Tuesday, November 29, 2005

*Creationism Redux*

Dr. (M.D.) Loke was interested enough to post a reply to my letter and reply to his letter.

Anyway, it is made in the comment section of the blog entry marked reply above so here it is in full. Letter sections in italics. Personal comment prefixed by a >. I have been told that the language I have used might be a little strong, but I feel that this is entirely justified if the accusations and arguments I make are valid. This is not me in full debate mode yet.

My basic general reply for now is as follows, what's your (scientific) alternative? Shooting holes at a scientific theory does not a new scientific theory make much less replaced.

As things stand, the criticisms are not as focused as they could be as I'm attempting rebuttals against all sorts of creationism including ID. And also the syntax used is a little wonky because I am addressing not just the physician but readers as well.

I read your letter " Creationists trying to pass off religious beliefs as scientific facts on the ST forum ", published on the ST forum , which I just realised is re-produced at your blog here, with some unwarranted anti-creationist comments. Now, there are errors in your letter which need to be pointed out.

> You're going to need to point out the unwarrented creationist comments. I don't read anything objectionable in mine. The language might be strong and tough but entirely justified.

In your letter you were concerned that my view was not balanced, because I cited websites which teaches "cargo-cult science". Perhaps you were unaware that I had indeed visited many evolutionist websites in the past, including the 'talk origins' website which you suggested , and the reason why I did not cite them is because I find the arguments there unconvincing.

> Your views are precisely not balanced because you did no cite them. I was providing the countervailing information. And now, why are they not convincing? As we shall come to see, the reason is that you have accepted a faith-based viewpoint, which distorts how you would wish to view the facts. This may be a perfectly justifiable theological approach but it is not a scientific one. I call them cargo cult science because they have all the trappings of science but no real science. Admittedly though, ID is even worse because it has no testable aspect much less mechanisms. But nevertheless, you may be entitled to your opinion but not the facts.

You were also perhaps unaware that my citation includes "Evolution -- A theory in crisis " which is written by Dr Michael Denton, who was an agnostic scientist and not even a Christian at all.

> Ah yes, should have done a tad more research. He's gone over to the ID side by the way. Apparently in his next book after "Evolution, A Theory in Crisis", in "Nature's Destiny", he starts criticising special creation. Anyone has the book handy? But my original point was that these books cannot really be considered as scientifically rigourous as a peer reviewed article and have been torn to shreds anyway. I don't honestly care if he's agnostic if he produces a book full of bad science, it's still bad science. Homeopathy anyone?

And it is not true that the religious presupposition of the 'Answers in Genesis' website necessarily detracts from the veracity of the arguments presented there with regards to origin of life and human evolution.

> Sure, but when this organisation states that it is "Upholding the Authority of the Bible from the Very First Verse and um "also desire to train others to develop a biblical worldview, and seek to expose the bankruptcy of evolutionary ideas, and its bedfellow, a "millions of years old" earth (and even older universe)." This is a classic case of shutting your eyes and going la-la-la everytime the data doesn't fit. Well that or double think.

After all , many scientists in the past were deeply committed Christians; Newton, in particular, intended his work in science to serve as an apologetic for his faith . Yet I am you will not question the veracity of Newton's laws of motion because of his religious presuppostions.

> Newton believed that God worked through Nature (more on the methodology of Naturalistic Materialism below) so no more supernatural forces i.e. purely natural forces. And it's interesting you would bring up Newton because I presuppose you would not disbelieve in Gravity but yet, it is also premised on the exact same methodology as is Evolution. So what exactly does Evolution conflict with? Again, I am going to deduce that it is your religious interpretation.
> But that's really besides the point is it? I am not simply doubting what they say because of their religion but their professed view of religion and the manner in which they set it at odds with Science. I'm talking more about Dr. Kenneth Miller (lead expert witness for the plaintiff in the Dover Trial) than Dr. Carl Wieland (Answers in Genesis). The science the creationist propound is directly taken from their narrow religious beliefs rather than where science and observation takes them. And even more to the point, there are no non-theistic motivated attacks on Evolution. Hare Krishnas in the Dover trial anyone?
> In fact, it is remarkable like those religious nuts who disbelief that germs cause diseases. No, in fact diseases cause germs and what causes disease? Demons.

You argued that my view is religious whereas macro-evolution is scientific, and there is a need to separate religion from science.

