The Miraculous Evolution of the Giraffe

It’s that time of year again—time to make preparations for the big day. It’s a day when foolishness is celebrated, and pranksters run amok. It’s National Atheist’s Day, better known as April Fools’ Day. Today we’ll look at one of Charles Darwin’s most far-fetched theories—a theory even a child can laugh at. This is one that’s only suited for a holiday as foolish as National Atheists Day: the evolution of the giraffe.

Darwin speculated on the evolution of the giraffe:

“So under nature with the nascent giraffe, the individuals which were the highest browsers, and were able during dearths [drought] to reach even an inch or two above the others, will often have been preserved…for they will have roamed over the whole country in search of food….Those individuals which had some one part or several parts of their bodies rather more elongated than usual, would generally have survived. These will have intercrossed [bred] and left offspring, either inheriting the same bodily peculiarities, or with a tendency to vary again in the same manner; whilst the individuals, less favoured in the same respects will have been the most liable to perish…By this process long continued…it seems to me almost certain that any ordinary hoofed quadruped might be converted into a giraffe.”

According to Darwin, during a period of drought, the tallest gazelles (for example) would have had food to eat, while the shorter gazelles would have starved. The taller gazelles would have had taller offspring, and eventually, after millions of generations, gazelles became the giraffes we have today. Let’s play along with Darwin and see where his idea takes us.

While all of Africa’s other grazing animals seem to have done quite well, the shorter gazelles that weren’t quite as tall as their cousins starved. What caused them, specifically, to starve to death? Maybe, in seeing their fellow creatures eat leaves from tall trees, they were too proud to lower their heads to eat grass. This may seem plausible until we recognize that all grazing animals (including modern giraffes) bend down to drink water. Darwin, however, maintains they died of starvation—not thirst.

Since only the tallest giraffes survived, all the females also must have died, as females are on average two feet shorter than the males. How exactly, then, do giraffe’s reproduce today?

Another Huge Problem

The giraffe’s heart generates enormous pressure in order to pump blood all the way up its long neck to its brain. Were it not for its complex blood pressure regulating system, when a giraffe bent over, it would suffer serious brain damage. If it managed to bend over without dying, it wouldn’t be able raise its head again. Its brain would suffer from a sudden lack of oxygen, and it would pass out. Here’s a four minute video with more info on that:

Furthermore, after a century of intense fossil exploration, no intermediate forms are on display in any museum in the world. The billions of giraffazelles have kept their remains well hidden. There is no intermediate form linking the giraffe to any other creature.

If you still believe that giraffes evolved, you may want to check yourself into a mental institution, or the biology Ph.D. program at a university. There are few other places where such fairy tales are believed. But keep your chin up. National Atheist’s Day is right around the corner.

96 thoughts on “The Miraculous Evolution of the Giraffe

  1. “all the females also must have died, as females are on average two feet shorter than the males”

    Do you know what the term ‘average’ means?

    It means half are below two feet shorter, and half are above.

    “the shorter gazelles that weren’t quite as tall as their cousins starved.”

    Or they found another niche and managed to survive eating different kinds of plants at different levels.

  2. Morse,

    I think your definition of average is incorrect. You’re thinking of the median, rather than average. The existence of female giraffes disproves Darwin’s theory on this.

    “the shorter gazelles that weren’t quite as tall as their cousins starved.”

    My point here is that there are plenty of gazelles that were shorter than their taller cousins (they’re called gazelles to this day). Maybe I didn’t explain what I was getting at clearly, but there is no shortage of grazing animals in Africa. A drought never caused the extinction of all grazing animals in Africa, much less the extinction of Darwin’s mythical creatures that inexplicably were unable to graze while all the other animals were able to.

    While your comment is a valiant attempt to defend Darwin, I think you’re going to find yourself alone. Anyone who is educated on giraffe evolution realizes that Darwin was incorrect on giraffe evolution. There are plenty of other theories on giraffe evolution that can be shown to be equally laughable, but no one is defending Darwin at this point. There are no plausible theories out there. How long are you going to stand by this ridiculous theory?

    Thanks,
    Bill

  3. “I think you’re going to find yourself alone.”

    Alone in responding to this blog? Or alone with 99% of scientists in the world?

    “There are no plausible theories out there.”

    Let’s pretend that this is true.

    So?

    The lack for a good explanation for giraffe evolution does not, in any way, make your idea that a god did it viable. You need evidence to back it up. Saying “goddidit”, sadly, is not evidence.

  4. Morse,

    You’ll find yourself alone defending Darwin’s explanation of giraffe evolution. Try a Google search for “giraffe evolution.” Darwin’s explanation has been thoroughly debunked.

    Not knowing how a giraffe evolved doesn’t bother you? I’m not even asking for evidence, just a theory. It doesn’t bother you that there’s not even a theory? Do you think this problem is limited to giraffes?

    The existence of a design is extremely good evidence for a designer. This is an assumption you make every day.

    Thanks,
    Bill

  5. “The existence of a design is extremely good evidence for a designer.”

    A shame for you, Bill, that there is no design in biological systems.

    Just look at the human body. The existence of wisdom teeth alone throws a massive wrench into your idea.

  6. I’m afraid that not only is morsec0de not alone, he is indeed accompanied by the whole of the biological sciences community. And me.

    Did you actually assert that there are no examples of fossil intermediates to the modern giraffe? Like the (by your statement) Climacoceras? Or members of the genera Palaeotragus or Samotherium? Or Giraffa jumae? Each example shows the gradual increase in the number of vertebrae and hence the length of the neck. The vasculature would have correspondingly developed as the neck lengthened. No surprise there. If you want to learn about giraffe evo and about the mass of intermediate fossils, I suggest Donald R. Prothero’s Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters. But according to you, these examples do not exist, a typical tactic. Why the neck became longer is still under debate – but whether it evolved is not.

    Humans have evolved to see patterns, even when there aren’t any. We see design because that’s the way our minds work. But snowflakes are built on simple rules of chemistry and physics, not individually handcrafted. Shaping genes by blind processes produces what at first appears to be design. But look closer and you will see that the ‘design’ is only just good enough and no sane designer would actually make anything like that. Our eyes are wired backwards, we have vestigial organs like the appendix which do nothing except increase our risk of early death in the absence of modern medicine, our feet and back are ill-suited to bipedal locomotion causing pain, etc. All of these point to descent with modification, not ab initio design. Embryology shows how many of these weird examples of bad design came about through genetic historical contingency. The evidence from paleontology, comparative morphology, molecular genetics, geology, cladistics, embryology, and a host of other disciplines overwhelmingly point to one conclusion: evolution happened (the fact of evolution) and is very successfully explained (the theory of evolution) by natural selection, sexual selection and genetic drift. There is simply no argument within the scientific community as to whether evolution occurred. We are well beyond “keeping an open mind”, as if there were some viable alternative (which there is not). “Intelligent design” is not an explanation, particularly since it provides no mechanism for said design. What is debated in the scientific community is the relative contributions of each of the above three mechanisms for any particular case.

  7. Morse,

    Wisdom teeth may not meet your design criteria, but you’re not the Designer. How do you know they don’t meet the Creator’s design criteria?

    I looked through my blog, and I don’t think I’ve asked you this before. Sorry if I have. Why are you so passionate about this topic, and willing to spend so much time trying to persuade others?

    Thanks,
    Bill

  8. joseph says:

    Biological systems appear profoundly designed. I guess we should just follow Dawkins’ reasoning on that one and simply ignore such things.

  9. Mark Gaskill says:

    What I find most interesting here, Bill, is your real, possibly unknown motivation for this post. It smacks of desperation, in the since that, you need this to be true about giraffes, and you need Darwin’s ideas to be false, because if they aren’t, maybe you wouldn’t believe. Your words have the smell of other “intelligent design” screamers. That smell is fear. Fear that Darwin may be right, and that your concept of God cannot jive with such a truth. Have you questioned your subconscious motives?

  10. Shamelessly Atheist,

    Do you just swallow everything you hear an evolutionist tell you? Maybe you think bluster makes up for ignorance. Here are a few quotes from evolutionists, taken from this site:

    http://www.weloennig.de/Giraffe.pdf

    “The evolving giraffe line left no middling branches on the way, and there is nothing, living or fossil, between the moderate neck of the okapi and the greatly elongated giraffe. The several varieties of giraffe are all about the same height. There are a number of fossil giraffids with more or less the shape of the okapi; it would seem that one of them rather suddenly took off and grew to the practical limits of a giraffe.” Wesson p 238/239

    “The origin, phylogeny, and evolution of modern giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis) is obscure” Mitchell and Skinner 2003

    Starck 1995, p. 999 remarks: “The ancestry of Giraffidae is disputed.”

    “The oldest fossils attributed to the genus Giraffa date from the end of the upper Miocene in east Africa, some 10 million years ago. They are assigned to the species Giraffa jumae, which was larger than the largest present giraffe (G. (c)amelopardalis)”. “…the palaeontological record shows that in the oldest deposits, the giraffe was represented by specimens which exceeded in size even the largest current giraffes. This is in contradiction to what we might expect from theoretical considerations on evolutionary trends, such as an apparent general increase in size. The evolution of the giraffe therefore appears to represent a particular case” (Devillers and Chaline 1993, p. 247 and p. 207).

    It seems like these evolutionists aren’t quite as confident as you.

    You said, “Why the neck became longer is still under debate – but whether it evolved is not.” I suppose that’s one way to put it, but what you call “under debate” I call gross ignorance.

    Evolution is your religious belief. You have a lack of evidence (and even lack of a theoretical explanation) on so many things, yet you insist you’re correct, and insist on believing. That is faith.

    Thanks for your comment,
    Bill

  11. lol, sorry, looks like your response just posted. So now I wonder, what mechanism is it that you believe maintains a species within a certain rigid range of morphology? I’ll assume that you accept microevolution, so what keeps small changes from accruing to large changes over great time periods?

  12. “Do you just swallow everything you hear an evolutionist tell you?”

    Do you ignore all science, or just the science that apologists tell you to ignore? I assume you’re using your computer and go to the doctor when you’re sick, as opposed to just praying.

  13. lyn says:

    from http://www.answersingenesis.org

    ‘Nothing new under the sun: media report hypes evolution claims’

    Guest article by David A. DeWitt, Ph.D., Director, Center for Creation Studies, Liberty University, Lynchburg, VA, USA

    October 12, 2005

    A recent article from the Washington Post had the headline: “New Analyses Bolster Central Tenets of Evolution Theory.”1 In it, Rick Weiss and David Brown boast about evolution’s “power to predict the unexpected” and how well the theory of evolution stands up to “some tough new tests.” They also marvel at the audacity of the Dover, Pennsylvania, USA school board to question evolution by putting it “on par with ‘alternative’ explanations such as Intelligent Design.”2

    Although there are some new evolutionary arguments discussed, the article offers the usual hype that “evolution has been proven” and the creationists should just give up and go home.3

    Front and center in the article is the report on the recent sequencing of the chimpanzee genome and the 96% similarity to human DNA. Evolution supporters now insist that the 4% difference came as no surprise and “proves” that humans and apes share a common ancestor in spite of the fact that it is essentially double the difference of previous estimates.4 One would suspect that researchers such as Morris Goodman must have been disappointed. Goodman and his research team had noted much higher similarity between coding DNA from chimps and humans. Indeed, they saw the similarity as so great that the researchers even suggested that chimpanzees should rightfully be placed in the same genus as man.5

    In addition, there are numerous significant differences between the chimp and human genomes.6
    A new evolution argument based on the chimpanzee genome

    Nonetheless a new argument that makes use of the chimpanzee sequence has arisen. Researchers were able to “predict the number of harmful mutations in the chimpanzee DNA by knowing the number of mutations in a different species’ DNA and the two animals’ population size.” The work was done by Eric Lander and colleagues who confirmed that “a harmful mutation is unlikely to persist if it is serious enough to reduce an individual’s odds of leaving descendants by an amount that is greater than the number one divided by the population of that species.”

    Scientists had previously determined the values for mice and are working them out for dogs. As it turns out, dogs have a population number between apes (which are fewer) and mice (which are more numerous) and likewise have an intermediate number of harmful mutations. Exactly why this is such a great victory for evolution is far from clear.

    First, such a hypothesis is also completely consistent with a creationist model. The number of harmful mutations (sometimes referred to as “genetic load”) that a population can carry should be proportional to the size of the population and be limited by how deleterious the mutation is. Predicting the number of harmful mutations only demonstrates common features of population genetics, which is a mathematical, operational science accepted by creationists and evolutionists alike. The fact that this can be done using different species does not provide evidence of common ancestry between the different species. It simply demonstrates the role of population size on the amount of genetic load that a population can bear. Since creationists recognize deterioration and mutations since the Fall, there is no uniquely evolutionist prediction here.

    Second, predicting the maximum genetic load of a population does not really help with evolution’s greatest obstacle. The important issue is not the number of harmful mutations that can exist in a population but the number of necessary “beneficial” mutations that can become fixed in a population. One would expect that a similar rule applies to beneficial mutations. In other words, for such a beneficial mutation to become fixed in the population, it will have to increase an individual’s fitness. Further, just because an individual has a beneficial mutation for one gene does not mean that it will not have a harmful mutation in another gene.

    The same population dynamics that make it difficult to eliminate slightly harmful mutations also make it difficult for beneficial mutations to become present in all members of the population.7 Since any mutation begins in one chromosome in one individual in the whole population, it is believed to take many thousands to millions of generations to become fixed unless it is a massive advantage like resistance to a toxin or diseases.8 In this or other cases, the population must go through a huge population bottleneck (serious decrease in the population size), which then means that it takes many generations to rebuild the population. This also would eliminate other putative evolving genes which have not become fixed (i.e., universal) in the population.

    Thus, scientists believe that most mutations that become fixed in the population do so through random genetic drift. Indeed, this is the explanation offered for the majority of the fixed differences between chimpanzees and man in the report on the chimp genome sequence.9 A conclusion from evolution by random genetic drift is that genetic variation is eventually lost in a population as one or the other form of a gene is lost.10 Therefore, both random genetic drift and population bottlenecks severely limit the genetic variation which is the raw material of evolution by natural selection.

    Rather than a glowing demonstration of the “power” of evolution, this argument highlights its intrinsic weakness. Moreover, there is no evidence for common ancestry provided from such analysis.

    “Junk” DNA: the argument that refuses to die

    Weiss and Brown interviewed John West of the Discovery Institute (the leading intelligent design think tank) for their article and asked for examples of “non-obvious, testable predictions made by the theory of Intelligent Design.” West correctly noted an ID prediction that “junk” DNA would be shown to have functions since “an intelligent designer would not fill animals’ genomes with DNA that had no use.” However, the authors appeared unsatisfied with this answer perhaps because it demonstrates that ID could qualify as science. They rebut West with the statement that although “some ‘junk’ DNA has indeed been found to be functional in recent years … more than 90 percent of human DNA still appears to be the flotsam of biological history.” The authors imply that there is 90% of human DNA which is still “junk.” This is completely false.

    While only about 1% of human DNA codes for the amino acid sequence of proteins,11 substantially more than 10% has been assigned functions. In addition to the genes, there are stretches of DNA that serve as regulatory regions which help determine when, where and how much of each protein is made. Much of the repeating sequences have functions, including the telomeres that protect the end of chromosomes as well as the satellite DNA at the centromere, which serves as the binding site for the protein complex that separates chromosomes during cell division.12 Other repetitive elements including Alu and L1 are believed to have functions serving as cohesion binding sites and DNA repair respectively. Still more, possibly 30% or more, DNA functions during development.13 Altogether this brings the percent of functional DNA significantly higher. The amount of functional DNA is expected to climb as more and more functions are uncovered.
    Giraffes: the myth that refuses to die

    In discussing the role of natural selection in evolution, the Washington Post writers used the giraffe as a prime example.

    Giraffes do not decide to grow long necks to browse the high branches above the competition. But a four-legged mammal on the savannah once upon a time was endowed with a longer neck than its brother and sisters. It ate better. We call its descendants giraffes.

    The giraffe is often used as an example of contrast between Lamarck’s idea of acquired characteristics with Darwin’s natural selection. According to Lamarck, as the giraffe stretched its neck to reach leaves on taller trees, it passed this trait on to its offspring. Darwin’s Origin seemed to accept Lamarck’s idea of inheritance (which we now know to be wrong) to explain the fact that giraffes had a variety of neck lengths. (Today, in the neo-Darwinian view, the reason for variety is ultimately mutation—genetic copying mistakes). But he added the seemingly obvious factor of natural selection. The scenario is that during drought, short-necked giraffes would be selected against which would leave only those with long necks to survive and reproduce.

