REPLY #29c TO|
"EVOLUTION VS. CREATIONISM"
Boldfaced statements are parts of the original essay (or a subsequent reply) to which the respondent has directed his comments.
Italicized/emphasized comments prefaced by (R) are those of the respondent and are presented unedited.
My replies appear under the respondent's comments in blue text and are prefaced by my initials (MB).
This is the third of a five-part reply. Select the "Go to next reply" link at the end of each part to read the next part of the reply.
QUESTION(S) REMAINING UNANSWERED
Can I not examine the evidence contained within the rocks that *were* around at
- "The local Radio Shack doesn't yet carry them [time machines]. But, I fail to
see why this would be required. Perhaps you could explain?"
- RE: How old are you? 35? 45?
As of this writing, I'm 41. How old are you?"
(Additional comment) I find it interesting that you avoided answering this question. This is
because of a previous e-mail discussion I had about four years ago that was very
similar to this one. My opponent turned out to be 13 years old and his parting
shot was "I don't care if you prove it to me! I *still* won't believe it!".
(R) The question was not whether you could examine evidence, rather, it was
whether or not the rocks are really that old.
(MB) Actually, the question was about whether or not I could know that the rocks
are that old if I wasn't also that old. By your logic, you cannot possibly
believe in Jesus since you weren't around when he lived.
(R) How do you know that there isn't a substantial error in our dating
(MB) Because there are numerous methods for dating samples that can be
cross-checked and verified. Also, because the applicable laws of physics are
solid and have been experimentally verified.
(R) Or possibly some unknown natural phenomena occurred at some point in earth's
history that caused the appearance of artificial dates?
(MB) What "unknown natural phenomena" might account for rock samples being
incorrectly dated? What laws of physics need substantial revision because of
QUESTION(S) REMAINING UNANSWERED
RE: "Can you please explain to me how non-living matter ever became living
- "On what basis do you believe that the Earth is only 500K years old? That
number rings a bell as one of the beliefs of the followers of Zechariah Sitchin.
Are you one of them? If not, I'd like to know where that number comes
Perhaps this link will provide sufficient information. [Intro to Biology]
(R) I take that as a "no."
(MB) Considering that you can't even explain the difference between "living" and
"non-living", I can't see how you can say that the info contained at the
provided link doesn't answer your question. You will need to give more
detailed objections to its content before I can address your
(R) The information at that link did nothing more than expound a particular
(MB) I guess that's about as detailed as I can expect to get. Do you understand
what a "theory" is? Nothing gets to be a theory of science until and unless it
has sufficient and reliable supporting evidence to have earned general
acceptance. If you don't agree with the theory, you can't just brush it off
because it *is* a "theory". You must provide detailed objections along with
precise evidence that contradicts the theory. Failure to do so is no more
significant an objection than howling at the Moon would be.
Experiments have shown that when polymerized amino acids come into
contact with water, they form proteinoid microspheres which contain a
double-layered, electrically active surface similar to a membrane.
(R) Now I know you don't know what you are talking about. I was referring to
(MB) So was I. The process described is just the first of many steps which
leads to the formation of RNA/DNA. Your original objection was that even this
first step couldn't possibly happen. The facts say otherwise.
(R) By the way, the membrane that is produced is nothing like a cell
(MB) Quite correct. However, since a proteinoid microsphere is not a "cell",
there is no reason for their respective membranes to be similar.
ANSWER(S) REMAINING UNQUESTIONED
RE: "Can you please show me a demonstration of abiotic matter becomin biotic
- "The second part of the above quote was cut out. It was --
This surface protects the compounds within the microsphere from coming into
contact with other compounds that would destroy them. Creationist argument
focuses solely on the compounds involved and conveniently forgets about the
protective surface of the microspheres."
I will do so upon receipt of your definitions and differentiation of "abiotic"
and "biotic" matter.
(R) Biotic: Of life or living organisms.
Abiotic: Not of life or living organisms.
(MB) Besides the fact that you haven't yet even clearly defined the difference
between "life" and "non-life", these attempted definitions actually define
nothing. For example, what characteristic(s) of "life" are being invoked? The
terms are very specific and I'm attempting to find out if you even understand
them before you can try to argue about them.
