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Why Supernatural Claims?

Why Are Religious Claims a Target for the Extraordinary Claims Campaign?
Some comments on Supernatural Claims, Evidence, and the Burden of Proof

Central to the question of whether belief in the supernatural is justifiable is the question of whether it is possible to have evidence for supernatural claims. Of course, we already know that we can have evidence for natural claims. For this, we use the scientific method. So, what does the scientific method tells us about supernatural claims?

Well, one thing is for sure. Science cannot show that supernatural claims are false – proving a negative is practically impossible. We can however show that believing in the supernatural is unjustified.

The scientific method operates within a framework of general skepticism. Here skepticism should be understood as a default position of incredulity regarding empirical claims. This means that unless there is evidence for a claim, scientists default to a position of disbelief. Thus, for any empirical claim, the burden of proof lies with the person making the claim.

Now, how does the scientific method justify beliefs about the natural world?

It is important to remember that there is an indefinitely long list of empirical claims that are logically possible and may well be true – there may be a flying spaghetti monster after all. However, unless there is some way to test these claims in the real world, there is no way to assess their truth. While good scientific theories have a variety of virtues, one of the most significant is surely testability. According the scientific method, belief in natural claims is justified when observations match the predictions of a scientific theory.

One of the problems with supernatural claims is that much of the time there are no empirical effects to speak of. While such claims are indeed empirical – they are, after all, existential claims – many supernatural claims, even if true, would produce no observable effects. The consequence is that we can have no empirical evidence for them. The claim the God exists outside of time and space falls into this category. No evidence means no justification.

Other supernatural claims, such as the effectiveness of intercessory prayer, do produce observable effects – or rather they would if they were true. However, the evidence for them is consistently unimpressive, to put it mildly.

These two facts about supernatural claims, when coupled with scientific skepticism, entail that belief in the supernatural is unjustified according to the scientific method – the only consistently reliable epistemological practice we have.

Could there be an extra-scientific method of justifying supernatural claims? While highly doubtful, it is certainly logically possible that such a method could one day be discovered. It is also possible that a future study will prove the effectiveness of intercessory prayer. However, until these things come to pass, we must come to grips with the fact that belief in the supernatural is unjustified.

Further Reading

Popper, Karl “The Logic of Scientific Discovery”, Hutchinson and Co., 1959.

Forrest, Barbara, “Methodological Naturalism and Philosophical Naturalism: Clarifying the Connection”, Philo, Vol. 3, No. 2, pp. 7-29, 2000. (http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/barbara_forrest/naturalism.html)

48 Comments leave one →
  1. May 7, 2014 8:31 AM

    “the scientific method – the only consistently reliable epistemological practice we have.”

    That’s quite an extraordinary claim there. I’m guessing you’ve got extraordinary evidence to prove this? And supposedly in order for the claim to not self destruct your evidence to back this claim up would indeed need to be scientific.

  2. Dave Schneider permalink
    January 1, 2011 10:16 PM

    Game players should reclaim the tarot

  3. December 17, 2010 11:40 AM

    @Erik,

    In effect, you committed Identity Theft. This is not only grossly unethical, but may also be a crime punishable by prison time. Please refrain from pretending to possess higher standards than the person you are speaking with. Do not address me again unless you intend to apologize.

  4. Erik permalink
    December 16, 2010 11:59 AM

    >>>>>Erik, winning or losing isn’t really the point of these discussions

    ….this wordpress site has nothing to do with trying to prove a point? I daresay you’re being inconsistent…

    >>>>>What I defend is not my point of view, but my passion for the scientific process

    It is your point of view that [what you are defending] = [your 'passion for the scientific process']

    >>>> I take every word I say seriously

    Even the words that contradict your previous words?

    >>>>>I was thinking just today about asking my own fundamentalist brother-in-law the question, “what is the difference between belief and understanding.”

    A better question might be “how is belief and understanding related?”

    belief, faith, trust and knowledge are similar, sometimes overlapping, and it’s very easy for some people to become confused on the topic.

    >>>>> There is much that a person can learn from these discussions

    I remain hopeful.

  5. December 15, 2010 8:18 PM

    @Erik, winning or losing isn’t really the point of these discussions, though as the moderator stated, passions can become quite heated because of the subjects being discussed. I argue on behalf of reason and science and have very strong views about many things which do not always get translated into respect for someone I feel will not address reason fairly. This may or may not be in reference to you, as I have dealt with this sort of thing elsewhere and felt nothing was gained by anyone involved if neither party has the sense to back down. Conclusions in these cases are usually far worse than the hoped for positive resolution.

    What I defend is not my point of view, but my passion for the scientific process, as my understanding of history, science, and the arts inevitably makes me a defender of this kind of open-ended thinking. It was not my intention to deliberately call you by a derogatory name (except for my use of the word troll, for which I gave you the conditions that must be satisfied in order for me to do that — there should have been no surprises there; and whether you are accepted here as a debater is still entirely up to you and how you choose to proceed). I also gave you the conditions by which you would be able to successfully continue a discussion with me, if you wanted to, as I was quite tired of what we were doing and was stepping out of it. I set the rules by which I would continue the discussion. I was perfectly willing to continue on the condition of the one change I insisted on.

    That was fair.

    I am indeed incensed that I have been impersonated. I take every word I say seriously (even when I criticize someone, and it might surprise you that I work hard at reassessing criticism and potential insults when they are made in order to think of what might have been a better way of saying “I think that’s nonsense, and I think you know it is as well.” Being honest with oneself is not always easy, as thoughts almost always come faster and easier than our understanding of them).

    See you around on the boards, but let’s try to stick to the investigation of a topic rather than merely proving each other wrong at every turn. For my part, I feel that I understand somewhat how some natural processes work, such as stellar formation, planetary formation, tectonics, sedimentation, volcanism, the food chain, and even evolution, and so I am naturally inclined to try to explain these things clearly for those who perhaps have never had it explained clearly. Some things are difficult to put together at first hearing. Only patience leads to understanding.

    I was thinking just today about asking my own fundamentalist brother-in-law the question, “what is the difference between belief and understanding.” It’s not an easy question to answer. Understanding the implications of the question ought to make one slow down in his absolute proclamations of what is true and what is not. One thing that can be said about understanding is that it is always changing as we learn to apply it.

    Admittedly, Erik, I don’t understand you. And for whatever reason I had for doing so, I started off rather fierce and liberal in my word choices. I do not think that is always a bad thing. Nevertheless, our discussion evolved into a pissing match, with both of us to blame, and frankly there’s only so much of that I can take. There is much that a person can learn from these discussions. You know my name. Don’t abuse it, alright?

  6. Erik permalink
    December 15, 2010 2:20 PM

    >>>> We would suggest that posting under multiple different aliases – as if there were a number of people all supporting your position – is also contrary to the spirit of honest debate

    My apologies, that was not my intent. I thought it was fairly obvious that when I responded to posts that it was me, but since there is room for confusion I can certainly refrain from doing so.

    To restate the deleted point: Lacey, when you cannot refute someone’s argument without resorting to name-calling, that’s when you let everyone else know that you’ve lost.

  7. December 15, 2010 10:41 AM

    “Erik Walker” (or whatever your name is): Your fake post as “Lacey Stinson” has been removed. This website was set up to encourage an honest and open debate about a number of extraordinary claims. In that spirit of openness, we have so far approved all posts to the site, even if overly long, hostile, or full of nonsense and falsehoods. However, an honest debate requires a minimal level of respect for other debaters, and pretending to be one of your opponents in the debate clearly falls below that level. We would suggest that posting under multiple different aliases – as if there were a number of people all supporting your position – is also contrary to the spirit of honest debate. You have posted under at least six different aliases on this site (Truth, Answer, Atheist Destroyer, Free Thinker, Rational Observer, Erik Walker). If you continue to do so, or to otherwise violate the standards of responsible debate, your posts will be routinely removed.

    Everyone: Please remember that merely insulting others does nothing to advance your case. These topics are highly charged, and strong disagreements are to be expected, but there is no place for personal attacks in a debate about evidence.

    The Moderator

  8. December 14, 2010 11:22 PM

    I think anyone who reads the previous FAKE post will see the the complete lack of integrity in this man who goes by the name of Erik Walker, a.k.a. Free Thinker, a.k.a. Answer.

    I need say no more than this.

  9. December 14, 2010 11:39 AM

    As promised in my most recent comments: Erik Walker, a.k.a. Free Thinker, a.k.a. answer, is a troll. His goal, it seems, is to pick fights and to argue by means of consistently contradicting known facts wherever they may be mentioned. His intentions are not to engage in dialog, or to find reasonable answers to real questions, but simply to counter all scientific evidence which contradicts Creationism. Reality is of little concern to this troll. I suggest others not respond to his comments unless they wish to deal with an endless stream of nonsense.