    This classic example of the power of evolution, however, cannot possibly work in the way most people have believed. In a very interesting article about selection and the giraffe,14 Craig Holdrege reviews some very serious challenges to the widely accepted story of the origin of the giraffe’s long neck. Some of the problems include:
    If only leaves from the highest branches were available to giraffes for food, then multiple species of browsing and grazing animals including antelope would have been eliminated. This is not the case.
    Giraffes with long necks are larger overall and would require more food than the ones that were smaller and had shorter necks.
    Male giraffes are typically up to a meter taller than the female giraffes. Baby giraffes of both genders are obviously short until they grow up. If the selection pressure for long necks is so great, it would seem to favor the elimination of the females. More importantly, what do the baby giraffes eat until they grow up? This type of selective pressure would seem to eliminate the offspring.
    Giraffes today do not exclusively eat from the high branches. In fact, giraffes often eat at or below shoulder height.
    From the perspective of drinking water, giraffes would actually seem to have necks that are too short since it is very awkward for them to bend over to reach the ground. To do so requires that their legs are splayed quite far apart in order for them to bring their head to ground level. Being able to reach water during a drought seems to be more important than reaching high branches for food.
    An additional point that was not included in Holdrege’s article is that there is no fossil record demonstrating that giraffes with short necks ever existed.

    There is also a problem of new structures being required in addition to the neck lengthening. A very large blood pressure, about double that of a normal mammal, is required to pump blood to the brain when the giraffe is upright. But when the giraffe bends down to drink, this blood pressure would be expected to blow its brains out. However, the giraffe neck has a rete mirabile (Latin for “wonderful net”), a complex network of blood vessels, which helps to equalize the pressure. Giraffe legs also have a thick sheath of skin, like an astronaut’s G-suit, to prevent the high blood pressure from forcing blood to leak through capillaries.

    Thus, this classic story of Darwinian evolution is largely myth. In spite of a number of scientific studies documenting the feeding behavior of giraffes and that it is inconsistent with the widely held explanation for the origin of the long neck, this notion persists. Media reports and textbooks which continue to promote it ensure its survival. In addition, there are many other aspects of giraffe biology that are better interpreted within a creationist framework.15
    Conclusion-The writer of Ecclesiastes wisely noted, “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9, NIV). In spite of media hype and exaggeration; regardless of “new analyses” and claims of “tough new tests,” there is still no good evidence to prove “from goo to the zoo” evolution. Upon further inspection, many such claims tend to support a creation model instead. {from Answers in Genesis}

    For those who uphold evolution, I would ask, why come here to argue? No one here who truly follows the Lord Jesus Christ is going to deny the One True Creator of all. No one will be convinced of Darwin’s erroneous teachings, except those who hate the Creator. Nothing will be gained here from opposition. If a ‘scientist’ told you the earth was originally flat, would you swallow that hook line and sinker?
    To deny a Creator is to appease the conscience. If there is no God, then there is no need to worry about ‘judgment’; thus, ‘let us eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die’.

  14. Morse,

    Are you just here to defend ignorance? I haven’t learned anything new from you. You haven’t answered my objections to giraffe evolution. All you and SA have done is prove my point that no evolutionist knows anything about giraffe evolution. You and SA have nothing to say about giraffe evolution, and now you’re throwing out other atheist arguments to see what will stick.

    I would be embarrassed that after 150 years of intense scientific study, evolution is inadequate to explain the evolution of giraffes. Every time you see some kid carrying around a stuffed giraffe, I want you to remember how ignorant evolutionists are. You will not stand before God and say that He hasn’t presented Himself to you. You’re just too rebellious and proud to bow your knee to Him.

    I see no point in discussing this with you any farther, unless you have information on why and how the giraffe evolved its long neck.

    Thanks for the conversation.
    Bill

  15. Poppies and Mark,

    I can’t help but point out how lame your comments are. They have nothing to do with giraffe evolution. Ignorance simply means a lack of knowledge. I’m sure you’re smart guys, but you’re ignorant on many things, including giraffe evolution. Just admit it.

    Mark, Darwin was wrong on giraffe evolution. There’s no doubt about it, and evolutionists agree. His explanation is downright stupid, and he really opened up the door for himself to be mocked. I would hope that it would lead you to think about what else he could have presented that when really scrutinized turns out to be idiotic.

    You may find Christians who will try to straddle the fence on believing evolution and the Bible, but the Bible and evolution are mutually exclusive. If evolution is true, we should throw out the Bible. I’m not desperate to hang onto the Bible. I know that it’s true. I’m just trying to point out to fools how foolish and ignorant they are.

    Poppies,

    Microevolution doesn’t provide new information. Snakes will never grow wings and fly away, no matter how much time and how many generations you give them. Flight is too complex of a system. Snakes give birth to snakes.

    If you think giraffe evolution is a tough one, there are thousands of examples of things too complex to evolve. That’s why they dreamed up punctuated equilibrium, which is even more far fetched.

    If you guys want to talk about giraffe evolution, I’m happy to do that, otherwise I’ve had my fill of atheist nonsense for one day.

    Thanks,
    Bill

  16. Mark Gaskill says:

    “Mark, Darwin was wrong on giraffe evolution. There’s no doubt about it, and evolutionists agree.”

    Bill – I don’t disagree with you. I am not an evolutionist, and no fan of Darwin. But neither do I feel compelled to make grasping arguments to keep science in line with Genesis. An example…many Christians (including my lovely wife) seem almost threatened by the idea that the earth is older than 6000 years. It’s either very old, or God went out of his way to make it seem very old. I know this has nothing to do with giraffe evolution, which I’m sorry just doesn’t excite me. What interests me and I’m trying to get at is the real underlying reason certain Christians make stupid arguments about science. Why they, in a sense, turn off their logic and reason (evolutionists do it to, calm down everybody). Why can’t God have operated beyond the scope and understanding of our small minds? What’s truly fascinating in this argument about giraffe evolution has nothing to do with giraffe evolution. It has to do with why we’re obsessing about it. Seems to me a logical Christian would say, wow the earth seems really old. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. But what does that have to do with how much I love God and He loves me?

  17. jude newman says:

    Hi Mark, If God had meant to say He created the earth in millions of years, He would have said exactly that. Thus , the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them were finished. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day, from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made. Genesis 2: 1-3. For anyone who says ” we don’t know how long the days were, Genesis 1-5 God called the light day,and the darkness He called night. So the evening and morning were the first day. Genesis 1 7-8 Thus God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament and it was so. And God called the firmament heaven. So the evening and the morning were the second day. Do any of us know what 6,000 years old looks like. You say ” it’s either very old, or either God went out of His way to make it seem very old.” What have you seen that is 6,000 years old. Christians are not threatened by evolutionists. I know every word in the Bible is true, My God is TRUTH. I don’t see how Christians can believe otherwise. We cannot take bits and pieces from here and there, and believe what we want. I personally could not follow a god who didn’t say what He meant. The Bible is and always has been ridiculed by the world and more now by churches. Buy into that argument and soon you will believe nothing in the Bible

  18. Mark Gaskill says:

    Jude – I can use the logical mind that God gave me and say this earth looks older than 6000 years. Can’t you at least admit that the earth looks very old? Could you do that? There would be honesty in it at least. Is there anyone here who believes the earth is 6000 years old but can at least admit it looks older? I’d be interested to hear from you. And to say no one who hasn’t been alive for 6000 years cannot possibly have an opinion about something that is 6000 years old is a juvenile argument.

    “I personally could not follow a god who didn’t say what He meant.”

    Careful, I think the bible is loaded with instances of God either not saying exactly what He means, or going out of His way (and I’m sure His reasons are divine) to say something with greater obfuscation than is necessary or that allude to aspects of God that seem to be in conflict. It’s one of the things that frustrates me most but also leads me to believe God has a wonderful sense of humor.

  19. Mark,

    You said, “What’s truly fascinating in this argument about giraffe evolution has nothing to do with giraffe evolution.”

    I don’t understand. This post seems to have a lot to do with giraffe evolution to me. I’d be interested to find out more about why you said that.

    The current most popular estimate for the age of the universe is 13-14 billion years. There are indications that it’s much older than that. Space has a uniform temperature, and it should take much, much longer than 14 billion years for the temperature to become uniform. Why do evolutionists believe in such a young universe?

    There are indications that the universe is very young. Mercury has a magnetic field, and a planet of its size would not take very long for its liquid core to become solid, and stop causing a magnetic field. Also, the salinity of the oceans would indicate that the earth is very young. There are many indications that the universe is very young.

    The bottom line is that the Bible says the universe is young, and it’s extremely clear on the topic. I know the Bible is true, and I believe what God said on the topic of creation. Why don’t you?

    Are you born again?

    Thanks,
    Bill

  20. Mark Gaskill says:

    Bill – I am a Christian and I do believe in the innerrancy of scripture. I don’t, however, believe in the innerrancy of yours, mine, or anyone else’s perception and interpretation of scripture, and therein lies the problem. It’s fine and good, but a little useless to say, well the bible is the true, inerrant word of God, if we are unequipped to fully unravel its truth, mysteries, complexities, and vagaries. I fully appreciate and respect that you believe Genesis should be viewed as a scientific text, and that it happened exactly and only as Genesis says it did. Here’s where I come down on Genesis and the nature of creation and the age of the earth–I DON’T KNOW. I’m not a scientist, and I wouldn’t dream of reading some articles on Wikipedia and elsewhere and coming to steadfast conclusions on what I believe about our universe. I know God created it, one way or another, and I’m at peace with that. But I will not betray the logic and reason God gave me by holding obstusely to lines of reasoning that don’t make sense. Will you either admit or deny that the earth SEEMS to be older than 6000 years? And here’s a one more question for you–if in fact the world was created by means additional and exterior than what Genesis says, does that change for you your love and awe of God? Why does He owe you a precise account of how He created the world? If, as I believe, Geneis is a metaphor, (something I’m confident God is capable of constructing), who are you to demand specifics? Mark G.

  21. Mark,

    I’ll answer your questions in good faith that you’ll answer my questions. Sometimes it’s hard to tell what are rhetorical questions, and what aren’t, but I’ll list the questions I’d like you to answer.

    1. Why do you say this post has little to do with giraffe evolution?

    2. Are you born again? I didn’t ask whether you’re a Christian. I asked whether you’re born again.

    If I hold a rock in my hand, how can I tell whether it’s 6000 years old or 6 billion? If I look at the ocean or mountains or whatever, I can’t tell by looking how old it is. So I don’t know what you’re getting at when you say it seems a certain age. How does something “SEEM” a certain age to you?

    If you want to be scientific about it, that’s great. The founders of almost all branches of science were Christians. You have to look at the scientific evidence. If God created the universe 6000 years ago, and there was a global flood about 4000 years ago, there should be evidence. I think the evidence is plain, and God’s word has been independently verified again and again.

    As far as convincing yourself about what the Bible says, there is no basis for not taking Genesis 1-12 literally. Jesus quotes from Genesis 1-12 literally, and so does the rest of the Bible. There is no reason not to take it literally from the Bible. The only reason you don’t want to is because of your bias. You should approach God’s word with as little bias as possible, and determine what it’s trying to say. Don’t try to fit the Bible in with human wisdom (which is not wise at all).

    Thanks,
    Bill

  22. Mark Gaskill says:

    “1. Why do you say this post has little to do with giraffe evolution?”

    I’m sorry, I thought I had been clear on this….I think this post is superficially about giraffe evolution, and meaningfully about some Christians’ obsessive-compulsive need to rely on 12 bible versus to explain the creation of everything. Taking Genesis 1-12 to be the comprehensive account of the creation of the universe is like saying Moby Dick is about a whale.

    “2. Are you born again? I didn’t ask whether you’re a Christian. I asked whether you’re born again.”

    Yes.

    “If I hold a rock in my hand, how can I tell whether it’s 6000 years old or 6 billion? If I look at the ocean or mountains or whatever, I can’t tell by looking how old it is. So I don’t know what you’re getting at when you say it seems a certain age. How does something “SEEM” a certain age to you?”

    I can assume you think radiometric dating is a grand joke the evolutionists have cooked up? For the sake of everyone, let’s skip that argument. I live in the southwest, travel frequently in canyon country and the jagged peaks of the San Juan Mountains . I’ll say it again: The earth is either (1) very, very old, or (2) God inexplicably went out of his way to make it seem very very old. The second argument strikes me as coming from the same insanity as a die-hard 6000-year-ist who recently told me she believed that Satan had “planted dinosaur bones in layers of sedimentary rock to trick us all.”

    “As far as convincing yourself about what the Bible says, there is no basis for not taking Genesis 1-12 literally.

    Except when it leads you to betray your intellect.

    Jesus quotes from Genesis 1-12 literally, and so does the rest of the Bible. There is no reason not to take it literally from the Bible. The only reason you don’t want to is because of your bias.

    You should approach God’s word with as little bias as possible, and determine what it’s trying to say. Don’t try to fit the Bible in with human wisdom (which is not wise at all).”

    You should approach science with as little bias as possible, and determine what the physical evidence proves. Don’t try to fit science into 12 bible versus (which is not wise at all).

    Seriously bill, it’s funny you should mention bias, because I would imagine you filter every piece of information through the prism of your (from what I can tell so far) ultra-literal, fundamentalist view of God’s word.

    Bill, so I can guage the honesty of any intellectual discussions wit you, one more time, please deny that the earth seems older than 6000 years. It’s not like I’m asking you to renounce God or anything. I think the fact that this is the 3rd time I’m asking you to say the earth doesn’t seem that old, and you haven’t done it, speaks volumes about what you think deep in your heart but will not write down.

    Also, why is this all so important? Do you think believeing the earth is older than 6000 years is a dealbreaker with God?

  23. Mark,

    I don’t know why, but your comments went to the spam folder.

    So the universe SEEMS old to you because peaks are jagged? I think I’m going to need more reason than that. Why couldn’t the peaks have become jagged after the flood? How long do you think it takes for a peak to become jagged, and why do you think God didn’t make it that way?

    I believe the Bible is inerrant, as you supposedly do. So, yes I have a bias towards the Bible. I judge science by what the Bible says. I judge EVERYTHING in life by what the Bible says. What kind of idiot would I have to be to think the Bible says the universe is 6000 years old, and it’s a perfect book, but believe a bunch of evolutionists and atheists? Did you know the Bible calls atheists fools in Psalm 53:1? Why would I rely on a bunch of fools over the Bible?

    The universe doesn’t seem like it’s any particular age to me. I don’t have any other universes to compare it to. I certainly don’t think God made it appear older than it is. That is the answer to your question (again).

    I guess we’ve gotten to the root of the problem. You have an inerrant book delivered to you from God, yet you’re going to trust your intellect and your judgment over the Bible. I know that my intellect and judgment is not trustworthy. God is trustworthy, and I trust what He’s said.

    I don’t think believing in a young creation is a salvation issue. But if you’re trusting in your sinful self more than you’re trusting God’s word, it may be indicative of other problems.

    Unless you have something astounding to say, I’ll let you have the last word. I would urge you to seek out the truth from the Bible, and not from National Geographic.

    Thanks for the conversation.
    Bill

    p.s. I really think it’s pompous of you to pretend like I’m anti-intellectual when the creationists are the only ones here who have attempted to make any scientific arguments. All you and the atheists have is a incorrect definition of average, deer fossils and jagged peaks.

  24. jude newman says:

    Mark, I will say again, how should the world look at 6,000 years old. God always says what He means, our interpretation is the problem. By faith, I too believe implicitly in the Bible, every single word. The Bible is my source of understanding anything and everything. It is my standard for life. Who am I to think I know better than my Heavenly Father. If He says it I believe it. If you are a born again believer why do you so desperately want to disprove God’s Word.

  25. coorston says:

    Bill, just curious why you can not accept modern science? According to a 1987 Newsweek Poll, only 0.14% of scientists with respectable academic credentials among those branches of science who deal with the earth and its life forms give credit to creation science. Why do you suppose this is?

    Could you accept it if you are wrong?

    What does it mean if you are wrong?

    BTW, that was a 1987 poll. The numbers are even WORSE for your side today…

  26. Coorston,

    In 1978, in a long-forgotten jungle in the country of Guyana, 909 died in the belief that they and their leaders were right and leading them down the right path! A mere handful escaped the tragedy.

    In Matthew 7:13-14, Jesus Christ (the Eternal God of Heaven) told His listeners, “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

    Regarding your numbers, it simply shows the vast ignorance of a world without Christ when only 0.14% believe the truth and give credit where credit is due! Sad that the vast majority of those who lead will do and say whatever they can to lead others astray simply to remove the possibility (in their minds) of a God who is gracious and merciful to all who call upon Him in sincerity and truth.

    While I am not Bill, let me pose something to you. If we are wrong and death comes, we have lost nothing because we will simply cease to exist! However, what if YOU are WRONG, and what the Bible teaches is correct? What difference will it make for all of eternity when you come face to face with the Sovereign God of Heaven who will call all to an accounting of their sins?

