An Open Letter to the Apologetics Community

123 Responses

  1. Nick (Matzke) says:

    It’s gonna be tough to overcome Christian anti-intellectualism as long as you think that things like Noah’s Flood and humans descending from a single specially created pair are reasonable ideas. These claims are as wrong as geocentrism was, and accepting/defending them does violence to vast swaths of evidence gathered by scientists who are actual genuine intellectuals who actually value evidence and let it speak for itself.

  2. Holopupenko says:

    Nick scientistically Matzke-ied himself again: Christians are anti-intellectuals by definition, scientists are actual genuine intellectuals. I wonder what scientific theory supports that kind of hate speech…

  3. stephen says:

    @ Holopupenko –

    Christians are anti-intellectual because of the vast number of scientific facts which they deny, simply because those facts don’t coincide with their “beliefs”. It’s not hate speech – it’s fact.

    Scientists aren’t steered by subjective bias: they go where the empiricism leads them.

  4. Crude says:

    Christian anti-intellectualism? There’s no need to overcome it. So long as that means Christians rejecting people who think of themselves as intellectuals employing their intellects to deceive, misrepresent, hit-and-run, and generally conduct themselves poorly in their war against ideas they simply dislike.

    Me, I believe in an “old earth”, evolution, and I’m not too big on a global Noah flood. On the other hand, there are “intellectuals” who believe in even crazier ideas – that there are no such things as beliefs or intentionality, or morality, and that it may be a good idea if humanity became extinct (See that praised intellectual, Peter Singer, for that one).

    Give me the YECs any day of the week over the anti-scientific, intellectually vapid social/political rants and wriggles by Matzke and company. Christians don’t need the approval of such so-called “intellectuals”. But those “intellectuals” do need the approval of those they wish to influence – Christians, in this case – for their self-anointing of “intellectuals” to actually have merit. Otherwise, they’re just yet another person with an opinion. And you know what they say about opinions, eh? Everybody has one.

    And consider that one person’s meager response to your article, Tom. You want Christians to get beyond this “anti-intellectual” crap they have been tarred with? It’s going to require some tough calls. Calls that will likely make some people stand up and leave your Starbucks table so to speak. You’re going to have to tell people who think of themselves as “genuine intellectuals” that they are in fact no such thing.

    Sometimes, there’s no nice, gentle way to do what must be done as a Christian.

  5. Tom Gilson says:

    Nick and Stephen,

    Christian anti-intellectualism has its own history, and yes it is an issue. But your diagnosis of it is, well, raging anti-intellectualism of your own on display. For you (especially Stephen) have equated intellectual capacity with believing a certain set of scientific facts, as if that were all there was to learning and to knowledge. I don’t know how to express strongly enough just how distant that is from a genuine learning posture. It ignores most (yes, most) of the knowledge in the world, it has no place for literature, philosophy, history, or the arts. Stephen, if you think scientists aren’t steered by subjective bias, then you have denied knowledge of culture and of psychology that isn’t even terribly controversial.

    There are two kinds of scientific reductionism. We’ve talked about one in other places; it has to do with reducing all phenomena to atomistic interactions (biology reducing to physics, for example). The other kind is the one that reduces all knowledge (as if that were possible) to scientific knowledge. I choose the word “reduce” very carefully and advisedly: for those who do this make the world of knowledge—and their own scope of knowledge—very, very small.

  6. Tom Gilson says:

    Crude,

    The anti-intellectualism I want to overcome is this: a carelessness toward full discipleship of the mind. Stephen’s comment is a good example of what you referred to in the second sentence, and what it represents is not the real issue. I don’t want to spend much time on misconceptions like his. Nick’s questions about the Flood and etc. raise interesting subjects, at least; but he’s wrong (anti-intellectual, in fact) to think they define the difference between intellectualism and anti-intellectualism.

    As for the Starbucks table, my goal is to speak the truth in love. Sometimes, yes, the truth will hurt.

  7. stephen says:

    Hi, Tom –

    No, I merely am pointing out that it’s profoundly anti-intellectual to consciously ignore scientific fact. For example, I cite two of many examples: i) creationism is false, because the “facts” upon which it’s based are made up to suit Christian dogma; the Three Laws are patently ignored ii) Humans never, at any time, co-existed with dinosaurs; again, the 40 or so radiosotopes used for radioisotopometric dating are completely ignored or merely 14C-dating is attacked (like Ken Hovind does so porously) with more nonscience (feel free to read his website).

    Ignoring thermodynamic fact, while enjoying all the luxuries (and indeed lifesaving benefits) that science affords, which are based expressly on the Three Laws is a clear and present benchmark of anti-intellectualism; you use science every day, yet apparently can afford the hypocritical largesse to armchair quarterback and dismiss empiricism without a shred of your own empirical data (and please don’t cite the IRC’s 3He/4He differentials – any high-schooler can figure out how flawed their hypotheses are).

    Your comment that “as if that were all there was…” is thoroughly dismissive and for the simple reason that said learning is irrelevant if the facts are not accurate: this statement holds for ALL learning, regardless of whether it’s learning biblical myth, chemistry, epistemology, etc.

    Feel free to ignore the Three Laws. You are then forced to give up your smoke detectors (241Am is the isotope used to trigger it) PET scans (beta decay), MRI (spin-active isotopes), DNA evidence (intron/exon conservation ratios are the hallmark of Evolutionary theory). To do otherwise is fundamentally, fatally hypocritical. Christians do this every second of every day – they CHOOSE to ignore (or are, even more sorrily, unaware) the intellectuals that, through training and very hard work, take great pains to patiently explain scientific fact. Indeed, the anti-intellectual fervor at Christian rallies both here in New York (e.g. WOW jam) as well as many other places (KY, OH, TX) where I’ve been is aggressive and, one time, violent toward me (I was wearing a Maxwell’s Eq. tee-shirt – I said nothing).

    As to your comment about scientific subjectivity, Tom. I openly admit that scientists are humans (!) and nevertheless slaves to the biochemistry of their own minds – this includes whatever bias creeps in, pre-conceived notions, misconceptions, etc., ad nauseam. That said, EVERY scientist will tell you that he/she is a slave to the data; empiricism + the Three Laws are the ultimate guide in scientific exploration.

  8. Nick (Matzke) says:

    Gee, I thought intellectualism had something to do with following the truth wherever it leads. But you are just unwilling to do it in the cases I mentioned, and similar issues, as is much of conservative evangelicalism. Not only do they disagree with the overwhelming and basically simple physical evidence, they often make a huge public stink about it, and try and get their pseudoscience into the public schools. If you want to know why many think that conservative evangelicals are anti-intellectual, there’s one huge reason, and no one will have any good reason to think otherwise until evangelicals change their tune on this. This doesn’t have anything to do with art or appreciating history or whatever. If you are intellectual about all of those things, but then endorse views that violate geological and biological evidence in about the same way that flat-earthism violates geographical evidence, then you’re anti-intellectual.

    Don’t believe me if you don’t want to — see evangelical historian Mark Noll, “Scandal of the Evangelical Mind.”

  9. Crude says:

    Tom,

    I would agree that Nick is anti-intellectual, and I’d go on to say he demonstrates as much in spades. He’s very demonstrative of someone who cares very little about actual science, reason, or affairs of the intellect. But hey, grinding political axes in the name of science or reason is nothing new. Just look at the French Revolution – lucky, all those anti-intellectuals have nowadays is usually a keyboard or an organization. No guillotines, thankfully.

    That aside, I may be missing something. I interpreted the article you wrote as urging christians, christian leaders and apologists to strive to reject the “anti-intellectual” label they’ve been stuck with in a largely unjust way, so that’s what I responded to. Here you seem to be talking more about avoiding the dangers of actually being anti-intellectual. Fair enough, I’d say – maybe you can flesh out more what you mean about “full discipleship of the mind”?

  10. Tom Gilson says:

    In my open letter I wrote,

    But the engagement isn’t enough. We need to be about turning around Christian intellectual culture, to the end that every church can engage its own people or its own community from a position of strength.

    We’ve gained some intellectual ground in recent years, but we have a long way to go.

    I have a lot more to say about discipleship of the mind, but the short answer is that we have the call to pursue it, we have the heritage for it, we have some excellent examples in history and in contemporary Christianity, but we still need to pursue more general agreement among Christians that the life of the mind is an integral aspect of growth in the body of Christ.

  11. Tom Gilson says:

    Interesting, Nick, your reference to “flat-earthism.” Quick now, without looking it up, what was the origin of flat-earthism, when did it first make its appearance in history, and what is its significance in the history of ideas?

    While you’re thinking about that, you might also want to think about your insistence that “This doesn’t have anything to do with … history or whatever.”

  12. Charlie says:

    Flat earth. Matzked again!

  13. SteveK says:

    To further expose Nick’s bias, logical error and misinformation, I’d like to hear him explain how Christian belief necessarily contradicts the facts of science.

  14. Holopupenko says:

    Tom: Don’t argue with a fool; onlookers won’t know the difference. (I Cor 3:18-19) Asking an atheist to actually think and support their claims is asking a bit too much, isn’t it?

  15. Tom Gilson says:

    I’m open to anyone commenting here who keeps within the commenting guidelines, and I’ll respond as I deem appropriate. I don’t think there’s anything out of line in asking anyone to think and support their claims. If they find those claims difficult to support, then that’s an interesting outcome.

  16. Tom Gilson says:

    Stephen,

    Since I don’t ignore the Three Laws, I’m going to feel free to treat your 5:09 pm comment as irrelevant.

  17. SteveK says:

    Stephen’s last comment was one giant straw man against core Christian belief. Anti-intellectualism?

  18. Nick (Matzke) says:

    What are you saying about flat earth-ism? I suspect you think that I’m one of those people who believes the historical myth that people/Christians thought the Earth was flat until Columbus. No, I know that’s a historical myth, furthermore I know it’s a historical myth often invoked by ignorant anti-religious people, who say that Christianity is dumb because it supported flat-earthism. All that is wrong. Educated people knew the Earth was round back in pre-Christian Greek times, and Eratostanes even measured its circumference.

    The relevant work on all this is:
    Russell, Jeffrey B. 1991. Inventing the Flat Earth. New York: Praeger Publishers.

    Therefore, I didn’t make any such claims about Christians being flat earthers.

    I did say, though, that believing in a global Noah’s Flood, any local flood big enough to kill all of humanity, or in the literal ancestry of humanity from only 2 individuals — views which you, and many evangelicals, seem to adhere to, or at least think is reasonable — is on the same intellectual level as believing in a flat earth. The facts — diverse, widespread, simple, abundant facts — clearly, unambiguously say one thing, and you guys just deny/ignore them and say the opposite, the facts be damned. This is anti-intellectualism.

    Meanwhile, I’ve been accused of anti-intellectualism here based on, let’s see, absolutely nothing. You guys seem to think I’m just name calling and so you’re doing it back. But I have a very simple argument, I made it, and you guys haven’t responded except with name calling. Further support for the anti-intellectual nature of conservative evangelicalism.

  19. Nick (Matzke) says:

    Eratostanes –> Eratosthenes

  20. Tom Gilson says:

    Nick,

    You say you were accused based on absolutely nothing. This from comment 6, then, must be “absolutely nothing:”

    [Y]ou (especially Stephen) have equated intellectual capacity with believing a certain set of scientific facts, as if that were all there was to learning and to knowledge. I don’t know how to express strongly enough just how distant that is from a genuine learning posture. It ignores most (yes, most) of the knowledge in the world, it has no place for literature, philosophy, history, or the arts.

    There are two kinds of scientific reductionism. We’ve talked about one in other places; it has to do with reducing all phenomena to atomistic interactions (biology reducing to physics, for example). The other kind is the one that reduces all knowledge (as if that were possible) to scientific knowledge.

    Is it your position that this is indeed absolutely nothing? Or do you want to perhaps rescind or at least soften your insistence on one narrow litmus test defining intellectual responsibility?

  21. Crude says:

    Nick Matzke,

    Meanwhile, I’ve been accused of anti-intellectualism here based on, let’s see, absolutely nothing.

    Absolutely nothing? Do you think your reputation fails to precede you? Your calling people “creationists” when they are nothing of the kind, and you know exactly what that term fully implies? Your hypocritical denunciation of ID proponents for finding intelligence and guidance at work in nature, yet your utter silence when it comes to atheists and materialists insisting they too can detect intelligence and guidance’s lack in nature?

    You are an anti-intellectual, Nick, on these terms: You intentionally exaggerate and misrepresent the views of those you disagree with, and turn a blind eye to excesses by those “on your side”. There are scientists, Nick, who insist there is no such thing as intentionality in nature, and that science shows this. No such thing as “belief”, and science shows the same. There are scientists who insist that science shows morality and free will and even subjectivity does not really exist – that there is no intrinsic value to any life, no actual and real wrongness for any murder or rape. Again, I want to make this clear: They are saying that this is a ‘scientific’ view of the world. This isn’t a position of philosophy or theology to them – they say this is demonstrated by science. I could go on, but I think that’s enough.

    When can I expect you to come out swinging against men and women maligning science in that way? Do I need to provide you references to the Churchlands, to Peter Singer, and all the rest making these and other claims on behalf of science? Ask me to do so, and I will gladly. I’ll point you at their conferences, I’ll point you at their articles, I’ll point you at the praise they receive from many of these precious “science defenders”, and I’ll ask you why you in particular – you crusader on behalf of “intellectualism” and “science” – are so shockingly silent about these abuses.