  10. Answer permalink
    December 13, 2010 10:11 PM

    >>>>>(Note: the idea that the continents were once in contact preceded finding evidence which confirmed the idea.)

    It was also first proposed by Creationists. Imagine that.

    >>>>>The basic facts about plate techtonics have been known and widely accepted since the 1960s.

    There is so much you do not know. If only you would spend time reading about WHY people believe what they believe, instead of taking it on faith.

    >>>>Then it is overhrusts that you are suggesting don’t really exist? Do you claim these overthrusts are the result of sedimentation and not seismic activity? There are methods for identifying both.

    I have a feeling that what I say won’t matter, because you’re not actually interested in learning about it.

    >>>>Speciation = evolution, even on small time scales. Evolution has occurred if just one species is derived from another.

    This is known as the Fallacy of Equivocation. It does not follow that all life is descended from one single-celled organism.

    >>>>>Erik: “Incorrect. I merely said that anything occurring outside of human experience does not fall under the category of “observable/testable phenomena,” and as such is not testable in a direct sense by the Scientific Method.”
    Lacey: ID and Creationism incorporate elements which are not addressable by the Scientific Method. The supernatural, and thus ID and Creationism are excluded from science for this reason.

    So, incidentally, is evolutionism.

    >>>>
    This is nonsense. ALL of history is subject to the scientific method.

    tHEN YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND HOW HISTORY/ARCHAEOLOGY IS RESEARCHED. i ENCOURAGE YOU TO FAMILIARIZE Yourself with their methods. Pardon for the caps lock.

    >>>Excuse me, Erik, but you asked for a “mechanism” whereby photonic energy can be transformed into mechanical energy. My response is correct.

    Incidentally, no one has used the scientific method to observe excited atoms turning into organisms. So your response is wishful thinking.

    >>>>>>>>>>“If you have to write to a professor in order to clarify the source, do it, if you are so credulous and so interested in the topic of origins.”
    >>>> Erik: “Should this really be necessary?”
    If you are really interested in finding out more about a subject, it may very well be a necessity.

    I sure hope you’re not now going to pretend to believe that evolution is “obvious,” if only a select priesthood holds the answers.

    >>>>>This is one reason we are able to say that glaciers covered much of North America and Europe during the last of our most recent cyclical ice ages some 14,000 years ago.

    There are many more types of evidence in support of the recent glaciation, none of which are present in “earlier” allegedly glaciated periods. Drop stones, as they were, are easily explained as the result of submarine landslides, which would have been numerous and catastrophic during Noah’s Flood.

    >>>>>The only important thing is that they were common people, not highly educated,

    You are wrong again.

    >>>>and even if they were there was a dearth of knowledge during that time period about the way things worked

    Nicely done, how you avoid falsification by making ignorant claims, and then essentially insisting that you’re still right, even if you’re proven wrong.

    >>>>myths which are attributed today to Moses, but who is generally agreed to be composed of several anonymous writers.

    Again, you are wrong. There’s nothing convincing except one’s own preconceptions that would lead someone to believe that the Pentateuch is not of Mosaic authorship.

    >>>>Compared to the availability of knowledge today, they were very ignorant of all but the most obvious things, and of those, they even got much of that wrong.

    Funny how you’re making claims without backing up your obvious culture bias. Just pointing that out. I have no interest in actually making you try to be rational, because you’ve repeatedly declared that you do not wish to be.

    >>>>> If you respond with such a long rebuttal of every point I have made in this post, I will not respond, except to call you a troll and to encourage everyone else to ignore you.

    Again abandoning logic. At least you’re consistently inconsistent.

    >>>>>Restrict yourself to a single topic and I will not call you a troll,

    Ladies first.

    >>>>> though I have no control over what others may say about you if you stream an excessively long rebuttal of all my points.

    The excessively long posts have been your own, in case you hadn’t noticed.

    >>>>>>If you respond with anything more than a single question, we are through.

    Since when do you set the rules? I guess this is an expectable response from you, considering that you view yourself as God of your own universe.

    You’re in luck. I have no questions for you. You have no answers. You’re also not interested in the answers to your own bigoted claims, which is evident in your demand that I not respond. When you are ready to roll with the griwn-ups, feel free to come back more humble.

  11. December 12, 2010 12:24 PM

    >>>> Erik: “[Re: water moving at 5000 mph] You’re claiming that the water and sediment would have been perfectly mixed. In order to help you understand why that is a rational impossibility, I gave you an example of what would have to happen for that mixing to occur. Since I figured that you would find this absurd, you would then be in a position to realize that absolute mixing of all the water/sediment/dead animals etc would NOT have occurred, in contrast to your previous claim.”

    >>>> Me: “This still does not explain the consistency with which dinosaurs are only found in Mesozoic layers, or the radiation of mammalian life is only found in Cenozoic layers”

    >>>> Erik: “I hate to break it to you, but that’s a false premise. The layers are named “Cenozoic” or “Mesozoic” based on the fossils that are contained therein, regardless of their position in the fossil record. It’s an enormously blatant example of circular reasoning. … You don’t want to challenge me on that. I’ll produce a series of quotes from your own scientists blatantly admitting to circular reasoning in response. You can find them yourselves, and spare yourself the embarrassment.”

    I believe you are wrong on all points. I cannot find any reference I made to “perfect” mixing. But what can be reasonably assumed is that there would have been chaotic and random mixing if there had been a global flood purportedly responsible for the existence of all fossils and all strata. This is not observed. There are strata located on both the South American continent and the African continent which are identical in shape and layering. Same rock layers, same fossils contained in those layers, the same geographic extent. The bedding is a perfect match. It is a simple matter of measuring the rate of separation of these two continents (which we have done) to see when they were last in contact with eachother. (Note: the idea that the continents were once in contact preceded finding evidence which confirmed the idea.) That turns out to be somewhere around 115-125 million years ago. The same sort of correllations can be made for the separation of other continental masses. The date of these continental masses confirms the radiometric dating techniques which can be performed on the volcanic overlays which occur within the sediments. These layers are not chaotic, nor are they randomly layed down. There is order to the layering, and there is more than one way to date the sediments.

    I don’t give a shit about your circular reasoning or your fallacy accusations. The basic facts about plate techtonics have been known and widely accepted since the 1960s. (The idea was rightfully criticized prior to the 60s during which new evidence came to light.) The details of plate techtonics have been worked out since that time, and more is being learned even as we speak. The evidence for the timing of continental separations is immense, the basic fact of continental drift is solid. It is not refuted by any reputable scientist. Continents move, and that movement corresponds with radiometric measurements.

    >>>> Erik: “Pardon me, I got the language confused. What I was referring to as a “thrust fault” is actually an “overthrust.” Sorry for the confusion.”

    Then it is overhrusts that you are suggesting don’t really exist? Do you claim these overthrusts are the result of sedimentation and not seismic activity? There are methods for identifying both.

    >>>> Erik: “Sorry, Lacey, but speciation =/= evolution. It is necessary but not sufficient. Hopefully you know the difference, if you have a basic understanding of logic.”

    Quoting myself: “Speciation is the first step. Secondly, unless you can show there is a mechanism, or a naturally occurring barrier which prevents genetic change from continuing over long periods of time, then the conclusion that all life resulted from speciation events is logical. This combined with an observable progression of life from single-celled to muti-celled diverse forms suggests a common origin for all life. You are wrong, fallacy and all.”

    You are correct that speciation is necessary (but I already said that), and only “time” is required in order for all life to have evolved from a common ancestor. But I already said that, as well. So, now I have said it again.

    Speciation = evolution, even on small time scales. Evolution has occurred if just one species is derived from another. Evolution has occurred over a long period of time if speciation occurs over long periods of time. If you feel you need to stop the speciation process at some point in the past in order for your “Creation” event to have taken place, you need to provide the mechanism which would prevent speciation from occurring at “any” point in time, including the present. There is none that I know of.

    *************

    >>>>”[Marsupial and placental dogs arose through] Two completely different development pathways” –> You are quite correct. This is Convergent Evolution.

    >>>> Erik: “I did not say what was in the brackets.”

    >>>> Me: “It was implied, because marsupial and placental dogs IS what we were talking about. You DO know the proper use of brackets, don’t you? I used the bracketed information correctly”

    >>>> Erik: “Incorrect. I did not indicate that I believed that marsupials and placentals share a common ancestor, which is what you tried to put in my mouth when you used the brackets. I forgive you for your misunderstanding. I do not believe that placental and marsupial dogs resulting from simple speciation is a likely occurrence at this time.”

