Reflections on Intelligent Design and Evolution

Wow!  I’ve had a great time over the last few days with an out-of-town guest talking about what is at stake in the debate of Intelligent Design vs. Evolution.  Our conversation started out with normal dialogue about “Is it a big deal if . . . ?”  Is it a big deal if God created the world in six days or over millions and millions of years?  Is it a big deal if God created Adam and Eve specifically or if He set a plan in motion through which people evolved?  Normally I would have sloughed off the conversation and moved on . . . but this time, I didn’t.

I’ve been learning a lot lately that ideas have consequences, so I knew better than to say, “No, it doesn’t matter.”  So I said, “Yes, I think it is important.”  What a great thing to say!  My friend (who is not a conservative Christian like myself) and I started searching the internet to talk about young earth theories, evolution, science, and the purposes of God.

Everything we discovered was so interesting!  I’d never had the opportunity to research this topic alongside someone who was mutually interested and coming from such a different perspective.  It was very motivating.  Too often we can go back and forth in dialogue with limited information, but to go together with someone to find and discuss credible information was powerful!

First we wandered to answersingenesis.org and watched videos . . . Millions of Years: Where Did the Idea Come From? (which discussed who was significant in the progression of these ideas . . . good, but not exactly what we were looking for). . . it was really interesting to see the way the ideas transformed over time and how little basis there is for how dogmatically it is taught.

I have so many thoughts about it all that I’m debating just how many blog posts I should write.  After we watched those videos and had some lively discussion, we rented Ben Stein’s new documentary, “Expelled:  No Intelligence Allowed.”  It was great!  As we think more about how ideas have consequences, check out this clip.

Last, I want to include the favorite clip of my friend.  He was floored when scientists discussed how much more complex they understand the cell to be now . . . versus when Darwin came up with his theory.  Go to http://expelledthemovie.com/videos.php and click on “The Complexity of the Cell.”  It is really amazing!
-Tim C. Williams

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36 Responses to Reflections on Intelligent Design and Evolution

  1. bobcu says:

    You thought Expelled was great? I won’t see it because I don’t like movies produced by lying idiots, but I heard it was boring and full of propaganda.

    I’ve been studying evolutionary biology for many years. It’s just a hobby for me. I’ll never come close to having the level of understanding biologists have. But I know enough to be certain all life evolved from common ancestors. The most powerful evidence is from molecular biology and genetics. Biologists can see the history of life with their own eyes when they compare DNA sequences of different species. Today it’s impossible for an educated person to deny the basic facts of evolution. For example, powerful evidence has repeatedly shown beyond any doubt people and chimps share ancestors who lived about 5 or 6 million years ago. This is a scientific fact, as strong as any other fact in science.

    The only people who deny the facts of evolution are people who are worried about the religious implications. They think if humans are nothing more than one of the ape species (people are one of the ape species, a fact that can found in any encyclopedia), then they think they won’t go to heaven. Well, these people are right about that. Virtually everyone who really understands evolution does not believe in the childish insane nonsense called heaven.

    The Christians who are so afraid of evolution are wasting their lives. They should stop being cowards and educate themselves. They don’t know what they’re missing. The history of life as described by evolutionary biology is thousands of times more interesting than any magical creation myth. Evolution has another big advantage. It’s how the world really works. The religious alternative, God-Did-It, is Dark Ages idiocy.

  2. Hi Bob,

    Thanks for your comment. I really did like Expelled and I definitely did not find it boring! You should look at the one short clip I recommended . . . “The Complexity of the Cell” at http://expelledthemovie.com/videos.php
    But anyway, the movie is not that important. 🙂

    I’m open-minded and really interested in what makes you feel certain that all life evolved from common ancestors! Of course, we all come to the table with our own hypotheses. 🙂 I also find it really interesting that you think that it is a fact that people and chimps share ancestors who lived about 5 or 6 million years ago.

    I have not found any dating methods that have made me believe at all that the earth can be verified to be that old and I think that evolution (in the sense that life started from something inorganic and we have all come from that) certainly can not be true if the earth is not millions of years old. Would you share some credible links that validate the age of the earth with methods that haven’t shown significant problems.

    If your methods do have problems, I think that’s fine and really good to have that ability to be open and self-critical (I think that’s what science should be), but I just think it means that we have to be clear that we just have ideas and not answers.

    While it does seem that there is evidence to show that within species, there are advances/evolutions made, it does not seem that there is evidence for one species evolving into something entirely different. Nor does it seem that there is evidence that life can be created from inorganic material at all!! I don’t think anyone can scientifically explain the origin of life today, and I think that is really really interesting. 🙂

    Well, that’s the start of my first response. Blessings –

    Tim

  3. Hi Tim

    In response to that last comment and your own interest in evolution, a few suggestions…

    http://www.dissentfromdarwin.org/
    This is a list of prominent scientists from around the world who dissent from evolution on strictly scientific grounds. This challenges the idea that the only people opposed to evolution are religious people for religious reasons.

    Here’s an article specifically on the why the DNA molecule challenges rather than supports evolutionary theory:
    http://www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/index.php?program=CSC&command=view&id=200

    Here’s an excellent list of “the best of the best” resources/books/articles that challenge evolutionary theory and support intelligent design. If you want to really get into this Tim, going through this resources would be the very best advice I could give you. I’ve read nearly all of these books/articles. They are powerful and profound.
    http://www.discovery.org/csc/essentialReadings.php

    Scott

    PS: the organization that is behind much of the Intelligent Design movement is the Discovery Institute in Seattle (it was mentioned in Expelled). All of the links above come from their website.

  4. Thank Scott,

    I found this link for three papers from the site of scientists that have decided (based on scientific reasons) that the evidence is not strong enough for them to embrace evolution as a likely theory. Very provocative!
    http://www.dissentfromdarwin.org/links.php

    Tim

  5. bobcu says:

    Hello, thanks for publishing my comments even though you disagree with me. I really respect that. I just got home, and I got to eat dinner, but I will return to reply to your comments later tonight.

  6. bobcu says:

    Hello again. I just finished dinner, and now I would like to respond to Tim’s comments and Scott’s comments.

    Perhaps I should first explain who I am. You already know I’m not a scientist and you know studying evolutionary biology is one of my hobbies. I recently read a book published in 2006, “The Making of the Fittest: DNA and the Ultimate Forensic Record of Evolution” by Sean B. Carroll. I’ve read other books about evolution, and I’ve spent countless hours on the internet learning about new discoveries being made by biologists and other scientists. Despite all this studying, I know very little when compared to what the professionals understand, including the biologists who have made important contributions to modern biology.

    You also might be interested to know, if you haven’t figured it out already, I’m an atheist. I’m not the average atheist who doesn’t care about what religious people are doing. Not only is my atheism very strong (it couldn’t possibly be stronger), I am also extremely anti-religion. Why am I so against religions? I noticed the 9/11/2001 attacks against my country, America, would not have been possible without the religious belief in heaven. I am convinced heaven is a very childish idea, and now thousands have died because of it, thanks to Muslim extremists. I also noticed that many Christians seem to be constantly at war against science education, especially my favorite branch of science, evolutionary biology. This religious war against science and science education makes me angry. These know-nothing Christians are cheating students who want to educate themselves. In my opinion these attacks against education are nothing less than treason.

    Because of these strong anti-religion views I have, I sometimes sound a bit rude. I’m working on that problem. If I ever sound rude to you, please understand it’s nothing personal. It’s just my contempt for any idea that’s religious.

    You also should know I am very knowledgeable about Christianity. I went to Catholic grammar school, and I have had many long discussions with Christians about their beliefs and about the Bible.

    I now would like to talk about evolutionary biology, but I will start another comment to do that. In the past I noticed evolution deniers like yourselves have a strong tendency to remain evolution deniers, no matter how patiently anyone, including biologists who are much more knowledgeable than I am, tries to explain the evidence to them. Evolution deniers, also known as creationists because they believe in God’s magical creation of creatures, don’t seem to be too interested in scientific evidence. They also have the unfortunate habit of getting virtually all their science information from people who don’t know what they’re talking about.

    Anyway, I like hopeless challenges, so I will return in a little while with comments about the age of the earth, and my favorite fact of biology, the fact that people and chimps are distant cousins.

  7. bobcu says:

    Scott wrote “the organization that is behind much of the Intelligent Design movement is the Discovery Institute in Seattle”

    Here’s some facts about the Discovery Institute. First, and most important, they have never discovered anything. They spend most of their time sending out press releases containing dishonest statements about scientists and their discoveries. Their main goal is to dumb down the teaching of evolution in America’s biology classrooms. They disguise themselves as people who are knowledgeable about science, but they are really nothing more than anti-science Christian fundamentalists.