    But let’s face it: We already know why. Because you don’t give a damn about science, or about “intellectualism”. You don’t even give much of a damn about evolution or the age of the earth. You care, specifically, about Christianity. “Conservative” Christianity, as I believe you would put it. But sorry, Nick. You don’t have the track record, intellectually or ethically, to speak from the position of authority you pretend to deserve. That has been made abundantly clear by your comments-section culture warring over the years.

    But hey, here’s a challenge for you: Prove me wrong. Tell me that science is incapable of answering the question of whether nature, even evolution, is or is not ultimately guided. Tell me that science does not show that there exists no objective morality, or beliefs, or intentionality, or teleology, or subjectivity. Tell me that science, while tremendously important, is a limited thing, and should not be passed off as science alone when married to philosophical or metaphysical assumptions – including materialism, or atheism. And tell me that all the people who says “Science shows” about subjects science does not and can not speak to – whether it be Dan Dennett, Richard Dawkins, the Churchlands, Peter Singer, or anyone else – are abusing science, and are anti-intellectual.

    Prove me wrong. In fact, I’ll offer up a hypothesis: “Nick will not admit these things. Further, he will obfuscate, deflect, ignore or avoid making a clear statement denouncing such abuse or those clearly engaging in it. Just as any faux intellectual who merely pretends to hold science in esteem truly would.”

    Ball’s in your court, crusader.

  22. Holopupenko says:

    Crude: Dude! I want to party with you!!

  23. Montel's Python says:

    Crude,
    hats off. I probably wouldn’t agree with you on most topics but your responses to ‘Nick (Matzke) says’ were something else.

    I’m mainly talking about the rhetorical value of them. But I don’t want to down play it – you’re good at debating.

  24. Montel's Python says:

    Okay…
    I look stupid now.
    I thought the name was “Nick(Matzke)Says” (like a clever, hipster name or something) – I see that “says” follows everyone’s name.

    duuuhhhh.

  25. Charlie says:

    A grand example of Nick’s brand of intellectualism.
    http://pandasthumb.org/archives/2009/12/hunter-not-youn.html
    After accusing Hunter, for the sake of his own gratification, of being a young earth creationist:
    http://pandasthumb.org/archives/2009/11/hunter-vs-hunt.html

    As a last treat for the 150th anniversary of the Origin, have a look at young-earth creationist creationist Cornelius Hunter [Update: Hunter has stated he is not a young-earth creationist on his blog, so I guess he’s not, although that position directly follows from his stated theology/philosophy],

    ( and as he has done others, Caroline Crocker, for example … talk about rhetorical ploys) Matzke was corrected by Hunter himself.
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.com/2009/12/de-novo-genes-criticism-from-nick.html

    This is a genre that evolutionists seemed to have honed, and I was quickly reminded of it in Matzke’s opening where he labelled me as a “young-earth creationist.” Not only am I not a young-earth creationist, I have never even written about the topic. But accuracy and truth are not prominent in this genre.

    For evolutionists the “young-earth creationist” label carries immense rhetorical value which outweighs any loss of credibility that may result. After all, the evolutionist can always respond to correction with taunts of secrecy, denial, and so forth. Indeed, I am routinely labelled as a “closet young-earth creationist.”

    So much for truth and accuracy. And of course the fact of evolution stands firm:
    ….
    Matzke misrepresents both the science and my points. Far from ignoring the sequence evidence, it is precisely that evidence that is problematic for evolution. Protein coding sequences are extremely unlikely but here we find a significant part of one in a non-coding region.

    So Nick corrects his claim, sort of, by saying Hunter might as well be a YEC and adds:
    “So: my new position is that Cornelius Hunter is an agnostic-on-the-age-of-the-earth creationist”.

    This is how he Matzkes when he’s not mistaking “Gott mit uns” for an argument for Nazi devotion to the Christian faith.

  26. Charlie says:

    For more of the same, search “Matzke” on this comment thread:
    http://stillsearching.wordpress.com/2008/02/28/no-discussion-allowed/

  27. Charlie says:

    Indeed I did.
    I missed this nugget on the same thread, too:
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.com/2010/05/let-worship-begin.html?showComment=1273972951636#c7006878089478653097

    And Hunter’s reply:
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.com/2010/05/let-worship-begin.html?showComment=1274021696257#c4592440347755094830

    It’s fascinating because, I know Nick is a smart guy, yet look what he is reduced to. Of course one sees sophmoric rants all the time which go unheeded. But Matzke is not a no-nothing anonymous chatter just throwing mud for the fun of it. He is a smart, intelligent, knowledgable, well-educated, life scientist. And yet this is indistinguishable from a sophmoric rant.

    Your classy rebuttal:
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.com/2010/05/let-worship-begin.html?showComment=1274159366398#c7851696037321541514

    I don’t believe you. First, young-earth creationists are pretty much fundamentalists by definition, and it’s pretty clear from your theological statements that you are YEC or one of those “I’m agnostic on the age of the Earth” people, although for some reason you appear to not have the courage of your convictions to admit it outright.

    Yep, anti-intellectualism to its core.

    Hunter keeps answering:
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.com/2010/05/let-worship-begin.html?showComment=1274252802917#c1983457208644572752

    Yep, you did apologize when, once again, your ‘guilty until proven innocent” smear was exposed. Good on you.

    I also missed your apology to Crocker. Where’s that one?

  28. Nick (Matzke) says:

    But hey, here’s a challenge for you: Prove me wrong. Tell me that science is incapable of answering the question of whether nature, even evolution, is or is not ultimately guided.

    Well, let the shocks begin. I agree with this statement. It’s the New Atheists and the fundamentalists who disagree.

    Tell me that science does not show that there exists no objective morality, or beliefs, or intentionality, or teleology, or subjectivity.

    I also agree with this. Heck, even New Atheists (I am not an atheist, old or new, BTW) would (most of them) agree that beliefs, intentions, subjectivity, and objective morality exist. Cosmic teleology, of course, they would disagree with.

    Tell me that science, while tremendously important, is a limited thing, and should not be passed off as science alone when married to philosophical or metaphysical assumptions – including materialism, or atheism.

    Agreed. So I guess you would agree that the limits of science not only exclude philosophical naturalism, but also supernaturalism, from the domain of science? Great!

    And tell me that all the people who says “Science shows” about subjects science does not and can not speak to – whether it be Dan Dennett, Richard Dawkins, the Churchlands,

    The who? Never heard of them.

    Peter Singer,

    Singer is well-known, I’ve heard of him, but I’ve never even read him. The fact that some philosopher has pissed off some evangelicals does not mean that he means anything to evolutionary biology, philosophy of science, science popularization, etc.

    For Dennett and Dawkins a case can be made, though.

    or anyone else – are abusing science, and are anti-intellectual.

    Are they (I am speaking of Dennett and Dawkins here, I don’t know what the others have said) abusing science when they use science to argue for metaphysical conclusions like atheism? I think so, yes.

    And, if anyone’s been following what Dawkins types have been saying about mainstream scientific organizations — NAS, AAAS, the anti-creationist National Center for Science Education — they don’t like the mainstream scientific position very much, which is the position that metaphysical questions are outside the limited domain of science. In fact, attacking us mainstreamers on this issue has been a primary occupation of the New Atheists.

    Are they anti-intellectual for doing so? Tough to say. They at least get the science mostly right, and the metaphysical questions are famously unresolved. And many of the nastier quotes that come from these two have been abstracted out of a much wider body of writing, much of which makes good points and is not as dogmatic and harsh as they are sometimes made to seem. On the other hand, Dawkins in particular has really ratcheted up the rhetoric following 9/11, the ID fracas, and the Bush administration. His “God Delusion” was not scintillating, whereas some of his earlier books on biology really were good. I would say his claim equating parents educating their children in their religion to child abuse is obviously wrong on several different levels, including morally, and does legitimately qualify as anti-intellectual. Arguing for atheism, by itself, is not anti-intellectual, though.

    What is anti-intellectual is maintaining a belief despite the well-known existence of obvious, strong, unambiguous empirical disconfirmation. Believing in any of the following have to qualify, in this day and age: flat-earth, geocentrism, young earth, global Flood, separate ancestry of humans (denial of common ancestry), or a local Flood big enough to wipe out all of humanity. Believing in these sorts of things is basically to take the physical evidence that scientists have gathered, and throwing it down a well.

    Other things that qualify include repeating idiotic young-earth creationist myths, like the idea that the early fossil horse Hyracotherium was just a hyrax. Which is one of the things that Caroline Crocker put on her slides which she gave in her creationist lectures to her students. Stuff like this is just indefensible if you have any academic integrity.

    PS: The latest in my battles with the New Atheists:

    In defense of Mary Midgley
    http://pandasthumb.org/archives/2010/06/in-defense-of-m.html

  29. Nick (Matzke) says:

    I only just now saw Crocker’s denial of being a YEC. Revealingly, she doesn’t say how old she thinks the Earth actually is. When she explains to us where she got the idea that Hyracotherium is just a hyrax, and why teaching that idea to students paying for an education was a good idea, then I’ll reconsider.

    I’m glad, though, that you seem to agree that being a young-earth creationist is a really horrible thing, intellectually. Does everyone else on the thread agree?

  30. Charlie says:

    Ooh. “Revealingly”. Like Hunter, her denials are not enough (because YECs are apparently, by definition, liars) until she signs a declaration of faith.

    Tell you what, Nick, I’ll match your magnanimity. I don’t believe you when you call Dean Kenyon a YEC, either. It seems to me that the man who wrote the textbook (literally) on the chemical evolution of OOL would believe in, at least, the vast amounts of time that would require. But I can’t prove it. That’s okay. Taking your lead, until you can prove you are right I will presume you are wrong.
    Do you have anything better than references to your own writings or to a college newspaper from the 80s?
    If you have, I’ll apologize to you.

    No, when I call references to YEC a “smear” I am talking about your rhetorical attempts, not the position.

  31. Nick (Matzke) says:

    “It seems to me that the man who wrote the textbook (literally) on the chemical evolution of OOL would believe in, at least, the vast amounts of time that would require. But I can’t prove it.”

    Sure, he believed in an old earth in the 1960s. But in the 1970s he read Henry Morris and A.E. Wilder-Smith and changed his mind, and started promoting young-earth creationism.

    I don’t know why you’re skeptical, except that you’re just feeling ornery. I’ve directly quoted the man in my publications, and it was a direct quote endorsing YEC from a San Francisco newspaper, not a college newspaper. In the article, there’s a photo of him holding up Henry Morris’s book “Scientific Creationism”, for godsakes. He was scheduled to testify in defense of creation science laws in both the 1981 McLean v. Arkansas case, and the 1981-1987 Edwards v. Aguillard case. And even in the last decade or so, he attended/published for YEC groups like the International Conference on Creationism and the catholic YEC group, the Kolbe Center. But I’ve said all this before.

    I suppose I can expect your apology?

    Re: YEC smear — So, do you think YEC is an intellectually responsible position? Or is it anti-intellectualism?

  32. Charlie says:

    No, you are a long way from earning an apology. Remember, guilty until proven innocent.
    I don’t want references to what you’ve said before, I’d like proof.
    You directly quoted him? When did you interview Kenyon and extract that information?
    Or can you show me where he has written or endorsed YEC in his own writings? Or maybe in a video?
    He was scheduled to testify in support of “creation science” was he? So what? Except for your anti-intellectual equivocations on the term “creation” what would that mean? What was he going to say about the age of the earth? We know that when Stephen Meyer did testify your side ambushed him out of the gate with the irrelevant question about the age of the earth (before coming up empty) so we know this is exactly the information you would have gone after.

    Ornery? Maybe. But I’ve been skeptical since I first saw you saying this and I’ve told you so before. I’m skeptical because I don’t believe his giving up on the idea of undirected chemical OOL led to as radical a change as to alter his view on the age of the earth downward by orders of magnitude. Also, I’ve seen videos in which he talks about the evidence his students brought to him and his exploration of it and he never mentions the age of the earth at all. It’s certainly not in his Aguillard affadivit, is it?

    I do think YEC is intellectually reasonable – for those who hold to it.
    Reasonableness is contingent upon weighing the evidence available to a person against their background knowledge. There are professional scientists in every discipline who know the evidence intimately and hold a YEC position.
    Look, here’s one now:
    http://toddcwood.blogspot.com/

    Do you think “Gott mit uns” is an intellectually responsible reply to the question of Hitler’s beliefs vis creation versus evolution?

  33. Charlie says:

    Now that I think about it, Nick, I wonder, did you work behind the scenes in Kansas and advise that fishing expedition with Meyer? A lot of your fellow Pandas used to call him (and Luskin, for example) YEC. Did they get that from you?

  34. Crude says:

    Nick Matzke,

    Before I go on, Nick, I want to commend your reply here. What can I say? I wasn’t exactly nice and gentle about this, and you stepped up. You even falsified my hypothesis – great work!

    Now let’s get on to the meat of the replies.

    Well, let the shocks begin. I agree with this statement. It’s the New Atheists and the fundamentalists who disagree.

    Alright. So you agree that science is incapable of answering the question of whether nature, or even evolution, is or is not ultimately guided. Noted, moving on.

    I also agree with this. Heck, even New Atheists (I am not an atheist, old or new, BTW) would (most of them) agree that beliefs, intentions, subjectivity, and objective morality exist. Cosmic teleology, of course, they would disagree with.

