Forknowledge, his Brother and Their Belief in the Supernatural

For the record:  I’m not attempting to prove molecules-to-man evolution wrong.  This is a task I couldn’t possibly accomplish neither do I have the resources nor the desire to try.  My previous post was solely meant to give evidence of a phenomena that is contrary to evolutionary theory, and hence, evolutionary theory was adapted to fit it and the problem has been swept under the rug.

The “Molecules-to-man” Issue

Apparently, Forknowledge and his brother, Penguinfactory, have take exception to my use of the phrase “molecules-to-man evolution”.  Forknowledge says, “Kemp has given a bizarre defence of using the word ‘molecules’ by pointing out that the first living organisms were likely some sort of very basic prokaryotes (I’m confused too), while also stating that ‘man is the highest form of evolution’.”  I’m confused too.

Forknowledge, are you denying or ignoring your necessary belief in abiogenesis?  By default, you MUST believe that life formed itself from lifeless molecules somehow.  The only other alternative is God.  And since you can’t have that, you have abiogenesis.  Prokaryotes are the most simple system of molecules that formed themselves out of molecules (depending upon your particular variation of abiogenesis), hence “molecules”.

The brothers claim I contradicted myself by stating that the phrase “molecules-to-man” is not anthropocentric but then making the claim that humans are the highest evolved species.  Anthropocentricism states, as I understand it, that the POINT of evolution was to eventually evolve into humans.  The phrase says nothing about this, it only implies that humans are the most highly evolved.  In rebuttal to this idea, Penguinfactory said, “Humans are not the “highest” form of life from an evolutionary perspective. Everything alive today- even bacteria- is just as highly evolved as everything else.”

Are you attempting to claim that homo sapien,  the only species that could form a response to a logical argument as you’ve just done, has invented the automobile, the airplane, landed on the moon, writes poetry, plays music, and have the ideals of love, compassion and freedom are NOT the most evolved?  It’s like I’m in bizarro world.

The “Top Down” Issue

In my previous post, I showed that the Cambrian fossil record shows “top down” variation which is in contradiction to evolutionary theory that predicts a “bottom up” variation.  That is, the big characteristics (classified as “phyla”) show up first with variations happening down the line only in the context of their already set phyla.

Forknowledge and his brother, of course, disagreed with this, “Eric is once again applying the concept of the phylum across the board, as if it’s the only way to categorize the different types of living organism”  and “the majority of phyla appeared during the Cambrian, that is not the same as claiming that the majority of speciation or differentiation occured during it.

Strawman anyone?  I didn’t mention speciation or differentiation (by the way, what is that exactly?) I only mentioned phyla for a reason.  Of course, no one is saying that phyla is the only way to classify organisms.  But the phylum is the biggest classification within a Kingdom, and that’s what we’re talking about.  Let’s look at the chart:

So, the Cambrian fossil record clearly shows, as you’ve admitted, that most of phyla of life appeared with no apparent ancestors about 500 million years ago.  The majority of life as we know it are descendants of this fossil record.  They are admittedly very different but they only differ within their phylum set down during the Cambrian period.  This is a blatant “top down” formation, and talking about how different life is within phyla only supports that idea.   Why the phyla (body plan) stasis?  Why hasn’t the phyla changed just as much in the last 500 million years as it did during the 5-10 million years of the Cambrian?  These are questions evolutionary theory can’t answer.

Molecules-to-man evolution requires belief in the supernatural

Wikipedia:  The term supernatural or supranatural (super, supra “above” + natura “nature”) pertains to entities, events or powers regarded as beyond nature, in that they lack a clear scientific explanation.

Dictionary.com:  Of, pertaining to, or being above or beyond what is natural; unexplainable by natural law or phenomena; abnormal.

American Heritage Dictionary:  Attributed to a power that seems to violate or go beyond natural forces.

Empiricism is the system of thought that says the only (or the best) way to know something is through experience.  That is, what we can experience with our senses is best way to true knowledge.  Science is the most natural expression of empiricism.
Let’s evaluate a statement based on it’s empirical value.  That statement is,

“God created the diversity of life on Earth.”

The problem is that it’s not an empirical statement.  But why not?
1.  The above statement is not empirical in nature because it is claiming something that is seen  “the diversity of life” is explained by something that is not seen, “God”.
2.  God is something that, by definition, cannot be experienced by the senses.
Therefore this statement cannot be empirically verified.  As a statement of belief, this is a belief in the supernatural as defined above.  Caveat:  I, of course, don’t believe that there isn’t any empirical evidence for God otherwise I wouldn’t be a Christian.  But the statement itself, even if there can be evidence for it, can’t be empirically verified.
Let’s evaluate another statement on the same basis.  Penguinfactory made the statement that the process of evolution we see today is the same as 500 million years ago.  I objected, pointing out that we can’t know that since one is observable and the other is not.  In response to this, Penguinfactory said,

“We have enough evidence to be able to conclude that evolution has been occurring throughout the history of life on this planet.”

This is also not an empirical statement.  Why?
1.  The above statement is not empirical because it is claiming that something that we can see “evolution” has been occurring during a time we cannot see, “the history of life”. 
2.  The past is something that, by definition, cannot be experienced by the senses.
3.  A phenomena that can cause 25-35 new phyla to appear in a five-ten million year time period has never been experienced by the senses.  Such a phenomena is outside of nature as we know it.  Empirically, we don’t even know if such a thing is possible.  As such, the statement that such a phenomena exists is a statement of belief.  And as a statement of belief, it is a belief in the supernatural. 

Remember, supernatural is defined as “lacking a clear scientific explanation,” “unexplainable by natural law of phenomena”, and “seems to violate or go beyond natural forces.”  The phenomena that created the diversity of life at the Cambrian does not have a “clear scientific explanation”, it only has theory, it’s unexplainable by any natural law that we can empirically verify, and seems to violate the natural and go beyond the natural forces we observe everyday.  Therefore, it fits as a supernatural phenomena perfectly.

Supernatural Powers

Naturalists give their beliefs supernatural powers, just like Christians do.  For us, God violates all known natural law and creates life as we know it.  For the naturalist, chance violates all natural law and creates life from non-life (abiogenesis).  Natural law is again violated when chance and Natural Selection creates twenty to thirty-five out of the forty phyla in a relatively short amount of time during the Cambrian.  By giving these supernatural powers to an observed natural phenomena, chance and Natural Selection, the naturalist can deny they believe in the supernatural.

To the naturalist, these things ARE described by natural law and yet, we’ve never seen a natural law that can accomplish the feats the naturalist believes chance can accomplish.  The powers of chance and Natural Selection given in molecules-to-man evolution are outside any known natural law and nothing has been observed that can even come close, hence, it is supernatural.

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20 Comments on “Forknowledge, his Brother and Their Belief in the Supernatural”

  1. penguinfactory Says:

    Kemp,

    Me and Forknowledge were so mystified by your prokaryote comment because you phrased it like this: The theory of evolution states that we all share a common ancestor with a single celled organism without a nucleus, hence “molecules”.

    You seemed to be stating that prokaryotes actually count as molecules, or something. If you’re talking about abiogenisis you should say so.

    By default, you MUST believe that life formed itself from lifeless molecules somehow. The only other alternative is God.

    False dichotomy- God isn’t the only other alternative. There are other hypothetical scenarios, although none of the are very likely or scientific (panspermia is one example).