    To quote myself: “You[r] statement of “Two” references “marsupial and placental dogs.” The phrase “arose through” connects the two sentence fragments. You should even be happy with the word “arose”, as it does not directly imply evolution, even though that would be my intention had I written the entire idea. But given that you presented us with “two completely different development pathways” suggests evolutionary pathways, as opposed to two different Gods doing two different acts of creation.”

    Two completely different pathways of development seems to imply two independent evolutionary paths. As I suggested, it could also mean two different Gods competing with eachother to make the ideal “dog”, but this idea is rejected outright by its inclusion of supernatural causes. So, what did you mean by “two completely different developmental pathways”? Was it merely a poorly phrased statement?

    My bracketed information was correct, and does not add any extraneous idea which was not intended by you. Only in my discussion did I suggest that what you said could be construed as a recommendation for evolution (the only natural explanation for the existence of these two similar but only distantly related species). Evolution is the more likely choice because it requires fewer assumptions than does the suggestion that these two species appeared due to supernatural causation.

    >>>> Me: “You should even be happy with the word “arose”, as it does not directly imply evolution, even though that would be my intention had I written the entire idea”

    >>>> Erik: “If I were referring to the appearance of different variations of an animal kind, I would use the word “derived” to indicate that both of the resultant forms were contained, genetically, in the original form. “Arose” indicates that there is something there now that was not there before, genetically speaking, and as such is not a word that I or other YECs would use.”

    Your word preference is your own. You can nit-pick all you want. Nevertheless, the definition for arose (past tense of arise), from http://define.com/arose is:

    1: come into existence; take on form or shape; [syn: {originate}, {rise}, {develop}, {uprise}, {spring up}, {grow}]

    2: originate or come into being; [syn: {come up}, {bob up}]

    3: rise to one’s feet; [syn: {rise}, {uprise}, {get up}, {stand up}] [ant: {sit down}, {lie down}]

    4: occur; [syn: {come up}]

    5: move upward; [syn: {rise}, {lift}, {move up}, {go up}, {come up}, {uprise}] [ant: {descend}]
    6: take part in a rebellion; renounce a former allegiance [syn: {rebel}, {rise}, {rise up}]

    7: get up and out of bed;

    I believe the word is diverse enough to encompass even your usage and intention.

    >>>> Me: “you basically agreed with me that you have given yourself the right to reject anything without cause which occurred outside of the eyesight of anyone living today.”

    >>>> Erik: “Incorrect. I merely said that anything occurring outside of human experience does not fall under the category of “observable/testable phenomena,” and as such is not testable in a direct sense by the Scientific Method.”

    ID and Creationism incorporate elements which are not addressable by the Scientific Method. The supernatural, and thus ID and Creationism are excluded from science for this reason.

    >>>> Erik: “The study of history is not applicable to the scientific method as, for example, the development of a more efficient car engine is.”

    This is nonsense. ALL of history is subject to the scientific method. This does not mean that we will be able to figure out the details of all of history, but it does mean we can deduce the most probable history in many cases. The scientific method is our only reliable way of deducing the past.

    >>>> Me: “The mechanism is called ATOMS. You DO know that electrons can jump to higher orbitals when they absorb a photon?”

    >>>> Erik: “Electrons move from one orbital to another, therefore evolution. Sorry, but that’s not exactly sufficient. I daresay yours is an extraordinary claim.”

    Excuse me, Erik, but you asked for a “mechanism” whereby photonic energy can be transformed into mechanical energy. My response is correct. Additionally, radiation can increase the motion of particles, creating what is known as heat. Heat is mechanical in nature. Your question was answered properly.

    *****************

    >>>> Me: “But apparently I was wrong about there being 2 migrations; there seem to have been 3 over the past 160,000 years.”

    >>>> Erik: “In other words, “we don’t know what the heck we’re doing.”

    >>>> Me: “What???? I stated 160,000 year time span, but it was actually reported as being over a period of 1.9 million years.”

    >>>> Erik: “Off by a factor of 10. If I told you to meet me in 6 minutes, would you show up after an hour? That’s the magnitude of the error in question. And that’s just a single example; hundreds of equally and more flagrant ones abound.”

    Perhaps you are unable to correct yourself when you misstate something. I take offense that you would see correcting oneself as a flaw.

    >>>> Me: “If you have to write to a professor in order to clarify the source, do it, if you are so credulous and so interested in the topic of origins.”

    >>>> Erik: “Should this really be necessary?”

    If you are really interested in finding out more about a subject, it may very well be a necessity. At the very least, it might open up a dialogue which could be quite informative.

    >>>> Erik: “I doubt you did the same, yet you’re convinced, so the killer evidence should be pretty simple and readily available somewhere, shouldn’t it be? To claim that to properly understand the ‘theory’ of evolution one needs to be a PhD, or at least talk to one, is eerily reminiscent of the concept of an elite priesthood…you know, like the Catholic church during the Middle Ages, with their indulgences and crap.”

    I’m not the one questioning the report. I have read enough in all of the sciences to know how it all fits together. I have followed, as a lay person, the development of our knowledge concerning human evolution and culture. I find the fields interesting. I have not had the “inspiration” to disprove any of the reports, as you apparently do. Therefore, you are the one who must come up with the proof that it is all wrong. If I were to get into the subject, however, I might begin imagining my own solutions to problems, and thus proceed to collect evidence in support of my ideas. But if my ideas were to contradict widely accepted, established facts, my challenge would be immense. Simply throwing out phrases like “circular reasoning” and “fallacy” would be grossly insufficient in disproving established science. I would have to be able to defend my ideas using the same strict scientific procedure which is used in the sciences, else I could not very well call myself a scientist.

    >>>> Me: “some of those stars can be observed in the act of formation today, and that there are very real, observed”

    >>>> Erik: “Link please. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”

    This is not an extraordinary claim. It is a claim of a naturally occurring phenomenon. Telescopic astronomy has been with us since the 17th century, from the time of Galileo. The 20th century gave us very large telescopes which have been in operation nearly every night since their construction. Stellar formation and evolution has been worked out and confirmed time and time again from observations and measurement of many stars in their various stages of development. There is nothing extraordinary about being able to observe the different stages in stellar development, given that we can see millions, if not billions of stars in our galaxy alone. We have witnessed stellar birth as well as stellar death, and there are theories which we believe describe what we see. When we observe something which does not fit the current theory, we are forced to reassess and refine the theory.

    But because you probably won’t research this yourself (as if you were actually curious), here is a link: http://www.nmm.ac.uk/explore/astronomy-and-time/astronomy-facts/stars/stellar-evolution/the-birth-of-stars

    We have observed stars light up within the Orion nebula, a stellar nursery, during the 20th century. This is called stellar birth.

    >>>> Me: “Snowball earth is a theory that was devised in order to explain what is widely accepted as glacial deposits occurring at what were tropical latitudes some 650 million years ago. There is other supporting evidence for this idea as I recall, as well.”

    >>>> Erik: “What is the specific geologic evidence that is interpreted as glaciation, and what are some other possible interpretations (why are these not accepted, in favor of the glaciation interpretation)?”

    The specific things that are interpreted as glaciation are the drop stones which are deposited by glaciers when they melt. For the specifics of how these stones are identified, you would have to do some research yourself. The stones, occurring in diverse “tropical” locations which date to 650 million years ago, have become accepted as being just what they appear to be. Many scientists, who were not the originators of the theory, who were not the ones who discovered the stones, were skeptical for quite some time. The other possibilities would be deposition by rivers, or landslides, or some other natural cause which could move large boulders into a single location. But these were poor possibilities as they have never been observed to do what glaciers have been observed to do. You would have to study geology and read the reports to learn the differences. You would have to familiarize yourself as to what kinds of sedimentation you are likely to find resulting from river currents, that of ocean currents, that of landslides, etc. I have no reason to doubt that the science behind glacial deposition is probably correct as I am not a practicing scientist. Were I a scientist working in the field of geology, especially if I were working in the field of glaciation, I might become very interested in this theory, and thus investigate it with all of my skill and knowledge in an effort to disprove it. If I could not disprove it, the theory would gain in credibility. I might come to accept it if indeed there were more lines of evidence than just drop stones, and especially if more, reliable evidence suggested it were so rather than not. A lot can be discerned from drop stones. This is one reason we are able to say that glaciers covered much of North America and Europe during the last of our most recent cyclical ice ages some 14,000 years ago.

    >>>> Me: “But instead, you use the words written by these Bronze Age ignorant sheep herders”

    >>>> Erik: “You telegraph your misconceptions loud and clear when you make such ignorant statements. Feel free to do a little looking-up of who the writers actually were.”

