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Lib Threads--FSM can be discussed here.
December 25, 2005
2:29 am
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Worried_Dad
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seekerw,

Evolution does not teach that the world has no meaning. Evolution does not teach anything. Evolution is a phenomenon that definitlry exists and happens all the time, and it is hypothesized that the phenomenon of evolution is the mechanism that explains both the variety of life and also the fact that all life seems to be genetically related.

I think Jesus gave some teachings that apply here. He taught that Man was not made for the Law. HE taught that it is not what we take into us that makes us unclean.

In the words, mankind is free to and has the responsiblity to create and enforce our own codes of ethics and behavior. We cannot blame our morality on anyone else but ourselves.

However the Universe got here and however humankind got here, we are faced with choices about how we want to live and how we want to teach our children to live. I would like to think that we would get more credit from God for doing the right thing based on common sense and appreciation for reality as it actually is, rather than doing the right thing because of our belief that big daddy in the sky is watching us and gets mad at us if we misbehave.

December 25, 2005
10:24 am
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hello hopin

I respectfully disagree.
It's been my experience that many many people have no clue to what 'theory' really means.I have heard ad nauseum the 'it's just a theory' statement and upon asking them what is a scientific theory,are pretty much clueless.....

And there are people out there who attempt to make creationism a science.
Particulary the ID and Young earth creationists.

Thee is no scientific support for the above premises

December 25, 2005
12:54 pm
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mamaleh,

I respectfully disagree with your assertion that there's no scientific evidence for creation. I've heard some of it, but have to research the subject before I can make a thoughtful reply on this.

WD,

I have to run right now, but will get back to you later. Merry Christmas!

December 25, 2005
6:21 pm
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Worried_Dad

At the risk of appearing to be a sychophant, I can only say that, with very minor exceptions, I wholeheartedly agree with almost all that you write.

Keep up the good work that can only result in chipping away at the humungous amount of primitive, childlike thinking of the human race.

I 'tips me lid' to your perseverence!!!

December 25, 2005
11:20 pm
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Well, Tez, the day I ever think of YOU as a sycophant is the day I need antipsychotics.

You are a very intellectually challenging person--you love a good row, you never go down easily, and I enjoy your sense of humor quite a bit. And you make me scratch my head and say "huh" a lot, which I enjoy quite a bit.

December 26, 2005
11:13 am
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mamaleh,

I had a chance to do some research. There is plenty of scientific evidence against the evolution of life into higher, more complex species and for creation. Here are some websites that tell more:

http://www.anointed-one.net/quotes.html

http://www.creationscience.com.....PartI.html

http://www.halos.com/

The first site gives many quotes from evolutionists describing some of the inadequacies of evolutionary theory, and how it's not supported by the fossil record.

Also, to clarify what's meant in this context by the word "evolution"; it's really "macroevolution", as described below (also from one of these sites):

{Macroevolution, as theorized, is a naturally occurring, beneficial change that produces increasing and inheritable complexity. Increased complexity would be shown if the offspring of one form of life had a different and improved set of vital organs.

Microevolution, on the other hand, does not involve increasing complexity. It involves changes only in size, shape, color, or minor genetic alterations caused by a few mutations. ...

Creationists and evolutionists agree that microevolution occurs. ... But notice how often evolutionists give evidence for microevolution to support macroevolution. It is macroevolution—which requires new abilities, increasing complexity, and new genetic information—that is at the center of the creation-evolution controversy.}

December 26, 2005
1:11 pm
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The problem with the first site is its intentional intellectual dishonesty. The webmaster has done a “mash-up,” extracting author’s words out of context to give the illusion that these authors are calling evolution into question. It is kind of like using Adobe PhotoShop to create a sham photo of Princess Diana and The Artist Formerly known as Prince in bed with Michael Jackson and George Bush. Very interesting photo, but it is still an intentional falsehood.

For example, this site provides quotes which purport to demonstrate that there is a lack of identifiable phylogenies between animals and "problems with the fossil record. It makes it seems as if scientists believe that the fossil record does not provide good documentation of intermediate forms between different types of animals, when in fact it does. But it does so by means of partial quotes out of context. For example they provide this partial quote by David Futuyma, which is presented in isolation by the webmaster. The partial quote, in its original context is in bold.

