Creation Bits

This blog has been superceded, and is only here for archive purposes. The latest blog posts, depending on topic, can be found at one of the blogs at the new location!

These are very uneditted and underthought ideas that I get while debating the creation/evolution debate. This is the more-often-updated but less-thought-out version of the crevo blog.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Evolution in the news

It's strange that evolution has all-of-the-sudden made it to a highlight of the national news. I think that the influence of creationists has really frightened the Darwin establishment. It has now degenerated to name-calling and near-slander. Oh well. The creationists are not completely clean in that regard either.

Anyway, I thought I'd point you to a few articles I found interesting:

An interesting read on why the ACLU is so adamant about evolution

A very interesting reply to the evolutionist's open letter to 50 state governors

[UPDATE]A very good reply to the Elie Wiesel open letter

On another note, I recently read Eugenie Scott's new book "Evolution or Creationism". I didn't read every word, but what I found really amusing was that she presented young earth creationism fairly correctly, while completely misrepresenting the Intelligent Design movement. She also did a pretty good job of covering the facts of the scopes trial, though she left out one important one -- Bryan only took the stand under the condition that Darrow would do the same, but Darrow backed out of the deal so he wouldn't have to be questioned.

Anyway, what I take from this is that Eugenie thinks that young-earth creationists don't have a chance, so they can be fairly represented. This wins points from AiG and the rest for being fair and balanced to their side. Apparently she does see ID as a threat because of the gross misrepresentation of it. Eugenie basically admitted the reason that the ID'ers kept their articles out was because Eugenie would pick the worst ones, and would give the ID'ers no editorial input (this already happened to Dembski once with "Intelligent Design Creationists and Their Critics"). You know, it's funny, if you were to publish my thoughts in your books for you to rip apart, I would at least want to have some control over which specific papers were included, too.

Anyway, it's clear that Eugenie feels the need to misrepresent ID, but feels no need to misrepresent young-earth creationists.

Personally, I think that this is going to blow up in her face for several reasons:

* The distortions of ID are fairly obvious
* Her book will not have any real impact to the ID movement -- it's not anything anyone hasn't heard before
* Creationists are going to come from behind and take the ball while noone is looking. It's already happening. Over the next 10-20 years, creationists are going to make huge strides in building a sensible model which makes sense both physically and historically
* Once that happens, the boat will have already passed

The election of the next president and congress is fairly critical, because I can see the other side getting desparate once they start losing in the scientific culture as well. Already they are playing games with the schools (as pointed out in the "open letter" response above), they may soon start playing games with the government. We'll see.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Invoking Darwin an Afterthought in Most Research

Philip Skell has an excellent editorial in The Scientist as to why biologists invoke Darwin. As he points out, Darwin is very rarely useful to experimental science, but almost all research is given some sort of Darwinian speculation. Anyway, I've pointed this out before to Darwinists who say that all biology rests on Darwinism. Perhaps now they will at least listen rather than write such arguments off a priori.

Honestly, read some biology papers, and you'll almost always see in the conclusion some sort of Darwinian myth being foisted upon the evidence, where it wasn't really even in play for the experimentation itself.

Anyway, you can read the editorial for yourself here.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Are Christians Lacking in Abstract Logic Skills?

I recently made the following post on FreeRepublic, and thought I'd reproduce it for you here. Basically, the author was charging Christians as being illogical. I have included my entire response, but the final paragraph is what I consider most important for answering this question. Some parts may be hard to follow based on lack of context, but I'm sure you'll be able to follow the basic argument.

Again, you are confusing issues. Your original claim was:

"Because if God did everything that we can't explain, then where's the motivation to find out what we don't know?"

You still did not support your claim of "everything". Behe's criticism is not that evolution has not occurred -- in fact he specifically thinks it did. Instead, Behe's claim of Irreducible Complexity is that the Darwinian process is incapable of producing such structures, not that no theory of evolution can produce such structures. Behe's main point is that science is stuck defending a dead mechanism that has no explanatory power, and it should get off its duff and explore other options.

In addition to that, Irreducibly complex systems match very closely with what designers normally design. Therefore, looking for design in biology is a valid preliminary inference, precisely because Irreducible Complexity matches what we know about how designers do design.

"The research on flagellum evolution has since explained away Behe's argument"

(1) Making up stories is not equivalent to an explanation. (2) Saying the small parts have other uses is likewise not an explanation, just as having a screw being part of a computer does not mean that a computer evolved from screws.

"but like typical ideologues, the ID and creationism advocates don't recognize that they've lost that fight"

If scientists can show experimentally how the flagellum developed, then you can call the case closed. Or, instead, show mathematically how such a feature is likely.

"Behe was satisfied that he had the answer, based on a lack of knowledge. That provides motivation to halt further science."

No, it halted further exploration of a Darwinian mechanism. It did not halt inquiry altogether. I'm all for abandoning dead theories. I don't think we should stick to bad theories just because someone will think that I'm "halting progress" on it. Bad theories should be halted, and replaced by better ones.

You seem to be arguing against design a priori as a bad argument for anything. Does design exist at all? If not, then we should fire our artists and programmers and just write a master program to do it. If it does, then you are excluding an entire mode of operation that is EXTREMELY COMMON in everyday life simply because of personal preference.

"Very true. But religion has abandoned acceptance of most of science"

Most of science? Are you serious? Please name the scientific law that Churches are explicitly against that is experimentally verifiable. (note that I indicated "law" because laws are mathematical, thus eliminating both fudge factors and speculation).

"My particular theory is that faith has acted as a filter, dividing people between those who can understand abstract logic, vs. those who operate emotionally."

This ultimately gives you away -- abstract logic can only lead from premises to conclusions. It appears that it is you who do not understand abstract logic. My favorite Star-Trek quote is, "logic is the beginning of wisdom, not the end of it". Abstract logic only works if you have correct assumptions, but logic cannot tell you whether or not your assumptions are correct. If you have bad assumptions, logic will lead you the wrong way. My own theory is that Darwinists are people who _only_ have abstract logic, and not any other facet of wisdom. Therefore, they are unable to analyze their own assumptions, because logic is their only tool, which is completely inadequate to the task. It is true that there are some in the Church without logic, but I think you are confusing what you see as a "lack of logic" with what is really a "broader wisdom than logic alone can provide".

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