    Whether or not they were sheep herders or fishers is irrelevant. The only important thing is that they were common people, not highly educated, and even if they were there was a dearth of knowledge during that time period about the way things worked. Their understanding of causation was limited, to say the least. Bronze Age correctly dates the earliest of the writings, especially the myths of Babylon and those derived from those myths which are attributed today to Moses, but who is generally agreed to be composed of several anonymous writers. But at no time can any of these writings be rationally attributed to a God. We know humans write, therefore the existence of writing implies a human author. Thus, Bronze Age writers who had to make a living for themselves is correct, whether they made their living from herding sheep or fishing fish. Compared to the availability of knowledge today, they were very ignorant of all but the most obvious things, and of those, they even got much of that wrong.

    As I stated in another thread, it is probably inappropriate to make such long agurmentation as we are making here. It is an abuse of ordinary discussion. If you respond with such a long rebuttal of every point I have made in this post, I will not respond, except to call you a troll and to encourage everyone else to ignore you.

    However, if you are seriously interested in dialogue, I will accept a single sentence or paragraph response from you in which you pose a question or present a hypothetical. Restrict yourself to a single topic and I will not call you a troll, though I have no control over what others may say about you if you stream an excessively long rebuttal of all my points.

    I have given my own best descriptions of the role of knowledge to our discussion. If you respond with anything more than a single question, we are through.

  12. Free Thinker permalink
    December 10, 2010 4:50 PM

    I said: “Because the idea that water moving at 5,000 mph on all points of the earth’s surface in one direction for an entire year shouldn’t be possible DOESN”T make sense to you? Okay then….”

    Lacey said: Are you claiming that water covered the entire earth AND was moving at 5000 mph? Where did you come up with this little gem of the imagination?

    Response: apparently you lack reading comprehension skills. You’re claiming that the water and sediment would have been perfectly mixed. In order to help you understand why that is a rational impossibility, I gave you an example of what would have to happen for that mixing to occur. Since I figured that you would find this absurd, you would then be in a position to realize that absolute mixing of all the water/sediment/dead animals etc would NOT have occurred, in contrast to your previous claim.

    >>>>>> This still does not explain the consistency with which dinosaurs are only found in Mesozoic layers, or the radiation of mammalian life is only found in Cenozoic layers

    I hate to break it to you, but that’s a false premise. The layers are named “Cenozoic” or “Mesozoic” based on the fossils that are contained therein, regardless of their position in the fossil record. It’s an enormously blatant example of circular reasoning.

    You don’t want to challenge me on that. I’ll produce a series of quotes from your own scientists blatantly admitting to circular reasoning in response. You can find them yourselves, and spare yourself the embarrassment.

    >>>>>>You do realize — or maybe you don’t — that you are claiming there is no such thing as thrust faults? Have you ever heard of San Francisco?

    Pardon me, I got the language confused. What I was referring to as a “thrust fault” is actually an “overthrust.” Sorry for the confusion.

    >>>>> Erik: “Sorry, but it’s not. If evolution were true, you would expect speciation to occur, but if you observe speciation, the conclusion is not immediately that all life descended from a single-celled ancestor. That commits the Affirming the Consequent logical Fallacy.”

    Lacey: You admitted it was speciation. So, sorry, you are wrong.

    Sorry, Lacey, but speciation =/= evolution. It is necessary but not sufficient. Hopefully you know the difference, if you have a basic understanding of logic.

    *************
    >>>>”[Marsupial and placental dogs arose through] Two completely different development pathways” –> You are quite correct. This is Convergent Evolution.
    >>>> “I did not say what was in the brackets.”
    It was implied, because marsupial and placental dogs IS what we were talking about. You DO know the proper use of brackets, don’t you? I used the bracketed information correctly
    *************
    Incorrect. I did not indicate that I believed that marsupials and placentals share a common ancestor, which is what you tried to put in my mouth when you used the brackets. I forgive you for your misunderstanding. I do not believe that placental and marsupial dogs resulting from simple speciation is a likely occurrence at this time.

    >>>>>You should even be happy with the word “arose”, as it does not directly imply evolution, even though that would be my intention had I written the entire idea

    If I were referring to the appearance of different variations of an animal kind, I would use the word “derived” to indicate that both of the resultant forms were contained, genetically, in the original form. “Arose” indicates that there is something there now that was not there before, genetically speaking, and as such is not a word that I or other YECs would use.

    Me: “You are committing the Fallacy of Begging the Question when you assume that they’re related via a common ancestor without biological support for this claim.”
    Lacey: You really need to drop the fallacy crap. You are simply wrong.

    Saying it doesn’t make it so. Wishful Thinking/Bare Assertion Fallacy.

    >>>>>you basically agreed with me that you have given yourself the right to reject anything without cause which occurred outside of the eyesight of anyone living today.

    Incorrect. I merely said that anything occurring outside of human experience does not fall under the category of “observable/testable phenomena,” and as such is not testable in a direct sense by the Scientific Method.

    The study of history is not applicable to the scientific method as, for example, the development of a more efficient car engine is.

    >>>>>The mechanism is called ATOMS. You DO know that electrons can jump to higher orbitals when they absorb a photon?

    Electrons move from one orbital to another, therefore evolution. Sorry, but that’s not exactly sufficient. I daresay yours is an extraordinary claim.

    *****************
    Me: “But apparently I was wrong about there being 2 migrations; there seem to have been 3 over the past 160,000 years.”
    >>>> Erik: “In other words, “we don’t know what the heck we’re doing.”
    What???? I stated 160,000 year time span, but it was actually reported as being over a period of 1.9 million years.
    **********
    Off by a factor of 10. If I told you to meet me in 6 minutes, would you show up after an hour? That’s the magnitude of the error in question. And that’s just a single example; hundreds of equally and more flagrant ones abound.

    >>>>>>If you have to write to a professor in order to clarify the source, do it, if you are so credulous and so interested in the topic of origins.

    Should this really be necessary? I doubt you did the same, yet you’re convinced, so the killer evidence should be pretty simple and readily available somewhere, shouldn’t it be? To claim that to properly understand the ‘theory’ of evolution one needs to be a PhD, or at least talk to one, is eerily reminiscent of the concept of an elite priesthood…you know, like the Catholic church during the Middle Ages, with their indulgences and crap.

    >>>>>some of those stars can be observed in the act of formation today, and that there are very real, observed

    Link please. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

    >>>>Snowball earth is a theory that was devised in order to explain what is widely accepted as glacial deposits occurring at what were tropical latitudes some 650 million years ago. There is other supporting evidence for this idea as I recall, as well.

    What is the specific geologic evidence that is interpreted as glaciation, and what are some other possible interpretations (why are these not accepted, in favor of the glaciation interpretation)?

    [In other words, it wasn't very easy to navigate the site. Since you claim to be versed on the subject, please point out exactly where they determine that the "glacial deposits" are such, and why they reason that they are glacial deposits]

    >>>>>You mentioned flawed presuppositions. You do realize that your mentioning Adam’s fall, or even just Adam, is an unsupported presupposition?

    It’s a presupposition in this argument, but it’s incredibly well supported by masses of historical, anthropological, biological and geological evidence, so it’s not being pulled out of thin air.

    >>>>> I sincerely hope that you ask some of your questions because you honestly don’t know the answer, but would like to gain some insight into the subject

    If I’ve asked you for a link, it’s for both mine and your benefit. I hope to see what the underlying reasoning is for the claims being made, and at the same time, while you’re researching it, there’s a good possibility that you’ll realize that there’s much less solid ground for the claims to stand on.

    >>>>>>But instead, you use the words written by these Bronze Age ignorant sheep herders

    You telegraph your misconceptions loud and clear when you make such ignorant statements. Feel free to do a little looking-up of who the writers actually were.

    You certainly seem to think there’s a conspiracy here. That’s unfortunate. I reasoned my way to this conclusion after 200+ hours of intensive research (a good part of which included seeking out the best alleged refutations I could find). I didn’t make my decision based on what I feel, or wish to be true. I made this decision because when it’s all said and done, this is the only logical position left.

    I hope you’ll be able to drop your own presuppositions about the supposed ‘ignorance’ of those who don’t believe your particular cult religion, long enough to see that there’s a vast amount of really serious arguments against your belief that need to be dealt with.

  13. December 10, 2010 12:47 PM

    >>>> “Because the idea that water moving at 5,000 mph on all points of the earth’s surface in one direction for an entire year shouldn’t be possible DOESN”T make sense to you? Okay then….”

    Are you claiming that water covered the entire earth AND was moving at 5000 mph? Where did you come up with this little gem of the imagination? You seem to believe that fossils are found where they are found because of localized currents and because of the particular fauna and flora existing in localized regions at the time (6000 years ago). This still does not explain the consistency with which dinosaurs are only found in Mesozoic layers, or the radiation of mammalian life is only found in Cenozoic layers. And he layering gets even more specific and predictable than that for individual species living on different continents. There would be nothing predictable about where rabbit fossils are found according to your hare-brained idea.