> Yes, Creationism is religion masqurading as science. And yes, there is a need to separate religion from science in so far as the methodology of science goes. No unreplicatable supernatural forces thank you, it doesn't help scientific research and progress.

Now I want to point out to you that my view belongs to exactly the same branch of scienfic inquiry as the theory of naturalistic macro-evolution.

> I still have no idea what your views are, but I'm betting Young Earth Creationism right now. I'm withhold comments on this point until I receive a reply as to what YOU believe.

We must note here that the issue does not lie within the branch of experimental science, because neither the macro-evolutionist explanation nor the Creationist explanation of what happened in the past can be confirmed in a lab.

> Yes it can. Wanna see peer reviewed articles of new species forming? FAQ with cites below. Especially if one accepts 'forensic science' and deductive logic.

The conflict between naturalistic macro-evolution and creationism legitimately lies within the branch of science which operates on principles similar to FORENSIC science. It is not "science versus religion", as many suppose, but rather which explanation for an event that has happened in the past is more probable. We are like detectives coming to the scene , looking at the life we see now and asking ourselves" which explanation is more reasonable ? " Did life comes from non- life naturalistically? Did man come from apes?"

> Okay, problems here. 1. What is science? Science by default restricts itself to a METHODOLOGY of naturalistic materialism not as a philosophy but because it works. After all, why bother with science if "Poof! X deity did it by a supernatural mechanism which we cannot replicate" if so, science will grind to a standstill because they is now no need to figure out how rain falls or DNA replicates itself because hey "X did it!". The way to reconcile this and whatever Deity one believes in is to say that God(essess) set the world and naturalism in motion and move on from there.
> 2. Where it comes to the creationist, it is Science v Religion because they try to fit their 'science' into their 'religion'. To be fair I don't have a problem, because speaking as a Buddhist, the Dalai Lama said that should science and Buddhism conflict, Buddhism must change. This is entirely in line with the historical Buddha exhorting his followers to question and critically evaluate what is said, even by the Enlightened One.
> 3. In our daily life, we see no evidence of supernaturalism at all, much less depend on a miracle to get you out of a traffic jam or as an excuse to an offence. Therefore naturalism is an eminently reasonable methodological position to hold. There's this really long joke I could put here but the punchline is that a man tries to explain the underaged girl in his room by claiming that he kissed a magic frog.
> 4. Life need not have arisen naturalistically for Evolution to work. Hammie might have created the the primodial soup (or simply set forth the Universe etc.) and Mutation and Natural selection took over from there.
> 5. Man did not come from apes. We share a common ancestor.

"Science" , says Linus Pauling , "is the search for the truth," and we are concerned about the truth here. And the truth of the matter is that intelligence as a causal agency for life and man should not be ruled out a priori.

> I can accept this, we should seek the truth through Science or as far as it can be truth given the constrains it puts on itself (logical ones I think but religions says otherwise).
> But as the saying goes, prove it. Or more realistically good physician, create a falsifiably theory that explains the data better and has a stronger explanatory power than what we already have. BTW, remember SETI? When the Nebula pulses were first monitored, they considered Intelligence ALONGSIDE other hypothesis, in the end on the basis of observation and evidence, they rejected it.
> Science merely explains the How, it does not try to answer the Why. That is how, many reconcile their faith with science. Here's a good PandasThumb's post entitled What was God Thinking? Science can't tell.. It hits on the sterility of ID as well.

In fact it should at least be considered as a possibility, as the principles of forensic science clearly recognises events caused by intelligence apart from events caused naturalistically.

> Animal or human intelligence. Not supernatural ones. We can detect signs of natural intelligence because we are can see signs of it and we recognise it from experience? But how does one detect supernatural intelligence? ID pretends to solve it but gee....can we say Dover Trial? It's a classic god of the gaps arguement i.e. we can't explain it therefore it must be a supernatural reason. Rain gods, thunder gods you get the idea.
> And um, yes, Science operates in a forensic fashion and guess what? They never conclude that God did it. The edifice of an omnipotent God means that it is unfalsifiable. In a similar vein, it's like saying Hammie the invisible pink psychic hamster exists and is invisible because I cannot see him.

And that is how murders are determined apart from naturalistic accidents.

> Wha? Do we have supernatural murders I'm not aware of? Seriously though, it is still a naturalistic cause. How would one detect a supernatural murder? That's the real issue. Human agency is relatively easy to detect.

