Bernard White

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Does creationism indicate bad education? (If so how can we fix this, and should it be taught?) Does Creationism have any credibility to it?

I started this debate, with a new aspect (or perspective) on our current education problem. Considering many focus on how to motivate students and various other aspects. Yet this (creationism) still remains a big problem to the American education system today, and I don't think many people think about this when they consider the education system today.

I feel I should have probably made this clearer, when I say creationism, I am making reference to the type of creationism which tell people "Evolution is wrong". (Or in other words the "Creationism vs Evolution" debate).

Creationism - http://www.creationism.org/
Does it have any credibility to it? Should it be considered a science?
Considering due to recent polls 46% of American believe in creationism.
Link :
- http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/05/americans-believe-in-creationism_n_1571127.html

Many psychological studies have shown a strong correlation between a lack of education and creationism. These studies indicate that not many creationists actually understand what the scientific method is.
With all this talk of how to "improve education" surely it would be wise, to finally finish the "Creationism vs Evolution" debate, if we wish to ensure a better scientific education!
Watch this 3 minute link : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UTedvV6oZjo (By Lawrence Krauss)

Here are some reasons, people believe creationism should be taught in schools, which I believe are false :
http://listverse.com/2013/02/07/10-reasons-creationism-should-be-taught-in-school/
Considering, if the polls are to be believed, 46% of Americans are missing out (in my opinion) on a proper scientific education.

I think it is worth mentioning though, that I am fine with "Theistic evolution".
A good book recommendation on this matter is "Finding Darwin's God: A Scientist's Search for Common Ground Between God and Evolution" by Kenneth R. Miller. I personally have never understood the claim "Atheism = Evolution"...

  • Jun 4 2013: The reason that people who argue for teaching creationism (or intelligent design which is the same thing) are wrong is because faith cannot answer questions of science, and science cannot answer questions of faith.

    In science, if you cannot test your hypothesis and show it to be wrong, then you cannot use that as a hypothesis. In faith though, any faith, there are many untestable hypotheses.

    The simplest example is the question why is the sky blue? If your hypothesis is that God made it that way- then you cannot test that, and therefore it is not science. It may be right or wrong but we don't "know."

    If your hypothesis is that the sky is blue because it is reflecting the ocean (the guess I hear most often from my students- which, it turns out isn't the reason- look it up! :-) then you can test that and it is a good scientific hypothesis.

    This also speaks to the nature of science which can be confusing. That is, in science we say that nothing really can ever be proven true! Evolution is just a theory- but so is gravity! The only "laws" are those mathematical equations such as F = MA that are based on physics.

    So, if there was ever any evidence that the theory of evolution was wrong (just ONE fossil out of order for example) then scientists would have to research another explanation. In the same way, if any evidence ever appeared that our understanding of gravity was wrong, then scientists would have to get busy.

    However, over a long period of time, all of our observations of these two phenomena have lead to the current conclusions- across many centuries and many cultures etc... That is how science works. Sometimes it takes a while for a consensus to be reached- think of the Copernican revolution for example, but eventually once many scientists have seen the evidence, the current theory takes shape.

    It is important not to discount right away dissenting voices- our history shows that many times, the evidence for their claims was there. If not, ignore them.
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      Jun 4 2013: The reason, I believe, science and intelligent design do not contradict each other is that we can explain why the sky is blue, how species evolved, or whatever else we can or want to explain, and still say "God made it that way". But "God made it that way" is not a scientific explanation.
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        Jun 4 2013: Arkady, (I hope you don't mind me asking) do you believe that a God (or spirit of any kind) exists? Sorry, because I can not honestly remember! (I have a very bad memory!) I just want to know. :D
        Regards,
        Bernard.
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          Jun 4 2013: I can't give a simple answer. I've recently watched this video

          http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL02CEFC90145D6D22

          It explains quite well why certain things cannot be explained in a logical way using words. Words are symbols. Symbols are meaningful only when they are connected to something else. When we ask "does tree exist?" What do we mean by that? It's impossible to answer without context. It can mean a specific plant, a general kind of plants, or we can refer to a structure with "branches" stemming from a "trunk" (e.g. a tree of biological species). Now, what does it mean "to exist"? We can't literally "see" the tree of biological species. It exists only as an idea. It doesn't mean that it's not "real" or "does not exist".

          If "God" means a bearded old man in the sky with a stern look watching our every step who, supposedly, created us "from dust" and will judge our deeds - no. I don't believe such old man in the sky exists.

          If "God" and "spirit" refers to a principle that drives existence and our life - yes. I believe, such principle exists.
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          Jun 4 2013: I think, Alan Watts video does an excellent job demonstrating why life and universe as a whole cannot be explained in words in a sequential manner as in "A came from B". Attempts to understand life and universe as a sequence of causes and effects lead to the "chicken-and-egg" argument which has no answer or logic. Everyone knows and understand that eggs grow inside a chicken, and chickens develop from eggs. They grow together, from inside each other - from within "self". The growth of life, growth of ripples on the water, and the expansion of universe is the same process governed by the same principle. If I ask you, where a circular ripple on the water starts, the obvious answer is that a ripple starts from its center. You will not find where a ripple starts by going around the ripple - from the chicken to the egg, back and forth. You will not find it going from one ripple to the next either - all ripples are alike. Each ripple moves on, raising ripples in front and ripples behind. The principle that caused the ripples is in the center of them, but it's not the part of the ripples.

          I cannot explain it with words arranged in sentences. "Those who know, don't tell; and those who tell don't know". If you understand what I'm talking about, it would be enough for me to draw an image of ripples on the water with no explanation. I believe, this elusive "self" which is in the center of everything is God (I am who I am). So, it's ultimately useless to discuss whether matter comes from spirit or spirit comes from matter, whether we need faith to find knowledge or we need knowledge to believe, whether we have free will to choose our experiences or whether our choices are predetermined by our past experiences. We are looking at ripples spreading from the center. What's in the center? "Self". What is "self"? It's "self" - that's it.

          I love the new animation that they use in front of all TED videos now.
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          Jun 4 2013: And, if anyone thinks he understands how ripples from a drop of water are formed, watch this.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9wnmRa-Nrg

          or this

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nPLJ9qwfO9U

          Notice how a drop creates ripples, and ripples create a new drop. What causes what? Chicken and egg again.

          There are, perhaps, hundreds of slow-motion videos of ripples from a drop of water, some are accompanied by the kind of music used in churches, and some - by "spiritual" messages from all kinds of religions. How do people make these connections and associations? In a "metaphoric" or "spiritual" sense, this drop of water causes "ripples" in our minds and our words cause "ripples" in the minds of other people.
        • Jun 5 2013: Arkady,

          I feel like they explained the phenomon of the water droplet forming pretty well in the first youtube video you gave us?! What is your question?

          They said it was a layer of air that holds the droplet up, and is slowly pushed out from between the droplet and the water. Tthen, because the mixing of the droplet and the water happens so fast- some gets pinched off (the new, smaller droplet). After that, the surface tension of the water holds the new droplet up until the new layer of air is pushed out from inbetween them. This process repeats until the droplet is small enough to be completely absorbed.
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          Jun 13 2013: Austin,

          Re: "I feel like they explained the phenomon of the water droplet forming pretty well in the first youtube video you gave us?! What is your question? "

          They feel that way too. When we see something, we feel that we understand it and can explain it. Once these scientists got this fancy camera in their hands and "saw" it, immediately, there is a theory in their head explaining it and the scientist who saw it first can look smart on the video and explain this and that. But did the scientist have any idea of this droplet bouncing back and forth before he saw it? I have a feeling that seeing this droplet bouncing over 4 times on the water within a fraction of a second was a complete surprise. And I'm sure, if they look at it under 10,000x magnification or slow down the time 1000 times more they would see something they have no idea about.

          Do you understand what "understanding" means? You can say, you do, and it may be so. But there is no logic or explanation. There is nothing but reference to "self" again.
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      Jun 8 2013: "You and my faith half agree on a lot of this, and you and my science half disagree."

      Not to sound arrogant and condescending, but let me make this observation: One man's "faith" is another man's fact.

      My argument is anecdotal, based on personal experience, and not "faith." I don't expect you, or another not so disposed, to agree with my experience, but my knowledge of life and the unseen reality that buttress it is unshakable.

      "Ideas are not necessary for life. Saying the purpose of life is life itself is begging the question with an invalid premise."

      Value it or not, the Source of life is Life, the substance of life is Life, the outcome of life is Life, the reason for life is Life (or we wouldn't see so much of it, at least on this planet), and when I continue Life after my physical body ceases to be, Life will still define, and sustain me.

      For my part, I don't see science as a friend, but I'm not at war with it either, not in ways that are obvious. Ignorance and laziness was, and is, so many impediments to spiritual growth (the source of real power and dominion), and science continues to usurp that power by insisting that man and the universe are essentially, if not wholly, physical.

      I fault religions, more than science, for not entering the Kingdom, and for not allowing mankind to enter the Kingdom when it sought the kingdom, although these religions held the keys.

      I don't seek to reconcile science with religion as I don't think the two intercept, but are irreconcilable and antagonistic one toward the other, with religion designating God (Spirit) as the Source of all we see, while science elevates matter and enshrines empiricism as the way to understand life, our world, and our universe, including those physical mechanisms that seem to drive it.

      I hate being an alarmist, but this world is at a crossroads. We'll lose if we travel the road we're taking, where our focus is turned outward, rather than inward, and we choose to not go within, but to go without
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    May 28 2013: I would be interested to know what percentage of Americans understand the science behind evolution.

    The most important premise behind any debate such as this one is that all questions must be honest. In other words, each participant must be prepared to change their views/back down if their questions are answered to their satisfaction.

    Personally, I think that it is more scientific to teach the widest scope of theories to do with the origin of the universe in schools as possible, as it is impossible to prove any one view. It is surely unscientific to limit teaching material to one view or interpretation of evidence. Thus, I would say that teaching creationism in schools is not a problem, (not that it is taught widely anyway), but it should be presented as a theory just as anything else on the topic of origins should be.

    To those other Christians engaging in heated debate, I would remind them that arguing about creationism is not the way to convince people to join their religion. Also, while Christianity is certainly not un-supported by historical and scientific evidence, it deals mostly in matters of the heart. Creationism should not become the central issue determining the credibility of our faith.
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      Jun 4 2013: Yes that would be very interesting to find out! :D
  • May 15 2013: Creationism as in "creationism versus evolution" is clearly wrong. It is far from being science. The kind of creationism that pretends that there was really a global flood and that the planet is just 6000 or so years old is the worst in terms of how ignorant and miseducated people have to be in order to believe such things. The conflict between that kind of creationism and the most basic science is overwhelming, and thus reflects horrendous ignorance and miseducation.

    However, I doubt that we can educate people well enough that a majority became able to see the problems with that kind of creationism. I still think that it is worth trying to educate people as well as possible. Our future as humanity depends enormously on having scientifically literate people.
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    Jun 12 2013: As this conversation gets to the end... and reading most of these comments, I am still not convinced that the teaching of creationism hasn't any appreciable effect on the educational crisis is public schools. Considering the the vast majority if not all public schools do not teach these subjects. Public school education is failing without the help of religious beliefs. Private and parochial school are doing better in teaching according to most measures.

    As far as creditably goes, like beauty, it is in the eye of the beholder....

    Good run, Bernie
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      Jun 12 2013: I agree! :-) Thanks for your comment! :D
      I do sometimes wonder myself whether certain statistics are to be trusted, like according to some polls (as cited) roughly 50% of Americans are meant to be creationists (and the statistic which claims 70% of people in the world believe in some Deity). This isn't that surprising to me, considering we are intuitive (or inherent) creationists (Evolutionary thinking doesn't come naturally). However according to another poll, more people believe in the Devil (60%) and hell (61%) than in evolution. While it is worrying that 42% believe in Ghosts and 32% believe in UFO's! Very worrying!
      Yet I do think there is enough data to suggest that creation is correlated (I would be inclined to argue causation) with a poor level of a scientific education. I strongly believe that science shouldn't really be democratic, in the way of "teaching of controversy". (Not to say people shouldn't be allowed freedom of speech, or be allowed to pose opposing theories!)
      Regards (as always),
      Bernard.
      P.S: I was really enjoying your TED Conversation! It does seem quite an important issue. If you don't mind me asking (honestly), have I ever insulted you? (I hope not!) Personally I'v always wondered why so many people are intolerant (and cruel) to eachother on Youtube, while on TED everybody is so respectful!
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        Jun 12 2013: Thanks Bernie,
        No, there has only been a very few times that I felt a phrase in response to me was a little over the top. But, I have seen some real zingers out there in the few months I have been on TED. I think some do not respond well to challenges to their point of view. So it is. Maybe, my talk will remind people that harsh speech doesn't really win many arguments and refrain from that sort of language.
        You got a point on polls. I saw some really questionable out there during our last elections.
        I have a couple of kids who are educators. One in Math and one in History/Civics. They have both told me that college level scientist do not go into teaching. The money is in Industry. So, if you have a class in college chemistry, you can be hired as a science teacher for high school. I said a class. Or course, you will also have biology and physics classes. This is more likely then the fact the Johnny doesn't know about the sciences because he heard about the Garden of Eden last Sunday.
        Moreover, teachers are not really teaching any more. They are educational facilitators.
        They handout workbooks addressing the state exams and answer any questions the student may have about the workbooks. They grade the workbooks and return to the student with explanations of how he may do better. They proctor the state exams, hoping their students do well as their jobs depend on it.
        So, then US is way behind the world in Math and Science... we don't do well in language arts either.
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        Jun 13 2013: "While it is worrying that 42% believe in Ghosts and 32% believe in UFO's! Very worrying!"

        Bernard, thanks for the conversation and the topic that generated so many disparate comments, and points of view.

        What should "worry" you about beliefs in Ghosts and UFOs is not that people are somehow inept thinkers, gullible, or irrational, but that the significantly high number of beliefs suggests the plenitude of encountered apparitions and UFO events that gave rise to these numbers.

        These beliefs generally have a basis in people's experiences, whether you believe them to be credible or not.

        The History Channel has run a program titled, "I Know What I Saw." I believe that it's about 5 segments long, and can be seen on YouTube. See link below. Regarding UFO sightings, many notables, including President Jimmy Carter, have claimed to have seen a UFO.

        One parting word: Were you privy to all that's occurring on this planet, you'd be amazed, and then amazed again.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7hLtFNyhaUo
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    Jun 8 2013: Bernard,

    I'm going to answer as many aspects of your title and explanation as I can in this post.

    Firstly "Does creationism indicate bad education? (If so how can we fix this, and should it be taught?) Does Creationism have any credibility to it?"

    Yes, creationism indicated and builds on bad education, a simple comparison of the atheistic vs religious academia will strongly support this. It can be fixed by removing it and therefore it should not be thought (in the manner it is, it should be taught along side all the other creation myths). And no, it has no credibility whatsoever except for those who already find it in religious scriptures.

    I have always considered religious pseudoscience to be a great problem for any education system, naturally thinking about the US first as you are predominant in this aspect in the west.

    Your point is clear to me, even without explaining it.

    It has no credibility to it. It should most definitely NOT be considered a science because it isn't a science! Science follows the scientific method, creation does not. 46% of your population is dead wrong, even more seem to believe in ghosts, I wouldn't be surprised if we find that a majority of Americans believe in unicorns soon enough... Although I would hope that they realize that there is nothing backing the claim that unicorns exist and that science doesn't have to prove to them that unicorn doesn't exist for them to stop believing (as is the current case with God).

    I have not encountered A SINGLE creationist (And through the years I've met many) that understood the scientific method. And there is definitely a correlation between religiousness and education. Basically the dumber you are the higher are the odds of you being religious.

    There's no way that you're going to "finally finish the "Creationism vs Evolution" debate" here... but thanks for doing your part in making people smarter, asking questions is all it takes.

    I'm out of characters now...
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    Jun 4 2013: Never ever should creationism be taught to kids. It is purely belief, regardless of how many people believe in it. In fact the only the poll of nearly 50% of americans believing in it makes me think that other countries truly have valid credibility to label us as the "stupid americans." if you want to study religion, do it on your own time but do not waste your beliefs on the future of a generation. Kids only believe in a God solely because they learn the bible before they learn science. It is sickening to me that people can sanely approve of beliefs being taught in a classroom that demands proof. Children are curious. If we block their knowledge with religion, which we have done forever, creativity is dampened and open mindedness is lost. do not teach what we hopelessly want to know. teach what we do know.
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      Jun 4 2013: Such surety in your position. A belief in a Divine Being is shared world wide. So, if I follow your logic, much of the great civilizations, art and science in human history were accomplished by "stupid" people.
      Further, religion doesn't demand proof, it demands faith.
      In the end, I am willing to wager that in your own ancestry, I could find some that held a strong belief in religion.
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      Jun 4 2013: Brendan,

      Americans believe in democracy, individual freedom, and human rights. Do you know of any scientific evidence on which such beliefs are based? What is the evidence that proves that any human has the right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness (or any other right for that matter)? I don't know of such evidence. These are moral beliefs. They are not scientific beliefs. These beliefs represent an ideology.

      Is it stupid to believe in human rights without evidence? Should we teach the subject of human rights to children at school? Isn't it "indoctrination" to teach these things to children at school so that they grow up and go to wars with countries where people have different beliefs?

      Not everything demands proof. Certain situations in life demand other things - compassion, forgiveness, trust, etc. That's what people refer to as "spiritual area of our life". Science does not help much there.
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      Jun 4 2013: I've heard this buzz-phrase in a commercial this morning "Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care". Shall we teach kids to "know" or shall we teach kids to "care"? Kids won't learn unless they "care" (have a passion) for something.

      "Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office than to serve and obey them." -- David Hume.

      I think, teaching children "to care" is more important than teaching them "to know". If hey care, they will learn on their own. What things should children "care" for? There is no scientific answer for that. This is a question of worldview, belief systems, moral principles, etc. Whether we want it or not, we teach these things to children. It's not a question "if we should teach belief systems to children", the question is "how we should teach".
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        Jun 5 2013: Yes, i got a bit defensive and sure of myself. That's probably what i get for arguing at 4 am while sleep deprived. I am just not ok with teaching kids things that don't necessarily apply to everyone in the classroom. Some may believe in God, while others do not, so to find a happy medium, i would say make it a selective course not mandatory. Similar to evolution, evolution should not be taught to people who don't believe in it. Respectfully, beliefs should be the foundation of education, and not wasting kids' time with things they don't even believe in. I guess my problem at heart is America's screwed up education system. Kids all have to learn things regardless of whether they want to, and it should be selective. If they grow up with religion, then yes, they should learn it. If they don't then they shouldn't. However it just should not be taught to everyone, resulting in a waste of some kids' time. (same with evolution)
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          Jun 5 2013: Perhaps, a few mandatory courses wouldn't hurt, but I agree, creationism shouldn't be one of them.

          I love it when people get humble and admit that I am right. It makes me so proud of myself! :-D
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        Jun 5 2013: it's just that if creationism is going to be mandatory then evolution should be as well. Creationism is always talked about in my classrooms and then evolution is like the vocal taboo. It's just stupid to me, and both should be on par.
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          Jun 5 2013: Then, your attitude is understandable. Are you talking about a public school? Is it taught as a "scientific theory" in a science class?

          Here, in Oregon, in public schools people never even mention Christmas - it's all euphemisms - "Winter Holidays" and "Season's greetings". I don't like it either. I have 3 kids in schools and I don't think they teach creationism here. I myself went to school in Ukraine.

          Is there statistics in how many states they teach creationism in biology class in public schools?

          What would happen if you voice your opinion in class against teaching creationism as science? Has anyone raised this issue to the school board or the state government?
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        Jun 5 2013: thats really interesting to me. around here, christmas is the only holiday ever mentioned. our teachers openly talk about their beliefs on creationism but discussion and teaching of evolution is banned. its unreasonable to me and yes, it is a public school. As far as I am aware declaring belief in evolution in the classroom is just brushed aside and its a real shame. I want to learn about it and I can't because of the school's rules. Raising the issue to a 100% catholic school board will have pitiful results. As for the government, Illinois is already in enough trouble with laying off teachers and whatnot. Bottom line, no (humane) subject should be banned. Some schools teach evolution and ban creationism. As for the rest, we have the opposite.

        I like the insight you provided though. The amount of biased opinion around here is ridiculous. I don't know Ukraine does it, but I'm sure its better. We offer a bible school, and relgion class, but evolution is banned. its unfair to kids.
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          Jun 5 2013: Apparently, not all states in the U.S. are equal in this respect. As for learning about evolution, "The Origin of Species" is online. There are tons of books around. Schools can't teach everything anyway.

          Ukraine has other issues, with education and otherwise. Quite honestly, everyone is bashing education in the U.S. - that we teach kids the way we did it 50 years ago. It's not true. It's not all that bad. I am thinking to start a discussion here on TED to say some good things about education in the U.S.
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    May 24 2013: In my opinion, evolution does not contradict creationism at all.

    Science, in general, and evolution, in particular, answer the question "how?" rather than "why?". "Why?" is a human question. It's a question of purpose and motivation which material universe lacks.

    Creationism, on the other hand, is, mostly concerned with "why?" rather than "how?". It's a religious question. I don't think, it can be taught without teaching religion, and teaching religion in public schools is wrong. In my opinion, it's like teaching about hurricanes in a science class and asking a question "why did innocent children had to die in Oklahoma?". That's not a scientific question.
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      May 24 2013: I have heard a very different story my friend.
      One which involved God not just being the 'why', yet god also being the 'how'.
      That is what 'creationism' is as I define it.
      Out of interest why do you view teaching religion is wrong? I can accept teaching creationism (in a science class) is wrong, Yet find religion harder to accept.
      Considering there are many religions (some old which included old Gods like the Ancient Greek Gods, and some new which include monotheistic Gods).
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        May 24 2013: Miracles are called miracles because they have no explanations and go beyond our everyday experience. Once we have an explanation "how" something happens, it becomes science. Do you have an example where the Bible explains the "how" in the creation story?

        I did not say that teaching religion is wrong in general. Everything has its time and place. Ecclesiastes is my favorite book in the Bible.

        I believe, we need to have a clear understanding of what things are and what they are not. Otherwise, we get confused. Religion is NOT science. Religion should not pretend to answer scientific questions. Science does NOT answer religious or philosophical questions. These disciplines should not be mixed into a hodgepodge in the same class. I think, it's important to teach children to tell the difference between a scientific knowledge and religious belief. But this is a philosophical question, not a scientific one. It belongs in a philosophy class.

        I also believe, it is wrong to force religious or ideological opinions and beliefs onto each other. This seems to be the cause of most of the modern social tensions. This is why religion needs to be kept out of politics.

        As far as teaching religion in public schools goes, I think, it's important to teach children ABOUT religion in humanities classes. But public schools should not impose religious beliefs on children. This is what I meant when I said that "teaching religion in public schools is wrong". I see a difference between "teaching religion" and "teaching about religion". I'm sorry I didn't make it clear.
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          May 24 2013: Oh right.
          I agree with you then! :-)
          However I do think certain lessons religions teach should be encouraged! (E.G. Compassion and forgiveness.)
          Have you watched the TED talk :
          Atheism 2.0?
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        May 24 2013: Re: "However I do think certain lessons religions teach should be encouraged!"

        Definitely so. I think, religion is a very powerful thing. Perhaps, it's the most powerful of social institutions. It's just silly to label it "bad" or "harmful". It can be used for a great good or a great evil. It needs to be studied and used with caution and safety measures to the benefit of society. I disagree with those who label it as "bad" or "harmful" and advise to get rid of it.

        I like Atheism 2.0 talk. It's nice to hear an atheist say good things about religion. I view religion as a foundation of culture. All cultures are built on some irrational beliefs (mythology, if you will). Americans, for instance, believe in liberty, democracy, human rights, etc. There are myths and rituals surrounding these beliefs. Soviet Union had beliefs, mythology, and rituals around the doctrine of Marxism. I'd say, these things are a form of religion. They define nations. Take these beliefs, myths, and rituals away - and you will destroy a nation or a whole culture.
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        May 24 2013: Thanks for the links. I'll watch them when I have time. I'm sure, there are multiple ways of looking at any religion. This applies to most other things. Take money. What is it? Paper? Pieces of metal? A number? Exchange medium? To some people money means power, to others - freedom and happiness, to some - slavery and suffering. It's all of these things and all these things are in our head only. People choose to see the side that has emotional appeal to them. In the same way, some people view religion as the source of joy, love, peace spiritual freedom; others use it to justify violence and oppression; while some tend to blame all evil in the world on it. None of this is "rational" yet, everyone has plenty of reasoning to back up their position.

        My position is - believe what you want to believe. Don't believe what you don't want to believe. But don't force others to believe what you believe. Persuade - perhaps. Evidence is just one mean of persuasion. There are plenty of others - appeal to emotion, rhetoric, etc. But forcing others to accept beliefs through legislation, brainwashing, wars, or acts of terror isn't cool. I will say this to an Islamic fundamentalist, a Christian right-wing conservative, a New Atheist, and to anyone in between.

        This is my belief which I would like to force onto everyone :-).
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        May 24 2013: "Science revealed", mind you.

        I don't see much of the "how" in statements like "And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light." It does not say where the light came from, how bright it was, what color it was. It does not say how this light could be seen or detected - there was nothing yet to reflect or absorb this light. It simply is not a scientific text or way of describing things - no specifics at all.

        It makes sense to me as philosophy. "Light and darkness" can be viewed as a distinction between existence and non-existence, life and death, faith and doubt, order and chaos, knowledge and uncertainty, etc. The passage also establishes the rhythm - the foundation of time "And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.", "And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.", etc. The whole passage has a rhythm and structure to it. To me, the meaning of this passage is symbolic rather than literal or scientific.

        Most of the genesis consists of separation - drawing boundaries and defining what is what. I believe, it describes "how" the world is "created" in our minds. It teaches us to tell things apart, see what things are and what they are not, give names to things and concepts. In this sense, perhaps, there is "how" in the story of genesis. But it is different from the physical "how" which science is mostly concerned with.
        • May 26 2013: Arkady — you wrote: "The whole passage has a rhythm and structure to it." So that means it cannot be historically factual? I suggest you're attempting to set up a false dichotomy.
          Genesis 1 is written as narrative prose; it does not match the criteria of Hebrew poetry. It does not exhibit parallelism (as the Psalms do), and it includes features not generally seen in Hebrew poetry, such as the accusative-marker and the waw-consecutive (each used dozens of times in Genesis 1).
          For a solid technical demonstration that Genesis 1 is prose, not poetry, see the detailed statistical work by Old Testament scholar Stephen Boyd: http://www.fireprior.com/resources/genesis/Statistical-Determination-of-Genre-in-Biblical-Hebrew.pdf
          The prime reason for disbelieving that Genesis 1 is straightforward history (or for calling it symbolic — really the same thing) is not derived from the text itself. The issue is that we wish to be considered scientific, and the scientists tell us the universe could not have been produced in six normal-length days, and that organisms arrived in a certain order which contradicts the Genesis sequence. Therefore we feel we have to defuse the plain teaching of Genesis in one way or another. In most cases, we prefer not to declare stark unbelief, so instead we condescendingly describe Genesis as "profoundly true" (though historically false) or as "symbolically true" (though actually mythical).
          For Christians especially, this dodgy behaviour is unacceptable. A Christian by definition is a follower of Christ, one who believes the teaching of Jesus and accepts it as from God himself (John 7:16). Jesus was clearly a young-Earth creationist (Matthew 19:3-6). He held a high view of Scripture, and of Genesis in particular. http://www.creationbc.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=138&Itemid=62
          Let's cease playing such games and deal honestly with our Creator. Stop being "ashamed" of the truth of God, lest the divine Judge be ashamed of you (Mark 8:38).
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        May 25 2013: When it comes to meaning, I totally agree with you regarding "seek and you will find" and "context is the key". Keeping this in mind, I would note, however, that your own writing lacks context. What exactly is this "ALL information" that lies within scriptures which can be only seen by "developing an 'eye that see'"? How does one know which 'eye' sees the 'truth'?

        I believe, such statement itself lacks context and, therefore, meaning. If you could explain to me what exactly I do not see in the sentence "And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.", this discussion might be more meaningful.
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        May 27 2013: Richard,

        It seems, the more I say, the more I have to explain. I never said that rhythm implies that Genesis is poetry. Neither did I say that poetry cannot give a historic account. What I meant is that rhythms and cycles are at the root of existence. They can be seen everywhere and Genesis 1 seems to emphasize it.

        Literal interpretation is a figure of speech. The whole language is sybmolic. Words are symbols. Without metaphors, you would not be able to "see" what I mean and I could not "make any points".

        I don't know if it is possible to interpret the Bible literally. Most of the Christ's teachings are given in parables and Jesus himself seemed to oppose the literal interpretation of the law ("Sabbath for the man" Mark 2:27 and regarding hand washing in Luke 11:37-41)

        So, as Christians, let's shun the "dodgy behavior" and try to take the Bible literally. Have you gouged your eye and cut off your hand yet as Christ advised in Matthew 18:6-9? Or have you not looked at a woman with a lustful eye in your life? How many Christians do you know who have "made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake"? (Matthew 19:12) Do you allow women to speak in your church? (1 Cor 14:33-35) And before you judge my behavior as "dodgy", why don't you read Matthew 7:1 first?

        Tell me, who created the Chrysler building? Walter Chrysler? Yes, it was built according to his will. William Van Alen? Yes, it was built according to his design. But I doubt that either of them laid a single brick. Any "creation" is metaphoric. Check out this video http://www.ted.com/talks/matt_ridley_when_ideas_have_sex.html and tell me who created the pencil? It can be said that pencil was created. It also can be said that "pencil evolved". Both statements are correct in their own way.

        I have no problem with belief that "God created the world in 6 days", but I cannot interpret it "literally". I do not know what "literally" literally means.
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        May 28 2013: Chris,

        Thanks for the detailed explanations. Quite interesting. Although, I am not as familiar with Kabbalah as you are, I agree with your main points - that "light" and "darkness" represent the difference between "order" and "chaos" or "clarity/faith/knowledge" from "uncertainty/doubt". The symbolism of taking bread inside our body as a symbol of internalizing the wisdom of Christ was also fairly clear to me.

        In this context, the big bang theory is a mere physical explanation of how the universe appeared. As we go back in time, the closer we get to the big bang, the less we can say about the universe because at some point, the concepts of space and time and the laws of physics lose their meaning. It's meaningless to say that "the universe appeared according to the laws of physics" because there were no laws of physics prior to the Planck time "after the big bang". According to quantum mechanics, time and space intervals smaller than Planck time and Planck length cannot be defined, in principle. It appears to me that the universe started not at "time 0", but at "time 1" - the first tick of the quantum clock. Before that, there was no time to talk about.

        So, in my understanding, creation of the universe is not to be understood as "everything from nothing", but rather "certainty/law/order" from "chaos/uncertainty". I don't see any contradiction between this interpretation of creationism and science.

        I thought, "pineal gland" is called "pineal" because it has a shape of a pine cone. Where did you get this relation to the Hebrew word "Peniel"?

        I don't think that Kabbalah can be called "science" in a sense that TED board would approve.

        We agree in one point - that when we read Bible, we cannot take literal meanings of the English translations. We need to unravel the symbolism contained therein. What would you answer to Richard, then? It appears, he advocates literal interpretation of Creation story although I don't understand how this can be done.
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        May 29 2013: Re: "It's taken modern science over five thousand years to "discover" that which has been lying dormant beneath the story level of holy doctrine for many millennia."

        "What has been will be again,
        what has been done will be done again;
        there is nothing new under the sun."

        Ecclesiastes is my favorite book of the Bible.

        You seem to interpret science too broadly. What most people understand by science today is knowledge established using a certain method meeting certain criteria. These criteria include experimental verification, peer review, etc. Biblical truths do not fulfill these criteria. I'm not saying that they have no merit or value. Wisdom is frequently counter-intuitive, self-contradictory, and often goes against the so called "common sense" (e.g. "love your enemy", "turn the other cheek") or everyday experience. I still believe that teaching religious wisdom does not belong in science class.
  • May 18 2013: Creationism is only destructive to critical thinking if it is taught as SCIENCE. In my opinion it would be very useful to teach not only Christian creationism but the creation myths of the other religions of the world in comparative religion or mythology classes. These beliefs (or rather the believers) have as much - if not more - effect on our daily lives as science does and deserve study and respect.
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      May 20 2013: I agree up to the last word. There we may differ depending on what you mean by respect.

      I respect freedom of religion and people’s right to their religious beliefs and express these.

      However, specific religious inspired beliefs and ideas themselves should stand on their merits.

