think you other folks would also want to give polite answers if you want others to see the truth of your viewpoint ... just a suggestion!

To answer corkscrew ... I agree with (1) and (2) except that I have never heard of a random mutation that could be considered beneficial.

As for (3), I'm not aware of A SINGLE fossil that can be considered transitional ... my understanding of mesonychids and whales can be found here http://www.answersingenesis.org/home/area/re1/chapter5.asp.  To me the evidence of zillions of dead things buried in rock layers laid down by water all over the earth fits the idea of a global flood quite much better than the alternatives.

I don't quite follow (4)

I would agree with (5) that the evidence for a Designer is not scientific in the sense that you can demonstrate it in the lab.  The reasons I believe there is one are more like the reasons I believe George Washington existed.  

I would also agree that ID is useless by itself because it stops short of identifying a designer.  I am a creationist which means I believe I can identify the designer as the God of the Bible.  This is incredibly useful if you believe as I do that this God wants a relationship with the humans he created and will someday make a new world.  Of course, to arrive at all these conclusions requires much evidence from several disciplines ... science only goes so far.  But contrary to the mudslingers, there is excellent evidence available ... I would never just say something non-sensical like "You just have to have faith".  Many organized religions have done a disservice to lots of people by making statements like this.

A basic outline of my line of reasoning is this (keep in mind I have an Electrical Engineering degree, so I think like an engineer) ...

1)  I see highly sophisticated, biological machines at every level in nature, macro to micro.
2)  I know from my engineering experience that sophisticated, non-biological machines that actually work require enormous amounts of intelligence (not to mention effort) to get them designed well enough to where they will work and continue working for a long time.  I have no reason to believe that biological machines would be otherwise--they are made of the same stuff--it all comes from the same periodic table.
3)  Knowing this, it makes sense to me that there COULD be a designer somewhere--space alien, God, supercomputer in some galaxy--apparently Francis Crick went for the Space Alien/Panspermia idea, so I guess I'm not totally crazy with this idea.
4)  Next, I look at the fossil record with the zillions of dead things buried in rock layers laid down by water all over the earth, and I conclude that there must have been a massive, global flood which buried all those fossils.
5)  Now I pick up a Bible and I find a book that claims that (a) a Designer created life on earth and (b) there was a global flood which buried all these critters I find in the rock layers ... interesting
6)  I'm skeptical of the Bible at first because everyone says "that's just a religious book full of myths", but on closer inspection, I find it to be accurate in every historical detail which is possible to be verified by archaeology.  I read it from cover to cover to give it a fair analysis and I am struck by the accuracy with which it describes human behaviour.  I'm also fascinated with the apparent fulfilled prophecies which involve the rise and fall of major nations and also this incredibly influential person--Jesus of Nazareth.  To be sure, there are things I don't understand, but I'm not so arrogant as to write them off without evidence for doing so.  I know from history that multitudes of people have blindly accepted statements like "that book is just a myth" only to be proven wrong by some guy willing to work hard enough to really examine the evidence.  Of course, many DO turn out to be myths, but I have done my own thorough examination of the Bible, and I have not found it to be a myth.
7)  I put this (and some other factors ... admittedly, this is abbreviated) all together and in my mind and it all adds up to me to make a pretty good case that the Bible is literally true--complete with a real God, the Creation, the Flood, Moses, Jesus ... the whole deal.

I think you will find that there are many folks out there who followed similar lines of reasoning and wound up with the same conclusion.  C.S. Lewis is one prominent individual who was a skeptic for many years, but eventually became a loud proclaimer of Christian tenets.  Lee Stoebel, author of Case for Faith and Case for Christ is another agnostic-turned-Christian.

--------------
A DILEMMA FOR THE COMMITTED NATURALIST
A Hi-tech alien spaceship lands on earth ... DESIGNED.
A Hi-tech alien rotary motor found in a cell ... NOT DESIGNED.
http://afdave.wordpress.com/....ess.com

  
Aardvark



Posts: 134
Joined: Feb. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 18 2006,04:20   

afdave Says:
April 17th, 2006 at 1:16 pm

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My personal opinion is that our educational institutions–from the public schools to the Ivy League universities have been gradually taken over in the past hundred years or so by the anti-God (anti-supernatural if you will) crowd, basically because good, competent people like our present ID people were not very involved and let them do it. The results in the public schools are obvious and similar results are beginning to show at the college level as well.


http://telicthoughts.com/?p=640

Looks like afdave is not so neutral after all.

  
Chris Hyland



Posts: 705
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 18 2006,04:20   

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2)  I know from my engineering experience that sophisticated, non-biological machines that actually work require enormous amounts of intelligence (not to mention effort) to get them designed well enough to where they will work and continue working for a long time.  I have no reason to believe that biological machines would be otherwise--they are made of the same stuff--it all comes from the same periodic table.
This is the same argument Intelligent design supporters use, and is simply an argument from ignorance, why deosn't fly as proof in science. Many of the people who work with these 'machines'  and help to show how they have evolved are engineers by training.