In effect, you did when you presented the quote and claimed that it
(R) No, I presented the quote to show you how the man speaks out of two sides
of his mouth! Just like Gould.
(MB) Since I've already demonstrated the numerous misquotations that you've
copied, how can you continue to hang onto them? How can you accuse somebody of
speaking out of two sides of his mouth when it's abundantly clear that you don't
have the faintest idea what he is actually saying? You also claimed to have
read his articles in Free Inquiry and that you own a few of his books, yet
couldn't explain why you still believe the he disputes evolution.
ANSWER(S) REMAINING UNQUESTIONED
Multicellular organisms arose from an aggregation of unicellular
- "At this point, an out-of-context statement has been created by excising the
first few sentences of the paragraph which leads up to it. The missing and
unaddressed part said:
The cause of the Cambrian explosion is not the same as its effects. You're also
quite wrong when you claim that the newly-appearing species have no evolutionary
(R) *giggle* Oh really? How do you know that? Do we have "fossils" of
ancient unicellular and multicellular organisms with all of the necessary
(MB) Indeed, we do. In fact, we have living examples today. Ever hear of a
bacterial colony? That's an example of the first important step in how
multicellular organisms got their start.
We speak English, but you have left out an important English word in
your misquote. That word is "overlap". What you left out of the context of
the quote was the point that Stanley was actually making. That is that
species ancestors overlap with their descendants rather than ancestors
suddenly and totally becoming a new species.
(R) Right, and isn't this powerful evidence against Punctuated equilibrium
since it *does* speculate that decendants of ancestors *do* become new
species "suddenly," like in spikes followed by stasis?
(MB) Absolutely not. You still don't seem to understand the difference between
long-term gradualism, short-term punctuated equilibrium, and overnight and
wholesale conversions of one species to another. Remember that "suddenly" in
geologic terms can mean a period of up to several million years. PE certainly
produces relative "spikes" of new speciation, but the ancestral species still
overlap with the new one(s). Speciation continues during the period of relative
stasis over the tens of millions of years that follow. It just takes place at a
much slower pace since the ecosystem doesn't provide the room for rapid
speciation once all or most of the available slots have been filled.
QUESTION(S) REMAINING UNANSWERED
You're asking another Gishism. He says that we should expect to find
evidence, for example, of a reptile laying an egg and a bird emerging.
- "Now, I think you need to define your understanding of "fundamental change" and
why species cannot undergo such changes."
(R) Thats sounds more like a Gishism of Goldschmitz's Hopeful Monster Theory.
However, it seems quite evident that PE is nothing more than a rehashed
version of the Hopeful Monster theory.
(MB) Somebody already tried this one on me in
Reply #5a. Here's what I said in response:
This is lifted directly from Gish's combination of
distortions of the punctuated equilibrium theory of Stephen J. Gould and Niles
Eldridge with his ridiculing of the phrase "hopeful monsters" used in a paper by
Richard Goldschmidt to describe the appearance and survival of macromutations.
Gish tries to claim that scientists support the notion that, in his words, "that
one time a reptile laid an egg and a bird was hatched from the egg!". In
reality, nobody claims anything of the sort. Mutations are the engine of change
in living things and they are more likely to survive when they occur in isolated
populations where competitive pressures are lessened. In such an environment,
the mutated creature (or "hopeful monster") has a much better chance of
surviving to reproduce and pass along an overall change to future generations in
You claim to have read this [abiogenesis page], but maybe you'd like to have
another, more thorough look at it.
(R) I DID read that. The arguments shown are totally unrealistic and
(MB) I think we've heard that old song several times before and it's no better
this time around. Once again, we have a blanket dismissal with not even so much
as one single specific objection. Why do you think that such dismissals are any
sort of conclusive argument? What, specifically and in detail, is wrong with
the information contained on that page?
(R) Do you agree with everything you read?
