Louis Pasteur on Life

Question from Truk:
Evolution directly contradicts Pasteur’s laws, that state life can only come from life, as well as the laws of thermodynamics. Why does evolution, a flawed theory with more holes in it than a sponge, still stand, when it contradicts proven science?

Answer by SmartLX:
If evolution contradicted proven science, it wouldn’t still stand. That’s the whole point of science: if it’s proven wrong, it changes. The biology departments of the universities of the world don’t have the resources to maintain a massive conspiracy to prop up a bogus theory, but they have the evidence to support a sound one.

Thermodynamics first: you haven’t specified which laws you think evolution contradicts, so I’ll assume you mean the Second Law of Thermodynamics. There are several creationist arguments based on this idea, and I’ve addressed two of them here, here and here. If I haven’t covered your specific objection, comment and tell me what it actually is.

Now for the less run-into-the-ground material. Louis Pasteur only produced one “law”, and even that is only tentatively attributed to him: the Law of Biogenesis, which states that life can only come from other life. Pasteur did make such an observation, whether or not he made it official. The competing hypothesis of the day was spontaneous generation, the idea that life springs from non-life everywhere, all the time. People used to think that a bag of grain would spontaneously generate maggots, for instance. Pasteur examined many apparent examples of this, and in every case discovered that life was somehow getting in from outside and propagating.

Pasteur did not demonstrate, nor could he have, that it’s impossible for life to emerge from non-life in any circumstances. He simply established that it does not happen in everyday life, and that the life all around us is far more connected than people once thought. If genetics had been further along at the time he could have known this for certain, because all known life is genetically related and therefore descended from a single organism, a common ancestor.

This fact has an important implication: all life on earth can be explained by a single ancient event of abiogenesis (literally genesis from non-life). This means it’s to be expected that the circumstances in which abiogenesis can occur are incredibly rare, and might not even exist in the present day. However, given a billion years, half a billion square kilometres of surface area and countless different chemical compounds on this planet, it’s not unreasonable to suppose that the elements of life came together in just the right way, at least once. Living tissue doesn’t contain any element which isn’t also found in non-living material; it is literally made of the things around it.

Abiogenesis isn’t part of the theory of evolution anyway, because that’s only concerned with what life has done since it came about. Even if a god had created the first living thing, evolution could have occurred from then on without the god’s help, producing all the diversity of life from that single organism. This isn’t important to you though, Truk, because you want to establish that at least some part of the process was impossible without divine help, necessitating the existence of the divine. Abiogenesis, while unlikely in any single moment and circumstance, is not so unlikely that it can’t have happened naturally at all, so a god isn’t needed there either. Better keep looking for a spot to force one in.

123 thoughts on “Louis Pasteur on Life”

  1. While your response is,on the whole perfectly reasoned,one statement stands out to me.

    “Abiogenesis, while unlikely in any single moment and circumstance, is not so unlikely that it can’t have happened naturally at all”

    On what basis do you make such a statement that Abiogenesis is “not so unlikely”,given that it has never been observed to occur at any time or under any circumstances.

    That smacks of a faith-based conclusion,rather than a dispassionate scientific statement.An event cannot be deemed factual,or in any way likely,until such time as it’s been observed,or at least credible evidence pointing to the possibility is found,it is just a belief.No different from the religious belief that God created life,worse in fact,since at least they’ve indicated a scenario to explain the origin of life,right or wrong though it may be.

  2. I see my statement as a fact-based conclusion, not a faith-based one. It’s a judgement on my part, and I could be wrong, but I am actually working from something concrete when I form my opinion.

    Here are the facts I used.
    – Abiogenesis only had to happen once in the entire history of the planet to produce all the life that has ever existed on it, and indeed life would be more difficult to explain if it had come from multiple source events.
    – All the chemical elements necessary for any known form of life have existed on or near Earth’s surface for a billion years before the origin of life, and inorganic forces such as wind, tides and tectonics were agitating them the whole time.
    – The exact configuration of life that emerged on Earth was one of potentially countless types of life that might have resulted instead, as summarised here. Possible alternative forms range from slightly differently shaped proteins and enzymes to entirely different base elements.

    Thus, the extremely low probability of elements forming the specific arrangements that resulted in life in any particular time and place must be weighed against the extremely long period of opportunity, the extremely large amount of available space and materials and the extremely broad range of possible outcomes that would have qualified as life. Exact figures are hard to come by, but with three big numbers in its favour and only one against I can’t conclude that it’s impossible for a single event of any type of abiogenesis ever to have occurred. This isn’t any kind of proof, but it does amount to an argument in favour of the occurrence of abiogenesis, somewhere, once.

    Regardless of all that, if you’re going to put abiogenesis and divine creation in the same category then divine creation is the one that comes off worse. This is for two reasons.

    1. Divine creation posits the existence of an entity far more complex, exotic and inexplicable than any existing life, for which there is no available substantial evidence. Abiogenesis works solely from known chemicals, and relies on their abundance.

    2. The “scenario” of divine creation consists solely of the claim that it happened. Its proponents will not volunteer anything more detailed than “God did it” (though they do reword that statement a lot), leaving even them in the dark as to how He did it. Abiogenesis hypotheses put forward multiple possible mechanisms to explain exactly how it could have happened, which actually gives us things we can potentially test.

  3. “All the chemical elements necessary for any known form of life have existed on or near Earth’s surface for a billion years before the origin of life, and inorganic forces such as wind, tides and tectonics were agitating them the whole time.”
    What is your source for these chemical elements? Did they just appear? What is their origin?

  4. Shortly after the Big Bang, the matter in the universe consisted entirely of hydrogen and helium. Once stars formed from this, they fused a lot of it together to make the heavier elements, and when the first stars died the new materials were spewed out into the universe. Much later, some of it condensed around other coalescing stars to make planets like Earth. You and I and everything else on this planet was once stardust. So there you go.

  5. But I think you have lost track of thermodynamics in your reaoning here which would state that the chemical elements necessary for life would not have had the energy to form into living organisms if they had existed eternally. And if they hadn’t existed eternally then where did they come from? Because it is also basic to science that whatever “begins” to exist (ie these chemicals for life) must have a cause (plus the theory of relativity has held up so far which also posits that time, matter, space, amd energy all had a definite begining). If I am wrong please show me : )

  6. Hi Dave.

    I didn’t say the chemical elements existed eternally. I said they formed in dying stars, and they were all based on hydrogen and helium which existed at least from the Big Bang onwards.

    If the Big Bang was indeed the event that caused this material to exist, then it was at that point imbued with a certain amount of energy, which has allowed the formation of life and other complexity through localised decreases in entropy driven by more universal increases. As for what caused the Big Bang, we simply don’t know, so it doesn’t make sense to posit the existence of something even more inexplicable in order to explain it.

    If on the other hand the basic materials have always existed, there are a couple of different ways in which they might still have had the energy to produce life 3 billion years ago.
    – Energy is never destroyed, it’s only dissipated toward the edges of the universe where it can’t be used anymore. If the universe has some kind of cycle where all matter and space is eventually dragged back to one point to cause another Big Bang, all of this “lost” energy will eventually be reclaimed and recycled, and has been before.
    – There might simply be infinite matter and energy as well as infinite time; an eternal multiverse with countless individual universes causing one another. We know there’s at least one universe, so is imagining more of them any sillier than asserting a magic man?

    Incidentally, it is not “basic to science” that whatever begins to exist has a cause. That’s only required (and claimed in those exact words) by the Kalam Cosmological Argument for the existence of God, which I addressed here. As far as science is concerned, we’ve never seen anything “begin to exist”; everything is made up of matter and energy which existed beforehand, and was merely rearranged. Except, of course, that some particles appear to pop into and out of existence all the time according to quantum mechanics, which is significant in that it doesn’t appear to have a cause. As far as we can tell, it’s spontaneous. These two major issues will have to be resolved before we can declare anything as sweeping as, “whatever begins to exist has a cause.”

  7. From what I’m reading here, it seems like both beliefs really start with a faith-based beginning. If you are a creationist, you have faith that the first element present was a creating God. If you are an evolutionist, you believe that all things started with a basis of matter. Since we can’t go back to observe, I think it stands that evolution is just as much a belief system as Christianity is. Am I way off-base in this thinking? I know you stem your abiogenesis as fact, but I think it really is a belief. A Christian states his faith as fact, not a belief. So leaving that portion out, how does an atheist (who believe in nothing) rationalize having a belief system in evolution?

  8. Hi Matt.

    Firstly, you really over-generalise the Christian position. Many of the more than two billion Christians in the world are far less assured. They prefer to simply believe, without declaring despite the lack of evidence that the things they believe are incontrovertible fact. That’s the approach of fundamentalists and apologists.

    Since “evolutionists” don’t know where the matter that composes life originated, or even whether it had an origin, they don’t simply pick one possible explanation and declare that to be the real one. Yes, we say based on a mountain of evidence that there was a Big Bang, but it’s not yet settled whether that was the origin or merely a continuation of the matter and energy that exists today.

    As for abiogenesis, I can state with a lot of confidence that it happened. It literally means “origin from non-life” (if you further examine the meaning of “genesis”); in the very early universe there was no life, and now there is life, so at some stage it originated from non-life. This is regardless of the method, whether it was natural or supernatural, uncaused or deliberately directed. Divine creation from dust is in principle one form of abiogenesis.

    Taking the fact that life began as read, that leaves us with multiple hypotheses regarding how it began – several different natural mechanisms proposed so far, and as many different god-related methods as there are major religions. The natural explanations are promising, and unlike the supernatural ones they can be tested and refined based on the results, so that’s where scientists concentrate their efforts.

    To declare beyond doubt that a god or other supernatural entity caused it, not only all existing natural hypotheses but all possible natural hypotheses would have to be ruled out, and this hasn’t happened. Likewise, to declare beyond doubt that a god didn’t do it, the influence of all possible gods would have to be ruled out, and this hasn’t happened either (though scientific facts directly contradict the specifics of some creation stories). So determining what really happened is currently a matter of comparing probabilities.

    Right now there’s no substantive evidence that any gods even exist, let alone exert any influence on organic matter, so even if the natural explanations weren’t looking as plausible as they do, the probability that a god was responsible wouldn’t appear very high. Not zero, but hardly the go-to option. The alternative, of course, is natural, undirected abiogenesis, one way or another.

    Atheists believe in lots of things for which evidence is scarce, subjective, or impossible, and lots of different things depending on the person. They variously believe that taxes should be lower or higher, that Humphrey Bogart gave a better performance in The African Queen or in Casablanca, and that OJ Simpson was guilty or innocent. The only uniting factor, by definition, is a lack of belief in any gods. That said, evolution does not require belief, because there is plentiful evidence that it occurred, regardless of the method of abiogenesis beforehand. So rather than believing in it, we accept that it happened and continues to happen.

  9. SmartLX, you have a pretty thin argument, specifically in your last comment where you claim that people with religion are ‘far less assured’….
    Seriously? Blow does one scientifically measure such differences?

    It is clearly evident that while some in this debate are willing to acknowledge an element of belief in their chosen belief construct, you are not… Even though your beliefs clearly require some belief.

    Your lack of ability to honestly and without bias assess the facts and circumstances leads to questions about your other judgement statements as well.

    Last I checked, neither side had diffinitively proven anything. Starting with that fact in mind is most helpful, because none of us can remember being around for the creation of earth.

    Thanks for the forum, it is a most important discussion.

    1. “Last I checked, neither side had diffinitively proven anything.”

      And never will. The concept of ‘proof’ is not recognised in any scientific field as it suggests that something can be known without any possibility that that knowledge can be altered to suit new evidence. The concept of ‘proof’ is acceptable to theology, however, as all of the arguments and evidence provided for a god thus far have been deductions from formal logic and not inductions from empirical evidence (and we might ask, why so many logical arguments for god?, mathematicians do fine with only single ‘proofs’ for any of their theorems; and unlike theological proofs, mathematical proofs actually work, they have effect in the real world). Put simply, we have yet to observe a single phenomena that does not have a physical cause. Sure there are gaps in knowledge, but this is something which science investigates; look at some of the exciting research in abiogenesis at Manchester University UK; ribonucleotides, the fundamental bases of all organic chemistry, created spontaneously from a chemical mix identified in identified in interstellar dust clouds and on meteorites; Powner et al, Nature, 2009 if you’re genuinely interested. Abiogenesis is a field only a few decades old. Imagine what another 50 years might demonstrate. So what honest rationale does one use to postulate a supernatural causation for the abiogenesis of proto-life but not for, say, a change in genetic material that causes a virus to jump from one species to another? Where are the generated testable hypotheses that have ever demonstrated anything other than reliable non-physical causation? We have to get honest about this: there have been none. The theologian doesn’t bother doing any research. They have no need to. They don’t start, as a scientist does, with a null hypothesis to be tested against a generated hypothesis, but with their sure conclusion (i.e., that a god exists and is responsible for creating) and so they carefully formulate a series of premises to support that conclusion. Regardless of whether the premises or conclusion comport with empirical evidence. If science did the same and sought no more than logical ‘proofs’ it wouldn’t be anywhere near as successful as it is as a method of understanding the universe. And we would be the poorer.

      Which brings me to my second point. I don’t think people really appreciate, at least in the USA, the massive level of support for common descent within science. The data available to us in support of common descent is far larger than available to any other scientific theory simply because it comes from such a diverse database. There are more research papers published that are directly based on, and/or supportive of biological evolution than in any other scientific theory. And it is increasing at a phenomenal rate. Look at these figures from the Science Citation Index/Web of Science: In 1991 there were 12,008 papers published worldwide which dealt with biological evolution (231 per week); in 2001 it was 25,509 (490 per week). In 2013 it was 52,152 (1003 per week). A nearly 5x increase in 22 years! In the same time period creationists and ID proponents combined managed to publish 64 papers (and hardly any of those involved actual biological research, most were discussion pieces centred around Bible passages, included in journals for some light relief – believe me, no-one takes them seriously). There is not a single state or national science association, nor any professional biology association, nor any properly accredited university biology department on this planet that does not support evolutionary theory.

      To equate evolutionary theory with creationism and consider that both rely equally on faith is ridiculous in the extreme. One field has, for those prepared to bother to find out a MASSIVE amount of supporting data and MASSIVE ongoing research programs throughout the world (and there is a steady flow of ex-creationists as a result of studying science, hardly any scientists go the other way; the ones that support creationism have pretty much always started out with that view, doesn’t that tell you something?). The other field has a handful of guys, the majority of who get published come from one country, making unsupported assertions in an attempt, not to further our scientific understanding, but to push their religious beliefs.

    2. Matt, if you wish to characterise my position as a belief then I can’t stop you, but it means that there are beliefs supported by evidence and beliefs that are not.

      If you’re using the “Were you there?” argument, as you appear to be doing, then you’re essentially claiming that there is no middle ground to speak of between total certainty and complete ignorance, which is ludicrous because we live our whole lives on that middle ground. There are things which tell us what happened where there were no eyes to see to a great probability, and society accepts this on the whole or else the police would have to be present at every crime to achieve any convictions.

      As for measuring how certain believers are, the most straightforward way is to ask them, as some major surveys have done. See here for news of one which indicated that when given the choice between “absolutely certain” and “somewhat certain” regarding the existence of God, 14% of Americans surveyed chose the latter. Not all Christians take even the central tenets of the faith as facts – and if you think those who are uncertain don’t qualify as “real” Christians, let me introduce you to the “no true Scotsman” fallacy.

  10. “It is clearly evident that while some in this debate are willing to acknowledge an element of belief in their chosen belief construct, you are not… Even though your beliefs clearly require some belief.”

    What cultists accept – that there is a god and all that other stuff – is a belief. Belief in that sense is defined as acceptance of that premise despite no known evidence that says that the premise is indeed factual. That definition is synonymous with faith.

    When you say an evolutionist believes that abiogenesis and evolution explain the start and development of life, that definition of belief is synonymous with acceptance. That acceptance is based on evidence from multiple independent fields of research, from paleontology to morphology to genetics to geology to anthropology.

    There are multiple definitions of the word “belief”, but you think since they are both the word “belief” that they mean the same thing for each argument. They do not.

    Religious faith is acceptance without evidence, scientific acceptance is with evidence. Two totally separate things….

  11. “As for what caused the Big Bang, we simply don’t know, so it doesn’t make sense to posit the existence of something even more inexplicable in order to explain it.”
    Unfortunately, that is what you are doing by assuming that it produced itself from nothing… Or that it always was. The universe cannot have existed forever, because we have a finite amount of energy, not infinite.
    Is it really so inexplicable to assume that something came from nothing? I think it more of a ludicrous claim to say that something finite has infinitely existed, or that it just popped out of nowhere…

    1. Robbie, even in the part you quote directly I’m not saying what you say I’m saying. A universe from essentially nothing is one option, but we’re not assuming it because there are many other possibilities, not just the one you would prefer. This piece is about the origin of life, but here’s one that’s more appropriate to your objection.

      In your second statement you’re favourably comparing something that “came from nothing” to something that “popped out of nowhere”, when the two are essentially equivalent. If you want to pursue whatever your actual thought is here, perhaps read this piece first.

  12. The statements that “everyone knows,” or “it is an accepted fact,” or “it has been proven,” or similar wording, shows that the party has not done his due diligence in research. The “elephant in the room” is the funding of research projects & scientists by monies that promote evolution. Try reading “IN THE BEGINNING, Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood” by Walt Brown, PhD (ISBN 1-878026-09-07). Another reference is “A CLOSER LOOK AT THE EVIDENCE” by Richard & Tina Kleiss (ISPN 0-9715911-1-3). Check the logic and do your own research! Who knows you too may become a believer!

    1. Klrk, I can’t immediately find where anyone here has used one of those phrases.

      As for the funding, I will repeat what I’ve said above: the scientific community, starved for grants as it perpetually is, does not have the resources to manage a global conspiracy to maintain a bad theory. In the case of evolution, it has instead ample evidence to support it legitimately, and enough confidence in the fact of its occurrence to proceed with research and experiments on the working assumption that it is true.

      1. “Pasteur did not demonstrate, nor could he have, that it’s impossible for life to emerge from non-life in any circumstances.”

        Nor can you demonstrate, based on any scientific evidence available, that it can happen even once when given any amount of time (billions of years or beyond).

        “because all known life is genetically related and therefore descended from a single organism, a common ancestor.”

        That is a conclusion based on your bias toward naturalism. All life is not descended from a common ancestor and no evidence has ever shown this to be the case. It is your interpretation of the evidence and not a fact.

        “all life on earth can be explained by a single ancient event of abiogenesis (literally genesis from non-life)”

        You assume this happened through natural processes without an intelligent creator. You believe it is a fact probably because if it weren’t true then we wouldn’t be here. Again, that is a conclusion based on your presuppositional belief in naturalism. Concluding something because of your already held belief does not prove your belief.

        “However, given a billion years, half a billion square kilometres of surface area and countless different chemical compounds on this planet, it’s not unreasonable to suppose that the elements of life came together in just the right way, at least once.”

        Your conclusion here assumes everything in your statement is true to begin with. It assumes certain conditions in an early earth and it assumes billions of years. It also assumes that your conclusion is reasonable and sound, which it isn’t. Concluding something from assumed beliefs doesn’t prove a point unless you can at least prove your assumptions are fact. You can go all the way back to the “assumed” big bang and tell all kinds of stories about how and what exploded and how things formed from there over billions of years, but it’s all just stories. You can’t prove any of it happened at all. You “assume” it happened. And all those layers upon layers of assumptions are your only evidence for what you believe.

        “Abiogenesis isn’t part of the theory of evolution anyway, because that’s only concerned with what life has done since it came about.”

        Yes, it is officially part of the general theory of evolution even though most evolutionists either ignore it or deny it. But the honest ones admit it. If you don’t know this then you are lacking in knowledge about the theory you believe. Put simply, if all life came from the first self-replicating organism then that self-replicating organism had to have previous stages of evolution to get where it is (if naturalism is correct). Otherwise, you have this massive gap between all evolution starting with the big bang, stars, etc. and the moment life originated. It either evolved or it poofed into existence. So, saying it is not part of evolution is extremely dishonest.

        “Even if a god had created the first living thing, evolution could have occurred from then on without the god’s help, producing all the diversity of life from that single organism.”

        Not true because all evidence we have demonstrates that you can’t go from microbes to man through this evolutionary process. You can only get variations within the same kinds of organisms. If you say that’s not true then please provide an example of the kinds of changes required to make your idea of evolution work. In fact, saying that you believe it happened given enough time is just that, a belief. Absolutely all scientific knowledge we have says it just can’t happen.

        “Abiogenesis, while unlikely in any single moment and circumstance, is not so unlikely that it can’t have happened naturally at all,”

        This is simply a statement of faith, pure and simple. Just because you say it doesn’t make it true. Is this the kind of science that is evidence for your belief? Please demonstrate scientifically and irrefutably how abiogenesis could have happened. Because if you can’t then you have to admit it is simply a belief and not science.

        1. Tommy, the burden is not on me to prove that it is possible because the creationist argument is the one making the claim that it’s impossible. To establish the necessity of a god to the process, they must eliminate every possible natural method, which is just about impossible right now because not all possible methods are known. I’m simply pointing out that there are avenues of investigation that have not yet been exhausted, and no known absolute barriers (hence all the appeals to probability).

          Evidence of common descent is plentiful, questioned by no one except for religious or personal reasons, and comprehensively listed on Wikipedia.

          Your quote of me addressing abiogenesis says nothing about facts or naturalism. Divine creation is hypothetically another form of abiogenesis, because life from dust is life from non-life. All I said was that all life CAN BE EXPLAINED by a single event, via common descent.

          We know certain things about the conditions of the early Earth without even referring to a great deal of evidence. It was about the same size it is now, because there is no mechanism adding significant amounts of matter to it, or draining it away. For the same reason, it contained similar amounts of most of the chemicals that are now found on it. From that alone we can conclude that all of the ingredients for life were present. That’s a start, eh?

          I’m pretty sure that lumping in with evolution not only abiogenesis but the big bang and everything in between (also “molecules to man”, “particles to people”, “goo to you”) is the brainchild of high-profile creationist Kent Hovind. If you want to call it all evolution, then you’re basically slapping the label on every natural process which design arguments claim God was necessary for. It’s semantics in the end, because the arguments for both sides touch on each stage anyway. The distinction between evolution within and evolution between “kinds” is meaningless until “kinds” are properly defined, and baraminology has not achieved this yet. The only supposed barrier to large-scale evolutionary changes is that creationist axiom.

          Coming back to abiogenesis, there’s no scientific theory of it because no potential method has been confirmed by hard evidence. What we have are hypotheses, which are part of the very definition of science because the mechanisms can be tested by experiment. Investigating natural origins is the only way to approach the origin of life scientifically, because what evidence could exclusively indicate divine creation? What qualities of living beings could possibly disprove it? Is it, in a word, falsifiable?

          1. As is typical of atheists and evolutionists, your response didn’t actually refute anything I said and just continued to demonstrate your belief system above all things, which you are obviously unwilling to admit.

            “Tommy, the burden is not on me to prove that it is possible because the creationist argument is the one making the claim that it’s impossible.”

            Incorrect and highly unscientific. The burden iof proof is always on you because you are making the claim it is possible AGAINST all known scientific evidence that says it isn’t possible. You must therefore demonstrate it IS possible through scientific evidence, which would, of course, then contradict what we already know to be scientific fact.

            “To establish the necessity of a god to the process, they must eliminate every possible natural method, which is just about impossible right now because not all possible methods are known.”

            This illustrates that you have a belief it is possible and not evidence. This is why you cannot say evolution is fact and must admit it is a belief. To not be able to admit you have a belief is as dishonest as it gets. You say no known process has yet to be found that can do it, yet you still believe it happened. That is a belief. Please admit it is a belief or this conversation goes no further. You have lost.

            “Evidence of common descent is plentiful, questioned by no one except for religious or personal reasons, and comprehensively listed on Wikipedia.”

            Evidence of common design is plentiful, not common descent.

            “Divine creation is hypothetically another form of abiogenesis, because life from dust is life from non-life.”

            True, as I said so, but you believe it happened naturally and I believe it happened supernaturally through intelligent design. Both are faith positions, which you refuse to admit again, but mine is a reasonable faith position based on evidence and scientific fact, while yours is an illogical, unreasonable, and unscientific position. Quite a difference there.

            “All I said was that all life CAN BE EXPLAINED by a single event, via common descent.”

            Which is an absurd statement of the highest order. That is the most ridiculous, foolish, illogical, irrational, statement. Pure fantasy. I really feel sorry for you living in such a fantasy world that denies reality.

            “We know certain things about the conditions of the early Earth without even referring to a great deal of evidence.”

            Wow! Do you even hear yourself talking? You know things from a time you can’t prove existed and no one was there and you can know these things even without a great deal of evidence? Do you even know what the scientific method is?

            “It was about the same size it is now, because there is no mechanism adding significant amounts of matter to it, or draining it away.”

            Really? You were there? You can prove this somehow? This is your science again?

            “For the same reason, it contained similar amounts of most of the chemicals that are now found on it.”

            Just listen to yourself and think about it. Seriously.

            “From that alone we can conclude that all of the ingredients for life were present. That’s a start, eh?”

            No, because what you just stated was just a story about a fictional time and simply made up with what you believe must have been there in order that you may have at least a starting point for your fairy tale. No science was involved in any of those statements.

            “I’m pretty sure that lumping in with evolution not only abiogenesis but the big bang and everything in between (also “molecules to man”, “particles to people”, “goo to you”) is the brainchild of high-profile creationist Kent Hovind.”

            Actually, no,. It was the brainchild of Kerkut, an evolutionists I might add. Here were his credentials:

            Gerald Allan Kerkut (or G. A. Kerkut) (19 August 1927 – 6 March 2004) was a noted British zoologist and physiologist. He attended the University of Cambridge from 1945 to 1952 and earned a doctorate in zoology. He went on to establish the Department of Physiology and Biochemistry at University of Southampton where he remained throughout his career. He became Professor of Physiology and Biochemistry in 1966 and went on to become the Dean of Science, Chairman of the School of Biochemical and Physiological Sciences and Head of the Department of Neurophysiology.

            To not know that the origin of life is part of evolution just simply shows how lacking you are not only in the truth of creation, but the truth of the theory you believe in. You shouldn’t be spouting off lies on your blog when you aren’t even informed of the theory you support.

            “If you want to call it all evolution,”

            Leading evolutionists do so, and I agree with them.

            “The distinction between evolution within and evolution between “kinds” is meaningless until “kinds” are properly defined, and baraminology has not achieved this yet. The only supposed barrier to large-scale evolutionary changes is that creationist axiom.”

            Not really. Even kids can look at a picture that shows a wolf, a dog, and a fish and know that one isn’t like the others. Knowing the exact kinds in all cases will come eventually with more research,. That’s actually what science CAN do. To not allow us to continue research and learn these things goes against everything you believe in. After all, you think it’ll eventually find that magic bullet that sprung forth life from non-life and don’t have a problem believing until that moment comes. I’m only talking about something far simpler and within the realm of reality.

            “Coming back to abiogenesis, there’s no scientific theory of it because no potential method has been confirmed by hard evidence.”

            Exactly. Again, that’s where you must admit it is a belief. When will you get honest with yourself and admit this?

            “What we have are hypotheses, which are part of the very definition of science because the mechanisms can be tested by experiment.”

            For it to be a “scientific” hypothesis, it has to be testable as you say. And there really is no way to test such an hypothesis since you can’t recreate any of the conditions required, since all of it requires things assumed to have happened, from the big bang onward. You would have to start by proving the big bang happened, then that stars and galaxies formed from that, etc. etc. It’s a long list of hypotheses before you can even get to origin of life and right now it is all assumed. Tell me how the big bang happened exactly without any doubt and then you can have a starting point.

            “Investigating natural origins is the only way to approach the origin of life scientifically, because what evidence could exclusively indicate divine creation?”

            In a way you’ve just admitted that origin of life is unscientific.And you are correct. Origin of life is outside the realm of science. To try to shoehorn it into science is ridiculous.

            “What qualities of living beings could possibly disprove it?”
            Every quality of a human being disproves it. A single self-replicating cell disproves it with all its machinery and software, coding systems, variability, self-repair, etc. Symbiotic relationships between organs, consciousness, self-awareness, sex, each individual organ in all its amazing capabilities. It all refutes your belief very easily. You just willfully ignore it.

            ” Is it, in a word, falsifiable?”

            Yes and has been falsified many times over very easily. Again, you just refuse to accept it. So, the big question is, then, why do you hate God?