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apparently Francis Crick went for the Space Alien/Panspermia idea
Panspermia has nothing to do with intelligent aliens, it simply states living matter has been deposited on earth one or more times e.g. on meteorites.

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4)  Next, I look at the fossil record with the zillions of dead things buried in rock layers laid down by water all over the earth, and I conclude that there must have been a massive, global flood which buried all those fossils.
The fossil record does not look like what we expect if the foold were true, but it does fit in with what we would expect from what we understand from geology and evolution, and if these fossils were deposited over millions of years.

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I have never heard of a random mutation that could be considered beneficial.
Mutations in bacteria and other pathogens confer resistance. Some humans have mutations which give them resistance to AIDS and other diseases, and others that generally make their immune system stronger. Other people have mutations that make their bones stronger.

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I'm not aware of A SINGLE fossil that can be considered transitional
The link you gave doesn't seem to work. Firstly a loose definition of a transitional fossil is one that has some features of one species and some of another, it does not mean the direct desendent of one and the direct ancestor of another. I am not sure about the specific problems you have with the whales, but we have good reason to believe that our current idea of evolution is correct.Each of these fossils get less 'whale like' the further back we go, so the phylogenetic tree fits in with evolution. Constructing the phylogenetic tree when we just had some of the fossils told us where to look for the rest. Also, using the fossil skulls it was possible to reconstruct the acoustics of the ears of these creatures and see that the ears got progressively better at hearing underwater, which is what evolution would predict.

Also with Tiktaalik evolution told us exactly where to look to find the fossil based on where it would fit in the phylogeny. This is why evolution is the best scientific theory because it makes the best predictions. Creation science has made predictions, especially based on flood geology, but these have been shown to be wrong. The fossil record supports a gradual sedimentation, and features such as the grand canyon would look quite different if they were caused by the flood.

  
Flint



Posts: 478
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 18 2006,04:21   

afdave:

Well, one small point. Nobody will (I hope) contest that magic is the one-size-fits-all universal all-purpose explanation for everything. It's simple, it requires no knowledge, research, study, or work. And accordingly, no matter how compelling any alternative explanation might be, magic is STILL simpler and easier to understand. And furthermore, no  matter how accurate any alternative might be, magic can't ever be ruled out.

To address some of your other points:

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I have never heard of a random mutation that could be considered beneficial.

No doubt you haven't. And perhaps there's no doubt you ever will. But your inability to hear really has nothing to do with whether these things happen. I suggest that a mutation is beneficial or not within a context. Let's try a wild example: Let's say you suddenly mutated and became 5 feet taller. Would this be "beneficial"? Well, yes for some purposes, no for others. For sure you would have to change your lifestyle; your new height would be a considerable handicap otherwise. But your NEW lifestyle might be entirely viable, maybe even fabulous. So was this mutation beneficial?

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I'm not aware of A SINGLE fossil that can be considered transitional

While, once again, your awareness doesn't much matter, you may also have a viewpoint issue here. From a more evolutionary viewpoint, ALL fossils are transitional, and indeed ALL organisms alive today are ALSO transitional. Evolution is a constant, permanent state of transition. Granted, it's a very very slow process.

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1)  I see highly sophisticated, biological machines at every level in nature, macro to micro.

Yes, we all do. Of course, you might be trying to stack the deck with the word 'machines'. Let's call a machine, anything with any mechanics.

Quote
I know from my engineering experience that sophisticated, non-biological machines that actually work require enormous amounts of intelligence (not to mention effort) to get them designed well enough to where they will work and continue working for a long time.

Yes, I'm an engineer as well, and nothing I create works well without a lot of effort. However, I can notice that the *process* of creation is very different. Give me a billion years to throw darts, and kill off every throw that misses the bullseye, and by golly, what's left is nothing but bullseyes. Must be a miracle, yes?

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it makes sense to me that there COULD be a designer somewhere

Yes, of course there could. And there we stop, dead-ended. Yep, could be. Can we ever disprove this, even in principle? Nope, we never can. End of the line.

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I look at the fossil record with the zillions of dead things buried in rock layers laid down by water all over the earth, and I conclude that there must have been a massive, global flood which buried all those fossils.

With all due respect, you are kidding yourself. You have a *magic book* which TOLD you a flood did it, and you don't know enough geology or hydrology to realize this couldn't possibly explain the evidence. But for people not pre-convinced otherwise, this isn't very hard. Floods are common. The effects of floods are thoroughly observed and understood. What floods can and cannot do is beyond any informed dispute. What we observe is the *exact opposite* of what a flood would produce.