    >>>> “A “thrust fault” is when, for example, Dinosaur fossils are found in rock layers physically above mammoth fossils. This is utterly applicable because it indicates that these creatures did not live millions of years before/after each other, respectively, but were more probably just living in different environments, causing them to be buried in different locations, sometimes in the opposite order from what you typically find them in. This makes nothing but sense in the Flood model, but makes essentially NO sense in the uniformitarian model.”

    You do realize — or maybe you don’t — that you are claiming there is no such thing as thrust faults? Have you ever heard of San Francisco?

    >>>> “if you have no problem with [donkeys and horses] being speciated from one animal, I fail to see why you would have a problem with us believing it.” –> This is observed evolution. Speciation IS evolution.

    >>>> Erik: “Sorry, but it’s not. If evolution were true, you would expect speciation to occur, but if you observe speciation, the conclusion is not immediately that all life descended from a single-celled ancestor. That commits the Affirming the Consequent logical Fallacy.”

    You admitted it was speciation. So, sorry, you are wrong. Speciation is the first step. Secondly, unless you can show there is a mechanism, or a naturally occurring barrier which prevents genetic change from continuing over long periods of time, then the conclusion that all life resulted from speciation events is logical. This combined with an observable progression of life from single-celled to muti-celled diverse forms suggests a common origin for all life. You are wrong, fallacy and all.

    >>>>”[Marsupial and placental dogs arose through] Two completely different development pathways” –> You are quite correct. This is Convergent Evolution.

    >>>> “I did not say what was in the brackets.”

    It was implied, because marsupial and placental dogs IS what we were talking about. You DO know the proper use of brackets, don’t you? I used the bracketed information correctly. An editor, in order to clarify indirect articles in quoting another person can place a more precise reference within brackets. You statement of “Two” references “marsupial and placental dogs.” The phrase “arose through” connects the two sentence fragments. You should even be happy with the word “arose”, as it does not directly imply evolution, even though that would be my intention had I written the entire idea. But given that you presented us with “two completely different development pathways” suggests evolutionary pathways, as opposed to two different Gods doing two different acts of creation.

    >>>> “It would be convergent evolution if they were related,”

    False. Convergent evolution occurs when two unrelated (or only distantly related) species evolve the same traits. http://www.sciencedaily.com/articles/c/convergent_evolution.htm

    >>>> “You are committing the Fallacy of Begging the Question when you assume that they’re related via a common ancestor without biological support for this claim.”

    You really need to drop the fallacy crap. You are simply wrong.

    >>>>> Me: “Here is a claim to the right to reject anything of one’s choosing which deals with the past (since no one can claim to have observed anything prior to one’s birth), or merely the right to reject all of science since all of it deals with things which are deduced from evidence.”

    >>> Erik: “Incorrect. There are things in science (real, operations science) that one can observe after one’s birth, and have no problem accepting if done properly. You are committing the Fallacy of Equivocation by conflating origins science with operational science.”

    Quit the fallacy crap. You are wrong again, because you basically agreed with me that you have given yourself the right to reject anything without cause which occurred outside of the eyesight of anyone living today.

    >>> “Here, I’ll make it simple for you: Can the energy available for work in an open system increase without a MECHANISM to convert incoming light and heat energy into mechanical energy?”

    The mechanism is called ATOMS. You DO know that electrons can jump to higher orbitals when they absorb a photon? You DO know what is possible when electrons are shared between atoms? Do you know what a molecule is?

    >>>> Me: “But apparently I was wrong about there being 2 migrations; there seem to have been 3 over the past 160,000 years.”

    >>>> Erik: “In other words, “we don’t know what the heck we’re doing.”

    What???? I stated 160,000 year time span, but it was actually reported as being over a period of 1.9 million years.

    >>>> “I saw the link, and I read it, but found no information regarding how they arrived at their conclusion. All they did was state some things about interbreeding. I’ll remain skeptical (the appropriate response until someone can provide me with the basic information that they used to arrive at this conclusion. I won’t accept the conclusion without seeing the reasoning behind it. You shouldn’t, either.”

    Being skeptical is healthy. If you are interested in researching that particular article, it references Cambridge University as its source. Usually, these popular articles are better referenced than that. The source information is out there, if you take the time to research it. If you have to write to a professor in order to clarify the source, do it, if you are so credulous and so interested in the topic of origins.

    >>>> Me: “It seems Earth has a 42,000 year periodic wobble, ranging from around 20 or 21 degrees to 25 degrees. Theoretically, there was a time in the past in which its tilt was zero, but through impacts in its early history Earth was knocked into its present tilt.”

    >>>> Erik: “In other words, the only “evidence” you have that its tilt was ever 0 degrees is your BELIEF in an old universe and your BELIEFS about planet formation. This is not scientific.”

    I’m sorry, do you not understand English? Do you not understand that the earth’s motion is the result of physically or gravitationally interacting systems? Do you not believe that other stars exist, or that some of those stars can be observed in the act of formation today, and that there are very real, observed. facts which support the theories of stellar formation and evolution? Do you think it all just magically appeared just as it appears to us today? Because it seems to me that is what you believe.

    >>>> Erik: “I’ll entertain you. Please provide the reasoning and presuppositions behind the idea of a snowball earth.”

    http://www.snowballearth.org/
    Snowball earth is a theory that was devised in order to explain what is widely accepted as glacial deposits occurring at what were tropical latitudes some 650 million years ago. There is other supporting evidence for this idea as I recall, as well.

    >>>> Me: “There has been death for at least 3.75 billion years, or since the beginning of life on earth, if you reject dating methods as “just-so” stories. Fossil evidence, again.”

    >>>> Erik: “Indeed, so that means that all of the fossils must date from after Adam’s fall, whereafter death entered the world. The dating methods themselves are not ‘just-so stories,’ but the interpretations of the data to mean long ages is based upon severely flawed presuppositions.”

    You mentioned flawed presuppositions. You do realize that your mentioning Adam’s fall, or even just Adam, is an unsupported presupposition? You pulled that bit of information out of a dark, dingy hat. Nothing scientific there.

    >>>> “…lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.” ~Matthew 7:6

    You have been duly warned, yet you persist in playing with creatures more powerful than you. I really feel like I’m teaching a remedial 8th grade science class. How depressing that some people enter adult life so unprepared to deal with reality. I sincerely hope that you ask some of your questions because you honestly don’t know the answer, but would like to gain some insight into the subject. As I said elsewhere, if all you were doing was enjoying the poetry and prose of your tiny book, I’d have no problem with you. But instead, you use the words written by these Bronze Age ignorant sheep herders to establish the standards for your own thinking and reasoning, to limit your imagination only to what they were able to imagine, to stunt your ability to grow and learn because their words will never grow or learn, as they are more or less written in stone and will never change, misconceptions and all.

  14. December 9, 2010 5:57 PM

    >>>>Your conception of relatively ‘unmixed’ fossils in strata leaves a lot to be desired.

    Because the idea that water moving at 5,000 mph on all points of the earth’s surface in one direction for an entire year shouldn’t be possible DOESN”T make sense to you? Okay then….

    >>>>>>Your reference to ‘thrust-faults’ is not applicable to the point.

    A “thrust fault” is when, for example, Dinosaur fossils are found in rock layers physically above mammoth fossils. This is utterly applicable because it indicates that these creatures did not live millions of years before/after each other, respectively, but were more probably just living in different environments, causing them to be buried in different locations, sometimes in the opposite order from what you typically find them in. This makes nothing but sense in the Flood model, but makes essentially NO sense in the uniformitarian model.

    >>>>>>>“if you have no problem with [donkeys and horses] being speciated from one animal, I fail to see why you would have a problem with us believing it.” –> This is observed evolution. Speciation IS evolution.

    Sorry, but it’s not. If evolution were true, you would expect speciation to occur, but if you observe speciation, the conclusion is not immediately that all life descended from a single-celled ancestor. That commits the Affirming the Consequent logical Fallacy.

    >>>>“[Marsupial and placental dogs arose through] Two completely different development pathways” –> You are quite correct. This is Convergent Evolution.

    I did not say what was in the brackets. It would be convergent evolution if they were related, but if they were created as-is, they would just be two different types of animals that look outwardly similar, and have no relationship history. You are committing the Fallacy of Begging the Question when you assume that they’re related via a common ancestor without biological support for this claim.

    >>>>>Here is a claim to the right to reject anything of one’s choosing which deals with the past (since no one can claim to have observed anything prior to one’s birth), or merely the right to reject all of science since all of it deals with things which are deduced from evidence.

    Incorrect. There are things in science (real, operations science) that one can observe after one’s birth, and have no problem accepting if done properly. You are committing the Fallacy of Equivocation by conflating origins science with operational science.

    >>>>>Your conception of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics is flawed. You don’t seem to understand the difference between a closed system and an open system.

