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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Richard Dawkins Interviews Creationist Wendy Wright (Page 2)

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Author Topic: Richard Dawkins Interviews Creationist Wendy Wright
Raymond Arnold
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Dawkins actually wrote a lengthy book about that called "Unweaving the Rainbow," whose thesis was basically "there should be way more science based poetry than there is."
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The White Whale
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Well, if you keep you eyes open you can find plenty of 'science-based poetry.'

Here's one example, more about the beauty and spirituality that can be found in an atheistic mindset. I like the way he expresses his spirituality. He takes a jab at religions at one point, but besides that I think he did a great job.

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Ron Lambert
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Firebird, et. al., the only good science is true science, not a faction of allegedly scientific traditions of thought that you cheer for like your favorite team.

There is zero evidence for evolution. Everything claimed to be evidence for it is interpretation based on circular reasoning. For example, citing various examples of primitive human fossil remains does not prove that one evolved into another, or that they represented different branches in a tree of evolutionary development. They are not truly TRANSITIONAL fossils, that show one form becoming another. The only fossil that was claimed to provide such evidence was Piltdown Man, which has since been exposed as a fraud. It was believed by the scientific world and tauted as "proof" for over 40 years, before someone finally was able to examine the original specimens (and not just plaster casts) and found indisputable evidence of tampering with tools and combining portions from humans and from apes. It is interesting that after this discovery and discrediting of Piltdown Man, some original specimens of other supposed early hominid fossils were mysteriously "lost" by museums.

It really boils down to what you want to believe, and whether when you say you are willing to be totally honest about the evidence, you really are.

As I have said before, if you want responsible responses to the evolutionist psuedo-science propaganda from people versed in true science, do some responsible research at http://www.creationresearch.org where you can read online decades of back issues of Creation Research Science Quarterly and Creation Matters. If you are not willing to do this, then do not pretend you are serious about engaging in the creation vs. evolution debate in a truly honest manner.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
Everything claimed to be evidence for it is interpretation based on circular reasoning.
Ron, you don't live that far away. Someday you have to drop by Chicago and let me introduce you to a friend of mine who curates the Natural History Museum there. I'm dead serious. I think you'd find it very interesting.

quote:
They are not truly TRANSITIONAL fossils, that show one form becoming another.
I don't understand how you can say this and still expect us to believe that you understand what a transitional fossil is. What sort of fossil record might demonstrate "one form becoming another," but would not simply look like, say, a skull that's slightly larger than the skulls before it and smaller than the ones after it?

quote:
If you are not willing to do this, then do not pretend you are serious about engaging in the creation vs. evolution debate in a truly honest manner.
You understand that this isn't actually a reasonable request, right?
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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by Darth_Mauve:
... Scientists and evolutionists will continue to lose ground in the general public until they realize that they can't win playing just part of the game.

I'm not convinced that this is necessarily true, perhaps for the American general public. However, if you consider it from a developed-world perspective, this sort of creeping creationist problem is fairly isolated to the US.

quote:
Originally posted by sinflower:
... So scientists must figure out how to make evolution something that is desirable as a belief. How could we do that though? Besides "an understanding of evolution helps create life saving medical technology"?

I'm not sure they have to make it desirable in the US. The nice thing about the biotechnology and medical research industries is that not only are they desirable high-tech jobs but the rewards can be quite lucrative. If the American public does suffer from this problem, other countries will (and in some cases are) already stepping up to the plate by targeting these areas that are restricted or inadequately supported.
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Ron Lambert
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Tom, size is not one of the key factors looked at to determine similarity of one species to another. There are precise structures that anthropologists go over in great detail. Things that make it possible for someone like a forensic anthropologist to look at a skull and tell if it were caucasian, negroid, polynesian, or whatever.

I have been to many museums. I have visted the Smithsonian. Were you aware that the Smithsonian's charter states that the institution is dedicated to promoting evolution?

