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    The Missing Link Fallacy
    By Oliver Knevitt | January 31st 2011 01:47 PM | 162 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Oliver

    In a nutshell: I like fossils. But even more than than that, I like arguments about fossils. Which is why my current occupation as a PhD researcher...

    View Oliver's Profile
    The comments thread for an article that I wrote a couple of weeks ago has suddenly been swamped by the replies of a young-earth creationist. Perhaps I should have expected it, with an article about hoaxed fossils. He presents an orgy of anecdotes that he claims (I assume it's a he) debunks my evolutionist agenda.

    I say orgy: its a bacchanalian romp of differing misconceptions and twisted logic - basically, nothing out of the ordinary for a creationist, for whom apparently the addition of even more terrible ideas can only strengthen your argument. Very quickly, I got bored of the tedious process of writing a comment correcting these misconceptions, and I was just about to ignore it and start writing my next article.

    That is, until circularreason, showing a surprising amount of humility, said
    I would like to hear your thoughts on the fallacy of missing links, I am reasonable and willing to listen.
    Now, there is something that I am willing to bend on. You see, missing links, or rather, the apparent lack of them, are something that is bandied around irritatingly commonly on rant-threads like these. Their alleged absense is something that many creationists believe represent the nail in the coffin for evolution, and creationists act as if it is something that us paleontologists are all embarrassed about, fervently collecting in the desperate hope that one will turn up.

    But, of course, this is absolute rubbish, and their insistence on using such arguments only does more to highlight their complete lack of any understanding of evolution, as I will outline here.

    (I warn you, I lost an entire afternoon of work typing it, and it ended up being bit of a monster of an article!)

    Snakes and ladders

    The great chain of being. From wikipedia (open)

    The first major reason for this misconception, I think, is part of a global misunderstanding about evolution in general. In their understanding of evolution, many people - non-creationists included here - imagine in their heads something akin to the classical idea of "The Great Chain of Being". Here, all life is connected by a great ladder of increasing complexity; from the lowly worms and snakes at the bottom, up through the animals, to humans, then to the angels and then, almighty God at the top. Its an idea that was commonly hijacked to justify the inequality in society and the divine right of kings, and eventually laid the foundations for linnean taxonomy.

    Whilst nobody would claim to believe in such an idea these days, dating as it does from the time of the Greeks, most people in their mind's eye see some version of this story. Many understand macroevolution by envisaging a grand procession of life, where all creatures, through time, climb inexorably up this ladder, finishing with the the proud human, the most evolved of all beasts.

    This is an unfortunate misunderstanding. I find myself speaking to a large amount of people who are genuinely surprised when I tell them that we didn't evolve from chimpanzees. They think I'm winding them up when I tell them that there's no such thing as the missing link between chimpanzees and humans, simply that we share a recent common ancestor with them. This common ancestor is likely to look similar to the two of us, but it need not be.

    Evolution, then, is not a ladder. It's not even a tree. It is a thick, tangled bush, with no up and down. All we see today is the continuously growing ends on the twigs of this bush, which can split and slowly diverge. We can only have missing links if we have a chain, whereas what we really have is ends, with missing twigs. Hence no missing links.

    Even the idea of a tree, with increasing complexity upwards, is wrong. Yes, many groups are characterised by increasing complexity, but many are characterised by an increasing loss of complexity. Some may lose an entire life stage. It's still progress, but not necessarily in the "upwards" direction. No living animal is more evolved than anything else, it may have simply evolved to retain its primitive characters.

    Evolution is a bush.

    But perhaps I am being pedantic - or semantic, anyhow. It is, of course, true that there are such things as transitional forms. By this, we mean that lineages can slowly accrue changes in their morphology through time. It is perhaps this concept that many refer to, rather than a chain of being as such. Maybe if people referred to transitional fossils it wouldn't irritate me so such.

    Transitional fossils...?




    A cladogram of dinosaur evolution.

    We are not out of the woods yet, though. The likelyhood of finding a fossil that represents an ancestor of any sort of other organism, a member of one of those queues of organisms between known organisms on a cladogram, is astronomically low. The chance is even lower when we look very deep into the fossil record - so much so, that we have almost certainly never found one.

    Surprising? It shouldn't be - think about it. Groups of organisms are continually evolving, groups migrating, changing, constantly splitting from one another in a fractal way. Are we really likely to accidentally stumble across one particular animal that is a member of a group that is a direct ancestor of another group we know about? No, of course not.

    We have to image the lines on a cladogram as being a zoomed out line of our ancestors, a long queue stretching back towards our common ancestor with the next twig. Its along these lines that we slowly change. If the organism bears a resemblance to another or seems to be transitional, it could well be on a myriad of small offshoots from our line of ancestors, and could even be close to our line, but the chances of it actually being on our line is tiny. Walking through an old graveyard, are any of the gravestones likely to be an ancestor of yours? How about a skull in an African cave? Or a fossil monkey in a swamp? Even taking into account pedigree collapse, its still highly unlikely.

    Transitional fossils do exist. Its just that they aren't necessarily the precise ancestors of organisms that we see; rather, are members of a cloud of organisms treading along some of the same evolutionary ideas, being as they are closely related to one another. Out of this maelstrom of different lineages there may be just one thread that gives rise to another important lineage. The fossils in this cloud still give us a chance to test our hypotheses about how the trends may have occurred in the lineages we're interested in. But they may not necessarily a true link in the chain.

    That's the true art of paleontology, you see: using examples from the fossil record to infer trends and to test hypotheses about the nature of evolution. To assume that it is simply trying to make a sort of flip-book of evolution through time is incredibly ignorant.

    Zeno's paradox



    Tetrapod evoltuion: too many transitional fossils

    A particularly egregious taunt often flaunted by creationists is "Give me just one missing link fossil and I will believe you". It's particularly loathsome because as soon as you present said creationist with a perfectly decent transitional fossil, they demand a link between those three fossils. And now there are two gaps to be filled with more missing links. Like the distance between Achilles and the tortoise in Zeno's paradox, this continues ad infintum.

    How many fish to tetrapod intermediates do you want? Like it or not, the bigger problem that tends to be encountered more often in paleontology and related disciplines these days is that there are far too many plausible ancestors to place on our cladogram. The difficult bit is deciding which of these are closer to us and which are further away.

    Mosiac evolution

    WikipediaAnother related irksome point is the the very unitary approach taken to organisms. Whilst it is true that the unit of selection is at the organismal scale, the body parts that evolve may be at different rates. This concept is known as mosaic evolution, and is at the basis of modern cladistics (the possession of the most derived body parts, the synapomorphies, define the group as a whole).

    For example, in human evolution, bipedality evolved very quickly but large brain size evolved slowly and later on. So we will never find a fossil with both a mid-sized brain and an average adoption of bipedality; its just not how it happened. Similarly, we wouldn't necessarily expect the transitional form between maniraptors and birds to be something with medium length claws, medium length tail and legs and slightly asymmetric wing feathers. Archaeopteryx exemplifies this, with its mix of more bird like features, like a wishbone and asymmetric flight feathers, with more primitive characters, like a long tail and legs.

    Macro to micro



    Peter Sheldon's landmark study of welsh trilobites is a great example of gradual evolution in the fossil record


    Many creationists these days seem to have quietly abandoned their objection to evolution at small scales. God knows why, but I presume its because the ark would sink with the sheer weight of beetles, molluscs and lice (every animal would of course have to be infested with every sort of parasite imaginable, of course). To do this, they seem to have invented a dichotomy between macroevolution and microevolution, envisaging them as different processes. They are both valid terms in evolutionary biology, but both at heart driven by the same inherent processes at viewed at different scales, and thus the dichotomy is false in this sense.

    Where am I going with this? Well, all I mean to say is that; acceptance of microevolution is a wise thing, because there are cliffs worldwide stacked full with transitional fossils, if you accept evolution at the species level.

    Rocks worldwide are dated relative to others by the gradual change of the constituent fossils that make them up. Unless you want to dispute the most basic tenet of geology, namely that the rocks on top are younger than those underneath, you cannot dispute that these organisms are slowly changing through time. Gradual evolutionary change has been noted in trilobites, bryozoans, bivalves, you name it. Its just that, because these organisms are marine, small and shelly, they have an exceptionally good fossil record.

    If we had a similarly good record for, say birds and maniraporan dinosaurs, it would truly be a wonderful thing. But think how lucky we are to be able to say what we can about bird evolution. How fortuitous that those Archaeopteryxes should have died and fell in a stagnant lagoon? We may not have as good a resolution as we do for shelly marine critters, but we can still make out the general trend.

    A god of the gaps

    How about the many distinct gaps in the fossil record though? Is god quickly changing the organisms for more complex ones?

    Asides from the large gaps due to pauses in sedimentation, it is true that in many sedimentary columns, a group may appear, then disappear entirely and be replaced with something different, with little sign of transitional forms between them. Hesitantly then, I'll drag punctuated equilibrium theory into the fray, kicking and screaming because of all the times it gets misrepresented and misunderstood.

    The way it works is that, at this scale, it is expected that any evolving will be done elsewhere. Natural selection generally acts to stabilise forms, trimming gaussians of character distribution at the edges like neat topiary bushes. So, a form may generally stay the same for a long period of time. If, however, a splinter group of random organisms gets separated and ends up elsewhere, they will gradually diverge from the rest. This is either because of different ecological niches being available, or simply through a lack of being able to recombine your genes with the rest of the group - a bit like the way that dutch-speaking people can no longer understand afrikaans, even though the two languages were once the same thing. And like when dutch people visit south africa on holiday, once the two are reintroduced they are no longer compatible. But, crucially, because the evolution of the splinter group occurred elsewhere, there is no record of it in the sedimentary column, and hence the transitional forms are elsewhere. And, given the incompleteness and geographical bias of the fossil record, they are likely to be unseen.

    My worry about introducing Punc-Eq is because it is often thought about as some sort of ad-hoc, deus-ex-machina argument; a cover-up story. Let me say it clear: Punc-Eq is not some sort of excuse. Nor is it the rule. Punc-Eq has been conclusively proved by a study on bryozoans, as has gradualism; the two occupy a continuum, and the results of multitudinous studies done on it have formed a general theory of microevolution. There are, I'll admit, many gaps in our understanding of the way it works, but as with all science, that's the fun bit.

    The point to draw from all this, if you haven't understood any of the above explanations, is that the need for transitional fossils, at all scales, is simply not there. They are of course, handy, illustrative of processes, and provide the most direct proof of our hypotheses, but they are by no means the only means of proof that two lineages are related.

    Was there a point to me typing up this monster of an article?



    Wouldn't it be great if a creationist read this and thought: "Hmmm. It appears I have been mistaken for all these years, and I think maybe it's time to join the world of logical thinking". Wouldn't it be great if just one person did that? Will circularreason change his mind?

    Depressingly, I doubt it very much, and that's the very reason why I am generally reticent to answer creationists. But I'd like to think that, at least I can provide reassurance for anybody teetering on the edge, worried about whether the lack of transitional fossils is something that keeps paleontologists awake at night, and considering converting to the dark side.

    So, to this person, then; re: the lack of missing links: Don't worry, we've got it covered.

    Comments

    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    Evolution, then, is not a ladder. It's not even a tree. It is a thick, tangled bush, with no up and down. All we see today is the continuously growing ends on the twigs of this bush, which can split and slowly diverge. We can only have missing links if we have a chain, whereas what we really have is ends, with missing twigs. Hence no missing links.
    Great article Oliver and I love your style. Unfortunately I'm not a creationist to be converted but I have lately become quite confused about this tangled tree or bush, which we have been recently (yesterday) discussing on Steve Davies' 'Genes and Behaviours'  article here at Science20.

    In summary I've been questioning whether hybridization between species and Horizontal Gene Transfer (HGT) negates the phylogenetic tree and bush concept as we now know that branches grow back into trunks and twigs grow into branches and in reality that can never happen to a real bush or a tree. For example I find it difficult to understand how a tree can explain the common ancestry of humans and Neanderthals diverging 400,000 years ago and then converging again 60,000 years ago only to diverge yet again. In other words it really is a chain sometimes and not 'ends', so does that mean if you follow your logic above that this means that there are possible missing links?. This article at http://www.genome.gov/27539119 describes this possible chain or network :-
    Humans migrating out of Africa were likely to be small pioneering groups and appear to have encountered Neanderthals living in the Fertile Crescent of the Middle East about 60,000 years ago. It was a very unique series of events, with a founding population of modern humans of greatly reduced size -- tens to hundreds of individuals," Dr. Mullikin said. Geneticists can detect a population constriction or bottleneck where certain genetic markers are concentrated; that only occurs when the population is small.

    "At that time," Dr. Mullikin continued, "where the population was greatly reduced, the modern humans migrating out of Africa encountered Neanderthals and inter-breeding occurred between the two groups, leaving an additional, but subtle, genetic signature in the out-of-Africa group of modern humans.'
    The Wikipedia’s Species Problem section at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Species_problem also claims that :-
    It is also true that there are many cases where members of different species will hybridize and produce fertile offspring when they are under confined conditions, such as in zoos. One fairly extreme example is that lions and tigers will hybridize in captivity, and at least some of the offspring have been reported to be fertile. Mayr's response to cases like these is that the reproductive barriers that are important for species are the ones that occur in the wild. But even so it is also the case that there are many cases of different species that are known to hybridize and produce fertile offspring in nature.
    Gerhard also mentioned other examples of fertile offspring from hybridized brown bears and polar bears and even the occasional fertile mule!

    My latest forum article 'Australian Researchers Discover Potential Blue Green Algae Cause & Treatment of Motor Neuron Disease (MND)&(ALS)' Parkinsons's and Alzheimer's can be found at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    Oliver Knevitt
    Well, yes, the bush is just an analogy, because real bushes aren't really fractal in nature, they mainly grow off of branches. The reason for using a bush is just to say that evolution radiates outwards from an origin, rather than upwards towards some sort of goal. But I would still not use the word chain. The only way that evolution can work is by splitting a preexisting lineage, and so unless you are talking about within-species gradualism due to the red queen hypothesis or just slow selection, or even genetic drift, the concept of a chain of evolution is invalid.

    I think its also worth clearing up here what we mean by common ancestor. (I've had to make this very brief, so I hope its clear enough!). At at some point in the future, you have a chance of being an ancestor of everybody alive. I won't present the maths here, but, when you look far enough into the future, it boils down to an 80% chance of you being the ancestor of everybody and 20% that you are the ancestor of nobody. This doesn't make you the first human, simply the most recent one that all humans share an ancestor with. The actual split, if we wanted to define it, would be the first member of a sect of humans that is incapable of breeding with another human.

    The split with Neanderthals happened in much the same way; a sect of hominids that is our common ancestor was no longer able to mate with the older sect because they had been isolated for so long. When mating doesn't habitually occur, this signifies speciation, and so now we have two new species. But in the case of neanderthals and humans, the split was probably largely behavioural, and thus hybridisation can occur. I presume this is what you mean by the twigs recombining?

    I would still not call this two twigs recombining. You might think this surprising, given what I said above: just one Neanderthal mating with a human 60 000 years ago has an 80% chance of becoming an ancestor of all humans. Well, if a cladogram was about precisely matching a family tree, we would have to do this and have the tree come back on itself, like what happens with the Habsburg family tree. However, a cladogram is all about tracing evolution by relatedness. That 80% figure is only of ancestry, and is not the case with genes; you can be the ancestor of everyone alive in the future but not pass on any of your genes, as they are very unlikely to survive the shuffling of genomes during recombination. So, although hybrisation events may be relatively common, they do not shape the evolution of the clade, and therefore they are not included in cladograms.

    Hope that clears it up!

    (N.B.  I say this, but for plants the story is very different. Plants hybridise so easily (you have to imagine an adaptive topography of potential hybridisation; for animals, its like the Alps whereas for plants its like the Peak District) and so there may well be a lot less species of plants as such, because two clades could very easily recombine again.)
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    Sorry but your answer makes me laugh! But I like a good laugh.
    My latest forum article 'Australian Researchers Discover Potential Blue Green Algae Cause & Treatment of Motor Neuron Disease (MND)&(ALS)' Parkinsons's and Alzheimer's can be found at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    Oliver Knevitt
    ...why?
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    Why does anyone like a good laugh? Probably because it is very enjoyable! You haven't answered my questions you have tried to blow my mind with science. Is that funny enough for you?
    My latest forum article 'Australian Researchers Discover Potential Blue Green Algae Cause & Treatment of Motor Neuron Disease (MND)&(ALS)' Parkinsons's and Alzheimer's can be found at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    Oliver Knevitt
    Sorry about that, Helen; you were using the correct terminology and brought up some complex subjects, so I thought you were fishing for a complete answer. My apologies.

    All I mean to say is, all an evolutionary tree does is attempt to draw relationships between organisms based on how similar they are to one another. These rare hybridisation events do not affect the overall relatedness very much in the grand scheme of things, and consequently they do not affect trees. Its more tricky with regards HGT, but it's still possible to measure true relatedness if we know where to look.

    This is something I'm quite interested in and so I waffled a bit; again, apologies for the rather baffling answer.
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    Sorry Oliver, please accept my apologies for not being as grateful as I should have been to you for taking so much trouble to explain these concepts. It does seem to be a much more complicated subject than I had realized before and very interesting and its starting to make a bit more sense to me now, so thanks for that.
    My latest forum article 'Australian Researchers Discover Potential Blue Green Algae Cause & Treatment of Motor Neuron Disease (MND)&(ALS)' Parkinsons's and Alzheimer's can be found at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    Aitch
    It makes me laugh too, but for a completely different reason
    I just had an image pop into my mind .....'Boning a bonobo'
    .....probably not PC, but I thought it funny [please don't ask for an explanation...]

    Aitch
    Oliver Knevitt
    Oh and I completely neglected to mention HGT, which is probably the most interesting point you raised (thanks for raising these fantastic points by the way). HGT does occur all the time on with plasmids between bacteria, who mostly use it to rapidly spread useful genes, like antibody resistance, through a population. If it wasn't for HGT, an entire lineage of bacteria would go extinct when presented with a problem. We circumvent this problem by recombining our genomes during sex, spreading round those useful genes. Processes such as these blur the lines between species if plasmids can be passed inter-species, and make can two distantly related species seem close, just because they share many genes. The thing is, the tree itself hasn't come in on itself; it only appears to do so because of the way that we measure ancestry by relatedness. Instead, we have to view the genome as a mosaic of ancestral parts and transferred parts, and measure ancestry like that, from the informative parts of the genome.

    The question is a good one because its something that many have pondered with respect to the origin of life - does all life actually share a universal common ancestor (LUCA)? If there was extensive HGT and symbiotic fusion events, as we know there was, some people worried that we might not be able to tell. But, a paper from last year proved that actually, despite the rampant HGT and cells fusing left right and center, all life does indeed share a common ancestor.
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    The question is a good one because its something that many have pondered with respect to the origin of life - does all life actually share a universal common ancestor (LUCA)? If there was extensive HGT and symbiotic fusion events, as we know there was, some people worried that we might not be able to tell. But, a paper from last year proved that actually, despite the rampant HGT and cells fusing left right and center, all life does indeed share a common ancestor.
    Come on. who are you trying to kid? That is not the question here. The question is "Are there chains in evolution or branches and twigs with definite ends?" The answer is 'no'. This negates the analogy of a tree with branches and twigs. End of story, a new hypothesis is required, after all this is a science site.



    My latest forum article 'Australian Researchers Discover Potential Blue Green Algae Cause & Treatment of Motor Neuron Disease (MND)&(ALS)' Parkinsons's and Alzheimer's can be found at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    Gerhard Adam
    Helen

    I think it simply points out the problems in using such an analogy.  You can draw a family tree of yourself, your parents, their parents, etc. without assuming or requiring a hierarchy.  It is simply a representation of relatedness and doesn't carry any intrinsic "progression" with it.

    You wouldn't argue that you were more evolved than your grandparents, nor would you presume that each generation back is somehow more regressive than your own.  So, as long as the basis of the "tree" or "bush" is kept in perspective, then it can be a useful device for tracing such ancestry.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    And if I had sex with my grandfather and produced a child and that child killed me the family tree would be in disarray! Is that what happened to the Neanderthals?
    My latest forum article 'Australian Researchers Discover Potential Blue Green Algae Cause & Treatment of Motor Neuron Disease (MND)&(ALS)' Parkinsons's and Alzheimer's can be found at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    Gerhard Adam
    Are you asking if Neanderthals had sex with your grandfather?  :)

    (NOTE:  in your story your death would be irrelevant, since your genes would've already been passed on)
    Mundus vult decipi
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    Yes, but those genes would have been linked back to my grandfather, not twigs eminating just from me. Funnily enough if we had taken the same analogy back one more generation, I might have even managed to adversely impact upon the US lunar landing, as Neil Armstrong is my father's second cousin, which is of course totally irrelevant but would have made me part of a chain and not a tree.
    My latest forum article 'Australian Researchers Discover Potential Blue Green Algae Cause & Treatment of Motor Neuron Disease (MND)&(ALS)' Parkinsons's and Alzheimer's can be found at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    Gerhard Adam
    Here's a few links you might find interesting:

    http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2010/02/i_parasite_-_chagas_parasite_can_transfer_genes_to_humans_an.php

    http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0009181

    http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2009/07/an_entire_bacterial_genome_discovered_inside_that_of_a_fruit.php

    http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2009/02/wasps_use_genes_stolen_from_ancient_viruses_to_make_biologic.php

    You can see that there's nothing simple about this.  More to the point, I don't personally believe there's nearly as much separation between the more recent versus "primitive" organisms as many people assume. 
    Mundus vult decipi
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    Thanks for the links Gerhard, they are really very interesting and I agree there's nothing simple about this. Especially if its true that 'In the past, genome sequencing projects have discarded traces of bacterial genes because the scientists thought they were contaminations ... and that has almost certainly led to mistakes. Case in point: the publicly available full sequence of D.ananassae doesn't include any Wolbachia genes, because they were left out'.

    Also I find it absolutely amazing that some wasps and viruses have formed an unbreakable alliance, where neither can survive without the other's help and that this bond appears to have been forged at least 100 million years ago.
    My latest forum article 'Australian Researchers Discover Potential Blue Green Algae Cause & Treatment of Motor Neuron Disease (MND)&(ALS)' Parkinsons's and Alzheimer's can be found at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    Gerhard Adam
    I think alot gets missed because we tend to focus on the larger multicellular organisms because they're easier to study and because they seem easier to relate to.  However, my personal view is that most of the significant action is taking place at the unicellular level (even among large organisms).  This is one of the reasons why I'm interested in bacterial communication, because if single-celled organisms can communicate intra- and inter-species, then what possible communication might occur between the order of magnitude microbes that inhabit a human being?

    Obviously the cells of our bodies are engaged in a significant amount of coordination and communication, so it becomes even more fascinating to consider the role of our microbial environment and the effects on it when outside microbes come to "visit".
    Mundus vult decipi
    Samshive
    Hi Helen
    And if I had sex with my grandfather and produced a child and that child killed me the family tree would be in disarray! Is that what happened to the Neanderthals?
    I'm not sure why you suggest that the family tree would be in disarray. Could you please explain a bit more? 

    My view is that even if someone had a child with their related kin, you can still trace their lineage as far back as records allow. How does this complicate evolution? Evolution in its essence only suggests that lineages are not limited within species. Even if an animal has got genes via HGT, the lineage where the genes came from can still be traced.  

    Gerhard Adam
    I think the point is not that it can't be traced, but rather it becomes more of a network rather than a tree.  As a result, the traditional view (by creating a type of hierarchy) is incorrect since it cannot be assumed that genetic information is only being passed vertically (between parent and offspring).
    Mundus vult decipi
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    Yes, Gerhard is right I was trying to explain that there are sometimes loops or reconnecting networks in evolution which are not permanently separated branches or twigs because they grow back into an earlier branch, as in the case for the Neanderthals and hominids. It wasn't a very good analogy though and hopefully my grandfather is not revolving in his grave, the moral of the story for me being never make a comment on a blog after you've had a glass of bubbly to celebrate your son's 18th birthday!
    My latest forum article 'Australian Researchers Discover Potential Blue Green Algae Cause & Treatment of Motor Neuron Disease (MND)&(ALS)' Parkinsons's and Alzheimer's can be found at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    Gerhard Adam
    Don't worry ... your grandfather's secret is safe with us ....
    Mundus vult decipi
    Perhaps your family tree is already a network of sorts. It could happen that you have a common ancestor on both sides of your family, or two different locations on one side of your tree. While not as drastic an example as your having a son fathered by your grandfather (ewww, btw), it's probably fairly common, as just a century ago people were not as mobile as today, and certainly small communities (particularly more isolated ones) had a limited population pool.

    I have just finished reading this article and want you to know that I enjoyed it very much. At the end of the article you made this statement:

    >>>>>Wouldn't it be great if a creationist read this and thought: "Hmmm. It appears I have been mistaken for all these years, and I think maybe it's time to join the world of logical thinking". Wouldn't it be great if just one person did that? Will circularreason change his mind?

    Depressingly, I doubt it very much, and that's the very reason why I am generally reticent to answer creationists. But I'd like to think that, at least I can provide reassurance for anybody teetering on the edge, worried about whether the lack of transitional fossils is something that keeps paleontologists awake at night, and considering converting to the dark side.

    <<<<<

    To which I would say maybe I am that guy. I am a creationist and this article has help me fill in gaps of my own understanding about our creation and given me a better understanding of my faith in God. Of course I'm one of those off the beaten path believer that main line religions think are kooks so maybe I don't count. But thanks again for the very educational article.

    Oliver Knevitt
    Thanks; I'm glad you enjoyed it. I like the way you phrase it; you can still think of it as creation, but creation over 4.5 billion years.
    What is it that dates the creation of the earth to only 4.5 billion years? Or is that the date of the creation of the whole universe, cosmos, everything?

    That's just the earth itself. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Age_of_the_Earth The wikipedia article, which I stumbled upon by going to wikipedia and typing in "Earth" and then "4.54 Billion Years". Always try to look for 30 seconds before expecting answers from other people.

    Isn't there also a common fundamental definitional problem? To me, "evoloution" fundamentally means that life forms have changed and developed over time, and that this is as close to an absolute fact as science can provide.

    But exactly how that occurred, and each specific mechanism, is more validly described as a theory, such as "On Origin of Species"?

    This is just a quick comment from a Cancer Geneticist and Molecular Biologist with a healthy knowledge of evolution and Bonsai-grown trees and bushes (which in some cases make the best Bonsai).
    First, let me point out that trees and branches do actually graft into each other quite naturally if the need arises.
    Second, from a genetic perspective it is quite common in nature to acquire some traits, lose them and then, re-acquire them over time. You need not look any further than a population of bacteria, treated with antibiotics. Invariably, a mutant will arise and survive, and thus flourish (if selected) in future plates. Then, re-introducing the same antibiotic many plates later will result in a reduction of CFUs or bacterial colonies (meaning some bacteria already lost the newly acquired gene). The bottom line for evolution is that is it always happening, but more conspicuous under increased environmental pressure. In the case of Humans and other animals, the environmental pressures tend to be cyclical (even fractal), and "noticeable" changes occur more frequently in times of increased pressure. It's easy to notice an extinction of a species (ironically not at the micro-level though), but relatively more difficult to observe evolution (vice versa at micro-levels), but not impossible (le.g., Isolated Disease Heritage, or racial genetic predisposition in disease, etc.). EVERYTHING is evolving. Life and depending on your definition, even non-life is evolving as well (HIV, EPV, HPV, Music, language, intelligence, The Bible, etc.), and it is quite noticeable (and quite "provable") without a need for fossils altogether. It happens in real time, all one has to do look.

    Oliver Knevitt
    Thanks for the link; a really interesting article. I would agree with all the points, except to say that the section "The theory of evolution opposes most people’s worldview" should really be "Many think that the theory of evolution opposes their worldview". If the archbishop of canterbury, the most senior christian in the UK, can say

    I think creationism is, in a sense, a kind of category mistake, as if the Bible were a theory like other theories. Whatever the biblical account of creation is, it's not a theory alongside theories. It's not as if the writer of Genesis or whatever sat down and said well, how am I going to explain all this... 'In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth...'