    I said nothing indicating that. You’re merely trying to impose a fallacy on me since you don’t understand what I’m talking about.

    Here, I’ll make it simple for you: Can the energy available for work in an open system increase without a MECHANISM to convert incoming light and heat energy into mechanical energy?

    Feel free to give me a link if you find such an example.

    >>>>>>But apparently I was wrong about there being 2 migrations; there seem to have been 3 over the past 160,000 years.

    In other words, “we don’t know what the heck we’re doing.” I saw the link, and I read it, but found no information regarding how they arrived at their conclusion. All they did was state some things about interbreeding. I’ll remain skeptical (the appropriate response ;) until someone can provide me with the basic information that they used to arrive at this conclusion. I won’t accept the conclusion without seeing the reasoning behind it. You shouldn’t, either.

    >>>>>It seems Earth has a 42,000 year periodic wobble, ranging from around 20 or 21 degrees to 25 degrees. Theoretically, there was a time in the past in which its tilt was zero, but through impacts in its early history Earth was knocked into its present tilt.

    In other words, the only “evidence” you have that its tilt was ever 0 degrees is your BELIEF in an old universe and your BELIEFS about planet formation. This is not scientific.

    >>>>>>>The tilt of the earth is primarily responsible for seasons, though during the Snowball Earth period 600 million years ago (a theory which has been gaining in recognition by scientists), there would have been little meaning to the term ‘season’, as weather would have virtually ceased, and its having been consistently cold across the entire planet.

    I’ll entertain you. Please provide the reasoning and presuppositions behind the idea of a snowball earth.

    >>>>>There has been death for at least 3.75 billion years, or since the beginning of life on earth, if you reject dating methods as “just-so” stories. Fossil evidence, again.

    Indeed, so that means that all of the fossils must date from after Adam’s fall, whereafter death entered the world. The dating methods themselves are not ‘just-so stories,’ but the interpretations of the data to mean long ages is based upon severely flawed presuppositions.

    >>>>>Never teach a pig to dance: it only frustrates you, and it annoys the hell out of the pig.

    ““Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.” ~Matthew 7:6

    ““A dog returns to his own vomit,” and, “a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.”~2 Peter 2:22b

  15. December 9, 2010 4:18 PM

    There are several glaring flaws in your statements, but I find incompetence to be a very boring trait in people when it is paraded openly and pompously.

    @Erik:

    Your reference to the Science Magazine link is inaccessible.

    Your conception of relatively ‘unmixed’ fossils in strata leaves a lot to be desired. Your reference to ‘thrust-faults’ is not applicable to the point.

    There is more than one way to date sediments.

    No one suggested donkeys and horses represent convergent evolution.

    “if you have no problem with [donkeys and horses] being speciated from one animal, I fail to see why you would have a problem with us believing it.” –> This is observed evolution. Speciation IS evolution.

    “[Marsupial and placental dogs arose through] Two completely different development pathways” –> You are quite correct. This is Convergent Evolution.

    “Again with the storytelling. Any observational proof for this? None? Thought so.” –> Here is a claim to the right to reject anything of one’s choosing which deals with the past (since no one can claim to have observed anything prior to one’s birth), or merely the right to reject all of science since all of it deals with things which are deduced from evidence.

    Your conception of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics is flawed. You don’t seem to understand the difference between a closed system and an open system.

    [Migration out of Africa is] Again, just-so stories and not real documented evidence. –> Actually, it’s based on documented evidence. It is our best understanding, to date, of what happened. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070509161829.htm
    But apparently I was wrong about there being 2 migrations; there seem to have been 3 over the past 160,000 years.

    The mechanics of the Earth’s orbit and tilt and its interaction with the moon are measurable. I could have been wrong about it ever reaching zero degrees. It seems Earth has a 42,000 year periodic wobble, ranging from around 20 or 21 degrees to 25 degrees. Theoretically, there was a time in the past in which its tilt was zero, but through impacts in its early history Earth was knocked into its present tilt. The tilt of the earth is primarily responsible for seasons, though during the Snowball Earth period 600 million years ago (a theory which has been gaining in recognition by scientists), there would have been little meaning to the term ‘season’, as weather would have virtually ceased, and its having been consistently cold across the entire planet.

    “[Perfect means] Nothing useless, nothing harmful, nothing directly related to causing death.” –> There has been death for at least 3.75 billion years, or since the beginning of life on earth, if you reject dating methods as “just-so” stories. Fossil evidence, again.

    Never teach a pig to dance: it only frustrates you, and it annoys the hell out of the pig.

  16. December 8, 2010 3:56 PM

    >>>>And you do realize, also, that it is believed, with reason, that mitochondria were once free-living bacteria which became symbiotically incorporated into the eukaryotic cell some billion or more years ago?

    I am aware of that Just-So Story. It’s one of many with none of that Observable, Repeatable Evidence that you like to talk about so much.

    >>>>>The date of 200,000 years, by itself, disconfirms the genesis creation story wherein, it is claimed, the universe was created somewhere around 10,000 years ago, within the recorded (written) lifetime of modern humans.

    *sigh* your commitment to that date will change. It always does, because your dating methods are purely based on conjecture and fantasy.

    http://www.icr.org/article/mother-all-humans-lived-6000-years/

    See the link at the bottom. An article published in Science in 1998 already suggested that mitochondrial eve is 6,000 years old. Now you are aware of this.

    >>>>>Interestingly, however, we would expect this geologic column to be consistent throughout the world if it were the result from a single worldwide flood

    Why? Do you think all the water was moving in one direction?

    >>>>>There is also the problem of not having a complete mixture of fossil types in all layers (especially the precambrian), which would be the case for a single catastrophic flood.

    Again, you seem to think that all the water–and sediment–from all latitudes and longitudes came into contact with water and sediment from all other latitudes and longitudes….repeatedly….which is what would be necessary for 100% mixing. Since this is plainly unreasonable, we would expect glaring exceptions. You have perhaps heard of “Thrust Faults?”

    >>>>> layering them according to which plants and animals were alive at any one particular time period.

    Or which plants and animals were in the same habitat (or point of refuge) at the time when the sediment/water caught up to them and buried them.

    >>>>The consistency of this predictable (and observed) layering implies time not flood.

    And the glaring inconsistencies imply catastrophe, not long periods of time.

    >>>>>Additionally, the sediments are datable by many different techniques, none of which indicate that ALL sedimentary layers are less than 10,000 years old, which would have to be the case according to the telling of the flood story, if I read you correctly.

    Are you familiar with the assumptions used in radiometric dating? There’s really no way to know how old something is based on the amount of radioactive material in it. DO NOT spam me with an entire page from talkorigins–I’ve debunked them and others so many times already that I don’t have the effort–all the work has already been done, if you want to go read about the RATE study. Learning will require effort on your part.

    >>>>>There’s no real prediction that can be made from this, except that you will observe, in the present, species reproducing themselves. But that’s a no-brainer.

    You would think, except evolutionists tell us different.

    >>>>The existence of hybrids poses a problem for such strict delineations between ‘kinds.’ If kinds are so special to God, why are there transitional forms (mules, for instance — which is not to argue that mules represent an evolutionary transitional form, as this would be a misrepresentation of the mechanical methods (genetic mutation) of evolutionary change).

    It’s not a problem, it’s a confirmation. If you think donkeys and horses are the result of CONVERGENT evolution, then be my guest and explain. Otherwise, if you have no problem with them being speciated from one animal, I fail to see why you would have a problem with us believing it.

    >>>>By your idea, we would have to assume that a marsupial dog is the same ‘kind’ as a placental dog: because they ‘look that same

    Not at all. Two completely different development pathways would indicate that they’re probably entirely different. Looks are only a preliminary rule of thumb. It seems reasonable to suggest that horses and zebras are related.

    >>>>>They are not that closely related, genetically. All marsupials (living in Australia) evolved from a common marsupial ancestor which became trapped on the Australian continent when it broke away from Pangea some 160 million or so years ago, and are only distantly related to placentals

    Again with the storytelling. Any observational proof for this? None? Thought so.

    >>>>>Additionally, reproducing after ones ‘kind’ would seem to rule out things like mutation.

    Why? Do you think that if I receive a point mutation in noncoding DNA that I’ll stop being human?

    >>>>>Yet, mutations occur, and they produce things which are not like their ‘kind.’

    Incorrect. Mutations have utterly failed to produce new species in a laboratory setting.

    >>>>It is not true on a local scale, even if it is true universally.

    It is true overall.

    >>>>The Earth, for instance, is an open system which receives energy from the sun, and therefore can decrease rather than increase its entropy.