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Now I pick up a Bible

Perhaps doing so has caused your inability to understand floods, your inability to understand transitions, your inability to hear about beneficial mutations, etc. At least, this is something to be concerned about.

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on closer inspection, I find it to be accurate in every historical detail which is possible to be verified by archaeology.  I read it from cover to cover to give it a fair analysis and I am struck by the accuracy with which it describes human behaviour.

Well, yes, I would agree. The Bible, as far as we can tell today, contains much of historical accuracy, and people understood other people back then just as they do today. But there is a critical difference between the facts, and the conclusions from the facts. For example, lightning hits a tree. No dispute. Now, WHY did lightning hit that tree? A scientist might talk about differential voltages, leaders coming up from the tree, completed circuits, etc. A theologist might say "God is warning us". Whose interpretation is correct? Who knows?

So we have a very big problem here. You have decided that we cannot (for the most part) dismiss any of the facts in the Bible, and therefore you have decided that the conclusions based on those facts are equally correct. But these are only interpretations, and the distinction needs to be kept clear. We know for a fact that lightning hit the tree. We cannot therefore accept as a fact that some god was trying to tell us anything. It's very different to think the Bible tells deliberate historical falsehoods, and to think that history was filtered through the religious beliefs of the authors. Their beliefs are a different kind of fact.

  
ToSeek



Posts: 33
Joined: April 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 18 2006,04:34   

Well, I'll just put down the key one for me, but it takes some explaining:

1. There are many potential findings that would blow the theory of evolution completely out of the water. None of these have been found. For example:

- Fossils go neatly from less complex to more complex as time goes by. There are no - none, zero, nada, zilch - anachronisms to be found: rabbits in the Silurian era or human skeletons alongside dinosaurs. How does your flood do that?

- Every living thing ever found can be placed neatly into a family tree. There are no gryphons or centaurs or half-bird, half-mammals.

- Every living things features are consistent with its position in the family tree, from its body plan to its biochemistry to its genetic sequence. (For just one example, the odds of humans and chimpanzees having the same Cytochrome C is something like 1 in 10^90. But they do.) You come up with the same tree no matter what. The odds of that are beyond astronomical, while a single organism that didn't fit would be the death knell for evolution.

- Every living thing uses the same genetic code. One organism with a different code would be an utter failure for evolution.

There's plenty more I could say, but that's the clincher for me.

  
Corkscrew



Posts: 20
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 18 2006,06:20   

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To answer corkscrew ... I agree with (1) and (2) except that I have never heard of a random mutation that could be considered beneficial.


The classic example here is the "nylon bug" bacterium, in which a single frame shift mutation has apparently transformed a well-documented gene for digesting sugar into an equally well-documented gene for digesting nylon. The interesting thing here is that the modified gene couldn't have existed before nylon was invented, as it completely destroys the bacterium's sugar-eating capability (which would, of course, be instantly fatal in the absence of nylon).

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As for (3), I'm not aware of A SINGLE fossil that can be considered transitional ... my understanding of mesonychids and whales can be found here http://www.answersingenesis.org/home/area/re1/chapter5.asp.  To me the evidence of zillions of dead things buried in rock layers laid down by water all over the earth fits the idea of a global flood quite much better than the alternatives.


Disclaimer: I have no interest whatsoever in attacking your religious beliefs. However, the scientific claims of flood geology that are made on the basis of those religious beliefs are, to the best of my understanding, complete mince. The idea is apparently that a massive worldwide flood somehow managed to sort zillions of fossils into exactly the order that would be predicted on the basis of potassium-40 and uranium-235 dating, and no other characteristic. For some unspecified reason, this corresponded very well with the arrangement that would be predicted by species, genus, etc - members of the same species, regardless of age, sex, size or any other factor, always end up in strata that return approximately the same apparent ages when dated.

To the best of my knowledge, there is no physical process that can achieve this. Of course, if you think God was directly involved then that's not a problem - but if you can't make testable hypotheses about how exactly God was involved then your conjectures can't be considered scientific.

Back to the whale evolution. The transition described here looks like:
- Sinonyx
- Pakicetus
- Ambulocetus
- Rodhocetus
- Basilosaurus (note especially that it had land-animal-like feet)
- Dorudon

The only gap there that's significantly bigger than that between a Great Dane and a Chihuahua is the one between Rodhocetus and Basilosaurus. I'm no palaeontologist, but apparently other similarities (such as inner-ear structure) are sufficient to demonstrate a close relationship.

Obviously I can't really reply to the entire Answers in Genesis article here (although if you have any specific questions I'll go away and do the research), but I'd particularly like to critique one comment they make:

Basilosaurus did have small hind limbs (certainly too small for walking), and Teaching Evolution says ‘they were thought to be non-functional.’ But they were probably used for grasping during copulation, according to even other evolutionists.