    Rowan Williams in The Guardian, 21 March 2006

    then I think that any christian can.
    Signs like "Reason is the greatest enemy that faith has" are themselves the greatest enemy of faith. Creationism itself is among the meanest attacks on Christianity. We need faith, which can easily be killed when confronted in a manipulative way with logic in the age of reason. No properly educated christian with a sound mind would mix mechanistically the logic of the world of matter with faith in the creative power of good. Blowing out of proportion stupid arguments against evolution has a repercussion on the image of christianity in the modern minds of our kids. Only those that want FREEDOM from moral constraints would like this subversive plot to succeed. This matters a lot for we are living through a spiritual crisis of the civilization only paralleled by the dark medieval ages.

    Oliver Knevitt
    I agree: if you think that creationism is important to being a good religious person (I don't think the problem is exlusive to Christianity, by the way) then you've got your theology all wrong. Your biology's wrong too of course, but sort out your theology first before making a start on your biology.
    Hi Helen,
    I just wanted to point out that while it's certainly not all that common, trees can and do grow back into themselves, as I recently learned here: http://www.ted.com/talks/richard_preston_on_the_giant_trees.html

    :)

    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    Thanks Anonymous for the link however, when you say that you learnt here that trees can grow back into themselves, you omitted to say that it is their roots that grow back into their own rotting branches. This is a very different concept to that of a twig or a branch reconnecting with a living branch or trunk that it originated from and then its sap flowing back into it.
    My latest forum article 'Australian Researchers Discover Potential Blue Green Algae Cause & Treatment of Motor Neuron Disease (MND)&(ALS)' Parkinsons's and Alzheimer's can be found at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    At 11 minutes 50 seconds the speaker talks about "Flying Buttresses" and a *limb* that grew from the smaller trunk growing back into the larger trunk.

    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    Thanks for the link Anonymous and the timing into it. Sorry for taking so long to cotton on to what you were trying to point out. Your link claims that :-

    This is a flying buttress. Redwoods grow back into themselves as they expand intospace, and this flying buttress is a limb shot out of that small trunk, goingback into the main trunk and fusing with it. Flying buttresses, just as in acathedral, help strengthen the crown of the tree and help the tree exist longerthrough time. The scientists are doing all kinds of experiments in these trees.They've wired them like patients in an ICU.

    The evolution of even humans and Neanderthals could almost fit quite nicely with the analogy of a Redwood Tree of Life, although it talks about a connection from trunk to trunk not branch to branch. I will try to find the research that these scientists are supposedly doing.
    My latest forum article 'Australian Researchers Discover Potential Blue Green Algae Cause & Treatment of Motor Neuron Disease (MND)&(ALS)' Parkinsons's and Alzheimer's can be found at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    Thank you for writing your article about the 'missing links fallacy' . I am one of the aforementioned people who is on the line between creationism and evolution. I grew up in a household which was not religious, and as such I always believed in evolution, as it was based in science and seemed pretty reasonable. But, the last couple of years I've seen different documentaries, and read some articles, with convincing arguments advocating creationism. Also recent events have lead me to search for some kind of spiritual life, but that's not the point of my post.

    The arguments advocating creationism include questioning dating techniques used on fossils, as well as the 'missing links' argument, which you have done an excellent job of disproving. Though I have no science or math education save what I got out of High School, which wasn't much by the way, I come to this, and other websites like it, every day. Articles written by experts such as yourself are the only way that people like me get this information, universities and colleges are too expensive.

    And the point of this post is to tell you to keep writing articles like this, because even though I do believe in a higher power out there, I have an open mind, as I'm sure at least some of your more spiritual readers do. You've put me on the side of evolution, where before I was 'teetering' between. Of course I still have a lot more research that I want to do, because I want to understand evolution thoroughly.

    Oliver Knevitt
    Thank-you very much; its great to know that I can write something like this and reach somebody such as yourself. I'm glad that it was at a level you could understand, too.

    The route that nature has taken to produce us over these 4.5 billion is an incredible story, packed with beauty and intrigue, and I hope that by looking into evolution you can really gain something. And it is certainly not true that it needs detract from your faith too. Why not think of evolution as a 4.5 billion year machine for creating humans? The natural history of life on Earth is easily as beautiful, or in my opinion, more beautiful, than those told in the parables of religious books.

    Its a bit dated now, but perhaps you could try this book by Arthur Robert Peacocke for a discussion of how faith can compliment evolution.

    Good Luck!

    Oliver
    rholley
    If I may take the opportunity to quote one of my favourite bits of Chesterton, written in 1903:
    Of the thousands of brilliant and elegant persons like ourselves who believe roughly in the Darwinian doctrine, how many are there who know which fossil or skeleton, which parrot tail or which cuttle-fish’s stomach, is really believed to be the conclusive example and absolute datum of natural selection? We know scarcely anything of the Darwinian facts that lead to conversion.  What we know is much more important: the Darwinian facts that come after conversion.  What we know, to use a higher language, are the fruits of the spirit.  We know that with this idea once inside our heads a million things become transparent as if a lamp were lit behind them: we see the thing in the dog in the street, in the pear on the wall, in the book of history we are reading, in the baby in the perambulator and in the last news from Borneo.  And the fulfilments pour in upon us in so natural and continual a cataract that at last is reached that paradox of the condition which is called belief.  We have seen so many evidences of the theory that we have forgotten them all.  The theory is so clear to us that we can scarcely even defend it.  If we walked up to the nearest rationalist we know and asked him to prove evolution, he would be dazed, like a man asked to defend justice.
    http://www.personal.reading.ac.uk/~spsolley/GKC/return_of_the_angels.htm
    Robert H. Olley / Quondam Physics Department / University of Reading / England
    Oliver,

    Thanks for the informative article. I had always thought about evolution in a "chain-like" fashion, and am glad to have learned a new way of looking at the vastness of evolution. Your arguments are well-reasoned and amiable to skeptics.

    When I read through some of the comments, I am reminded of an episode of Futurama called "Evolution Under Attack", whereupon both Science and Creationism are equally represented (although mainly in a humorous manner). This episode explores the futility of debate when you mix religious ideology and scientific evidence.

    In a dissimilar fashion, I prefer to look at both sides of this argument. Who's to say that evolution wasn't started by an omnipotent being? Maybe an alien satellite bumped into our lonely planet and deposited some form of organic life on the surface of Earth that caused an evolutionary reaction. Maybe we started out as tiny microbes that fed off hydrothermal vents in the ocean. At what point does it become fantasy?

    Whatever way that we did come to be, I'm sure that it was an infinitely complex process. I doubt that most people could wrap their brains around it, even if given all the facts. That is why we need to continue this seemingly endless debate, use the evidence that we have, and continue to gather more information.

    I look forward to your future writings, and your contributions to healthy debate!

    -Taylor

    Oliver Knevitt
    Glad you enjoyed it. And thanks for reminding me to buy a boxset of futurama.

    Oliver
    socrates
    I am generally reticent to answer creationists. But I'd like to think that, at least I can provide reassurance for anybody teetering on the edge...
    You are a courageous man, Oliver Knevitt, inviting creationists and other passionates into a dialogue (an optimistic word) with you. You are to be commended for your patience and your perseverance and above all your civility. It is so easy to get dragged down into petty and mean-spirited exchanges when confronted with passionate (a charitable word) defenders of belief.

    As a professional paleontologist, your words carry a great deal of weight. Thanks for your informative article. Keep up the good work.
    Citizen Philosopher / Science Tutor
    interesting that evolution was a familiar idea in the 13th century, but sects of christians still seem to be struggling with the idea.

    eg. Naṣīr al-Dīn al-Ṭūsī (1201..1274)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nasir_al-Din_al-Tusi#Biology

    "The organisms that can gain the new features faster are more variable. As a result, they gain advantages over other creatures. [...] The bodies are changing as a result of the internal and external interactions."

    socrates
    Fascinating, Miji. Thanks for the link. The ancient Greeks already knew a great deal that was latter forgotten or denied during the middle ages, such as the fact that the Sun was the center of the solar system and that the Earth was round not flat. They even measured the circumference of Earth and the distance to the Moon. During the dark ages in Europe, the center of intellectual development (dare I say "evolution of science") moved to Persian.

    The great Persian thinkers are almost completely left out of our western textbooks. I was totally unaware of Tusi until now. What a remarkable man.

    I noticed he has evolution starting with the beginning of the cosmos:
    He begins his theory of evolution with the universe once consisting of equal and similar elements.
    In modern cosmology we speak of the universe beginning in an undifferentiated, homogeneous state, out of which all differentiated matter eventually evolved.

    I also find this passage of Tusi's very insightful:
    "Animals are higher than plants, because they are able to move consciously, go after food, find and eat useful things. [...] There are many differences between the animal and plant species, [...] First of all, the animal kingdom is more complicated. Besides, reason is the most beneficial feature of animals. Owing to reason, they can learn new things and adopt new, non-inherent abilities. For example, the trained horse or hunting falcon is at a higher point of development in the animal world. The first steps of human perfection begin from here."
    With the ability to reason and learn we have the beginnings of cultural evolution - in my opinion. (I know, I have not written my "Evolution is Bigger Than Biology" piece yet. I am just stating my opinion here - not making an argument of fact.)

    Thanks again, Miji.
    Citizen Philosopher / Science Tutor
    rholley
    Nasir al-Din Al-Tusi (1201 – 1274) is a most interesting historical figure: here is his mathematical biography, which contains a lot more than mathematics!  It makes an exciting but confusing read.  There is a university named after him in Iran.

    One interesting earlier figure who is sometimes put forward as a proponent of evolution is Al-Jahiz
    (781 – 868/869).  However, section 3 of his Wikipedia biography argues that he was (in the colloquial sense) a creationist.  The relevant Wikipedia talk page shows an example of how easy it can be to get tangled in misleading arguments.
    Robert H. Olley / Quondam Physics Department / University of Reading / England
    Gerhard Adam
    OK, everyone, let's not confuse "evolution" with "natural selection".  It is clear that evolution was an accepted view for a significant period of time and it was equally clear that animal husbandry specifically utilized this knowledge for artificial selection.

    It was Darwin's insight that categorically gathered the data necessary to demonstrate that, in a manner similar to the artificial selection being practiced, nature also "practiced" natural selection by favoring those animals whose adaptations enabled them to survive and be reproductively successful.  Since domestic animals had clearly been bred for specific traits, it seems completely obvious in hindsight.

    Darwin's views did not presume an external act of creation and he asserted that all creatures shared a common ancestor from which these "gradual" set of changes produced all the observable species.  I did notice that the Wikipedia article was quite "liberal" in its interpretation of many of these writings by arguing:
    Tusi discusses how organisms are able to adapt to their environments:

    "Look at the world of animals and birds. They have all that is necessary for defense, protection and daily life, including strengths, courage and appropriate tools [organs]"
    Not actually much of a discussion and absolutely no indication that the author was anticipating the idea of natural selection, or descent with modification.

    The mere fact that he divided life into three categories: plants, animals, and humans, is a strong indication that he really didn't comprehend the relatedness of the various species.  His observations are little different than those made by a typical farmer in managing his own animals.
    Mundus vult decipi
    re: "Not actually much of a discussion and absolutely no indication that the author was anticipating the idea of natural selection, or descent with modification."

    it does say here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nasir_al-Din_al-Tusi#Biology
    "The organisms that can gain the new features faster are more variable. As a result, they gain advantages over other creatures. [...] The bodies are changing as a result of the internal and external interactions."

    it's clear they guy (assuming the quote is accurate) is fully familiar with the phenomenon of evolution. Not sure why "natural selection" is required in his observation of the phenomenon.

    Gerhard Adam
    Natural selection is required since that is the mechanism proposed by Darwin which is the point of significance.  Prior to Darwin there were numerous ideas about evolution, so that wasn't surprising that there would be numerous references to evolution throughout history.

    It's also important to consider the translator, since one has to be careful that a modern interpretation wasn't placed on the original words.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Big Evolution Discovery !

    British professor Nigel Swiggerton of Chapsworth College has recently found a missing link in the evolution/creation debate. Everyone is familiar with the "stages of man" chart found in textbooks which begins with a naked, hairy, bent over, grunting Neanderthal type which over millions of years finally learns how to stand erect while sporting a 1930s-style haircut. Well, Dr. Swiggerton discovered that someone accidentally reversed the negative. It turns out that the first man was actually standing erect with a short haircut but has been descending over the years until he has finally reached the last stage - the stage at any rock concert filled with naked, hairy, bent over, grunting Neanderthal types!

    as a naive non-scientist - there's something that bothers me re discussions about evolution.

    I take evolution to be a phenomenon. Like gravity. "Evolution" and "gravity" are tags applied to the phenomena. They're something we are aware of through our everyday powers of observation. (Though, in the case of evolution, it's generational. Eg. animal domestication makes the phenomenon clear - is that reasonable?) I take evolution and gravity to be non-theoretical. They aren't the products of theory. Models of behavior or emergence that try to explain these phenomena may be theories. But the manifest observed phenomena are not theory.

    Occasionally, i'll see an expression like "theory of evolution" - i'm assuming that this is shorthand for "a theory explaining evolution". I take it that "Darwin's theory of evolution" isn't a theory that evolution occurs, it's a theory proposing a mechanism for evolution.

    .. so .. Is that the case? .. or do scientific circles regard "evolution" as theory rather than phenomenon?

    From my point of view, a discussion between those who accept the *phenomenon* of evolution and those who deny it don't have any foundational common ground for even starting a reasoned discussion. So an attempt is doomed to confusion and frustration. Of course it's perfectly valid to cross swords on which theories or explanations provide acceptable models if there's an acceptance of the common phenomenal ground. Being a creationist doesn't ispo facto mean the denial of evolution. A creationist could explain the phenomena of evolution as being the process of continual creation, and any mechanism of evolution is the means of creation. It's not "creationism" that makes discussion impossible, it's the denial of evolution as phenomenon.

    (i believe this is the most times i've ever used "phenomenon" in a post)

    Gerhard Adam
    I think you've expressed it very well.  It's obvious, as you said, that things "evolve" or change, however, Darwin proposed an explanation that indicated that these changes were self-governing through the process of "natural selection".

    In other words, there was no need for a specific act of creation for each organism, instead it could be explained as gradual changes that were "selected" based on their success in each generation, ultimately resulting in the diversity of forms we see today.  Most "creationists" don't have a real problem with the idea of "microevolution" (since they see that gradual changes within a species - like dog breeds).  Instead, their objection usually focuses on the idea that new species can be created by such a process (that's excepting those that think the earth is only 6,000 years old).

    Young Earth Creationists aren't engaged in any reasonable discussion since their beginning premise is that everything is of divine origin.  So there's not much to discuss, since it ultimately assumes that only their religious doctrine is correct and that all science is wrong.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Oliver Knevitt
    Young Earth Creationists aren't engaged in any reasonable discussion since their beginning premise is that everything is of divine origin.  So there's not much to discuss, since it ultimately assumes that only their religious doctrine is correct and that all science is wrong.

    I hasten to add that there's no hint of a reply from our friend who originally posted the comment that spurred me to write this.
    socrates
    OK, everyone, let's not confuse "evolution" with "natural selection".  It is clear that evolution was an accepted view for a significant period of time and it was equally clear that animal husbandry specifically utilized this knowledge for artificial selection.
    I don't think we want to leave the readers with the impression that evolution was known and generally accepted at the time of Darwin and that the only missing element supplied by Darwin was the mechanism of natural selection. Let's not confuse evolution with breeding. Breeding within a species was certainly known and accepted before Darwin. Speciation, that is the evolution of the different species from common ancestors, certainly was not. After all, his book was called On the Origin of Species for a reason. The notion that humans, monkeys, dogs, cat, and horses all had a common ancestry from which each evolved was a radical and controversial notion. The generally accepted explanation at the time was that species were created separately.

    I am not an expert on Persian history, but according to the article sited above, it would appear that Tusi did propose common ancestry not only for all living things, but also for all forms of nonliving matter as well. If this is so, he foreshadowed not only the concept of biological evolution but also what we now know as cosmological evolution (the evolution of the universe from the moment of the Big Bang).
    Citizen Philosopher / Science Tutor
    Gerhard Adam
    I don't think we want to leave the readers with the impression that evolution was known and generally accepted at the time of Darwin and that the only missing element supplied by Darwin was the mechanism of natural selection.
    Actually it was fairly well considered for quite some time. 
    Let's not confuse evolution with breeding.
    I don't know what that means.  Breeding is simply "artificial selection" while nature selects descendants based on the "natural" processes of fitness and competition.  What else would you call it?

    Contrary to many assumptions, evolutionary theory did not begin in 1859 with Charles Darwin and The Origin of Species. Rather, evolution-like ideas had existed since the times of the Greeks, and had been in and out of favor in the periods between ancient Greece and Victorian England. Indeed, by Darwin's time the idea of evolution - called "descent with modification" - was not especially controversial, and several other evolutionary theories had already been proposed. Darwin may stand at the beginning of a modern tradition, but he is also the final culmination of an ancient speculation.
    http://library.thinkquest.org/C004367/eh1.shtml

    Charles Darwin's grandfather Erasmus Darwin (1731-1802) was also a distinguished naturalist with his own intriguing ideas about evolution. While he never thought of natural selection, he did argue that all life could a have a single common ancestor, though he struggled with the concepts of a mechanism for this descent.
    I don't think I was particularly vague about the idea that Darwin recognized that species would be created by gradual changes which were selected rather than specific acts of creation.  After all, Lamarck and Erasmus Darwin were both engaged in evolutionary theories several decades before Charles Darwin's work was published, so the idea was not a new one.
    Mundus vult decipi
    socrates
    I was just responding to this particular phrasing:
    It is clear that evolution was an accepted view...
    I was afraid that readers might get the idea that evolution was generally accepted at the time of Darwin.
    Citizen Philosopher / Science Tutor
    Gerhard Adam
    I can appreciate that, but it is more misleading to suggest (as was done in previous posts) that evolution AND natural selection were being discussed (or imagined) in even earlier times with the clear implication that it was somehow ignored in Europe.

    The point is that evolutionary ideas have been around for a long time and it shouldn't be a surprise if we find older writings that allude to it.  However, it would be mistaken to suggest that Darwin's ideas were articulated in any meaningful way by earlier authors since that simply isn't true.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Thank you so much for this article! I'm typing up a paper as to how every group, with faith or lackthereof, has its' members that are ignorant. Either ignorant of their own religion's values or teachings, another belief system's value or teachings, or (most commonly) are blissfully ignorant of their own bias.
    I was going to use missing links as an example of ignorance in non-religous folks, but I couldn't do such a thing logically without research, which you have and all of it seems sound. Awesome!

    Any picture of the evolution of life on Earth is very much like a giant jigsaw puzzle with lots of pieces missing. But, as with any such puzzle, it doesn't take many pieces to begin to get a sense of what the whole picture will ultimately show. Evolution is a puzzle that will forever have a few missing pieces among the trillions that comprise the Bush of Life. But, as science rapidly discovers more and more of the pieces, the eventual overall picture becomes increasingly obvious. Unsurprisingly, EVERY new piece discovered fits somewhere in the puzzle, just as predicted. So far, though, no creationist has been able to make the piece he created in his fearful mind, and which he calls "God," fit anywhere in the puzzle - not so much as a hint of any kind of Supreme Being.

    Oliver Knevitt
    Well put.

    I would add that, in any case, because we have such a firm grounding now in the way that evolution worked and what took place, the idea that anyone would bother publishing a paper stating "Look; more evidence for evolution" is ridiculous. We are well, well past that.
    Aitch
    I would add that what you regard as a firm grounding in the way that evolution worked, is not a definite, and there are other views, other than the 2 sides you present
    My favourite is the Mayan Calendar, with a completely different concept both of time, and 'our' evolution as being, in essence a spiritual growth, occurring at both individual and collective 'levels' of consciousness,  rather than a mere sequential series to be observed as an after-effect history

    It is a continuing dynamic, which some say, is drawing to a conclusion, however, my view is that, like the 'end of the millennium/end of the world' fear, it will continue anew, as all things do 'in creation'

    Ref:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ugNsuYH987o

    Note: 18 parts, but the gist is obtained after 2/3

    http://www.science20.com/aitchs_hangout_come_and_join_me_wont_you/blog/e...

    I congratulate your courage in tackling this, but ask, "What's your take on this alternate to your view, which isn't the 'predicted opposing view' Oliver?"

    Aitch
    Oliver Knevitt
    Hi Henry,

    I would say that it was no better than creationism, because again, it is born out of spiritualism and superstition rather than empirical scientific deduction.

    If they had approached in a manner of, say, "look, as we look at older and older rocks the animals within seem to get simpler and simpler. We need a theory to explain how these organisms are slowly evolving into one another. Perhaps it is as part of an increasing series of steps to consciousness? Let's form some testable hypotheses.", it could be discussed critically in a scientific context. But it isn't, and so we can't.

    As people have been discussing above, Darwinism is a theory to explain evolution. If you object to Darwinism, you need to have an alternative hypothesis for evolution.
    Aitch
    That's a shame...I had hoped you were beyond the 'spiritualism/superstition labelling' awareness....but then I suppose the visual provoker 'Reason is the greatest enemy that Faith has' was a real clue that you haven't quite risen above the ridicule, .....and you made no mention of the continuing dynamic....all of which seems to point to you feeling you have a 'conclusive' solution.....which to me is just 'stuckness' Just another dashed hope on the path of consciousness, then? ;-) Not so much that I object to Darwinism, but I see it just as a stepping stone, not a rock of ages I see evolution as being way beyond the current narrow view of it, and intrinsically connected to our evolving consciousness.....this 'dichotomy' you talk about is merely a focal and possibly a turning point for a new direction Any analysis of evolution which fails to include evolution of human consciousness, and merely fixates on the physical is destined to fail, IMO Ideas to explore are posed by Matti, here, and later in the thread http://www.science20.com/comments/60278/Re_Gravity_Free_Will Aitch
    I find it more disturbing that you so strongly feel the need to prove creationists wrong and that by doing so you feel you're winning something in some way.

    "Wouldn't it be great if a creationist read this and thought: "Hmmm. It appears I have been mistaken for all these years, and I think maybe it's time to join the world of logical thinking". Wouldn't it be great if just one person did that? Will circularreason change his mind?"

    Why would that be great in your mind? Is this some battle you feel you have to win? Something you believe you simply must preach...

    Oliver Knevitt
    The reason why I blog on this site, rather than more general blogging sites, is that here I can reach anybody and everybody, rather than just specialists in my field that I meet at conferences. I wrote this article for exactly the reason that I stated: to try and point out and educate people about misconceptions about evolution, so that that they are less likely to be swayed by misleading creationism arguments. I want people to open their eyes and understand that there is no reasonal basis to creationism, and to embrace what is an wonderful - and spiritually fulfilling - explanation for life on earth.

    Most people I know would rather just ignore creationists and laugh at them behind their backs, but I worry that we might lose an awful amount of people who are only confused and get swept up by the creationism bandwagon. I'm certainly not interested in "battles" with creationists themselves, who (I've seen enough Dawkins!) are so far gone that they are past reasoning. But to ignore everybody is to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
    Hank
    That's the perfect mindset.  Evolution seems to be a catch-all word among some religious people because they are being taught that scientists have a cultural agenda - Dawkins does not help with his insistence that any religious belief is a sign of intellectual immaturity.   Yet most religious people (including the 40% of AAAS members that are religious) see no disconnect between what science covers - explaining the world according to natural laws - and what faith can cover, like why we came to be.    The audience for science in the US alone is 65 million and that includes a lot of religious people so clearly they are not anti-science, they just don't want to be called stupid.

    The 'blogging' community in science was long overrun by people with political and cultural agendas - maybe our tagline should have been 'Science that Republicans and religious people can read without being insulted' - but there has been a gradual change in that across the science community due to people here (i.e. you and everyone else) who just want to help everyone get a little smarter.
    If you want another reason for not ignoring ignorant creationists, here it is: TIME Magazine just cited a new survey that found that 60% of American high school biology teachers do NOT teach evolution.
    The two main reasons are: it violates their religious beliefs; and they don't really understand evolution themselves. Speaking personally, not a single one of my college profs (back in the 50's) said a word about evolution; and I was a biology major. If our children are not receiving and understanding real science in the classroom, that makes creationist claptrap more insidious as a viable alternative to uninformed minds. So keep exposing the vacuity of this nonsense.

    Hank
    I have made this argument before and it hasn't pleased my biology friends but evolution is complex and simplifying it for high schools can help create a large part of the doubt that detractors will try to instill.   We teach anatomy in high school but we do not teach brain surgery, we teach physics but not quantum theory and we could teach genetics and other aspects of biology and simply touch on evolution the same way.

    Americans are, by nature, more discerning and skeptical than people in other countries - exactly what scientists say people should be.  So pronouncements from governments or experts are flagged by American innate 'appeals to authority are fallacious logic' mentality.   So if we can't teach something properly in high school, perhaps we should leave it for college or AP high school classes, just like we do physics and other areas.
    Perhaps the greatest biologist of the 20th century, Theodosius Dobzhansky, wrote in 1973 that "Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution." If, as Mr. Campbell suggests, we leave the teaching of a basically simple, understandable, and PROVEN concept like evolution to our colleges and universities, it will (does) leave millions of Americans woefully uneducated in what is the most basic of sciences. Students in civilized countries are almost universally conversant with the tenets of evolutionary theory. The implication in Mr. Campbell's statement is that evolution is too difficult a concept for the minds of students to comprehend. His mind, maybe.

    Hank
    You're saying you did not learn evolution in high school in the 1950s and therefore your generation was stupider than modern ones.  I disagree and instead contend that learning evolution made no difference in your overall ability to comprehend science.   Because of bad explanations and poor understanding by high school teachers, it instead did not cause more problems than it solved by not teaching it to teenagers.

    Your insistence that more Europeans answering yes to 'do you accept evolution' rather than no makes them either smarter or more intelligent than Americans is silly.  It means nothing of the kind, it simply means Europeans are more inclined to accept what they are told and not question it.   I wouldn't trade American skepticism for anything.   Would I prefer that more Americans understand evolution?  Yes, of course.  Unlike you, I do not think their accepting it means anyone anywhere else understands it well either - apparently, including you, since you went to school in the 1950s and did not learn it then and therefore could not possibly have learned it since - the charge you seem to want to level against students of today.
    Actually, Mr. Campbell, I was not even taught evolution in my Quaker college (Whittier, Nixon's Alma Mater). I dare say, that most of the people who graduated with me are just as ignorant about biology as those who never attended college. As a matter of fact, my deep knowledge regarding evolution comes from many years of extensive reading of ALL the books by Carl Sagan, Stephen Gould, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Michael Schermer, Martin Gardener, Lewis Thomas, Desmond Morris, just to name a few. Had I not read these books, my understanding of biology would be greatly diminished. In fact, I am still learning new things about the elegant workings of evolution from these books. Oh, I forgot; I also read Darwin's "Origin of Species," arguably the most important book ever written, since it opened up the world to a knowledge of the mysteries of life. Before then, the supernatural strictures of the church kept men's minds under its domination.

    If Americans were exposed to Dawkins' "The Ancestor's Tale," a brilliant book of which you probably have never even heard, they could not honestly deny evolution. In this, his most recent book, Dawkins does not go into a lot of scientific detail as he did in books like "The Selfish Gene." Instead, he simply lays out the evolutionary bush, step by intricate step, in more detail than any scientist before him. In another of his many books, "Climbing Mount Improbable," Dawkins explains in great detail exactly how various things could have evolved, and probably did - such things as the human eye. It totally destroys the "Intelligent Design" nonsense about the eye being too complicated to have evolved. Anyone who reads these books and still denies evolution Is deliberately choosing to be ignorant. In a paraphrasing of Alfred Doolittle, they're " WILLING to be ignorant; WANTING to be ignorant; WAITING to be ignorant!" Furthermore, most of these books are easily understood by teenagers - even elementary students. But are American science teachers teaching these books in their classes? Of course not! They use textbooks provided by the state in which many people with many agendas, including religious folk, and poorly educated science teachers have input. When I began teaching in 1958, California prohibited the teaching of evolution as fact. Unfortunately, even after California relented on that regressive idiocy, state education leaders had no interest in seeing to it that evolution was taught. Why? Because angry religious parents would harass them in board meetings. And that is how it continues to be.