    Here’s some facts about Intelligent Design. In 1987 the Supreme Court ruled that “Creation Science” is not science. They said it’s a religious idea, and they said the teaching of this religious idea in public school biology classes is a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

    After 1987 some creationists, including Christian extremists who now work for the Discovery Institute, wanted to find some way to stick their religious belief in magical creation into science education. Their solution was to rename “Creation Science” to “Intelligent Design”. Their plan was to use only scientifically sounding language when talking about Intelligent Design. They also decided to never admit what everyone has always known, the Designer is the Christian God.

    In 2005 a Federal Court in Dover Pennsylvania made the exact same ruling against Intelligent Design that the Supreme Court made in 1987 against Creation Science. The judge said intelligent design is nothing more than religious creationism dishonestly disguised to look scientific.

    Scott, you should know about the total contempt the scientific community has for the Discovery Institute. I frequently visit science blogs, and whenever the Discovery Institute is mentioned, the ridicule of these extremely dishonest people is often very intense. It’s for a good reason scientists dislike the Discovery Institute. Their constant lying is famous. One of the Discovery Institute’s favorite tactics is to quote-mine real scientists. They will select one sentence out of an article about evolutionary biology, written by a biologist who loves evolution, and by quoting only that one sentence or paragraph, make it appear the scientist has doubts about evolution. Scientists hate dishonesty and that’s one of the many reasons they laugh at the Discovery Institute.

    Scott, you also wrote “This is a list of prominent scientists from around the world who dissent from evolution on strictly scientific grounds. This challenges the idea that the only people opposed to evolution are religious people for religious reasons.”

    This is another example of the Discovery Institute’s compulsive lying. All evolution deniers have religious reasons for their problems with modern biology. Evolution is the only scientific explanation for the diversity of life. The only alternatives are religious ideas. Everyone knows this. Denying this fact is extremely dishonest. The reason for this dishonesty is some Christian extremists are looking for excuses to dumb down science education, not caring that they always lose in court, and not caring about the damage they are doing to the education of everyone’s children.

    None of those “prominent” scientists have ever contributed anything important about biology, and these incompetent scientists are much much less than one percent of the world’s scientists. Many of them are not really scientists. Many of them are engineers or medical doctors. I have heard some of them are dead. Virtually none of them are biologists, and all of them are a disgrace to their profession.

    I still haven’t talked about the age of the earth and the evolutionary relationships of the modern apes species (people, chimps, bonobos, gorillas, orangutans). That’s coming next.

  8. bobcu says:

    Tim: “I also find it really interesting that you think that it is a fact that people and chimps share ancestors who lived about 5 or 6 million years ago.”

    I don’t “think” our evolutionary relationship with the other modern ape species is a fact. I “know” it’s a fact. After studying the evidence from molecular biology and other branches of science, and after all the observations I have made in museums and zoos, and after all I have read about our ape cousins, I would have to be nuts to deny the fact the chimps are our closest living non-human relatives.

    I will try to explain just a tiny fraction of the powerful evidence from molecular biology for our relationship with chimps. If you want to hear a much better explanation from an expert, the biologist Ken Miller, read the following website. In my opinion Ken Miller is better than anyone at making science easy to understand for non-scientists. Here it is, Ken Miller explaining some of the lead-pipe evidence for our evolutionary relationship with chimpanzee apes, at the Dover trial:

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dover/day1am2.html

    OK, here’s my attempt to explain some other evidence that I don’t think Ken Miller talked about at the Dover trial. Any biologist reading this will not be impressed, but here it is anyway.

    Each ape species, including human apes, has several Endogenous RetroViruses (ERVs) in their DNA. In each animal of each species these ERVs are in the exact same location in their genome. Now this is what’s extremely interesting and it’s just a tiny fraction of the incredibly powerful smoking gun evidence for the idea that people and chimps are distant cousins. Some ERVs have been found in both humans and chimps in the exact same locations in their DNA. That would be impossible unless those ERVs were inherited from the same ancient ape species. Now some religious person, desperately trying to defend his belief that people are special magical creations of God, would say God inserted those identical ERVs in the exact same location in the genome of humans and chimps to deceive scientists. But who would want to believe in a deceitful God? That makes no sense.

    Tim: “I have not found any dating methods that have made me believe at all that the earth can be verified to be that old and I think that evolution (in the sense that life started from something inorganic and we have all come from that) certainly can not be true if the earth is not millions of years old. Would you share some credible links that validate the age of the earth with methods that haven’t shown significant problems.”

    You either haven’t looked hard enough, or you, like many other creationists, prefer to get all your information from people who are only interested in defending the Bible.

    One of the greatest accomplishments of the human race was the hard work to determine the 4,500,000,000 age of the earth (that’s billions of years, not millions). Several methods have been used and they all get the same result. A planet that formed billions of years ago. I’m not an expert at this subject so you’re going to have to do your own research. However I have made my own observations and I’ve read about a lot of stuff that strongly supports what scientists say is a fact. The earth is very old. Take a look at your globe if you have one. You will notice if you put Africa and South America right next to each other, they would fit almost perfectly together. Well they were once just one continent. They split in two. Imagine the time it took for the South Atlantic to become as wide as it is today. Another example is India which slowly crashed into Asia, forming the tallest mountain peaks in the world. Imagine how long that took. Want more examples of a very old earth? Use your imagination. Think.

    Biologists know the average number of mutations for each generation. They also know the average time span for each generation. That’s how they can make very accurate time estimates when they compare DNA sequences of people and chimps. That’s why they feel certain our ancestors and the ancestors of chimps separated about 5 or 6 million years ago.

    Tim: “While it does seem that there is evidence to show that within species, there are advances/evolutions made, it does not seem that there is evidence for one species evolving into something entirely different. Nor does it seem that there is evidence that life can be created from inorganic material at all!! I don’t think anyone can scientifically explain the origin of life today, and I think that is really really interesting.”

    We know new species have developed from ancient species. See what I wrote above about ERVs.

    There’s still no consensus about how the first living cells developed, but here’s one of many good ideas scientists who are working on this problem have: When the earth formed many billions of years ago, our solar system was a mess. Countless comets were crashing into earth every day. Those comets contained organic material and this could have had something to do with the development of the first living cells. Organic material from volcanos under the sea could also have had something to do with the appearance of the first living cells. Interested in their other ideas, the progress they have made, and the many problems they are still working on? Look it up. I’m no expert, so you’re on your own. Google is your friend. Please use it, and please avoid dishonest people.

    You could invoke God’s magic to explain the appearance of life almost 4 billion years ago, but that really doesn’t solve any problem, does it?

    Even if God waved its magic wand and poofed the first cells into existence, that would not change the fact that all life then evolved without supernatural intervention (magic).

    OK, that’s it for now. I’ll be back again. I write too much sometimes. Thanks for reading it. I hope you at least think about my ideas, even if you don’t like them.

  9. bobcu says:

    I noticed only my comments about the dishonest Discovery Institute have this at the end: “Your comment is awaiting moderation.”

    I really hope those comments are published. I have a very high opinion of you people because you were willing to publish my other comments. It would be terrible if you censored the truth about the Discovery Institute.

    Thanks very much.

  10. smiles! You do write a lot! I’m looking forward to starting a response when I get some more time. Should be by tomorrow. Thanks for your time. Blessings brother,

    Tim

  11. bobcu says:

    I just stopped by to say hello. I’ll be back later.

  12. I do continue to apologize that I have not taken the time to draft a response! I’ve gotten a bit busy, but I am looking forward to taking a stab at a response, even if I (like all people) am limited in my knowledge on these topics. 🙂 Talk to you soon! Thanks for stopping in to say hello!

    Tim

  13. bobxxxx says:

    Take your time. I’ll be back.

    One request please.

    You don’t necessarily have to disagree with everything I said. Please understand my views about evolutionary biology are shared by virtually all biologists. Those guys are experts and just maybe they know what they’re talking about.

    What I said about ERVs is correct. This is rock solid evidence for the idea chimps and people are distant cousins. You need to understand this evidence (and other similar evidence) is understood by biologists at an extreme level of detail and understanding. This is what they have seen with their own eyes, and this is why even the most religious biologists accept the fact that our closest living non-human cousins are the chimpanzee apes. Denying this evidence, and mountains of equally powerful evidence, is equivalent to calling tens of thousands of scientists liars.

    I have met creationists who really believe most scientists are dishonest. Other creationists, who are scientifically illiterate, think they know more about molecular biology than all the world’s biologists.

    I’m suggesting don’t let the power of faith make you blind. Go ahead and believe in God. I don’t care about that. But be careful about invoking God to solve scientific problems that have already been solved with natural explanations.

    My point is you risk the reputation of your religion if you make scientific claims that scientists know are false. This is one reason why millions of Christians have accepted the facts of evolution. They know that denying the discoveries of modern biology can only harm their religion.