    You agree that science doesn’t show the lack of objective morality, beliefs, intentionality, subjectivity, or teleology? Again, great. I disagree with your estimation of the New Atheists, but I’ll have more on that below. Noted, moving on.

    Agreed. So I guess you would agree that the limits of science not only exclude philosophical naturalism, but also supernaturalism, from the domain of science? Great!

    Yes and no: Naturalism, and therefore supernaturalism, are tremendously difficult to define. David Chalmers claims to be a dualist of sorts, and rejects materialism – he claims to be a naturalist too. He and Nick Bostrom both think it’s possible we live in a simulated universe, which they say is design, and which they say is naturalism. John Gribbin and others put forth similar views.

    I’d probably agree with you in some senses, but it’s not as easy a line to draw anymore.

    The who? Never heard of them.

    Paul and Patricia Churchland. They aren’t exactly small names in philosophy of mind, and if you’ve read Dennett’s books you’ve likely come across them. Eliminative materialism? This rings no bells?

    But alright – you say you’ve not heard of them. Moving on.

    Singer is well-known, I’ve heard of him, but I’ve never even read him. The fact that some philosopher has pissed off some evangelicals does not mean that he means anything to evolutionary biology, philosophy of science, science popularization, etc.

    And this is where I call baloney. Yes, Peter Singer is well-known. How much of his thinking he bases off evolutionary biology is also well-known. He’s more than happy to say that science baptizes his conclusions about human worth, morality, and more.

    But he’s under your radar. After all, what do you care about someone who “pissed off some evangelicals”. And this is the sort of uneven treatment I’ve pointed out: If someone writes a book or an article sympathetic to ID even in the most broad sense, even without saying ID is science, then hell breaks loose. If an “evangelical” even abstains from making a clear declaration about evolution or the age of the earth, by Darwin, we have to hound him until he relents!

    But do what Singer is doing? Do what Dawkins and company have done? Well, then the tone changes. Suddenly the NCSE statements, the fierce Nick Matzke comments, they don’t show up. Now, those guys are merely small potatoes, or they’re just expressing their opinions, or it doesn’t directly bear on the question.

    Again, it’s baloney.

    Are they (I am speaking of Dennett and Dawkins here, I don’t know what the others have said) abusing science when they use science to argue for metaphysical conclusions like atheism? I think so, yes.

    I agree. So let me ask you something.

    Where the hell have you, the NCSE, and every other “science defender” been the past few years when they were abusing science left and right? Where were the denunciations that flew so fast and furious when ID proponents (even ones who accept evolution, an old earth, and common descent – regardless of what other disagreements you may have with them) claimed that science and nature show the presence of an ultimate intelligence or guiding agent? Why is it that when “conservative evangelicals” or whatever label you slap on them argue science proves their metaphysics or philosophical claims, it merits one reaction, and when New Atheists or the like do the same damn thing in a different direction, it merits another – or no reaction at all?

    And, if anyone’s been following what Dawkins types have been saying about mainstream scientific organizations — NAS, AAAS, the anti-creationist National Center for Science Education — they don’t like the mainstream scientific position very much, which is the position that metaphysical questions are outside the limited domain of science. In fact, attacking us mainstreamers on this issue has been a primary occupation of the New Atheists.

    I have been following it, enough to know this isn’t a fair representation. The New Atheists have been accusing the NCSE and others of being “accomodationists”, and the public replies from those they attack haven’t been denunciations of the New Atheists’ abuse. Instead, they’ve been weak pleas for understanding, arguing that what the NCSE and company are doing is thinking strategically (in other words, making alliances of convenience with religious organizations).

    You said yourself that the New Atheists have been abusing science. Where are the denunciations of Dawkins and Dennett and Harris and Hitchens? They don’t exist. Certainly not at all with the force reserved for ID proponents, or OECs/YECs, or even those who simply refuse to commit on those questions. Trying to downplay this by arguing that, well hey, Dawkins and company are upset with the NCSE and other groups because they aren’t as enthusiastically onboard with their New Atheism schtick as they’d like them to be.. that doesn’t work.

    Are they anti-intellectual for doing so? Tough to say. They at least get the science mostly right, and the metaphysical questions are famously unresolved.

    Again, baloney. No, they don’t get the science mostly right. You tell me, Nick: If I describe evolution as being unguided, without purpose, a series of unplanned and unforeseen accidents, but I endorse common descent and an old age of the earth, did I “get the science right”? If you say “yes” on the grounds that you’re mentally able to distill the science from all the metaphysics and philosophy I stuffed into what I just said and say “Well, if you leave out all that other stuff, it’s accurate”, then you’re making it clear that defending science is of little real interest to you. Just as, if a health inspector gives a restaurant a passing mark because “If you ignore all the rats and cockroaches and droppings, the restaurant is actually pretty well run”, you can be pretty sure that – occupation aside – the guy ain’t that concerned about health.

    I would say his claim equating parents educating their children in their religion to child abuse is obviously wrong on several different levels, including morally, and does legitimately qualify as anti-intellectual. Arguing for atheism, by itself, is not anti-intellectual, though.

    I didn’t say arguing for atheism was. I specifically talked about the people, and there are many of them, who say ‘science shows…’ their philosophical or metaphysical ideas, when science does no such thing. Books abound with these kinds of claims, by New Atheists and others. You say that science is unable to rule on these questions. I ask, well then where are the “defenders of science” on these questions? Where’s the NCSE? Where have you been?

    Your response is claiming ignorance re: eliminative materialists, despite their being very well known and directed connected to guys like Dennett (whose own takes on consciousness, belief, intentionality, etc aren’t exactly hidden) and celebrated academics. Or you admit that some New Atheists, Dawkins in particular, have been abusing science or have been anti-intellectual, which makes the lack of condemnations (A few short years ago, these guys were topping the best seller lists) all the more damning. Your strongest defense here has been to point out that, hey, the New Atheists are upset at the NCSE and others too for not doing enough to combat religion. Honestly, Nick, that isn’t much.

    When can I expect the NCSE to condemn these guys or these abuses? Hell, when can I expect to see right on Panda’s Thumb, or right on the NCSE webpage, these statements you agreed to: “Tell me that science, while tremendously important, is a limited thing, and should not be passed off as science alone when married to philosophical or metaphysical assumptions – including materialism, or atheism.” & “science is incapable of answering the question of whether nature, even evolution, is or is not ultimately guided.”?

    Anytime soon?

    PS: The latest in my battles with the New Atheists:

    Nick, come on. This is the latest in your “battle with the New Atheists”? A piece on Midgley, defensively assuring everyone that Midgley is absolutely not “theism-friendly”, an endorsement of “bringing Darwinism into philosophy”, and defending her by hesitantly asking “New Atheists” to keep an open mind about her? Even in the muted sense of debate and discussion, that isn’t a “battle”. That’s a Hallmark Card. Even if the New Atheists promptly tore it up and cursed you out. (I see it took them as long as the second comment to hit that note.)

    One more time: If you agree, if the NCSE and other “science-defending” people and organizations agree with what I just laid out here, you all have done a damn good job of hiding it over the years.

  35. Nick (Matzke) says:

    Wow. You might try using google a little more.

    1. http://ncse.com/religion

    2. Read the first several pages of comments the Midgley blog and tell me again what a quivering flower I am in the face of the New Atheists. You think I’m taking flack here on Thinking Christian? It’s nothing compared to having the New Atheists on your case.

    3. December 2009 (I think), Kolbe Center pro-YEC book on Genesis. Endorsed by…Dean Kenyon!

    Kolbe Center for the Study of Creation
    952 Kelly Rd., Mt. Jackson, VA 22842
    Tel: 540-856-8453 E-Mail: [email protected]

    For me You have created the skies scattered with stars . . . and all the beautiful things on earth

    (St. Maximilian Kolbe)
    http://www.kolbecenter.org

    Dear Friends of the Kolbe Center,

    Pax Christi!

    As Christmas rapidly approaches, I am happy to announce a new breakthrough for our apostolate. Fr. Victor Warkulwiz, our chief theological advisor, has written a major work on the doctrines of Genesis 1-11, which has just been published with a foreword by Bishop Robert Vasa of the Baker Diocese in Oregon. Bishop Vasa has this to say about Fr. Victor’s work:

    The Doctrines of Genesis 1–11: A Compendium and Defense of Traditional Catholic Theology on Origins, by Reverend Victor P. Warkulwiz, M.S.S., is a wonderfully researched and thoroughly stimulating work. Father Warkulwiz, drawing on his very substantial scientific background, walks us through the early chapters of Genesis showing and giving testimony to the essential compatibility between the literal account of Genesis, the understanding of the Fathers of the Church and the modern day observations of natural science.

    He very cogently points out that many of the accepted scientific conclusions which contradict the days of creation and the great flood are based on a variety of unproven premises which are pillars set firmly on sand. Father very adeptly tackles the complex issues of cosmogony, astronomy, astrophysics, mathematics, nuclear science, evolutionary theory, geological uniformitarianism, radiocarbon dating, big bang theory, and others to show that the observed phenomena which they try to explain are just as readily, properly and easily explained by such Genesis factors as direct creation by God and the Genesis Flood. In doing so he opens a clear path for dedicated Christians to read the Book of Genesis with a renewed and, to a certain extent, unencumbered faith.

    Dr. Dean Kenyon, Ph.D. Biophysics, and formerly one of the leading evolutionary biologists in the world, writes that Fr. Victor “brilliantly demonstrates that the relevant results of modern science, rightly interpreted, are much more consistent with the traditional Catholic view of origins than they are with macro-evolutionary theory.” And Fr. James Anderson, Ph.D., Philosophy, and former Academic Dean of Holy Apostles College and Seminary, writes that Fr. Victor’s “scholarship is first rate and his argument is incisive. This book is a must for scholars, students and laymen.”

    This is a book that can change the way that Catholic bishops, pastors, and teachers think about origins. It is a book that can do more to restore the traditional Catholic understanding of origins and human history than perhaps any book written in the past 60 years. Although expensive (roughly 560 pages, $32.95 + shipping), it is a book that ought to become a standard reference for every Catholic home, seminary, college, and high school. Please help to promote this book in your parish and community. Please pray that through the prayers of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Maximilian Kolbe, Fr. Victor’s book will cause great numbers of bishops, priests and lay people to return to the traditional Catholic understanding of Genesis, the foundation of the Gospel.

    May the Lord Jesus find a blessed home in your hearts this Christmas and always!

    Yours in Christ,

    Hugh Owen, Director
    Kolbe Center for the Study of Creation

    4.

    I do think YEC is intellectually reasonable – for those who hold to it.

    Reasonableness is contingent upon weighing the evidence available to a person against their background knowledge. There are professional scientists in every discipline who know the evidence intimately and hold a YEC position.

    There are a lot of professional scientists in the world, and a few of them believe in homeopathy, psychics, and bigfoot, too. So I guess those are intellectually reasonable as well? And having scientists “in every discipline” who are YECs doesn’t even weigh in your favor. Show me some geologists. Like, ones that don’t work for creationist ministries or fundamentalist schools. Even some of them that do don’t support your case — Kurt Wise, for instance, basically admits that the physical evidence, if allowed to speak for itself, supports an old earth, not a young earth. But he’s basically said he doesn’t care, the Bible comes first. He’s a nice guy, but there is no clearer case of anti-intellectualism.

    And they aren’t intimately familiar with the evidence. If they were, they’d have an explanation for the uncanny agreement of radiometric dates of asteroids, the moon, etc:
    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-age-of-earth.html

    …and the absence of any isotopes with short half-lives (except those being produced by other radioactive decay):
    http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/p14.htm

    …etc: http://www.talkorigins.org/origins/faqs-youngearth.html

    You think YEC is credible? Bam. There goes your credibility with the wider intellectual culture, and rightly so. People who believe in YEC deliberately (rather than being raised in it) have decided to ignore the physical evidence and believe their particular reading of Genesis, evidence be damned. And that’s anti-intellectualism.

  36. Tom Gilson says:

    Nick,

    You’ve never heard of the Churchlands, but they are leading philosophers of naturalism. Their work absolutely depends on evolution (the non-teleological kind), and they would say that evolution entails their results. They would pointedly disagree with what you say New Atheists believe:

    Heck, even New Atheists (I am not an atheist, old or new, BTW) would (most of them) agree that beliefs, intentions, subjectivity, and objective morality exist.

    That is to say, they argue that evolution entails that these things do not and cannot exist. But you’ve never heard of them. (You might try using google a little more.)

    And then there’s Singer.

    Singer is well-known, I’ve heard of him, but I’ve never even read him. The fact that some philosopher has pissed off some evangelicals does not mean that he means anything to evolutionary biology, philosophy of science, science popularization, etc.

    I’m not going to chide you for not having read Singer. What I am going to say is this:

    The fact that you think the salient point of his career is that he “has pissed off some evangelicals” means that you’re not taking some things very seriously. He’s all over the newspapers and magazines; you don’t need to read him directly to know. The fact that you don’t know what he’s saying about human dignity and meaning means the same thing. The fact that you don’t know that his work, too, is absolutely dependent on (and he, too, would say entailed by) non-telic evolution, means that you’re not paying attention.

    You challenged me once to read Mary Midgley, and I did, and wrote at length about it. You represented yourself then as having some knowledge of evolutionary ethics. That seems pretty intellectual, and I think quite credibly so. But you haven’t dived into it anywhere deep enough.

  37. Tom Gilson says:

    Nick, you said,

    Are they anti-intellectual for doing so? Tough to say. They at least get the science mostly right, and the metaphysical questions are famously unresolved.