            1. This is getting too lengthy and people visiting this article aren’t likely to read the entire exchange in that state, so I will be as succinct as I can.

              – There is no known evidence that abiogenesis is impossible, only reasons to think it does not occur often. This is fine as it only had to happen once.

              – My opinion that abiogenesis is possible is based on the presence of all required materials and the lack of known absolute barriers. Even if life was actually created by a god, abiogenesis might still be possible as well, so it is not necessary to disbelieve in a god to accept the possibility. Until it is confirmed you may call that a belief if you wish, but it is not a belief that flies in the face of evidence (see above). You may also think I have lost, if you like, and of course you thought that before we began, but what does it matter if you have convinced no one?

              – Not all of the evidence for common descent also supports common design, for instance the evidence from geographical distribution and the evidence from observed natural selection and speciation. It is not limited to comparative physiology and anatomy.

              – If there was one abiogenesis event, natural selection is capable of developing the life form that emerged into all the life that exists today. Therefore a single event can explain all life. This idea, I can confidently say, is not entirely absurd even if natural abiogenesis never occurred. I have no need for your pity.

              – For some context on my inferences about the early Earth, look up the word “extrapolate” in the dictionary. Scientists do rather a lot of it, and justify it with present-day evidence. If you are working from Ken Ham’s distinction between “observational science” and “historical science”, be aware that it is a distinction made only by creationists for the purpose of protecting the Bible from contradictory evidence. Seriously, that’s all it’s for.

              – Thank you for referring me to Kerkut’s definition of evolution, which the Creation Wiki corroborates. However he only lumped in abiogenesis “from an inorganic form”, not absolutely everything that came before. His definition did not catch on among evolutionary biologists, and again it’s all semantics because we’re going to argue about abiogenesis whether or not it’s part of evolution.

              – I’m not stopping the work of baraminologists, I’m simply of the opinion that they will not come up with a meaningful and consistent identification of “kind” that groups together large enough families of animals to allow FEW enough first-generation animals to fit on the Ark while leaving humans in a “kind” of their own. And again, the idea that a common ancestor between perceived “kinds” does not exist is a complete assertion.

              – You continue to group the Big Bang together with abiogenesis, such that everything God is supposed to have done must be completely explained with natural means before we can start on the evolution of existing life. If we worked only on things where every single aspect but one has a complete explanation, no science would ever have been done. Furthermore, the implication that the lack of an explanation means it’s impossible approaches an argument from ignorance.

              – You misunderstand my final questions, because they refer to the divine creation of life, not evolution. Is divine creation falsifiable? Is there anything we could hypothetically discover about the nature of living things which would mean they were NOT created? If not, what evidence can there be that they were?

              – At the very end you reveal what you think I really believe, by asking whether I hate God. You may think there’s no such a thing as a true atheist, but I can only assure you I don’t think there’s anything resembling a god that could be an object of hate. Your assumption that everyone is a believer in denial would be very effective in your apologetic if it were true, but how’s it working out for you so far? Converting left and right, are we?

              1. You refuse to admit you are coming from a belief/faith based position so we are done. I am fairly certain you can admit this to yourself, but refuse to do so publicly because of the implications. If you want to continue with an honest debate then admit your belief position instead of saying that “I may call it that.” No, I want “you” to call it that, because that is exactly what it is.

                1. Sorry, but this attempt to drag all things that aren’t absolutely certain down to the same worthless level is misleading and I won’t play along. There can be more evidence for one thing we have not yet confirmed than for another thing we have not yet confirmed. If there is evidence to back up a position, I do not see it as a belief and I especially don’t see it as a faith position, but rather a reasonable level of confidence. This is just another pit of semantics anyway; if you count all positions based on some level of evidence short of proof as faith positions, then mine is a faith position but it’s got more evidence than your faith position and we return to the same arguments.

                  That reminds me, you stopped referring to the actual evidence for your position after you merely asserted that it exists. What is it?

  13. SmartLX, I applaud your attempt to answer this question, but your answer ultimately contradicts itself and ironically serves to strengthen the scientific argument behind Pasteur’s observation that “living things come only from living things.”
    First, the statement that you made “That’s the whole point of science: if it’s proven wrong, it changes” I agree with this statement, but another way of saying it is “if a scientific observation isn’t proven wrong, it stands.” That is why the idea of biogenesis still stands scientifically. It hasn’t once been proven wrong. That is also why the idea of abiogenesis has never stood scientifically. It has never once been proven right. And that is “the whole point of science: if it’s proven wrong, it changes,” or “if it’s proven right, it stands.”
    Truk, you asked a legitimate scientific question. Let’s not pretend that this is a legitimate scientific answer.

    1. Congratulations, Jimmy, you’ve presented a logical fallacy which ISN’T an argument from ignorance for a change. It’s an affirmative conclusion from a negative premise, which is a form of deductive fallacy.

      To wit, because that which is proven wrong in science changes does not mean that everything which isn’t proven wrong never changes under any circumstances. If we take your reversal of my statement at face value and to its logical conclusion, then life is as eternal as God is supposed to be. We observe life begetting other life, but we see it doing this in an environment that did not always exist and therefore we cannot extrapolate infinitely. We must allow for the possibility (in this case, the near-certainty) that circumstances were once different.

      At some time following the formation of the Earth, life came to exist where there wasn’t any previously. This is literally a-bio-genesis, origin from non-life. We agree on this point, except that you think a god was responsible. It therefore becomes a discussion of whether divine or natural causes are more likely, taking into account the question of the very existence of the divine. I’ve had that discussion a few times on the site, including within this question.

  14. For over fifteen hundred years people believed the Ptolemaic or geocentric model of the universe, that the planets and other celestial bodies revolved around the earth. As you know, all of that changed when Copernicus proved that model was wrong with empirical evidence that the Sun was at the center of these celestial bodies. This is an example of “if science is proven wrong, it changes.” Louis Pasteur’s assertion that “living things only come from living things” has not been proven wrong with empirical evidence to date. In other words, we haven’t had a modern-day Copernicus show up and shatter his observation. Biogenesis and abiogenesis cannot both be right. One has to be wrong. My money is on Louis Pasteur, until science proves otherwise.

    1. Of course biogenesis and abiogenesis can both occur. Life comes from non-life just once, then propagates itself afterwards. Again, this is exactly what you think God caused to happen, so there’s no argument here – except that you disagree with generalising Pasteur’s observation in the same way that I disagree with it.

      We now accept the Copernican model of the solar system, with planets going around the Sun, but we know this wasn’t always the case because there weren’t always planets or a sun. Once-scattered matter had to be drawn together in an accretion disc before the Sun could ignite and planets could form, and the current system could take shape. Likewise, we observe life producing more life in the present day, but we recognise that life can’t always have existed (e.g. before there was any carbon or oxygen in the universe) so we search for indications of how it first formed from organic materials.

      One more way of looking at this: Pasteur observed that life only comes from other life, so does that necessarily mean God didn’t create man from dust?

      1. “Life comes from non-life just once, then propagates itself afterwards.” I’m sorry but you cannot say that is an example of abiogenesis leading to biogenesis. Biogenesis, according to Pasteur cannot begin with non-life. That sentence is only an example of abiogenesis, non-life to life. The only way to prove that abiogenesis is possible is to observe it in nature, which seems very unlikely to me because we can’t even accomplish it on purpose! I’m sorry man, we’re just going to have to agree to disagree. I appreciate this forum and the honesty

  15. Jimmy, biogenesis as opposed to abiogenesis is literally the origin of life from other life, or in other words, life propagating itself. However life came about, it’s been performing biogenesis ever since.

    The only way to truly prove the feasibility of natural abiogenesis would indeed be if it happened again, in controlled conditions or preferably naturally. However, to argue contrariwise that it’s IMpossible unless it’s observed is one of those arguments from ignorance I mentioned. I come back to a point I made in the main article: Pasteur had no way to establish that abiogenesis is impossible, he just found that a lot of suspected instances of it actually weren’t.

    It’s worth reiterating another of my points as well. All known life can be traced back to a single abiogenesis event in all of Earth’s history. We expect the circumstances that enable it to be extremely unlikely in order to make sense at all, and perhaps they haven’t existed in nature for billions of years. No one is expecting abiogenesis to be easy to recreate.

    1. It seems to me that there’s been somewhat of a misunderstanding here.

      Contrary to popular belief, abiogenesis (also known as biopoiesis) is not defined as the spontaneous creation of life from inorganic chemistry (that’s spontaneous generation, a form of creationism). Abiogenesis is the hypothesis that very slowly, over an incredibly long amount of time, specific chemical components existing in specific chemical environments came to be assembled in such a way that they were able to replicate. That this happens has been observed time and time again and the knowledge is now used in industry. As these replications and additional chemical assemblies repeatedly occurred there emerged a process that we now know as biology. The boundary between chemistry and biology remains fuzzy, and so the boundary between non-life and life remains inherently fuzzy. For example, is a viroid alive? It’s certainly chemical, contains biological components and has biological effect, but is it actually alive in the same sense that a bacteria is alive? No, certainly not. Contrary to what some (not all) theists believe, a clear distinction between life and non-life is not really possible at the least complex scales. Non-living chemical compounds seem to morph gradually into life-like chemical compounds which we then label as biological. These chemo-biological reactions then appear to have cascaded (via biogenesis) into the diversity of life we observe today, via a multitude of lineages and countless extinctions.

      A second confusion revolves around the fact that Pasteur’s experiment was not testing for abiogenesis/biopoiesis. He was explicitly testing whether ‘spontaneous generation’ was a viable hypothesis (which theists at the time universally claimed was viable). Pasteur actually demonstrated that life could not spontaneously emerge from either inorganic matter or inactive organic matter.

      Thus, despite what some theists erroneously believe, Pasteur’s work offered no support at all for theistic views of the origin of life and so opened the door to current scientific hypotheses postulating that life could only develop slowly and gradually. As I mentioned in a previous post, the field of abiogenesis research is comparatively new but there’s some interesting work going on in this field. However, because it’s difficult to put an applied spin on this sort of experimentation it doesn’t exactly attract much funding. Nevertheless, Pasteur eliminated one of the possibilities; as we eliminate other possibilities whatever’s left, however improbable, is probably be the truth. Given the track record of science in uncovering nothing whatsoever of supernatural causation (and not even the vaguest hint of anything otherwise, despite our exponential increase in knowledge), I’ll be placing my bets on life resulting from a purely physical mechanism.

      1. Thanks very much Gary, but on the grand scale it still amounts to life from non-life. Indeed, from what you’ve said a grand scale is required to make that distinction, for example contrasting loose carbon with complete eukaryotes and skipping the aeons of grey area in between. The speed with which it occurs is moot when the necessity of divine intervention is the question.

        1. I think the subject is more nuanced than is being allowed for. I don’t want to get too technical here as I feel it’s more important to understand the conceptual problems with some of the theistic claims. If we look at any attribute that we use to differentiate life from non-life it’s never an all or nothing affair, it’s more akin to some form of process. Does a living entity always have to be capable of replication? Definitely no. Same with self-repair. The mere presence of RNA and DNA does not necessarily infer life. Is an organism that is only able to act instinctively and so unaware truly alive? Perhaps temporarily (albeit for aeons) suspending the second law of thermodynamics is the only criterion we can employ but even then some non-living systems do that perfectly well.

          This point is important because when theists make grandiose and wholly unwarranted claims that life can’t just (naturally) emerge from non-life it is surely incumbent on them to identify the mechanism by which life has emerged and not just sit back in their comfy armchairs pontificating in the negative. At the very least, they need to identify some definitive chemical and biological criteria by which they differentiate non-life from life. If they’re not able to do that how can they even begin to make claims as to how life emerged (or didn’t) from non-life? So, given our current knowledge is ‘quarter-life’ able to emerge naturally but ‘half-life’ requires both a natural and supernatural input and ‘full-life’ cannot emerge without wholly supernatural intervention? Or is supernatural intervention needed to get as little as 1/1000th a degree of life? Or is it the case that it’s all just physical emergence but the physical components themselves had some supernatural origin? Like I say, the whole question is far more nuanced than ludicrously simplistic claims resulting from Pasteur’s basic level experiment.

          Given our current state of knowledge it’s most likely that the right chemistry in the right conditions has produced self replicating molecules (we know for sure this happens) leading to ‘life-like organisms’ and hence to full-blown living organisms (however we care to define them). Like other physical systems it’s probably an inevitable emergent phenomenon given the availability of certain physical conditions. It’s likely that, in common with all other physical mechanisms we know of, this physical mechanism needs no influence (or energy or mind or inspiration etc) originating outside our physical system. Of course, this doesn’t disprove the existence of a god-like entity originating outside our physical system (or even some pantheistic set-up), but providing evidence for proximal causation is the goal for each individual field of science. The existence or not of a god-like entity outside our physical system isn’t a task for science, it’s a task for theists; for they’re the ones making the material claim.

          While a god-like entity originating outside our physical system would certainly be a (perhaps logically) sufficient condition, it would not be a (logically or empirically) necessary condition for the emergence of life from non-life once a physical system is established. Like I say, on every other occasion that a causative mechanism has been identified it has – without exception – been a physical causation. Of course, some people might reasonably ask where the physical components come from in the first place, but that’s an entirely different type of question than how a physical system has resulted in life forms. There’s certainly nothing logically incoherent about a godless physical system inherently incapable of ever supporting life, or for that matter a god-like entity that has never created life – as to whether either is an empirical possibility, well the life forms within this universe might have to accept that we’ll never be able to know. Or perhaps we will. Meantime speculation is fun but it hasn’t actually produced any goods.

  16. Guys, I am truly impressed with all of the comments on this topic. They have been respectful, thought-provoking, and insightful. I have learned a lot from the back and forth dialogue. This sight has given me an understanding of a worldview that is vastly different from my own, and I appreciate the earnestness and fairness you guys have displayed. I look forward to many more conversations to come.

  17. Gary, is there a scientific term for this “quarter-life” or “half-life” that you wrote about in your last comment?

    1. Hi Jimmy,

      No, not really. The point I was trying to make was that creationists erroneously think that there is an objective distinct boundary between non-life and life. Because the evidence shows that there is no such distinct boundary a creationist is obliged to select some arrangement of atoms where a deliberate supernatural event must has occurred to ‘breathe life’ into inorganic matter. But if they do that, how do they then explain the life-like properties of some other (simpler) arrangement of atoms that doesn’t quite meet their definition of life? Is the cause a little bit supernatural? I just used the terms ‘quarter-life’ and ‘half-life’ to illustrate that concept.

      Of course for operational purposes (such as research) we often need to choose some defining point where we consider life to start but that’s only ever arbitrary, in much the same way that we delineate species for example. We know that all forms of life are biochemically related; there’s no inherently obvious biological distinction between species, we have simply agreed on some operational criteria for what separates one species from another. The same can be said of death; it’s not instantaneous, different aspects of biological functioning shut down at different times. Biologically, it would be perfectly plausible to describe someone as ‘quarter-dead’ or ‘half-dead’.

      I hope this makes sense!

    1. Indeed Nolan, if you research the question on the website of the Institute for Creation Research – an organisation whose employees must sign a statement of faith that precludes any conclusion other than Biblical creation – then natural abiogenesis is going to look pretty unlikely, no matter what the truth is.

      Indeed it is unlikely, in the sense that it’s not likely to happen at any one given place and time, but a whole planet over its first billion years afforded a lot of possible places and times for just one of an enormous number of possible combinations that could have done the same job to assemble spontaneously (and gradually), discover a way to propagate, and start the journey of life. Mastropaolo, the author of your article, assumes only one possible combination in his calculations, and that is far from his only mistake.

      In short, there are big numbers on both sides of the equation, and they balance out to some extent. That Mastropaolo does not recognise this is one reason his work generally only reassures believers, rather than convincing many “evolutionists”.

  18. I think the real problem to be noted here is that of irreducibly complex systems. Regardless of whether life could have existed or not, the life that we have couldn’t have without being built. Some of the processes such as blood clotting just don’t work if a step is left out. So regardless of whether life could have formed, and there is no reason to state that it could, we wouldn’t be here. I’m of course ignoring for now, that the chemicals that were created from the fairy tale known as the “Big Bang” couldn’t have been created by it. Because as I already stated previously, we would have reached maximum entropy since no known singularity had an infinite density, therefore time is still moving and entropy is increasing. Basically we’d have only heat, and that wouldn’t be all that useful for life, since there would be no way for a universe like that to support life, much less have anything of a similar nature to the big bang… and given we’re talking about an infinite timescale, you can’t say it happened before that, because it’s infinite, and infinity – 10000000000000000 is still infinity. How is this even an argument… and it doesn’t take many funds to keep up a hoax, it’s easy. You don’t need any funds to silence it, people listen to lies anyway. If you need any proof, then look at this comment… If you don’t believe it then there is your proof… please try to prove me wrong… Because If you really tried, I’m sure that you could see the facts in front of you… Which wouldn’t be hard since I laid them out in front of you.

    1. Physitheist, there are already links in the main article to where I’ve addressed the arguments from thermodynamics, and then there’s the answer to the question you asked for yourself. To repeat your own arguments in places where the rebuttals are not printed, without first addressing the rebuttals where they are, is a form of sophistry.

      As for irreducible complexity, it would be a big problem for evolution if it existed but every example presented so far has proved reducible, including the blood clotting cascade. Here is a comprehensive piece on its evolution by Ken Miller, a scientist and devout Christian. It took ten seconds to find on Google, which suggests to me that you are now simply parroting well-known creationist arguments without checking their validity at all.

      1. Two further points to SmartLX’s reply:

        Linking to Miller and Levine’s article is particularly informative. It’s a thorough review of the blood clotting claim. Ken Miller and Michael Behe (the guy who popularised modern notions of irreducible complexity and made blood clotting claim) are both devout Catholics and both work in areas of molecular biology. I understand Joe Levine is also a religious man. But there’s another difference; compare Miller vs Behe on their publication and citation record. Despite similar scientific longevity (only four years age difference), one of them has forged a career as a productive, accomplished and well respected scientist, the other has published very little experimental work for the past 20 years and, notably, nothing at all dealing with ‘irreducible complexity’. All Behe does (all ID proponents ever do) is make claims in non-peer reviewed books and their in-house journals. One of these claims is the ‘irreducibility’ of drug resistance in malaria. Miller and Levine have also recently responded to this claim, in what is one of the most comprehensive and decisive scientific refutations I have ever read:

        http://www.millerandlevine.com/evolution/behe-2014/Behe-2014.pdf

        It is also worth mentioning that Michael Behe didn’t even think up the notion of ‘irreducible complexity’. It was the Nobel laureate evolutionary biologist, Hermann Muller, who first predicted, described and explained how natural selection would produce morphological and biochemical structures that would appear to be irreducibly complex, in two papers, one published 96 years ago and another 75 years ago! He called it ‘interlocking complexity’; Behe just appropriated the idea, changed the name, and gave it a theistic slant. Unfortunately for him no irreducibly complex structures have ever been identified that cannot be explained by evolutionary mechanisms and worse for him, we have actually observed such a process as it evolved, e.g., the breakdown of pentachlorophenol by a soil bacteria, Sphingomonas chlorophenolica (Copley, 2000).

  19. “Indeed it is unlikely, in the sense that it’s not likely to happen at any one given place and time, but a whole planet over its first billion years afforded a lot of possible places and times for just one of an enormous number of possible combinations that could have done the same job to assemble spontaneously (and gradually), discover a way to propagate, and start the journey of life.
    I have never understood the scientific logic behind the “billions of years argument.” How can time solve any of these questions? The earth has the same elements, the same laws of physics it has always had. Can we just sprinkle in billions of years and voila, life? You say there are “an enormous number of possible combinations” for the beginning of life. What are they? I’ll even settle for one. Despite your claims, nonliving elements can not “do a job” or “assemble” or “discover a way” or “propogate.” Those are things that intelligent, living beings do. Amino acids can’t “assemble” on their own. Hydrogen can’t “discover” anything. Lightning can’t “propogate.” The problem is people can’t tell the difference between real science and science fiction. For way too many people, these simple explanations are good enough. They are satisfied if you tell them it is possible over billions of years. They don’t take the time to dissect a statement to examine if it is accurate. They just trust that “scientific minded” people are telling them the truth. Most people probably believe that we can create a living cell from scratch, or they trust that abiogenesis is fully understood and can be recreated. I have yet to find someone who can explain how intelligence can come from unintelligence in an intelligent way. And I don’t think I ever will, though people will continue to try.

      1. Okay, to specifics.

        “Deep time” offers a general answer to the question because, indeed, Earth had the same elements and laws of physics the whole time. Life obeys those laws, and is comprised of those same elements. Natural forces were endlessly mixing and recombining them long before life, via tides, winds and tectonics.

        To elaborate on the chemistry, nonliving elements “assemble” every moment of every day. All chemical reactions are dependent on physical contact, and many reactions cause materials to stick together. Hydrogen and oxygen make water. Oxygen bonds to iron and creates rust. Since nearly all elements beyond hydrogen and helium are created independently by nuclear fusion in stars, any molecule containing more than one element is the result of a spontaneous additive reaction.

        The Miller-Urey experiment demonstrated that amino acids can be formed when an electrical charge (e.g. lightning) is introduced to a mixture of water, methane, ammonia and hydrogen. This happened all the time in the early years of the Earth, once weather existed. That’s far from a full process, but it does show the beginning of one. Perhaps I anthropomorphised my verbs too much, but rather than “discovering” a productive process natural pre-biotic compounds can certainly trigger a new one.

        An example of a possible combination of chemicals that results in life is the one that actually did: the arrangement of proteins and enzymes that constitute our basic building blocks (cells). One point of agreement between creationists and everyone else is that even these basic units are incredibly complex; well, not all of that complexity has to be arranged exactly as it is for life to function. Proteins can be folded differently, you can do without certain enzymes, or the entire chemical makeup might have been different (e.g. silicon-based life instead of carbon-based). This results in potentially infinite possible types of life, and only one had to emerge spontaneously in the entire 4.5 billion year history of the planet to result in all the life that exists today. That’s one reason why the odds, though long as expected, do allow for a single freak abiogenesis event, which is all that’s needed.

        To argue in favour of divine creation over natural abiogenesis solely based on the lack of knowledge of abiogenesis methods is an argument from ignorance as I mentioned. To truly discredit natural abiogenesis would require establishing it as actually impossible, which can never be done using (understandably) poorly informed probability-based arguments. Even if you managed it, you would then face the separate objective of establishing a god or equivalent as the creator, and THEN establishing that it was your own god.

    1. Jimmy writes: [I have never understood the scientific logic behind the “billions of years argument.” How can time solve any of these questions? The earth has the same elements, the same laws of physics it has always had. Can we just sprinkle in billions of years and voila, life?]

      Billions of years is not an argument. It’s an observation. Life took about 730 million years to first appear on Earth. Time doesn’t solve anything, but it shows that life is possible but not necessarily quick to happen. The odds of life starting aren’t very high, but when you take billions of molecules in a stable medium like the ocean, with millions of interactions every day for 3/4 of a billion years, things can happen. Time is needed for things to happen, and it indeed took a lot of time.

      To the second part of your comment, the Earth has not always been the same. The early atmosphere had less oxygen, the tides were much larger because the moon was closer, there were more things hitting the Earth from space, more volcanic activity, etc. So while the laws of physics have always been the same, the Earth hasn’t.

      [You say there are “an enormous number of possible combinations” for the beginning of life. What are they? I’ll even settle for one.]

      I think he was referring to the fact that there are so many possible molecular combinations possible in chemistry. Since carbon is by far the one element that can make the most combinations with other elements it makes sense that life is carbon based, but that doesn’t mean it had to be. Silicon is another common element that could have been the building block for life, but it didn’t work out that way.

      [Despite your claims, nonliving elements can not “do a job” or “assemble” or “discover a way” or “propogate.” Those are things that intelligent, living beings do. Amino acids can’t “assemble” on their own.]

      You are incorrect. There are peptides, some as short as 32 amino acids long, that self replicate. Did you know that? They aren’t alive in any sense of the word, but they do it. It’s just a property of that structure. Proteins fold themselves over. They aren’t alive either, it’s just what they do. Lipids bond together and form waterproof membranes, keeping other stuff in and water out. It’s just what they do. Life is just Earth stuff arranged in such a way that it can replicate itself. That’s all it really is.

      Amino acids readily form on their own. They are found in outer space. They are found in meteorites. Reference the Murchison meteorite as an example. Polypeptides have been found forming at hydrothermal vents at the mid ocean ridges, and if takes amino acids to make those. Amino acids are everywhere…

  20. Tim.
    1. You say you are not using time as an argument, but it is merely an observation. You say it doesn’t solve anything, yet you end your paragraph by saying that time is needed for “things to happen.” Which is it? An observation or a cause? Are billions of years needed, or not needed for life to begin?

    2. Ok, you’re right.The Earth isn’t exactly the same, but how does that change things? Bigger tides, closer Moon, more meteorites, more volcanoes. Are these the keys to life? If so, how is life thriving now?

    3. Here is SmartLX’s whole statement. “Indeed it is unlikely, in the sense that it’s not likely to happen at any one given place and time, but a whole planet over its first billion years afforded a lot of possible places and times for just one of an enormous number of possible combinations that could have done the same job to assemble spontaneously (and gradually), discover a way to propagate, and start the journey of life.”
    Clearly he was not “referring to the fact that there are so many possible molecular combinations possible in chemistry.”
    I didn’t change the meaning of his statement. You did.

    4. From “Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry” Issue 35, 2014 published on July 11th of this year
    “While the non-enzymatic ligation and template-directed synthesis of peptide nucleic acids (PNA) have been reported since 1995, a case of self-replication of PNA has not been achieved yet.”
    Nearly 20 years after being reported, a self-replication of PNA has not been achieved.
    But my original point is the same. People tend to attach living, conscious, and intelligent characteristics to nonliving, unconscious, and unintelligent material. While amino acids “assemble,” they don’t consciously assemble themselves. They fold, but they don’t decide to fold themselves . They form, but they don’t form themselves on purpose. They are simply reacting to other forces.

    1. 1) I should have written that better. To clarify my meaning, it took time for life to arise based on the evidence that it took 730 million years to do so. Is that much time needed? No. There is no magical amount of time that it takes. What’s much more important is that the right combination of things happen. Whether that happens in one year, 730 million years, or any other amount of time, the critical part is that the needed stuff is available. If the parts are there, and they can get together (like in an ocean) then the thinking goes that it can happen. The amount of time it takes for that to happen isn’t a fixed number. To explain it another way, you can eventually get a quarter to land “heads” six times in a row if you do it long enough. It can never happen without the quarter or you flipping it though. But with the quarter and you, it will happen. It might happen on the first six tosses and take 1 minute, or you might go all day with thousands of flips before it happens. The time it takes doesn’t make it any more or any less likely. It doesn’t affect the odds of the event happening.

      2) To answer your last question first, we weren’t talking about life thriving, we were talking about life starting. Life is thriving today because Earth is still a good environment for it to thrive, and because whatever changes have happened can be adjusted for by living things via evolution. The question isn’t related to how life started in my opinion.

      As for the different conditions of early Earth, I can’t say for sure if all of them or none of them were important. I already mentioned the hydrothermal vents and polypeptide production. More volcanic activity would lead to more of that. Volcanoes spew out all sorts of things, and while some of them are toxic to you and me that doesn’t mean they weren’t important to the first life forms. Things falling from space brought amino acids, organic molecules, etc into the oceans, and more stuff falling back then means more stuff getting added to the water too, just like the volcanic activity. Higher tides might matter because some reactions require surfaces for things to happen. Possible catalytic reactions would need different surfaces, and higher tides flowing over more land would increase the surfaces needed for those reactions. The bottom line is that the Earth was different, and not like what we find today….

      3) LX is talking about the myriad of possible combinations at the molecular level that exist in nature. He talked about needing only one of those combinations to work in order for life to arise. He even mentioned silicon as another possible element that life could be based on. Look at my statements. I said the same thing. I can’t seriously believe you think I “changed the meaning” of anything he said. Apparently you have yet to understand the point that both of us made.

      4)PNAs are artificially created polymers. They aren’t found in DNA or RNA. Some have hypothesized that PNA might have existed at hydrothermal vents because it might polymerize in high temp water under large pressures (like at the bottom of the ocean), and since it is a simpler molecule that is more robust it could have been used by life before RNA and then DNA was formulated. Regardless, you’ve brought up something that has nothing to do with my amino acid comments, so I fail to see its usefulness as a counter argument.