(MB) Absolutely not. After all, I *have* read the Bible,
(R) If not, then why do insist that I haven't read something if I don't agree
(MB) I can produce all sorts of detailed objections to things I've read and with
which I disagree. To date, you have failed to produce even one in response to
any of the material contained at the links I've provided. I've also shown good
reason to believe that you haven't actually read the books from which you've
copied your misquotes. I pretty much proved that in the case of the Origin of
Species. You offered six different quotes -- all of which are featured verbatim
in Creationist materials. I provided conclusive refutations to all of them
(including the one that wasn't from Origin of Species at all) and you couldn't
provide so much as one single word in support of your original position. In
fact, you cut out the whole thread in its entirety from this latest response. I
can only assume that you'll try to lump it into the "rantings and ravings"
category, but a simple acknowledgement of your errors would have
You said that the natural processes of evolution "are the almighty
power that can change bacterium into man". Are you now willing to agree
that Man is *not* the inevitable end product of evolution?
(R) Inevitable or not, I don't think man is the product of evolution.
(MB) Why not? I know that you believe in the special creation of Man by God,
but what evidence is there to support such a notion? How do you account for the
mountains of evidence from many different scientific disciplines that
(R) Theorectically, it is true if we turned the clock back and started over,
it is improbable that evolution would have produced man again.
(MB) I agree and there's no reason why it should be any other way. But, your
statement leads to another question. Would you believe in evolution if it was
ever proven that Man actually *was* created uniquely by God and was not the
product of an evolutionary ancestry?
High improbabilities prove nothing by themselves. It can easily be
proven that a great many quite normal things are results of the "beating"
of very long odds. For example, shuffle a fair deck of cards and deal out a
four-player hand of bridge and examine the resulting hands. The odds
against that exact deal are so long that, by your logic, it couldn't have
happened by chance. Yet, there the cards are!
(R) I am familiar with the cards, dice rolling, Random number generators, and
all the other non-arguments of probability.
(MB) How do you define probability as a "non-argument"? It is an undeniable
tenet of basic mathematics.
(R) However, if you noticed I used the word "assumption."
(MB) What's to "assume" about probability? The only assumptions derive from
improper application or insufficient understanding. You will demonstrate these
in the next paragraph...
(R) My point is simple. If I tell you that there is a
70% chance of rain tomorrow; which assumption is better supported by
probability? "It will rain?" Or "it will not rain?" The assumption based
on the most probability is the stronger, while the assumption based on the
most improbability is the weakest.
(MB) While this is correct at the most trivial level, it does not take an
important point into consideration. If we have two possible and
mutually-exclusive outcomes for an event (call them "A" and "B"), if the
probability of "A" is less than 100%, then "B" can also happen and can happen
even if there is only one trial. This means that while "A" may be "more likely"
and an assumption that it will happen might be "stronger", one cannot argue
against the occurrence of "B" solely on that basis. And, if "B" actually
happens, it cannot be denied solely because it was the more improbable of the
(R) Therefore, my assumption that "it did not happen by chance/natural process"
is stronger and better supported by probability than your assumption that it
(MB) This is the standard Creationist line and it suffers from the failings
detailed above. In addition, it also suffers from the implicit and invalid
assumption that life was a one-shot deal. As a demonstration of this, it is
easy to use the same invalid reasoning to demonstrate that you shouldn't have
been born since the probabilities are much higher that either no fertilization
and implantation would have taken place or that there will millions of other
possible combinations of sperm and egg that would not have produced you. Yet,
you are here, aren't you?
Why don't you offer some specific points of dispute with the fact that
Homo sapiens is an evolutionary accident instead of just brushing aside the
(R) Because I don't think Homo Sapien is an evolutionary anything.
(MB) Once again, I guess that's as specific as I'm likely to hear from you. Of
course, this doesn't answer any questions either in support of your views or
against the evolutionary picture. What specific arguments support your
Considering that no theory in the history of science which has even
approached the level of supporting evidence enjoyed by evolution has ever
died out or been replaced, on what basis do you predict this fate for
evolution? What will replace it if it is overturned? Why do you predict
that this will happen shortly?