The claim here appears to be that the fact that Basilosaurus's legs had some purpose means that they can't be pointed to as being vestigial. This is bonkers. Of all the myriad different forms that such graspers could have taken (pincers, tentacles, hooks, suckers, etc.), Basilosaurus just happened to pick a variant that was massively similar in both appearance and structure to limbs used for a completely different purpose by other animals?

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I don't quite follow (4)


I said:
4) We can even make and confirm non-trivial predictions based on the premise that life is limited to naturalistic evolutionary processes (e.g. the resemblance between one human chromosome and two chimp chromosomes, haemocyanin in stoneflies, Tiktaalik). In other words, it's extremely useful.

The hypothesis that species originate only through naturalistic evolutionary processes (rather than divine intervention) can be used to make predictions that can then be tested. Specific examples of these are:

1) It was noted that humans have 23 chromosomes per haploid whereas all our nearest relations have 24. We know from investigation that it's practically impossible to just lose a chromosome's worth of genetic material - that kills the organism quite fast. Thus it was hypothesised that one of the human chromosomes must have resulted from the fusion of two ancestral chromosomes. To test this prediction, a comparison was done of chimpanzee chromosomes and human chromosomes. One human chromosome turned out to be effectively identical to two chimp chromosomes (or, at least, to what they'd look like if they'd fused together)

2) Haemocyanin is used by the majority of non-winged arthropods to transport oxygen around their bodies. Winged arthropods use a different system involving tiny capillaries. Since, on other grounds, stoneflies were considered to be "primitive" in comparison to other winged arthropods, it was proposed that they might have vestigial features - such as haemocyanin. This was checked and found to be correct. IIRC, stoneflies are the only winged arthropods known to possess haemocyanin.

3) The recent discovery of Tiktaalik was a classic example of evolutionary predictivity. Based on their hypotheses about the evolutionary path from fish to amphibians, scientists were able to figure out exactly where they should look (in terms of location and strata) if they wanted to find a transitional fossil. They found a transitional fossil. To quote from Nature:
Tiktaalik retains primitive tetrapodomorph features such as dorsal scale cover, paired fins with lepidotrichia, a generalized lower jaw, and separated entopterygoids in the palate, but also possesses a number of derived features of the skull, pectoral girdle and fin, and ribs that are shared with stem tetrapods such as Acanthostega and Ichthyostega.
(Quote taken from here)

In short, even if a chorus of angels appeared tomorrow and announced that God had indeed created the world in six days and that evolution had nothing to do with it, scientists would probably still keep using the evolutionary premise because it's so darn useful. In science, predictivity is king, and evolution has a heck of a lot of it.

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I would agree with (5) that the evidence for a Designer is not scientific in the sense that you can demonstrate it in the lab.  The reasons I believe there is one are more like the reasons I believe George Washington existed.


That's fair enough. But, if you don't believe that there's necessarily scientific evidence for a Designer, why support ID? Just to clarify: ID does not just say "there's a Designer"; it says "there's a Designer, and His presence is scientifically detectable". The problem with that is that the vast majority of actual scientists in the relevant fields feel that the ID mob are, uh, not talking via the usual orifice.

Believe whatever you like. Claiming that your beliefs are scientific when they're not, though, is profoundly dishonest, and that's precisely what the DI and co. are doing.

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I would also agree that ID is useless by itself because it stops short of identifying a designer.  I am a creationist which means I believe I can identify the designer as the God of the Bible.  This is incredibly useful if you believe as I do that this God wants a relationship with the humans he created and will someday make a new world.  Of course, to arrive at all these conclusions requires much evidence from several disciplines ... science only goes so far.  But contrary to the mudslingers, there is excellent evidence available ... I would never just say something non-sensical like "You just have to have faith".  Many organized religions have done a disservice to lots of people by making statements like this.


I'm sorry, I didn't go into sufficient detail on what I meant by "useful". When referring to science, this term means "can be used to generate testable predictions". Your belief that the God of the Bible created the world is indeed useful to you, but not in this specific scientific sense. It is not scientifically useful. It makes no testable predictions that have subsequently been confirmed, and as such it can't be evaluated using the scientific method of hypothesis testing and peer review- it's not scientifically tractable.

The reason this is an issue is that this scientific method is specifically tailored so as to home in on highly accurate solutions to scientifically-tractable questions. It homed in on evolutionary biology over 100 years ago, and has since been homing in on increasingly detailed evolutionary descriptions of species' origins. Whether you feel the scientific method is applicable in a given situation is a philosophical question rather than a strictly scientific one, but the fact that science has indeed converged on one solution strongly suggests that this is a scientifically tractable problem - if it weren't, you'd expect the scientific community to be all over the place on this issue, which it manifestly is not.

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A basic outline of my line of reasoning is this (keep in mind I have an Electrical Engineering degree, so I think like an engineer) ...