    What a lot of creationists do, instead of trying to understand scientific evidence, they go running to their favorite professional liar, then they copy and paste a bunch of dishonest statements, not bothering to understand what they are copying, not bothering to check their facts, and most important not bothering to study scientific discoveries as described by the scientists who actually made those discoveries. Instead they get their information filtered by people who have never discovered anything, and who are only interested in defending their literal interpretation of Genesis. That’s really not an honest way of learning the truth.

    I think some creationists are afraid of modern science, and that’s why they make no effort to understand it. It’s too bad. They don’t know what they’re missing.

  14. bobxxxx says:

    Whoops, I noticed I used my other internet name. bobcu and bobxxxx are the same person. I usually use bobxxxx, and I will continue using that name here.

    By the way, if you click bobxxxx, and read it, you might learn something so important it might change your life if you understand it.

  15. Hey Bob,

    After yesterday . . . I’ve found myself pondering one main question . . . what basis do you lay your hope on that all people could be moral atheists? It seems that you maintain a sense of morality and good will and that you hope that all who embrace evolution will maintain that . . . do you see it as coming from academia or what?

    Why shouldn’t atheism lead to anarchy? More comments to come! I’m going to crank some out this morning. 😀

    Tim

  16. Hey Bob,

    I’ve worked through all your comments and am starting on your internet page (http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dover/day1am2.html). Here is an excerpt I have come across so far:

    “Well, Darwin and other people were impressed at how much plant and animal breeders could influence the ultimate characteristics by selecting individuals from a breeding population, let’s say of horses or rabbits that had a particular characteristic the breeder wanted and allowing them to breed. Plant breeders have done the same thing for years. This was the methodology of Luther Burbank when he developed all sorts of beneficial strains of plants.

    And Darwin was enough of a naturalist to realize that the same process of selection actually happens in nature. Darwin pointed out there’s a struggle for existence, whether we like to admit it or not, and not all organisms are able to pass their genes on to the next generation. Those that do the best in that struggle for existence — and it’s not just a struggle to survive, it’s a struggle to find mates, to reproduce, and to raise those offspring. So in many respects things that are very cooperative are important in this struggle.

    Darwin realized that those organisms that had the characteristics that suited them best in that struggle, those were the ones that were going to leave their characteristics in the next generation, and he realized that’s pretty much what plant and animal breeders do, and therefore over time the average characteristics of a population could change in one direction or another and they could change quite dramatically. And that’s the essential idea of natural selection.”

    SO. . . OK if this is true that humans are the same as plants and animals, right (which we know I don’t believe) . . . but if the evidence doesn’t support this, then it is so important to be clear about that (we know that you think the evidence does support it). Why?

    This was the presumption that Hitler and Stalin operated off and the Eugenics movement in America when they sterilized 50,000 people against their will so that they wouldn’t reproduce and we could create this utopia and an advanced race. If others are not the “fittest”, then they are essentially just a drain on society and we should eliminate them (isn’t that the natural decision to make? . . . isn’t that the decision that Hitler made?).

    You said: “Not only is my atheism very strong (it couldn’t possibly be stronger), I am also extremely anti-religion. Why am I so against religions? I noticed the 9/11/2001 attacks against my country, America, would not have been possible without the religious belief in heaven. I am convinced heaven is a very childish idea, and now thousands have died because of it, thanks to Muslim extremists.”

    So, thousands have died because of a religious belief in heaven and we should lump all people from all religions that believe in heaven together? Surely, these are people that misunderstand truth. Is Mother Teresa’s belief in heaven dangerous? Muslim extremism is very dangerous and we believe that it is based on lies. . . but belief in the truth develops healthy individuals, families, nations, and a healthy world.

    Also, you should know that we are not at all anti-science nor anti-education nor anti-knowledge. However, when we are working with theories they must be identified as such. When things are presented as facts, they need to be facts.

    I’m happy for my children to learn about the possibility that evolution is true and learn about all of its supporting evidence if they will also learn about some of the areas that have not yet been proven and the areas that will need to be proven in order to legitimize the evolution theory.

    As you state and Wikipedia and everyone else regarding the origins of life: there is no scientific consensus on how life began. Are their theories? Yes. Do those unproven theories require faith? Yes. Is more faith necessary for those theories than a belief in a benevolent God who has created a complex and beautiful creation for the enjoyment of His creation? For some, maybe . . . but to others it is very logical based on the evidence that is available and does not require the denying of evidence–though we must always be wary of deciding exactly what the interpretation of any evidence is.

    I could keep going . . .but I’ll take a break. Peace to you, Bob

    Tim

  17. What do you think of this article I found?

    “DNA Code Barrier + Gene Depletion + Natural Selection = Zero Neo-Darwinism

    Darwinian evolution itself quietly failed due to its inability to provide any type of a mechanism which could add new and beneficial genetic data to existing gene pools. But rather than admitting we were created, Darwinists have been promoting Neo-Darwinism—that mutations add the new information that leads to Darwinian change. Such false science has misled many.

    However, the DNA Code Barrier is a principle which demonstrates that one kind, such as a dog, only has genetic information to produce dogs. Though there can be a wide range of variation in their gene pool, dogs only have the DNA to produce dogs. Gene Depletion is the scientific principle that mutations are caused by the sorting or loss of the parents genetic data. Finally, Natural Selection removes the genetically weaker mutant, preserving the gene pool and PREVENTING Neo-Darwinian change. Real science proves that dogs can only produce dogs.

    [This teaching has been around] since 2003, and today, these simple facts are beginning to show up in secular writings. In “Genetic Entropy: The Mystery of the Genome”, Dr. J. Sanford of Cornell, holder of 25 patents for genetic research, examines the validity of Neo-Darwinism’s claim that mutations plus Natural Selection has led from goo-to-you evolution. His book, revolutionary in the Darwinian-worshiping world of modern science, reveals that the human genome is deteriorating due to Gene Depletion. He lays out the obvious scientific case that Gene Depletion + Natural Selection makes Neo-Darwinian change impossible. As always, real science is a Christian’s best friend.”

    excerpts from an article by Russ Miller

    Tim

  18. bobxxxx says:

    I’m less interested in atheism and more interested in the science of evolutionary biology. My love for evolution is shared by both theists and atheists.

    To me atheism is just plain logical. As an atheist I feel certain there is no magic in the universe and there never was any magic in the universe. Atheism has nothing to do with moral values. It’s only about the non-existence of what I call “magic fairies”.

    “what basis do you lay your hope on that all people could be moral atheists?”

    I would be naive if I thought “all” people could have good moral values, whether or not they were atheists. However, I noticed the theists who become atheists are usually very scientifically literate (There are exceptions, and many theists know more about science than most atheists). The more educated a person is, the more likely he or she is going to have enough common sense to understand that being civilized is in everyone’s best interest.

    “Why shouldn’t atheism lead to anarchy?”

    Most people, whether they are theists or atheists, have a natural tendency to be civilized. They have a natural desire to help people. We are not the only species who are altruistic. For example altruism has been observed in our closest living non-human cousins, the chimpanzee apes. I never met a chimpanzee who wasn’t an atheist.

    The most atheistic countries, like Japan and Sweden which are majority atheist, have very low crime rates, especially when compared to the very religious and very violent America.

    A person’s moral values come from their parents. If a person is properly raised, he or she will be a moral person. His or her religious beliefs or lack of religious beliefs have nothing to do with it.

    I suggest religions sometimes can make a good person into a bad person. Look at what Islam has done, it’s created countless suicide bombers who all have one thing in common, a belief they will be rewarded in heaven for murdering innocent people.

    I would say most Christians and most atheists have very strong moral values. But there is one thing a Christian might do that an atheist would never do. And that is make dishonest claims about science, and even worse they often pass on these dishonest ideas to their children, making their children scientifically illiterate. The dishonesty is not intentional, but that’s no excuse for making scientific claims that virtually all scientists know are false.

    I have a big problem with religious indoctrination of young gullible children. I call it child abuse. People with strong moral values would let children grow up before teaching them about religious ideas. Instead they start drilling their religion into their children before they are 4 years old. I think they do this because they know their religious ideas are so crazy it requires intense brainwashing of young children to keep the religion from going extinct.

    Anyway I’m much more interested in the discoveries of modern biology, and the very interesting fact that people and chimps share an ancestor.

    One more thing about moral values. A person can’t call himself moral without having a strong desire to protect the environment and protect endangered species. Now who is more likely to be concerned about, for example, our distant cousins the chimps, gorillas, and orangutans? The Christian fundamentalist who thinks people were magically created by God to be separate from the rest of nature, or the person who loves and understands evolution (both theists and atheists) and knows that we are related to all other life?

    I noticed it’s the biologists, and virtually all biologists love evolution, who are doing the most to protect endangered species, and their knowledge of how the world works (evolution by natural selection) helps their efforts to save these precious non-human animals.