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Tresopax
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quote:
There is zero evidence for evolution. Everything claimed to be evidence for it is interpretation based on circular reasoning. For example, citing various examples of primitive human fossil remains does not prove that one evolved into another, or that they represented different branches in a tree of evolutionary development. They are not truly TRANSITIONAL fossils, that show one form becoming another.
This is not how scientific evidence works - scientific evidence does not prove with certainty that a model is correct. Any fossil is going to be a snapshot of one particular species at one particular time - it isn't going to prove that transition has occured. There cannot be a single fossil that truly and unquestionably demonstrates one form becoming another.

Instead the way science works is that lots of different evidence is collected from lots of different places in lots of different ways, and if all of it is consistent with a given model, that model becomes increasingly well-supported by evidence. In the case of evolution, lots of fossils and various other evidence has been found, and it all seems to be relatively consistent with evolutionary theory. That means there is, in fact, strong evidence that either evolution is true or that a process that looks and behaves almost identically to evolution has occurred.

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MightyCow
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quote:
Originally posted by Ron Lambert:
Were you aware that the Smithsonian's charter states that the institution is dedicated to promoting evolution?

And that is very important. Did you know that there are nutty "evolution deniers" out there who use bad science and willful ignorance to pretend that the evidence for evolution is not compelling? Someone has to take a stand and try to educate them, or at least help prevent them from sharing their ignorance unapposed.

Go Smithsonian!

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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Ron Lambert:
There is zero evidence for evolution. Everything claimed to be evidence for it is interpretation based on circular reasoning.

Demonstrate very specifically what you are talking about. What is a case of 'interpretation based on circular reasoning' that invalidates, say, instances of observed speciation, or models of chromosomal transition.
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Tresopax
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quote:
That's a very interesting way to look at it! And probably true too, because face it, most people only believe what they want to believe. So scientists must figure out how to make evolution something that is desirable as a belief. How could we do that though? Besides "an understanding of evolution helps create life saving medical technology"?
I think it is probably more the other way around: the problem is that many people view evolution as an undesirable belief. Supporters of evolution would need to show why it doesn't make human beings into "just another animal" or discourage belief in God. They need to remove the negatives associated with it.

But with religion placed mostly in the private sphere in American life, and many trying to keep discussion of the controversy out of science classes and other public institutions, there is not really a place to make that case if it is not being made already within churches. So, the way things work now, the responsibility really falls into the hands of churches.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
Tom, size is not one of the key factors looked at to determine similarity of one species to another. There are precise structures that anthropologists go over in great detail.
Yes, absolutely!
Which structures do you believe paleoanthropologists are "going over" that do not have transitional snapshots in fossil form?

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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by Ron Lambert:
I have visted the Smithsonian. Were you aware that the Smithsonian's charter states that the institution is dedicated to promoting evolution?

Where is that exactly?

http://www.sil.si.edu/Exhibitions/Smithson-to-Smithsonian/1846act.htm

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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by Tresopax:
... Supporters of evolution would need to show why it doesn't make human beings into "just another animal" or discourage belief in God. They need to remove the negatives associated with it.

The problem being that human beings are animals and evolution does discourage belief in God.

These are features, not bugs [Wink]

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Scott R
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quote:
evolution does discourage belief in God
Not necessarily. It depends on what one believes about God.

Certainly, it seems to discourage a strictly literal reading of Genesis. That's not the same thing as discouraging a belief in God.

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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
quote:
evolution does discourage belief in God
Not necessarily. It depends on what one believes about God.

Certainly, it seems to discourage a strictly literal reading of Genesis. That's not the same thing as discouraging a belief in God.

Look! I completely agree with Scott's post!
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Raymond Arnold
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I think that it does discourage belief in God to some extent - not that it actively creates reasons NOT to believe in God, but rather that of the people who believe in God, some portion do simply because they couldn't think of a better explanation as to how the world came to be as it is. Education about evolution reduces that particular segment of theists.
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Scott R
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[Big Grin]

This isn't the first time that's happened, especially as concerns interpretation of scripture.

Would you like me to come up with something that we almost certainly disagree on??

:thinks:

Babies taste better grilled.