    But your reference to skepticism is what really boggled my mind. Europeans (and other enlightened populations) do not accept evolution because they are inclined to be non-skeptical or to accept whatever they are told. They accept it because they have been taught the undeniable truth of it with incontrovertible, empirical evidence. You call Americans skeptical? How ludicrous! Americans accept whatever their parents and religious leaders tell them, even though they cannot provide a scintilla of evidence in support of their beliefs. Americans believe anything that they are told that is supernatural or paranormal. They watch "Ghost Hunters" non-critically. They spend billions of dollars every year on quack medicines and dietary nostrums, none of which have been shown to have the slightest efficacy. Half of Americans believe that they can drink pure water and cure any disease; they call it homeopathy. Increasingly, Americans are refusing to vaccinate their children because some former Playboy bunny tells them it causes autism. As a result, measles and whooping cough have been increasing exponentially, while autism hasn't declined at all. Jenny McCarthy, Jim Carrey, and Rep. Dan Burton, none of whom have the slightest scientific background, tell us vaccines are bad. There is not a shred of evidence to support it; but these scientific illiterates tell gullible Americans that they know better than scientists. So, to call Americans skeptical is a huge, sick JOKE. Americans are NOT skeptical - not by a long shot. This is why it is so vital that REAL science be taught in elementary and secondary classrooms. Every high school should have a course in critical thinking, an indispensable component of science. But, of course, they won't.

    There is good science going on at the university level. But mostly, American scientific institutions are largely operated by foreign born scientists. The head of Harvard Medical School was recently asked by Charley Rose how many of the approximately 200 researchers in his research department were educated in the U.S. He said "NONE!" Over the past 400 years, the overwhelming majority of scientific discoveries have been made by British scientists, followed by the Germans, French, and Italians. Few Americans can even name any American scientist in history. Edison, Bell, Fulton, et al, were NOT scientists. They discovered NOTHING. The real scientist in Edison's lab was Nikola Tesla, but he was born in Hungary. What they were was industrious, entrepreneurial inventors who simply took other people's discoveries and applied them to the creation of technologies for profit. The only true American scientist whose name most Americans recognize is Benjamin Franklin. He went to France and became a colleague of one of the greatest scientists in history - Antoine Lavoisier, a brilliant young scientific genius whose life was cut short by the guillotine as wielded by the French "Tea Party" no-nothings.

    So what books DO Americans believe? Mostly, the Bible. I've read the Bible, cover-to-cover and wrote a lengthy critique of the Book of Genesis. The Bible is a highly selective compilation of many-times-translated bronze age ramblings, written by men who were not around at the time of the supposed events about which they wrote. The various writers repeatedly and directly contradict each other. The claims made are preposterous on their face (Noah's Ark, really?). The horrible slaughters of people in God's name are nearly countless (Check out 2nd Kings, Chapter 2, verses 23&24, then tell me about God's mercy). There is absolutely nothing in the Bible that has ever been scientifically or historically corroborated, with the exception of some major historical events unrelated to anyone called "Jesus." The fact that a king named Herod existed is not evidence that there was a "jesus" whom he had nailed to a cross. In fact, there isn't even any credible evidence that there was a single "Jesus." Most Biblical scholars today tend to suspect that Jesus is nothing more than an amalgam of the many seers and holy men who wandered that part of the world for centuries B.C.E. In other words, The Bible is something some ignorant people babbled about many years ago that have no evidential support. But gullible Americans (as many as 90%) swallow it whole, without the slightest inclination to be SKEPTICAL. Incidentally, Christianity is fast disappearing all over the world as the enlightenment continues to spread knowledge. It is now below 50% in Britain. And it is near zero in the Scandinavian countries. Even the hyper-religious Irish are starting to have their own doubts, caused by their anger at the child rapes perpetrated by Catholic priests. Everywhere but here, among Americans who are not the least bit skeptical about what their mommies and daddies told them long ago. To make the specious claim that Europeans are gullible and Americans are skeptical is to have it absolutely backwards

    Oliver,
    Thank you for your response in this forum. I apologize for taking so long to respond, however my last time posting I experienced some difficulty in getting my post to appear, and I made a note to come back later.
    Please understand that all of my responses are intended to be respectful and honest.
    You started your article with "He presents an orgy of anecdotes that he claims (I assume it's a he) debunks my evolutionist agenda.

    I say orgy: its a bacchanalian romp of differing misconceptions and twisted logic - basically, nothing out of the ordinary for a creationist," You also mention "The first major reason for this misconception, I think, is part of a global misunderstanding about evolution in general"
    These statements represent at least 2 logical fallacies. The first is the common "straw man" and the second is the Ad Hominem (attack against the man) which entails 2 fallacies of it's own. The straw man is "he claims (I assume it's a he) debunks my evolutionist agenda." I never made that claim. However, operational science does in fact debunk the claims of evolution.
    The second fallacy, "I say orgy: its a bacchanalian romp of differing misconceptions and twisted logic - basically, nothing out of the ordinary for a creationist," is an unsupported claim and you never mention exactly what you think is Bacchanalian or present specific refutations of specific statements. Name calling is a hallmark of lack of scientific evidence to back up your claims. The second part of the Ad Hominem is that the source really doesn't matter as far as the claim itself is concerned. Even if all creationists were "globally" as you put it ignorant of evolution, which is illogical to say because they have advanced degrees from the same universities as Atheist/materialistic evolutionists, and those universities require a thorough working knowlege of
    Evolutionary theory in order to obtain those degrees, then logically they can't all be so ignorant, it doesn't matter as to the truth of the statements. If a person were to train a monkey to scratch one plus one equals two in the dirt, it doesn't make the statement false.
    Now what exactly is the statement?
    You say "Even the idea of a tree, with increasing complexity upwards, is wrong." All of us have seen biology textbooks from gradeschool on that tell the story of a flash of lightning in a pool of primordial soup ( a thoroughly discredited idea) and out of that came the spontaneously generated first self replicating bio-molecule. We have already violated several known universal laws 1. 2nd law of thermodynamics (increasing entropy) 2. Loius Pasteurs biogenetic law (only life creates life) 3. Information theory. 4. Law of Logic (rules over the other laws and requires logical explaination and not unsubstansiated claims. However this first bio-molecule according to the Atheistic/materialistic faith of evolutionists (only the material world exists and created everything) did not have fingers, toes, ears, hands, feet, eyes, nervous system, circulatory system, biofeedback loop system, echolocation ability, or any of the other hundreds of examples I could give of extremely complex mechanisms that we actually observe in todays world. To get to these systems from a "bio-molecule" logically requires a very great deal of new and specific information (specified complexity). So your statement above ""Even the idea of a tree, with increasing complexity upwards, is wrong." Is at least partially incorrect. The idea of increasing complexity upwards is a hallmark of evolutionary theory. You also state "It's still progress, but not necessarily in the "upwards" direction. No living animal is more evolved than anything else, it may have simply evolved to retain its primitive characters. Using the term primitive is the fallacy of " begging the question" you assume that primitive exists because you assume that evolution is factually true therefore are in error due to circular reasoning. Obviously evolution is generally in the upwards direction, so by saying it isn't you are logically incorrect. Any other direction is not 'progress' but rather de-gress, or de-evolution. There is plenty of observational evidence for that, there just isn't any for the progress part, but I will get to that in a moment. You said "
    No living animal is more evolved than anything else," How can you say that when obviously anything with eyes, nose, central nervous system, etc. has more specified information, and is far more complex than an RNa molecule (another refuted first bio-molecule claim)? It is obvious that any multi-cellular creature is "more evolved" than a single cell, and pretty much any Biology textbook will say that in print.
    So the problem here seems to be about information. You wrote" It is, of course, true that there are such things as transitional forms. By this, we mean that lineages can slowly accrue changes in their morphology through time."

    This claim is not supported by observation. Changes in "morphology" or "homology" that we actually observe are through mutation and natural selection. These are what you are arguing create new information and new genetic suites of features in different creatures. The problem for you and other evolutionists is that no new information has ever been observed to be created by this mechanism. With no mechanism that can create new features, and no evidence (actual transitional fossils showing new features that did not exist before, or one creature morphing into another) then the logical conclusion is that it hasn't happened, can't happen, and never will happen.

    You said " Many creationists these days seem to have quietly abandoned their objection to evolution at small scales." This is a straw man fallacy, no creationist I know of ever abandoned their objection to evolution at small scales, and have always incorporated what you are referring to (mutation / natural selection )( it is not evolution), but rather gradual "loss" of information which is observable, into their creation theory and it is even predicted by the orginal Genesis account of the curse given in Eden.
    You wrote" God knows why, but I presume its because the ark would sink with the sheer weight of beetles, molluscs and lice (every animal would of course have to be infested with every sort of parasite imaginable, of course).

    This is another straw man (logical fallacy) since all Baramin ( animal kinds at about the Family level of Linnaeus' catogoratization system) can emerge from one orginal kind that contains all the orginal genetic information, also there is no need to beleive that beetles, mollusks or lice needed to be present on the ark since floating debris would keep insects alive during the flood, and mollusks obviously can stay alive under water.

    You wrote" To do this, they seem to have invented a dichotomy between macroevolution and microevolution, envisaging them as different processes. They are both valid terms in evolutionary biology, but both at heart driven by the same inherent processes at viewed at different scales, and thus the dichotomy is false in this sense. "

    This is incorrect and fallacious. There is no observable evidence that specified information can be added to the genome, and to say so violates several universal laws and all observation to this point. I would ask you at this point to present the scientific articles showing where it has actually been observed genetically that specified information that has not existed before has been genetically added and explain the process by which this occured. HGT (Horizontal Gene Transfer) or LGT(Lateral Gene Transfer) is not adding new information but transferring pre-existing information. You need an explanation of where the information orginated and how.

    You said "Well, all I mean to say is that; acceptance of microevolution is a wise thing, because there are cliffs worldwide stacked full with transitional fossils, if you accept evolution at the species level.

    I agree with you with the first part, except I wouldn't call it micro-evolution for the reasons given above. I covered why fossils at the species level are not transitional at all. That is like claiming chihuahuas are transitioning from great Danes into cats or pigs. They aren't becoming anything other than what they are...Dogs. Have you noticed that dogs aren't ever bred to be the size of elephants? Or that race horses don't run 200 miles an hour? That is becuase there is a limit to how much a creature can change, and that is because the changes are from a "loss" of information. An organism cannot keep losing information (specified information) and continue to exist. All forms of life on this planet are slowly, enexorably headed toward extinction, not more and more sophisticated design as you imply.
    Your comments on Punctuated equalibrium were "Punc-Eq has been conclusively proved by a study on bryozoans, as has gradualism; the two occupy a continuum, and the results of multitudinous studies done on it have formed a general theory of microevolution. There are, I'll admit, many gaps in our understanding of the way it works, but as with all science, that's the fun bit."

    The statement that "Punc-Eq has been conclusively proved by a study on bryozoans, as has gradualism" is fallacious. To prove these things you would have to some how demonstrate that it could occur, and that there is a mechanism that could produce it, then you would have to have some type of historical account "eye witness" or witness it yourself which you cannot do. The entire idea of puncuated equalibrium is built apon assumptions, (mainly missing transitional fossils which is what this entire article is supposedly refuting). What is known is that there is a layer called "Pre-Cambrian" that contains a handful of fossils whose Phyla are unrelated to any of the Phyla in the next higher layer of soil called "Cambrian". That much is actually observed. The rest of the story is interpretation or what you mentioned is the "Art" part of Paleontology. Art is subjective and expressive, but it is not scientific.
    You wrote "But think how lucky we are to be able to say what we can about bird evolution. How fortuitous that those Archaeopteryxes should have died and fell in a stagnant lagoon? We may not have as good a resolution as we do for shelly marine critters, but we can still make out the general trend.

    The general trend is that birds existed for millions of years before Archaepteryxes according to evolutionary time models so Archaepteryxes have pretty much been abandonded as ancestral to birds by most evolutionists as far as I am aware. The shelly marine critters are all for the most part the same as they have been for hundreds of millions of years (according to evolutionay timelines) (stasis) and therefore are observed to fit the predictions of the creation position, also the shelly critters are found all over the world including the highest points again fitting the predictions of the creationist position. Evolution has a real problem explaining these things since continental crust is constantly recycled in less time than the timeline given for the shelly critters fossils.
    Ok, I covered just a few of the logical fallacies in the article. As I said at the beginning, I am not intending to be disrespectful, and I am definitely listening with an open mind, as far as if you present real scientific evidence for what you are saying then I'll do more research. A person cannot reasonably deny logic.

    One more thing... I saw the picture of the sign that said " reason is the greatest enemy that faith has". That is only true if your faith is unsupported by observational and testable science, and if your faith does not comport with what is experienced in reality. Personally I challenge what I believe and insist it must align with Logic, observation, and reality.
    Evolution is based apon the worldview of Atheistic materialism, or the idea that the material world is all there is and created everything we see and experience. Materialism is completely unable to describe many features of this universe, and is itself a worldview/faith/religion. Are you a materialist and does reason support your faith?
    Thank you,
    your friend cicular

    Gerhard Adam
    We have already violated several known universal laws 1. 2nd law of thermodynamics (increasing entropy) 2. Loius Pasteurs biogenetic law (only life creates life) 3. Information theory. 4. Law of Logic (rules over the other laws and requires logical explaination and not unsubstansiated claims. However this first bio-molecule according to the Atheistic/materialistic faith of evolutionists (only the material world exists and created everything) did not have fingers, toes, ears, hands, feet, eyes, nervous system, circulatory system, biofeedback loop system, echolocation ability, or any of the other hundreds of examples I could give of extremely complex mechanisms that we actually observe in todays world. To get to these systems from a "bio-molecule" logically requires a very great deal of new and specific information (specified complexity).

    OK.

    1.  Read Schrodinger's "What is Life?"  There is no violation of thermodynamics.
    2.  Not sure what your point is since that has nothing to do with evolution/natural selection.  Origin of life questions are NOT evolution.
    3.  What in information theory do you feel is being violated?
    4.  This is just a "catch-all" "red-herring" since you haven't identified anything

    If you want to examine the "real world", then all you have to do is examine a fertilized egg and realize that all the complexity of the animal is provided by the inanimate chemicals that make up the DNA.  It can't have escaped your notice that the development of embryos is not simply a matter of growing miniature persons.  When you include the additional changes that occur after birth (i.e. puberty or even metamorphosis in insects), you will see that these biochemical processes (and complexity) occur with a high degree of frequency.  While they don't address your specific point about evolution, they do address the point about complexity originating in a "bio-molecule". 

    The fact that such new information CAN be introduced is readily apparent in HGT (which you mentioned and then promptly ignored the ramifications of) and artificially with genetic engineering.  The reason I say you ignored the ramifications of HGT, because you simply wrote it off as being "existing" information, without ever bothering to provide evidence or support for the idea of how it came into being?  If you're suggesting spontaneous generation, then you're obviously no longer talking about biology.  If not, then you must certainly be aware of how HGT has introduced modifications into other organisms and propagated (by natural selection) traits such as antibiotic resistance.

    As you should be aware, information theory does not preclude the creation of new information from existing structures, so I'm not sure what you're attempting to invoke with your references here.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Oliver Knevitt
    Hi,

    I must apologise for the ad hominem attacks; they were a pretty cheap shot, and I really appreciate you being civil with this.

    Gerhard has put it very well, actually. Discussions about the origin of life are irrelevant here (besides, you're right, the primordial soup idea is thoroughly discredited, as are the Miller-Urey spark-in-a-test tube experiments). I will pick up on a couple of other points you raised though.

    No living animal is more evolved than anything else," How can you say that when obviously anything with eyes, nose, central nervous system, etc. has more specified information, and is far more complex than an RNa molecule (another refuted first bio-molecule claim)? It is obvious that any multi-cellular creature is "more evolved" than a single cell, and pretty much any Biology textbook will say that in print.

    You are confusing "more evolved" with "more complex". Most lineages do trend towards increasing complexity, but that's not necessarily the path that evolution will take. By living thing here, I mean things alive today. Evolution is highly directional, but what direction that will be is another matter. Heterocrhony, the evolution of ontogeny, is a very important evolutionary process; Ken McNamara, my former supervisor, calls it the third pillar of evolution, alongside hereditry genetics and natural selection. This is the process whereby developmental timings can be sped up and slowed down. Incredibly common is paedomorphism, the slowing down of developmental timings. Take for instance, the axolotl, which is just a salamander tadpole that never grew up. A whole life stage, lost, just because natural selection demanded it. Its very important in the breeding of dogs, another example that you noted; "toy" breeds of dog resemble fetal wolves, but you wouldn't call a chihuahua less evolved than a wolf, because it just isn't.

    The main point here is that all genetic studies point to all life on Earth sharing a common ancestor, several billion years ago, regardless of HGT. We are more evolved than self replicating molecules of the Archean, that much is true. But everybody shares at least one ancestor that goes back to those times, and so everyone's genome has had to go through these billions of years of time. There are certainly lineages that selection has acted on to keep the same since the early days, but we refer to those lineages as being less derived rather than less evolved, because we don't want to confuse it for a lack of selection having occured. All that has happened is that they seem less evolved becuase theit sister lineages have accrued much more change.

    As for the punc-eq stuff, please read the relevant chapters of Ridley "Evolution"; I explained it as best I could.

    I could be religious, and I could not be religious. I don't think its relevant. Pure and simple, if God was to make a human from scratch, he would not build a human as we know it. Even I could design a better human (as for how, I might address in another post). The way we are is limited heavily by our evolutionary heritage, and God could still be the one with the insight to create a Universe that could spawn a human. To create a human by building him from dirt is a thick way to create a human if you ask me; the more ingenious way (and a way that engineers use extensively) is to create a system and let the solution create itself. Simple, and beautiful.

    Why we are here is the true matter that people need to concern themselves with, and one that science never intends to tread on the toes of. This is where faith comes into its own, and the two needn't ever cross swords.

    Regards,

    Oliver

    Hank
     Even I could design a better human (as for how, I might address in another post). 
    I hope enhancements include the male reproductive system.  I am not complaining about the end results, mind you, but internally, and in its design, it is medical trouble waiting to happen.    That would be first on my list, anyway.
    MikeCrow
    Circularreason,
    "We have already violated several known universal laws 1. 2nd law of thermodynamics (increasing entropy)"
    Is incorrect. Here's what's in Wiki "
    The second law of thermodynamics is an expression of the tendency that over time, differences in temperature, pressure, and chemical potential equilibrate in an isolated physical system."

    The Earth isn't an isolated system, we continuously receive energy from the Sun. To not understand that, to me makes you lose all credibility.
    Never is a long time.
    Gerhard Adam
    However, operational science does in fact debunk the claims of evolution.
    Since there is so much wrong here, how about we just begin with this one statement.  Please provide a source(s) that "debunks" the claims of evolution?

    This statement is a logical fallacy by being an appeal to authority (under the guise of "operational science").  So if you want to put forth a logical argument, then evidence and sources are necessary.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Hello Oliver,
    Thank you for your response to my post. I read your post and spent time thinking about what you had to say. One point you made really stood out to me and I felt it was a point that I should comment on so that we could have a clearer understanding between us for better communication. You said " I could be religious, and I could not be religious. I don't think its relevant." I understand that you were answering my post where I said " Are you a materialist and does reason support your faith?" I apologize for the abruptness of that question and would rather have expressed myself differently, however in my defense I would point out that it was at the end of a very long post. I was trying to make a point about different perceptions. We use the colloquialism "religious" to refer to someone who believes in a supernatural creator, and usually we are referring specifically to a "Christian" who believes in the God of the bible, and that the bible is the inerrant word of God, however religious has a different meaning also. The same can be said of the word "doctor". When we use the colloquialism of "doctor" we most often mean " medical doctor. The word "doctor" has other meanings as well however, and can refer to a PHD in physics as well for instance. The Websters New Collegiate Dictionary defines religious as " relating to or manifesting faithful devotion to an acknowledged ultimate reality or deity." So then the question becomes " what is an ultimate reality." In the case of our discussion ultimate reality would refer to only 2 different possible ultimate realities...1. God exists or 2. God does not exist. There is no superior or higher proof than God himself if he in fact exists. There is no superior or higher proof than that fact that God does not exist if he does not exist. All other proof or observations are subsequent to these ultimate realities, and only one of them can possibly be true. So the point here is that the picture in your first post implies that one commitment to an ultimate reality ( the Christian/ Creationist worldview) is based on blind faith and reason destroys that faith, while a commitment to the other reality ( materialistic Atheism) is based on observational and testable evidence. The reality is that both viewpoints are ultimately religious and faith based since all observational and testable evidence is subsequent to the initial ultimate postulations. If this is the case, (and it is) then how we interpret all evidence (historical, observational, testable) is subject to the interpretation of our own religious/ philosophical worldview. Everyone is religious, even if they deny it. in other words even if you choose not to decide you still have made a choice. So this brings us to the next subject of how we view evolution in light of these worldviews.
    You wrote " You are confusing "more evolved" with "more complex". " I don't see that I am confusing the two. I mentioned in my post that most Biology textbooks will explain clearly that the origin of the first "Archeabacterium" or " protocell" was created by some type of materialistic process (that is still completely beyond any explanation) and that this "protocell" was "simple". This "protocell" did not have eyes, ears, fingers, toes, a central nervous system, echolocation capabilities...etc. This would mean that evolution "requires" that suites of specified complex information (not just complexity) are continually and regularly "created" in some manner by natural means. Observational and testable science has in every case revealed that mutation and natural selection only reduce specified complex information, which causes basic forms of animals to change and adapt (because of a large quantitiy of preexisting information that allows for this without basic organisms dying and going extinct due to catastrophic losses of functionality). Since mutation and natural selection cannot "create" these new suites of sophisticated structures (and we see this supported in the fossil record by the lack of any transitional fossils), then we can be sure that the first 2 pillars of evolution fail to support the theory. This leaves the third you mentioned that you called " Heterochrony, the evolution of Ontogeny." I must point out that saying that Ontogeny ( the developmental process of living things) evolved is starting with the assumption that 1. God does not exist, and things evolved by naturalistic means. We cannot " know" that Ontogeny ever evolved at all...especially since Ontogeny is a developmental system that is regulated by specified complexity (genes) for a purpose. In all of human history, all cases of " known" sources of specified complex systems the only source ever actually observed is always intelligent (human). Why then would we assume when the source is undetected as it is in biological systems, that the source is natural? Nature has never been observed to create such systems, and has been shown to be unable to. I am not sure how paedomorphism ( youthful characteristics in adults), or a slowing down of developmental systems relates to creating new and novel design features such as the impossibly complex visual system of a Mantis shrimp. Developmental systems are regulated by genes, which are pre-programmed self replicating information systems that are light years beyond human technology, but which utilize the same basic features of human technology ( language, logic, purposeful functionality, timing sequence, etc.). The case of the Axolotyl I have to confess is something I don't know a lot about. I do know it is a salamander, however I don't know if it ever originally had the "missing" life stage or not. If it did though, and it lost this life stage through selection, that only shows exactly what I have been saying is factual and true....that organisms "lose" information and do not "gain" information. It does not support evolution in the upward sense which "must" be true for evolution to be true, and for transitional fossils to exist which is what these posts were originally about. You are correct that I would call a Chihuahua less evolved than a wolf and I don't recall saying that they resembled fetal wolves. I would note that many types of creatures resemble other creatures and have no genetic relationship at all. The point I was making about dogs (artificial selection) is that the vast diversity we have in dogs is due to losing or " breeding out" undesirable traits. The hair coats for instance are regulated by just 5 different genes. With just 5 different genes we have all kinds of different lengths and colors, and all of those colors are created with "losses" of specified information. You cannot build a new creature "something other than a dog" from taking a dog and removing parts or "software".
    You said " The main point here is that all genetic studies point to all life on earth sharing a common ancestor several billion years ago, regardless of HGT." When you say all genetic studies I take that to mean all genetic studies. There are many genetic studies and observations that contradict the idea of any common ancestor. We observe many creatures with nearly identical features (homology) but completely different genetic developmental pathways, and in contrast we see identical genetic pathways forming completely different features in some organisms. Evolutionists use will utilize features in organisms that fit the evolutionary story, yet ignore the ones that don't like the platupus for instance. Creationists and ID theorists would argue that common design is an equal explanation of similar usage of genetic pathways in different creatures. Another problem with the statement is that all of this specified information could exist for several billion years with mutation and selection removing information for that long. Observation of genetic mutations has revealed that at least 20 negative mutations occur with each generation (of humans at least) and with a 3 billion base pair length, it has been calculated ( by expert mathmaticians) than humans cannot exist for more than 500 generations with that kind of information loss. In known human history we are at about 250 generations.
    Your last paragraph you wrote " Pure and simple, if God was to make a human from scratch, he would not build a human as we know it. Even I could design a better human (as for how, I might address in another post). The way we are is limited heavily by our evolutionary heritage, and God could still be the one with the insight to create a Universe that could spawn a human. To create a human by building him from dirt is a thick way to create a human if you ask me; the more ingenious way (and a way that engineers use extensively) is to create a system and let the solution create itself. Simple, and beautiful.
    I would point out that "if" God exists, how could any of us "know" what he would do other than what he tells us in some sort of special revelation? If you believe you could build a better human I would be interested to see that. In this last year, a team of scientists ( who are the foremost experts in genetics), using a lab of millions of dollars worth of specialized equipment, and thousands of man- hours managed to transfer the genetic material of a type of yeast into a "simple" bacterium". The press release of the event declared that " artificial life has been created in the lab". While I fully respect the amazing accomplishment of these brilliant men and women, what actually occurred was the transfer of complete genetic material ( preexisting specified complex information) into the mitochondria ( preexisting hardware that is capable of reading and understanding the instructions of the genetic material). A good analogy is software from one computer to another. It only took them a little over 800 tries to get it to work. With all due respect Oliver, I do not believe you can design a better human. You can bring arguments against the way things operate in humans, such as vestigial organs ( virtually all of them have now been found to have uses that were previously unknown) a refuted idea, or maybe inefficient operation such as the blind spot of the human eye ( another bad design argument that has been refuted), but there are problems with this line of reasoning. First, proving bad design does not prove evolution and does not disprove design. If fact it shows that design is a reasonable conclusion because design features exist and are recognizable by your own admission! Evolutionists often argue that design is only an illusion, and that it was all created by natural processess. The second problem with the bad design argument is that it doesn't address the creationist position that the original design was perfect, then through the curse ( Genesis 3:15) the perfect design began to be corrupted through the processess we now observe (mutation and natural selection). So poor design features could be explained by mutations and loss of original design features.
    You said also " To create a human by building him from dirt is a thick way to create a human if you ask me; the more ingenious way (and a way that engineers use extensively) is to create a system and let the solution create itself. Simple, and beautiful.
    By observation we know that humans are made of the same basic elements as "dirt" is i.e. Carbon, Oxygen, Nitrogen, Copper, Zinc...etc. Why is it more ingenious to create a human from creating a system? Engineers do not create systems and let the solution create itself...things would never be built doing that, they plan using operational environmental constraints, purpose, most efficient processess etc. then construct and test the system to ensure if functions as predicted. If not then they analyze the problem and reengineer the part of the system that fails to operate to specifications. Speaking of design constraints...some systems that occur in Biology are operating at the very threshhold of our physical universe. Some photosynthetic processess in plants are operating at virtually or actually 100 percent efficiency and at a nano scale far beyond what intelligent humans are capable of, even at the point of manipulating individual atoms. Human engineers by contrast can only achieve at best 12 percent efficiency in our machines.
    I find it unreasonable and unlikely that natural processess can account for all of this.
    Thank you,
    your friend Circularreason

    Thank you for your post Gerhard,

    You wrote " Since there is so much wrong here, how about we just begin with this one statement. Please provide a source(s) that "debunks" the claims of evolution?

