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Although I find the NYT article completely ridiculous, you should give evolution and natural selection more credit and thought. First of all, natural selection and evolution is not the 'formation of proteins and chemicals' a few billions years ago, etc... without sounding like I am giving a biology lesson, evolution succinctly means a change in genetics of a specific species over time. Now back to the article... there is only ONE species/organism that has evolved in the modern human lifetime. And it is not humans due to industrialization, that's bollocks.

And the organism that has evolved, and we have proof that evolution (a change in genetics over time) has occured, is, [drum roll] gonorrhea. (heh)

What I have never had explained is this; if in fact the theory of a spontaneous event such as " few billion years ago proteins formed in the mud and through a process of natural selection, these chemicals became the the ancestor of every living thing on the planet."... then why is it that only a few billion years ago such things could occur. Why aren't there new species making their debut every million years or so?

Unfortunately, most people will quit reading the article before they getto the quotes from the critics of Dr. Clark's theory. The dissenting historians and philosophers make it quite clear that the leaps that Dr. Clark is making from his research to his theory would take a lot of faith. I think the book will collect dust on many shelves in about 5 years.

Ann,

New species pop up all the time. Most of them are simple, one-celled organisms, but they occur.

As for the larger animals, the fossil record contains thousands of examples of new species rising and falling. They're aren't many ammonites, dimetrodons, eohippus, cave bears, or megalodon sharks around any more.

If you believe in evolutionary theory, humans have been around for about 35,000 years. Not really time to see major multi-celled organism evolution.

Sorry, that should read 135,000 years old for humans. Which is still a blip in geologic time.

I am thankful that at least one group of space aliens evolved way ahead of us, which is why we apparently have UFOs. And if that's true probably another group of aliens evolved way ahead of both them and us. Maybe they're the ones that keep the first group from colonizing our planet. But if you really concentrate on what time is, you have to admit it's not likely that two independent systems would occur even within X million years of each other. And if you understand infinite space, well that would be quite a coincidence that they'd be proximate in both time and space.

"Hmm, I would prefer to think that we are all created in the image of God. "

Life lesson - more often than not, "what we prefer" and reality are separated by a wide gulf. Now, if we work towards making what we prefer "real", then life, from our individual perspective, gets a little better.

In this case, our "being made in the image of God", is going to be hard to prove, let alone work towards - do you know what God looks like? So, if you're talking metaphorically, one can do "good deeds" in one's lifetime to better reflect "God's image". Of course, one must remember that "No good deed goes unpunished". Quite frequently an unfortunate side effect of "reality"

As to your "preference to think", from my experience, "thinking" and "faith" have nothing in common.

hlust: I'm sorry for your experience. An accurate historical record reflects that the great thinkers have all been men of great faith. No need for quotation marks.

hlust, may I recommend "Fides et Ratio" (Faith and Reason) by Pope John Paul II.

"I'm sorry for your experience. An accurate historical record reflects that the great thinkers have all been men of great faith. No need for quotation marks."

"may I recommend "Fides et Ratio" (Faith and Reason) by Pope John Paul II."

Why are you sorry for my experiences? I'm not.

I do not dispute that "great thinkers" were men of faith, however their greatness was as a result of reason and thinking, not their faith. I would also be interested in who you consider to be "the great thinkers"

As far as the Pope goes, while he may have been a "good man" by most definitions, he couldn't escape the reality that his belief in God, the divinity of Jesus, and the Holy Spirit were based upon faith, and not reason or proof

Pope John Paul II in an October 1996 address to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences:

"In his encyclical Humani Generis (1950), my predecessor Pius XII has already affirmed that there is no conflict between evolution and the doctrine of the faith regarding man and his vocation, provided that we do not lose sight of certain fixed points....Today, more than a half-century after the appearance of that encyclical, some new findings lead us toward the recognition of evolution as more than an hypothesis. In fact it is remarkable that this theory has had progressively greater influence on the spirit of researchers, following a series of discoveries in different scholarly disciplines. The convergence in the results of these independent studies -- which was neither planned nor sought -- constitutes in itself a significant argument in favor of the theory."