    Anthropocentricism states, as I understand it, that the POINT of evolution was to eventually evolve into humans.

    I don’t know what the offical definition of this is, but I used it in the sense of giving humans more credit than they’re due.

    re you attempting to claim that homo sapien, the only species that could form a response to a logical argument as you’ve just done, has invented the automobile, the airplane, landed on the moon, writes poetry, plays music, and have the ideals of love, compassion and freedom are NOT the most evolved?

    Yes. Going by a strict evolutionary criteria (which is all I’m talking about here), a specie’s success is based entirely on how well adapted they are to their enviroment. Applying any other criteria is nonsensical- why are things like intelligence or emotional depth seen as inherently better than, say, hunting prowess or running speed, or reproductive prowess? To view evolution like this arbitrarily sets human qualities as the ideal and then grades other organisms on how well they fit that ideal

    They are admittedly very different but they only differ within their phylum set down during the Cambrian period. This is a blatant “top down” formation, and talking about how different life is within phyla only supports that idea.

    Again, why are you so keen on phyla? You haven’t given any reason why you’re insisting that evolution must produce new phyla, or it doesn’t count, except that it’s the “biggest” classification within kingdoms. Well, yes, but what does that have to do with anything? Why not go one step further and insist on the emergence of new kingdoms?

    Contrary to what you’re saying, this isn’t a top down formation at all. You said at the start of this that evolution “predicts a “bottom up” pattern where small differences develop before the large differences in form and body plan are seen much farther down the line.”

    That is what happened, though. Pre-Cambrian life is extremely simple. Cambrian life is much more complex, but still simple compared to life today (remember what I said about the trilobite’s eyes?). The next stage is even more complex, and so on. The only reason you see a violation of this pattern is because you’re insisting that the emergence of new complexity occur across a certain category.

    They are admittedly very different but they only differ within their phylum set down during the Cambrian period.

    How do you know that all of the phyla seen in the Cambrian appeared during it, as opposed to before it? I’ve already stated that the fossil record indicates that pre-Cambrian lifeforms were ill-suited to fossilization, hence giving a plausible scenario for why, if evolution was occuring during this period, we don’t see it,so you can’t rule out the possability that much of the complexity seen in the Cambrian actually developed before it began. Given the pattern of evolution evident in the fossil record from now until the Cambrian, it’s logical to conclude that that pattern would hold true if we had a better pre-Cambrian fossil record.

    Empiricism is the system of thought that says the only (or the best) way to know something is through experience. That is, what we can experience with our senses is best way to true knowledge. Science is the most natural expression of empiricism.

    Someone hasn’t done their research. From wikipedia:

    In philosophy, empiricism is a theory of knowledge which asserts that knowledge arises from experience. Empiricism is one of several competing views about how we know things, part of the branch of philosophy called epistemology, or “theory of knowledge”. Empiricism emphasizes the role of experience and evidence, especially sensory perception, in the formation of ideas, while discounting the notion of innate ideas.[1]

    This is essentially the definition you gave. But notice how it describes empiricism in relation to science:

    In the philosophy of science, empiricism emphasizes those aspects of scientific knowledge that are closely related to evidence, especially as discovered in experiments. It is a fundamental part of the scientific method that all hypotheses and theories must be tested against observations of the natural world, rather than resting solely on a priori reasoning, intuition, or revelation. Hence, science is considered to be methodologically empirical in nature.

    This is significantly different. Notably, scientific empricism emphasises evidence over experience. Your argument boils down to the old “you weren’t there, you didn’t see it happen”. You’re insisting on a false standard of evidence, one that science itself does not, and has never insisted on. I’d like to bring up my analogy to criminal investigation again, something you haven’t responded to.

    For the naturalist, chance violates all natural law and creates life from non-life (abiogenesis).

    This is a straw man. Abiogenisis, if it occured operated according to natural laws, not chance.

  2. Eric Kemp Says:

    Penguinfactory

    “You seemed to be stating that prokaryotes actually count as molecules, or something. If you’re talking about abiogenisis you should say so.”

    Fair enough, I should have been more clear and specific to begin with. The fault is mine.

    “Yes. Going by a strict evolutionary criteria (which is all I’m talking about here), a specie’s success is based entirely on how well adapted they are to their environment.”

    I understand what you’re saying, I promise I do. I just find the assertion that the species that has the abilities previously described is NOT the most evolved to be attempting to argue for arguments’ sake.

    I would also assert that alot of biologists would disagree with you even on the basis upon which you state. Evolutionary biology states “fitness” as that which allows the organism to better pass on their DNA. Our intellect and cognitive abilities are so advanced that we have no natural predators. You mention running speed, we build machines that can go faster than the speed of sound and everyday, you or I go faster in our cars than any animal can run. You mentioned hunting ability, we can shoot a deer from 100 yards. In fact, our intellect is such that most of our species doesn’t have to hunt anymore. Our ability to pass on our DNA is completely unhindered outside of our species. Human problems such as war, famine and over-crowding may hinder our ability to reproduce, but wether or not those are biological issues would have to be a huge point of contention.

    “You haven’t given any reason why you’re insisting that evolution must produce new phyla, or it doesn’t count, except that it’s the “biggest” classification within kingdoms.”

    Alright, I’ll be more clear. According to evolutionary theory, life should evolve “bottom up”. That is, new species should give rise to new genus’, new genus’ should give rise to new families etc, all the way to more and new phyla being produced as evolution continues. However, the Cambrian fossil record shows the majority of phyla pop out with no apparent ancestors and the only evolution that happens within those phyla is at the class level and down. This is unpredicted by evolutionary theory.

    “Pre-Cambrian life is extremely simple. Cambrian life is much more complex, but still simple compared to life today (remember what I said about the trilobite’s eyes?).”

    I understand what you’re saying here, but it doesn’t change my argument above. Also, you are ignoring the fact that Cambrian life is much more DIVERSE. In the sense of diversity, life since the Cambrian has simplified. An honest question: can you give me an example of an athropod with more complex eyes than the trilobite?

    “I’ve already stated that the fossil record indicates that pre-Cambrian lifeforms were ill-suited to fossilization, hence giving a plausible scenario for why, if evolution was occuring during this period, we don’t see it,so you can’t rule out the possability that much of the complexity seen in the Cambrian actually developed before it began.”

    You’re right, I can’t rule out the possibility because it’s impossible to falsify your argument. Like I said, it’s a perfectly unscientific argument. Also, how can you have evidence of unfossilizable species? Isn’t this an oxymoron?

    “Notably, scientific empricism emphasises evidence over experience. Your argument boils down to the old “you weren’t there, you didn’t see it happen”. You’re insisting on a false standard of evidence, one that science itself does not, and has never insisted on.”

    If you and your brother were only saying, “we have evidence of macro-evolution” then we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Instead, you guys are saying, “Macro-evolution is a fact, a fact that puts God out of business.” The only way that you get to this statement is by giving supernatural powers to your beliefs as I showed and by claiming unscientific conclusions to be scientific.

    Notice that, through out my posts and comments, my position is never to say, “. . .therefore macro-evolution definetly didn’t happen”, my position is to say that the evidence doesn’t support your conclusion and that your conclusion is an unscientific one.

    “I’d like to bring up my analogy to criminal investigation again, something you haven’t responded to.”