      Moving on, I never said, or even suggested, that the actions my molecules that self-replicate or self-fold were ever a result of a conscious effort. They are simply chemical properties of those molecules. No one said amino acid chains forming peptides and proteins is anything more than a reaction between molecules. How you went from what was written by myself or LX to the conclusion that we attached living or conscious characteristics to those actions is beyond me, but you are wrong.

    2. Jimmy,

      I’ve just had a look at the paper you cited. I cannot believe how brazenly you’ve quote-mined from it. The sentence you quoted directly:
      “While the non-enzymatic ligation and template-directed synthesis of peptide nucleic acids (PNA) have been reported since 1995, a case of self-replication of PNA has not been achieved yet” is merely the opening sentence to the abstract. It acts to set out the context in which the research they report was performed – the results of which are completely contrary to what you are claiming.

      The clue’s in the title of the paper, which you (conveniently) missed out:
      “A Self-Replicating Peptide Nucleic Acid”

      The authors then detail just that. And this is not particularly new research, a preliminary version of the paper was uploaded to Arxiv three years ago, so there has been ample time to confirm the finding. The current abstract concludes:

      “Our findings contribute to the hypothesis that PNA may have served as a primordial genetic molecule and was involved in a potential precursor of a RNA world.”

  21. Tim. This has been a good conversation. I’m glad that my comments so far have not been called “straw man arguments” or “an argument from ignorance.” Those two phrases seem to be thrown around an awful lot on this site, so thank you for refraining from using them.

  22. Reply to SmartLX and Tim
    Silicon-based life?
    Infinite possibilities of life?
    Life is just Earth stuff arranged in such a way that it can replicate itself?

    Earlier SmartLX said “Indeed it (abiogenist) is unlikely, in the sense that it’s not likely to happen at any one given place and time, but a whole planet over its first billion years afforded a lot of possible places and times for just one of an enormous number of possible combinations … to start the journey of life.” (Time is a big factor)
    Later Tim said “The time it takes doesn’t make it any more or any less likely. It doesn’t affect the odds of the event happening” (Time isn’t a factor at all)
    I’m lost

  23. Gary. I did not “quote mine” the opening sentence in the referenced opening statement. In order to “quote mine” I would have to take this quote out of context in respect to the rest of the abstract. The authors meant this as a true statement, which it is. Why would they make the claim that “a case of self-replication of PNA has not been achieved yet” only to contradict it with the rest of the abstract. The answer? They didn’t. The very next sentence reveals what they were able to do. “Here, we present evidence for autocatalytic feedback in a template directed synthesis of a self-complementary hexa-PNA from two trimeric building blocks.” This is not a claim to achieve PNA self-replication. In fact, the title isn’t even a claim to achieve PNA self-replication. It simply says “A Self-Replicating Peptide Nucleic Acid,” which doesn’t claim anything really. I could write an article called “A Living Bigfoot” without actually claiming to find a living bigfoot. We all know how titles and headlines are used to grab people’s attention. They are designed to entice and are often purposely misleading. For example, I recently came across and article called “Earth 2.0 discovered?” with a nice picture of an earth-like planet. Of course you have to read the article to find out that “Earth 2.0” is actually a far away planet that is twice the size of earth, probably closer to its sun, probably has no atmosphere and therefore basically not like earth at all other than being in the “habitable zone.” The picture is revealed to be an artists rendition of what another earth “might” look like. Average Joe reads the headline and in his mind we really found earth’s twin. It’s purposefully deceitful and it leads to mass confusion of what is fact and what is fiction.

    But, none of this really matters because Peptide Nucleic Acids aren’t even found in nature. They were invented by a person, so who cares if they can or can’t self-replicate?

    1. I think you’re all missing one vital factor here in all this.

      Every HUMANLY-DESIGNED experiment – whether it be an attempt to show how the first life might have originated, how one species is supposed to transmutate into another (and this has never been done, in fact, by human hands; only variations WITHIN species have ever been thus humanly induced) or even to models that attempt to show how the universe itself may have formed (assuming, that is, that these are actual attmepts to show … rather than mathematical hypothesis): these are, none of them, by very definition, proofs of any kind as to how these things are supposed to have come about UNguided, UNplanned, with no guiding intelligence or wilful master plan behind them. What they all prove, in fact, is the exact opposite; how such things just might be brought about, have been brought about, or even continue being brought about as an ongiong process UNDER, AND ACCORDING TO THE WILL of a guiding intelligence; in this case, of course, a human one.
      Even Darwin (who, though he lost his personal faith, always refused to accept the label ‘atheist’) acknoweldged in his famous paper that ‘nature’ (as he called it), but not mere random and unguided mutation, might achieve much more than the limited amount of within-species variation only which he knew full well was all that his pigeon-breeding ‘experiments’ could show.

      Newton too, despite all the sophistication of his mathematcal proofs, was in no doubt whatsoever as to the ultimate primal causation of it all. He devotes whole concluding pages of his ‘Principia’ to discussing this. Einstein too, though neither Christian nor any subscriber to any formal religion, never doubted for an instant the existence of such a primal causator and motivator of it all.
      The same is true, of course, of Aristotle several centuries before Christianity and even Copernicus and later Galileo (who showed the Aristotelean/Ptolemaic PHYSICAL model of the universe to be wrong) held a similar belief, nonethelss, as to ultimate causation. They were both theists.
      Even Hawking, in his ‘Brief History of Time’ (notwithstanding that he later attempts, in ‘The Grand Design’, by a species of what I call ‘chop logic’ to unsay himself) concedes to there being some such entity as this (he uses the word ‘God’ in fact) as the most obvious, elegant and parsimonous explanation for our universe.
      Pastuer not only was convinced that there was no such thing as spontaneous creation of micro-organisms (or any other life forms), he went much further than that. In his view; ONLY LIFE COULD BEGET LIFE and, furthermore, only KINDRED life (i.e. a similar life form as parent). A meticulously careful scientist, he rejected Darwinian theory of evolution on grounds that there was no scientific evidence whatever to support it, and that Darwin (who, himself privately admittted this, and it worried him for the rest of his life almost to the point of a neurosis) could not produce a single shred of it. Pasteur, like so many other ground-breaking scientists, was never in doubt that an ultimate intelligence; prior, superior and external to this universe itself and no subset of it or any part of it, was the ultimate initiator of all life; the ultimate LIFE in fact.

      1. Not to put too fine a point on it, there is a lot wrong with all that.

        – Human experiments aimed at reproducing aspects of abiogenesis generally put materials together in a container and see what happens. If something does happen, then the same thing can happen if the same materials combine naturally. The Miller-Urey experiment produced amino acids with a combination of chemicals common on the Earth’s surface in its early days, and a simulated lightning strike. Saying that the same reaction is impossible without a guiding intelligence is like saying a rock that breaks loose from a cliff face will only fall if it was chipped away by a chisel. The presence or absence of intelligence does not change the laws of physics in ways like this.

        – What Darwin called “nature” in that paragraph was essentially natural selection. It was the aspect of evolution he claimed could produce new species in conjunction with random mutation, because as you say random mutation by itself isn’t very productive. Natural selection is also unguided by definition, but importantly it is not random.

        – Yes, many scientists throughout history were theists or at least deists, especially pre-Darwin. Others weren’t. Hawking clarified very recently that he’s definitely an atheist, despite having used the word “God” poetically in his writings. Whether or not there’s a god, many very intelligent people are wrong. Listing those who are on your side means nothing.

        – Pasteur did reject Darwinian evolution in the end. He accepted Lamarckian evolution instead, which really does have no evidence to support it and is also no more theistic or teleological than Darwinian evolution. There’s quite a good article on Pasteur here.

        1. I’ll put a fine point on it then. The Miller-Urey experiment was a failure for abiogenesis. They assume an oxygen free atmosphere when it is now believed, according to secular presuppositions, that the early earth atmosphere did indeed contain oxygen. This alone invalidates the entire experiment. Second, most of the material produced as a toxic tar substance that would have destroyed any of the amino acids produced. Third, simply allowing the produced amino acids to go through the electrical discharge part of the experiment again would have destroyed them as well. Fourth, you have the racemic problem where the organic material produced are 50/50 left-right handed, but life requires all left-handed. To deny these facts is just dishonest or pure ignorance. For more details on this, see this article:

          http://creation.com/why-the-miller-urey-research-argues-against-abiogenesis

          1. I agree that there is a new consensus that there was oxygen contained in the early atmosphere of Earth. This does not invalidate the entire experiment however, because a lightning strike in the ocean where gases and material from underwater volcanic eruptions are coming to the surface would be devoid of oxygen as it first comes out. Given the amount of volcanism in the early days, this is entirely possible.

            But go ahead and push Miller-Urey to the side, because science has already moved on from it. Science, in fact, is several steps ahead of Miller-Urey. 8 years after their experiment the Oro experiment showed amino acids could be made from HCN and ammonia in aqueous solutions, particularly adenine (one of the four aminos in DNA). Around 1970 there was a meteorite that landed near Murchison, Australia. It was found to contain 90 or so different animo acids in it. The early Earth was bombarded by such meteorites, and were possibly a source of aminos back then. Other meteorites have also been found to contain many animo acids. The really cool thing? There is a definite preponderance of LEFT-HANDED aminos in these meteorites. For whatever reason the left-handed seem to either form easier or survive better in space. So not only do we have a source for the amino acids, we have a decidely left-handed source.

            Since Miller-Urey there have been discoveries of simple peptides, 32 amino acids long, that self replicate. They aren’t alive in any way, it’s just a property of the molecule. Proteins self fold and warp themselves too, because it is just what they do. A simple peptide encased in a lipid membrane could replicate itself over and over. Perhaps this is how life first started.

            The point is, you are arguing about old science, and seem to lack any knowledge about what is going on since then. I’m not surprised frankly, since you are trying to get all your “science” at websites that include the word “creation” in them. Your creationist masters don’t seem to be giving you all the information available, which is why Erick told that Indian girl in the other thread to do her own research and find out as much as she can before making decisions on anything. I feel this advice would be helpful to you as well.

            All creationist websites do is try to put down science, and they do it with generalized statements that are inaccurate or outright falsehoods while avoiding all the inconvenient details and data sets that would show their statements to be utter nonsense. And they make this grandiose effort to discredit science because they have zero empirical evidence for the existence of the supernatural. They can’t prove goddesses, so they try to undercut science instead.

  24. The point is that old science was being promoted as proof when it has been invalidated. I was pointing that out. It was dishonest to use Miller-Urey as proof of the possibility of abiogenesis just as it would be dishonest to continue to use Haekel’s fake embryo drawings, which, by the way, was still being done in biology textbooks something like 120 years after it was proven to be a hoax. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were still in a few books. If hoaxes and old science are used to support evolution it only demonstrates more clearly how weak and without evidence the theory actually has.

    In researching the Murchison meteorite, there is much controversy and talk of contamination and the left-handedness is at best very slight.

    Amino acids are not life in case that’s a news flash to you. Even with all the amino acids necessary for life, you still need to form the self-replicating single-cell with its incredible array of machinery, software, and the DNA. All of which, if you looked at honestly, would have to admit is ridiculous to even contemplate coming about on its own. With some of the necessary amino acids being found and even given that there is a marginal left-handed dominance, you are still at step 1 of a thirty quadrillion step process to have what you need.

    “All creationist websites do is try to put down science, and they do it with generalized statements that are inaccurate or outright falsehoods while avoiding all the inconvenient details and data sets that would show their statements to be utter nonsense. And they make this grandiose effort to discredit science because they have zero empirical evidence for the existence of the supernatural. They can’t prove goddesses, so they try to undercut science instead.”

    You have merely spouted your opinion and backed it with no examples. And you add the lie that we promote goddesses, which is utter nonsense and a straw-man to boot. You have nothing.

    1. Haeckel’s drawings are not quite the fraud they’re made out to be by creationists. Although Haeckel correctly realised that the changing morphology of embryos is shaped by phylogenetics he incorrectly hypothesised that embryos underwent morphological changes that imitated the evolutionary history of ancestor species, which included their adult forms. Darwin, on the other hand, more correctly hypothesised that morphological changes in the embryos of related species follow the same embryonic stages but do not include the adult stage. There is no doubt that this is what we observe in embryos. If you compare Haeckel’s drawings with modern photographed embryos the untrained eye would be hard pressed to see much of a difference.

      This wasn’t the only issue with which Haeckel disagreed with Darwin. Haeckel was not a Darwinian. His view of evolution was far more Lamarckian than Darwinian and he kept to that view even after Mendel’s work on trait inheritance demonstrated that Lamarck was wrong. Re Homo sapiens, to be considered a Darwinian in the latter half of the 19th / first half of the 20th century required, at a minimum, acceptance of two of Darwin’s claims. First, that Homo sapiens did not contain separate subspecies but comprised a single species. Second that Homo sapiens were part of the primate family. Third, that Homo sapiens had evolved from a common ancestor shared with modern non-human primates. Fourth, that the evolution of Homo sapiens had been mediated by natural selection. Haeckel disagreed outright with the first claim. He accepted the next two claims in principle but disagreed profoundly with Darwin as to the route evolution had taken. He never accepted the fourth claim at all. People who criticise Haeckel in a bid to criticise Darwin are the people who read creationist literature and nothing else.

      “You have merely spouted your opinion and backed it with no examples”

      Creationist and ID literature is characterised by offering no actual data, no experiments, no measurements, and no observations. The vast majority of it is armchair pundits (usually with no qualifications in the field) trying to finding fault with scientific research. That’s not an opinion. It’s a demonstrable fact. If you don’t believe that do a systematic reading of creationist publications yourself. Look at that Bergman paper you cited (again, no qualifications or contribution to the field he’s criticising). No new data, no new measurements, no new experiments, no new observations. Just finding faults in a 60 year old experiment. That’s really scraping the bottom of the barrel. Imagine a medic writing a paper criticising surgical methods from 60 years ago. Now I wonder what he’d conclude? It’s laughable.

      Look at CMI’s output. Look at CRI’s output. Look at the Discovery Institute’s output. The DI have a budget bigger than many small university biology departments and how many peer reviewed papers explicitly testing ID have their ‘fellows’ had published in a real science journal in the past 20 years? At last count it was one or two. They might have another one by now. How many peer reviewed papers are currently published on evolutionary biology per week, worldwide according to the Science Citation Index? Well over a thousand. And these people want equal time in American schools! It’s laughable.

      Creationists love to publish in their in-house non-peer reviewed journals. The authors are more often than not on the editorial board. They occasionally get papers discussing semi-related stuff published in obscure, low-impact journals (you pay the fee, we publish your work). Here’s some examples. Though they have no problem criticising the work of others, when Dembski & Marks published a paper on information theory in 2010 in a computer journal it was widely slated by others in the field. What did the authors do? They threatened to sue!!! A guy called David Abel has authored about 1 in 5 of all the papers sponsored by the DI, mostly related to bioinformatics. Abel lists his academic affiliation as Director, The Gene Emergence Project, Department of ProtoBioCybernetics/ProtoBioSemiotics, Origin-of-Life Science Foundation. Wow! Impressive credentials! Must be the go to guy! It’s an ordinary suburban house. His house. He’s a complete fraud. In one of his papers the first 7 references cited are his own papers! It’s laughable.

      The accepted method of engaging in science is to test hypotheses, present research findings at open scientific conferences and meetings, then hope to publish these data and findings in peer-reviewed journals, and finally, perhaps, to write textbooks for students or, occasionally, the general public. Creationists blatantly bypass the first three stages and by doing so they place themselves firmly into the category of pseudoscience. Creationism snugly fits Parks’ ‘Signs of a Bogus Science’:
      (i) their claims are pitched directly to the media and general public, thus bypassing peer review;
      (ii) next, they play the victim by claiming that a powerful orthodox establishment is suppressing their ‘evidence’;
      (iii) a substantial number of their claims are at the limits of the data available to them;
      (iv) they make abundant claims utilising the argument by popularity;
      (v) their ‘research’ is done in isolation from mainstream scientific communities and
      (vi) their claims would require new laws of nature to be formalised.

      This is not an opinion. This is precisely how creationists conduct themselves. They’re supremely arrogant. They haven’t quite grasped the concept that they have to work for a living. They expect to continue the free lunch they enjoyed, via their churches, in centuries past. But people aren’t falling for it like they used to. If they want to assert claims that are not going to be ridiculed they need to go and actually do some science to back them up and stop piddling about critiquing the honest slog of others while claiming that their evidence is “all around you, just open up your heart” or some such drivel.

      1. The sentence:
        Re Homo sapiens, to be considered a Darwinian in the latter half of the 19th / first half of the 20th century required, at a minimum, acceptance of two of Darwin’s claims.

        Should read: FOUR of Darwin’s claims. I had a senior moment.

  25. Tommy writes: [The point is that old science was being promoted as proof when it has been invalidated. I was pointing that out. It was dishonest to use Miller-Urey as proof of the possibility of abiogenesis]

    Apparently you missed the part of my post where I explained to you that Miller-Urey’s experiment is not necessarily invalidated because there are reductive atmospheric conditions that can exist on Earth during volcanic eruptions under water. Regardless though, I don’t know of any current science textbook in any school that claims we know exactly how life started and what the conditions were. I don’t know of any current science textbook that claims Miller-Urey is the answer.

    Proving abiogenesis is not just about making it happen again in a beaker. We know genetically that all life is related. All life shares some of the same ancient DNA. We know that life began very simply long ago and changed over time thanks to the fossil record. All the data we have points to simple life starting long ago. There is nothing in that entire data set that suggests anything supernatural was involved. Not even one scrap of it.

    The reason abiogenesis is being looked into is because that is where the evidence is pointing at.

    [In researching the Murchison meteorite, there is much controversy and talk of contamination and the left-handedness is at best very slight.]

    Don’t know where you got your information, but I have never seen such claims before. Contamination was ruled out multiple times, in part because amino acids that are extremely rare on Earth were found inside the meteorite alongside common ones. If it was contaminated where did the rare ones come from in such large numbers? See “Carbon isotope composition of individual amino acids in the Murchison meteorite” in the journal Nature for one such article discussing this. The left-handedness of the aminos was pretty clear from everything I’ve ever read too. On a side note, they’ve also found sugars and carboxylic acids in meteorites as well. They seem to be chock full of life stuff…

    [Amino acids are not life in case that’s a news flash to you. Even with all the amino acids necessary for life, you still need to form the self-replicating single-cell with its incredible array of machinery, software, and the DNA. All of which, if you looked at honestly, would have to admit is ridiculous to even contemplate coming about on its own.]

    I agree. So does science. No one thinks the first life forms had a full set of DNA and all the other cellular components that you find in living things today. That’s why I mentioned the peptide in a lipidic membrane for example. If you read up on the matter on a website that doesn’t contain the word “creation” in it you would see this for yourself.

    To reiterate, life started very simply Tommy. Through time it evolved to the point we have today. It didn’t just pop into existence with a full rack of DNA, no one in science thinks anything remotely close to that.

    [You have merely spouted your opinion and backed it with no examples. And you add the lie that we promote goddesses, which is utter nonsense and a straw-man to boot. You have nothing.]

    I assume you don’t mean the scientific part of my post, since I named specific people and their experiments, meteorites, and gave details on all of that. So that must mean you are referring to my comments on the contents of the websites run by your creationist masters. If you think my claim that those sites contain pseudo-science nonsense is just an opinion, we can certainly prove if my statements are accurate or not. Post anything you want from creation.com or some other site, and we can discuss it in detail and determine if A) it is an accurate representation of what science currently states, and B) if the conclusions reached are based on misinformation or omitted information. Are you up for such a challenge?

    As for the “goddess” thing, I don’t know what your particular religious dogma is. I use “goddess”, “Odin”, “Isis”, “god”, “divine creature”, and other versions interchangeably because they all mean the same to me. I don’t know what you worship. You could be Hindu, and therefore have goddesses. If you want some particular critter referred to from now on, let me know what your religious flavor is…

  26. “Apparently you missed the part of my post where I explained to you that Miller-Urey’s experiment is not necessarily invalidated because there are reductive atmospheric conditions that can exist on Earth during volcanic eruptions under water.”
    Maybe you didn’t read the part of my response where I listed several other reasons why it was invalid.You did try to address the left-handed part, but not the part about the toxic tar or reintroducing the amino acids into the process again. If the experiment were valid, they wouldn’t have a system whereby the chemicals are redirected and collected into another container after they are exposed to the discharge. It would be an open system continuously being bombarded. Which is another reason to invalidate it.

    “Regardless though, I don’t know of any current science textbook in any school that claims we know exactly how life started and what the conditions were.”
    Of course not, because they have no clue really.

    “I don’t know of any current science textbook that claims Miller-Urey is the answer.”
    True, but it is very often pointed to as some proof and was done so in this debate as well. Only was it discounted when it was pointed out the flaws.

    “We know genetically that all life is related.”
    You don’t know that at all. You believe it. All life has a common designer, not related.

    “All life shares some of the same ancient DNA.”
    To me, ancient would be about 6,000 years ago since that’s when God says He created everything. To you, ancient is a fictional time period that never happened. And you have no evidence to say all life shares some ancient DNA. You just believe it to be true.

    “We know that life began very simply long ago and changed over time thanks to the fossil record.”
    The fossil record cannot tell you that at all. And it has so far failed to prove anything. At best you have a handful of disputed transitional forms. The fossil record shows evidence of catastrophic events such as the global flood. Scientists use circular reasoning to date fossils and date layers of rock, etc.

    “All the data we have points to simple life starting long ago.”
    No data at all points to that. Your interpretation of the data does, but then again, you are starting with that conclusion, not following the evidence where it leads.

    “There is nothing in that entire data set that suggests anything supernatural was involved. Not even one scrap of it.”

    Everything suggests it. Like the fact that DNA cannot exist without DNA. Watch this short video to see. The video also contains some other mind-boggling facts about DNA.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CmB4uLANCBo

    “The reason abiogenesis is being looked into is because that is where the evidence is pointing at.”
    Not true. You have rejected God. Therefore you have no choice, but to accept abiogenesis.

    “Don’t know where you got your information, but I have never seen such claims before. Contamination was ruled out multiple times, in part because amino acids that are extremely rare on Earth were found inside the meteorite alongside common ones.”
    Do a google search.

    “If it was contaminated where did the rare ones come from in such large numbers?”
    I have no idea, but I know that amino acids aren’t life and the presence of them doesn’t prove anything.

    “No one thinks the first life forms had a full set of DNA and all the other cellular components that you find in living things today. That’s why I mentioned the peptide in a lipidic membrane for example.”
    If your as most evolutionists, you would say that abiogenesis isn’t even part of evolution yet you are conceding that it is, in fact, a part of it. Which is it?

    “To reiterate, life started very simply Tommy. Through time it evolved to the point we have today.”
    You can say so til you’re blue in the face, but the evidence says otherwise. There is no evidence that changes in species can break barriers and become new kinds of things. It can make variations of a kind and no more. Never has a beneficial mutation shown to add new functional information to the genome.

    “It didn’t just pop into existence with a full rack of DNA, no one in science thinks anything remotely close to that.”
    Again, an admission that the origin of life is part of evolution. So thanks for confirming what most will deny.

    “If you think my claim that those sites contain pseudo-science nonsense is just an opinion, we can certainly prove if my statements are accurate or not. Post anything you want from creation.com or some other site, and we can discuss it in detail and determine if A) it is an accurate representation of what science currently states, and B) if the conclusions reached are based on misinformation or omitted information. Are you up for such a challenge?”
    No time for any more of this anyway, but I would suggest you actually read their articles and watch their videos in detail. You obviously have not. I believe you said they are against or hate science and that is an outright lie. Their Doctorate degree staff didn’t get their science degrees because they hate science.

  27. The last thing I have time for is to once again,as this is the same drivel I hear from all of your kind, show you just how wrong you are on every single point. It doesn’t even take much honest research for you to learn that what you’re saying is false. I’ll simply make a couple of points. First, secular science says evolution is fact and they are the ones controlling peer review and those science journals you speak of. Creation, the opposing viewpoint, is the enemy. Why would one allow their enemy to have a voice in their controlled public sources? The idea that an evolutionist would allow their enemy viewpoint to get a voice is laughable. Let’s put it another way. How many of these scientific papers you hold in high esteem would pass peer-review by the Ph.D. creation scientists? Of course they wouldn’t. Anything that concludes we came from a big bang and evolution is going to get thrown own.

    Second, ICR.org has a research department and has been doing original research for many years. You can easily find it on their site and see for yourself. So, you were completely dishonest in saying that they don’t do original research.

    You are blinded to the truth and for that I’m sorry. It would be fruitless to continue this conversation. You have demonstrated dishonesty a number of times and also a great ignorance to the truth about creation scientists and their work.

    1. “How many of these scientific papers you hold in high esteem would pass peer-review by the Ph.D. creation scientists? Of course they wouldn’t.”

      Tommy, you need to get out into the real world. Talk to some working scientists. Behold the following quote (please read it to the end):

      “Evolution is not a theory in crisis. It is not teetering on the verge of collapse. It has not failed as a scientific explanation. There is evidence for evolution, gobs and gobs of it. It is not just speculation or a faith choice or an assumption or a religion. It is a productive framework for lots of biological research, and it has amazing explanatory power. There is no conspiracy to hide the truth about the failure of evolution. There has really been no failure of evolution as a scientific theory. It works, and it works well.”

      Typical drivel from a “secular scientist” isn’t it?………here’s more:

      “I say these things because they are true. I’m motivated this morning by reading yet another clueless, well-meaning person pompously declaring that evolution is a failure. People who say that are either unacquainted with the inner workings of science or unacquainted with the evidence for evolution. (Technically, they could also be deluded or lying, but that seems rather uncharitable to say)………….Creationist students, listen to me very carefully: There is evidence for evolution, and evolution is an extremely successful scientific theory……….Evolution itself is not flawed or without evidence. Please don’t be duped into thinking that somehow evolution itself is a failure.”

      Go on. You got this far. Keep reading:

      “It is my own faith choice to reject evolution, because I believe the Bible reveals true information about the history of the earth that is fundamentally incompatible with evolution. I am motivated to understand God’s creation from what I believe to be a biblical, creationist perspective……….Faith is enough. If God said it, that should settle it.”

      That was written by Todd Wood. One of those biology PhD creationists of which you speak.

      Now, tell me again who it is who’s “demonstrated dishonesty a number of times and also a great ignorance to the truth about creation scientists and their work.”……….Anyway, people reading these exchanges will be able to make up their own mind over who’s better informed on these issues.

      As for the ICR: Look Tommy you obviously don’t have scientific training, so I suspect you haven’t been taught to analyse evidence and data. I am familiar with creationist literature, especially involving claims about biology, psychology and neuroscience. All I can suggest is that you get hold of a random selection of say, molecular or population genetics research papers, and a random selection of ‘research’ papers from say, The Journal of Creation. Firstly, contrary to what you claim, very few papers introduce new data. That’s not dishonest. It’s a stone cold hard fact. Deal with it. Read through these papers and try to notice the differences in detail and the quality of analysis and also differences in how circumspect the language is. It won’t be hard to guess which one states in their submission guidelines “Do not use too many big or extra words”.

  28. Tommy writes: [Maybe you didn’t read the part of my response where I listed several other reasons why it was invalid.You did try to address the left-handed part, but not the part about the toxic tar or reintroducing the amino acids into the process again. If the experiment were valid, they wouldn’t have a system whereby the chemicals are redirected and collected into another container after they are exposed to the discharge. It would be an open system continuously being bombarded. Which is another reason to invalidate it.]

    No, I didn’t address all the points. I will rectify that now. First, after the experiment was concluded there was no “toxic tar” left over. The solution was still aqueous. In order to examine the contents of the container at the end, mercuric chloride was added to prevent contamination, and barium and sulfuric acid added to stop the reaction, and the water evaporated out. The tar-like residue left was examined for the amino acids. There wasn’t some toxic sludge with no water left immediately after the experiment. You of course wouldn’t know this because, once again, you get your information from creationist websites, and those websites certainly didn’t bother to explain all that to you, did they.

    The claim of lightning destroying the amino acids it formed is nonsensical. Use common sense. If the electricity would destroy the among acids, where did the animo acids found in the experiment come from? The sparking was continuous in the experiment, and the amino acids were not immediately separated. They were still in contact with the electrical current. Since lightning doesn’t strike continuously the claim of the amigos being destroyed by subsequent lightning is inane. A simple amount of common sense is all you need to see how ludicrous that claim is.

    It couldn’t be an open system by the way if they were trying to mimic certain atmospheric conditions, and those conditions are different than the present atmosphere. I would think common sense would tell you this as well.

    I addressed the left handedness and atmosphere concerns earlier. Try reading up on the experiment using actual produced documents instead of inaccurate summation at creationist websites to learn more…

  29. “A simple amount of common sense is all you need to see how ludicrous that claim is.”