And just as a forensic scientist will reasonably believe that a code found on the wall to be caused by an intelligent agency, it is more reasonable to believe that the origin of the first genetic code is caused by an intelligence rather than by naturalistic processes.

> Yes and no. An intelligent agent perhaps. But a forsenic scientist does not go leaping to believing that a supernatural agency wrote the code. Again the genetic bit is an argument from ignorance and another god of the gaps fallacy. Yes, if it can be explained by a natural phenomena, it's a better explanation than a supernatural one.
> More to the point, pray tell us how we can detect this evidence of supernatural intelligence or Intelligent Design in nature? Especially if we don't know who the Intelligent Designer is and what kind of motive we can imput to it. Simply saying it 'looks designed' is not going to cut it.

No doubt the explanation that the causal agency for life and man is an intelligent agency will have religious connotations, but this connotation does not imply that the explanation itself is not true.

> True enough and then have fun 'proving' that it's your Deity construct that is that intelligence and not the other Deity constructs much less Little Green Men. But let's get back to the issue here, you attempt to debunk evolution. So exactly which part of evolution do you disbelieve? That I think will tell us what you believe. Again, I COULD accept that an intelligent agency set forth the universe in motion (whether aliens or X), but then evolution gives us a damn good explanation of what happened and prediction of what happens next.

An observation of the complexity of life and a reflection on how it can originate is indeed inconsistent with naturalistic explanations.

> Nope. Again, an argument from ignorance and a god of the gaps fallacy. I feel fairly certain that you will not be able to prove this or will do so on an unfalsifiable basis. But more to your point, there are many various form of intelligence that could do it and "there're many alternatives equally credible; we could've warped spontaneously into existence or maybe aliens seeded life or maybe our ancestors crossed an inter-dimensional gateway." (quoted from Gabriel) Aside: when this current universe dies down, we could attempt the last bit to survive.

Even one of the leading atheists and naturalist in the world, Anthony Flew, while still a non-Christian because of his misconceptions about Christianity, has now repudiated his long-cherished atheism as he now believed that an intelligence must have been involved in the origin of life, because that is the only explanation that is consistent with observation. As Plato had said, " We must follow where the evidence leads".

> He's a deist. He's one former atheist. Do we really want to start bring up past creationists and christians who are no longer so? We can start on this blog or Young Republic. Egro, it demonstrates nothing, it's fundamentally an appeal to wrong authority. Furthermore, he doesn't believe in special creation like creationist do. Sorry physician, the evidence does not lead there.
> And oh, your religious prejudices are showing. We could have a discussion on whether deism makes sense or even Christianity but what's the point if it's on an unfalsiable basis as all religions are? That's the crucial difference between a scientific theory and a religious one. Unfalsifiability.
> Aside: Read the Koran for how it deals with issue of Jesus's supposed cruxifiction. That's what I mean by unfalsifiable, an omniscience, omnipotent and omnibenevolent god could do anything and everything and still make 'logical' sense.

You wrote " there is no convincing alternative to evolution, and disproving evolution does not prove any other theory." But as mentioned above, intelligence as the cause of events must be considered as an alternative.

> Okay, can we just establish, he who asserts must prove with some kind of substantiation? How do we observe this intelligence, how can it be made into a theory and tested? 'Intelligence' as an alternative is about as good a SCIENTIFIC THEORY as Hammie, the invisible pink psychic hamster who created the world last Thursday with the appearance of age. It's might be AN explaination but not a scientific alternative. If science can explain it without the aid of the supernatural and 'Intelligence', that's what it by the bounds of its methodology will do.
> Once again, Evolution (and science) makes no comment about (supernatural) Intelligence because well, a supernatural could do what the hell it wants. Like in the above case of Hammie. It's not good science, it's sterile, it's pointless, it's religion by stealth, bad theology and we could go on further if you want to push ID.

Also, the arguments use to disprove evolution are equally valid arguments against all undirected processes . Now we must note that if it is not an undirected process, then it must be a directed process i.e. it must be Intelligent Design.

> See rebuttals above.

You attempted to discredit my citation of the statement by 100 scientists who oppose evolution(http://www.discovery.org/articleFiles/PDFs/100ScientistsAd.pdf) by saying that "It simply expresses doubt about Darwinism " and not the modern understanding of evolution with its knowledge of genetics . I find your discreditation unjustified. The statement clearly states "WE ARE SKEPTICAL OF CLAIMS FOR THE ABILITY OF RANDOM MUTATION AND NATURAL SELECTION TO ACCOUNT FOR THE COMPLEXITY OF LIFE", which IS the modern understanding of evolution with its knowledge of genetics , as the terms "random mutation" implies.