    No, the metaphysical question of greatest interest is not unresolved. The question is whether science shows that naturalism is true, or as you put it, “the position that metaphysical questions are outside the limited domain of science.” I don’t think you consider that to be famously unresolved.

  38. Tom Gilson says:

    I have to admit, Nick, you took a lot of heat there at Panda’s Thumb. I’ve been there myself, though under a pseudonym for reasons I hope are obvious enough. It’s not pleasant. You say,

    You think I’m taking flack here on Thinking Christian? It’s nothing compared to having the New Atheists on your case.

    I don’t think they disagree with you more than we do. Why then do you suppose they treat you so much more harshly?

  39. Reidish says:

    Nick,
    This is just way over the top:

    You think YEC is credible? Bam. There goes your credibility with the wider intellectual culture, and rightly so. People who believe in YEC deliberately (rather than being raised in it) have decided to ignore the physical evidence and believe their particular reading of Genesis, evidence be damned. And that’s anti-intellectualism.

    So, YEC is a (the?) sufficient reason for identifying someone as anti-intellectual. Is that right?

    What if I were to substitute, say, moral anti-realism (MAR) for YEC in your argument? Mind you, I’m not presuming anything about your ethical theory, I’m just using it as an example. So suppose I parroted your argument right back at you with that one substitution. Would that be fair? I’m thinking something like this:

    \You think MAR is credible? Bam. There goes your credibility with the wider intellectual culture, and rightly so. People who believe in MAR deliberately (rather than being raised in it) have decided to ignore the moral evidence and believe only that matter in motion exists, evidence be damned. And that’s anti-intellectualism.\

    You’ll note that to answer this question, you will need to resort to non-scientific knowledge. If you see and appreciate that need, then hopefully you’ll appreciate that scientific inquiry constitutes only one method of human intellectual endeavor. At that point, you might be able to back off from such a myopic litmus test for anti-intellectualism.

  40. stephen says:

    Hi, Tom –

    So, you (plural – eg. all Christians) ignoring my comment (@5:09pm) is disingenuous. You (plural – eg. all Christians) do patently ignore the Three Laws because of the specific reasons I listed. You (plural – eg. all Christians) somehow think that the age of the Earth is around 6760 years, you dismiss (without evidence) radioisotopometric dating methods because they disprove the Shroud of Turin, the age of the Earth and all other baseless assertions made by you (plural – eg. all Christians).

    Hi, Montel’s Python

    Please note that I gave you a litany of reasons (all factual evidence). I don’t call you names, nor do I baselessly disparage you (like I am NOT doing here). You practice the same dismissive strategy as Tom: not approaching the copious data I present in an intellectual manner; you are reduced to name-calling. At least Tom merely respectfully dismisses baselessly without name calling.

    I directly challenge you, Montel’s Python, to carefully, cerebrally address in a logical, adult manner, each of my points. I know you cannot, because the data are irrefutable, nor do you apparently have the skills necessary. Again, Tom is quite adept at argumentation – he is simply choosing not to, for obvious reasons.

  41. Charlie says:

    Hi Nick,
    Sorry, your argument by book endorsement doesn’t work. Anyone knows that a book endorsement does not express agreement with every point the author makes (want me to claim as ID proponents every name listed in the “in praise of” sections of ID books?)
    And Kenyon’s reference to the traditional Catholic views doesn’t say anything about believing in a young earth. As well I’m sure you’ve argued, this whole YEC/creationist thing is a phenomenon of relatively recent evangelical, protestant thinking. I bet you’ve said that, haven’t you?
    And you know of many good solid evolution believing Catholics (they look good on a dais, don’t they?) who think that the Catholic view is just fine with billions of years.

    So I take you are admitting that you were not directly quoting Kenyon on his alleged YEC views. Can you give us Salner’s recording showing that Kenyon is a YEC and that the quote was not misinterpreted or misattributed?

    Bam! Yep, exactly. And that is exactly your agenda and exactly why you paint with the YEC brush whenever you get the chance; so that you can
    diminish their ” credibility with the wider intellectual culture” without dealing with their arguments. Bam indeed.

    And they aren’t intimately familiar with the evidence. If they were, they’d have an explanation for the uncanny agreement of radiometric dates of asteroids, the moon,

    Anti-intellectualism again. Being intimately familiar with the evidence does not imply that you have answers for everything within your model (check out Todd Wood). You claim to be a science man so you know this. There are many questions in science that are not yet explained by people intimately familiar with the evidence – thus, the entire ID program and the evolutionist’s lament “but that’s just an argument from ignorance”.

    Show me some geologists. Like, ones that don’t work for creationist ministries or fundamentalist schools

    Why? Why the stipulation regarding where they’ve found work? Seems like a bit of an anti-intellectual ad hominem display there.

  42. Charlie says:

    Warning: it appears your comments might get eaten. remember to save them.

    So, to repeat:

    Hi Nick.

    Nope, your argument by book endorsement will not get you your apology. I still view you as guilty. Everyone knows that an endorsement does not imply agreement with every argument the author makes. I could make a nice list of ID proponents if I lifted every endorsement from the “in praise of” sections on ID books, couldn’t I?

    And the clip about Catholic views says nothing about the age of the Earth. As I’m sure you’ve argued, YEC/creationism is a relatively recent phenomenon associated with evangelical protestants. As your PR dais and your NCSE apologetics often demonstrate, many a good solid Catholic is just fine with billions of years.

    So are you admitting that you did not directly quote Kenyon?
    Who did? Salner? Do you have that actual quote in actual context showing that he was representing his own views and wasn’t misinterpreted or that it wasn’t improperly attributed?

    Show it. I’m not afraid to apologize and I only want to know the truth. Until then, I hold you guilty of spreading false information.

    “Bam”. Yep, exactly. And that is exactly your agenda and exactly why you tar with the YEC brush every chance you get; to destroy “credibility with the wider intellectual culture,” without dealing with the arguments.

    And they aren’t intimately familiar with the evidence. If they were, they’d have an explanation for the uncanny agreement of radiometric dates of asteroids, the moon, etc:

    That’s not an intellectually reasonable position. Being intimately familiar with the evidence does not imply that all problems are solved within a model (see Todd Wood). You bill yourself as a man of science, so you know this. If this weren’t the case there would be no ID program to begin with and the evolutionist’s favourite lament “that’s just an argument from ignorance” wouldn’t ring in our ears so.

    Show me some geologists. Like, ones that don’t work for creationist ministries or fundamentalist schools

    Why? Why would it matter where they’ve found employment (after working at national laboratories or for the U.S. Air Force, for instance)?
    This is just a form of the anti-intellectual reasoning (as demonstrated throughout) known as an ad hominem.

  43. Charlie says:

    By the way, Nick, I was just reviewing your atrocious anti-intellectualism on this past thread:
    https://www.thinkingchristian.net/2009/02/how-wrong-is-it-to-suggest-a-darwin-hitler-link/

    All of these topics came up there (including why you already knew your “Gott mit uns” argument was fallacious.
    But also there was your claim that “Scott Minnich explicitly denied common ancestry” in his Dover testimony. Your claim was challenged on that thread but you didn’t answer it. Can you support it now?
    Being that you were instrumental in shaping the strategy and tactics I expect you to have real knowledge in this area.
    Did Minnich really explicitly deny common descent?

    I’ll apologize for even asking this question if you prove your claim.

  44. Nick (Matzke) says:

    Re: Minnich: see his sworn deposition, pp. 77-80 or so. Oops. The right answer was “yes, common ancestry is correct.” I’ll expect your promised apology.

  45. Charlie says:

    No links, Nick? Too hard, huh? Ok, I’ll go find it as well.

  46. Crude says:

    Nick Matzke,

    Wow. You might try using google a little more.

    1. http://ncse.com/religion

    I am making the claims I am *because* I’ve read the NCSE’s pages, watched your comments, and “used google”.

    I point out the horrible track record of the NCSE and you personally re: taking materialists and New Atheists to task for their abuses of science – several of whom you yourself explicitly agreed DID abuse science in the name of their vendettas – and you give a vague claim of ‘You don’t google enough’ and a link?

    I asked you (among other things) this:

    “When can I expect the NCSE to condemn these guys or these abuses? Hell, when can I expect to see right on Panda’s Thumb, or right on the NCSE webpage, these statements you agreed to: “Tell me that science, while tremendously important, is a limited thing, and should not be passed off as science alone when married to philosophical or metaphysical assumptions – including materialism, or atheism.” & “science is incapable of answering the question of whether nature, even evolution, is or is not ultimately guided.”?”

    I didn’t ask you, as Hess answers, whether the bare existence of a god is compatible with evolution. I didn’t ask you, as the poll post responds, for the bare opinions of scientists on the existence of God, the power of prayer, or whether some scientists think God guides evolution. I damn well know some do. And I didn’t ask for NCSE-sponsored tips on reading the bible or the clergy letter project.

    So again I ask: Where are the statements, Nick? Where are the condemnations of those abusive New Atheists and naturalists (even the particular ones, on the particular topics you yourself agree they are anti-science)? Where is the public statement by the NCSE stating that science is utterly incapable of answering the question of whether nature, even evolution, is or is not ultimately guided?

    2. Read the first several pages of comments the Midgley blog and tell me again what a quivering flower I am in the face of the New Atheists. You think I’m taking flack here on Thinking Christian? It’s nothing compared to having the New Atheists on your case.

    I didn’t say you were a quivering flower. I said your post wasn’t “doing battle” even in the muted sense of internet debate and discussion. It was no condemnation of what I’ve talked about here, it was no statement against their abuses and extremes. And I pointed out myself that they went after you viciously starting right at comment #2.

    Nowhere have I accused you of never receiving New Atheist comment-squad backlash. For crying out loud, Dawkins himself got that when he made an unpopular decision regarding the glorified comments section of his site. “Getting New Atheists blog-commenters in a frenzy” isn’t exactly difficult.

    I’ve centered my points on the abuses of science by New Atheists and some naturalists, about the limits of science on the questions of design and guidance (which you say you agree with), and the lack of action by yourself, the NCSE, and other “science defenders” on those very points. You want me to say that I like some of what you say in that hellhole of a comments section? Fine, I do. Just as I liked some of your responses to me here.

    The questions I ask still stand, and the points I’ve made about the hypocritical focus and effort remain. The moment I see these groups condemning the abuses of science, the anti-intellectualism, of those New Atheists and naturalists I mention, I will celebrate. The moment I see those same groups clearly and boldly delineating the lines between science and metaphysics/philosophy as I’ve mentioned here (and as you claim to agree with) I will celebrate.

    It hasn’t happened yet. And frankly, I think you realize it.

  47. Charlie says:

    Here it is, in your own filing cabinet:
    http://ncse.com/webfm_send/401

    I’m pretty sure I’m wasting my time reading this. If he actually explicitly denied CD, as you claimed on that previous thread, you would have been sure to have gotten that out of him on cross. Your lawyers would have been waving his deposition around and screaming “perjury” if he was anything less than explicit on the stand.Nonetheless, here I go.

    As I reread this and refresh my memory I see Minnich has no opinion on when, how often or in what manner the designer interacted with the design. Doesn’t sound like he’s in a position to deny CD. He also says there are aspects of Darwinism that will be borne out. Again, doesn’t sound like an explicit opposition to CD.

    Aside:
    I like, though, where you had your attorneys demonstrate that biologists are not necessarily any more trained nor expert in evolution than anyone else. Kind of blows that consensus thing out of the water, doesn’t it? And backs up what Skell and Hunter say. I hope you’ve personally commented on their writings that you agree with them.

    Ahh, now we’re getting there … I see Minnich references Woese, as he did in his testimony, on the fact that there could have been not a single LUCA but a community of ancestors. That is not a denial of CD and is, in fact, in keeping with where the evidence and opinion on this subject is going.

    He references him again when he is directly asked about CD.
    Minnich made clear that he, like other wise scientists, can’t affirm CD from abiotic material to proteins to cells and on. Science doesn’t know that.

    Oh, here it is …
    Minnich:
    “So mechanistically, from our present knowledge I have difficulty in terms of assuming that there is this gradual evolution of organisms from the simple to the complex.”
    I guess that’s getting pretty close to what you want, but not quite.
    Carrying on…
    Question:
    “Do you have an opinion as to whether humans and apes descended from a common ancestor?”
    Answer:
    “It’s possible, you know.”
    He then cites the debunked 98% DNA stat as evidence.
    Again, not an explicit denial of CD.

    So, a quick reminder of what you claimed:
    https://www.thinkingchristian.net/2009/02/how-wrong-is-it-to-suggest-a-darwin-hitler-link/
    Commenter:

    No. For example Denton and maybe also Minnich accepts common ancestry of human and apes. And Mike Gene, Collins, Berlinski, and Monton…

    Answered Nick:

    Nope. Minnich is a conservative evangelical, and when explicitly asked he denied common ancestry. All came out in the Kitzmiller case.

    So no, he did not explicitly deny CD. And especially not for humans and apes. He explicitly said it was possible.

    In fact, after talking about our special mental abilities Minnich explicitly said”

    Now, whether we were the gradual descendent of other simians or specially created I don’t know.

    So no, Nick, no apology earned here, either.
    I will admit that he does not affirm complete, universal CD, though, if that makes you happy. But not affirming and denying are two different things.

