Where are the Transitional Fossils?

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February 1, 2013 Tags: History of Life

Today's video features Kelsey Luoma. Please note the views expressed here are those of the author, not necessarily of The BioLogos Foundation. You can read more about what we believe here.

Note: This video and text were originally posted November 10, 2011.

A common argument leveled against the theory of evolution is that scientists have not been able to produce the expected transitional fossils that show the change of one species into another. If evolution were true, wouldn’t there be instances of clear intermediary species, like, for example, a species that was half whale and half hippo to show the transition between those two? In this BioLogos podcast, Kelsey Luoma addresses this misconception about what a transitional fossil actually is. Rather than a mix between two related species, transitional fossils point back to the common ancestors that modern species share. The fact is that the number of transitional species is massive and it grows with each passing year. Given the rarity with which organisms are actually fossilized, the amazing thing is actually the completeness of the fossil record, not its incompleteness. The transitional species story strongly supports, and certainly does not disprove, evolutionary theory. 1

1. To hear the full audio clips which have been referenced go to:

An audio only version of the podcast can be downloaded here.

Commentary written by the BioLogos editorial team.


Kelsey Luoma is a graduate of Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, California, where she received a bachelor's degree in biology. She plans to continue her education in medical school. As an evangelical Christian and student of biology, Luoma is very interested in resolving the conflict between faith and science. She has spent two summers working as a student intern for BioLogos. In the future, she hopes to serve internationally as a physician.


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Bilbo - #76270

February 1st 2013

See, a perfect example of where BioLogos could have leading voices of alternative points of view offer rebuttal.  This would mean dissonance.  But the harmony would (or at least could) arise out of recognizing that all the voices share the same faith in our risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.


beaglelady - #76276

February 1st 2013

I didn’t realize that “leading voices of alternative points of view” were not allowed to register and leave comments.   At any rate, this video is a rerun, posted originally over a year ago.


Mike Beidler - #76285

February 1st 2013

Bilbo,

Do you mean to say that the lengthy Southern Baptist Voices series isn’t a perfect example of alternative points of view offering rebuttal?  BioLogos really went out of its way to do just that!


Bilbo - #76279

February 1st 2013

Hi BL,

Did I say they weren’t allowed to?


beaglelady - #76280

February 1st 2013

No, and I didn’t say you did.  But if they want to leave comments for any post here they are welcome to do so.  All they have to do is register.


Eddie - #76283

February 1st 2013

beaglelady:

You are not understanding Bilbo’s proposal.  He is not suggesting that leaders of alternate points of view would be fairly served merely by being allowed to leave comments here.  He is suggesting that they would be fairly served by giving them the podium for a time—allowing them rebuttal columns.

This is what was done (to the credit of BioLogos) in the Southern Baptist series.  The theological conservatives were allowed to speak for themselves, in a situation where they were given equal space, prominence, and dignity.  

On the other hand, in the vast majority of cases where Behe, Meyer and other ID people have been attacked here by columnists, they have been given no such time at the podium.  Sure, they *could* post comments protesting the misrepresentation of their views by the columnist.  But that puts them “under the thumb” of the columnist, who can choose to either entirely disregard the comments, or rebut them unfairly, or censor them, or ban the ID person from further posting, etc.  And not everyone reads the comments, as opposed to the columns, especially when the comments sections get long, and it is likely that many would miss the ID leader’s protests and corrections.  But if the ID person is invited to write a rebuttal column, everyone will be sure to catch it; and much greater dignity is granted to the alternate position by its appearance in an invited column than in an uninvited complaint about misrepresentation in the comments section.  

So, for example, BioLogos could write a note to Behe, inviting him to an equal-time discussion with Dennis Venema over “the edge of evolution.”  That would be a gesture of faith in Christian dialogue.  Or the next time someone writes a column with diagrams about whale evolution, BioLogos could invite Richard von Sternberg to take the podium for an equal space, and explain what he thinks is wrong with the current view of whale evolution.  

Bilbo is saying that this sort of presentation of discord, as the necessary prelude to finding a final concord, would fit in very well with the opening commitment expressed by Dr. Haarsma.  I agree with Bilbo.  Let’s see more columns set up along a pro/con line, with alternate positions presented by the intellectually strongest of their advocates.  As long as the discussion avoids ad hominem remarks, the tension can be productive:  it can lead to the dissolution of negative stereotypes about the others side, and perhaps even eventual agreement on some important matters.

The camps in the culture wars need to stop demonizing each other’s positions.  Bilbo’s suggestion is a good step forward.  Drs. Haarsma and Schloss are now in a position of authority and can make this very positive change happen.  I hope they take his advice.


beaglelady - #76286

February 1st 2013

I do understand what Bilbo is asking for, but I don’t think it’s a reasonable request—unless the other side is prepared to do the same.  BioLogos does allow comments, and that’s pretty generous, imho.  They allow lots of comments.  Sometimes even too many comments, since they seem to be troll-blind,  poe-blind, and spam-blind.  


Eddie - #76289

February 1st 2013

“unless the other side is prepared to do the same.”  

But that is a secular, political way of thinking.  Think of the Gospel teaching.  Should Christians refuse to obey the injunction to “turn the other cheek” unless the other guy is prepared to do the same?  The whole point of “turning the other cheek”—the thing that makes it Christian—is that the vulnerability is unilateral.  I’m not saying that this is a good policy for secular entities such as nations at war, but within a Christian community, turning the other cheek is not just a nice thing to do if you feel like it—it’s an instruction from the Savior.  

Now Dr. Haarsma has indicated that she wishes to let the disharmonies amongst Christians show themselves, so that they can be wrestled with, and ultimate harmony achieved.  What better way of doing that is there than allowing full statements of views by all sides on the issues relevant to BioLogos?  

Further, how can you be sure that such a noble example will not be imitated by others?  If BioLogos were to be the first Christian web site to present a truly balanced approach, maybe some of the other, more partisan sites would be shamed into imitating the practice.  

Someone has to make the first move, take the first risk, if the vicious infighting over evolution and creation is to become a genuine discussion, a common exploration by Christians of different views of the various intellectual options.  If BioLogos is the first to do that, my hat will be off to it.

The single ID proponent who has been most frequently maligned on BioLogos, by columnists and commenters alike, is Michael Behe.  In some cases, commenters (not columnists) here have said vile things about Behe’s motives and scientific honesty and competence, and have gone unpunished by past moderators.  The general hostility toward Behe is both bizarre and unjust, as he is also the ID leader who is closest to TE in his views, and also probably the most moderate, humble, and soft-spoken of all the ID leaders.  One way of indicating a “turnaround” in attitude by the new management would be to start fast, straight out of the gate, making amends for past mistreatment of Behe.  An offer of a column-for-column exchange of views between Behe and a BioLogos person—whether Schloss or Venema or Applegate or someone else—would be an excellent early start on the project of turning intra-Christian disharmony into harmony.


beaglelady - #76295

February 2nd 2013

But that is a secular, political way of thinking.

 

No, it’s a fair and reasonable way of thinking, but maybe it’s expecting too much.   Besides,  BioLogos has already taken the first steps.  But this whole conversation might be of no consequence—there is no indication that anyone in management is reading comments.  Otherwise, you’d think that the Roger Barbarian comment would be taken down in a flash.  I did flag it yesterday.


Eddie - #76297

February 2nd 2013

beaglelady:

Oh, yes, fair and reasonable—by this-worldly standards.  But His kingdom is not of this world.  And Christians are called upon to prefigure his kingdom, by leading a life with a morality that is higher than just “fair and reasonable.”  A sacrificial morality.  One lowers one’s sword, not knowing whether one’s duelling partner will do the same.

As for my main point, which was to support Bilbo’s proposal, I won’t repeat it again.


beaglelady - #76321

February 4th 2013

Well, it could be worse, you know.  BioLogos could hand the microphone to the R-bot.


GJDS - #76282

February 1st 2013

I do not think anyone has asked to see a half whale-half hippo. The reasonable response to this fossil argument is that fossils should, if your argument is sound, provide creatures that were not-selected (in abundance) at the time a new mutation(s) prospered; so, an abundance of fossils of many creatures being removed from the region (not chosen to survive), and fossils of the fit ones (fewer initial examples) and how their numbers increased because of their Darwinian fitness. Trying to come up with what amounts to a gig-saw puzzle where you fit bones in a sequence sounds more like may an attempt to prove an 90% whale-10% hippo is possible, but not a 50:50 one.


beaglelady - #76287

February 1st 2013

if whales evolved from land mammals, what you’d expect to see is a fossil record going from fully terrestrial to fully acquatic, maybe with vestigial structures, atavisms, DNA evidence, and the like. 


melanogaster - #76376

February 6th 2013

“The  reasonable response to this fossil argument is that fossils should, if your argument is sound, provide creatures that were not-selected (in abundance) at the time a new mutation(s) prospered;...”