Pope Benedict XVI from "Communion and Stewardship: Human Persons Created in the Image of God", published July 2004:

"According to the widely accepted scientific account, the universe erupted 15 billion years ago in an explosion called the 'Big Bang' and has been expanding and cooling ever since. Later there gradually emerged the conditions necessary for the formation of atoms, still later the condensation of galaxies and stars, and about 10 billion years later the formation of planets. In our own solar system and on earth (formed about 4.5 billion years ago), the conditions have been favorable to the emergence of life. While there is little consensus among scientists about how the origin of this first microscopic life is to be explained, there is general agreement among them that the first organism dwelt on this planet about 3.5 - 4 billion years ago. Since it has been demonstrated that all living organisms on earth are genetically related, it is virtually certain that all living organisms have descended from this first organism. Converging evidence from many studies in the physical and biological sciences furnishes mounting support for some theory of evolution to account for the development and diversification of life on earth, while controversy continues over the pace and mechanisms of evolution."

Greg,

I recommend you read Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond.

I'd caution against simplistic definitions of faith and reason. Aquinas spoke of faith as requiring two questions (is the believe voluntary? is the belief confident?) and indeed most definitions of faith include different elements such as trust, believe without proof/reason, or a system of religious belief.

Also, if a great thinker disagreed with us as to the origin of those thoughts, what then?

Greg:

Good post. I spoted the same quasi-racist implications of this article as well.

As you know, I am both a Christian and a beleiver in evolution. I think that the two are compatable. In short, I think the process of evolution is the means by which God made us in his own image.

On this theory, I think that the economic historian has a few things to learn about natural selection. No self-respecting evolutionary scientist would expect to see natural selection cause such a large change in human beings in such short order--and the rapid development of other cultures in later decades (think Korea, Japan and Singapore), all within only a few generations belies a gentic explanation.

Assuming the date is still corect, I think the more lkely explanation is cultural. Genetic change is slow--cultural change can be quite rapid indeed.

Greg Here. I've read Guns Germs and Steel and I started following Diamond's work several years before GGS was published. He was profiled in an America West Inflight Magazine in the mid 90s and that piqued my interest.

Chuck hit it -- the rise of the west and the industrial revolution happened much too quickly to have had any sort of genetic basis.

To those that think they science is separate from their faith, I am curious by what empirical proof do you 'believe' in Darwinian evolution?

Klute is happy to present his forensical evidence but in case you all have forgotten, the scientific method requires observation and replication or testing to support an empirical conclusion. This has nor more happened for Darwinian evolution than it has creationism. But here is the point that the Left (and yes there is a Left in the scientific community as much as there is in theology and politics) purposefully glosses over, which is the fact that no event from the past can ever been scientifically (in the empirical sense) proven, unless mankind someday invents a time machine and goes back and observes the event.

The rational mind is left with only forensical science. We must rely upon logic if we are to reach any conclusions about the cause of our existence.

Since Darwinian evolution ultimately relies upon the idea that some part of nature caused the existence of life we can easily deduce that Darwinism is illogical as it violates the law of infinite regress. It is similar to saying that the cause of life had a natural cause that also had a natural cause that also had a natural cause ad infinitum. Some people find it easy to believe that life started outside of our solar system and came or was brought to earth but they never carry that logic to the end - what created that alien life and then who created the creator of that alien life? The fact that nature is temporal also reveals the folly in such thinking.

It is also quite ridiculous to argue that life was spawned from non-life. That is clearly something that science has never observed and it violates the law of noncontradiction.

Since the universe is temporal then to argue that nature caused the existence of nature is the exact same thing as saying that nature existed before it existed. It is a clear violation of the law of noncontradiction, and thus false.