    During a criminal investigation, you must have a cause in order to call it a crime in the first place. That cause is called the murder weapon. If all you have in a room is a dead body, all you’ve got is a dead body. Once you’ve got a murder weapon, a cause for the dead body, then you can investigate a murder. Without an witness of any kind (and DNA of course) it’s impossible to even charge someone with murder without a murder weapon. Molecules-to-man evolution has no discernable cause, there is no murder weapon. You can say that molecules-to-man evolution was caused by chance and Natural Selection but, as I’ve pointed out, you have no idea wether or not chance and Natural Selection are capable of such things.

    “This is a straw man. Abiogenisis, if it occured operated according to natural laws, not chance.”

    This is another doozy. Don’t you see how you are giving supernatural powers to natural law? You are giving “natural law” the ability to create life out of non-life, that’s as supernatural as it gets.

  3. penguinfactory Says:

    I’m doing this from college, so I’ll just respond to one or two things for the moment.

    evolutionary fitness: we do have technology that elimnates predetors and such, but this technology didn’t come about by evolution, so it doesn’t make sense to say that humans are more evolved because of it. I would only count actual products of evolution- ie an organism’s phenotype- as a measure of how well adapted it is to it’s enviroment. As another way of looking at it, humans for the most part don’t adapt to their enviroment; we adapt the enviroment to suit us.

    That is, new species should give rise to new genus’, new genus’ should give rise to new families etc, all the way to more and new phyla being produced as evolution continues.

    Woah, woah. Hold on. You are profoundly confused as to the actual purpose of terms like phyla and species. These are categories used to group organisms, not evolutionary levels, and furthermore they aren’t in any way ranked from highest to lowest. Rather, the groupings that appear on top in the charts include more organisms, having broader criteria, while the lower ones break these down into more specific categories.

    What you’re describing- evolution beginning with species and then giving rise to the “higher” categories- is actually impossible- every organism that has ever lived, with the exception of things like viruses that blur the distinction between life and non-life, is in every category. You can’t have a species but not a phyla or a phyla but not a kingdom, any more than a Volvo can be a car but not a vehicle or a St.Bernard can be a dog but not an animal. Think about it- it makes no sense. The categories are nested, they don’t exist independantly.

  4. penguinfactory Says:

    Right, I have some more time to address more of this.

    Also, you are ignoring the fact that Cambrian life is much more DIVERSE

    Firstly, ny what criteria are you deciding that, and secondly, so what?

    In the sense of diversity, life since the Cambrian has simplified.

    No it hasn’t. Organisms have evolved many new and complex traits that didn’t exist in the Cambrian.

    An honest question: can you give me an example of an athropod with more complex eyes than the trilobite?

    Yes. Most arthropods today have two visual organ types rather than one and almost all have sclera, which trilobites lacked. The jumping spider can actually rotate one of it’s pairs of eyes to track prey.

    That wasn’t too hard, was it?

    You’re right, I can’t rule out the possibility because it’s impossible to falsify your argument.

    I gave you two examples in the other comment thread of how these ideas could be falsified.

    Also, how can you have evidence of unfossilizable species? Isn’t this an oxymoron?

    Again, I already explained why scientists consider these to be viable hypotheses. Were you paying attention the first time around?

    I’ll answer the rest later today.

  5. MonoMoon Says:

    “This is a straw man. Abiogenisis, if it occured operated according to natural laws, not chance.”

    Watch out. Next he’ll accuse you of using a “Science of the Gaps” argument.

    LOL

    I know,

    …….. I nearly wet myself when he wrote that.

  6. penguinfactory Says:

    During a criminal investigation…..

    Okay, just stop. This is literally giving me a headache.

    You’ve ignored the point I was trying to make and instead ran with it in a completely contrary direction. My point was that we don’t need to be able to recreate or directly observe past events to be able to conclude what happened. I was not implying that investigating evolution is literally analogous to investigating a murder, only that the standard of evidence you’re demanding is an artificially high one that isn’t used anywhere else.

    Instead, you guys are saying, “Macro-evolution is a fact, a fact that puts God out of business.”

    I don’t recall ever saying that evolution “put’s God out of business”. Even if I had, what does that have to do with evolution being supernatural?

    You can say that molecules-to-man evolution was caused by chance and Natural Selection

    I’ve never said that chance has anyththing to do with this.

    This is another doozy. Don’t you see how you are giving supernatural powers to natural law? You are giving “natural law” the ability to create life out of non-life, that’s as supernatural as it gets.

    Why is the idea of life arising from non-life inherently supernatural?

  7. Eric Kemp Says:

    Penguinfactory

    “we do have technology that eliminates predetors and such, but this technology didn’t come about by evolution, so it doesn’t make sense to say that humans are more evolved because of it.”

    In my response, I made sure to include the phrase, “our intellect . . .”. Are you saying that our intellect didn’t evolve? Because that’s what allows us to make the technology I used in my argument.

    “As another way of looking at it, humans for the most part don’t adapt to their enviroment; we adapt the enviroment to suit us.”

    But doesn’t our way of doing it make us more fit? It seems that you are arbitrarily leaving out certain abilities of humans just to fit your argument. For instance, a Cheetah can run 60 mph for a few seconds. While humans obviously can’t do that, we can build machines that can go the speed of sound. Our intellect is no less a biological ability than a massive amount of fast twitch muscle fibers in a Cheetah.

    “What you’re describing- evolution beginning with species and then giving rise to the “higher” categories- is actually impossible- every organism that has ever lived, with the exception of things like viruses that blur the distinction between life and non-life, is in every category.”

    I understand what you’re saying and I must have not explained my position very well. But I also think that you are thinking through this issue in the context of life as we know it, not in the context of pre-Cambrian life.

    These taxonomic distinctions only exist because humans, 4.5 billion years or 6-10,000 years later, want a way to classify living organisms, I know we can agree on that much. So let me use different words than species and phyla to describe what I’m talking about. So prokaryotes are the most rudimentary form of life, they don’t even have nuclei. Evolutionary theory would predict that, from prokaryotes, we would get slightly more diverse and complicated life. And we do, Eucaryotes show up, which are bigger, more diverse and have nuclei. One theory is that Eurkaryotic cells starting hanging out together (colonizing) and working together which led to specialization and eventually to the first animal, the sponge. The sponge lacks true tissues and a circulatory system but was an animal none-the-less.

    Evolutionary theory would predict that, from sponges, life would get slightly more and more complicated and diverse as time goes on. But the Cambrian fossil record shows that we went from sponges (was Platyhelminthes pre-Cambrian?) to full blown arthropods (trilobite)! Now, I know that sponges and trilobites are not in the same ancestral line (from sponges came class Cnideria) but that’s the point, the trilobite has no ancestors. We literally went from the most complex life form being maybe a psuedocelomate, filter-feeding flatworm to an arthropod with a rudimentary heart and circulatory system, complicated eyes, bilateral appendages and a chitin exoskeleton. The body plan of the arthropod would have been predicted by evolution to develop slowly through successive changes but the fossil record contradicts this. There is no evidence of a “developing” body plan as evolution would predict, the body plan of the arthropod is just suddenly there (to name a single body plan out of the 30 or so that showed up at the Cambrian).

    Now, at this point, because I must not have been listening the first time, you’re going to have to explain to me how microscopic or unfossilizable fossil evidence shows the “developing” arthropod.

    “No it hasn’t. Organisms have evolved many new and complex traits that didn’t exist in the Cambrian.”