No. Moreover, mutations cannot prosper. It might help, although I doubt it, if you used correct terminology.

“...an abundance of fossils of many creatures being removed from the region (not chosen to survive), and fossils of the fit ones (fewer initial examples) and how their numbers increased because of their Darwinian fitness.”

Again, not even close. You clearly don’t understand how fossils are produced, GJDS.

Hint: evolution produces branching, not the linearity you are pretending it does. I suggest that you become familiar with evolutionary theory, as well as the actual evidence, before attacking it.


Bilbo - #76291

February 1st 2013

Beaglelady:

I do understand what Bilbo is asking for, but I don’t think it’s a reasonable request—unless the other side is prepared to do the same.

I think it would be great if the other sides (YEC, OEC, ID websites) would do the same.  Right now, they’re not asking for suggestions.  Prof. Haarsma asked for suggestions, so I gave her mine.  I think the ultimate goal of a Christian website - such as BioLogs -  that adopts a position on a topic that is controversial to other Christian groups, is not to convince them that they are wrong while BioLogos is right.  Rather the goal is to achieve Christian unity with those other groups, so that Christians within those other groups will feel comfortable with BioLogos’ position, even if they do not adopt it themselves.  One of the ways to work towards Christian unity is to give other points of view equal time and respect, even if BioLogos believes those other points of view are mistaken.  God’s ultimate goal for us is not to necessarily always agree with each other, but to love and accept each other, even when we disagree.


GJDS - #76292

February 2nd 2013

Beaglelady, #76287

You have missed the point; I have provided a simplified model to illustrate.

The fossil records need to provide fossils in this order:

X, the original species, which is well adapted and grows in population thereby providing an abundance of fossils.

X1 (next mutation) that has improved its chance of survival since X has depleted it resources (e.g. food), Thus at some point in geological time, the fossil record would contain a large proportion of X and some of X1. NOTE, we are not interested in something that is X1, BUT a mixture of X and X1.

This continues (X1, 2, etc……. until new species Y) which is now fully adapted to its new conditions, while X has disappeared. The fossil records should contain fossils showing a mixture of the X’s until Y has been established. This is the basis for Darwin’s idea of adaptation, mutation (beneficial) and survival, in gradual steps. I again re-state, we are discussing the fossil record within the claim “the completeness of the fossil record”


beaglelady - #76296

February 2nd 2013

She meant the relative completeness of the fossil record, obviously.  Fossilization is rare.  Still, you have Valley of the Whales (Wadi Al-Hitan). We don’t have DNA from ancient whales, so it isn’t reasonable to ask someone to pinpoint an ancient whale species with mutation x. Heck,  I don’t think anyone has ever sequenced the whole genome of even a single species of  a living whale yet.  Going by phenotype, we do see the gradual reduction of hindlimbs through time.  And there is evo-devo evidence also—limb buds forming and then going away.


GJDS - #76300

February 2nd 2013

Remarkale!! and you again avoid the discussion while remaining mysteriously authoritative.


beaglelady - #76305

February 2nd 2013

I like kale, and it’s good for you.


GJDS - #76308

February 2nd 2013

Ha Ha; (I thought of correcting that but I am glad I did not). More wit would do wonders for this Biologos exercise. Good comment.


melanogaster - #76377

February 6th 2013

“The fossil records need to provide fossils in this order:”

Not according to evolutionary theory and elementary population genetics.

“X, the original species, which is well adapted and grows in population thereby providing an abundance of fossils.”

The passenger pigeon was a huge population. Did it provide an “abundance of fossils,” GJDS? Has anyone even found a single fossil?

“X1 (next mutation)…”

This is gibberish. There is no such thing as a “next mutation.” Healthy populations are highly polymorphic. Do you know what “polymorphic” means? If you did, you’d understand how ridiculous your misrepresentation “next mutation” is.

“… that has improved its chance of survival…’

Again with the gross misrepresentation. Selection is about reproduction, not survival.

“… since X has depleted it resources (e.g. food), Thus at some point in geological time, the fossil record would contain a large proportion of X and some of X1.”

When has the fossil record contained a large number of passenger pigeons? Are you familiar with the elementary concept of sampling?

“NOTE, we are not interested in something that is X1, BUT a mixture of X and X1.”

You only seem to be interested in misrepresenting the empirical predictions of something that has no basis in evolutionary theory or population genetics.

“This continues (X1, 2, etc……. until new species Y)…”

No, that’s not how speciation happens. It ain’t linear. Can you at least grasp that basic fact?

“… which is now fully adapted to its new conditions, while X has disappeared. The fossil records should contain fossils showing a mixture of the X’s until Y has been established.”

False.

“This is the basis for Darwin’s idea of adaptation, mutation (beneficial) and survival, in gradual steps.”

False. You are using a creationist myth, not Darwin’s ideas or any actual evidence.


Steven Opp - #76311

February 3rd 2013

This video doesn’t answer it’s own question in it’s title. It tells us to be sure that there are transitional forms being found and gives a couple examples. But where are the other millions necessary to support the theory? Adding the disclaimer that fossils are rare so we shouldn’t expect too much does not alleviate that problem.

In addition, the so-called transitional forms they have found, such as archaeopteryx and Lucy, are found in the wrong layers. Archaopteryx was buried deeper than his great grandpa. This thing happens all the time with these sorts of ideas, though those who really want to have found the transitional forms won’t tell you that.


beaglelady - #76318

February 4th 2013

Would you care to share any details?


Jimpithecus - #76319

February 4th 2013

They are everywhere.  There are transitional fossils at every major taxonomic level.  I deal in the human fossil record and there are quite a few fossils that are so transitional, people cannot agree what they are.  For example, when the Narmada fossil cranium was yanked out of the ground and described by Kenneth Kennedy in 1985, the premise of the paper was “Is the Narmada Cranium a Homo erectus?  The reason he posed it that way was because the cranium had characteristics of Homo erectus and characteristics of archaic Homo sapiens, the more advanced form.  That is one example of many.


beaglelady - #76320

February 4th 2013

Yes, they are everywhere. All you have to do is open your eyes.


beaglelady - #76324

February 4th 2013

Jimpithecus,

Have you ever noticed that in every picture of Mark Norell he looks like he just got out of bed? LOL!  Love your blog, btw.


melanogaster - #76382

February 6th 2013

“… there are quite a few fossils that are so transitional, people cannot agree what they are.”

And even funnier, leading creationists can’t agree among themselves as to which fossil skulls are human and which are nonhuman. If the divisions between groups are so clear, how can that be?


beaglelady - #76404

February 6th 2013

Not to mention the mammal-like reptiles and reptile-like mammals! 


Steven Opp - #76337

February 4th 2013

Let me clarify what I mean by transitional form. I don’t mean various shapes and sizes of attributes within similar groups. Adaptation is undeniable. But I want to see where these groups converge or connect. The evolutionary tree does not have a trunk. It rather resembles an orchard, with several shoots springing up next to one another, connected at the bottom by dotted lines. I’m curious to see the fossils of these dotted lines. Where are the forms connecting archaeopteryx to modern birds? As far as the human fossils, a few curiously shaped skulls are not enough to prove to me my great great grandfather was an amoeba. I know this sounds flippant, and I by no means am trying to be rude, but show me the money! My eyes are open, direct me to the link (no pun intended:)


beaglelady - #76341

February 5th 2013

I’d like to see your evolutionary tree.  And what is your “great grandpa” for archaeopteryx, since you said it was buried deeper than its great grandpa?

Scientists don’t think archaeopteryx is in the direct line of descent from dinos to modern birds. It’s probably an extinct side branch.

Did you read James Kidder’s entire article, as well as his previous articles on the topic of human evolution?

 

 


Steven Opp - #76368

February 5th 2013

I looked into it and I was incorrect about arch. being buried deeper than it’s supposed ancestors. I had it backwards, some modern bird fossils have been dug up deeper than archaeopteryx. But it looks like you agree that it’s not a link to moder birds anyway. The video claimed that archaeopteryx is the “perfect intermediate between birds and dinosaurs.” I was responding to that, but note this is an example where evolutionists disagree with each other: is it a link from reptile to bird or not? If evolution is true, this shouldn’t be such a mystery.

In regards to the tree, I’m referring to any tree that even the evolutionists use. There are stacks of numbers of fossils for various kinds of life, but they are not connected except in theory. So there is a supposed common ancestor and then lines are drawn from a couple different groups to it. The problem is, there are so many different trees and so many various attempts to fit things in different places that it’s a big mish mash. Here’s an article about how it is so hard to determine where to put the supposed human missing links on an evolutionary tree: http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/cm/v15/n2/fossils

Rather, the data suggests there are various kinds of animals. Yes they are grouped, but the groups always appear out of nowhere and fully formed, without the connections to other groups.