  48. Charlie says:

    Crude to Nick:

    I didn’t say you were a quivering flower. I said your post wasn’t “doing battle” even in the muted sense of internet debate and discussion. It was no condemnation of what I’ve talked about here, it was no statement against their abuses and extremes. And I pointed out myself that they went after you viciously starting right at comment #2.

    A classic Matzke.
    Nick doesn’t care what you actually said and he doesn’t care what you already pointed out. He’ll argue against what you never said and prove you are in error by affirming exactly what you already pointed out.
    This is not idle gossip on my part, I already linked to ample examples of this.

  49. Tom Gilson says:

    But not affirming and denying are two different things.

    No, Charlie, you know that’s not what Nick thinks. If you don’t affirm every aspect of the party line, if you don’t think what the authorities tell you to think, then you are a denier; and besides that you’re anti-intellectual and you don’t know how to think. Nick won’t be happy without affirmations of complete, universal CD.

    “Orthodoxy means not thinking – not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.”
    – George Orwell, 1984

  50. Tom Gilson says:

    Stephen, re: your 9:52 am comment,

    I’m not choosing to respond to your argument because you haven’t presented one. You’ve informed us you have one, but if so you haven’t delivered it.

  51. Nick (Matzke) says:

    Oh please. I’ve found the machine-readable version of the deposition now, here’s the full passage. I should have said to start on page 74.

    00074
    1 they are looking at a young earth viewpoint. And
    2 there are other people that accept an old earth
    3 scenario, the sequential appearance of organisms in
    4 the geologic record.
    5 Q. I think before we talked a little bit
    6 about the concept of a common ancestry or common
    7 decent, and let me try to define common ancestry or
    8 decent as not necessarily that life descended from
    9 one cell that appeared three or four billion years
    10 ago, but that all life today developed from one or a
    11 few microorganisms that existed several billion
    12 years ago. So let’s put aside the question whether
    13 it was one or several or a bunch of different
    14 ones. Defined broadly in that sense, do
    15 you accept the concept of common ancestry or common
    16 decent?
    17 A. I think it is highly speculative for
    18 anybody to make an assertion along those lines based
    19 on our knowledge, okay? This is looking at
    20 historically — let me put it this way. The
    21 empirical science of nutrition can’t figure out if
    22 butter or margarine is better for us, yet at the
    23 same time we make definitive statements that life
    24 arose from primitive ancestral organisms on this
    25 planet.

    00075
    1 It goes back to the question that I have
    2 covered before, what is the capacity to change for
    3 any organism? That’s an unknown at this point. How
    4 did these first organisms appear? You know, what is
    5 the mechanism whereby natural law can produce a
    6 replicating organism? I mean, that again is an
    7 unknown quantity.
    8 We know that the smallest free-living
    9 organisms on this planet, the micro plasma, have on
    10 the order of 300 to 350 genes, okay? So you’ve got
    11 to have at least that amount of information before
    12 you can replicate life that we know it at present.
    13 That’s a lot of information required.
    14 Now, is just natural phenomena sufficient
    15 to produce that? I’m unwilling to say. From my
    16 professional experience, no. Whether you have 10
    17 organisms, a hundred organisms, primordial organisms
    18 appearing de novo, or one, I mean, you know, it is
    19 an event that is on the range of the miraculous,
    20 regardless of whether you still believe it is by
    21 natural process or a designer, okay?
    22 So am I making myself clear?
    23 Q. I’m not sure. It sounds like you are
    24 saying — at least it’s your personal opinion, based
    25 on the scientific understanding that you have, is

    00076
    1 that you would not accept the proposition of common
    2 ancestry or common decent as I have broadly defined
    3 it?
    4 A. Okay, look at — I am trying to think. I
    5 want to quote a couple of things from my report
    6 directly so it’s in the record. From Carl Woese,
    7 who is a leading —
    8 MR. WHITE: Just for me to clarify, are
    9 you talking Exhibit 1? You are quoting from page
    10 six; correct?
    11 THE WITNESS: Yes, at the top of the
    12 page.
    13 So this is in the peer-reviewed
    14 literature, this is a prominent evolutionary
    15 biologist, and looking at what you are talking about
    16 in terms of the origin of life.
    17 He says, “The creation of the enormous
    18 amount of and degree of novelty needed to bring
    19 forth modern cells is by no means a matter of waving
    20 the usual wand of variation and selection. What was
    21 there, what proteins were there to vary in the
    22 beginning? Did all proteins evolve from one
    23 aboriginal protein to begin with? If you
    24 extrapolate that all organisms evolved from one
    25 single organism to begin with? Hardly likely!

    00077
    1 Evolution’s rule, to which there are fortunately a
    2 few exceptions, is that you can’t get there from
    3 here.”
    4 So the transitions required to go from
    5 simple organism complex, we know from experience you
    6 can’t get there from here from our present
    7 understanding of these organisms.
    8 “Our experience with variation and
    9 selection in the modern context does not begin to
    10 prepare us for understanding what happened when
    11 cellular evolution was in its early rough-and-tumble
    12 phases of spewing novelty.”
    13 So you are asking me an opinion on
    14 something that the leading evolutionists are at this
    15 point speculating on and agreeing that our present
    16 understanding of natural selection and variation in
    17 modern context doesn’t prepare us for understanding
    18 what happened in the historic context, or historic
    19 events billions and billions of years ago.
    20 If I can find it —
    21 So to rephrase where we are, I mean, the
    22 question is dealing with common decent, okay?
    23 Q. I’m trying to get past what happened
    24 several billion years ago. I’m trying to kind of
    25 say it in layman’s terms of once the development of

    00078
    1 the life got going, once you got past the really
    2 simple microorganisms and once you start getting
    3 into more complex organisms, do you accept the
    4 proposition that all the complex organisms descended
    5 from one or a few more simple organisms that might
    6 have existed three billion years ago, or whenever?
    7 Or do you not even accept that?
    8 A. My thinking on this is changing. As a
    9 graduate student, a post doc, I didn’t really have a
    10 problem with that based on our knowledge. But now,
    11 again with genomics and what we are understanding in
    12 terms of our new understanding of the cell,
    13 genetics, the capacity to change, I am finding it
    14 harder.
    15 There is one rule in design that
    16 biologists also ascribe to. The more complex an
    17 organism or the more complex the machine, the more
    18 difficult it is to change it, okay? You just don’t
    19 throw DNA into a system and expect it to integrate
    20 with the program that is present. There are real
    21 problems with that.
    22 So mechanistically from our present
    23 knowledge I have difficulty in terms of assuming
    24 that there is this gradual evolution of organisms
    25 from the simple to the complex.

    00079
    1 Q. And does intelligent design theory have
    2 an opinion as to whether these concepts of common
    3 decent or gradualism are valid?
    4 A. Again, there are people on the spectrum.
    5 Mike Behe, in my conversations with him, has no
    6 problem with common decent from very primitive
    7 organisms to the complex. I am probably more
    8 distant from that position. I think that there is
    9 — again, my opinion is that there is probably
    10 injection of design at various stages, but I don’t
    11 know what those stages are.
    12 Just to add to this, I mean, in my
    13 readings of Stephen Jay Gould, who is a
    14 paleontologist, Simon Conway Morris, is that the
    15 record, the fossil record of change, you know, is
    16 one of stasis, there is a lack of intermediate
    17 forms. We don’t have, according to James Shapiro,
    18 who is a microbiologist at the University of
    19 Chicago, the phylogenetic history of any biochemical
    20 pathway for subcellular organelle.
    21 We can’t trace the flagellum back through
    22 its heritage phylogenetically. So you are asking me
    23 to speculate on, you know, at the organismal level
    24 is this possible based on our current understanding
    25 when we don’t have the data to look at even

    00080
    1 components of the cell and their historical
    2 progression?
    3 Q. Do you have an opinion as to whether
    4 humans and apes descended from a common ancestor?
    5 A. It is possible, you know. The fact that
    6 you find 98 percent sequence identity is consistent
    7 with that viewpoint. The fact that you find 98
    8 percent sequence homology is consistent with a
    9 common design.
    10 Q. Do you have an opinion as to whether
    11 humans were specially designed?
    12 A. Not scientifically. My personal opinion
    13 from a philosophical point of view, from a religious
    14 point of view, is that, yes, we are rational
    15 organisms that have the ability to think in an
    16 abstract sense, and that differentiates us from the
    17 rest of the biological forms on this planet, okay?
    18 Now, whether we were the gradual
    19 descendant of other simians or specially created, I
    20 don’t know. I do know that we are — we have been
    21 endowed with certain capabilities that differentiate
    22 us from the rest of nature.

    The man doesn’t buy common ancestry. He says it several times in several different ways, with the question asked in several different ways. Doubtful, highly speculative, against his professional experience, etc. It’s as clear as day.

    You originally challenged my claim that he denied common ancestry. We weren’t talking about human-ape ancestry, although even for that very limited case it’s pretty clear he doesn’t buy it. Suck it up and admit I was right.

  52. Nick (Matzke) says:

    And what’s the huge deal anyway? Most ID advocates deny common ancestry, it’s not like it’s surprising. Of Pandas and People, which Minnich and Behe defended in Kitzmiller, also denies common ancestry. A bunch of times. Explore Evolution, the new DI textbook, spends half its length challenging common ancestry. These books and their authors want to challenge common ancestry, and they want people to adopt their separate ancestry position.

    This is only an issue to those who somewhere got it into their heads that ID is more moderate and reasonable than it actually is, and that it’s proponents were something other than predominantly young-earth and old-earth creationists.

  53. solidspin says:

    Hi, Tom –

    Of course I have, silly! You just can’t attend to it, since you know that the positions creationists take are (in keeping with the theme) classic anti-intellectualism: choosing to ignore scientific fact, or in favor of twisting scientific fact to support religious dogma.

    It’s ok. I understand. Science and the failure of the attempt at creationist rebuttal, renders the thread largely moot. Nick’s comments, while possibly narrow-minded, are not anti-intellectual. He’s just a stalwart, like me, because he uses science as the metric.

  54. Nick (Matzke) says:

    Hi Nick,
    Sorry, your argument by book endorsement doesn’t work. Anyone knows that a book endorsement does not express agreement with every point the author makes (want me to claim as ID proponents every name listed in the “in praise of” sections of ID books?)

    And Kenyon’s reference to the traditional Catholic views doesn’t say anything about believing in a young earth. As well I’m sure you’ve argued, this whole YEC/creationist thing is a phenomenon of relatively recent evangelical, protestant thinking. I bet you’ve said that, haven’t you?
    And you know of many good solid evolution believing Catholics (they look good on a dais, don’t they?) who think that the Catholic view is just fine with billions of years.

    The whole point of this particular book, and of the Kolbe Center, is to argue that the traditional Catholic understanding is/should be the young-earth view. I agree that this isn’t a standard modern Catholic position, but it is their position. Kenyon’s association with and endorsements of this very obscure group and its very specific, fringe (for Catholics) young-earth theology is strong evidence that he’s a YEC just like he was back in the early 1980s.

    Didn’t you read the book blurb I posted? It’s about YEC. Global flood, “days of creation”, challenges to dating, geological uniformitarianism, Big Bang, etc., — these are YEC-specific claims:

    He very cogently points out that many of the accepted scientific conclusions which contradict the days of creation and the great flood are based on a variety of unproven premises which are pillars set firmly on sand. Father very adeptly tackles the complex issues of cosmogony, astronomy, astrophysics, mathematics, nuclear science, evolutionary theory, geological uniformitarianism, radiocarbon dating, big bang theory, and others to show that the observed phenomena which they try to explain are just as readily, properly and easily explained by such Genesis factors as direct creation by God and the Genesis Flood.

  55. Tom Gilson says:

    Stephen (solidspin), that’s a no-go. Sorry.

  56. Nick (Matzke) says:

    For the benefit of posterity I’ve posted a review of the evidence for Kenyon being a YEC, including the full text of the Salner article from 1980. It’s a slam dunk, really.

    http://pandasthumb.org/archives/2010/07/dean-kenyon-a-y.html#more

  57. Tom Gilson says:

    Posterity is more than grateful, I’m sure.

  58. Charlie says:

    Hi Nick,
    I will suck it up and admit you are more right than I thought – I didn’t think he was asked at all, based upon the actual trial transcripts.
    But you aren’t right, he does not deny common descent.

    3 Q. Do you have an opinion as to whether
    humans and apes descended from a common ancestor?
    A. It is possible, you know.

    This: “The man doesn’t buy common ancestry.”
    and this:
    “You originally challenged my claim that he denied common ancestry. ”
    Are not the same.

    . We weren’t talking about human-ape ancestry, although even for that very limited case it’s pretty clear he doesn’t buy it.

    That’s all you guys care about. If I said I buy common descent for everything but humans you would say I deny common descent. Your own questioner admitted that. Let’s get beyond molecules, and first life, and simple life, what about humans and apes, he asked. But Minnich doesn’t know. He’s not denying it, he admits it is possible. It’s all there, and I thank you for bringing the exact section to
    that I had been quoting. You left off right where he said this:

    Now, whether we were the gradual descendent of other simians or specially created I don’t know.

    —–

    And what’s the huge deal anyway? Most ID advocates deny common ancestry, it’s not like it’s surprising.

    The big deal is that you are on a thread griping about anti-intellectualism and you consistently say things that are not true. You say them as though they are established fact when you are merely speculating and when you are corrected by the very people you are talking about you call them liars.

    Kenyon’s association with and endorsements of this very obscure group and its very specific, fringe (for Catholics) young-earth theology is strong evidence that he’s a YEC just like he was back in the early 1980s.