      I respect people’s right to believe the universe is 6 to 10 thousand years old. While I recognise creationist beliefs/ideas are important to many people, the belief itself does not warrant much respect in my opinion given the evidence we have to the contrary.
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    May 16 2013: The US education system is ultimately a question for US citizens.
    We don’t have such a powerful evangelical young earth creationist lobby group in Australia or New Zealand. I would object to special religious interest groups subverting science classes in state run schools here.
    Science alone should be taught in science class, not creationism or intelligent design in my opinion.
    Teaching the controversy is just an excuse to undermine science where it conflicts with their religious beliefs. They aim to slip in something more compatible with their beliefs alongside science as though it is a legitimate scientific alternative – which it is not.
    ID is just creationism in disguise. Life is complex. Humans seem to have evolved to be more comfortable assuming supernatural agency for things they don’t understand. Earthquakes, Famines, lightning, floods etc.
    If you think about it, proposing a supernatural creator or intelligent designer is not science at all. It’s just saying we don’t think life could have evolved this way by itself (and the bible confirms this), something supernatural must have magically done it. No evidence of supernatural creation or mechanism proposed or testable. Magic.
    ID suggests adaptation due to natural selection is actually design, and ignore the crappy design elements. The biological similarities say for all primate, then mammals, then veribrates, and so on apparently not evidence of common descent. Rather it is design efficiencies with an overlay of micro evolution within kinds (whatever a kind is). Apparently the creator made a lots of different life forms. Most went extinct in the last 6,000 years and a few families survived – vertibrates, insects etc. Here are some examples in biology ID asserts could not have evolved and are irreducibly complex e.g. bacterial flagellum, the human immune system etc. All of which have been debunked as precursors to these have been found.
    ID is simply an argument from ignorance. It has no scientific credibil
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    May 14 2013: Bernard,

    Thanks for the invitation to weight in the topic at hand,

    For starters Creationism aka Intelligent Design (ID) is being pushed by the Discovery Institute and others. ID has nothing to do with Science and all to do with marketing:"This isn't really, and never has been, a debate about science," professor Phillip Johnson of the University of California at Berkeley. "It's about religion and philosophy."(http://www.leaderu.com/pjohnson/world2.html) it's all about the so-called theistic realism to replace methodological naturalism(Scientific Method) in order to accept supernatural explanations as a norm. Also take a look at the "wedge strategy"(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wedge_strategy#cite_note-forrest_wedge-24).
    I gather that their goal is to keep God(s) in the classroom in order for USA not to loose its moral compass, and to make peace with the right wing evangelicals.
    ID is a gimmick that looks for dumb politicians in order to creep into the classroom instead of doing the hard work that the scientific method entails, is intellectual laziness.
    Bottom line creationism aka ID is not science what it is indeed is really bad education, there is no credibility to it in the scientific community at large and to fix it we need more forums more proper information for people to make informed choices. And that said, religion provides comfort in a fantasy land that science cannot touch.
    That 46% of Americans believe in creationism in one form or another is truly a shame, it makes us look ignorant , it is really frightens me that so many people believe in outdated , dis-proven ideas. Add to that number a 20% illiteracy rate and it gets darker, when that 46% wants political control to influence the other 54%. .
    The case for evolution is overwhelming and is the basis of modern medicine in many ways, ID is useless, It should not be taught in the classroom as "science", is a waste of time from that point of view.

    "Educate to dumb down"
    --Me

    Cheers!
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      May 14 2013: I agree.
      However what happens if the politicians actually "agree" with it as well?
      Did you read that article I posted in the description, on the other debate. I'll put it here again :
      http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2005/12/is-god-an-accident/304425/?single_page=true
      (Skip to chapter V : "We've Evolved to be Creationists").
      Luckily I have never experienced the "creationism" problem. (Considering I live in the UK!) :-)
      Kind regards,
      Bernard.
      • May 16 2013: Hi Bernard,

        Thanks for your comment (below).

        "Surely you "could" argue that the "God(s)" work through Volcanoes?"

        Surely you could. But that shows that you can move those gods from one place to another, only confirming that they are subjects of your imagination.

        "Also you could argue that the "God(s)" put these "agency detection" mechanism in us."

        Which would come to prove again that the gods are subjects of your imagination. More to the point, a "detection" mechanism that makes us mistake almost everything for a god would lead us to conclude that gods are imaginary. :) And let's not even talk about the side effects of such beliefs, which tend to be quite contrary to leading us to believe that the gods are real at all. If we all share a detection mechanism, rather than a tendency towards superstition, then such mechanisms are so faulty that we end up thinking that we have the right gods on our side, and that whichever gods others have are imaginary (how convenient), or the wrong gods, the evil ones, and a long et cetera that I have no time to keep writing about ...

        Trying to accommodate for gods thus confirms that they are subjects of our imaginations.
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          May 16 2013: Nice reply.
          Yet I'm still unsure as to whether they are completely "part of our imagination".
          "But that shows that you can move those gods from one place to another, only confirming that they are subjects of your imagination."
          I'm not altogether sure how that logic follows. God(s) should be able to move from one place to another (considering they are meant to wield extreme power), you could argue all the different perceptions of God(s) were just everybody perspective of the same "deity(s)".
          "Trying to accommodate for gods thus confirms that they are subjects of our imaginations."
          Not at all. If argue for your existence (or against = solipsism) does that suggest you are just part of my imagination? Maybe you are, maybe your not. :)
      • May 16 2013: Hi Bernard,

        You are welcome to present any evidence that gods are not imaginary. I know you are mostly "agnostic," but I see no reason why we wouldn't be so sure that gods are imaginary. After all, you keep showing evidence that they indeed are.

        When I said "move gods from one place to another," I meant move them from being the volcano to act through the volcano. This shows that they are the objects of your imagination. If to "prove" that they exist you have to change what they are from one phrase to the next, what are you doing if not imagining different gods each time?

        Yeah, after the fact, after realizing that you are imagining different gods and kinds of gods (why do you insist on the capitals if we are talking about gods in a generic form, rather than about some actual being whose particular name is "God"?), you start claiming that maybe the "errors" are differences in perceptions of what these gods are, then I would insist that such post rationalization only comes to show how sophisticated you are willing to be in your imaginations. You just imagine new attributes, new characteristics.. As I said below, you prove nothing more but how vivid your imagination is. Be my guest, but that does nothing for gods, a lot for my claim that they are imaginary, and a lot for your imagination, which I will be happy to applaud.

        At least for my existence you have something to show that cannot easily be attributed to much else but a person. I am writing in English (kinda), have to be typing, et cetera. Yes, imagination takes place too, but you have more to go for it than just that. It is not how much you ignore about typing, English, and such, but how much you do know about those things that would give you support for the thesis. With gods the support is ignorance. It does not help that gods reside nowhere else but in our imaginations, exactly in the same way as other characters that you would agree are imaginary, like Harry Potter.
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          May 17 2013: Hmm.
          It seems basically what you are saying is that you accept that you are more probable than a "God"/"gods"/"God(s)". I ask you what makes you more likely than a "God"?
          For instance you typing could just be part of my imagination? :-)
          And I give you attributes, which I can't be certain of. To help me (unconsciously) learn about you, and make more sense...
          Just because something is in our imagination does it mean it doesn't exist? This is my point when I ask people to define (or describe) what they mean by existence.
          Considering you mentioned it, to quote from Harry potter : "of course it's happening inside your head harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?"
          Regards,
          Bernard.
      • May 17 2013: Hi Bernard,

        Oh, no, I am in enough of a position to assert that this is not a question of probability. I am real, gods are merely imaginary. I am not just more likely than a god. If you can't tell the difference, then you have a big problem, perhaps with your metaphysics.

        You say that my typing might be just part of your imagination. OK then, do you hear gods talking to you? Do you see them jumping around? Do they interact with you? Do they transform things for you, help you walk on water? Do they make the volcano erupt in ways you cannot but conclude that they did it?

        If nothing of that sort happens, then your imagination is quite selective about what it lets you imagine as if it were real. Do you see any differences between what your imagination allows you to believe to be real and those things called gods? If you do, then that should indicate you that there's a solution to your problem, shouldn't it? That there might be a profound way in which you might recognize what your senses are perceiving from what is just a product of your imagination. I can't offer you a full treatise on metaphysics or epistemology, but that should work as a start. Think about it.

        Best!

        P.S. Of course, what happens in our heads is "real" in a way, something is happening there. But that does not mean that because we can imagine a god, then such god will materialize out of our imaginations and become an entity independent of our imaginations. That does not mean that we should start thinking that anything we can imagine has some probability of being real, and that a real person is just "more likely."
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          May 18 2013: I agree you are "much" likely than a "God".
          However you main argument seems to be that God is just part of a our imagination therefore we should assume it definably doesn't exist...
          Actaully it would be better if you went on to my debate :
          "What theological implications does the "Psychology" and "Neuroscience" (and possibly biology) of religion (or "God(s)") have?"
          Link : http://www.ted.com/conversations/18230/what_theological_implications.html
          Also to confirm God doesn't exist, 1st you need to define God in a way it can actually be tested. If not (due to their being no evidence either way) I remain an agnostic.
          Kind regards,
          Bernard.
          P.S Cya at the other TED Conversation!
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      May 14 2013: "it makes us look ignorant, it is really frightens me that so many people believe in outdated , dis-proven ideas."

      It's one thing not to believe in creationism or intelligent design, but another to suggest that science has furnished irrefutable answers to the God question.

      We not only "look ignorant," we are ignorant as to the nature and specifics of our beginning despite the theories floating among scientists.

      What "frightens me" more is this willingness on the part of some humans to acquiesce to science that which it hasn't proven, satisfied that if it doesn't have the answers now, that it will in the near or distant future.

      "The case for evolution is overwhelming."

      Yet, evolution doesn't answer the larger question, "How did life begin, and did that beginning generate from an intelligent or non-intelligent substance?"

      "Educate to dumb down"

      Perhaps it's just the opposite, "Dumb down to educate."
      • May 15 2013: Wil,

        I would agree that science alone might not answer "the gods question." Philosophy, science, and history seem all right though. Gods are anthropomorphisms. The product of human tendency to assign human-like agency to the unknown. They are compounded and confounded by our tendency to make up stories and build upon stories over stories. To our tendency to gather around myths and make them even bigger. Gods are imaginary. However, we have to look beyond evolution. Evolution only shows how the diversity of life arises. The most it does, is prove that gods imagined to have brought about each species by puffing them into existence independently are false. But other gods are left untouched. Geology and vulcanology in particular show that gods that are personified in volcanoes are false. Philosophy helps because so many gods are filled with contradictions and nonsense. But anthropology and history show quite well that gods are the anthropomorphisms I was talking about saving us the time to check whether some scientific discovery proves some god or another false.

        Of course, people wanting to believe can take refuge from all of that by moving their gods into the realms of the still unknown, or even claim that their gods are behind something that might never be solved. But I see no difference between those who did not know what a volcano was, therefore it was a god prone to anger, and those who take refuge behind the problem of the origin of life, therefore god(s) did it. But be my guest. Believers can go further and change their gods' properties to make them "unassailable." Beyond the reach of logic, reason and science. But what does that prove other than the vivid imagination of the believer?
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          May 15 2013: "and those who take refuge behind the problem of the origin of life, therefore god(s) did it."

          Here's my point again: If science is willing to posit that life and intelligence resulted from non-life and non-intelligence, then science is in no better position than the religionist to assert the origin of life.

          Without the existence of life, there would be no evolution, giving those who believe in intelligent design and an intelligent designer as much claim to the answers as science.

          And, too, there's been an evolution of our notion of God, from one that is anthropomorphic to one that is omnipresent, and omniscient.

          Yet, don't rule out gods, as we're dealing with an aspect of God that is beyond this conversation, and would only serve to broaden the conversation beyond its present parameters.

          "Believers can go further and change their gods' properties to make them "unassailable.""

          And of course, science would never do that. There are as many taboos in science as in religion, where those in the scientific community would be ostracized, if not outright excommunicated, for holding certain theories, or publicly attacked by their peers for challenging certain widely-held scientific positions.
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          May 15 2013: Great reply by the way! :-)
          Yet my only question would be :
          Surely you "could" argue that the "God(s)" work through Volcanoes? In the way science (geology and geography) gives us the method the "God(s)" (or the "how") work out their will. Also you could argue that the "God(s)" put these "agency detection" mechanism in us.
          I mean it would be very odd if these God(s) created us, without the ability to realize they existed. (If they wanted to use us that is!).
          Regards,
          Bernard.
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        May 15 2013: Wil,
        That is the gist of science that the answers are not irrefutable indeed they are, (God(s) are not) Science is falsifiable, thus allows for continuous correction and growth , religion does not.
        As to how humans came to be and our universe , there are natural explanations that cover those without using "magic" , the "creator "does not answer any questions au contraire and once accepted it poses more complex questions, ie who created the creator, hold on, no- one created the creator because the creator exists beyond space & time and is self caused, Wil I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell if buy that special pleading! Indeed yes it is an ignorant assertion to postulate an impossible being as the originator of everything!
        Just because Science doesn't answer every question to a 100% satisfaction ,is that by default evidence for God(s)? (a difference between not known to not unknowable). Take the last 200 years of history and see the advances that Science has covered, Wil diseases that are now treatable, space flight, etc has Science answer all , no has ID served mankind as evolution have ( medicine, genetics, agriculture etc) NO!, Yes "think-tanks" peddling ignorance are frightening!
        Wil you are partly correct: evolution does not explain how life began. But that is not the aim of Darwinian evolution; all natural selection requires to work is that there is life, variability and competition. Criticising evolutionary biology for not explaining how life began is like criticising the kettle for not making good toast.(try Abiogenesis:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abiogenesis to broaden. your quest). All this said I respect every person's right to negate the Overwhelming , copious amount of over 150 years of Evidence for evolution. And if tomorrow morning evidence that puts Darwinian evolution belly up surfaces, Let it ring loud & clear! Science is hard work not platitudes, not pulling miraculous beings out of thin air. Question everything!

        cheers!
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          May 15 2013: "Science is falsifiable, thus allows for continuous correction and growth , religion does not."

          That's arguable, be it science or be it those who believe in the existence of a God.

          "As to how humans came to be and our universe , there are natural explanations that cover those without using "magic"."

          And that's my point, again: The scientific "explanations" are as "magical," as you call it, as those derived from religion. You can dress it up with a scientific overlay but it requires as much faith to accept spontaneous self-generating matter that's both lifeless and mindless creating life and intelligence.

          "has ID served mankind as evolution have ( medicine, genetics, agriculture etc) NO!, Yes "think-tanks" peddling ignorance are frightening!"

          This is only true if you're willing to arbitrarily separate intelligent design from other natural phenomenon. What's "frightening" is what science has created right along with "medicine, genetics," or what have you, providing the means for our self-annihilation, nuclear bombs, and a host of other biological weapons and the means to deliver them.

          "Criticising evolutionary biology for not explaining how life began is like criticising the kettle for not making good toast."

          Actually, I did no such thing. I merely pointed out that we've put the cart before the horse. We had to first be created before the forces and mechanisms of evolution could be employed. As a result, until the question of our beginning is irrefutably understood, we won't fully grasp evolution.

          And for "abiogenesis," this is not my first discussion of the origin of the universe, nor is the subject of abiogenesis unfamiliar to me. I still say it smacks of the supernatural.

          "Science is hard work not platitudes, not pulling miraculous beings out of thin air. Question everything!"

          Again, that's arguable. But I find, rather, that science has busy itself in an attempt to explain away, not only our beginning, without positing a God, but God Itself.

          It wo
      • May 16 2013: Wil,

        "If science is willing to posit that life and intelligence resulted from non-life and non-intelligence, then science is in no better position than the religionist to assert the origin of life."

        I don't see why. That you don't understand, or have neither studied nor reasoned this carefully enough does not mean that a scientific position is "faith." I don't see anything strange about life coming from non living stuff. After all, we see it all the time. I can produce a completely lifeless broth. Introduce a few bacteria, and then the broth transforms into billions of bacteria. That's non-life becoming life no matter how much you try and twist it. There's no intelligence involved either. That this process is catayized by a living organism does not change the facts: non-living stuff gets into being living stuff. So, for life to originate originally, all we need is something to catalyze reactions that might lead there. Maybe many somethings. And we know of many things in nature that catalyze reactions.

        There's much more to the origin of life than that, and we are yet to get a complete picture. But I see no reason why you would think that proposing that life arose from the non-living, or that intelligence arose from the non-thinking, is based on faith, other than because you have not thought about it and have not looked at any of the work around those things.

        However, you had nothing in your answer but what I already mentioned: mysteries filled up with gods. Mere anthropomorphisms: because we use intelligence to do stuff, everything is done by superhuman intelligence. The nowadays equivalent to volcano gods.

        Gods evolved into omniscient and omnipresent are still anthropomorphous. Humans only much bigger, wiser, powerful. That we have evolved them does not deny their humble origins in those myths of old.
    • May 15 2013: Carlos, I only have a few minutes to respond, so I just wanted to point out that it will help to distinguish between creationism and intelligent design. They are vastly different ideas.
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        May 15 2013: Cliff,
        ID is the brainchild of the Discovery Institute, they do declare that they are indifferent to religion at every turn They have no choice. Their mission is to destroy good science education for every child in the public schools of America, and they can't do that if they are obviously driven by religious motives. That's why you see them conceal the theological basis for their beliefs when they are talking to a governmental group. Which is the point of this debate , ID folks and those supporting -Do not care about Science, or the "so-called weakness in DE" or "critical thinking" They want to hear that their religious views are right. They're also the strongest base of support for the Intelligent Design proponents. That's why you find the very same folks who deny faith in front of government professing faith in front of religious audiences:.Even YEC (young earth folks) are against this two faced nature of ID (plausible denial tactic?) ID is a water down version of creationism for legal use and consumption by the uninformed, is a tactical move By the green serpents Cliff! I sense a less than honest approach here , a moral flaw perhaps (win hooked or crooked)

        Judge Jones noted in his 2005 Dover decision, “We have concluded that (intelligent design) is not [science], and moreover that (intelligent design) cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents.”

        There it is.


        Cheers!
        • May 16 2013: Carlos, thanks for your response. You wrote: "ID folks and those supporting-Do not care about Science..." and "their mission is to destroy good science education for every child in the public schools of America". Please be careful about speaking categorically for all people in a group. (It's akin to stating: "All scientists want to destroy religion.") And I think refraining from the phrase "green serpents" will help keep this discourse civil.

          Certainly, your assumption may be correct for some. But many ID folks do care a great deal about doing good science and about good science education. They simply happen to believe that the evidence suggests an intelligent designer at work in the creation of the universe. This may be informed by their religious viewpoint, certainly. I have no problem saying that ID is not science in that it makes philosophical and theological statements. And I can agree with what Judge Jones says, as long as when he says "creationist" he doesn't mean Young Earth creationism. Many ID folks find YEC ridiculous, small-minded, dishonest, and a terrible distortion of scientific data (exactly why I suggested differentiating between YEC and ID).

          Ultimately, science can falsify YEC by finding contradictory evidence, which is well-established. But if ID is simply the idea that an intelligent creator was involved in the beginning of the universe, this is something science will not be able to address, as it is not falsifiable. So, regardless of where we fall in religious viewpoints, we will always be left with the possibility of a intelligent being's existence and involvement in the creation of the universe. I'm not suggesting it should be taught in the science classroom; I'm simply pointing it out as a legitimate viewpoint that science is not able to address.
  • May 13 2013: Creationism is not science. It shouldn't be taught in public schools as science because it's really not. It's not even Christian doctrine. I'm a Christian, and we know that God created the earth but we have no idea how. Personally I think you're limiting God there by saying that He had to have created it all in a "poof." God does what He wants. If He used evolution or just created it all to look like it was by evolution, it's all fine by me. Leave the science alone, and teach evolution without a religious or atheistic slant.
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      May 13 2013: "teach evolution without a religious or atheistic slant"
      I'v always been taught "evolution" with neither slant (atheistic or religious). I just think to most people it does suggest that our concept of "God" could be explained by Evolutionary psychology... (As attempted by psychologists like Jesse Bering, Paul Bloom and Justin L Barrett. As we have discussed!)
      However this is another debate entirely! :-)
      Like I said : "I am fine with Theistic evolution". :D
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    May 13 2013: Does creationism indicate bad education? -- If it is taught as a non-metaphorical historical event or scientific theory, yes. If it is taught within the context of religious study, literature, folklore/anthropology, etc., it is indicative of a potentially inclusive education.

    (If so how can we fix this, and should it be taught?) -- You 'fix' it by not teaching it as a scientific fact. You can teach it as a metaphor/creation story, or as a historical artifact that influences history up to the present day.

    Does Creationism have any credibility to it? -- As part of a rich religious tradition, yes. Within the sciences, no.


    For the record: I am not an atheist. I have read at least large parts of the Torah and some of the rest of the Old Testament, the New Testament, and several handfuls of "apocrypha." My assertions above do not denote a lack of understanding of the texts or of the conflicts between faith and science, or a lack of appreciation and fondness for religious traditions. But I draw the line at teaching things that are clearly untrue to children as part of socially organized education. As a parent, that's my job. ;-)
  • Jun 9 2013: Religion is not education.
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    Jun 4 2013: Austin,

    you had me until you said " The reason that people"...
    Faith doesn't have to prove science. If you could prove a hypothesis of faith by science it would no longer require faith. Faith is simply a belief in a truth that cannot be proved but you know it is true. Something deep inside causes you to believe. Others can say that you are wrong because your beliefs can't be scientifically be proved.
    I would ask why?
    Why is it important to challenge another's faith and beliefs? Does it improve your position in belief to try to prove them wrong? I see no value in questioning another's belief. What does it do for me... other then to make me seem petty. And who is to say that they are wrong in their beliefs? Me!
    Now, if someone expresses his beliefs and states that he is 100% correct and I am so wrong... we will have
    a discussion.
    You say that you are a teacher. So,why are you not exposing your students to all the ideas and knowledge that is out there. Are you the filter that determines what students are to learn. If one of your students comes from a religious family that has strong beliefs in creationism, is it your job to tell this student that his parents are full of crap and he/she should only listen to you? Not easy is it. That is why you must teach all ideas and not be fixed on one.
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      Jun 4 2013: I think you forgot to press the "reply" button. :-)
      Kind regards,
      Bernard.
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        Jun 4 2013: Brilliant prose and your only comment is I forgot a button?
        I'm crushed !
        Humbly,
        Mike
        :- 0
    • Jun 4 2013: Hey Mike,

      Thanks for your reply.

      I am, in fact, a Christian because I do understand at a deep, deep level what Christ did for me on the cross. I get it at a very personal level- that I am both very messed up (a sinner), and very loved (have received grace) at the exact same time- and you are right that my belief cannot be proved and that it's faith.

      However, I am also a science teacher, and my job is to teach the science! The idea that God created the earth is not a testable hypothesis. Since we cannot show that it is wrong (i.e. we cannot test it) then I cannot and should not teach it in a science class. It is a matter of faith.

      I do not put anyone’s faith down/challenge them. I address this issue in the first class every year. My high school students learn this distinction, they get it, and they move on, keeping their faith and learning some awesome (and by awesome I mean awe inspiring) knowledge about how the universe works, at the same time. If they decide on their own to draw the conclusion that God made all of this cool stuff then that is up to them personally.

      I do only teach one idea (we call it a theory or theories) of the origin of the universe, Earth, and ultimately us- yes. This is because this is/these are the only theory/theories that have been supported by the evidence. I mention of course (by this time in the year it has been said many times) that there are other stories/ideas about how things came to be- but again, "since we cannot test these class are they science?" "No" says the class. I cannot teach that God made everything.

      Please let me know if you still have any questions/comments because I do legitimately want to clear this up with folks. The nature of science can be confusing as I mentioned above and I feel that as a Christian science teacher I am in a unique position to explain the distinctions.

      Once you separate the two endeavors, science and faith can both be fulfilling, different, parts of one’s life! They have been for me.
      • Jun 4 2013: Hi Austin just a question,
        --"However, I am also a science teacher, and my job is to teach the science! The idea that God created the earth is not a testable hypothesis.."--

        How do you proof to your class that matter, nature and then us evolved out of nothing?? I assume that what science says IS a "testable hypothesis." Or does science have more answers nowadays?

        Just as everything that is 'man made' originated from a person's spirit, not his neurons or his electrical connections, so did the universe originate in God's spirit.
        One more thing, Revelation (and a faith therein can explain and reveal worldly phenomena, as through the science of correspondences. Maybe you'd like to have a look?
        http://www.scienceofcorrespondences.com/

        Just as an expert has ways to determine if a painting is made by e.g. Rembrandt, so should we have ways (if we want to) to determine if this world, and us, are more than just an accident with no purpose whatsoever.
        • Jun 5 2013: Hello Adriaan,

          I'm not sure that 2000 characters is enough space to explain all of the testable hypotheses that have been put forward about the origin of the universe, and us.

          Matter, nature and we did not evolve from nothing- the Big Bang theory says that ALL matter that is in the universe currently was originally in a single point in space 13.5 billion years ago. So we didn't come from nothing.

          Now the question of how everything got to that singularity in the first place, before the universe started expanding, is currently a hotly debated topic in cosmology circles. Was there a previous universe that had undergone a "Big Crunch?!" Is this an endless cycle of expansion and contraction? We don't know- but that is where the tests (mostly crunching numbers in complex equations of physics) are being done today.

          I would argue that things that are "man made" come from/are reorganizations of, existing matter- not spirits.

          And the evidence tells us that we really are "an accident" yes. That is to say that we were not created for a purpose- there is no purpose for anything in the universe. Now, that sounds very depressing, but at the root of the science- that's it! We happened because of a long chain of events that were not going somewhere- there was no/is no end goal in sight. There is no one's sight for an end goal to be in!

          It's humbling to realize that we are not the pinnacle evolution. We're not. To borrow from Stephen Hawking- "intelligence is not required for life. Bacteria don't have it and have been around for over three billion years."

          I will take a peek at the website- thanks. I already had to go to the FAQ page in order to find the definition of the science of correspondences and I'll keep looking. If the evidence doesn't hold up though I will stick to the current, peer reviewed theories.
        • Jun 6 2013: Adriaan,

          "How do you proof to your class that matter, nature and then us evolved out of nothing?"

          You've got it wrong. In science class we teach what the current theories are, and about the stage where they are. We are very far from pretending that scientists have figured out everything. We are very far from saying that science has an answer for everything. When a student asks a question whose answer eludes science so far. I say so.
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        Jun 4 2013: OK, a reasonable stand. Science does need experiments and provable conclusions if I remember my schooling. What I was alluding too is many science teachers go out of their way to deny creationism
        and ridicule students who ask and that to me is the tragedy.
        • Jun 5 2013: Hey again Mike,

          I couldn't agree more. Many science teachers step outside the realm of science instruction and speak on matters of faith- which is inappropriate and a tragedy- I agree.

          When my students ask a question that cannot be answered by science (because there is no testable hypothesis) I tell them every time, "that is a question of faith that I don't know the answer to as your science teacher."

          I leave it up to them to decide what their beliefs will be. If they ask me what mine are I share after class- this builds deep relationships with my students which are the foundation of effective education.

          Thanks for the comment Mike- it's important for us science teachers to remember our place!
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          Jun 7 2013: It is a ridiculous proposition to be made scientifically, I think it is therefore that science teachers tend to ridicule it.

          You say "Faith is simply a belief in a truth that cannot be proved but you know it is true." But how do you KNOW Mike, HOW DO YOU KNOW THAT IT IS TRUE!? By this reasoning everything is true, as long as a single individual thinks it is.

          I know it to be true that unicorns exist. And vampires. And I know it to be true that *insert anything that most people don't accept but have heard stories of*

          The place of science teachers is to educate in science. And it is true that the role of the teacher is not to ridicule but to educate. But if you said to your math teacher that 5+7 =1 then I'm pretty sure that you would feel ridiculed by that teacher as well.

          If you understand science, just the basics, then you would feel the same way about the statement of creationism as a math teacher would for 5+7=1
      • Jun 5 2013: Hi Austin, thanks for keeping an open mind and to keep looking.

        --"ALL matter that is in the universe currently was originally in a single point in space 13.5 billion years ago. So we didn't come from nothing."--

        I see this as an expression based on faith in Scientism. No proof but only assumptions. How big was the "point"?

        --"Is this an endless cycle of expansion and contraction? We don't know"--

        Ah ! So there are things science admits it does not know and cannot proof.

        --"I would argue that things that are "man made" come from/are reorganizations of, existing matter- not spirits."'--
        I don't think you got my point. What would you say created Rembrandt's paintings? Was it his hands, his brain or his spirit? Since you say you are a Christian, I assume you also believe that a person has/is a spirit.

        I sincerely hope that at some point science will settle down and recognize its limitations. This sibling rivalry is useless and going nowhere. I have full respect of what science has done and can accomplish but it is all about matter. Being useful is above matter so cannot be measured, just like love. To make that as "evidence" of --"we were not created for a purpose- there is no purpose for anything in the universe."-- is totally beyond me. In my mind, every single item in this world is here for a reason and has a relationship..
        • Jun 6 2013: Austin very clearly told you that such was what the Big Bang theory said, not that it was a definitive answer. It is not "based on scientism," it is based on the evidence of the expansion of the universe "ran" backwards, plus many features of the universe that betray it's age, and shows remnants of the high energetic state of the initial stages of expansion. That's not "scientism" but science. How big was the point is an excellent question. Still in the works, but I read something about a "Plank something." I did not go too deep though.

          Of course science does not have answers for everything. Why would anybody think otherwise?

          Of course that science recognizes it's limitations. Otherwise we scientists would be out of a job. It's only obvious.
        • Jun 6 2013: Hey again Adriaan,

          Entropy did a great job of addressing your earlier comments so I will simply echo his thoughts on those. Thanks Entropy!

          To your later points about Rembrandt's paintings and the "sibling rivalry" you spoke of, what separates humans from other species is our larger brains which then allowed us to do things like create art and engage in the scientific process. I am a christian yes- but I have to continually SEPERATE that from my knowledge of science (not easy to do as this comment stream shows).

          As in, I believe that we have spirits but I know that science/ the evidence shows us that we do not. My belief in our spirits does not mean that we have them. This may seem like a contradiction- which might lead some to say I am either not a true christian or not a true scientist. I cannot answer either of those questions I guess.

          Maybe I'm not a true christian or scientist. I try not to concern myself with that though... I just keep on learning more and more about the universe we live in and the history of life in it, including ours. I also just keep learning more and more each day what it means to live like Christ- to follow his example.

          Siblings might not be the best way to describe faith and science. I have heard others explain the two this way before. Siblings implies that they are nearly the same, maybe two slightly different ways to describe the same events. This is not accurate. They can't.

          The difference, as I have said on here previously, is that claims of science must be TESTABLE and then, the results of your test must be repeated by OTHER scientists in order to be considered validated (the peer review process). Faith is quite different! It is deeply personal- even within traditions. Most times people who share your tradition do not ask you to defend it- there is no "peer review" process in faith. Unsubstantiated claims are the hallmark of faith actually! That's why they are faiths- because you have to believe something you cannot prove.
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          Jun 7 2013: Greetings, Adriaan,

          I was pretty sure that I was missing something, and I thank you for your clarification. In my youth I read the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg, and found them impressive. I still have them in my collection, and read them from time to time.

          I purchased several of his books at the Wayfarers Chapel's bookstore, the chapel designed by Lloyd Wright, Frank Lloyd Wright's son.

          "We believe they can easily be seen as the 'index' of the whole Bible, because of their spiritual significance."

          Precisely. And in many ways, the table of content as well.

          "But you have to turn on your light."

          I agree. Stumbling around in the dark can lead to serious injury
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        Jun 6 2013: "I would argue that things that are "man made" come from/are reorganizations of, existing matter- not spirits."

        I agree with Socrates: What we see in the physical world corresponds to that which exists in a non-physical realm, existing because of it, including our physical bodies. He called this interaction "correspondence."

        "And the evidence tells us that we really are "an accident" yes."

        The evidence is inconclusive, as is M-theory which posits the existence of 'self-generating matter," matter that was, before the big bang, non-living and non-intelligent, but in combination gave birth to our universe, including intelligent man. For my part, that's more "magical" that positing a God, a Universal Intelligence" as the source of our origin.

        "That is to say that we were not created for a purpose- there is no purpose for anything in the universe."

        Then, there's no purpose for us. If there's no purpose for us, then there's no purpose for love, and its opposite fear, yet, most of us are capable of expressing and experiencing both, in one of its various forms or another.

        I aver that we're pure love (as is our Maker), and that fear--and the world of relativity--was created so that we might experience who we are. Granted, we don't always express love, but most of us have the human capacity to do, whether we do so often, consistently, or not.

        "To borrow from Stephen Hawking- "intelligence is not required for life. Bacteria don't have it and have been around for over three billion years.""

        If intelligence is so overrated, as the Hawing statement suggests, let me ask you this: "Would you trade places with a bacterium, or an amoeba?"
        • Jun 6 2013: Hello Will,

          Thanks for the reply. I really enjoy these conversations. Here are my thoughts about your replies.

          Sounds like "the science of correspondences" that Adriaan sent me a link to above. I have not had enough time to read through it... however a hypothesis that there is a non-physical realm as Socrates described, cannot be tested so it is not science- but a belief.