> Wow. I am also skeptical as well. There’s the whole debate over punctured equilibria v. gradualism, how did sexual reproduction win out over asexual one and once again, inheritance of genes. I still stand by the claim that scientists can sign this in good faith. I am skeptical too, which is why I think that ahem "Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged", which is what comes after the sentence above. Without it, science grinds to a standstill.

The context of the statement , which is to refute the PBS statement that “all known scientific evidence supports [Darwinian] evolution” as does “virtually every reputable scientist in the world.”, clearly implies that the statement is meant to refute the modern understanding of evolution which the spokesperson for the PBS evolution series claims all the scientists in the world now support . Your claim that " any scientist could in good faith sign that statement" , which imply that even scientists supporting the modern understanding of macro-evolution could in good faith sign it , is therefore clearly false ; the scientists behind the PBS evolution series certainly will not sign it!

> Yes, they would NOT sign it because it will be misused to give credence to the Discovery Institutes claims that increasing numbers of scientist doubt 'Darwinism'.
> Let us contrast this with the statement put out in Project Steve, "Evolution is a vital, well-supported, unifying principle of the biological sciences, and the scientific evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of the idea that all living things share a common ancestry. Although there are legitimate debates about the patterns and processes of evolution, there is no serious scientific doubt that evolution occurred or that natural selection is a major mechanism in its occurrence. It is scientifically inappropriate and pedagogically irresponsible for creationist pseudoscience, including but not limited to "intelligent design," to be introduced into the science curricula of our nation's public schools." Now that is a statement which cannot go the other way.

As for your citation of 'Project Steve', it is irrelevant as you yourself said "numbers don't matter in a scientific debate but strength of theories and evidence do." I agree with you regarding this point. The reason why I cite the 100 scientists (which included biologists) was not to show that there are more scientists in the world who do not believe in evolution, but rather to show the fact that it is not true that all prominent scientists in the world believe in naturalistic macro-evolution;

> Let's play a game called appeal to proper authority. Who do I 'trust' more and on what basis? It’s called credentials and credibility. Other than the fact that most of the people on the DI list are not evolutionary biologist (there is a difference), more scientist accept Evolution not because their religion tells them to do so but because of the evidence. It's a matter of who knows more and is more familiar with the material.

Your statements that "it is such a cornerstone of science and so convincing is the theory that scientists have effectively accepted it as a fact", which seems to imply that all scientists believe in macro-evolution, and "Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution", which seem to imply that someone has to believe in macro-evolution to be a biologist, are therefore clearly false.

> Hmmmm. If a small minority signs a meaningless statement based upon fallacious logic and atrocious science, I'm suppose to believe them? The statements still stands. Better still, do a quick search of medicial and scientific journals and see how useful creationism or ID has been to science. If only a hundred are 'skeptical' about Darwinism, that makes the overwhelming vast majority (like 99.999999...%) who accept Evolution. The debate is over, really.

As for the strength of evidence against naturalistic macro-evolution, this can be found in the sources that I cited in the first letter, and this strength of evidence is the cause of the dissent for naturalistic macro-evolution by the 100 scientists and others.

> It's not a real dissent and it's more a problem of their narrow fundamentalist faith than the evidence troubling them. And then twisting the science to prove their 'science'. To be fair, at least the Creationist (excluding ID) have a theory. Again, for anyone interested in the science, check out the original links I provided to TalkOrigins and PandasThumb.

I want to highlight again that it is not micro-evolution (the process of random mutation and natural selection ) that I am objecting to. This process is a proven fact and all scientists accept it. It is naturalistic macro-evolution that I am objecting to. The problem is that many people confound micro-evolution and macro-evolution together, and that is why they come up with assertions such as yours that "every experiment that's done simply verifies the strength of the modern theory of evolution" when ONLY micro-evolution is proven. It is wrong to confound micro-evolution and macro-evolution because it is a logical fallacy to say that micro-evolution neccesarily implies macro-evolution.

> This 'microevolution' v 'macroevolution' thing was created to get round the wealth of evidence for so-called microevolution. I suspect that eventually this line of argument will die out like the others.
> How exactly is the extrapolation improper? But more to the point for examples of observed speciation, click here. This argument is simply disingenuous.