    BTW, the Bible is much older than a 1987 poll, but the statements are still correct. Every person has the responsibility to either escape from the wrath of God or they can “drink the koolaid!”

    The Desert Pastor

  27. Coorston,

    First of all, I certainly do accept modern science, but evolution is not a part of modern science. It’s a religion. Anyone who believes giraffes evolved, believes it in spite of the evidence. They have faith. They believe in spite of the facts. Do you think giraffes are the only creatures that evolutionists don’t even have any valid theories about? Why as a Christian, would I adopt beliefs from another religion that conflict with Christianity?

    Similarly, since evolutionists have their religion, why would they adopt conflicting beliefs from Christianity?

    So why do a majority of scientist believe in evolution? We all look at the same evidence, but have different interpretations of it. If no one ever asks you to defend your interpretation, and everyone around you believes it, why go against it?

    Here’s an interesting debate between Kent Hovind and 3 evolutionists. I challenge you to watch it, and come to any conclusion other than Hovind creamed the guys. But it is long, and if you want to skip to the closing remarks, you’ll see what I’ve described here play out. In the closing remarks, the evolutionists offered very few reasons to believe in evolution. They simply expressed their dislike for Christianity. I would also urge you to watch Hovind’s remarks, as he presents the gospel.

    Mark,

    I have no desire to listen to the audio link you gave. If you want to write down the “hard questions for Christians” I’d be happy to answer them or find the answer for you.

    Also if you want any future comments to remain, you’ll either:
    1. stop pompously implying that creationists have betrayed their logic and reason, or
    2. offer a tiny sliver of reasoning behind your position.

    If you can do neither, it is apparent that you’re the one who has betrayed your logic and reasoning, because you have no evidence to support your beliefs. If you have something you want to discuss, I’m more than willing, otherwise you’re free to go somewhere else.

    Thanks,
    Bill

  28. Mark Gaskill says:

    Bill – Don’t worry. I will not be back. Around these parts, minds are made up, hearts hardened, humor abandoned, and yes logic and reason betrayed. I’m glad this blog has turned out to be exclusionary, because the love and mystery and magic of who God is is being grossly perverted here. As you delete this comment, I pray that everyone at Defending-Contending gains the courage to stop letting the sovereignty of God destroy the holiness and goodness and morality of God. Blessings, peace, and wisdom. Mark

  29. gary says:

    Here’s an interesting debate between Kent Hovind and 3 evolutionists. I challenge you to watch it, and come to any conclusion other than Hovind creamed the guys…………….

    you do know that he is in jail don’t you? do a search.

  30. lyn says:

    From http://www.answersingenesis.org concerning ‘radiometric dating’…

    Does Radiometric Dating Prove the Earth Is Old?
    by Mike Riddle
    October 4, 2007

    The presupposition of long ages is an icon and foundational to the evolutionary model. Nearly every textbook and media journal teaches that the earth is billions of years old.

    Using radioactive dating, scientists have determined that the Earth is about 4.5 billion years old, ancient enough for all species to have been formed through evolution.1

    The earth is now regarded as between 4.5 and 4.6 billion years old.2

    The primary dating method scientists use for determining the age of the earth is radioisotope dating. Proponents of evolution publicize radioisotope dating as a reliable and consistent method for obtaining absolute ages of rocks and the age of the earth. This apparent consistency in textbooks and the media has convinced many Christians to accept an old earth (4.6 billion years old).
    What Is Radioisotope Dating?

    Radioisotope dating (also referred to as radiometric dating) is the process of estimating the age of rocks from the decay of their radioactive elements. There are certain kinds of atoms in nature that are unstable and spontaneously change (decay) into other kinds of atoms. For example, uranium will radioactively decay through a series of steps until it becomes the stable element lead. Likewise, potassium decays into the element argon. The original element is referred to as the parent element (in these cases uranium and potassium), and the end result is called the daughter element (lead and argon).

    The Importance of Radioisotope Dating

    The straightforward reading of Scripture reveals that the days of creation (Genesis 1) were literal days and that the earth is just thousands of years old and not billions. There appears to be a fundamental conflict between the Bible and the reported ages given by radioisotope dating. Since God is the Creator of all things (including science), and His Word is true (“Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth,” John 17:17), the true age of the earth must agree with His Word. However, rather than accept the biblical account of creation, many Christians have accepted the radioisotope dates of billions of years and attempted to fit long ages into the Bible. The implications of doing this are profound and affect many parts of the Bible.
    How Radioisotope Dating Works

    Radioisotope dating is commonly used to date igneous rocks. These are rocks which form when hot, molten material cools and solidifies. Types of igneous rocks include granite and basalt (lava). Sedimentary rocks, which contain most of the world’s fossils, are not commonly used in radioisotope dating. These types of rocks are comprised of particles from many preexisting rocks which were transported (mostly by water) and redeposited somewhere else. Types of sedimentary rocks include sandstone, shale, and limestone.
    Uranium to lead decay sequence
    Uranium-238
    Thorium-234
    Protactinium-234
    Uranium-234
    Thorium-230
    Radium-226
    Radon-222
    Polonium-218
    Lead-214
    Bismuth-214
    Polonium-214
    Lead-210
    Bismuth-210
    Polonium-210
    Lead-206 (stable)

    Uranium-238 (238U) is an isotope of uranium. Isotopes are varieties of an element that have the same number of protons but a different number of neutrons within the nucleus. For example, carbon-14 (14C) is a particular isotope. All carbon atoms have 6 protons but can vary in the number of neutrons. 12C has 6 protons and 6 neutrons in its nucleus. 13C has 6 protons and 7 neutrons. 14C has 6 protons and 8 neutrons. Extra neutrons often lead to instability, or radioactivity. Likewise, all isotopes (varieties) of uranium have 92 protons. 238U has 92 protons and 146 neutrons. It is unstable and will radioactively decay first into 234Th (thorium-234) and finally into 206Pb (lead-206). Sometimes a radioactive decay will cause an atom to lose 2 protons and 2 neutrons (called alpha decay). For example, the decay of 238U into 234Th is an alpha decay process. In this case the atomic mass changes (238 to 234). Atomic mass is the heaviness of an atom when compared to hydrogen, which is assigned the value of one. Another type of decay is called beta decay. In beta decay, either an electron is lost and a neutron is converted into a proton (beta minus decay) or an electron is added and a proton is converted into a neutron (beta plus decay). In beta decay the total atomic mass does not change significantly. The decay of 234Th into 234Pa (protactinium-234) is an example of beta decay.

    The radioisotope dating clock starts when a rock cools. During the molten state it is assumed that the intense heat will force any gaseous daughter elements like argon to escape. Once the rock cools it is assumed that no more atoms can escape and any daughter element found in a rock will be the result of radioactive decay. The dating process then requires measuring how much daughter element is in a rock sample and knowing the decay rate (i.e., how long it takes the parent element to decay into the daughter element—uranium into lead or potassium into argon). The decay rate is measured in terms of half-life. Half-life is defined as the length of time it takes half of the remaining atoms of a radioactive parent element to decay. For example, the remaining radioactive parent material will decrease by 1/2 during the passage of each half-life (1→1/2→1/4→1/8→1/16, etc.). Half-lives as measured today are very accurate, even the extremely slow half-lives. That is, billion-year half-lives can be measured statistically in just hours of time. The following table is a sample of different element half-lives.
    Parent Daughter Half-life
    Polonium-218 Lead-214 3 minutes
    Thorium-234 Protactinium-234 24 days
    Carbon-14 Nitrogen-14 5,730 years
    Potassium-40 Argon-40 1.25 billion years
    Uranium-238 Lead-206 4.47 billion years
    Rubidium-87 Strontium-87 48.8 billion years
    Science and Assumptions

    Scientists use observational science to measure the amount of a daughter element within a rock sample and to determine the present observable decay rate of the parent element. Dating methods must also rely on another kind of science called historical science. Historical science cannot be observed. Determining the conditions present when a rock first formed can only be studied through historical science. Determining how the environment might have affected a rock also falls under historical science. Neither condition is directly observable. Since radioisotope dating uses both types of science, we can’t directly measure the age of something. We can use scientific techniques in the present, combined with assumptions about historical events, to estimate the age. Therefore, there are several assumptions that must be made in radioisotope dating. Three critical assumptions can affect the results during radioisotope dating:

    1. The initial conditions of the rock sample are accurately known.
    2. The amount of parent or daughter elements in a sample has not been altered by processes other than radioactive decay.
    3. The decay rate (or half-life) of the parent isotope has remained constant since the rock was formed.

    The Hourglass Illustration

    Radioisotope dating can be better understood using an illustration with an hourglass. If we walk into a room and observe an hourglass with sand at the top and sand at the bottom, we could calculate how long the hourglass has been running. By estimating how fast the sand is falling and measuring the amount of sand at the bottom, we could calculate how much time has elapsed since the hourglass was turned over. All our calculations could be correct (observational science), but the result could be wrong. This is because we failed to take into account some critical assumptions.

    1. Was there any sand at the bottom when the hourglass was first turned over (initial conditions)?
    2. Has any sand been added or taken out of the hourglass? (Unlike the open-system nature of a rock, this is not possible for a sealed hourglass.)
    3. Has the sand always been falling at a constant rate?

    Since we did not observe the initial conditions when the hourglass time started, we must make assumptions. All three of these assumptions can affect our time calculations. If scientists fail to consider each of these three critical assumptions, then radioisotope dating can give incorrect ages.
    The Facts

    We know that radioisotope dating does not always work because we can test it on rocks of known age. In 1997, a team of eight research scientists known as the RATE group (Radioisotopes and the Age of The Earth) set out to investigate the assumptions commonly made in standard radioisotope dating practices (also referred to as single-sample radioisotope dating). Their findings were significant and directly impact the evolutionary dates of millions of years.

    Steve Austin, PhD geology, and member of the RATE team, had a rock from the newly formed 1986 lava dome from Mount St. Helens dated. Using Potassium-Argon dating, the newly formed rocks gave ages between 0.5 and 2.8 million years.3 These dates show that significant argon (daughter element) was present when the rock solidified (assumption 1 is false).

    Mount Ngauruhoe is located on the North Island of New Zealand and is one of the country’s most active volcanoes. Eleven samples were taken from solidified lava and dated. These rocks are known to have formed from eruptions in 1949, 1954, and 1975. The rock samples were sent to a respected commercial laboratory (Geochron Laboratories in Cambridge, Massachusetts). The “ages” of the rocks ranged from 0.27 to 3.5 million years old.4 Because these rocks are known to be less than 70 years old, it is apparent that assumption #1 is again false. When radioisotope dating fails to give accurate dates on rocks of known age, why should we trust it for rocks of unknown age? In each case the ages of the rocks were greatly inflated.
    Isochron Dating

    There is another form of dating called isochron dating, which involves analyzing four or more samples from the same rock unit. This form of dating attempts to eliminate one of the assumptions in single-sample radioisotope dating by using ratios and graphs rather than counting atoms present. It does not depend on the initial concentration of the daughter element being zero. The isochron dating technique is thought to be infallible because it supposedly eliminates the assumptions about starting conditions. However, this method has different assumptions about starting conditions and can give incorrect dates.

    If single-sample and isochron dating methods are objective and reliable they should agree. However, they frequently do not. When a rock is dated by more than one method it may yield very different ages. For example, the RATE group obtained radioisotope dates from ten different locations. To omit any potential bias, the rock samples were analyzed by several commercial laboratories. In each case, the isochron dates differed substantially from the single-sample radioisotope dates. In some cases the range was more than 500 million years.5 Two conclusions drawn by the RATE group include:

    1. The single-sample potassium-argon dates showed a wide variation.
    2. A marked variation in ages was found in the isochron method using different parent-daughter analyses.

    If different methods yield different ages and there are variations with the same method, how can scientists know for sure the age of any rock or the age of the earth?

    In one specific case, Dr. Steve Austin of the RATE group took samples from the Cardenas basalt, which is among the oldest strata in the eastern Grand Canyon. Next, samples from the western Canyon basalt lava flows, which are among the youngest formation in the canyon, were analyzed. Using isochron dating methods, an age of 1.07 billion years was assigned to the oldest rocks and a date of 1.34 billion years to the youngest lava flows. The youngest rocks gave an age 270 million years older than the oldest rocks!6 Are the dates given in textbooks and journals accurate and objective? When assumptions are taken into consideration and discordant (wide range or unacceptable) dates are not omitted, radioisotope dating often gives inconsistent and inflated ages.
    Two Case Studies

    The RATE team selected two locations to collect rock samples to conduct multiple radioisotope dating methods. Both sites are understood by geologists to date from the Precambrian time (543–4,600 million years ago). The two sites chosen were the Beartooth Mountains of northwest Wyoming near Yellowstone National Park and the Bass Rapids in the central portion of Arizona’s Grand Canyon. All rock samples (whole rock and separate minerals within the rock) were analyzed using four radioisotope methods. These included the isotopes potassium-argon (K-Ar), rubidium-strontium (Rb-Sr), samarium-neodymium (Sm-Nd), and lead-lead (Pb-Pb). In order to avoid any bias, the dating procedures were contracted out to commercial laboratories located in Colorado, Massachusetts, and Ontario, Canada.

    In order to have a level of confidence in dating, different radioisotope methods used to date a rock sample should closely coincide in age. When this occurs, the sample ages are said to be concordant. In contrast, if multiple results for a rock disagree with each other in age they are said to be discordant.
    Beartooth Mountains Sample Results

    Geologists believe the Bearthooth Mountains rock unit to contain some of the oldest rocks in the United States, with an estimated age of 2,790 million years. The following table summarizes the RATE results.
    Dating Isotopes Millions of Years Type of Data (whole rock or separate mineral within the rock)
    Potassium-Argon
    1,520
    2,011
    2,403
    2,620

    Quartz-plagioclase mineral
    Whole rock
    Biotite mineral
    Hornblende mineral
    Rubidium-Strontium
    2,515
    2,790

    5 minerals
    Previously published result based on 30 whole rock samples (1982)
    Samarium-Neodymium 2,886 4 minerals
    Lead-Lead 2,689 5 minerals

    The results show a significant scatter in the ages for the various minerals and also between the isotope methods. In some cases, the whole rock age is greater than the age of the minerals, and for others, the reverse occurs. The potassium-argon mineral results vary between 1,520 and 2,620 million years (a difference of 1,100 million years).
    Bass Rapids Sill Sample Results

    The 11 Grand Canyon rock samples were also dated commercially using the most advanced radioisotope technology. The generally accepted age for this formation is 1,070 million years. The RATE results are summarized in the following table.

    The RATE results differ considerably from the generally accepted age of 1,070 million years. Especially noteworthy is the whole rock potassiumargon age of 841.5 million years while samarium-neodymium gives 1,379 million years (a difference of 537.5 million years).
    Dating Isotopes Millions of Years Type of data (whole rock or separate mineral within the rock)
    Potassium-Argon
    841.5
    665 to 1,053

    11 Whole rock samples
    Model ages from single whole rocks
    Rubidium-Strontium
    1,007
    1,055
    1,060
    1,070
    1,075

    Magnetite mineral grains from 7 rock samples
    11 Whole rock
    7 Minerals
    Previously published age based on 5 whole rock samples (1982)
    12 Minerals
    Lead-Lead
    1,250
    1,327

    11 Whole rock
    6 Minerals
    Samarium-Neodymium
    1,330
    1,336
    1,379

    8 minerals
    Magnetite mineral grains from 7 rock samples
    6 minerals
    Possible Explanations for the Discordance

    There are three possible explanations for the discordant isotope dates.

    1. There may be a mixing of isotopes between the volcanic flow and the rock body into which the lava intrudes. There are ways to determine if this has occurred and can be eliminated as a possible explanation.
    2. Some of the minerals may have solidified at different times. However, there is no evidence that lava cools and solidifies in the same place at such an incredibly slow pace. Therefore this explanation can be eliminated.
    3. The decay rates have been different in the past than they are today. The following section will show that this provides the best explanation for the discordant ages.

    New Studies

    New studies by the RATE group have provided evidence that radioactive decay supports a young earth. One of their studies involved the amount of helium found in granite rocks. Granite contains tiny zircon crystals, which contain radioactive uranium (238U), which decays into lead (206Pb). During this process, for each atom of 238U decaying into 206Pb, eight helium atoms are formed and migrate out of the zircons and granite rapidly.

    Within the zircon7 crystals, any helium atoms generated by nuclear decay in the distant past should have long ago migrated outward and escaped from these crystals. One would expect the helium gas to eventually diffuse upward out of the ground and then disappear into the atmosphere. To everyone’s surprise, however, large amounts of helium have been found trapped inside zircons.8

    The decay of 238U into lead is a slow process (half-life of 4.5 billion years). Since helium migrates out of rocks rapidly, there should be very little to no helium remaining in the granite.