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Scott R
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quote:
Originally posted by Raymond Arnold:
I think that it does discourage belief in God to some extent - not that it actively creates reasons NOT to believe in God, but rather that of the people who believe in God, some portion do simply because they couldn't think of a better explanation as to how the world came to be as it is. Education about evolution reduces that particular segment of theists.

That's why I used the qualifier "necessarily."
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Stephan
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quote:
Originally posted by Raymond Arnold:
I think that it does discourage belief in God to some extent - not that it actively creates reasons NOT to believe in God, but rather that of the people who believe in God, some portion do simply because they couldn't think of a better explanation as to how the world came to be as it is. Education about evolution reduces that particular segment of theists.

I touched on it briefly in social studies. The beginning of 7th grade mentions our hominid ancestors coming out of Africa. I was amazed by how many students had never heard of this before. Just the idea that we are all related to some primate in Africa. I actually had one kid say, "so if we are all related, why is there racism." Nearly brought a tear to my eye.

(Of course Adam & Eve sort of tell the same story. Maybe, considering Cain needed a mark does say others were around.)

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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
[Big Grin]

This isn't the first time that's happened, especially as concerns interpretation of scripture.

Would you like me to come up with something that we almost certainly disagree on??

:thinks:

Babies taste better grilled.

I dunno. If one is going to eat babies, grilled is better than say, boiled. [Wink]

Raymond Arnold, I am not sure I have a problem with reducing the particular segment of theists that can be reduced by education. I would hope that they become a different kind of theist.

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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
Not necessarily. It depends on what one believes about God.

Certainly, it seems to discourage a strictly literal reading of Genesis. That's not the same thing as discouraging a belief in God.

I disagree of course.

Belief in evolution does more than "just" discourage a literal reading of the Genesis, it effectively eliminates it.

What it also does is foster an appreciation for biology, science, and actual evidence. It is these things that "only" discourage a belief in God.

In my opinion, it is not an accident that in the developed world the US is one of the most (if not the most) Christian country and also believes the least in evolution, while the reverse is true of countries like Japan and the Sweden.

Edit to add: Actually, I don't think we disagree all that much after seeing your subsequent post.

I'm using "discourage" specifically in the sense of "Awareness of cancer and mortality rates discourage smoking (as opposed to eliminating it, there are always people that persist)."

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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Mucus:


Belief in evolution does more than "just" discourage a literal reading of the Genesis, it effectively eliminates it.

man, I have no idea how belief in evolution voids genesis written as a metaphorical tale of creation.
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TomDavidson
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That's probably why he used the word "literal," Sam.
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Geraine
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:


Babies taste better grilled.

Ah, but is a valid and effective method at controlling population growth. It also provides a food source.

The LITERAL reading of Genesis is hurt by evolution. If a religious person believes that God created the Earth in 6 days fine. How long were those days? The first few days the earth wasn't even rotating and the sun was not there.

I am one that thinks God used evolution during these "days" to bring life. In Genesis it says he created aquatic life, then the "creeping things" (reptiles) and the fowl. Then the next day he created mammals such as cattle. The day after this man was made.

If I created a planet and used evolution, what would evolve and when?

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Tresopax
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quote:
If I created a planet and used evolution, what would evolve and when?
You should have played SimEarth. (The answer is hyperintelligent Carniferns!)
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Raymond Arnold
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I'm not sure what the original intention of the quote was, but I didn't interpret it as "every single religious belief will be reduced by the widespread knowledge of evolution." Rather, "belief in God," as a whole, will likely be reduced because it will lose out on the people who were there primarily because they didn't have an alternate means of explaining the origin of species.
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Darth_Mauve
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I heard on the radio an interesting argument against evolution.

Death was only created after the eating of the forbidden fruit.

Without death, evolution does not happen.

Creationism is a direct attack on multiple levels of science, from Biology to Cosmology, from Archeology to Particle Physics.

Evolution is an indirect threat to a literalist's belief in the Bible, a belief that is similarly threatened by the notion that the earth travels around the sun and is not the center of the universe.

Not all theists, not all Christians, and not all people of faith are literalists.