Forensical science can easily reach certain conclusions about our nature by applying what we currently know about our nature. Being that the universe is finite and temporal we can deduce that nature must have an eternal and infinite cause, otherwise the cause would violate the law of infinite regress. It’s interesting to note that there can only be, scientifically speaking, one infinite and eternal object/cause (for there to be two infinite/eternal objects one would have to be somehow different from the other and that would violate the very definition of infinite/eternal). We can also deduce that nature must have a supernatural cause (for the hypothesis that some part of nature caused the existence of nature violates the law of noncontradiction and thus the cause of nature must exist outside of and independent to nature). Furthermore, the cause of nature must be alive since we, the created, are alive.

Therefore, here is what we can logically know about the nature of our nature: it has a Cause that is supernatural, singular, eternal, infinite and living. (It is also possible to scientifically argue that the Cause must be good but I'll leave that for another post).

It is very easy for my faith to conform to these scientific truths. However, I am curious, by what rationality, in light of the above science, do you Darwinists rely upon to support your faith? Looks pretty blind to me!

Mark:

All good questions. For the long answer, I would suggest that you go to my own blog and look at my posts on evolution and science. Grin. The short answer is that the evidence for evolution comes from three major sources--the fossil record (which is far more robust than the creationists seem to understand), the evidence from developmental biology and genetics. the latter evidence is actually quite impressive. There are regions of our DNA that serve little function that appear to be the result of evolution from earlier species.

I also urge you to read Francis Collins, "the Language of God. Collins is a faithful evangelical who explains well why he beleives in evolution. the truth is that the overwhelming consensus in the scientific community (right wing and left wing alike) among those who actually study the issue is that evolution via natural selection fits the data quite well indeed. much of what you read in the crationist literature (and the intelligent design literature) is junk science.

Mark,

You say that science can't prove evolution because it hasn't observed it. Galileo couldn't prove that objects of different mass, shape, and density would fall at the same rate in a vacuum, but he was able to deduce that based on experiments done at the leaning tower at Pisa. When man landed on the moon 400 years later, Galileo was proven correct.

Scientists take available evidence, make a hypothesis, etc. etc. etc. It's called "the scientific method". We can't prove the theory of global plate tectonics, but I'd put my money on the geologists on that one (although those Indian Ocean Earthquake victims could just be really committed to the lie).

And Evolution and Creation are not mutually exclusive. I don't see how it diminishes God's creation to believe that life happened over billions of years vs 7 days 5000 years ago. To me it shows the Universe wasn't simply created on a whim, but by the hands of a Creator who actually cares what happens to us.

Klute,

The last paragraph of your last post is probably the better answer to my statement earlier in this thread.

First - I never said that I did not believe in evolution; speciation clearly occurs. I specifically said Darwinian evolution.

Klute - I did not say science could not prove Darwinian evolution. I said that it has not yet empirically proven Darwinism - which means that we have not empirically observed it occurring in nature nor can we test that natural occurrence.

Many people appear to have a great misunderstanding about the meaning of science. Science purely means knowledge. However, there are two methods with which we can garner knowledge: empirically and forensically. When we are incapable of observing a phenomenon or replicating it we have no choice be to make our deductions using the forensical methodology - logic. As you said Klute, Newton as well as Einstein, etc. used forensical means to produce their masterpieces.

Also, my post has nothing to do with creation theories - only about what science can tell us about the First-Cause of nature, which is that it is eternal, infinite, singular, supernatural and living.

You can, in fact, observe "micro-evolution" during the course of a human lifetime -- that is, individual species producing fitness-enhancing genetic mutations that are then propagated through the species (e.g., changes in the size/shape of a particular bird specie's beak as its prey food changes). What you can't observe is "macro-evolution" -- one specie moving through transitional forms on its way to becoming another specie.

Why would God bother with 4 billion years' worth of evolution? Why not just snap his fingers and create man/woman, as in the Biblical account? Why would God bother creating a whole, vast universe, when he was only interested in communing with the inhabitants of the teeniest, tiniest part of it? Why would he create a planet full of people but then establish a relationship ONLY with some obscure nomadic tribe in the middle east, effectively ignoring everyone else?

The typical answer goes like this: "Who are we to try to understand the mind of God?"