    Why is so much helium still in the granite? One likely explanation is that sometime in the past the radioactive decay rate was greatly accelerated. The decay rate was accelerated so much that helium was being produced faster than it could have escaped, causing an abundant amount of helium to remain in the granite. The RATE group has gathered evidence that at some time in history nuclear decay was greatly accelerated.

    The experiments the RATE project commissioned have clearly confirmed the numerical predictions of our Creation model…. The data and our analysis show that over a billion years worth of nuclear decay has occurred very recently, between 4000 and 8000 years ago.9

    The RATE group suggested that this accelerated decay took place during the Creation Week or during the Flood. Accelerated decay of this magnitude would result in immense amounts of heat being generated in rocks. Determining how this heat was dissipated presents a new and exciting opportunity for creation research.
    Conclusion

    The best way to learn about history and the age of the earth is to consult the history book of the universe—the Bible. Many scientists and theologians accept a straightforward reading of Scripture and agree that the earth is about 6,000 years old. It is better to use the infallible Word of God for our scientific assumptions than to change His Word in order to compromise with “science” that is based upon man’s fallible assumptions. True science will always support God’s Word.

    Based on the measured helium retention, a statistical analysis gives an estimated age for the zircons of 6,000 ± 2,000 years. This age agrees with literal biblical history and is about 250,000 times shorter than the conventional age of 1.5 billion years for zircons. The conclusion is that helium diffusion data strongly supports the young-earth view of history.’

    It is clear, there is only one true way to identify the age of the earth, it’s found in God’s word. To ‘think outside the box’ is to go beyond what is written…very dangerous.

  31. coorston says:

    Bill, I watched the video you suggested. That was hilarious! Man that Hovind guy knows not a single thing about science! I can’t even count how many ridiculous and inaccurate things he said. Those poor guys that agreed to debate him! Their heads must have been spinning!
    BTW, Could you kindly tell me what field of study his education is in? Where did he get his diploma? (if he has one)

    Ok, you “challenged” me to watch a video, and I (finally) did! May I “challenge” you to do the same?

    watch and let me know what you think…

  32. Coorston,

    Hovind has a PhD in education.

    The point of watching the video was to see that the evolutionists really didn’t have much to back up what they said, and at the end, their hatred of Christianity was revealed. You said Hovind said so many inaccurate things in the video. Name one, and we’ll discuss it.

    This post is about giraffe evolution, and no one has any explanation. Give me a theory on how the blood pressure regulating system in the giraffe’s neck evolved by small steps. Explain why and how the giraffe evolved its long neck. No one has, because no one can. It’s not possible. The giraffe’s blood pressure system disproves evolution. Along with thousands of other biological systems.

    The video you linked to was interesting. It’s the first time I’ve ever heard Hovind get tongue-tied. The geneticist didn’t present any evidence for what he said, he only made claims, and asked questions. I think the answer to the guy’s question is fairly simple. Creation is a one-time event, and so is the flood. What applications would you expect to see from knowing that the universe is 6000 years old, and there was a flood 4000 years ago? There are some branches of science that have technological applications and some don’t. Evolution is one that doesn’t, along with any other type of research into the origin of the universe.

    What are the applications going to be for the Large Hadron Collider (LHC)? If they’re experimenting with how particles interact, there might be some applications down the road. If they’re simply researching how the universe began, what are the applications going to be?

    Are you born again? Do you believe in evolution?

    Thanks,
    Bill

  33. coorston says:

    Bill, “Dr.” Hovind does not have a legitimate degree of any kind from an accredited university. Wikipedia will tell you all about his shady education credentials.

    I had to laugh BTW, your statement that the video I linked was the first time you’ve ever seen him get toung-tied. I agree 100%! I’ve watched a lot of his videos, it was a rare moment indeed! LOL

    Hovind said that ehaled have a vestigal pelvis.

    I beleive the response was “The book does not teach that whales have a vestigal pelvis. That’s one of the most ignorant statements I’ve ever heard”

    He’s obviously never studied the laws of thermo-dynamics

    He says that Horse and Zebra have a common ansestor but then says that evolution has never accounted for a new species. Horse and Zebra are two different species. When they make babies, the “zorse” is like a mule. It is infertile. Zorses can not have babies.
    Looks like Kent is an evolutionist and doesn’t even know it!

    He thinks the earth is under 6000 years old (the domestication of the dog was 10,000 years ago).

    When the evos talk in detail about internediate fossils that we have, Hovd like to replay, “No they don’t” or “They’re lying”. How is it possible to have a dialog with someone like this? Perhaps Hoving needs to go on a field trip to examine the fossils for himself.

    I am not a religious person. When one decides to accept religion, one must turn their brain off. You only accept what you already decided you want to hear.

    Religious people live inside of a bubble. When you’re inside the bubble, you can’t see out. And when you’re outside that bubble you will see all those inside as delusional. There are lot’s of bubbles… mormons, islam, JWs, Jews, and many more. You look inside each of these bubbles and consider the people inside delusional. The only difference between you and me is that I take it one bubble further…

    I used to be inside of a bubble.
    It’s good to be out!

  34. Let’s not be too hard on our rational materialist friends, Bill; after all you’d be dazed and confused too if you were constantly engaged in their brand of dizzyingly irrational circular reasoning.

    Nevertheless in the spirit of sharing I thought I’d provide our atheist guests with a creation narrative they can call their own, courtesy of the Evangelical Outpost. Enjoy!

    In the Beginning was Nothing: A Creation Story for Young Materialists

    ‘Til He returns or calls me home,
    CD

  35. Coorston,

    Hovind has said that if you don’t like his degree, when trying to get his attention, just call out “Hey you.” If you don’t like Hovind’s degree that’s fine.

    I think maybe you misunderstood the whale’s vestigial pelvis discussion. Evolutionists claim that whales have a vestigial pelvis. It’s been in many textbooks. If you don’t believe me, do a Google search for “whale vestigial pelvis.” I agree with the evolutionist in the debate and Hovind that the whale’s “pelvis” isn’t vestigial. It’s very useful to whales, and you should take your indignation and go around to the websites and textbook authors demanding that the garbage about whale’s vestigial pelvis be removed.

    On a similar topic, the evolutionists never answered Hovind’s question about whether the textbook said that an appendix is vestigial. You can go right up above in the comments and see an atheist argue that the appendix is vestigial. That’s incorrect, and it’s still in textbooks and your cronies still use that argument. It stems from ignorance. Maybe they’re in a little bubble and their beliefs won’t let them see outside their bubble.

    Hovind is correct on what he said about the 2nd law of thermodynamics.

    Hovind doesn’t say that evolution doesn’t account for new species. He says evolution doesn’t account for new kinds. Maybe you should go back and watch it again. You don’t seem to be getting it. I’m not even sure you know what evolutionists believe, much less what creationists believe.

    You say the domesticated dog came about 10,000 years ago. That’s your belief. You don’t know that for certain, and neither does anyone else. You have faith in the people who told you that.

    The atheist above also listed off a bunch of fossils that are supposedly the missing links between antelope and giraffes. He was pretty confident, and I doubt that he’s a giraffe evolution expert. I provided him with quotes from people who are experts, but aren’t nearly as confident as my ignorant atheist friend. I have a feeling you are also over-confident on the fossil evidence, and you are the one with the problem with which you’ve diagnosed Kent Hovind.

    I will repeat what I said in my previous comment. The giraffe’s neck could NOT have evolved. It disproves evolution. If you believe in evolution, you believe it in spite of the evidence. You have faith. You’ve shut off your brain in order to buy into your religious belief.

    The reason I asked whether you’re born again is that Jesus said that you will not see heaven unless you’re born again (John 3:3). That means you were not born all right the first time, and you have to be reborn. If you’ve ever told a lie, stolen something, or looked at someone with lust, you’re a liar, thief and adulterer. You’ve broken God’s law, and just like any guilty criminal, you must be punished. God’s place of punishment is hell. Does that concern you?

    I appreciate the time you’ve taken to discuss this with me, and I also appreciate your watching the entire debate. I certainly didn’t expect you to watch the entire 2 hours. I hope that you’ll continue to study this topic further, and I’ll do whatever I can to help. However, I don’t know why you insist on being so condescending, and if it continues, I’ll continue to call you on it. Maybe we can have an honest discussion without the condescension.

    Thanks,
    Bill

  36. coorston says:

    Hey guys, I desided not to comment on this any further.
    Bill, if want to learn about thermodynamics, you can google it or buy a book and see that kent is clueless. If you just want to accept anything he says on blind faith, then you won’t google it or buy a book.

    that’s just the way it is.

    If you want to understand what the theory of evolution says and why it is important, then you can find out. The resources are readily available and at your fingertips. If you only care to research the filtered out christian views, then that is exactly what you will do.

    A point may come in your life when you are no longer satisfied with the answers afforded you by your religion. When that time comes, I hope you will allow yourself to explore the world. It is a wonderful place, even without religion!

    I want to thank you for your kind demeanor in that last post, Bill. I came on here feeling like you were a bunch of mean spirited bullies! Well, ok, Coram Deo might be but….
    Well, I know that you are all a bunch of well intentioned people.

    There are more important things in this world than religious bickering. Who’s god? what god? if there’s a god? who cares. at the end of the day if we all do the right thing and help people in need, cause no harm to others… that’s what really makes a difference in the word!

    We shouldn’t even CARE who believes what and why!!!

  37. Coorston,

    I have studied thermodynamics and enjoyed it. I’m certainly not an expert, but Hovind is correct on what he said. I’m more than willing to look into what he said that you say is wrong, but I don’t know specifically what you think is wrong. Maybe you can tell me.

    I share your desire for all people to live in peace alongside each other, assuming there is a free exchange of ideas. And I see your point that if this life is all there is, who really cares who’s right? However, if the Bible is true, there is much more than just this life. In fact, this life becomes extremely unimportant in comparison with eternity.

    If the Bible is true, there is bad news for your eternity, and I have a duty to warn you, because I must be obedient to God, and I care about where you spend eternity. I want you to come to heaven with me.

    I guess you think you just push up daisies for eternity, but if there is a 1 in a million chance that you’re wrong, don’t you need to look into it? What if God exists, and He cares about justice? What are you going to do about your sins?

    Thanks,
    Bill

  38. donsands says:

    I have been debating an atheist about the giraffe, and came upon your blog. Good stuff here. The video is one that the atheist scientist dropped on me, and I thought it may interest you.

    God bless.

  39. John says:

    I guess this is just my humble opinion regarding the vestigial structures argument FOR evolution, but isn’t it a bit ignorant (and not to mention arrogant) to assume that just because YOU don’t know what something does biologically AT THIS POINT IN TIME, that it does NOTHING?! I don’t think any reasonably informed person of that is even mildly aware of scientific reasoning would make such bold claims…..but they would be infinitely more humble about what they know FOR SURE and what is just speculation or CURRENT thinking. BTW, regarding the appendix, see :

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2007-10-05-appendix_N.htm

    This obviously wasn’t just a bunch of Christians getting together to find a reason for the appendix in order to refute evolution…..

  40. Josh says:

    http://www2.newpaltz.edu/~geherg/evos/simmons_scheepers.pdf

    This article is a nice discussion on various theories regarding giraffe evolution. Notice that the evidence for the plausibility of these theories being proposed comes from a large and diverse body of evidence and studies regarding other organisms. These other studies and evidence allow us to make predictions regarding the evolution of the giraffe, as well as speculate on plausible evolutionary scenarios (even if there is not hard evidence to verify the theory to the point where no further debate is necessary). This massive body of evidence that we are using to think about giraffe evolution has verified the theory of evolution over and over again. It is this knowledge that allows us to have a meaningful discussion concerning giraffe evolution.

    If one has not taken time to swim about in the overwhelming and undeniable evidence for evolution based on hard evidence and observable, testable science, it becomes much harder for this person to appreciate the plausibility of these theories (like those concerning the giraffe) which do not have a definitive answer. And they might never have a definitive answer. That it is not a problem for evolution as we should not expect to have the luxury of being able to reconstruct a precise evolutionary scenario for every single organism. The evolutionary history of some organisms will be incredibly well documented and verifiable, while others will be more speculative and perhaps always be a subject for debate. Regardless, while the current explanations for giraffe evolution may not be definitive or as satisfactory as those for other organisms, they are plausible and can easily be accepted as satisfactory when put into the context of the theory of evolution as a whole.

    Hope that helps. Sorry it is so late in the conversation.

  41. Hi Josh,

    I had referrenced this article in an earlier comment:

    http://www.weloennig.de/Giraffe.pdf

    And it discussus your article a little bit. Yours is an interesting article, and they do a good job of blowing Darwin’s theory on giraffe evoltion out of the water. However, they never attempt to explain anything about the blood pressure regulation system. I have found that at a surface level, evolution sounds plausible, but when you really take all the complexities into account, it becomes quite silly.

    You said, “That [not having a definitive theory on giraffe evolution] is not a problem for evolution as we should not expect to have the luxury of being able to reconstruct a precise evolutionary scenario for every single organism.”

    I don’t necessarily expect a precise evolutionary scenario for every single organism. I would expect a precise scenario for one organism at some point though. I don’t know of any. I don’t consider cartoon drawings of apes evolving into men to be a precise evolutionary scenario. If you were to think skeptically about evolution rather than just taking what you’ve learned on faith, you’d see how far-fetched evolution is.

    Microevolution is accepted, but to say that single-celled organisms evolved into humans is quite preposterous. What is your favorite evidence for evolution? Would you consider yourself to be an atheist, and, if so, what type of atheist are you?

    Thanks for your comment.

    Bill

  42. Josh says:

    It seems that you are stuck on this one point which is the one I will address (at least concerning giraffe evolution, which is what this post is about as you have noted):

    “Give me a theory on how the blood pressure regulating system in the giraffe’s neck evolved by small steps. Explain why and how the giraffe evolved its long neck. No one has, because no one can. It’s not possible. The giraffe’s blood pressure system disproves evolution.”

    Setting aside the implications a long neck has for the circulatory system, it seems we could all agree that simply extending the length of the neck would not a problem for evolution. The problem you seem to be pointing at is the co-evolution of other organs and regulatory systems that would be necessary in order to achieve the end result that we see today (like the blood pressure regulatory system). I think the sexual selection theory does a satisfactory job of addressing “why” the giraffe’s neck evolved in length, as the article I posted above demonstrated. But what about this complex blood pressure system that you say “disproves” evolution?

    First of all, simply not knowing all of the answers as to how or why a complex system evolved does not “disprove” an entire theory that has been verified time and time again by what we can know and what we can observe, predict, and test. I am sure you have heard this before, but it seems that you are presenting an argument from personal incredulity (and it should be reiterated that even if the entire scientific community currently had no explanation for the evolution of the blood pressure regulatory system, this would still not “disprove” the theory).

    Luckily we have an explanation that is quite simple. Every specific organ that is pointed to in your article is present in other organisms as well. The valves of the jugular vein are found in all mammals and prevent back flow of blood. It is not hard to imagine how valves that were beneficial to the survival of individuals with slightly longer necks would also start being selected for once an increase in neck length started being selected for. Every mammal obviously has a heart, and it is incredibly plausible that once neck length started to increase, the individuals with slightly bigger hearts were at an advantage. To not accept this theory as plausible would mean that you are unable to imagine how gradual increases in neck length would inevitably have implications for the selection of other traits (like the ones being discussed). These changes in the circulatory system would have evolved from features that were already in place (as I noted above) and would have evolved just as gradually as the length of the neck, and would have been selected for based on what was most conducive to having a longer neck.

    If this is a problem for you, let’s look at the evolution of the wolf into the various kinds of domestic dogs (some of which are incredibly small, some of which are incredibly large). I hope you would agree that all domesticated dogs share a common ancestor (or evolved from a common “kind” as a “microevolutionist” might say). Clearly along with body size and structure, circulatory systems and organs had to change size to different degrees to account for the aesthetic traits that are being artificially selected for. Why would a similar scenario not account for the neck and the co-evolution of organs and jugular valves of the giraffe? There are probably better examples and I will research further, but that is just what came off the top of my head.

    But what about the rete mirabile? This is the complex blood regulatory system that you are referring to. Well, this system is actually present (and serves various different purposes) in a slew of different species of fish, birds, and mammals. The rete mirabile is present in most artiodactyls, including cattle (Daniel et al. 1952; Baldwin, 1964; Gillian, 1974; Uehara et al. 1978; Ocal & Aslan, 1994), sheep (Daniel et al. 1952; Baldwin, 1964; Baker & Hayward, 1968; Khamas & Ghoshal, 1985), goats (Daniel et al. 1952; Edelman et al. 1972), buffalo (Bamel et al. 1975), camels (Zguigal & Ghoshal, 1991; Ocal et al. 1998), dik-diks (Kamau et al. 1984), giraffes (Lawrence & Rewell, 1948), okapis (Lawrence & Rewell, 1948) and pigs (Daniel et al. 1952; Ghoshal & Khamas, 1985).