          The evidence for the history of life is not complete- indeed. But there is A LOT we DO know. That is what I was referring to when I said we (life) were an accident. How the Big Bang, and the universe, originated is still being tested. If you want to call that inconclusive that's fine.

          I have not read anything about M-theory- maybe I should. Thankfully it's easy to google anything. Self generated matter doesn't sound plausible based on current understandings of physics and chemistry (matter is neither created or destroyed).

          Love and fear are human emotions that ultimately have no purpose because as I said- nothing has a purpose! Biologists would say that love is meant to drive us towards other humans for the proliferation of our species. Fear then is meant to protect us from things that would kill us. But those are not ultimate purposes-but instincts.

          Since I do not think love and fear were "created" then I cannot say if they were made so that we could experience who we are, as you said. I feel that humans act more bestial then human most of the time. Maybe that's just what we see and hear on the news though because that's what sells? I don't know.

          On that note- us humans tend to complicate things and sometimes I wonder if life as another animal would be simpler! I/you certainly wouldn't be aware of anything other than if you were safe and well fed, and your offspring were too. Maybe bacteria and amoebas live a perfectly satisfied life, after all ignorance is bliss! Maybe they are constantly terrified. By luck of the draw I'm typing this now. That's all- I could have easily been a bacteria
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        Jun 6 2013: "How the Big Bang, and the universe, originated is still being tested. If you want to call that inconclusive that's fine."

        It would be difficult to call it anything other than inconclusive, wouldn't you say? Creating the supposed physical conditions that existed just before the big bang, using the Large Hadron Collider, and studying that, won't get us any closer to definitive answers than we already have, despite claims that the God particle was detected.

        "Self generated matter doesn't sound plausible based on current understandings of physics and chemistry (matter is neither created or destroyed)."

        If not "created or destroyed," then matter exists and preexisted, as religionists say God exists, as an eternal substance, having neither a beginning nor an end. The only thing we haven't done yet is ascribe to this preexisting matter a consciousness, or a mind, but claim that this nonliving and mindless matter created both life and mind.

        "Love and fear are human emotions that ultimately have no purpose because as I said- nothing has a purpose!"

        Not even self-generating matter--it had no purpose? It supposedly created our purposeless universe, and peopled it with all kind of purposeless lifeforms. Using that purposeless mind, science has concluded that neither it, the universe, nor life itself has a purpose. Now I wonder what's the purpose of that? Science can't come up with a better hypothesis?

        "Biologists would say that love is meant to drive us towards other humans for the proliferation of our species."

        The sex drive does that without the introduction of love. It's what drives prostitution, and pornography as industries. Besides, how many other lifeforms in the animal kingdom mate without the impulsion of love.

        "Since I do not think love and fear were "created" then I cannot say if they were made so that we could experience who we are."

        You're right: Love wasn't made, but has always existed, and fear is a contrivance, and I'm running out of characters.
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        Jun 6 2013: "Love and fear are human emotions that ultimately have no purpose."

        I regret to say that you don't know Love. You haven't explored it, nor have you plumbed its depths, or you would never make such a statement. But you're not alone, most of humankind share your indifference to what you dismiss as a "human emotion."

        "a hypothesis that there is a non-physical realm as Socrates described, cannot be tested so it is not science- but a belief."

        Most of what make life purposeful can't be "tested." Science doesn't have to hypothesize a "non-physical realm," we enter it each time we enter the region we call sleep. We get further vestiges of this non-physical realm when science attempts to source life in body and mind in brain, and come up empty.

        "Maybe bacteria and amoebas live a perfectly satisfied life, after all ignorance is bliss!"

        You're begging the question; it doesn't make for a meaningful discussion. How many humans would opt to live life as a bacterium or an amoeba?

        "By luck of the draw I'm typing this now. That's all- I could have easily been a bacteria."

        Or by your judgment any life form. As much as you seem to want it to be so, your existence is not the work of chance, nor the "luck of the draw." Even now, in your life, as with all humans, nothing is left to chance. Along with billions of others, you're creating your experience, and you're creating it consciously and unconsciously.

        Metaphysics make life purposeful; without it, life would indeed be purposeless, and meaningless. More than a material world, we live in a world of ideas, which can't be seen nor touched, where house becomes home, a collection of people become families, and neighborhoods, political lines on a map become a nation, states, cities, so much paper and metal become currency, and squiggly lines on paper or on a computer screen become mathematics.

        Take away ideas, and the world truly becomes purposeless. With them, life becomes worth living, for the purpose of life is life itself
        • Jun 7 2013: Hey again Will,
          To put this in context- you are only arguing with half of me- my "science half." You and my faith half agree on a lot of this, and you and my science half disagree.
          Again-we do not yet know what happened before the big bang but the "self generating matter" idea most likely didn't because of what we DO know about matter now. Might there have been different rules of physics before the big bang? Maybe- we're crunching the #s now, and maybe we'll never know you're right.
          The evidence has led to the current theory yes- that very much by accident there was more matter in the early universe than antimatter. Also much by accident there was an unequal distribution of this matter. That meant that gravity could do its thing and the matter was attracted to the other matter which is why we got galaxies, stars, planets, and us.
          Yes again, science has found that ultimately there is no "purpose" even to the endeavor of science itself. This is a fine hypothesis! Why come up with a better one? We explore because we are curious, but the universe would go on without us, and if we didn't do this, our species would go on as well.
          Our emotions have been discovered to be combinations of neurotransmitters and hormones. My "faith" half still succumbs to them of course. I am happily married and have a 5 month old so I "feel" love regularly. Knowing love is tough- does anyone really "know" love?
          To beg the question is a valid argument if the premise is valid. Since the evidence shows that life is possible without intelligence (bacteria, etc..) then my premise was valid and so was my argument.
          See the third paragraph- we ARE the work of chance! To put this on the ground a bit- things happen to us almost daily that are "by chance" or in other words out of our control.
          Metaphysics is not science. That's ALL I've been saying- separate the faith and science. Ideas are not necessary for life. Saying the purpose of life is life itself is begging the question with an invalid premise.
      • Jun 7 2013: Hi Austin, I agree with your point about how the word 'siblings' is not quite right. Science and religion are very different approaches to the same thing. The spiritual realm is completely outside the spectrum of science.
        I just wish it would be easier for a scientist to say: 'although science cannot detect it, that does not mean it does not exist.'

        I also do not appreciate someone saying: there is evidence of what caused the big bang in a point, somewhere, 35 billion years ago. Would evidence be regarded the same as proof, or just looks like it?

        You mentioned the word faith a few times. This is our definition of faith.
        Faith is a person's internal acknowledgement of truth, from seeing and understanding it.
        This means that a faith in something we do not understand, is seen as a blind faith.
        • Jun 7 2013: Hey again Adriaan,

          I think it's hard for scientists to say "even though science can't detect it, it may exist" because science is all about evidence and if we don't have evidence then we cannot say for sure one way or the other. So an honest scientist would say "we don't know yet, maybe."

          I'm not sure who told you anything about 35 billion years ago- I wouldn't listen to any of that- the universe is "only" 13.5 billion years old (that's a HUGE amount of time!) so before that we don't know.

          More to your point though, evidence of the expansion of the universe is pretty good. Everywhere we look the light coming to us is red shifted which means the objects are moving away from us. What caused the big bang is another question. Really, the question is what happened before the big bang. It makes sense that if there was that much matter/energy in one point it would be unstable and would expand, or "explode."

          Does evidence equal proof- no. In science we cannot "prove" anything! We can only say "the evidence supports this hypothesis." Or "the evidence does not support this hypothesis." When enough evidence is found supporting a hypothesis it may become a theory but it's not unfalsifiable. There may come enough evidence later to show that it is wrong. If that doesn't happen it holds up. The only Laws though are mathematical equations based on physics such as F = MA.

          Thanks for your comment on the definition of faith. I'll mull it over, but wanted to get back to you about the first couple of comments right away. Take care.
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        Jun 7 2013: "Our emotions have been discovered to be combinations of neurotransmitters and hormones."

        This is the physical equivalent of an experience that occurs beyond the body, just as we can see some physical activity in the brain during the process we call thinking, although, like emotions, thinking occurs outside the brain.

        This rounds out the illusion of life in body and mind in brain, as science can't source in body or brain what was never there.

        "Since the evidence shows that life is possible without intelligence (bacteria, etc..) then my premise was valid and so was my argument."

        Your argument suggests that there's very little difference between complex life forms and simple life forms. And I countered by saying: Ruling out mental illness, the most complex life form, man, won't opt to be a bacterium or an amoeba.

        "This is a fine hypothesis! Why come up with a better one?"

        Science can do as it chooses, but, just as religion has failed to evolve mankind spiritually, science is leading the way by resolving all things into material components, as it searches for cause in effect. It won't find it there, but it will continue to try.

        Science reinforces the lie that we're physical beings (rather than spiritual entities), beings living in a physical universe, when our universe is actually mental, supported by a non-physical matrix, and subject to our thoughts on both the individual and collective levels.

        Drifting in the wrong direction, mankind will continue to struggle to exist, and, if not careful, it will destroy the very world that has served it so well.

        "We explore because we are curious, but the universe would go on without us, and if we didn't do this, our species would go on as well."

        Actually, we're on the threshold of self-annihilation, thanks, in large part, to science.

        "Metaphysics is not science."

        I never said it was, but it does drive science. It's called mathematics.

        "Ideas are not necessary for life"

        But where would life be without them?
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          Jun 8 2013: Processes occur beyond the body and mind because spirit is a false entity driven by the chemical processes within neurons. This is a mystical thing we call consciousness.

          "Mankind will destroy the very world it has served well." Well, if you mean by all of the atheist scientists telling religious people to stop pollution and acknowledge climate change as realism then yes. Science can even help us reach a new world beyond our own, like the moon and Mars.

          "Actually, we're on the threshold of self-annihilation." Largely due to military exercises because extremist and activist religions and even non-religious organizations won't accept humanity as a whole that needs to work together. This is largely due to lack of our own people refusing to help and distribute technology.

          Metaphysicians are often times just overly arrogant ontologists about their religion.

          Life would be where it was before ideas evolved into our time, obviously.

          Spirit is a false sense to meet human ambitions and expectations. Let's say there is nothing but horror, misery, and disappointment at death. Too bad. Death happens, and it doesn't mean it has to be a pleasant sense when you die with virgins, heaven, or your own planet.

          "In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion." -Carl Sagan
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        Jun 8 2013: "Knowing love is tough- does anyone really "know" love?"

        To "know love" is not an intellectual exercise but one of expression. Had you as a young man practiced the presence of love, before you became an old man in the ways of the world, you would have developed a sense that would have given you amazing powers--"he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways."

        We call this sense, "spiritual sense," and to the degree that you develop it will you wield this little-known, and little-used power.

        Jesus stilled the storm, turned water into wine, healed he sick and raised the dead with spiritual sense alone.

        Just think where mankind would be now had they simply practiced loving--dwelled in love--that purposeless emotion, if we're to believe science? The message is almost as old as recorded history:

        "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord:

        "And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might."

        It's never too late, but as with all things that require mastering, the sooner you start the more masterful you become over time.
      • Jun 9 2013: Hello Austin and Wil,
        The subject of love... it is the all in everything. As i mentioned before in relation with Rembrandt and his paintings. Nothing is done or changed, by a person, that is not motivated by a love or an affection. Even if that love can not be detected by science.

        Swedenborg says that love is not nothing but is a spiritual substance. It also can only exist in a free environment. No freedom means no love. Love is to wish well to.. whatever we love, to be connected to .. whatever we love, and to make whatever we love happy and content.

        However, love is only half the equation. Love without wisdom is nothing. We cannot love what we do not know or understand. We also cannot be wise on a subject we do not love.

        I love Swedenborg's writings because they seem to drive religion and science together. Our spiritual environment corresponds perfectly with our natural environment.
        Regarding that there exists a perfect correspondence between love and wisdom with the spiritual organs that receive them, namely our 'will' and 'understanding'. Again, this correspondence is perfectly expressed and portrayed by the relationship between our heart and our lungs.

        This means that the more we know (from science) about what a heart does and how the lungs work, and how they relate, the more we can know how our mind works.

        This, hopefully will shed more light on the subject. Our spiritual environment is portrayed by the Tabernacle of Israel, from the materials, their colors, the furniture including its placement, and the complete layout to the way it was used. As can be seen in this book.
        I asure you that God did not go into this much detail because He is a picky camper.
        http://sites.google.com/site/liveitupspiritually/home/source/The%20Tabernacle%20of%20Israel.pdf?attredirects=0
    • Jun 5 2013: There's no reason to "teach all ideas." That's pure nonsense. If someone comes from a family that believes that the planet is flat and that there's edges from which ships can fall, why should I teach such crap? That someone believes it does not make it true. That someone believes it does not make it a reason to teach it.

      In science we teach science. not fantasy. If someone wants to "learn" that the planet is flat, and that they were created from mud, and that the first women was created from a rib, they are welcome to do so in their fantasy-land schools. I don't know about Austin, but I teach science. I will not pretend that fantasies are scientific. Not now, not ever.

      Do I teach them that their parents are full of crap? Nope. That's a judgement that they are free to pass if they so wish. I also don't tell them that they have to believe the science. If they prefer fantasy they are welcome to it. Only in the tests they have to demonstrate that they do understand the science. Understand, not believe.
  • Jun 2 2013: In the United States it is illegal to teach creationism due to the Supreme Court ruling in: Edwards v. Aguillard, 482 U.S. 578 (1987). In that ruling the high court dismissed the educational and scientific value of the "creationist" position, calling it a "sham," and accused the "creationists" of simply relabeling religious dogma as [pseudo] science. One of the Nobel laureates, Caltech's Murray Gell-Mann described the "creationist" position as less defensible scientifically than the notion that the earth is flat.

    We need to stop wasting out energies on this idiocy. The world is flat and creationism is pure religious dogma.
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      Jun 3 2013: "Edwards v. Aguillard, 482 U.S. 578 (1987) was a legal case about the teaching of creationism that was heard by the Supreme Court of the United States in 1987. The Court ruled that a Louisiana law requiring that creation science be taught in public schools, along with evolution, was unconstitutional because the law was specifically intended to advance a particular religion. It also held that "teaching a variety of scientific theories about the origins of humankind to school children might be validly done with the clear secular intent of enhancing the effectiveness of science instruction.""
  • May 29 2013: Sometimes people hold a core belief that is very strong. When they are presented with evidence that works against that belief, the new evidence cannot be accepted. It would create a feeling that is extremely uncomfortable, called cognitive dissonance. And because it is so important to protect the core belief, they will rationalize, ignore and even deny anything that doesn’t fit in with the core belief. ~ Frantz Fanon

    At the heart of Darwin's Theory is random change and natural selection. Computer Scientists have been experimenting with "Genetic Algorithms" for a long time now, and its clear they have enormous limitations. A computer program to play chess, for example, looks several moves ahead and chooses the move that will lead to the strongest position in the future. The power of a chess playing computer is determined by the number of moves it can look ahead. Any modern computer can beat the average human chess player, but it took a massive supercomputer to beat Kasparov in 1997. As the computer looks further into the future the number of combinations it must analyze increases exponentially. Chess playing algorithms regularly make short term sacrifices for longer term goals. Genetic Algorithms, however, can not do this because they are concerned only with the strength of the next generation. It does not matter how large the population or the length of time, Genetic Algorithms just can not solve Chess problems. Genetic Algorithms are also unable to build a structure such as a bridge which is only useful once it is complete and requires a complex series of meanwhile wasteful steps. Most of the scientific resistance to evolution in the past has come from mathematicians and engineers who have complained about this truly enormous problem. Biologists, on the other hand, tended to wave the theory through - but recent scientific advances in microbiology have been changing that. ~ Richard Dawkins

    Scientific Design has breached the evolutionary gap and must be addressed
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    May 28 2013: With all the conversation on the reality of creationism and evolution down to computer math is fun to read but is it relevant?

    The question begs if 46% of the population believe in creationism has led to the poor results in our educational system. I pointed out the that study of evolution in our school systems is measured in days and most high school graduates have little or no remembrance of the matter. Church affiliated student would quote creationism if asked as that is a oft repeated teachings in many religious ceremonies.
    I would maintain that there are a lot of reasons for the failure of our schools, but belief in evolution or creationism is away down the list.
    Most failures of organizations are lack of funding or mismanagement per my MBA classes.

    I got to think regardless of religious attitudes or scientific beliefs, it's school mismanagement.
  • May 28 2013: Does life 'advance"? Sure it does, that is not what is at debate here...

    The question of life’s origins in the universe has not been answered by science and only assumed by religion. What we do know is that “life DOES exist” and that is all that matters.

    To teach an assumption, being that of Natural Origins or an assumption, being that of a Divine being are both equally pseudo-scientific in nature without empirical evidence to either!

    Myself, I do not know where life first came from and I don’t pretend to know and to me and my logic, it matters not where or how life originated in the very first life ever in the universe, whether it be from a god or Natural Origins or something else we can’t even comprehend in our scientific level of achievement at this time in history. The only thing that really matters to me is knowing that “life DOES exist” and to assume how it came about is redundant and not logical unless you have empirical evidence backing such a stance.

    With that said, I can assume how life originated on this planet with some degree of scientific certainty.
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    May 25 2013: 46% of Americans believe in creationism and this is the problem in American education system. With the exception of a few religious schools where this a listed subject matter, I can not find many public schools that teach creationism as a standing course... I couldn't find any, but maybe there are some out there somewhere.

    But I love the premise... The lack of education is hung on the belief in creationism.... 46% no less.
    So, if we are to make a list of problems in American Education System that attribute to the lack of eduction, let me start:
    1.
    2.
    3.
    .
    .
    .
    98. Belief in Creationism.

    "nuff said.

    Seriously, the only science that comes to question out of... dozens of sciences taught is those few weeks in sophomore biology were evolution is discussed.

    "So, you say, if it is not creationism that has the American education system in it's death grip, what is it?"

    Simple. Public Schools are the most ill managed bureaucracies in the USA save governmental bureaucracies. But, they are closing in on 1st place.
  • May 22 2013: "A casual stroll through the insane asylum will demonstrate to you that "belief" proves NOTHING." - Friedrich Nietzsche

    Religious creation is based on belief, because all you have is assumption to “how life may have originated”.

    Abiogenesis is based on belief too, there is no evidence backing the concept of Natural Origins that can be produced showing empirical evidence to such.

    Advancements in all living things can be shown in the lab and any such advancement is called “Evolution”.

    Scientific Design can “advance” life by way of synthetically advancement and is not evolution because the theory lacks any reasonable explanation using design because of the bias set up to detour religious creation through a designing nature.

    To me there are not two but three options at debate…

    1. Creationism in the religious belief.
    2. Natural Origins followed by evolution.
    3. Scientific Design through lineage.

    #1 deals with a stance that can not be tested by the scientific means.
    #2 deals with an assumption that life must have originated somehow by natural means then evolved.
    #3 deals with the fact that life exists and will advance technologically to the point for space flight and synthetic biology and has a drive to spread wherever it ventures.

    To me, there is no way to test religious creationism so I ignore this stance, simple because one can not show evidence to such. Natural Origins seems legit but being a computer programmer, I have never seen code self create and that IS what life is…
    Lineage through scientific design coupled with the ability for life to advance in many ways has evidence backing such a stance in our own advancements and seems to me to be the most logical with the least amount of assumption but lacks a reasonable “origins” belief but stands as proven scientific fact. We need not know “where life came from” to know that life can advance to the point of scientific creation just as we need not know where life came from in the theory of evolution.
    • May 24 2013: Chris, I appreciate your agreeing with me that we cannot measure time the same as God.

      As to Kabbala....well, to be honest with you, I do not know much about it. Other than a bunch of people I see around my city wearing a red string around their wrist. What is the string suppose to symbolyze?
      From speaking to these individuals, I have not discerned any appreciation of scripture, or God, or anything spiritual in the slightest.

      And, if I may ask you, did you grow up with knowledge of the kabbalah?
      Or, did you acquire the knowledge as an adult, of your own free choosing?

      I have read your comments many times on here, but I had never had the opportunity to talk with you directly.

      *As a side note Chris, I see the science within the scriptures....but the scriptures were not meant to be a 'Science Book'. I would think that you would agree that it is much more than that, right?
      We do realize that the Holy book is not just a Bible......It is Holy Scriptures......as a matter of fact, that is what is printed on the front of my copy....."Holy Scriptures"
      • Comment deleted

        • May 24 2013: Your explanation of the Arc of the Covenant reminded me of this:

          http://www.womansday.com/health-fitness/nutrition/foods-that-look-like-body-parts-theyre-good-for-109151

          *******

          "What does that mean to you? What, in your understanding, makes scriptures 'holy'"

          I was referring to the term 'scriptures' and not to the word 'holy' when I made the statement you mention.

          But ok, I'll answer your question.

          Holy, to me is something clean and pure. In the case of the holy writings, or holy scriptures, holy would mean clean and pure writings.

          What is holy to you?

          *********

          And yes, I think Madonna had alot to do with people paying money to buy a piece of red yarn and wrap it around their wrist for protection. So people need this kind of lucky charm to function in society Chris? Is this something found in scripture, or is it just a tradition?
  • May 22 2013: They say a picture is worth a thousand words.
    Because I lack the vocabulary......here goes:

    http://i132.photobucket.com/albums/q5/cdp40/2_8_Creationism.jpg

    Doesn't seem right to me. How about you?
    • Comment deleted

      • May 23 2013: I thought that the picture tells alot......I also laughed when I saw it.

        I just ask myself, why would Christian parents allow teachers, who may not even believe in God, to tell their children about the creation account in the scriptures?

        Plus Kate, there are Bible literalists who take some bible verses literally....like creation actually taking only 6 days......and then there are those that realize that the scriptures use symbolism and narrate accounts of happenings from a "human" perspective so that us mere mortals may understand them.

        I don't believe that it took God literally 6 days to create our earth and the things in it.
        Scientific evidence tells us otherwise. In addition, the scriptures tell us that to God one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.....in other words, God doesn't count time like we do.

        I can't imagine Moses saying, "It took 698,000 years for the volcanic activity beneath the ocean to reach the surface, and then 3 million years for the land to begin to sprout vegetation, and so forth".
        What was recorded was what needed to be recorded at that time. (ps....the figures I use here are from my imagination just as an example, and not accurate).

        I have come to an understanding that the Bible is not a science book, but it explains certain scientific information to satisfy our curiosity. There are so many things we have yet to discover about our universe, our planet, our selves.........isn't it exciting that we don't have all the answers yet? It gives us something to look forward to, doesn't it?

        :)
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      May 23 2013: :-)
  • May 21 2013: I think it's time to give some direct answers to the questions posed in the article's title.
    No, (belief in) creationism does not by itself indicate a bad education. From the Scientific Revolution until today, many great intellects have accepted six-day (young-Earth) creation, and have believed the Bible. Many well-known creationist scientists have PhDs earned from secular universities.
    Yes, creationism has a good deal of credibility to it. That is: Even if you don't accept this view, there are strong points in its favour.
    (1) There is abundant evidence of design in the universe, and in living things in particular. Richard Dawkins defined biology as "the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose," and he wrote, "Echo-sounding by bats is just one of the thousands of examples that I could have chosen to make the point about good design. Animals give the appearance of having been designed by a theoretically sophisticated and practically ingenious physicist or engineer...." (The Blind Watchmaker)
    (2) The Bible, a highly influential shaper of Western culture — including promotion of the development of science, as documented by historian Peter Harrison (The Bible, Protestantism, and the rise of natural science, Cambridge University Press, 1998) — is clearly a creationist book, if read in a straightforward fashion.
    (3) The materialistic evolutionary explanation of origins, despite all its high-powered advocates on this website and elsewhere, has some serious difficulties: the origin of something (a multiverse??) from nothing; the origin of complex life from unguided chemical reactions; and the origin of biodiversity through negative, destructive processes like mutation (information degraded) and natural selection (earlier deaths of some individuals).
    (4) As well, creationism implies ultimate purpose for our lives, whereas evolution leads easily to nihilism — with no ultimate moral accountability or justice for the oppressed.
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      May 21 2013: Have you read "Is God an Accident?" by Paul Bloom :
      http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2005/12/is-god-an-accident/304425/?single_page=true
      You would enjoy it!
      • May 24 2013: Thanks, Bernard. It was an interesting article, indeed.
        But I disagree, of course, with the conclusion: "But the universal themes of religion are not learned. They emerge as accidental by-products of our mental systems. They are part of human nature."
        We are mentally and spiritually wired by the Creator. This was done in the original creation when humans were created "in God's image." Human nature is not the result of mindless evolution, but of divine creation.
        God is not 'an accident.' Nor is the universe, nor are you.
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      May 23 2013: 1. There is clear evidence of adaptation not design. Not a very competitent or kind designer if that were the case - birth defects, cancer, arthritis, dementia and animals surviving by killing or eating other living things. Also deceptive, making it look like natural processes are responsible, and there being no evidence of a designer, no acts of design we can examine in real time.

      2. Yes various forms of Christianity have been influential in the west, and the west has led the way in science for centuries. However it is fallacious to suggest that this means the bible claims or christian dogma are compatible with science.

      3. Evolution does not cover abiogenesis. Not having a well established scientific answer for life origins is not evidence for creation. Saying a creator did it out evidence is an argument from evidence. Suggest we don't have all the answers, but it does not follow that saying a supernatural agent did is useful for filling gaps.
      4. Humans can decide what their life purpose is and what is moral without a creator. No reason to assume a creator is a moral authority. Just because a god issues a divine command does not make it moral.

      I note many contradictory claims about divinely revealed morality reflecting subjective processes and no actual evidence of any creator.
      • May 24 2013: "1. There is clear evidence of adaptation not design." Well, Richard Dawkins is an Oxford zoologist and leading evolutionary spokesman. He says "design" and he says it repeatedly.
        "Not a very competitent or kind designer if that were the case" I assume you meant "competent." Richard Dawkins says "theoretically sophisticated and practically ingenious." Sounds rather competent to me. Are you a higher-level biologist than Dawkins is?
        Furthermore, the noted evolutionary philosopher Daniel Dennett has written, "There is simply no denying the breathtaking brilliance of the designs to be found in nature. Time and again, biologists baffled by some apparently futile or maladroit bit of bad design in nature have eventually come to see that they have underestimated the ingenuity, the sheer brilliance, the depth of insight to be discovered in one of Mother Nature's creations. Francis Crick has mischievously baptized this trend in the name of his colleague Leslie Orgel, speaking of what he calls 'Orgel's Second Rule: Evolution is cleverer than you are.' "
        Dennett does recognize good design — even though he won't give credit where it's due (i.e., to the true Designer).
        Regarding your concern/complaint about diseases and carnivory: Genesis 1 indicates that God's original creation did not include these. Suffering and death entered this world as a result of human treachery. The Creator will in time restore those pristine conditions following a time of cleansing and judgment upon sinners who have refused to repent.
        "3. Evolution does not cover abiogenesis." Every biology textbook discusses the origin of life in its "evolution" section. Upper level texts on Evolution all have a good-sized chapter on abiogenesis. Leading evolutionists view "chemical evolution" as a key problem in evolution (New Scientist 201[2693]:41-43, 2009).
        "4. Humans can decide what their life purpose is and what is moral" Such existential decisions are arbitrary and groundless, therefore ultimately unsatisfying.
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          May 24 2013: 1. If you think Richard Dawkins is proposing design or a designer, as opposed to what people often construe as design, then you must be talking about a different RD to the one I have read.

          I suggest when Dennett is talking about the appearance of design he is not proposing a designer too.

          Are you asserting that their use of the word design proves design?

          Are you really asserting Dennett and Dawkins are proposing design by a designer?

          Suggest Crick is talking about natural selection, changes in gene frequency, from less to more adapted h

          2. There are some amazing adaptations in nature. Life manages to struggle to survive in many harsh environments.

          I was referring to evolution due to natural selection (and other selection drivers). I understand some talk about evolution of the cosmos etc.

          Your god concept is typically all knowing and powerful. It set things up and knew what would happen. It set up a system where most don't believe it exists and associated dogma and supposed will suffer for eternity. Mmm great design if an intentionally cruel and malevolent being.

          4. A creator god deciding what the meaning of our existence is, is just as arbitrary. Which god concept, which dogma on meaning?

          I find a life without gods satisfying. You don't. You are welcome to your opinion.

          All but one contradictory theist belief must be incorrect. So most theists over the millennia believe/believed in false gods and false revelations about the meaning their god concept assigns to humans.

          And there is no good evidence for any of them to be correct.

          So chances are while you might find your theist beliefs give your life meaning, this is most likely based on false beliefs, or at best completely speculative and unverifiable. It seems most likely most theists are finding meaning in falsehoods.

          I prefer to find meaning based on what we best know, not speculative, subjective, faith based beliefs.

          Imagining or inheriting a cultural god concept is just as arbitrary or groundles
      • May 26 2013: Hi again. Dawkins and Dennett are, of course, atheists. They do not accept the Designer. Dawkins speaks of "apparent design" (which he thinks can be explained by natural selection rather than a personal Designer). Nonetheless they both affirm that organisms exhibit excellent design characteristics — despite various claims of "bad design," which are based in (as Dennett observes) ignorance.
        For more on "Dawkins and Design," see my writeup: http://www.creationbc.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=67&Itemid=62
        You're right that the various views of a god/God/no gods are contradictory. No more than one of those conflicting views can be correct. We can at least agree on that. But if you think atheists are not afflicted with any inclination to speculation, subjectivity, or unwarranted faith in authority, you are simply self-deceived.
        Here's a quote from Harvard geneticist Richard Lewontin that you might ponder:
        "... when scientists transgress the bounds of their own specialty they have no choice but to accept the claims of authority, even though they do not know how solid the grounds of those claims may be. Who am I to believe about quantum physics if not Steven Weinberg, or about the solar system if not Carl Sagan? What worries me is that they may believe what Dawkins and Wilson tell them about evolution." (The New York Review of Books 44[1]:30f., Jan. 9, 1997)
        Just before the above words, Lewontin had written (p. 30): "As to assertion without adequate evidence, the literature of science is filled with them. Carl Sagan's list of the 'best contemporary science-popularizers' includes E. O. Wilson, Lewis Thomas, and Richard Dawkins, each of whom has put unsubstantiated assertions or counterfactual claims at the very center of the stories they have retailed in the market." (Lewontin goes on to provide specific examples.)
        For more on Lewontin's realistic warnings about scientism: http://www.creationbc.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=71&Itemid=62
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      Jun 3 2013: “creationism does not by itself indicate a bad education. From the Scientific Revolution until today, many great intellects have accepted six-day (young-Earth) creation, and have believed the Bible.”

      Yes, and people also believed in a geocentric solar system, the “five elements” and medicine centered around balance of humours. They were well-educated for their time, but we now know better.

      "(1) There is abundant evidence of design in the universe, and in living things in particular. Richard Dawkins defined biology as "the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose,"

      “The appearance of having been designed” is not evidence for design. It is the appearance of design. Illusion versus reality. Surely that’s not hard to understand?
      Dawkins never expected religious people to take the word "design" (implying a designer) so literally in The Selfish Gene and has tried to put this right ever since.

      "(2) The Bible, a highly influential shaper of Western culture — including promotion of the development of science"

      That is of no consequence. Being a shaper of culture does in no way prove your dogma right. And yes, the reformation - finally questioning religious dogma - opened the doors for science, but a thousand years of catholicism had closed them firmly before (science was a Greek invention, preserved by the Muslems for a time).

      "(3) serious difficulties: the origin of something (a multiverse??) from nothing; the origin of complex life from unguided chemical reactions;"

      I agree, those are still unanswered questions. We are uncertain there. But that does certainly not prove the bible right, and there are plenty of uncertainties and unanswered questions arising from religious explanations. We try to tackle our questions with hypothesis and experimentation, with reason and curiosity. We do not pretend to have all the answers, unlike the religious. We are not afraid of uncertainty.

      See below for the rest.
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      Jun 3 2013: “and the origin of biodiversity through negative, destructive processes like mutation (information degraded) and natural selection (earlier deaths of some individuals).”

      I think you have a limited view of genetics. Gene duplication, chromosome duplication, retrotransposons, perhaps even retroviruses; there are all sorts of processes that increase the genetic freedom that organisms have to adapt. Natural selection governs which alterations remain fixed in the organism.

      “(4) As well, creationism implies ultimate purpose for our lives, whereas evolution leads easily to nihilism — with no ultimate moral accountability or justice for the oppressed.”