    Ok fine, I wasn’t arguing any different. But, at the Cambrian, there were many different and more species, more diversity. Life since then has become less diverse. This is also unpredicted by evolutionary theory.

    Unrelatedly, how could I falsify “microscopic evolution”?

    “I was not implying that investigating evolution is literally analogous to investigating a murder, only that the standard of evidence you’re demanding is an artificially high one that isn’t used anywhere else.”

    I understand what you were saying, and I agree with you, I was just pointing out to you where your analogy, as an analogy to molecules-to-man evolution, falls apart. If we’re talking about evidence, this would bring me back to my statement that you and Forknowledge are not merely saying that you have “evidence” of evolution. Of course you do, just as I have evidence of Creationism/I.D. You are saying that “Molecules-to-man evolution is a fact, a fact that puts God out of business.” You are doing this while ignoring the amount of faith this takes and ignoring the supernatural powers such a statement gives “natural” law.

    “I don’t recall ever saying that evolution “put’s God out of business”. Even if I had, what does that have to do with evolution being supernatural?”

    You’re an atheist are you not? Forknowledges’ tag line is “Destroying Creationism” is it not? The point of the theory of evolution was to show that the assumption that “God did it all” is bunk, right? That naturalism can account for life fine without God, right?

    I’m not saying that evolution itself is supernatural, I’m saying the power you are giving it is. The power to create new kinds over millions of years is a power that evolution has never been observed or tested to have, it is outside of our current understanding of natural law, therefore it is supernatural.

    “I’ve never said that chance has anything to do with this.”

    Before Natural Selection can select a new trait, that new trait must first happen through genetic mutation, yes? These genetic mutations and wether or not they are beneficial, harmful or neutral happen out of pure chance, yes?

    “Why is the idea of life arising from non-life inherently supernatural?”

    Because it’s outside any observable natural law or phenomena. All the evidence we have to this point supports the idea that only life can give rise to life. You can claim that abiogenesis would be governed by some natural law, but you are giving that natural law powers that we not only have no evidence for, but that we have no evidence is even POSSIBLE for a natural law to have. Then you are attempting to call the idea “scientific” just because you are giving these powers to a “natural” law.

  8. ToothWhite Says:

    “Why is the idea of life arising from non-life inherently supernatural?”

    Because it his worldview, anything that isn’t understood right now must be supernatural and Godidit.

    Classic god of the gaps.

  9. penguinfactory Says:

    Right, my time for this is limited so I’m going to leave aside the “are humans highly evolved” issue for the moment because it’s rapidly becoming irrelevant to the rest of the discussion.

    One theory is that Eurkaryotic cells starting hanging out together (colonizing) and working together which led to specialization and eventually to the first animal, the sponge.

    Recent genetic research into this has actually suggested this something called Ctenophora may acually be the beginning of the animal lineage. They still exist today and they’re something like microscopic jellyfish (kind of).

    Now, I know that sponges and trilobites are not in the same ancestral line (from sponges came class Cnideria) but that’s the point, the trilobite has no ancestors.

    They do, actually: spriggina and parvancorina are both geni that could have been ancestral to trilobites (I only actually discovered this earlier today). I should say at this point this is mostly hypothetical due to the rarity of pre-Cambrian fossils- there’s still a very large gap between these things and trilobites. Which brings us to the next point.

    The reason for the relative scarcity of preCamambrian fossils could have been that these lifs forms were small and unsuited to fossilization. This is supported by the fact that all pre-Cambrian fossils are relatively tiny (the afor-mentioned spriggina, which seems to be an unusually large animal for the time, was only a few millimeters across) and lack chitin, which fossilizes easily. Most pre-Cambrian fossils that we do have seem to have formed in exceptional circumstances, such as when a cliff face or mudslide buried a lot of organisms more or less instantly.

    These ideas could both be falsified if we started finding larger pre-Cambrian fossils or if we found pre-Cambrian fossils with chitin.

    But, at the Cambrian, there were many different and more species, more diversity. Life since then has become less diverse.

    You’re going to have to qualify this with a more in-depth explanation, because I just don’t see you could say that Cambrian life was more diverse.

    Even if it was, evolutionary theory doesn’t predict that there must always been greater and greater diversity- clearly there’s a limit to how many ecological niches exist ot be filled, and it’s recognized that diversity can be set back by major extinction events (of which there been many)

    You’re an atheist are you not?

    Yep.

    Forknowledges’ tag line is “Destroying Creationism” is it not?

    No argument there.

    The point of the theory of evolution was to show that the assumption that “God did it all” is bunk, right?

    No. The point of evolution is to explain the diversity and complexity of life. The fact that it doesn’t inlude God doesn’t mean that it was made to disprove him.

    The power to create new kinds over millions of years is a power that evolution has never been observed or tested to have

    It’s been observed, indirectly, through the fossil record, as I already said, and it’s been tested by comparing it against the evidence.

    These genetic mutations and wether or not they are beneficial, harmful or neutral happen out of pure chance, yes?

    No. They’re random, certainly, but they don’t occur according to chance. By way of analogy (and please don’t try to read more into this one than I intended) crystals form randomly in the same sense that mutations occur- there’s no plan or design or behind the process, but it’s not chance. Chance implies that there’s no mechanism or reason behind something, that it “just happens” but this isn’t how natural processes work.

  10. Eric Kemp Says:

    Troll

    You just showed how you don’t even attempt to understand the argument before you.

    But you’re doing great Troll, don’t waiver in your atheistic faith. Just believe that no matter how much the evidence shows the impossibility of your belief in abiogenesis, keep the faith that one day you will have the answer that will justify your rejection of God.

  11. penguinfactory Says:

    Whoops…. forgot to reply to part of your post.

    (Jumping to conclusions is fun!)

    Because it’s outside any observable natural law or phenomena. All the evidence we have to this point supports the idea that only life can give rise to life.

    Which evidence specifically indicates this?

    You can claim that abiogenesis would be governed by some natural law

    There is no specialized natural process that’s been suggested to explain abiogenisis. All of the hypotheses put forward so far simply propose that already existing natural processes came together in a certain way. Whether or not this actually happened is entirely up for debate, but I see no reason that it should be considered impossible.

    Can I ask how much you’ve actually read on this subject? Because it seems as if your view of abiogenisis isn’t really based on any of the proposed hypotheses.

  12. Runaway Says:

    “But you’re doing great Troll, don’t waiver in your atheistic faith. Just believe that no matter how much the evidence shows the impossibility of your belief in abiogenesis, keep the faith that one day you will have the answer that will justify your rejection of God.”

    This is the part where Eric runs away from explanations and reasoned discussion, Again.

    “Ok, now you’re just slandering. I haven’t run away from anything, I’ve always answered legit questions as seriously and honestly as I can. Feel free to insult me and be as sarcastic as you want, but don’t bear false witness.”

  13. Eric Kemp Says:

    Penguinfactory

    I wish I knew how you could get italics to take in my comments section, that would be much easier on the eye.

    “They do, actually: spriggina and parvancorina are both geni that could have been ancestral to trilobites (I only actually discovered this earlier today). I should say at this point this is mostly hypothetical due to the rarity of pre-Cambrian fossils- there’s still a very large gap between these things and trilobites. Which brings us to the next point.”

    Don’t you see how the hypothetical nature of such evidence makes it unscientific and frankly, your willingness to use it eventhough it IS hypothetical supports my position that molecules-to-man evolution isn’t science?