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ClaudiaTherese
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
quote:
Originally posted by Ron Lambert:
I have visted the Smithsonian. Were you aware that the Smithsonian's charter states that the institution is dedicated to promoting evolution?

Where is that exactly?

http://www.sil.si.edu/Exhibitions/Smithson-to-Smithsonian/1846act.htm

I didn't want this to get lost in the shuffle.
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MattP
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quote:
Without death, evolution does not happen.
Not necessarily. Evolution could just result in some individuals becoming better at reproducing than others, with reproductive selection favoring such individuals. Population size would be a problem eventually, of course.

Adam and Eve were cast out before their first child and I don't recall any other references to reproduction in Genesis, so it may be that reproduction didn't occur until after The Fall. In that case, it's the lack of reproduction that would be an obstacle to evolution more than the lack of death.

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MrSquicky
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quote:
The LITERAL reading of Genesis is hurt by evolution.
I'd like to bring up again that the literal reading of Genesis is hurt by a literal reading of Genesis. Genesis, as written, cannot be literally true. The people who hold it to be, in most cases, are putting what they want to believe over what the Bible actually says.
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
That's probably why he used the word "literal," Sam.

I know! but everywhere there's people who insist to me that evolution is an attack on christianity with or without the literal reading. That it is somehow anathema to its principles or something.
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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
I know! but everywhere there's people who insist to me that evolution is an attack on christianity with or without the literal reading.
I've heard people on both sides of the issue insist on that.
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Samprimary
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I want to know how the pro-evolutionary theory people defend that notion. Maybe they're getting some Spencerian notions mixed in with the actual science, or forget that evolutionary theory does not involve abiogenesis.
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mr_porteiro_head
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I've also heard claims that boil down to the idea that since the theory of evolution doesn't require the existence/interference of God, it being correct proves the non-existence/interference of God.
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MightyCow
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Organized religion has a strong element of controlling its followers, dictating what they can and cannot do, can and cannot know. The element of organized religion who want to keep that control dislike evolution, because it directly opposes their control of information.

People who are not interested in the controlling aspect of the organized religion are fine with evolution. People who want to keep that control of thought and information hate evolution, and come up with any contrived way they can to discredit it.

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Scott R
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How did you come by that conclusion, MC?
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MightyCow
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Which conclusion, that organized religion has a strong element of control, or that people strongly opposed to evolution on a religious basis have a vested interest in that religious control of information and belief?

I'd say it's obvious, once one knows what to look for.

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dkw
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I'm feeling the need to quote St. Augustine.

quote:
There is knowledge to be had, after all, about the earth, about the sky, about the other elements of this world, about the movements and revolutions or even the magnitude and distances of the constellations, about the predictable eclipses of moon and sun, about the cycles of years and seasons, about the nature of animals, fruits, stones and everything else of this kind. And it frequently happens that even non-Christians will have knowledge of this sort in a way that they can substantiate with scientific arguments or experiments. Now it is quiet disgraceful and disastrous, something to be on one’s guard against at all costs, that they should ever hear Christians spouting what they claim our Christian literature has to say on these topics, and talking such nonsense that they can scarcely contain their laughter when they see them to be toto caelo, as the saying goes, wide of the mark. And what is so vexing is not that misguided people should be laughed at, as that our authors should be assumed by outsiders to have held such views and, to the great detriment of those about whose salvation we are so concerned, should be written off and consigned to the waste paper basket as so many ignoramuses.

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kmbboots
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[Smile]

Did you post this somewhere else recently?

edit.

Ah. I remember now.

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Scott R
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quote:
Originally posted by MightyCow:
Which conclusion, that organized religion has a strong element of control, or that people strongly opposed to evolution on a religious basis have a vested interest in that religious control of information and belief?

I'd say it's obvious, once one knows what to look for.

It's easy to find God, too, if one knows what to look for.

The question is whether you're actually seeing Him, or just your hope.

I don't accept your argument as a given.

