A Conversation for Creationism - Fundamental(ist) Errors

Not such a minority...

Post 21


Hi Phil,

Welcome back! Trust me, I know what it's like to be doing way too many things at once - exams, wedding plans, weekend breaks, little thing called 'work', the dawning realisation that I really need to get down a gym before I turn into a huge pile of lard ... and still trying to sneak into H2G2 evey now and then!

Your first post essentially covers what is known as the 'Argument from First Cause' (or 'Cosmological Argument', if you're feeling wordy). This is perhaps the oldest argument for the existence of god / gods, and probably still the one that convinces most people. It is, however, almost universally rejected by those who have paused to give it serious thought. I will leave you to look into this yourself, and just note that what you have given is an argument for the existence of a god / gods - it seems you have the terms 'evolutionist' and 'atheist' confused, as your point does not give any evidence either for or against Darwinian evolution.

If you want to talk about the origins of the Universe, let's do it - but be aware that we are no longer discussing evolution.


I realise your second post is not addressed to me, but I hope you don't mind if I insert my opinion here also. Again, you seem to be confusing 'atheism' and 'evolution'. Would it surprise you to learn that many people see no conflict between belief in god and evolution? For example:

(*) Roughly 40% of US biologists believe in god, yet fewer than 1% reject evolution. That means that more than a third are both evolutionists and Christians. Many biologists specialise in evolution, and I assure you they do spend a lot of time thinking about what constitutes evidence and what evidence there is for or against evolution.

(*) Various church organisations have recently collected the signatures of over 10,000 ordained ministers who support evolution, mostly from the US. Ekklesia is a UK Christian pressure group that opposes creationism. Pope John Paul II accepted evolution. Most C of E bishops accept evolution.

(*) Some of the most important evolutionary scientist have been committed Christians including, for example, Theodosius Dobzhanski (sometimes cited as the most important evolutionary biologist of the 20th century), Dr Kenneth Miller (anti-creationism campaigner and born-again Protestant) and Asa Gray (who was instrumental in publicising Darwin's theories in America and exchanged a long series of letters with Darwin about spiritual matters).

(*) Darwin's own views were probably closer to agnosticism than atheism (he dropped out of training to be a priest).

(*) Even some of the most prominent supporters of creationism in the US, such as Michael Behe, do not dispute the age of the Earth (4.6 billion years) or that humans and chimps share a common ancestor. Rather, they claim that natural selection alone cannot account for all life on Earth and evolution must have been guided by god. This is called 'theistic evolution'.

As to the evidence, there is overwhelming evidence that all life on Earth descended from a single common ancestor. This can be shown from a number of avenues, including biogeography (where creatures live), genetics (rather like the genetic fingerprinting that is commonly used in court), fossils, and the organisation of life (living things are organised in groups and sub-groups, such as animal - mammal - ape - chimp). If you want to explain why this evidence is not valid - or if you want me to explain what it is and what it means - I suggest you pick one line to start with.

The single most convincing argument in favour of evolution (at least to me) is that evolution can make seemingly-unlikely predictions that can be tested and be shown to be true. If you were able to succesfully predict next week's lottery numbers, and you got them right every week, I would believe you are either psychic or the lottery is fixed and you are in on it. By the same reasoning, I can't escape the idea that evolutionists know something that is helping them to make the right predictions - namely, that evolution happened.

Gif smiley - geek

Not such a minority...

Post 22


Hi Phil,

How's it going? Thought we lost you there. Of course I'm not offended by your last post. I'll go through it point-by-point then hopefully sum up at the end:

"From a scientific point of view, much of the evolutinist theory just does not add up."

Science disagreees with you, as do I. The theory of evolution is the perfect example of a scientific theory: a set of interconnected ideas, backed-up by empirical evidence from many experiments in many scientific discplines. All these thousands of experiments point towards the same conclusion again and again: evolution is fact.

If you choose to design a scientific experiment that falsifies the theory of evolution you are welcome to perform it. Noone else has managed to do it in the last 150 years.

"A vast majority of people who claim the evolution is fact seem to know little (if anything) about their own theory ,mostly because it is largely fragmented and incoherent theory adopted by those who wish to be exempt from the statutes of God and do as they see fit."

I don't expect the public to be familiar with all the details of evolution, but I do expect evolutionary biologists to be, and they are. I know religious and non-religious evolutionary biologists. I don't see how this fits in with this idea of yours.