    “The reason for the relative scarcity of preCamambrian fossils could have been that these lifs forms were small and unsuited to fossilization. This is supported by the fact that all pre-Cambrian fossils are relatively tiny (the afor-mentioned spriggina, which seems to be an unusually large animal for the time, was only a few millimeters across) and lack chitin, which fossilizes easily.”

    You must be honest and realize the limitations of “could have been”. You must also realize that all you’re doing is repeating your position. You say that you have evidence of microscopic fossils, but because they are microscopic you really have no idea wether or not they are ancestors of the trilobite. And since they are microscopic, they are definetly not ancestors to the arthropod body plan, which is my main point. Entire body plans popped out of no where which is undpredicted by evolutionary theory and gives us a “top down” fossil record.

    “Most pre-Cambrian fossils that we do have seem to have formed in exceptional circumstances, such as when a cliff face or mudslide buried a lot of organisms more or less instantly.”

    I thought this was true of all fossilizations. This almost essential, if not essential, prerequisite to fossilization supports world wide flood geology, more than it supports old earth geology.

    “These ideas could both be falsified if we started finding larger pre-Cambrian fossils or if we found pre-Cambrian fossils with chitin.”

    The point that you and forknowledge are missing about this falsification stuff, is that yes, certain discoveries that are unpredicted by evolutionary theory would change the evolutionary paradigm. But that’s all it would do, change the paradigm. Perhaps the entire evolutionary timeline would have to be rethought and reworked, but no evolutionary biologist would throw evolution out just because pre-Cambrian fossils were found with chitin. Evolution is the “fact of biology”, and the entire basis of the science (according to evolutionists) remember?

    Honestly, you both are being very disengenouos (falsely innocent) about this. Although the discovery of a pre-Cambrian mammal would be completely against the current evolutionary timeline, no self-respecting evolutionary biologists would suddenly give up their lifes work, just because the current evolutionary timeline must be re-thought. A pre-Cambrian mammal wouldn’t destroy evolution, it would destroy the current evolutionary timeline, that’s it.

    “You’re going to have to qualify this with a more in-depth explanation, because I just don’t see you could say that Cambrian life was more diverse.”

    Well, it was just, as I read about Cambrian life and afterwards of course, it was said that there were many more species existing in the oceans, many more varities within each phyla. As I wasn’t researching the species of the pre-Cambrian, I just took this statement as fact and moved on. If you truly doubt the validity of this position then I will do some more research and defend it.

    “Even if it was, evolutionary theory doesn’t predict that there must always been greater and greater diversity- clearly there’s a limit to how many ecological niches exist ot be filled . . .”

    Absolutely, but surely evolution predicts increased diversity over the course of 500 million years?

    “The point of evolution is to explain the diversity and complexity of life. The fact that it doesn’t inlude God doesn’t mean that it was made to disprove him.”

    I’m sure that Darwin was just doing honest work, attempting to explain what he saw around him. Darwin was honest about the limitations of his theory. But scientists since have not been as honest. And people, scientists included, like yourself have definetly used evolution to deny God. If you really want me to, I can dig up old quotes of what early scientists said about what evolution did for Christianity and the existence of God. That doesn’t sound like fun, but I’ll do it. I’m sure the point of the theory wasn’t to deny God, but it quickly and easily became the main tool used by those who wished to deny God. Those that were looking for a way to deny God took it and ran with it.

    I find it interesting that you fight this point. The argument I’ve literally heard from Dawkins, Shermer, Myers and the like is that BECAUSE OF evolution, God is not needed, that God has become a “special pleading” that only the religious need to rely on. Am I wrong about this?

    “It’s been observed, indirectly, through the fossil record, as I already said, and it’s been tested by comparing it against the evidence.”

    Indirect observation is thrown out of court and indirect observation does not make scientific fact. And as I’ve shown you, this indirect obvservation from the fossil record is indispute to wether it supports evolutionary theory. There are many who say it doesn’t, and for good reason. You cannot TEST molecules-to-man evolution and you know it. The definition of “testing” as you are using does not fit scientific definitions of the word.

    It’s almost like we’re going to start going in circles now. I’m going to say how you can’t test something that happened 500 million years ago, you’ll say, “yes but there is evidence, like a crime scene.” I show you how the crime scene analogy doesn’t work for molecules-to-man evolution and then you’ll conveniently forget that you conceded that we can’t test something that happened 500 million years ago and re-assert that we CAN test it, like you’ve just done.

    “By way of analogy (and please don’t try to read more into this one than I intended) crystals form randomly in the same sense that mutations occur, there’s no plan or design or behind the process, but it’s not chance.”

    Are you attempting to say that there is a natural process that guides mutations?

    “(Jumping to conclusions is fun!)”

    I know! I wish I could do it all the time!

    “Which evidence specifically indicates this?”

    Come now Penguin. Don’t fight this. The only time humans have ever seen life arise, it’s been from other life. Sexual reproduction, asexual reproduction, mitosis, etc. This is obvious and I wonder why you question it.

    “Whether or not this actually happened is entirely up for debate, but I see no reason that it should be considered impossible.”

    Do you really think that arguing from the position of “anything is possible!” is a valid position? It’s also possible that you and I are nothing but brains floating in jars and everything we see around us is called the Matrix. Is the basis of molecules-to-man evolution really “well, it’s possible!”?

    Bottom line is this; there is not a single shred of physical evidence that molecules can form themselves or that a group of molecules can form a cell. Your belief that this did in fact occur is a belief in the supernatural. You are giving unseen and unprecedented powers to natural law which goes against all available phenomena. Your position cannot be any stronger than you’ve already stated it as, “Well, it’s not impossible.” The ironic part is that you find an unseen God absurd but an unseen natural phenomena plausible.

    “Can I ask how much you’ve actually read on this subject? Because it seems as if your view of abiogenisis isn’t really based on any of the proposed hypotheses.”

    If you want to get technical about it, we can. Abiogenesis is a different subject that we weren’t going into fully so I was leaving my comments about it brief. But I am fairly well versed on this subject and we can get into the technicalities of it at any time.

  14. penguinfactory Says:

    Again, this is being written in college so I’m keeping it short and sweet.

    Don’t you see how the hypothetical nature of such evidence makes it unscientific and frankly, your willingness to use it eventhough it IS hypothetical supports my position that molecules-to-man evolution isn’t science?

    No. In all fields of science this level of evidence would be acceptable when examining something that happened a long time ago.

    Certainly if spriggina and trilobites were the only fossils we had, trying to posit that one evolved into the other would be pointless. But we have hundreds of transitional fossils from all stages of the development of life post-Cambrian, and so we can reasonably extrapolate that the same processes that we see occuring in more recent times also took place in the Cambrian. There’s nothing unscientific about this in the slightest.

    Frankly, constantly starting your assertions with “don’t you see” or “can’t you tell” is starting to get annoying. Phrasing your opinions this way isn’t going to make them any more valid, and it comes off as an attempt to avoid having to actually give reasons for what you’re saying. No, I can’t see why you’re calling this unscietific. Why don’t you do what you’re supposed to in a debate like this and explain yourself?

    You must be honest and realize the limitations of “could have been”.

    Have I ever given any indication that this is anything more than a hypothesis?

    You say that you have evidence of microscopic fossils, but because they are microscopic you really have no idea wether or not they are ancestors of the trilobite.