You might be interested to know that evolutionary processes also function very well as electrical engineers. In particular, genetic algorithms have recently been harnessed to produce highly-efficient chips. This science is still in its infancy, but appears very promising. See this guy's website for more details (I recommend starting with the paper at the bottom of the list).

Evolutionary processes also operate very well at optimising the structure of things like wings and engines, and can be surprisingly good at writing computer programs. Here is a great example - for more, I recommend browsing outwards from the wikipedia page

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2)  I know from my engineering experience that sophisticated, non-biological machines that actually work require enormous amounts of intelligence (not to mention effort) to get them designed well enough to where they will work and continue working for a long time.  I have no reason to believe that biological machines would be otherwise--they are made of the same stuff--it all comes from the same periodic table.


As I mentioned, it's entirely possible to evolve solutions to quite complex problems - no intelligence required. The reason why this doesn't occur with non-biological machines is that non-biological machines don't reproduce in any meaningful sense, and hence evolutionary effects can't kick in.

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3)  Knowing this, it makes sense to me that there COULD be a designer somewhere--space alien, God, supercomputer in some galaxy--apparently Francis Crick went for the Space Alien/Panspermia idea, so I guess I'm not totally crazy with this idea.


You may be pleased to hear that that's not something that science can in any way disprove - one would not expect a sufficiently secretive God to be scientifically detectable. There's even an entire theological position about origins known as theistic evolution that proposes that God used evolution to His own ends. It may interest you to know that C. S. Lewis was (broadly speaking) a theistic evolutionist.

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4)  Next, I look at the fossil record with the zillions of dead things buried in rock layers laid down by water all over the earth, and I conclude that there must have been a massive, global flood which buried all those fossils.


To the best of my knowledge, no geologist has ever come to that conclusion without already having decided that the Bible is literally true. I'm no geologist, but the inference I'd draw from this is that the evidence does not in fact support this viewpoint. I already mentioned one problem (the sorting of fossils); I can look up more if you're interested.

I hope the above verbiage has been vaguely informative for you :)

  
afdave



Posts: 1621
Joined: April 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 18 2006,06:51   

Quote (Aardvark @ April 18 2006,09:20)
afdave Says:
April 17th, 2006 at 1:16 pm

Quote
My personal opinion is that our educational institutions–from the public schools to the Ivy League universities have been gradually taken over in the past hundred years or so by the anti-God (anti-supernatural if you will) crowd, basically because good, competent people like our present ID people were not very involved and let them do it. The results in the public schools are obvious and similar results are beginning to show at the college level as well.


http://telicthoughts.com/?p=640

Looks like afdave is not so neutral after all.


Who said anything about me being neutral?  I'm an active Creationist and very involved politically.  I am also an Electrical Engineer, former AF jet pilot, very successful business man, and a large contributor to various causes ... maybe yours if you're nice to me and convince me why I should.  But I try to be polite and I honestly like to hear evolutionists state, in their own words, why they believe in macro-evolution.

--------------
A DILEMMA FOR THE COMMITTED NATURALIST
A Hi-tech alien spaceship lands on earth ... DESIGNED.
A Hi-tech alien rotary motor found in a cell ... NOT DESIGNED.
http://afdave.wordpress.com/....ess.com

  
MidnightVoice



Posts: 380
Joined: Aug. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 18 2006,07:06   

Quote (afdave @ April 18 2006,08:32)
I would never just say something non-sensical like "You just have to have faith".  

This is the part that fascinates me.  When I were but a whippersnapper, many decades ago, "Faith" was one of the basic tenets of religion.  In fact, many current theologians still believe that to be true, and think that the search for "proof" of God harms religion more than it helps.

--------------
If I fly the coop some time
And take nothing but a grip
With the few good books that really count
It's a necessary trip

I'll be gone with the girl in the gold silk jacket
The girl with the pearl-driller's hands

  
Flint



Posts: 478
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 18 2006,07:29   

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But I try to be polite and I honestly like to hear evolutionists state, in their own words, why they believe in macro-evolution.

Well, it's not a matter of belief, it's a matter of evidence. Incredible as it may sound to the unaided ear, opinions based on evidence, tested and honed by reality, are qualitatively different from "beliefs" that people hold because, well, because people hold beliefs.

As a rule, people accept "macro-evolution" because that's the inevitable conclusion supported by all available evidence. People reject it because their religious doctrine can't tolerate it. I have never seen an *informed* rejection (as opposed to a maze of misrepresentations) except on religious grounds. I can respect Kurt Wise, saying that his interpretation of selected scripture trumps reality. Evidence either matters or it does not. Evidence says macroevolution not only happens, but can't be avoided. But if evidence does not matter, then of course belief is all that's left.

  
Stephen Elliott



Posts: 1754
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 18 2006,12:02   

Quote (afdave @ April 18 2006,11:51)
...