      If a belief system gives us what we want – i.e. a purpose in life – that does not mean its assumptions are true. If my ideology says I have a million dollars, I’d love to believe it, but that doesn’t make it true. There is good evidence that moral accountability and justice for the oppressed are innate – even monkeys exhibit them. Conversely, religious beliefs often trample all over these attributes. Also, I think one could distill a very good morality from Darwinism, which recognizes the adaptive value of helping those in need and upholds the rights of every individual.
  • May 17 2013: I would put it this way: "Darwinism = Atheism". This is not a pure mathematical equality, obviously, since the two terms have different definitions and focuses. But it's a rather good first approximation: the concepts are readily/naturally compatible. As a potent "universal acid" (Dennett), Evolution tends to drive people away from the Bible, which is clearly a creationist book when read straightforwardly. Evolution undermines the historical foundation of the gospel provided in Genesis. Noted historian of biology Will Provine boasted: "Evolution is the greatest engine of atheism." And Richard Dawkins wrote, "Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist." See my article on this, http://www.creationbc.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=100&Itemid=54
    Regarding Kenneth Miller's book "Finding Darwin's God," I suggest this is a very silly title. Darwin was initially a Unitarian (where he attended services with his mother), then an orthodox Anglican (as he studied for the ministry), then an apostate from Christianity (secretly as early as the 1830s, then more openly after his daughter's death in 1851), and near the end of his life he called himself an Agnostic — which for him was distinguished from the title 'Atheist' mainly by its less aggressive attitude. "Finding Darwin's God" therefore means, historically, to slide from belief into unbelief, ending as an Agnostic/Atheist. To make the Bible allow Evolution, one must carry out an awful lot of Procrustean stretching or slashing, as seen in the various conflicting attempts such as the Day/Age theory, the Gap theory, the Revelatory day theory, the currently popular Framework view, etc. My brief review of Miller's book is here: http://www.creationbc.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=96&Itemid=54
    Atheist/evolutionist Will Provine recommends, Allow students to have full debate in science class: http://www.creationbc.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=103&Itemid=62
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      May 17 2013: Richard, I think it comes down to perspective, God's perspective and ours. Here's my take: God created everything, all at once, in the Holy moment of now, and, from our limited, human perspective, it required billions of years of evolution to arrive at our current place, harmonizing, to some extent, the views of creationists and evolutionists.
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      May 17 2013: Some great points here! :-)
      (Seems you are a very knowledgeable man!)
      The title shouldn't be taken literately! (Like all things, especially the "Bible").
      I think it was meaning that you could believe in evolution and be a Christian at the same time...
      Like I said I have no problem with theistic evolution, just creationism. Though I can't find myself to agree with their spiritual beliefs. However this is a very different matter.
      (Regarding them I take a very "Agnostic" approach. Rather similar to Bertrand Russell's!)
      If you wish to find another great biologist on "God(s)", then watch "Sir David Attenborough On God".
      Link : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mI7f3xVgZdA
      It is possible after-all.
      • May 21 2013: I agree, it is 'possible' to believe in God / a god and evolution.
        But I submit that it is not 'logically' possible to truly accept evolution (rank neo-Darwinism as expounded by its leading advocates) and at the same time to genuinely believe the God of the Bible.
        Those who claim to believe in the compatibility of the two worldviews are, as Greg Graffin discovered in his PhD research, often simply involved in a public relations game. http://www.creationbc.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=61&Itemid=54
    • May 17 2013: The problem with your claims, Richard, is that you are imagining that your god is the only one that could be disbelieved by atheists. Sorry, but the world does not orbit around you and your beliefs. There's plenty of gods to reject, and there's plenty of Christian gods to reject. Yes, some gods can be rejected just because of evolution. Yes, evolution and atheism are very compatible, but evolution alone does not necessarily lead to atheism unless the god originally questioned by the atheist is one like yours.

      By the way, evolution is not the same as "Darwinism." Darwin proposed a mechanism and gave plenty of evidence that lead him to conclude that spies derive from common ancestors. But he did not know a lot of what we know today. It is a big mistake to talk about Darwinism when the person is discussing evolution. There's much more to evolution than what Darwin wrote more than 150 years ago.
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        May 21 2013: Sorry Entropy.
        I think you sent me to this, not Richard.
        Regards, :-)
        Bernard.
        P.S : Did you get my latest reply to you? :P
        • May 22 2013: Hi Bernard,

          The answer was for Richard. Check and you will see that the only way he could defend his position is by imagining that his god, sorry, not just his god, but his particular version of such god, is the only one an atheist does not believe. That's the only way in which evolution would equal atheism.

          I did not see your latest answer. you mean in the other discussion you had going? I might check later.
  • May 16 2013: That's like asking if eating chocolate means you have a bad diet. Learning about creationism says almost nothing about your education. Learning about creationism and NOT evolution says something. I'd say learning about evolution and NOT intelligent design isn't much of an education either. They're both theories. One is scientific. The other is philosophical. Teach both, one in science, the other in history or philosophy or religion.
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    May 16 2013: I have no problem with creationism being taught in schools - I have a problem with it being mandatory.

    If one wants to learn something that has no value outside of politics, then perhaps it would be better to offer a course on Aristotle.
    But if Creationism gets votes, then it should be available for those pondering a career in social totalitarianism through religious manipulation. The gospels class, of course, would be a subject attended by real Christians.

    The good thing about voluntary Creationist courses is that healthy humans will be able to identify the defective ones - they will be the ones in the class.

    But not to worry - Creationism is just a fashion statement - it will be replaced by flaired jeans and platform shoes .. or something just as silly.
  • May 16 2013: Creationism can be useful in a theology or philosophy class, however creationism in a science class would be absolutely ridiculous.
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    May 15 2013: Hi Carlos

    I agree with you. I think it is important to speak about religion, regardless of which branch, as it forms part of society. I was thinking more is it wrong to raise it science class - not really. But I think social sciences is the best and most appropriate place for it.

    Best Wishes
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      May 15 2013: "social sciences"
      What would "history" or "theology (or Religious studies)" be to you?
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        May 16 2013: Absolutely, as long as it covers all mainstream religions, i.e. Christianity, Islam, Hindu, Buddhism, Sikhism etc.. Unfortunately religious studies in Australian schools teaches nothing but Christianity.
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      May 16 2013: I agree and would support Religious studies in state schools teaching about all the world religions past and present, but not indoctrination.

      Agree this is more humanities, social sciences.
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    May 15 2013: Wil,
    The killing of even 1 innocent person by any means is abhorrent to me and to do it in the name of God(s) is yet more despicable.

    Agreed education is an up the hill battle.

    There is no area of science invulnerable to criticism ---None--- bring your "A" game, roll up your sleeves and get ready to work to make the point heard( in the scientific community). Everyday, I say again daily, Scientists from all over this planet are working on new postulates, theories, research in a myriad of fields, there is No Sacred Cow in science, is not like Islam or the Vatican you know, or the Discovery Institute. No magic just hard work!

    Best regards,

    Physics is imagination in a straight jacket. ~John Moffat

    Cheers then!
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    May 14 2013: HI

    I am not sure it should be considered science as they have no evidence to sustain their clams. But I do feel that it should be presented to students in a non-mocking manner. Not to do so, would not present all sides of any argument, and thereby ignoring all views. It can be presented as "this is an alternative view that at present lacks evidence" - and let's face it, there never will be any evidence. Also, this would allow the introduction of how the sciences have been derailed and delayed by the church (in general).
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      May 14 2013: "I am not sure it should be considered science as they have no evidence to sustain their clams."

      Brian, I'm not as sure as you are. We both agree that there was a creation: a beginning. That in itself is as much "evidence" that's needed to support the existence of a "creator."

      What may be in contention is whether that creator was intelligent or not, or the nature of its other properties. M-theory says creation was the result of spontaneous self-generating matter, and that the big bang that resulted created a multiverse, not just one. If that's true, then science is positing the nature of God, a Creator, and calling it spontaneous self-generating matter.
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        May 14 2013: Hey Wil, thanks for commenting.

        I am not 'sure' that there was a creation or beginning? I am sceptical of all claims, but I err to science as they have the most tangible and "tested" answers. To accept that a "creation" occurred is to accept that a creator exist; and for that there is no evidence, only faith. Faith is not a foundation for science.

        I feel that I should point out I am not being disrespectful to religion, and declare my hand as closer to an agnostic, than a believer, as I don't know and I admire believers faith. I was responding to the question and it was asking should it be taught. I believe that it should be taught - but not as a science.

        That said, I do love the civility of this topic. We can discuss things like adults.
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          May 14 2013: "I am not 'sure' that there was a creation or beginning?"

          That's your prerogative, but it flies in the face of most scientific findings, and resultant observations, what is termed a big bang.

          We can't dismiss a beginning, as something was generated by the big bang that clearly wasn't there before, which resulted in our universe and what is now posited as a multiverse.

          It has nothing to do with "faith," but a Creator, in the case of M-theory, it's spontaneous self-generating matter. By any other name this matter would constitute that which gave rise to various universes, hence a Creator.

          My point: It's already being taught, but it's being taught without reference to God, or Genesis, or an Intelligent Designer.

          Brian, I put the "civil" in civility, and like that you appreciate it as well. With just a modicum of effort, we can all disagree without being disagreeable.
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        May 14 2013: " we can all disagree without being disagreeable"
        If only that was the case in all aspects of life... :P
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        May 14 2013: Hi Will,
        Currently, I don't think M-theory is talked about much in schools and I will not pretend to understand it in any way, but I doubt we currently need it for discussing whether or not any mention of a creator should be included in science class.

        According to theoretical physics and astronomy there was some beginning to this universe. The thoughts on this are complex and abstract and still riddled in mystery, but scientists are working to improve this (perhaps that's where M-theory comes in).

        However, to say that an intelligent creator was at the start of it all is quite a leap that poses a whole range of other questions that are next to unanswerable, which is intolerable to those who want to understand the universe. So far, a creator-hypothesis has also not seemed necessary in explaining things (although it has in the past, Newton being a good example).

        I would respectfully have to say I feel you are switching things around by taking "spontaneous self-generating matter" (I don't know the official scientific term and I'm not sure what it is) and calling it "god". You might though, if that is your definition of god; but it does not really help the conversation along because the term "god" comes with many religiously inspired connotations and symbolism that confuse things, especially in the classroom.

        Even if at some point, scientists do get stuck and require an intelligent creator or "starter" to understand the universe, we are still left with finding the nature of this thing/person/deity/presence/designer/intelligence/etc. Any guess is then as good as the rest and we'd have to find out more about it through hypothesizing and experimentation. Any reference to a specific religion (e.g. genesis) when mentioning this "designer" would be dishonest, as there are tons of alternatives already in human cultures, see also my reply to Peter Law below. More likely, a creator would be something new entirely.

        I hope the above was not disagreeable :)
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          May 14 2013: Hi Gerco.
          If we come down on the creation side of the argument, surely it makes sense to continue the quest. The bible then becomes a source of attention. Does geology really allow for a cataclysmic worldwide flood? Did the history of the Jewish nation turn out as predicted? If we apply the scientific method to each 'Holy Book' in turn; how do they stack up?
          It's really just a quest for truth, leave no stone unturned. What else have we to do while awaiting our turn to go?

          :-)
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          May 14 2013: "According to theoretical physics and astronomy there was some beginning to this universe."

          If a "beginning," then a creation. If a "creation," then that which created, a creator. The problem is semantics. Science would rather call the creator spontaneous self-generating matter, while the religionist would call the Creator, God.

          If God is that which initially created our universe, and we posit that that creator is self-generating matter, by any other name, we've identified our creator.

          "to say that an intelligent creator was at the start of it all is quite a leap that poses a whole range of other questions that are next to unanswerable"

          Here's a "leap." Was this self-generating matter intelligent or unintelligent? If unintelligent, then how was it possible for non-intelligence to create mind, and therefore intelligence, an intelligence evident in our animial kingdom although in varying degree.

          "So far, a creator-hypothesis has also not seemed necessary in explaining things."

          And that's my point: It's inescapable. Whether the creator is called "self-generating matter" or the Judeo-Christian God, it's impossible to ignore a Genesis, a beginning, and, if a beginning, a Creator.

          "I feel you are switching things around by taking "spontaneous self-generating matter"... and calling it "god"."

          Fair enough, but, more to the point, I'm calling it the Creator. For, at bottom, that is what a God is.

          "but it does not really help the conversation along because the term "god" comes with many religiously inspired connotations."

          Perhaps not. But since, depending on which side of the divide you rest, it's all speculation, theoreticlal, and inconclusive, why not give as much weight to a God as creator, as to spontaneous self-generating matter, or any other speculative scientific answer for how our universe was created?

          From a supposed "self-generating matter," a non-intelligent and non-living substance, we posit the creation of both life and mind. Why not the opposite?
        • May 15 2013: Gerco, I find it interesting you said "However, to say that an intelligent creator was at the start of it all is quite a leap that poses a whole range of other questions that are next to unanswerable, which is intolerable to those who want to understand the universe." Do you consider them unanswerable because they are not testable, and thus outside the realm of science? If this is the case, then there will always be unanswerable questions. Anytime you question issues of purpose, meaning, or a potential first cause outside our physical world before the universe or multiverse existed, you are asking questions that science can't address. But that doesn't mean they are not worth asking. Science is an incredible tool, but it does have its limits, as there are certain things that simply can't be put to the test. But it also is not the only method used to arrive at knowledge. If you really want to "understand the universe" (and obviously to me, you do), you will inevitably arrive at questions that science cannot answer. Even if every aspect of how the universe works/exists is someday explained, it still leaves the 'why'? If there is no why, it still leaves us asking "why do we think there could be a 'why'?" Either way, questions are unanswered. If having questions that science can't answer is "intolerable", then it will always leave you in a difficult spot, as such questions will always exist.
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        May 15 2013: Hi Wil, (this is a reply to "If a "beginning" then a creation.")

        You make some interesting points.
        "Science would rather call the creator spontaneous self-generating matter, while the religionist would call the Creator, God."

        To make this creator or starter or prime mover something living, intelligent and personal would require some extraordinary evidence, which - as far as I and the rest of science can see - has not presented itself so far*. Calling this creator "God" already implies the latter and often also gives the idea that it is something which intervenes AFTER the initial creation; simply by the the religious connotations attached to the term "God". For an interventionist God, there is even less evidence or explanatory need than for a prime mover/initial creator.

        "why not give as much weight to a God as creator, as to spontaneous self-generating matter, or any other speculative scientific answer for how our universe was created?"

        Simply because scientists see as yet no need for an intelligent creator. If they do at some point, then the investigation has only just begun, because what was this creator?

        "Whether the creator is called "self-generating matter" or the Judeo-Christian God,"

        And that is where a major problem lies, see my last paragraph in my previous post as well as some others: THERE ARE TONS OF CREATION MYTHS. Taking Genesis (universe created in 6 days, starting with earth), this is refuted right off the bat by physics and cosmology; then there are loads more to investigate merely as hypotheses, but most are incompatable with science. Evaluating all in science class would make it religious class.

        * In case that by such evidence you mean this: "If unintelligent, then how was it possible for non-intelligence to create mind, and therefore intelligence"

        To me, this is not a paradox. Intelligence and mind can come from the mass of grey matter in our heads, with no problem of this coming about through millions of years of natural selection.
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          May 15 2013: "To make this creator or starter or prime mover something living, intelligent and personal would require some extraordinary evidence."

          To make this creator less than living and intelligent would defy logic, since we'd have to posit that non-intelligence created both mind and intelligence. What's more paradoxical than that?

          "For an interventionist God, there is even less evidence or explanatory need than for a prime mover/initial creator."

          Universal laws set in motion at the beginning of creation would be the only intervention required, that and an evolutionary mechanism to control species adaptation over time.

          "Simply because scientists see as yet no need for an intelligent creator."

          And that's the rub. It's impossible to reconcile an intelligent and life supportive creation (biological organisms) with non-intelligent and nonliving matter. To posit such is not scientific so much as it's a conscious effort to rule out the presence of an intelligence or an existence preceding, and at the moment of, creation.

          "THERE ARE TONS OF CREATION MYTHS."

          And many, derived from different cultures, and without known cross-cultural encounters, are similar.

          "Taking Genesis (universe created in 6 days, starting with earth), this is refuted right off the bat by physics and cosmology;"

          Indeed it is, if we're talking about a material creation as opposed to a spiritual creation. In the beginning God (Spirit) created the heavens and the earth. The six days aren't diurnal days since a measurement of time had yet to be created, even if we are to take Genesis literally.

          ¶ And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:

          This occurred on the third day, although we're told that, on the first day, God created light and called it Day and the darkness, Night.

          If "Intelligence and mind can come from the mass of grey matter," why can't science source mind in brain?
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        May 15 2013: "To make this creator less than living and intelligent would defy logic, since we'd have to posit that non-intelligence created both mind and intelligence. What's more paradoxical than that?"

        Well, for example, an intelligent deity creating an enormous (truly mind-bogglingly vast) universe just so that we on this tiny planet could worship him, I find more paradoxical. I really do not see a problem with blind evolution giving rise to our level of cognition through natural selection. I'm sorry.

        "it's a conscious effort to rule out the presence of an intelligence or an existence preceding"

        But allowing for the presence of an intelligence preceding requires so much more explanation. Where did it come from? Why did it create anything? Now that brings us to religious answers, but those have no place in science per se for, as I said, there are many creation myths.

        "many [creation myths] derived from different cultures, and without known cross-cultural encounters, are similar."

        No. Not really. If there are superficial similarities, you may need to wonder how many ways - conveivable to stone age man - there really are of talking about some beginning from nothing/chaos/otherwise. The fact that there are wide differences - even between those WITH cross-cultural encounters - already is a very strong point against the notion of revelation and for the notion of fabrication by people.

        "if we're talking about a material creation as opposed to a spiritual creation."

        We can only talk about material creation as spiritual creation is exactly something that science cannot work with. Such caveats take the origins debate only further from the realm of science; what would falsify an intelligent creation for you?

        "why can't science source mind in brain?"

        Assuming you are right, it is because our brain is very complex. But neuroscientists are working hard to find the answers to such questions, but there so far seems no need for a supernatural dimension to our consciousness.
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          May 16 2013: "Well, for example, an intelligent deity creating an enormous (truly mind-bogglingly vast) universe just so that we on this tiny planet could worship him, I find more paradoxical."

          God doesn't need you to worship her. You've heard wrong. What would be the purpose of that?

          "I really do not see a problem with blind evolution giving rise to our level of cognition through natural selection. I'm sorry."

          Given what this supposed "evolution" has wrought, living organisms, and minds that can reflect upon themselves, and upon their environment, I'd call that evolution with 20-20 vision, and far from blind.

          And to consider further, that it all started with dumb matter, matter that's nonliving and non-intelligent, yet able overtime to transform itself into that which is alive and intelligent, I call that the greatest "magic" trick of existence.

          "Where did it come from? Why did it create anything? Now that brings us to religious answers, but those have no place in science per se for, as I said, there are many creation myths."

          And the preexistence of self-generating matter, or any matter, doesn't elicit the same questions?

          "No. Not really. If there are superficial similarities."

          Not the myths that I have read: the premise being how similar they all are, and how they share pretty much the same or similar elements.

          "We can only talk about material creation as spiritual creation is exactly something that science cannot work with."

          Since the Bible and many other Holy Writ speak of spirituality and spiritual things, small wonder that those who approach them from a physical, material, scientific bases often misrepresent what they've read, or don't fully comprehend what is being stated.

          "Such caveats take the origins debate only further from the realm of science; what would falsify an intelligent creation for you?"

          You're right: Creation is not in the "realm of science," and science will never get to the bottom of it, nor get to the bottom of man himself.
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        May 17 2013: "God doesn't need you to worship her. ... What would be the purpose of that?"

        Well I don't know; what would be the purpose of anything? How do you know there even is a purpose to anything??

        "I'd call that evolution with 20-20 vision, and far from blind."

        The process of evolution by natural selection is blind, but it produces some good results that are often mistaken for visionary design, yes.

        "Not the myths that I have read: the premise being how similar they all are, and how they share pretty much the same or similar elements."

        Now I'm curious as to which would be these similar but unrelated creation myths (I'm quite sure I could give you a couple that are different). My point was that the fact that there are differences is enough to dismiss all of them as THE truth. Science would still have to be used to uncover the origins of the universe, creation myths are not going to help with that.

        "Since the Bible and many other Holy Writ speak of spirituality and spiritual things, small wonder that those who approach them from a physical, material, scientific bases often misrepresent what they've read, or don't fully comprehend what is being stated."

        Oh and religious people are free from this difficulty?! With all the religious strife going on the world, all the disagreement on completely unfounded spiritual readings, wars being fought over which type of Christian or Muslem someone is, they all fully understand the written works? Both sides in every argument?!? A couple weeks ago, I witnessed personally a young earth creationist lecture an intelligent design proponent. They cannot both be right!!

        "Creation is not in the "realm of science," and science will never get to the bottom of it, nor get to the bottom of man himself."

        I didn't mean the origins of the universe are outside the realm of science, I think that the causality of the universe can be investigated scientifically. You didn't answer my question: what would falsify an intelligent creation for you?
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          May 18 2013: "Well I don't know; what would be the purpose of anything?"

          You are the purpose of everything: You're alive and you're experiencing the process we call life. What greater purpose could one ask for, or hope for?

          "The process of evolution by natural selection is blind, but it produces some good results."

          It depends on how you define "good results." Evolution is not unlike the various laws of the universe, let's say, gravity, but these laws aren't self-determinant, but are established my an all-pervasive intelligence.

          "My point was that the fact that there are differences is enough to dismiss all of them as THE truth."

          Well, you should stop your search now, as you'll never find The Truth in this realm of existence, only a shadow of it. Reacquaint yourself with Socrates' allegory, The Cave, which approximates a version of the truth.

          Rather than throw out the baby with the bath water, cull from these myths areas where they do agree, and fashion a narrative of concordance, as they tell a story about the human condition, but not about ultimate reality, The Truth.

          "Science would still have to be used to uncover the origins of the universe, creation myths are not going to help with that."

          Stranger things have happened. Science doesn't have the means to "uncover the origins ot the universe." Its methodologies are inadequate for the task.

          "they all fully understand the written works? Both sides in every argument?!?"

          They "understand" what they understand. You understand what you understand. And I understand what I understand. It's what we do with that understanding that determines our outcomes.

          "I witnessed personally a young earth creationist lecture an intelligent design proponent."

          When God created light and called it Day, and darkness Night, a diurnal day hadn't been created.

          God created everything in the Holy moment of Now, and from our limited, human perspective, it appeared to have taken billions of years of evolution to achieve it.
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          May 18 2013: "You didn't answer my question: what would falsify an intelligent creation for you?"

          When science renders me--that I live and think, that I possess life and mind, that I act and am conscious--a myth.

          My answer is not as flippant as it might appear at first blush. Says Robert Frost:

          Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
          I took the one less traveled by,
          And that has made all the difference.

          Humanity once had two roads it might have traveled, the one laid by Socrates, and the one laid by Aristotle. We chose the latter, and that choice not only "made all the difference," but a difference that will ultimate in our demise, if we don't retrace our steps, and take the road "less traveled by."

          If you doubt me, take a long, hard, studied look around, and if you can read the signs of the times, you won't miss what we're doing to ourselves, our planet, and our longevity.
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      May 15 2013: Brian,
      Is better to keep Creationism out of the science classroom and push that debate to a social studies. To bring Creationism side to side with evolution, even without evidence is like presenting about Astrology in an Astronomy class as the "other "side of the issue, there is no other side.

      Cheers!
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    May 14 2013: Which came first, creation or evolution? We speak of evolution as though it was the cause of all that we see rather than the controlling adaptive mechanism that it is.

    Stephen Hawking is fond of M-theory which posits the existence of self-generating matter. It's not that science doesn't believe in a creator, it would just rather assume that it wasn't intelligent, and that the amazing design of the universe has no purpose, and no designer.

    Now, I'd say that that's a true leap of faith.
  • May 13 2013: I thought as a science teacher at a socially progressive high school and as an evangelical Christian, I might have an interesting perspective to add to this conversation.

    I agree with much of what has been said above. Teaching 6day 24hr creationism does not belong in the science classroom. Though I have read some valid scientific critiques of evolution, I have no problem with the theory and it being taught. The Bible does not teach us what method God used to establish life, so it makes not difference to me whether it was through evolution or not. Ultimately, I find no conflict between science and my faith. However, this IS the framework many others on both sides of the issue bring to the discussion.

    I consistently find that my very sharp-minded high school students have largely been taught or inherited a view that science and religion (especially Christianity) cannot co-exist. Most of them accept science contradicts religion, while a few cling to their religious beliefs and are suspicious of science. Recently, one of the brightest students I've ever met (and an atheist) asked me about my personal beliefs. She found it interesting that I could somehow believe in both science and religion. My point here is that even if it is not explicitly taught, many students come away with an incorrect view that modern science contradicts any belief in a creator God.

    As a result, I spend one class period each year in a discussion with my students about science and religion. I do not push any particularly position, except to drive home that there is no reason they need to be seen as in conflict. I find at church that many people's views are not much different from my students--that science and religion contradict each other--but they have simply taken the other side. For many of them, the only way they have seen science taught has been in contradiction to their belief in God. Sadly, they begin to distrust all science. The gulf widens and perpetuates itself.
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      May 14 2013: wow, you are clearly not the type of teacher I feared was in charge of teaching the youth in the USA, as I mentioned in response to Peter Law below. Then again, what do I know, I do not even live there. My hat off to you sir. Do you think teachers in general are as honest in teaching as yourself?
      Still, your story does confirm my concern: many students - probably by pressure from parents, peers and preachers - do not want to understand the scientific method fully for religious reasons. What could you (as in Americans in general; politics perhaps) do to change this in your opinion?
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      May 14 2013: Having thought about why people distrust all science; could it be that many of the scientific observations that religious students have problems with (e.g. age of the earth, evolution in the fossil record, etc.) are simply taught as fact, without teaching HOW scientists have come to their conclusions?

      Might I suggest that the scientific method is explained to them, in the process of teaching the facts? If this takes too much time, why not make reading of "A short history of nearly everything" by Bill Bryson almost mandatory?

      Scientists are somehow seen as evil conspirators of the devil (dramatization hopefully) while they should be seen as people, very curious people.
      • May 15 2013: Gerco, thanks for your responses and for the compliment. You ask good questions. My estimation--which I'm sure isn't 100% accurate, but it's the best I can see it--is that most "religious" students do have the scientific method taught to them well and that they generally accept it. It is not the scientific method they have a problem with. Despite our best efforts, science is never 100% objective, because it is being done by human beings who have opinions, preferences, biases, grudges, preconceived notions, etc. Much of the time, science is done well and with careful, balanced analysis. On the other hand, history is rife with examples to the contrary. I think the distrust is not of the scientific method but of the scientists. It is easy for them to imagine a scientist favoring an interpretation of data that supports the scientist's worldview while overlooking contradictory evidence. This perspective is probably aggravated by the general distrust of authority that has been breeding in our country for quite some time. We have seen too many political leaders, CEOs, and other people of power abuse their positions for their own gain. A great example is the healthcare industry--I know people who consciously ignore health advice given by government entities because they believe it has been influenced by large healthcare providers who want to make more money, and so they assume it is bad advice. You get the idea?

        So, how do we address this problem? When I tell a Christian that there really is good evidence for the universe being 14 billion years old, for example, I find I have to carefully explain to them HOW we know this. They can easily assume the data has been misinterpreted or even altered. If they know and trust me, they are more likely to believe what I am saying. And so I try to be patient, carefully explaining the facts, and hopefully pointing them toward a more sound understanding of science.
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          May 15 2013: I see. Thank you for your efforts!

          It is unfortunately true that science seems like an ivory tower*. The people at the top are only trying to make it higher, and scream down at the people below what they see from up there. But what they say tends to be so complicated and incomprehensible that only the people right next to them (looking in the same direction so to say) can understand it and the translators halfway down often miss the point.

          Science as an institution isn't perfect, simply because there are people at work (as you will agree) and unfortunately also - increasingly - money. But still, the vast majority of scientists are simply curiosity driven and/or eager to make the world a better place.

          It is a great pain for honest scientists that they are viewed as a mistrusted authority, and they'd wish those political leaders, CEO's and other people in actual power would listen to them some more. If that happened, people would see that scientists are really on their side.

          While there is no scientific consensus as to whether a soul exists, scientists working to skew their data to suit the greed of companies are viewed by the larger scientific community as having sold it.

          Did you read my second post in reply to you? I think we are in full agreement on at least one way to tackle the problem, and I'm very pleased to see you take the time to do this. Might I again suggest Bill Bryson's "Short History of Nearly Everything again"? I found it very helpful as it deals with the people involved with our understanding, their motivations and discussions. I should really read it again sometime, too bad I gave my copy away to a schoolboy in Ghana :)

          * And yet, it is the industry making ivory religious figurines in East Asia that is actually driving the elephant to extinction.
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      May 14 2013: Cliff, thank you for enhancing this discussion with these reasonable and balanced comments. I would add one missing piece to the education our children receive, that is the deeply held religious convictions of some of the greatest minds in science, and how their faith actually enhanced their insatiable scientific curiosity. Imagine if our students were exposed to the fact that Newton wrote more about religion than science, or that the discoverer of the pulmonary system was a deeply religious man who was executed for his faith. The history of science is replete with these examples. How different our children's world view would be if their education was broader than the current black and white presentation so common in classrooms today. You have my admiration for your efforts to stem this tide.
      • May 14 2013: Rick, I agree with you, but I was running out of space. Throughout the year, I often do mention that certain 'great minds' were also people of faith, often leaders in their religious communities. Most recently mentioned was Michael Faraday. When I do this, however, I try to do it in a way that is simply exposing my students to the idea that great people of science have also often been people of great faith, and even in recent (and current) history, rather than trying to push a certain viewpoint. I feel this is necessary for students to have a fair and balanced view of faith and science because so many of them have a preconceived notion that faith and science are mutually exclusive.
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      May 15 2013: In response to " Gerco, I find it interesting"

      Yeah you are right. That statement was a poorly made reference to Occam’s razor that I might have phrased a lot more appropriately with something along the lines of: “to say that an intelligent creator was at the start of it all is quite a leap that requires a whole range of assumptions that make this explanation less parsimonious.” I’ve just responded to Bernard White’s request to explain Occam’s razor, where I make the same point.

      You are also right when you say

      “Anytime you question issues of purpose, meaning, [*] you are asking questions that science can't address.
      But that doesn't mean they are not worth asking.”

      That is indeed where we step into the realms of philosophy and religion.

      “If there is no why, it still leaves us asking "why do we think there could be a 'why'?" ”

      Maybe you’ve given this more thought than I have, but that question seems answerable enough: anthropomorphism. The things we do are often reasoned, so we think there is a “why” to nature. Quite likely, people once looked around them and then back at the tool they had just made and wondered “Hmm… if I made this tool, then who made everything around me?” Similarly, people assume a purpose to the universe as well. Also, people WANT there to be a purpose, which is their right, but it doesn't necessarily make it so. Science assumes no reasons, only causes. No why, only how.

      My high school biology teacher used to say: “I never ask “why” questions in a test, because a student might answer: “Because it is God’s Will” and I would have to allow that since I cannot argue with it.” Mind you, this was in the Netherlands.

      * I am not so sure whether “a potential first cause outside our physical world before the universe or multiverse existed” is impossible to talk about scientifically. It still deals with “how”, and I expect hypotheses might be formulated, which can be argued for or against theoretically (but I won’t be the one to do it).
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    dr. d

    • +1
    May 13 2013: Creationism is not science; it is Christian religious indoctrination. It has no place in a science classroom and indicates that a school has confused the topics of science and theology. That said, it is perfectly fine for religious education but should not be taught in public schools in science classroooms.
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      May 13 2013: I agree (to an extent, maybe it isn't "religious indoctrination"). :-)
      Yet some would argue that it was crushing "freedom of speech".
      How would you reply?
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        dr. d

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        May 13 2013: Creationism is religious indoctrination because, in this context, it reflects on the Christian mythology from Genesis. Since I am not a member of that religious faith, teaching creationism to my child amounts to religious indoctrination. For the record, I was born and raised in America. In the public sector religious and theological teachings should be identified as such and have no place in a science class. That is my main point.

        As for "freedom of speech" this argument that science teachers should be allowed to teach creationism for the sake of academic freedom is nonsense unless you have deliberately enrolled your child in a religious school that believes in this mythology. In a public school science teachers are free to teach science, not hold political or religious indoctrination sessions with no scientific validity whatsoever. If I find creationism in my child's curriculum, I will sue the public school district until it is removed.
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    May 13 2013: As you mention this issue in reference to education in America while you are involved in education in the UK, are you thinking the answer would be different for America than for the UK? Is there no such issue or controversy in the UK?
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      May 13 2013: No. :-)
      Evolution is basically accepted and is taught as the norm, in the UK!
      And according to these polls, it becomes clear (to me) that America is the country with a lot of creationists.
      As "dr.d" pointed out "it is perfectly fine for religious education but should not be taught in public schools in science classroooms", that is the opinion on creationism in the UK. (From my own experience, I may be wrong about this!)
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        May 13 2013: This is useful information to share. I believe in most states in the US also, there have not been serious challenges to teaching evolution in biology class without also teaching about creationism.
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          May 13 2013: I find it odd that this would even happen. I really like "Peter Hanley's" reply : "You 'fix' it by not teaching it as a scientific fact. You can teach it as a metaphor/creation story, or as a historical artifact that influences history up to the present day. "
          Basically sums it up! :-)
          This is the problem Richard Dawkins actually had (with religion)...
          Creationism was the thing which inspired Richard Dawkins to start up the "New Atheist movement" / "Militant atheism"
          (and his website : http://richarddawkinsfoundation.org/mission).
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    May 13 2013: Science deals exclusively with the "How" of our Universe. Creationism explains the "How" and the "Why" of our Universe. To make Creationism a science would violate the essential definition of Science. You ask, does Creationism indicate bad education? That calls for the definition of education. Please share your accepted definition. You ask, does Creationism have any credibility? To say it has none would require logical, scientific falsification of EVERYTHING Creationism posits. Since that has not happened the answer to that question is "Yes". Your parenthetical question about how we can remedy this and should it be taught assumes the answer to your first question is "Yes", which is a logical fallacy and should be corrected, or deleted. "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." [Genesis 1:1 KJV].
    • May 13 2013: I'm sorry but no, the bible is not from god. Anyone who believes they should get their morals from a guy who casts demons into farm animals clearly has problems.