    All I will say is that a simple amount of common sense will tell you how ludicrous the claim of evolution from microbes to man is.

  30. Tommy writes: [First, secular science says evolution is fact and they are the ones controlling peer review and those science journals you speak of. Creation, the opposing viewpoint, is the enemy. Why would one allow their enemy to have a voice in their controlled public sources? The idea that an evolutionist would allow their enemy viewpoint to get a voice is laughable.]

    No idea is the enemy. Science loves new ideas. The unknown is what scientists live for. You have no understanding of science, and it is painfully obvious when reading your statements above. Science does not dismiss anything automatically, because science doesn’t have “likes” or “dislikes”. All science requires is data and evidence, research and study. It is the complete LACK of those things that causes creationism to be rejected. Simply put, there isn’t any proof for it. None. A common theme that we’ve been pointing out to you, and for which you’ve failed to provide when repeatedly asked. Not one scrap of evidence is what dooms creationism. That’s why creationists don’t publish papers in peer reviewed journals, because they don’t have anything to back it up, and they know it.

    A few have tried. Take the paper that Mohamad Warda and Jin Han tried to submit to Proteomics back in 2008. I won’t bore you with the details, but they plagiarized material from multiple documents to create a submittal on mitochondria. They tried to stick in a sentence about a “mighty creator” in the middle of it, and “preserved wisdom of the soul” in the conclusion. A simple dishonest attempt to get something published that credits a “creator”, nothing more. There’s your pseudo-scientists in action…steal materials from others and try to pass it off as your own while slipping in unwarranted claims. Those ten commandments don’t count when trying to prop up your dogma, eh?

    [Let’s put it another way. How many of these scientific papers you hold in high esteem would pass peer-review by the Ph.D. creation scientists? Of course they wouldn’t. Anything that concludes we came from a big bang and evolution is going to get thrown own.]

    I’m sure they would throw it out, but on what grounds? Unlike a real scientific publication that accepts works that provide data, research, study, and evidence, your creationist journal would need a different reason, because real science papers have all that. I have no idea what grounds they could use. Maybe you should ask them. Or, maybe you should ask yourself why there aren’t any such publications out there today? If creationists are doing such great research as you claim, if it is so “obvious” with just a little “honest effort”, why isn’t there any professional documenting publication out there? 99% of science accepts the theory of evolution as a sound body of work. How that can be if creationism is so “obvious”? Half of all scientists are religious or believe in a god, yet the vast majority of them side with the 99%. Where is the “obvious” evidence of creation? You can’t even claim conspiracy. It seems the 1% is nothing more than a fringe group of deniers who can’t accept overwhelming evidence and rational conclusions because it doesn’t agree with their ancient texts…

    [Second, ICR.org has a research department and has been doing original research for many years. You can easily find it on their site and see for yourself. So, you were completely dishonest in saying that they don’t do original research]

    Just about everything they’ve done involves taking other people’s research and trying to poke holes in it. That in of itself would be fine too, except that they aren’t honest with it. They lie, purposefully, in order to reach the conclusions they want. They leave out pertinent information, makes claims supposedly backed by math or research that they refuse to release, and make false connections between things, all in the name of the thing they pray to. It’s blatant and rampant, and yet they pull in the suckers who don’t want to have to contemplate the harsh realities of life & death.

    If creationist research was so good, and their claims so obvious, it wouldn’t be consigned to a corner of the world being ignored by the vast majority of scientists…

    [All I will say is that a simple amount of common sense will tell you how ludicrous the claim of evolution from microbes to man is.]

    Fortunately we don’t need to rely on common sense to figure it out. The sheer mountain of data and evidence that supports the theory of evolution does that for us. The proof shows what it true. You know…proof….that thing that creationists can never provide for their claims.

    1. A small addition to Tim’s cogent rebuttal:

      Tommy’s claim that scientists holding peer review are reluctant to allow opposing views to enter the public arena is simply untrue. Here’s one example:

      In 2011 the psychologist Darryl Bem published a paper which appeared to show that human beings could influence the results of an experiment retrospectively. This was a major claim: his data seemed to suggest that time itself was not unidirectional, a finding many found incredulous, and , if true, would have profound implications for just about every field of science. It was a claim far more profound than anything creationists have claimed. I won’t go into detail, so here’s a link to the paper:

      http://dbem.ws/FeelingFuture.pdf

      The first journal he submitted to published the paper after peer review. Yet according to Tommy this never happens because scientists have vested interests in maintaining an ideological status quo. The paper has since been widely debunked on the basis of technical and statistical concerns. But the important point is he was able to get it published. In contrast, when another team of psychologists failed to replicate Bem’s results, several prestigious journals refused to publish their findings.

      If creationist scientists performed research that conformed to scientific methodology and presented novel data, seemingly properly analysed, even if it did not conform to accepted tenets, believe me, they would get published.

      But they don’t.

  31. SmartLX:
    A FULL POINT BY POINT response to your reply (OF TWO WEEKS AGO) to my post.

    PART 1 TO FOLLOW IMMEDIATELY ..

    [I should be most grateful if ALL POSTERS would allow me to finish covering ALL points – and this will take SEVERAL CONSECUTIVE POSTS – before responding. Many thanks – JEFF]

    ‘Not to put too fine a point on it’, SmartLX, but you are significantly in error on ALL points, and there is ‘so much wrong’ with ‘all this’ (i.e. YOUR entire position) – to which I now fully respond.
    [Once again, I ask you all please to do me the courtesy, if you would be so kind, of allowing me to finish my full reply to ALL points – which will be several consecutive posts on here – before responding.
    You can always, if you wish (as I am doing here), separate your responses into consecutive posts also.
    Many thanks again.] – JEFF

    MORE tf >>>>>>>>>>

  32. 1 A) ABIOGENESIS, UREY & MILLER et al …

    Tommy, 13 posts and two weeks ago now (see above), has slightly pre-empted me on this. However, I was about to put it in similar terms myself (‘and then some!’, as they say …).
    The dialogue (or ‘trilogue’, ‘multilogue’) that has since ensued on here – regarding this and other questions and the scientific worth of some kinds of challenge to Darwinian/Neo-Darwinian theories of evolution; while this is interesting no doubt, and with due respect to all posters here: this does not greatly concern me (for reasons which will become clear) and, in fact, I have other, I wll say even more fundamental, consdierations to raise here.

    What Urey and Miller did, of course – way back now in the middle of the last century – was to re-create what THEY thought (especially what Miller thought) were the conditions obtaining in the Pre-Cambrian Earth’s primordial oceans. There have since been not only numerous attempts at repeated variations – including a lfetime of these by Miller himself, it should be said – on what they actually did so long ago … as well as almost endless re-examination of what was actually intended/expected and what exactly they were trying to/supposed to prove. And there have also been equally endless alternative theories about what it might have been like on Earth over three thousand million years ago; as well as what is supposed (for no-one actually knows of course; a point admitted by Miller himself – we come to this in a moment) to have happened then: in sea water shallow or deep, in fresh water, in brackish water, on the margins of the land, on dry land, in volcanic vents, within the primordial Earth’s atmosphere, just beneath its then still young crust etcetera. Very few of these theories, of course, agree about much of anything at all.

    All that Tim says, in attempting to suggest that we are any closer to revealing the secret of alleged abiogenesis is, in fact, merely confirming this plethora of mutually contradictory alternatives … amino acid chains or no; left-, right-, ham-fisted or even from outer space! Haven’t we heard something rather like this before … including Francis Crick’s now infamous alien spaceship with ‘the seeds of life’ on board? (See ‘Life Itself; Its Origin and Nature’ (Mc.Donald), pp. 15-16).
    How desperate we become! Come back Buck Rogers, all is forgiven! And, of course, ‘life from meteorites’ is ‘old hat’ too, Tim. It has been talked about for decades. Miller himself was far from impressed by the idea, as we shall see.

    As has so often been pointed out – from almost every quarter now, including the mainstream scientific community itself – and as on here: what no-one created was LIFE. It was not even the very first inklings of it. No-one now, even in their wildest pseudo-scientfic fantasies, will claim that some kind of interesting ‘gunge’ (or even crystals; the latest hypothetical models … or submarine ice, or magma and so on); even be it full of loads of amino acids, or indeed scraps of proto-protein, is LIFE. I could buy a bottle of some of these from my local health food store or pharmacist! Other experiments attempting to prove abiogenesis (in reality; a fancy name for ‘something out of nothinng’ – in life terms anyway); these more recent experiments have all failed to actually produce LIFE as well.
    Well, let’s be fair: ‘We have only been working at it (assiduosuly) for over six decades now; six decades of increasingly more sophisticated scientific technology, that is of course – and on an aggregate budget running into millions. Give us a chance!’.

    Some scientists have given up the attempt to do so in the laboratory altogether – and now resort instead to various computer simulations. Like Urey and Miller’s original experiments though (or any such other at all), these will only ‘spew forth’ according to what you (the programmers and designers) ‘feed in’. Said Miller himself:-
    “Running equations through a computer does not constitue an experiment.” (See Horgan J.; ‘The End of Science: Facing the Limits of Knowledge in the Twilight of the Scientific Age’. (Addison), Wesley -Reading, UK, p.139). Well, I agree with Miller here! And some of the most recent experiments attempting this are ‘cheats’ – because they begin with synthetically (i.e. intelligently humanly created) polymers, in any case.

    Miller’s own comments – and by the way, he absolutely acknowledged that all of his (lifelong) experiments never produced anything much different from the first (rather less, in fact) and that a racemic mixture of both types of amino acids (L- and R-) – was an INEVITABLE product of such experiments:-
    “We really don’t know what the Earth was like three or four billion years ago. So there are all sorts of theories and speculations.” “I happen to think pre-biotic synthesis happened on Earth, but I admit I could be wrong.”
    Of life from ‘outer space’ (whether from meteorties or whatever), he said:-
    “In my opinion, the amount from these sources [extra-terrestrial matter, like comets, meteors or dust] would have been too small to have effectively contributed to the origin of life … I think the idea that you need some special unnamed compound from space is hard to support.”
    “It may be that life came to Earth from another planet … but still doesn’t answer the question of where life started. You only transfer the problem ..” I COULDN’T HAVE PUT IT BETTER MYSELF!
    And of submanrine vents of volcanic activity (one of many alternative theories, as we saw), he said:-
    “Submarine vents don’t make organic compounds, they decompose them.”
    (These quotes from an interview with Miller given in 1996, by Sean Henahan. (See ‘From Primordial Soup to the Pre-Biotic Beach’)).

    George Wald, who as you know worked with Francis Crick, rather ‘let the cat out of the bag’ as to REAL motivations here:-
    “When it comes to the origin of life on this Earth, there are only two possibilities; creation or spontaneous generation. There is no third way. Spontaneous generation was disproved 100 years ago.” [Indeed it was, as Ward well knew, by Pasteur (more on that later) – and, in fact, a century before Pasteur by Spallanzi (and earlier still by Redit)]
    “but that leads us to only one conclusion: that of SUPERNATURAL CREATION. We cannot accept that.” [Of course not; because of Wald’s atheisitic dogmatism] “.. therefore, we choose to believe THE IMPOSSIBLE: that life arose spontaneously by chance.”
    (See Scott M. Huse; ‘The Collapse of Evolution’ (Baker Book House), p.3) My caps and annotations.

    My logical point absolutely stands. All DESIGNED experiments are proofs of design in the system somewhere – i.e. a wilful and pre-determining intelligence – whatever else they may seek to prove or disprove. They can never be otherwise. This is not ‘rocket science’. This is kindergarten stuff! Miller was right!

    1 B) ‘NOT EVEN CLOSE’
    Even were we able to do a ‘Boeing 747 gambit’ and prove one (See Hoyle; quoted Michael Joseph; ‘The Intelligent Universe’, London, 1983, p. 19) – well, and the calculations of convinced atheist, world-renowned astronomer, physicist and mathematician Sir Fred Hoyle (more from him too, later, by the way!) on the odds AGAINST spontaneous creation of life on Earth by any non-intelligently guided means at all; these are truly and literally ASTRONOMICAL, and were enough, Hoyle admitted, to shake the very basis of his own atheism to its foundations, and led him to publicly assert (in his characteristically blunt way) that it is as if:-
    “a superintelligent has monkeyed with physics as well as chemistry and biology” “there are NO BLIND FORCES IN NATURE WORTH TALKING ABOUT.” (See ‘Annual Reviews of Astronomy and Astrophysics’ # 20, 1982. p. 16). My caps

    … yet even were we able, by some species of miracle (and it would, indeed, be a ‘miracle’) to succeed in producing REAL DNA (or even RNA for that matter), for actual life-building – from nothing but basic chemicals; it would still be very, very far indeed from what is needed to ‘assemble itself into’ even the very simplest conceivable prokaryotic or akaryotic unicell; and of course we don’t even know – we merely assume – that that is what the first life was like. Hoyle showed (and other scientists and mathematicians have done so since) that the odds against this would require SEVERAL UNIVERSES WORTH of time for it to happen (even assuming that is, that the process could carry over from one to the next! Hmmm!), running into thousands and thousands of millions of years – just to produce ONE CELL! The statistics just get silly! They produce improbablilties so vast that just to write the numbers out in full would literally fill up the entire volume of THIS universe!

    1 C) ‘MONKEY PUZZLE’
    The ‘infinite monkey(s)’ argument is another old favourite ‘chestnut’ (very apt!). The principle is, in fact, very, very old and a modern version of it has been much vaunted by evolutionists (especially atheist ones). It is really just another variation on the ludicrous ‘given enough time, anything is possible’ arguments of Dawkins (and others) – more of that later. Quite apart from the dismally disappointing results produced by virtual monkeys at such tasks – and even with all the prgramming absolutely SKEWED in favour); well, the experiment, or a version of, has actually been done – with REAL monkeys; Indonesian macaques, six of them (named Elmo, Rowan, Mistletoe, Gum, Heather and Holly) at Paignton Zoo in Devon, UK, in 2003. The results were, of course, utterly pathetic. Apart from hitting the keybooard with a stone and using it as a lavatory – left alone, they couldn’t even manage ONE word; not even the shortest word in the English language: the indefinite article ‘a’. Mike Phillips, the principal researcher who set up the experiment, commented (sardonically) that English was clearly not their language! – and he agreed that the experiment is of little encouragment to those who argue for a ‘random generator’ (as the unplanned causation of life, or even of the universe itself for that matter) and the zoo’s own Scientific Officer, Dr. Amy Plowman agrees that one thing the experimnent did conclusively achieve was to show that the ‘infinite monkey’ principle is utter nonsense. (See:
    Bernbuam, B (2003) ‘Monkey Theorem Proven Wrong’ (Acces Research Network; http://www.arn.org/docs2/news/monkeyandtypewriters051103.htm)
    BBC News 2003 ‘Monkeys Fail to Produce Masterpiece’ (bbc.uk/eleven/news_features/2003/monkey_words.html)
    MSNBC Science News 2003 ‘Typing Monkeys But No Shakespeare’ (msnbc.com/news/911508.asp?Osi=)

    The probablitlies against are great drawing room joke fodder. One can dine out on them for years! But how many universes’ worth do you want? According to Dr. Ian Stewart, Emeritus Professor of Mathematics, Warwick University, you would need a least 13 billion years. The odds against randomly producing a single strand of actually encoded DNA, capable of producing even one actual life function (even the very simplest) – these have been calculated by numerous scientists, of many disciplines, as MANY TIMES that number all over again, and then again some more. Pasteur was not, and is not, a lone voice by any means (more on him, later).

    [Okay, I’m far from finished yet, of course. I thank you in adance for your forbearance. As soon as this post is uploaded, I begin inputting my next –
    this will deal with your SECOND POINT – about Darwin; what he actually said (and did not say) what he actually meant and why every version of Darwinian theory (including all modern varieities of it) doesn’t work …

    MORE TO FOLLOW CONSECUTIVELY >>>>>>>>

  33. CONTINUATION >>>> PART 2

    POINT 2 – DARWIN ON ‘NATURE’ AND – IS EVOLUTIONARY THEORY WORKABLE??

    2 A) DARWIN’S ‘NATURE’? NOT ‘RANDOM MUTATION’ (HE KNEW NOTHING OF GENETICS)
    Darwin, in the paragraph we both here discuss, could not possibly have been postulating anything of such ilk as ‘random mutation’ – as the motor of anything at all, in fact; which we both agree, in any case – even if we could prove it – does not take us very far by itself. Darwin knew nothing of the science of genetics or the laws of genetic inheritance or of how they actually operate in reality. There is, of course, no mention of anything like this anywhere in his thesis. I think you know that perfectly well. The fact is, of course, that Darwin DID NOT HAVE A CLUE how the process of alleged transmutation from one species to another was supposed to happen. He observed (superficially, with no knowledge at all, of course, of chromosomes or genes or alleles or DNA (or even RNA)); he observed variation WITHIN species – which no-one, of course, denies – and simply made an (unfounded) ‘leap of logic’ – as most modern evolutionists do – that the same could be extrapolated, but writ much larger, for transformation from one species to another enitirely different one. There are so many problems with this that I would need, probably, at least one whole long essay to disentangle the great cumulus of myths here … and, in fact, I have written on this.

    The views on this of our ‘old friend’, confirmed atheist Sir Fred Hoyle (I said he’d be back again, didn’t I?), who even Dawkins admits was very ‘waspish’ (sharp and stinging, if you wish) about both Darwin and all theories of evolution (See ‘The Selfish Gene’; 30th Anniversary Edn. 2006; End note to Chapter 4, p. 53 (pp. 277-278) OUP) … Hoyle’s views are, as ever, very illuminating:-
    “As it became clear that the Darwinian theory COULD NOT BE BROADLY CORRECT, a question still remained .. when ideas are based on observations, as the Darwinian theory certainly was” [Here Holyle means, of course – as is patently evident from any reading of Darwin’s own paper – observations merely of the great variety of life forms (for Darwin was a naturalist, of course) and of variations WITHIN SPECIES found in nature (which have been observed, of course, for millenia), within Darwin’s own children (he had a very large family) and WITHIN domesticated species selectively bred by humans – Darwin was a keen observer of livestock breeding and had many friends who were breeders – (and, of course, the possibility of these kind of variations had, in any case, been known since ancient times).]
    Hoyle continues: “it is usual for them” (i.e such limited conclusions) “to be valid at least WITHIN THE RANGE OF THE OBSERVATIONS” [Exactly!] “It is when EXTRAPOLATIONS are made OUTSIDE THE RANGE OF OBSERVATIONS that troubles may arise so the issue that presented itself was to determine JUST HOW FAR THE THEORY WAS VALID and exactly why BEYOND A CERTAIN POINT IT BECAME INVALID.”
    “Well, as COMMON SENSE would suggest, the Darwinian theory is correct IN THE SMALL but not in the large. Rabbits come from slightly different rabbits, not from either [primaeval] soup or potatoes.” – and he goes on to suggest that he (an atheist, who can offer no explanation of his own for such things) thinks we are still in as much a mystery about the real explanation of this – as with the actual causation of the universe – as ever. (See ‘The Mathematics of Evolution’ (Weston Publications), UC Cardiff Press, 1987, p. 7). My caps and annotations.

    2 B) WHAT (IN BLUE BLAZES!) IS THIS ‘NATURAL SELECTION’ ANYWAY .. APART FROM JUST A TRUISM (A STATEMENT OF THE OBVIOUS)?
    In any case, since we both agree that ‘random mutation’ by itself alone cannot fit the bill – Dawkins himself is absolutely unequivocal on this point:-
    “It is grindingly, creakingly, crashingly obvious that if Darwinism were really a theory of chance” [IT IS!!] “IT COULDN’T WORK.” [It doesn’t!] “You don’t need to be a mathematician or a physicist to calculate that an eye or a haemoglobin molecule would take FROM HERE TO INFINTY to self-asemble by sheer higgeldy-piggeldy luck.”
    (‘The Blind Watchmaker’, (Norton), NY, 1986, p. 9). My caps and annotations. – and if that is true of species then it absolutely HAS to be MEGA true of ‘abiogenesis’; otherwise Dawkins himself is a liar! No ‘abiogenesis’, no evolution. Or, to put it stil more bluntly: ‘no random microbes (in the first place); no microbes to men’.

    So that leaves us with this alleged ‘random mutation’ (Dawkins’ ‘higgeldy-piggedly luck’, by very definiton, surely!) SUPPORTED BY …. ?? Supported by so-called ‘natural selection’ – the only other possible mechanism which any form of Darwinian/Neo-Darwinian theory can offer. But what is it exactly (if anything at all)?
    ‘Natural Selection’ – if it meant a wilful, pre-determining and intelligently overseen ‘nature’; this WOULD ‘fit the bill’. Darwin himself does not say this, but he is IMPOSSIBLY vague about what his ‘natural selection’ actually is/was. We simply cannot let either Darwin or any of his modern disciples get away with this vacuous phrase. It is a mantra. You know it is. Logically, all it is saying is that:
    a) the most suitable variations wihtin the species survive because they are best adapted to the survival environment (obvious statement #1)
    b) these are the ones that reproduce (duh!) c) what they give birth to are varieties which are best equpped to survive in the current survival environment. Even a moment’s thought can show (as any school pupil can see) that this is entirely circular logic. It is, in fact, a closed circle of logic. It is really saying nothing. The best survivors survive; they have offspring which are the best survivors that survive, these have offspring .. etcetera. One is put in mind rather (while we are on the subject or rabbits!) of that old party teaser, once quoted on UK televison (circa 1969) by media personality and celebrity Clement Freud (grandson of the famous psychologist):-
    Q Why do rabbits have more fun than people?
    A Because there are more rabbits than people.
    Q Why are there more rabbits than people?
    A Because rabbits have more fun than people
    … etcetera.

    Darwin, in fact, outside of a section head or two – he doesn’t even use it in the main title of his thesis – barely uses the phrase ‘natural selection’. He certainly neither explains nor defines it. What he does talk of, though, is ‘nature’. His whole paper, as we know, is very heavily ‘double bet hedged’ against the possibility of him being entirely wrong. It is larded everywhere with conditional and subjunctive assertions. He knew full well (and so do you) that of actual proof he had none, and this massive problem, as we see, almost literally worried the rest of his life out of him. You simply cannot ignore this. Only can you do so if you – or any of your fellow evolutionists – can ACTUALLY SHOW (not just postulate or hypothesise or speculate) real proofs of transmutation from one life form species to another completely different one – then prove how this ‘natural selection’ favoured or favours one particular alleged mutation or mutations. You can’t. It has never been done.

    2 C) THE FOSSIL RECORD – WHAT IT TELLS US, AND WHAT IT DOESN’T TELL ..
    The fossil record tells us much about the evident succession of life on Earth over millions of millenia, yes – most importantly, VITALLY IMPORTANTLY, though, this shows a LOGICAL (if complex) but not a RANDOM procession at all. Even Dawkins admits that ‘The world looks as though it has been designed by a master craftsman’ (said in interval talk during a UK BBC radio broadcast of Haydn’s ‘Creation’. Cf also: ‘The Blind Watchmaker’ (ibid)). – but, of course, he then goes on to deny (as his dogmatism demands that he must) that this evident, logical and simplest explanation can be true.

    The fossil record, in fact, is open to MYRIAD interpretations. It raises at least as many questions as it seems to answer. Every honest palaeontologist knows this. There is so very much that it does NOT tell us, and so very much of Darwinian and Neo-Darwinian theory that it does NOT vindicate at all. For example, Professor David Raup, of the Field Museum of Natural History, which houses many thousands and thousands of individual fossils – the largest collection in the world, in fact – has said:-
    “We now have A QUARTER OF A MILLION FOSSIL SPECIES” yet “we [120 years later] have even FEWER exampes of evolutionary transition than we had in Darwin’s time.” (See ‘Conflicts Between Darwin and Palaeontology’, FMNH Bulletin, Jan 1979)

    It is noteworthy that the sternest initial criticism of Darwin’s theory came not, in fact, from clerics or the Church but from the PALAEONTOLGISTS of Darwin’s own day and Darwin himself admitted that “the number of intermediate varieties which have existed on Earth should be TRULY ENORMOUS.” A careful distinction must be made here – which the best-informed palaeontologists themselves recognise – between an INTERMEDIATE fossil and a TRANSITIONAL one. Most physical scientists recognise a distinction between an INTERMEDIATE STATE and a TRANSITIONAL one. The former (the INTERMEDIATE state) is a rather short-lived and relatively unstable one. In biological terms, this cannot be a true, fully formed species which remained stable and little altered for many, many generations. That is not an INTERMEDIATE life form. In a TRANSITIONAL state, by contrast, we have that which is now clearly no longer “A” (let us say; its alleged predecessor). It is not even “A’ ” (an altering “A”, unstable and short-lived and on its way to becoming “B”), no; it is already “B” (the new thing), in its first fully-formed ‘flush’, so to speak. This is what Raup (see above), and others we shall hear from, mean by the woeful lack of evidence in the fossil record for these actual INTERMEDIATE VARIETIES (the alleged mutuating or transforming “A” shall we say, on way to becoming “B”). It simply isn’t there. This is what worried Darwin and, as we saw, we are at very best no better off in that regard than was the case 150 years ago. “And this perhaps” continues Darwin, as usual trying to hedge his bets “is the most obvious and gravest objection which can be urged against my theory” (‘On the Origin of Species’, orig. pub, 1859).

    Professor Niles Eldridge (b. 1943) of the American Museum of Natural History has openly admitted:
    “We palaeontologists have said that the history of life supports [the story of gradual adaptive change], knowing all the while that it does NOT.” “Once species appear in the fossil record THEY TEND NOT TO CHANGE VERY MUCH AT ALL. Species remain imperturbably, implaccably resistant to change as a matter of course OFTEN FOR MILLIONS OF YEARS.” (‘Re-inventing Darwin’, NY & Phoenix, 1996, p. 3), My caps.
    Eldridge, in fact, accuses evolutionists like Dawkins and Dennett of being weak on palaeontology. They are! Of course, species tend to remain more or less the same as long as they are surviving at all. This is a truism also. It is how nature – and, unlike Darwin, I know EXACTLY what I mean by that – preserves the integrity of the species. It doesn’t do so by favouring the weirdos and the oddities .. and, in fact, I have argued this elsewhere.
    Said Dr. Colin Patterson (1933-1998) of the British Museum of Natural History “There is not one such fossil” [what he calls an ‘ancestral’ or even ‘transitional’] “for which we could make a watertight argument.” “IT IS ALL VERY WELL TO MAKE UP STORIES of how one form gave rise to another … But such stories ARE NOT SCIENCE, for there is no way to put them to the test.” (See Davis and Kenyon ‘Of Pandas and People’ (Haughton pub. co.), Dallas, 1989, p. 16 – orig, from a letter written to Luther Sutherland, dated 10th April, 1979). My caps.
    Of still more especial interest here is the fact that he came to this conclusion after examining the now famous fossil ARCHAEOPTERYX – at one time so much halied as an indisputable ‘missing link’ between reptile and bird … but now widely regarded as just a strange animal – rather in company with, say, the still living kiwi (not the fruit or the shoe polish!) of New Zealand or the platypus of Australia – and this fossil was at the time under Patterson’s care and close investigation.

    Of the many millions and millions of individual fossils now found, and still being found, the overwhelming majority are simply ‘more of the same’ (of species already well known to science, well studied and showing no real novelty of change of any kind).
    Atheist Professor Stephen Jay Gould, a close colleague of Eldridge, has memorably admiitted that “The extreme rarity of transitional forms” [he means, of course, what I would call INTERMEDIATE FORMS] “persists as the trade secret of palaeontology”
    (‘Evolution’s Erratic Place’ in ‘Natural History’ #86, 1997). “The history of most fossil species” he says “includes two features PARTICULARLY INCONSISTENT with the idea that they gradually evolved:
    1 Stasis. Most species exhibit no directional change during their tenure on Earth. They appear in the fossil record looking pretty much the same as when they DISAPPEAR ..
    2 Sudden appearance .. a species does NOT arise gradually BY THE STEADY TRANSFORMATION OF ITS ANCESTORS; IT APPEARS ALL AT ONCE AND ‘FULLY FORMED’. ”
    (See ‘The Episodic Nature of Evolutionary Change in the Panda’s Thumb’ (WW Norton), NY, 1985. My caps and annotations.

    Exactly! It was this intensely worrying problem that eventually led Gould (and others) to postulate the alternative theory of ‘Punctuated Equilibrium’ – a theory which has little support today, either in or out of the scientfiic community – and even Gould himself later abandoned it. Again, to discuss its problems would warrant at least another whole post.