Who said anything about me being neutral?  I'm an active Creationist and very involved politically.  I am also an Electrical Engineer, former AF jet pilot, very successful business man, and a large contributor to various causes ... maybe yours if you're nice to me and convince me why I should.  But I try to be polite and I honestly like to hear evolutionists state, in their own words, why they believe in macro-evolution.

Hi,

I believe evolution is the best explanation for the diversity of life we see on Earth.

The main reason that I think this way is that evolution exposes itself to the scientific method and is falsifiable.

If you are talking "origin of life", then evolution has little/nothing to say about that, atm.

Macro-evolution is just micro-evolution over a longer period.

BTW afdave. I came to this argument from the ID POV. So far I have found the "pro-evolutionists" far more honest, open minded and humorous than the ID mob.

In fact, what most anoyed me about ID was the sheer dishonesty of its main suporters.

Have you read the "wedge document"? How unscientific is that?

EDIT: BTW. All fossils are transitional.

  
Occam's Aftershave



Posts: 1812
Joined: Feb. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 18 2006,16:11   

AFD said:

Quote
To answer corkscrew ... I agree with (1) and (2) except that I have never heard of a random mutation that could be considered beneficial.


Here is a beneficial mutation to a protein that was documented in a population in Italy.  It helps reduce the risk of arteriosclerosis (clogged arteries), heart attack, and stroke. The mutation is now becoming fixed in the local population.  There are many others if you cared to look for them - Google is your friend.

beneficial mutation

AFD said:

Quote
As for (3), I'm not aware of A SINGLE fossil that can be considered transitional ... my understanding of mesonychids and whales can be found here


There are literally hundreds of lineages in the fossil record that are considered "transitional" form. Here are but a few:

transitional fossils list

How could you miss the big excitement about the latest tetrapod transitional announced earlier this month, Tiktaalik?  It was in all the papers.

Tiktaalik discovery


For me, the most compelling evidence for the veracity of ToE is the twin nested hierarchies of life:  the tree of ancestry derived from the molecular evidence matches perfectly with the tree of ancestry from the fossil record.  Two completely independent lines of evidence that point unmistakably to the conclusion of common descent.

You can read more about it, and plenty of other evidence here

Evidence for common descent

Note that unlike your AnswersInGenesis source, virtually every article at TalkOrigins is backed up by references and citations to actual peer reviewed scientific research, so you can check the original data yourself.

Combat pilots are supposed to have good situational awareness.  Do you?  Let's see you assess the situation honestly after reading ALL the available evidence.

--------------
"Science is what got us to the humble place we’re at, and what hard-won progress we might realize comes from science, with ID completely flaccid, religious apologetics bitching from the sidelines." - Eigenstate at UD

  
Henry J



Posts: 4834
Joined: Mar. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 18 2006,16:21   

To add to my previous comments, one thing evolution explains even more directly than it explains origins, is the interrelatedness of species, anatomically, genetically, and geographically. (The only thing Creationism or I.D. even address is why there's life at all.)

Henry

  
UnMark



Posts: 97
Joined: Mar. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 18 2006,17:56   

Quote (afdave @ April 18 2006,08:32)
I would also agree that ID is useless by itself because it stops short of identifying a designer.  I am a creationist which means I believe I can identify the designer as the God of the Bible.

Intelligent Design has nothing whatsoever to do with religion, no siree!  </sarcasm>  Would you care to explain why your religious opinion is any better than my own and why I should be forced to adhere to your religious beliefs (learning ID, a religious conjecture, as scientific fact)?

Quote (afdave @ April 18 2006,08:32)
3)  Knowing this, it makes sense to me that there COULD be a designer somewhere--space alien, God, supercomputer in some galaxy--apparently Francis Crick went for the Space Alien/Panspermia idea, so I guess I'm not totally crazy with this idea.

Deism has always appealed to me. . . .

Quote (afdave @ April 18 2006,08:32)
6)  I'm skeptical of the Bible at first because everyone says "that's just a religious book full of myths", but on closer inspection, I find it to be accurate in every historical detail which is possible to be verified by archaeology.  I read it from cover to cover to give it a fair analysis. . . .

Could you please provide the evidence for the Jewish Exodus from Egypt?  Could you please provide the evidence that Jesus actually lived (outside the Bible, and the Josephus forgery doesn't count)?  As far as a fair analysis, could you please analyze and interpret Deut 20:10-14 for me?

If you'd like, I could recommend a couple "anti-Bible" and/or skeptic sites if you'd like to really learn about the other side of the controversy that is religion.

As far as evolution goes: I don't "believe" it to be true, I "accept" it as true based upon the mountain of evidence in its favor.  Here's a link to a page describing the speciation (macro-evolution) of one salmon species into two in Washington State. Here's 29 evidences of macro-evolution.  Also, here is a comprehensive list of Creationist Claims and their refutations.