I checked out some of James Kidder’s articles, but didn’t have time to finish. Thanks for the link, though.

I am not a scientist and so cannot go too much deeper in debate here without doing some research. But I did feel confident enough to comment on the very blatant problem of evolution, the absence of data for the missing links. If you can provide that, I’m happy to look at it. But a handful of so called common ancestor fossils (in comparison to the amount of fossils in the world), the placement thereof changing every few years and always up for debate so that a college student can’t easily place them (see the link above) simply is not convincing to me.


melanogaster - #76378

February 6th 2013

“In regards to the tree, I’m referring to any tree that even the evolutionists use.”

OK, Steven, here’s a tree that “evolutionists” use:

www.mrc-lmb.cam.ac.uk/myosin/trees/gifs/tree.jpg

“There are stacks of numbers of fossils for various kinds of life, but they are not connected except in theory.”

False. As you can see from the tree that “evolutionists” use, they are connected by DATA. You haven’t looked at any data, though, have you?

“So there is a supposed common ancestor and then lines are drawn from a couple different groups to it. The problem is, there are so many different trees and so many various attempts to fit things in different places that it’s a big mish mash.”

Actually, it isn’t. What we find in the real world is that the ever-increasing amount of sequence data clears things up. Creationism predicts the opposite.

“Rather, the data suggests there are various kinds of animals.”

You haven’t examined the data, Steven, you only use hearsay. The sequence data are much stronger—and much harder to misrepresent—than the fossil data, so creationists harp on fossils and ignore the terabytes of sequence data that anyone can examine for himself. Do YOU have sufficient faith in your position to test it against real data, or will you run to the false security of hearsay?

“Yes they are grouped, but the groups always appear out of nowhere and fully formed, without the connections to other groups.”

How can you make claims like “always” from such rank ignorance?

In reality, the sequence data are quite conclusive about the connections between groups. Do you see that the tree I pointed you to shows the relationships between members of a family of proteins in different groups of organisms? Nothing in AIG can help you explain that.


melanogaster - #76379

February 6th 2013

“But I did feel confident enough to comment on the very blatant problem of evolution, the absence of data for the missing links. If you can provide that, I’m happy to look at it.”

I don’t believe you, but I’d love to be proven wrong. You can see how much more data produced that are connecting groups in this 2007 paper:

genomebiology.com/content/8/9/R196

Remember, Steven, YOU wrote, “I’m referring to ANY tree that even the evolutionists use.” [emphasis mine]

Do you have any idea how arrogant that appears to someone who is familiar with the data?


beaglelady - #76389

February 6th 2013

Steve,

Would you really and truly like to learn more? Then why not check out www.coursera.org and register for the next Introduction to Genetics and Evolution course? It’s free, you know, and you’d learn a lot.


PNG - #76408

February 6th 2013

There is some material on the Nature website that is good for background:

http://www.nature.com/scitable/topics

Especially, the Evolutionary Genetics, Population and Quantitative Genetics, Genomics, and Biological Anthropology sections. I haven’t read all of this, but the parts I looked at were good.


melanogaster - #76380

February 6th 2013

“But I want to see where these groups converge or connect.”

I don’t believe you, but I’ll play along. You can construct a tree from any family of protein sequences to see how the the major groups connect; I point you to one in a separate comment below.

“The evolutionary tree does not have a trunk. It rather resembles an orchard, with several shoots springing up next to one another, connected at the bottom by dotted lines.”

False, starting with the fact that there’s no single tree that could accommodate all of the extant sequence and fossil evidence, but relentless and unChristian misrepresentation is your primary weapon.

“I’m curious to see the fossils of these dotted lines.”

But you’re not curious to see how the sequence data fall into trees with SOLID lines, are you? Or the concordance between trees of different protein families?

“Where are the forms connecting archaeopteryx to modern birds?”

You can connect birds to reptiles with the sequence evidence. You can even see a major bifurcation in reptiles.

“As far as the human fossils, a few curiously shaped skulls are not enough to prove to me my great great grandfather was an amoeba. I know this sounds flippant,…”

No, Steven, the notion that evolution is linear is a foul lie propagated by creationists. Why are you propagating it too?

“… and I by no means am trying to be rude, but show me the money! My eyes are open, direct me to the link (no pun intended:)”

See below. Your eyes are anything but open if you don’t know about the sequence evidence. I predict that you will close your eyes to the evidence and be both dishonest and rude. Prove me wrong!

Oh, and by the way, looking at a single link is laughable in this context, as someone with open eyes would be doing his own BLAST searches out of curiosity. But again, misrepresentation is all you’ve got on your side.


beaglelady - #76388

February 6th 2013

Welcome back, Melanogaster. You’ve been gone too long, but it’s good to have you back!


GJDS - #76339

February 4th 2013

Where have all the fossils gone

                  Long time passing,

Where have all the fossils gone

                            So long ago,

Where have all the fossils gone

            Bits and pieces every one,

When will we ever learn?

            When will we ever learn?

(I am certain this window hates me. It will not accept any single spacings - by the way, I will not supply the musical score to this, just in case someone asks).


beaglelady - #76342

February 5th 2013

That’s a good one! 

Paleontologists picked them, every one…


Jon Garvey - #76374

February 6th 2013

Why won’t BioLogos let me post?


Jon Garvey - #76375

February 6th 2013

Oh - suddenly it will…


GJDS - #76383

February 6th 2013

I may regret making post, but since this person (melanogaster) is so prone to use terms such as “false” and “you do not see the data”, that I think it necessary to risk a rebuttal of such unnecessary language. Two examples from those who are in favour of evolution.

1)                  C Malaterre, Biology and Philosophy (May 2010),  page 10; “… the tree of life would not have a single root that would start below the level of the ancestral organisms and below the level of protoliving systems, but a system of several intertwined roots…: some of them might correspond to systems that might have been good replicators but with a poor metabolism; others to systems with a good metabolic activity yet little success in generating variants; and so forth. One might imagine ways for systems to partly evolve along one or several of the functional dimensions that correspond to their lifeness signature.” Any reasonable reading of this paper show that the roots of this tree of life is based on endless speculation, with next to no ‘data’ that would support any clear scientific, coherent theory. This is there for anyone to read and come to their conclusions.

2)                  M. A. Ferguson-Smith, Vladimir Trifonov, “Mammalian karyotype evolution”, Nature, 2007, 8, p 950. You will see Figures which show a lineage of various species, some of which are placed in an odd position…. the authors state, (page 952) “The total number of rearranged blocks per haploid autosomal set, as revealed by cytogenetics, provides in many cases a measure of relationship between species. When compared with humans, most eutherians have 30 to 40 separate blocks of homology with the human genome. Some species are exceptional, such as dogs and gibbons, and have about twice as many conserved block. The mouse is unique in having well over 200 blocks. There have been many more illegitimate recombinations in these species during their evolution, but the reasons for these differences in rate are as yet unknown.” Again this paper can be read by anyone and I see many statements that point to uncertainty, ambiguity, and often a preference for a particular interpretation.

These points are for the scientists working in their various disciplines; I am not attacking nor supporting evolution, but pointing out the obvious that on many levels uncertainty and ambiguity is the norm. I have stated before that I do not rely on Darwinian thinking for any of my research and have not invested anything in it; I am more of an interested bystander. You do not know my personal outlook and it is unwise to add labels. If you have another point of view, that is what it is, your point of view. This does not make those who do not share your view falsifiers or ignorant. I have to ask, “Why not just say you disagree and leave it at that?”


PNG - #76406

February 6th 2013

I suggest we adopt the same standard in quantum chemistry. Anyone’s opinion is just as good as anyone else’s. If I say Einstein was right, God doesn’t place dice with universe, or with electrons and there are no energy levels, who can dispute with me? You invoke spectroscopic data which I’ve never seen? So, what? I don’t need no stinkin’ data.


melanogaster - #76410

February 6th 2013

“I may regret making post, but since this person (melanogaster) is so prone to use terms such as “false” and “you do not see the data”,…”

Unbelievable! How can you refute “you do not see the DATA” by quoting what people write ABOUT the data? Are you really that clueless?

“… that I think it necessary to risk a rebuttal of such unnecessary language.”

Someone get the fainting couch! Remember that your false statements had nothing to do with the tree. Remember that Steven explicitly stated that ANY tree used by evolutionists failed to connect creationist KINDS, not DOMAINS. Do you have any idea how many classifications there are between kinds and domains?

“Two examples from those who are in favour of evolution.”

Neither supports your or Steven’s claims. You falsely claim that evolutionary theory predicts linear speciation, while Steven falsely claims that kinds (not domains) are not connected by solid lines in ANY tree used by “evolutionists.”