  19. bobxxxx says:

    Tim, now I’m the one who has to ask for a temporary time out. I got to go buy groceries, cook, eat, clean up, etc. I will return asap, because obviously I’m very interested in this stuff.

    In the meantime please google “Godwin’s Law”.

  20. bobxxxx says:

    “After spending 18 years building a successful nationwide management recruitment firm, Russ Miller walked away from it all in the year 2000 so he could found Creation, Evolution & Science Ministries. He’s dedicated his life to studying Creation-Evolution issues and developing CESM’s popular, yet challenging, PowerPoint programs. Russ has presented over 1,000 seminars and church service messages and appeared on international telecasts. Through thousands of radio programs he has presented scientific evidences which have challenged hundreds of thousands of Christians worldwide to confidently believe the whole Bible – word for word and cover to cover.”

    I don’t think Russ Miller’s experience in the management recruitment business makes him qualified to speak intelligently about evolutionary biology.

    The other Miller, my Miller, Ken Miller, is a biology professor. He has written biology textbooks that are now being used in thousands of American high schools.

    What has Russ Miller contributed to biology? What discoveries has he made?

    Ken Miller and Russ Miller have one thing in common besides their last names. They are both followers of Jesus, also known as Christians. But they are very different people because one of them is a very knowledgeable biologist, and the other person is a very successful, but scientifically illiterate, business man.

    Later, when I get back from shopping, cooking, eating, (and I need to go swimming, it’s 81 degrees here in south Florida), I will return here with more comments.

    In the meantime, is this scientifically illiterate business man the best you can do?

    You might want to read this paragraph which I wrote in my previous comments. Here it is again. I’m sorry to say this paragraph describes you perfectly.

    “What a lot of creationists do, instead of trying to understand scientific evidence, they go running to their favorite professional liar, then they copy and paste a bunch of dishonest statements, not bothering to understand what they are copying, not bothering to check their facts, and most important not bothering to study scientific discoveries as described by the scientists who actually made those discoveries. Instead they get their information filtered by people who have never discovered anything, and who are only interested in defending their literal interpretation of Genesis. That’s really not an honest way of learning the truth.”

    OK, so you’re a typical creationist. Not to worry. I understand.

    Oh yeah. You have been reading Ken Miller, so it’s not fair to say you’re ignoring real scientists. So there is hope. You might be better than the average creationist. You might more flexible and more willing to learn something.

    By the way, I have an unfortunate tendency to make unfair statements sometimes, and even worse sometimes I sound a bit rude. If you notice these problems I have, please understand I’m not perfect, and certainly anything I say is not meant to be personal.

    I’ll be back asap. Thanks very much for your time.

  21. Bob!!

    You have to respond to the challenges I’m putting forward – not just attacking the people that you think do or do not have credentials to put forward the challenges. That won’t move us forward.

    If I or you have the ability to ask real questions and get real answers, then we can be open to other people who are equally interested and asking questions.

    Congrats on the weather. It’s quite cool in Phoenix.

    I also certainly don’t accept your criticism of the Discovery Institute.

    What about this: “But there is one thing a Christian might do that an atheist would never do. And that is make dishonest claims about science . . .”

    Do you really believe that? I think that is exactly what a lot of the scientific world is doing right now. They make a certain discovery and then they make totally false claims about what the discovery then proves. It takes the rest of us to sort out whether or not their proof is sufficient to create their end results.

    As far as taking care of endangered species, which I think is wonderful . . . I’d like to take a look at the biologists who are caring for the poor, the widows, the orphans, the unemployed, disabled. Why exactly aren’t they leading the revolution in that realm? Aren’t people at minimum equally important?

    Tim

  22. bobxxxx says:

    “Aren’t people at minimum equally important?”

    Human apes are important. I’m a big fan of human apes because I’m one of them. However the human ape species is not an endangered species. There’s almost 7 billion of us and our numbers are rapidly growing. Meanwhile other animal species are being crowded out.

    It would be a disaster if we lost any of the other ape species. Imagine a world with no gorillas, no orangutans, no bonobos, no chimpanzees. That would be terrible and future generations would be disgusted with us if we allowed any of these cousins of ours to go extinct.

    “You have to respond to the challenges I’m putting forward”

    I will be back. I’m not going to ignore anything you wrote. I’m here because I love this stuff, and because I think you’re a reasonable person.

    I think it was fair to compare the two Millers. The integrity of people is important. Their competence is important.

    “I also certainly don’t accept your criticism of the Discovery Institute.”

    Well, thanks for reading that criticism. I forgot I wrote it. You need to understand the Discovery Institute has a terrible reputation in the scientific community. Extremely terrible. Virtually biologist who has ever heard of the Discovery Institute has nothing but total contempt for them. This might be an unpleasant fact for you to learn about, but it’s true.

    “As far as taking care of endangered species, which I think is wonderful . . . I’d like to take a look at the biologists who are caring for the poor, the widows, the orphans, the unemployed, disabled. Why exactly aren’t they leading the revolution in that realm? Aren’t people at minimum equally important?”

    There’s a lot of biologists in the world. I would imagine some of them contribute to charities and/or help out with these problems.

    I’m personally not too interested in other people’s problems. I’m unemployed myself, deeply in debt, and not having much luck in the job market.

    However, I do enjoy helping old people. I live near a large number of old people and I never miss an opportunity to help them if they look like they might need help.

    You wrote:
    ————
    What about this: “But there is one thing a Christian might do that an atheist would never do. And that is make dishonest claims about science . . .”

    Do you really believe that? I think that is exactly what a lot of the scientific world is doing right now. They make a certain discovery and then they make totally false claims about what the discovery then proves. It takes the rest of us to sort out whether or not their proof is sufficient to create their end results.
    ————

    Yes. The scientific claims made by creationists are false. Are they being intentionally dishonest? In most cases, no. They are usually just repeating the lies of professional liars of Christian creationist organizations like the Discovery Institute.

    I might be wrong about these Christian creationist organizations, including Bible websites like Answers in Genesis, and the Discovery Institute. They might be honest people who just don’t know what they’re talking about.

    Unfortunately I think they are dishonest at least part of the time. Here’s an example.

    A paleontologist makes an important discovery. He finds a fossil of an animal that was transitional between our ancient ape ancestors and modern human apes. The fossil has features of modern man and also has features that would belong to an animal who lived at least part of the time in trees. The paleontologist has just spent 2 years carefully extracting this fossil from solid rock. He and others then study it, make their conclusions based on their knowledge, experience, and observations, and then they publish their findings in a peer-reviewed science journal.

    Meanwhile the worthless professional liars of the Discovery Institute, who have never discovered anything in their entire lives, and who used to be lawyers, not scientists, immediately put out a press release denying everything the real scientists said about this fossil. And here’s the dishonesty part. They talk about the gorilla-like features this fossil has, while completely ignoring the human-like features. Then they claim the fossil was just another ape, not possibly related to human apes (who they believe were magically created by God to be separate from the rest of nature). They are intentionally withholding facts they know about, knowing their gullible creationist customers will never bother to verify anything they say or don’t say.

    This is why real scientists have so much contempt for the Discovery Institute. Scientists hate dishonesty, and the scientifically illiterate members of the Discovery Institute make a living by being dishonest.

    OK, by now you’re really mad at me. Sorry about that.

    I will be back later today or this evening or tonight. I really got a lot to do. I’m very grateful for your patience and for letting me comment here, even though by now you probably don’t like me too much. I promise to reply to everything you said and I promise to talk about Russ Miller’s ideas.

  23. bobxxxx says:

    Tim, I just got some stuff done and I’m on the way to the grocery store, but I just wanted to ask a quick question.

    This will probably never happen, but let’s pretend that, after reading what Ken Miller said at the Dover trial, and perhaps after doing some more research, you figure out that, wow, this evidence for the idea we are distant cousins of the chimps really is strong enough to call it a proven fact.

    Now what happens to you? Would this realization that your species was not magically created to be separate from the rest of nature, cause you any problems? Would you be disgusted? Would you worry about things that used to be important to you, like going to heaven?

    My point is, I have often wondered why do creationists seem to be totally repulsed by the idea they are part of nature. Personally I think knowing about my ancient ancestors, knowing that I’m a distant cousin of every creature on this planet, is a wonderful fascinating thing. I don’t think creationists feel the same way at all and I’m just wondering why.

    Thanks, and I’ll be back to respond to everything as soon as get done shopping, cooking, eating, and some other urgent chores.

  24. bobxxxx says:

    Another quick comment before I get done with my chores:

    “the Darwinian-worshiping world of modern science”

    Oh boy! This is from Russ Miller. Maybe he thinks biologists get down on their knees to pray to the Darwin God.