“Contrary to Creationist claims, the transitions among vertebrate species are almost all documented to a greater or lesser extent. Archeopteryx is an exquisite link between reptiles and birds; the therapsids provide an abundance of evidence for the transition from reptiles to mammals. Moreover, there are exquisite fossil links between the crossopterygian fishes and the amphibians (the icthyostegids). Of course, many other ancestor-descendent series also exist in the fossil record. I have mentioned (Chapter 4) the bactritid-ammonoid transition, the derivation of several mammalian orders from condylarthlike mammals, the evolution of horses, and of course the hominids."

Undeniably, the fossil record has provided disappointingly few gradual series. The origins of many groups are still not documented at all.
But in view of the rapid pace evolution can take, and the extreme incompleteness of fossil deposits, we are fortunate to have as many transitions as we do. The creationist argument that if evolution were true we should have an abundance of intermediate fossils is built by denying the richness of paleontological collections, by denying the transitional series that exist, and by distorting, or misunderstanding, the genetical theory of evolution.

If the creationists have such good arguments, why do they resort to tsuch unethical means of arguing?

The complete debunking of the website can be found at.

http://www.talkorigins.org/faq.....rt1-1.html

December 26, 2005
1:45 pm
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The first page listed by seekerw is an example of quote mining.

That is where are arguments by "authorities" are quoted exremely out of context so as to give the impression that the authority means the opposite of what he actually intended to say. And thr quote miners do it again and again.

As John Wilkns says:

"Once is a mistake, twice is carelessness, three times could be stupidity, but the sheer volume of these is a deliberately planned campaign of disinformation."

The following is the home page of the Quote Mine project.

http://www.talkorigins.org/faq.....oject.html

December 26, 2005
2:37 pm
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The problems created by qute mining and the way to approach those problems is described here:

"To sum up, when evolution deniers provide quotations many questions need to be asked including:

Is the quote itself accurate?

Do the preceding and following passages change the meaning of the quote?

Does the creationist use the key terms in the same way as the quoted person?

What is the quoted person's actual opinion on the point in question?

Who was the quoted person addressing?

Is the quote out-of-date?

Who is the quoted person?

Is the quoted person a relevant authority to the issue at hand?

What do other relevant authorities think?

Is the quote from a popular source or from the primary peer-reviewed literature?

Is the quoted person actually correct?"

http://www.talkorigins.org/faq.....quotes/#s1

December 26, 2005
2:59 pm
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In summary, the first page linked to by seekerw is basically a bunch of distorted quotes, misquote, and misattributes quotes. Carefully put together for the purpose of intentional misinformation.

In that way, it is a pack of lies.

Before I get to the second page, whuch is the home page of the Center for Scientific Creation, I want to point out that the definition of "macroevolution" as given by seekerw, (from the CSC)is incorrect. It has nothing to do with increasing complexity or the beneficial quality of changes.

Macroevolution is simply any evolutionary change at or above the level of species. It basically refers to the splitting of a species into two, which of course is a precondition to the origin of new orders, families, or genera.

In other words, the CSC site referred by seeker almost immediately begins to misuse and misrepresent the language of biology.

December 26, 2005
3:04 pm
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One of the first deceptions that the second websites perpetrates is the claim that since the fossil record does not contain intermediate forms between reptiles and birds, for example, that macroevolution from reptiles to birds is not supported.

But the fact is that the fossil record does contain those intermediates.

December 26, 2005
3:14 pm
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The CSC website offers this argument about hoiw mendialan genetics supposedly do not allow for evolution to occur.

“4. Bounded Variations
… For example, if evolution happened, organisms (such as bacteria) that quickly produce the most offspring should have the most variations and mutations….
Microbes falsify this prediction as well. Their numbers per species are astronomical, and they are dispersed throughout practically all the world’s environments. Nevertheless, the number of microbial species are relatively few.c …”

In fact, tens of thousands of species of bacteria and protists have been described!

What we see here is the author lying through his teeth and fabricating evidence to support his argument. When an author repeatedly tells lies, it is hard to take their scholarship seriously, and it is hard to see them as well-intended seekers of truth.

December 26, 2005
6:42 pm
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Worried_Dad
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Here is another one from the CSC site.

“6. Mutations
… Almost all observable mutations are harmful…No known mutation has ever produced a form of life having greater complexity and viability than its ancestors.”

In fact, the large majority of mutations are neutral and have no effect on an organism’s health or viability. Natural selection can then work on those neutral muations, which may, later on, become helpful.

As far as mutation producing complexity—there are simple mutations in insects that cause them to be born with extra wings, legs and eyes.