    This statement is a logical fallacy by being an appeal to authority (under the guise of "operational science"). So if you want to put forth a logical argument, then evidence and sources are necessary

    The definition of evolution can be found in the lawsuit of Mclean v. Arkansas Board of Education January 5, 1982 :

    1. Emergence by naturalistic processes of the universe from disordered matter and emergence of life from nonlife;
    2. The sufficiency of mutation and natural selection in bringing about development of present living kinds from simple earlier kinds;
    3. Emergence by mutation and natural selection of present living kinds from simple earlier kinds;
    4. Emergence of man from a common ancestor with apes;
    5. Explanation of the earth's geology and the evolutionary sequence by uniformitarianism; and
    6. An inception several billion years ago of the earth and somewhat later of life.
    I would point out that both sides in this case agreed to the definition, and there would be no lawsuit if this definition were not being taught in public schools.

    You can clearly see that spontaneous generation of life is taught from the first definition. There have never been any observations that show life has, or is able to generate from non living material. Since evolutionists are making the claim that this happened and it is a "fact" that it has happened, then it is encumbent apon evolutionists to prove the process, and mechanism, and show an example in the fossil record of the first life form. None of these things exist. In During a recent conference at Arizona State University, a collection of scientists discussed this very question. By the end of the discussion, the answer was clear—they don't know. I don't need to present any evidence to disprove evolution, the absence of evidence for the theory is what debunks evolution. For anyone to believe that spontaneous generation occured without any observational evidence to support that view reveals a "religious faith" that goes even beyond the most ardent fundamentalist Christian ( at least a Christian has a bible which is historically testable). There is no such observation or testing for an unobservable event in the distant past for which no present mechanism can account.
    How is using observational evidence the logical fallacy of Appealing to the authority? The fallacy of Appealing to the authority refers to appealing to the authority of an expert who may or may not be correct with his/ her opinion, not pointing to observational evidence which can be tested under the same circumstances and either confirmed or refuted.

    Gerhard Adam
    You must be joking.  You refer to a legal definition for evolution? 

    If you're actually interested in science then you should recognize the absurdity of your claim here, since evolution is not and cannot be about origins of life.  Evolution, by definition, is about changes in an existing entity.

    You requirement of a fossil record for the first life forms is patently foolish, since you are requiring evidence for something which is unlikely to have been preserved due to it's lack of structure that could fossilize.  In addition, even if you found something that was that early, it would be impossible to argue that any particular find was the FIRST.

    Your claim that evolution fails under the fallacy of an appeal to authority illustrates more about your lack of philosophical understanding than anything else.  There is no such fallacy. 

    However, if you were actually considering it, you would have to recognize that any religious belief can only be exercised by such a fallacy since it is built on accepting principles established by an "authority".  While you claim that the Bible is historically "testable" you fail to acknowledge that virtually none of the history in it is accurate or has been verified.  Where is the Garden of Eden guarded by the angels?  Where is Noah's Ark?  Surely there must be a fossil record?  However if you find it, isn't it an appeal to authority to accept some individual's expertise in claiming that it is?

    It's obvious that you have no interest in actually discussing science, but instead you want to dress up your religious preconceptions in the illusion of logic and reason.  There is nothing logical nor reasonable in your claims and it is disingenuous to claim that science has no evidence and only a logical fallacy while you claim "truth" surrounding a book that hasn't even been accurately translated.  Unless you're reading the original scrolls in their original language, your entire basis for accepting religion is a giant logical fallacy (i.e. based on the opinions of "experts" whose translation you have accepted without question).
    Mundus vult decipi
    Gerhard Adam
    In reviewing your comments, it is clear that you're attempting to argue both sides simultaneously and introducing absurdities which are never claimed.
    1. Emergence by naturalistic processes of the universe from disordered matter and emergence of life from nonlife

    You can clearly see that spontaneous generation of life is taught from the first definition.
    Your statement is a deliberate misinterpretation of the first definition.  There is no claim that life emerged by spontaneous generation.  The claim is simply that life emerged from matter (disordered is your choice of words) and life originated from non-life.

    While you may claim that the latter requires spontaneous generation, but that would be disingenuous since you already know that it is true that life emerged from non-life (even from religion's perspective). 

    The problem here is that you are simply uninformed, so it would be beneficial if you're really interested in learning to acquaint yourself with some of the science surrounding the exploration of origins.

    However, in the interest of brevity I would ask you to define life (as contrasted to non-life), so that we can determine whether there's even a basis for discussion.  Please note that you can't use life to define life, so there should be no references to the "breath of life", etc.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Hello Mi Cro,
    You wrote: Circularreason,
    "We have already violated several known universal laws 1. 2nd law of thermodynamics (increasing entropy)"
    Is incorrect. Here's what's in Wiki "The second law of thermodynamics is an expression of the tendency that over time, differences in temperature, pressure, and chemical potential equilibrate in an isolated physical system."

    The Earth isn't an isolated system, we continuously receive energy from the Sun. To not understand that, to me makes you lose all credibility.

    I understand that the earth is in an open system in the sense the the sun gives us a source of raw energy, and can offset the second law somewhat by increasing the amount of organized, usable energy available here on earth. Ultimately however we are in a closed system at the universal level as far as we have been able to observe. The first law states no matter or energy can be created or destroyed, and there is a finite amount of energy in the universe. So what are we talking about when we say open system and how does this system affect biological systems? If you think about reality and how this works then you realize that the sun is indeed pouring infra-red (heat energy into our earthly environment, heating the oceans and land masses, we recieve UV radiation as well as x-ray, gamma ray, visible light. All of this energy does increase the amount of energy here on earth causing different atmospheric anomolies, ocean currents...all sorts of raw energy that we can use. So here is a test to see if the second law is in fact reversed in biological mechanisms..put a dead cat out in the raw energy provided by the sun and see if it comes back to life. After all..you have "all" of the chemicals for life in one place..you have "all" of the specified complex information available for all of the machinery and systems to function....so why doesn't the cat come back to life? Why does the dead cat continue to decay ( as predicted by the 2nd law) even in an "open" system that "decreases" entropy? It is because the open system argument does not apply to specified complex systems but only to complex systems that don't require purposeful information in order to operate, and only to general systems. This is an easy thing to validate through observational evidence. I don't claim credibility, I let observational evidence support any position.


    Never is a long time.

    Never is a long time, and since I cannot prove that spontaneous generation "will" never happen, we won't be around to see it if Atheistic naturalism is true, and if Creation is true "Christianity" then we will be in the presence of God by then and will know that Creation is true, either way I cannot now prove it one way or another so I admit it is a personal opinion. However, I will say that it is a logical position based on observational and testable evidence..since we have never seen it happen ( spontaneous generation), and there is no mechanism described that can produce it, then one can logically conclude it won't happen in the future.
    Thank you,
    Circularreason

    MikeCrow
    Circularreason,
    I see you're living up to your name.

    You claim the 2nd law prevents energy from increasing complexity, I point out your understanding of it is wrong, at which you make up some stupid test to see if it can bring a dead cat back to life. In no way did I(or anyone else) ever suggest the 2nd law can revive anything that's dead.

    What it can do is provide the energy to create more complex molecules.

    As for your "logical position", how do you know that we're not the ultimate product of spontaneous generation? You weren't there to say what happened, and the fact we can't reproduce it means nothing.

    Now, you're more than welcome to think whatever you'd like, but don't waste our time trying to convince us it's based on logic.
    Never is a long time.
    Hello Gerhard,
    I really appreciated this particular post from you. It brings up some very good points and I have been wanting to respond in a respectful way.
    You wrote: 1. Read Schrodinger's "What is Life?" There is no violation of thermodynamics.
    Schrodinger envisioned in his book (circa 1944) that biological systems utilized "negative" entropy. He claimed that mutations play an important role in evolution and that mutations are directly linked to " quantum leaps".
    If we think for a moment, we know that his book written in 1943 and published in 1944 was finished before mankind even knew for sure that DNA was "the" information carrier in biological systems, and what the precise structure was. This was before the understanding of information theory and how specific the information in biological systems really has to be. It is true that biological systems do "feed" on negative entropy...they create the condition. What other systems can do this? Systems designed by intelligent engineers do this also. These systems reduce entropy at the "cost " of increasing entropy in the universe. The claim that biological systems can be created through "feeding on negative entropy" doesn't work because there is far too much specified complexity required that Schrodinger fails to address. Raw energy can reverse entropy for some individual small molecules, but cannot provide the source for more and more complex large molecules. The same energy source that creates small molecules destroys larger ones as they get more complex.

    You wrote: 2. Not sure what your point is since that has nothing to do with evolution/natural selection. Origin of life questions are NOT evolution.
    I would refer you to the earlier post I sent to you regarding the 6 definitions taken from the McLean v. Arkansas Board of Education January 5, 1982, so you can clearly see that it is the first definition of evolution. Origin of life questions are a very big part of evolution, even though evolutionists don't like to talk about it. Evolution purports to explain where all life came from. Darwins book " On the Origin of the species" says it clearly.

    You wrote: 3. What in information theory do you feel is being violated?

    It isn't what I " feel" is being violated, but rather what is actually violated. It is clearly observed that biological systems are intensely complicated and complex. It has been stated that the fertilzed human Ovum is one of the most complex systems in the known universe. Single cells have their complexity compared to entire cities (literally not figuratively). Complexity alone is enough to question the natural production of such structures since all of the features of even "simple" cells are far too complex to have "fallen" together in one place in the sequence they are observed. This being said there is a higher level of information that is observed through information theory that increases the impossibility beyond reasonable doubt, and that complexity is referred to as Specified Complexity. To get an idea of what that means one just needs to observe what a living system does inside. DNA contains four components CTGA which form the basic "building blocks" that can be thought of as letters of an alphabet. The 4 letters are strung together in a very "specified" manner to form structures that can be thought of as words and sentences. These sentences must be exactly accurate or the instructions they convey would be gibberish and the cell would not be able to function. The function must occur or the cell dies. This is much like the logic contained in the software programming of computers. If the programmer puts in the wrong command, the computer will not operate and may even "crash". Here is an example of specified complexity or lack thereof : k. shilem duekh, dukhshem udks du dubskebj uhueonv nfukw e kvnue fsuef , uieff uveu , " skeuf ufenskeuke unukefneku kseu f" The sentence I have typed is complex, and even has punctuation, however the function is destroyed because the information is not specified to a high enough level for anyone to understand. There is enough speficity though to recognize an intelligent designer because of the symbols used, and the punctuation. Even though you don't understand what was typed, it would be logical to conclude that an intelligent source created as opposed to some random natural source. So what is the point? The point is that every system ever observed that has specified complexity and has a known source, has been from an intelligent source. Intelligence is a requirement for " higher informational content or purpose" to be produced. Logic is immaterial and is only detected by other intelligent sources. Specified complexity and logic exist in biological systems, therefore it is logic to conclude that an intelligence constructed it and not random purposeless natural systems, that have never been observed to create this type of information.

    You wrote " 4. This is just a "catch-all" "red-herring" since you haven't identified anything."

    This is actually one of my favorite areas of discussion ..the Laws of Logic. The Laws of Logic are the ultimate source of everything when we are talking about origins, or evolution. When we speak of the "Laws of Logic" we need to define what we mean, so we should ask...what are the properties of Logic?
    1. Logic is immaterial. You can't stub your toe on a law of logic in the middle of the night.
    2. Logic exists everywhere in our universe. Take the logical statement one plus one equals two. If you go to Antarctica it still is true, one plus one still equals two. If you go to the moon it is the same ( we know because people have been there). If we look in the Hubble space telescope we see that logic is in operation as far as the eye can see ( 14 billion light years away or so) we see matter and energy behaving in logical ways.
    3. Logic tells all other laws, matter, and energy what to do. Matter and energy obey motion laws, conservation of energy, entropy, etc.
    4. Logic is unchanging. As far as every observation we have made is concerned it appears that logic has always been the same as it is today.

    So let's take a look at these qualities and see which explaination best fits the profile for what created the Laws of Logic.
    Atheistic materialism posits that the material world through a series of random, chaotic and purposeless events created everything that exists in the universe.
    Creationism posits that the God of the bible ( An intelligent agent) created all things)
    Logic according to the 4 qualities we mentioned is :
    1. Immaterial
    2. Omnipresent ( exists everywhere in our universe)
    3. Omnipotent ( tells everything else what to do)
    4. Unchanging (uniform)

    So which of the creation stories best applies to the very characteristics of Logic itself? How do you describe the creation of an immaterial law by a material only creation account? No material has ever been observed to create immaterial laws to date, and immaterial laws do not change and are not subject to matter, but the opposite is true. The God of the bible on the other hand claims Logic as his, and even in John 1:1 says this..." In the beginning was the Word (greek word Logos our basis for the word logic) and the Word/ Logos was with God, and the Word/ Logos was God......and the Word/ Logos became flesh. Since materialistic Atheism is the basis for evolution and materialism cannot account for immaterial laws like Logic, Atheists must borrow logic from the Christian worldview to even make an argument against the Creationist position. It is kind of like denying air exists, but proving it exists every time you take a breath to argue that it doesn't.
    The point here isn't to preach, but rather to point out that Creationists have a very logical basis, for believing that biological systems were created. The very qualities of the Laws of Logic share that with not just any God, but the God of the bible specifically.

    You wrote " The fact that such new information CAN be introduced is readily apparent in HGT (which you mentioned and then promptly ignored the ramifications of) and artificially with genetic engineering. The reason I say you ignored the ramifications of HGT, because you simply wrote it off as being "existing" information, without ever bothering to provide evidence or support for the idea of how it came into being? If you're suggesting spontaneous generation, then you're obviously no longer talking about biology. If not, then you must certainly be aware of how HGT has introduced modifications into other organisms and propagated (by natural selection) traits such as antibiotic resistance.

    Ok, Horizontal Gene Transfer alias aka LGT or Lateral Gene Transfer. If you look at the words in these two phrases you will notice that horizontal and lateral are synonomous for "sideways". Transferring a gene from one entity to another by a bacterium engulfing another is not producing new and unique information. I am not the one claiming that this is somehow new information that can create new and unique creatures from existing ones..those are evolutionists making that claim and saying this generates the "upward" process of evolution. In the case of HGT, the genes already exist in the bacterium that gets engulfed. It is up to evolutionists to describe where the original genes came from since it is their theory saying genes are created through natural processess. The other severe problem for evolutionists is explaining how the bacterium engulfing the other is able to obtain, and utilize the genetic material it has engulfed. Obviously there has to be a process in place (machinery) that can accept the new genes (software) and understand the new instructions in order to build the structure. I know I can engulf a bacterium , and probably not recieve some new antibiotic resistance from it. So there seems to be a pre-programmed device to allow HGT to occur ( an obvious design inference). HGT is a fairly rare event, and more commonly antibiotic resistance is conferred by mutations that weaken or destroy a bacteriums osmotic pumps that pump penicillinase into the cell. When this happens the cell is "less" fit for the environment but survives better because the competition dies out and leaves ample food source. In the case of HGT no new information is created, so HGT is unable to account for the increase of specified complexity required to create new and unique creatures from a common ancestor, and does not explain where the massive amount of specified information came from in the first place.

    Thank you,
    Circularreason

    Gerhard Adam
    Well, you're either intentionally trying to waste my time, or you are intentionally being obtuse.

    So, in a nutshell let me just say that logic is the least of your talents in this case, and without your own education being extended far more than I'm willing to engage in, I can't help you.

    I will admit that your "Laws of Logic" had their humorous moments, which illustrates that you don't really understand what you're talking about.  In other words, it was interesting how you simply defined whatever laws you liked, then attached arbitrary meanings to those concepts and then created a paradigm where you could rationalize your religious beliefs.  It was cute, but it wasn't logic.
    Mundus vult decipi
    > Circularreason wrote:
    >
    > So let's take a look at these qualities and see which explaination
    > best fits the profile for what created the Laws of Logic.
    >

    God couldn't have created logic. If he did, then there was a time before that in which there was no logic, and therefore no logical sequence of events dictating that the creator precedes his creation.

    By the way, you say things like, "Logic tells everything else what to do". You're assuming that logic *prescribes* behavior, instead of *describing* it. You have zero evidence for that. "Logic" is merely our formulation "in symbols and language" of a description of how things in our world are. That fits perfectly within the atheistic worldview.

    Then you say the "God of the Bible claims logic as his". Awesome. So some shmuck in the Middle East wrote a book in which he allegedly quoted an undetectable God as claiming logic as his. And that's enough evidence for that!

    And your story about the dead cat is laughable. Here's another one you should use: Throw a dead flower on the ground and pour water and shine light on it, and see if it grows. NEVER MIND that there is a natural sequence of events necessary for a flower to thrive, such as planting a seed or a bush in the appropriate soil, etc.

    Hello everyone, it is nice to be able to leave a post at last.
    I'll start with Mi Cros' post
    Mi Cro wrote " Circularreason,
    I see you're living up to your name."
    If you believe I am engaged in circularreasoning, it is up to you to demonstrate it since you are making the allegation. Just saying you think sometihing is true doesn't make it true..lol.
    Mi Cro then wrote " You claim the 2nd law prevents energy from increasing complexity, I point out your understanding of it is wrong, at which you make up some stupid test to see if it can bring a dead cat back to life. In no way did I(or anyone else) ever suggest the 2nd law can revive anything that's dead.

    I said that claiming life can arise from non-life through material naturalistic means is a violation of the second law of thermodynamics. Gerhard made a good point ( and one that I partially agree with) when he said " While you may claim that the latter requires spontaneous generation, but that would be disingenuous since you already know that it is true that life emerged from non-life (even from religion's perspective). " I am not a disingeuous person, however he is correct in saying that either way spontaneous generation from non-life has occurred whether you have a belief in God or not. The question then becomes which worldview can best explain the emergence of life from non-life. Evolution is completely inadequate to even offer a plausible method by which this could happen, let alone have a theory as to how it happened, or show any evidence that it did. The omnipotent, omniscient God of the bible at least has the ability to create exnihilo. Since this universe logically requires a cause for every effect (the law of cause and effect) and life is an effect, then obviously it requires a cause. Now Gerhard has attempted to avoid the whole thing by denying that evolution has anything to say about the emergence of life and only focuses on " Changes in life". I quote him as saying " If you're actually interested in science then you should recognize the absurdity of your claim here, since evolution is not and cannot be about origins of life."

    I suggest picking up any biology textbook and read what the scientific claims are about the "evolution of life" from primordial soup. So we can clearly see Mi Cro that you are clearly wrong when you say " In no way did I(or anyone else) ever suggest the 2nd law can revive anything that's dead."

    You and every other evolutionist that contend that life "sprang up" from dead materials i.e. rocks..water...sunlight...volcanic vents...asteroid impacts..etc.are in fact contending not only reviving life that once was, but rather creating life from nonlife from the "reversal" of the 2nd law of thermodynamics due to the "open system" argument. I was being kind, and very gracious allowing you a dead cat to start with. At least a dead cat was definitely once alive. We know for certain that the chemicals, minerals, the specified complexity, and the structure of the dead cat at least once had the capability to support life. The cat may have only been dead for a few minutes and only needs mouth to mouth rescusitation to be revived, which would be quite easy for someone to do and return life to the dead cat. But that would be intelligent design wouldn't it? An intelligence would be necessary to desire the cat be revived. Leave that same cat in the elements for the universe to act on and it would decay and rot and that would be obvious even to a 5 year old. It was your definition to call such a test "Stupid". If it is stupid to believe a dead cat can come back to life (which has all of the obviously observed components to support life), what possible word would be invoked to describe an individual who believes life was spontaneously created by the same processess from rocks, water, sunlight, etc?

    Mi Cro then wrote " What it can do is provide the energy to create more complex molecules.

    It can? Everything I have read and observed demonstrates that these processess destroy complex molecules..that is why we don't find any in places like Mars, or Jupiters' moon Enceladus. We only find simple molecules in these places, and certainly no evidence of life.

    Mi Cro then wrote " As for your "logical position", how do you know that we're not the ultimate product of spontaneous generation? You weren't there to say what happened, and the fact we can't reproduce it means nothing."

    This is a great question. We must be the product of spontaneous generation at some point, however as I pointed out earlier what are the possible explanations for a cause for such an event? Material causes cannot account for it. Nobody was there to say what happened except God if he exists. If a scientists is an Atheist he/she will attempt to explain it through natural causes and emphatically reject any supernatural explanation even if evidence contradicts his/her explanation (unless of course he/she is honest). Since God cannot be invoked then only illogical explanations are allowed like the primordial soup theory, the deep ocean volcanic vent theory, the Silica sheet theory, the Astroid impact theory.....etc etc...all of which have been plagued with insurmountable problems.
    It isn't just that we can't reproduce the effect, we can't even come up with a plausible method by which it can possibly occur by natural means.
    If I am not using logic, then I am using "illogic". You can easily demonstrate my logical fallacies if there are any. Please describe them and point them out.
    Mi Cro...you keep writing "Never is a long time". The implication is that " a long time" can make something different happen than what normally occurs in our time frame. What makes you think that " a long time" has any qualaties that are different than what we experience? Do you believe that " a long time" has magical qualities that can create life from rocks, water, sunlight, meteor impacts etc? If you really think about it for a moment you will realize that " a long time" only adds more of the same to an already bankrupt idea. There is NO mechanism that can create life from non-life in a naturalistic worldview. There isn't any plausible theory for explaining the complexity, nor the vast amount of information (specified complexity) required for life to exist, by material, natural means. You cannot demonstrate logically that " a long time" can generate any of these effects.

    Thank you,
    Circularreason

    Gerhard Adam
    It's fascinating how someone can generate such a long post and have absolutely nothing correct or worth discussing in it.  There is no "primordial soup", just as evolution isn't about origins of life.  To even suggest a biology "textbook" is ludicrous. 

    You've done what every religious individual with an anti-science agenda does, and that is to distort the actual science, introduce irrelevancies, and play fast and loose with the current state of knowledge.  Biology doesn't need to defend nor justify itself to people that choose to remain willfully ignorant. 

    Mundus vult decipi
    Gerhard

    You wrote "You must be joking. You refer to a legal definition for evolution? "

    Yep, I do. Evolutionists agreed to it, (all parties did) and they all needed clarification for the court case to ensure no ambiguity. What better definition to use?

    You wrote " If you're actually interested in science then you should recognize the absurdity of your claim here, since evolution is not and cannot be about origins of life.

    So I guess I and every other American that read that part in our Biology textbooks in school about life originating in a "primordial soup" as a precursor to evolution just imagined that part? Arguing that evolution is not about origins is just an attempt to avoid the inevitible discussion that is impossible to defend. Even Darwin used the word "Origins" in the title of his first book.

    You wrote " Evolution, by definition, is about changes in an existing entity."

    Evolution by definition is " Descent with modification from a common ancestor". Changes can mean "losses" of information or an increase of information. Only losses of information are ever seen in biology. A loss of information is equivalent to taking parts off of your car. You can start taking parts off of your car and it may still operate. You can take off headlights, taillights, the rear view mirror, the dome light, and it might only be an inconvenience, and you can still drive it. It will never build a better more sophisticated car though. You won't get a built in GPS system doing this, you won't get fuel injection etc..etc. Evolution claims you will. Enough small changes accumulate to make big changes and Voilla! You have a brand new late model vehicle. Not only that , but it all came from just one original Primordial life form. There is no evidence of new and unique information being created from natural mechanisms. There is no evidence that any natural mechanisms exist that can create new and unique information in biological systems. The evidence we do have demonstrates that only "losses" of information occur (mutation/natural selection) , at best preservation of existing information, which best supports the creationist position, and falsifies the evolutionary position.

    You wrote " You requirement of a fossil record for the first life forms is patently foolish, since you are requiring evidence for something which is unlikely to have been preserved due to it's lack of structure that could fossilize."

    You are "affirming the consequent" here. You are claiming that the reason fossils don't exist is because of a lack of structure that could fossilize. This has been thoroughly refuted by "real observable science". Recently many detailed fossils of Jellyfish and other soft bodied organisms have been found in "Precambrian" rocks (which were virtually identical to modern day jellyfish and show no sign of evolving in the last 500 - 550 million years). If what you contend here were true then these fossils should not exist, yet they do. You are making the assumption that a great period of time transpired along with natural processess that prevent these ancient fossils from forming, then proving it by saying the fossils don't exist. A better explanation is that such fossils don't exist. Evolutionists say they do anyway. Also you used the word foolish to describe me. What possible moral imperative do you have to call me foolish? If what you believe is true (Atheistic materialism/ evolution) then there really is no truth above any other. There is no morality. The only point in existing is survival and what can be gained for ones self. To call me foolish is to suggest that your point of view is superior ( morally better or "good" compared to my "bad"). Without any absolute authority to determine one view as superior to another then every view is relatively "right". I could just as easily say your view is foolish, and be equally as right as you are from your worldview. If you try to argue that a "majority" agree with your position, you are just arguing from a position of "Positivism" which is just as relativistic. In that view "truth" is only what the majority decides. That means "Truth" can be altered by a "proxy" vote, and truth doesn't really exist outside of ourselves. That is false also and can be shown to be false.

    You wrote " In addition, even if you found something that was that early, it would be impossible to argue that any particular find was the FIRST.

    So what you are saying is that it all is just a story with no real evidence? My point exactly.

    You wrote " Your claim that evolution fails under the fallacy of an appeal to authority illustrates more about your lack of philosophical understanding than anything else. There is no such fallacy."

    Re-read my post and see for yourself that I never said anything like that. I did say that evolution fails because of lack of any evidence of a mechanism that can possibly cause it. As far as the "Appeal to Authority" I was responding to your post, where you tried to claim I was appealing to an authority by referring to an observed phenomena. That is something totally different than an Appeal to Authority, and an absurd accusation. To make the claim that evolution is an appeal to authority would be the fallacy of Reification. Evolution is not a person, nor is it an intellect that can "say" or "do" anything. Instead of this demonstrating my lack of philisophical understanding, it demonstrates that you aren't reading my posts thoroughly.

    You wrote " However, if you were actually considering it, you would have to recognize that any religious belief can only be exercised by such a fallacy since it is built on accepting principles established by an "authority".

    That would be true with a religion like the one you believe in that is proposed by human men that are fallible and do make mistakes, sometimes lie, and are subject to false conclusions. It would not be true if you base your belief on an individual who is perfect, who cannot lie, who is omniscient, and who is infallible like the God of the Bible. Appeal to Authority only applies to the former. The other problem with your logic is that there are other means to check the accounts of Biblical faith such as through historical eyewitness accounts ( of both biblical and non biblical sources) as well as archeological discoveries, prophetic evidence, and scientific evidence. The "authority" one appeals to is supported by observational evidence.
    You then wrote " While you claim that the Bible is historically "testable" you fail to acknowledge that virtually none of the history in it is accurate or has been verified. "
    You actually wrote that and don't feel embarassed to say that? It is exactly the opposite of what you have just said. In fact, there is no Archeological find that refutes anything the bible claims.. why don't you prove what you just said by presenting the history that proves the bible inaccurate, or show how no account has been verified..lololol I'll keep checking these posts to see what you come with. ( See Sir William Ramsey world renown Archeologist from the late 19th century early 20th century). Also study Josh McDowells "Evidence that demands a verdict". We can also pretend that Jacob's well isn't really there in Israel, or that Solomons' temple wasn't really discovered, or that the first century church of Antioch wasn't disovered and broadcast on national news ( the church mentioned in the book of the Acts of the Apostles), or the Garden of Gethsemane, or the city of Jericho, or Caiphas's tomb, or that Pontius Pilate never existed, or that the Roman governer Quirinias never existed either....etc etc etc.