(R) What you are calling "supporting" evidence can easily be interpreted in
(MB) Sure, it can. It just can't be done correctly, coherently or sensibly. If
you disagree, please present the details of such an interpretation.
(R) I base it on theoretical waffling that has gone on in last 30 years or so,
and see these as a foretaste of its ultimate demise.
(MB) What "theoretical waffling" would this be and why is it restricted to the
last 30 years or so? Or, are you going to fall back on those old misquotes
(R) I don't know what will replace it, but I suspect it may be a theory that
allows some metaphysical explanations rather than a blindly natural
(MB) Why should anything metaphysical be given any consideration? I suspect
that you will also need to define your meaning of "metaphysical" in the course
of your answer.
Oh, by the way, science has never believed that man came from monkeys. Science
says that man and monkeys diverged separately from a common ancestor.
(R) This is another example of your hair-splitting.
(MB) What "hair-splitting" is this? Man is Man and monkeys are monkeys. The
connection between the two is their common ancestor. What's the
(R) There are some who say that man evolved from apes, and others who say that
apes in fact evolved from man!
(MB) And, of course, both are entirely wrong!
(R) But your argument raises the question: "What was the common ancestor they
both evolved from?"
(MB) And, if I could provide the definitive answer to that question, I would
likely receive a Nobel Prize. There are several candidate species that are
under debate, but there is not yet enough evidence to point to one and say
without question that it is the one we're looking for. It is also possible that
we have not yet found the fossil evidence of the actual ancestral species from
which Man and Ape actually began to diverge. But, there is no question that
there *is* such a comman ancestor.
QUESTION(S) REMAINING UNANSWERED
We are. And, evolution puts two and two together to get four. In other
words, it combines available data to reach proper conclusions -- as does
- "Why can't humans be involved in science if science is an objective system?"
- "I know you won't like this, but it is the alternative posited by Creationists
that is devoid of empiricism and mathematics. Why do you think that they are so
reluctant to defend their own ideas and concentrate almost entirely on attacking
- "Why would you say that ["Man is a philosophical beast by nature"]? Philosophy
is a rather recent innovation of Man."
(R) I understand, but the problem is with your term "proper" conclusions.
To you, the only "proper" conclusions are evolutionary, which I strongly
disagree with. I think there are other conclusions that are not
evolutionary which most certainly are proper.
(MB) A "proper" conclusion is one that best fits the evidence. It doesn't
matter what we want to be true or what would make us feel better. Theology
appeals to emotion while science appeals to reason. Each reaches its own
conclusions based upon its particular focus. If we're looking for reality, we
would certainly be better advised to stick with reason. That reality won't care
a whit for our emotions. Humanity tried the theological approach and the result
was the thousand-year period known as the Dark Ages.
Now, what specific "proper conclusions" do you reach that are not
evolutionary in nature and why do you reach them?
If there is no evidence of anything else, why would such a claim be
considered to be nothing more than philosophy?
(R) It is just as philosophical to say there is *no* Creator of nature as to
say that there is.
(MB) Of course. That's why supporting evidence is the deciding factor.
However, since the positive existential claim in support of a Creator bears the
burden of proof, its denial is the more reasonable position until such time as
evidence is produced to support that claim.
(R) I think evidence does exist of supernatural reality.
(MB) And, what would this be? Details, please!
(R) But because of you naturalistic philosophical bias, you would reject such
(MB) I reject no evidence nor does any other thinking person. The only thing
that might be rejected are invalid conclusions and illogical claims that might
be made on the basis of the presented evidence. Why don't you present your
evidence and try me out? If you refuse to do so, that's even worse than having
no evidence whatsoever as it would indicate that you don't even believe it
yourself. If you don't believe it yourself, why should anyone else?
By that logic, you must consider almost every branch of science to be
nothing more than philosophy since there are no branches of science which
postulate anything other than naturalistic explanations for what we
(R) That is correct but why? The reason is simple. The current scientific
paradigm is one of materialism and naturalism.
(MB) It has nothing to do with paradigms and everything to do with reality. If
you consider reality to be nothing more than philosophy, I feel sorry for
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