      Matt. 8:30-34

      "30 Some distance from them a large herd of pigs was feeding. 31 The demons begged Jesus, “If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs.”

      32 He said to them, “Go!” So they came out and went into the pigs, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and died in the water. 33 Those tending the pigs ran off, went into the town and reported all this, including what had happened to the demon-possessed men. 34 Then the whole town went out to meet Jesus. And when they saw him, they pleaded with him to leave their region."
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        May 13 2013: Now it is official. Bob says the Holy Bible is not from God. Thanks for resolving that ageless dispute. Do you have something on-topic to add?
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      May 13 2013: What happens if that "how" (of creationism) is in conflict with modern day science?
      I personally have no problem with the idea of "theistic evolution", or a non-literal interpretation of the Bible . Yet I find it hard to believe that God created the universe in 6 (24 hour) days, and that the earth is only 10,000 years old. (Young-earth creationism).
      Considering this is in direct conflict of what physicists and cosmologists know!
      "scientific falsification of EVERYTHING Creationism posits"
      I personally am not so sure, the core concept of creationism is that "belief that life, the Earth, and the universe are the creation of a supernatural being", and that evolution never really happened.
      You do ask the good question of what is an "education" and I personally am not really sure.
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        May 13 2013: Well, I cannot offer my opinion about deficient education being the cause of so many people supporting Creationism if I do not know what you mean buy the word. The natural definition, of course, is the process of training by attending schooling. But, I don't know if that is what you intended to ask. If you judge Creationism by the standards of Atheistic Evolutionary Science you are not going to have a proper understanding of Creationism. Be careful about accepting as unassailable truth everything Science tells you, remember such things as: Phlogiston; Ptolemy; Alchemy; Aristotle's explanation of gravitational action; the atom as smallest particle of mass; proteins are the determinate of life form, DNA unheard of; disease is spread by "bad air"; the liver controls the circulatory system; Thales taught that everything was made of water, the Earth was a flat disc, not a sphere, and it floated on water; In 2011 there were over 400 retractions of scientific papers that failed post-publishing scrutiny. A retraction is the most severe censuring action a published scientist can experience. As recently as the early 2000’s the number was just 30 or so retractions per year. (Van Noorden, R. 2011 Science Publishing: The trouble with retractions. Nature. 478 (7367): 26-28.). Science is often wrong. The Holy Bible is never wrong. Thank you Bernard!
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          May 13 2013: Thank you for your insightful opinions on this conversation! :-)
          I suppose I am quite biased, aren't I? :P
          "Science is often wrong. The Holy Bible is never wrong."
          What do you mean by the "Holy Bible is never wrong"?
          Is that meant to mean everything the Bible says is right? So the Bible is the ultimate source of "everything"?
          Or have I just misunderstood this completely! :P (Sorry!)
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        May 13 2013: RE: "Thank you for your insightful. . . " Good question Bernard. When I say the Holy Bible is never in error I mean that in the earliest copies of manuscripts (free from translational nuances and difficulties) the Holy Bible contains only Truth. There is no Error in the Holy Bible. The idea here is called "Inspiration", meaning the influence of God in the production of the Holy Bible. There are many contradictions, omissions, additions, and errors in the plethora of new versions, or translations of the Holy Bible. These post 1611 AD publications are based upon questionable texts (ancient manuscripts) which have long ago been thoroughly examined and rejected as inspired writings. So, when I speak of the Holy Bible I mean the Authorized King James Version published in 1611. Indeed everything the Holy Bible says is Truth. There is no Error in the Holy Bible. That is not to say the Holy Bible is the ultimate source of everything. The proper task of Science is to investigate, observe, experiment, and document the actual workings of the Universe. Good Science confirms the Holy Bible while fallacious Science conflicts with the Holy Bible. If there is a dispute between the teachings of Science and the Holy Bible, the latter is always correct. I offer this as a way for you to understand what a Creationist believes, knowing full well that very few share in such belief. Thank you Bernard. All the best to you! Incidentally, regarding bias. Anyone who embraces a particular belief is biased. That is not a bad thing. What is bad is when all other beliefs are condemned with extreme prejudice.
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          May 13 2013: Edit : Might be going "slightly" off topic here. But I couldn't help myself! :P
          "Authorized King James Version published in 1611"
          Sorry I couldn't help noticing this Edward long, if you don't mind me saying. Doesn't this make a slight flaw in your logic, considering the Bible is meant to be the word of "God". And the "King James Version" is a translated "word of God" into English. So you might not be hearing what "God" originally intended. Even more so considering the English King James Version of the Bible (I'v heard, may be wrong) was translated from Latin into English. (And from Greek into Latin, and from Hebrew into Greek!).
          I personally don't know about the Bible to really comment on whether "everything the Holy Bible says is Truth". :P
          Are you talking about "Moral Truths" as well?
          Because I can imagine many of the "New Atheist" would have issue with this. Like the late Christopher Hitchens, and Sam Harris... (ect).
          Regards,
          Bernard.
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        May 13 2013: RE: "Authorized King James. . . " The Authorized 1611 KJV is not free of error. The theological term is "Inerrant". Only the original, earliest copies of manuscripts (called the Majority Texts) are inerrant. Each time those words are translated the possibility of distortion or mistranslation exists. And yes, I'm sure there are flaws in my logic, but the point here is that the Holy Bible is inerrant. The believer is constantly praying to hear what God originally intended, as you say. Regarding moral truth, that is the main purpose of the book. What little information the Holy Bible offers regarding the How of the Universe is immensely outweighed, volume wise, by moral teaching which explains the Why of the cosmos.. Believers from the Atheist religion absolutely do have issue with claims of the Holy Bible. No debate there Bernard! To a person without the gift of Faith the Holy Bible is foolishness.
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          May 22 2013: "Atheist religion"
          Atheism isn't a religion! :D
          Unless of-course you decide to define it that way.
          How do you define a "religion"?
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        May 22 2013: RE: "Atheist religion. . . " Here's how I define Religion: ~ having to do with one's beliefs about a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods.~a pursuit or interest followed with great devotion. (Oxford Condensed).~ service and worship of God or the supernatural. (Merriam Webster).~ a cause, principle or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith. (Merriam Webster)~ any specific system of belief, worship, conduct, etc. often involving a code of ethics and a philosophy. (Webster's New World).~ a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects. (Dictionary.com).~An activity or goal that is extremely important to you. (Macmillan Dictionary).~a collection of practices, based on beliefs and teachings that are highly valued or sacred. (Wiktionary.org).~an activity which someone is extremely enthusiastic about and does regularly. (Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary and Thesaurus).(These nine definitions, to me, clearly allow the word “religion” to be applied to Atheism).
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      May 13 2013: Whether creationism has ANY credibility is perhaps not the right question. However, the scientific method HAS just about falsified everything creationism posits, despite what creationists continue to preach. Taking your Genesis 1:1 verse, a scientist would probably reply: "well... our ideas on what exactly happened in the beginning are very abstract and complicated, but we can - to a very high probability - safely say that the Earth is a LOT younger than "the Heaven", which, if you think about it, is really "nothing more" than the vastness of the universe that is not Earth. We have - so far - no need for a hypothesis including this "god" you speak of, in order to explain things."
      It is all so very easy for creationists: all they have to read are two pages of an old book and they think they know all they need to know. Whenever scientists cannot give an answer, they say "HA" and point to the heavens.
      Reality, folks, is (unfortunately perhaps) NOT simple. Understanding it requires rigorous testing and the continued efforts of scholars actually WORKING to improve our knowledge. Scientists admit they do not have all the answers but this is NOT A PROBLEM. In spite of what creationists tend to point out, scientific discourse does not mean a rejection or falsification of the scientific method and established theories (for example, scientists in disagreement on whether birds are descended from dinosaurs or not does not "disprove" the whole fact of evolution).
      As to what causes the high level of believers in creationism in the USA, I suspect it has more to do with culture and a strong desire to believe in the bible's teachings. Christian home schooling and religious teachers are not necessarily examples of "bad education" in the sense of poor quality, but certainly of religious zeal and rejection of a secular world view imposed on children by adults. As long as people deliberately turn a blind eye to science because of religion, this won't change I'm afraid.
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        May 13 2013: I agree turning a blind eye is always a bad idea if one wishes to understand an issue. I do not agree that Science has falsified the Holy Bible. Of course, if your presupposition is that everything Science says is Truth then you will conclude that everything which conflicts with science is Error and therefore is falsified. Such epistomology is akin to a blind eye because science can be wrong. As for Abiogenesis you choose to accept as scientific Truth that the Universe came from no knowable material for no knowable reason, while rejecting as unscientific the 10-word explanation of that Universe. . . "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.". Godless science evolves from error to Truth, from ignorance to understanding. The Holy Bible skips-over the Error and ignorance parts and goes directly to Truth. Of couse it is imperative to keep in mind that since Creationism explains the Why and the How, not just the How, it must be accepted by faith because the human mind is not capable of comprehending the fullness of the process. The Holy Bible is foolishness to those who are without faith. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word. Thank you for your thoughts Gerco!
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          May 13 2013: You’re quite welcome. But you may have misunderstood my point. I never said that science is infallible and all that scientists say is true. In fact, that’s the opposite of what I’ve said. Science is discourse, testing of ideas and seeing whether hypotheses stand up to scrutiny.

          Disagreement in science does not disprove the scientific method any more than an argument between theologians disproves the existence of god. However, when one takes genesis literally, you step into the realm of the testable, and taking it as a basis for your faith and sense of purpose in life becomes risky (hence I think all the resistance to the scientific method).

          For one thing, science at least rejects the notion that heaven and earth were created instantaneously and at the same moment, that moment being “the beginning”. Science bases this on a number of observations from the fields of geology, astronomy, biology, archaeology, etc. Such observations precede the rejection of creationism. So I would argue that “godless science” (that is, understanding of reality, so far without the need for a god hypothesis) evolved from demonstrable errors in the (literal interpretation of the) bible.

          If you think that the bible goes directly to truth, please know that (e.g.) Hindus think the same about the vedas and the Muslems about the quran. Also, the words of god, whatever they were if ever spoken, may have been infallible; the people who wrote them down (just like scientists) certainly were not. For a funny example of mistranslation, see Exodus 36:19. Even Gen 1:1 has been disputed to have originally read: “In the beginning god SEPARATED the heaven and the earth”.

          And yes, science just gives the How. So what?! That is all that is testable; all else is subjective. If you take your Why from the bible, and your faith depends on the How therein being accurate, then I can understand you do not like it when science disagrees. Unfortunately the nature of reality doesn't seem to care.
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        May 13 2013: RE: "You're quite welcome. . . " You are taking offense where none is intended. Yes the role of science is, as you say, "discourse, testing of ideas and seeing whether hypotheses stand up to scrutiny." No problem there. But what happens when compliance with the pure Scientific Method is violated and error is published as Truth? It happens all the time and ever more increasingly of late ( In 2011 there were over 400 retractions of scientific papers that failed post-publishing scrutiny. A retraction is the most severe censuring action a published scientist can experience. As recently as the early 2000’s the number was just 30 or so retractions per year. (Van Noorden, R. 2011 Science Publishing: The trouble with retractions. Nature. 478 (7367): 26-28.). Of course these blunders do not falsify the Scientific Method. They were the result of violations thereof. As for what Muslims and Hindus believe I cannot offer anything of value since I am ignorant about them. Please understand the Holy Bible actually says very little about the "How" of the Universe, but what it does say is true. Please note that your phrase "literal interpretation" is an oxymoron. Literal is the opposite of interpretation. A believer reads the Holy Bible and accepts what it says without filtering it through a network of interpretation algorithms. For example, "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." [Hebrews 10:31 KJV] requires no interpretation. The words communicate very clearly, concisely, and correctly a timeless, albeit alarming, Truth. Please don't reduce my life-view to " all they have to read are two pages of an old book and they think they know all they need to know." That is an unfair and poorly supported accusation. If you wish to debate further I must ask you to avoid further ad hominem fallacies. State and support your beliefs without castigating mine. Thank you again sir.
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          May 13 2013: Please, I meant no disrespect to your person, nor did I take offense. I might have phrased myself more appropriately if I had used “one” rather than "you" in most of my points. as these were not intended personally. I apologize if I was interpreted as such. However, this discussion is bound to step on someone’s toes eventually, and I do not think I am guilty of ad hominem fallacy, since challenging one’s beliefs is exactly what this discussion is bound to provoke. Similarly, I wonder whether I am to take "Godless science evolves from error to Truth, from ignorance to understanding." literally and assume you are calling my worldview - and therefore me - ignorant (not that I care).

          Also, I doubt "literal interpretation" is an oxymoron, as it is different from "symbolic interpretation". Taking your example of Hebrews 10:31: to me it requires interpretation. Why is falling into his hands so scary? Or is the falling itself scary? Should I be worried he'll catch me (because I'm a sinner)? What happens if he doesn't catch me? Or is the living god a scary person and falling in his hands spells certain doom? Then, what will he do to me? Is this falling into the hands of the living god something that happens on earth or heaven (or hell)? What does "living" mean in this sense? Or is “falling into someone’s hands” merely a figure of speech, not to be taken literally in the first place?!

          Please, I mean no disrespect, and I need no answers to these questions, but I hope you understand that to me, such texts require a great deal of interpretation, even when taken literally.

          The article you cite underscores my argument: scientists make mistakes, some plagiarize and rarely even produce false data. But such articles are retracted, and rightfully so! The fact that this article points to a rise in retractions means it’s being discussed! Science corrects itself! This is a wonderful thing! Scientists never claim to be anything but human; only the religious think themselves infallible
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        May 14 2013: RE: Please, I meant no. . . " No apology necessary sir. I have taken no offense personally at any of your expressed opinions. What prompted my remark is that it seems to me you have taken offense. I would never call your worldview, or you, ignorant. What I pointed-out was the progression of science, or more specifically, the scientific method, from not knowing (ignorance) to knowing (understanding), from error to truth. If I were you I would take that as praise for my worldview, not as condemnation. I was wrong to introduce the criticism of the phrase "literal interpretation". There is no point in us trying to convince one another about a hermeneutics question simply because for a person without Faith the Holy Bible is nonsense. Apart from God's guidance the Holy Bible cannot be properly understood. I hope you agree we should abandon that point. Finally, I too have known religious people who consider themselves infallible. It is unfair to individuals to ascribe such a fault to them simply because they share belief in God. I can only, and barely, speak for myself when I say I am not infallible. Indeed, learning from mistakes and being willing to abandon falsified beliefs is high-order behavior. Amen to that friend!
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    Jun 8 2013: If you open your mind too much your brain will fall out.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bBUc_kATGgg
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    Jun 7 2013: Greetings, Adriaan,

    I was pretty sure that I was missing something, and I thank you for your clarification. In my youth I read the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg, and found them impressive. I still have them in my collection, and read them from time to time.

    I purchased several of them at the Wayfarers Chapel's bookstore, the chapel designed by Lloyd Wright, Frank Lloyd Wright's son.

    "We believe they can easily be seen as the 'index' of the whole Bible, because of their spiritual significance."

    Precisely. And in many ways, the table of content as well.

    "But you have to turn on your light."

    I agree. Stumbling around in the dark can lead to serious injury.
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    Jun 6 2013: If you're teaching only one idea instead of the whole spectrum, you're not actually teaching - you're spreading propaganda.

    This propaganda might be religious, sociopolitical, for or against certain ideas or values, that's not only true when discussing creationism while banning science and not only true for bible schools mentioned in one of the comments below.

    Teaching should not be about installing the curriliculum and programming students in the mindset which is in favour of one group, against others, that's making believers, not educating.

    You do need a programme and a curriculum to teach but when they discriminate critical thinking (especially critical of the teacher...), individuality and creativity and favour repetition and/of bias while discouraging the students' own interest in other topics, it cannot be called education. It's either spreading propaganda, as I said before or just preaching.
  • Jun 4 2013: Entropy Driven,

    FYI--I finally saw and replied to your May 18 response to me. My response is buried after it somewhere down this chain.

    Best wishes,
    Cliff
    • Jun 5 2013: Hi Cliff,

      I think that the problem of "the spiritual" are more basic than those addressed by science. Science can tell us about the possibility that some believed gods are true or false by falsifying claims about what these gods are supposed to have done in our reality. Example, if a believed god is supposed to have created the world about 6000 years ago, then science has proven that god false. But essentially, I think that the problems with gods and the "immaterial" are much more basic, and thus belong in the philosophical. In other words, it is not whether science is forbidden of making any claims, it is more that science is about testability, and gods are imagined often in ways that try to protect them from such testability. Yet, philosophy, for example logic, has "access" to those claims.

      See ya.
  • Jun 4 2013: Carlos, if you are still in the conversation, I finally saw your reply from May 17 to my post and replied to it below.

    Best regards,
    Cliff
  • Jun 2 2013: Your statement about scientific findings validating the book Genesis is categorically wrong because the bible is a ridiculous fallacy. There is no science that supports the ridicules assertions in the utterly ridicules bible. You should stop pretending that you are educated in an area in which you are so obviously totally uneducated.
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      Jun 4 2013: You seem to be very sure of your comments. 100 %, positively, without a doubt... that is a sign of youth. When I was young, I knew every thing too.
      I am In my 8th decade, I have learned there is nothing that is positively, 100% and doubtless. Even death; some think that it is a transition into another state or dimension. I am not sure.
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        Jun 4 2013: "some think that it is a transition into another state or dimension. I am not sure."

        I am.
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      Jun 4 2013: Me?
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        Jun 4 2013: He must be talking about you, Bernie. I can't believe he would should show such disrespect for the views of his elders.
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          Jun 4 2013: Wait sorry.
          This reply confused me! Is it implying he or she is younger than me, or is it implying that I am younger than she or he?
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        Jun 4 2013: Bernie:

        Now, I am confused. but I am old and it is allowed. I'll let you deal with Bill to find out who is owed respect. Personally, I think it's you..
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      Jun 4 2013: @Bill Slagle:

      If you take all that is said in the Bible as literal statements and fact, then yes, it is a ridiculous fallacy.

      If you take the Bible as a series of metaphors, then it changes everything.

      When the Bible was written, all they had was metaphor to help explain the inexplicable. They did not have science.
      • Jun 4 2013: Allan, I think I'm getting pretty far off the original creationism topic here, but I wanted to comment on your thoughts. You wrote: "When the Bible was written, all they had was metaphor to help explain the inexplicable. They did not have science."
        I am not going to argue with you over their lack of scientific understanding, but I will point out that "metaphor" was not their only way of writing. I may be stretching your statement to a much broader application than you intended, but I do take issue with those that say, "you can't take the Bible literally, so you much treat it all as symbolic (or metaphor)". This is much too simplistic an approach for a complex document like the Bible. Clearly, much of what is written in the Bible is written as history ("on such a day, in such a geographic location, when so-and-so ruled", etc.) and is meant to be understood as events that literally happened in time and space. Other portions are clearly written in a manner that implies a figurative interpretation. I say this because the popular viewpoint seems to be that you either have to take the Bible 100% literally (leaving no room for figurative interpretation of portions that are obviously written that way), OR you have to take the Bible as 100% figurative and simply a book of some fables with some symbolic truths tucked away in places. There is a much more logical middle ground--interpret each portion according to the manner it was written and was intended to be understood. This is not always easy to discern, but this approach does lead toward a reasonable, consistent interpretation that is not contradictory with modern science, and still upholds its claims of being a record of real events that happened in history.

        Best regards,
        Cliff
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          Jun 4 2013: Cliff, apologies in advance - I am disappearing into the wilds of Wales for a few days, and won't be able to respond to you immediately. You've given me something to think about!

          Allan
        • Jun 4 2013: Hello Cliff, If I could just jump in here and take Allan's place for a second :)

          As Swedenborgians we believe that the first 11.5 chapters of Genesis are made-up history. Copied by Mozes from earlier Revelations. The total rest, everything, is history written to portray a spiritual meaning of life and its process. It is that spiritual level which makes the Bible God's word, not the historical text. The Creation Story has nothing to do with this physical world.

          This book is volume 1 of 12 , of a word for word interpretation of Genesis and Exodus. This may be an eye-opener regarding Creation..
          http://sites.google.com/site/liveitupspiritually/home/writings/Arcana%20Coelestia%2001.pdf?attredirects=0&d=1

          Would love to hear from you
          Adri
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          Jun 5 2013: @Adriaan Braam : "The total rest, everything, is history written to portray a spiritual meaning of life and its process."

          True, but I would go a step further and include the first 11.5 chapters of Genesis that you say Swedenborgians exclude, despite what you might believe regarding their origin.

          What I've discovered written there, hiding in plain sight, is nothing less than mind boggling. What I've received by way of revelation casts these scriptures in a total new light, revealing heretofore little known insight into how the life process works.

          "The Creation Story has nothing to do with this physical world."

          I agree to a point. But it does explain the interaction between the inner and the outer, and how the inner interfaces with the outer and the outer with the inner.
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        Jun 4 2013: "Are you?"

        "Have you been there to find out?"

        Yes, thousands of times. Try it. It's exhilarating.
        • Jun 7 2013: Hello dear Wil, I only just saw your post, sorry.

          One most important point I'd like to make and that is we do not, and I mean do not, exclude those first 11.5 chapters of Genesis. We believe they can easily be seen as the 'index' of the whole Bible, because of their spiritual significance.
          The long and hard 'trip' the Israelites went through from Egypt to Canaan can be 'indexed' by the six stages of Creation. Not a creation of a physical world but the creation of a spiritual being from a natural one.

          Please see what we regard as the meaning of the Creation Story at the link just above. A story that we can follow and apply in our daily life. Which is hard to do with the literal text,.

          The real text at the link starts on page 7 and, this volume 1, goes from there (often word for word) to Gen. 9: 29

          Really appreciate your thoughtful and wise statements on the subject.

          --"Yes, thousands of times. Try it. It's exhilarating."--
          But you have to turn on your light. LOL
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    Jun 2 2013: To take a negative position in this debate, the answer or the first question is no, for the reasons already noted. The answer to the 2nd question is yes. If you read the findings of Geologist and Paleontologist, the order or planetary evolution is on a timeline as noted in the book of Genesis. Now is Genesis as accurate as current science? No, but I will hazard a guess that the legends that formed the writings of Genesis didn't have the current array of technology to help them as there is today.
    • Jun 2 2013: I disagree. The answer to question 1 is evidently yes. Creationism requires the denial of many different scientific fields. Therefore creationism reflect bad education. The answer to the second question is no. There's no credibility to creationism. Not one bit. Since it requires a person to either deny or be misinformed about science, then it can't have any credibility to it.

      When talking about whether genesis reflects what science has found, people tend to ignore a lot in order to make it appear as if there's some commonality. But, what makes your point worse, is the fact that you are defending genesis to support your answer to question 2, yet you say "I will hazard a guess that the legends that formed the writings of Genesis didn't have the current array of technology to help them as there is today." With that phrase you make genesis into legends, therefore false, and their basis purely human (since you talk about the lack of technologies). Therefore, you are far from supporting any credibility to creationism, and instead you are defending the knowledge of ancient, and very human and therefore not divine, tribes.
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        Jun 4 2013: I had previously addressed the rational for the reasons that teaching of evolution or creationism has nothing to do with the problems of education. They are issues you can read in earlier postings.
        As to the 2nd question, you appear to have a lack of knowledge of Genesis. It starts with a description of the big bang theory and goes from there. And why are legends false? Before computers, etc. Human history and philosophy was recorded by word and stories... legends. Of course, I am defending knowledge of the ancients, they were smarter then us. As far as a Divinity, you can absolutely, without a doubt, prove He does not exist? If you can, you have done something that has never been done. If you say, you don't think there is a Divine entity and that I can't prove it to you, I don't have to... you implied that creationism is a Divine activity not me.

        All I have said that the teaching of evolution or creationism has nothing to do with the poor educational system. I am not well versed in either subject, but I do find it amusing to see so much discussion on the validity of either in this conversation.
    • Jun 5 2013: Then you got many thing wrong. The problem is not whether creationism of evolution were taught, but whether creationism is an indication of bad education: my answer: definitely yes. I said why above.

      For the second question. Definitely no. there's no credibility to creationism. Your new answer does not improve over your previous one. Creationism is about there being a creator. You were defending genesis to give creationism credibility, that would mean that you think that genesis is divine. Otherwise, defending the "wisdom" of those ancient tribes does not give any credibility to creationism, it would give credibility to ancient knowledge, and only in those regards. That if you did not have the problems that:

      1. You put the Big Bang into genesis. It is your interpretation, not something that's clearly there (I have read genesis of course). In other words, you engage in eisegesis. This is precisely what people do when they read horoscopes. Pure fantasy.

      2. It is pure nonsense to just assert that ancient peoples were smarter than us. Were there wise people back then? Sure, but you said it yourself, they did not have the technology. Their wisdom was thus limited. I would be delighted to hear how those ancients peoples learned about the Big Bang though (yeah, right).

      Do I have proof that "He" does not exist? I thought that you said that there was no divine anything in your comments.Take a stance. Is it creationism you are pretending to give credibility or not? Anyway, who is this "He" you are talking about? If this is the character playing the role of creator in genesis then it does not exist. I know because it is nonsensical. For starters the story is false.

      I think that you have some problems making sure that the points you are making remain the same from start to finish.
  • May 27 2013: In the role of developing computer science, Boolean algebra is fundamental. It is used in digital logic, programming, set theory and statistics.

    The values of the variables are the truth values true and false, usually denoted 1 and 0 respectively.

    In programming a program on whether "life exists in the universe" through Boolean logic, Either life exists in the cosmos, "life = true" or life does not exist in the cosmos, "Life = False"

    Running the program provides the simplest answer logically that can be made, Life in the universe = True.

    Coupled with the only scientific result of Boolean Logic afforded the question about creation, the only verifiable explanation is Scientific Creation which returns a true, Religious creation and Natural Origins both return a false variable in the program.

    Adding to the program the variables of discovery of other planets that circle stars and the immense number of stars in the universe and the fact that life has been shown to be able to advance scientifically to the point of space flight, the number one reason that other life exists in the cosmos other than just on planet Earth, is that of lineage and far outweighs any evidence of life originating by natural means, evolving and arising in the cosmos or by a non-existent variable of a divine being.

    In other words, Everywhere man goes, he spreads life and with the advent of synthetic biology, man can eventually spread life into the cosmos beyond that of our humble planet and this method of life shows a positive influence on life in the cosmos where the stance of natural origins still can not be calculated without any sort of evidence to life arising by natural means. The program can NOT account for the code of life arising. In computer programming, code has never been found to "self-create" so the logic behind Natural Origins still stands at Nil.

    No 'scientific' variable can be input for a divine being for lack of "ANY" verifiable evidence.
  • May 27 2013: ~ "Does creationism indicate bad education? (If so how can we fix this, and should it be taught?) Does Creationism have any credibility to it?"

    Depends whether you are talking about a mystical, religious type of creation or an "assumptive" Natural Origins stance of creation that underpins Evolution theory or actual Scientific Creation (Scientific Design)....

    Craig Venter creates life for first time in laboratory sparking debate about 'playing god'
    Artificial life has been created in a laboratory for the first time by a maverick scientist.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/7745868/Scientist-Craig-Venter-creates-life-for-first-time-in-laboratory-sparking-debate-about-playing-god.html

    Science 1 God 0 Natural Origins 0 (unless you have some sort of "evidence" backing religious creation or Natural Origins*, aside from assumption, you know lab based, empirical evidence...)

    *[note: Dr Jack Szostak's work has NOT produce any living matter in the same essence that the work of Craig Venter has and the work of Dr. Szostak is merely unsubstantiated assumption to such matters as Natural Origins and does not/ has not produced any evidence to such beyond that of a purely assumptive nature...]
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    • May 24 2013: Hey Chris,

      You bet... The Bible and ALL so-called "holy scripture" is the work of man. You know, a piece of literature that has characters and once you read a book, the characters are in essence in your mind because you see them as you read and once they exist in your mind, a book written by man and claimed to be inspired by (the concept) of God(s) then you have many people "believing" in this fictional character that was brought about by literature that "MAN" himself wrote...

      There is NO denying that "man" wrote the bible [FACT] thus man made God in his image not the other way around...

      We are Creators (gods) {Elohim, those (plural) that come from the sky, the creators} whatever you want to call us...

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130523180318.htm
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    • May 25 2013: I am a practicing, atheist, Buddhist that believes in spirituality in an atheistic sense (I am an atheist Jew, I am Raelian). In other words, I believe in the 'frequency' of love and the impact it has on others and science is my religion... When one states that they are spiritual, 'most' people think of this as a religious aspect but I don't abide by the mysticism that religion has instill upon spiritualism.

      To be spiritual, to me, is to respect and love all life, all living things ARE alive and deserve respect. I just don't abide by the religious fundamental aspect of the spirit being able to continue 'after' death, this is why it's called "the living spirit"...

      While I don't agree with religion, I do acknowledge scientific spiritualism and that is where the living spirit strives to live an eternal existence through "life" and it can be done through science. Here's how.

      While all living things die, the spirit simply ceases to exist but the DNA exists even after death. When humanity advances to the point to be able to record EVERY memory of a persons life (in which the memories coupled with the genes of a person is what makes a person a unique individual) then man can clone his exact makeup and reinstall his memories and his consciousness will be "in spirit" again (living), his spirit per se will be reanimated and he will in essence be brought back from the dead. The religious have a term for this scientific feat called the resurrection.

      I now ask, how did religion write of such an advanced scientific procedure over 2000 years ago?

      I advocate that humanity is but lineage through a process called scientific design with spirituality instill in our culture through an advance civilization (the Elohim) and man has taken this spirituality and manipulated it through his own agenda called Religion.

      When you look at the holy scriptures and remove all the mysticism that 'man' has instilled into the text, then you have a science book that tells of our heritage.
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        • May 25 2013: A v--8? Too funny...

          I prefer "meditation"

          Scientism? Yep...

          About the "living spirit", I look at it in the very same fashion as I do a light bulb... Once the body 'dies', the vessel that supplies the energy quits supplying the energy and as in a light bulb, the light goes out, plain and simple... If there is not a vessel to continue supplying energy, the spirit just ceases to exist any longer. No soul, no afterlife no mysticism just science.

          How do I increase the love that I send out? Should you need ask? I start by loving myself because if one can't even love themselves how can they give what they don't possess?
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        • May 25 2013: ~ "Claiming the spirit ceases to exist is to claim that energy ceases to exist and it's already an established fact that energy cannot be destroyed; it cannot 'cease to exist'."

          I never claim that energy ceases to exist... What ever you do in life "creates" vibrational frequencies that emanate outward from your essence so what you do in life affects infinity as a whole but once your body quits "supplying" energy, the spirit ceases to exist and there must be some sort of vessel to continue supplying the energy for the spirit to exist and infinity does not contain this energy in an organized way to let the spirit keep producing "new" frequency, so what you do in life really matters but after you are dead, the energy and frequency that you produced while "alive" still emanates outwards after you are dead but there are NO new frequencies that a mystical "soul" can create as in the living spirit unless you are cloned and your vibrational frequency restored through consciousness and this will only happen to the people who have learned to emanate love in their life and not the negativity associated with greed, ego etc... Love is key and that is spiritualism, to love.
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        • May 25 2013: Sorry, but I don't adhere to mysticism so I don't believe in reincarnation (your belief maybe?) I believe in scientific recreation to be the "only" true fundamental way to extend life after death and is the only one backed by science, anything other than that is backed in mysticism and not backed by the scientific methods (if it's not backed by science it's only belief and not reality) All of reality is backed by science in one way or another...
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        • May 25 2013: How do you know that the Elohim are NOT just scientifically advanced humans that created us? Because some book told you so? I only deal in facts, not unsubstantiated beliefs so if they were just another spiritual peoples then that would make the scriptures founded in fact over that of belief and mysticism...