    You wrote " Where is the Garden of Eden guarded by the angels?" First of all this is not history but Pre- history. The only people that would have any direct knowledge of the Garden of Eden would be people who were alive before the Noahic flood. That would be Noah, his wife, his 3 sons, and their respective wives. That means that the bible would be the original source and therefore the best source for information regarding pre-historic places and events. Second of all the bible clearly states in more than one place that the "world that then was, was completely destroyed" see 2 Peter 3:6 " By water also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed." If this is true, then we would expect "not" to see the Garden of Eden. The Bible is shown to be accurate since the Garden of Eden does not exist today.

    You wrote " Where is Noah's Ark? "

    Noah's Ark was made of wood and was completed around 4,500 years ago according to the Bible. It doesn't take a lot to understand that wood just doesn't weather the elements for that long and stay in good shape. The Ark may have been cannabilized for use by people after the flood. It may still be around somewhere in the Ararat mountain range. This is the same argument I used for Transitional fossils, the only differences are that 1. there is a mechanism that exists that could have made the Ark, and there aren't any for transitional fossils. 2. There is only 1 Ark, and there should be millions apon millions of Transitional fossils, that should have survived since we have every other kind of fossil that actually can exist that we find in the fossil record (like soft bodied fossils, or speciated fossils "organisms that lost information" that shouldn't be there either if it were true that natural processess destroy fossils). None of your arguments disproves the history of the Bible at all.

    You wrote " Surely there must be a fossil record? However if you find it, isn't it an appeal to authority to accept some individual's expertise in claiming that it is?"

    The first question is pointless. The second is true, it would be an "Appeal to Authority" to accept some individual's expertise in claiming it is (just like you do with evolutionary topics like Transitional fossils). However, since nobody is claiming this, and I don't accept an unsupported claim I guess I haven't succumbed to the fallacy of "Appealing to the Authority like you have, have I ?

    You wrote " It's obvious that you have no interest in actually discussing science, but instead you want to dress up your religious preconceptions in the illusion of logic and reason. "

    You are dressing up religious preconceptions as much as anyone.

    What exactly is " the illusion of logic and reason" ? Such a thing doesn't exist. There is no illusion. Logic either is or it isn't...like on or off, or true and false. When the first computer was designed it was realized that a "logic gate" could be built using a series of switches. Each switch represents only 2 conditions...on or off. That creates the binary code computers use to operate. There is no "illusion" of being on, nor is there an "illusion" of the switch being off. A switch cannot both be on and off at the same time, nor can it be neither at the same time. There are only 2 conditions 1. is true that the switch is on, or 2. that it is untrue that the switch is on. That is why they are called "logic gates". For you to suggest that logic can be illusary is suggesting that you think logic doesn't really exist. if it is possible for logic to be "only an illusion" then one would have no objective way of knowing which "logic" were the correct one other than subjective analysis. If that were true then Logic / truth would be completely relative and no truth would in fact exist other than what an individual declared was true. Relativism is self refuting and therefore your statement is completely false. Either my logic is real logic, or it is illogic. If it is illogic then prove it by demonstrating the fallacies, otherwise you are just arbitrarily ranting, which is suggested by the frequent Ad Hominem attacks you invoke rather than confronting the scientific points I make.

    You wrote " There is nothing logical nor reasonable in your claims and it is disingenuous to claim that science has no evidence and only a logical fallacy while you claim "truth" surrounding a book that hasn't even been accurately translated.

    Really? Nothing logical or reasonable? Can you demonstrate that the "book" you are referencing ( I take it to mean the Bible) hasn't been accurately translated? Can you now provide the evidence for all of us to see that really shows the Bible has been inacurately translated? I'm waiting for you to show me. Really..

    You wrote " Unless you're reading the original scrolls in their original language, your entire basis for accepting religion is a giant logical fallacy (i.e. based on the opinions of "experts" whose translation you have accepted without question)."

    So, since there are more manuscripts for the bible ( about 35,000) extant copies in existance, that would mean that the opinions of experts who translated any other ancient manuscript would be in question and would be a fallacy to accept as true also, since the closest competitor to the bible would be Homers Illiad with about 835 extant copies. So we pretty much have to discard all of ancient history before say 1650. Nice going Gerhard, you ruined history for al of us..lol
    Thanks for the post, I'll look forward to your response.
    Circularreason

    Gerhard Adam
    As I mentioned before, it is clear that you have no interest in understanding biology.  Instead you choose to use irrelevant sources, make up erroneous claims, and then fight with "straw men".

    I cannot and will not make up for the deficiencies in your education, so you can believe whatever you like.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Gerhard Wrote " Well, you're either intentionally trying to waste my time, or you are intentionally being obtuse."

    Logical fallacy of " Bifurcation" only allowing for 2 possibilities when more are possible, and the logical fallacy of "Ad Hominem" or "Attack against the man". This is a common fallacy when a person has absolutely no logical answer to actually respond to real scientific evidence.

    Gerhard wrote " So, in a nutshell let me just say that logic is the least of your talents in this case"

    A fact that Gerhard doesn't ever bother to defend or support, so it becomes an arbitrary opinion and valuless as a truth statement.

    id
    Gerhard wrote " and without your own education being extended far more than I'm willing to engage in, I can't help you."

    Gerhard seems to believe his own education vastly exceeds my own, without any idea what my level of education is, or what my specialty is. Another "Ad Hominem" fallacy. Education also has no relevance regarding the truth of a statement. If it is untrue as Gerhard claims, it is up to him to prove it since he is making the claim. Since he seems unable to disprove anything I have said, then what I said must be true.

    Gerhard wrote " I will admit that your "Laws of Logic" had their humorous moments, which illustrates that you don't really understand what you're talking about. "

    How does Gerhards' humor regarding what I said about the "Laws of Logic" illustrate that I don't really understand what I am talking about? It only illustrates that Gerhard found something humorous. What did he find humorous? Was it that I said the " Laws of Logic" are immaterial? Perhaps Gerhard thinks they are material? Is it that I said that the "Laws of Logic" exist everywhere? Perhaps Gerhard can demonstrate a place in the universe where logic doesn't apply. He just isn't willing to share the humor with the rest of us. but he does try to imply the logic is lacking without actually proving anything. Once again it is an "arbitrary" opinion of Gerhards since he claims something without any actual logical support. Since he is the one making the claim and he doesn't provide any support for his claim then it would make my statement correct, and his statement is logically false.

    Gerhard wrote " In other words, it was interesting how you simply defined whatever laws you liked,"

    No Gerhard, these laws actually exist, it has nothing to do with what I like or dislike, and I certainly don't define the reality of the " Laws of Logic". If you disagree with the definitions then tell us what the definition should be. Again, maybe you think the "Laws of Logic" are actually material? How much area would a pound of these laws take up?

    Then Gerhard wrote " then attached arbitrary meanings to those concepts and then created a paradigm where you could rationalize your religious beliefs."

    There are no "arbitrary meanings attached". The descriptions are exactly what the laws actually are " Immaterial, Omnipresent ( exist everywhere in the universe), Omnipotent ( tell all other laws, and matter) what to do, and the laws are eternal from what can tell. There aren't any arbitrary meanings involved here, just what we actually observe Gerhard. If you disagree you can always demonstrate how I got it wrong.....Perhaps you think matter doesn't operate in a logical way?

    Gerhard wrote " It was cute, but it wasn't logic."

    Once again Gerhard provides an "arbitrary opinion" we all know the old adage about opinions, and from a formal logical viewpoint "arbitrary opinions" are false.

    In his next post Gerhard wrote" It's fascinating how someone can generate such a long post and have absolutely nothing correct or worth discussing in it. "

    In my own post, I copied and pasted Gerhards own post " Now Gerhard has attempted to avoid the whole thing by denying that evolution has anything to say about the emergence of life and only focuses on " Changes in life". I quote him as saying " If you're actually interested in science then you should recognize the absurdity of your claim here, since evolution is not and cannot be about origins of life."

    So Gerhard said " It's fascinating how someone can generate such a long post and have absolutely nothing correct " does this mean he is admitting he isn't correct and has nothing worthy of discussing?

    Gerhard then wrote " There is no "primordial soup", just as evolution isn't about origins of life."

    More wishful thinking, and attempting to avoid the obvious implications of trying to describe something he can't.

    Gerhard then wrote " To even suggest a biology "textbook" is ludicrous. "

    Not sure on this one, I think he may be referring to the " Primordial soup" claim found in many biology textbooks. Don't take my word for it or his, just pick one up and look, or remember back to grade school and think about what you were taught.

    He then wrote " You've done what every religious individual with an anti-science agenda does,:

    Gerhard hasn't figured out that he is as religious as anyone else and believes much of what he believes based on faith. He doesn't describe for us what this "anti-science agenda" is, he just assumes it.

    He then writes " and that is to distort the actual science,"

    Gerhard never gives even one example of this supposed distortion, just complains.

    Gerhard then says "introduce irrelevancies, "

    It is very relevant that the theory of evolution can't explain the origin of life, nor how evolution actually occurs.

    Then Gerhard says " and play fast and loose with the current state of knowledge. "

    Now I am current with the state of knowledge, and not so uneducated after all.

    Gerhard then says " Biology doesn't need to defend nor justify itself to people that choose to remain willfully ignorant. "

    This is a good example of the fallacy of " Reification" that is applying intellect or intelligence to a non-intelligent source. Biology is an area of study ; not a person..it cannot defend or justify. Even if it were, Biology is not the area of science that is being critically examined here, it is what evolutionists "SAY" about biology that is under investigation. It is what evolutionists say that is the problem because what they say isn't true. Who is the one that is being "willfully ignorant" here? I am quite willing to change my perspective given good logical reasons to do so, and was invited to this page by Oliver with promises to be set straight. Look what happens when things don't go well for evolutionists, the evolution story is a house of cards that collapses under the weight of critical analysis (metaphorically speaking of course).

    Gerhard writes in his last post " As I mentioned before, it is clear that you have no interest in understanding biology."

    Maybe I just have no interest in understanding the incorrect view of biology....the view that isn't true at all, and can be shown to be false. Gerhard has produced no data at all that would correct my view, instead he just complains about my many "faults" and avoids discussing any actual science.

    He then writes " Instead you choose to use irrelevant sources, make up erroneous claims, and then fight with "straw men". "

    Notice Gerhard again doesn't demonstrate any of this stuff, just says it. I am wondering if he actually has no idea what else to say, or if he is just being lazy? Prove it Gerhard...don't just say it. I prove what I say.

    Gerhard then writes " I cannot and will not make up for the deficiencies in your education, so you can believe whatever you like."

    Yes it is true I can believe what I "like". I like to believe what is proven by logic and observable reality, not just believe things out of blind faith as you apparently do. You are correct to say that you cannot and will not make up for the deficiences in my education, because there aren't any as far as this discussion is concerned. Since there aren't any, then you cannot make up for something that doesn't exist. Once again you are doing another "Gerhard" and not proving anything you are saying. We already know that "arbitrary opinions" are automatically false from a view of formal logic. If you can't defend against real logic, because you were never taught logic in school, then pick up a handbook of logic and do a little reading. Try actually thinking about what it is you believe and honestly put it to the test. A little skepticism is a good thing.

    Circularreason

    MikeCrow
    Circularreason, You said this:
    I like to believe what is proven by logic and observable reality, not just believe things out of blind faith as you apparently do.

    What logical and observable proof is there that God exists?
    Never is a long time.
    Gerhard Adam
    Good luck with your trip down the rabbit hole :)
    Mundus vult decipi
    What logical and observable proof is there that God exists?

    The fact that there is no proof doesn't automatically cancel out the hypothesis…it is like your working theory, not a law yet... either way…what does your question have to do with this well stated science article?

    Gerhard Adam
    Bear in mind that the original point was that there was proof (by the previous poster). 
    Mundus vult decipi
    True, my apologies for trying to find my way the logic of this tangled maze of a threaded out of chronological order forum. But I found the post. Maybe previous poster meant there is proof of variables to form a testable hypothesis of the theory that there is a God of order to all this. In other words, you need to be able to measure both "what you do" and "what will happen." Your logic is a work in process easier to form observation free from biases, whereas people who believe in a creator might have to wait til afterlife to realize their "aha" moment...or lack thereof...still a valid argument. Neither side knows the answer :)

    MikeCrow
    If you haven't already, you should read the next post by circularreason, where he tries to show that God is a requirement for Logic to exist (or something like that), hence since logic exist, God must.
    Never is a long time.
    Mi Cro I read it, but you and I both know it is far easier to reason with you. I am not defending blind faith or blind atheism simply stating my own humble opinion that this is a fantastic article.

    That is a great question Mi Cro,

    " What logical and observable proof is there that God exists?"

    Before covering a few things I would point out that the word " proof " is relative. Ultimately " proof " is entirely subjective and no matter what level of proof is supplied, some will still choose not to believe, even to the point of ignoring logical inconsistancies.

    I copied this from an earlier post of mine:

    This is actually one of my favorite areas of discussion ..the Laws of Logic. The Laws of Logic are the ultimate source of everything when we are talking about origins, or evolution. When we speak of the "Laws of Logic" we need to define what we mean, so we should ask...what are the properties of Logic?
    1. Logic is immaterial. You can't stub your toe on a law of logic in the middle of the night.
    2. Logic exists everywhere in our universe. Take the logical statement one plus one equals two. If you go to Antarctica it still is true, one plus one still equals two. If you go to the moon it is the same ( we know because people have been there). If we look in the Hubble space telescope we see that logic is in operation as far as the eye can see ( 14 billion light years away or so) we see matter and energy behaving in logical ways.
    3. Logic tells all other laws, matter, and energy what to do. Matter and energy obey motion laws, conservation of energy, entropy, etc.
    4. Logic is unchanging. As far as every observation we have made is concerned it appears that logic has always been the same as it is today.

    So let's take a look at these qualities and see which explaination best fits the profile for what created the Laws of Logic.
    Atheistic materialism posits that the material world through a series of random, chaotic and purposeless events created everything that exists in the universe.
    Creationism posits that the God of the bible ( An intelligent agent) created all things)
    Logic according to the 4 qualities we mentioned is :
    1. Immaterial
    2. Omnipresent ( exists everywhere in our universe)
    3. Omnipotent ( tells everything else what to do)
    4. Unchanging (uniform)

    So which of the creation stories best applies to the very characteristics of Logic itself? How do you describe the creation of an immaterial law by a material only creation account? No material has ever been observed to create immaterial laws to date, and immaterial laws do not change and are not subject to matter, but the opposite is true. The God of the bible on the other hand claims Logic as his, and even in John 1:1 says this..." In the beginning was the Word (greek word Logos our basis for the word logic) and the Word/ Logos was with God, and the Word/ Logos was God......and the Word/ Logos became flesh. Since materialistic Atheism is the basis for evolution and materialism cannot account for immaterial laws like Logic, Atheists must borrow logic from the Christian worldview to even make an argument against the Creationist position. It is kind of like denying air exists, but proving it exists every time you take a breath to argue that it doesn't.
    The point here isn't to preach, but rather to point out that Creationists have a very logical basis, for believing that biological systems were created. The very qualities of the Laws of Logic share that with not just any God, but the God of the bible specifically. ( The Pantheistic God of Buddha isn't logical and cannot have created the " Laws of Logic", The Polytheistic Gods of the Hindu religion cannot have created the uniform " Laws of Logic", The Capricious and illogical Muslim God could not have created these laws).

    MikeCrow
    That contains no observable proof, which was your criteria. Logic alone is not proof. In fact you just created a circular argument, I can never figure out why people believe the Universe can't exist without a creator, but never get that the same exclusions would apply to the creator itself. And yes I know the 'creator' is 'special'. IMO your logic blows.

    But if you do believe this, well as I said you're free to believe what you wish.

    I have no issue that the Universe exists without requiring a creator, and life existing based on the laws of physic (and hence chemistry). No magic required.

    If you want to argue logic with someone, go try Sascha
    http://www.science20.com/alpha_meme/mix_science_and_god_correctly_or_don%E2%80%99t-78294
    Never is a long time.
    Samshive
    Dear Circularreason, 
    Firstly, I realise that you wrote this a while back, but I only came around to reading this article now. So I hope you do not mind the late comment from me.

    The only point I want to make, is about your definition of Logic. Your example that 1+1=2 is a logical statement, is in fact not true. As I'm sure you are aware, 1+1=2 is a mathematical statement, and unfortunately mathematics cannot be strictly broken down into logic. This is actually not a widely known fact, but it is true.

    In a sense, I get that you are trying to actually talk about mathematics and not logic, but please be aware that no one will call mathematics omnipotent or omnipresent - these are seriously not words you would use to describe them. 
    Gerhard Adam
    Wow .... self-serving fabricated "laws of logic" and religious bigotry ... all in one post.... and just when I thought your posts couldn't get any more idiotic.
    Mundus vult decipi
    This serves as a perfect example of the fact that evolutionists cannot ever win a debate.

    Oliver has left the premises. After " telling a story " of why transitional fossils don't exist ( natural processess destroy only transitional fossils and don't affect any other types of fossils) and presenting claims which have subsequently been shown to be false, he disappears when confronted with the massive, numerous, and obvious problems with the evolutionary " storyline".

    Gerhard has been reduced to " one liners" since he has no arguments left ( after repeatedly asserting fallacy after fallacy and being embarrassed ) the only option left is to assert ridiculous allegations in attempt to change the subject or smear ( Ad hominem) people he doesn't agree with. This is a common tactic utilized by people on the severe losing end of a debate, and who really don't have any idea what else to say.
    1. Notice how these evolutionists never bother to demonstrate the " fabrication". It is obvious to all of us ( except Gerhard and perhaps Mi Cro ) that logic is observable. Gerhard and Mi Cro have even demonstrated for all of us by using it in their own posts.
    2. Gerhard pulls out " Religious Bigotry " without saying what he thinks this bigotry is. I imagine it is because of the exclusive claim that the properties of logic only fit the Christian God of the bible. He makes the mistake of believing that if one states that only one worldview is true then it is somehow Bigotry. He doesn't mind expressing his own religious worldview ( Atheistic Naturalism ) as being the only correct view, and he doesn't mind derogatory remarks toward Christians. So Gerhard is the one guilty of religious bigotry.
    3. Gerhard violates his own religious worldview in keeping with his consistent logical fallaciousness. If what he believes really is true ( That evolution is true and the material world created everything through random purposless processess) then why is he so upset about bigotry anyway? It should be perfectly fine if someone wants to be a bigot under his worldview. There is no such thing as morality in such a world. Who holds up this ultimate reality that Gerhard believes in? Who is Gerhard to complain about another persons moral standing? After all if humans are just advanced animals which have evolved from a common ancestor of apes then it should be perfecty fine if a human demonstrates hatred, or even murders other animals including humans. We wouldn't consider it morally deficient for a lion to kill a zebra, why should we be bothered about what a human does as long as it doesn't affect our own survival? Gerhard hasn't considered any of this, and probably won't in the future judging from his more recent posts. Gerhard doesn't mind bigotry from fellow evolutionists ( like Sasha who referred to Stephen Hawking as a " freak in a wheelchair"). No derogartory response from Gerhard on that one.
    Gerhard is a victim of our educational system which no longer teaches logic ( as was once taught in a classical education environment) and so leaves people like Gerhard subject believing what they are " told " to believe without ever critically examining what they have been told. Now Gerhard is left unable to refute an alternate worldview or really know what is true at all.
    There is another group of people who I personally have corresponded with that amazingly are nearly identical in their thought processess as Gerhard. They even have some similar beliefs. The group I am referring to are Jehova's Witnessess. Jehova's Witnessess listen only to the Watch Tower Society to get their information for what to " believe " is true about their faith. Gerhard only listens to " what evolutionists say " to get his imformation for what to believe is true about his faith. Jehova's witnessess remain deluded in their cult by pressure from " Elders " to remain true and are discouraged from asking any questions that run counter to what the Watch Tower says. If a member does start asking such questions severe reprimands, and even " Disfellowshipping " are soon to follow. It puts a Witness in an awkward position to pose obvious logical fallacies of their belief system which they really can't go an ask their " Elder " about. The same is somewhat true of Gerhard though to a lesser extent. He can't go asking such questions about evolution, because if he did he would receive the same " warm welcome " I got by asking such questions. If a professional asks such questions he may lose his job. Evolutionists even go to the extreme of seeking legal remedies to keep such questions from being asked publicly.

    Mi Cro is an evolutionist that at least tries to rationalize and reason, though in the end he " gives up " and declares he is gonna believe what he believes.
    He claims that what I said contains " no observable proof ". Well he provided the proof in his own post. When he wrote it, he " HAD " to use logic. He had to use symbols logically organized in a manner that is understandable to other readers. Without logic he could not be understood. So like trying to argue air doesn't exist, he demonstrates every time taking a breath that air in fact does exist. In the same way he " uses " logic to deny that logic is observable. If he really believes that he needs to use something other than logic in his next post to prove it. Otherwise he has already proven that logic is observable and that he ( Mi Cro ) is a slave to logic and cannot escape it. If that is true then at least the fact that I brought up ( that logic is omnipotent ) has been proven to be true and not " fabricated " as Gerhard suggests after all.
    Mi Cro suggests that " logic alone is not proof ". Of course it is. We use logic in legal arguments for " proving cases" we use logic in " proving CSI cases" we use logic in mathmatics to " prove equations " etc, etc. One plus one does equal two and logic proves it. We use logic so much that we take it for granted just like breathing air. Evolution needs to explain how it got here. Evolution cannot explain it, therefore evolution is not a viable model.
    Mi Cro starts up again with the " you just created a circular argument" . There is no circular argument..Logic exists and is observable. It has the same exclusive properties of the God of the bible. Those are the facts. As much as Gerhard and Mi Cro might wish that weren't so, it is so and anyone who wishes to observe it can. All it takes is just considering what Logic is and what properties it has, not difficult.
    It isn't my logic that has problems, but Mi Cro's that is full of holes.

    Mi Cro talks about any Creator of the universe requiring the same " exclusions " as a universe without a creator. That is where he is wrong, and has been " told " what to think. The universe is " finite" and requires a " cause " since the universe is an " effect ". ( The law of cause and effect which is another universal logical law. It is always true which is why it is called a " law " ). " God " by definition is " not " finite but rather infinite and self existing. In formal logic such a creature does not require a cause, since such a creature is not an " effect " but rather would be the " uncaused first cause " in causality. Maybe that will help Mi Cro understand why people believe the universe can't exist without a creator, because the universe requires a " cause " or " creator " to explain it's existence. Saying the universe " created itself " is non sequitor and a definite logical fallacy. Saying it is created from multiverses is completely unobservable and arbitrary. Saying it resulted from a " quantum fluctuation within an ultra microscopic " nugget " about the size of Plank length " is a violation of the laws of motion ( an object at rest tends to stay at rest ), as well as a violation of logic in a zero timeline ( if there is no time, then no quantum fluctuation can occur).

    The good thing about all this discussion is that it remains for all to see. Over time different visitors will come and do some reading and realize how vacuous evolution really is. I can support what I say with real observable evidence, and I do that. I don't really have to though, because it is Olivers claim in the first place that transitional fossils are real that has never been shown to be true. Oliver admitted that mankind doesn't have any transitional fossils out of the billion or so we have in storage, other than trying to claim that we do at the species level ( which are not transitional at all ). The burden of proof lies with these evolutionists to prove what they say. When they are confronted with a critical analysis they resort to all sorts of things to avoid such an examination because there is no truth to the story.

    Gerhard Adam
    When they are confronted with a critical analysis they resort to all sorts of things to avoid such an examination because there is no truth to the story.
    No, there is no point in the discussion since you feel free to make up your own facts and make your own rules of logic.  While you may think that you've arrived at some wonderful results to prove your case, you've simply demonstrated that there is no point in continuing a discussion with an individual harboring delusions such as you've shown.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Oliver Knevitt
    Oliver has left the premises. After " telling a story " of why transitional fossils don't exist ( natural processess destroy only transitional fossils and don't affect any other types of fossils) and presenting claims which have subsequently been shown to be false, he disappears when confronted with the massive, numerous, and obvious problems with the evolutionary " storyline".

    ...this is getting really wearying!

    As I said in the article (which now takes about half an hour to scroll up to!) I am reticent to answer creationists such as yourself, because no matter what you say, you are never going to make a blind bit of difference. But, happily, you can reach out to people who are unsure, and clearly that has happened (see comment from Dave E. above). Thanks for proving me 100% right, on both counts.

    I sympathise that it can be difficult to change your views when blinkered by an ideology such as yours, so I'm just going to leave it there and say: Good luck, circularreason! If you can't come to realise that your opposition to evolution is purely an irrational, gut response, brought about by your upbringing, then perhaps the best course of action would be to just focus your energy elsewhere. Maybe you might have to just accept - perhaps even forget - that science has found to be true something that you will never believe, and get on with your life.
    socrates
    Oliver, you are such a patient soul (a good quality for a teacher). Personally, I believe it is quite all right to delete or block individuals who cannot or will not participate in reasonable dialogue. Perhaps that kind of censorship is considered blasphemous among bloggers, but it does get to the point, sometimes, where the whole discussion suffers due to truly unreasonable individuals. I, for one, support judicial use of censorship in the interest of meaningful dialogue.
    Citizen Philosopher / Science Tutor
    Oliver Knevitt
    I don't know; sometimes I think it sends out the wrong message, particularly on an article that is specifically meant to be addressing creationists anyway. It does become a huge sap of time reading them of course, but I think most people are happy to ignore them continue discussing their own thing anyway, even if there is a several thousand word angry diatribe posted; they just don't have to read it.
    Hello everyone,

    I decided to put this important point at the beginning of my post. If you and your friends believe that I am truly deluded, and not using logic, then as I have said repeatedly ( Prove it!!) I will listen and agree with the rules of formal logic if you can truly refute my logic and demonstrate my " logical fallacies ". I really hope that you take this challenge to heart..everyone that is reading this post.

    Gerhard says " No, there is no point in the discussion since you feel free to make up your own facts and make your own rules of logic."

    Prove what you are saying is true. Demonstrate where exactly I have " made up" my own facts and rules of logic.

    Oliver says " As I said in the article (which now takes about half an hour to scroll up to!) I am reticent to answer creationists such as yourself, because no matter what you say, you are never going to make a blind bit of difference."

    Actually Oliver as I said in my very first post, it would make a difference if what you were saying were supported with any actual evidence proving any of it were true. Since what you are saying is not supported by observational evidence then yes it is unconvincing.

    Oliver then wrote " But, happily, you can reach out to people who are unsure, and clearly that has happened (see comment from Dave E. above). Thanks for proving me 100% right, on both counts."

    It isn't me that is reaching out, but you when you write claims that aren't supported by observational science and try to defend these positions by unprovable story telling, and personal opinions.
    Dave E. never saw anything I had to say, as he had already come and gone before my posts were entered. All he saw were what most evolutionists ever see....one side of the debate. It seems your self proclaimed citizen philosopher/ science tutor friend Steve Donaldson believes that this kind of censorship is just fine. Apparently he believes I am unreasonable ( without of course any evidence or support of why he thinks that is true). If he were really trained in philosophy, he would have had to take 'real' courses in formal logic. This means logic developed by such individuals as Aristotle, Socrates, Ptolemy, Plato, etc. If I truly am 'unreasonable' as he contends, then surely he can prove this accusation by demonstrating my ' logical fallacies' through the use of formal logic, instead of having to resort to " censorship". Since he hasn't done this, it must be assumed that my " unreasonableness" must be attributed to the fact that I disagree with your Atheistic/ materialistic religious belief system. In other words, I am apparently to be censored because I am an apostate to your religion in Steves' view. This isn't much different than what Jehova's witnessess believe.

    Oliver said " Thanks for proving me 100% right, on both counts."

    Perhaps you are correct about results, but your conclusions about why you might be right aren't correct. As I said, I can be convinced, but not by circular reasoning.