I hope everyone can eventually shrug off their religous beliefs and accept science, but I've found that most creationists are unable to accept any inputs that don't affirm their narrow and rigidly-defined worldview.  Therefore, I've encountered very few ex-creationists who accepted the evidence and "switched sides."  I hope, Dave, that you aren't so entrenched in your worldview that you, too, are unable to change it.

Best regards!

  
guthrie



Posts: 696
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 18 2006,22:19   

I feel that Afdave would be somewhat put out if we asked him to prove that he could fly a plane, without reference to any outside evidence, nor having the plane with him to demonstrate it, etc etc.

  
afdave



Posts: 1621
Joined: April 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 19 2006,01:00   

I didn't say "prove" ... obviously, this would require outside sources ... I said I would like to HEAR your theory in your own words and the 5 top reasons WHY you believe it

To those who have been polite enough to accomodate my request, thanks!  Believe it or not, it is quite rare to find unless you specifically ask.

BTW- does anyone know of a good online chart or tree showing current evolutionary understanding of how life developed which covers it all, from single-celled organism to humans, preferably from a well-recognized source?

--------------
A DILEMMA FOR THE COMMITTED NATURALIST
A Hi-tech alien spaceship lands on earth ... DESIGNED.
A Hi-tech alien rotary motor found in a cell ... NOT DESIGNED.
http://afdave.wordpress.com/....ess.com

  
Jay Ray



Posts: 92
Joined: Feb. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 19 2006,01:12   

Quote
does anyone know of a good online chart or tree showing current evolutionary understanding of how life developed which covers it all, from single-celled organism to humans, preferably from a well-recognized source?



This is the best example that I know of.  Obviously, the gazillions of different organisms aren't going to fit on single page, so this tree is clickable, entering into higher and higher categories with each click.

I'm not sure what you consider to be "well recognized", but I hope you find this adequate.  If you should find other trees that surpass this one in either accuracy or thoroughness, please post it. :)

  
guthrie



Posts: 696
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 19 2006,01:53   

In return, perhaps AFdave can tell us what kind or level of scientific information it would take for him to change his mind about creationism being correct?

  
Reluctant Cannibal



Posts: 36
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 19 2006,02:03   

Hello AFDave,

Rather than answer your original question as asked, I will step back and address a more fundamental point. What is an explanation, and why are some explanations more satisfying than others? My apologies if I appear to be wasting your time on something so basic and obvious, but it is usually the unexamined background ideas that give rise to such different views of the world.

You may not be a scientist in a formal way, but all of us act as scientists as we seek explanations in our day to day lives. A good explanation explains why something is the way it is, and more importantly, why it is not different. A truly satisfying explanation fits together logically, gives a deeper understanding of the thing explained, and sometimes illuminates things that might have appeared unrelated. In nature there are alway deeper levels of explanation -- for example, you can understand aerodynamics in terms of fluid mechanics, and fluid mechanics in terms of the physics of molecules. A satisfying explanation leads to more explanations at the deeper level, and suggests new avenues of investigation. An unsatisfying explanation is sterile -- it leads nowhere.

People who accept the evolutionary explanations for the complexity and diversity of life, and who have thought them through and understood them, find those explanations the most satisfying. To them, the alternatives are too simple and superficial, and don't really function as explanations at all.

  
GCT



Posts: 1001
Joined: Aug. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 19 2006,05:46   

Quote (afdave @ April 18 2006,08:32)
Thankyou, corkscrew and Henry J for your polite answers.  I would think you other folks would also want to give polite answers if you want others to see the truth of your viewpoint ... just a suggestion!

Hey, lighten up, I was just joking.  Geez.

Quote
I would also agree that ID is useless by itself because it stops short of identifying a designer.  I am a creationist which means I believe I can identify the designer as the God of the Bible.  This is incredibly useful if you believe as I do that this God wants a relationship with the humans he created and will someday make a new world.  Of course, to arrive at all these conclusions requires much evidence from several disciplines ... science only goes so far.  But contrary to the mudslingers, there is excellent evidence available ... I would never just say something non-sensical like "You just have to have faith".  Many organized religions have done a disservice to lots of people by making statements like this.

Perhaps you could tell us what evidence you have available and how you think it qualifies as evidence?  Note: I'm not attacking your religion, but it may be helpful to differentiate between what you see as "evidence" and what science can accept as "evidence."

Quote
1)  I see highly sophisticated, biological machines at every level in nature, macro to micro.

Are you sure of that?

Quote
2)  I know from my engineering experience that sophisticated, non-biological machines that actually work require enormous amounts of intelligence (not to mention effort) to get them designed well enough to where they will work and continue working for a long time.  I have no reason to believe that biological machines would be otherwise--they are made of the same stuff--it all comes from the same periodic table.

It has been said that more scientific advances come from "Oops" moments than from "Eureka" moments.