    Let us consider the fact that transitional forms of the rete mirabile are present in okapi. Let us consider the fact that in the giraffe and its relatives: okapi, llama, deer, bovines, goats and sheep, the rete mirabile has had the effect of allowing blood flow to be regulated to a greater or lesser degree which allows them to enjoy longer necks with more mobility than other animals without the adaption. This fulfills a classic prediction of natural selection – “In the evolution of the giraffe’s “adaptational package”, no “new” structures had to be “invented”, only old ones already present were modified to adapt to the giraffe’s high blood pressure. This is the hallmark of natural selection, which acts to improve or modify the functioning of pre-existing structures, although they eventually may be modified so drastically that the results may look like new, unique products.”

    Having been raised in the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, and attending their schools until I was 18 (including a high school with the primary goal that we would become pastors and teachers), I spent plenty of time being incredibly skeptical about evolution.

    As far as my “favorite” evidence (although I would prefer to say “most compelling” evidence), I would say what initially opened my mind to the idea was the age of the earth, which is verified by facts of chemistry, physics, geology, biogeography, fossil records, etc. It is undeniable when the evidence is taken as a whole. I am not going to type at length about it, but the attempts at falsifying radiometric dating (like those in the AIG post from lyn above) are easily refuted by large bodies of compelling and multifarious evidence. And as you know, the age of the earth cannot be reconciled with a literal interpretation of Genesis. I also am very impressed with fossil finds like tiktaalik (most importantly the predictions fulfilled by its discovery). The problem with trying to answer this question for you is that it is very hard to give one succinct example of compelling evidence, since the most profound conclusions regarding the truth of evolution come from a wealth of subtle and elegant evidence that must be taken and understood as a whole before the conclusion can be appreciated.

    Yes, I am an atheist. I don’t know what you are asking about referring to “type”. All of us are discussing the same thing here at the core of it – profound mystery, human ignorance, and how we can know the truth. Some of us just choose to attach religious narratives and implications to it (suspiciously most people attach the religious narrative that they were brought up with to it…), while others (like me) prefer to only deal with the evidence we have in reality (not evidence from personal revelation or feelings of faith). I prefer to create the best narrative that we can based on this evidence (which is really the only responsible thing to do if we are being honest since this is the only evidence that is available to everyone). Attaching stories not based on evidence in reality to our “religious” thoughts or profound inner feelings about the mystery of life will inevitably result in what it has resulted in – a bunch of unverifiable and conflicting religious narratives dictating the nature of reality, all of which ignore evidence and instead play off of what we do not know, or are unsure of. Even more unfortunate, most of these stories all have different implications as far as what eternal life is, who gets to go there, and why (which as you know, causes divisiveness and many other problems). Choosing to vocalize your inner feelings of profundity, mystery, and awe in the language of one of the religious narratives of reality is unhelpful. These various types of divine narratives are not verifiable in any way if we only consider the evidence available to us in reality that all humans theoretically have access to. Your faith is not evidence for the truth of Christianity (let alone biblical literalism) any more than the faith of a Muslim is “evidence” for the truth of Islam. We all agree that there is profound mystery, I just happen to think you are 1) talking about it in the wrong way, in a way that is based on what we don’t know rather than what we do, and 2) the way you are choosing to talk about it has negative implications for human cooperation.

    Im curious about the following: What religion were you raised in? When and why did you become a Christian? What resources have you used to educate yourself about the evolutionist perspective that were not written by someone who shares your own views?

  43. There’s a certain predictable irony that inevitably manifests whenever a methodological materialist appears in a combox with his “unbiased reason” in tow. It varies slightly case by case, of course, but it’s always there.

    This time the analogy of wolves “evolving” into domestic dogs (an example of selective breeding by intelligent agents in contradistinction to macroevolution for those paying attention by the way) finds its way into a clumsy and fallacious category error involving Christianity and Islam.

    Bill must be saddened and surprised to learn that his faith is not evidence for Christianity. LOL!

    Alas, if there were only more evidence…then maybe, just maybe…

    John 18:38
    CD

  44. DavidW says:

    Bill,

    Thank you for this post. I was raised believing in Evolution. The more I studied it in my Biological Sciences major, the more inconsistencies and woefully inept assaults on the rational mind wore on me, until finally, I couldn’t subscribe to the fantasy any longer. Then, after my eyes were opened by God’s word, the ridiculousness of Evolution and it’s many attempted “proofs” became even more ludicrous. Now, as I see a bird in flight, as I look into the eyes of my pets, as I behold the mechanics of a plant, as I ponder the states of matter and energy, I give glory, honor and thanks to the Creator God of the universe for allowing me to behold His marvelous, miraculous creation.

  45. Josh says:

    Coram Deo,

    If you would have read the article that Bill sent me, you would realize you are taking my wolves to dogs analogy out of context (which is unsurprising given your creationist bent). His article makes much of the difference in general size of okapis and giraffes. My point was that if humans can select for traits that, in a VERY short amount of time, result in such different animals as the chihuahua and the great dane, it should be easy to imagine an ancestor of the giraffe and okapi radiating into different species of very different sizes and with very different proportions to their features (like neck length, and of course, different size hearts, etc). If you have been paying attention, you would realize that is not really the main “problem” Bill is pointing to. He was pointing to the blood pressure regulatory system. I gave examples of how this system has co-evolved in many different animals for different reasons, and when we look at near and distant relatives and cousins of the giraffe, it becomes even more obvious due to what are obviously transitional forms of the rete mirabile. Based on observable and testable science, a classic prediction we can make is that structures already in existence will be modified to suit new purposes. What part of this do you not understand?

    Coram Deo, please address what I am actually saying instead of making jokes that only your fellow kool-aid drinkers find funny. Back up the things you say instead of being so arrogant as to imply that Christianity is on another level than Islam. If I am misinterpreting your point there, please let me know! But I can’t know since you choose to not say anything of substance. As Bill said, this post is about giraffe evolution. If you have nothing to offer on this topic, than do not contribute.

  46. Josh,

    I’ll have to study up some more on the giraffe topic.

    The question about what type of atheist you are is prompted by my experience that when I point out the leap of faith required to believe that there is no God. It is impossible to prove a negative. At that point many seem to retreat to saying “atheist” means not knowing whether there is a God. Which to me, would seem to be the definition of agnostic. So my question is do you believe there is no God or do you not know?

    You’re right that there is plenty we don’t know. But it’s quite obvious to me that the world we live in can only allow for the God of the Bible. God is the only foundation we even have to do science. He is logical and created a universe of order. Science uses the principal that matter will behave in the future as it has in the past. There is no basis for this assumption apart from God. Every time you appeal to science you are assuming the future will be like the past, which is an assumption your worldview doesn’t allow for.

    Coram Deo was correct in what he said. If you want me to point out the fundamental errors in Islam, I can do that, and show why Islam is as incoherent as atheism.

    As for who contributes comments on this blog, you are a guest here, and Coram Deo is not. He can say what he wants, and guests are usually more gracious to hosts. So far, I’ve appreciated your courteous tone–far more courteous than average for atheists–and I hope that you will continue.

    Thanks,
    Bill

  47. Josh says:

    Bill,

    Please do point out the fundamental errors of Islam if you don’t mind.

    I’m also curious about the following: What religion were you raised in? When and why did you become a Christian? What resources have you used to educate yourself about the evolutionist perspective that were not written by someone who shares your own views?

    Sorry for telling CD to be quiet. I was annoyed at his mischaracterization of what I said. Ever since I started engaging heavily in material written from an evolutionary perspective, I have noticed uncountable cases of creationists taking evolutionist comments out of context and using them to mislead others. This type of dishonesty is widespread in creationist literature.

  48. Josh,

    I’m used to testy methodological materialists by now, is there any other kind? I realize that you folks don’t like to have your religion poked. What’s sauce for the goose isn’t sauce for the gander it seems. If you were paying attention you’d notice that the One true and living God of Christian theism which you deny is in fact the source and foundation for the very appeals to logic and reason that you make.

    You’re secretly stealing from the Christian theistic worldview, yet you have the gall to tell a Christian theist (not to mention a blog moderator) to shut up when he dares to speak up. That doesn’t seem very open minded and tolerant now, does it? I thought you free-thinkers were the “brights”, so shouldn’t you be able to muster just a wee bit of patience for us benighted Bible-thumpers?

    I didn’t mean to merely imply to you that Christianity “is on another level than Islam”, so I apologize for the confusion; I meant to plainly and objectively claim that Christianity is superior (or “on another level” if you prefer) to every other system of thought. Christian theism is the only system that accounts for the world, and the way in which it can be truly known.

    Not that such things actually matter to a gloating apostate moral relativist like you, of course.

    In Christ,
    CD

  49. david says:

    Hello everyone, I havn’t read every blog, but I think I get the gist of the discussion between Josh, and Coram Deo, and one thing I would say Josh, is that I question if ‘modification’ can play any part in ‘evolution;’ surely if evolution is chance, modification is deliberate, the too are disparate, and adaptation is yet another branch of ‘difference.’

    What I really wanted to comment on regarding the claims made about the Giraffe, and why it is the shape that it is, which is I think the only honest way to discuss it, as there is no great point in talking about its neck only, when the entire body is required to be right, for it to work as a whole.

    My main point is one of time-critical changes, and it is a point that effects every living thing I would suppose – ‘need,’ only being recognized when failure occurs – i.e, failure to reach the high branches, reveals a need for a longer neck – where this understanding of both need, and how to achieve what is needed, came from, is another BIG, and unavoidable question; and the BIGGEST mistake being made by some, is to attribute ‘Knowledge,’ and ‘understanding,’ to cells, for no such ‘knowledge’ or ‘understanding,’ exists within cells, which have no cognitive ability of their own, but rather respond only to trigger-stimuli, of various kinds – chemical, electrical, thermal, light, pressure, sound; the human has understanding of these things, though only very recently, but the cells that make up the human do not have such understanding, and yet the human is unable to create life, and yet understanding was very clearly needed to create life – so who had the understanding – Who was The “Master Craftsman.”

    O.K, back to the Giraffe. If as is claimed, a continual and determined effort to reach high branches, and over- stretching, was the driving force in the evolution of the Giraffe’s neck (whole body actually would have to change to work as a whole), then I assume, and have to assume, that such behaviour, displayed with such vigour, must have been the result of a severe challenge for food, challenge to the extent of near starvation, or in fact starvation for many – survival of the fittest.
    In such a challenge for food, which must have lasted for millennia – change over great time – ‘evolution,’ – there would have been other problems, serious problems, associated with this challenge for food, and one such problem, is that poor nutrition quickly affects fertility.
    If Giraffes we challenged for food, and over a great period of time, to the extent where the challenge resulted in great physical change, then they did jolly well to survive at all; surviving starvation, depletion through poor fertility, and the challenge to raise young in such conditions, only for those young to face the same challenge, well, could the Giraffe really survive such conditions, for the millennia needed, before the neccesary changes would be able to take place, and come to their assistance – the whole scenario seems incredible, and it is a scenario that is thought to be true for many animals and plants.
    Time critical – so many things are time critical for life to succeed – birth, breathing, feeding, drinking, motion, breading, and the facets there of, all have to work together first time, they afford no time for trial and error.
    Evolution, and adaptation, both exist; but it is the evolution, and adaptation, of an already successful CREATION, and that is something that I believe no science can deny; but also, evolution, and adaptation, are reversible; some animals and plants, rely so heavily upon Mankind now, that to remove Mankind, would see these plants and animals die out, which in their case would be collapse of evolution, and adaptation, as evolution reverts to a former, self sustaining (without Man) nature.
    Evolution, and adaptation, have been afforded far too great a power; we use them both to our advantage in many ways – Agriculture, Horticulture, Domestic Animals (pets), Sport (yes, sport), and we can see it at work constantly within different cultures/nations coming together, but in all of those examples, we are running the show, we are not being run by Evolution, or Adaptation, for we are making the choices.
    There are limits and boundaries to what we can do, and should do, but they are limits and boundaries set upon Evolution, and Adaptation, not set by evolution and adaptation.
    When I look at cattle breeds, horse breeds, pigs, sheep, fowl, dogs, cats, all breeds that have been domesticated by Mankind, it is amazing how they have developed because of the choices Man has made, and yet there are many rare breeds that are dying out now, and wild animals that have become extinct, for the same reason – choices Man has made – what we choose to do. So then, is Evolution fickle, or have we just overpowered it.
    Go forth and multiply – or, go forth and evolve, the two are synonymous if we are honest with ourselves, the dispute only arises when we try to attribute too much power to the ability of evolution, and adaptation.
    Charles Darwin made some mistakes when he drew up his theory, and many others are making the same mistakes, they never asked themselves the question – how could life have known – LIFE is packed full of reason, and forethought, knowledge, understanding – wisdom – but Whose.
    Look at the process of balance within your ear, three distinct planes of motion, detected by three distinct planes of apparatus – knowledge had to be invilved – chance would never have ‘known’ right from wrong, success, from failure, or that it even needed to look for either.
    To finish with, what is it that gives us all life, I mean, what gives life to our body, the body is prepared for life, poised and ready to leap into action, but what empowers the body to live – answer – an electrical impulse, and apart from this impulse, the entire flesh is utterly useless, and where does this impulse come from, and what sustains this impulse. The electrical impulses within the sinoatrial node of the heart, and the synapses of the brain, give both life, and expression, to our bodies; without this fundamental presence of power, we die, and without a viable body, this power cannot find expression – man’s spirit perhaps.

    God’s Spirit is The “Master Craftsman.”

    David – a Christian.

    I almost forgot, God did not tell His people about bacteria, and infection, in so many words, they would not have understood it, but look in Leviticus, and see God helping His people to understand hygiene, and health. “Clean,” and “unclean.” It is quite amazing to read, and understand; and thousands of years before we came to discover bacteria, and the causes of infection, and disease.

  50. triggxr,

    Then you have a system that is commonly known as “theistic evolution”. However theistic evolution contradicts the witness of Scripture (the Holy Bible), thus it’s an untenable position for actual Christians to hold.

    In Christ,
    CD

  51. Pete says:

    Hi all.

    I agree that Darwin was probably wrong regarding the evolution of the giraffe’s neck being due to the competing browser’s hypothesis. It is more likely because of sexual selection. Here’s a snippet from Wikipedia:

    “Another explanation as to where the giraffe’s neck came from is sexual selection. It is known that males will often neck with other males in order to exhibit dominance.[11] There are six criteria that need to be satisfied for the exaggerated neck to be classified as a result of sexual selection. Theoretically, the characteristic should be more exaggerated in one of the sexes; it must be used to indicate dominance; have no direct survival benefits; help the organism gain survival costs; positive allometry should be observed.[12] For instance, evolution history shows increased neck length not correlated to increases in other parts of the body, which is what would be expected in foraging selection.[13]”

    By the way there is an enormous amount of evidence for evolution (want me to go into detail?), none for creation (care to offer some?).

    I notice that one of the questions in a previous comment was not answered, do you believe in micro-evolution? Strange if you don’t because we have observed it first hand; butterflies changing colour, bacteria becoming resistant to pesticides, need more? Just say so.

    If you do believe in micro-evolution, can you not see that it is possible to walk a mile 1 step at a time? This is how the giraffe neck has become so long – over many generations.

    There are many intermediate fossils now (actually – if you understand evolution you will understand that every fossil is an intermediate one) – not specific to the giraffe but fossils are evidence of evolution and therefore evidence that the giraffe neck has evolved.

    Kind regards,
    PeteO

  52. Hi Pete,

    I accept micro-evolution. However, it is clear that micro-evolution doesn’t lead to evolution of species. Each kind of animal has information in its DNA, and micro-evolution can manipulate that DNA, but it doesn’t introduce new information. Information theory dictates that new information must come from intelligence.

    For example, A wolf can be bred into a poodle, but a dog will never be bred to fly. All the genetic information for poodles is in the DNA of a wolf already. This makes sense, because it’s clear a dog could never evolve the ability to fly by small steps. The first few hundreds or thousands of steps are useless, if not harmful to the dog’s survival.

    There is plenty of evidence for creation, and I’ve yet to see any evidence for evolution–only evidence for micro-evolution that is misconstrued as evidence for macro-evolution.

    For evidence of creation, let’s look at morality. Would you agree with me that the intentional, cold-blooded killing of an innocent person would be wrong for all people at all times? That is, are there moral absolutes, and if so, where do they come from?

    Thanks,
    Bill

  53. Pete says:

    So, although you don’t agree with macro-evolution do you agree that the sexual selection criteria has been met?