    Your strong evidence isn’t strong enough. Even after Hunter told you he wasn’t YEC you argued that his philosophical positions made him YEC. Then you said you didn’t believe him. Nope, guilty until proven innocent, I will need more than your inferences.

    Didn’t you read the book blurb I posted?

    I did. Like I said, his endorsement of the book does not imply an endorsement of all its evidences.

    I’ll go read posterity’s post and see if you have anything more.

  59. Nick (Matzke) says:

    I think you’re just disagreeing with me because you find me annoying. Any reasonable neutral observer, e.g. a judge, would look at what I’ve presented and conclude that Dean Kenyon is a young-earther and that Scott Minnich denies common ancestry. These are entirely reasonable things to say, if words have meaning and they are given a face-value interpretation.

    And even if I were wrong and they are just agnostic on these topics, that’s equally scandalous anyway. Being a scientist and being agnostic on these topics in this day and age is like being agnostic on the roundness of the earth. It’s just a ridiculous, anti-scientific position.

  60. Charlie says:

    Thanks for your hard work finding and transcribing Rebecca’s article, Nick.
    Yep, here’s the line you quoted in PNAS:

    Kenyon defines the main tenet of scientific creationism this way:

    “In the relatively recent past – 10,000 to 20,000 years ago – the entire cosmos was brought into existence out of nothing at all by supernatural creation.”

    That looked out of context and weird to me then and it still does now. As I asked above:

    Can you give us Salner’s recording showing that Kenyon is a YEC and that the quote was not misinterpreted or misattributed?

    I’m not just being ornery. The quote looks wrong, has no context and misstates the “main tenet”; the age of the earth is secondary. My feeling is Kenyon was describing a view not his own there.

    You keep mentioning Kolbe. Here is a bit he wrote for them.
    http://kolbecenter.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=105:reflections-on-macroevolution&catid=10:articles-and-essays&Itemid=74
    If he is YEC why does he (here and in his video interviews) never say “and there is no time for OOL or evolution given the young age of the earth”? Why does he always argue from complexity and information?

    On the other hand, the Kolbe evidence is more meaningful to me than Salner’s article and I am shakier now than I was as I’ve been perusing their site.
    Even if I am right, I have to admit you have every reason to rationally believe Kenyon is YEC.
    With that, I do apologize for questioning your veracity on this subject and accept that one can very legitimately infer (still, without proof) his belief in a “young earth”.
    While I still think you are probably not right you certainly have supported your case and your inference.

  61. Charlie says:

    Lol.
    Yes, I certainly do find you annoying.
    I’m disagreeing with you because I disagree with you. And, as you feel entirely justified in calling Hunter a liar when he tells you that he is not YEC and when Crocker does you say you might rethink your claim about her personal beliefs if she offers you more evidence, you can certainly appreciate my setting a high bar for you.

  62. SteveK says:

    I visited the Museum of Natural History in DC this week and, being the “anti-intellectual” that Nick says I am, got a chuckle out of the signs in the evolution area of the museum. One sign said this:

    “Welcome to the Mammal Family Reunion! Come meet your relatives.”

    My wife and I laughed, we took a picture of the sign, then we laughed some more.

  63. Tom says:

    When I used to blindly follow the theory of evolution and accepted it as fact, I didn’t think of myself as an intellectual or as being anti-intellectual. Now, I am a young earth creationist, who has studied the theory of evolution and the ‘theory’ of creation and I have found the arguments/explanations for creation as being far more logical. Not saying that the evolutionist don’t have some good arguments/explanations, but I just find that those provided by the creationist are more believable. I have no idea how many creationist turn evolutionist, but I do know that there are many evolutionist that turn creationist. Can read testimonials about many, many of whom are scientists or quote “intellectuals” that become creationist on answersingenesis.com.

  64. solidspin says:

    @Tom

    The very fact that you are using “ansersingenesis.com” as your reference point means that you have no objective resource. Further, it should never be a question of “explanations being more believable”. This is not a scientific assessment. Additionally, there are literally millions of pages of peer-reviewed journals that use, by definition, evolutionary theory as the foundation.

    Creationism is not science (or even pseudoscience), because it uses no accepted metrics of science. Creationism violates the Three Laws of Thermodynamics in many many ways and I’d be happy to explain, if you’re interested.

    By refusing to “believe” in evolution, you must be prepared to also reject everything that is inextricably tied to it, including forensic DNA evidence methodology, radioisotopometric dating; radioisotopes in general, PET scans, MRI, etc. etc. etc.

  65. Mike Anthony says:

    I think Nick’s participation in these comments is valuable. It illustrates why we often don’t reclaim the high ground (pretending for the moment that for the vast majority of the population we don’t already hold it). We get involved in useless banter with a segment of self proclaimed intellectuals that will have no part of identifying us as intellectually sufficient unless we proclaim allegiance to their predetermined “doctrinal ” statement.

    Too much of apologetics now focuses on winning the alleged high ground from too small a group of athiestic “thinkers”. The strategy should not be to win over those who on purely emotional motives will not be won over but to demonstrate that they are in fact the opponents of rationalism. We try too often to meet the anti religious on their terms restricted to their agreed on source material rather than a total rational approach.

    On what rational basis can you divide abiogenesis totally from The discussion of ID and Evolution and yet I can’t tell you the amount of naturalistic evolutionists I have debated over the years that want it excluded from the conversation.

    and so we have Nick proclaiming that a flood that wipes out humanity is by its very definiton unscientfic (without any discussion of population distribution at the time of Noah) while “scientists” have no problem positing things like multiverses or quantum laws that bring everything out of nothing.

    The bias against the supernatural (beyond the nature we now live in) holds only as long as the supernatural is a personal God.

    We’ve got to do a better job of showing the absurdity of self proclaimed intellectuals not try to win their approval. The world is on our side. We still hold the high ground in every poll I have seen.

  66. Mike Anthony says:

    @solidspin

    Tom cites Answersingenesis in regard to Creationist testimonial. Claiming that a Creationist has to cite a darwinian source to verify Creationist membership is totally irrational.

    and no one has to accept the strawman argument that rejecting evolution is tantatmount ot rejecting various technologies employed by Evolutionists. Quite often its not the technologies that are in question or the data drawn from them but the Human interpretations of the data.

  67. solidspin says:

    @ Mike Anthony –

    No, I point to the fact that “answersingenesis” is a non-credible source, since no (or worse, yet, ersatz) scientific principles are employed, regardless of the topic. In other words, it doesn’t have to be Evolution. The age of the earth is another example where the IRC uses 3He/4He ratios to “prove” that the Earth is younger than the manifold other technologies demonstrate it to be.

    The fact that you call it (correctly) “testimonial”, means that it is evidence-free.

    Actually, that’s false. The technologies are the very things that Creationists (like Ken Hovind, for example) directly attack to advance the Creationist political agenda (see his vapid address on 14C, for example). Since the “technologies” are a direct application of scientific Law and principles, they are inextricably entwined. Half-life, for example, is not something that is open to interpretation, since it’s so easily calculable and measurable and used many times per day when calculating, for example 99Tc in hospitals.

    Either that, or the Creationists simply must admit that they are promoting a belief structure that cannot withstand even cursory scientific examination – which is totally fine – but then it cannot be advanced as a valid Scientific Theory. Recall that, “theory” in scientific context is “model, supported by empirical evidence” – not “guess” in the colloquial sense.

  68. SteveK says:

    solidspin,

    Creationism violates the Three Laws of Thermodynamics

    I’m not a YEC supporter by any means, but creationism, as defined by the naturalistic creation of the known universe, violates these laws too. It just does so at a different point in history.

    Is that fact necessarily an argument against what might be called “the creation theory of the cosmos”?

    (apologies if this is a duplicate comment. the first didn’t seem to take.)

  69. Mike Anthony says:

    @solidspin

    You are in argument mode so you have entirely missed that Tom was referencing Creationists that have converted from being Evolutionists and nothing more from answers in Genesis. Thats the testimonial of their experience and it requires no independent source for someone to relate their own experience. Start reading and cease with diatribes.

    Thats applies to the rant on what is inextricable interwoven as well. Its merely an attempt to paint every creationist with the same brush. Despite your dogmatic claims there are few methodologies that are not “inextricably entwined” with some base level assumptions. Uniformitarianism being one of which there is no scientific law – just assumption.

    I don’t mean to get into a debate on what is scientific or not (which I consider silly in this comment section given the subject)I was merely pointing out how Tom was referencing Answers in Genesis as to Creationist membership not as you claim now for a source on any scientific principle.

  70. SteveK says:

    solidspin,
    Depending on the question or topic, it can be perfectly acceptable to employ non-scientific principles in order to get to an answer.

    Wouldn’t you agree that, ‘did God have a role in creating human beings?’, is a question that can’t be answered by scientific principles, but could (in theory, at least) be answered by someone who knew (i.e. testimony)?

    (again, I apologize if a semi-duplicate comment. having trouble today for some reasons.)

  71. solidspin says:

    @SteveK (your [email protected]:13pm)

    Of course I agree with you, EXCEPT when the nature of the question is scientific; innumerable questions posed by humans are not.

    Your question ‘did God have a role in creating human beings?’ is a PERFECTLY valid, non-science question. Although exactly zero people know the answer to that question, it’s an excellent question which can and should be debated on websites like this. Any answers however, canNOT be used to make policy, influence legal decisions, etc., because you can’t generate any kind of data to support or refute any answer.

  72. Tom Gilson says:

    solidspin,

    You have made a strong policy statement:

    Any answers however, canNOT be used to make policy, influence legal decisions, etc., because you can’t generate any kind of data to support or refute any answer.

    What data will you generate to support that as a policy statement? Make it purely scientific, please, if that’s what you insist on being necessary for supporting or refuting any related answer.

  73. SteveK says:

    solidspin

    Although exactly zero people know the answer to that question

    How did you come to know this is true? Can you explain your reasoning? .

  74. Holopupenko says:

    … the nature of the question is scientific; innumerable questions posed by humans are not.

    That’s a silly scientistically-animated claim because among the “innumerable questions,” of course, is what counts as a “scientific question.” Why? Because “science” (in the narrow sense implied by solidspin) cannot self-reference itself to validate itself. Moreover, perhaps solidspin, if he’s really committed to empiriological science, might provide us some justification for the comparison, say, with a bit of empirical data… or do we just accept without question such subjective personal opinions?

  75. solidspin says:

    @ SteveK (your July 27th, 2010 at 2:34 pm )

    The phrase “creation theory of the cosmos” is disingenuous due to the pregnant use of the word creation. Why not just use Big Bang or, what is now strongly preferred among LQG theoreticians, “Big Bounce”, as there appears to have been no discontinuity.

  76. Tom Gilson says:

    Okay, then substitute in your terms and answer the question that way.

    By the way, if you think LQG theory is solidly established enough for us to agree “there appears to have been no discontinuity,” then I have an offer to make you for some land in Florida.

  77. solidspin says:

    Hi, Tom (@ your July 28th, 2010 at 12:06 pm )

    Sure. Take any modern-day, less-polarizing example. Katz, et al., for example, did exhaustive studies (with large sample sizes, p = 0.05; no type I, II errors) demonstrating scientifically that strong, centralized nuclear family structures promote future stability for subsequent generations that participated in this family structure. Ergo, direct results of these studies ended up in USC, US Tax Code, State Tax Code (NY, VA for example).

    For a more polarizing example, but one based directly on solid physics and the Three Laws, there is no such thing as a soul: all energies upon death are accounted for and have been measured.

    As such, it would be merely Christian belief, absent of any scientific evidence (nor any possibility therein), to make abortion illegal. To do otherwise would make the U.S. a theocratic state, rather than a democratic state. Israel is an excellent example of this.

  78. Tom Gilson says:

    BTW, all of my posts include my last name. We have another (very welcome) commenter on this thread who simply uses “Tom.” Just in case there are any questions.

  79. solidspin says:

    @ SteveK (your July 28th, 2010 at 1:19 pm)

    I know it to be true because there is neither scientific, nor logical argument evidence that can be presented to prove OR refute the statement. You don’t agree?

    Making the assertion “I know it in my heart of hearts, because the Lord told me” is not adequate from a logical, argumentative point of view – yet still perfectly valid.

    Substitute “the Lord” for “Allah” and you have an equally valid, but still unprovable statement, correct? This statement was basically made and recorded by both Paul Hill and numerous suicide bombers in the Middle East.

  80. SteveK says:

    As such, it would be merely Christian belief, absent of any scientific evidence (nor any possibility therein), to make abortion illegal.

    The legaility of illegality of an action can’t be detected via the scientific method so you are barking up the wrong tree. Take your own medicine. What would the scientific evidence (empirical) for illegal activity look like anyway – what would be it’s kinetic energy, mass or wavelength?

  81. Tom Gilson says:

    solidspin, your knowledge of statistics is falling behind your attempts to display it.

    p=0.05 is not impressive and never reported as significant. p<0.05 would be considered significant in many contexts, although for “exhaustive studies” one would hope for p<0.01.

    It is absolutely impossible in statistical analysis to guarantee no type I, II errors—unless the sample size is equivalent to the entire population of interest (p=0.000000000 … , not by virtue of standard errors and etc. but by virtue of making p in its inferential sense a meaningless term). To assert “no type I, II errors” is specifically to contradict p=0.05.

    So, like p=0.05, your demonstration of research prowess here is not impressive. Who are you trying to kid?