Quote
3)  Knowing this, it makes sense to me that there COULD be a designer somewhere--space alien, God, supercomputer in some galaxy--apparently Francis Crick went for the Space Alien/Panspermia idea, so I guess I'm not totally crazy with this idea.

I don't think anyone here is disputing that the could be a designer.  The trick is to show some evidence for it.

Quote
6)  I'm skeptical of the Bible at first because everyone says "that's just a religious book full of myths", but on closer inspection, I find it to be accurate in every historical detail which is possible to be verified by archaeology.  I read it from cover to cover to give it a fair analysis and I am struck by the accuracy with which it describes human behaviour.  I'm also fascinated with the apparent fulfilled prophecies which involve the rise and fall of major nations and also this incredibly influential person--Jesus of Nazareth.  To be sure, there are things I don't understand, but I'm not so arrogant as to write them off without evidence for doing so.  I know from history that multitudes of people have blindly accepted statements like "that book is just a myth" only to be proven wrong by some guy willing to work hard enough to really examine the evidence.  Of course, many DO turn out to be myths, but I have done my own thorough examination of the Bible, and I have not found it to be a myth.

Are you USAF?  I'm just wondering what country you came from where they told you the Bible was a myth.  In this country, we are inundated with Christianity and most don't have the stones to call it a myth.  Also, prophecies are tricky things, considering they usually take a measure of interpretation.  And, it would once again be useful to define "evidence."

Quote
7)  I put this (and some other factors ... admittedly, this is abbreviated) all together and in my mind and it all adds up to me to make a pretty good case that the Bible is literally true--complete with a real God, the Creation, the Flood, Moses, Jesus ... the whole deal.

This is logical fallacy.  If I factually report that a meeting took place at 5, that doesn't mean that I will necessarily factually report what happened at the meeting.  Because some details are correct, doesn't mean that god exists, caused creation in 6 literal days, flooded the world, etc.

  
stevestory



Posts: 10432
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 19 2006,05:57   

It looks to me like AFDave is really MCDave.

   
Flint



Posts: 478
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 19 2006,08:05   

Perhaps the most common pattern, let's call it pattern #1:

1) Make statements/ask questions
2) Get tons of excellent replies
3) Either vanish entirely, or ignore all replies and change the subject.

Maybe there's supposed to be a call-and-response, but this congregation is giving the wrong response?

  
afdave



Posts: 1621
Joined: April 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 19 2006,11:51   

Every head bowed ... every eye closed ... repeat after me ... homina, homina ...

Hey I like that ... MC Dave ...

No seriously, I am an honest-to-goodness Creationist (gasp) with a neck shade other than red and I don't live in a trailer in the South ... oh, to the guy asking about which nationality of AF I was in ... USA ... I flew T-38's and I hear all kinds of people in this country say the Bible is a myth ... co-workers, relatives, you name it ... I am not kidding when I say that I appreciate all you people giving me serious answers on why you believe in (oops ... accept) evolution.  I'll take as many as I can get ...

One more question though ... some guy on the main PT site was insulted that I called him a Darwinist ... said that's like calling an African-American a "nigger" ... what's up with that?

Pretty soon I'll reciprocate and give my 7 points on why I'm a Creationist ... hopefully I won't get too many rotten tomatoes

--------------
A DILEMMA FOR THE COMMITTED NATURALIST
A Hi-tech alien spaceship lands on earth ... DESIGNED.
A Hi-tech alien rotary motor found in a cell ... NOT DESIGNED.
http://afdave.wordpress.com/....ess.com

  
afdave



Posts: 1621
Joined: April 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 19 2006,11:54   

Oops ... I forgot I already posted my 7 points earlier ... I'll try to answer objections soon ...

--------------
A DILEMMA FOR THE COMMITTED NATURALIST
A Hi-tech alien spaceship lands on earth ... DESIGNED.
A Hi-tech alien rotary motor found in a cell ... NOT DESIGNED.
http://afdave.wordpress.com/....ess.com

  
ToSeek



Posts: 33
Joined: April 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 19 2006,12:00   

Quote (afdave @ April 19 2006,16:51)
One more question though ... some guy on the main PT site was insulted that I called him a Darwinist ... said that's like calling an African-American a "nigger" ... what's up with that?

Well, I'd say that's rather an overreaction, but, still, about the only people who use the term "Darwinists" are creationists. I don't know of anyone who would call themselves a Darwinist.

  
afdave



Posts: 1621
Joined: April 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 19 2006,12:30   

So what's the proper term?  Evolutionist?

--------------
A DILEMMA FOR THE COMMITTED NATURALIST
A Hi-tech alien spaceship lands on earth ... DESIGNED.
A Hi-tech alien rotary motor found in a cell ... NOT DESIGNED.
http://afdave.wordpress.com/....ess.com

  
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