    But water cannot endlessly flow uphill, piling up at the top until it reaches into space. The evolutionary idea is one of SUSTAINED SUSPENSION (or reversal) of the 2nd Law for a ludicrous amount of time, with no mechanism whatsoever (contrary to popular belief, sunlight doesn’t “build things up,” by default–it destroys them).

    >>>>Energy is defined as the capacity to do work.

    Incorrect. That’s mechanical energy. The sun emits light and heat energy. There needs to be a conversion mechanism from light to work in order for the energy of the sun to be USED for ANYTHING on the earth, instead of just making it warm once a day.

    >>>>>I do believe that the scientific evidence, so far, indicates that humans migrated out of Africa, not the Middle East,

    Due to philosophical presuppositions toward evolutionism. Again, just-so stories and not real documented evidence.

    There are several claims that we radiated from a somewhat near-east-central location.

    >>>>>As for a prediction that the seasons will never pass away…this is not testable.

    It is confirmed that they are not. Extraordinary claims (that they’ll pass away) requires extraordinary evidence, so pay up.

    >>>>The tilt of the earth is not constant. The earth wobbles like a spinning top.

    How do you suppose that it will begin to wobble “too much?” (or too little)

    >>>>>>They could very well pass away when the earth’s tilt reaches zero in its continuing wobble

    What’s making it go to zero? Remind me, please.

    >>>>>>Your claim that everything was once ‘perfect’ requires that you define what you mean by ‘perfect’. In the absence of such a definition with respect to life, your claim is meaningless.

    Nothing useless, nothing harmful, nothing directly related to causing death.

    >>>>>>Your mention of a ‘curse’ is not very scientific. In fact, your statement that “everything was created after their kinds” seems to imply that those ‘kinds’ existed prior to their creation,

    Insert “to reproduce” between “created….after”

    >>>>>which begs the question of what is meant by ‘creation.’

    Ex Nihilo, for all practical purposes.

    Feel free to provide the ‘science’ behind some of your claims (you should be able to tell which) if you still feel you’re right.

  17. December 8, 2010 3:05 PM

    @Erik Walker:

    “If the Bible makes the claim that all humans are descended from one man and one woman, then that is testable. Scientific study confirms this claim.”

    What science are you referring to here? The tracing of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) as it occurs in all humans today points to a common ancestor of that mtDNA having existed 200,000 years ago (that ancestor existed within the body of a female human). This alone does not indicate that only a single living human female existed at that time, but only that the mitochondria of one woman survived what was probably a bottleneck in the human population of the time. Given that we know hominins and hominids existed prior to this date, a bottleneck is the reasonable assumption to make. And you do realize, also, that it is believed, with reason, that mitochondria were once free-living bacteria which became symbiotically incorporated into the eukaryotic cell some billion or more years ago? The fact that mitochondria exist in all animalia species living today indicates how early in the evolutionary tree they were incorporated. The fact that mitochondria have their own DNA suggests their independent origin. The date of 200,000 years, by itself, disconfirms the genesis creation story wherein, it is claimed, the universe was created somewhere around 10,000 years ago, within the recorded (written) lifetime of modern humans. Disconfirming genesis disconfirms the idea of Adam and Eve. Thus, attempting to prove Adam and Eve has the effect of disproving them.

    “If the Bible makes the claim that there was a worldwide Flood, then this is a testable claim. A prediction from this statement would be that we ought to find billions of remains of dead plants and animals buried by rock and soil that had been suspended in water. Scientific study confirms that there are numerous fossils buried in the geologic column, and that the rocks are formed from sediment–i.e. water-borne particles.”

    Interestingly, however, we would expect this geologic column to be consistent throughout the world if it were the result from a single worldwide flood. In other words, no layers would be missing, but they are, which can be explained by continental uplift and erosion (which, per flood hypothesis, would have had to have occurred within the last 10,000 years, and would use uniformitarian erosion and deposition dating techniques — while ignoring radiomatric dating that states otherwise). There is also the problem of not having a complete mixture of fossil types in all layers (especially the precambrian), which would be the case for a single catastrophic flood. Instead, fossils appear to have been deposited regularly and consistently at very different time periods, layering them according to which plants and animals were alive at any one particular time period. The consistency of this predictable (and observed) layering implies time not flood. Additionally, the sediments are datable by many different techniques, none of which indicate that ALL sedimentary layers are less than 10,000 years old, which would have to be the case according to the telling of the flood story, if I read you correctly.

    “If the Bible makes the claim that living things reproduce after their kind, then this is a testable claim. A prediction of this claim is that you can’t breed different kinds of animals, but similar animals ought to produce offspring. Scientific study confirms that cats (lions and tigers) and dogs (wolves and domestic dogs) can interbreed with one another, but that you can’t breed a cat-type animal with a dog-type animal.”

    There’s no real prediction that can be made from this, except that you will observe, in the present, species reproducing themselves. But that’s a no-brainer. The existence of hybrids poses a problem for such strict delineations between ‘kinds.’ If kinds are so special to God, why are there transitional forms (mules, for instance — which is not to argue that mules represent an evolutionary transitional form, as this would be a misrepresentation of the mechanical methods (genetic mutation) of evolutionary change). By your idea, we would have to assume that a marsupial dog is the same ‘kind’ as a placental dog: because they ‘look that same.’ They are not that closely related, genetically. All marsupials (living in Australia) evolved from a common marsupial ancestor which became trapped on the Australian continent when it broke away from Pangea some 160 million or so years ago, and are only distantly related to placentals. Additionally, reproducing after ones ‘kind’ would seem to rule out things like mutation. Yet, mutations occur, and they produce things which are not like their ‘kind.’

    “If the Bible makes the claim that everything in the universe is winding down and growing old, then this is a testable claim. Scientific study confirms that the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics applies everywhere it is tested–the universe is going from low entropy to high entropy over time.”

    I don’t know where you got the claim that the Bible says everything is winding down, but let’s consider the case as though it does say this. It is not true on a local scale, even if it is true universally. The Earth, for instance, is an open system which receives energy from the sun, and therefore can decrease rather than increase its entropy. This allows things like life to emerge and evolution to continue for billions of years. As long as the sun shines, or the earth spews heat out of volcanic vents, there is the possibility of greater arrangements of matter rather than fewer. Energy is defined as the capacity to do work. Infuse the earth with energy (which is the case) and anything that requires work in order to come about is a real possibility which must be considered.

    “If the Bible makes the claim that mankind radiated outward from the middle east, then this is a testable claim. Scientific study confirms that humans migrated from the middle east.”

    I do believe that the scientific evidence, so far, indicates that humans migrated out of Africa, not the Middle East, and that such a migration occurred more han once over the past couple of million years (which also disconfirms a 10,000 year old earth).

    “If the Bible makes the claim that the seasons will never pass away (incl. seedtime and harvest) until the end of the world, then this is testable. Scientific study has failed to demonstrate that the world is either heading for a global ice age (what you guys used to believe; silly you), or a global meltdown.”

    As for a prediction that the seasons will never pass away…this is not testable. Seasons are caused by the tilt of the earth combined with the earth’s orbital mechanics. The tilt of the earth is not constant. The earth wobbles like a spinning top. Without looking up just how long this wobble effect takes, I would still venture to say that it is predictable that seasons will not always be like we experience them today. They could very well pass away when the earth’s tilt reaches zero in its continuing wobble (it’s around 24 degrees at present). There is no known mechanism to stop it from doing this. It is expected.

    “If the Bible makes the claim that everything was originally created perfect, then that is a testable claim. A prediction from this claim is that seemingly parasitic organisms ought to have free-living varieties/be able to live independently of their host/or at some point in the past, have been free-living, until they lost a particular function, whereafter they needed a host to survive. Scientific study confirms that parasitic organisms and bacteria can live freely and moreover, often provide a useful function for the host organism, such as metabolism in the intestines.”

    Your claim that everything was once ‘perfect’ requires that you define what you mean by ‘perfect’. In the absence of such a definition with respect to life, your claim is meaningless.

    “If the Bible makes the claim that everything was created after their kinds, then that is testable. We should see organisms fully functional (or at least theoretically–considering that the curse may have caused some decay in the last +6,000 years), and not lacking anything that they need to survive and proliferate in their environments. Scientific study confirms this.”

    Your mention of a ‘curse’ is not very scientific. In fact, your statement that “everything was created after their kinds” seems to imply that those ‘kinds’ existed prior to their creation, which begs the question of what is meant by ‘creation.’ It can’t very well be the sudden appearance of a new kind of living thing if that living thing’s kind already existed, now could it? I really don’t think you have any clue as to what you are talking about, Erik.

    Science does not support any of your assertions.

  18. December 7, 2010 11:25 AM

    To answer your question, I don’t know anyone who opposes ASC research. It’s ESCs that are opposed, and I really don’t see why that’s a problem–ASCs can do just as well as ESCs (and ASCs have 100s of treatments developed already, while ESCs have zero), and they don’t require the death of the unborn.