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MightyCow
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Organized religions tend to have many rules that their adherents are required to follow, often explicitly for the sake of following the rules, not for any other purpose but to be faithful. Further, they often promote the belief that their rules, wisdom, and teachings are explicitly right, and that one should ignore and even shun the wrong-headed wisdom to be found elsewhere.

You'll also find many conservative Christians trying to overtly control the information available to their followers, as in abstinence-only education, and the Texas textbook choices. These are cases of religious leaders intentionally taking steps to limit the information available to their followers.

Limiting information and making proclamations about which actions are and are not allowed is, by definition, controlling from the top what believers are allowed to know and how they are allowed to act.

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swbarnes2
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
I don't accept your argument as a given.

It's not a given, it's a conclusion from evidence.

Do you think that all those books and men and women and children were burned so that Christians could keep warm?

Religions don't have to behave in this way, but historically, most religious authorities do, when they have the power to do so.

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Scott R
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Mostly I'm arguing against the idea that MC knows what motivates complete strangers.

I don't have any beef with the idea that authority tends to make people behave badly.

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Ron Lambert:
Tom, size is not one of the key factors looked at to determine similarity of one species to another. There are precise structures that anthropologists go over in great detail. Things that make it possible for someone like a forensic anthropologist to look at a skull and tell if it were caucasian, negroid, polynesian, or whatever.

You're not hearing him. He threw size out as a simple proof of his point. The point is that if you have 3 fossils, of 3 distinct ages, and the fossils show a clearly linear set of differences between the oldest and the newest, then it is possible that these represent a continuum of transformation. Spool out that process over hundreds and thousands of fossils over hundreds and thousands of species, and you have pretty strong evidence that species are changing over time.

What do you want? A fossil that is itself actually morphing between two forms like a time lapse photograph? The thing is that when a fossil is made, it is not itself *already* a transitional form. It is a finished product- a being that actually lived and breathed and was adapted to its own environment. It is only by comparing the differences between many, many fossils, and the achingly slight evidence of changes represented over a long series of fossils of different ages, that we can represent and demonstrate "transitional" forms. The real problem here is that you continue to view the whole process as if it was guided by the hand of some intelligent creator. That mucks everything up unnecessarily. Change over time is inconsistent, naturally, because the things that cause those changes are not happening in the same way constantly- the environments that people and animals have lived in over the eons have changed sporadically, causing a very complicated evolutionary process. This means that dinosaurs were never "going to become" birds, and small burrowing mammals were never "destined to become" or even "poised to become" bipeds. Early hominids were not "on their way" to becoming human. The accidents of time and circumstance caused them to change in different and inconsistent ways over time, producing what we see today.

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by mr_porteiro_head:
I've also heard claims that boil down to the idea that since the theory of evolution doesn't require the existence/interference of God, it being correct proves the non-existence/interference of God.

If people can't make rational judgments based on scientific evidence because it upsets their religious applecart, I feel very sorry for those people. That's a belief system that seems to me to be pretty maladaptive.
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dkw
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When I've heard that argument it hasn't been from religious people.
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Geraine
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quote:
Originally posted by Darth_Mauve:
I heard on the radio an interesting argument against evolution.

Death was only created after the eating of the forbidden fruit.

Without death, evolution does not happen.



One interpretation, and one that many literalists believe, is that the bible refers to the physical death. Some theologists however would argue that the death spoken of referred to a "spiritual death."

Again, at the risk of sounding like an ancient astronaut theorist, it is kind of interesting that Adam is put to sleep, a rib (translation of the bible is kind of wrong on this. The word for rib is also the word for "life") is taken from him, and then soon a woman is there.

If God created Adam from dust, couldn't he do the same for Eve?

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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
Originally posted by dkw:
When I've heard that argument it hasn't been from religious people.

Exactly.
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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by dkw:
When I've heard that argument it hasn't been from religious people.

Ah, well, same reaction from me. Not a conclusion I find necessary or compelling. I don't believe in God per se, but I don't not believe in God because of evolution.
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The White Whale
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Just stumbled upon this. A bird whose young still have claws at the tips of their wings to hold on to branches and not be eaten
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