    Well, yes. But except in rare cases, no scientists would ever claim to know for certain that one species is ancestral to another, especially when we’re dealing with something that occured this far back in time, because anything else would be intellectually dishonest. Instead they’d say that one species might be ancestral, or that there’s a strong possability. This shouldn’t be taken as evidence that evolution itself is only a hypothesis, however- there’s enough evidence for us to be reasonably sure it happened, even if we can’t figure out the exact links.

    Perhaps the entire evolutionary timeline would have to be rethought and reworked, but no evolutionary biologist would throw evolution out just because pre-Cambrian fossils were found with chitin.

    But I didn’t say that finding pre-Cambrian fossils with chitin would disprove evolution, just that it would disprove the hypothesis that the Cambrian represents the first appearence of chitin in the fossil record.

    I thought this was true of all fossilizations.

    No, most fossils are created when the organism dies in an area suited to fossilization, like sediments (hence the marine bias of the fossil record) or peat bogs. Rapid burial isn’t the norm.

    A pre-Cambrian mammal wouldn’t destroy evolution, it would destroy the current evolutionary timeline, that’s it.

    Do you have any evidence to back up that statement?

  15. Eric Kemp Says:

    Troll

    “It amuses me too. I thought I’d drive up the virtual audience for ya.”

    Yea well, don’t do me any favors.

    “Am I the one retyping the names in every response?”

    Yea, I did that to show everyone that you’re the same person. And then, as it continued, it just got too long. And once I realized what you are, a Troll, that fit perfectly.

    “I see you are past the reasoning stage and just want to get right into the name calling and emotional appeals.”

    First, I call it how I see it; changing names every time you post doesn’t lend creedence to a desire to honestly discuss or be honest at all. Or to be held down to anything you say because it’s a “different person” everytime. Secondly, this is funny coming from the guy who started out on this blog writing one sentence insults and have only recently attempted to form arguments.

    “Attacking grammar always works. It will hide the fact that you have nothing new to say except for the tired god of the gaps stuff.”

    Perhaps you are so used to using word games yourself during arguments that the possibility of someone being honest with you doesn’t cross your mind. Due to your sentence structure, punctuation and grammar I honestly have a hard time following the point of your arguments sometimes (when the point is something other than to insult).

    Case in point:

    “Hey What about that “pure chance” thing you ran away from? or is “Supernatural” the new location of the goalpost?”

    I just don’t know what you mean here. The “pure chance” conversation happened 2 months ago on badidea’s blog (as you know) and as such it has nothing to do with my conversation with forknowledge and penguinfactory. I know that you object to my position of “atheists believe the universe came about by pure chance,” but I’m not sure why or what that means to you. If you could be more specific such as finishing this sentence, “You are wrong about atheists believing the universe was formed by pure chance therefore _________” then you would have a position and then we could actually discuss something.

    As for the “supernatural” stuff, it is not moving goalposts because it’s a completely different topic of conversation. And I’m also unclear of your point for bringing it up.

    “Shorter form of the above. “Pot. Kettle. Black. and a truly staggering lack of understanding of the scientific method.””

    Another case in point: you completely ignore the points I make to you and just say the sentence above. You claim it’s the pot calling the kettle black, but provide no support for your claim and you claim I don’t understand the scientific method without explanation. How am I supposed to respond to unsupported claims?

    “You obviously meant it as some kind of accusation not realizing thats what science does. Fills in the gaps of human knowledge. It has worked fabulously so far.”

    But this is not what you’re doing. You’re claiming to know something BEFORE science fills in the gap of knowledge. In the case of abiogenesis, you are claiming to know that natural processes caused something that all available evidence says is impossible. You are giving powers to some unknown natural process that, so far in our study of nature, is outside the abilities of nature. This is the definition of supernatural.

    “Sure if Science didn’t have a proven track record of figuring things out it might take faith.”

    This is not what we’re talking about.
    1. Science has no past experience of figuring out the beginning of life or the beginning of the universe
    2. Science is attempting to describe something that happened in the unobservable past. This is outside the bounds of testable science. The statement that science can figure out the beginning of life and the Singularity are philosophical statements of belief, unbacked by any natural evidence, because there can’t be any.

    So to hide behind that fact that science has figured out many extremely useful things about the testable world, to provide for your own belief in what happened in the unobservable, untestable past, is to be willfully ignorant of the difference.

    “I can use it as an example of how your argment falls apart when you hold up a scientific “law” that was once used to dispel ignorance and then try to use it to prop up your own ignorant belief.”

    I honestly don’t know what this means in regards to your fallicious “What created your God?” argument.

    “Of course you will claim an exception because you say life sits outside of the universe. Thats where the wheels come off your life-comes-from-life wagon.”

    Do I really need to go over the biological definition of “life” with the an “educated” evolutionist? God is not alive in the same biological sense that we mean when we say “life comes from life”. God is the creator of biological life and is therefore not defined by it. I’m not claiming an exception, you are equivocating the definition of “life” to suit your argument.

    But this is AGAIN another attempt to use an argument that must first assume that my position is more logical. Even your opinion that God needs a Creator STILL destroys your atheism.

    “Pot. Kettle. Black x2
    Claiming that other people believe in boogeymen is a thoughtful argument?”

    I claimed that you don’t put much substance or support in your arguments, something I’ve again showed this time around, and you say I’m claiming you believe in the boogeyman? I just don’t get where you’re going with that statment or what you mean.

    “In other words you will Declare Victory and move on. This does not suprise me. You ignore the points you want to, and when called on your BS about pure chance you pretend you didn’t hear me.”

    Again, perhaps you are used to lying during discussion so someone being honest to you doesn’t make any sense. I meant what I said, just how I said it. I have other, more useful and intelligent (they way this one is going right now), conversations going on, and if my calls for you to be more articulate and give more support and thought to your arguments falls on deaf ears, I’ll have no choice but start ignoring you on the basis of I just don’t have time to tell you the same things over and over again.

    “This is the part where Eric runs away from explanations and reasoned discussion, Again.”

    There has been nothing for me to have a reasoned discussion with. When it’s not an insult, your posts consist of unsupported conjecture and unintelligible sarcasm. As I’ve pointed out to you, I just honestly don’t know what you mean and what your point is sometimes, and when I do know what you mean, there is no argument for me to respond to, just a statement without support.

  16. Eric Kemp Says:

    PenguinFactory

    I’m sorry it took so long for me to get back to you. I was trying to do other things on here and school got in the way. Thanks for your patience.

    “No. In all fields of science this level of evidence would be acceptable when examining something that happened a long time ago.”

    It’s like we’re talking in circles. Since when have I ever said that you don’t have evidence for evolution? You say you have fossils that “could be” ancestors of the trilobite. That’s fine. My point is this, and I want to be very clear about this: evidence must be interpreted. And interpretation that requires pre-assumptions (more on this in a second). You have “could be” evidence of something that happened in the unobservable past. Don’t you see that saying “therefore X happened” is an unscientific conclusion? That it’s a statement of belief, a belief that requires faith?

    “But we have hundreds of transitional fossils from all stages of the development of life post-Cambrian, and so we can reasonably extrapolate that the same processes that we see occuring in more recent times also took place in the Cambrian.”

    This is circular reasoning. That’s what we’re discussing. ARE these fossils “transitional” as you say? If molecules-to-man evolution happened, then surely they are transitional. If evolution didn’t happen as you say, then those fossils are just fossils of different species. You are labeling this fossils as “transitional” to give evidence of evolution, which states that the fossils are transitional. It’s circular.