    “New information must come from intelligence” … I disagree – here’s an example I found – RNASE1, a gene for a pancreatic enzyme, was duplicated, and in langur monkeys one of the copies mutated into RNASE1B, which works better in the more acidic small intestine of the langur. (Zhang et al. 2002)

    I also think there is evidence against design, using the giraffe as an example the left recurrent laryngeal nerve is meters longer than it needs to be.

    Of-course I agree that the cold blooded murder of an innocent person is morally wrong. But morality is something that has come from evolution too. I think that some animals evolved an urge to protect their young, obviously increasing their chance of survival (thus increasing the chance of their genes being passed on), which ultimately led to urges to protect others, which is what we call morality.

    I have a question, which I expect you’ve been asked before. If God has no beginning, why can’t the Universe have no beginning?

  54. Pete,

    You say you disagree that information must come from intelligence. I’m amazed that we find disagreement on this issue, but I guess that is the crux of the matter.

    This is the creationist argument derived from information theory (mathematics, electrical engineering):

    1. DNA is a code. It has information. It fits the definitions of code and information used in electrical engineering every day.
    2. All codes come from an intelligent source. No one knows of an exception.
    3. Therefore, DNA came from an intelligent source.

    Your example doesn’t demonstrate an exception to principle number 2. Random mutation is the same as noise in an electrical signal. There are instances where introducing noise in an electrical signal is useful, but it always decreases the information stored in the signal. Your example may demonstrate some usefulness, but it doesn’t demonstrate creation of new information, only the loss thereof.

    If morality comes only from evolution, then why am I morally obligated to follow your moral standard? How do you know I haven’t evolved a new moral standard that is contradictory to yours? Your theory on morality is arbitrary, and is insufficient for explaining why murder is wrong. An absolute moral standard can only come from someone with the ability to establish a moral standard. Murder is wrong, because your Creator has defined it as wrong.

    One reason I would say the universe is not infinite is because all the useful energy in the universe will someday be exhausted. If you believe that matter is eternal, that would be a religious belief. There is no evidence for it.

    Thanks,
    Bill

  55. Pete says:

    You avoided my first question.

    So what is information? There are examples of:
    * Increased genetic variety in a population (Lenski 1995; Lenski et al. 1991)
    * Increased genetic material (Alves et al. 2001; Brown et al. 1998; Hughes and Friedman 2003; Lynch and Conery 2000; Ohta 2003)
    * Novel genetic material (Knox et al. 1996; Park et al. 1996)
    * Novel genetically-regulated abilities (Prijambada et al. 1995)

    If none of these qualify as information then information has no role in evolution.

    You have no proof that all information must come from an intelligent source.

    Evolution works slowly, a single generation is unlikely to change moral standards significantly enough to make them contradictory to the previous generation, nor the next. However, a hundred generations may introduce a change in moral standards. A hundred generations ago slavery was considered morally OK to most of the civilised world. If a Creator created absolute moral standards then why do they change?

    I’m not sure what you mean when you say “all the useful energy in the universe will someday be exhausted”. Do you mean used up? Energy is used and reused all the time. Do you mean ‘lost’ or spread out into deep space so thinly that it would be unusable?

    We don’t know that the universe will keep expanding. When I say infinite I mean it may have always existed, not that it is infinitely large, spatially speaking.

    Oh also what are your comments on “the left recurrent laryngeal nerve”?

  56. Hi Pete,

    I didn’t answer your first question, because I don’t know what you’re referring to.

    I looked at a couple examples you cited. You copied and pasted those from TalkOrigins or wherever, which is fine with me. I can copy and paste from websites I like too, but I don’t want to just have a copy and paste discussion. Why don’t you pick one and explain how it shows that random mutation can create new information? Then, we can discuss it.

    You said, “You have no proof that all information must come from an intelligent source.”

    That principle is self-evident, and until someone can provide a counter example, it is what we experience in every day life. If a program on your computer develops a random mutation, it is a bad thing. Introducing noise into a signal reduces the information in the signal. This is a mathematical truth.

    Evolution doesn’t determine morality. That is only your opinion. Where do I go to look up what is morally wrong according to evolution? If someone stole your wallet, would you tell them they shouldn’t do that, because evolution says so?

    It certainly hasn’t been 100 generations since slavery was culturally acceptable. It’s been about six. Within a few short years in Nazi Germany, it became morally acceptable to kill Jews. Why do you believe it was wrong for Nazis to kill Jews?

    You said, “If a Creator created absolute moral standards then why do they change?”

    Moral standards don’t change. It was absolutely wrong for the Nazis to kill Jews. It always has been and always will be. It has always and will always be wrong for a southern plantation owner to own another human being.

    When I say all the useful energy will be exhausted, I’m referring to the concept of heat death.

    Regarding the left recurrent laryngeal nerve, I’d say you’re looking at it the wrong way. You’re saying that because the product doesn’t live up to your arbitrary standard, that it must not be designed. Maybe it was designed with a different purpose in mind, or maybe we just don’t know why it is that way. Many evolutionists have cited the appendix as a vestigial organ. Now, we know that it is used in the immune system.

    Thanks,
    Bill

  57. Pete says:

    I said “So, although you don’t agree with macro-evolution do you agree that the sexual selection criteria have been met?” I was referring to the 2nd paragraph in my first post.
    It is self-evident that information can come from intelligence, but not that it must.
    Nylonase, the enzyme that has evolved to digest byproducts of the man-made material Nylon 6, is I think a very good example. We know the exact amino-acid sequence of the original digestion gene in the bacteria. We know the exact amino-acid sequence of the new (mutated) digestion gene. We can see that there has been an insertion of new information which has ‘shifted’ the rest of the sequence along – creating an entirely new gene. A simplified example of this would be these 4 amino-acids ABC|DEF|GHI|JKL changing to ABC|XDE|FGH|IJK – so you can see the insertion of an X has changed most of the gene. The gene in question is 427 amino acids, and the insertion was made at the 33rd amino –acid. So – almost 400 amino-acids were changed from this mutation.
    Because we have evolved morality we do not need to look it up – it is within us. It was even in the Nazis but many other factors led them to do the terrible things that they did. It’s also why most serial killers have had some kind of terrible childhood trauma. It is these factors that lead them to do what they do – not morality. I know there were slaves less than 100 generations ago – I guess what I am trying to say is that there are many factors that make us do what we do – even if it could be considered a moral action, it’s not just our morality that we use to make the decision of what to do.
    I’m not even sure there are moral absolutes. Is it morally wrong to step on bugs? Evolution would explain why we don’t think so, but if there were moral absolutes I would think that it would be morally wrong to do this.
    I understand heat death, but that describes the possible end of motion and life in the universe, but not the end (nor the beginning) of the universe itself. I don’t have any beliefs on the beginning of the universe, only on what happened after the energy was there (The Big Bang).
    So heat death doesn’t rule out that the universe could have always existed, does it?

  58. Pete,

    As far as the giraffe neck length, here’s what this pro-evolution article says:

    The hypothesis [of sexual selection of giraffes] proposed by Simmons and Scheepers has been controversial from the start and has received a good deal of criticism. One paper, published by G. Mitchell, S. J. van Sittert, and J. D. Skinner in the Journal of Zoology last year collected data suggesting that male giraffes do not energetically invest more in the growth in their necks than females do. In fact, not only did the necks of female giraffes continue growing through their lives, but they also added neck mass faster than males, and whatever differences there were between the necks of female and male giraffes appeared to be attributable to differences in overall body mass rather than the true sign of sexual selection. If the differences between living giraffes were so minimal, it seemed unlikely that males had truly driven the evolutionary change through sexual selection.

    http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2010/09/giraffes-necks-for-food-or-necks-for-sex

    Regarding nylonase, from what I’ve read, the nylonase didn’t obtain the ability to digest nylon by a frameshift mutation as you allege. From what I’ve read it is thought that this ability developed through a point mutation that reduced the enzyme’s specificity. It is not an example of a new ability developing, but a degeneration that allows this to happen. This would be an example of evolution in the wrong direction, like cave fish losing their eyesight.

    You said, “Because we have evolved morality we do not need to look it up – it is within us.”

    So are you saying that you would define an immoral action as violating the moral standard within ourselves (which developed by evolution)?

    How do you know that everyone’s standard says that murder is wrong? Also, why is it wrong to violate that standard? Is it because it makes our tummy hurt?

    You said, “I’m not even sure there are moral absolutes.”

    Then you shouldn’t say that what the Nazis did is wrong.

    You asked, “Is it morally wrong to step on bugs?”

    Only if the bugs are someone else’s property. Bugs and other animals are not created in God’s image. Killing them is different than killing humans. Regardless of whether you agree with that, it is this way, because God has made it so. He made murder of humans a sin, and killing bugs acceptable.

    If there is a finite amount of energy in the universe, and an infinite amount of time has already passed, then heat death would have occurred in eternity past, and we wouldn’t be here discussing it. Heat death does rule out that the universe could have always existed. If your mind leaps to theories about how energy might be periodically recycled by some extra-universal force, you’re thinking religious thoughts.

    Thanks,
    Bill

  59. Pete says:

    OK I’ll let the sexual selection thing go – although I think it’s the best theory we have at the moment.

    It was a point mutation I am not disputing that, but there are competing theories as to whether it was a frame-shift or 2 amino acid substitutions at the same time. In either case it caused a huge majority of the amino-acids in the duplicated gene to change. The amino-acid composition determines how the protein folds, protein folding = protein function. Do you disagree with any of that?

    Do you believe in frame-shifting?

    I say murder is wrong because it is wrong, by my morals, and so is purposely stepping on bugs for the sake of it. Either of these may not be wrong by someone else’s morals, but if they want to live in society they have to answer to society and live by the moral consensus.

    The God portrayed in the Bible story is not a morally good one. One of many: 2 Kings 2:24-25. How is that moral?

    The universe may have existed always as a single point of energy, not expanding, no entropy, etc. Only once it started expanding could entropy begin. Of-course I do not know why it started expanding, or if / what caused it. In fact this is just an example to show you that using the assumption that something can be eternal leads to infinitely equally viable creation hypotheses. Without trying to cause offence; God did it, may as well be Fred did it, a mouse did it, etc. The only reason you choose the Christian God (I assume), is because of the bible which is a whole other debate!

    Thanks,
    Pete

  60. Hi Pete,

    I don’t disagree. However, this isn’t an example of some wondrous new structure. It is the degradation of a function. If I manipulate the change mechanism on a vending machine, the neighborhood kids can use a quarter with fishing line tied to it to get free pop. Has the vending machine evolved a new ability? No, I’ve reduced it’s functionality, even though a majority of people might be pleased with the change.

    I believe frame-shifting happens. It reduces the information in the genetic code, just as noise in a communications signal reduces information. This is a mathematical fact. Noise/random mutations are undesirable. Engineers haven’t decided that noise is beneficial 0.000000001% of the time. It is always undesirable.

    As far as our morality discussion, you’re being very inconsistent. You say that each person can have his own moral standard, which can include murder being acceptable in their own personal morality (correct me if I’m misunderstanding), i.e. there are no moral absolutes. Then, you say that God was being immoral in 2 Kings. By calling God immoral, you’re saying He falls short of some universal standard.

    If God falls short of your personal morality, it doesn’t matter. Anyone can choose a moral standard by which God would fall short. This is what I’ve been telling you all along. You’re being arbitrary. However, if you’re making a more substantive charge, you must apply a universal moral standard that exists outside of yourself, where does it come from?

    As far as whether 2 Kings 2:24 is an example of God being immoral, it isn’t. We all will die because of our sin. While it may sometimes appear to us to be random, it isn’t. It is always God’s judgment for our sin whether someone dies as a newborn or 90. God would be absolutely justified to punish us for our sin at anytime. If He sends a bear to maul us for mocking Him, He is perfectly justified. We are His creation, and He can do with us as He pleases. Besides that, death isn’t the end. This life is only a vapor.

    I appreciate the tone of your writing and have enjoyed this discussion.

    Thanks,
    Bill

  61. Pete says:

    So you agree that the duplicated gene mutated causing the protein to function differently. But you say the overall function changed to be less specific. The enzymes were not effective on any other material, just the man-made Nylon by-products. What information do you think has been lost and how is the specificity reduced?

    I think you understand me, but when I say someone is being immoral, or something is immoral – I’m not being inconsistent; I do mean according to my moral standards. When I say calling upon bears to maul people is immoral, I do mean immoral according to my moral standards. And it does matter, certainly to me and others that share similar moral standards.

    I think that if there were an all-powerful creator, he would not be so vain as to require worship, nor so jealous as to condemn those that do not worship him, nor so vengeful as to call down upon bears to maul children, nor so cryptic as to make it look to many like he does not exist at all.

    You may be surprised to hear that I’m undecided about an afterlife – as I think there may be mathematical evidence of it – albeit only a hypothesis at the moment.

    I have to admit I’ve enjoyed it too, although you nearly mentioned Hitler (oh dear – now I have) which I’ve read ends any meaningful debate.

    Kind regards,
    Pete

  62. Hi Pete,

    Do you not agree that noise in an electrical signal, even a digital signal, (DNA is a digital code), is always undesirable? Why do you think noise in genetic code is different from noise in a digital signal?

    I think you have arrived at the proper conclusion for an atheist–that morality is subjective. I guess we have to go back to the beginning and ask why it’s wrong for someone else to murder? Wouldn’t the right answer be that that if that individual has determined that murder is acceptable that it is not wrong for him? You can say that it is wrong for you to murder, but you can no longer say that it is wrong for someone else to murder.

    Furthermore, since you are capable of determining your own moral standard, so is God. He can do everything you’ve accused Him of, and He can still be absolutely morally upright. You’re free to say that He’s violated your standard, but it doesn’t really make any difference. You’ve drawn your line wherever you like, and you can place whoever you like on whichever side of the line you like.

    Of course, the whole thing seems preposterous to me. Isn’t it obvious that murder is always wrong? That is an absolute, and it has been established by the Creator, and He’s the only one with the power to establish absolutes. He provides the bedrock to stand on to make proper moral judgments (Matthew 7:24-27).

    I’m definitely surprised to hear that you’re undecided on an afterlife. Maybe you can refer me to a website or book on the topic.

    Thanks,
    Bill

  63. Pete says:

    I understand you think it is noise – but I do not. Don’t forget – the original gene remains, the mutation is on a duplicated gene. When we talk about noise in an electrical signal it is undesirable because the ‘noisy’ signal is the only thing that is received. In this case (Nylonase) we have a clean signal, and a new signal.

    Nothing is lost because the original gene is still there.

    We can say someone should not murder – but it is not entirely a moral assertion. We are in effect saying: You should not murder because to me (and to most) it is morally wrong, and to society it is detrimental. But obviously it is far simpler to just say, it is wrong. Yes their morals may allow them to murder with clear conscience – but we cannot presume what other peoples morals are, we can only go by our own.

    No I don’t think that murder is absolutely morally wrong. If someone were to have a choice to save 1000 children by murdering 1 old man, I would not say it is morally wrong of him to murder the old man. Don’t misunderstand me – it would not be morally right either, but I morality is not a simple dichotomy.

    Oh I forgot to mention why I’m unsure of there being no afterlife.

    I have no book nor website to refer you to but here it is in a nutshell: In the theories that are built on the Standard Model (one example: superstring theory), we exist in several dimensions, the 3 spatial ones and some non-spatial ones. When we refer to death we refer to the inability of the human body to continue to function. The human body is in the spatial dimensions. We do not know what happens to us in the non-spatial dimensions. A true dichotomy; either something happens and we no longer exist, or it doesn’t and we continue to exist. When faced with competing hypotheses the right one tends to be the one that makes the fewest new assumptions. It takes fewer assumptions to say that something doesn’t happen than to say that something does. So we should assume that existence continues.

    I’m yet to think of a flaw in that, other than it being based on the assumption that we exist in non-spatial dimensions. The theories that suggest this is true basically have extra dimensions to mathematically account for gravity being so weak compared to the other forces. They say that gravity is spread through all dimensions and that the other fundamental forces are only in the spatial dimensions.

  64. Pete,

    There is no doubt that a random mutation (which is the basis for the theory of evolution) is the exact equivalent of noise in a digital signal. Frame-shift, point mutations, etc. are the exact types of errors that noise causes in a digital communication system. Such mutations may be helpful in certain, specific circumstances, but noise and copying errors cannot account for new information, much less the origin of the species.

    I appreciate your time in this discussion.

    Bill

  65. Pete says:

    Hi Bill,

    Okay apologies – I’m not communicating this very well, bear with me!

    I agree that digital noise is an exact equivalent to the mutation in an amino acid, however a digital signal is not a good comparison for a protein.

    Because a protein’s function is determined by its shape (how it’s folded) a better analogy would be something spatial.