    2 D) WHERE HAVE ALL THE REJECTS GONE (LONG TIME PASSING ..)? WHERE HAVE ALL THE INTERMEDIATES GONE (LONG TIME AGO ..)? WHERE HAVE ALL THESE ‘MUTANTS’ GONE – FAILED TO BE FOSSILS, EVERY ONE: WHEN WILL (THESE EVOLUTIONISTS) EVER LEARN? WHEN WILL THEY EVER LEARN?
    For every successful ‘mutation’ (according to YOUR version of events), which went on to become a ‘success story’, there ought to be at least ONE, rather several surely, ‘also rans’, that ‘natural selection’ (according to your version of events) ‘rejected’. And, even if these never bore any young, indeed even if they were destoyed as juveniles (either by their parents or by the other alleged ‘better surviving mutations’); they should still have just as good a chance of fossilising as the ‘alpha male and female survivors’ – if they were born at all. This is obvious. Yet there is NOT ONE, in many millions of fossils, not a single one of these ‘dropped balls’ which Neo-Darwinism demands even more, in fact, than did Darwin’s original sketchy and vague musings. Among the primordial marine life, both marine and terrestrial plant life, the marine invertebrates, crustaceans, insects, fishes, amphibia, reptiles, the dinosaurs (big mystery all by itself that one – their sudden demise – which your theory of ‘natural selection’ is much at a loss to explain), nor among the birds or mammals; not even among the primates and early hominids; not a single one.

    The argument that fossils are extremely rare in any case is a favourite argument of evolutionists. Quite so! The exact odds against any organism at all fossilising are extremely difficult to calculate, and will depend on the TYPE of fossil (and the body-part construction of the organism itself), where when and under what circumstances it perished and what happened to it subsequently, and so on. Palaeontologist Professor Donald Prothero (b. 1954) has done an exmeplifying study of the nine major phyla of well-skeletalised marine invertebrate fossil species found and, allowing the sort of computations which most taphonomists allow – to account for the 600 million years since multicellular life forms first appear in the fossil record, and allowing for the fact that we have today some 250,000 known species of fossil plant and animal – often thought to represent, perhaps 5% of all species living on Earth today … and factoring in, too, the most commonly used figures to allow for the great imponderables of the random chance of actual fossilisation without subsequent destruction, and the chances of us actually discovering these: he arrives at a figure suggesting that around 85% to 97% of all species, in this sample grouping anyway, have never fossilised or been found as fossils – i.e. around 3 to 15% of them have become fossil species now known to science.
    (See his article ‘Fossil Record’ in ‘Encycopaedia of Palaeontology’; Fitzroy (Dearborn Pubs.) Chicago, 1999 (Ed. R, Singer)).

    So the rarity of the fossilisation argument is a good explanation of why we have not more fossil species. Yet even so, in so many millions of fossils, so many of which are of the same creature and not much different from each other (allowing for the normal range of variation which we encounter within species to this day); that is, to put it bluntly (Hoyle-like): a HELLUVA lot of fossils wihtin which to have NO INTERMEDIATES at all (or at least not one for which we can make a ‘watertight argument’ – as Patterson noted (see above)).

    ALL the fossils we have are the ‘winners’ who ‘made it past the post’! All versions of Darwinian evolutionary theory have a MASSIVE problem here. And, unlless something very strange indeed has been going on, these ‘failures’ should have just as good a chance of fossilising as the ‘winners’. True? (If fossilisation is, as it obviously is, an entirely random process). And, in fact, one imagines that any schoolchild could see that. If the theory is right, these, in fact, should VASTLY OUTNUMBER the successes. Where are they? They are not there – conspicuous by their absecne, we might say. Darwin saw this (as we noted). No wonder it gave him sleepless nights and literally worried him sick! For Darwin, the great problem was what he could no longer allow himself to believe (after the tragic loss of his favourite daughter) and how, oh how he agonised in vain to come to terms with his own insecurity about the divine. That is why he is so ambiguous about what he meant by ‘natural selection’.

    There are no ‘runts’, deformities, no weaklings, no ‘sickies’, no ‘almost-rights-but-not-quites’ preserved in the fossil record. Not one. In millions of individiual fossils, there is not one; they are simply not there. Can you explain this? I can. Because these are very much the exception in nature, not the rule. They are not nature’s series of numerous ‘try-outs’ ’till she [interesting, that we call nature ‘she’, by the way] gets it right. She gets it right first time, every time and leaves it that way, sometimes for millions of years (that’s, in some cases, many thousands and thousands of generations) – as Gould noted – until either that particular species goes extinct altogether, or else survives (as many have), hardly altered – for thousands of millions of years, in some cases – right up to the present day. Not only is there no evidence to support your theories of evolution; there is strong scientific evidence AGAINST them. Gould knows this. Elderidge knows this. Raup knows this. Patterson knew this. Hoyle, Wald and Crick knew this too – though they were atheists all three. Dawkins and Dennett, if only they are honest (and care to examine the actual palaeontological record, of which the likes of Gould, Eldridge and Raup pronounce them, rightly, so ignorant); they know this as well. Pasteur, Virchow, Lister and Koch knew this (as we shall see) and so did Darwin himself – though he falied to draw the obvious conclusion from this and chose, instead, to tie himself up into emotinal and intellectual knots about it …

    Atheists like Dawkins HAVE to deny that there is any kind of overarching plan to nature (See ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’ – and read there some absolute nonsense re: predators and prey on the African grasslands … Dawkins really ought to be better informed about this; he was raised there as a boy). For them, all this HAS to be explained in terms of ‘selfish genes’ (survival for ONE species alone) and a ‘blind watchmaker’ (incidentally; have you ever met a blind man or woman who could make a watch?). Darwin, as we saw, was not nearly so dogmatic. Consult highly respected zoologists, botanists, biologists, ecologists like Sir David Attenborough, Professor David Bellamy, Dr. Desmond Morris – for a much more informed and wider view. If there is an ‘ecosystem’ at all (there is!) and any kind of balance in nature (There is! The overwhelming majority of biological scientists and the educated public generally know that), then this ‘natural selection’ HAS to be willed, planned, guided … and can only be so by something masterminding it all (as Dawkins admits – yet dare not let himself admit!). Because this is all so obvious and, once again, common sense (as Hoyle would, no doubt have characteristically bluntly put it), then it is for those who argue otherwise; that the blindingly obvious (which even Dawkins admits to) is NOT the truth – the onus is on THEM (AND YOU) to prove that this is so. Thus far, after nearly a hundred and fifty years of their dogmatism, they (and you) cannot – and they (and you) never will. I return to this point presently, in discussing where the actual BURDEN OF PROOF (and OF DISPROOF) actually lies …

    What Darwin REALLY said, in the paragrpah we are both discussing, is this: –
    “As man can produce and certainly has produced a great result by his methodological and unconscious means of selection” [I would disagree that this, and the examples he gives, is UNconscious at all. It is very much the work of a (human) pre-determining intelligence – as indeed his work on pigeon-breeding shows. We humans have been very deliberately selectively breeding beasts of burden, livestock, agricultural and horticultural plants, domestic pets – for literally thousands of years … yet never once produced any new actual species of course. What is more; Darwin knew all this perfectly well.]
    “What may not nature effect? Man can only act on external and visible characters,; nature … can act on every internal organ and every shade of constitutional difference, on the whole machinery of life … How fleeting are the wishes and efforts of man! how short his time! and consequently how poor will his products be … Can we wonder, then, that nature’s productions should be far “truer” in character than man’s productions, that they should be infinitely better adapted to the most complex conditions of life, AND SHOULD BEAR THE STAMP OF FAR HIGHER WORKMANSHIP?”
    (‘On the Origin of Species’. Orig. pub: (John Murray, 1859)). My caps and annotation.

    The gloss you put on this is false.

    [Okay – zzzzz – it’s very late now (4.30 am in UK) and I really can’t do any more just now. I’m halfway through my arguments, and my point by point reply.
    If you will continue to be patient all – I will take up to tomorrow my two remaining major points in reply (two more consecutive posts to follow then). Until then – good night all.
    Keep watching this space tomorrow. Many thanks – JEFF]
    [Lights out!]

    If I were to find, say
    But the fossil record is also open to MYRIAD interpretations.

  34. Hi everyne. I’m back again (didn’t think you could get rid of me that easily, did you? lol!). Thank you all, once again, for your patience and forbearance. Last night (until the ‘whee small hours’ crept up on me!) I got about halfway through my detailed point by point by point response to SmartLX’ s reply to my post of two weeks ago.
    I now continue, dealing with the FOURTH point; regarding scientists of belief throughout Western history and whether this (as SmartLX alleges) this ‘proves nothing’ … or whether it very definitely DOES prove something and cannnot be ignored …

    [MY NEXT CONSECUTIVE POST, THEREFORE, FOLLOWS DIRECTLY (just as a soon as I have entered and uploaded it). Thanks for waiting, and for giving me a ‘fair hearing’ ]
    mf >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

  35. Jeff – I will await for the remainder of your posts before responding, as you ask, but I would like to make a general comment if I may. I fail to see how quoting people who have been dead for 150 years offers up any usefulness in this discussion. What Hoyle thought of Darwin is, to be blunt, utterly useless. Most of the posts that precede yours have been focused on logic, data, and evidence. Sticking to that is, in my humble opinion, a much better product of your efforts, compared to telling us what Darwin didn’t know about genetics in the 1800s for example.

    Thanks for your efforts and I look forward to the rest of your posts.

  36. CONTINUATION – PART 3 (of 4)

    Regarding: THE LONG, LONG ROLL CALL OF SCIENTISTS OF BELIEF (throughout Western history – and indeed up to the present day): DOES THIS PROVE ANYTHING; WHY DID THEY ALL HAVE CERTAIN BELEIF? THE DEFUALT POSITION HERE (AND INDEED WHERE DOES ‘THE BURDEN OF PROOF’ AND THE BURDEN OF DISPROOF) LIE?)

    3 A) THE LONG ROLL CALL OF SCIENTISTS WHO MADE SCIENCE ITSELF (MORE THAN 90% WERE/ARE OF THEIST BELEIEF)
    Many scientists still ARE (and not just ‘WERE’), as you put it, ‘theists’ or ‘deists’ (and I have never yet met a scientist, I will have to say, who is the latter. I assume that we all know the difference here between a theist and a deist?). And these, by no means whatever, were or are, as you again suggest, ‘pre-Darwin’. The list could easily run into several volumes, and – quite apart from so many of them from antuquity up to the present day – might include such stellar (rather literally, in some cases, as we’ll see!) twentieth and twenty-first century names as Jung, Eddington, Fleming, the Leakeys, Jeans, Schrodinger, Franklin, philosopher Gilbert Ryle and, in still more modern times: the much beloved British astronomer Sir Patrick Moore (1923-2012); the still living Fancis Collins (b. 1950) former head of the Genome Project; foremost American philosopher Alvin Plantinga (b. 1932); award-winning physicists/cosmologists Paul Davies (b. 1946) and Arno Penzias (b. 1933); theoretical physicist and mathematicin Freeman Dyson (b. 1923) and here in UK: Professor of Mathematics and Philosopher of Science John Lennox of Oxford (b.1945); Kathleen Jones (1922- 2010) Professor of Social Policy, York University and Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists; Baroness Susan Greenfield (b. 1950) former Head of the Royal Institution, Professor of Synaptic Pharmacology and poineer of treatment for neuro diseaes like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s; Lord Robert Winston (b. 1940) Physician, Gaenocologist, author and television celebrity and pioneer of IVF; and of course theoretical physicist the Rev Dr. John Polkinghorne (b. 1930). And that, of course, is just a ‘sprinkling’ – of highly respected moden scientists, many of them recipients of high accolades and honours for their pioneering work, and from most of the major scientific fields of enterperise. Unlike the likes of Dawkins and Dennett, they have each of them in their respective field made genuine new and valuable contributions to science and for the benefit of humankind. The list could, of course, have gone on and on … DON’T let anyone ever tell me that Darwin (or anybody else, for that matter) ever drove the scientists of belief underground or out of existence. That is utter rubbish! In fact, the real atheists among them were, and are very much in minority and always have been – even though they so often seem to be the loudest, crudest and most raucous on such issues (one wonders indeed why they find it necessary to be so!). Statistically, they are an aberration from the norm.

    The fact that I (or anyone else who cares to, in fact) can so easly list so many of the greatest scientists who ever lived, and some who are still living, who – as you put it – are ‘on my side’; this does not ‘prove nothing’. None of these great pioneering scientists were people of some spiritual belief simply as a ‘badge’ to wear or some kind of neat little clique or ‘club’ in which to ‘pal around’ with others. For not a single one of them was it a matter so rather shallow as voting a particular political party, say, or supporting a favourite soccer or football team. Hell no! For every one of them, it was the very raison d’etre of their science itself. I could easliy fill this thread chock full if I chose to (but I won’t) with quotes from most of them (about the ultimate causation beyond all science; its very sine qua non in fact) – and these would leave us with no shred of doubt whatever on that point.

    3 B) ‘THE BURDEN OF PROOF’ (OR, RATHER; THE BURDEN OF DISPROOF OF THE DEFAULT POSITION)
    So far from ‘proving nothing’, in fact, what this actullay does is to merely inderscore my point that the ‘burden of proof’ (your own phrase, by the way) rests not with us, but with YOU. That is to say: against the vast weight of millenia of scientific progress and pioneering scientists – as well as, of course, the overwhelming majority of humankind, in every culture … and since even before the dawn of history; perhaps fifty thousand years ago, when Homo Sapiens first appeared on Earth. It is for YOU to prove that all were and are wrong; wrong in asserting (some of them in highly articulate scientific terms) the existence of exactly the kind of entity for which I (and we) are here arguing. It is NOT the other way around! To put it, perhaps, an easier way: the BURDEN OF DISPROOF (of the existence of such an entity) rests with you; not vice versa.

    Aynone who understands perhaps even the few most basic principles of legal investigation – from which this phrase is lifted of course (and it is the same principle, in fact, in science) – will be aware that THE BURDEN OF PROOF ALWAYS RESTS WITH THE CHALLENGER TO THE DEFAULT POSITION. In the case of a criminal proceeding this is obvious: the default position is the accused’s innocence of the crime charged. It is for the prosecution to prove the accused’s gullt – i.e. TO DISPROVE his/her innocence of the crime charged (TO DISPROVE THE DEFAULT POSITION).

    The default position is ours, not yours. It always has been. In more than two and a half thousand years, those who challenge(d) it have still yet to DISPROVE the existence of that entity. They cannot. You cannot. You never will.

    Aristotle, Bacon, Descartes, Harvey, Linnaeus, Steno, Faraday, Mendel, Le Maitre, Pasteur, Davey … men like Darwin and Russell were the ‘odd men out’ in this regard and, for those who care to study their biographies, it will be often found that these were individuals who either lost thier faith, or struggled (even if privately, in many cases) ever to find it. Both Darwin and Russell come in this category. For the many, many that continued, and continue, to believe it is no mere matter of going to church or whatever and going through the motions of rituals. These were, and are, men and women of deep and highly considered belief. They all knew/know that everything in their (various) compartments of the human knowledge that we call science was and is only possible because of our kindred nature to this entity; this ‘superbeing’ (to borrow from Hoyle – see my first recent post, (PART 1 of my reply) above) which was, is, and continues to be the only primal causation of it all. Every one of them could have been an athiest, had they chosen to. But they did not choose to. And neither do the many, many believing scientists of our own time. Even the refuseniks like yourself, we will say, are stil of the same kindred nature as this entity. How else could our intellect ever have led us to science in the first place? Philosopher Professor Plantinga makes this point rather well, and often (check out any of his online lectures on this – he has given many). That is, we can say; when we ( as the human species), uniquely among all life forms on Earth, were ready for science. Oh yes, the old mythology and superstition of the Bronze Age world was swept away in the process – and quite rightly so. But, HIGHLY SIGNIFICANTLY, the belief in a wilful, sentient and pre-determining intelligence – as ultimate causator and overseer of the cosmic all: this did NOT weaken with the advance of scientific thinking. Au contraire: it STRENGTHENED with it, and the one went, still goes for most of us, absolutely hand-in-glove with the other. Why esle would there even BE a key to unlocking its (this cosmos’ and all within it) apparent mysteries … if the key itself (and the lock – we call this the laws of science; and they are PREDICATBLE, not random) had not been carefully designed and cast and put there for us – with our unique intellect to decipher it. I could, once again, quote droves of scientists who believed, and believe, that.

    Can you prove all these scientists (and all of us – and the overwhelming majority of humankind since prehistoric times) wrong? I’d like to see you try! The best you can possibly offer is that YOU THINK they/we were and are all wrong. As far as a ‘burden of disproof’ is concerned: that would, frankly, be laughed out of court! As far as calling that a ‘scientific position’ is concerned: one merely collapses in hysterics (rather as men like Einstein were inclined to do whenever presented with such a spurious case).

    I cannot speak for everyone, obviously, Tim – but I myself do not need to rely on ‘creationist’ takes on science, old or new … nor on ‘anti-science’ either, for that matter. I mostly quote from, and reference (as you see) those who should be, I would have thought, your (and SmartLX’s) natural supporters, fellow atheists, some of your natural ‘champions, ‘ ‘heroes’, and ‘spokespersons’ … ? But they’re not helping you very much here at all, are they?

    3 C) HAWKING
    I thank you, SmartLX, for your link to the article re: HAWKING. However, Hawking’s alleged recent ‘clarification’ about his atheism is actually ‘yesterday’s news’. He clarified long ago that he is an atheist. He is not, and never was, any kind of ‘poet’. He is not even a very good purveyor of futuristic science fiction (though he sometimes attempts a travesty of this); brilliant theoretical physicist and defiant marvel to medical science though he unquestionably is. He sometimes, very misguidedly indeed in my view, essays to be a species of scientific prophet, and in this he fails abysmally. He falls far short, I’m afraid, of the insights of a man like Einstein.

    His concluding lines to ‘A Brief History of Time’ – so often quoted (and sometimes MISquoted) are, in fact, only ONE OF SEVERAL (and not, in fact, the most telling) instances where he concedes, intellectually and on logical grounds, to the best probability of such an entity as I describe being ultimate planner/designer and causation of this universe and he, an atheist, DOES, in fact, use the word ‘GOD’ … not facetiously or derisively but credilbly. You will note that I am here preferring a rather more scientically rigorous term (of my own devising for such purposes): ‘a wilful and sentient pre-determining intelligence’. However, in company with many of the greatest scientists who have ever lived, I am in no doubt whatever as to the true nature of this entity. That, however, is a different discussion.

    HAWKING:-
    “These laws [i.e. the laws of physics which govern the universe] may have been originally decreed by God.”
    “It would be very difficult to explain why the universe should have begun in just this way EXCEPT AS THE ACT OF A GOD WHO INTENDED TO CREATE BEINGS LIKE US”. (Ibid. My caps).

    “Although science may solve the problem of HOW the universe began” [And Hawking himself offers intigruigingly comprehensive theories about the actual PHYSICS and COSMOLOGY of it all – many of them theories which he himself was instrumental in developing] “It cannot answer the question: WHY does the universe bother to exist.”
    (‘Black Holes and Baby Universes’ (Bantam Books), p. 90). My caps and annotation.

    Elsewhere, he even speculates as to what options may have been available to GOD (again; his own word) in setting up the parameters of the universe itself (op. cit., 2nd Edn, pp. 232-233); how INCREDIBLY ‘FINE TUNED’ the parameters were/are that would be not only necesary to get this particular universe going – rather than any other – in the first place. [Questions regarding other possible universes; these are also of a different discussion. We cannot deal with those questions here.] – and, he goes on, EVEN MORE SO (i.e. ultra ‘fine tuning’) is/was this necesary for life to originate anywhere at all within this universe. In this he is plainly in agreement with so many other scientists (and we looked at some of these, in PART 1 of my recent reply (see above)), of many scientific fields and including some who are atheists (we looked at some of these, too). I could, again, very easily fill up this entire thread (if I wished to) with quotes from so many eminent scientists, of all ilk and of all persuasions, supporting this.

    Even Hawking’s concluding lines to ‘A Brief History of Time’ must, of course, be read in proper context. What he actually says is:-

    “However, if we discover a complete theory, it should be understandable by everyone, not just a few scientists. Then we shall all, philosophers, scientists and just ordinary people,” [Hawking’s allusion to philosophers here is curious, as he is notoriously disparaging of philosophers in general] “be able to take part in the discussion of the question of WHY IT IS that we and the universe exist. If we find the answer to that, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason – for then we should know the mind of God.”
    [NB: that he links REASON – as have all the great scientists we have discussed – with ‘knowing God’.] (‘A Brief History of Time’, p. 193). My caps and annotations.

    Hawking is unquestionably a genius. He is not, however, gifted with the same deep insights that men like Einstein, Eddington or even (atheist) Hoyle were. Einstien memorably said:
    “I want to know God’s thoughts; the rest is detail.”

    Hawking himself is on record elsewhere as suggesting the probability of the entity for which I here argue (and more recently than his ‘Brief History of Time’):-

    “It is difficult to discuss the beginning of the universe without mentioning the concept of God. My work on the origin of the universe is on the borderline between science and religion, but I try to stay on the scientific side of the border.” [which is very proper, in my view, for a scientist]
    “IT IS QUITE POSSIBLE THAT GOD ACTS IN WAYS THAT CANNOT BE DESCRIBED BY SCIENTIFIC LAWS.”
    (From a television interview; ABC television 20/20, 1989).

    “The usual approach of constructing a mathematical model cannot answer the question of WHY there should be a universe for the model to describe.” [And, indeed, leading string theorists like Professor Brian Greene argue that, when we begin to probe into what the very, very early universe was like – that is; immediately after its point of creation – all the normal laws of physics and chemistry etcetera, as well as conventional mathematical modelling, break down. Well, yes, they would do: for we are here looking at the very act of CREATING those parameters (See ‘The Elegant Universe’ (Pub: W. W. Norton), 1993, revised 2003)].
    Hawking continues: “Why does the universe go to all the bother of existing?” [a favourite rhetorical question of Hawking’s, but one which he admits to never being able to answer] “Is the unififed theory so compelling” [the one so elusive to science thus far; the one to which he is referring in the closing lines of ‘A Brief History of Time’] “that it brings about its own existence?” [I could, once again, very easily fill up at least an entire thread explaining why this is both scientifically and logically absurd – and, once again, reference many, many scientists who agree with me on this] “OR DOES IT NEED A CREATOR, and if so, does he have any other effect on the universe?”
    (‘A Brief History of Time’ (Bantam), 1989 Edn, p. 174). My caps and annotations.

    Now, when a self-professed atheist like Hawking repeatedly talks like this, it seems to me that this is a mighty fissure indeed in some of your arguments!

    [Okay, three-qaurters of the way through now. I thank you for ‘hearing me out’. Bear with me just a little longer please, and I will, in my next (and FINAL) post, deal with:-

    WHAT PASTEUR DID (AND DID NOT) BELIEVE AND WHAT HE DID (AND DID NOT) SUCCEED IN PROVING (OR DISPROVING) – WHETHER OTHER SCIENTISTS AGREE(D) WITH HIM, AND ALSO HOW BROADLY …
    AS WELL AS WHY (for he most assuredly did) PASTEUR REJECTED ALL THEORIES OF EVOLUTION
    And I will also put DARWIN’s own theory (NOT THE FIRST OR ONLY THEORY OF EVOLUTION by any means, as we’ll see) IN PROPER CONTEXT.]
    ……

    Right now, it is 10.40 pm – and I have to take a short supper break.
    ‘Hang on in there’ (as the Amercians like to say) and I’ll be right back with you, with all the above, plus my conclusion.
    THEN you can ‘come back’ on any of this, as you may wish.

    Regards – JEFF

  37. CONTINUATION – PART 4 (FINAL PART)
    Regarding:
    PASTUER AND DARWIN IN PROPER CONTEXT
    Plus MY CONCLUSION

    4 A) PASTEUR
    The article to which you kindly provide a link, SamrtLX – about Pasteur and several others in fact – alas, this tells us nothing that is not already well-rehearsed and also, I’m afraid, it is a rather simplisitic handling of scientific history; rather on the level, I would say, of a UK sixth form school or college pupil’s science handbook. And I’m afraid it also contains some long perpetuated, but also disproved fallacies. The famous quote from Pasteur (see Section 9 of your linked article, para. 7, text in green) – actually he was responding to Pouchet’s theories about spontaneous generation, which already had little support within the scientific community by then – this has since been shown by some of Pasteur’s best biographers to have been tampered with. The explanation in parentheses (referring to gradualist evolution theory; which Pasteur absolutley NEVER accepted, as we shall see); these are NOT, in fact, Pasteur’s words at all, but were later inserted – and into an English translation from his original French in any case. His use of the word ‘evolution’ here (it is the same, of course, in French, but with an accented ‘e’) is merely the standard dictionary usage of the word: ‘opening out in succession’ (see Oxford Concise Dictionary). And look at the actual CONTEXT in which he uses the word here. In particular, here he means, of course; changes, variations WITHIN BACTERIAL STRAINS (about which he, by then, knew quite a bit because of his ground-breaking work). He is talking about ‘virulence’, you note, NOT ‘Darwinism’!

    “Microscopic beings” he said “must come into the world from parents similar to themselves” (See J, H, Tiner; ‘Louis Pasteur – Founder of Modern Science’ (Mott Media), Milford Michigan, 1990).
    He NEVER wavered in this view; either in the general (or biological) or in the specific (microbiological) applications of it.
    There are numerous sources which clarify this point; some of them written by self-styled atheists like yourself! There is NO evidence that Pasteur ever embraced ANY kind of evolutionary theory; Lamarckian or or any other variety and, in fact, the highly respected nineteenth century physician and all-round scientist VIRCHOW, the pioneering British surgeon LISTER and the pioneering microbiologist KOCH – all agreed with Pasteur on all points. Pasteur was not by any means alone among nineteenth century scientists in rejecting existing theories of evolution (including Darwin’s) for the mere speculation which they were and the evidence which they lacked (and still do, as we saw).

    Pasteur was specifically asked if he believed in evolution, to which he replied simply “No” – and gave his reasons why:
    “Do not put forward anything you cannot prove by experimentation.”
    (Cf. the most reliable biography of Pasteur on this, as on most points, written by his son-in-law Rene Vallery-Radot (and closely supervised by Pasteur himself, in fact). His grandson, who woite a later one, adds several inaccuracies and falsehoods).

    4 B) DARWIN IN CONTEXT
    Darwin (whose theories were NEVER popular in the nineteenth century with most French and German scientists, by the way), himself studied other theories of evolution and he was BY NO MEANS either the first or the only scientist to suggest one … either before 1859 or since. There have indeed been both predecessors, alternatives and challenges since – from writers who are of no particular religious faith at all and including from within the scientific community certainly and even some of them, as we saw, from scientists who have been self-proclaimed atheists. The notion that Darwin’s was and is the only complete theory of evolution ever proposed is uttterly false. It is a very persistent, but easily disproven myth – and even some scientists who support Darwinian evolution seem shockingly ignorant of this fact. Darwin was even encouraged as a young naturalist in this studious endeavour by Captain Fitzroy of ‘The Beagle’ (himself a highly educated man) and Darwin’s reading included the then much respcted ‘father of modern geology’ (as he has since been called) Sir Charles Lyell. Lyell’s theories intrigued the young Darwin and as we know, during long subsequent years in which Darwin procrastinated very much about publishing (more of that, in a moment), his contemporary; British naturalist, explorer, anthropolgist and biologist Alfred Russell Wallace (1823-1913), during the latter of Darwin’s procrastinating years, prouced a remarkably similar theory to Darwin’s exactly contemporaneously with it …and inspired, in fact, in the final ‘fillip’ by a casual reading of exactly the same text as that which finally inspired Darwin: Thomas Robert Malthus’ (using the alias Joseph Johnson) ‘An Essay on the Principle of Population’ (1798) – whose tenets have little support today; either with regard to animal or human behaviour. Even Malthus himself later revised some of his own views.

    This is not the place to discuss in any depth the fact that Darwin was, like many privileged nineteenth century imperialists, a white suprematist; that the subtitle of his original thesis (now conveniently overloooked by most modern evolutionists) was:
    ‘ – OR THE PRESERVATION OF FAVOURED RACES IN THE STRUGGLE FOR LIFE’;
    that he happily later subsituted (in later editions of this thesis) the now infamous phrase ”SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST’ – which he borrowed wholesale from the even more racist theories of Herbert Spencer (and thought this a much better one to explain how he thought evoluton worked than his original (vague) ‘natural selection’ or ‘nature’); and in fact in Darwin’s actual paper he talks of what he saw as the inevitable ‘natural’ triumph of what he saw as the intrinsically ‘superior’ ‘white races’.