“Any reasonable reading of this paper show that the roots of this tree of life is based on endless speculation,…”

Steven was referring to the connections between kinds, not kingdoms.

“This is there for anyone to read and come to their conclusions.”

So are the data, but you and Steven aren’t interested.

“…The mouse is unique in having well over 200 blocks. There have been many more illegitimate recombinations in these species during their evolution, but the reasons for these differences in rate are as yet unknown.” Again this paper can be read by anyone and I see many statements that point to uncertainty, ambiguity, and often a preference for a particular interpretation.”

There is absolutely nothing in this paper that supports your blatant falsehoods about evolutionary theory predicting linear progressions instead of branching. Nor is there anything that supports Steven’s blatant falsehoods about kinds not being connected by solid lines.

“These points are for the scientists working in their various disciplines;…”

Well, no, GJDS, we real scientists look at the data. You can’t grasp that simple point, can you?

“I am not attacking nor supporting evolution, but pointing out the obvious that on many levels uncertainty and ambiguity is the norm.”

No, you are spreading creationist tropes that speciation involves a linear transition within a population and that every common species should leave many fossils. There is zero ambiguity about that.

“I have stated before that I do not rely on Darwinian thinking for any of my research…”

You have made no statements about any aspect of science that suggest that you do or have ever done any real research.

“I have to ask, “Why not just say you disagree and leave it at that?””

I have to ask why you need to relentlessly misrepresent the positions of those you attack.


beaglelady - #76429

February 7th 2013

I have stated before that I do not rely on Darwinian thinking for any of my research and have not invested anything in it; I am more of an interested bystander.

 

The fact that you use a phrase like “Darwinian thinking” suggests that you are not just an interested bystander.


GJDS - #76407

February 6th 2013

Reply PNG #76406 (the reply button does not work again).

If two or more experts in quantum chemistry reviewed their areas of expertise and state that some matters are tenuous and in other matters they infer such and such, or their opinion is based on un-testable assumptions, the scientific community would understand this, whatever the stinkin’ data may be. Their papers would be reviewed accordingly, and if they protest, they would be ignored. It appears this is a standard all scientists gladly adopt with the exception of some of Darwin’s disciples and many of his ‘strident’ advocates.


Jon Garvey - #76428

February 7th 2013

GJDS - it is because you are a creationist, a non-scientist and have never published any research that you constantly attack and misrepresent others! It’s all there in the data! Just admit it now, and it will go easier for you in the long run.

I too once erred in this way, but another poster called John, who is also a real scientist in a similar field, showed me my faults.  I think he now mainly spends his time on Jim Shapiro’s blog telling him why he doesn’t understand evolution and is a creationist. Like polio viruses they get everywhere, these imposters.


Darwin Guy Dan - #76480

February 9th 2013

Attention all natural history and engineering students:  Less your teacher, the National Academy of Sciences, or the National Center for Science Education catch you reading heretical material, in addition to James A. Shapiro’s book, you’d best also keep the writings of Buckminster Fuller under wraps.  In his free ebook, THE LOST INVENTIONS OF BUCKMINSTER FULLER & OTHER ESSAYS, Trevor Blake notes that Fuller is properly categorized as a “creationist” and a “teleologist.” 

Unlike Shapiro and Fuller, you might also save your selves a little grief by at least making a distinction between the clearly naturalistic phenomena that can be appropriately labeled “teleonomy” (such as a single cell organism seeking food and avoiding toxins) as opposed to the supernaturalistic (or even quantum physical) speculations that fall under the label “teleology” and invoke a notion of final cause.

Also note the discussion at Coyne’s blog.  The reason that Shapiro is closer to the truth than Coyne is that, in my view (i.e., Naturalistic Parallelism theory), species[es] had already been established by the time of the Cambrian explosion.  Common ancestors are an unnecessary, and false, assumption and complication. While Evolution is, in my view, thus clearly false, the truth of natural selection is that it has been an obvious culling and weeding process that has occurred since the origins of (gazillions) of lives.

a.k.a. NaturalHistoryGuy

 

 

GJDS - #76452

February 7th 2013

Jon,

The comments such as BL and this mega-monstrosity speak volumes regarding their outlook towards Darwin’s ideas. One wonders if they even understand such basic concepts as scientific objectivity and an ability to critically evaluate their own ideas. I have noticed that, even as they make personal attacks, they will indulge in the ‘straw man’ approach, and then triumphantly declare themselves as winners of an argument that they pretend was made. I note they have not made a comment regarding my major interest in entering discussions on this blog, which is to consider the theological outlook when confronted with the evolution, and that faith-science harmony can be achieved by considering areas where adequate certainty is provided by the sciences. It is clear to me they are more interested in pushing Darwin’s ideas as part of some bizarre theological outlook, and they will not reign in offensive personal comments such as those in this blog.  


PNG - #76454

February 7th 2013

I remind you that when you first came on this site, I offered some assistance in pointing you to things that I thought might be useful. Your immediate response was to insult me and refuse to look at any of it. You aren’t the innocent participant that you pretend to be.


GJDS - #76457

February 7th 2013

PNG

The pretence is from you, this mega-monstrosity, and the never-ending vacuaous comments from BL - surely, if you are this scientist you claim, you would understand that people would ask you before you offer your ‘assistance’. Your lot forget yourselves, and even basic manners scientists adopt, and then ‘show alarm’ when this blows up in your face. There is no ‘innocence’ or any other fantasy your lot indulge in. Why not provide your unwanted assistance to some-one who would care for it. I assure you, I do not - and it speaks volumes, for you who are so confident of the Darwinian position, that you indulge in such nonsense - perhaps you are so evangelical that you have some uknown authority that empowers you in deciding what everyone else ought to know. Instead, spelling, grammar, personal insults - truly what we would expect from the selected disciples of Darwin - but wait, you lot are theists, not those awful militant atheists(??!!)


PNG - #76487

February 9th 2013

I don’t see why being a scientist should cause me to expect people to get mad at me for offering assistance. I can’t recall ever getting mad at someone because they offered me help on a scientific matter or any other, but maybe I’m weird that way. I confess that most of the time I can’t figure out what you are talking about, and the above paragraph seems more incoherent than usual. This web site exists to present the case for evolution as something that ought to be taken seriously by conservative Christians (since they are the ones who seem to be bothered by it), so if you didn’t want any help on the matter, it’s not clear why you came here in the first place. How about this - I’ll endeavor to leave you alone and you can try to avoid using words like “insane,” “imbecile,” and “monstrosity” for people you disagree with?


Jon Garvey - #76458

February 8th 2013

Calm down guys! You should be aware that whenever melanogaster appears on BioLogos, tempers flare and dialogue goes out the window - it’s a talent he has, for which others have been banned. It’s maybe hard for some to understand, but people eventually react to being personally insulted.

He’s also by his own admission a Deist and not a Theist (unless that was one of his alter-egos), so the nearest I’ve ever heard him come to bringing theological concerns into the discussion is to say that real Christians leave their faith at the door when they enter the laboratory.

May I remind us all that BioLogos does not exist to sniff out “closet creationists” amongst the “innocent”, but to see how the fundamental Christian doctrine of Creation relates to science.


Eddie - #76460

February 8th 2013

Agreed.  I’ve always found that the posts of melanogaster (whether under that name or under his two previous BioLogos names) have a baiting, taunting tone about them that invites the wrong kind of discussion for the Christian purposes of BioLogos.  I think that PNG and GJDS, who are both sincere Christians, have not previously adopted that tone, and it’s unfortunate if the return of melanogaster (just when BioLogos is trying to turn a fresh page) sets two Christian gentlemen at each other’s throats.  So I hope that PNG and GJDS, however much they may disagree over the plausibility of evolution, will not let themselves be infected by the quarrelsome spirit of the belligerent fruit fly.  The best thing for everyone here to do is never to reply to melanogaster at all.


melanogaster - #76462

February 8th 2013

“I think that PNG and GJDS, who are both sincere Christians, have not previously adopted that tone,...”

Really, Eddie? Please review the tone of GJDS’s comment 76282:

“The reasonable response to this fossil argument is that fossils should, if your argument is sound,…”

Note the personal aspect, which was followed by a complete misrepresentation. A Christian interested in true dialog who misunderstood the post would be much more gentle in clearly stating his/her own assumptions so that false ones could be politely corrected, with GJDS politely giving public thanks for the correction. Pretending that hypothesis + data is just a mere “argument” is a standard creationist trope.

Then see 76292 above:

“Beaglelady, #76287

You have missed the point; I have provided a simplified model to illustrate.