    I promised I will talk about Russ Miller’s ideas and I will keep my promise. I just hope you understand why I have nothing but contempt for this person. Darwinian-worshiping? I doubt Russ Miller has ever talked to a real biologist.

  25. bobxxxx says:

    I’m still in the process of cooking and eating but I wanted to get in another quick question before I forget about it.

    Can we at least agree evolutionary biology is the ONLY scientific explanation for the diversity of life? I know you deny the facts of evolution. I know you prefer God’s magical creation of creatures, but can we at least agree evolution, right or wrong, is the only scientific explanation?

  26. bobxxxx says:

    To any biologist reading this. You will not be impressed. You will notice that science is not my career. Please feel free to jump in and offer corrections.

    “DNA Code Barrier + Gene Depletion + Natural Selection = Zero Neo-Darwinism”

    Russ Miller is getting off to a bad start here. I’ve been studying evolutionary biology for many years and this is the first time I’ve seen the words “DNA Code Barrier” and “Gene Depletion”. Did he make this up or did some other scientifically illiterate professional liar make it up?

    (I respect you, but I have zero respect for the non-scientist Russ Miller.)

    Neo-Darwinism? Why do creationists use this word? Biologists virtually never use it. They call evolution “evolution”, not darwinism, and not neo-darwinism.

    “Darwinian evolution itself quietly failed due to its inability to provide any type of a mechanism which could add new and beneficial genetic data to existing gene pools. But rather than admitting we were created, Darwinists have been promoting Neo-Darwinism—that mutations add the new information that leads to Darwinian change. Such false science has misled many.”

    Again he calls it “Darwinian evolution”. It’s called “evolution”, not “darwinian evolution”. Evolution doesn’t need any adjectives.

    He calls biologists “Darwinists”. Biologists are called “biologists”, not “darwinists”.

    “its inability to provide any type of a mechanism which could add new and beneficial genetic data to existing gene pools.”

    OK, is he lying or does he just not know what he’s talking about? He is very wrong. There is something called gene duplication. From talkorigins.org – A mechanism that is likely to be particularly common for adding information is gene duplication, in which a long stretch of DNA is copied, followed by point mutations that change one or both of the copies. Genetic sequencing has revealed several instances in which this is likely the origin of some proteins.

    “But rather than admitting we were created,”

    What the heck? Rather than invoking magic? Does Ross Miller seriously believe real scientists invoke magic?

    Obviously he is writing for his scientifically illiterate audience. Scientists at this point would walk out of the room while laughing at him.

    “However, the DNA Code Barrier is a principle which demonstrates that one kind, such as a dog, only has genetic information to produce dogs. Though there can be a wide range of variation in their gene pool, dogs only have the DNA to produce dogs. Gene Depletion is the scientific principle that mutations are caused by the sorting or loss of the parents genetic data. Finally, Natural Selection removes the genetically weaker mutant, preserving the gene pool and PREVENTING Neo-Darwinian change. Real science proves that dogs can only produce dogs.”

    My understanding of mutations is they occur every generation. Each generation there are some changes in the DNA. Each change is a mutation. The changes don’t necessarily make the creature stronger or weaker, just slightly different, or they have no effect at all. If a creature doesn’t have what it takes to survive and reproduce, its genes disappear from the population. If a creature does successfully reproduce, its genes may eventually spread throughout the population. This is called natural selection. Small changes accumulate, and given enough time, creatures will extremely gradually begin to look different enough from their ancient ancestors that would it be fair to call them a new species. It’s important to understand if there’s no changes in the environment, a population of creatures is not going to change very much, because they are already good enough to survive in the environment they live in.

    Release dogs into the wild into different environments. Come back in a million years. They will evolve differently depending on their environment. Will they still look like dogs? I would bet yes, they will and let me explain why.

    Imagine a tree of life. Each branch represents a species. As the tree grows, one branch will split into two branches. Those two new branches will split into more branches, each branch representing a new species. Remember that we are talking about vast periods of time, and extremely gradual changes. Small changes accumulate, and eventually the newer creatures look quite a bit different from their ancient ancestors. Also, the creatures represented by the two new branches that came from one common branch will look different from each other. They will not look like each other, and they will not look like their common ancestor. They will not look like each other because they evolved in different environments. Different environments will influence natural selection differently.

    Now imagine this tree of life getting rather old, say about three billion years old. It’s branched out into thousands of different branches, each branch representing a different species. Pick any branch at the top or at the edge of the tree, and follow the branches down to the ground and you will know the ancestors of this creature going back hundreds of millions of years. Now let’s say near the top of the tree you find the branch that represents wolves. Then that branch, thanks to artificial selection, splits into several more branches, from german shepherds to chihuahuas. Now can a dog, given enough time, evolve into a fish? No, probably not, because that fish species is much closer to the ground on the tree of life.

    A biologist could explain it better, and a biologist would probably make a lot of corrections to what I said above.

    Russ Miller’s DNA Code Barrier is nonsense. He is imagining an invisible barrier that makes evolution come to a complete stop before a population of creatures starts looking too different from their ancient ancestors.

    “[This teaching has been around] since 2003, and today, these simple facts are beginning to show up in secular writings. In “Genetic Entropy: The Mystery of the Genome”, Dr. J. Sanford of Cornell, holder of 25 patents for genetic research, examines the validity of Neo-Darwinism’s claim that mutations plus Natural Selection has led from goo-to-you evolution. His book, revolutionary in the Darwinian-worshiping world of modern science, reveals that the human genome is deteriorating due to Gene Depletion. He lays out the obvious scientific case that Gene Depletion + Natural Selection makes Neo-Darwinian change impossible. As always, real science is a Christian’s best friend.”

    From a customer review of Sanford’s book:

    This work is very typical of someone who wants to believe something — in this case, that evolution could not possibly be the result of “blind forces” — and in order to support his belief, is both willing and able to ignore contrary evidence sitting in front of his nose.

    Unlike what both he and “the professor” says, the central premise of the book (that mutations lead only to degeneration, never to gain-of-function or “progress”, unless some outside force intervenes to guide things) is actually easily refuted, by anyone who knows what they are talking about. The easiest path for gain-of-function mutations is gene duplication; a gene, or part of a gene, is accidentally copied more than once during sex cell formation. In the resulting organism, as long as one gene retains its original function, any duplicate copies can collect mutations — and many of these mutations will indeed, by blind chance, lead to novel proteins, with novel functions, and new results for the organism. Such mutations have been well-documented in literally hundreds, if not thousands, of papers.

    “I’ve worked through all your comments and am starting on your internet page (http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dover/day1am2.html). Here is an excerpt I have come across so far:”

    Thanks for reading it. Most creationists wouldn’t bother with it.

    “Well, Darwin and other people were impressed at how much plant and animal breeders could influence the ultimate characteristics by selecting individuals from a breeding population, let’s say of horses or rabbits that had a particular characteristic the breeder wanted and allowing them to breed. Plant breeders have done the same thing for years. This was the methodology of Luther Burbank when he developed all sorts of beneficial strains of plants.

    And Darwin was enough of a naturalist to realize that the same process of selection actually happens in nature. Darwin pointed out there’s a struggle for existence, whether we like to admit it or not, and not all organisms are able to pass their genes on to the next generation. Those that do the best in that struggle for existence — and it’s not just a struggle to survive, it’s a struggle to find mates, to reproduce, and to raise those offspring. So in many respects things that are very cooperative are important in this struggle.

    Darwin realized that those organisms that had the characteristics that suited them best in that struggle, those were the ones that were going to leave their characteristics in the next generation, and he realized that’s pretty much what plant and animal breeders do, and therefore over time the average characteristics of a population could change in one direction or another and they could change quite dramatically. And that’s the essential idea of natural selection.”

    “SO. . . OK if this is true that humans are the same as plants and animals, right (which we know I don’t believe) . . . but if the evidence doesn’t support this, then it is so important to be clear about that (we know that you think the evidence does support it). Why?”

    People are animals, not plants. We are related to all other life, including plants, if that’s what you meant.

    The evidence doesn’t support this? Well, you are wrong, and you would know why you’re wrong if you continued reading what Ken Miller said at the Dover trial.

    By the way, I noticed your copying and pasting did not say anything about ERVs. Don’t bother looking for the dishonest creationist viewpoint. I already have seen what the professional liars have said about it. They claim the existence of identical ERVs in the exact same location in the DNA of more than one species is NOT because those ERVs were inherited from the same ancestor. Instead the liars claim it was just a coincidence that an ERV, that looks exactly the same as an ERV in another species, was inserted into the exact same location in another species.