    Neither is this the place – alas for I would love to – to discuss in detail the fact that Darwin’s theories (rather than Wallace’s in fact) were much admired by, and inspirational to, Marx, Stalin and Hitler, among others. Nevertheless, these are inelcutable historical facts which simply cannot be divorced frrom Darwin’s original theory. Anyone who cares to read it need be in no doubt at all about that.

    4 C) ‘SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST THEORY’ – OR MERE SURVIVAL OF A DOGMA (WHICH SUITS THE ATHEISTS’ PSEUDO-SCIENCE SO WELL)?
    But, while Darwin agonised (almost literally; he became a a very sick man in later life, as we know) so endlessly that his theory might be wrong – and he was right, as we saw, to be in such crippling self-doubt despite its destructive effect upon him; Wallace, by contrast, agonised that his very similar theory – with all its horribly amoral social implications for humankind – might be RIGHT! The phrase ‘survival of the fittest’ (which Darwin and his nineteenth century supporters came to prefer, as we saw) went out of favour after the shocking political horrors of the twentieth century – and which have so deeply coloured our sense today that ‘nature red in tooth and claw’ is no way for us to live … neither does it actually so obtain in the ENVIRONMENTALLY BALANCED natural world. We have already discussed this. So that this rather meaningless and empty mantra ‘natural selection’ has quietly crept back into use (by evolutionists) instead. Wallace had seen the horrors implicit in his take on the theory; and it shocked him to the core. Both men, in fact – Darwin and Wallace, but for their different reasons – lived to regret that they had ever published at all. If only they had lived through the twentieth century – as many still alive have done! One wonders …

    As we know, Darwin had wanted to do more research, far more (even though he had already spent years trying in vain to gather any real evidence for his theory). But he was ‘bounced’, as we know, into publishing when he did for fear that he would, in fact, be beaten to it by Wallace’s work.

    Darwin’s publisher was so unconvinced by the manuscript presented to him that he was, at first, minded to reject it altogether, and he advised Darwin that his efforts would have been better channeled into writing a thesis on pigeon-breeding; the only original work – apart from his detailed study of finch beaks (of which more in a moment) which Darwin offers. And even that was hardly Earth-shattering revelation -the selective breeding by humans of novel varieties of the same species, as we saw, was old, old news!

    Darwin, as we saw, was not by any means the first (or the last) scientist to suggest some kind of evolutionary sequence to life on Earth. Neither was he the first (or last) to formulate a theory. But it is also a popular myth that before Darwin ‘everyone’ (even the educated) ‘still’ believed in a LITERAL interpretation of the Creation story in Genesis 1-2:4. This myth too – about what people in the West actually believed – is easily disproven by historical fact. Not even the mediaeval Church (and let us not forget that most of the best mediaeval scholars were clerics or churchmen/churchwomen) literally believed or literally promoted this -though on the question of the original CAUSATION and AUTHORSHIP of the universe and all witihin it (incluidng life on Earth) they were never in doubt. As we saw, not only was the Church always very clear on this point, but so were so many self-reasoning and highly intelligent scientists, right up to the present day. A literal (as opposed to moral and ethical) understanding of the biblical story: this is not the position of most theists today. It is not my position. It was certianly not the position of: Aristotle, Bacon, Descartes, Steno, Copernicus, Harvey, Gallleo, Newton, Faraday, Mendel, Le Maitre, Pasteur, Einstein, Eddington, Jung, Franklin, Collins, Ward or Polkinghorne. But that for which I argue here absolutley WAS and IS their position. They knew, and know, as I do, that all science actually POINTS to this ultimately, no matter which way you stack it up. For all these scientists, it WAS and IS the reason for science itself, as we have seen. To write this ultimate creator and causation out of the script requires very ‘shifty’ and disingenuous science indeed.

    All these scientists knew and know this, as I do. They were and are – in common with the vast majority of humankind of every culture and since even prehistoric times – all WRONG? Pul the other one, it’s got bells on!!

    CONCLUSION

    Professor Stephen Hawking:
    “You can disprove a theory by finding even a single obervation that disagrees with the predictions of the theory.”
    (‘A Brief History of Time’, p. 11)

    Exactly! And the observations that disagree with the predictions of your theories, as we saw, are LEGION!

    “Once you add appropriate qualifications, the claim can be saitsfactorily reconclied with phenomena that seem to contradict it. BUT IF CONTRARY PHENOMENA AND ASSOCIATED QUALIFICATIONS” [like: such things as spontaeous generation – which Wald himself admitted is “impossible” (see my first recent post (PART 1) above); like the evidence of both common sense as well as science that Hoyle pointed out (“Rabbits come from slightly different rabbits, not from [primaeval] soup or potatoes” – see my second recent post (PART 2) above) – and the great weight of evidence from numerous (including atheist) palaeontologists which we have seen (see PART 2) that the fossil record SIMPLY DOES NOT SUPPORT any kind of Darwinian theory]. Continues Flew, that when these problems “KEEP MULTIPLYING, THEN THE CLAIM ITSELF BECOMES SUSPECT.”
    (Professor Antony Flew, British philosopher (1923-2010)).
    Flew’s quote is particularly interesting because Flew was a lifelong, publicly self-proclaimed and outspoken atheist … yet, in his eighties, not as a result of of being preached to, or of any kind of alleged ‘divine revelation’, he came to the conclusion eniterly by himself from simply examining, at last and correctly, all the scientific evidence, that there is, indeed, and must always have been and contiune to be a divine creator, overseer and governor of this universe and of all life. He used the word ‘God’. He explained all this very publicly and wrote on it.
    (See ‘There is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind’ (HarperOne), 2007). My caps and annotation.

    Richard Dawkins:-
    [on ‘natural selection’]: “[It] needs some LUCK to get started”
    (See ‘The God Delusion’, p. 41)
    [on the emergence of self-replicating life forms out of nothing]: “[It is] exceedingly improbable.” (‘The Blind Watchmaker’ (Norton & Co.), p. 139)
    “We don’t know how life began.” (‘Newsnight’ Review on UK BBC televsion, 9th Sept, 2009).
    “The next time that someone tells you that something is true, why not say to them ‘what kind of evidence is there for that?'” [In the case of either evolution or alleged abiogenesis or Neo-Darwinian evolution: NONE! Au contraire, in fact, as we saw] “And if they cannot give you a good answer” [You can’t!] “I hope you’ll think very carefully before you believe a word they say?”
    (‘A Devil’s Chaplain’, London)
    My caps and annotations.

    Which is why, taking Dawkins’ at his own advice, so many of us do NOT believe a word he (or any like you who seem to share his views) says!

    If the words of Wald quoted earlier (see PART 1 (above)) really ‘let the cat out of the bag’ as to true motivations here, then the words of geneticist Richard Lewonitn of Harvard – who knows full well that the laws of genetics do not support Darwinian/Neo-Darwinian evolution and have never vindicated it – Lewontin’s words are even more illuminating:-

    “Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense” [like the common sense of (atheist) Hoyle, as we saw] “is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural.” [By ‘supernatural’, of course, he means the ‘superbeing’ that Hoyle referred to (see PART 1 (above)), and it is most interesting that the long, long list of great scientists right up to the present day who do believe; among them there is NOT ONE who sees any such ‘struggle’. Again; au contraire!] ” .. in spite of the ABSURDITY of some its constructs” [he means the absurdity (note: his own word) of his own scientific pronouncements] “.. the tolerance of the scientific community for UNSUBSTANTIATED JUST-SO-STORIES” [he means, of course, his own scientific community; it sure ain’t mine!] “[we accept all these things] because we have a PRIOR commitment” [I will call it a PREJUDICE, a DOGMA] ” to materialism … we are FORCED by our own A PRIORI adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce materal explanations NO MATTER HOW COUNTER-INTUITIVE” [i.e. illogical and nonsensical. He has already called them ‘Just so stories’!] “no matter how MYSTIFYING to the UNINITIATED ” [in other words: we’ll try and ‘blind them with science’!] “Moreover that materialism is absolute, FOR WE CANNOT ALLOW A DIVINE FOOT IN THE DOOR.”
    (See his review of Carl Sagan’s book ‘The Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark’ (New York Review of Books. Jan 9th, 1997). My caps and annotations.

    Well to what emits from Lewontin’s own pen, I need add very little more. ‘Given enough rope’ as the saying goes ‘he hangs himself’. I will agree with TRUK, the original poster who started this thread with his question – there is indeed, and here it sticks right out a mile, a ‘hidden agenda’. You will call this honest science???

    ” … in any form of thought that aspires to dogma … when people believe that they have absolute knowledge, with no test in reality – this is how they behave.”
    (Dr. Jacob Bronowski; ‘Konwledge or Certainty’ – from the 1973 UK BBC television series ‘The Ascent of Man’).
    Here Bronowski is actually standiing by the pool into which the ashes of FOUR MILLION Jews were flushed at Auschwitz concentration camp).
    “This is what men do” he says “when they aspire to the knowledge of Gods.” (Ibid.)
    Whatever his views about a deity were or were not – and this has been much debated – he is right. We are not Gods. We are humans. Bronowski, more poignantly than most; for he lost so many of his own friends and family durniing the Nazi holocuast; knows so well the dangers of dogma in any form, most especially in science, and he spoke and wrote much on this topic.

    Therefore, by every kind of scientific logic and ethic (including some of their own), Dawkins and Dennett, Wald, Crick, Lewontin – are not honest scientists. And a dishonest scientist is not a true scientitst. Brownowski was quite clear about that. When science becomes dogma it is not science.

    The day you (or any of your fellow evolutionists) can actually SHOW and DEMONSTRATE – not just hypothesise; not just make up Patterson’s ‘stories’ (see PART 2 above), showing how ‘ a bear becomes (evolves into) a whale’ (as Darwin, under pressure from his friends to offer at least one concrete example – hypothesisied in his first edition; but later thought better of it and removed it) or SHOWING (not hypothesising)/making life (i.e one ACTUAL LIVING CELL- and one capable of self-replicating) – not just a bunch of amino acids or proteins, or nulceic acids started on thier way by trckery – when hou can do or really SHOW all this from nothing more than simple chemicals; UNplanned, UNguided, UNwilled … the day someone ever actually suceeds in producing, by unguided supposed ‘random mutation’ (with or without the mantra ingredient of “natural selection”) even a mouse into a rat (or vice versa) or a dog into a fox, or maybe a goose into a swan (or vice versa): the stuff of kids’ fairy stories in fact – then you will have won your case and discharged a significant part of your ‘burden of disproof’ (see PART 3 above) and proved centuries of great scientists wrong (or at least partly so) . Unil then, the default position is ours, as it always has been.

    You’d have to do a lot better than just fancy pigeons, though, or exotic breeds of dogs. You’d have to do a lot better, too, than just shiftiing populations of Kettewell’s now infamous peppered moths (See Johnathon Wells; ‘Icons of Evolution’ (Repenery), Washington, 2000, Ch. 8) – or even Darwin’s famous finches (shifting populations of varieties merely also, and which so baffled Darwin, in fact – his highly detailed beak studies in fact testifying to, not gainsaying his baffllement (See Wells also (Ibid.) and ‘The Beak of the Finch’ (Cape), London, 1994). Please don’t talk to me of such cloning experiments as the famous ‘Dolly the sheep’. I could put this next door, in any case, to thousands of years of mule and jenny and zebroid breeding anyway. The ancient Romans had a saying ‘when a mule foals’ (which, in fact, has been known to happen in around 0.01% of cases – and then only for single generarion, before returning to the pure parent stock; horse or donkey as the case may be – a phenomenon well-konwn by many plant breeders … another nail in the coffin of arguments for massive progressive genetic mutation bringiing about complete new species). The Roman expression is more or less equivalent to our ‘once in a blue moon’.

    You know, I’d even settle for a mouse into a shrew or a vole – if you could actually DO it. ‘Aha!’ but I hear someone object; ‘Rats did not evolve from mice -they all came from a common ancestor.’ Oh yes, of course, the ever ubiquitous ‘common ancestor’. It’s almost as handy a mantra as ‘natural selection’. Another old chestnut (no jokes about monkeys, this time; we’ve done that!). Actually, it’s a fig leaf (we haven’t had the jokes about that yet!) The fact is: you simply can’t produce these ‘common ancestors’ or any evidence of them beyond mere speculation; as our clutch of palaeontologists showed (see PART 2 above). The day you can do -or even scientifcally SHOW (by something a helluva lot better than Patterson’s (fairy) stories, Lewontin’s just-so-stories), well that will be the day when pigs might literally fly (well, Dawkins said “Given enough time ANYTHING is possible” – it is even possible to meet a version of him in a ‘parallel universe’ with a green moustahce – I kid you not: see ‘The God Delusion’). But until that day, all you have at the very, very best are fanicful ‘thought experiments’ which ask us to overturn all logic and common sense (as Lewontin thinks he can dupe us all into doing – see above); as welll knew Hoyle to be so, so silly. Why any small child can do that; it’s a favourite party trick and teacher and parent baiting ruse, is it not? You can’t dare to call this science! Even Patterson agreed it’s not!

    What kind of scientists are you, SmartLX and Tim? Be honest now, if only with yourselves. Honest or dishonest; dogmatists or scientists? I feel I must leave that as a deliberately unanswered rhetorical question for your private scientific consciences alone …

    [END OF POSTS IN REPLY TO SmartLX’s response]

    – JEFF

    1. Hi Jeff

      I’m going to write some replies to what you’ve written. It’s a veritable Gish Gallop covering a number of fields so I’m going to have to deal with specific points/claims you’ve made, one at a time. Unfortunately, my replies may not be in the same order as you have presented them.

      To anticipate, however: You seem to harbour some very fundamental misunderstandings, particularly so regarding the scientific aspects of evolutionary theory. Your knowledge appears to be basic at best and I’m sorry to say, often completely erroneous. It’s obvious that you have no experience in a research environment and especially obvious that you don’t read research papers. For the most part I suspect, your knowledge comes from heavily selective reading of popular science books and/or lifted from creationist books and websites. Your copy/paste mechanism must be well worn out!

      As Tim rightly pointed out, although you attempt to portray yourself as knowledgeable, you rely far too much on ‘arguments from authority’ (unacceptable in any scientific discourse, surely you’re aware of that) and many of your claims are overly simplistic, consisting of well-known quote-mines (the Gould quotes stand out a mile), widely sweeping statements characterised by being un-nuanced, and predicated on a number of logical fallacies along with the inevitable ad-hominem approach that, in my experience, people with a general anti-science bent are prone to lapse into when they feel unable to cogently express themselves.

      Suffice to say I am a trained scientist and I would quite reasonably take exception to being called dishonest and/or dogmatic by an unqualified non-scientist when commenting on scientific issues within my remit. I follow the evidence. Ergo, when I don’t agree with you it will be for one or both of two reasons; you either haven’t provided suitable evidence for your contentions or it’s obvious that you haven’t properly understood what you’re saying.

      1. [Darwin’s theories (rather than Wallace’s in fact) were much admired by, and inspirational to, Marx, Stalin and Hitler]

        Here, your argument is based on the fallacy of ‘post hoc, ergo propter hoc’, i.e., simplistically assuming that an event that follows some other designated event must have been caused by it. It is also based on the fallacy of ‘argumentum ad consequentiam’, i.e., the notion that an idea must be logically or empirically wrong because it might, or does, lead to unpalatable consequences. Is it at all reasonable for a scientist to be deemed responsible when, after their death, another individual uses their research findings and exploits them to serve their own political agenda? If Hitler had been the scientist who discovered antibiotics would his influence on the Nazi Party have made his scientific discoveries worthless? The obsession that many creationists have with Darwin tells us a lot about their mindset. No-one ideologically links Antoine Lavoisier with Hitler because he decided to use the chemical agent Zyklon-B in the Nazi death camps rather than some non-chemical means of mass murder? No-one ideologically links the Wright Brothers to aerial bombardment of populated areas. Mendelian genetics directly informed the scientific basis for eugenics policies worldwide, yet we witness none of the vindictiveness aimed at Darwin targeted also at Gregor Mendel. It’s also fair to mention here that there was no substantial difference of opinion between Darwin and Wallace. The very first paper published on natural selection was co-authored.

        Let’s look at a few facts:

        Marx published the ‘Manifesto of the Communist Party’ in 1848; Darwin didn’t publish ‘On the Origin of Species’ until 1859 (though, as mentioned, he had co-authored a joint scientific paper with Wallace a year earlier). Marx and Darwin lived less than 25 km away from each other for over thirty years yet they never met. Marx wrote to Darwin once, but not until 1873, fourteen years after the publication of ‘Origin of Species’. In a letter of a single page, he gifted Darwin a copy of his book ‘Das Kapital’ as is the common practice in publishing, because he included a single reference to Darwin. This was a brief footnote dealing not with biology but with specialisation in industry. He never, as is often claimed by fundamentalist Christian authors, dedicated the book to him. This brief footnote was the only time Marx referred to, cited or even alluded to Darwin in any way in his numerous publications. Marx’s gift still exists in the Darwin Museum at Down House in England and we can tell from its physical condition that it has never been read. The only other time Marx writes of Darwin is in a single sentence in a letter dated 1861 to philosopher Ferdinand Lassalle. On connections as flimsy as this, how can you seriously suggest that Darwin inspired Marx?

        It’s hardly surprising that Marx showed no enthusiasm for Darwinian ideas of evolution; their two views are diametrically opposed. Natural selection operates automatically and needs no conscious agent. It is a blind mechanical process, having no inherent teleological design, purpose, intent or destiny. There is even a small element of chance included within evolutionary algorithms. Marx, with his idea of class struggle, would not be happy with such a view because Marxism teaches the exact opposite. Marxism is a philosophy that emphasises human intentionality and purpose. It is about specific goals reached via precise, planned, top-down, state control of all aspects of production, distribution and consumption. The two concepts could not be more dissimilar.

        Because of this, Stalin had no time for Darwinian ideas and called it “bourgeois pseudoscience”. He also had no time for the Mendelian genetics on which the then prevalent view of neo-Darwinism was based and called that “capitalist pseudoscience”. It’s important to note here that Stalin’s disdain for Darwinian biology was based on Marxist ideological, rather than any scientific grounds. Stalin particularly disliked the notion that physical traits were determined by genetic factors because this directly contradicted the Marxist notion that the environment was the primary determinant. As a Soviet government slogan from the 1930s proclaimed; “We cannot wait for favours from Nature. To take them from it, that is our task.”

        Stalin’s view of biology was heavily influenced by two men; Ivan Michurin and Trofim Lysenko. Both espoused an anti-Darwinian, pro- Lamarckian view of biology in which organisms inherited traits acquired by their ancestors according to the environment they had experienced. After his death in 1935, Soviet authorities relabelled Michurin as the only true Darwinian biologist and Lysenko was put in charge of Soviet agricultural programs. Scientists who espoused a Darwinian-Mendelian scientific view were either forced to tow the party line or were sent to the gulags. The historical record shows the paucity of research papers dealing with conventional neo-Darwinian biological research emanating from the Soviet Union during Stalin’s era. In contrast, Soviet physics research was on a par with the rest of the world. The end result of dismissing Darwinian-based biology was a complete disaster for Soviet agriculture in terms of output and biological research in general, until Khrushchev came along, saw sense, and allowed conventional biological science to be studied in universities.

        Linking Darwin with Hitler and Nazism is no more than a fringe view promulgated most notably by American fundamentalist Christians from the Discovery Institute and Islamic authors such as Harun Yahya. No serious historian or scientist entertains the notion. If Nazi racial theory had truly been inspired by neo-Darwinian natural selection then why earth was Hitler so obsessed with attempting to limit the gene pool within German territory? If he accepted the role of natural selection he would surely have been encouraging German citizens to mate with as wide a variety of humans as possible, so as to increase the genetic fitness/allele frequencies of their population. He was, in effect acting as a deity might. He had purpose and intent. He tried to plan and design the characteristics of future generations of people in order to determine their destiny, i.e., to return God’s favoured ‘race’, the Aryans, to the level of genetic purity God intended. In order to do that he tried to genetically isolate the Aryans by only having them breed with each other and to rid the world of the ‘contaminants’ they faced. This is not natural selection; this was the opposite. Artificially selecting for the future.

        I could go into considerable detail here but again, let’s look at just a few facts:

        All of Hitler’s acknowledged influences, people like de Gobineau or Houston Chamberlain, were either profoundly anti-Darwinian or ignored Darwin’s findings. Ironically, even those who are erroneously claimed to have influenced Hitler, such as Nietzsche, were anti-Darwinian.

        Nowhere did Hitler use the words ‘Darwin’, ‘Darwinist’, ‘Darwinian’ or ‘Darwinism’ or the terms ‘theory of evolution’ or ‘theory of descent’ in any of their possible combinations. This applies to his publically available writings, his private letters and notes, his many speeches and even the infamously unreliable ‘Table Talks’.

        In Mein Kampf Hitler makes clear, in numerous unambiguous passages, that he holds creationist views and did not accept the concept of biological evolution, particularly so for human beings.

        In several speeches, Hitler likened himself to two scientists: either Pasteur or Robert Koch, describing how his political ideals mirrored their scientific ideals. No mention of Darwin.

        Hitler’s personal library of >16,000 books contained no works by Darwin.

        ‘Zeitschrift für die Gesamte Naturwissenschaft’ (Journal of All Natural Science, the official science journal of the Nazi Party) refused to accept any papers that promoted Darwinian views of biology and wrote a number of scathing editorials against Darwinian scientific views.

        Many German universities refused to teach Darwinian evolutionary theory, even into the 1940s. The leading German Darwinian biologist of the time, Konrad Lorenz, strongly laments this state of affairs in a paper in ‘Die Biologie’ in 1940.

        There is only a single direct reference to Darwinian ‘natural selection’ in the entire Nazi archives. In the minutes of the Wansee Conference of 1942, Reinhard Heydrich, discussing the potential survival of inmates in the concentration camps, brings natural selection to the attention of his colleagues. He does so explicitly because of its potentially negative effects on Nazi aspirations.

        In 1935 the Nazi regime banned from retail sale or from being stocked in public libraries all writings of the “false scientific enlightenment of primitive Darwinism”. The only exceptions were books destined for inclusion in the so-called ‘Poison Cabinets’ of the large city and university libraries where permission was needed to access.

        Because of the disturbing lack of direct quotations from Nazi sources, authors claiming a Darwin-Hitler link, such as Richard Weikart or Jerry Bergman, are forced to copiously scaffold their assertions using quotes from carefully selected third parties. Check their references: they’re not even contemporary with Hitler. Most were born after 1945 and are of a particular religious persuasion. They also indulge in blatant quote mining. In some cases quotes are even fabricated. Here’s an example purporting to be from Thomas Huxley in 1889, found in numerous places including several examples of Weikart’s work, an anti-Darwin paper by Michael Craven and, astonishingly, even Huxley’s biographer:

        “Only from death on a genocidal scale could the few progress”.

        The word genocide didn’t exist until 1944.

        This is typical of the level of historical dishonesty that characterises the anti-Darwin rhetoric.

        1. [the subtitle of his original thesis (now conveniently overloooked by most modern evolutionists) was: ‘ – OR THE PRESERVATION OF FAVOURED RACES IN THE STRUGGLE FOR LIFE’;]

          Oh Jeff my dear friend, you have fallen hook, line and sinker for the blatant dishonesty peddled by creationists. Are you not aware that watching someone quoting the subtitle of ‘Origin of Species’ and claiming it as a sign of racist attitudes is an in-house joke among evolutionary biologists? Rather than conveniently overlooking the subtitle it is sniggeringly regarded as a certain sign that someone hasn’t familiarised themselves with Darwin’s work but is merely blindly parroting misinformation.

          When Darwin was writing ‘Origin’ there was no widely accepted definition of the word ‘species’. It wasn’t until 1889 when Wallace, in his book ‘Darwinism’ suggested the definition we now all use today. Because of this, throughout ‘Origin’ Darwin uses terms like ‘species’ ‘race’, ‘sub-species’ and ‘variety’ interchangeably. For example, in this passage from Chapter 1 he uses three different words to describe the very same concept:

          “When we look to the hereditary varieties or races of our domestic animals and plants, and compare them with species closely allied together, we generally perceive in each domestic race, as already remarked, less uniformity of character than in true species”.

          Some other example passages for ‘Origin of Species’ were Darwin mixes his terms:

          “…………….if we could succeed in naturalising, or were to cultivate, during many generations, the several races, for instance, of the cabbage.”

          “……………it is quite incredible that a fantail, identical with the existing breed, could be raised from any other species of pigeon, or even from the other well-established races of the domestic pigeon.”

          The reason for the sniggering is that ‘Origin of Species’ doesn’t even discuss humans at all, in any context! So how, by any stretch of the imagination, can you possibly infer from a book discussing the biological origins of species such as corals, cabbages, orchids, birds and barnacles a racial motive? Again, it’s a typical example of the dishonest lengths creationists will go to disparage Darwin the man because they’re unable to adequately critique the science.

          [Darwin was………..a white suprematist]

          By today’s standards Darwin probably was racist. He was after all, a middle-class white Englishman brought up in the 19th century Church of England where the inferiority of the non-white races was considered to be an empirical fact. Indeed, during Darwin’s lifetime the vast majority of Europeans had never set eyes on a non-European. To state that he was a white supremacist, however, is complete nonsense, as any reading of his personal papers will attest. He came from a family that had long and vigorously opposed the slave trade. For example, in an 1834 letter to the clergyman and geologist, J.S. Henslo, Darwin wrote:

          “I was told before leaving England that after living in slave countries all my opinions would be altered; the only alteration I am aware of is forming a much higher estimate of the negro character”.

          While at medical school in Edinburgh Darwin came across the work of a black taxidermist, a freed Guyanese slave, and asked if he would teach him his art. He later wrote in his autobiography:

          “By the way, a negro lived in Edinburgh, who had travelled with Waterton, and gained his livelihood by stuffing birds, which he did excellently: he gave me lessons for payment, and I used often to sit with him, for he was a very pleasant and intelligent man.”

          The captain of the ‘Beagle’, FitzRoy, was a Biblical literalist and avowed racist and pro-slavery. This so incensed Darwin that he chose to eat alone and seriously considered leaving the ship. Indeed, when aboard the ‘Beagle’ it concerned some members of the crew how much time Darwin enjoyed in the company of three natives from Tierra del Fuego. He wrote:

          “I was incessantly struck, whilst living with the Feugians on board the “Beagle,” with the many little traits of character, shewing how similar their minds were to ours”

          One of Darwin’s closest friends was Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Colonel of the First South Carolina Volunteers (the first federally organised African-American regiment, which fought in the American Civil War). Writing to him in 1873 Darwin remarks:

          “I always thought well of the negroes, from the little which I have seen of them; and I have been delighted to have my vague impressions confirmed, and their character and mental powers so ably discussed”.

          After dropping the bombshell of common descent of all species, what was the second bombshell dropped by Darwin that had him ostracised by so many scientists and churchmen? Surely it was his pronouncement that there was no scientific basis for racial differences in human beings, that the notion of racial differences is a perceived cultural phenomenon – a prediction which, in the age of molecular genetics, has been shown to be true and which ranks as one of the cornerstones of modern evolutionary theory regarding human beings.
          You seem to like Steven J Gould. Here’s what he wrote in his essay ‘Eternal Metaphors of Palaeontology’ (1977):

          “an explicit denial of innate progression [of a racial hierarchy] is the most characteristic feature separating Darwin’s theory of natural selection from other nineteenth century evolutionary theories.”

          Gould is right. Writing in ‘The Descent of Man’, Darwin made plain that he considered all attempts to subdivide humans into races or subspecies to be scientifically worthless. He dedicates a whole chapter to dispelling the notion that there is any scientific validity to the notion of race:

          “The question whether mankind consists of one or several species has of late years been much discussed by anthropologists … . But it is a hopeless endeavour to decide this point, until some definition of the term “species” is generally accepted; and the definition must not include an indeterminate element such as an act of creation. We might as well attempt without any definition to decide whether a certain number of houses should be called a village, town, or city”.