    Oliver then wrote " I sympathise that it can be difficult to change your views when blinkered by an ideology such as yours, so I'm just going to leave it there and say: Good luck, circularreason! "

    First of all I thank you for the positve wishes! The implication here is that I, and only I am " blinkered" by an " ideology. Is that really true? So what you are saying is that " I " am " biased" and you are " not " biased in any way by any ideology. We discussed this very early in our conversations, and I brought up that we are both " biased". Everyone is " biased " or in your words " blinkered ". ( At least anyone that has a worldview, which is everyone that has the ability to reason at all is " biased"). Your claim is grounded in " Atheistic/ Materialism" or " Naturalism ". That requires that " NO " God exists. If no God exists, then evolution and spontaneous generation of life ( not to mention the universe itself ) must have come about through natural means, with no supernatural involvment, or explanation necessary ( No matter how illogical the naturalistic model is). As computer people say it "GIGO" ( Garbage In Garbage Out). If you program a computer to believe the world is flat, then no matter how logical the process is within the computer software, the computer will always tell you the world is flat. I feel it necessary to inform you Oliver, that you have " blinkers " on too. ( At least I admit I have a bias, but I also can understand your worldview because I have held to that worldview for a time ). I can, and do, critically analyze my worldview and I don't have to worry about irrational results. Apparently if someone critically analyzes your worldview, they get labeled all sorts of things, ie. bigoted, foolish, bacchanalian ( drunken orgy) to quote from you Oliver, illogical ( no evidence given of this) ignorant, wllingly ignorant ( a quote from the Bible regarding people who ignore the evidence of creation), and deluded, just to name a few nice things people have shared. ( And Steven says you are the one who is patient even though you haven't heard one Ad Hominem from my post toward you).

    Oliver then wrote " If you can't come to realise that your opposition to evolution is purely an irrational, gut response, brought about by your upbringing, then perhaps the best course of action would be to just focus your energy elsewhere.

    My belief in evolution was purely an irrationial gut response brought about by one sided storytelling, and convenient censorship of any opposing views, in school. How is it that you, Oliver, a person that I deduce likely wasn't even born in the U.S. (from certain colloquialisms that you use) would know what someone's upbringing here were like, let alone know what my upbringing was? You are kinda saying " Yo momma made you that way" when you make that accusation with absolutely no way of knowing if that is true or not. The emotion seems to be more from your side of the debate since you and your friends have hurled Ad Hominems fairly consistently, and have been lacking in logical reasoning, which explains the irrational conclusions that you often come to. I don't think you will find any Ad Hominems directed at anyone in my posts.

    Oliver then wrote " Maybe you might have to just accept - perhaps even forget - that science has found to be true something that you will never believe, and get on with your life. "

    Here is another example of the logical fallacy of " Reification". That is attributing human qualaties to an inanimate object. You have stated that " Science" has found something to be true, but you know as well as I do that " Science " is the study( by humans) of reality, and does not " find " anything to be true or false. People interpret scientific evidence and apply science to " prove " something true through logical deductions in many cases using observational evidence. You have not done this ( no observational evidence supporting your claims, plenty of arbitrary story telling, and conclusions based on assumptions ). The actual observational evidence when honestly analyzed, refutes your claim of Transitional fossils existing today, or ever existing.

    Oliver wrote in his last post " I don't know; sometimes I think it sends out the wrong message, particularly on an article that is specifically meant to be addressing creationists anyway. It does become a huge sap of time reading them of course, but I think most people are happy to ignore them continue discussing their own thing anyway, even if there is a several thousand word angry diatribe posted; they just don't have to read it. "

    Hey, you invited me. You seem to be under the impression that I am " angry ". I don't feel angry at all. It isn't about feelings, but facts. I know that some people get confused about debating, and think that if someone disagrees with their position, then that is tantamount to hating the person. This is not the case, and certainly not true when I critically analyze an individual's claims, I happen to think you are very intelligent, and I believe you are a patient person as Steven has claimed. I just think you haven't really applied logic very well, and I am calling you on it. In my view it is everyones' responsibility ( including mine ) to prove what we are saying is true, by applying real, formal logic, and observational evidence to support our claims. That is the only way we collectively will ever know what we believe is really true or not. If you and your friends believe that I am truly deluded, and not using logic, then as I have said repeatedly ( Prove it!!) I will listen and agree with the rules of formal logic if you can truly refute my logic and demonstrate my " logical fallacies ". I really hope that you take this challenge to heart..everyone that is reading this post.

    Thank you,
    Circularreason

    P.S. Sorry about the " wearying long posts " but it really is necessary to refute (line by line all) of the logical fallacies that keep getting posted (and I haven't even commented on all of them). A logical fallacy by definition is " untruth ".

    You can " Hear the crickets chirping in the background" ( metaphorically speaking of course).

    If the accusations of Oliver, Mi Cro, Gerhard, and Steve Donaldson are actually true, then it should be quite easy to produce logical demonstrations of my " illogic", ie., " Circularreason, you are wrong and logically fallacious because you claimed _____________ <--------- enter logical fallacy here... and that is the fallacy of ( Ad hominem, faulty appeal to authority, equivocation, straw man, bifurcation, reification, begging the question, the question begging epithet, no true Scotsman...etc etc). Only once has anyone attempted to do that with my statements ( Gerhard), and what he pointed out was in fact my response to his ' Own Logical Fallacy!' It was his own fallacy not mine! The only two conclusions one can come to are that 1. The individuals here have absolutely no concept of how logic really works , or 2. The individuals here have no evidence to support their contentions are at all true. Apparently ' just saying something is true' is the same as ' something is true' to the people here at this site.

    I am still waiting for the ' proof ' that any of my statements are fallacious, and the proof that the many, many statements I have pointed to here in this article as well as the many responses I have pointed out as being fallacious, are not in fact as I described them.

    Prove what you say instead of hiding.

    Thank you,
    Circularreason

    Oliver Knevitt
    Sorry; I'm just bored of this whole thing, and it's clearly not going anywhere, so why bother.
    Gerhard Adam
    Exactly.  I don't like to have conversations with irrational people to try and demonstrate that they are irrational.  That kinda misses the whole point.
    Mundus vult decipi
    I find it amusing that you fail to see when you are being illogical in your arguments. It seems to me that your favorite argument is to use a straw man and misconstrue your opponents argument. It is also interesting that this post asking for an example of your fallacies contains an extremely blatant bifurcation.

    Live long and prosper

    It is going nowhere because you aren't proving what you are saying is true, either of you. Prove me to be irrational instead of just saying it. Both of you are acting irrationally, by failing to prove what you are claiming. I am the one who is rational, because I prove what I am saying using 'real ' logic.

    Gerhard, you have 'tried' to prove me irrational, and instead you have shown that your arguments are irrational because your arguments have mostly been logical fallacies. Since you are arguing from an obviously irrational viewpoint, I am not surprised that you " Don't like" to have conversations with " irrational " people from your perspective. I don't mind having conversations with irrational people, because eventually, like a pebble in their shoe, the illogic of their viewpoint will irritate them, and force them to face reality.

    Oliver, you may claim to be bored, but the truth is that you haven't proved anything, but rather just made arbitrary claims that should not be believed, since there is no logical justification for believing what you are claiming. I think you are claiming to be bored because you know you can't prove me wrong and that worries you. I would be very worried if my position were not logically supportable.

    Show me where I have been illogical in anything I have yet written...I seriously don't believe you can, and you both seem to think you have a handle on logic...please feel free to destroy my ideas through an exercise in logic.

    thank you,
    Circularreason

    what has most struck me in why is it that creationists demand an over abundance of evidence for science/evolution, while providing none at all for their own claims. or worse, claiming all the the universe as evidence as if that resolves all the contraditions and lack of clear evidence.

    Gerhard Adam
    Using your points from your post about "logic".
    1. Logic is immaterial. You can't stub your toe on a law of logic in the middle of the night.
    Using the dictionary definitions:
    #1 Unimportant under the circumstances; irrelevant
    #2 Spiritual, rather than physical
    ---------------------------------------
    I'm assuming you didn't mean definition #1, so I'm presuming that you meant the second one.  However, we immediately have a problem because you haven't defined what "spiritual" means in the context of logic, nor have you been specific enough to indicate which meaning you did intend.  Such imprecision doesn't suggest that the "properties of logic" are well defined enough to be articulated in this manner.  

    We also have the problem of a statement that simply describes an arbitrary characteristic that it's opposing meanings (opposite of logic) also have.  Illogic is also immaterial, as is rationality or irrationality.  In fact, both the "positive" as well as the "negative" attributes share the same trait, so it is clear that this cannot be a property of logic since it is also shared with its antithesis.  This "law of logic" is clearly improper and can't be used.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    2. Logic exists everywhere in our universe. Take the logical statement one plus one equals two. If you go to Antarctica it still is true, one plus one still equals two. If you go to the moon it is the same ( we know because people have been there). If we look in the Hubble space telescope we see that logic is in operation as far as the eye can see ( 14 billion light years away or so) we see matter and energy behaving in logical ways.
    Once again, such a claim is preposterous since the observer isn't actually in any other locations of the universe, so as the "agent of logic", their exercise of it, always takes place locally.  In other words, the observer of the Hubble images observes them locally, so any "logic" that might be applicable (if such a thing can be made to make sense) would still occur simply within the mind of the observer.

    However, the second problem is to suggest that logic "exists" in the universe, after declaring in the first proposal that it doesn't exist (being immaterial).  This renders these two proposals contradictory as an indicator of any "properties of logic" so again, we are left to conclude that this statement is as irrelevant as the first.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    3. Logic tells all other laws, matter, and energy what to do. Matter and energy obey motion laws, conservation of energy, entropy, etc.
    This statement also defies the first proposal, because for "logic to be immaterial" it clearly cannot interact with material objects.  It is illogical to postulate that an immaterial source can "tell" other material objects to behave.  More importantly, one can't claim that "logic" tells the universe how to behave (i.e. other laws, matter, energy, etc.) because it is only by observing the behavior that we have been able to adjust the logic.  Therefore when the mathematical logic of Newton was insufficient, we extended it with Einstein and now Quantum Physics.  To suggest otherwise would mean that the "logic" of matter and energy must be absolute and unchanging, but even by these simple examples, we can see that this simply isn't true.  Matter and energy dictated how the logic would be formulated and not the reverse.  

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    4. Logic is unchanging. As far as every observation we have made is concerned it appears that logic has always been the same as it is today.
    By the same example, we can see that this simply isn't true.  This is the fallacy of assuming that something is always been true, when in fact, it is clear that it hasn't been.  Logic, at its best, is a system whereby we try to maintain an internal consistency in presenting arguments that hopefully lead to real and relevant conclusions.  For whatever reason, this is not a fool-proof process and consequently we cannot claim that "logic is unchanging".

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    With that, I will end this discussion, because I am not interested in "proving" any more to you, nor engaging in your simplistic endeavors to bring creationism and other nonsense into the discussion.  It is obvious that you understand neither logic, science, nor the simplest method for forming a coherent argument.  As such, I will no longer indulge your ridiculous fantasies.

    I know you're going to splutter about how I've committed all kinds of logical fallacies in this critique and how you have the magical insight and how logic has been magically bestowed upon you by some divine being.  In the end, I'll leave it to future readers to determine which of us is full of crap.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Random nytrygg,

    You wrote " what has most struck me in why is it that creationists demand an over abundance of evidence for science/evolution, while providing none at all for their own claims. or worse, claiming all the the universe as evidence as if that resolves all the contraditions and lack of clear evidence. "

    Creationists just ask for operational/ observable evidence to support the claims of evolution ( such as transitional fossils which don't exist). That hardly constitutes an " over abundance ".
    Your claim that creationists provide no evidence for their claims shows that you have not ever investigated any creationists websites ( such as the Institute for Creation Research, ICR, or Answers In Genesis, or Refuting Evolution. Org). If you visit these websites you will find voluminous information ( real observable/ operational evidence ) supporting the creationists claims. Evolutionists claim the universe contains the evidence that resolves their worldview, so why does it bother you that Creationists might make that claim as well?

    Thank you,
    Circularreason

    Sometimes it is best to " look at the forest before focusing on the trees,"

    Gerhard wrote " With that , I will end scussion, because I am not interested in "proving" any more to you, nor engaging in your simplistic endeavors to bring creationism and other nonsense into the discussion. It is obvious that you understand neither logic, science, nor the simplest method for forming a coherent argument. As such, I will no longer indulge your ridiculous fantasies."

    Gerhard is getting upset again. One has to wonder why he gets so angry, if his claim is true that he is "reasonable and coherent" and I am not. I haven't gotten angry yet ( even though Gerhard regularly makes absurd claims about me, and engages in Ad Hominems). It is clear that Gerhards' rules require that no creationism is allowed ( he calls it nonsense) however his religion of Atheism is required. In fact if you disagree with his religion, then the label of unreasonable is attached and he gets angry. Obviously he is incorrect to say " It is obvious that you understand neither logic, science, nor the simplest method for forming a coherent argument." because he has understood my argument clearly and gotten upset about it. It therefore must have been coherent enough for him to understand clearly so he is purposely being deceitful yet again.

    Between his first sentence of this paragraph " With that , I will end end this discussion, because I am not interested in "proving" any more to you....", and the last sentence " As such, I will no longer indulge your ridiculous fantasies."
    Gerhard is saying " I am going to say what I have to say and not listen to what you say!" Very similar to a toddler having a tantrum.

    Next Gerhard wrote " I know you're going to splutter about how I've committed all kinds of logical fallacies in this critique and how you have the magical insight and how logic has been magically bestowed upon you by some divine being. In the end, I'll leave it to future readers to determine which of us is full of crap.

    He is angry again, but he is right in the first half of his first sentence " I know you're going to splutter about how I've committed all kinds of logical fallacies in this critique..." ( I am going to engage his " critique"). How is it that Gerhard was able to predict what I am going to do? It is because he is using logic here, and predicting future events based on experiences of the past. I have in the past refuted many, many of his logical fallacies, and he knows I will very likely do that in the future. That is a very reasonable and rational conclusion for him to come to. <----------This is a very, very important point to remember in my future post.

    The second part of that sentence degrades into logical fallacies, and obfuscation however, when he says " and how you have the magical insight and how logic has been magically bestowed upon you by some divine being." ( and he was doing so well he had to ruin it with this Straw man fallacy.) I have never made that claim, nor do I intend to do so in the future because it isn't true. I don't speak lies. Gerhard has no reason to believe this, because he has no past experience to show that would be true, he is attempting to create a negative image of my position, in a very disingenuous way.

    So looking at the forest for what it is...I have to note that Gerhard gets very upset if his worldview gets questioned. Why is that? Why is he so insecure that he cannot tolerate having his worldview examined logically? The only conclusion one can come to, is that he knows that logically his worldview cannot stand under the examination of real logic. When his world view ( Materialistic Atheism/ Naturalism or the natural world is all there is, and there is no God) logically fails under scrutiny, the only option is to deny the truth. He has 2 choices.. 1. Accept that his statements really are logically fallacious ( he hasn't yet admitted to recognizing this even though I have clearly demonstrated this time and again using real recognizable logic) and alter his worldview accordingly, or 2. Deny that what I am saying is true and knowingly lie about what he knows is true. There is a third option of just being ignorant due to only having a partial understanding, but Gerhard willingly chooses to disregard ' real ' logic so he would fall under the willingly ignorant catagory, disregarding obvious falsehoods in favour of maintaining his religious belief in Atheism.

    Apparently for Gerhard, the only way a person can be considered " reasonable" is to agree that evolution/ atheism is true. In Gerhards world, only Atheists/ Evolutionists are reasonable, and everyone else is " unreasonable". It isn't just Gerhard that believes this either.

    Thank you,
    Circularreason

    Gerhard Adam
    LOL!
    Mundus vult decipi
    Now to focus more on " the trees".

    I can tell from Gerhards' reaction to my " Logical Laws" claim that he hasn't come across this argument before. That is understandable if he hasn't spent much time examining ideas that dissent against evolution. The priciples of the argument for the Laws of Logic aren't a fabrication of some musings of mine sitting around in a lawn chair on some sunny day. Gerhard is going to find ( if he persists in trying to disprove the concept) that this line of reasoning is ' bullet proof' from a logical fallacy perspective, and that to date no one has been able to refute it. I suggest reading " Ultimate Proof of Creation" by Dr. Jason Lisle.

    Gerhard wrote " Using the dictionary definitions:
    #1 Unimportant under the circumstances; irrelevant
    #2 Spiritual, rather than physical
    ---------------------------------------
    I'm assuming you didn't mean definition #1, so I'm presuming that you meant the second one. However, we immediately have a problem because you haven't defined what "spiritual" means in the context of logic, nor have you been specific enough to indicate which meaning you did intend. Such imprecision doesn't suggest that the "properties of logic" are well defined enough to be articulated in this manner.

    We also have the problem of a statement that simply describes an arbitrary characteristic that it's opposing meanings (opposite of logic) also have. Illogic is also immaterial, as is rationality or irrationality. In fact, both the "positive" as well as the "negative" attributes share the same trait, so it is clear that this cannot be a property of logic since it is also shared with its antithesis. This "law of logic" is clearly improper and can't be used.

    My dictionary definition of immaterial says " 1. Not consisting of matter: Incorporeal. I don't need to explain what spiritual means in any context, only demonstrate that Logic does in fact "exist" and that it does not consist of matter or energy. It is absurd and obfuscating the facts to contend that I meant " unimportant " when I used the word immaterial. Many words in the English language have dual or multiple meanings and we take the meaning from the " logical" context of grammar and sentence structure. A good example is the word evolution. Evolution can mean " change " as in speciation ( which is actually observed and incorporated into creation models) where organisms lose information in order for pre-existing information to be expressed to allow for adaptation to an enironment in natural selection, or to express a desired trait in artificial selection. Evolution can also mean " change " in the sense of an organism gaining new and unique information that provides unlimited change into a new and unique form ( which has never been observed or shown to be true). Evolutionists use the word evolution to obfuscate this distinction and claim that evolution is true. This isn't the case of my using the word immaterial. For Gerhard to suggest that is, is sophomoric and deceitful.

    In his next paragraph Gerhards tries to claim that " illogic" is also immaterial and has the same property, and since both illogic and logic have the same property they can't be one and the same. Many things share the property of immaterial...i.e. time, dimensions, uniformity, information, reliability of the senses, morality....these are all different things yet share the same property of immaterialism so the argument is obviously false. Illogic is only the absence of logic, just like darkness is the absence of light ( except that light and dark exist in the material world as energy and the absence of energy). Removing logic doesn't show that logic is illogic that is a contradiction and clearly untrue, and Gerhard is intelligent and must know this.

    Gerhard then says " Once again, such a claim is preposterous since the observer isn't actually in any other locations of the universe, so as the "agent of logic", their exercise of it, always takes place locally. In other words, the observer of the Hubble images observes them locally, so any "logic" that might be applicable (if such a thing can be made to make sense) would still occur simply within the mind of the observer.

    So Gerhard is claiming that what we " observe " happening in the distant universe isn't really happening other than locally in the " mind " of the observer. I would enjoy seeing him try to prove that one..lol.. a perfect example of extreme existentialism ( only what I experience is real and everything else is an illusion ). That would mean that evolution didn't really happen then because nobody has " experienced it". The problem for Gerhard is that we can know subjectively from Ptolemy's statement " I think, therefore I am" that we in fact really do exist. There can be know doubt that if an individual can say " I think " that he can say he or she does in fact exist. Since that is a common experience among all individuals, and all individuals agree that logic does in fact exist ( Gerhard unwittingly agrees because he has used logic to make his arguments ) then we can know that logic does not change with location, based on observations which we can logically conclude are really occuring objectively. Objects in the universe are behaving in a predictible logical manner as far as anyone has ever observed, and Gerhard trying to claim it only occurs in the mind of the observer is not even science fiction, but rather the possible result of mescaline, or some other mind altering substance.

    Gerhard then says " However, the second problem is to suggest that logic "exists" in the universe, after declaring in the first proposal that it doesn't exist (being immaterial). This renders these two proposals contradictory as an indicator of any "properties of logic" so again, we are left to conclude that this statement is as irrelevant as the first.

    I don't see how Gerhard make the logical quantum leap of " immaterial " to " doesn't exist ". Where in any of the dictionary definitions of immaterial did the word " non existent " come up? The only way Gerhard would come to that conclusion is because of what I have contended all along " That he has the presuppositional religious belief of Atheistic Materialism which emphatically denies God or anything " supernatural/ metaphysical". If that were true then saying something is immaterial means " It doesn't exist " in Gerhards world. Immaterial does not mean non existent, but rather what the dictionary says it means " not consisting of matter " or in Gerhards' dictionary " Spiritual rather than physical " Note that his dictionary didn't just say " spiritual " but used "spiritual " in a sentence which Gerhard ignores. He doesn't seem to notice that spiritual is contrasted against physical to give the reader the " flavor " of what immaterial means, which is what a dictionary is supposed to do. Gerhard just has a beef with the word spiritual because of his religious beliefs apparently.

    So back to the existence of Logic. Gerhard is claiming a contradiction, but the contradiction is simply his misunderstanding of the word immaterial, not the real meaning of the word. Logic does exist in this universe and can be proven. To prove that logic exists, you have to use logic. In formal logic this is one example of circular reason that is actually valid, because it proves something greater than just the formal proposition. It can be written thus: If Logic did not exist, then we could not make logical conclusions. Since we can make logical conclusions, then Logic must in fact exist.

    Gerhard then wrote " This statement also defies the first proposal, because for "logic to be immaterial" it clearly cannot interact with material objects. It is illogical to postulate that an immaterial source can "tell" other material objects to behave. More importantly, one can't claim that "logic" tells the universe how to behave (i.e. other laws, matter, energy, etc.) because it is only by observing the behavior that we have been able to adjust the logic. Therefore when the mathematical logic of Newton was insufficient, we extended it with Einstein and now Quantum Physics. To suggest otherwise would mean that the "logic" of matter and energy must be absolute and unchanging, but even by these simple examples, we can see that this simply isn't true. Matter and energy dictated how the logic would be formulated and not the reverse. "

    We just need to think for a moment of something like information. Say you are walking along the beach and you see a heart drawn in the sand with an arrow through it, and the words John loves Cindy written in the heart. The marks on the ground are material, and they are just marks, but they are ordered logically ( immaterial ) and there is a higher content of information ( immaterial ) that is conveyed without adding any material object or any extra energy. Obviously in this situation we can clearly observe that immaterial things are interacting with material things just the opposite of what Gerhard is falsely claiming. It is the " way " that the material objects are ordered that "conveys" the immaterial concepts.

    Gerhard then wrote " It is illogical to postulate that an immaterial source can "tell" other material objects to behave." He is right about this. That would be the logical fallacy of reification ( attributing human characteristics to a non intelligent source). When I wrote that I had put that into parenthesis to denote that I was speaking allegorically, however I may not have. My bad, however the idea I was presenting was that matter and energy are completely controlled by the Laws of Logic. In every observation ever made, matter and energy behave in a predictable logical manner. We haven't " Adjusted Logic " with new discoveries as Gerhard tries to claim. We have adjusted our understanding using the same logic as we have always used. If Gerhard wants to claim we have adjusted logic in some way he needs to demonstrate by producing the article or study that proves we have " changed logic ". You see the Laws of Logic are called " LAWS " for a reason. They always occur the way they occur. We know from past experience, observation, and operational evidence what things will likely do in the future ( remember from my last post how Gerhard himself used this process). This is why we call certain things LAWS. Material objects ( matter and energy ) behave in a logical fashion ( even in quantum physics we can predict to a high degree of accuracy what a particle is going to do, what it's mass is, and where it will be based on probability " a logical function "), which observationally demonstrates that matter and energy " must " obey the laws of logic. That can be defined as Omnipotent.

    Gerhard continues his paragraph by saying " Therefore when the mathematical logic of Newton was insufficient, we extended it with Einstein and now Quantum Physics. To suggest otherwise would mean that the "logic" of matter and energy must be absolute and unchanging, but even by these simple examples, we can see that this simply isn't true. Matter and energy dictated how the logic would be formulated and not the reverse. "

    No Gerhard, Newton's logic wasn't insufficient, but rather his knowledge. Newtons logical mathmatics are still used to calculate the orbits and velocities of heavenly bodies, we just have to calculate in relativistic effects that were previously " undetectable ". We use the same math i. e. the same logic we have always used. Once again you are confusing the difference between knowledge, and logic, and you are correct when you say " To suggest otherwise would mean that the "logic" of matter and energy must be absolute and unchanging" , that is exactly the point. Your examples are superfluous and incorrect, it is in fact true.

    Gerhard then says " . Matter and energy dictated how the logic would be formulated and not the reverse. "

    Wrong again Gerhard. If that were true, then logic would be different in different places, and in different conditions ( matter and energy dictating what logical laws would hold true in these different environments ). That is never observed, and I challenge Gerhard to provide an example of any place or arena where this has been observed. Gerhards statement is patently false, but is believed without proof by many evolutionists, i. e. everything created itself, and logic is a product of material processess. What is never produced is any evidence that material things can " create " immaterial things. Immaterial things are only a product of, or detectable my " mind ", therefore it is logical to conclude that immaterial things did come from a " mind " or " intellect ". Since mankind was not in existence at the creation of the universe, and these immaterial laws have been in existence ( as far as has been observationally detected ) then it is logical to conclude that a mind created them at the beginning not random processess that are insufficient to produce such effects ( the law of cause and effect ), and would not create logical orderly laws if these processess could create such effects, but rather random purposeless laws that are not observed, and do not exist.

    Gerhards last paragraph states " By the same example, we can see that this simply isn't true. This is the fallacy of assuming that something is always been true, when in fact, it is clear that it hasn't been. Logic, at its best, is a system whereby we try to maintain an internal consistency in presenting arguments that hopefully lead to real and relevant conclusions. For whatever reason, this is not a fool-proof process and consequently we cannot claim that "logic is unchanging".

    Gerhard used this type of reasoning to conclude that I would behave a certain way ( respond to his post by demonstrating his fallacious inaccuracies and got it right ) by using past experience. It is logical to presume that things will likely happen in the future the same way it has happened in the past ( uniformity ). That is why we can conduct experiments one day and expect that the next day in the same conditions the experiment can be repeated with the same results. Gerhard needs to demonstrate where logic " hasn't been " the same as it is today by showing us the article or scientific observation that proves logic has " changed ".

    Gerhard claims " Logic, at its best, is a system whereby we try to maintain an internal consistency in presenting arguments that hopefully lead to real and relevant conclusions. For whatever reason, this is not a fool-proof process and consequently we cannot claim that "logic is unchanging".

    He clearly does not know what logic is judging from this statement, which is why he is the unreasonable one. In this one statement he gives us insight into his thinking. This is the embodiment of " relativism ". It is the idea that there is " NO ABSOLUTE TRUTH ". This is the problem that underlies the thinking of Atheistic Materialists. Truth in the eyes of Gerhard and other materialists is always unfolding, and being " upgraded. If Gerhard believes there is no absolute truth, then I have just one question for him...

    Is the statement " There is no absolute truth absolutely true?" if it is, then we have discovered one absolute truth rendering the statement false. If the the answer is no, then the statement is also false. Either way the statement, and belief system are false.

    On the contrary Gerhard, Logic is a fool proof system of discovering truth because it demonstrates absolute solutions that have no other possible outcome....look up Logic in the dictionary, and pick up some books on logic in your local library before making such outlandish claims. I guess in Gerhards world one plus one equals three sometimes. That is a good description of evolutionary conclusions.

    Thank you,
    Circularreason

    Thank you, Circularreason.

    You have shown with much patience and dedication how flawed these arguments are indeed. Yes, you were lengthy but I found it intelligent and interesting. I appreciated that you kept your cool and didn't resort to name-calling or anger (unlike some). Your character and intelligence are apparent and I am happy you were here.

    Keep up the good work!