    Let’s use a key/lock example. Imagine for sake of argument a trillion keys and a trillion locks. Some keys may fit locks, some may not, some may fit more than 1, etc. Now take 1 of the keys and add ‘noise’ to whatever determines its shape. Now the key is a different shape. If the key fitted a lock before it may still fit that lock, it may not fit any now, it may fit another. If it did not fit any before it may still not, or it may now fit 1.

    That is I think a more fitting analogy.

    Regards,
    Pete

  66. Sport says:

    I must say for an atheist Pete sure does argue in a very respectful tone. Very much appreciated the discussions from both sides.

  67. justagirl says:

    This is a good argument. Yet, the lack of evidence isn’t exactly evidence. Just becasue a fossil has not been found does not mean it doesn’t exist. I am not an atheist, and I believe in science just as I believe in the Word. Just as there are many problems with the theory of evolution, (I hope I’m not re-stating anything) there are some problems with the arguments against. The basis theory was evolution is pretty much ridiculous to me. But, what many people seem to be talking about and disputing on this thread is not really evolution, but rather natural selection. It is a part of evolution, but a logical part. It doesn’t exactly rely on random mutations, but shows that in diverse populations, sometimes the environment calls for different traits to show up more and others to show up less. There are tall people and short people, big dogs and small dogs, so one can conclude that there very well could have been taller giraffes and shorter giraffes. Perhaps there could have been instances where the only good food was higher up in the trees, and even as the leaves of the trees fell to the ground, the shorter giraffes had to bend in an awkward posistion to reach them, making them much more vulnrable to predators. This could make fewer of them survive to reproduction, and over many generations of this repeating there could have been many more taller giraffes. I apologize if that seems like a poor example, I was trying to connect it to the giraffe post.
    Anyway, what my original thought was that the lack of evidence is not evidence. Just because there is no evidence of fossils that may shows giraffes before they truly were giraffes does not mean that none exist. It is very possible that giraffes have stayed pretty much the same, but it is also possible that they evolved through natural selection and micro-evolution.
    Sorry if I rambled. That’s just my take.

    Thanks

  68. “This is a good argument. Yet, the lack of evidence isn’t exactly evidence. Just becasue a fossil has not been found does not mean it doesn’t exist” That’s a philosophical argument more than a scientific one. You see it was “assumed” many years ago fossil evidence or a “missing link” did exist based on a hypothesis. i could say that just because no evidence has been found yet that Goblins exist does not prove they don’t exist. The onus is on the ones making the theories to provide the actual rather than theoretical existence of the evidence.

  69. Pete says:

    Exactly right Andrew – so someone claiming that all creatures were created needs to present some evidence of such a hypothesis. evidence for evolution is not necessarily evidence that there is no creator, and evidence against evolution is not necessarily evidence for a creator.

  70. Phil says:

    “Not knowing how a giraffe evolved doesn’t bother you? I’m not even asking for evidence, just a theory. It doesn’t bother you that there’s not even a theory? Do you think this problem is limited to giraffes?”

    A theory REQUIRES evidence.

    “According to Darwin, during a period of drought, the tallest gazelles (for example) would have had food to eat, while the shorter gazelles would have starved. The taller gazelles would have had taller offspring, and eventually, after millions of generations, gazelles became the giraffes we have today. Let’s play along with Darwin and see where his idea takes us.”

    Have you had basic biology — dominant and recessive traits ?

    “While all of Africa’s other grazing animals seem to have done quite well, the shorter gazelles that weren’t quite as tall as their cousins starved. What caused them, specifically, to starve to death? Maybe, in seeing their fellow creatures eat leaves from tall trees, they were too proud to lower their heads to eat grass. This may seem plausible until we recognize that all grazing animals (including modern giraffes) bend down to drink water. Darwin, however, maintains they died of starvation—not thirst.”

    That’s the funny thing about evolution — some attributes necessary for survival stick around while some rather benign attributes stick around as well.

    “Since only the tallest giraffes survived, all the females also must have died, as females are on average two feet shorter than the males. How exactly, then, do giraffe’s reproduce today?”

    This is also the funny thing about science as opposed to rigid religious thought:

    Science changes as new information is found until a better picture of reality is formed.

  71. Hi Phil,

    Thanks for taking the time to comment.

    You’re obviously a fan of science, as I am. One of the assumptions that you have to make in order to do science is the uniformity of nature. An experiment performed on Monday gives the same results on Tuesday given constant conditions. For example, if your car didn’t start, you wouldn’t say, “Oh well, the laws of physics must have changed.”

    How do you account for the uniformity of nature? I.e. on what basis do you assume the future will behave as the past? Most atheists say the future always has looked like the past in the past. But that is begging the question. That there always has been uniformity, is not a justification for expecting uniformity in the future.

    Are you an atheist?

    Thanks,
    Bill

  72. Bo says:

    Pete,

    If you are still interested in the laryngeal nerve being too long to be designed, here is an article that might interest you.

    http://www.weloennig.de/LaryngealNerve.pdf

    It would appear that there is more to it than Dawkins would have us know.

    Shalom
    ____________________________________________

    Pete,

    Here is short quote from a short article on the subject of the long laryngeal nerve as it relates to a designer. Please do read the article.

    “I read up on the laryngeal nerve. There are two. One goes direct to the larynx for one vocal chord. The other loops down under the aorta, ennervating the heart, and back up to the larynx for the other chord. It makes sense if we take into account embryonic growth. The nerve supplies the heart, lengthening as the baby grows and the heart moves away from the brain. The larynx starts to grow later on. It’s simpler to grew [sic] onto the end of the nerve than to tap into the middle, so that’s why it grows back up to the throat. We thereby have one nerve working more than one organ, keeping it simple yet workable. How does that sound to you as an engineer?”

    The above quote is from: http://www.ridgenet.net/~do_while/sage/v16i5e.htm

    I am still wondering how someone that has never designed and created an organism, especially with the complexity of a Giraffe, would know what a better design should be. The more we know about life and its intricacies, the more we realize that we do not know much. So what makes us think we know better? I think it is called pride.

    I have found it extremely interesting how someone can proclaim to be able to do something better as long as they do not have to actually do it. Once the wallpaper is up and stuck and the job doesn’t need to be done, the critical eye that has never done any papering sees the supposed imperfections, not knowing what other factors needed to be addressed to produce a good job at a reasonable price. Someone may be able to do a better job, but is there enough money in the budget to pay the price for re-framing, re-dry walling and re-trimming so as to make every line be perfect? And more to the point. Who can tell an accomplished artist that his clouds don’t look real in a painting. You will only get this analogy if you have looked into the sky quite often. Is there a really a way to paint an unreal looking cloud? Is the Eternal artist of creation really after mechanical perfection, or is beauty, wonder, awe and joy His goal?

    Shalom

  73. Pete says:

    Hi Shalom,

    Even if I were to concede and agree that the laryngeal nerve is not evidence against design, that would not mean it is evidence for design. It would also not mean that it is evidence against evolution.

    In fact, one thing is for certain, that the laryngeal nerve fits with the theory of evolution.

    To address your last paragraph – I am not saying that I or anyone could design something better – just that if it were designed it is by no means a perfect design. Don’t forget that I don’t believe in a creator, and so I am not suggesting that a creator has designed something incorrectly. I am saying that such things have not been designed at all.

    Saying it is not imperfect – we just don’t understand it properly is a bit of a cop-out I think. Yes we have misunderstood things before, but that doesn’t mean that we misunderstand everything. Some things are more obvious than others, and can be said with a great deal of confidence from experts in the area that there would be a better way to do it.

    Do you know what percentage of qualified scientists in related fields don’t believe evolution to be true? It is very low. I understand that the majority aren’t always right – but we are talking about experts in the field here – not laymen. And a huge majority of experts believing something related to their expertise, I would bet, are right.

    Have you got any evidence for design?

    As an afterthought – if there were a ‘perfect design’ and a ‘perfect designer’ then wouldn’t there be no diversity?

  74. Bo says:

    Pete,

    And if the perfect designer was a very creative, and artistic designer, we would expect much diversity along many different lines. If there is a perfect creator, it doesn’t mean that He would necessarily make everything exactly the same as Himself. He may have made one line of beings that was like himself that could be very creative and design and engineer things and all the rest of His designs could have been for other purposes such as building materials, food, etc. His perfect design might have to have a whole system of created things that interacted and relied upon one another. That reliance might necessitate what we might call imperfections since we cannot see the system as whole. His creation might have been corrupted by something and thus we would expect flaws in at least some of His creatures.

    The best evidence for design is that there are billions and billions of components in countless systems that are reliant upon one another and they have been functioning for quite a while. Without an intelligent designer we would not expect to see a skyscraper or a watch or model train set. We know from everything that we have experienced that things do not build themselves of come to life, but yet we have all of these living things that could not have built themselves. We can know that there is a intelligent designer by looking around at what we have designed and see the correlation. There would be no watch or train set if someone with intelligence did not design them.

    “I do not think there is a demonstrative proof (like Euclid) of Christianity, nor of the existence of matter, nor of the good will and honesty of my best and oldest friends. I think all three are (except perhaps the second) far more probable than the alternatives. The case for Christianity in general is well given by Chesterton…As to why God doesn’t make it demonstratively clear; are we sure that He is even interested in the kind of Theism which would be a compelled logical assent to a conclusive argument? Are we interested in it in personal matters? I demand from my friend trust in my good faith which is certain without demonstrative proof. It wouldn’t be confidence at all if he waited for rigorous proof. Hang it all, the very fairy-tales embody the truth. Othello believed in Desdemona’s innocence when it was proved: but that was too late. Lear believed in Cordelia’s love when it was proved: but that was too late. ‘His praise is lost who stays till all commend.’ The magnanimity, the generosity which will trust on a reasonable probability, is required of us. But supposing one believed and was wrong after all? Why, then you would have paid the universe a compliment it doesn’t deserve. Your error would even so be more interesting and important than the reality. And yet how could that be? How could an idiotic universe have produced creatures whose mere dreams are so much stronger, better, subtler than itself?”
    ― C.S. Lewis

    Did you read the links that I posted above? You might like the ridgenet site.

    Shalom

  75. Pete says:

    I did read your links, thanks.

    Evolution is quite capable of explaining complex systems. Have you got an example of something that is irreducibly complex? That would be evidence against evolution.

    If you do not rely on evidence for the truth then how do you know your religion is true as opposed to the many others available, or no religion at all?

    Pete

  76. Bo says:

    Pete,

    Instead of irreducible complexity, since I think that almost every system from the cell upward would probably qualify, let’s go to where the rubber hits the road. How can one type of system evolve into another? There are such vast differences between reproductive and circulatory systems between the major types of organisms that there is no way that they could have evolved. There are no hard facts nor is there any satisfactory explanation as to how these things could have mutated/evolved from one form to another. These systems, when they do contain mutations, are detrimental to the fitness of the individual organism and the overall population. These mutations cannot add up until they are something entirely different.

    The only way that an evolutionist can deal with this is to assume that it must have happened because of a prior belief in evolution. It is a matter of faith, instead of science.

    Please read this:

    http://www.ridgenet.net/~do_while/sage/v4i12f.htm

    Shalom

  77. Pete says:

    Hi Shalom,

    That article is riddled with false assumptions and misunderstanding – but let’s start with what I believe to be incorrect about your post: ” when they do contain mutations, are detrimental to the fitness of the individual organism”.

    I think the fundamental belief that all mutations are detrimental is the root of our disagreement.

    Why do you think that?

    If you were to change your mind about that, could you accept that accumulating mutations (over many generations) could significantly change an organism?

    PS. Please try to explain in your own words rather than pointing me to a link :)

  78. Bo says:

    Pete,

    My name is not Shalom. Shalom is my sing-off word wishing you peace…mainly with the Creator of the universe but also with yourself and those around you. If the point of this argument is to see if you or I am smarter of can argue our point better, then posting links is probably to be avoided. If it is to share information that the opponent may not know about or may not have thought about, then links should be encouraged for the sake of understanding the each other’s position and for those that are simply reading the dialogue.

    I am unaware of any scientific study or mathematical calculation that would produce much of a probability of mutations adding up to change a single celled organism to something like a giraffe over a very long period of time. The main problem seems to be that we have no way to preserve the first mechanism for reproduction while the next method is arising by chance mutations. There does not seem to be any form of something half way between one system and another that could work. And all the half way betweens from the original and the half way betweens cannot work either. Have you ever investigated the mathematical probability that is involved with your accumulating mutations idea?

    The most significant problem is that there is no science that shows that life can come from non-life by chance processes, but quite the opposite has been observed and scientifically proven countless times. The probability of a non-living thing mutating into life is 0. Even dead things that were once alive that have all the systems intact do not come back to life by chance. The only way anything of these sorts can possibly happen is through the intervention of an intelligent outside source. One can assume that life came from non-life by chance, but one cannot prove such a thing. That is called faith, not science.

    Shalom

  79. Pete says:

    Hi Bo,

    Sorry – didn’t notice your name at the top!

    I’m not interested in who’s smarter – just who’s right.

    I’m not talking about life from non-life at the moment – that’s a whole other debate! There are theories but I agree with you here for the most part – the evidence is lacking; although progress is being made and evidence is growing.

    What I am saying is that living organisms that are able to reproduce, can over many generations change from one organism into a completely different one.

    The problem with trying to investigate mathematical probability is that numbers of mutations vary extensively between organisms, and a single mutation’s effect also varies. 1 study in 2000 estimated 175 mutations per generation.

    I’d be interested to see the figures you have looked at, and the source. Feel free to provide a link :)

    You didn’t say whether you agreed or not that not all mutations are detrimental to an organism… do you?

    “The main problem seems to be that we have no way to preserve the first mechanism for reproduction while the next method is arising by chance mutations. There does not seem to be any form of something half way between one system and another that could work. And all the half way betweens from the original and the half way betweens cannot work either”

    What you’re talking about here is irreducible complexity – but I believe there is no such thing – there is no single example of something that could not have evolved. One of the most cited examples I have heard from creationists is the Bombardier beetle, but that comes from mostly misunderstanding.

    Technically, every system is “half-way” between one and another – unless we suddenly stop evolving.

    Here is an example of how a Bombardier beetle may have evolved. http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/bombardier.html

    It’s just an example of how it may have happened – which means the defensive system of a Bombardier beetle is not irreducibly complex.

  80. Bo says:

    Pete,

    I finally scavenged some time to read the article on bombardier beetles and respond. How something may have happened doesn’t prove anything. There is still the problem of probability vs possibility. “May have happened” is mostly possibility and not much probability. I accept beneficial mutations as a fact, but they happen so rarely that the accumulation of the vast number necessary to go from molecules to man, so improbable as to be absurd. Even the vast number needed to go from a non-bombardier beetle to a fully bombardier beetle is extreme. I accept micro-evolution within organisms. It could have happened with this amazing beetle, but we would still be a long way away from proving any sort of macro-evolution. One type of beetle micro-evolving into many types of beetles is possible, but not probable. Please read this short article which responds in part to the one you recommended: http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=9&article=1113

    The article you posted a link for stated:

    “Any of these points makes it possible for complexity, even irreducible complexity, to evolve gradually. Many people will still have trouble imagining how complexity could arise gradually. However, complexity in other forms arises in nature all the time; clouds, cave formations, and frost crystals are just a few examples. Most important, nature is not constrained by any person’s lack of imagination.”

    I would hope an astute reader would see through the logical fallacy of equating the physical complexity of crystal formation,etc. with functional complexity found in living organisms. This is equivocation to the max. The “complexity” of a cloud formation is generated from chance winds and heat and dust particles. That we think that the said cloud looks like a bombardier beetle in shape does not equate to us observing that a bombardier beetle function is truly too complex to have arisen by chance processes. I have never seen such a cloud spray hot gasses at another cloud that looked like a spider. We know the absurdity of the probability of such a sight, but we imagine that something radically more complex could have happened in the evolution of the real beetle. It is necessary to prove probability, not just possibility, if we are to relegate something to a scientific theory. It is not the lack in a person’s imagination that precludes his acquiescence to macro-evolution…it is his sense of reality. Too much imagination is called insanity. Believing without seeing is called religion. Clocks do not make themselves. Random chance processes and time can never make a jet airplane. It takes an intelligent designer with an imagination and a purpose to produce such things.

    The insanity of macro-evolution is brought on by the self-imposed constraints of materialism. The only theories and findings of a system/philosophy that sets out to find a naturalistic and materialistic explanation for the existence of all things will only be in line with its agenda. There is no real objectivity in this sort of investigation. It is circular reasoning at its best. The assumption of no intelligent designer blinds the investigator.

    I wonder what would be the outcome if we investigated a laptop computer with the prerequisite that we could not entertain any thought of an intelligent designer being involved with its origin. In our investigation we would find “fossils” of desk tops and main frames and microchips and vacuum tubes and abacuses and electrical switches and transistors and plastic injection molds and lasers and raw materials such as petroleum and metal ores. We could arrange all of our fossils in an ascending order and make up an explanation for all the gaps that are so obviously huge. We could come up with a time frame of how long it would take random chance processes producing the first basic component of a vacuum tube. The probability would be very slim, but given enough time and random combinations of elements it is possible…but we know better. Our imaginations will not go there because we know that elements do not assemble themselves.

