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Author Topic:   Basic Fundamentals of THE Debate and Myriad Misconceptions
RAZD
Member (Idle past 1432 days)
Posts: 20714
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004


Message 1 of 2 (335603)
07-26-2006 11:49 PM


Starting a new thread for the purpose of discussing the all issues in the following post that do not apply to the thread in question, so we won't get in trouble with admins ....
From Message 81
I had prepared the following response, but have since noticed that this appears consistent with creationist positions elsewhere on the site so I hope it is not too repetetive. I suppose that happens commonly on forums like this, but I will continue to read to become more familiar with what is being said elsewhere.
First of all, I want to thank everyone for their warm welcome including Faith and yourself (Razd). I hope to try to respond in a timely manner to these posts, but it will obviously not always be possible. Thanks for the tips on using the forum as well.
While I had considered a point by point response, I decided this would be long and fruitless (although I will make a few exceptions) because the majority of your counter discussion is simply the result of us not having a common understanding of each other’s positions and definitions. If we can’t even agree on what is Evolution and what is Creation, all of the debate in this forum won’t get us anywhere.
The first sentence in your response is much more appropriately applied to your position, not mine, so I’ll repeat it here with appropriate modification. “Of course [this is evidence for evolution], because you can define “evolution” any way you want to and make it fit.” It is intellectually dishonest to define Evolution as change over time. Who could possibly disagree with that? Your second definition from the dictionary (a.) is better, but you notice it also does not mention mutations as a mechanism (simply natural selection) which you scolded me for not mentioning.
Now, I realize there is a very broad range of beliefs across the entire spectrum on both sides. However, here is the definition of Evolution and Creation which in my experience are the most commonly accepted:
Evolution: ALL life has descended over millions of years by purely naturalistic means from a common ancestor which itself came from non-life. That statement is the initial and un-provable axiom for which evidence is sought. The mechanism commonly proposed for evolution is mutations coupled with natural selection. In order for this concept to be valid it must account for the formation of new and different genetic information over time.
Creation - God created the universe and all life approximately 6000 years ago according to the historical account from the bible which includes the occurrence of a worldwide flood. That statement is the initial and un-provable axiom for which evidence is sought. The original created kinds of organisms were genetically information rich allowing them to adapt successfully to diverse and changing environments through natural selection/mutation. This process entails the shuffling and loss of genetic information within their kind (to the point where many organisms can no longer successfully adapt to their environments and have become extinct).
Note that the initial axioms or presupposition are un-provable largely because they pertain to historical, not operational, science and no one was there to witness the actual events. However, Christians believe they do have an eyewitness account in the bible which provides a more logical foundation for their presupposition.
Whether you agree with those definitions or not, you can see that within their context, the finch article fits much better with the creation model than with the evolutionary one, primarily since it demonstrates that change does not require millions of years to take place. It is not evidence for evolution since the change has not added additional genetic information that wasn’t already present but is required for true evolution to occur.
No one, particularly any informed creationist, is arguing that natural select and mutation do not occur. In fact, you notice that it is a foundational mechanism of both positions. However, there has NEVER been any observed change in the direction of adding new information that evolution requires. It is mere speculation and hopeful thinking that changes within species has been extended to account for the formation of entirely different type of organisms.
And make no mistake. This article, while it talks deceptively about “micro-evolution” is being touted as proof of the “real” thing to the uniformed - the evolution that changes a dinosaur into a bird (or the other way around, depending on what article you read).
That is why it is dishonest to call this type of change “micro-evolution” because it is only evolution in the general sense that we have begun to use the term such as in the statement “automobiles have evolved over time”. No one will argue that if I wait long enough my VW bug will change into a BMW. I say this merely for humor so don’t fixate on this statement if you decide to respond.
Now, I do need to respond directly to just a few of your assertions for completeness, but I will not expound upon them since this post is already getting long.
You say:
And that [finches turn into alligators] is not what the theory of evolution claim, so it seems you do not understand what evolution really is.
No? Than it is not me that misunderstands what evolution is. I used a facetious example, but that is exactly the claim of evolution - that a single celled organism in some primordial soup eventually turned into a professor, creating all of life as we know it along the way.
You disagree that the foundations of modern science did not come from creationists? A large number of some of our most venerated scientists (including recent ones) that laid the foundations of most if not all of our major scientific disciplines found no conflict between science and creationism. Your assertion that geo-centrism or flat earth notions were perpetuated by Christians is false. These concepts are found no where in the bible. However, scientific thinking has always changed over time as more evidence is discovered or postulated. It is obviously how we interpret this evidence that accounts for our differences.
Lastly, you say the following:
Because you can cite {SOME} evidence for a position does not make it true or valid, most especially when you ignore {OTHER} evidence that disproves the position. The denial of {CONTRADICTORY EVIDENCE} means that the position is false, regardless of any claims otherwise, until such time as you can show how the evidence is wrong or explain it in terms of the position claimed.
Please! I am not trying to prove creationism, simply by this single post. The evidence in my opinion is simply overwhelming for creationist theory. Contrarily, evolutionists are experts at ignoring the evidence (i.e. it only takes 10 or 20 samples to find the one that will conform to the correct pre-conceived time when attempting to date them). Whatever happened to the concept that science was the search for truth? I am not aware of a single piece of evidence that “disproves” creationism. On the other hand, I challenge you to come up with any examples of observed changes in nature which increase informational (genetic) content. They should abound if evolution is true. Transitional forms in the fossil record should also abound, but evolutionists are hard pressed to come up with even a few controversial examples. And what about soft tissue which is now being found in a large number of fossils? It is simply impossible that they could be millions of years old. How about that for ignoring the evidence? Those are just a few of literally thousands of examples.
By the way, as we understand more about genetic theory, evolutionists are beginning to abandon the concept of natural selection/mutation as the mechanism for evolution so you may soon find yourself with a completely bankrupt hypothesis (I dare not call it a theory, since the evidence does not support it).
I hope I have addressed the bulk of your objections. These posts are supposed to be fun, so perhaps I’ve taken the liberty to be a little more “forward” than I might otherwise. However, I have attempted to be as accurate as possible. It is not my intention to offend (and I have taken no offense). We should all be searching for the truth, not just for a good argument (although I expect some are in it just for the argument).
Respectfully . mw
I will take these issues to start with (keeping others for later to keep the debate simple)