If it was an inchoherent theory it would fall apart. The scientist who would bring evolutionary theory tumbling down would be the most famous and celebrated scientist since Darwin or Einstein. But it is HIGHLY unlikely to happen given what we know about biology.

"This is why almost all evolutionists hate Christians usually the bigger the supporter the larger the grudge. "

This is sad, and not the words a Christian should utter. I am doing an advanced degree in evolutionary genetics and I love many Christians, including those in my family who are in the clergy. That sort of talk just escalates a debate into a slanging match.

"This is also, I think, why so few evolutionists actually send any time thinking about or questioning their own theory- unless of course (God forbid)some ignorant (please note the irony) Christian challenges their view, when they either aggressively defend it with some stock- usually ill concieved- cliche or change the subject so that the again evade thinking about a topic which after meditation may present them with harsh realities."

Evolutionary biologists do little BUT think about "their theory" - it's their job. They don't question whether evolution happens or not because it perhaps the most established fact in all of science. Again, if you wish to challenge this notion (you clearly do), you are free to design a scientific experiment that will falsify the theory, as is anyone. Notice how "meditiation" won't cut it.

In fact, if you come up with an experiment I will be more than happy to run it for you. I have access to a lab and a whole lot of computing power at my university. I await your hypotheses.

"That they have done wrong and do need the healing touch of God."

Are you claiming I have done wrong?

"Oh no! I'm descending into irrational, sentimental crap to subdue my deep seated insecurities. I think not. That is the most priceless excuse for discounting the existance of God."

I don't quite get this point. What is the excuse, exactly?

Not all truths can be gleaned through the scientific method. It is a limited outlook on the world using a very strict thought process. It has NO OPINION on the question of God - by it's very nature it cannot. That's why you get deeply religious scientists.

Religions are usually internally consistent - that is they are rational within themselves. It's when you step outside of these boundaries and try and inappropriately apply your faith to other areas of thought that this sort of confusion happens. I don't think you are an irrational raving religious nut, I simply think you are mistaken in trying to apply theology to natural philosophy (AKA science).

"I'm sorry but those you refuse to consider religion are the ones with closed minds."


"Those who reject holiness for personal indulgance and gratification are the weak, and those who do not see that they are sinful and need God's healing love are the truly ignorant."

Yes, you have to have personal strength to resist temptation. And I suppose I do not know any Gods, including yours, so I am technically "ignorant" of them all. So I agree.

To Sum:
Your post offers ad hominem attacks on cariciature strawmen of biologists and at the same time protestations of truth regarding the Christian God. I'm confused as to what you are trying to get at here. What am I supposed to be rethinking? That God is tremendously unlikely? Or that evolution happens? Both are intertwined when they are nothing to do with one another. There is no need to equate the two. The only thing you have made me think about is to be sad that a minority of Christians have to read the Bible literally - it causes so many problems in the world. I hope you will see that I have carefully considered each point you have made and responded to it. If you think I have missed something or misunderstood anything please feel free to correct me.

Sincere proposal: if you're ever in Southern California, you are more than welcome to visit my lab and see what evolutionary biologists do and what they are like. Pizza and beer are likely to be involved at some point. smiley - ok

Stesmiley - mod

Not such a minority...

Post 23


Hi Ste,

Thanks for the invite. I would love to visit your lab. However,I live in England and therefore will not be able to get to Southern California until summer 2009 on holiday. If you are still there then I would enjoy the visit. You could explain some of the finer points of evolutionary genetics to me. Much more interesting than the simplified science presented to me now (17 and still in full time education).

Then we can have a proper debate. smiley - biggrin


Not such a minority...

Post 24


Well Ste, I missed you this summer. I'm still up for hearing more about how evolution is thought to work though, so please feel free to educate me.

Not such a minority...

Post 25


Hi Phil,

I haven't seen Ste round on the site for quite a while now. But if I'll do as a second-best, I'll be happy to take a shot at any questions you have.

Gif smiley - geek

Not such a minority...

Post 26


Hi Gif,
Do you have a background in Biology too?

Not such a minority...

Post 27


Molecular biology was part of my degree course many years back, but I'm not a biologist in the way Ste is. There's always a good chance I won't know the answer to something you ask, in which case I'll say so. But there's also a pretty good chance I'll know, or know how to find out.

In other words: I'm here if you have questions, I just don't guarantee to have all the answers!

Gif smiley - geek

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