    Back in a moment with more.

  82. solidspin says:

    Hi, Tom Gilson (your July 28th, 2010 at 3:23 pm )

    You’re right – I should use your last name to differentiate.

    LQG, is very well-established. What makes it at least in principle superior to M-theory is that it’s inherently testable! It may be incorrect, but there’s sufficient theoretical (i.e., mathematical physics) and hints of empirical evidence (see Allanach, et al. JHEP, for example) that make it much more convincing, if not nearly as popular as M-theory.

    This lack of popularity is also the major stumbling block to getting more beam time. That’s an irrelevancy to M-theorists (and my colleague’s husband is one). So it’s odd that you seem really skeptical. If we could get beam time, we could at least prove or disprove LQG.

    As you may know, a discontinuity is a verrrrrry tricky thing, so a Big Bounce is at least quite discernible from WMAP or COBE data.

  83. SteveK says:

    solidspin,

    I know it to be true because there is neither scientific, nor logical argument evidence that can be presented to prove OR refute the statement.

    We know plenty of truths that science had no part in discovering so there being no scientific evidence for something is not necessarily a problem.

    Also, there are logical arguments. The Kalam argument is logical and it has been presented as a defeater to your claim.

  84. solidspin says:

    @ holupupenko (your July 28th, 2010 at 1:49 pm )

    Since you’re going to be sarcastic without demonstrating any intellect – “scientistic” is neither clever nor did you support such nastiness (and making bad English errors), you’re showing your pedantry and anti-intellectualism. A scientific question would be one that can be answered w/ empiricism.

    Secondly, your statement is patently false. QFT, for example, is self-consistent. The fact that you don’t know that just makes you a bad (or failed) scientist. You should also get the English correct if you’re going to attempt to criticize (albeit poorly).

    Science is both self-reductive and self-consistent – that’s why there are only Three Laws, three units of measurement and four Forces.

    Science is also the furthest thing from narrow. Again you make such flippant, unsupported statements – why am I wasting my time addressing them?

    “What is the role of G_d’s grace toward Man?” – an example of a perfectly valid, non-scientific question. Can G_d be measured? no…Can G_d’s grace be measured? no…Gee, then this must be a non-scientific question….It has been assertively explicated at length by Aquinas, for example, but still a non-scientific question, right?

  85. SteveK says:

    solidspin,

    Making the assertion “I know it in my heart of hearts, because the Lord told me” is not adequate from a logical, argumentative point of view – yet still perfectly valid.

    Justified true belief, my friend.

    Suppose your wife told you that she cooked pot roast last month when you were out of town. Are you justified in saying you know she did, or do you lack any justification whatsoever? Substitute “cajun chicken” for “pot roast” and you have an equally valid, but still unprovable statement, but so what? Is it your contention that you don’t know ANYTHING about dinner that night?

  86. solidspin says:

    Hi, Tom Gilson (your July 28th, 2010 at 3:43 pm )

    I have peer-reviewed, published material using precisely what I stated, so your criticisms are invalid, not to mention nasty and sarcastic.

    I have been neither to you, as I am a guest here and this is your website. (your Starbuck’s rule, I believe, correct?).

    p values of 0.05 ARE the standard, as I face this every day in my own research.

    When you control for other variables (hence ANOVA), you can to a pretty extensive degree, safely avoid Type I, II. Yes, you’re obviously absolutely correct that it’s never zero.

    I’m not here to impress anybody with anything or show off or what have you – what would be the point? I’m giving you a broad science perspective.

  87. Tom Gilson says:

    solidspin,

    I asked the following at 12:06:

    You have made a strong policy statement:

    Any answers however, canNOT be used to make policy, influence legal decisions, etc., because you can’t generate any kind of data to support or refute any answer.

    What data will you generate to support that as a policy statement? Make it purely scientific, please, if that’s what you insist on being necessary for supporting or refuting any related answer.

    You answered with an example: studies by Katz et al., which for our purposes here I will take as definitive, even though (as I just pointed out) you did a poor job of proving. These studies show that “strong, centralized nuclear family structures promote future stability …”

    You also answered with what you consider physical proof that there is no such thing as a soul, and that therefore it is “merely Christian belief” to make abortion illegal.

    Now, I could point to problems with that second assertion of yours in particular, but what I want to do instead is show you that both halves of your response miss the point entirely. Let me outline the situation more clearly for you.

    A. You believe Z that no policy or legal decisions should be made absent data to support (or potentially refute) it.
    B. If Z is accepted as policy, then Z is a policy decision.
    C. Therefore, given your belief Z, you ought to believe that Z can be supported by data that could support it or fail to refute it. That’s a meta-belief concerning Z; let’s call it mZ. For clarity let’s repeat what mZ affirms:

    There is data to support (or fail to refute) the policy that no policy or legal decision should be made absent data to support (or fail to refute) it.

    That’s a bit convoluted, but that’s the way it is. What I was asking you at 12:06 was to support the assertion that I have more recently now labeled mZ.

    In your answer you addressed two policy issues:
    1) F: the stability of families
    2) A: abortion

    I draw your attention to the fact that neither F nor A is equivalent to Z. So even if you were to successfully establish both F and A, you would not have done anything to establish Z; for all you’ve done is gone over to another topic to talk about instead of Z.

    That’s enough already to show your 3:31 pm comment (#79) fails to answer the question I asked you. But wait! (as they say in the commercials) there’s more!

    Your example F shows certain things (very believable) about families and their effects. Now, how does one go from there to producing policy? One has to decide between dozens of possible value options. One of them might be that stable families are very good. One might be that personal fulfillment of married couples is very good. One might be that personal expression and fulfillment of the children is very good. One might be that the best thing would be not to have any future generations whatsoever. That last has been offered soberly for consideration by academics. I think it’s insane, and perhaps you do, too. But here’s where I’m going with this: there are value judgments to be made here. Given the Katz et al. stuides, what data will you adduce to show what direction we ought to head with that information? Which values will you support in your application of the Katz et al. findings?

    Finally, your refutation of the existence of the soul is just silly. Really, entirely, completely, and absurdly silly. You have refuted the existence of a physical soul. Thank you, but we haven’t posited such a thing. You might as well use your data to refute the physical existence of justice or the number four.

    More again in a moment.

  88. Tom Gilson says:

    Stephen, in my prior two comments I have pushed hard on you. I’ve tried to say in no uncertain terms that you don’t know as much as you think you know. I urge you to take that seriously.

    You think you know that God does not exist. You don’t know as much as you think you know. Please take that seriously.

  89. solidspin says:

    @SteveK –

    I agree it’s a tough question you pose, but it’s DEFINITELY soluble, since every aspect of what you pose can be deduced forensically (aka scientifically).

  90. Tom Gilson says:

    I stand by comments about your understanding of statistics. I appreciate your concession on Type I and Type II errors, but I still don’t think you get the difference between p=.05, p<.05, and more significant levels such as the aforementioned p<.01 or better. If you understand the difference, then you are not doing a good job of displaying that understanding.

  91. Tom Gilson says:

    “Scientistically” may not be in your vocabulary, but it’s a concept with which you ought to familiarize yourself.

    By the way, since you’re concerned about “bad English errors,” it might be salutary for you to try to analyze the English (specifically the grammar) in,

    Since you’re going to be sarcastic without demonstrating any intellect – “scientistic” is neither clever nor did you support such nastiness (and making bad English errors), you’re showing your pedantry and anti-intellectualism.

  92. Tom Gilson says:

    solidspin at 4:14 pm, paraphrased: I have neither been nasty nor sarcastic here.

    solidspin at 4:05 pm, quoted: Since you’re going to be sarcastic without demonstrating any intellect – “scientistic” is neither clever nor did you support such nastiness (and making bad English errors), you’re showing your pedantry and anti-intellectualism.

  93. solidspin says:

    Hi, Tom Gilson – (I do prefer just “Tom” as I find it much friendlier that way)

    I merely presented two examples, one “social science” and one “hard science”. I agree with your constructive criticism that values systems invariably enter into the scenario and make the question a BUNCH more difficult to answer. I also clearly admit that social issues are a lot more nebulous than hard science. Those values, nevertheless, can be at least somewhat reasonably measured – like your excellent questions regarding ‘which values to use’ – obviously our value system here in the U.S. is dramatically diff. from Pashtoon society.

    I very specifically proved the absence of a soul. You may call it silly, but it’s nevertheless spot-on. As such, it’s an excellent example of how Christian dogma canNOT influence public policy and yes, this example is quite germane to the overall topics presented here.

    I don’t “think I know” any such things as you assert, Tom. I don’t “think I know” that G_d doesn’t exist – I wish you’d stop saying that. I’ve NEVER ONCE said or even implied that. I’ve said many times in the past that one canNOT know either way. I’d be a bad scientist if I made such statements, don’t you agree?

  94. solidspin says:

    Hi, Tom –

    Holopupenko has used “scientistically” both pejoratively and incorrectly. Why do you feel the need to defend him? Is he incapable of answering the criticisms I levy against his baseless comments?

    Can you please answer the question (yes or no): “Has holopupenko violated your Starbuck’s rule?”. From whatyou have told me in the past, he has…

  95. Tom Gilson says:

    I’ll accept your correction as far as it goes. You do not think you know God exists. But let’s not overlook that you are quite sure you know that the soul does not exist. Now, I take it that the Christian conception of God entails the Christian conception of soul; any conception of God that denies the existence of soul is a non-Christian conception of God. Therefore you are quite sure you know that God as conceived in Christianity does not exist.

    The first paragraph of your answer shows that you didn’t get the point of my analysis of Z and mZ with respect to F and A: that F and A were irrelevant to the question you thought you were answering. Not that they are “nebulous” or harder to measure, but that they are strictly irrelevant to the question.

    I accept that you proved the absence of a soul in physical terms. Thank you. You may, if you find it interesting, move on to proving the physical non-existence of justice and the number four. Since hardly anybody asserts their physical existence, you may find that the exercise is interesting only to yourself—just as proving the physical non-existence of soul is interesting to a very limited number of people, certainly not including Christians who have given it some thought and study.

  96. SteveK says:

    solidspin,

    I very specifically proved the absence of a soul.

    How do you prove the absence of a non-physical entity? Please explain your reasoning.

  97. Tom Gilson says:

    I was defending the term “scientistically.” If you don’t know the term, try looking it up in its basic form, “scientism.” Furthermore, I was not so much defending a term as I was trying to support my own assertion that you are in the habit here of speaking confidently of that which you do not really know.

    I’m sure he is capable of defending himself. He’s probably doing something else right now. I have had conversations with him in the past about the Starbucks standard, and those issues are not current. The current thread, however, is (need I say it?) current.

  98. Holopupenko says:

    solidspin:

    Really, you don’t have a clue about which you speak: the alleged “proof” for the non-existence of a soul is classic nonsense–which Tom nicely pointed that out. That you continued to flail about supposedly having proved a negative AND “proving” something (physical) other than the issue at hand (non-physical) testifies just how poor of a scientist you are: indeed silly and WAY off the mark. (If you’re going to impose the “argument from authority” fallacy based on your alleged publications, then I doubt you could hold a candle to my scientific training, background, and publications.) Moreover, you did NOT address my point: you evaded because pointing out a grammatical error is deflection… and you didn’t provide empirical data/evidence to back up your point. (The “self-consistent” dodge is a cute rhetorical trick: a half-baked command of fancy words covering ignorance of the point. Will you retreat to this same nonsense when someone asks you to employ physics to “prove” or “measure” [your words, by the way] the scientific method itself?) Your scientism (crudely: self-referential “science”) prevents you from reasoning beyond your (physical) nose. Silly, silly scientism: that’s not a pejorative label–it’s a fact you’ve quite nicely demonstrated. By the way, since you appeal so strongly to the Starbuck’s standard against others but not against yourself (pointed out above), would you mind “proving” it using physics?

  99. SteveK says:

    solidspin,

    I agree it’s a tough question you pose, but it’s DEFINITELY soluble, since every aspect of what you pose can be deduced forensically (aka scientifically).

    You can deduce forensically that last month your wife made pot roast and not cajun chicken? Really? Seriously? Can you do the same regarding the resurrection event?

  100. SteveK says:

    solidspin,
    You said Christian dogma cannot influence public policy. Can non-Christian dogma such as your statement here influence public policy? If non-Christian dogma and Christian dogma agree on certain public policies, what should be done?

  101. Mike Anthony says:

    “I accept that you proved the absence of a soul in physical terms.”

    Tom may I respectfully take issue with your acceptance? Nothing has been proven but redundancy. You might as well say you have disproven the existence of a universe outside our own because you cannot measure it within our universe. The redundancy is the same.

  102. Tom Gilson says:

    I was trying to be as gracious as I could be.

  103. Mike Anthony says:

    I realize that. Your grace abilities are impressive 🙂

  104. solidspin says:

    Hi, Tom G (your July 28th, 2010 at 4:31 pm )

    Totally disingenuous, since holopupenko INITIATED the insults and I responded in kind (your own timestamps prove that). You very CLEARLY defended him since HE used poor english – reread your snarky response.

    My understanding of your Starbuck’s standard (for which you banned me previously) was, (I’m obviously paraphrasing), that people have to be civil to one another, correct? So, it IS relevant to the discussion, since he wasn’t being civil. Him doing something else right now doesn’t justify you defending him.