(1) Definitions.

If we can’t even agree on what is Evolution and what is Creation, all of the debate in this forum won’t get us anywhere.
Agreed, which is why we use standard definitions whenever possible. Creationists, it seems, tend to use a lot of non-standard definitions, often designed (by creatortionistas) ...
{I define "creatortionista" btw, as a site or a person that intentionally distorts and misrepresents the truth, states things that are falsified by readily observable evidence and who do not correct their error when it is pointed out to them. I do this to draw a distinction between honest creationists and the ... dishonest (to be polite).}
.... to misrepresent what the science is really about, so we need to be careful and use what can readily be validated by a common source as a real definition.
Like Dictionary.com.
Wikipedia.org may be used with the caveat that it is an open source website subject to change, intentional misrepresentation or whimsical hacking type editing, and that any disagreement about it's material needs to be then substantiated by a more robust source (another on-line encyclopedia). Personally I find it useful as a "weathervane" of the common understanding of things, but prefer other standards where available.
The first sentence in your response is much more appropriately applied to your position, not mine, so I’ll repeat it here with appropriate modification. “Of course [this is evidence for evolution], because you can define “evolution” any way you want to and make it fit.
(color highlight for empHASis).
Obviously this is part of the issue right from the get go, eh? Let's look at the definition I used for evolution:
RAZD writes:
Message 9:
Evolution is change in species over time
And I also gave the dictionary definition of evolution:
For instance - dictionary.com defines evolution as:
ev·o·lu·tion
3. Biology.
a. Change in the genetic composition of a population during successive generations, as a result of natural selection acting on the genetic variation among individuals, and resulting in the development of new species.
b. The historical development of a related group of organisms; phylogeny.
My definition matches the standard biological definition 3a, albeit a trifle simplified, so I in fact have not changed it to suit my argument -- you can insert definition 3a into my argument and it remains the same.
Therefore your claim that I can change the definition to suit my argument is not born out by the facts.
For chuckles we'll also look at wikipedia:
Evolution - Wikipedia
In biology, evolution is the change in the heritable traits of a population over successive generations, as determined by the shifting allele frequencies of genes. Evolution is potentially the source of the vast diversity of life: theoretically all contemporary organisms may be related to each other through common descent as products of cumulative evolutionary changes over billions of years
(bold in the original, color highlight for empHASis)
Notice that it says that evolution is ... basically ... the change in species over time, and that this change in species over time is potentially -- through the {mechanism\theory} of common descent -- the source all diversity in life as we know it.
Now let's turn to your definitions:
However, here is the definition of Evolution and Creation which in my experience are the most commonly accepted:
Evolution: ALL life has descended over millions of years by purely naturalistic means from a common ancestor ...
From the start we see that what you think is "evolution" is NOT in the proper definition but the theory of common descent -- a theory based on evolution being true and then taking it back logically to previous ancestral relationships. This is a common misconception on the part of creationists (and one that is intentionally promoted by creatortionistas).
... which itself came from non-life. ...
And this is abiogenesis and not evolution -- because evolution is change in species over time there must be a {species\life}at the start for evolution to apply. If you use the correct definitions you do not fall into these (semantic\conceptual) traps.
... Creation - God created the universe and all life approximately 6000 years ago according to the historical account from the bible which includes the occurrence of a worldwide flood. ...
This too is a (logically) false definition, false because it excludes many forms of creation beliefs, excluding other christian beliefs as well as all other religions.
Again, dictionary.com defines creation as:
cre·a·tion
4. Creation The divine act by which, according to various religious and philosophical traditions, the world was brought into existence.
(bold in the original)
Note that this definition shows that the fundamental christian creationism "creations" is but ONE type of MANY various religious and philosophical traditions.
Thus my Deist definition of creation is perfectly valid, as is a Theistic definition, as are any variations on a theme christian definition to suit whatever personal christian belief is held -- it is a definition based on personal belief and not on having any evidence. There is no restriction on who, what, where, why or how {creation} was accomplished - it could have been last Thursday in accordance with the belief in "Last Thursdayism".
Notice that you can change what you mean by {creation} -- what happened when and to what degree -- and it is still valid by this definition, because it is based on {your} religion and philosophy -- beliefs that can evolve with time (and knowledge).
What you really mean is {fundamental christian young earth creationism creation}, a fairly small subset of {creation}