          It was obvious to Darwin (but not at all to those who espoused creationist polygenics, i.e., separate creations for the different races) that the various ethnic groups had a common evolutionary origin with all identifiable human characteristics highly intermingled. As he further wrote:

          “………all the races agree in so many unimportant details of structure and in so many mental peculiarities that these can be accounted for only by inheritance from a common progenitor; and a progenitor thus characterised would probably deserve to rank as man………..It may be doubted whether any character can be named which is distinctive of a race and is constant. Savages, even within the limits of the same tribe, are not nearly so uniform in character, as has been often asserted…… Man has been studied more carefully than any other animal, and yet there is the greatest possible diversity amongst capable judges whether he should be classed as a single species or race, or as two (Virey), as three (Jacquinot), as four (Kant), five (Blumenbach), six (Buffon), seven (Hunter), eight (Agassiz), eleven (Pickering), fifteen (Bory St. Vincent), sixteen (Desmoulins), twenty-two (Morton), sixty (Crawfurd), or as sixty-three, according to Burke…… the races ought not to be ranked as species……they graduate into each other, and that it is hardly possible to discover clear distinctive characters between them”.

          Now I invite you to compare the conclusions drawn by Darwin with those of e.g., the devout Christian, de Gobineau in his highly influential book ‘Inequality of the Human Races’ (1853):

          “……….we must, of course, acknowledge that Adam is the ancestor of the white race. The scriptures are evidently meant to be so understood, for the generations deriving from him are certainly white……….there is nothing to show that, in the view of the first compilers of the Adamite genealogies, those outside the white race were counted as part of the species at all”.

          “I conclude……… that the permanence of racial types is beyond dispute; it is so strong and indestructible that the most complete change of environment has no power to overthrow it.”

          I also invite you to compare the conclusions drawn by Darwin with the rabidly anti-Darwinian lies from Jerry Bergman in his paper, ‘Darwinism and the Nazi Race Holocaust’:

          “……..it was Darwin who claimed that certain races were genetically inferior as was scientifically ‘proven’ by Darwinism……….the ‘superior race’ belief was based on the theory of group inequality within each species, a major presumption and requirement of Darwin’s original ‘survival of the fittest’ theory”.

          Now, Jerry and Jeff, be honest, it wasn’t Darwin who was the white supremacist was it?

          Indeed, many African-Americans were more disposed to Darwinian science than to some of the teachings of the white churches in the southern states (polygenic views were so rife in these places that European ethnologists had begun referring to such notions as the ‘American School’ of ethnology). Take a look through some of the articles in African-American periodicals at the time. In 1863 the African-American Methodist paper ‘The ‘Christian Recorder’ positively reviewed Darwin’s findings and particularly praised him for having acted as a counter to polygenic views:

          “One question of much dispute seems to have been settled by Mr Darwin…….the Caucasian, the Malay, and the Negro, according to his facts, are varieties of a species, and may all have descended from a single pair, as set forth in the scriptures”

          Similarly, in Spring 1925, the ‘Baltimore Afro-American’ newspaper published a series of articles by William N. Jones in which he argued that Darwinian evolution had “created greater racial sympathy in the short-term”. In an article celebrating the hundredth anniversary of the birth of Thomas Huxley he wrote that few white men had done as much as Huxley to help race relations because Darwin’s scientific findings had questioned the Christian notion that some men were born to be rulers “by Divine right” while others were born to be slaves “by Divine curse”. He went on:

          “Science won, and as a result the world, in spite of hidebound and narrow dogmas, is heading towards real brotherhood.”

          To me, it is mind-boggling indeed that people can read Darwin and other historical passages and conclude that he was a white supremacist, convinced that human beings could and should be classified and placed on a hierarchy according to racially specific characteristics. There is simply no evidence that this is the case.

          [the now infamous phrase ”SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST’ – which he borrowed wholesale from the even more racist theories of Herbert Spencer]

          This comment ably demonstrates your fundamental misunderstanding of the concept of ‘fitness’ in evolutionary biology. You’re using a bait and switch technique – attempting to make a derogatory judgement regarding a biological concept by substituting it with a wholly unrelated cultural definition. Note that, contrary to the claims of some, on no occasion did Darwin ever prescribe biological notions to cultural and social issues.

          There is simply no way of identifying biological ‘fitness’ a-priori. It can only ever be identified a-posteriori. In biological evolution there is no such thing as a trait hierarchy; natural selection simply favours those traits that have conferred a greater chance of reproduction in a specific environment. The Darwinian concept of ‘ fitness’ has nothing in common with the numerous concepts of ‘fitness’ employed in either popular culture or social theory. ‘Darwinian fitness’ never fixidly refers to physical size, or physical prowess or even degrees of selfishness or possessing greater intelligence. This isn’t a new idea. It was recognised early on. In his 1890 paper ‘Human Selection’ for example, Wallace had written

          “Those who succeed in the race for wealth are by no means the best or the most intelligent.”

          If you want examples of Darwinian ‘fitness’ and ‘survival of the fittest’ you need look no further than bacteria. Or some species of earthworm. They are magnificently ‘fit’ having survived 600 million years since it’s last direct ancestor species, including five extinction events. Or the 500 known species of tardigrade? Only 1mm long, they can live on the ocean floor, in the zero gravity of outer space, survive high levels of radiation and temperatures ranging from absolute zero to well above the boiling point of water. They can go decades without sustenance. That’s an example of biological ‘survival of the fittest’. Even in the case of adult human males, 50kg weaklings with highly motile sperm are far ‘fitter’ in an evolutionary sense than an army of Arnold Schwarzenegger look-alikes with less motile sperm.

          [in Darwin’s actual paper he talks of what he saw as the inevitable ‘natural’ triumph of what he saw as the intrinsically ‘superior’ ‘white races’.]

          Did he really? I’d really like to see such a quote. I suspect I know which one you mean. It’ll be the widely used quote-mined one, I’m sure. Care to share?

          1. [process of alleged transmutation from one species to another]

            I don’t understand this at all. One species does not ‘transmute’ into another species. That sounds like something from Star Trek.

            [Logically, all it is saying is that:
            a) the most suitable variations wihtin the species survive because they are best adapted to the survival environment (obvious statement #1)
            b) these are the ones that reproduce (duh!) c) what they give birth to are varieties which are best equpped to survive in the current survival environment. Even a moment’s thought can show (as any school pupil can see) that this is entirely circular logic. It is, in fact, a closed circle of logic.]

            Another use of a bait and switch technique. You’ve tried to denigrate evolutionary theory by libeling one of its primary historical figures and now you’re attempting to critique a body of empirical evidence, not by offering contrary empirical data but by claiming that the observed mechanism is a logically circular.

            My first point is, so what if it is? A circular argument is not a logical fallacy if the premises are true and the conclusion is supported by the evidence provided by the premises. That’s a tautology. Tautologies can be perfectly true. Mathematics is cram full of tautologies. Even if your argument was circular, wouldn’t that simply mean that it was trivially true that the ‘fittest’ survive, and those that reproduce most, reproduce most? How does that refute evolution?

            My second point is that your reasoning is flawed in any case. By your own admission premises a and b are both true. If c is also true (as you seem to suggest!) then the argument becomes a tautology. Your problem is you’ve shot yourself in the foot either way, because contrary to your assertion, premise c is demonstrably false. Therefore your argument is flawed.

            [what they give birth to are varieties which are best equpped to survive in the current survival environment]

            Wrong. You are thinking at the level of the organism and erroneously appear to be claiming a false equivalence between ‘survival’ and ‘fitness’ and ‘survival of the fittest’ and ‘natural selection’. You cannot define ‘fitness’ in terms of the life span of an individual organism within a current environment. Natural selection does not state that the ‘fittest’ organisms will survive better than less ‘fit’ organisms. ‘Fitness’ is defined (and although can be predicted, is identified a-posteriori) in terms of the genetic contribution to offspring, i.e., the pattern of heritable characteristics/allele frequencies passed on to offspring (I tried to make that point in my last post with regard to 50 kg weaklings with motile sperm vs. Arnold Schwarzenneger’s and less motile sperm).

            This process often occurs completely independently of the natural selection inferred in your argument, for example by genetic drift, founder or bottleneck effects or gene flow (especially so in smaller populations). If within a species the frequency of a specific heritable characteristic/allele is observed to increase within the gene pool then by definition, that genetic characteristic within that population (and not any individual organism) is said to (quite obviously) have a high degree of ‘fitness’. After passing on their genes parent organisms can then drop dead (and do so in some species). Importantly, if in a population there is little or no variation in ‘fitness’, evolution can decrease markedly because there is nothing for natural selection to act on. Identifying ‘fitness’ is dependent on genetic variation (echoing my point as to why Hitler was obviously not inspired by Darwinian natural selection; he was aiming to reduce genetic variation within the German population).

            So we are not talking here about a lawful expectancy such as gravity, but ongoing, changeable, observable processes that we are only able to quantify in terms of statistical tendencies. Biological evolution is heavily mathematical. We make predictions that certain allele frequencies/phenotypic characteristics will survive (become ‘fixed’) in a population in a specific environment or geographical region either now or at some estimated time and we then observe allele frequencies/phenotype characteristics in that population and the changes that have already occurred or are occurring over time. From this we built a model of evolution.

            Thus, although for an individual organism ‘fitness’ might be identified as having specific allele frequencies/phenotypic characteristics which enhance their survival, these characteristics are only ever statistically correlated with the organisms actual survival. Contrary to your argument, no causal relationship is implied.

            1. […….what no-one created was LIFE. It was not even the very first inklings of it………]

              Despite what is repeated in the popular press and creationist articles, and as any cursory reading of published work makes obvious, no abiogenetic experimentation is performed explicitly to create life. The quite reasonable goal is to recreate plausible single component biochemical pathways that may have led to biologically active chemistry. So it’s not surprising, given the limited scope of each experiment, that life wasn’t created. What have been recreated so far are a multitude of amino acids and partially replicating strands of RNA – so hardly “not even the first inklings of it”. Indeed, a Nobel Prize has been awarded for abiogenesis related RNA research (Tom Cech, 1989). How many Nobels have been awarded for creationism research, I wonder? Or ever likely to be?

              Importantly, you have proffered no definition of life. This is a common creationist tactic (either not defining or redefining to suit) as it allows the goalposts to be moved whenever evidence emerges that conflict with their claims (just like use of creationist ‘kinds’, we’re still waiting for creationists to agree upon the definition of what actually constitutes a ‘kind’). So, at the very least, you need to identify some definitive, operational chemical and biological criteria by which you differentiate non-life from life. If you don’t do that on what basis are you making the claim cannot emerge from non-life?

              The fact is there are no molecules only ever contained within or that can only ever be synthesised by a ‘living’ organism. So there’s no inherently obvious biochemical distinction between life and non-life; the border is distinctly fuzzy. If we look at any attribute that we use to differentiate life from non-life it’s never an all or nothing affair, it’s more akin to some form of ongoing biochemical process. Living organisms need not be capable of replication, self-repair or indeed have any awareness. The mere presence of RNA and DNA does not infer life. We can’t even use a temporary suspension of the second law of thermodynamics as a criterion because some non-living systems do that perfectly well.

              Claims such as ‘life cannot be created from non-life’ are meaningless in any operational sense unless ‘life’ has been definitively defined and that definition has been agreed upon by all parties. Are viruses alive? They possess genetic material and are readily observed to evolve through natural selection via point mutations. If novel circular strands of self-replicating RNA created in an experimental situation were observed to have biological effect and be able to utilise the physiology of other organisms for its own purpose, would you then consider life to have been created? This is not at all implausible; in fact it’s readily observed in the wild and will almost certainly be observed in the lab soon. Or would you only ever consider a prokaryotic cell to be considered life? If so, what evidence would you provide that you weren’t risking continually making Type II errors?

  38. Do yourself a favor and check out the Origin of Life Prize at the following link.

    http://www.us.net/life/

    I believe you are far too confident in the knowledge that evolutionary scientists possess. The prize was announced in NATURE and SCIENCE and is not in any way associated with Christian, religious, or creationist organizations. It is a wake up call to the fact that we don’t know as much as you claim. Pay special attention to the latest news announcement made there.

    1. [The prize was announced in NATURE and SCIENCE and is not in any way associated with Christian, religious, or creationist organizations].

      Complete and utter BS.

      You’re mixing up this legitimate scientific funding program ($2 million over 7 years) from retired biochemist Harry Lonsdale. He has actually funded high level research at Cambridge University, UK among others:

      http://www.originlife.org/

      With a joke funding program run by well-known creationist charlatan David Abel. He’s a retired vet who calls himself a molecular and theoretical biologist. He’s responsible for authoring about 1 in 5 of all the papers sponsored by the Discovery Institute. Abel lists his academic affiliation as Director, The Gene Emergence Project, Department of ProtoBioCybernetics/ProtoBioSemiotics, Origin-of-Life Science Foundation.

      Wow! Impressive credentials! He must be the go to guy!

      It’s an ordinary suburban house. His house, located at 113 Hedgewood Dr Greenbelt, MD. Check the photos out here:

      http://www.talkrational.org/showthread.php?p=1004922

      http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/02/04/zooming-in-on-the-origin-of-life-science-foundation/

      He even advertises that the ‘foundation’s corporate headquarters (sic) are based near NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre! How tacky is that…….about as tacky as his website (didn’t that give you a clue that the whole thing is bogus?)

      Abel is well known as a complete fraud and creationist crackpot. Like Kent Hovind’s $1 million prize, Abel’s $50,000 annual funding for 20 years never existed; check out his foundation’s Tax Exempt returns. The requirements to get funding were so unscientific and arduous no legitimate scientist would apply. You even had to pay $500 to have your application considered!! Here’s one of the stipulations:

      “the scientific method requires that you calculate a Universal Plausibility Metric (UPM, Xi), and that you apply the Universal Plausibility Principle to your model.”

      The UPM Xi is not a recognised scientific metric. It’s something Abel concocted in one of his own papers published in a vanity journal called Theoretical Biology & Medical Modelling in 2009 (you pay the $2100+ fee, we publish your paper). It has the lowest Impact Factor of any journal I’ve ever seen (1.27; in comparison the Annual Review of Immunology has an IF of 52.28). Worse, when several potential applicants contacted the esteemed judges to clarify matters large numbers of them had never even heard of David Abel or his funding project! Their names were being used fraudulently.

      And Abel’s claim about Nature and Science? It’s completely bogus. It was Lonsdale’s legitimate funding project that got mentioned in both journals – he placed paid ads in both. Abel’s dishonestly riding on the surf.

  39. @ Gary:
    Greetings.
    Firstly, thank you for at least allowing me to finish all my argunents.
    Some points of detail regarding the actual communications which have taken place here, if I may :-

    I never insulted you or anyone. My response, in any case, was to SmartLX primarly. I discussed the principle of dogma and scientific dishonesty – and in no way regret doing so – yes, but I named no-one from this forum. I posed a rhetorical question for SmartLX and Tim to consider privately but that is all.
    Do not you insult me by calling me a creationist or suggesting that I have taken my source material from such sites. I have made it perfectly clear that I have NOT. You are entilted to call me a THEIST, yes, but not a ‘creationist’. There is a big difference. I thought I had made that clear enough.
    My sources are various and do include some scientists of belief – but the references are indexed – not to these scientists of theist belief but to their original sources themselves.
    For your information – I’m not sure if you were implying otherwise – but I AM a qualified scientist. My specialist field is Philosophy of the Human Mind – so you are entitled only to call me ‘not a qualified biologist’..
    Finally, I would appreciate that you (and anyone else minded to do so) desist from patronising language like ‘Oh my dear Jeff …’

    All that said, however, I am grateful for some of the highly detailed cultural, political historical and science historical fact which you provide. I will now check out the historicity of some of my arguments indeed. Though I have written on some of the arguments I put here, separately, elsewhere – the thesis I am working on will, I intend, eventually deal with all points which I consider important. The thesis is indeed highly critical of every form of Darwinian and Neo-Darwinian evolutuonary theory (and also critical of those physical scientists who claim that the ultimate causation of the universe can be explained yet exclude a creator). I shall in no wise alter my views on that – and I am in accord on this with a great number of scientists, past and present.

    However, my thesis needs to be robust and I agree that there is much knowledge which you seem to have on which I must clearly ‘bone up’. So I thank you for that. I cannot agree, however, that specific references are not of value, or qoutations either (even from scientists long dead, like Darwin himself, where appropriate) and I’m sure you are aware that it is normal scientific practice in presenting any argument. These will necessarliy be ‘selective’ as every scientific publication, obviosuly, has its own particular viewpoint, and quotes and rerferences are perfectly normally ‘selected’ in support of arguments made in such writings.

    I very much hope that you intend to contiune your detailed discusion of my numerous points. Thus far, you have dealt with about 10% of them (i’m not sure if it was your intention to go through them all? I hope so!) – there are many, concentrated into rather a small space, I agree – but the mechanics of this forum rather make that obligatory. The final thesis wiill make whatever points I finally wish to present, in a somehwat more ‘paced’ kind of density – but will not be devoid of the use of assertive laguage where I think this appropriate.

    I am grateful for the views of a fellow scientist – one who seems to be well-informed (even though I strongly disagree with your position, of course … which, is really what this forum is for – so long as we can do so ‘like gentlemen’).

    Please do by all means continue – only a little less condescendingly and patronisingly, if you will, please. – JEFF

  40. SMALL POSTSCRIPT Gary:
    No big deal here – just thought it might help to clarify further; if we are to have/continue with an intelligent discussion:
    My background: my doctorate is in Philosophy of the Human Mind, yes, but would consider myself something of a polymath; many other scientific and techincal interests – don’t know everything (does anyone)? but have professional quals in bio-sciences and biochem : no degree in these but was for years, (few years ago admittedly) research lab technician; medical research as well as in nutrition… lifelong (amateur but serious) interest in anthropology and astronomy/cosmology. So not a complete ‘child’ (as they say) in some of these matters.
    No boasting – not wanted here – but might help: level at which you can safely ptich your responses to my points?
    All said, of course, in good grace with no intent of malice;
    Respectfully – JEFF

    1. Hi Jeff

      Before continuing on with rebuttals of specific points I’d just like to comment on your general attitude to discussion. You asked for time and space to present your arguments and this was graciously given. However you now seem to want to gain a further upper hand by exerting control over the tone of the exchange. I agree that snark can be damaging to a serious discussion, at least when not used judiciously or with the intent of shared humour. And I readily admit that I am prone to use it, at least in informal settings. However, I’d like to point out that it was you that set such a tone in the first place:

      “duh!”
      “as any school pupil can see”
      “I assume that we all know the difference here between a theist and a deist?”
      “it is a rather simplisitic handling of scientific history; rather on the level, I would say, of a UK sixth form school or college pupil’s science handbook”
      “self-styled atheists like yourself!”

      Undoubtedly, you intended all of these examples as put-downs. I’ve noticed a general trend on this website of theists coming along and, rather than engaging in fruitful conversation, taking the attitude of occupying higher ground and needing to impart their greater understanding of reality and obviously superior intellectual ability to the unsophisticated atheists. You too employed this tactic in your posts. You made no attempt to foster discussion, you blatantly machine gunned us with your opinions, backed up, in nearly every case, by no more than the opinions of others. I note that at no point did you present valid empirical evidence for any of your points. You infer that it exists, but don’t cite it.

      I’m also confused by your stance on abiogenesis. The intricacies of this subject are beyond my field of scientific expertise, but I cannot see how someone who denies even the possibility of abiogenesis having occurred is not de facto a creationist. Surely, if you a-priori claim the impossibility of the origin of life as having resulted from some physical process, then you are effectively making the counter claim that life has originated from some non-physical causation, either by event or process. How is that not, by definition, a creationist stance?

      Furthermore, I see nothing in either the style or the content of your posts that leads me to have any doubt that you are a creationist. Bear with me on this; I offer the following observations. Note that I am not criticising your conclusions (though stating that your mind can’t be changed would ring alarm bells in most academic settings), but the sources of your evidence and the manner in which you present your evidence.

      1. You partake of the Gish Gallop rather than concentrating on a specific, or few, aspects of the field you are attempting to critique. Already you have made mention that I have only addressed 10% of your claims. This is a common creationist tactic to present the illusion that your numerous superficially presented claims are unable to be refuted.

      2. There is no sense of critical analysis or discussion in your writing. I get the impression that you feel that evidence holds more weight when it is presented in quantity rather than quality.

      3. You don’t seem able to either appreciate in others, or to employ yourself, a necessarily circumspect academic writing style.

      4. You don’t explicitly define any of your terminology, and by doing so, I suspect, are making the tacit assumption that whatever definition you are using is the only legitimate one. Further, by leaving terminology undefined you effectively give yourself the freedom to alter definitions to suit your argument. This is another typical creationist tactic.

      5. You have clearly not undertaken due diligence when researching the subjects in which you claim knowledge, e.g., you continually make demonstrably inaccurate statements in the fields of biology and history.

      6. You frequently equate acceptance of biological evolutionary theory with atheism.

      7. You use highly selective quotes, not as explanatory supplements to empirically-derived evidence, but as your primary source of evidence. Again, a prominent creationist approach.

      8. You use scientifically discredited creationist sources for your evidence (e.g., Kenyon’s ‘Pandas’ book), rather than actual research sources.

      9. You have an uncannily similar style of writing (INCLUDING FREQUENT — USE OF CAPS TO EMPHASISE A POINT) to that found in many less sophisticated creationist sources. You could lift your whole series of posts and place it on some tacky creationist website and no-one would consider for a moment that it was out of place.

      10. You cut and paste segments within your posts. I detect distinct shifts in writing style, something I am sensitive to in order to have detected plagiarism in undergraduate work.

      11. You unashamedly use well-known, well documented quote-mines and quotes taken out of context that are associated with creationist publications.

      12. You make grandiose, sweeping statements about scientific, especially biological mechanisms, for example referring to ‘random mutations’ as if they were one homogenous single mechanism.

      13. You include titles such as Dr, Prof, Lord, in an attempt to give weight to quotes and opinions. This is typical creationist style, in an attempt to impress those with no scientific background. Generally, this is considered a faux pas when used by bona fide academics. You would not, for example, find it in any research paper. If you really feel a need to be sycophantic you’re welcome to call me Dr in recognition of my PhD!

      14. You cite probability estimates in cases where these are wholly inappropriate and it is obvious you don’t understand their import (or lack of).

      15. You’re impressed by Alvin Plantinga.

      16. You attempt to shift the burden of proof by asserting that theism is the null hypothesis, employing no more than an ‘appeal to tradition’. This is particularly amateurish and to be honest, I’m very surprised that someone claiming to hold a doctorate in philosophy would ever take such an approach.

      17. You are obsessed with the scientific findings of a single historical figure i.e., Charles Darwin, in an attempt, I suspect, to cover up your lack of knowledge of research performed in the years since his work and make it appear to the novice reader that no further research has taken place. Again, a typical creationist strategy.

      18. You attempt to critique a body of scientific knowledge by disparaging one of the historical figures connected to that field of investigation. This ‘argumentum ad consequentiam’ is both philosophically and scientifically naïve and dishonest and, in the context of this discussion, rarely found outside fundamentalist Christian circles.

      There’s more, but that’ll do for now. I’ll try to expand on individual points and offer refutations when I have an hour to spare. If you feel I’m threatening your epistemological safety net and don’t want me to continue, just let me know.

      1. In reply to Jeff:

        The majority of the quotes you have used from biologists are well-known, outright creationist canards. They are lifted straight from creationist websites and literature, used out of context and in a dishonest fashion to suggest that the authors question evolutionary theory. I’m not going to evaluate each quote separately; there are good websites that show the quotes in full along with the surrounding text and discuss the exact manner in which your quotes have been used in an academically unethical fashion. Instead, I’ll quote some responses from the biologists themselves. After all, if they really do believe what you claim they believe then they wouldn’t have felt any need to have made rebuttal statements would they?

        Colin Patterson:

        The quote you gave has erroneously been attributed to a personal letter to Luther Sunderland. This is not the case. Patterson was giving a talk at the British Museum on a small field within biology called biological systematics and someone in the audience taped the talk. The quote came during a stage of the talk when Patterson was speaking hypothetically and has been pulled out of context and dishonestly used by creationists since. The only letters from Patterson to Sunderland were an exchange following from Patterson asking Sunderland to stop acting in an unethical fashion, which he refused to do. They are available in the NCSE archive. In a further letter to computer scientist Steve Binkley June 17th 1982, Patterson wrote:

        “I was too naive and foolish to guess what might happen, the talk was taped by a creationist who passed the tape to Luther Sunderland… Since, in my view, the tape was obtained unethically, I asked Sunderland to stop circulating the transcript, but of course to no effect. ………I was putting a case for discussion, as I thought off the record, and was speaking only about systematics, a specialised field. I do not support the creationist movement in any way……… In short the article does not fairly represent my views. But even if it did, so what? The issue should be resolved by rational discussion, and not by quoting ‘authorities,’ which seems to be the creationists’ principal mode of argument.”

        In 1988, Patterson was again quote-mined, this time by Reginald Chelvam (whose sole claim to fame is that he authored a book that denies Einstein’s theories of relativity) in a letter to Nature, entitled ‘God Does Not Need Science’. Patterson wrote a rebuttal letter to the Editor of Nature (332: 580):

        “Chelvam asserts that ‘we are drowning’ in evidence against Darwinism. He cites nothing beyond the remarks attributed to me. It seems possible that he confuses two theories under the name of Darwinism, the general theory of common ancestry or descent with modification, and Darwin’s special theory of mechanism, natural selection. If he knows of evidence inconsistent with the general theory of common descent, he should tell us what it is. I know of none.”

        Stephen J Gould & Niles Eldredge:

        Despite what your quote-mines seem to say, these guys have never questioned evolution and they have never questioned the basic tenets of Darwinian evolution – they have both stated that on a number of occasions and Eldredge continues to do so. The theoretical differences between Gould, Eldredge and other evolutionary biologists is that the latter group argue speciation as a gradual transition while the former argue speciation as series of transitions (punctuations) intermingled with periods of stasis (equilibria), the time line of which differs according to lineage. Gould likened the difference to a gradual incline vs. flight of steps and in no way intended it to be considered as a dismissal of observed allopatric, parapatric or sympatric speciation; all these mechanisms get you from A to B. Most importantly, both Gould & Eldredge completely repudiate creationist claims that they support Richard Goldschmidt’s hypothesis of neo-saltation, or sudden jumps within a generation (75 years old, it was widely disregarded then and now completely discredited).

        Stephen J Gould from his essay ‘Evolution as Fact and Theory’:

        “Since we proposed punctuated equilibria to explain trends, it is infuriating to be quoted again and again by creationists—whether through design or stupidity, I do not know—as admitting that the fossil record includes no transitional forms. Transitional forms are generally lacking at the species level, but they are abundant between larger groups…………… I am both angry at and amused by the creationists; but mostly I am deeply sad.”

        Following his being misquoted in Gary Parker ‘Creationism and the Facts of Life’, Eldredge wrote in ‘The Monkey Business: A Scientist Looks at Creationism’(1982):

        “Famous paleontologists at Harvard, the American Museum, and even the British Museum say we have “not a single example of evolutionary transition at all.” This is untrue. A prominent creationist interviewed a number of paleontologists at those institutions and elsewhere [again, Luther Sunderland – he misrepresented to them that he was conducting the interviews as an employee of the NY state government]. I was one of them. Some of us candidly admitted that there are some procedural difficulties in recognizing ancestors and that, yes, the fossil record is rather full of gaps. Nothing new there. This creationist then wrote letters to various newspapers, and even testified at hearings that the paleontologists he interviewed admitted that there are no intermediates in the fossil record. Thus, the lie has been perpetuated by Parker. All of the paleontologists interviewed have told me that they did cite examples of intermediates to the interviewer. The statement is an outright distortion of the willing admission by many paleontologists concerned with accuracy, that, to be sure, there are gaps in the fossil record. Such is creationist “scholarship.””

        The interviews Eldredge refers to are available on microfiche ERIC ED 228 056. From what I’ve heard it is obvious that Parker and Sunderland blatantly misrepresented the actual content of the interviews.

        Richard Lewontin:

        Lewontin is a special case in the field of evolutionary biology because he went through a political phase when he was a quite strong (and old fashioned style) Marxist. Steven Rose is currently a similar case. Marxism and evolutionary theory do not make natural bedfellows because one suggests that the environment is the primary determinant of physical and psychological traits and plays down genetics and the other suggests that genetics is the prime determinant and, to albeit a lesser extent, plays down environmental variables. Consequently, during his Marxist phase Lewontin played down the role of genetics. In reality, however, a simplistic direct mapping of genetics onto behaviours and social interactions has never been widely accepted in biology. Differences do arise between researchers as to the relative effect strengths of genetic and environmental variables, and this has been compounded by many of the newer findings in epigenetics. Lewontin has since recanted some of his more strident political thoughts and acknowledged that they probably overly influenced his scientific judgement.