The fossil records need to provide fossils in this order:…”

Beaglelady didn’t miss any point. Eddie, please note that GJDS’s tone there, which is plenty snide, is again followed by multiple, blatant falsehoods about what evolutionary theory MUST predict. The most preposterous one is that new mutants have to arise in sequence AFTER selection for something else. The reality is that evolution merely requires:

1) Variation, some of which is heritable, an unassailable fact that can be confirmed by looking at your own family next to another family. Eddie, try to grasp that it simply doesn’t matter where you think the variation originated, it is there and easily measured. God could have created all of it 6000 years ago!

2) Differential rates of reproduction between individuals, another obvious fact.

This is sufficient for non-Darwinian evolution, or drift, which can be observed in real time. For evolution to be Darwinian, only one more condition has to exist:

3) Some of the heritable variation influences some of the differential rates of reproduction.

It’s really that simple. Darwin didn’t know about mutation, so the relentless campaign of linking of Darwin with “random mutation” is either dishonest, ignorant, or both.

Why do YOU think that GJDS is here spreading gross misinformation?


melanogaster - #76463

February 8th 2013

“He’s also by his own admission a Deist and not a Theist (unless that was one of his alter-egos), so the nearest I’ve ever heard him come to bringing theological concerns into the discussion is to say that real Christians leave their faith at the door when they enter the laboratory.”

Wow! Totally ad hominem with the bonus of being totally false, Jon!

“May I remind us all that BioLogos does not exist to sniff out “closet creationists” amongst the “innocent”, but to see how the fundamental Christian doctrine of Creation relates to science.”

Yes, just as I remind you that it doesn’t exist to falsely label people as Deists, so let’s talk about why the following three scientific claims are false, and thus have no place in a sincere, Christian discussion:

1) Species with large populations must leave many fossils.

2) Darwinian evolution of a population is linear, with new mutations having to occur de novo, instead of the reality of polymorphism that we know exists in all healthy populations.

3) Kinds (any of the many forms described by creationists) are not connected by solid lines in ANY tree used by “evolutionists.”


beaglelady - #76464

February 8th 2013

Thanks Melanogaster!  What you bring to the table is knowledge of biology and evolution, and that is what this brawl is all about.   You don’s put up with distortions of evolutionary theory and BioLogos should be grateful!  As for the assaults on your faith, don’t worry about it—it’s common for fundamentalists not to accept other Christians.


Darwin Guy Dan - #76466

February 8th 2013

All praise be to the progressive developments of collective human mentalities (= “God”?) such that societies no longer tolerate policies as those of the nameless one* who prosecuted [S]aint Michael Servetus.** Otherwise, we would all be in trouble in terms of some supposed heretical belief or another.

As for science, as I see it, the primary difficulty that theoreticians have going forward is in extricating themselves from their over commitment to false or dubious paradigms.  At BioLogos such an over commitment to a false ideology / paradigm has been limited primarily to “evolution,” the common understanding of which has been well defined at BioLogos. This understanding entails not just a belief regards transitional fossils, but the even more substantial commitment to the supposed existence of common ancestors. But it is now clear from both the fossil record and genetics that such a commitment fails the test of naturalistic parsimony. There are no common ancestors and Evolution is false.

Dr. Roy W. Spencer***, best known for his skepticism regards anthropic global warming, has seemingly also come to a similar conclusion as I regards an understanding of natural history. The caveat is that while I remain committed to naturalistic causations for origins of lives and species[es] issues, Spencer is currently accepting of ID. (I tend to think that the pitting of naturalistic views against supernaturalistic views has long been detrimental to both science and religion, especially in terms of HS education.) Dr. Spencer (see at his website and also via Google) might be a marvelous candidate for BioLogos to consider as a guest blogger.

a.k.a. NaturalHistoryGuy % DarwinGuyDan at gmail

Refs.:

* THE JOHN CALVIN COLLECTION: 12 CLASSIC WORKS; available as a free ebook.

** OUT OF THE FLAMES (2002) by Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone.

*** “Roy Spencer on Intelligent Design” at the ‘Uncommondescent’ website.

 

 

Darwin Guy Dan - #76467

February 8th 2013

I don’t currently have access to the audio but the copy of Darwin’s ORIGINS OF SPECIES depicted in the video above looks to be the same printing of 1979 that I have.  I’ve often wondered if the cover of that once popular printing was done merely for sales and marketing purposes.  Surely it doesn’t represent Darwin’s view regard common ancestry and tree-of-life.  Surely the cover misrepresents what soon after Darwin became known as “evolution.”  Darwin wrote ([1859], 1979; p.292):

“In the first place it should always be borne in mind what sort of intermediate forms must, on my theory, have formerly existed.  I have found it difficult, when looking at any two species, to avoid picturing to myself, forms DIRECTLY intermediate between them.  But this is a wholly false view; we should always look for forms intermediate

I [i.e., transitional] between each species and a common but unknown progenitor; and the progenitor will generally have differed in some respects from all its modified descendants.”  (I used caps where the author has italics.)

But this “wholly false view” is exactly what the publisher put on the cover.  Is it not?  It looks to me like the view of the Scopes Monkey trial and the pro and con debate regards having a chimpanzee in ones ancestry.  But in the over 153 years since Darwin’s ORIGINS (or even soon after the 1979 printing), natural history theorists have surely had the opportunity to end such admittance and readmittance of error such as indicated by the cover.  Why has not a more rigorous scientific community not demanded that procedures for error correction exist?

Further, are Evolutionists now prepared to finally discard their long held ideology, “the fact of evolution”?  At a minimum, one would hope all would finally come to realize what a scientific fact is and isn’t and that, say, gravity is not a “fact” but rather is a label for some other type of scientific statement. Why has the scientific community not long ago corrected the muddle of natural historians?

a.k.a. NaturalHistoryGuy % DarwinGuyDan at Gmail

 

 

Darwin Guy Dan - #76468

February 8th 2013

ERRATA: The quote of Darwin’s is better as:

“In the first place it should always be borne in mind what sort of intermediate forms must, on my theory, have formerly existed.  I have found it difficult, when looking at any two species, to avoid picturing to myself, forms directly intermediate between them.  But this is a wholly false view; we should always look for forms intermediate between each species and a common but unknown progenitor; and the progenitor will generally have differed in some respects from all its modified descendants.” 

(I take “intermediate” to be equivalent to “transitional.”)


Steven Opp - #76474

February 8th 2013

To those who have been interacting with my comments here:

I am simply pointing out that there are various trees constructed by scientists to explain the evolution of life. The connections made are obvious to some and not to others, so we can’t simply assert they are true, especially because we view these things in light of various theories as to what happened. If we wish to continue debating transitional forms, let’s first lay the groundwork of what we believe because we all bring our presuppositions to the table when looking at anything in creation, including fossils. It’s just how humans work. If we wish to continue this discussion, it is important for us all to know where we’re coming from in regards to our faith, since this is a website about faith and science. Questions such as “Who is God?” “Is the Bible true?” etc, certainly effect how we look at what we find in the world. If you do want to continue the discussion, let’s start there, and I can go first if you like.


melanogaster - #76477

February 8th 2013

“I am simply pointing out that there are various trees constructed by scientists to explain the evolution of life.”

Now you’re moving the goalposts, Steven. You explicitly stated [caps mine], “In regards to the tree, I’m referring to ANY tree that even the evolutionists use.”

Why are you doing this? Why are you running away from the data when you claimed that your eyes were open?

“The connections made are obvious to some and not to others, so we can’t simply assert they are true, especially because we view these things in light of various theories as to what happened.”

You didn’t even look at the tree I showed you, Mr. Eyes Open. If you had, you would have understood that the tree I pointed you to:

1) Is not “constructed to explain the evolution of life.”
2) Is not even “constructed” in the sense you claim it is. 
3) The tree is simply a mathematical representation of the actual, digital data, so I can indeed simply assert that it is true. You can only move the goalposts.

Your eyes are firmly closed. Why mislead and claim the opposite?

“If we wish to continue debating transitional forms, let’s first lay the groundwork of what we believe because we all bring our presuppositions to the table when looking at anything in creation, including fossils. It’s just how humans work.”

You aren’t looking, Steven, so your demand is ludicrous.

“If we wish to continue this discussion, it is important for us all to know where we’re coming from in regards to our faith, since this is a website about faith and science. Questions such as “Who is God?” “Is the Bible true?” etc, certainly effect how we look at what we find in the world. If you do want to continue the discussion, let’s start there, and I can go first if you like.”

You go first. Prove that your eyes are open to the evidence that God has put out for all to see, because everything you wrote in this post says that your eyes are closed.

Why did you write, “But I did feel confident enough to comment on the very blatant problem of evolution, the absence of data for the missing links. If you can provide that, I’m happy to look at it,” when you clearly do not intend to look at anything of significance?