You asked " If micro-evolution can occur, where's the magic barrier that prevents it from becoming macro-evolution?" But the issue here is not about whether macro-evolution can or cannot happen, but "Did it happen"?

> See above. And yes, can I presume by your argument of whether 'did it happen' to be another bit of positive proof that you believe your deity created all the 'kinds' (baramin) of animals and the diversity of species today is due to 'micro-evolution' of those 'kinds'? Oh, how does one define kind and how many were there? And how did Moses keep all of them alive in the Ark without constant miracles that was not reflected in the Bible?

Sure, there can be changes in gene pool , as you mentioned , but does the orgin of the organisms (such as humans) that we see today indeed resulted from gene pool changes of simpler life forms (such as apes), which ultimately come naturalistically from non-life?" The process from molecules to life to simple organisms to apes to man is so complex that scientists had postulated that millions of years is necessary for even the most basic DNA and RNA to form.

> Changes in gene pool over BILLIONS OF YEARS to create the 'complexity' and diversity of life today seems about right. That way, I don't need to bring in and reconcile a perfect supernatural agency and mass extinction.
> More importantly, am I correct to take it that you are a young earth creationist who doesn't believe that the Earth is more than 6000-10000 years of age? Because there has been billions of years passed since the year was formed. But if you read Dr. Kenneth Miller’s transcript in the Dover Trial, he describes the process of change between ‘ape’ and ‘man’.

And the protective environment of the modern day laboratory was obviously not available for the first life to form naturalistically. Indeed, unpredictable destructive forces can happen all the time in the harsh, unprotected natural environment. A volcano eruption , for example , would have instantaneously wipe out all traces of life in the "warm little pond" which had painstakingly taken millions of years to form. And somehow all the steps along the process from molecules to man must be protected from destructive forces and many possible detrimental chemical reactions , for millions of years! Is it reasonable to believe that all these had happened naturalistically?

> Argument from increduity. Sorry, I can't believe that people can be mean to each other either but that doesn't mean that people are not mean to one another. More to the point, the first forms of life as you put it would likely have been capable of living in that hostile environment. Or maybe they evolved outside of that hostile environment. Anyone with a better knowledge of this area? rrrrrrrm has an answer in the above post.

You argued that different organisms sharing the same building block of life is positive proof of common descent. This argument is fallacious as sharing the same building blocks of life could also be seen as positive proof that they are the works of a Common Designer, just like Microsoft Word and Microsoft Powerpoint having millions of similarities is an indication that the same guys are writing the programs. Using "the same building block" argument therefore does not prove common descent over special creation; it is a logical fallacy which is typical of pro-macro-evolutionist arguments found in evolutionists' literature such as the talkorigin website.

> I shave my data with Occam's Razor. What do you do? Instead of postulating a supernatural agency on that basis, the more likely and naturalistic explaination is that of common descend. But it's not just common building blocks but chromosome change which indicates common descend, and also for a much more extensive treatment click here for the entire molecular evidence for Macroevolution. And yeah, fossil records anyone? Whales have hind legs etc., the existence of vestigal organs and junk DNA. Read the FAQ.
> On a more fundamental level, Science limits itself to naturalistic materialism as a methodology and fromthe above it makes more sense to believe that we once came from complex hydrocarbons. Furthermore, as you conceeded, there is a place for a Intelligent Designer...but right at the beginning as opposed to special creation of each and every single 'kind'.
> And once more, show me your theory of special creation and explain why it is more convincing than Evolution. Just because you want your version of your deity to exist does not make it true. So facts, data and evidence, and we'll use the forensic science you talked about.
> Finally, TalkOrigin uses proper science. Creationism makes use of 'science'.

argued that "how RNA and DNA came about is not an issue because they do not detract from evolution". But theories on how the RNA and DNA came about are often considered in literature supporting macro-evolution. In fact , molecules-to-life evolution was shown in the last part of the documentary "A Species Odyssey", and that is why I have to mention it to show that it is not a proven fact as much as ape-to-human evolution is not a proven fact. The origin of life issue is relevant to any discussion about origin of species.