    Well that’s quite a coincidence because there’s about one out of a million chances that actually happened. And since there’s countless examples of these ERVs being in the exact same location in the DNA of more than one species, this one in a million coincidence would have had to occur countless times. This is called “impossible”. The liars are making a false claim. Are they lying or just ignorant? Who cares? What’s important is they are wrong. The only possible explanation for ERVs in the exact same location of more than one species (for example the human apes and chimpanzee apes) is those ERVs were inherited from the same ancestor species (for example the ancient ape-like creatures that both chimpanzees and human apes developed from).

    The professional liars can’t get away with using any other explanation because there is no other explanation.

    If you don’t understand, instead of running to your favorite creationist liar, please just sit down, relax, and think it out. Try to understand without your Bible bias. I think you’re a genius and I think you’re capable of understanding if only you let yourself understand. Cross that religious boundary. You can do it.

    I expect loud complaints from you about my disdain for the dishonesty of people who make a living spreading lies about science. Please understand that just the existence of creationists insults the integrity and hard work of thousands of biologists, including brilliant molecular biologists who work at places like Harvard and MIT. Creationists are saying these brilliant hard working scientists, who have made many important contributions to biology and human understanding, are incompetent and don’t know what they’re doing. I respectfully suggest these creationists should be ashamed of themselves.

    To be continued. Please wait for my next comments. And thanks for putting up with my total lack of diplomacy.

  27. bobxxxx says:

    Tim, after quoting Ken Miller, the biologist who loves evolutionary biology, you wrote the following, and I guess you were talking about artificial selection and/or natural selection:

    “This was the presumption that Hitler and Stalin operated off and the Eugenics movement in America when they sterilized 50,000 people against their will so that they wouldn’t reproduce and we could create this utopia and an advanced race. If others are not the “fittest”, then they are essentially just a drain on society and we should eliminate them (isn’t that the natural decision to make? . . . isn’t that the decision that Hitler made?).”

    Tim, did you google “Godwin’s Law” like I suggested earlier?

    OK, Tim, please understand the difference between artificial selection and natural selection. Artificial selection is when a person, usually a farmer or a breeder of animals, decides which creatures (cows, pigs, horses, etc.) are allowed to reproduce. The farmer might choose only cows that produce the most milk to generate offspring, and the cows who produce less milk are not selected. After several generations he owns a lot of excellent milk producing cows. Natural selection works exactly the same, except that instead of a farmer doing the selecting, nature does the selecting. By nature I mean if this animal can’t run fast enough to catch its lunch, it dies of starvation before it can reproduce and its inferior genes disappear from the population. The animals able to catch their prey reproduce, and eventually their genes spread throughout the population, making the entire species faster than their ancestors. Also, the prey that can’t run fast enough to escape becoming another creature’s lunch, die before they can reproduce, and so on.

    Also, after a long period of time in a changing environment, the creatures best able to survive in that new environment pass on their genes so favorable mutations are selected. Repeat this process thousands of times and new species very gradually develop. For example if a changing environment favored creatures with more intelligence, brain size could gradually increase. That’s one of the reasons modern humans developed.

    So what the heck does all this have to do with insane dictators? Nothing in my opinion. Even if it was true these dictators used modern science as an excuse for their terrible atrocities, that would not change the fact that all life evolved from common ancestors by natural selection.

    Interesting fact: The structure of human brains and chimpanzee brains are about the same. The biggest difference is size. Both creatures developed from the same ape-like ancestors, but human apes developed a larger brain, probably because the different environment they lived in strongly favored more intelligent animals.

    Another interesting fact: Chimpanzees, our closest living non-human cousins, are very intelligent creatures. I can probably beat most chimpanzees in a game of chess, but chimps have a much better short term memory than people. I watched some videos that had scientists testing the short term memory of both chimps and adult humans and the chimps had no problem with the test at all, scoring 100% even when the test was made more difficult. The poor humans couldn’t come close to how well the chimps did, who made it look easy.

    You quoted me: “Not only is my atheism very strong (it couldn’t possibly be stronger), I am also extremely anti-religion. Why am I so against religions? I noticed the 9/11/2001 attacks against my country, America, would not have been possible without the religious belief in heaven. I am convinced heaven is a very childish idea, and now thousands have died because of it, thanks to Muslim extremists.”

    Then you wrote: “So, thousands have died because of a religious belief in heaven and we should lump all people from all religions that believe in heaven together? Surely, these are people that misunderstand truth. Is Mother Teresa’s belief in heaven dangerous? Muslim extremism is very dangerous and we believe that it is based on lies. . . but belief in the truth develops healthy individuals, families, nations, and a healthy world.”

    I think you misunderstood the point I was trying to make. To me heaven is a very childish idea. It’s nothing more than wishful thinking. People who are afraid of the idea they become nothing after death, wish there was a magical heaven they could go to instead. Heaven was invented because that is exactly what people wished to be true. The heaven belief survives in the 21st century thanks to intense indoctrination of very young very gullible children. The heaven belief should be harmless, but unfortunately it has become extremely dangerous, because this belief makes possible a suicide bombing virtually every day. Of course Christians don’t do these terrible things, but the problem is the terrorists think they are normal because Christians share their belief in heaven. I think Christians should set a good example by throwing out their wishful thinking called heaven. Then just maybe the Muslims will do the same some day, making the world much safer.

    It’s important to remember heaven is impossible. There’s just too many miracles required to justify it. A belief in heaven requires throwing out all common sense. It’s just crazy in my opinion. Also, I think the irrational belief in heaven is why many people reject the facts of evolutionary biology. They figure if people are just one of the modern ape species, the heaven idea, which never made any sense in the first place, now looks even more ridiculous if people are just ordinary animals with larger than average brains.

    Millions of Christians have figured out some way to accept the fact we are an ape species and still believe in heaven. I thank them for accepting modern science, but I think they are lying to themselves about heaven. Heaven is an idea that’s just too crazy for rational educated people to take seriously. People would be better off trying to make better use of their time here on earth, instead of wasting their time waiting for a paradise that doesn’t exist. They should make their life here on earth a heaven. They should be grateful to be alive on a beautiful planet, instead of wishing for something better that couldn’t possibly exist.

    Tim, you also wrote: “Also, you should know that we are not at all anti-science nor anti-education nor anti-knowledge. However, when we are working with theories they must be identified as such. When things are presented as facts, they need to be facts.”

    I think here you have a misunderstanding about the meaning of the word theory when it’s used by scientists. As a non-scientist I might say “I have a theory the Chicago Cubs are going to win the World Series in my lifetime.” Well of course that’s just a wild guess and everyone knows how unlikely that is. In science the word theory has a completely different meaning. This might surprise you, so please look it up if you don’t believe me, but in science a theory is the highest level of understanding. A scientific theory is higher than an hypothesis, higher than a law, even higher than a fact. When I’ve explained this to creationists before, they don’t believe me, and unfortunately they never bother to look it up. Anyway, the theory of evolution explains the facts of evolution. To become a theory, which is a promotion from an hypothesis, and which is higher than both laws and facts, a scientific idea like evolution must have been repeatedly tested and it must have passed every test. Scientists should be able to use a scientific theory to make predictions about the natural world. An example was described by Ken Miller in the webite my name, bobxxxx, links to. Here’s the last paragraph:

    “So the case is closed in a most beautiful way, and that is, the prediction of evolution of common ancestry is fulfilled by that lead-pipe evidence that you see here in terms of tying everything together, that our chromosome formed by the fusion from our common ancestor is Chromosome Number 2. Evolution has made a testable prediction and has passed.”

    Here’s a good definition of a scientific theory: “A set of statements or principles devised to explain a group of facts or phenomena, especially one that has been repeatedly tested or is widely accepted and can be used to make predictions about natural phenomena.”

    Evolution has been tested for 150 years and it’s passed every test. The basic facts of evolution, including the idea that we share an ancestor with chimps, are accepted by virtually every single biologist in the world. Evolution is used every day to make predictions about the natural world. It’s fair to say evolution is the strongest theory of science. It’s also fair to say the basic facts of evolution are the strongest facts of science.

    Creationists like to say “evolution is JUST a theory”. Well, yeah, it’s a theory, but no scientist would call it “just” a theory, because when an idea becomes a scientific theory, it’s already been tested and tested and tested, always with complete success.

    “I’m happy for my children to learn about the possibility that evolution is true and learn about all of its supporting evidence if they will also learn about some of the areas that have not yet been proven and the areas that will need to be proven in order to legitimize the evolution theory.”

    Tim, evolution is an extremely strong fact. It’s not fair to say it requires more proof. The evidence for evolution will continue to grow because biologists will be forever comparing DNA sequences of different species to accurately determine thousands of evolutionary relationships. They are learning more about the history of life, and their discoveries add more evidence to the mountains of evidence evolution already has, but no biologist is trying to prove evolution is a fact, because evolution has been accepted as a fact by the scientific community for more than a century. What you are asking for, Tim, is that biology teachers be forced to lie about science. Good luck with that because competent biology teachers would quit their jobs before agreeing to dumb down science education.