Now for the claim that mutations never increase viability…There are examples of mutations increasing the ability of an organism to reproduce.

For example, in bacteria antibiotic resistance genes can be the result of a mutation knocking out and deactivating the bacteria’s ability to absorb or metabolize a given antibiotic compound.

The most famous example for Humans is the mutation that causes sickle cell anemia. Although sickle cell is not so good for us living in temperate zones, in the geographic locations where the mutation arose and persisted, it does have a benefit. That is because sickle cell carriers are resistant to malaria.

Again, we see the author making a patently false statement in order to support his ideas.

Descriptions of other mutations that are beneficial to human beings can be found at this website http://www.gate.net/~rwms/EvoH.....tions.html

Descriptions of some mutations beneficial to other organisms can be found here: http://www.gate.net/~rwms/EvoM.....tions.html

December 26, 2005
7:03 pm
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Matteo
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Worried Dad,

I just peaked in here and saw this thread.

Thank you, WD; I admire not only the wealth of information you brought here but also your calm and respectful way of proving your points. Wow!

December 26, 2005
7:08 pm
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The third website offers arguments by Robert Gentry that purport to support the idea of a young earth.

The argument is based on the presence of tiny defects or halos in granite deposits formed by the radioactive decay of polonium in solid granite. Gentry argues that since polonium has a short half-life, that it must have been present in the granite when it was formed. If the granite took millions of years to cool, as is supposed by mainstream geologist, then the polonium could not have caused the halos because it would have decayed by the time the granite hardened.

The main problems with Gentry’s arguments are;

1) Many of the rocks he examines are not granite at all, but are actually pegamatite deposited by hydrothermal means after the granite had already formed.

2) There is no evidence that the halos he describes were caused by polonium in the first place.

3) Gentry argues that by miraculous means, the radioactive rate of decay (also called half-life) of some radioactive elements was different during “creation week,” while only the radioactive decay rate of polonium remained the same throughout history.

In other words, Gentry argues that IF a miracle occurred which magically changed the half lives of some radioactive elements, then we can use geological evidence to support the idea that another miracle occurred, namely the instantaneous formation of solid granite and sedimentary rocks.

4)All of the work on the site is the work of ONE man, Robert Gentry. His ideas are not accepted by mainstream geologists, even the religious ones.

For a more thorough debunking of Gentry’s website, see:

http://members.aol.com/ps418/ph.htm

and also see:

http://www.csun.edu/~vcgeo005/.....iracle.htm

December 26, 2005
7:17 pm
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Worried_Dad
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I personally believe that if the universe, earth and life here were created by an intelligent designer, then the evidence of our senses suggests that the means that the Creator used were:

1) Initiation of a Big Bang with subsequent inflation of the spacetime continuum, cooling which lead to formation of hydrogen and helium, condensation of stars and planets, supernovae mediated creration of heavy elements, and condensation and accretion of terrestrial planets.

2) Abiotic genesis of life, perhaps aided or expanded by the tranfer of biotic or other material between planets by meteoritic and cometary bombabrdment.

3) Mutation and natural selection.

I can't read God's mind, but if this place really is his handiwork, then he has left his fingerprints all over the place. It seems like it would be capricious or even mean of God to miraculously put into place so much evidence of natural mechanisms for the origins of the cosmos and life, if it werent true.

Of course, that is exactly what Pastafarianism teaches--that the Creator is intentionally screwing with our heads for mysterious, but hopefully loving purposes...

It's not easy being a man of faith.

December 26, 2005
7:31 pm
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Oh, I forgot, I did take 4 years of earth science and a quarter of planetology before I became a nurse, before I became a biologist, before I became an asshole.

December 26, 2005
11:16 pm
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WD,

Well, I certainly don't have the time to gather information like you have. Besides, life sciences is not my cup of tea. So I'll just bid you good day and I congratulate you on your research skills. And admit that I might have been a bit hasty in compiling my sources. I'll try not to make that mistake again.

By the way, you REALLY should have put a smiley face after this line: "... before I became an a**hole". Some people, myself not included, might take you seriously. :o)

December 26, 2005
11:22 pm
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Worried_Dad
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Hi seekerw,

Well, maybe not a****** but I certainly hve a way of latching onto controversy with and hanging on with my jaws even after the boddy has been dragged behind the car for miles and nothing is left but a skeleton....

Anyway, life sciences is not only my cup of tea but my profession and so the material is very familiar to me.

I mainly don't like it when people misrepresent my profession in order to mislead people who are not biologists--people like you. It's not fair.