    -JD

    Sorry for the typos, I didn't proof read.

    That picture of the message board from Beryl Baptist Church made me really irritated when it first appeared. I live about a mile and a half from that church in Vilonia, Arkansas.

    Oliver Knevitt
    I can't imagine many people would subscribe to that point of view! Surely nobody wants to be proud of having no reasoning.
    rholley
    Ee by gum!  Don’t they go on?

    I think our cartoonist Giles had it about right, as shown below:

    Robert H. Olley / Quondam Physics Department / University of Reading / England
    Another example of an arrogant evolutionist that tries to use big words to convince the audience of his superior intellect, whilst showing his ignorance to those who actually have a brain and can think for themselves. His M.O. is talk down to the person who disagrees with and you will appear more intelligent to everyone else. Just because you found a skull and some bones that resemble what might have been a human ancestor (or an ape ancestor would be the intelligent argument) doesn't mean that is what it is. Until you can put eyes, skin, hair, lips, fingers and toes on the the thing and go back in a time machine to observe the living creature, all you're doing is speculating. That is the basis for the entire theory of evolution....speculation. It's no more a scientific fact than creationism. You mean to tell me that you can explain the creation of all existence (including man's origins) by your observances of some bones and fossils? Yeah, two big asteroids collided and made everything we see around us right? Sounds like a bigger fantasy than believing in a superior intellect to that of your own......of course you would disagree!

    I have a question. In the sentence

    "Punc-Eq has been conclusively proved by a study on bryozoans, as has gradualism; the two occupy a continuum, and the results of multitudinous studies done on it have formed a general theory of microevolution"

    does the "it" in "...studies done on it have formed..." refer to punctuated equilibrium, gradualism, or the continuum the two occupy?

    Thanks

    T.

    Oliver Knevitt
    Well, all 3 really! As The classic bryozoan example of punc-eq is Cheetham (1986),

    Cheetham, A.H., 1986. Tempo of Evolution in a Neogene Bryozoan: Rates of Morphologic Change Within and Across Species Boundaries. Paleobiology, 12(2), pp.190-202.

    whereas the classic example of gradualism is Sheldon's Ordovician welsh trilobites,

    Sheldon, P.R., 1987. Parallel gradualistic evolution of Ordovician trilobites. Nature, 330(6148), pp.561-563.

    Erwin&Anstey (1995) showed that lineages can have both examples,

    Erwin, D.H.&Anstey, R.L., 1995. New approaches to speciation in the fossil record, Columbia University Press.

    If you're interested, then the best background to this is Ridley, Evolution, Part 5, Chapter 21, from which this figure is taken,



    Whilst we know that both processes occur, we still don't understand what processes tilt the style toward punc-eq or the other way; i.e. we lack an empirical model.
    Gerhard Adam
    Maybe I'm overreaching in terms of explanation, but doesn't it suggest that "gradualism" is the result of a relatively stable environment where the only changes introduced are those that are gradually accumulated through mutation and errors, while punctuated equilibrium is likely the result of a dramatic environmental change where a trait which may have been dormant suddenly becomes dominantly useful?
    Mundus vult decipi
    Someone please answer my question! What I can't get past is the fact of biology that genetic mutations don't increase genetic information; they always cause a loss of information. Because of that, I just don't see how the complexity of lifeforms increased over time. Mutations definitely cause species to change, and usually lose function, sometimes gain function, but never increase information. How is that compatible with our theory of evolution?

    What about this time, are the human at present increasingly evolve?

    What about this time, are the human at present increasingly evolve?

    @Circularreason

    "The universe is finite and requires a cause since the universe is an effect...
    God by definition is not finite but rather infinite and self existing."

    How well your premises suit you! You are defining your god to be above all logic, than claiming yourself to be a logical man. Was it also your god-above-logic that came down to tell you that the Universe is finite? Do you have any logical basis to think that Universe is an effect? The expansion of visible energy and matter in the Universe is an effect, but we do not know much about the Universe itself.

    That's the problem with your logic, it's deduced from non-sense premises. Solving an unknown universe with an unknown god is not really a solution, it's creating a bigger unknown. It's stupid.

    Great post Oliver, but what really amazes me is the subsequent debate.

    If I understood well the article was about evolution and not about the origin of life so, in my humble opinion, the discussion was "hijacked" by "Circularreason" to a more broad spectrum of topics such as the origin of the universe, the existence of God, physical laws, logic, and philosophy. What a mess!

    From the first comment of "Circularreason" you can realize that the discussion didn't go the way of a dialectic interchange looking for some truth through REASONED ARGUMENTS and was more a passionate debate where the only important thing is to prove your argument as correct and, of course, your "opponents" as incorrect because "lack of evidences".

    "Circularreason" refuges himself in asking for facts throughout all his flourished rhetoric discourse (rhetoric is used more for persuasion than for logical analysis), but Hey, the same reasoning may go both ways and there are not definitive facts in his side neither.

    The good part about scientific methods is that, when applied by honest researchers, they give space for doubts, corrections, and the possibility of even being wrong; something that doesn't occurs with dogma because it works as an established system or doctrine with premises that are out of any doubt or questioning.

    I enjoy engaging in dialectic discussions but avoid debates because they are a waste of time and nobody gains anything from them.

    Thanks! : )

    RR

    Oliver Knevitt
    I would usually agree, but with this article, where I'm directly addressing creationists, I think its only fair if they go out un-edited. Maybe a lot of people don't realise that their own arguments are so non-sequiteur because they never have a chance to be analysed critically, and I do think that maybe it is healthy to engage with these guys occasionally. But, yes, you're absolutely right; usually it's whomever has the loudest voice wins out, not those who have the best argument.
    Oliver Knevitt
    I've posted this with the quotations put in. You may need a better browser; I know that internet explorer doesn't render the toolbar in the edit window but firefox does.

    Oliver

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Dear Circular Reasoning, I apologize, I will repost with the quotes specified...I do not know why it isn't working correctly.

    I felt the need to respond to your post because I feel you are using fallacious arguments to make it make it challenging to address your posts. For the purposes of this response, I will use as my source http://www.don-lindsay-archive.org/skeptic/arguments.html. If you wish to argue the individual merit of each of these claims, then feel free, I simply offer a critique of your methods from the framework of this list in an attempt to explain the frustrations I have reading your posts as well as why you fail to convince me.

    I should also say that I believe you have made some valid criticisms of both the original post as well as responses to your criticism, and that some of your posts are convincing, but a lot of what you say is simply confusing. I will focus my critique on your original response to the article.
     The straw man is "he claims (I assume it's a he) debunks my evolutionist agenda." I never made that claim. However, operational science does in fact debunk the claims of evolution.
    First of all, you do not define operational science here, which unlike say physics or chemistry is not a commonly used term. This is an “Appeal to Anonymous Authority” because the authority is not well defined and this appeal cannot be easily verified. Because this sentence occurs without additional supporting statements, it is also “Argument by Fast Talking” in which you move quickly from argument to argument without firmly establishing the reasoning behind each. Finally, quibbling about whether you made a claim in a particular note or e-mail exchange (which can or cannot be verified), followed immediately be presenting an argument meant to debunk the claims of evolution makes me doubt your honesty, or at least your tendency to equivocate. Would you, even after this remark, consider that you yourself are not trying to debunk the claims of evolution, but rather are merely stating that others have debunked said claims, not yourself. You cannot expect someone to make such a fine distinction when recapping this argument; sometimes such subtleties must be left to the source material.
    Even if all creationists were "globally" as you put it ignorant of evolution, which is illogical to say because they have advanced degrees from the same universities as Atheist/materialistic evolutionists, and those universities require a thorough working [knowledge] of Evolutionary theory in order to obtain those degrees, then logically they can't all be so ignorant, it doesn't matter as to the truth of the statements.
    However, if we take the time to look at the passage from which you take this phrase, we see in fact that the author is not calling out creationists here, but rather those who do not study evolution. In fact, he pointedly is not referring to creationists at all.
    The first major reason for this misconception, I think, is part of a global misunderstanding about evolution in general. In their understanding of evolution, many people - non-creationists included here - imagine in their heads something akin to the classical idea of "The Great Chain of Being"
     Notice the language, “a global misunderstanding about evolution in general”. If we look at the definition of the world global, he is clearing using the definition “comprehensive” or “of large scope; covering or involving much; inclusive”. Notice the key here is “covering or involving much” not covering or involving all”. I too could quibble about his language and recommend “wide-spread” instead of global, but clearly your argument goes much further than quibbling. You are clearing invoking a “Straw Man (Fallacy Of Extension)” in this case, by attacking an exaggerated or characterized version of the author’s position.
    If a person were to train a monkey to scratch one plus one equals two in the dirt, it doesn't make the statement false. Now what exactly is the statement?
     Here you are implying that you are about to reveal what the true statement is that would remain true if a trained monkey scratched it in the dirt. The first statement is again “Argument by Fast Talking” or perhaps even a “Non Sequitur” as it is unexpected from the preceding and anteceding statements, isolated, and presented without explanation. While it is a valid statement, it is also not obviously part of any argument. I could present a straw man for what I think you might be trying to say here, but I will avoid that in this critique.
    You say "Even the idea of a tree, with increasing complexity upwards, is wrong." All of us have seen biology textbooks from gradeschool on that tell the story of a flash of lightning in a pool of primordial soup ( a thoroughly discredited idea) and out of that came the spontaneously generated first self replicating bio-molecule.
     It is not at all clear how you move from “Even the idea of a tree…” to “primordial soup”. This seems to be an “Extended Analogy” although I don’t even see how you got from one to the other so it could be “Changing the subject”. Nowhere in this article did the author discuss the genesis of life, only the evolution of life once it came into existence. For that reason, this argument seems irrelevant to the discussion of the article.
     We have already violated several known universal laws
     We have done nothing, you have only referred to some hypothetical grade school science textbooks from some time back on a topic not at all central to the post above.
     1. 2nd law of thermodynamics (increasing entropy) 2. Loius Pasteurs biogenetic law (only life creates life) 3. Information theory. 4. Law of Logic (rules over the other laws and requires logical explaination and not unsubstansiated claims.
     These are both appeals to anonymous authority and fast talking. Specifically to your points: 1. The 2nd law of thermodynamics does not apply to the earth as a whole because it is not a closed system; it receives energy from the sun. 2. Loius Pasteurs “law” was a direct response to Spontaneous generation (flies being made from meat). It has not bearing to this argument, just as Newton’s “law” of gravity does not invalidate the theory of relativity or quantum mechanics. 3. I can speak most close to this, as I have a Ph.D. in computational biology. Information theory is only as good as the basic assumptions you use to define the probability of events; I am aware that some scientists have used information theory to say that life’s natural genesis is improbable, but they had to make certain assumptions to do so. In my opinion, information theory has been used more interestingly in support of evolution at the genetic level than these arguments against; For example, did you know that no matter what subset of organisms you choose to construct a tree of life using information theoretic approaches, you always get a tree that is 99% similar to any other at the structural level. This is incredibly unlikely unless there is a fundamental hierarchical structure (a true structure to find). This does not “prove” evolution, but it is another piece of evidence in support of evolution. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolutionary_tree. Sorry to get off track a little bit there, moving back to a critique of your arguments.
    However this first bio-molecule according to the Atheistic/materialistic faith of evolutionists (only the material world exists and created everything) did not have fingers, toes, ears, hands, feet, eyes, nervous system, circulatory system, biofeedback loop system, echolocation ability, or any of the other hundreds of examples I could give of extremely complex mechanisms that we actually observe in todays world. To get to these systems from a "bio-molecule" logically requires a very great deal of new and specific information (specified complexity).
     This is an “Argument By Prestigious Jargon” as you are using jargon such as “specific information” and “specified complexity” without defining these terms. I and anyone else reading cannot think critically about your argument without these definitions.
    So your statement above ""Even the idea of a tree, with increasing complexity upwards, is wrong." Is at least partially incorrect. The idea of increasing complexity upwards is a hallmark of evolutionary theory.
     In my opinion, this is both a Non Sequitur and an Argument By Dismissal. You have not even addressed the arguments he has made in support of his statement, and yet you dismiss it.
    You also state "It's still progress, but not necessarily in the "upwards" direction. No living animal is more evolved than anything else, it may have simply evolved to retain its primitive characters. Using the term primitive is the fallacy of " begging the question" you assume that primitive exists because you assume that evolution is factually true therefore are in error due to circular reasoning.
     This is not begging the question because he is not making an argument in support of evolution, but rather describing how scientists studying evolution view evolution in a modern sense and contrasting that with alternate laymen views of evolution. In order to make that description, he will logically use words that imply evolution is occurring. Otherwise such a description would not be possible. Moreover, as evolution is occurring in both positions, this also not begging the question.
    Obviously evolution is generally in the upwards direction, so by saying it isn't you are logically incorrect. Any other direction is not 'progress' but rather de-gress, or de-evolution. There is plenty of observational evidence for that, there just isn't any for the progress part, but I will get to that in a moment.
     You are illustrating his premise here that “a global misunderstanding about evolution in general.” The point of this article is that thinking of evolution in this manner is not how modern biologists think of evolution. Moreover, you have not defined, “upwards” and what “other” directions there might be.
    You said " No living animal is more evolved than anything else," How can you say that when obviously anything with eyes, nose, central nervous system, etc. has more specified information, and is far more complex than an RNa molecule (another refuted first bio-molecule claim)? It is obvious that any multi-cellular creature is "more evolved" than a single cell, and pretty much any Biology textbook will say that in print.
     Again, you are giving no arguments here, other than “Outdated Information”and “Appeal To Widespread Belief”. Which again supports the thesis of the article, that the widespread belief of what evolution proposes is not accurate.
    So the problem here seems to be about information.
     You have not supported this claim with any argument that I have seen.
     You wrote" It is, of course, true that there are such things as transitional forms. By this, we mean that lineages can slowly accrue changes in their morphology through time." This claim is not supported by observation. Changes in "morphology" or "homology" that we actually observe are through mutation and natural selection. These are what you are arguing create new information and new genetic suites of features in different creatures. The problem for you and other evolutionists is that no new information has ever been observed to be created by this mechanism.
     You continue to use the term “information” without defining it, although clearly it must have something to do with information theory. Still, it is a sudden jump with no explanation or at least source to describe your position in a clearer way. You use “Argument By Dismissal” by saying that this is not supported by observation, when arguments can clearly be made that it has, see : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_transitional_fossils as a starting point.
    With no mechanism that can create new features, and no evidence (actual transitional fossils showing new features that did not exist before, or one creature morphing into another) then the logical conclusion is that it hasn't happened, can't happen, and never will happen.
     As your premise is not correct, your conclusion does not follow.
    You said " Many creationists these days seem to have quietly abandoned their objection to evolution at small scales." This is a straw man fallacy, no creationist I know of ever abandoned their objection to evolution at small scales, and have always incorporated what you are referring to (mutation / natural selection )( it is not evolution), but rather gradual "loss" of information which is observable, into their creation theory and it is even predicted by the orginal Genesis account of the curse given in Eden. You wrote" God knows why, but I presume its because the ark would sink with the sheer weight of beetles, molluscs and lice (every animal would of course have to be infested with every sort of parasite imaginable, of course). This is another straw man (logical fallacy) since all Baramin ( animal kinds at about the Family level of Linnaeus' catogoratization system) can emerge from one orginal kind that contains all the orginal genetic information,
     I do not think this is an intentional straw man fallacy as most creationist evolutionist debates I observed 8-9 years ago supported his statement that many creationists support the concept of evolution at small scales, as is observed in many animals, insects, bacteria, and viruses. I am not up to date with the latest creationist literature, so it could be that some version of information theory has since replaced this position.
    also there is no need to beleive that beetles, mollusks or lice needed to be present on the ark since floating debris would keep insects alive during the flood, and mollusks obviously can stay alive under water.
     If I can assume for a moment that you take the bible to be the literal word of god, from the NIV translation of Genesis 7:17-23.
    For forty days the flood kept coming on the earth, and as the waters increased they lifted the ark high above the earth. 18 The waters rose and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the surface of the water. 19 They rose greatly on the earth, and all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered. 20 The waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than fifteen cubits.[g][h] 21Every living thing that moved on land perished—birds, livestock, wild animals, all the creatures that swarm over the earth, and all mankind. 22 Everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died. 23 Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; people and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds were wiped from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark.
     Clearly the NIV translation of your Bible does not support this interpretation, if you use some other translation, then perhaps it would allow for some creatures not on the arc to survive the flood.
    You wrote" To do this, they seem to have invented a dichotomy between macroevolution and microevolution, envisaging them as different processes. They are both valid terms in evolutionary biology, but both at heart driven by the same inherent processes at viewed at different scales, and thus the dichotomy is false in this sense. " This is incorrect and fallacious. There is no observable evidence that specified information can be added to the genome, and to say so violates several universal laws and all observation to this point. I would ask you at this point to present the scientific articles showing where it has actually been observed genetically that specified information that has not existed before has been genetically added and explain the process by which this occured. HGT (Horizontal Gene Transfer) or LGT(Lateral Gene Transfer) is not adding new information but transferring pre-existing information. You need an explanation of where the information orginated and how.
     I would point an readers who do not know what you are referring to the following Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Specified_complexity This theory is by no means universally accepted and there are a number of important criticisms highlighted in the Wikipedia article. As a computer scientist, I am very interested in emergent behavior and emergent complexity. For an additional critique on specified complexity and how it can arise as emergent behavior from the random application of simple rules, read this critique: http://www-lmmb.ncifcrf.gov/~toms/paper/ev/dembski/specified.complexity.....
    You said "Well, all I mean to say is that; acceptance of microevolution is a wise thing, because there are cliffs worldwide stacked full with transitional fossils, if you accept evolution at the species level. I agree with you with the first part, except I wouldn't call it micro-evolution for the reasons given above. I covered why fossils at the species level are not transitional at all. That is like claiming chihuahuas are transitioning from great Danes into cats or pigs. They aren't becoming anything other than what they are...Dogs. Have you noticed that dogs aren't ever bred to be the size of elephants? Or that race horses don't run 200 miles an hour? That is becuase there is a limit to how much a creature can change, and that is because the changes are from a "loss" of information.
     This is an “Argument By Generalization” or drawing a broad conclusion from a small number of nonrepresentative cases. It is also a “Fallacy Of The Crucial Experiment” or drawing a conclusion from a seemingly smoking gun.
     An organism cannot keep losing information (specified information) and continue to exist. All forms of life on this planet are slowly, enexorably headed toward extinction,
     Your repeated referral to information without definitions or a description of your position is becoming “Argument By Repetition” in which you attempt to argue the truth of something by simply repeating it.
    not more and more sophisticated design as you imply.
    It was you, not he, that stated that evolution must always be moving towards more sophisticated design. His position is that all creatures, both complex and simple, are equally “evolved”. This is worse than a Straw Man (Fallacy Of Extension) as you are arguing against a position that your opponent has not taken.
    Your comments on Punctuated equalibrium were
    "Punc-Eq has been conclusively proved by a study on bryozoans, as has gradualism; the two occupy a continuum, and the results of multitudinous studies done on it have formed a general theory of microevolution. There are, I'll admit, many gaps in our understanding of the way it works, but as with all science, that's the fun bit."
     The statement that "Punc-Eq has been conclusively proved by a study on bryozoans, as has gradualism" is fallacious. To prove these things you would have to some how demonstrate that it could occur, and that there is a mechanism that could produce it, then you would have to have some type of historical account "eye witness" or witness it yourself which you cannot do. The entire idea of puncuated equalibrium is built apon assumptions, (mainly missing transitional fossils which is what this entire article is supposedly refuting). What is known is that there is a layer called "Pre-Cambrian" that contains a handful of fossils whose Phyla are unrelated to any of the Phyla in the next higher layer of soil called "Cambrian". That much is actually observed. The rest of the story is interpretation or what you mentioned is the "Art" part of Paleontology. Art is subjective and expressive, but it is not scientific.
     This is a reasonable critique. No scientific theory, even the laws you mention earlier, are ever truly proven. However, you are approaching the point of “Moving the Goal Posts” or demanding perfection from your opponent while “Failing To State” your position clearly.
    You wrote "But think how lucky we are to be able to say what we can about bird evolution. How fortuitous that those Archaeopteryxes should have died and fell in a stagnant lagoon? We may not have as good a resolution as we do for shelly marine critters, but we can still make out the general trend. The general trend is that birds existed for millions of years before Archaepteryxes according to evolutionary time models so Archaepteryxes have pretty much been abandonded as ancestral to birds by most evolutionists as far as I am aware.
     Again you demonstrate that you do not understand the main thesis of this article, and are “part of a global misunderstanding about evolution in general”. The point of this article is that archeapteryxes is not a missing link, it simply shares a common ancestor with birds and reptiles and shows features from both modering lines. You are unintentionally supporting the thesis of this post while trying to present a critique. And with that, I will end my critique of your arguments and why I did not find them compelling, Regards.
    Thanks for reposting this, Oliver. Do you think that it is OK to remove the original do you think? It is making your already long comments section even longer :).

    Sorry for all of the typos in this post, it was getting late and I was ready to be done with my novel.

    Regards,

    Ben

    Oliver Knevitt
    I've deleted the original; again, thanks for a thorough debunking! I might warn against getting sucked in though - I have an uncanny feeling that CR may be back to get the final word, and so exchanges could prolong this even longer.

    Oliver
    Its not my intent to reply again. He can have the last word. Thank you for your blog; I found the other posts interesting as well.

    And more typos :) Forgive me punctuation police.

    circularreason,

    You cite "one plus one equals two" as a statement that is logically true. That is not the case. It is true only and precisely because of the way we define the terms "one", "two", and "plus". For instance, study Boolean algebra some time. In Boolean algebra, which is a perfectly logically valid and consistent mathematical system, the statement "one plus one equals two" is not true; it is in fact nonsense since the term "two" is undefined in that system. The "logically true" statement in Boolean algebra would be "one plus one equals one", in fact. Perhaps some of your other examples of "laws of logic" are in fact not universally true as well.

    Kelly,

    What exactly do you mean by information? By this question, I mean give a definition of information that one could theoretically use to look at a system and determine whether the information content has gone up or down. I think everyone who talks about information has something like what one US Supreme Court justice said about pornography, namely that he can't define it but he knows it when he sees it. (My apologies, if anyone can provide the source of this quote, I would appreciate it). To use the creation of information as an argument against evolution, this type of definition is not sufficient. One must be able to conclusively determine first of all whether information is in fact created during an evolutionary process. Further one must be able to observe other processes and determine if creation of information occurs in them. It's possible that it does, and if so, the argument against evolution is destroyed.

    As an example, I can define what is meant by a codon. A codon is a sequence of three DNA base pairs that specifies a particular amino acid when that DNA sequence is read during protein synthesis. It's quite clear that you think information is something different than codons. Otherwise, there's no problem with information creation; it obviously happens during evolution. Some mutations result in duplications of DNA sequences, so where N codons existed before the mutation, 2N codons existed after it. If codons are units of information, which seems pretty reasonable to me to so consider them, then information has been created during that mutation. If not, then what precisely is meant by the term information?

    Gerhard Adam
    I believe this is a rehash of the typical thermodynamic argument (entropy, etc.), or Dembski's "Complex Specified Information" stuff.  In any case, it has no known scientific meaning.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Doesn't disease play a role in this also, who gets it, who doesn't, who survives who doesn't, who goes on to breed who doesn't? Especially when a species get scattered and isolated?

    It has been a few weeks since I have visited this page, and since my last few visits it appears there have been more comments added. I will be happy to field each post in order.

    In response to the post by " Mir":

    Mir wrote " How well your premises suit you! You are defining your god to be above all logic, than claiming yourself to be a logical man. Was it also your god-above-logic that came down to tell you that the Universe is finite? Do you have any logical basis to think that Universe is an effect? The expansion of visible energy and matter in the Universe is an effect, but we do not know much about the Universe itself.

    That's the problem with your logic, it's deduced from non-sense premises. Solving an unknown universe with an unknown god is not really a solution, it's creating a bigger unknown. It's stupid. "

    Ini response to your first sentence " How well your premises suit you! "

    My premises must comport to observable, operational, and testable reality in order for them to be true. If they don't then they must be discarded as untrue. I would hope that would be true for you as well as everyone involved in this discussion as well.

    Mir then wrote " You are defining your god to be above all logic, than claiming yourself to be a logical man. "

    I did not define God as above logic. I defined God as the source of all logic. Logic is part of the nature of the God of the bible. The bible ( which clearly makes the claim that it is the very spoken words of God ) makes the claim that this is one of the very attributes of God. Logic exists everywhere in every observable region of the universe, therefore the bible is proven 100% accurate when one asks " What is the source of logic "

    Mir then wrote "Was it also your god-above-logic that came down to tell you that the Universe is finite? "

    Observable evidence to date suggests that the universe is finite. There are many scientific disciplines that are involved in such observations, and it appears that we exist in a finite universe. If you have information that suggests otherwise I would be interested in such research. ( Steady State Theories are in a quandry at this point as far as I know).

    Mir then wrote " Do you have any logical basis to think that Universe is an effect? "

    Yes I do. If the universe is indeed finite, then the universe cannot explain it's own existence. Logically the existence of nothing cannot be a true axiom. Something cannot come from nothing, that would be an illogical statement. We know from the universal law of cause and effect that every effect ( existing finite matter or energy ) must have been created or caused by another source. Since the universe is currently understood as a closed system affected by another law known as the 2nd law of Thermodynamics otherwise known as the Law of Increasing Entropy we know from observation that the universe requires a cause. The only logical explanation is the " uncaused first cause". This requires an infinte source. Either the first cause is an eternal repeating series of causes, or eternally existing cause the requires no cause. There is no evidence of an eternal series of causes ( the existence of logic argues against this idea) so the only logic conclusion would be the only available option of an eternally existing cause. This is all apart from the fact that the bible exists which is itself historically, and scientifically available to test against this hypothesis.

    Mir then wrote " The expansion of visible energy and matter in the Universe is an effect, but we do not know much about the Universe itself.

    This seems to me to contradict what you previously wrote. You seem to be agreeing here that the universe is finite and is itself a cause after all.

    Mir then wrote " That's the problem with your logic, it's deduced from non-sense premises. Solving an unknown universe with an unknown god is not really a solution, it's creating a bigger unknown. It's stupid. "

    All you have to do is read the bible and test it against science and history to discover this " unknown God " If the bible does not comport with reality, historically and scientifically, then he would be yet be unknown. We are talking about a known God that exactly matches observable evidence. The bible itself states in Proverbs 9 : 10 " The" fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. " The bible makes the claim opposite of what you claim, in which you said it is " stupid " of me to base my understanding on what is logically true.

    Thank you,
    Circularreason

    In response to RR's post :

    RR suggested that since Oliver didn't mention origin of life in his article I somehow " hijacked " the conversation to all sorts of discussion away from evolution, and that I require facts while " refuging myself in rhetoric ". It would be good to keep in mind that I answer several different posts with thorough answers, while Oliver and others only have to answer a single post at any given time. When Oliver discusses evolution he is including " origin of life " whether he mentions it in his article or not. Origin of life is clearly taught as part of evolution from Kindergarten onward. If the Origin of life that is being taught as part of evolution disproves evolution, then evolution as a theory is DOA ( Dead on Arrival ). It is a valid point this out whether or not it is mentioned in a particular article. It was Oliver, Mi Cro, and Gerhard among others who took issue with that particlar part of my post, and failed to address the few simple questions I posed ( such as explaining exactly what mechanism created the specific information contained in all life forms, since no observation has yet been made that demonstrates that this type of information can come from any natural source and each of them implicitly believes that it somehow does without any evidence to support this hypothosis. This could be described as a religious viewpoint).
    As far as rhetoric, it seems that the pot is calling the kettle black in this particular post. There isn't any real facts in this post demonstrating that I have failed to produce facts, none are specifically mentioned for me to defend, so this is just another case of Ad Hominem attacks, and rhetoric. If RR has specific evidences of mine that he or she takes issue with then it would be more sincere to mention them.