> Well, firstly, it’s irrelevant to Evolution. Just because they are considered doesn't make it a substantial part of the literature supporting macro-evolution (if they even are). You're actually conflating two different issues here, one on the origin of life and the other on how life began from primordial soup. One could as well believe in the Judeo-Christian story of Genesis as one could believe that the Judeo-Christian god put created the primordial soup from which the first signs of life developed.
> Evolution is not simply chance, to say this ignores natural selection, which is the direct opposite of chance one might say. To quote TalkOrigins' "Five Major Misconception of Evolution", "Nor is abiogenesis (the origin of the first life) due purely to chance. Atoms and molecules arrange themselves not purely randomly, but according to their chemical properties. In the case of carbon atoms especially, this means complex molecules are sure to form spontaneously, and these complex molecules can influence each other to create even more complex molecules. Once a molecule forms that is approximately self-replicating, natural selection will guide the formation of ever more efficient replicators. The first self-replicating object didn't need to be as complex as a modern cell or even a strand of DNA. Some self-replicating molecules are not really all that complex (as organic molecules go)."

If you would concede that an intelligence is involved in the origination of DNA, then that would explain to you why different organism share the same building block of life (ie they have a common designer ), and your positive proof of common descent would vanish.

> Nope. Why would I have to? I could easier decide that God(desses) created DNA/RNA or any simpler complex carbon molecule and then they decided to leave it to Evolution. Then every single species can trace their origins to a common ancestor and every organism to those complex carbon compounds. That's sound EXACTLY like, wait it IS Evolution!

You argued , with regards to missing links in the fossil records , that "every time science comes up with another missing link, the creationists claim that there are now two gaps" . But that is not the claim in the sources which I cited in my first letter.

> Actually I wasn't responding to you at all. It was a pre-emptive argument and an illustration of the repeated claims over the years that there are no transitional fossils.

Rather, what is argued there is that the "missing links" which evolutionist comes up with are not convincing links at all. You argued: " Perhaps if he ( Andrew ) were an evolutionary biologist specialising in hominid evolution, his authority could be accepted." It is interesting that you yourself accepted the authority of the author of the TalkOrigin.org's website on Fossil Hominds which you cited , when the author does not even have any qualification related to evolutionary biology ( see http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/homs/faqs.html#qualifications)! Your argument against my qualifications is therefore inconsistent.

> Misrepresentation. My full argument was, if you don't provide any form of proof as to whether it is convincing except your own authority, I'm not going to accept it unless you were an authority on this matter. But how about this, the author of the FAQ you criticise? He provides citations to proper peer review articles. You evidently decided it was unconvincing.
> More to the point, if the fossils show us becoming less and less ape-like and more and more human-like, then Evolution is logical conclusion to draw.

Now one does not need to be an evolutionary biologist to point out the obvious logical fallacies of arguments used in support of macro-evolution, such as using common descent as a proof for macroevolution.

> What logical fallacies beyond the ones you proclaim? It is called logical extrapolation. If you have a better explanation you are more than welcome to provide it. And appeals to the supernatural don't count unless the theory is capable of being falsifiable. But without special creation, then the fact that we share IDENTICAL building blocks of life by deductive logic leads us to conclude that we evolved from the same origins. Creationism is a good example of non-experts wading in and pretending they know better than the real experts. Mostly because they come to the conclusion and try to fit the facts to match it.
> And this argument sounds exact like what some of those medical quacks would argue against the HIV/AIDS link.

Moreover, you should note that the views and sources which I cited do contain the opinion of paleoanthropologists, people specialising in the study of fossils, a field which form the basis for evolutionary biology. And paleoanthropologists themselves have admitted that their work in their field is highly subjective .For example, paleoanthropologist Misia Landau wrote that "many classic texts in the field were determined as much by traditional narrative frameworks as by material evidence" and that the themes "far exceed what can be studied from the fossils alone." (Narratives of Human Evolution ) . With regards to forming the narratives of evolution from fossils , paleoanthropologist Ian Tattersall admitted that the process is "both political and subjective " such that "paleoanthropology has the form but not the substance of science". And evolutionary biologist Clark Howell had conceded that " There is no encompassing theory of human evolution...Alas,there never really has been." (" Paleoanthropology and Preconception " Meike et.al Contemporary issues in human evolution Memoir 21.)

> Anyone has the time, energy or patience to check out the references? I'm willing to bet that this is a case of quote mining, especially that of Ian Tattersall, who writes for TalkOrigins. And do you really want to play the numbers game again? I’m a law student and when we have competing authorities, we look at credentials and credibility.