For chuckles we'll also look at wikipedia:
And the first thing you get is a "disambiguation" page:
Creation - Wikipedia
Creation may refer to:
* 1 Natural sciences
* 2 Religion/Philosophy
* 3 Arts
* 4 Media
* 5 Various
Where we select {Religion/Philosophy} to get:
* Creation (theology), the act by a god or gods of bringing the universe into existence from unlimited energy, e.g (Isaiah 40:26) rather than from "nothing".
* Generally descriptions of creation are the act or results of bringing something into existence from nothing at all, or from some pre-existing matter or energy.
... o Creationism, the belief that the natural universe, life, and humanity were created by a supreme being's supernatural intervention.
* Creation Festival, a yearly Christian music festival which happens in the Eastern and Western parts of the United States
* Creation (philosophy)
And now we have a choice:
(a) Creation (theology)
Creation (theology) - Wikipedia
Creation is a doctrinal position in many religions and philosophical belief systems which maintains that a single God, or a group of gods or deities is responsible for creating the universe. Creationism affirms this belief, but the doctrinal belief is not necessarily synonymous with creationism. (philosophy)
(bold in the original)
Which takes us back to (and confirms) the dictionary.com definition, OR
(b) Creationism
Creationism - Wikipedia
"Creationism" can also refer to origin beliefs in general, or to an alternative of traducianism.
In the Abrahamic religions, creationism is the belief that humans, life, the Earth, and the universe have a miraculous origin in a deity or supreme being's supernatural intervention. This intervention may be seen either as an act of creation from nothing (ex nihilo), or as the emergence of order from pre-existing chaos (demiurge). In modern usage, the term creationism has come to be specifically associated with the brand of conservative Christian fundamentalism which conflicts with various aspects of evolution, cosmology, and other natural sciences that address the origins of the natural world.)
(bold in the original)
It then goes on to discuss different kinds of creationism:
4 Types of creationism
4.1 Young Earth Creationist
4.1.1 Modern geocentrism
4.1.2 Omphalos hypothesis
4.1.3 Creation science
4.2 Old Earth Creationist
4.2.1 Gap creationism
4.2.2 Day-age creationism
4.2.3 Progressive creationism
4.3 Theistic evolution
4.4 Neo-Creationism
4.4.1 Intelligent design
5 Jewish creationism
(It does not discuss Hindu Creationism, which holds that the scientific age of the universe is much too young.)
And so, finally we get down to:
Young Earth Creationism
Creationism - Wikipedia
Main article: Young-Earth Creationism
The belief that the Earth was created by God a few thousand years ago, literally as described in Creation according to Genesis, within the approximate timeframe of the Ussher-Lightfoot Calendar or somewhat more according to the interpretation of biblical genealogies. (They may or may not believe that the Universe is the same age.)
As you can see the definition of evolution was quite concise and specific while the definition of creation allows a wide variety of beliefs and convictions, and that what you meant by your definition of creation is the Young Earth Creationism ("YEC") version ... and that even there, some disagreement over what it involved persists.
For the purpose of any further debate I suggest you use:
  • Evolution: the change in species over time (observed fact, not theory)
  • Evolution (science): the science of studying evolution, including theories on natural selection, common descent and the like, but excluding abiogenesis.
  • Common Descent: the theory that all species may be related by having evolved from a common ancestor
  • Natural Selection: the theory that {time & space specific} unfit individuals are less successful surviving and reproducing than more {time & space specific} fit individuals, and that this filters all random mutations so that {fit} ones are passed on to the next generation while {unfit} ones are removed from the population -- for that {time & space specific} set of conditions.
  • Abiogenesis: the theory that life evolved from activated chemicals in a prebiotic soup.
  • Creation: the {hypothesis\belief} that the universe was made, created, by a supreme {being\force\etc}
  • Creationism (general): the {hypothesis\belief} that {creation} (see above} is true
  • YEC - "Young Earth Creationism" - the fundamental christian belief that the universe etc was created (mostly complete)* some 6000 years ago. (* allows for "micro"evolution within kinds).
  • OEC - "Old Earth Creationism" - the christian belief that the universe etc was created but that the age of the earth and the universe can be as old as it appears, that genesis is not {literal}.
You can also see how these definitions compare to the ones in the Forum Glossary:
http:///WebPages/Glossary.html
The reasons for using these definitions are because they are (a) concise (b) specific and (c) non-ambiguous. Things needed for concise, specific and non-ambiguous debate.
Notice that I distinquish between {Evolution} and {Evolution (science)}. This is because a lot of people use one when they mean the other and vice versa, and this leads to confusion (it's called the logical fallacy of equivocation when such interchanging is done intentionally).
For instance we were discussing the {Evolution} of beaks on finches on one of the islands of the Galapagos chain -- the observed change in species over time. We also discussed how the theory of Natural Selection was demonstrated by the observed facts. We were not discussing abiogenesis or common descent.
{end rant #1 }