Steven Opp - #76571

February 13th 2013

The tree you sent me was not significant to me because it’s all a scientific code that I don’t get. Send me something that I, as a non-geneticist/biologist, can look at and understand at a basic level that shows me the fossil trail of how all life on earth converges. It doesn’t have to be super complicated or complex, but a general tree will do.

Here is my fundamental belief system which shapes how I see the world:

Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God…” I believe God exists. He creates everything and sustains it, so that I can have confidence moment-by-moment that the universe is ordered and cared for by him.

Genesis through Revelation is the inspired Word of God. Jesus is my Lord, so that when he quotes and refers to Genesis and the rest of the Old Testament as history and authoritative, I do the same.

Genesis says the earth was made in six days, and then continues to give the geneologies and history up to Joseph, and the rest of the Old Testament gives us history up to the prophets. Matthew’s geneology goes all the way back to Adam.

The Bible is the foundation I use for interepreting what I see in the world because it is God’s revealed word. I do not discount science, which is a helpful process to use to understand the world and history. But if a scientific theory contradicts the Word of God, we have to go back and rework the theory. Faith and reason working hand in hand: faith in God’s revealed word, trusting that eventually it makes sense.

I think discussing to what extent Genesis is true would guide this conversation better, since that is crucial to interpreting fossils.

 


Steven Opp - #76592

February 14th 2013

Correction: It is Luke’s geneology that goes back to Adam.


robynhood - #76600

February 14th 2013

Steven:  My world view was once similar to yours, so please do not interpret the following question as any sort of judgment.  You write;  

...if a scientific theory contradicts the Word of God, we have to go back and rework the theory.

My question is, “What if a scientific observation contradicts the Word of God?”


melanogaster - #76607

February 14th 2013

“The tree you sent me was not significant to me because it’s all a scientific code that I don’t get.”

You made a categorical claim about ANY tree used by evolutionists, remember? That would require a lot of study on your part before venturing to make such a claim.

“Send me something that I, as a non-geneticist/biologist, can look at and understand at a basic level that shows me the fossil trail of how all life on earth converges.”

You’re moving the goalposts and closing your eyes, Steven.

You explicitly claimed that any tree used by evolutionists is missing the connections between “kinds,” I showed you one that does so quite clearly. It even connects kingdoms, that is, yeast with humans. We don’t need fossils to do that—sequences do so far more clearly, so you are just closing the eyes you falsely claimed were wide open.

“It doesn’t have to be super complicated or complex, but a general tree will do.”

Sorry, your claim implicitly includes the claim that you understand the complexity. Moreover, this tree is not complex at all. It shows the connections in the context of a family of proteins, something your creationist programmers can’t explain, so they simply ignore while falsely claiming that they are examining the same evidence as real scientists examine.

“Here is my fundamental belief system which shapes how I see the world:”

And it doesn’t even mention Jesus Christ. How can you call yourself a Christian if your fundamental belief system doesn’t even mention Him?

Do you see that you are putting politics above religion?


Steven Opp - #76618

February 15th 2013

Robynhood:

Yeah, if an observation discounted the Bible that would definitely throw a wrench in the interpretation of that passage. Do you have something? Microevolution, something like a finch’s beak size changing over the generations, does not contradict the Bible.

Melanogaster:

Ok, goalposts moved, but not farther but closer. The new aim: Any tree which can be explained to the average joe who doesn’t have a science degree. If it’s true, it should be explainable to someone like me. I have never heard of a genetic tree, so I am intrigued. The closest I’ve heard is that we share a really high percentage of our genetic info. with chimps. If you can find a way to explain your data to someone who isn’t in your field, let’s say in ten pages or less, I am game to look at that. But if I need a phD to get it I become suspicious.

You still haven’t explained your view of Genesis. Before we start aiming for goalposts, we need a field to play on, so let’s start with the Bible.

No I didn’t mention Jesus, but I did say I take the Bible at it’s word from Genesis to Revelation, which means I believe in Jesus. I would not have known about Jesus except for the Bible.
 


beaglelady - #76620

February 15th 2013

You want a simple tree? Here you go:

Tree of Life


melanogaster - #76627

February 15th 2013

“Ok, goalposts moved, but not farther but closer.”

No, Steven, you’ll keep moving the goalposts farther to facilitate closing your eyes to the evidence.

“The new aim: Any tree which can be explained to the average joe who doesn’t have a science degree.”

Then you’re admitting that your eyes are anything but wide open. By avoiding the actual evidence and pretending that the science side is nothing but hearsay, you allow yourself to run away.

“If it’s true, it should be explainable to someone like me.”

That’s just silly, since your eyes are closed.

“I have never heard of a genetic tree, so I am intrigued.”

You’re intrigued, but I still have to explain it to you? That’s hilarious! It’s not a “genetic tree.” The point of common descent is that it applies to protein sequences as well.

“The closest I’ve heard is that we share a really high percentage of our genetic info. with chimps.”

Then you are utterly misinformed and have no business making claims about “any tree that even the evolutionists use.”

“If you can find a way to explain your data to someone who isn’t in your field, let’s say in ten pages or less, I am game to look at that. But if I need a phD to get it I become suspicious.”

You don’t need a PhD, but your eyes need to be open. If you are intrigued, you will make the effort to understand it for yourself. Instead, you are only willing to engage through hearsay so that you can use the genetic fallacy to ignore the evidence God has made available for everyone to see.

“You still haven’t explained your view of Genesis.”

It’s poetry, explaining to us that God is responsible for everything we see in the world, not just macroevolution.

“No I didn’t mention Jesus, but I did say I take the Bible at it’s word from Genesis to Revelation, which means I believe in Jesus.”

But Jesus clearly has no place in your foundation. That says to me that you put politics above religion. How was it decided which books would become part of the Bible, and which would not? More importantly, WHO made these decisions? Why don’t the teachings of Jesus Christ come first and foremost if you’re a Christian?


Steven Opp - #76807

February 19th 2013

What parts of the Bible do you accept as authoritative/inspired word of God? This will help me understand where you are coming from.


melanogaster - #76813

February 20th 2013

I place the teachings of Jesus Christ above everything else in the Bible. It’s clear that our relationship to God and to our fellow man as described by Jesus is quite different from the ways in which they are described in the Old Testament.

How else can one interpret the following passage?

Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.


Steven Opp - #76830

February 20th 2013

You are correct to place a high value on the teachings of Christ, but the Bible is not primarily about his teachings of Jesus. It is about Jesus himself. God’s gift to man was not merely information, but himself. And to know who Jesus is we have to understand where he came from and the whole story of God in the Old Testament. This is why Jesus quotes the Old Testament all the time, and says by no means throw it out (Matthew 5:18). It is the system he operates in, the game he’s playing, the rulebook he follows, the play he stars in. If we remove that, Jesus becomes whatever we want him to be, usually a reflection of ourselves. So you can have hipster Jesus, Nazi Jesus, Republican Jesus, Democrat Jesus. God doesn’t give us those options. He gives us Jesus of Nazareth born in Bethlehem of Judea, son of David…son of Adam…son of God.


Steven Opp - #76831

February 20th 2013

Correction on first sentence: not primarily about the teachings of Jesus


melanogaster - #76842

February 20th 2013

Steven, clearly you place the Bible above Jesus, my approach to Christianity places Jesus above the Bible. Within the Bible, I place the Gospels far above the remainder of the New Testament and the Old Testament.

While you noted that Jesus quoted the Old Testament, I am disappointed that you didn’t comment on the passage I quoted in which He quoted and refuted a particular bit of the Old Testament. Do you have another interpretation?

Let’s put that aside and go to the sequence tree, which is not an interpretation, but the actual data we agree that God created that we can examine.

Do you understand paternity testing using DNA? If not, I’d like you to learn about it on your own—it’s routinely explained to laypeople on juries—and get back to me, OK?

What I’d like you to do while learning is to think about the multiple meanings of the differences, which are just as important as the similarities.


Steven Opp - #76854

February 21st 2013

I place the Bible above Jesus? That’s like saying I place the Lord of the Rings above Aragorn. How would I know who Aragorn is unless I read the story he’s a part of? How can I be excited he’s the long-expected king of Gondor if I don’t know what Gondor is or haven’t heard of the Rangers or his special sword or the previous ages or the rings or his long noble line of kings? If you take out the long history leading up and pointing to Christ, how can you understand what he’s even saying when he is constantly referring back to the Old Testament? If you understand the history of Israel and the purpose of the law and so forth, the “inconsistency” you observed is easily resolved. Jesus isn’t saying the Law was wrong, he’s saying don’t abuse it and be a grown up. Justice is required, but rise above your petty disputes and the ways you twist the law for your own purposes.