You claimed that " the books that Dr Loke speaks of are not scientifc works or research ". I would like to ask you what is your definition of " scientific work ". If peer review is necessary to qualify as an scientific work, which you seems to imply, then Darwin's origin of species should not be considered as a scientific work, as it was never peer reviewed .

> I define it the same way any scientist defines it i.e. peer review. Peer review is necessary if I want to take it seriously as a piece of scientifically rigourous work, I think a good comparison by contrast is say Kevin Trudeau's book "Natural Cures they don't want you to know about" and something in Science or the Lancet (well there was the entire MMI-Autism fiasco but peer review was what pointed out the errors). And yes, as the institutions of science were still developing in that era, the book was not peer reviewed per se. HOWEVER, he wrote a whole series of essays, letters and articles which were read before the Royal Society in London and were subject to critique, criticism and defence i.e. peer review. And has stood the test of time. Every subsequent experiment and prediction demonstrated evolution. Darwin had that excuse, what do today's Creationist (in whatever form) have to say?

You argued that the books I mentioned have been "thoroughly discredited not just by scientists but also by theologians". I would like to ask you which theologian has given biblically-justified views against those books that I mentioned. Perhaps you would like to quote their arguments.

> Mea culpa. Sloppy writing, it should be discrediting of the notion of ID and Special Creation. Anyway, who said anything about Abrahamic religions? And why do I need to refer back to the Bible at any rate? But more to the point, here. It's mostly Religion v ID but if anyone wants the Creationist infighting, google it, off the top of my head, Literalism (as advocated by Answers in Genesis) in contrast to say Gap Creationist (who believe that the 'days' in Genesis ought to be read as gaps i.e. periods of large amounts of time). I like this particular post which talks about Conservative Christians disgusted with ID, here.

Though there are scientists who refused to acknowledge those books, the arguments they used in support of macroevolution over intelligent design (such as the "similarity in building blocks of life" argument, which I have refuted above) are not valid . Perhaps you would like to quote other arguments to support your view.

> Who are these scientist who refuse to acknowledge the books? The sheer amount of information out there that shreds these books is staggering. And they're by reputable scientist in the proper fields. Just google them in NSCE.org or Pandasthumb or TalkOrigin or TalkDesign or TalkReason.
> You haven't refuted it. You simply claim it's a logical fallacy and then ignore it. But you could always work your way down the 29+ evidence for Macroevolution in TalkOrigins. Or better still, how about pitting your knowledge with the real experts in the alt.talk.origins newsgroup? I’m just a law student who finds this whole thing interesting and has been following it since 1997.

Finally , you mentioned Dr Michael Behe's discrediting in the recent Dover trial . I would like to point out that Dr Behe's "discrediting" has to do with his definition of " theory " and "hypothesis" , but it has nothing to do with the actual arguments that he presented in support of the Intelligent Design explanation.

> My point is that ID is scientifically vacuous. By Dr Behe's definition, Astrology comes under the same category of scientific theory as his own ID. It doesn't purport to explain anything, predict anything much less tell us what mechanisms the Intelligent Designer is supposed to have used. So much for Irreducible Complexity when the flagellum is not irreducible complex (you can use 33 proteins instead of 40 that Dr. Behe claims) or even the blood clotting mechanism (dolphins lack a protein called Factor 11 I think). If you want discrediting, read the entire transcript. I know I did. Search for Behe on PandasThumb, the first post is entitled, "Behe Disproves Irreducible Complexity". You only need to read the transcript part really.

The issue here in this discussion is not about definitions regarding theory or hypothesis, but whether intelligent design or the BLIND process of naturalistic macro-evolution is a more reasonable explanation for the origin of the complexity of life and man.

> Again. Evolution not random chance. Do we need to go back to definition of Evolution. I don't believe in the supernatural, it might make my world colder, but it is a lot saner.
> Unless you can disprove that the world is billions of years old then Evolution works.

From what has been written above, we can see that naturalistic macro-evolution is not a proven fact of science, to say the least..

> It's a theory so strong as to be a fact. And definately not disproved by anything you have said thus far.

I hope you will re-think about your belief in naturalistic macro-evolution in light of what is written above.

> Thank you. You have just demonstrated that whatever you believe in is not science because science constrains itself to the natural and material. And let's just put it this way, you can hope all you want but I'm about as likely to be as persuaded to the reverse as you.

And now, here’s more stuff from Tomorrow.SG! to whet your appetite!.


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