December 27, 2005
5:30 pm
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Worried_Dad

On the 26-Dec-05 you said:

"What we see here is the author lying through his teeth and fabricating evidence to support his argument. When an author repeatedly tells lies, it is hard to take their scholarship seriously, and it is hard to see them as well-intended seekers of truth."

I think that you have hit the nail on the head here.

From my view point, so called Creation 'scientists' seem not to be seekers of the truth at all. Driven by powerful fear based emotions, they appear to me to be seeking to confirm their own religious beliefs at the price of self-deception, including any other cost.

I am charitable enough to give the authors of these fallacious documents of which you speak the benefit of the doubt in so far as their consciousness levels of their deceit is concerned. Perhaps they are just not people of science at all.

Surely if they were consciously deceiving others with their 'bad science', their so called 'Christian consciences' would rebel.

Or do they quieten their consciences by thinking that their 'end' justifies their 'means' rather than by using honest 'means' and letting their honesty justify the 'end' findings.???

What d'ya reckon?? Are Christian creation scientists 'whited sepulchres', hypochrites?

December 27, 2005
5:35 pm
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Tez,

I think it is a mixture. It is natural for people of faith to try to make sense of their beliefs from the perspective of science.

But most people don't know much biology, and also have a distorted idea of what science is. They are vulnerable to fallacious arguments.

But the CSC and the other main organzation (cant think of the name now--I think that they are just liars, that's all. The Quote Mining is so eggregrious and extensive, there is no way that it is an accident.

I don't know what their real motives are--and I don't care, I just want them to stop confusing people.

December 29, 2005
5:48 pm
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Worried_Dad

On the 27-Dec-05 you wrote:

"The Quote Mining is so eggregrious and extensive, there is no way that it is an accident."

Yes ... that is certainly the way it would appear.

I wonder if these people are uninformed and disinterested skim readers who just sieze on quotes, their erroneous interpretations of which suit what appears to be their childlike, fear based needs.

"I don't know what their real motives are--and I don't care, I just want them to stop confusing people."

I strongly support you on this point.

I only differ in that intentions and motivations, my own and that of others, always interest me. I guess that is both my formal uni training in Psych and my interest in Buddhism coming through.

Of course getting at the root of these intentions, in either myself or others, is totally another story, probably beyond the scope of science.

Long live Pastafarianism under the divine authenticity and guidance of the Holy Book of the Babble. 🙂

January 10, 2006
11:33 pm
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Here is a really nice website about macroevolution.

One cool bit of trivia there is about a single celled organsism, a paramecium, has a genome 3 times larger than the human genome.

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/

January 11, 2006
2:34 am
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WD.

I am well and truly out of my depth here. However, here goes nothing.

You wrote:

"One cool bit of trivia there is about a single celled organsism, a paramecium, has a genome 3 times larger than the human genome."

What are the implications of this? Does this mean that given enough time, a "paramecium" has the potential to evolve into a higher life form than human beings have presently attained or will ever attain?

Or does it imply that the potential for diversity through macroevolution is greater than that for humans?

I often wonder how far behind us are the great ages.

We humans seem to presume that because the great apes cannot effectively communicate with us through language and that they haven't developed tools and dwellings etc to human standards they are lesser beings without 'souls'- whatever this thing called a 'soul' is and if it exists at all beyond the realm of religious belief.

Is this generalisation, if true, arrogant - do you think?

March 12, 2006
3:47 pm
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Oh, how could I forget the Spaghetti Monster thread? Ramen.

Anyway, this is where the issue of "Quote Mining" and discussions of Evolution first came up. The following "quotes by evolutionists" was offered to indicate that even evolutionists "don't really" believe in evolution.

http://www.anointed-one.net/quotes.html

And for the debunking go to:

http://www.talkorigins.org/faq.....oject.html

It turns out the the quote miners are pretty darn dishonest--they take things so out of context and make such extreme creative edits that there is no way they could have "accidentally" taken the original author to mean what they are trying to make it sound like he means.

The Talk Origins site gives a detailed debunking of most of the "evolutionist" quotes floating around the web.

Or you could just use common sense. When you find a "quote" from a well known evolutionary theorist that seems to be saying the writer doesn't believe in evolution, then you ought to suspect something fishy is going on.

For example, if you find a quote by a cardinal, or perhaps the Pope, or even by Billy Graham that suggests that the author does not believe in Jesus, then you have reason to be suspicious.

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