So you have not shown me what the foundation for your faith is. You like Jesus. But not the Jesus of the whole Bible, just the Jesus of the Gospels. But you don’t want to talk any more about that. I don’t see this conversation going anywhere further without a mutual understanding of our foundations of faith. I won’t be looking more into DNA evolutionary trees because this blog is about faith and reason. You have not shown me what your faith is founded on, so I won’t move on to reason yet. It seems like you are picking and choosing what you like out of the Bible so why should I not suspect you look at scientific data with equal inconsistency?


robynhood - #76628

February 15th 2013

Steven:  I am glad you seem open to developing a deeper understanding of how faith and science relate.  My comment about observation was intended to point out that there are many direct observations that support the scientific theories that you seem to reject on the basis that you do not find Biblical support for them.

To keep things simple, let’s just consider the age of the earth for a moment.  A literal reading of the Bible suggests that the world was created in six days approximately 6000 years ago.  Yet, there is an enormous amount of evidence that the earth is much older than this, and that evidence is directly observable.

For example, we can measure the speed of light by direct observation.  We can also directly observe the stars and galaxies in the sky, and from those observations, we can determine that these stars and galaxies are much more than 6000 light years away.  Therefore, the earth must be older than 6000 years for us to be able to observe these stars. I would consider this a case where scientific observation and the (literal) Biblical account are in conflict.

The reason I bring this up is because it is very easy to doubt a “theory” if you define a theory as just “an idea somebody came up with”.  But a theory in science is really more than that.  A theory must have evidence (observations) to back it up.  If it doesn’t, it will be tossed out as fiction and replaced by a theory that does have evidence.

You have every right to reject a theory, but you can only do so fairly if you take the time to understand the evidence for it. 

BTW,  melanogaster’s criticism of you in the previous post was unfair.  You did mention Jesus in your previous comment.  You said, “Jesus is my Lord”.  It is clearly not right to question your claim of Christianity given that statement.  I hope he or she will apologize for that error.


melanogaster - #76650

February 16th 2013

You’re right and I apologize for missing that. Still, the teachings of Jesus Christ don’t appear in Steven’s foundation, which is sadly the case with so many US evangelicals today. But that brings up another point, that Jesus taught with parables. How can Steven be sure that Jesus endorsed Genesis as literal or as a parable?

I liked your advice to Steven, but I would quibble with one part of it:

“But a theory in science is really more than that. A theory must have evidence (observations) to back it up.”

A theory is much, much more than even that. A theory must have a robust record of standing up to empirical tests designed to falsify it. Hypotheses have evidence to back them up too, but they aren’t theories.

“If it doesn’t, it will be tossed out as fiction and replaced by a theory that does have evidence.”

Theories are rarely thrown out wholesale, they are usually modified. That’s why so much of the rhetoric of “Eddie” about alleged criticism of neo-Darwinian theory is extremely deceptive, as is his use of the term “ID theory.”

 


Eddie - #76662

February 16th 2013

Fruitfly:

Someone who has regularly called people on this site liars, hypocrites, cowards, and violators of the commandments, and who has failed to retract falsehoods about personal biographies of other posters here, is in no position to complain about people who don’t follow “the teachings of Jesus Christ.”  You first job is to get the beam out of your own eye; then worry about the mote in Steven’s.  And in case you don’t recognize the image I’m using, it’s from the Bible.


melanogaster - #76667

February 16th 2013

You appear to have not read the first sentence in my comment before spewing your bizarre vitriol. But that’s not surprising.


Eddie - #76678

February 16th 2013

I didn’t miss the first sentence.  I was commenting only on your second sentence.  And I see no reason to alter my comment.


beaglelady - #76679

February 16th 2013

Sorry Eddie, but you are one of the most insulting and condescending people on BioLogos.  You have been banned twice already for being rude. (Once as Rich and once as JamesR) 


Eddie - #76682

February 16th 2013

beaglelady:

I love you, too.  :-)

It’s not insulting to challenge people when they claim to know something and expose the fact that they don’t.  It of course wounds people’s pride, but that is not the same as insulting someone.

It is insulting to call people liars, hypocrites, violators of the commandments, etc.  And you’ve never once raised an objection on Christian grounds when the fruitfly has done it.  I guess that means that your conception of Christianity is much the same as the fruitfly’s, and much different from mine.

Anyhow, if it makes you feel any better, I may soon be easing out of commenting on BioLogos.  Whether I stay on depends on whether the new management brings about changes.  If I see a shift in direction away from ID-bashing and YEC-bashing, and toward more historically orthodox expressions of Christian faith, I will stick around to praise the new direction and encourage it.  But if things continue with same-old, same-old, I will have done all I can, and will soon make my exit.


beaglelady - #76685

February 16th 2013

Do whatever you want, but you should know that this is not an ID site. There is no reason for you to get a free pass here.  Melanogaster brings scientific expertise to the table, and I’m very glad he’s here. He makes it more difficult to spread misinformation.


Eddie - #76731

February 18th 2013

You mean, when he isn’t spreading misinformation himself.

Your belief in the Fruitfly’s scientific expertise appears to be a case of wish-fulfillment.  He has given no proof that he has any advanced scientific credentials at all.  He will not identify any of his publications and he doesn’t say who he currently works for.  None of his technical remarks indicate any knowledge of biology beyond that of a competent biology major from a four-year college.  And in any case, even on his own account, he is a medical geneticist, or something akin to that, not a researcher in evolutionary biology.  So your decision to adopt him as an authority in matters of evolutionary biology must be based on the fact that he tends to argue for positions that you agree with.  


beaglelady - #76737

February 18th 2013

I believe that Melanogaster is the same person as John, who is a researcher at a top institution, as D. Falk once explained.   


Eddie - #76748

February 18th 2013

What can be said for certain is that Dr. Falk was under the impression that “John” was a researcher at a top institution.  But did Dr. Falk verify that information, or merely take the word of “John” for it?  I would like independent confirmation.  There are certain features, both literary and scientific, which give one good reason to doubt that John actually holds a Ph.D. in any science, or has ever done any significant scientific research.  I for one do not believe that Dr. Falk was given accurate information, and I will remain unconvinced until our brave Behe-slayer reveals himself.


melanogaster - #76754

February 18th 2013

“And in any case, even on his own account, he is a medical geneticist, or something akin to that, not a researcher in evolutionary biology.”

Behe is not a researcher in evolutionary biology, is he?

“So your decision to adopt him as an authority in matters of evolutionary biology must be based on the fact that he tends to argue for positions that you agree with.”

So according to your own reasoning, your decision to adopt Behe as an authority in matters of evolutionary biology must be based on the fact that he tends to argue for positions that you agree with.

Thanks for making that perfectly clear. 


Eddie - #76761

February 18th 2013

I never adopted Behe as an “authority” in evolutionary biology.  But even someone who is not an authority in a field can sometimes make useful criticisms of some of the dogmas of that field.  And that his criticisms are useful are confirmed by evolutionary biologists themselves, e.g., Lynn Margulis, who knew far more about evolutionary biology than any columnist or commenter here, including yourself, has said that the ID criticism of neo-Darwinism is essentially correct.

And in any case, I have always made of point of reading extended works by people whose position I disagree with—Darwin, Gaylord Simpson, Dawkins, Miller, Collins, etc.  That’s why I know what both Darwin and neo-Darwinism say better than you do, despite your (alleged) advanced biological training.  Beaglelady, on the other hand, absolutely refuses to read any extended ID works, and criticizes ID proponents almost entirely on hearsay filtered to her by grossly partisan enemies of ID such as Pennock and Miller.  Her attitude is therefore unscholarly, unscientific, and partisan.  She simply regards the scientists who agree with her as experts, and those who disagree with her as quacks.  A very convenient way of making up one’s mind, to be sure.

 


beaglelady - #76770

February 18th 2013

That’s bollocks. I’ve heard these guys in debate and I read the entire transcript of the Kitzmiller trial.  I know what scientists believe about their extended works and that’s enough for me.  And I haven’t read Chariots of the Gods,  The DaVinci Code, or any Scientology works, and I don’t intend to.  I suppose my opinions are formed by grossly partisian enemies of aliens,  Dan Brown theology and Scientology. So be it.

I think you should take a look at Massimo Pigliucci’s Nonsense on Stilts-How to Tell Science from Bunk  and learn about the Discovery Institute’s gross distortion of the Altenberg group.  (Pigliucci organized the Altenberg meeting.)


Eddie - #76771

February 18th 2013

beaglelady:

Thanks for being honest enough to admit (indirectly, by the contents of this reply) that I was right to say that you have not read any extended ID works.  This puts you in contrast with myself, since I have read many extended TE and atheist evolutionary works.  