The more plausible answer, to me anyway, is this: "The Judeo-Christian tradition consists of stories that we have told ourselves in an attempt to answer some of life's biggest questions. But because these stories are human inventions, they don't have the logical plausibility and consistency one would associate with actual, divinely revealed truth."

SAJU,

Attacking straw men again are we? Shame on you. If you disagree with someone, trying disagreeing with an accurate reflection of their best argument, instead of a ridiculously simple construction of a bad one.

Greg -- Perhaps Clark's hypothesis also explains why, about the same time, Christians started treating their fellow human beings like human beings. There must be some reason why, after 1,800 years of violent, bigoted behavior, Christian minds evolved so they could finally see black people and aborigines the same way science now sees them -- as all being part of the same species.


Mesa Republican George -- no clue what you're talking about. Seriously. I'm not even sure who you think I'm disagreeing with, or whose best argument you think I am neglecting. Make your criticism more explicit for me, and I'll address it.

I think SAJU that George's comments are in regards to the fact that your post raises points unrelated to the topic at hand and relies upon a straw-man argumentation.

Re. your questions are you arguing that the size of the universe tells us something about the nature of the universe? What about inner space? Why is our location in the universe inconsequential to you? Why should it be consequential? What importance do you place on the locale? Are you really arguing that Jews are an obscure nomadic tribe? Is it not true that most people in the world claim some form of commune/ relationship with God because of that Jewish influence (even Muslims). Which Judeo-Christian tradition does not "have the logical plausibility and consistency one would associate with actual, divinely revealed truth?"

Thanks, Mark. Those were just musings that probably belong on my own blog, rather than in Greg's comment box. They were not intended to address the substance of Greg's original post, or any of the responses, but rather deism in general, and some of its specific manifestations. (That's why I separated them from my comment on micro-evolution, which DID address some of the responses to Greg's post.) So, rather than answering your questions and over-stepping the apparent bounds of this discussion thread again, I'll just refer you to my blog, where I address religious issues fairly often: http://planetutah.typepad.com/planet_utah/

Well I took Special Agent Johnny Utah up on his offer and decided to debate him on his blog. (Read the post above mine)

I was always respectful but it quickly turned into which straw-man argument Johnny would present next. Regardless, I still took him to task and held my own. After a few back and forths Johnny wanted out.

He wrote: "End of discussion on my end (on this thread, at least), but feel free to continue to register your thoughts here. That's what the comment box is for."

So I replied with this:

"Well I must say I saw this coming after reading you on Espresso. You really aren't prepared to defend your beliefs - which is fine but not really worthy of an honest debate.

And you say you are familiar with all of my arguments but I must assume that familiarity means to you that you have heard them and cannot refute them BUT NOT that they are fallible or irrational - which should be your only standard. For example – I showed how your belief in the theory of universally evolved morality is irrational because it ultimately teaches us that morality is subjective. And if morality is subjective morality does not exist. Thus you, with that theory, have in essence give yourself license to commit any crime, do any evil that will be personally beneficial. Yet you glossed over my questions of whether you believe morality is objective or not. And this is the umpteenth time you have glossed over my more impressive arguments which tells me you are not yet prepared to make any changes in your life. You like not knowing and are weary of the responsibilities that come with embracing those realizations. It is not necessary for you to refute this assumption because ultimately it will be self-defeating.

To each his own and I wish you God's grace on your journey!"

How did Johnny respond? Censorship! He removed my comment, lol. Forgive the chuckle but are sophists not the most predictable people on the planet?

Johnny did have the courtesy to replace my above comments with: "Sorry, Mark -- if you want to comment here, comment freely but respectfully. Don't tell me about who you think I am, what I'm capable of, what I want, what I'm afraid of, and what I'm prepared to defend."

So feel free to comment but just don’t make any assumptions as to why Johnny refuses to debate honestly unless you want to be censored. LMAO

All interested in this topic should check out our debate and let me know if my 'assumptions' are valid... Thx!

http://planetutah.typepad.com/planet_utah/2007/08/answering-the-f.html#comment-79710785

FOLLOW-UP:

Johnny now has set his blog so that I can no longer add comments!