    “No, I can’t see why you’re calling this unscietific. Why don’t you do what you’re supposed to in a debate like this and explain yourself?”

    Will do. Part of this is in my latest post but I’ll apply it to our discussion.

    This distinction I’m about to point out is a simple one, but it is one that is completely ignored by academia in regards to evolutionary theory. There are two types of science, that which we can observe and that which we can’t. Procedural science is that which we can observe, test and “use” in the natural world. Historical science is that which we can’t observe since it happened in the past, but we attempt to piece together by using current natural phenomena and evidence.

    Interpretating the fossil evidence that we have as proof of molecules-to-man evolution requires two unprovable assumptions

    1. Naturalism: It must be assumed that the only facts to be found are found in nature, or negatively, that God had nothing to do with nature. Why? Because, if you do not do this, you would have to concede that “God put the animals there and made them similar to each other” is a possibility. A possibility you could never falsify. Now, I know what you’re going to say, “Science only deals with naturalistic evidence.” But remember, we’re talking about the unscientific, philosophical assumptions necessarily used in interpreting naturalistic evidence.

    2. Uniformitarianism: You MUST assume that the current rates of observed growth and decay have occurred in an infinite regress through the unobservable past to the mysterious beginning. You’ve said this yourself, that the same process (rates) that governs evolution today, did so 500 million years ago. But this is a position you can’t possibly have any evidence for. You must assume it. Let’s be honest, we’ve only been observing rates of growth and decay for less than 200 years in the case of evolution and less than 100 years in the case of radiometric dating. We have zero evidence that these have not changed in the years prior to studying them. In order to attempt to say they didn’t change, is to attempt to defend an absolute negative.

    So, as a Christian, and as a creationist in particular, I prefer to not assume either of those two things. I choose to trust the only Person who was actually there.

    “Have I ever given any indication that this is anything more than a hypothesis?”

    Oh come now. You treat molecules-to-man evolution as an absolute fact and you argue in defense of it from that position.

    “But except in rare cases, no scientists would ever claim to know for certain that one species is ancestral to another, especially when we’re dealing with something that occured this far back in time, because anything else would be intellectually dishonest.”

    Again, this isn’t how the theory is treated by academia. It’s treated as absolute fact and anyone who doesn’t realize this “fact” is not a scientist.

    I said: “A pre-Cambrian mammal wouldn’t destroy evolution, it would destroy the current evolutionary timeline, that’s it.”

    You said: “Do you have any evidence to back up that statement?”

    Of course not. A neither do you have any that this WOULD destroy evolution. But it’s a reasonable conclusion. I mean, evolutions happens all around us right? A mammal in the pre-Cambrian fossil record wouldn’t change that would it? Be honest now.

  17. freidenker85 Says:

    Not to shove myself into your debate with penguin factory (it’s fascinating) – I would just like to say that as regardless of my atheism or my “evolutionism”, I have no problem with saying “abiogenesis might have occurred due to God’s work”.
    There’s a catch though, since I can replace the word “God” here with pretty much anything else, because my real answer would be “I don’t know, and neither do you”.

    As far as evolution is concerned, creationist or not, simply ignoring the evidence for *any* reason is just irresponsible. You can be a creationist and still not deny the relationship between animals. Heck, you can even believe that God somehow made us to look like we’re related – but for pete’s sake, using the evolutionary paradigm is useful! Even for creationists. And denying yourself of a useful paradigm is just not smart. Me? I skip the middleman and just assume that what the scientific evidence says is good enough to generate convictions from. I admit that the scientific body of knowledge is incomplete, and I predict it will always be,

    but as far as getting to know the universe for what it is: it’s all we’ve got, and all we’ll ever have.

  18. Eric Kemp Says:

    freidenker

    “Not to shove myself into your debate with penguin factory (it’s fascinating)”

    Please do!

    “I would just like to say that as regardless of my atheism or my “evolutionism”, I have no problem with saying “abiogenesis might have occurred due to God’s work”.”

    I admire you for the self-reflectiveness that is so unpopular among the PZ Meyers crowd. However, my question would be to you, based on the argument that has preceded us, how do you know that abiogenesis took place?

    “There’s a catch though, since I can replace the word “God” here with pretty much anything else, because my real answer would be “I don’t know, and neither do you”.”

    The difference is that God is an explanation while “I don’t know” is not. It’s not a scientific explanation, but not all explanations have to be scientific do they? And if you do consider only scientific explanations to be viable, then that’s a bias/assumption on your part.

    “As far as evolution is concerned, creationist or not, simply ignoring the evidence for *any* reason is just irresponsible.”

    I assume you’re referring to the observed evidence of Natural Selection. What Creationist denies this evidence?

    “You can be a creationist and still not deny the relationship between animals. Heck, you can even believe that God somehow made us to look like we’re related – but for pete’s sake, using the evolutionary paradigm is useful! Even for creationists.”

    Since when do creationists deny the usefulness of Natural Selection, or the truth of it? Since when do creationists deny, or are against, observational / testable science? Creationists only take exception to the naturalistic philosophic conclusions that the science doesn’t support. And since when does abiogenesis have anything to do with observable / testable science or usefullness?

    “Me? I skip the middleman and just assume that what the scientific evidence says is good enough to generate convictions from.”

    If you mean your atheistic convictions, how can you say that science can show you that there isn’t a God? But more accurately and fairly, how can you say that science tells you that naturalism, materialism and empiricism are true (I argue here about how you can’t separate atheism from it’s presuppositions)? Please see my post about epistemology here for a further explanation of this point.

    “but as far as getting to know the universe for what it is: it’s all we’ve got, and all we’ll ever have.”

    For instance, here, you are assuming that all we can know about the universe is only what science tells us. This is empiricism. You are basically saying, “Only science can give us true knowledge about the universe”. Science can’t give you evidence that only science gives knowledge. That’s circular and, frankly, impossible. Since science can’t tell you, how can you know that this is true? What source of knowledge told you this?

  19. freidenker85 Says:

    Firstly, it’s PZ Myers. I just hate that typo, so sorry if I’m splitting hairs here!

    Secondly, I don’t “know” that abiogenesis occurred. As far as I’m concerned, abiogenesis just assumes that the earth wasn’t formed immediately with life upon it. This is actually written in the bible, too. God made heaven and earth, and only afterwards he made animals. Let’s call this “biblical abiogenesis” for the sake of argument.

    “The difference is that God is an explanation while “I don’t know” is not. It’s not a scientific explanation, but not all explanations have to be scientific do they? And if you do consider only scientific explanations to be viable, then that’s a bias/assumption on your part.”

    Firstly, yes, it is a bias/assumption on my part. Secondly, I was referring strictly to scientific explanations, but I omitted the word “scientific” because in my admitted bias, there’s no other kind of explanation. You are correct in alerting this. What I said about “me not knowing and neither do you” still applies within the realm of scientific explanations.


    I assume you’re referring to the observed evidence of Natural Selection. What Creationist denies this evidence?”

    Your assumption is incorrect. I mean the evidence that point to a common ancestry for all extant species. Evidence that can be falsified, but hasn’t. One mammal with wings would suffice. A mammal with wings, by the way, will not falsify creationism, because God could simply create this magical being. Creationists, I’m assuming you included, deny wholesale the evidence for macroevolution, and I think this is a mistake even for creationists. You’re undoing yourself by denying nature, and undoing God, on your own terms. If you truly believe in God, then you shouldn’t buy into what snake oil salesmen try to sell you in his name. If this is the universe he created, then understand it the way he did.