    Our imaginations have been reprogrammed to believe the absurd when it comes to evolution. Our common sense has been desensitized by propaganda and brainwashing. The belief in materialistic evolutionary science would be classified as a religious cult or a neurosis if it was concerning any other topic. It is instructive to see how many physical engineers and mathematicians do not believe this new religion. The scientific facts are the same for everybody. It is all in the interpretation of the facts and what one wants to believe or what one has been brainwashed to believe. There are no evolutionary facts. There are scientific facts that have been arranged so as to fit into an evolutionary model. The gaps in the theory and the leaps of faith are huge. Evolution is a religion, not a science.

    Check out this article on why people believe in evolution:

    http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=12&article=273

    Shalom

  81. Ideological Sceptic says:

    Interesting to see this thread last for so long and for the discourse to remain civil.

    I just want to comment on the last statement ” Evolution is a religion, not a science.”

    To make this claim one must have some idea of the definitions of ‘religion’ and ‘science’ even though no one seems to have any exact definitions or rather every exact definition is subject to dispute.

    But I would suggest that the essential difference between science and religion is that science takes empirical reality seriously while religion doesn’t.

    If I make that claim that ‘every swan is white’ it can be shown, by the empirical evidence that this claim is false.

    If I claim that ‘God maximally loves every human being’ there is (it seems to me) no possible empirical event that would falsify the claim.

    The claim that ‘every swan is white’ is a scientific claim, all be it, a false claim.
    The claim that God maximally loves every human being’ is not a scientific claim even if it is a true claim.

    It seems to me that since evolutionary claims are falsifiable by the evidence that such claims are scientific claims.

    For example, if we consistently find human fossil remains along side the remains of dinosaurs I would suggest that this would present a fundamental challenge to the truth of evolution. If this is true, then the theory of evolution is clearly a scientific theory and not a religious theory.

    It would follow that there is nothing absurd or cult-like about the theory of evolution.

  82. Concerning empirical evidence, would you consider evolutionary psychology to be a science, since it is impossible to obtain any such empirical evidence to substantiate any of their claims?

  83. Ideological Sceptic says:

    It looks like you missed my point entirely.

    Besides I know nothing about evolutionary psychology, so my opinion has very little value.

    But you still missed the fundamental point.
    There is a problem with the concept of “substantiating” any scientific claim.

    According to Newton’s first law (Wikipedia) “If an object experiences no net force, then its velocity is constant; the object is either at rest (if its velocity is zero), or it moves in a straight line with constant speed (if its velocity is nonzero)”

    Has this law been substantiated? Note that the formulation here refers to “an object” and this doesn’t mean just this or that object but every object in the universe that has ever existed or ever will exist.

    So, how many objects would you need to observe to “substantiate” Newton’s claim.

    I don’t believe that Newton’s laws have been proven, or confirmed, or substantiated.
    Does it follow that Newtonian physics is not a science? No.

    It means it can’t be proven or substantiated if you mean ‘substantiated’ means the same as proven or confirmed.

    Newtonian physics is a science because experiments can be devised that would show it to be false or probably false. Indeed, I believe that Newtonian physics is false and that it has been replaced by Einstein’s theories. But even that does not mean that Newtonian physics is not a science. It’s claims can be subjected to empirical test and those tests can show it to be false.

    Just as “All swans are white” can be subjected to a test and found to be false.
    It’s still a scientific claim or “a science ” if you will if it can suggest empirical experiments that can put the claim to a test.

    So, the question is does evolutionary psychology make any claims that can be tested?
    What sort of claims does it make? Does it make any claims of the sort “if the fundamental theses or principles of evolutionary psychology are true then it follows that x, y, and z would be the case (where x, y, and z are observable events or states of affairs)?”

    The Wikipedia article on evolutionary psychology has more to say about this and I have any knowledge of.

    Frequently tests for novel scientific claims are difficult to devise. When Einstein first proposed his theories no one had yet devised any experimental methods to test his theory. These tests do not prove the theory though. They can only falsify the theory.

    If such tests cannot be devised for a field of study then the field’s status as a science is much in doubt. The scientific status of evolutionary psychology is probably in that stage that Einstein’s theories were in for many years. We have to wait and see if it survives as a science or merely as one of many promising ideas that ultimately fail.

  84. Ideological Sceptic says:

    Fourpointer

    After a little thought, I can add something but I apologize for the length of my posts. I’ve never thought about this issue before, so I’m literally thinking on the page here.

    I think (at least for the moment) that evolutionary psychology is clearly a science, all be it, a young and immature science. Whether it will be successful or will be abandoned as an intellectual dead-end is unknown at this point

    I take it that the fundamental claim of evolutionary psychology is that human (or for that matter non-human animal) psychological traits are inherited as part of the offspring’s genetic makeup.

    Certainly there is a test for this claim. If there is a test for the claim, then there are gounds for thinking evolutionary biology is, or can develop into, a robust science.

    Evolutionary biology rests on the claim that physical traits are inherited. If you can show that this is false, then you show that evolutionary biology is false. The key to showing that physical traits are not inherited.

    If one’s parents had human genes then you have inherited those human genes and you exhibit the traits that humans typically have.

    It seems to me that psychological traits may be inherited as well. Psychological traits are exhibited in modes of behavior.

    For example, bees and ants have inherited various complicated modes of behavior in that they work together for the good of the colony. Some are merely workers and don’t even pass on their genes to offspring but the queen manages that and bees and ants share these cooperative behaviors generation after generation.

    Chimpanzees never cooperate — it’s said that you will never see two champanzees working together to accomplish some task — for example, carrying a heavy log together.

    This trait among chimpanzees is inherited generation after generation.

    So, if you can show that human beings do not inherit behavioral traits you have shown that evolutionary psychology is false.

    The problem for you is that if you empirically falsify evolutionary science you have shown that it is a science– i.e., it is a theory that is subject to empirical testing.

    Of course, there is a problem here, human beings seem to be free to choose how they behave, so how could it be possible to falsify the claim that psychological traits are inherited.

    Does evolutionary theory claim that human behavior is strictly deterministic or that human behavioral traits are, in part, determined by inheritance.

    In turns out that there is a huge amount of data corroborating the thesis that human behavior is, in part, determined by inheritance.

    For example, if you survey a few thousand parents (with shared political views) : liberal or conservative, it turns out that there is a statistically significant variance among the children (plural) of those parents with respect to sharing the political views of the parents and other siblings.

    Nature or nurture? Well there is way to test for that.

    It turns out that about (I don’t know the numbers so I’ll just work with the abstract concept)
    if you take a large number of paired siblings, x number of them share the same political views as their sibling.

    Now focus on the offspring who are non-identical twins — each twin shares exactly half of his/her genetic code with the other sibling. The percentage of the number of paired non-identical twins that share the same political views is statistically significantly larger than x. This literally means that this is not merely an accident but is tied to some underlying inherited similarity between the pair of non-identical twins because, the percentage of paired non-identical twins with shared political views remains statistically significant even among those non-identical twins who are separated at birth and raised in different political and social environments.

    But identical twins, two siblings with exactly the same genetic codes are even more likely to share the same political beliefs. There is a statistically significant difference between the percentage of non-identical twins who share the same views and the percentage of identical twins who share the same views even among the identical twins who were separated at birth and raised in totally different political and social environments.

    This doesn’t prove inheritance of political traits. But, if the data showed that genetic inheritance was statistically independent of political views then it would falsify the thesis that political traits are, in part, inherited.

    If it turned out that the empirical data show that the similarity of political views was no different in identical twins, non-identical twins, and non-twin siblings, that would go far to undermine the thesis that political views ( which clearly are psychological traits) are inherited. If you could show this with a variety of behaviors you would show that psychological traits are probably not inherited and thus evolutionary psychology has, so far anyway, no empirical basis.

    But, it looks to me that evolutionary psychology certainly does have an empirical basis and is, therefore, clearly a science.

  85. Pete says:

    Bo,

    Quote: “It takes an intelligent designer with an imagination and a purpose to produce such things.”

    So what made the designer?

    Predicting an answer of “no beginning / eternal”, why can’t the same logic be applied to the universe?

    Pete

  86. Bo says:

    Pete,

    I do not think this quote has sunk in yet.

    “I do not think there is a demonstrative proof (like Euclid) of Christianity, nor of the existence of matter, nor of the good will and honesty of my best and oldest friends. I think all three are (except perhaps the second) far more probable than the alternatives. The case for Christianity in general is well given by Chesterton…As to why God doesn’t make it demonstratively clear; are we sure that He is even interested in the kind of Theism which would be a compelled logical assent to a conclusive argument? Are we interested in it in personal matters? I demand from my friend trust in my good faith which is certain without demonstrative proof. It wouldn’t be confidence at all if he waited for rigorous proof. Hang it all, the very fairy-tales embody the truth. Othello believed in Desdemona’s innocence when it was proved: but that was too late. Lear believed in Cordelia’s love when it was proved: but that was too late. ‘His praise is lost who stays till all commend.’ The magnanimity, the generosity which will trust on a reasonable probability, is required of us. But supposing one believed and was wrong after all? Why, then you would have paid the universe a compliment it doesn’t deserve. Your error would even so be more interesting and important than the reality. And yet how could that be? How could an idiotic universe have produced creatures whose mere dreams are so much stronger, better, subtler than itself?”
    ― C.S. Lewis

    There was a beginning to time as we know it. Space is a function of that. Physics has no way of explaining why there is matter or why it should be the way it is. It can only answer that it is what it is and behaves the way it does. It does not have the answer for why it did what it did at the beginning of time, as there were no laws of physics, in effect at the time of the supposed singularity. It is all speculation as to the why or even how the beginning began. Once it began, we can start to explain things by theories of motion, thermal dynamics and relativity, etc.

    As far as I know… If matter is the eternal, we have no explanation for the existence of intelligence, time and space. If intelligence existed outside of and before time began we have no problem with the of existence matter, space and time. Intelligence can invent time, space and matter. Matter cannot produce the others.

    Shalom

  87. Sceptic,

    Your answer, while interesting, is laden with words and phrases that discount evolutionary psychology as a science. You continually used words like “possible” and “might” and “if”. For example:
    Certainly there is a test for this claim. If there is a test for the claim, then there are grounds for thinking evolutionary biology is, or can develop into, a robust science.

    So you are saying there is no way to test their claims. Isn’t that what skeptics accuse us Christians of–simply believing something that cannot be proven?

    It seems to me that psychological traits may be inherited as well. Psychological traits are exhibited in modes of behavior.

    It seems to you. So can it be proven?

    Of course, there is a problem here, human beings seem to be free to choose how they behave, so how could it be possible to falsify the claim that psychological traits are inherited.

    How then would you prove any “data” or hypotheses to be genuine or corrupt? You cannot go back and examine the thought patterns of people who lived thousands of years ago to corroborate such hypotheses.

    By your own words, you show that evolutionary science is not a science, but–in all actuality–a guessing game, whereby those who practice it guess as to how far back certain traits go, what they “evolved” from, if they even were passed on genetically, and how human beings thought thousands (and for the evolutionist, hundreds of thousands) of years ago. Your next-to-last paragraph is simply hypothesis made out to be a proven fact. You have simply stated a condition by which your premise could be true–but you have not shown it to be true.

    But there is no way to prove those things to be true. There is no way to show empirical evidence. Are certain thought patterns inherited? It is possible. But what does that prove? All kinds of traits–eye color, height, bone length–are inherited, and those don’t prove evolution to be true. And since we cannot dig up the remains of someone who died a thousand years ago and ask them a battery of questions, then evolutionary psychology can be nothing more than a fanciful endeavor, not a true science.

  88. Ideological Sceptic says:

    fourpointer

    I have no interest in evolutionary biology so don’t try to involve me in any further discussion of whether it is a science or not.

    In order to avoid controversy I kept my points simple, modest and conservative.

    I made the modest or conservative claim (C1) that for any cognitive enterprise to be a science it must address empirical matters and make claims about natural reality that are falsifiable by observation.

    (C2) I suggested that the fundamental claim of evolutionary biology is that psychological traits are inherited.

    (C3) Observation should be able to tell us if this claim is false.

    If you want to counter my position you can dispute either C1, C2, or C3. I don’t see addressing any of these claims. So, your post doesn’t seem to be directed at anything I wrote.

    Most of your post is irrelevant to what I wrote.

    Your logic is a couple of places is questionable:

    I wrote:
    “If there is a test for the claim [that psychological traits are inheritable], then there are gounds for thinking evolutionary biology is, or can develop into, a robust science.”

    Your interpretation of this is strange:

    “So you are saying there is no way to test their claims. Isn’t that what skeptics accuse us Christians of–simply believing something that cannot be proven?

    Suppose I say, ‘if x is an even number then it is divisible by 2′. Would you conclude from this that I am saying that x is not an even number?

    This is exactly the inference you draw from my hypothetical statement.

    The following is equally bizarre:

    I wrote:
    It seems to me that psychological traits may be inherited as well. Psychological traits are exhibited in modes of behavior.

    Your reply:
    It seems to you. So can it be proven?

    You missed by point entirely. My point was this is where you want to attack the claim that evolutionary biology is a science. Dispute it, argue against it, show us the contrary observations. This where you can defeat it.

    Don’t ask me to prove anything in science.

    Scientific claims cannot be proven. That’s the difference between science and pure mathematics and logic. Science is by its nature fallible and tentative. Every scientific theory is up for dispute and rebutal. The most we have is good evidence for the most well-founded scientific principles. But none can be proven.

    I wrote:

    Of course, there is a problem here, human beings seem to be free to choose how they behave, so how could it be possible to falsify the claim that psychological traits are inherited.

    Your reply:

    How then would you prove any “data” or hypotheses to be genuine or corrupt?

    Wow, you missed my point again.

    It should be clear from the context that I mistated the initial claim.

    I should have said, “how would it be possible to empirically support the claim that psychological traits ae inherited?”

    So how to we establish that some phenomenon x is causally related to psychologial traits. Statistics cannot prove causation. But statistics can provide important evidence for coorelation which is a necessary condition for causation.

    To attempt to falsify the claim that psychological traits are inherited the critic could point to free will or to nurture, or to environmental factors. But the critic would have to do more than raise the concept of free will etc.

    The critic would also have to show that these factors coorelate better with psychological traits than inheratance.

    Try to stay grounded in reality.

    Suppose someone tried to argue that physical characteristics are the result of nurture, environment or inheritance. In many cases all three play a role. But in some cases inheritance plays the key role.

    So, how could you show this to be the case? How to you show that when a generation of peas have a certain characteristic they inherited it rather than grapped it out of thin air or the environment? Mendel used statistics. Do a google search for ‘Mendel statistics’. (see http://www.biologycorner.com/APbiology/inheritance/11-1_mendel.html).

    There is no difference between the methodolgy used by Mendel and the methodogy for determining the role of inheritance of psychological characteristics.

    One final reply :

    You write: All kinds of traits–eye color, height, bone length–are inherited, and those don’t prove evolution to be true.

    Here is my point one more time. I AM NOT TRYING TO PROVE THAT EVOLUTION IS TRUE OR THAT EVOLUTIONARY PSYCHOLOGY IS TRUE. NO SCIENCE OR SCIENTIFIC CLAIM CAN BE PROVEN TO BE TRUE.

    My only point is that both makes claims about empirical reality and hence both can be shown to be false by showing that reality is inconsistent with their claims. That is enough to make them scientific claims in that the essence of a scientific claim is that it implies possible observations that would be inconsistent with the claim.
    One more time I’ll give the standard example that has appeared an almost infinite number of times in nearly an infinite number of textbooks: The claim “All swans are white” is a scientific claim just because a possible observation (an observation of a non-white swan) is inconsistent with the claim. Thus a possible observation can falsify the claim.

    END of STORY. I Will not explain this any further.

  89. AWTIMU says:

    Can someone just please explain one more time the following:

    1. RE: Giraffes – did they ACTUALLY evolve? I’m so confused :/
    2. RE: God – what was the chap up to 6001 years ago?
    3. Where has Bill gone? I miss him.

    Thanks :)

    Nik-Nak-Snack-Attack

  90. Hello AWTIMU,

    1. No animal evolved. Evolution is an incredibly stupid tale adults hope beyond hope is true so they don’t have to believe they have a Creator.

    2. I don’t know. I’m not sure I’d want to be in your shoes when you stand before Him having referred to Him as a chap. However, there is forgiveness in Christ.

    3. I wrote a post yesterday. Otherwise I haven’t written as much, mostly due to not having many ideas for posts. Thanks for asking.

    Bill

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