    There will forever be gaps in human knowledge. That’s what makes science so exciting. These gaps in knowledge are called research opportunities. Creationists call these points for future understanding “weaknesses”. That’s dishonest and just plain nuts. Evolution has research opportunities. Evolution does not have weaknesses for the same reason our planet’s orbit around the sun does not have weaknesses. The earth circles the sun, and all life has evolved and continues to evolve from common ancestors. These are scientific facts, not weaknesses. If creationists had their way, America’s science education would be destroyed and Americans would become even more scientifically illiterate than they already are. In the competitive world we live in, we can’t afford to dumb down science education to accommodate the medieval beliefs of religious extremists.

    “As you state and Wikipedia and everyone else regarding the origins of life: there is no scientific consensus on how life began. Are their theories? Yes. Do those unproven theories require faith? Yes. Is more faith necessary for those theories than a belief in a benevolent God who has created a complex and beautiful creation for the enjoyment of His creation? For some, maybe . . . but to others it is very logical based on the evidence that is available and does not require the denying of evidence–though we must always be wary of deciding exactly what the interpretation of any evidence is.”

    The many ideas scientists have about how the first simple living cells developed are not theories. There’s not enough evidence to call any of their ideas a scientific theory, which is, as I explained earlier, the highest level of understanding in science. They are hypothesis, or just ideas. And no, they don’t require faith. They require more hard work because many questions remain unanswered. Evolution, which began AFTER life got a foothold on earth, is a strong scientific fact. The more difficult problem, how life began from organic matter, is a chemistry problem that may or may not be solved some day. I strongly recommend you don’t hide your God-Of-The-Gaps there, because then you would have to find it a new hiding place if and when scientists chase it away. It’s always more honest, when there’s some unanswered scientific question, to say “scientists are still working on it” than saying “it was God’s magic tricks”. Invoking God is just wild guessing and of course there could never be any valid scientific evidence for supernatural magic.

    I suggest, if and when you study the science of evolutionary biology, that you concentrate on understanding, and worry about the religious implications later. After you understand how the natural world works, then you can decide which religious beliefs need to be modified or thrown out to accommodate modern scientific discoveries.

    I’m done, unless you have any questions, complaints, or suggestions. I shall return, and thanks again for putting up with me even though you still probably completely disagree with me about everything.

  28. bobxxxx says:

    Hello Tim. One more thing.

    I wasn’t satisfied with what I wrote to respond to what Russ Miller said: “Finally, Natural Selection removes the genetically weaker mutant, preserving the gene pool and PREVENTING Neo-Darwinian change. Real science proves that dogs can only produce dogs.”

    So I visited one of my favorite science blogs, and I asked the question “why is a creationist incorrect when he says “dogs can only produce dogs, therefore evolution doesn’t work.”

    To see the response I got, please click my name (my name for this comment only) and please look at comment number 161. Thanks. See you later.

  29. bobxxxx says:

    Tim, I would like to correct a mistake I made, and also I would like to strongly recommend a YouTube video that talks about the ERV evidence I was trying to explain earlier. To see this video just click my name, bobxxxx (for this comment only).

    Earlier I was talking about the creationist misconception that it could be just a coincidence if the same ERV was found in the exact same location in the DNA of both people and chimps. This is what I wrote: “Well that’s quite a coincidence because there’s about one out of a million chances that actually happened. And since there’s countless examples of these ERVs being in the exact same location in the DNA of more than one species, this one in a million coincidence would have had to occur countless times.”

    Well, I was correct but it would be more accurate to say “The chances of a pair of viruses inserting at the exact same location is 1 out of 3 Billion.” My error was I said the chance for this is 1 out 1 Million. So it’s fair to say it would be virtually impossible for ERVs to appear in the exact same location in the DNA of two species (for example people and chimps), unless of course the ERVs were inherited from the same ancestor (for example the ape-like creatures that both people and chimps developed from). This is a bloody fact, Tim, and the video that I hope you watch explains why it’s a bloody fact.

    My point is the idea that people and chimps are distant cousins is not a wild guess, it’s not an idea with little evidence. It’s a proven fact. Absolutely for sure certain fact. It’s impossible to deny this fact. I wouldn’t be writing this if I wasn’t 100% sure I was right.

    Just please see the video Tim, and if you’re still not satisfied, you can find the same information all over the internet. Facts are facts, Tim. It’s just plain nuts to deny what every biologist in the world knows is a proven beyond any doubt fact.

  30. bobxxxx says:

    Tim, sorry but I got one more YouTube video to show you which I highly recommend. Don’t expect to be able to fully understand it, but you will hopefully understand that it’s not really a good idea to invoke the God-of-the-Gaps to explain the development of the first simple living cells more than 3 Billion years ago. If you don’t like the video, I bet you will still like the music.

    To see the video that describes the tremendous progress scientists have made to explain the origin of life, just click bobxxxx (for this comment only).

  31. Hey Bob. . .

    I’ve read and will continue to reflect on the many ideas you’ve presented. OK. My question is going to throw you for a loop (lol) because we’re talking about science and for a moment I’m not responding to the things you’ve laid out.

    What do you do with the historical resurrection of the person of Jesus Christ?

    He’s not a fairy tale. He came in the flesh. His death and resurrection were predicted. None of the Old Testament predictions about him were false which is amazingly statistically impossible. And when he rose from the dead, he appeared to more than 500 people over 40 days. . . therefore cementing that it wasn’t something that a few people made up. The people who hated him so much they had him crucified would have surely shut that down if it had been a lie . . . and of course there’s the issue of his disciples who went scrambling in fear of the authorities at the time of his death, but re-emerged following his resurrection with passion to the point of their own martyrdom on many accounts. There just wasn’t a reason for them to do this if it wasn’t the only thing that had ever been real and was a truth that could bring truly satisfying life to the world.

    So. I think that’s all I have to say for now. : ) I hope you’ll forgive me for taking a break from the science talk and putting that out there. I would love for you to respond to this at your convenience.

    Grace,

    Tim

  32. bobxxxx says:

    Tim, it would be my pleasure to respond to anything you write, because you’re an OK person in my opinion, even though our ideas are a lot different.

    I’m actually very interested in the Resurrection story and everything you said I heard before. You probably won’t be surprised to know I don’t believe it. The 500 witnesses could have been invented by the writer. Or perhaps Jesus never died on his cross. If I remember correctly, criminals were usually tied to the cross, not nailed, and left there to die. The nailing of Jesus to the cross could be a myth, and if he was tied to it, it would not have been difficult for somebody to take him down, and give him a place to hide for 3 days.

    Also, I noticed the people most likely to witness a miracle are the kind of people who were already likely to believe in miracles.

    Now this is most important for you to understand. Even if there were millions of witnesses, witnesses still living today, and even if the whole thing was recorded for a TV camera, I still could never believe a dead body could return to life after 3 days. I did some research and found out what happens to internal organs after an animal is dead for 3 days. It’s not pretty. The Resurrection is just plain impossible.

    Now you might say “Of course the Resurrection was impossible. That’s why it’s called a miracle.”

    The problem is I could never believe in a miracle, which is just another word for magic. I’m certain there’s no magic in the universe for the simple reason magic is impossible.

    Here’s something else for you to think about. Let’s throw out all common sense for a minute and pretend there really is a ruler of the universe (your Christian God or any other supernatural creature with unlimited powers). I think anyone who understands how unimaginably vast the universe is, is not going to think a God of the Universe is going to single out this insignificant planet for special treatment. Since there’s more solar systems than grains of sand on earth, it’s really a bit crazy to think the little rock we live on is important enough for a god to notice us.

    Also, don’t you think the idea of God sending down its son to get executed to save us from the wrath of God is bloody silly? It sounds like a story for children, and not something to take seriously. The Resurrection story is also gross and disgusting. It makes Christianity look like a death cult.

    Anyway, I loved that video about ERVs. I loved it because it shows how much tremendous progress scientists have made in just the past few years. I think Darwin, who predicted our close evolutionary relationship with the chimpanzees, would be very proud to find out 21st century scientists have proved his prediction was 100% correct.

    Now that’s what science can do better than any religion, make accurate predictions about the natural world.

    The prediction that Jesus would be executed is not so great when you consider the obvious fact the Old Testament predictions could have been rewritten after the events took place. The Bible is like any other book of fiction. The author can go back and make corrections anytime he wants. The Bible, written thousands of years ago, and translated and rewritten countless times, is not something I would want to trust.

    Fantastic claims like the Resurrection require fantastic evidence, and I don’t see any “real” evidence for the Resurrection at all.

    See you later, and please take your time. I check back here every day.

  33. bobxxxx says:

    From the video (click my name to see it).