          Examples of science in the Bible? For one, like I already pointed out, resurrection, bringing the dead back to life (check) humanity has been doing this for some time now with the advent of modern day medicine)

          Restoring the eyesight to the blind ( man has now accomplished this feat with stem cell research, just posted the other day in the science journals)

          Restore the hearing to the deaf (done that a long time ago through science)

          Elohim, meaning "Those who came from the sky" We are already breaching the heavens and have even walked on the moon and have sent probes to Mars... We HAVE taken men into space just as some men have been described being taken into the heavens in the bible.

          Examples of nuclear disasters in biblical times

          and on and on....
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          May 25 2013: Chris,
          Did you ever get my reply to you?
          Thanks,
          Bernard.
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      May 25 2013: Chris,

      If all Science is already in the Holy Book, then I suppose that a cure for cancer is already available, how come those with the gift to see don't share the cure as a gift to mankind? That would be an awesome statement Before a cure is discovered by Scientists and then reversed engineered into scripture by context or else.

      Thanks for your patience.
  • May 21 2013: It's the chicken and the egg what comes first? I believe a more complex natural design occurs that we only are scratching the surface of. Time is a very vast and almost infinite posibility but on the grand scale of time everything is, was, and always will be infinite as time holds no boundary or actual connection between the space of the universe. Distance and matter is the only force that holds reason but in all mesurment on a universal scale all space is and will never be no space. So time and space have no real purpose on the subject for the existance of anything. Matter on the other hand has everything connected and with that said time and space are available. Creation stems from the future, the present, and the past, on a infinite scale with no meaning other then matter/energy exisits like you will always be exactly who you are at this exact moment forever and when you move again you will always be exactly who you are at this new exact moment forever. History is the anthonym of alive and everyone should learn everything about anything the only way to understand how people learn is to believe what they want to believe in because it's the freedom of choice that we have a problem understanding. Like Einstein said "the most incomprehendsible thing is comprehendsibility itself."
  • May 20 2013: When talking creation versus abiogenesis, not evolution then anything that is NOT categorized as Natural Origins which is the underlying axiom of evolution, is considered, by most, to be pseudo-scientific.

    What I suggest is the possibility of scientific design as a possible alternative backed by science.

    http://www.technewsdaily.com/17766-could-life-be-older-than-earth-itself.html
    Could Life Be Older Than Earth Itself?
    Could life have existed before the Earth did? Two scientists say it’s not only possible — it’s probable.

    I've been writing a hypothesis about Scientific Design... Biomolecular Design as shown in the lab effectively falsifies the underlying axiom that Evolution is built upon, that ALL life is a result of PURELY naturalistic means!

    Convincing the scientific community, by the use of evidence that not ALL life is a result of purely natural means, even with evidence to such is another story.

    The people who worship evolution as their foundation to life are egotistically convinced that humanity IS the pinnacle of evolution and they will NOT entertain the possibility of any sort of design.

    The basis of evolution theory is backed by the sole premise, that ALL life advances by purely naturalistic means and this just is NOT the case as shown by scientific design… Unless one can show that the entire fossil record reflects this sole position that evolution takes, (in which no one has done) then there is no way to state anything other than the truth, as shown by scientific design in the lab and that is that “life 'can' be designed by advanced scientific people and evolution cannot/is NOT the sole reason for ALL life advancing!”

    One must remember that with the evidence of scientific design, that not ALL life is a result of purely natural means and can NOT be stated as such any longer (as taught by the theory of evolution) and any such teaching of such in our schools is a misnomer and in the same class of teaching that of Christian creation.
    • May 21 2013: If you wanted to convince the scientific community of anything you would have to start by getting your facts right. Coming up with such misinformation as "anything that is not categorized as natural origins is the axiom of evolution" would get you laughed at. Same goes for going to conclusion based on an "article" ignorantly commenting on an extrapolation that has more holes than swiss cheese about life originating before the earth. Then you go on talking about "the people who worship evolution." You go on by stating that they worship it as "the foundation of life," when evolution is about common ancestry, not about origin of life, and you continue with people thinking that humanity is the pinnacle of evolution, which could not be more false about anybody who properly understands evolution.

      Not content, you continue with "The basis of evolution theory is backed by the sole premise, that ALL life advances by purely naturalistic means." Wow, so the basis for evolution is not any scientific observations, oh no, it's both that some people worship it, and that life advances by purely naturalistic means. Who cares about evidence.

      After those flaws, I can't but expect that your "evidence for scientific design" will consist of equally flawed thinking and misunderstanding of science in general and evolution in particular. You have some serious studying to do before anybody could take you at least a bit seriously.
      • May 21 2013: Entropy, besides "ridicule", why do you NOT address the elephant in the room, that of scientific design showing a contradiction to the stance that the theory (of evolution) takes, that "ALL" life advances by 'purely natural' means?

        I tend to laugh at the people who say that evolution is backed by science YET they have no peer reviewed papers backing anything stating that the fossil record is "purely" evolutionary... Such an "assumption" is unsubstantiated!

        I'm guessing that if humanity terraforms a barren planet (through "Scientific Design") and you end up going there sometime in the future, finding a fossil record, you will ridicule anyone that tells you that the fossil record does NOT reflect evolution but instead that of design?

        Point being, that there is NO way to state that ALL life is a result of evolution because we have shown that this stance just is NOT true in the lab. With that being said, how do you come to the scientific conclusion that ALL fossilized records that paint the picture that you have of evolution all points towards evolution and evolution alone? This is a stance that holds no merit and if some other people in the cosmos came here and manipulated life on this planet, the fossil record would not reflect "how or why the change occurred". How can you deduce evolution to be the ONLY factor in changes found in the fossil record? This is an assumption that you are assuming yet has no basis backed by science.

        Can you say evolution and evolution alone is 100% responsible for ALL life on the planet? If you state yes, then you fall into the category of the arrogant that truly believe that man is the pinnacle of evolution and that no other being in the history of the universe has ever reached the point of scientific technology that we are just now reaching.

        Maybe you are the one that needs to take a look at the theory that you seem to deem infallible and reexamine how it is built upon unsubstantiated assumption in some key parts of reasoning.
      • May 21 2013: Entropy Driven stated ~ “Wow, so the basis for evolution is not any scientific observations, oh no, it's both that some people worship it, and that life advances by purely naturalistic means. Who cares about evidence.”

        Ha ha ha, you seem a little bit distraught and confused...
        You seem to ignore any evidence associated with scientific design for the biased stance that Evolution is the sole explanation to ALL the fossil record. Who here is really ‘not caring about evidence here’ me or you and the theory that you defend?

        Please show me the evidence that "backs" the assumed stance that Evolution is the ONLY factor in changes found in the fossil record and you'll prove your point otherwise all I hear in your posts are empty ridicule directed at me because you lack evidence to defend your theory and are showing bias by such a ridiculous post.
      • May 21 2013: To sum up my post, I have never seen actual "evidence" backing the stance that "evolution" is the sole reason for every single fossil on planet Earth... You may even ponder my stance in saying that I have no evidence to any other life in the universe so you may 'think' that my stance holds no water yet you stand by a theory that has no evidence supporting it's stance of being the only reason for the fossil record, where I have never claimed to have evidence of other peoples in the cosmos but I can show that through scientific design, that Evolution is NOT the sole reason for life and such a stance has more validity than any evidence that supports the stance of evolution being that ALL life comes from purely natural means when scientific design itself falsifies the stance that evolution IS built upon.

        In other words, I have never "claimed" that life does NOT advance, but I don't consciously ignore scientific data that contradicts the very essence of the theory of evolution.

        I've been told that DNA evidence supports evolution but if I refer to the goat that produces spider silk protein, we soon see that scientific design follows the fossil record with more accuracy in evidence in reasoning than does the Theory of E. because this goat did NOT evolve but was scientifically designed so how could your reason that some fossil in our past wasn't "designed" over the biased view that evolution takes in that the only possibility is that of evolution? To use the fossil record to back the theory of E is an "Unsubstantiated Assumption" in reasoning and you claim that I don't know about scientific procedure? The theory of Evolution ignores the scientific methods in many cases where assumption is shown to be fallacy yet the charade continues...

        Why is Evolution theory exempt from unsubstantiated assumption when the rest of science abides by a more precise stance in reasoning and if anyone shows a falsification in any assumption associated with the ToE they are ridiculed?
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        May 22 2013: Great reply! :D
    • May 22 2013: Barry,

      Once you are told that you should start by getting your facts right, insisting on the erroneous ones won't help your case much. I did not offer ridicule Barry, I told you what you were doing wrong. In your insistence you displayed again lack of understanding about how science works. So I will insist that you should get your facts right, instead of all those assumptions that you carry as if they were based on some reality that escapes anything I have witnessed in the scientific community and in the scientific process itself.

      There's no elephant in the room, no contradiction, and no such thing as "the stance that the theory (of evolution) takes, that "ALL" life advances by 'purely natural' means." You are putting the cart before the horse there. You would not, I hope, take seriously someone who told you that the stance of the theory of gravitation is that "ALL" planets in the universe gravitate by 'purely natural' means. Scientists have checked and gravitation is enough to explain the planetary movements we see. Some noise here and there, which Einstein was able to fix by proposing a view of gravitation that solved problems that Newton's take did not solve, but so far gravitation works. But here's the main thing: the theories of gravitation started with observations that lead to the idea of a force that, for example, shapes the way cannon balls fly, and then expanded to explain the way planets were observed to move around the Sun. Observations then theories. That cannon balls are also propelled by the gun powder did not bother anyone. Did not prompt anybody to say: oh, an elephant in the room! Contradiction! Why gravitation? Planets must be moving by gun powder too!

      Evolution also came after observations and evidence. Not after some weird stance. As with gravitation, further facts have led to modifications. So I insist, if your "evidence" for design is one tenth as bad as your assumptions about evolution and science, there's no reason to take you seriously.
      • May 23 2013: Entropy,

        Your analogy of gravity is fine but the 'theory' of E does NOT abide by the same rigors of science because it assumes many things that are unsubstantiated and are being shown, that there IS another reasonable explanation in which the theory of E ignores. You are insinuating that by the biased assumptions that are used, that evolution must be factual just as "gravity is apparent" but this notion is being shown to be wrong by the advent of modern scientific research in how biology can be designed.

        Evolution IS based on the notion that all things evolved to the point of our existence and that is, as I have stated before is an arrogant egotistical assumption leading to the stance that you believe that we are the pinnacle of evolution. It's a "biased" view in ignoring the lab based factor of scientific design in favor of purely naturalistic advancement when scientific design falsifies this stance yet you still ignore "concept" in favor of a biased viewpoint which is NOT as solid as the fact of gravitation.

        If you can show evidence that man evolved from "apes" then I wouldn't be having this conversation but all you can show is unsubstantiated assumption to back your stance. I have scientific Design backing my assumptions too just as you have the fact that life advances backing your assumption so my point of view is based on science with evidence backing it in the same fashion that your stance is based with the sole difference being, that eventually through scientific design, eventually we will show, how, through genetic biomolecular design, we can actually change an ape into a homo sapiens, a feat that the "theory" of Evolution has yet to demonstrate in the lab...

        You can keep on defending evolution and claiming that I am wrong but it makes no difference to me because the evidence speaks for itself in the end and you have yet to show actual evidence that "man" evolved from apes, it's just an "unsubstantiated" assumption.
      • May 23 2013: Entropy,

        Do you not know what an "unsubstantiated" assumption is? It means that is unverified: not proven... Unconfirmed, unsupported, uncorroborated...
        You are "assuming" it into being "fact" when there IS another "scientific" reason for it and that my friend is just bad science, now I'm trying to help you yet you remain consciously ignorant which only makes you and your theory look bad in the light of scientific reasoning.

        Again I'll repeat the scenario that I have repeated many times within this past two years...

        If we terraform a barren planet and you go there years later "not knowing that the life was scientifically designed", are you going to go there and ignorantly claim that the fossil record is irrefutable proof of Evolution just as we know gravity exists?

        Your stance is a fallacy and fallacy holds no merit in scientific reasoning.

        Am I claiming that life was designed? NO! But I am claiming that the possibility is there and your theory IGNORES it to the point that people argue over it when it exists.

        If you claim that Man evolved from apes, this IS an unsubstantiated assumption and NOT FACT so don't even use the analogy that evolution is close to the same thing as gravity.
    • May 24 2013: Barry,

      Please pay attention. So far all I have attempted to do is show you how mistaken you are about evolution and science. I have not once told you whether I think one thing or another. Please check what I wrote. What I told you is that your claims are wrong. Check it twice or thrice please. Yes, I know what unsubstantiated assumptions are. Here a few examples:

      1. "the 'theory' of E does NOT abide by the same rigors of science"

      It abides by every rigours of science. You have no right to say otherwise while sitting on your pile of unsubstantiated assumptions.

      2. "Evolution IS based on the notion that all things evolved to the point of our existence "

      False, evolution is based on the examination of lots from little to big observations about life, fossils, biogeography, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. That we are evolved is but one conclusion from the many sources of data. As I said, you put the cart before the horse for no reason but your prejudices and ignorance about how science works.

      3. "you believe that we are the pinnacle of evolution"

      I don't. I dare you to find anything in what I wrote that would confirm this unsubstantiated assumption.

      4. "scientific design falsifies this stance"

      Scientific design does not falsify anything. Not even your made-up cartoonish non-existent stance.

      5. "but all you can show is unsubstantiated assumption to back your stance"

      That you don't know the evidence for our common ancestry with the other apes does not mean that there's no evidence. Instead of making this unsubstantiated assumption you should have done lots of research.

      6. "I have scientific Design backing my assumptions too"

      Which is as strong as pretending that planets were fired up with gun powder.

      ...

      I was not saying that evolution is like gravity, I was showing your problems in a context where you might understand them. Read it this time. Stop this charade. You have a lot of studying to do if you want to be taken seriously. Got it now?
    • May 24 2013: Barry,

      I know that you will insist on presenting unsubstantiated assumptions about evolution and showing further problems with your understanding of science and how it works. So here my final piece of advice with little hope of you listening anyway:

      You cannot come and say that you have a revolutionary idea about design over evolution while you're on top of a mountain of ignorance and misinformation.

      For example, should I say something as ridiculous and there not being evidence for our common ancestry with the rest of the apes, and making such deeply ignorant comment in a way that betrayed lack of knowledge about our own classification as apes ourselves, there would be no reason for the rest of the scientific community to listen to me. If I can't be bothered to first learn about what's known, and how it's known. then I would have no business proposing any "new" ideas.

      Asking other scientists to prove to me that we have such common ancestry would be akin to telling them that I did not bother to learn first the state of affairs in the science I pretend to revolutionize.

      Be reasonable man. I am not telling you to accept evolution. I'm telling you that ignorance and unsubstantiated assumptions are not a good basis for you to be taken seriously. Check your facts, learn how science actually works, study hard. Then you might have something to say. Right now you are just ridiculing yourself. I say this with the best of intentions. Is this really that hard to understand?
      • May 24 2013: The main point I argue against in the common misconception of evolution is…

        The basis of evolution theory is backed by the sole premise, that “ALL” life advanced by purely ‘naturalistic’ means and is reflected as such in the use of the fossil record to assume the many facets of evolution… Unless one can show that the entire fossil record reflects this sole position that the theory takes, (in which no one has done) then there is no way to state anything other than the truth, as shown by scientific design in the lab and that is that “life 'can' be designed by advanced scientific people and evolution cannot be/is NOT the sole reason for ALL life advancing!”

        If YOU think that you can "politic' an answer in a way that shows otherwise, I would like to hear your response.... (can you really change a scientific deduction???) Other than that, I have studied the theory of E for over 45 years and I know how assumption and presumption work.

        If you are basing evolution on lab based evidence (in which you are not) then you might be in the same class as Scientific Design in which it does produce presumptive results with accuracy where evolution fails in this area because of the unsubstantiated assumptions that are being shown to be invalid through the many disciplines of genetic engineering.
      • May 24 2013: Before the advent of modern synthetic biology, the theory of E could "assume" many things because there was no basis to question the assumptions. (DO YOU UNDERSTAND?)
        With the advent of modern biomolecular design, the "CONCEPT" of design was established.

        Before this paradigm shift, the theory of E could assume, "that it was the only valid stance to all life living and in all of the fossil record.

        After this shift, you now have to reevaluate ALL the assumptions that were taken to be backed by the stance that all life came from purely naturalistic means and they become unsubstantiated assumptions UNTIL shown otherwise with actual evidence backing their stance in the lab...

        Scientific Design IS showing this evidence that the theory of E lacks...

        Do you NOT understand the impact of modern biology in the realm of synthetic biology and biomolecular design?

        You seem to be fighting against modern science itself and not me...

        I may NOT be the best person to explain it to a "biased" evolutionary crowd but at least I understand it where you seem to still be ignorant in this area and all I can figure is that you are like everyone else that believes in evolution and all of its assumptions based on faith/belief and through your bias in your belief, you ignore and fight against anything that seems to change your preconceive perception of this blind alley science. Thus the reason I call out your arrogance.

        When you consciously ignore new data for a preconceive belief in science you are following what they call "blind-alley" reasoning and this IS exactly what you are doing here and the people who are following me can see this very clearly and the ones that ridicule me to no end as you keep doing are the ones that are putting their belief in these unsubstantiated assumptions even after all the work in modern synthetic biology says that some of these assumptions ARE invalid! (DO YOU FOLLOW AND UNDERSTAND or are you still one that insists on following blind alley science?)
      • May 24 2013: In other words...

        If you still adhere to the notion that Evolution and Evolution ALONE is the ONLY scientific explanation to the fossil record and advancing life, you do so by using blind alley reasoning in consciously ignoring any data that shows synthetic design which is NOT evolution but advances life by synthetic means. This "concept" called "Design" or more specifically "Scientific Design" (so that the religious sect can NOT adhere to), is retro-active as being a scientific principal even before it's inception in modern times...

        Many people have a hard time with this concept but only through the arrogance in "thinking" that evolution 'was' the sole reason for all life and that we are the pinnacle of such an action. People can not conceptionalized that "design" could be inherent before we 'evolved'. But the scientific concept of design is a valid concept backed by the scientific methods and saying that it could only be inherent 'after' evolution is the same thing as saying that gravity did NOT exist until man made it a scientific concept. It always existed, man just wrote down his interpretation of it. As is with Scientific Design. It states that life can be designed by scientifically advanced, living people and this does NOT adhere to just the blind alley reasoning that man is the only intelligent living being the universe, it's a scientific concept that goes beyond that sort of egotism in thinking that man IS the pinnacle of evolution so design could NOT have happened until his evolution (blind alley reasoning backed by a blind alley theory)

        If we can show that an atom can be split, we don't say that atoms were never spilt until man split them and only then were they ever split, that is pure nonsense and the same blind alley reasoning that the Theory of Evolution uses in claiming that such a stance is unsubstantiated as you calmly put it adhering to a blind alley stance while stating such nonsense.
      • May 24 2013: On a lighter note, my hypothesis is based on the "fact" that life exists in the universe and this is fact, "life does exist in the universe"...

        Evolution is based on the concept that our advanced scientific concepts are a result of Natural Origins leading up to us being the pinnacle of Evolution and that Scientific Design did NOT exist until our arrogant stance that we alone invented it through an evolutionary pathway.

        Do you see the 'flaw' in the theory of E yet or are you still blinded by bias?

        Evolution states that since we have NO Evidence to other life in the cosmos that we are the pinnacle evolution even without having evidence to Natural Origins the Theory of E bases it's assumptions without a proven axiom of origins.

        My hypothesis is based on the "fact" that life exists in the universe. Evolutionary scientists have a hard time understanding this part because they still adhere to the principal that Evolution is the ONLY driving force behind advancing life when we can show that scientific design is another force that is well more advanced over the occasional advancement that Evolution may have on life because even in design, evolution usually is the "root" cause of flaws related to perfect design because of mutation.

        People often state that if life was designed then their god wasn't perfect. I'm not claiming God as the designer but ordinary scientists just like us... Look at what we have designed, a GOAT that produces spider silk protein? Plants that kill insects, the main carriers of pollen that help the plants spread and a multitude of other crazy genetic designs that are not logical when examining the fossil record.

        Just saying, I don't care if you think that my concept is crazy to the point that others will not listen because in the end, my points are being spread across the internet and I have found some people, like you that criticized me, a year later using the same things I threw out there against people just like you, go figure...
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          Jun 3 2013: So you propose "scientific design" as basis for life on Earth. If I understand you correctly, this means highly advanced aliens coming here, terraforming and whatnot, for whatever reason and creating life on Earth.

          Even though the fossil record does not support this in any way (really, it doesn't), it might be true. We do not know life on Earth started exactly, maybe these aliens did it, we are not certain, but you might be right.

          But then... where did they come from? What gave rise to them? How did their ancestors become these advanced scientists? We (that includes you) can really think of only one answer: evolution.

          All you do with your hypothesis is replace the problem.
      • Jun 3 2013: I propose that Evolution is NOT the only exclusive possibility! There is NO way to show that Evolution was the only reason for ALL life on this planet.... My hypothesis suggests that "life exists in the cosmos and advances to the level of scientific design."

        Evolution does NOT explain "how life originated" but only assumes such... Neither does my hypothesis explain "where life may have originated", in the terms of abiogenesis.

        Unless YOU can show detailed evidence to, "how life originated" then you have the same problem Gerco...
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      May 20 2013: Would you agree that the particular religious indoctrination you prefer does not belong in state schools in a country that aims to seperate religion from the state.
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    May 17 2013: That is It is precisely what is wrong with our educational system in the USA there is no room for political correctness in the science classroom(when it comes to science). Would you be tolerant if I taught in my classroom that flying -non-physical dragons are a common happenstance? That they are beyond measure? But that indeed do exist due to countless anecdotal evidence? You call it what it is :Non-sense.
    It is not just a matter of perspective, for example F=ma,Jupiter orbits the Sun every 11.86 Earth years,
    Humans have 46 chromosomes, peas have 14 and crayfish have 200, A thimbleful of a neutron star would weigh over 100 million tons. these are testable facts.

    Now I do not seek to convert anyone to anything, everyone is responsible for what their mind consumes and exudes.
    None of that so-called esoteric Science has yielded one iota of any practical purpose for mankind, My main quarrel is with ignorance in action and good people standing by idly.
    Ranting away without content is vacuous , presenting evidence-free claims, I thought this was TED. I side with Dawkins, that these "views" need to be challenged, vigorously, for they promote ignorance in industrial quantities.
    I'm I wrong in holding this view? I could be, and in order for that to occur evidence must be shown, that convinces me beyond reasonable doubt about the non-physical dragons mentioned above.
    My point is not to offend any-one but to rock the boat.
    Bernard, I had folks here in TED(like a local church!?) call me a sinner, pointed me to Sheldrake,Dr E Alexander,and not to forget the famous "God Helmet" and on...All this stuff is supermarket tabloid material, and has nothing to do with a discourse that is grounded in reality.
    The argument at hand is beyond trolling,but rather the poor state of the science and math education in the USA.
    -A shame indeed.

    Best Regards.
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      May 17 2013: Fair enough actually.
      Nice to see you agree completely with my proposition.
      I agree creationism should definitely be challenged! :-)
      I do agree that creationism is correlated with not having a proper scientific education, and I do agree it is a shame.
      Yet there are better ways of persuading people than calling them trolls.
      Maybe calming pointing out their ignorance (or misinformed views) is the best way?
      I hope you understand me better now!
      To quote Bertrand Russell : "In this world which is getting more closely and closely interconnected we have to learn to tolerate each other, we have to learn to put up with the fact that some people say things that we don’t like."
      As someone put it : "To disagree, yet not be disagreeable."
      Kind regards,
      Bernard.
      EDIT : It would help me if you could question "Peter Law". Send a "message" to him (on this conversation) he's a genuine creationist.
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        May 20 2013: Hi Will, just curious where you sit.

        Creation of the universe and life pretty much as we see it today about 6 to 10 thousand years ago by some agent?

        or Creation of the universe 13 billion years ago by some agent, and life kick started about 3 billion years ago by some agent with some sort of guided evolution?

        Or some other variant of supernatural creation?
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        May 20 2013: Wil, are you suggesting that just because we don’t have well proven answers to the origins of the universe and life that all assertions have equal merit? I suggest some are more speculative or contrary to the evidence we have than others e.g. YEC. Any that suggest an undetectable and unexplained supernatural agency, with no explanation for how it came to exist and how it actually made life and the universe are also highly speculative.
        Personally, I don’t know the details but it seems most likely to be some natural process like everything else we have reasonably proven.

        Are supernatural agents holding atoms together, guiding the planets, controlling the tides and causing disease and floods. Are gods controlling the nuclear processes in stars and formation of snow flakes?

        I agree the science around the orgins of life is speculative, unlike evolution. But suggest evolution does answer important questions around the diversity of life and how it came to be, the similarities and differences and adaptations. Also the scientific thinking around life origins suggests a progression from amino acids found naturally, to some self replicating molecule, perhaps to RNA based organisms, to DNA etc not a sudden transition from mud to complex multicellular life.

        Ironically it is the creationists who typically assert a sudden magical transformation from mud to complex life pretty much as we see it today.

        Would you agree it is possible that life could develop naturally without outside agency, even if you think design is more likely? Or do you think it absolutely impossible for life to develop naturally?

        Given what we know about DNA, genes, selection, would you agree that humans and all vertebrates could have evolved from common ancestor species without any help from an unexplained, undetectable agency?
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        May 20 2013: The supernaturalist approach seems to be.....
        We don’t know how the universe came to be or why it is this way.
        So propose a universe creator must exist.
        No evidence to support this claim. No explanation of how it did it or evidence it did it. Not even evidence that it actually exists or could exist as anything more than a hypothetical almost nonsense concept. No evidence or actual explanatory power at all.
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          May 20 2013: Obey,
          I think you sent all these replies to me, and not "Will Hunt"!
          Or were they all meant for me?
          :P
          Regards,
          Bernard.
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        May 20 2013: Opps
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          May 20 2013: Just delete them, and then "copy and past them" into replies to Will Hunt.
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      May 17 2013: "The argument at hand is beyond trolling,but rather the poor state of the science and math education in the USA."

      Carlos, your rant, I'm afraid, is much ado about nothing. Whether a child accepts creationism or evolution, or both, won't impair his future judgment, his future capacity for rational thought, nor his embrace of logic, or the scientific method.

      It just won't!

      I'm certain we can find in the scientific community many a scientist who are noble, devoted to their respective scientific field, and who publish their findings in adherence to the strictest scientific protocol, and still remain staunchly devoted to creationism.

      I don't think that because they do have this stance they should be characterized as "ignorance in action and [as] good people standing by idly."

      "My point is not to offend any-one but to rock the boat."

      Rock the boat if you must, but there's a difference between rocking the boat, and slamming the boat for existing at all.

      "All this stuff is supermarket tabloid material, and has nothing to do with a discourse that is grounded in reality."

      And that's the rub: Reality isn't neutral. It doesn't always have a clarity of inherency that would make it impossible to see it in but one way.

      And since conclusive evidence for the creation of the universe has yet to be scientifically determined, it serves no purpose that I see to deride anyone's take on how it all began.

      I say God (Spirit), you say matter. I say an Intelligent Designer, you say chance. You say the universe was formed from a non-intelligent and non-living substance, I say it is the result of a spiritual matrix, Socrates' position. You say evolution from a mindless mechanism, I say evolution with a purpose, indicating instructions from an intelligence. You say teach what science says on the subject, although science, except for evolution, is either mute, or is speculative and theoretical on our origin, having no more definitive evidence than religionists.
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    May 17 2013: Wil,
    You are a prime example of the Intellectual rubbish our kids are exposed to. It's a great disservice . I have measure your line of thinking in several exchanges and you have nothing to offer other than ludicrous statements.

    A Spiritual world is "Non-physical. Non-material. Not matter based. Absolute. Not relative".

    "Show me your measurable evidence."
    " I have it, but it's out of this world, and you need out-of-this-world sight to view and appreciate the evidence"

    "How do you know that to be so?"
    "Because She, He, It said so. Ask Her yourself."

    Uncommon hubris? of course not to you, According to you you are 100% correct no matter what . And everyone else that do not see it as you do is deluded or "spiritually" impaired (what a poor lot!).

    Non-sense.

    Happy Trolling
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      May 17 2013: It would be helpful if you could reply to him directly! :-)
      And it would be helpful if you could keep some form of "tolerance", unless of-course he is genially trolling...
      I don't know (:P) because I haven't been checking his comments. He could just be misinformed, or have a very different perspective from you? That's not to say he isn't a troll.
      On another matter, have you seen the TED talk :
      - Kathryn Schulz: On being wrong
      http://www.ted.com/talks/kathryn_schulz_on_being_wrong.html
      Because (even if he was a troll) I don't think it the best way to persuade people of your argument by declaring their a "Troll". They will just become defensive... (And probably not listen to reason, once it becomes an "insult battle")
      Kind regards,
      Bernard.

      EDIT : Two very good books about why people can't admit their wrong :

      - Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error by Kathryn Schulz

      - Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts. By Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson.

      Hope I helped! :D
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      May 17 2013: "You are a prime example of the Intellectual rubbish our kids are exposed to."

      You're a mite testy today, aren't you? Thanks for the laugh. To your credit, your response is funny, if not laughable. Let me see if I have this right: If I don't agree with you, or if I offer up yet another comment that's in opposition to yours, then I'm dismissed as a "troll."

      That's trollish of you.

      What I hear is this: Unless our youth are exposed to ideas that you endorse, or inculcated with your values, or those that you support, then they're the worse for it, and have been badly served.

      What are we afraid of, regardless of our leaning? My pine cones of creationism aren't going to invade your orchard of scientific apples and devour them. Frankly, they could be grown side by side without any harm to either.

      I don't hear religionists insisting that science not be taught in the classroom, although I'm sure there are some troglodyte notions to supplant one with the other when in fact they aren't incompatible.

      Rather than dictatorially impose idea constraints on our youth, let's expose them to all the ideas that are extant in society at any given time, and let them decide on there relevancy.

      "According to you you are 100% correct no matter what."

      I wouldn't place it that high, but thanks for the vote of confidence.

      "And everyone else that do not see it as you do is deluded or "spiritually" impaired (what a poor lot!)."

      Unlike you, I don't care how others see it, whether they see it my way, your way, or another's way. I expect that most are like you, and won't see it my way. They don't have the frame of reference, given their education only in one direction.

      My purpose here is to provide another point of view. I have no preference as to whether you or any other subscribe to it, endorse it, or promote it.

      I've enjoyed all the comments here, and yours the most, the reason I engaged you more than others. I thank you for taking the time to contribute to the discussion.
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    May 17 2013: Wil
    Out of this world=Non-physical. Non-material. Not matter based. Absolute. Not relative.

    And you know these to be true,(what I'm I saying? of course you do)

    Wil do keep your" pearls of wisdom and diamonds of knowledge" (they are laced with ignorance).

    You sound more like a wizard from Lord of the Rings, and I feel that you get ticked if not taken seriously.
    Let's do astrology next , or Alchemy, while we are at it we throw some Divination too. I have in several exchanges with you asked you questions and all you have is platitudes, is like talking to D Chopra.

    But hey Wil I wish you the best( I mean it) in your quest wherever it may lead you to.

    "Real knowledge is to know the extent of one's ignorance."
    --Confucius

    Cheers!
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      May 17 2013: "I feel that you get ticked if not taken seriously."

      I don't care if you take me "seriously," or take me at all.

      "I have in several exchanges with you asked you questions and all you have is platitudes."

      Sometimes, "platitudes" are all that's needed.

      "But hey Wil I wish you the best( I mean it) in your quest wherever it may lead you to."

      One begins a quest for that which he doesn't have. There's nothing I don't have. There's no place I wish to go, and nothing I wish to find. I have it all.

      "Real knowledge is to know the extent of one's ignorance."
      --Confucius

      The above quote sounds interesting but it is, as you say, "fallacious." Ignorance is an illusion. The beginning of "real knowledge" is to know this.

      I'll let you in on this much, but I don't feel that it will resonate, but perhaps for another who might chance upon this conversation.

      Nothing I say here will mean much to you because you haven't developed the senses by which to comprehend my words--until you do, they'll be so much gibberish, so much cacophony to the untuned ear.

      First know, you're more than physical, more than human, more than dust. You're are, at the core, living out a spiritual existence, although it appears to be a material one, and, further, you're not just a being be-ing, you're more than that--you're an existence.

      You can't know that because you've chosen to develop your material senses at the expense of your spiritual senses. You've decided to turn outward rather than inward. You don't turn inward because you haven't valued the experience, believing like billions of your fellow humans that there's nothing there to find.

      And that will be true for you simply for the believing.

      What's that old saying, "Go West young man, go west."

      I urge you, rather, "Go within young man, go within."

      "Let's do astrology next , or Alchemy, while we are at it we throw some Divination too."

      Why would anyone allow the stars to guide their life, although real "alchemy" is useful.
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    May 17 2013: Wil,
    ..."show me your measurable evidence." Ans:"it's out of this world, and you need out-of-this-world sight to view and appreciate the evidence. " define "out of this world"please.
    OK, I'm wearing blindfolds, (and you are not). So, broaden the elephant (past the backside) for me, please start with this "other world " you speak off.
    Imagine if you will, that you are explaining this at the Caltech's Braun Amphitheater in front of the faculty and students.