    Thank you,
    Circularreason

    Gerhard Adam
    How tedious....
    Mundus vult decipi
    In regards to Oliver's latest post :

    Oliver wrote " The straw man is "he claims (I assume it's a he) debunks my evolutionist agenda." I never made that claim. However, operational science does in fact debunk the claims of evolution.

    First of all, you do not define operational science here, which unlike say physics or chemistry is not a commonly used term. This is an “Appeal to Anonymous Authority” because the authority is not well defined and this appeal cannot be easily verified. Because this sentence occurs without additional supporting statements, it is also “Argument by Fast Talking” in which you move quickly from argument to argument without firmly establishing the reasoning behind each. Finally, quibbling about whether you made a claim in a particular note or e-mail exchange (which can or cannot be verified), followed immediately be presenting an argument meant to debunk the claims of evolution makes me doubt your honesty, or at least your tendency to equivocate. Would you, even after this remark, consider that you yourself are not trying to debunk the claims of evolution, but rather are merely stating that others have debunked said claims, not yourself. You cannot expect someone to make such a fine distinction when recapping this argument; sometimes such subtleties must be left to the source material.

    I don't agree that using the term operational science is an appeal to annonymous authority. Appealling to authority is appealing to the authority of an individual or group of individuals ( usually with advanced degrees) who have respectability or authority in a given community, and using that individual or group of individuals as the final decisive factor for determining truth. The term operational science means exactly what the words mean " Operational " means in operation or operating currently and science has to do with knowledge. In other words science that is currently operating and is observable, as opposed to historical science which cannot be observed, and which must be deduced from eyewitness testimony, or educated guessing. I have mentioned that by operational science I am referring to observable and testable phenomena. Evolution falls under a historical branch of science which in reality cannot be tested through operational science, but rather is subject to the worldview/ religion of the observer. Two people with differing worldviews will come to different conclusions based on the same observable evidences. I have explained more than once what I mean by operational science v/s historical science, but I do apologize for the confusion. Where operational science can be utilized to support evolution, it fails to confirm that evolution does occur ( such as in the long conversation we had about regarding mutation, natural selection, and the third pillar of evolution you mentioned ontogeny and paedomorphism). None of these can account for new, previously non existing information arising in existing life forms. As I see it you are left in the tenuous position of having to account for these new features ( and there must be millions apon millions of them to produce the large quantity life forms that we know exist today).
    As far as "fast talking" or moving from subject to subject. I can see where you would say there is a large quantity of information to review. Keep in mind that I tend to paste what you have written, and then review what you have posted from a logically standpoint. So my "talking" is just answering your post. If I am fast talking then you must be as well. I am also engaged in responding to multiple posts in an open forum which can be an excercise in "fast talking" by it's very nature. Please describe to me which arguments I have presented that I have not firmly established the reasoning behind. Each of my claims are still present in my posts on the board. I haven't quibbled about any notes or emails, because I haven't sent any. All of my claims are still available for review to anyone who has any questions, or corrections to make. I don't have any tendency toward dishonesty in discussion, nor any tendency to equivocate unlike some. If I am demonstrably and logically wrong, I will agree that I am wrong. I wonder if that is true of you as well? You mentioned that you feel I am dishonest because I mentioned a " debunking claim " . I can think of a particular claim that I said has been debunked " The origin of life from non living chemicals in primorial soup ". It is my understanding that currently the scientists involved in the discipline of science known as " chemical origin of life" have currently abandoned the primordial soup theory, and none of the latest competing theories are viable alternatives, due to many, many reasons that I feel would be " fast talking" to go into at this time. Are you familiar with current research, and do I have this wrong? I really don't think I am being dishonest to point out that there still isn't any viable mechanism for life to develop from non-life yet this is still taught in "reviewed " textbooks (grade school, high school, and college level ) as a " scientific fact ". The text books are reviewed by experts in evolution and they don't mind it being taught as fact apparently, which means these experts agree that chemical evolution is part of evolutionary theory.
    I am a little confused what you meant by your last sentence, what fine distinctions and subtleties am I requiring of you?

    Oliver then wrote " Even if all creationists were "globally" as you put it ignorant of evolution, which is illogical to say because they have advanced degrees from the same universities as Atheist/materialistic evolutionists, and those universities require a thorough working [knowledge] of Evolutionary theory in order to obtain those degrees, then logically they can't all be so ignorant, it doesn't matter as to the truth of the statements. "

    However, if we take the time to look at the passage from which you take this phrase, we see in fact that the author is not calling out creationists here, but rather those who do not study evolution. In fact, he pointedly is not referring to creationists at all.

    Here is the excerpt copied directly from your original post "The first major reason for this misconception, I think, is part of a global misunderstanding of evolution in general. In their understanding of evolution, many people - non-creationists included here - imagine in their heads something akin to the classical idea of "The Great Chain of Being".

    When you write " many people - non creationists included here " you are pointedly attributing the " many people " "who globally misunderstand evolution in general "to the creationist circle. There are the " creationists " and then there are the " non creationists included here " . I am afraid that your argument that you " pointedly " left out creationists fails here, especially when you speficically mention non- creationists as an inclusion. All of this has nothing to do with the actual evidence however. This is in my mind unimportant to the actual discussion of evolution other than demonstrating that you seem to believe that creationists " just don't understand evolution " which is invalid. Creationists are required by most learning institutions to fully understand TOE, and many have advanced degrees. This falls under the " No True Scotsman" logical fallacy, by attempting to discredit creationist credentials. That is why I pointed it out in your post.

    I will cut off here at this time to avoid confusion and distrust. I don't agree with you Oliver, that much is true, but I am quite honest and sincere in this discussion. We can pick even one specific topic and beat it to death if that makes you more comfortable. I will however contiunue to answer the rest of your latest post.

    Thank you,
    Circularreason

    As an addendum to the last post I left I would like to add another thought that occurred to me later:

    The claim that my usage of " operational science " is the fallacy of " Appealing to Annonymous Authority " in laymans terms is claiming that my statement is false because it is an unkown ( annonymous ) statement. So in essense you are claiming I am wrong because you don't understand what I said. If I posting in Chinese, or Navajo I might understand your complaint, however I am posting in English. Also, you admitted you were familiar with the term when you mentioned that it is used in Chemistry, and physics, so you must be at least minimally familiar with the term. The common dictiionary will render enough information to inform anyone willing to take 5 minutes, as will a click of the button on the computer by Googling. I could also allege the same with your usage of such words as Bacchanalian, paedomorphism, and a more common but still rather rare word, Ontogeny. I could just as well say the same of these Latin words.
    I think this attempt to demonstrate an alleged fallacy is just to avoid the real issue of the lack of any real observable or testable evidence for your claims.
    How does one " fast talk " in a post? You have had months to review my posts, and take all the time you need to demonstrate the science behind your claims to destroy my objections.
    Thank you circularreason

    Oliver,
    So where we left off, you were were saying that my position of claiming that were directing the term " Global misunderstanding " was not particularly aimed at Creationists and that I was engaged in a Straw Man fallacy ( in which the authors position is misrepresented or exaggerated. So am I to understand that you believe that many Creationists are experts in evolution and disagree with it's premises based on scientific grounds?

    You posted my statement " If a person were to train a monkey to scratch one plus one equals two in the dirt, it doesn't make the statement false. Now what exactly is the statement?"

    And answered " Here you are implying that you are about to reveal what the true statement is that would remain true if a trained monkey scratched it in the dirt. The first statement is again “Argument by Fast Talking” or perhaps even a “Non Sequitur” as it is unexpected from the preceding and anteceding statements, isolated, and presented without explanation. While it is a valid statement, it is also not obviously part of any argument. I could present a straw man for what I think you might be trying to say here, but I will avoid that in this critique. "

    Clearly the statement I was referring to was " one plus one ". The point I was making was that even if every Creationist globally misunderstood evolution, it doesn't prove that what they say about evolution is untrue. I understood your statement to be directed toward Creatioinists because or earlier statements you made like " I say orgy: its a bacchanalian romp of differing misconceptions and twisted logic - basically, nothing out of the ordinary for a creationist, for whom apparently the addition of even more terrible ideas can only strengthen your argument." Why wouldn't anyone think you were calling Creationists globally ignorant? The source of a statement doesn't matter, but rather the truth of the statement itself. In the same way if one were to train a monkey to scratch one plus one in the dirt,or if the world's foremost genius writes it, the truth of the statement stands on it's own merit. My next question was a rhetorical question asking " what is the statement being made by the author, when he/she claims evolution is true ? "

    You copied my post which read : You say "Even the idea of a tree, with increasing complexity upwards, is wrong." All of us have seen biology textbooks from gradeschool on that tell the story of a flash of lightning in a pool of primordial soup ( a thoroughly discredited idea) and out of that came the spontaneously generated first self replicating bio-molecule.

    And you wrote "It is not at all clear how you move from “Even the idea of a tree…” to “primordial soup”. This seems to be an “Extended Analogy” although I don’t even see how you got from one to the other so it could be “Changing the subject”. Nowhere in this article did the author discuss the genesis of life, only the evolution of life once it came into existence. For that reason, this argument seems irrelevant to the discussion of the article.

    This is very common practice that I have noticed from Evolutionists...trying to seperate origins from the theory of evolution. It must be very embarrasing to try to defend such a position, as Mi Cro found out in our discussion through posts. It is clear that evolution makes claims about origins, given that I even mentioned one such source " Biology textbooks" and another such source in another post " Darwin's book which is titled Origins" as well as deductive reasoning ...If all of this purposeful engineering, and specified information exists in all forms of life, and all forms of life sprang from a common ancestor ( initially just one ) then where did this original information in this first common ancestor come from? It isn't " changing the subject " but rather highlighting the " Question begging Ephithet " that Evolution encompasses, whether you mention it in your post or not. If Evolution is DOA ( Dead On Arrival ) because of the illogical and disproven source of information in the first place, it is simply common sense to point that out. I can't say that I blame you for being resistant to discussing that part of evolutionary theory.

    You pasted my post "
    We have already violated several known universal laws

    And your response " We have done nothing, you have only referred to some hypothetical grade school science textbooks from some time back on a topic not at all central to the post above. "

    If what I said is in fact true, we have definitely done just what I have claimed. Just to make this clear for myself, and everyone reading these posts....Are you claiming that grade school " Biology " text books and also high school, and College Biology textbooks ( I mentioned those as well ) do not really have any references to origins? That it is all just " hypothetical " and something I made up? Do I understand you correctly? It is central, because if it violates known universal laws, and your compartmentalized section of evolutionary theory also violates those same laws. If your theory in fact violates, and contradicts known laws, then your theory cannot be true. Let me know if you really believe that " CURRENT " grade school, high school, and college biology textbooks do not contain references to natural origins, and I will send you a lists of a few for your review. In fact I think I will do that anyway for your perusal.

    I wrote " 1. 2nd law of thermodynamics (increasing entropy) 2. Loius Pasteurs biogenetic law (only life creates life) 3. Information theory. 4. Law of Logic (rules over the other laws and requires logical explaination and not unsubstansiated claims."

    These are both appeals to anonymous authority and fast talking. Specifically to your points: 1. The 2nd law of thermodynamics does not apply to the earth as a whole because it is not a closed system; it receives energy from the sun. 2. Loius Pasteurs “law” was a direct response to Spontaneous generation (flies being made from meat). It has not bearing to this argument, just as Newton’s “law” of gravity does not invalidate the theory of relativity or quantum mechanics. 3. I can speak most close to this, as I have a Ph.D. in computational biology. Information theory is only as good as the basic assumptions you use to define the probability of events; I am aware that some scientists have used information theory to say that life’s natural genesis is improbable, but they had to make certain assumptions to do so. In my opinion, information theory has been used more interestingly in support of evolution at the genetic level than these arguments against; For example, did you know that no matter what subset of organisms you choose to construct a tree of life using information theoretic approaches, you always get a tree that is 99% similar to any other at the structural level. This is incredibly unlikely unless there is a fundamental hierarchical structure (a true structure to find). This does not “prove” evolution, but it is another piece of evidence in support of evolution. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolutionary_tree. Sorry to get off track a little bit there, moving back to a critique of your arguments.

    I am surprised you didn't follow the discussion I had with Mi Cro about all of this. He used the same aged closed system argument. It is true that the earth locally is a closed system, and that closed systems can temporarily decrease entropy, however the type of decrease does not increase specified complexity, it increases usable energy which every known observation has shown does not create the type of complexity that exists in life forms. Since you have shared you hold a Ph. D. in computational Biology ( my respects to your hard work and dedication ), you know that what I have claimed about information is true. You also would know that the universe as a whole is a closed system. Introducing raw energy into a closed system does not generate life, and has never been observed to do so. So if I understand you to be saying that raw energy from the sun can produce life, I would need some kind of supportable evidence to that effect. In fact, observable, testable science ( operational science ) when used to examine sunlight interacting with living or non living matter does just the opposite of what you claim. It destroys most chemical reactions necessary for life, it destroys the large molecules necessary for life, it does not create more, and more complex information systems, and definitely never produces specified information which explains why we never find the larger molecules necessary for life anywhere in the solar system other than here on earth where life currently exists.
    louis Pastuer did a lot more than just " flies with meat ". He also experimented utilizing glass beakers to sterilize water and seperate bacteria from that water, which in turn demonstrated that the idea of bacteria spontaneously generating from water was false. Since that time no observation has been made that would challenge that experiment, but evolutionists consistently make the claim as fact.
    Evolution is not on the same order as Newton's law, or the Theory of Relativity, or Quantum mechanics. Evolution is a theory built on historical science. It is a theory postulated based on observations made from things found in the ground ( dead things ) and assumptions made about how they arrived there. You cannot observe past history, you can observe and test the effects of gravity. Nobody has observed any new feature originating in any creature, nor has anyone identified a true " missing link " I could go on, but I think you get the idea. The best source for reliable historical accuracy would be an eye witness account of what happened, such as we use today in our courts of law.
    In your last sentence I appreciate that you include the fact that a " heirarchical " structure does not " prove " evolution. I would venture to say that you indeed would know far more about that than I, however I would also suggest that finding such a structure would just as much prove an intelligent designer who created such a structure in all of his created kinds. It just depends on a persons prior commitment to a basic worldview of whether natural sources can create such things v/s whether an omnipotent intellgent designer can. I will reference the Wikepedia link, however I will say that I have found that for every tree of life presentation that I discover, I have found several others that contradict the first. There are many different ideas as to what creatures are related to others based on homology, and we can't really know for sure which are related by homology alone. Since we can not genetically test, or breed extinct creatures, or fossilized bones we have no way of knowing if they ever were related at all. It is a matter of opinion and faulty circular reasoning, and is untrue if evolution ( in terms of common ancestry ) never really occured at all. That is after all what the main claim of evolution is and scientific observation refutes that claim. Extinction occurs, and genetic loss of information and reshuffling of some genetic material, but no new unique information has ever been observed to be created by mutation or natural selection, or any other known natural mechanism. The other potential problem I see in a " theoretical tree " are the underlying assumptions. If you begin with parameters that are based assuming evolution to be true in the first place which is itself an unproven assumption, then of course you will come up with very similar answers closely resembling other models built apon the same assumptions. The same thing happens with dating techniques. I don't want to go into details that are far off of the topic, but suffice it to say that the dating game with fossils are assumptions, built apon assumptions, which are further built on other sets of assumptions, and the data gets massaged until it fits an apriori belief system. Suffice it to say that in each " tree " there are represented many transitions ( by many I mean hundreds of thousands or millions that are necessary, unless something on the order of a miracle is believed to have occured which would be no different than special creation ), yet all of the transitional fossils are missing. The only real transitional fossils you have mentioned are at the " species " level which really aren't transitional at all, unless you mean transitioning to extinction. I am curious what assumptions you believe information theorists have made that are incorrect and lead them to incorrect conclusions.
    I do have to disagree that I have made any fallacious claims. Evolution does violate both the first and second laws of thermodynamics as I claim and all observations to date verify my claim. No information systems such as those involved in the processess of life have ever been created by " raw " energy from the sun, and none have been created by any known natural source. Saying that sometimes it can happen doesn't prove that it can, and even if it could which it never does, doesn't prove that it happened in the past. I notice you left out my point on the Laws of Logic. That is a debate that I continued with Mi Cro, and Gerhard and might be worth reading some old posts to get up to date.
    This supposed fallacy of " fast talking ". Every item I mention is related to TOE. These are all problems that TOE must answer in order to be a valid theory. The main topic is still transitional fossils. Transitional fossils require entire new suites of information in order to become transitional, such as the echolocation abilities I mentioned in whales and bats. There aren't any precursors to bats in the fossil record, there aren't any whale transitions, so bringing up information systems, and the relationship to physical laws are not a stretch. There hasn't been any effort to change any subject, but rather to illuminate the plethora of problems that plague the evolutionary story from start to finish. I have left out many, many other problems that could take the conversation away, that I have avoided. Making the claim that I am trying to change the subject by " fast talking " is absurd. Evolution must be held to the same standards of science that any other branch of science adheres to, otherwise it is a religion/ worldview and not worthy of being called science at all.
    With that I am going to leave the rest of your post for additional comment at a later time.
    Thank you,
    Circularreason

    The sad part off all of this is the original posters need to try and avoid the one fact that frustrates him the most... A transitional fossil can be found of simple organisms going back
    Millions of years but evidence of something SO recent like say... HUMANS being anything other than HUMANS in any way, shape or form can't be.

    I understand why this is so frustrating, because it literally defies the logic being used to support his own article. It's also what frustrates all evolutionists... Fossils of a species as recent and dominant as humans should be in abundance. Especially fossils of ANY type that could link a human with absolutely any other type of ancestor whatsoever. Amazingly enough, there's not a single one. So to put this simply, when discussing THE missing link, maybe everyone should read this article and realize there should be ANY missing links! The bush theory is great until you realize it means there should be even MORE evidence of a species so recent as us that has any deviation of humanity with some other ancestor.

    Sometimes I wonder if people actually read their own writings. Lol

    Gerhard Adam
    Well, obviously you don't read, or you'd be aware of the fossils that do exist.  Unfortunately, people with your belief will demand something stupid, like a bird-fish, or a lizard-human.   The simply reality is that there is no "transitional" fossil that would ever be satisfactory because you don't understand how anything works.  Instead you want some cobbled together organism that looks like it is trying to "decide" which evolutionary path to take.  It doesn't work that way, but then ... you're not really interested in that, are you?

    Even the most cursory Wikipedia search would have provided you information had you been genuinely interested.  However, you'd rather troll your nonsense.  Go away ... your comments are ignorant and a waste of time.

    Mundus vult decipi
    Lol, you're not very intelligent so I will give you some lenience. There are zero fossils that give evidence of HUMAN evolution except from something that is already entirely human. A simple Wikipedia search would have given you this info. But I guess someone of your belief likes to ignore facts lol. It's ok, I'd be frustrated if I were you too.

    All those years and no where to end up, it's gotta suck!

    (pssst... Btw, I bet u didn't read your own search that directly states they aren't descendants of homo sapiens lol). If you need to know what that means let me know. Otherwise stop trolling here, your comments are unwanted.

    Gerhard Adam
    Like I said.  You don't read and you're a waste of time.
    Mundus vult decipi
    How did I know your response would have zero rebuttle. Amazing when you are presented with facts eh?

    I just happened across your article about evolution. What you are saying is what I have been trying to think through and figure out about how the "chain of evolution" is, even though it's not really a chain but more of a bush, like you said. You really helped me to work out the kinks in my thinking, so thank you for that. In a way, I used to be a creationist but it was only because I was raised in a christian home. Once I turned 19, I wanted answers that my mother and no other religious people could provide, and I wanted evidence with these answers that religion does not provide either. So, I've learned that only through using logic, reason, evidence and common sense will I ever find the truth to any answers I seek.

    We can sift through the lies and myth to find the truth when it comes to science, so how come religions aren't doing the same thing? I see the image above about reason being the greatest enemy of faith and it is absurd to see how clouded the vision of many has become trying to hold onto their beliefs. The truth doesn't change no matter what one believes it should be. The truth is just the truth, nothing else. Once we realize that, mankind will progress with leaps and bounds like we never have before. [www.truthcontest.com]

    I just watch this movie called "The Experiment" (2010), starring Adrian Brody and Forest Whitaker. At the very end of the movie one man said to Brody's character: "You still think we are higher on the evolutionary chain than monkeys?" He replied with, "Yeah. 'Cause we can still do something about it." What he meant is we can still doing something about our ignorance, about our problems by using our rational minds to reason what is true and what is false in this world. Truth will break down the borders that divide us once and for all...

    Anyways, thanks for your great thought-provoking article...

    rholley
    I re-read this article, following the most recent comment by Eleanor.
     
    That advertisement by Beryl Baptist Church indeed fills me with consternation.  It seems to have evolved (the E-word!) from something going round, that Martin Luther is supposed to have said “Reason is the Devil’s Whore”.
     
    Now it is not easy to track down everything that Martin Luther is quoted as saying.  His Gesammelte Werke, if such a collection exists, must be voluminous indeed.  One such saying is
    The Devil, the proud spirit, cannot bear to be mocked
    and earliest quotation I have found on the web (and mislaid again) is in an 18th or 19th-century French translation.

    I have read quite a lot of Martin Luther, though, particularly his Commentary on Galatians, and something pointing to what he actually said is found there.  Generally, when he talks about “Reason”, he is especially referring to the philosophy of Aristotle, and is not generally putting it down.  However, in this particular case, what he is referring to is when one’s own reason is saying to one “I am totally unworthy of salvation”, and leading one to despair.  

     * * * * * * * *

    However, Eleanor seems to be saying something along the lines that reason will get us there in the end.  

    Now in “The Matrix – Our Future?”[1], Kevin Warwick (‘author’ of Hank’s computer virus), says
    There can be no absolute reality, there can be no absolute truth.
    That, possibly, is something that cannot be determined one way or the other by reason.

    However, for someone recently broken away from ‘Creation Science’, the exhilaration can lead them to be flattered into thinking that they can determine everything needful, even to the existence (or not) of right-and-wrong itself.  So, to avoid being dazzled by the
    “Glitter and Gold” one’s own mental prowess, I recommend the advice given by Rebecca Ferguson:



    Take care of your soul!


     * * * * * * * *

    [1] Chapter in “Philosophers Explore the Matrix” edited by C.Grau, Oxford University Press, 2005

    Robert H. Olley / Quondam Physics Department / University of Reading / England
    Eleanor's response exhibits lack of reasoning. There is no reason to believe the " bush" theory any more than believing in evolutions story of continuous upward modifications " less complex to more complex" of organisms, unless you " Already" believe evolution to be true. To believe that you must believe in " No God", or be an Atheist. It is purely a position of " Blind Faith " with no actual scientific evidence to demonstrate any of it is true, and it leads to faulty circular reasoning ( transitional fossils must exist because there is no God and everything made itself, and must improve itself through natural means, even if we don't ever see any evidence of it). If you believe in God then everything fits what we see, is explainable, and makes sense why such fantastically complex machines exist at Nano levels that we as humans can't begin to duplicate. It is likely that Eleanor wasn't ever a Creationist in the first place, but more likely an evolutionist posing as a Creationist to make Oliver feel better about his article.
    Like I have said from the very first, " It is a competition of 2 belief systems 1. God exists, or 2. God does not exist. All further (scientific claims) are based on and biased by our philisophical viewpoints. Atheists will believe in evolution and view fossil evidence as support for their view, Christians will view the same evidence and view it as support for their position. Both views cannot be correct. The atheist position is untenable, therefore evolution cannot be true, and is demonstrated to be false by the lack of evidence. Note : notice how none of the evolutionists ever offer up any specific transitional fossils as evidence that they exist, because they know it is a story filled with holes, and any fossil they offer can easily be shown to be " just a fossil", and not transitional
    Thank you,
    Circularreason

    Robert,
    I noticed that you quoted Kevin Warwick as saying " There can be no absolute reality, there can be no absolute truth". The first question to come to mind would be to ask how Kevin came to "know" this is in fact true. Does he have absolute knowledge? Did God tell him this? How did he come to the certainty that there is absolutely no absolute truth? Claiming absolutely that there can be no absolutes is an absolute statement in itself. If what Kevin is claiming is true, that would mean that there is at least one absolute....that there are no absolutes. If it is abosolutely true that there are no abosolutes, then the statement " there can be no absolute truth " has been proven false. If the statement " There can be no absolute truth" is abosolutely true, then the statement is false. If the statement " There can be no absolute truth" is false, then again it is proven false. Either way the statement is false, which in turn logicalluy demonstrates the falsehood of relativism. Since relativism is easily proven false logically, then logic dictates that absolute truth must in fact exist. The existence of logic also proves that absolute truth exists. We can know logic exists by a simple postulation : If logic did not exist, we could not make logical deductions. We can make logical deductions, therefore logic must in fact exist. Absolute reality requires an absolute creator. Any finite source is incapable of creating an absolute reality/ absolute truth ; an absolute requires an infinite creator ( since the definition of absolute would mean that the reality/truth remain unchanging and itself must be infinite and no finite source can be attributed to be the cause of an infinite effect).
    Eleanor says she " used to be a creationist" because she " was raised in a Christian home". Being raised in a Christian home doesn't qualify one to be a creationist, and more than likely Eleanor never believed the creation account in the first place. We aren't given the information of what "kinks" she had in her thinking. Oliver doesn't answer any questions at all in his article. He just says it happened without providing any mechanisms by which it all could happen. Eleanor believes his story because Eleanor doesn't believe God exists. If God doesn't exist, then somehow, some way, all this life popped up by itself. There is no other possible explanation. Atheists have to believe evolution or else quit being Atheists. It is what I have claimed from the beginning. This is a battle of 2 world views/ religions. Atheism V/S Theism, not science V/S religion.
    Eleanor wrote " So, I've learned that only through using logic, reason, evidence and common sense will I ever find the truth to any answers I seek." First of all Eleanor has to borrow from the Christian worldview in order to have logic and reason in first place. The foundations of evolution lie in Naturalism, Materialism, and Empericism which cannot account for the existence of the Laws of Logic at all. There really shouldn't be any Laws of Logic if everything is the result of a series of random events. How does Eleanor "know" that the only source of knowlege is obtained through the use of reason? That would fall under " Empericism" which is the belief that we can only obtain knowlege from observations. How does one observe that we can only obtain knowlege from observation? Obviously it cannot be proven through observation, so this is irrational, and illogical and obviously false, so Empiricism ( the belief that knowlege can only be gained from observation) is proven false.
    Thank you,
    Circularreason

    rholley
    Circularreason

    I do not think it wise to guess at Eleanor’s personal history.  One thing I most deeply detest is someone saying to me (as a child or even now in my retirement) “I know what you’re thinking!”

    And as for the deepest thoughts of men and women,
    Luke 2:—  34  And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against;

    35 (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.
    Robert H. Olley / Quondam Physics Department / University of Reading / England
    Robert,
    It is strange to detest a person saying " I know what you are thinking". Most of us spend our lives sharing what we think with those around us hoping they understand. The fact you posted a blog informs the rest of us you desire that we " know " what your thoughts are. I do know what you are thinking,only because you have decided to share those thoughts. Sorry if that offends you.
    Nobody is guessing at Eleanor's personal history. She also in like manner, shared her personal history in her blog. My comments are based on exactly what Eleanor said about herself. Her views are not all that uncommon and it is valuable to evaluate those viewpoints in the light of logic to expose the fallacies of such positions I.E., the fallacy of Empericism.
    What is the point you are making with Luke 2:35?
    Thank you,
    Circularreason

    rholley
    and more than likely Eleanor never believed the creation account in the first place.
    You are saying that Eleanor’s testimony about herself is probably untrue.

    The reason I included the quote from Luke is to warn you to go carefully.  The secrets of a person’s soul are known only to God, and you may be blundering on to holy ground.

    Robert H. Olley / Quondam Physics Department / University of Reading / England