    “Endogenous Retroviruses (ERVs) are the relics of ancient viral infections preserved in our DNA. The odd thing is many ERVs are located in exactly the same position on our genome and the chimpanzee genome. There are two explanations for the perfectly matched ERV locations. Either it is an unbelievable coincidence that viruses just by chance inserted in exactly the same location in our genomes, or humans and chimps share a common ancestor. It was our common ancestor that was infected, and we both inherited the ERVs. ERVs provide the closest thing to a mathematical proof for evolution. And remember, ERVs are just one of the millions of FACTS that support the theory of evolution. Think about it.”

  34. Bob!!!

    I am SO sad tonight!! You have really cut me to the bone.
    “Even if there were millions of witnesses, witnesses still living today, and even if the whole thing was recorded for a TV camera, I still could never believe a dead body could return to life after 3 days.”

    If I had said this to you, you would have never accepted it from me. I am heartbroken! Why can’t we have the same means of openness? Who is naive and full of blind faith if they can not open themselves to facts and define what is possible by what has happened? Surely nothing like this can be possible unless there is something outside of the limited finite world that you and I know. But if everything in history does in fact verify this, then I pray that we pay attention.

    This video doesn’t answer everything, but I think Lee Strobel is a great starting place for asking honest questions about the validity of Christianity, the Scriptures, and the resurrection. Lee sought to expose the lies of Christianity as a journalist and ended up becoming a devout follower. He has numerous books published that would be valuable to scan through and take seriously if you want evidence for these things. The book that I think that would be the most relevant for you at this stage is titled “Case for Christ” and is very efficient at getting to its points (not convoluted). . . . he has other books, but I highly recommend you start with this one. You can also search at leestrobel.com . . . but it does not have the efficiency or fullness that you’ll find in the book. Get it!

    This is great!!
    Did Jesus Rise From the Grave? The Resurrection Reality (3:46)
    http://www.leestrobel.com/videoserver/video.php?clip=strobelT1067
    Another one that is a little more lengthy (7:19) is “Debating the Existence of God: Jesus’ Resurrection as Proof” http://www.leestrobel.com/videoserver/video.php?clip=strobelT1070

    Bob!! This is true. It is not a game or a joke or magic!

    You said: “The 500 witnesses could have been invented by the writer. Or perhaps Jesus never died on his cross. If I remember correctly, criminals were usually tied to the cross, not nailed, and left there to die. The nailing of Jesus to the cross could be a myth, and if he was tied to it, it would not have been difficult for somebody to take him down, and give him a place to hide for 3 days.”

    But absolutely everything historically shows that there is no possible way that it is possible for the Gospels to be historically inaccurate on these points. Everything points to it and accepts it. Whether Jesus is accepted as God remains and has remained up to a weighty individual decision, but please be assured that the death on the cross and the resurrection is not in doubt.

    You said, “The Bible is like any other book of fiction. The author can go back and make corrections anytime he wants.”
    This is just not at all true. There are so many people that have been pitted against the faith throughout history that all changes are highly scrutinized. There are many places in the Scriptures where something is culturally embarrassing and would have been erased or corrected if the intention was not complete accuracy.

    To follow your side note on ERVs . . . which I did watch a good portion of that video and did get to the part that you’ve quoted above . . . I found it all very fascinating, but found it in no way to disprove anything about God or to make Him seem deceitful if in fact He (rather than some natural means over billions of years) had created chimpanzees to be so amazingly similar to us! That’s awesome! I have other issues that we can come back to in time . . .

    I’ve tried very hard to eliminate unnecessary links or articles and have watched and scanned many of them! Here are two that I still found worthwhile at the end of the day:
    Is there any evidence for God? Who is a brilliant scientist who has converted based on their research? (10 minute video) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iXFurmM49WI
    The other article is critiquing Richard Dawkins and some metaphysical presuppositions of atheists.
    http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/Read.aspx?GUID=C73326B1-C9B5-4B01-A1A3-943E31CE3DB7

    Thanks for your openness to discuss some of this.

    Tim

    PS. One more side note that you don’t have to think a lot about . . . I could give you a number of these, but you have to decide first that some level of evidence could convince you that there is a God, otherwise it’s just a lot of writing . . .

    . . . interesting . . . sexism was horrible in the first century and women were not even allowed to testify in court . . . but the Gospels show their authenticity yet again in acknowledging that women were the first to see Christ risen from the grave.

  35. bobxxxx says:

    OK, thanks for the links. I will check them out.

    I think our brains are wired differently. How your brain works and how my brain works is different. One brain isn’t better than the other. We just have different ways of thinking.

    In a couple of months I’ll be 60. I became an atheist at 18. My atheism gradually became stronger. Every year I became more certain there’s no magic in the universe. After 42 years, I can’t imagine being a stronger atheist than I am now, especially after all the studying I’ve been doing, learning mostly about evolutionary biology, and also other branches of science.

    I don’t think a person like myself, who studies how scientists have made predictions about what must be in the genome of humans, or else evolution is false, and then they find exactly what they were looking for, and everything, every single tiny detail, is absolutely perfect for what would be expected if evolution is true, I just don’t think it’s possible to have an understanding of these scientific facts, and then at the same time believe a corpse, whose internal organs are rapidly decomposing and is infested with maggots and bacteria, with a smell too horrible to imagine, and then this corpse turning into what we usually call a zombie, well, that’s just impossible for a scientifically literate person to believe.

    When I study science all I see is natural processes. I never see any need for supernatural magic. It’s just not necessary. How am I suppose think scientifically and then throw out all common sense and believe in things that couldn’t possibly be true? Sorry. It will never happen. Even if I wanted to believe in supernatural events, I couldn’t do it. I just don’t have what it takes to believe that stuff, I guess.

    OK, back to reality. You wrote: “I found it all very fascinating, but found it in no way to disprove anything about God or to make Him seem deceitful if in fact He (rather than some natural means over billions of years) had created chimpanzees to be so amazingly similar to us!”

    The earth’s been here about 4,500,000,000 years (4.5 Billion years ago), but the ancestors of chimps and people split apart only about 5,000,000 years ago (5.0 Million years ago). The 16 ERVs (in identical locations) that these two species share were inserted into their common ancestor more than 5 million years ago. So we’re talking about millions of years, not billions of years.

    You’re missing something here. Let’s pretend for a moment you’re right and God did make people out of nothing, and it made chimpanzees out of nothing, making virtually all of the DNA sequences almost identical in both species, perhaps because this Mr. God enjoys deceiving 21st century molecular biologists, or whatever.

    Now we got these two species reproducing and dying and many generations go by, and then one human person gets a viral infection and he survives and the viral infection gets preserved in his DNA. This is called an ERV and it gets inserted long after God created Adam and Eve (I’m using the Christian creation myth for my example). So God had nothing to do with the insertion of this ERV. It was inserted naturally many generations after the first people were magically created by God, and the ERV got inherited by future generations and eventually spread throughout the entire human population. And each person now has the same ERV in the exact same location in their genome.

    Then there’s this amazing one chance out of three million coincidence and the exact same thing happens to a chimpanzee creature, the ERV gets inserted into the exact same location in its genome as the human. The odds against this happening is virtually impossible.

    Scientists have so far discovered 16 examples of ERVs found in the exact same location in the DNA of people and chimps. The odds of this happening only once is virtually impossible. The odds of this happening 16 times is completely impossible. And this is why every single molecular biologist in the world completely agrees the only possible explanation is these 16 ERVs, which are found in 16 identical locations in the DNA of both people and chimps, were inherited from the same ape-like creatures who lived more than 5 million years ago. This is smoking gun proof, Tim. The only way you can deny this stuff is by sticking your head into the sand.

    I think you want to rule it out because you think evolution = atheism. Well, that’s not my problem, but if you can’t exist without this supernatural creature, you’re going to have to invoke it for something else. The God creature just wasn’t necessary to explain the diversity of life.

    See you next time. As you know, I check back here every day, so take your time. Maybe you could take enough time to let this ERV stuff sink in. I wouldn’t talk about so much if I didn’t think it was extremely important. I’m asking you to see what biologists can see, and to understand what they understand. They can see what happened with their own eyes so they don’t need faith. They don’t need witnesses because they can see this evidence right now, and thousands of other scientists have verified this evidence. Everything has been peer reviewed countless times. Nobody is making anything up. This ERV evidence is stronger than a smoking gun. It’s stronger than anything. This kind of evidence is why evolution is the strongest fact of science.

  36. Hi Bob.

    I was very unimpressed by your review of the 3 minute video I sent you. You will remember that I said that you should check out the book. Obviously, nothing in a 3 minute video could really prove anything to you . . . if you want the facts, get the book that I mentioned and please talk to me about it.

    I hope that I have not disrespected or treated you in a way that is unprofessional. I appreciate you making your best effort to do the same. Thanks,

    Tim

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