        The notion that he was ever anti-evolution and sympathetic to creationism is sheer dishonesty, however. In Lewontin (1981), Evolution/Creation Debate: A Time for Truth, Bioscience, 559, he wrote:

        “It is time for students of the evolutionary process, especially those who have been misquoted and used by the creationists, to state clearly that evolution is a FACT, not theory, and that what is at issue within biology are questions of details of the process and the relative importance of different mechanisms of evolution. It is a FACT that the earth with liquid water, is more than 3.6 billion years old. It is a FACT that cellular life has been around for at least half of that period and that organized multicellular life is at least 800 million years old. It is a FACT that major life forms now on earth were not at all represented in the past. There were no birds or mammals 250 million years ago. It is a FACT that major life forms of the past are no longer living. There used to be dinosaurs and Pithecanthropus, and there are none now. It is a FACT that all living forms come from previous living forms. Therefore, all present forms of life arose from ancestral forms that were different. Birds arose from nonbirds and humans from nonhumans. No person who pretends to any understanding of the natural world can deny these facts any more than she or he can deny that the earth is round, rotates on its axis, and revolves around the sun.”

        Interviewed for the book ‘Scientists Confront Creationism’ ( Laurie R. Godfrey, 1983) Lewontin had this to say:

        “Partly through honest confusion, but also partly through a conscious attempt to confuse others, creationists have muddled the disputes about evolutionary theory with the accepted fact of evolution to claim that even scientists call evolution into question. By melding our knowledge of what has happened in evolution with our doubts about how this has happened into a single “theory of evolution,” creationists hope to challenge evolution with evolutionists’ own words. Sometimes creationists plunge more deeply into dishonesty by taking statements of evolutionists out of context to make them say the opposite of what was intended. For example, when, in an article on adaptation, I described the outmoded nineteenth-century belief that the perfection of creation was the best evidence of a creator, this description was taken into creationist literature as evidence for my own rejection of evolution. Such deliberate misuse of the literature of evolutionary biology, and the transparent subterfuge of passing off the Old Testament myth of creation as if it were creation “science” rather than the belief of a particular religion, has convinced most evolutionists that creationism is nothing but an ill-willed attempt to suppress truth in the interest of propping up a failing institution. But such a view badly oversimplifies the situation and misses the deep social and political roots of creationism.”

        David Raup:

        The quote you used is actually one of the most celebrated quote-mines in the history of science. Raup has never questioned evolution itself, like Gould and Eldredge he questions the “tempo and mode” of evolution, specifically the extent to which the biological evolution we observe is the product of Darwinian natural selection. This is in no way controversial unless you have only a simplistic understanding of evolutionary theory and equate it with ‘Darwinism’ (“sweeping statements)”. Darwin is not famous for discovering biological evolution. He’s famous for discovering the first mechanism underlying biological evolution, i.e., natural selection. But we now know that natural selection is merely one of the mechanisms by which biological evolution occurs. That’s why I can’t understand this obsession that creationists have with Darwin. If you go to an evolution lab you hardly ever hear the name Darwin spoken, just like if you go to a physics lab you hardly ever hear the name Newton or Faraday.

        This is Raup quoted by J R Cole (1981)‘Misquoted Scientists Respond’ Creation Evolution Journal, 2:

        “One of the most unfortunate aspects of the current creation-evolution debate is that many of the creationists equate Darwinian theory with evolution. They are saying, in effect, that if Darwin’s theory falls, then so does evolution. Nothing could be further from the truth………….. On the question of whether or not evolution has occurred, I would say that there are few things in the natural sciences about which we can be more confident. The geologic time scale has been checked and rechecked by many independent methods. Although individual dates may be subject to error, the overall chronology stands firm. It is used every day in petroleum and mineral exploration, and, if there were basic problems with it, I am sure that industrial geologists would have blown the whistle. The fossil record is intimately tied in with this chronology and shows a record of change in organisms through time. What we are not sure about is just how the biological changes took place. Natural selection surely played a part, but there may be other biological processes that have operated. One of the challenges of biology and paleontology is to find out what other processes were involved.”

        These rebuttal quotes are incongruous with what you are claiming and unambiguous in their intent. Notice the theme running through nearly all these rebuttals? Notice also the rebuttal dates. About thirty years on and the same tired old quote-mines are still being used by creationists. In the academic sciences quote-mining and deliberately and knowingly misrepresenting the stance of other researchers would be a sure career-killer. In creationism it’s become a virtuous skill. So, if you are serious about being seen as a serious, objective and informed author and not a creationist lackey you should not be misusing the quotes you did. Because quite clearly these authors do not agree with you.

        1. JEFF: [There are no ‘runts’, deformities, no weaklings, no ‘sickies’, no ‘almost-rights-but-not-quites’ preserved in the fossil record. Not one.]

          This is an example of one of your sweeping statements devoid of any truth. It’s a very surprising statement to make because it is so easily refuted, both statistically and by direct observation. There’s even a whole field of science called paleopathology! In the animal kingdom, soft tissue congenital deformities would not survive fossilisation but hard tissue deformities are found in abundance. Let’s look at the statistical case first.

          Imagine we find a fossil skull (or skull fragment from which we can calculate size; but any bone would do as an example). That would be the only exemplar we have of that species. There would be no way of telling if that was a normally developed specimen or a “runt” would there? Now we find another one. One specimen will now be bigger than the other. We still can’t tell whether one is a “runt”, though, because they both might fall within the normal parameters of that species. Now we find a third. One will be the smallest, one the middle sized one and one the largest. Then we find more. After we’ve found a number of these skulls we can then plot a distribution of their sizes. We would expect to find a Gaussian (or close to Gaussian) distribution of skull sizes within a single species (because if we found, say, a bimodal distribution we would suspect two different species). I understand that Gaussian distributions are exactly what paleontologists do find. Gaussian distributions necessarily have two outlying ‘tails’ relative to the mean of the distribution, one of which inevitably consists of the “runts” which you claim do not exist.

          The claim is also surprising because in the creationist literature it has long and widely claimed that many of the examples of extinct species in the genus Homo are in fact deformed Homo sapiens or deformed non-Homo primate species. Indeed, the nine individual Homo floresiensis fragments are widely considered by creationists to be microencephalic humans or that they suffered endemic cretinism, insular dwarfism and even Down syndrome. In other words, they would be what you call “runts”. But there are numerous instances of skull abnormalities in various much older Homo species that mirror congenital defects caused by genetic factors that we can observe today and in some cases we can even predict that the individuals involved would have suffered severe cognitive deficits.

          I’m no paleontologist but even I was aware of the existence of two extremely well known fossil deformities; a complete choristoderan reptile skeleton (Hyphalosaurus) from the lower cretaceous (approx 120 million years ago) with two fully formed heads and necks and a specimen of Tyrannosaurus rex exhibiting improper developmental segmentation of vertebrae that would have resulted indifficulties in mobility (effectively a disabled dinosaur) and neuropathology. Other examples of hard tissue congenital deformities in fossils that I easily found in the research literature include:

          Dicephalic Lycophidion
          Dilophosaurus wetherilli with asymmetrically sized humeri.
          Hominids with enlarged parietal foramen
          Absence of tarsal in Terrapene Carolina
          Irregular number of digits in Micromelerpeton crederni
          Yakovlevian torque in Hominid
          Hominid with craniosynostosis
          Severely deformed jaw in Troodon formosus
          Porotic hyperostosis in Hominid
          Dental malformations in Ectocion osbornianus
          Vertebral pathology in Cetacea mysticeti
          Hemivertebrae induced scoliosis in Hoplophoneus
          Hemivertebrae induced scoliosis in Temnospondyl
          Unilateral lack of temporal bone ear structures in Singa Calvaria
          Carapace and plastron deformities in Procolpochelys
          Carapace and plastron deformities in Syllomus

          I won’t even go into fossils found with pathologies caused by trauma and disease. They’re far too numerous to mention.

          1. Further response to Jeff:

            I’d like now to address a claim you made regarding writing style in Darwin’s ‘Origin of Species’. You wrote:

            [It is larded everywhere with conditional and subjunctive assertions]

            You should be aware that Darwin is doing nothing wrong here. Use of the subjunctive mood (and the passive voice) is standard practice in science writing (although some might fairly argue that it is overused). For example, if an experiment is performed, even if the results are unequivocal, it’s not considered good practice to write:

            “My data prove (demonstrate, show etc) that variable X has a positive effect on variable Y.”

            It would be considered good practice to write something like:

            “The data obtained in the present experiment suggest (implies, offer evidence etc) that variable X may have a positive effect on variable Y, at least under the observed conditions.”

            This is a turgid style of writing, to be sure, but it is used specifically to counteract any sense of certainty; for science does not deal with certainties and ‘proof’. Science always remains open-ended regarding evidence. In contrast, creationists invariably use the first example above in their writing because they start out with the answers (with certainties) and then search for suitable data to fit those answers. Therefore they have no need of the subjunctive mood. This is one of the reasons why creationist literature is unscientific.

            When creationists criticize Darwin (or any science writer) for using conditional phrases and subjunctive mood they are acting in either an ignorant or disingenuous fashion. It has become commonplace in the creationist literature for exaggerated claims to be made about Darwin’s writing style. One claim is that the phrase ‘we may suppose’ occurs over 800 times in Darwin’s ‘Origin of Species’, thus suggesting that the work was far more speculative than it actually is (there are several versions of this myth still being peddled using variations of ‘we may suppose’, but always the claimed figures are in the hundreds). In fact, the phrase occurs a mere three times, once each in chapters 10, 11 and 13.

            An interesting but pertinent aside in view of what you have written: The original claim has been traced back to a pamphlet written in 1926 by the American white supremacist, pro-Nazi, rabidly anti-evolution (co-founder of the Anti-Evolution League) Baptist pastor William Bell Riley. In it, he (correctly) argued that the anti-miscegenation laws in many US states were scripturally based and that God intended that the races should live separately and not intermarry. However, if Darwin’s scientific findings were accepted, and the races were considered equal, then there would be no legal basis left in which to maintain the anti-miscegenation laws, in which case “the moral fibre of our society will collapse and Satan would earn a victory”.

            The creationist movement in the USA has never really been able to shake off its racist underpinnings. Many of the Discovery Institute’s (no ‘fellows’ have ever been African-American and only one or two not of Northern European stock) anti-evolution offerings are published by Regnery Press (e.g., Jonathon Wells’ ‘Icons of Evolution’ & ‘Politically Incorrect to Guide to Darwinism’; Richards & Gonzales’ ‘Designed for Discovery’ & ‘The Privileged Planet ). The owner, William Regnery, is the primary funder of the US think tank ‘National Policy Institute’ whose mission statement on their website would certainly find favour with Nazi Party principles:

            “………to elevate the consciousness of whites, ensure our biological and cultural continuity…….study the consequences of the ongoing influx that non-Western populations pose to our national identity.”

            In a speech given in Chicago in 2005 to the ‘Friends of the American Renaissance’ William Regnery unashamedly mimicked Hitler:

            “………within the first or second hand memories of people in this room the white race may go from master of the universe to an anthropological curiosity.”

            Regnery has also recently started a dating service for “heterosexual whites of Christian cultural heritage” to ensure “the survival of our race”, which is his “first arrow in a business quiver providing services and products to whites.” Regnery also funds the ‘Occidental Quarterly’ a journal which unashamedly bills itself as advancing the cause of academic racism!

            So remember when you buy some of your creationist literature to quote from it, this is where your money is going; these are some of the values underlying creationist thought; these are the very people who have the audacity to tell you that Darwin was racist!

  41. For me, the ‘law of biogenesis’ is only meant to rule out spontaneous generation, not a gradual ‘fuzzy’ transition of life from non-life. For example, a virus outside of a host cell is not alive (it is unable to sustain any kind of life process or reproduce: it is simply genetic material) but within a cell, it takes on the characteristics of life. I think viruses are a kind of ‘missing link’ in what I’d call a ‘biogenesis gradient’, which does not really require any instant of spontaneous ‘abiogenesis’ such as what you’ve put forward, rather than a gradual transition which does not require any kind of spontaneous generation of the kind that Pasteur was trying to rule out. I like your argument, but I think even an ‘instant of abiogenesis’ is rather too complex to describe something as simple as the transition that a virus makes every time we get infected with a cold…hope that adds to the discussion!

    1. Helen – Pasteur’s “Law” (and I put Law in quotes because it is not an actual scientific law, for those that may not be aware of this) was specifically a comment on where viruses and pathogens come from. People thought that sickness just sprang up magically, but he realized that it came from a source and that one had to obtain it from somewhere else.

      Creationists grasp onto the title of it (Pasteur’s Law) without understanding either the context in which he was commenting on or the part of life he was trying to explain. Clearly he was not trying to explain the origin of life, but cultists don’t want to hear that.

      The “fuzzy” start of life seems to be a much more realistic and logical explanation for how life came to be. I don’t know of any credible scientist who things cells just appeared with a full set of DNA one day. That is an absurd claim to make, and science does not make it, but creationist websites lead their readers to think that science does.

      Ultimately there is no way to explain life unless it arose naturally. Even if a god is responsible for it, that god had to have a beginning somewhere too (since an eternal being is a logical fallacy), so no matter what I feel comfortable to say that life did arise by chance, naturally, without design…

  42. WOW.. I was reading your comment on biogenesis and was moved by your deeply scientific reasoning to support that life can come from non-life… You state ” it’s not unreasonable to suppose that the elements of life came together in just the right way…..” So now the scientific method is supposing ….. So much for testing, observation and analysis… Now it is supposing that life came from non-life…. Since we can suppose it happened… that is all we need ? That’s your science ?… Bill Nye must be proud…. Typical weak argument for evolution.. When you have so many ridiculous holes to fill… you simply suppose it works…. Then move on…. And you call creationists silly !

    1. Man, this piece really touched a nerve. Always someone new gunning for it.

      In the section you quote, I was responding to the claim that it IS unreasonable to suppose that abiogenesis might have happened, or in other words that it’s impossible. It was not an argument that it did happen, only that it might have because there isn’t enough evidence to rule it out. The existence of God is the same way; while one may not think it true, one cannot categorically rule it out in all forms based on our current knowledge of the universe, even in the complete absence of available evidence.

      When scientists consider the origin of life, all options are on the table. Thing is, there’s no work to be done on divine creation. How would they test for it, short of finding a literal signature in the DNA? Leaving that as a “maybe”, they do what they actually can and work on hypothesising, and testing if possible, methods of natural abiogenesis – from primordial swamps to clay crystals to the “RNA world”. In many of these cases, there is no apparent barrier to the emergence of life by purely natural means. The fact that it is unlikely is acceptable, and indeed expected as all known life can be traced back to a single event. It is not, and will never be, a good reason to drop everything and assume it was done by a being whose own existence is highly questionable. That doesn’t really answer anything.

  43. Richard writes: [Typical weak argument for evolution]

    It’s kind of hard to take anything you say seriously when you make the typical cultist error that we see above…

    Evolution has nothing to do with the start of life. The theory about the origin of life is called abiogenesis. Evolution deals with the change in living things over time. The two are unrelated. So your comments about the scientific method seem pretty comical to me when you can’t even discuss the right topic with the right scientific theory.

    I’d love to discuss either scientific theory with you once you decide which one it is you are interested in. Just let us know, will you?

  44. Prove it. What are the chances for abiogenesis to happen? Is the universe large enough and old enough to account for the existence of spontaneous life? How did the information in our DNA come into existence? It just randomly came into existence with the abiogenesis of that first organism? Show me a scientific theory that accounts for the random genesis of such sophisticated information? But none of this really proves the existence of a god. You seem to need to prove that there could not possibly be a God so much that you simply throw out some big, important sounding scientific words and proclaim, “Viola! God doesn’t need to exist.” That does not prove anything. To prove something you would need to have a testable theory. But the theories of evolution are not testable nor provable. Any evidence that does not match the theory is either explained away or the theory simply morphs to account for it. There has never been a scientific theory as complicated or malleable as the theory of evolution, except maybe the Big Bang.

    1. For the benefit of those reading along, the above is a different Tim.

      The chances of abiogenesis are small in any given time and place, but the universe is large enough and old enough that there have been countless opportunities in countless individual times and places. Even taking this into account the overall chance might still be small, but since evolution can make the most of a small population of replicators it only had to happen once, in one place. I’ve got no problem with accepting that we’re lucky to be here.

      There is no scientific theory of abiogenesis yet, only a set of competing hypotheses. So it was with evolution before Darwin’s hypothesis got the evidential support it needed to become a scientific theory and “beat out” the other hypotheses, such as Lamarck’s. Evolution was a fact the whole time regardless, whether we knew it or not.

      The argument for the existence of a god that’s in play here is an argument from ignorance if its only fuel is the current lack of an alternative explanation for life, and therefore does not demonstrate anything to the satisfaction of anyone who doesn’t already accept the desired conclusion. In other words, you can’t use it to convince non-believers no matter how convincing it sounds to you. It only becomes a sound argument if you’re able to demonstrate the total impossibility of another viable explanation EVER being found, which frankly you can’t, especially if you consider other supernatural ideas that don’t involve gods.

      Finally, Google ‘testing the theory of evolution’ because if you’d done that already you simply wouldn’t have said it’s not testable. There’s too much to ignore if you go looking even for a few seconds.

  45. you do realize that life absolutely cannot come from non-life right?

    or did you just avoid that like everything else…

    God doesn’t need evolution because he made every living and non-living thing…. you can keep trying though

    1. Sorry, I’m not about to realise something which has never been established. It was merely claimed by a man who discovered that it doesn’t happen constantly all around us. Actually, we’re all in agreement that life can come from non-life, including you, because that’s also what God is supposed to have done. Dust isn’t alive, but Adam apparently was. If you can’t nail down WHY it’s impossible without God, it can never be anything more than a claim.

      1. It’s pretty obvious, spontaneous generation, atomic evolution, spontaneous regeneration, all impossible to the natural world.

          1. Because we all know that it takes intelligence to design and make intelligence. You won’t expect a computer to spontaneously generate would you?
            Why do you think we also can’t fully understand our own minds, it takes something with a higher intelligence to make anything.

            1. How can that possibly be true? Your god creature is intelligent, is it not? Yet believers say it did not need to be created. So you can’t logically claim that intelligence has to be created AND claim your intelligence god creature was not created. You like having your cake and eating it too…..

              Either intelligence has to be created (which means your god was also created, leading to a false logic loop of endless creation of intelligent creators), or it doesn’t, which means that humans as well as your particular god can happen via other means.

              Creation is an illogical proposition as a source for intelligence

      2. If a man made a living robot it would still be Biogenesis (and not Abiogenesis) because it would be a living being creating another living being (even though he is using non-living components) – all living organic organisms are composed of elements that were at some point dead – the “mostly-dead” cheese-burger a woman ate is miraculously used to become part of the living baby in her womb. – You are mistakenly focusing on the dead-dust instead of on the Living-Creator (Jesus Christ is the Ever-Living-Creator of all life).

        1. Okay, if you want to define abiogenesis specifically as a process that does not involve an already living thing, then creation by God would not be abiogenesis. I was using it more broadly to mean the emergence OR creation of life from a set of materials none of which were already alive, whether unguided or not. A baby begins as a part of the mother’s living body, whereas a robot or an entirely synthetic life form would not contain a part of us, so to me the former would be biogenesis and the latter abiogenesis.

          All of this amounts to semantics, though, because the question is whether the process which we would both label unguided abiogenesis is possible.

          1. Andre writes: [If a man made a living robot it would still be Biogenesis (and not Abiogenesis) because it would be a living being creating another living being (even though he is using non-living components) – all living organic organisms are composed of elements that were at some point dead – the “mostly-dead” cheese-burger a woman ate is miraculously used to become part of the living baby in her womb.]

            You seem to have a fundamental flaw in your understanding of biological systems. The atoms and molecules that make up living things are no different than when they aren’t in living things. They are exactly the same, and follow the exact same laws of chemistry, physics, and thermodynamics. No single molecule or element in your body is “alive”. As a system you are alive. Your body replaces every calcium atom in your bones in about a 20 year cycle. This doesn’t make you any less or more alive. It is the summation of your parts in the order they are maintained that makes you alive. The individual pieces matter not.

  46. i’m just gonna leave a bunch of info from answeresingenesis.org for you atheists to review for no apparent reason at all.
    (i did not make these and i do not claim these)
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    [snip]

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    http://www.apologeticspress.org/apPubPage.aspx?pub=2&issue=945&article=1421
    Want to read some more Christian articles about symbiosis? Check out these urls for some great proofs that God created our world:
    Ant Farmers and their Aphids
    http://www.apologeticspress.org/apPubPage.aspx?pub=2&issue=945&article=1422
    Yahweh, Yuccas, and a Young Earth
    http://www.apologeticspress.org/apPubPage.aspx?pub=2&issue=945&article=1424

    1. Sorry Joker, this thread is ridiculously long already and doesn’t need multiple pages of material pasted in from other sources, so I had to snip it out. If you want to discuss the topic, pick what you think is the best argument (two, max) from among the AiG material and state it in your own words, so we can address it as you understand it and not talk past each other.

  47. Joker writes: [Because we all know that it takes intelligence to design and make intelligence. You won’t expect a computer to spontaneously generate would you?
    Why do you think we also can’t fully understand our own minds, it takes something with a higher intelligence to make anything.]

    Classic cultist argument, and one that is a great example of false logic. Something intelligent and complex as humans can’t have happened accidentally. So the only answer is that a god creature had to make them. But, that god creature causes a problem. The god creature is even MORE complex and intelligent, right? And the cultist has just stated the rule that something like that has to be created. That means the god creature has to be created. Your logic Joker, not mine. Complex intelligence must be created. But what created the god creature that created us? It too must be complex and intelligent, so that means something created the what that created the god creature. But created the something that created the what that created the god creature?

    See the false logic loop you’ve created? You’ve made an immensely complex, never ending merry go round. An unresolvable dilemma.

    It’s usually at this point that the believer invokes the exception. It’s the only way off the merry go round. The exception is that the god creature has just always existed. It didn’t need creating.

    Of course, this doesn’t help you. Now we have an exception to the rule that complexity and intelligence need creating. If something so incredibly complex and intelligent like a god can happen without a creative effort, then something comparatively much simpler, like Earthly life, can happen too. Remember, you’ve created an exception to your own rule, so now life does not HAVE to be created. It can happen without the aid of anything.

    Thus, life can happen without a creator. Your own logic is self-defeating. Thanks for playing though…

    1. You fail to realize that you alone are a cult and are following a heresy.

      God is outside of time. Our time.

      Your logic, not mine

      1. You also forgot that he isn’t complex intelligence. He is infinitely intelligent. Therefore he doesn’t need a higher intelligence to create him. There is nothing higher.

        Feel free to try again

  48. Joker writes: [You fail to realize that you alone are a cult and are following a heresy]

    A cult is a system of great veneration towards a being or object. As a religious person you are most certainly a cultist. I’ve used that word appropriately. I am not a cultist in any way based on the definition of the word, but if it makes you feel better to call me one then have at it…

    In your eyes I am following a heresy. It’s your right to have that opinion. Calling me a heretic does not insult me however. It means nothing to me.

    [God is outside of time. Our time.]

    Too bad there is exactly zero evidence for such a claim. Given what we know about the conservation laws of the universe, it is impossible for a god creature to act on this universe and not be OF this universe. You can make up all manner of magical explanations to the contrary, but until you provide evidence or empirical data for such things they remain entirely in the realm of speculation.

    [Your logic, not mine]

    You don’t have a logical argument unfortunately.

    [You also forgot that he isn’t complex intelligence. He is infinitely intelligent. Therefore he doesn’t need a higher intelligence to create him. There is nothing higher.]

    You haven’t solved your false logic loop. Something infinitely intelligent is infinitely complex. The rule you set is that complexity and intelligence can’t happen on their own. It doesn’t matter how complex or intelligent they are, they can’t happen without the involvement of another creature. Your logic, not mine.

    [Feel free to try again]

    As soon as you refute what I said. In the meantime, did you know what it is impossible for a god creature to be all knowing and you to have free will at the same time?

    1. Ok, before you even reply, research the word “religious” .

      You failed that entire post honestly because you misused “religious” .

      I’m not religious.

      Research that now

        1. actually i havent seen any of your replies, abd i still dont.
          It wont show them.

          But i can tell you that creationism is not illogical, you claim that unlimited intellegence needs to be created.

          However, you also believe it created itself along with Everything else.

          You also claim that life originated from plain molecules,

          Highley Unlikely, actually , imposible without help.

          Atoms stay atoms.

          Bacteria stays bacteria .

          Viruses stay viruses.

          evolution stays faulty and illogical .

          Such as the big bang, However that is not the topic of discussion.

          Im busy these few months and will be for awhile, i suggest that if you want your questions answered by creationists then go to answersingenesis.com
          If you dont try researching the other side then its pointless to debate you…

          As is myself, im still studying your theories but they just become more illogical and constantly change.

          I will continue to study them, However dont expect a response for awhile.

          1. And didnt i tell you to research what religious means?

            because i told you that i wouldnt come back until you did anyways….

            So i guess the late response is also your fault.

  49. Joker writes: [actually i havent seen any of your replies, abd i still dont.
    It wont show them.]

    Seems odd that you know I just replied a few hours ago yet you can’t see them…

    [But i can tell you that creationism is not illogical, you claim that unlimited intellegence needs to be created.]

    It is illogical. I believe I just detailed it out in a simple and straightforward manner in my previous reply. Where is the hole in my logic then? I don’t differentiate between limited verses unlimited intelligence. You say intelligence has to be created, did you not? You say intelligence must be created, did you not? You’ve created your own dilemma. Either intelligence has to be created, or it does not have to be created. Which one is it?

    [However, you also believe it created itself along with Everything else.]

    No, I believe that is you with your god creature…isn’t it? You believe your particular deity just exists….is that not the same thing?

    Life did not “create itself”. Life happened accidentally. Life did not have to happen, life did not want to exist. It just does because it is chemically possible and the right conditions existed for it to happen.

    [You also claim that life originated from plain molecules, Highley Unlikely, actually , imposible without help.]

    Life IS just plain molecules. There is nothing about any living form on Earth that defies any of the laws of chemistry, physics, thermodynamics, etc. We are nothing more than a complex grouping of molecules that has the ability to replicate itself.

    You are incorrect that life is “impossible” without help. Perhaps you did not know this, but there are self-replicating molecules that exist. They are not alive in any sense of the word, but they make copies of themselves. It is a chemical property of the molecule. A simple peptide ligase (that also just happens to be an enzyme) is one example, discovered by Ghadiri and other scientists. It breaks into two 16-unit chains and each chain builds itself up into full 32-long molecule peptides, and then repeat the process. Simple lipids, which can be found in your average clay, form waterproof membranes. Lipids join together on their own accord, and are chemically stable. A self replicating molecule protected from water in a simple lipidic membrane….a possible explanation on how life got started. Simple chemical compounds like these can form polymers and then replicating polymers, which can form a hypercycle of activity that would lead to a protobiont and eventually the first life forms. Life is chemically possible, and fully follows the laws of the universe…

    [Atoms stay atoms.]

    Yes, they do. Well, at least until they are fused together in stars or in supernovae explosions, but that is off topic.

    [Bacteria stays bacteria . Viruses stay viruses. evolution stays faulty and illogical .]

    No, I’m afraid you are wrong. All living things evolved from the first life forms. Animals evolved from bacteria. There is a literal mountain of evidence for this from paleontology, biology, geology, and morphology. On top of all that, the field of genetics came along and sequenced the genomes of living things and discovered that all life is genetically related, and those relationships basically follow the tree of life that was developed before genetics was a field of research! The theory of evolution is not ony built on an incredible amount of data, but it was independently verified by a new field. And all the data points to living things NOT staying in the same format, but changing over time. You can make all the “bacteria stays bacteria” statements you want, but you have exactly zero data and empirical evidence to support that claim. You also have no other valid theory that adequately explains all the data that supports the theory of evolution.

    [Im busy these few months and will be for awhile, i suggest that if you want your questions answered by creationists then go to answersingenesis.com
    If you dont try researching the other side then its pointless to debate you…]

    Been there, done that. Nothing there is scientific or accurate. Pick any detail you want from any argument on that site, and I’d be happy to discuss it with at length as to why they are wrong.

    [As is myself, im still studying your theories but they just become more illogical and constantly change.]

    Very generic statement. Which theories, and in what way do they change?

    [I will continue to study them, However dont expect a response for awhile.]

    I understand, thanks for the heads up. I look forward to your reply when you have the time.

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