How hilarious is that? What a perfect example of the individual liberal and their near-universal embrace of intolerance.

PS - since Johnny has now removed all of my comments and all you can see are his replies I have a copy of the original debate and would be happy to email it to anyone following this. Feel free to email me at mcmcp@cox.net

You can't really check out the debate any more, because I took down all of Mark's posts. What's more, I blocked him from further commenting on my site. I've done that twice in my 10-year blogging career. Same reason both times -- not because someone disagreed with me or got the better of me, but because they refused to follow some basic rules of thoughtful, respectful, constructive discussion. You get the flavor in Mark's post up above.

Now you will never know if I followed HIS rules because he removed my comments. I guess you will have to take Johnny's word for it because he is obviously afraid to let anyone determine for themselves (or what is that the truth was just too close to home?)!

Thank's Johnny - I haven't had this much of a laugh in weeks!

PSS

Here's the really funny part and I just had to share. I was content with having the debate on Johnny's blog knowing full well that Johnny would most likely be the only one reading it - yeah its not the most popular blog. But Johnny is clearly intelectually incapable of honest debate and when called out his reaction is to play censor. BUT HERE'S THE FUNNY PART: far more people will read it now being on Greg's sight.

Johnny - your censorship backfired! lol

Mark, your smugness isn't warranted given the absurdity of your arguments. I'll just address one as exemplary of the others:

"Is it not true that most people in the world claim some form of commune/ relationship with God because of that Jewish influence (even Muslims)."

This is a stupid argument, first and foremost because it implies the number of dopes who believe in something relates to how true that something is, an obvious falsehood. Second, even if it is true that Jewish-influenced religions are believed by "most people," it's only "most" by just over 50 percent. Two-three billion people on this planet don't adhere to a Jewish-based religion. So your argument is not just foolish, it's downright irrelevant.

Wow - George shouldn't you understand the context before you comment?

The comment was in reply to Johnny's comment that Jews were just "some obscure nomadic tribe in the middle east". Man you must feel foolish now! I guess my smugness is validated, lol.

So FIRST it does not in any way, shape or form imply that that truth is related to numbers of believers.

And SECOND your quite clueless if your believe that only over 50% subscribe to a religion of the Book.

Gosh, you sophists sure love your straw-man arguments.

Try again George...

Greg Here:

Come on guys you're killing me. Can you just exchange phone numbers or challenge each other to a duel or something?

Greg - pistols at dawn?

Sorry for taking so much enjoyment from your site but I must admit that defeating sophists is a past-time that I can easily get carried away with. And I think this is a most worthy debate and applaud you for starting it.

Remember, one and all, it is the left's rejection of God and His teachings that inspires every policy decision they make.

Furthermore, if Johnny is going to use your popular site to get people to his blog then I think your readers deserve to know the kind of censorship that Johnny will employ once he determines that he is losing the argument.

Keep up the good work Greg!

Mark, your smugness isn't validated, I didn't take your comments out of context, and I'm not clueless about demographics. You are ignorant and I won't respond to your nuttiness again.
Greg, you barely deserve the wonderful comments attached to this article. The article itself was poorly thought out. It displays your ignorance of science and makes a sweeping generalization about "modern scholars" by holding up a single nutball's hypothesis.

The conflict isn't with evolution as a science, it is with evolution as a religion. People who couldn't begin to explain have faith that something smaller than a walnut expanded into the universe. That takes faith. When my daughter comes back from fifth grade converted to a relgion that believes in survival of the fittest, mindless pursuit of pleasure and earth worship, I'm angry. I believe in the teachings of Jesus Christ - care for the sick and oppressed, the sanctity of the individual and a life driven by a higher purpose. There is no reason to prosletize about evolution until high school when students are better able to sort out the complexities and difference between science and faith.

Jeff, do you believe Jesus was God?

Jeff, you wrote, " I believe in the teachings of Jesus Christ - care for the sick and oppressed, the sanctity of the individual and a life driven by a higher purpose."

AMEN

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