    Cheers!
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      May 17 2013: "define "out of this world"please."

      Non-physical. Non-material. Not matter based. Absolute. Not relative.

      "please start with this "other world " you speak off."

      Can't do that. It's an exercise in futility. If you can't accept the least of what I have to offer, it would be folly to offer up pearls of wisdom and diamonds of knowledge.

      If you truly wish to know and to see, begin the journey for yourself. There's nothing hidden that won't be revealed, and nothing unknown that will remain unknown. It all depends on the seeker as to what he or she will find and how much. But no seeker returns from an earnest journey empty-handed, or empty-hearted, or poorer for the effort.

      "Imagine if you will, that you are explaining this at the Caltech's Braun Amphitheater in front of the faculty and students."

      Like so many others I've encountered over the years, we'd have no common reference point from which to launch a meaningful discussion, no common ground upon which to stand, and no common language to facilitate understanding.

      There are some things the haves can't give to the have-nots: "To him that have shall receive."
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    May 17 2013: Cliff,
    indeed I've met creationists not only In TN, but Madrid, Boston, Arizona, LA, L.A. and even with lab coats. I did meet one good fellow from Austria a creationist that has made the mos sincere statement to date in this regard: "Carlos to me is just a matter of faith, not the scientific method or else just faith"-- I respect that.
    Id does lives directly at the God(s) of the gaps fallacy, ID pulls the proverbial rabbit out of a hat " an intelligent being that should be credited with the creation of the universe (and what has subsequently come into existence) "-just out of thin air. Now there is a YEC PHD (Geology, Harvard)-K Wise-that have stated:"If all the evidence in the universe pointed to an old Earth, I will be the first to admit it, but I will still be a YEC because that is what scripture teaches". Cliff you state that "whether we understand the processes by which things came to be or not, there was a supreme being outside of our realm of existence engineering and directing those processes."(out of our realm of existence???)doesn't make one any less scientific for believing it."So to you is philosophical/religious, valid regardless of our level of understanding-science must keep quiet about it, but nonetheless this doesn't make it less scientific, Cliff what a bouquet of contradictions!!!!???/
    What religion folks profess is fine just as long as they don't try to ram it to everyone else hooked or crooked.
    Newton, Huygens, when confronted with issues they could not solve they pointed at God (God of the gaps)
    ID= is too complex to figure out, thus God Did it. What do you do with that line of reasoning? Science is about discovery, ID is about embracing ignorance, you cannot build an education program based on the assumption that no-one is smart enough to figure out an answer to a problem. ID rather belongs in psychology, religion classes, but not in a science classroom.

    Cheers!
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      May 17 2013: "ID= is too complex to figure out, thus God Did it."

      I've alluded to this before: We would both agree that MS Windows is intelligently designed, and that it can be reversed engineered, further reinforcing its intelligent origin.

      But there's a greater than MS Windows in regard to the complexity of our vast universe, but nevertheless one which we can, and have, reversed engineered to some degree, calling the exercise science.

      But rather than attribute the design and creation of the universe to an intelligence that preceded its creation, as we have with MS Windows, science hastens to eliminate such an intelligence from the creation of our universe, and, unlike MS Windows, say that our complex, and little understood universe serves no purpose, but is the results of a chance combination of matter--matter unintelligent, and lifeless--triggering the big bang, which ultimately created our physical universe, including intelligent humans--all derived from this lifeless, unintelligent, prototype matter.

      At the very least, It takes uncommon hubris to posit such a claim.
      • May 18 2013: "We would both agree that MS Windows is intelligently designed"

        I don't know about Carlos, but I would not agree. :)

        A few problems with your view:

        1. That we require intelligence to do something does not mean that similar things in nature are therefore made by intelligent agents. Example, we need intelligence to make a fire. Yet, we know of ways in which fires start in nature. Example, when some dry leaves are struck by lighting, or when some dry and flammable materials are touch by lava, et cetera. Therefore, that we require intelligence to do something does not mean that what we see in nature required intelligence to be done.

        2. Science does not hasten to eliminate the possibility of an intelligence. It's rather that there's no reason to include such a ridiculous and non-informative variable. Let alone because when people do so is with fallacious reasoning. Think about windows: at the very least we know that there is a probability that there were intelligent beings around to build it.

        3. So far, the only kinds of intelligences we can talk about are biological in nature. Yet you propose one that's outside the universe and is non-biological in nature?

        4. I explained before that there's no mystery about non-life producing life, and I could do so about intelligence. After all, we have living examples that posses from very simple intelligences to ours. Why couldn't then it have arisen naturally? After all, we see it happening all the time too. A baby is build inside its mother all by natural processes from a single cell fed with non-living food. The baby is not intelligent from the beginning, the structures have to develop properly for this to happen. So far I have not seen a little tiny gnome introducing an intelligence device into the baby, and the intelligence always depends on proper development. Why then would we find it mysterious that natural processes have done this if they do this all the time?
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          May 18 2013: "Therefore, that we require intelligence to do something does not mean that what we see in nature required intelligence to be done."

          I'm sorry: This is tantamount to a straw man as it doesn't represent my argument. Here's my argument: You can only reverse engineer that which is intelligently designed.

          Both MS Windows and nature can be reversed engineered; hence they're both intelligently designed. We might quibble as to who the designer is, but there shouldn't be an argument as to whether they're intelligently designed, or not.

          What has man done with his intelligence, he has devoted a great deal of it to reversing the very thing that he claims wasn't intelligently designed--nature--but was primordially the result of certain elements of matter combining to create our universe.

          I challenge you and them to create a computer, or MS Windows, or a human, using this "magical" prototype matter, and you and they can take a few billion years in which to do it.

          "Science does not hasten to eliminate the possibility of an intelligence."

          Saying so doesn't make it so. Stephen Hawking and many of his ilk have created a cottage industry using God as a foil to advance their own theories, insisting that God was not a necessary player in the creation narrative, while others insist that the universe is purposeless.

          "Yet you propose one that's outside the universe and is non-biological in nature?"

          It's a better argument than saying dumb, lifeless matter gave us the complex wonder we call our universe, as well as our animal kingdom, including intelligent man. Frankly, we should all be insulted to say that that is so, as it's so patently implausible.

          "After all, we see it happening all the time too. A baby is build inside its mother all by natural processes from a single cell fed with non-living food."

          What came first, the chicken or the egg?

          What we have, then, is life producing life, not nonliving matter creating sentient beings, a proposition that I heartily oppose.
      • May 18 2013: Hi Wil,

        "You can only reverse engineer that which is intelligently designed."

        My point was aimed at showing the fallacy inherent in taking human endeavours to conclude about how or what nature does or requires. Not an attempt at a straw man. You take reverse engineering of computers, it looks like what we do in science with nature. Since computers were intelligently designed, then nature was intelligently designed. Many more steps, still the same fallacy. Since we need intelligence to make a fire, and we see fire in nature, fires in nature are intelligently designed. Same thing, less steps. The fire example shows quickly that something is wrong with your logic.

        "but there shouldn't be an argument as to whether they're intelligently designed, or not."

        I see no reason to think that nature was intelligently designed. That's just an opinion based on problematic logic. Therefore I can reject it. Why can you to over-conclude from engineering, but not conclude properly from the fact that all the intelligence we observe is biological that therefore nature could not possibly be intelligently designed?

        "it's so patently implausible"

        That you don't understand why we think it's plausible does not mean that it is implausible.

        "What came first, the chicken or the egg?"

        The egg by billions of years before the chicken. But you are missing the point: we see non-living matter becoming living matter all the time. No miracles involved. The catalysts are living, but the non-living becomes alive. I see no reason why the process could not have started through non-living catalysts.

        Oppose as much as you wish. Non-living stuff becomes alive. Non-intelligent stuff becomes intelligent. All the time.
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          May 18 2013: Well, Entropy, we've arrived at an impasse, as we can't seem to agree on what factors constitute reverse engineering and a precise definition of living and nonliving matter.

          Thanks for the discussion.
      • May 18 2013: Not a problem Wil. I hope I was able to show you that your logic is not so compelling that just everybody would see these things the way you see them.
    • Jun 3 2013: Carlos, I haven't been on here in awhile, so I just saw your response from 5/17 yesterday. Sorry for the delay.

      I haven't read much ID literature, but if you insist that it is built on 'god of gaps', then I have to distance myself from it. I do believe in an intelligent designer, but not simply one who fills the gaps. You asked: "ID= is too complex to figure out, thus God Did it. What do you do with that line of reasoning?" Simply, I reject it because it is not my line of reasoning.

      You wrote in your response to me "what a bouquet of contradictions". Please explain, as you did not elaborate on what the contradictions are. Does it simply not smell nice to you or is there a specific contradiction you can point out? I still hold that what I expressed is not contradictory. If you think so, I'd like to know where. I'd be glad to explain how each item I mentioned fits cohesively with the rest without contradiction.

      Do you think it is possible to know anything without measurable evidence? I'm wondering how you feel about that and would like to know your thoughts.

      You wrote: "What religion folks profess is fine just as long as they don't try to ram it...." I agree with you here that nothing should be rammed on anyone. I am fully in favor of honest, thoughtful dialogue, and anyone of any religious (or non-religious) perspective should feel free to engage others in discussing its merits. If they are not interested in engaging in such a discussion, that should be respected. To be honest, I think an outside observer might view your comments in this conversation as a bit more on the 'ramming' side, but maybe you just tend to choose stronger words when expressing your arguments.

      I agree with you that ID does not belong in science class. I also am eager to explore and learn more, rather than accept ignorance. Besides, the existence of an intelligent creator does not hinge on any discovery of how it happened. Science isn't able to refute that possibility.
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    May 16 2013: Cliff,
    I live in TN, USA,(Silver buckle of the Bible Belt USA) and as the sun is shining here, I can clearly declare that: ID folks-their main driving agenda-- is to bring religion into the science classroom, period. I have engaged in debates with them and when presented with Evidence regarding Physics & Biology (and not being able to refute it) they state:"we know what truth is because is in the Bible".One more thing look at the discovery Institute heavily lobbying in Washington DC for their agenda (instead of working in the lab????!!!) to push and push ID into the classroom ,it gets votes-- but torquing politics instead of science Cliff I stand by my statement. See:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelligent_design_in_politics.
    When asked ,Where is the evidence for the creator? ID says:None, hmm? how they get their ideas forward then? So, lacking the evidence ID proponents concoct a Dualism: Anything that Theory A cannot explain (right now) is evidence for Theory B, and if we argue like that then the moon is made out of cheese if you weren't sure is made of up of anorthosite rock. P Johnson/R Boston and its "wedge strategy" state:" that one of the objectives is:" to convince people that Darwinism is inherently atheistic, thus shifting the debate from creationism vs. evolution to the existence of God vs. the non-existence of God. From there people are introduced to 'the truth' of the Bible and then 'the question of sin' and finally 'introduced to Jesus.'"
    ID is God(S) of the gaps fallacy ,lives at the Perimeter of Ignorance. Let's teach Astrology and Alchemy since we are at it. Judge Jones is a conservative person and he saw right through the ruse of the Discovery Institute.
    ID=Creationism=Religion,
    I just hate to see ignorance in action when there is so much knowledge to be offered.

    Cheers!
    • May 16 2013: Carlos, I have no argument with you regarding the politics and what people may or may not say in one context vs. another. Understanding you are from TN helps me in realizing it seems you have had no exposure to the broader community of folks who value science but also happen to believe in a Creator. What you have stated regarding the creationists or ID folks you have run into may very well be true. I want to assure you that it is not representative of the broader community.

      To equate ID with god of the gaps fallacy is a common misunderstanding. Speaking for myself, to suggest that there is an intelligent being that should be credited with the creation of the universe (and what has subsequently come into existence) is not suggesting that "there is no current explanation, therefore it must be God"--the basis of the god of the gaps. For me, it is a philosophical/religious belief that does not rely on whether gaps of knowledge are filled in or not. Rather, it posits that at every point, whether we understand the processes by which things came to be or not, there was a supreme being outside of our realm of existence engineering and directing those processes. This is a question on which science ultimately must be silent, because it is not a scientific proposition that can be explored with the scientific method. And it doesn't make one any less scientific for believing it. One can still hold the scientific method in the highest regard and do scientific work with the greatest rigor. Many great scientists, past and present, have! I think much of the issue with creationism is that it is a backlash against science classes that go beyond the boundaries of science and teach that evolution (or anything else for that matter) somehow disproves or negates a belief in a higher power. I have no problem with evolution, as long as it is not coupled with its own philosophical (not scientific) statements such as "evolution contradicts/eliminates belief in God", etc.
      • May 18 2013: Hi Cliff,

        I have read what people in the ID camp write. Far from being reasonable as you, they do indeed rely on god-of-the-gaps fallacies all the time. Look at their literature, it's all about Darwin being wrong on this, Darwin being wrong on that (which is also a creationist propaganda tactic, blame one person alone for al the evils you want your followers to oppose). This structure being too complex to have arisen by "random chance" (another creationist bit of misrepresented science), that structure not described to atomic level by evolution, the probability that this would arise by chance is such ... all classics of the worst kinds of creationism, only trying hard to disguise them as if they are scientific claims. Much unlike you.
        • Jun 3 2013: Just read your response yesterday. Thanks for the compliment. I'm curious what you believe about science's ability to address claims of a spiritual world (God's existence, etc.). Perhaps you have addressed this in other comments, but I'll readily admit I'm too tired/lazy to look through them all. Do you believe science can eliminate the possibility of a spiritual world (essentially a non-material parallel universe), or do you believe science must be silent on it because it is not a testable hypothesis, but rather a philosophical proposition? If you take the time to respond, thanks.
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    May 16 2013: Wil
    Ok Science has it wrong , now show me your measurable evidence, Sorry but Dr Alexander's story is as good as alien abductions, You have my undivided attention, do please shine the light. Since you are not science illiterate (And I know a thing or to about Physics as well) please use the Scientific method.

    I'm humble in front of the greatness of our universe and there is a lot of shortcomings with our present ways to measure and understand all around us ,and we have made great progress, but even with our shortcomings don't equate a supernatural being.

    PS Let's say Harris is skewed Against Alexander account, have you doubted his story and if so did you fact checked and how? And I say this because if let's say L Krauss were to say something wild I would take him to task.

    Cheers!
    Cheers
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      May 16 2013: "Ok Science has it wrong , now show me your measurable evidence."

      I have it, but it's out of this world, and you need out-of-this-world sight to view and appreciate the evidence. What we have been given is cumulative "evidence," evidence derived from thousands of anecdotal experiences, which, taken singularly, one at a time, may not be impressive to one scientifically predisposed to accepting only empirical evidence as the only conclusive evidence to consider, but, when combined, creates a rather convincing case for not only an afterlife, but the extension of consciousness and life beyond the physical body, before and after the experience we call death.

      "I'm humble in front of the greatness of our universe."

      How much more "humble" would you be if you could see the "matrix" behind the physical universe that you see. We need less of the Aristotelian world, and more of the Socratic one.

      "Let's say Harris is skewed Against Alexander account, have you doubted his story and if so did you fact checked and how?"

      Of course I "fact checked" his story. It's simple: I merely asked the question, Does Dr. Alexander's story coincide with my own. My conclusion: It does.

      "Ok Science has it wrong."

      Not wrong, exactly, it's just not seeing and experiencing the whole elephant. Wearing blindfolds it's only examined the elephant's tail, and has concluded that the tail represents the whole, when it's only the beginning, and mostly a view of the elephant's backside, with most of the elephant existing beyond its ability to see, comprehend, or measure.
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        May 17 2013: Ok. So what would you teach to children in science class?
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          May 18 2013: How to manipulate cause rather than effect, the current scientific preoccupation.
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    May 16 2013: Wil,
    Dr. Alexander is "supremely qualified" who have you found that is as Supreme as he that has found fault with his story? ( I have read the account of Dr. Alexander prior to our exchanges) try Sam Harris)
    I do question my own beliefs daily, that's what I do for a living.
    Be wary of God(s) of the gaps fallacy.
    I wish we could both agree in what evidence is, rather than this fruitless back and forth.

    "Nothing is impossible, somethings are just less likely than others"
    --J Winters

    "Sapere Aude"
    --Horace

    Cheers!
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      May 16 2013: "I wish we could both agree in what evidence is, rather than this fruitless back and forth."

      Correct me if I'm wrong, but had the whole scientific community rallied around Dr. Alexander's experience, lauding it as the scientific breakthrough of the century, you'd still remain as staunchly resistant to accepting his claims, as before you heard them.

      And, too, you were already predisposed to dismissing, and disbelieving in, any claim of an afterlife, no matter the circumstances, with or without the observations of Sam Harris or of any other critic, as it would shatter your worldview.

      "I do question my own beliefs daily, that's what I do for a living."

      Were that the case, you wouldn't say the following: "Be wary of God(s) of the gaps fallacy." You can't be "wary," and still challenge your "beliefs," and certainly not daily. In order to put your beliefs to a daily test, you'd have to first begin by temporarily setting them aside, or taking them one by one and exposing them to the scrutiny of rationality and logic, the complete opposite of wariness.

      "I wish we could both agree in what evidence is."

      I'm not science illiterate. I've taking classes in biology, and chemistry, and geology, and can tell the difference between schist and Shinola.

      Still, there's "evidence" and there's evidence. What we don't agree on is that there's some evidence that's beyond the instrumentations of science, for which empiricism cannot measure, nor can the ordinary senses detect.
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    May 15 2013: Wil,

    How is religion falsifiable as science is? please argue.
    To be fair most people do take Science on "faith" except that you can test the claims. Religion will not allow that.
    Scientific explanations are wacky , but not "magical" a "creator is not required, or faith for that matter. You keep stating the phrase" self-generating matter" , I think you speak about quantum vacuum fluctuations, Wil for all we know this whole universe may be a huge quantum vacuum fluctuation! ( with the gravitational force being negative and when summed with the positive energy of the matter in the universe, the two quantities may cancel out.Neither Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, nor the first law of thermodynamics, place any limit on the length of time a quantum vacuum fluctuation of zero total energy could persist, so the longevity of our universe does not rule out a quantum vacuum fluctuation origin. The proposal is not that the entire universe appeared in one shot, but that a quantum vacuum fluctuation served as the seed for a local expansion of spacetime, which would automatically generate matter as a side-effect, Now do you want to label Quantum Field theory , and M theory "God(s), be my guest. I prefer not (there is no evidence for the "Intelligent Being").
    ID has created what? In what field please specify.// For nuclear bombs and other poisons see my other post and the hammer analogy. Wil we are not "created" no question will be answer by anyone at 100% certainty. Evolution is clearly understood ask the Dept. of Biology at MIT, it really works.
    Abiogenesisis supernatural? please specify, (another supernatural not required) where do you keep coming with all this rabbits out of your hat? without explaining? "Science is hard work" you say you can argue that please do.
    A good scientist is someone who trusts nothing and no one and is willing to drop their deepest held beliefs as though they were a bucket full of red-hot cobras.

    Cheers!
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      May 15 2013: "How is religion falsifiable as science is? please argue."

      Not in the way of science, with the use of empiricism, but In the same way that religion had its beginning, by way of revelation. From Genesis to Revelation the nature of God has undergone a revision, the old giving way to the new. These testaments didn't end with the writing of just two, the Old and the New, but continue to this day.

      Science probes the seen; religion, the unseen. Science manipulates effect, spiritual powerhouses, past and present, influence cause.

      "Abiogenesisis supernatural? please specify"

      I can think of nothing more supernatural--or more magical--than to posit the development of living organism from nonliving matter, and then to say that this nonliving matter generated both life and mind.

      "ID has created what?"

      The universe, of course. And Microsoft Windows, for another. Tell me: What is science if it's not the reverse engineering of nature? I posit this: You can only reverse engineer that which is intelligently designed, including Windows and many, but not all, things in nature.

      Science has yet to source mind in brain and life in body. Here's where scientific reverse engineering has failed, and will always fail. Why? The body is not alive and the brain doesn't think. Oh, I know, we can see certain activity in portions of the brain when people are thinking certain thoughts, or when they're conducting certain activity, and that brains fail to function properly if they're subjected to certain injuries, but so does a radio and television receiver if they're damaged significantly.

      "Wil we are not "created""

      In a sense you're right. We have always been and will always be, and death is not the end, but only the beginning of a greater adventure.

      I know: You're hoping that science has this right, and that you'll cease to exist at death rather than continue living after the body is too damaged or too decrepit to live. I hate to disappoint you, but that's not going to happen.
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        May 15 2013: Hi Wil,

        While I agree with your opponents in these discussions, you do raise some well-argued points.

        "evolution doesn't answer the larger question, "Hw did life begin, and did that beginning generate from an intelligent or non-intelligent substance?"

        You are right. Biologists should be more forward and honest about this fact. I find it personally frustrating that to date, I have never found a coherent model explaining how organic molecules can have formed into living cells. However, the fact that scientists don't have this answer doesn't mean they will never arrive at it, without the need for an intelligence behind it! Not having this answer also does not prove anything about who has the best creation story.

        "There are as many taboos in science as in religion, where those in the scientific community would be ostracized, if not outright excommunicated, for holding certain theories, or publicly attacked by their peers for challenging certain widely-held scientific positions."

        Sadly, you are quite right again. Try mentioning the Aquatic Ape Hypothesis out loud at a human evolution seminar. Or the notion of Plate Tectonics 70 years ago. Science is disagreement, and there are humans involved. But there are plenty of examples of the underdog eventually ending on top! Such examples are rather more rare for religion, and they usually end in religious schisms and war (the first massacre has yet to occur in the bird evolution debate).

        An unfair point perhaps, but not as unfair as

        "What's "frightening" is what science has created right along with "medicine, genetics," or what have you, providing the means for our self-annihilation, nuclear bombs, and a host of other biological weapons and the means to deliver them."

        Science deals with what's true. If you split atoms in a violent manner, you get destruction; if you do the wrong things with pathogens, you get sick people. However, religious fanatics getting their hands on those weapons is what's truly terrifying.
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          May 15 2013: "However, religious fanatics getting their hands on those weapons is truly terrifying."

          Then we might presume that in the hands of non-religious fanatics all is well. Knowing that would certainly have given the people of Nagasaki and Hiroshima great comfort before becoming the targets for Little Boy and Fat Man.

          "Science deals with what's true."

          And I assure you, with every stride that science makes to satisfy scientific curiosity, or to cure disease, or what have you, we seal our fate.
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        May 15 2013: Wil,
        Is religion falsifiable?"Not in the way of science" that means No, all the other "internal revisions" are a mute point.
        "Science probes the seen; religion, the unseen. Science manipulates effect, spiritual powerhouses, past and present, influence cause." What in the wide world of sports that's supposed to mean???????!!
        Once again Wil you keep using the term "creation as a given, is Not. //
        There is No Supernatural element is Abiogenesis.Please tell me where in that postulate you claim to have found it.
        What practical advancement or creation mankind has yielded from ID?The explanatory framework of Evolution is Useful in a practical sense Or in another way How ID impacts the quality of my daily living in a practical way? Evolution:molecular clocks—based on the accumulation of mutations in DNA over the eons—underlies applications such as the DNA analyses used in criminal investigations.Evo: DNA analysis of how pathogens evolve produces useful information for combating the outbreak and spread of disease, Wil and many more all due to the explanatory power of Darwinian Evolution, "ID created the Universe" ? Wil , What practical applications?? ( I like the Windows gag)

        OK let's say that Modern Medicine went belly up and your answer for thinking in the brain and life in the body is....., also its sounds like since science doesn't have the whole picture God(s) did it (do this at all science gaps).
        Wil you Know that we will keep living past death because....!?

        Or tomorrow at Wrigley Field God(s) will show up for All to see... At that point I will personally say to you Wil I was sooo wrong! Until then not only I'd respect how you feel and think regarding ID, God(s), I just don't share your views.

        "All those who believe in telekinesis, raise my hand. "

        Cheers then!
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          May 15 2013: "Wil you Know that we will keep living past death because....!?"

          Once an atheist himself, Dr. Eben Alexander, neurosurgeon and neuroscientist, is convinced that we will. But, of course, what does he know, although he died (temporarily, that is) from a rare brain disease and returned to share his findings, which I'm more than certain that many of his peers would rather he had stayed quiet about.

          "Thousands of people have had near-death experiences, but scientists have argued that they are impossible. Dr. Eben Alexander was one of those scientists. A highly trained neurosurgeon, Alexander knew that NDEs feel real, but are simply fantasies produced by brains under extreme stress.

          "Then, Dr. Alexander’s own brain was attacked by a rare illness. The part of the brain that controls thought and emotion—and in essence makes us human—shut down completely. For seven days he lay in a coma. Then, as his doctors considered stopping treatment, Alexander’s eyes popped open. He had come back.

          "Alexander’s recovery is a medical miracle. But the real miracle of his story lies elsewhere. While his body lay in coma, Alexander journeyed beyond this world and encountered an angelic being who guided him into the deepest realms of super-physical existence. There he met, and spoke with, the Divine source of the universe itself.

          "Alexander’s story is not a fantasy. Before he underwent his journey, he could not reconcile his knowledge of neuroscience with any belief in heaven, God, or the soul. Today Alexander is a doctor who believes that true health can be achieved only when we realize that God and the soul are real and that death is not the end of personal existence but only a transition.

          "This story would be remarkable no matter who it happened to. That it happened to Dr. Alexander makes it revolutionary. No scientist or person of faith will be able to ignore it. Reading it will change your life."

          http://www.amazon.com/Proof-Heaven-Neurosurgeons-Journey-Afterlife/
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        May 15 2013: "Then we might presume that in the hands of non-religious fanatics all is well. Knowing that would certainly have given the people of Nagasaki and Hiroshima great comfort before becoming the targets for Little Boy and Fat Man."

        I would say that all fanatics are religious one way or another. Prior to the bombings that ended an insanely destructive war, Japan - at the time a nation in zealous veneration of a god-emperor and a blind conviction in their divine purpose - had already used biological weapons in China and launched unprovoked attacks on numerous nations.

        A scientist could be a fanatic, but to say that all of science is responsible for some of its more destructive by-products is fallacious. Such destructive inventions are merely spin-offs of curiosity-driven research. Besides, swords and guns were not invented by scientists who were trying to learn more about the nature of the universe, but by people who wanted to kill other people. In terms of numbers, they have also succeeded far better at this so far than the scientists responsible for biological and nuclear weapons. You mistake technologies and applications for scientific discoveries.

        "And I assure you, with every stride that science makes to satisfy scientific curiosity, or to cure disease, or what have you, we seal our faith."

        Is it what you want children taught in class?!? Are you talking about things like emergent resistant diseases or CERN creating a black hole, for example? I mean, accidents and circumstantial effects of science? Perhaps such threats exist, but to just "give up" on science because of that, while it has given us so much, a coherent worldview included, would be proposterous.
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          May 15 2013: "Prior to the bombings that ended a insanely destructive war, Japan - at the time a nation in zealous veneration of a god-emperor>

          To replace one "insanity" with another doesn't make insanity less likely to occur, but more likely. The world would be immensely better off without nuclear power, notwithstanding the distance that science has placed between its discoveries and their uses, and the amoral stance it generally takes regarding its pursuits.

          As we seek to defend against attacks from within and without, creating more weapons of mass destruction to assure our survival, we're hastening the day of our collective demise.

          "but to say that all of science is responsible for some of its more destructive by-products is fallacious."

          Call it what you like, but the processes and procedures that advances one advances all. Climate change is now buffeting the planet, pollution of every sort has poisoned, and continues to poison, the very environment that's needed to support all life, not just our own.

          These things have occurred for a variety of reason, for our creature comfort, to defend our homelands, and to slake the greed of captains of industry more bent on accumulating great wealth than in advancing the health and vitality of the planet.

          "Perhaps such threats exist, but to just "give up" on science because of that, while it has given us so much, a coherent worldview included, would be proposterous."

          What science has given, it has also taken away in equal measure. Mark my words: if you live long enough, you will rue the day that we set out to reverse engineer nature, and to combine and recombine what we've learned from her.

          We have yet to advance as a species sufficiently to know in which directions to take our inquiries. We just inquire. We have yet to become Highly Evolved Beings (HEBs), as we've been evolving in the wrong direction. Evolution doesn't always assure the survival of entities, if its wrongly directed, but merely contribute to their extinction.
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        May 15 2013: "The world would be immensely better off without nuclear power,"

        Nuclear power or nuclear weapons? Or both? The latter has much more destructive power, but can only be used by fanatics, or to stop fanatics. I still maintain fanatics are more dangerous than weapons. Nuclear power is quite safe when properly handled, and if fanatics do not gain access to it.

        "notwithstanding ... the amoral stance [science] generally takes regarding its pursuits."

        Scientists are not amoral regarding their pursuits, in fact they take ethics very seriously. If only all users of their findings, as well as religious fanatics, would do the same.

        "We have yet to become Highly Evolved Beings (HEBs), as we've been evolving in the wrong direction."

        To assume a direction to evolution from "low" to "high" is misunderstanding it. Evolution merely favors those who reproduce the most. There are "more derived" organisms, which simply means these have undergone more changes than the "more ancestral" organisms. Calling an organism high or low is to wrongly use a "human lense" if you will. To call anything a highly evolved being and give this its own acronym would require more explanation, to prevent it becoming pseudoscientific mumbo-jumbo.

        "Evolution doesn't always assure the survival of entities, if its wrongly directed, but merely contribute to their extinction."

        This has truth to it, apart from an assumption of direction. Organisms can evolve too specialistically, no longer able to adapt to changing circumstances. This is possibly happenening to humanity, but to attribute it to our pursuit of knowledge is quite wrong.

        "Climate change is now buffeting the planet, pollution of every sort has poisoned, and continues to poison, the very environment that's needed to support all life, not just our own."

        Perhaps, but this is caused by greed, not the pursuit of knowledge. Mark my words now: if we are ever to find ways to contribute to our own survival, the answers will only come from scientists.
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          May 16 2013: "Nuclear power or nuclear weapons? Or both?"

          Both. We have already seen the harm and the damage that they can do. On the supposed peaceful side, think Chernobyl and Japan. And at home, think Three Mile Island. We're taking too many risks with our fragile environment, risks that can't be rectified so easily with a cleanup or the passage of time, in a decade or so.

          "Nuclear power is quite safe when properly handled, and if fanatics do not gain access to it."

          Its safety is arguable, when you take into account other factors, seen and unseen. And you further my thesis, when I assert that humans haven't evolved sufficiently to act in their best interest. Called them fanatics, but they're still members of the human race, and representative--even in part--of the overall human condition: that it's severely lacking in certain regards.

          "Scientists are not amoral regarding their pursuits, in fact they take ethics very seriously."

          Scientists seek, search, and probe, and, at times, for the sake of seeking, searching, and probing, well aware that any new findings might be exploited by those who fund these pursuits, whether for good, or nefarious purposes. Scientists aren't guiltless, but have contributed to our mutually assured extermination.

          "To assume a direction to evolution from "low" to "high" is misunderstanding it."

          I misunderstand nothing. Unless we take control of evolution, rather than allowing it to take control of us, we're doomed.

          "Evolution merely favors those who reproduce the most."

          And it will soon remedy that.

          "Perhaps, but this is caused by greed, not the pursuit of knowledge."

          Knowledge doesn't exist in a vacuum. It may be used by the unscrupulous. What's that old saying, "No weapon has built that hasn't been used." We have this same dilemma with science: Scientific finding will find their way into the hands of those who will abuse these findings for their own nefarious purposes, sometimes by convincing others that it's in their best interest.
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        May 16 2013: Wil,
        You have the anecdotal story of Dr Alexander and that's All you need to declare from the top of the hills that Heavens ( a Christian type perhaps?) is real, beyond Any Doubt to you. Wil you would have love a trip to Haiti, as in the 70s I was part of a Pentecostal Mission I've seen and heard some puzzling accounts but even if none could be explained by anyone on Earth how is that immediate evidence for Heavens or God(s) existence , Wil question everything, even those dearly held core beliefs.

        "In Heaven all interesting people are missing"
        --F Nietzsche

        Cheers!
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          May 16 2013: "You have the anecdotal story of Dr Alexander and that's All."

          Not just the "anecdotal story of Dr. Alexander," the story of a scientists, and not just a scientist, but a neurosurgeon and a neuroscientists, one who is better equipped--supremely qualified, I might add--than most to assess his condition before dying, and after returning to life.

          Now, I understand why you'd want to dismiss Dr. Alexander and his afterlife experience without giving him a reading or a hearing, but where is that open, curious, and probing mind that we often celebrate in words, if not in fact.

          "Wil question everything, even those dearly held core beliefs."

          I would urge you to do the same, however, I don't have "dearly held core beliefs," I have rock-solid knowledge, knowledge that you'd still characterize as anecdotal, and therefore inadmissible into your worldview.

