REPLY #25 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).
(R) First, thank you for your open invitation for email dialogue.
(MB) It's the best way I know of to foster debate on important issues and to try to sort out the facts from the fictions.
(R) I would consider myself to be a Christian Fundamentalist.
(MB) It shouldn't come as any surprise to hear that I would be disappointed to hear that. But, let's see what you have to say...
(R) I have been researching the issue of origins for some time now, and have been greatly enjoying the mental exercise. However, the comments you made in your essay reveal the utter ignorance of stereotypical labeling. Your essay is almost as biased and inaccurate as the movie "Inherit the Wind." Clearly, you are showing that you are a victim of the stereotypical propaganda surrounding this issue.
(MB) And, just how would I be showing this? Am I ignorant for understanding and accepting the facts demonstrated by science? Would I be better advised to abandon reality in order to transition to blind faith in the 4000-year-old myths of Hebrew nomads and the intellectual emptiness of apologetic writers?
(R) There is no doubt that there has been contention between religion and science throughout recent history.
(MB) There is bound to be contention between any systems which approach issues from opposite directions. Science reaches conclusions by examining the available evidence. Religion starts with the conclusions it desires and cares little for whether or not there is any evidence to support them.
(R) But in case you didn't know, during Darwin's lifetime, his greatest opponents were fossil experts, not clergymen.
(MB) You forget that paleontology was an infant science in Darwin's lifetime. As it progressed, its findings provided more and more solid evidence in support of Darwin. You also forget that clergymen initially only thought that evolution applied to the Galapagos creatures that Darwin observed. When they finally came to understand that it applies equally to Homo sapiens, that's when they turned on Darwin.
(R) The fossil record is an embarrassment to evolutionary theory and looks much the same as it did in Darwin's time; which is stasis.
(MB) This couldn't be any more wrong. The fossil record shows anything *but* stasis over the billions of years it chronicles.
(R) Evolution, in it's essence, is nothing more than a theoretical world-view with the philosophy of Naturalism as its greatest underpinning.
(MB) Oh? How does that work? Evolution theory is one of the great triumphs of science and is among the most well-established and solidly demonstrated theories ever.
(R) Evolutionary theory is rife with fiction, fantasy, and frauds such as Piltdown-man, Nebraska-man, Java-man, etc.,etc.
(MB) Just like religion, eh? The difference is that religion seeks to protect its fiction, fantasy, and frauds since it has nothing else with which to support itself. Science actively tests and retests all of its theories to weed out anything which isn't on the up-and-up.
(R) You want to talk about concern for our schools' science text books? Doesn't it bother you that "Piltdown-man" was showcased in school textbooks as proof of human evolution for over 30 years before it was finally exposed as a fraud? Same thing is true for all the other hoaxes.
(MB) Why should that bother me? Sure, I'd rather that there had never been any bogus information at all, but that's not always possible. What's important is that the errors are fixed when they are discovered. That is what has happened in the cases you mentioned. What disturbs me is how those who oppose evolution can use a corrected hoax as some sort of argument against evolution while still clinging to the biggest hoax of all time for their own pet theory. How long does it take religion to correct its mistakes?
(R) But the biggest argument against evolution has nothing to do with religion, emotions, feelings, fear, etc. The biggest argument against evolution has come from the fields of microbiology and biochemistry. The RNA\DNA synthesis theories for the prebiotic soup are untestable, unprovable, and unobservable. So how is it "scientific?"
(MB) The theories are scientific precisely because they *are* testable and demonstrable. Just because Creationists can't accept them doesn't mean that they are wrong. Creationists will need to come up with some definitive reasons why these theories are wrong rather than just blanketly disavowing them. Now, how can Creationists advance these sorts of arguments against evolution when they themselves propose an alternative which, by their own admission, is untestable, unprovable, and unobservable in addition to having absolutely no supporting evidence whatsoever? Isn't this some sort of double standard?
(R) There is no evidence of the actual existence of this pre-biotic soup, other than within an evolutionist's book of bed-time fairytales. It is only a theoretical entity.
(MB) Incorrect. Evidence exists trapped in small pockets within the oldest rocks.
(R) Also, we do not have ancient earths, or ancient pro-biotic soups to do tests on in laboratories.
(MB) No, but we do have evidence of them as related above. Since we have evidence of them, we can recreate those environments and conduct tests on them.
(R) Scientists are using philosophical opionion and their fertile imaginations to make conjectures concerning what these hypothetical entities may have been comprised of. They have absolutely no way of knowing these entities existed unless they have a time-machine.
(MB) Since we do have this evidence, your criticism is off-base.
(R) And without the pre-biotic soup and all the exact conditions, life on earth has no scientific explanation.
(MB) Since the premise of this argument is wrong, the conclusion is invalid.
(R) I have read many books by Gould, Dawkins, Futuyma, Sagan, etc, and have yet to see a single example of a vertically transient fossil form of one species into another.
(MB) Please give an example of this sort of speciation with which you don't agree. For example, a common Creationist argument is that evolution is wrong since we don't see cats turning into dogs. Of course, evolution doesn't claim such a thing, either, but Creationists conveniently forget that.
(R) This should be no surprise since even Gould has said that stasis in the fossil record is the trade-secret of paleontology.
(MB) You are taking Gould out of context. Gould's theory of punctuated equilibrium states that evolution is not a continuous and unbroken tale of progressive development. Instead, sudden bursts of speciation interrupt longer periods of relative stasis. The sudden changes happen after catastrophic events such as the asteroid impact which brought about the extinction of the dinosaurs and the rise of mammals. Stasis sets in when the available ecological niches are filled by existing species.
(R) The fossil record is comprised of species that appear suddenly, fully-formed and remain on the record for an average of 1 million years with no clear vector of morphological progress, and then vanish.
(MB) It also shows the divergence of ancestral species into different descendant lines. Some of those lines survive and prosper while others die out. The record of the development of the modern horse, Equus, is solid proof of evolution in action.
(R) This is called "immutability of the species" and is the defining characteristic of the fossil record. And paleontologists know it.
(MB) You are taking one small cut and extrapolating it to the whole of the fossil record in order to reach an invalid conclusion.
(R) Anyways, there is much more to be said on this issue. I look forward to any response you may have.
(MB) Indeed, this is an issue with a lot that can be discussed. Unfortunately for them, the Creationists are fighting a hopelessly losing battle on this one. Not only do they not have one solid argument against evolution, they don't have any decent arguments in favor of their own alternative theory. So, they fail miserably on both ends of the debate. Science has already won this debate conclusively. The fact that Creationists still dispute this is no more reason to take their objections seriously than the existence of the Flat Earth Society is any reason to doubt that the Earth is spherical.
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