(Oh, and by the way, I’ve read the entire Dover transcripts as well, and I’ve also read extended ID works, and therefore I know, as you apparently don’t, that the picture you get of ID from the Dover trial is seriously misleading in many respects and needs to be corrected by a careful reading of ID theory as it is set forth in theoretical books, as opposed to a courtroom situation.  A courtroom is not the place to debate scientific truth.  Lawyers are concerned with winning, not truth.  And I’ve noticed that both you and the Fruitfly argue like lawyers.)

(Also, unlike you, I did read Chariots of the Gods before rejecting its thesis.  As for the Da Vinci Code, it’s a novel, not an actual historical thesis.  And in none of the three pop culture examples you’ve named were the authors people with legitimate Ph.D.s in the sciences, as is the case with ID.  So your cheap attempt to dismiss the ID people along with others who aren’t scientists doesn’t work.)

I don’t get my information about Altenberg from Discovery.  I have read a number of detailed interviews of the Altenberg people in which they talk at great length—for pages at a time—about the direction of modern evolutionary theory.  It is clear that many of them see the role of neo-Darwinian mechanisms as much less important than mainstream evolutionary theory of the past 50 years has.  But of course you won’t read those interviews, because they are a threat to the pop science world view which has become your substitute cosmogony and theology.

And let’s not forget Shapiro, another evolutionary biologist whose work you have not read.  He’s at the cutting edge of the field.  His book was described by Karl Woese, discoverer of the Archaea, as “a game changer.”  And his “game-changing” book lambastes neo-Darwinism and puts radically different mechanisms front and center in evolutionary theory.  

You aren’t really a truth-seeker, beaglelady.  You chose sides long ago, and everything you have done since you made that decision has been digging in your heels, manning the battlements, culture-warring.  You’ve engaged in no serious theoretical thought of your own.  If you had, you would realize how much more complex the debate over evolution is than the good guy/bad guy, science/creationism narrative that you have adopted.  Those of us (e.g., myself, Bilbo, Jon Garvey) who long ago abandoned that simplistic narrative (of Mooney, Shermer, the NCSE, Coyne, Dawkins, etc.) are naturally going to seem incomprehensible to you.  You want to fit us in with the creationists, but you can’t, and it’s frustrating you no end.  The solution is to read what we’ve read.  Then you’d understand what we understand.  But you won’t.  You’ve willfully closed your eyes and stopped your ears.


melanogaster - #76779

February 18th 2013

I never adopted Behe as an “authority” in evolutionary biology.”

 

Then you should have no problem stating the areas in which you disagree with Behe.


melanogaster - #76841

February 20th 2013

Can’t come up with one, eh?


robynhood - #76697

February 16th 2013

melanogaster:  I appriciate that you were willing to apologize to Steven.


beaglelady - #76657

February 16th 2013

Good point about the nature of a theory as used in the scientific sense, Robynhood.  Here, for Steve, is a very good short video explaining just what a scientific theory is:

Isn’t Evolution Just a Theory?


Caleb Backholm - #76725

February 17th 2013

You’re reply here makes me doubt that you even believe the idea of God creating the universe in the first place. The speed of light? Do you honestly find that persuasive?

If God can create stars from nothing, as all Chrsitians believe, he can also create them with the light anywhere he wants, including already arrived on earth. He created the stars for us to see his majesty. What would be the point of creating something for us to see that we couldn’t see? That’s absurd.

You’re “observation” is clearly tainted by your presupositions here.


beaglelady - #76739

February 18th 2013

So if we don’t believe exactly what you believe, we probably don’t believe in God as creator.  That’s fundamentalism in a nutshell.

What makes you think that God created stars so that we could see them?  We weren’t even aware how many stars  there really are until fairly recently.

And if God is merely putting on a magical light show, he doesn’t need stars to do so.

 

 


Caleb Backholm - #76744

February 18th 2013

I believe in the fundamental teachings of the Bible, and so it’s true I am a fundamentalist. Whether or not that fundamentalism is in a “nutshell” I guess you can decide. I don’t see how it relates to the topic though.

“The heavens declare the golry of God…” Psalm 19. That’s what makes me think God created the stars so we can see them. They could not declare the glory of God to David or to you or me if we couldn’t somehow sense that they existed. Our most useful sense for this purpose is sight. Therefore it follows that God would create the stars as visible to us.

“We weren’t even aware how many stars  there really are until fairly recently.” We still aren’t of how many there are. There are a lot, we can see that. But I doubt we know how many. As we continue to explore and increase our abilities to observe, we learn more about the stars and more specifically, we learn more about God. We are led into worship of His greatness. That is the point of science after all, right?

My greater point though was that you found the speed of light to be “evidence” of something that can not be measured: where God created the light. Light travels at 186,000 miles per second, therefore God could not have created the light on earth? It doesn’t follow. 

You say your observation has caused you to doubt the Genesis story. But that isn’t the case at all. You seem to think the light comes from the stars. That isn’t true either. Both the stars and the light comes from God, and he can put them wherever he wants. He placed the stars in what we call “outer space,” and he placed the light throught the universe, including here.

We both observe light. It is our interpretation of the observation that differs, not the observation itself.


robynhood - #76751

February 18th 2013

Caleb:  Thank you for your reply.  First, let me assure you that I do believe in God as creator.  I just do not believe that he created in the same manned as you do.

Yes, I find the ‘speed of light’ argument persuasive, along with the many other evidences that the earth and universe are very old.

You suggest that an omnipotent God could could have created the universe instantaneously, along with a ‘history’ that includes the vast distances star-light has traveled.  I agree that he could have done this, but I do not agree that he actually did.

If God had created the earth and universe with the ‘apparent age’ you suggest, it would mean that God is saying two contradictory things.  He would be saying (via the Bible) that the earth is young, but at the same time he would also be saying (via his magnificent ‘old-looking’ creation) that the earth is very old .  I do not believe that a good and perfect God would be contradictory.  (And therefore I do not believe that Genesis 1 is God’s declaration that the Earth is young.)

Beaglelady is right.  There are many things that God created “for us to see” that we could not see until modern technology allowed it.  Ancient people had no way of seeing that some of those beautiful stars up there were actually clusters of billions of stars that we now know are galaxies.  Before the telescope, they had no way of seeing the other planets in our own solar system.  They were not able to see the surface of Mars as we now can by sending a robot there.

And the examples of humanity’s limited vision are not just found in space.  There are also many things here on earth that God did not enable early humans to see; for example, micro-organisms, deep see creatures and DNA molecules.  And clearly, there are many things that God has created that are still beyond the limits of our vision today.

So, to directly answer your question regarding “the point” of God creating things that we couldn’t see?  The point is… maybe it’s not just about us.  Perhaps God created the universe for Himself, along with other beings such as ourselves.

One this is for certain… when we see the unfathomable vastness of the created universe, it’s hard to believe in a small God.


beaglelady - #76753

February 18th 2013

Great post, Robynhood.  Furthermore, nobody will every see the first stars, because they are all gone. 

Here’s a video, The Known Universe, that all will find fascinating.


beaglelady - #76756

February 18th 2013

I would also like the add that the stars that we’ll never see are nevertheless  important to us. Some of them explode, and spew their guts out.  Every bit of matter in our bodies was forged in a star. We even have a bit of matter from the first stars.


beaglelady - #76750

February 18th 2013

“The heavens declare the golry of God…” Psalm 19. That’s what makes me think God created the stars so we can see them.

 

The heavens do declare the glory of God.  But most stars we don’t see.   And some people can’t see anything. 


Caleb Backholm - #76752

February 18th 2013

Not sure I see what you’re saying here. We probably don’t see most stars, but we are seeing more and more as we develop better telescopes and means of viewing them. The stars we can see (whether many or few) do declare the glory of God to us. I can’t tell if you were agreeing or disagreeing or what you were getting at in your reply.

“Some people can’t see anything.” True. But I’m not sure how that statement relates. Are you saying the blind can’t see God’s glory because they can’t see stars? Seems off topic, but stars aren’t the only way God reveals Himself, thank God for that.

My question is more simple. Have I demonstrated to you that God can create light wherever he wants, or do you believe that he is limited to light production from stars?


beaglelady - #76759

February 18th 2013

I was answering your first claim:

He created the stars for us to see his majesty. What would be the point of creating something for us to see that we couldn’t see? That’s absurd.

And now you’re moving the goalposts!

 

As for creating light, I supposed that God could create a light show to deliberately deceive us.  That’s what lighting designers do—it’s part of special effects for movies, broadway  shows, operas, Disney attractions, etc.  Some of it is very beautiful—I can remember a stunning production of Tannhäuser at the Met, with (fake) sunlight streaming through the windows at the castle where the song contest took place.   But with operas and the like, we know it isn’t real—we are “in” on the secret. We are content to suspend our disbelief for a just a bit and enjoy the magic.

If God is fooling us, however, it’s a different story. I personally don’t think that it would be consistent with the divine will to plant misleading information in the night sky.


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