          I understand. Yet, I'm not so enamored of science that I would allow its supposed postulates, and speculative theories to weigh heavier than my own experiences, and knowledge base, since it has come up short on two of life's most enduring challenges--the sourcing of life in body and mind in body.

          What Dr. Alexander learned from his experience is that both life and consciousness extended beyond the physical body and the brain.

          Well, that would explain why he and other scientists are bedeviled in their attempt to locate them in a body.

          "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, / Than are dreamt of in your philosophy [or your science]." Shakespeare and Wil.
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      May 16 2013: I suggest some religious claims are testable, some are not.

      Although even if testable, if we find the laws of physics as we currently understand them have been over turned, we only have a mystery, and this does not automatically mean any particular god concept is responsible.

      Claims about a place called Jerusalem existing can be tested.

      Claims about a talking donkey 2500 years ago can not be tested

      If under scientific conditions someone prays and an amputees arm grows back, you have a mystery, but no way to tell if some god did it.
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        May 16 2013: "If under scientific conditions someone prays and an amputees arm grows back, you have a mystery, but no way to tell if some god did it."

        What I hear is this: No proof would be definitive enough to convince you of the existence of God, unless, of course, the scientific community acquiesces to some empirical findings substantiating that existence, and maybe not even then.

        And further, I suspect that, were you to survive death and exist in some afterlife, you'd still question your eternality, as well as the existence of God, believing rather that your continued existence is owing to some mystery surrounding physical existence that lives on after the body has succumbed to death.

        And, too, if God, Herself, deigned to present Herself, you'd still believe that it was a trick of the mind, some hallucination that had enthralled you, an experience which could, fortunately, account for this sudden appearance of one laying claim to the station of the Godhead.

        For that reason, you have excluded any real proof, be it from God, or from another acting in Her name, as you cannot believe in an existence beyond the supposed laws of physics, or potential physical laws not yet discovered.

        You can always, in the presence of physical anomalies to the contrary, discount the supernatural, and God, and file them under the classification of "mystery."

        For the record, God's not going to make you believe in Her, that's not how He operates. But what you will do is extend the inevitable. We all come around soon or late.
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          May 16 2013: Wil
          There is a vast difference between how both of you (Obey & You) construct your statements.Obey is grounded in reality as we ( I hope we) understand it.You claim that the supernatural is true beyond empirical evidence(that is called faith).
          I do hope that If Obey in the afterlife keeps questioning everything!!
          You keep referring to a god as a "her",( then you refer to god as a "he") How do you know that to be so? because being a male or female is a human phenomena for reproductive purposes please expand on that.

          I admire the loyalty you show to your faith.

          Cheers!
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        May 16 2013: "How do you know that to be so?"

        Because She, He, It said so. Ask Her yourself.

        "Obey is grounded in reality as we ( I hope we) understand it."

        Whose reality? Not even science can agree on what's real, and what isn't. We live in a world of shape-shifting events, and phenomena. Some facts change over time. Light is often seen behaving as waves and as particles, and now as both simultaneously.

        "You claim that the supernatural is true beyond empirical evidence(that is called faith)."

        Faith for you, fact for me.

        "I do hope that If Obey in the afterlife keeps questioning everything!!"

        After a point, you reach a level of redundancy: How many times can you ask the same question when you already know the answer. That's what comes with omniscience, and the importance of forgetting, so that you may experience knowing again.

        "because being a male or female is a human phenomena for reproductive purposes please expand on that."

        The coupling of male and female (two distinct energies) is more for creative purposes, whether "reproductive" on the human biological level, or creative on the level of the mind, or the soul. We hear echos of this in the Japanese concept of Yin and Yang.

        The umbilical cord is an archetypical symbol. It's the most important symbol in this universe or the multiverse.

        "I admire the loyalty you show to your faith."

        Thank you, but I have no "faith," only experiences, and knowledge derived from those experiences. From a very young age I straddled two worlds, this world and the world you don't see, the natural world and what you call the supernatural.

        These two worlds seem to exist as separate and apart, when it fact we're influencing the natural world on levels of the mind and the soul. At this very moment we're creating our individual and collective futures, locking in some things, while allowing some things to remain fluid.

        This is why some--those with the requisite skill, or mental development--may be prescient about our common future.
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    May 15 2013: I believe beliefs get in the way of gathering knowledge. As soon as one knows the truth they stop (or at least slow the) looking for truth (that might be contradicting). On the one hand, one can take off on a relentless swirling search for truth knowing that one will die before ever holding total truth or one can believe their parent’s truths and be continent in that knowing for the rest of their lives. Science is the prior. I am all for telling the class of the latter in passing but not for grade. My reasons for that are…

    Education can be an imparting of facts or knowledge but it should also be training in how to think. Similarly it has been said; Give a man a fish or teach them how to fish... Though both evolution and creationism will dole out their respective facts but only the prior will teach the art of searching while the later will inevitable fall back upon it conclusion without any need for searching—just believe.

    I know some believe that belief is more important than searching. So this debate is really about which is king and which is best kept as servant.
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    May 14 2013: Bernard,

    Why yes, we have our host of ignorant politicians (Akin "legitimate rape"http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rape_and_pregnancy_controversies_in_United_States_elections,_2012) and shameful host of others .Follow that by partisan efforts to teach ID in states like Louisiana , TN and others. Check this:http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/10/most-anti-science-lawmakers-running-office#13685684249961&action=collapse_widget&id=5148187

    Is there a inbreed need for a creator in mankind? Let's assume yes and let's juxtapose that frame of reference to Geocentricism and Heliocentrism,(Copernicus & Galileo), See how a Heliocentric theory goes against common sense ( after all th Earth does not move but rather all else), and in Galileo's time against the Bible cosmology.The Church with more control edicts the Decree of 1616.
    Maybe our senses are natural instruments of simplification for example we cannot see the whole light spectrum with our eyes, yet our minds were ble to dig it up , we have evolved with visible wavelengths that are usually between 400 nm and 700 nm, and we have done plenty with that. Couple the senses with a mind that seeks order,and design and voilá! ID
    Relativity is also counterintuitive but is also well established. Is a massive undertaking , to educate scores upon scores of people. In the other hand Natural Selection will do the voodoo that does so well...

    "Nothing is more difficult than competing with a myth"
    -- - Françoise Giroud

    Cheers then!
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      May 14 2013: "Is a massive undertaking , to educate scores upon scores of people."

      If we can't "educate scores upon scores of people" to resist killing members of their own species whether as an individual undertaking or collectively as armies, what's the point of teaching them about evolution or creationism.

      Both religion and science have failed to advance the human species beyond its barbarity, and its proclivity toward self-annihilation.

      "Nothing is more difficult than competing with a myth"
      -- - Françoise Giroud

      No more difficult than competing with a scientific "myth" disguised as science, and for that reason sheltered from criticism.
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        May 15 2013: Wil,

        Educating the masses in science proper is indeed an epic undertaking.
        Darwinian Evolution (DE) is a Scientific Theory and has nothing to do with enticing people to kill others-Non sequitur. Now religion has done lots, & lots of massive killings (9-11, Inquisition(s),Burning witches .. you get the point).
        Yes Wil I agree with you we have some folks that are nuttier than fruitcake.
        Science is just a tool like let's say a hammer properly used you can build a table with the aid of a hammer, or put somebody under (gross!) it is not the art is mankind.
        Now religion has spilled blood for as many Gods as it has spun.
        Wil, so you say that Science is the modern "myth"sheltered from criticism"OK, the Earth revolves around the Sun (myth or scientific fact? testable too), F=ma (myth or scientific fact? testable too),an electron and a positron interact to produce a photon (myth or scientific fact? testable too).
        Every morning atheist and faith based scientists get to Work to prove DE wrong (Big Nobel Prize) still at no avail (no conspiracy either).

        Error has its uses,once found out it gives wings to understanding,
        and those wings will take you places.
        _Me

        Cheers then!
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          May 15 2013: "Now religion has done lots, & lots of massive killings (9-11, Inquisition(s),Burning witches .. you get the point)."

          But it wasn't religion that created doomsday weapons, nuclear weapons. Give me that Ol' Time Religion any day to the madness of science.

          "Educating the masses in science proper is indeed an epic undertaking."

          My point was this: Educating people in any direction is an "epic undertaking," whether it's science or teaching the species not to kill itself.

          And I still say that scientific progress can be hamstrung by the very community that says that it values scientific inquiry--that to criticize certain findings can amount to scientific heresy.
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      May 15 2013: Out of interest. Do you know if you could explain to me what Occam's Razor is?
      Because (to me) it is : "The simplest answer wins", and from that logic we should believe there are God(s)! Considering it is far simpler to believe in God(s) than it is to understand Relativity. (Which I don't!)
      Regards,
      Bernard.
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        May 15 2013: Occam's Razor basically states that - between conflicting explanations - the explanation that requires the least assumptions should be preferred. That is, unless evidence emerges that contradicts it. The razor cannot actually prove anything, but it can shift the burden of proof and act as a tool to guide scientists in their research.

        Whenever scientists say "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence", this is a reference to Occam's Razor.

        For example, using the "what caused the universe" debate, one might say that a big bang being able to result in a complex universe solely by naturalistic principles is quite an assumption. However, the alternative of intelligence behind it all requires more far-stretching assumptions. For starters, it assumes the existence of something before there was anything; something that was powerful enough to conjure everything into being and intelligent enough to predict what exploding the universe would do.

        In other words, the burden of proof is on the person assuming an intelligent creator to either show the complete impossibility of a naturalistic explanation, or provide concrete evidence for intelligence in creation. This is actually the level at which most of the debate is going, though not always fairly.

        It may be "simpler" for a person to believe in god, but this has nothing to do with Occam's Razor. In fact, it goes against it because it ignores the assumptions necessary for this explanation, without providing evidence for doing so. "Simplest" is not the best word because it also means "easiest", and this is certainly not what is meant. Scientists usually use the term "parsimonious".
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          May 15 2013: I would disagree with the bit "burden of proof is on the person assuming an intelligent creator".
          The burden of proof in on "everybody" really. I mean if I make the claim : "God does not exist (beyond reasonable doubt)". Then I need some form of (logical) argument or evidence for that claim. Otherwise you should just remain an agnostic.
          KK.
          Thanks for explaining it for me! :-)
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        May 15 2013: Science has a hard time disproving the existence of anything, so when it really boils down to it scientists might remain agnostic to all sorts of things, whether it be god or unicorns, the flying spaghetti monster or the small purple carrot that sits in the centre of each black hole. However, the problem that proponents of such phenomena face is not that such things have no evidence AGAINST them, but rather that there is so preciously little evidence FOR them. This grants their existence little probability, which allows us to be atheistic and a-unicornistic. Although that might seem like an argumentation, all I’ve really done is shift the burden of proof to the other side :-)

        This is somewhat beside the scope of Occam’s razor*, which deals with conflicting explanatory hypotheses. For the origins of the universe, naturalistic mechanisms require assumptions, but these are nothing compared to the assumptions required for an intelligent creator**. Mind you, that is no proof against an intelligent creator; it just makes its existence less likely. It therefore requires explicit evidence FOR it; or AGAINST the naturalistic mechanisms in order to be accepted as the best explanation. I.e. the burden of proof lies with the proponents of an intelligent creator.

        * But, as I’ve just learned, right within Hitchens’ razor: “What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.” :-)

        ** This is a rather bold statement, but I've raised some initial concerns in the previous post, after "For starters"
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          May 15 2013: Some I philosophers I have been lucky to meet, view that the theist God is actually impossible to exist. In the "problem of evil" and "Making a boulder it cannot lift / square circle".
          Which is fair enough in my opinion.
          Bertrand Russell said he was an agnostic at heart, for saw no way to disprove God. Yet you could (for all practical) purposes call him an atheist.
          I suppose I am rather similar to Bertrand Russell in this aspect.
          I feel if there is a "God(s)" we make far too many assumptions about it.
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        May 15 2013: Yes haha. As the famous philosopher Homer Simpson asked Ned Flanders: "Could Jesus microwave a burrito so hot that he himself could not eat it?" ;-)

        But this would be argumentation, and testing of the assumptions made about the characteristics of God, him being all powerful in this case. It has little to do with Occam's Razor, though it could underscore one's atheistic assumptions.

        It is a good question: when is atheism justified? I believe Dawkins and Dennett (probably among others) have some ideas on this, possibly ventilated here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-P6rG2FPio and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQOxvTKKpOg
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          May 16 2013: If you want the honest truth :
          I'm still debating with myself as to whether I am a "atheist" or an "agnostic"...
          Or in other words : Whether a "God(s)" is (/ are) still possible. Or whether they are logically impossible.
          EDIT : I watched the "poverty of agnosticism" ages ago. And disagreed with Dawkins on it quite a lot.
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        May 17 2013: Yeah well, it doesn't really matter in everyday life. I often enjoy debating whomever thinks he's certain of something. So if I meet a staunch atheist who - in my opinion - hasn't thought about it enough, I might just try to go agnostic on his behind :-)
        Socratian questioning is a powerful tool: how do you know that? How can you be sure?

        If it is necessary for you to make god a logical impossibility in order to become an atheist, then I think you'd have to stay agnostic. Science just renders the possibility very much improbable and unnecessary. To me, this is enough to assume the nonexistence of gods, mermaids and smurfs until the opposite is shown.

        Also, which is the god you are agnostic about? Apart from the "is it Thor, Osiris or Yahwe?" question that Dawkins always asks, what's left of the supernatural intelligence once you take away all that you can logically rule out? The Epicurean paradox comes to mind here. (I'm not trying to convince you by making you answer these questions, just trying to offer something to think about)

        At the end of the day though, a scientist can never be absolutely certain of anything. Certainty is faith and we try to stay away from that. We are to assume, based on evidence. Even to a question like "will the sun rise in the East tomorrow?" a scientist should answer something along the lines of "Well, based on emipirical evidence - the sun rising in the East every morning for as long as there have been records of - as well as our well-supported model of the solar system, we can to a very high degree of probability assume that the sun will rise in the East tomorrow. But I cannot be certain."
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          May 17 2013: Damn! I'v ran out of thumbs up for you this week! :P
          To be honest, I'm agnostic about all of them. I mean they can't all be right, unless of-course it was just different perceptions of the "same Deity", and if so that Deity certainly hasn't done a great job of revealing itself.
          On this note, it always bothered me when I was younger the odd method the Christian God chose to reveal itself. Considering it reveals itself in a book, which scholars had to study. Why not make a book everybody could understand?
          Also the timing was poor, what happened to everybody "before" God revealed himself (through Christ)? Did God just wait for evolution to happen, just for countless species to die...
          Anyhow back on topic.
          Yet they could all be wrong, which I admit is possible. Yet I have no reason to assume this...
          Though it may be a "rational conclusion" it still might be wrong. Yet it might be fine to describe myself as a "definite atheist" concerning the Christian God. Considering I do have a feeling the Christian God is logically impossible. Yet I can't be certain I haven't missed something.
          I like David Attembourghs thought on this matter :
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mI7f3xVgZdA
          And Bertrand Russell's :
          "Am I An Atheist Or An Agnostic?"
          Link : http://www.positiveatheism.org/hist/russell8.htm
          Watch (/ read) both of them before responding! :-) Won't take that long.
          "a scientist can never be absolutely certain of anything. "
          I agree. :-)
          Have you heard of something called the "problem of induction"?
          Kind regards,
          Bernard.
          (P.S : You did give me a lot of "food thought" in that comment!)
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          May 17 2013: I would appreciate a reply! :-)
          When you find the time that is!
          Kind regards,
          Bernard.
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        Jun 3 2013: Sry, life got in time's way.

        The reasons for rationalism or “why we have a quarrel” is the same in me: the insanity of literal interpretation of old texts and the dogmatic execution of the “values” included in them. I agree wit Russell that we should have a “doctrine of degrees of probability”, but I doubt dogmas owe their danger to novelty, for example: fewer people were prosecuted due to the dogma that dark matter exists, than for the dogma that homosexuals ought to be killed.

        IMO, the reason for Sir David remaining an agnostic is the correct reason. Perhaps we do lack certain sense organs or the intellectual capacity to fully understand the nature of the universe. Indeed, it is probably impossible to ever know “The Truth”, but at least we are trying, which is more than can be said of termites.

        And all our scientific searching has failed so far to require any higher intelligence. But that is the problem of induction isn't it: we have never (scientifically) needed it before, so we can rule out this higher intelligence? No of course not, but as long as we do not need it, it is more unscientific to say: let’s assume it’s there (and mad to say, it’s there cuz my old book says so).

        Unfortunately, religious fundamentalists wrongly see admitting to agnosticism as a sort of victory for them. As if agnosticism is the thin end of the wedge towards us admitting there is an omnipotent being. A practical atheism can coexist just fine with a philosophical agnosticism: although there is probably no deity, we cannot be certain.

        And that is one thing the religious do not understand: our ability to be uncertain. As Richard Feynman puts it (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YltEym9H0x4) we scientists want to “Investigate [questions] without knowing the answer to them”
        “I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing.”
        “I don’t feel frightened by not knowing things.”
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    May 13 2013: This is really easily sorted. Teach science in the science class. Leave out the faith bits. We can study DNA without speculating about how it got there, ditto layers of rock etc. No-one knows for sure how these things came to be so these things are not within the remit of the science class. Sure, give an unbiased description of the possibilities, & let the students decide for themselves. We do our children a great disservice if we insist on offloading our dogma on them.

    :-)
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      May 13 2013: "No-one knows for sure how these things came to be so"
      What do you mean by this?
      I'm pretty sure people do know how "DNA" and "layers of rocks" came to be!
      I might be very wrong on this though! :P
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        May 13 2013: .........
        DNA
        Evolution -- Evolved over millions of years from simpler mechanisms.
        Creation. ---- Designed & built by a higher power.

        Layers of Rock
        Evolution ---- Deposited over millions of years by many small floods etc.
        Creation ---- Deposited by a worldwide flood a few thousand years ago.

        There are many qualified persons willing to advocate either position. Evolution wins by a show of hands, but 100yrs ago things would have been different. Are we reduced to deciding on truths by a show of hands.

        :-)
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          May 13 2013: "many qualified persons"
          No there aren't!
          Not on the creationist side anyway.
          "deciding on truths by a show of hands."
          100 years maybe, but considering now we understand a lot more due to the scientific method, and if there is evidence to support creationism then we would still believe in it.
          Yet there is no evidence to support the "hypothesis" of creationism.
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          May 13 2013: A problem is that if you want to teach "both sides of the argument" you have to follow through on both sides of the argument. This will depend on which side the teacher is on. Generally speaking, a creationist will eventually ridicule or "laugh away" evolution, an evolutionist is likely to do the same for creation. So this is a problem in quality of the teachers.

          This is a pity, but I think it will be unavoidable in many cases. It would be interesting to let students debate the issue, however any supervision that is given is bound to be colored by the worldviews of the teacher (as well as the students themselves).

          Another problem - to the scientists anyway - is that a creationist world view - in my opinion - is easier to explain than a secular one, at least to religious students. Apart from religiously prevented questions like "where did god come from?" or "why did god do that?", students tend to want an answer to everything. Unfortunately, some questions are presently unanswered by science (or rather, in the process of being answered), and this is not always good enough. "God did it" might then be a tempting thought. Understandable - even Newton thought it - though preventable through good education.
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          May 14 2013: Also, teaching two origins, creation or evolution, will not do for it usually falsely assumes the alternative to naturalism being Genesis and the bible. If you want to teach one creation myth, you better teach them all, including the vedas, Greek mythology, the aboriginal dream time, the norse icy stories, the hopi creation myths and hundreds more.

          Even for genesis, there are differences of opinion: is the world 6000 years old, did all animals fit on a boat and did people live together with dinosaurs? Or is the bible symbolic and did the universe come to be in some billion years longer than 6 days and develop via intelligent design?

          Needless to say, if you are going to teach everything as equally sound alternatives to naturalism in your science class... you do end up with a religious class.

          Or are you in favor of giving some interpretation of the bible the honor of being THE alternative by show of hands?
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        May 13 2013: So a PhD is only valid if you are an evolutionist? If you change sides it somehow becomes invalid?
        Here are a couple of hundred who you would discount.
        http://www.ideacenter.org/contentmgr/showdetails.php/id/1207
        The reason most go for evolution is that this is what they have been taught; just like you, & me; but many find it untenable after studying the detail.
        This however is off-topic.
        A belief in Creationism has nothing to do with a bad education. It has to do with a difference of opinion. The vast majority start out believing evolution,& then some change.

        :-)
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          May 13 2013: "a PhD is only valid if you are an evolutionist?"
          Yes, considering much of modern day biology relies on the "theory of evolution". (In Biology that is!)
          Also I would like to make another point on this subject. Considering your point about the comparison of "Evolution vs Creationism". Evolution has far more empirical evidence supporting it, than creationism. There is more evidence supporting the claim that " Evolved over millions of years from simpler mechanisms". Whether or that process was designed by a "higher power" I don't know.
          I view claims should be valued of the truth in them.
          There are many studies indicated creationism is correlated with a "lack of education", or a lack of understanding what the "scientific method" is!
          Please cite your evidence for creationism! :-)
          (Sorry if I am being patronizing, this is not my intent!)
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          May 14 2013: The link would be more interesting if there were atheists who doubt evolution. Every link I tried went to a christian website except the one that led to Richard Milton who is a known attention seaker and has no training in science.
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        May 14 2013: Hi Gerco.
        You rightly identify the minefield involved in teaching both positions. (We are way off topic) That is why I believe neither should be taught in science class; just stick to the empirical stuff, & let another class pick up on the spiritual aspects. If we push either side, then somewhere along the line we will mislead the students & their scientific judgement will become clouded. Each side tries to shoehorn the data into their worldview; this is unhelpful.

        Hi Bernard.
        In most cases the education of the scientists is exactly the same. So the PhD have the same value. It is presumptuous in the extreme to denigrate another just because their beliefs are different to yours.

        We will get censored for being off topic if we start debating evidence for either side. Start a new conversation if you want to go there. Meantime this may help.... http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=Gu5G8TEA6F8&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DGu5G8TEA6F8
        There are four parts. He is typical of why many scientists rethink things as they face these ultimate questions.

        :-)
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          May 14 2013: Sorry Peter Law.
          I am finding this conversation quite confusing, so I would like to ask you a question :
          Is it right to teach children that the sun orbits the earth? (For spiritual reasons!)
          And I'd like to ask you : How do you think "God" did it? If not by the Process of evolution?
          What is evolution in your mind? :-)
          I mean in my mind your advocating teaching children something which is false, under the banner of religion freedom. While as mentioned in the description, you can still be a Christian and "believe" in evolution.
          I strongly recommend you read his book (in the description).
          I would be interested in your opinion on that You-tube link I posted in the description where Lawrence Krauss argues that "Teaching Creationism is Child Abuse". (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UTedvV6oZjo)
          Regards,
          Bernard.
          I mean if your only view that evolution is wrong due to the Bible, then I would ask you to read the Koran, or consider any other "holy scripture" with an alternate story.
          And I strongly recommend you read the link in the other "TED Conversation" I put up, when you find the time. And skip to the chapter V ("We've Evolved to be Creationists") :
          http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2005/12/is-god-an-accident/304425/?single_page=true
          :-)
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          May 15 2013: Hi Peter,

          This is also a reply to your reply to me above.

          “If we come down on the creation side of the argument, surely it makes sense to continue the quest. The bible then becomes a source of attention.”

          Well, my point was really that ALL creation stories become sources of attention if you consider any sort of alternative to evolution/naturalism as something worth investigating. And that is going to take time - too much time IMO and it would make science class a religious class. Then your point

          “I believe neither should be taught in science class”

          Could make sense, however the scientific explanations of how the universe we see today came into being are reached at by scientists through the well documented and peer-reviewed scientific method and belong therefore in science class, whereas all other creation stories were passed down through, shall we say, different means.

          Following through in investigation of such stories could be a fun thing to do though. However - sticking with the bible for now - corroborating any individual story does not prove anything for the rest of the book. If we would find in geology that ALL THE EARTH was once covered in floodwater (so far we really haven’t), this says nothing about whether or not the world was created in six days for example.

          “If we apply the scientific method to each 'Holy Book' in turn; how do they stack up?”

          A fun thing to do; an interesting science project for students to explore, but not something that is to be taught in every science class, as I hope you will agree.

          À propos “You rightly identify the minefield involved in teaching both positions. ... Each side tries to shoehorn the data into their worldview; this is unhelpful.”

          Well, according to Cliff Sodergren above, this is not as bad as I feared! A greater problem apparently lies in outside pressures and mistrust of science.

          :-)
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        May 14 2013: Hi Bernard.
        Nowhere in the bible does it say that the sun orbits the earth. Neither, for that matter does it say the earth is flat. You are confused because your information is faulty. Today, I am a Christian. The reason I am a Christian is because I studied the arguments for both evolution & creation, & was persuaded that the evidence for creation was vastly superior. In order to do this, one has to get one's head out of a box & treat the subject seriously. People who term creation 'child abuse' have lost the argument & resorted to emotive ad-homonym attacks.
        I strongly suggest you listen to Gary on the link I gave you. I am 62 years old & have heard most of the arguments. I suspect from your questions that you are a little less experienced, although possibly better 'educated', at least in evolutionary biology. Do me the honour of listening to a little of my side.
        It is entirely possible to be an evolutionist & a Christian. It is also possible to be an Axe Murderer & a Christian; that is not relevant to the subject under discussion.

        :-)
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          May 14 2013: I shall try! :-)
          Yet I can't help that you think "evolution" and "Christianity" are at war!
          They are not!
          I only wish people would realize this.
          Also where in the Bible does it refute Evolution, from my sources the Bible never cites anything regarding to "how God created man". Or anything about creationism!
          "It is also possible to be an Axe Murderer & a Christian"
          Yet then we could go into a whole (theological) debate as to what a "true Christian" is. :P (Bearing in mind the "No true Scotsman" fallacy). I would argue a "true Christian" is someone who follows the teaching of Christ (compassion and forgiveness) and believes in a personal God. ("God")
          Considering this murder is not following the teachings of Christ, I do not consider him (or her) as a (true) Christian.
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        May 14 2013: Hi Bernard.
        Millions of Jews & Christians have been killed because of their faith. I guess they would have suspected foul play. I can afford to be laid back at the moment, but with Mr.Dawkins calling me mentally deranged, & folks here accusing me of abusing my children etc., it is natural to be concerned.

        The bible says that God made Adam from soil, & Eve from Adam's rib. It then proceeds to give two full family trees. One from Adam to Jesus through his mother Mary,& another through his Dad Joseph. Both these lineages go through Abraham & King David. These lineages check out, as far as we can see, from recorded history. Just like the six days of creation, this puts limits on the timescale of the earth. As we are only talking a few thousand years, this puts evolution out of the picture.
        It's never a good idea to get teaching about the bible from sources who don't believe it

        :-)
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    May 13 2013: I would argue that children should have religious education, including creationism. Teach about different beliefs not teach the beliefs as truths. It is important to learn about religions but religious teaching should stay out of schools. Education should give children the chance to think for themselves not indoctrinate them.
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      May 13 2013: Is teaching children evolution really indoctrination?
      Define (or describe) what "indoctrination" is? Because the "scientific community" allow criticism. And if evidence is provided against the "theory of evolution" it will be disregarded, or at least improved.
      Yet it is helped us explain A LOT! :-)
      While "Creationism" hasn't really, and doesn't like criticism.
      Regards,
      Bernard.
  • May 13 2013: Further, a more entertaining question would be, how does a naturalist, or creationist worldview impact our education system (or our world for that matter)? For within that question we delve into how an individual with that worldview thinks, and thus we begin at the root of the problem. Romans 12:1,2 – ‘Christians are transformed (changed) by renewing their minds (cf. Eph. 4:23). To live differently, we must think differently. We must not seek to be like the world but to use our bodies in God's service.’ ‘How do we change the way we think so we can change the way we live? I. Embrace The Truth That Right Thinking Precedes Right Behavior’ (http://www.foothillsonline.com/media/pdf/key-to-change-life.pdf). (if you're reading this first, the post is in 3 parts. obviously this is the end of it)
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      May 13 2013: How are we meant to "test creationism"?
      Create our own species, and then see if they don't evolve? (Which is highly unlikely!)
      Like I said, I have nothing against "theistic evolution".
      However as people like "Gerco Niezing" : "the scientific method HAS just about falsified everything creationism posits, despite what creationists continue to preach".
      And "dr. d" : "Creationism is not science; it is Christian religious indoctrination. It has no place in a science classroom..."
      This puts creationism in a rather dubious light, what would you respond to them? (Actually do! It should be interesting.)
      I mean it is DNA, and evolution which persuaded Anthony Flew of "deism", not creationism.
      I accept that Creationists may be interested in other parts of science (and other subjects) like "maths", "Economics", "Physics", and the list can go on. Yet you can't really be interested in biology, (and possibly chemistry) considering these two sciences rely on the "theory of evolution".
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        May 13 2013: Well... don't be so sure of your last point. I've met Christians who studied evolution with the intent of "disproving it".
        Two weeks ago, I debated Australian biologist and young earth creationist Dr Don Batten*.
        There are also molecular biologists who see in the complexity of cells, the work of a grand designer (as opposed to a beautifully functional but very messy collection of randomness).
        I'm not sure whether there are any young earth creationists in cosmology or theoretical physics though.

        *It was a lot of fun: two evolutionists in a room full of creationists. It was not easy though and I doubt we shook anyone's faith (but then I'm not a very experienced debater).
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          May 13 2013: It's always worth a try (with creationists that is).
          Personally I don't mind people believing "the work of a grand designer or higher power" in the "complexity of cells", if anything I think it is slightly admirable. :-)
          It seems sad to me that many people feel that "Evolution = Atheism", people like Kenneth R. Miller have argued that evolution increases the chances of their being a God. (In his book "Finding Darwin's God").
          Like I said : "I am fine with Theistic evolution".
          I myself am an Agnostic...
          (If you wish to further continues this conversation about "God;s" "Existence" go on my other debate : http://www.ted.com/conversations/18230/what_theological_implications.html)
  • May 13 2013: Further, I do not deem it necessary to cite a source for this point for I think we can all agree upon that at the heart of science is inquiry. So, if the bible says to question, as does science, what implications does this have for our topic? I answer, if we truly wanted a ‘scientific education’, (I know I do! Education is meant to arouse curiosity and expand the mind), we would educate the students, unbiasedly, on both topics. We would present to them all the facts we have about each topic and cause their curiosity to rise, and higher order thinking to be engaged. But wait… doesn’t this sound like the way all classes, regardless of what is being taught, should be ran? Boomer, Lester, Onore, & Cook (1992, p.278) state,
    …Students, who have the capacity to resist and question, will learn more and better than students who are programmed and instructed against their will or with their will having been ‘motivated’ by a persuasive teacher.
    In order to achieve this, the scientific community method should be used. For the benefits of such a society are as thus, everyone has the opportunity to posit an idea, but under the same laws that allow him to do so we can analyze and test his theory in order to determine whether it is beneficial for the community. In this we have inquiry, analysis, and (I hope) plenty of evidence to back up what it is being suggested. So the question should not explicitly be what we are teaching, but, moreover, how we are teaching it. Dewey states, ‘It is not the subject matter per se that is educative…’, but we should ‘centr[e] upon the conditions which exact, promote, and test thinking’
    What you are suggesting is that creationism breeds a form of thinking, that is, close minded and a simplistic view that, put simply is, God created the universe. The end. No analysis required. I would disagree (for it is my own curiosity and scepticism that leads to think about issues such as these, and read books like the one mentioned earlier, among others).
  • May 13 2013: I apologize for this reponse being in multiple parts.
    You say you wish to ensure a ‘better scientific education’. Let us define what the word science originally meant. Science, as defined by the online etymology dictionary is: "knowledge (of something) acquired by study.” Continuing with that definition, let us now look at what it would mean to ‘ensure a better scientific education’ in regards to the two theories being debated: Evolution and creationism.
    First, I would like to make clear that I am not debating whether Evolution or creationism is true. Such a debate would be irrelevant in regards to the issue being discussed for the point of inquiry is ‘does creationism indicate bad education?’ (if you are interested in such debates I recommend reading ‘Gunning for God: Why the New Atheists Are Missing the Target’ by John C Lennox. He presents many points atheists have against religion and refutes them succinctly and systematically from a Christian stand point. If you are unfamiliar with who he is, he is a Mathematician at Oxford University so we can feel comfortable that hs logic is sound). I would also like to say that I am believer of God as creator of the Universe and that Jesus died on a cross as a means of establishing a relationship between man and our creator, or, as most people would refer to it as, salvation from our sins.
    In 2Corinithians 13:5-6 it says, ‘test yourselves to make sure you are solid in the faith. Don’t drift along taking everything for granted. Give yourselves regular checkups. You need firsthand evidence, not mere hearsay, that Jesus Christ is in you. Test it out.’ What these verses say, as do others not cited (it was the first I could think of), is that it is not wise to have blind faith; to follow something without questioning it, without weighing evidences for yourself. In other words, referring back to the earlier definition of science, to scientifically test that which is presented.