    In your response (97?), as you state (I assume correctly) that according to Christian doctrine, your logic is sound. The error you make, however, is that you equate the existence of a soul with the necessary belief in G_d, yet one can and has been empirically disproven while the other cannot, by definition, be proven or disproven (so it’s not scientific) – we both agree that you can’t measure G_d, right?

    You making this mistake, then measuring me against a muddled metric like a Christian belief structure is unusual for you, since you’re typically crisp and tight w/ your logic. Then you go on to speak on proving the physical non-existence of justice and the number four.

    Again – justice is hopelessly non-scientific – ugh! Just look at Plessy v. Ferguson, then look at Brown – ugh!

    “Four” is quite another thing – it’s both mathematical and can be physically represented.

    You minimize the profound impact of the absence of a soul has on how society is shaped. It should be VERY salient to Christian “study”, don’t you think? Further, it clearly and dramatically changes the Christian landscape with respect to their influence on legislation on local, state and federal levels.

  105. solidspin says:

    @ SteveK – (your 98)

    That’s easy. The absence of a non-physical phenomenon is like looking for a 14carbon NMR signal (there is none). Another example – 121Antimony is a quadrupole – this has no physical representation whatsoever – only the truly awesome effects it has on the electron densities surrounding the nucleus. We can only infer this from the interaction.

    (your 100) sure – it would be really tough, but energy usage, mean energy usage, caloric values for the mass, back trace the actual usage. Forensic analysis of what was purchased, etc. etc.

    The resurrection is didactic fiction, just like most of the bible. As far as you “believe” Papal teachings, this is straight from RC doctrine, I’m just quoting, verbatim, the priests and brothers I had for 12 years of RC schooling.

    (your 101) – I said it in the strict context of separation of church and state. To clarify, I should have said it “should” not. There is no such thing as “non-Christian dogma”, but I think I get your point……Since we all have to live together here in the U.S., don’t you think it’s reasonable (just like the Constitution spells out) that it would be better NOT to foist one’s religious beliefs on another person?

  106. solidspin says:

    @ Mike Anthony –

    Really? You think E=mc^2 is redundant? That’s how it was proven.

    Secondly, do you realize the error you again made in the second statement? NO scientist would make that statement. You apparently didn’t read my previous entries either. As I’ve said repeatedly, I make no comment EITHER way on something which I cannot measure…so if I cannot measure a universe outside this one, why would I simply dismiss it?

  107. Tom Gilson says:

    For my money, solidspin stands refuted, and even more so with every rebuttal he makes. I’ve made the points I need to make, and to tell him in which ways he errs now would be redundant.

    Ss, your responses are not strengthening your position. The more you say, the less need I feel to answer. You’re making my point for me quite effectively enough.

  108. SteveK says:

    solidspin,

    Another example – 121Antimony is a quadrupole – this has no physical representation whatsoever – only the truly awesome effects it has on the electron densities surrounding the nucleus. We can only infer this from the interaction.

    Sounds reasonable. Just as reasonable is the inference to the soul based on the interaction between the brain and the rational mind.

    it would be really tough, but energy usage, mean energy usage, caloric values for the mass, back trace the actual usage. Forensic analysis of what was purchased, etc. etc.

    I have my doubts, but since you don’t have all of this information, would you still know something about dinner that night? Could be didactic fiction.

    The resurrection is didactic fiction

    Maybe so. Reasoning as you did on the other question it seems this is subject to forensic analysis. It would be really tough, but energy usage, mean energy usage, back trace the actual events, etc. etc. If you can do it for dinner last month, with a little more work you can do it for the resurrection event. Now, you said it was fiction. Since this work hasn’t been done, what do you base your conclusion on?

    Since we all have to live together here in the U.S., don’t you think it’s reasonable (just like the Constitution spells out) that it would be better NOT to foist one’s religious beliefs on another person?

    No non-Christian dogma, huh? You are advocating Constitutional dogma here. Since we have to live together here wouldn’t it be best to NOT foist this on others?

  109. Mike Anthony says:

    @solidspin

    If you can’t understand why claiming to prove a non physical entity is not physical is redundant then what more needs to be said? As Tom indicated with every rebuttal you dig yourself in a deeper hole while revealing pretty clearly your own attachment to your own dogma.

    incidentally E=mc^2 would be totally applicable if anyone ever held the position that the soul had energy or mass.

  110. SteveK says:

    solidspin,
    When you get time, I’d appreciate a response to my comment in #85 (which is a response to #81, which is a response to #75).

  111. Holopupenko says:

    … solidspin stands refuted, and even more so with every rebuttal he makes…

    A masterful example of understatement.

  112. SteveK says:

    Don’t know if he’s coming back, but yeah, the more he said the worse it got. I’m hoping for something better.

  113. Holopupenko says:

    Hmmm… wasn’t it solidspin who appealed (in absolutist, threatened, and unscientific terms) to the Starbuck’s Standard?

  114. Tom Gilson says:

    Solidspin’s latest comment has been deleted for ad hominems of the notechnical variety, per the discussion guidelines.

  115. Tom Gilson says:

    I deleted the personally-directed abuse you posted following my latest comment. You’re out of here, solidspin.

  116. Mike Anthony says:

    @solidspin

    You are entirely cluelesss as to the meaning of redundancy and the subject of the soul. How could someone possible even begin to address the issue without knowing that the soul by definition has no energy, no mass and is not physical? and yet here you are after diatribes asking the question you should have known before you even started.

    You have done nothing but present your own assertions hence you do not define intellectualism and opposing your viewpoints can not be considered anti-intellectual.

    The well known fact is that the greater part of society does not accept the Bible as an error riddled book (you just hang out at talk origins too much and think they represent reality). I’ve yet to see an error validated in the Bible but if I had a nickel for everyone that claimed it without substance I’d be a rich man.

    At the end of the day you are merely anti supernatural but scientists embraces the supernatural constantly when they comtemplate multiverses, the beginning of time and even infinity. They are all Super (beyond) nature ( our universe). So you are stuck.

  117. SteveK says:

    To the guy just banned 😉

    So, it seems that your assertion is that the soul has no energy. Am I interpreting your comments correctly?

    Yep. That’s what non-physical means. Is it your assertion that it does? Where did you learn this?

    the brain IS the rational mind. There is only biochemistry.

    Let’s put that assertion to the test using the law of identity. If they are exactly the same thing then they will have identical properties in every way. Does the physical brain have the property of being false when it is compared to some external object? No. Does the physical brain have the property of being pointed to, directed at, or about some external object? No again.

    Thus, your claim is false lacks the necessary entropy levels in the brain. 🙂

  118. SteveK says:

    Doing my part to reclaim the intellectual high ground.

  119. Tom says:

    I’ve been reading this discussion out here and read solidspin’s comment, “DO realize that I’m one person basically standing in the proverbial lion’s den against all of you, right? I’m just reminding you of that…”.

    Just recently I was on a similar website that expounds evolution and was having to reply to 8 or more evolutionists. I was the Daniel in the den with the evolutionist lions. They called me all sorts of names and accused me of lying and being a fraud and being there to cause a fight. Even accused me of being there to tell them they were going to hell, though I never said anything in the least. I thought I was going to be able to have a rational discussion, but there were only a few that it seemed were willing to rationally discuss the matter with me, but only if I discussed it on their terms. I won’t go into all what their terms were, but for the most part it was that I come up with arguments for creation that do not rely upon any refuting of evolution. Sorry to say, God didn’t close their mouths. There was nothing that I said to them that caused them to pause and think, only to ridicule.

    Well, all in all, I have to concede that their assertion that my beliefs were based on faith, not science. Given thought I conclude that it is true. For me at least, I didn’t give any thought or time to consider creation science until I had accepted creation based on faith. It took God to give me the faith to believe, and with that faith came the openness to study and understand creation.

    Then I was thinking if I could talk a creationist scientist into joining me in that evolutionist lions den, that the scientist could answer the evolutionist questions without all the sarcasm, accusations, etc.
    But, as I read the discourse on here, I realized some of the best creationist scientist in the world could join me on that website, but the evolutionist would throw the same insults at them as they did me a layperson. On top they would accuse the creation scientist of not practicing “real” science and whoever or whatever authorities the creation scientist would use to support his argument would never be considered as good as the whoever and whatever authorities the evolutionist used.

    Make sense what I am saying? They, evolutionists, will never accept the arguments put forth from creationists because the evolutionist will never accept them as good or scientific enough, they will always quote the evolutionist whose opinion contradicts that of the creation scientist. In their minds there is no creation scientist out there worthy of his education, worthy of being listened to.

    So, in my opinion, a former believer in evolution myself, there is no swaying them, no reasoning with them until God gives them the miracle to believe in the one and only true God so that they will be open to seeing creation through a new set of eyes or as God states, a new heart.

    That is my personal opinion. Not sure if anyone out here has ever been able to convert an evolutionist to being a creationist, but I know I have given up. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for teaching creation and arguing it’s points, but for me, now on I will leave the arguing of it’s points to those who are actual believers in God who are skeptical/confused about evolution vs. creation.

  120. Mike Anthony says:

    Hi Tom,

    May I give you another possible take on your experience. Obviously I can’t dispute what you said for your own experience but sometimes we need to analyze our own experiences. Often when we do we come to the realization that things were going on in our mental process that we didn’t realize. You said

    “Well, all in all, I have to concede that their assertion that my beliefs were based on faith, not science”

    Is that really true? Were you oblivious to the world around you when you came to faith? Beauty, order, meaning and the human experience had nothing to do with you coming to the conclusion that God existed?

    I’d say that’s pretty impossible. None of us make any kind of decision in a vacuum. You didn’t when it came to faith.

    I think what happens is we buy into a particular definition of science in our generation that the founders of science never did. Thats where the real war is being raged.

    When I observe order in the universe and the environment I live, When I observe human behaviour and capabilities, that is not separate from science. When I think about beginnings and the consistencies of physical law again those observations ARE scientific.

    Observation is the hall mark of science. Deriving rational conclusions from those observations are again part of science.

    What we have now are people claiming that though design is intuitive to the rational mind we must instead accept that it only “appears” to be. By applying some alleged higher intelligence (as in the emperor with the new clothes) we must brush aside that normally intuitive and yes scientific approach in favor of the imaginary. We don’t need to be confined by improbability we can just climb over it.

    At the core of science is a search to find out what makes things tick. Today the anti-religious rail that “God did it” is unscientific because allegedly ( and utterly false) it stops us from going further and discovering more. They however have no qualms with invoking “it just happened” when they wish to. As I have commented before they have no problem invoking the supernatural either. They write books about universes outside of our own when trying to brush aside the fine tuning of our universe and invoke unprovable concepts such a infinity.

    So what exactly is unscientific about faith? Simple. We’ve allowed them and aided them in redefining that as well. Faith was never blind and was never supposed to be based on the lack of evidence (in the only definition we get of it in Hebrews it says this explicitly) . In the Bible the word means trust and is frequently used with the word “in”. It is almost always relational. As a trust you put in a friend – not a stranger you’ve never met. In other words someone who have PROVED themselves.

    What now stands against the intuition based on observation that law controls almost everything in the universe and inevitably the very moment of its creation? Forget the argument about how the lego blocks were arranged (evolution). That comes after the big moments in this universe. Instead ask what evidence stands against life being the specific product of law. Nothing on the books with abiogenesis contradicts the rational intuitive conclusion that people have had in God based on the observable evidence for many centuries.

    To put it simply all we have is a guy that visited an island, figured out that one life form might have led to another life form and then people have extrapolated that to the non existence of any ordering power anywhere in the universe. When I follow the evidence it is inevitable that the universe came from a place or a moment very different from what is reality in the now. Needing to define all of reality by this sliver of existence is irrational.

    Finally (too long winded I know)
    Think for a second about flat earthers. The real ones. How long would a person hang around a flat earth blog disputing the earth being round? It would be good for a laugh in a day and it would be boring. they would move on. Then why do they hang around intelligent design sites and argue for days on end? Its simple.

    Emotional investment – not purely rational motivation. I have never been or seen a debate particularly online where BOTH sides were not extremely emotionally invested. Only one side however pretends that is not the case. We don’t get anywhere in these debates because the discussion isn’t even being held on honest ground.

  121. Tom says:

    Mike Anthony,
    Appreciate your well written response. Let me say first off, I agree with everything you say.
    I agree so much about the comment about the flat earth. Evolutionist would make fun of anyone that had that belief, but they wouldn’t argue endlessly about it.

    Maybe my wording wasn’t correct in regards to me. Just to clarify, I came into the world sucking up whatever was told me. Of which 95% or more was that I evolved from an ape. My grandmother exposed me to a small bit of Christianity, but never tackled origins per se. It wasn’t till I became a Christian at around 19 and read an article that challenged me that if I believe in God and the accuracy of the Bible, then how can I just pick and choose what to believe from that Bible. With that challenge I then accepted on faith the story of creation, but hoped and prayed that nobody would ask me what my beliefs were concerning it as I would be too embarrassed to say I believed in creation. At this time I still believed in an earth billions of years old. But, my faith, opened up my willingness to be exposed to the scientific reasons behind creation and behind a young earth. Gratefully God through creation scientist spoon fed me example after example of what I perceived as both good reasoning and good science to support creation and combat evolution. So, now I’m embarrassed I used to believe in evolution (though I realize it was my only steady information diet that was fed to me for years) and I believe completely in a young earth.

    So, for me, the faith in God came first, followed by a challenge made to me to believe in His creation entirely by faith and then followed with Him providing me the evidence(science) to give me confidence that it is in fact His creation.