  19. December 7, 2010 11:23 AM

    Who said anything about the catholic church? Do you know what they believe? It’s not Christianity.

    Here’s what Christians believe: http://gotquestions.org/faith.html

    If anything fails to match up to that, it’s not Christianity. Hope this helps.

  20. greame permalink
    December 7, 2010 11:21 AM

    So the catholic church doesn’t appose stem cell research? And you’re telling me there aren’t christian missionaries in Africa telling people in AIDS ridden villages that the use of condoms is evil?

    Sorry. Don’t buy it.

  21. December 7, 2010 11:20 AM

    Gee, greame, I’m sorry that the truth hurts. That’s the name of the game.

    I know you weren’t singling out Christianity–I was informing you that you should, because then you’ll realize it’s nothing like the rest.

  22. greame permalink
    December 7, 2010 11:19 AM

    I can also see that you seem to be monitoring this site and giving a thumbs down to any logical and sensible argument. And giving all your own wild claims thumbs up. You really need to get a life.

  23. greame permalink
    December 7, 2010 11:18 AM

    @ Erik Walker,

    Sorry, Erik, but I wasn’t singling out Christianity. I’m talking about all religion (Because to me they are all the same, fairy tales) . And yes, one of my points does. When I went to church (A Catholic one no doubt), as a wee lad, I was indeed told that if I did not oblige by gods rules and if i didn’t follow suit, I would go to hell and burn there for ever and ever.

  24. December 7, 2010 11:14 AM

    Moreover, the beliefs of atheists have real, profound, and dangerous consequences in the real world.

  25. December 7, 2010 11:11 AM

    Congratulations, Greame: none of what you listed describes Christianity. It’s understandable that you wouldn’t realize this, of course. Most people in America don’t know what being Christian means.

  26. greame permalink
    December 7, 2010 11:04 AM

    @Gern

    When a persons “beliefs” have a physical and real effect in the world we life in, and when that effect can be dangerous to people, then yes, I wish to take away their faith. To paraphrase Dawkins, I’m offended by chewing gum, and backwards baseballs caps. but i dont try to legislate laws against them. People chewing gum or wearing hats how they want do not harm anyone. However, there are things we should actually be offended by. I’m offended when children are denied a proper education, I’m offended when children are told they will spend eternity in Hell, I’m offended when real medical science like stem cell research which can save real lives is compromised by the opinions of bigots, I’m offended when voodoo is given equal weight with science, I’m offended by hymen reconstruction surgery, or genital mutilation, I’m offended by woman being stoned to death for loving a man of a different religion, or “honor killings”, I’m offended when as a westerner there are people who wish me to die and burn in hell for all eternity and who will kill themselves to accomplish this.

    Religion is DANGEROUS. Belief in ancient books written by primitive man is impeding our advancement as a species. That is why I, and many like me attack these peoples beliefs.

  27. December 6, 2010 4:11 PM

    If your best argument against something is that you haven’t seen enough to convince yourself personally, then your argument is at best, unconvincing, and at worst, deluding yourself.

    You say that you can’t test the supernatural. Oh, really?

    You probably don’t believe the Bible to be divinely authored. However, when it consistently makes accurate historical, archaeological, anthropological, etc claims, then I suggest you at the very least take it under strong consideration. If everything it says EXCEPT the supernatural claims is 100% confirmed by the available evidence (which is true–the only things not confirmed are such because of lack of evidence, not existence of contradictory evidence), then on what grounds do you reject the supernatural claims from an otherwise entirely trustworthy and reliable source?

    If the Bible makes the claim that all humans are descended from one man and one woman, then that is testable. Scientific study confirms this claim.

    If the Bible makes the claim that there was a worldwide Flood, then this is a testable claim. A prediction from this statement would be that we ought to find billions of remains of dead plants and animals buried by rock and soil that had been suspended in water. Scientific study confirms that there are numerous fossils buried in the geologic column, and that the rocks are formed from sediment–i.e. water-borne particles.

    If the Bible makes the claim that living things reproduce after their kind, then this is a testable claim. A prediction of this claim is that you can’t breed different kinds of animals, but similar animals ought to produce offspring. Scientific study confirms that cats (lions and tigers) and dogs (wolves and domestic dogs) can interbreed with one another, but that you can’t breed a cat-type animal with a dog-type animal.

    If the Bible makes the claim that everything in the universe is winding down and growing old, then this is a testable claim. Scientific study confirms that the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics applies everywhere it is tested–the universe is going from low entropy to high entropy over time.

    If the Bible makes the claim that mankind radiated outward from the middle east, then this is a testable claim. Scientific study confirms that humans migrated from the middle east.

    If the Bible makes the claim that the seasons will never pass away (incl. seedtime and harvest) until the end of the world, then this is testable. Scientific study has failed to demonstrate that the world is either heading for a global ice age (what you guys used to believe; silly you), or a global meltdown.

    If the Bible makes the claim that everything was originally created perfect, then that is a testable claim. A prediction from this claim is that seemingly parasitic organisms ought to have free-living varieties/be able to live independently of their host/or at some point in the past, have been free-living, until they lost a particular function, whereafter they needed a host to survive. Scientific study confirms that parasitic organisms and bacteria can live freely and moreover, often provide a useful function for the host organism, such as metabolism in the intestines.

    If the Bible makes the claim that everything was created after their kinds, then that is testable. We should see organisms fully functional (or at least theoretically–considering that the curse may have caused some decay in the last +6,000 years), and not lacking anything that they need to survive and proliferate in their environments. Scientific study confirms this.

    ….Are you starting to get the idea?

    Here, listen to what this atheist says about it:

    “Not only can science easily detect the existence of a creator intelligence under a wide variety of circumstances, it can describe its basic characteristics. If, for instance, there were no evolutionary order to the appearance of organisms in the fossil record, and living organisms had radically different genetic systems and body forms that precluded their being related to one another, then it could only be concluded that life was specially created by a super intelligence. Also determinable is the time span of its creation. If astronomy, geology and radiometric dating demonstrated that the universe and our planet were just a few thousand years old, and that a great flood had engulfed the planet, then the Bible Genesis account would be verified.”
    ~ Gregory S. Paul

    Listen to your atheist leaders. Just don’t listen to them when they make claims about whether God exists or the Bible is true. That’s when they stop being rational.

    ~Erik

  28. GME permalink
    December 3, 2010 8:28 PM

    Why should any of this be considered “force”, Gern? Are you under the impression that the presence of contrarily opinionated media might make religious people wither and blow away, never to be seen again?

    … no, really, cuz I’d really love that. A world without magical thinking would be a better world.

  29. Gern permalink
    December 3, 2010 7:22 PM

    Why do you feel the need to force your non-beliefs on others? I am an atheist. However, I would never want to convince a christian that what they believe in is false. Why would I want to take away their faith? What what I gain by doing that? Is this any different than muslims wanting christians to convert to islam? Christians find comfort in their faith. Please respect that, and let them believe what they want to believe.

  30. lmnop87 permalink
    December 3, 2010 1:15 AM

    If you guys are intent on running this campaign, you might want to look into some theology and apologetics. There are Christians, Muslims, and Jews who devote their lives to the study of God using reason, science, and philosophy. These people speak on why being a person of faith, or believing in a God, isn’t crazy. They are also people who for the most part are very well educated on atheistic beliefs, since it is the opposite of these beliefs they proclaim. Religion can be interpreted many ways, and has many components, but the component you say is absent, the intellectual component, is not actually missing. In a news article, you say, “I’d love it if everyone saw the ads and know the point of the campaign is to emphasize not the kind of knee-jerk debunking to anything suspicious but that we’re interested in a genuine debate , a conversation about so-called extraordinary claims….” If this is true, and you really are interested in a genuine debate like you say, you should contact a theologian or a major in apologetics. Dr. John Stackhouse is an especially good apologist, a professor and overall just a great guy. I’m sure he or any other apologist would be willing to give you a good conversation regarding the belief in a God and why it isn’t crazy. Plus, if you are going to campaign this, it’d be good to have examined your claim from the angle of your opposition at its most intellectual standpoint.

  31. Rowan permalink
    December 2, 2010 5:08 AM

    Thank you for your insightful website.

    I would simply like to point out that the written content is peppered with typos and small grammatical mistakes. I suspect there was a rush to put up this website, but let me simply suggest a quick edit (by someone other than the writer). Although these mistakes are minor, it has the effect of conveying a less professional or well-document message. (Although, I haven’t seen a study looking at the effects of typos on people’s perception of the validity of the content, I’m quite confident this hypothesis could be supported in research).

    Once again, thanks for the great work,

    I hope the message spreads.

    Rowan

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