    “Since when do creationists deny the usefulness of Natural Selection, or the truth of it? Since when do creationists deny, or are against, observational / testable science? Creationists only take exception to the naturalistic philosophic conclusions that the science doesn’t support. And since when does abiogenesis have anything to do with observable / testable science or usefullness?”

    Ever heard of Michael Egnor? Since at least him.
    When are creationists denying observational or testable science? Since that creationist PhD who refused to use evolutionary theory and was rightfully fired for it, since he’d be utterly useless for many aspects in biology without implementing ToE, even if he doesn’t believe in it.
    That’s when.

    Abiogenesis was not what I was talking about in that block of text, only of evolution. Abiogenesis is not a complete theory, and there is no scientific consensus about the origin of life. This is reiterated in every biology textbook I’ve read (I AM a biology undergrad, ye kno’), and I’ve never implicated otherwise, nor any scientist.

    You ignored the fact that familial relationships among animals is a useful and (I will add now) predictive conclusion from evolutionary theory, or your reference to it was implicit.

    “If you mean your atheistic convictions, how can you say that science can show you that there isn’t a God? But more accurately and fairly, how can you say that science tells you that naturalism, materialism and empiricism are true (I argue here about how you can’t separate atheism from it’s presuppositions)? Please see my post about epistemology here for a further explanation of this point.”

    I can’t, I don’t, and as far as I’m aware, I never did. Scientific thinking is a method of finding out what does exist, not what doesn’t. Some people look at this and say “okay, but I believe anyway because the bible tells me so” and that’s fine by me. I don’t simply because I do plainly choose to hold as existing only what presents itself to clear scrutiny. This is a personal choice for me, and is as much a result of my personality as your theism might be yours.

    And yes, naturalism is a metaphysical assumption. I assume that this is the case merely because I can’t have it in any other way. I tell you not that I’m 100% correct about science being the only way to find out more about reality, I’m telling that it is the only way in which I, personally, am capable of attaining new knowledge about reality. The more I look into this, the more I realize that any outstanding claim overlaps with science (and often fails under its scope tremendously), and there’s no way around it because my ability to understand and perceive is not going to change whether I change my metaphysical assumptions or not. I do not “adopt naturalism”, I merely discover it.

  20. Eric Kemp Says:

    freidenker

    “Firstly, it’s PZ Myers. I just hate that typo, so sorry if I’m splitting hairs here!”

    No, you’re right, I should remember that one.

    “God made heaven and earth, and only afterwards he made animals. Let’s call this “biblical abiogenesis” for the sake of argument.”

    I’m sorry, I can’t accept that. The word “abiogenesis” is used to describe a naturalistic process where God is not needed. That’s the point of abiogenesis. “Biblical abiogenesis”, as far as I’m concerned, is a contradiction in terms.

    “Secondly, I don’t “know” that abiogenesis occurred.”

    The point that you seem to be dodging for some reason is that in order for you to be an atheist, you must believe that life formed itself. That idea is currently called “abiogenesis”. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have the details, you must believe it happened.

    But thank you for admitting you don’t “know” that it happened. If you don’t know, and there is no scientific evidence to support it as I’ve argued several times on this blog, why do you believe it?

    “Secondly, I was referring strictly to scientific explanations, but I omitted the word “scientific” because in my admitted bias, there’s no other kind of explanation.”

    Ok, fair enough. Now the question becomes, how do you know that this bias is correct? How do you know that the only real explanations are scientific explanations? What is your source of knowledge for this belief? Can science tell you that ONLY science gives explanations? Of course not, that’s ridiculous. So how do you know this to be true and how can you put this empirical bias over my bias that God is the only source of true explanations?

    “One mammal with wings would suffice. A mammal with wings, by the way, will not falsify creationism, because God could simply create this magical being.”

    A mammal with wings? You mean, a bat?

    “Creationists, I’m assuming you included, deny wholesale the evidence for macroevolution, and I think this is a mistake even for creationists.”

    Ok, here’s the problem. There is no directly observable, testable evidence for macroevolution. Give me some, and you’d win the Nobel Prize. Macroevolution is inferred on the basis of observed Natural Selection and evolutionary biases. Let’s do this, as an exercise in presuppositions. Go ahead and give me a piece of evidence for macroevolution that you consider compelling, and I’ll show you how your evolutionary/atheistic presuppositions make that evidence compelling for evolution and how my Christian/creationist presuppositions make that evidence compelling for creation. No really, I’m being serious.

    “You ignored the fact that familial relationships among animals is a useful and (I will add now) predictive conclusion from evolutionary theory, or your reference to it was implicit.”

    Familial relationships, ok, maybe, when you get back to me, you’ll use this one. You can go with this if it’s one of the compelling reasons you believe in macroevolution.

    “Scientific thinking is a method of finding out what does exist, not what doesn’t.”

    But science can’t even do that. Scientific evidence in support of a phenomena doesn’t prove that phenomena.

    “Some people look at this and say “okay, but I believe anyway because the bible tells me so” and that’s fine by me. I don’t simply because I do plainly choose to hold as existing only what presents itself to clear scrutiny.”

    Here is the crux of the issue. You are deluding yourself into thinking that your belief in evolution doesn’t carry with it presupposed ideas that make that belief possible. Let me be more specific. In order for atheistic macroevolution to be true you must presuppose that all phenomena are natural phenomena (there are no supernatural phenomena), this belief is called “naturalism” (you’ve already mentioned this and I’ll get to that in a second). You also must believe that only the material exists (there is no spiritual realm), this is called “materialism”. You also must believe that all currently observed rates of growth and decay have existed since the beginning of time, this is called “uniformitarianism”. These three go along with your aforementioned “empiricism” presupposition.

    Only with these four presuppositions firmly in hand, and firmly ignored, is macroevolution true under “clear scrutiny”. If the camera is panned out a bit, and underlying presuppositions are considered, which they should be for any thinker to be rational in their beliefs, macroevolution does not become so clear. I will wait to defend that statement if you challenge your belief in those four presuppositions, or that they are presuppositions at all.

    “And yes, naturalism is a metaphysical assumption. I assume that this is the case merely because I can’t have it in any other way.”

    Alright, let’s tackle this one first. You can’t have it any other way and still be an atheist. Yes, that’s true. But I can have it differently. I can open myself up to the possibility of phenomena being able to be explained by other than natural means. That’s fine with me. I can presuppose it, and still be rational too. You want to know why? Because science can’t tell me I’m right, and science can’t tell you that ONLY natural phenomena exist either. So how do I know there is a supernatural realm? Because I’ve had a personal experience with God. How do YOU know there is NOT one? You’ve just decided there isn’t. Nay, you prefer it.

    “I tell you not that I’m 100% correct about science being the only way to find out more about reality, I’m telling that it is the only way in which I, personally, am capable of attaining new knowledge about reality.”

    Right, you’ve personally decided, with no scientific evidence, that empiricism is the only way to true knowledge. I’ve personally decided that this isn’t so. So it isn’t about science, or evidence, or logic, but about personal decisions. Exactly.

    “I do not “adopt naturalism”, I merely discover it.”

    That ONLY nature exists is not discoverable by natural means. You have discovered this by means of personal, and since you are bio major, authoratative revelation.


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