(2) The Age of the Earth

To use the YEC argument you have to go to Message 1 and explain the Age Correlations that not only show an old earth but invalidate the concept of a young earth.
This is where all the evidence comes into play - you don't get to choose which evidence you use. If evidence exists that invalidates your concept then it is a false argument until you can refute the evidence, and denial (or hand waving etc) does not count as a refutation.
Consider this like a chess game and you are in check - you must remove the check before you can proceed with your game. You have to deal with the evidence that the earth {CAN'T} be only 6000 years old.
Do NOT answer here but go to the thread in question and deal (a) with all the evidence listed and (b) with why it correlates to the same ages when there is no reason for it to do so if the age were NOT correct.
Note: I will take refusal to answer as - not tacit, but solid - evidence that you cannot refute an old earth nor the falsification of a young earth. This may seem harsh, but refusal to deal with being in check usually brings a swift end to the game of chess.
{end rant #2}

(3) What Evolution "says"

You say:
And that [finches turn into alligators] is not what the theory of evolution claim, so it seems you do not understand what evolution really is.
No? Than it is not me that misunderstands what evolution is. I used a facetious example, but that is exactly the claim of evolution - that a single celled organism in some primordial soup eventually turned into a professor, creating all of life as we know it along the way. .
I need only point out that what Evolution "says" is that species change over time. This is the standard definition as established above.
It says absolutely nothing about what it will change into or how long it will take to change -- it ONLY says that it will CHANGE.
It certainly does not say that if we started all over again (from some original life form or forms -- at least you started with a single celled organism this time ) that we would end up with humans debating over the internet. It certainly does NOT say that finches will turn into alligators -- you may claim it is a "facetious example" but what it demonstrates is an ignorance of what evolution is about, and about what evolution "says".
This type of argument is called a strawman argument and it is another logical fallacy.
{end rant #3}

(4) "Information"

However, there has NEVER been any observed change in the direction of adding new information that evolution requires. It is mere speculation and hopeful thinking that changes within species has been extended to account for the formation of entirely different type of organisms.
Show me how to measure the information in every organism, some kind of {information metric score value}, then we'll talk about what the evidence shows.
Until you have a mechanism that results in some {information metric score value} you cannot claim anything about how much or how little is involved and whether or not it is increasing, decreasing or staying static.
Making this claim without any means to document it means that it is a bogus argument intended to deceive.
{end rant #4}

(5) Creationists did it first

Message 16
I’m almost certain that you’ve heard of Edward Blyth. Blyth was a creationist who, according to the article below, “wrote three major articles on natural selection that were published in The Magazine of Natural History from 1835 to 1837”. Note that Darwin’s work wasn’t published until 1859. “The leading tenets of Darwin’s work”the struggle for existence, variation, natural selection and sexual selection”are all fully expressed in Blyth’s paper of 1835”.
I'm also aware that his father, Erasmus Darwin, had written about natural selection.
I also aware that Robert Chambers wrote "Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation" in 1844, and that Alfred Russel Wallace was breathing down his neck while he kept his manuscript in his desk.
So?
This does not in any way demonstrate that
(1) Evolution is false (rather it demonstrates that a large number of people were coming to the same conclusions based on the evidence, the conclusion that evolution was true), OR
(2) Creation(ism, Young Earth) is true.
Without demonstrating BOTH of these things, the argument is a non-sequitur -- a logical fallacy, a detraction from the argument -- it's a waste of bandwidth.
You disagree that the foundations of modern science did not come from creationists?
I thought this was the argument of the Russian Oligarchy ... that they did it first ...
I disagreed that ALL the foundations of ALL modern sciences came ONLY from creationists. That was what you claimed. It is false on many counts ...
See Page not found | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Anaximander is often regarded as a precursor of the modem theory of development. He deduces living beings, in a gradual development, from moisture under the influence of warmth, and suggests the view that men originated from animals of another sort, since if they had come into existence as human beings, needing fostering care for a long time, they would not have been able to maintain their existence. In Empedocles, as in Epicurus and Lucretius, who follow in Hs footsteps, there are rudimentary suggestions of the Darwinian theory in its broader sense; and here too, as with Darwin, the mechanical principle comes in; the process is adapted to a certain end by a sort of natural selection, without regarding nature as deliberately forming its results for these ends.
... and the argument is also totally and completely irrelevant to what the science becomes.
Whether modern geology was first founded by christians that believed in a young earth (until they could no longer reconcile the evidence they saw with the belief) has no bearing on the direction, evidence and theory of modern geology. Science follows the evidence, not the dogma of whoever "started" it.
Whether evolution was first founded by Darwin, or Blythe or Wallace or some native kid in Argentina that told it to Darwin is totally irrelevant to what the science is about today -- all of those possibilities would still end up where we are today, because that is what the evidence shows, not any dogma or belief or conspiracy etcetera.
We could throw out everything we know about biology and science in general, and then after we had overthrown the theocratic oligarchy that made such a thing happen, we would re-discover the evidence and recreate the theories, because that is where the evidence leads.
{end of ran #5}
These posts are supposed to be fun, so perhaps I’ve taken the liberty to be a little more “forward” than I might otherwise.
Likewise.
While I had considered a point by point response, I decided this would be long and fruitless ...
... but I will not expound upon them since this post is already getting long.
If you want them shorter, then only make one unsubstantiated assertion at a time.
As in pick one subtopic above and write a paragraph that specifically presents evidence that supports your position.
Enjoy.


Is It Science? please
Edited by RAZD, : speelink erorr.

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Message 2 of 2 (336429)
07-29-2006 6:46 PM


Thread copied to the Basic Fundamentals of THE Debate and Myriad Misconceptions thread in the The Great Debate forum, this copy of the thread has been closed.

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