Saturday, March 04, 2006

Thermodynamics, Again

Over at his blog Uncommon Descent, William Dembski is linking to an online lecture by mathematician Granville Sewell arguing that evolution runs afoul of the second law of thermodynamics. The lecture is thirteen minutes long, but it does not contain anything that Sewell has not said before.

It is significant that Dembski is linking so enthusiastically to this argument. You see, the thermodynamics argument is one of the very worst creationists have ever used. It is wrong, of course. But more than that it is wrong in a way that betrays an extreme simple-mindedness about science in general and physics in particular.

As a result, the thermodynamics argument has become a symbol for the sort of mind-numbing ignorance that is the stock-in-trade of creationists. How could anyone take creationists seriously when they parroted such obvious nonsense about thermodynamics?

And it was precisely this level of silliness that ID proponents were keen to avoid. Until recently. Now we have William Dembski, who provides most of the tiny amount of intellectual oomph the ID folks can claim, supporting this ridiculous argument.

The basic argument is this: The second law states that a spontaneous, natural process can only lead to an increase in the entropy of a system. Entropy is roughly a measure of disorder or complexity. So the second law implies that natural processes can only cause things to become more disordered and less complex over time. But evolution asserts that natural processes have caused organisms to grow more complex over time. This is a contradiction, and since no one is inclined to abandon the second law, evolution must not be correct.

But this is a cartoon version of the second law. After all, you don't need fancy principles of thermodynamics to argue that the growth in complexity of organisms over time is something that requires a special sort of explanation. It is a simple fact of everyday life that without maintenance things tend to break down and fall apart.

Everyone agrees that the growth in complexity that evolutionists claim took place over the course of natural history requires an explanation. And biologists have one. Many generations of natural selection acting on random genetic variations can cause the average complexity of organisms to increase.

This is not theoretical. Natural selection has demonstrated its ability, in both the field and the lab, to increase the level of order and complexity in organisms. The same principle is at work in artificial life experiments, and in the use of evolutionary algorithms in engineering problems. Granted, the experiments I am referring to tend to show relatively small increases in order, but that is enough to establish that no principle of thermodynamics prohibits known evolutionary mechanisms from increasing biological complexity.

Sewell himself inadvertantly concedes this. When it comes time for him to explain why natural selection is not an adequate explanation for the growth of biological complexity, thermodynamics goes out the window. Instead he simply parrots the irreducible complexity argument of which ID folks are so fond. That argument is incorrect, but of more relevance to this discussion is the fact that it has nothing to do with thermodynamics.

Let me make things even simpler. Things that are thermodynamically impossible do not occur. But natural selection is certainly capable in principle of explaining increases in biological complexity. Therefore, there is no principle of thermodynamics that says that evolution is an incorrect theory.

But let's push this a bit further. In certain physical situations it can be useful to think of the second law as a statement about order and disorder. Really, though, the second law is a mathematical statement. It says that the change in entropy of a system in going between two states must be larger than a certain mathematical quantity (the integral of dQ over T, for those who know some calculus and some thermo notation). The technical details of what this means need not detain us here.

If you make the added assumption that your system is completely isolated from the outside world, so that neither matter nor energy is crossing the boundary of the system, then the integral I mentioned ends up having the value zero, and the second law tells us that the change in entropy must be positive. In other words, the entropy must increase in this situation.

Creationists of old tended to ignore this assumption, and argued simply that the second law rules out any possibility of natural forces causing order to increase. Consequently, scientists generally replied that the Earth is not an isolated system, since we receive copious amounts of energy from the Sun. That's certainly an important observation, and it does, indeed, refute some primitive versions of the second law argument.

But the second law still applies when energy is crossing the boundary of the system, and in this case it says that the change in entropy must be larger than the mathematical function I mentioned previously. Entropy can, indeed, decrease in this situation, but the second law still makes a definite statement about the magnitude of that decrease. Sewell understands this, and gives a tolerable, if highly nontechnical, description of this fact.

Which makes his unwillingness to follow through all the more annoying. You see, any claim that evolution violates the second law must be backed up with a calculation. Sewell believes that the second law is a problem for evolution? Fine. Let him evaluate the integral I mentioned and show that the change in entropy has been smaller than it should be. Anything short of that is no longer an argument based on thermodynamics. It is just ye olde argument from personal incredulity, in which Sewell is expressing nothing more than his own disbelief that biological complexity could have evolved naturally.

The reason Sewell will not carry out this calculation is that he can not. No one can. Entropy calculations are always carried out in the context of a reversible process, and no one has the faintest idea how to describe a reversible process for assembling an organism from it's component atoms. That is why serious scientists do not try to apply the second law to biological processes in the simple-minded ways ID folks prefer.

But Sewell has another trick up his sleeve. He is fond of recasting the second law as a statement about probability. In his American Spectator article he writes:


Natural forces, such as corrosion, erosion, fire and explosions, do not create order, they destroy it. The second law is all about probability, it uses probability at the microscopic level to predict macroscopic change: the reason carbon distributes itself more and more uniformly in an insulated solid is, that is what the laws of probability predict when diffusion alone is operative.


What Sewell is really doing here is taking a statistical mechanics view of things. The basic idea is this: Given a box that is filled with gas and has been sitting, untouched, for some time, we expect the gas molecules to be distributed roughly evenly throughout the box. We would be very surprised to find all of the gas on one side of the box with empty space on the other. We can explain this in terms of probability: There are vastly more configurations in which the molecules are distributed roughly evenly than there are where all the molecules are on one side of the box. So other things being equal, we can say that it is vastly more likely that we will encounter one of the even distributions. And the distributions in which the gas is evenly distributed can plausibly be said to be less ordered, and therefore have higher entropy, then the highly uneven distributions. This permits a probabilistic interpretation of the second law.

Sewell sums up his thinking here with the following formulation:


In these simple examples, I assumed nothing but heat conduction or diffusion was going on, but for more general situations, I offered the tautology that “if an increase in order is extremely improbable when a system is closed, it is still extremely improbable when the system is open, unless something is entering which makes it not extremely improbable.” (Emphasis in original)


Yes, of course. But so what? In his podcast Sewell describes evolution as being a “film running backwards” by which he means that we see complexity increasing in apparent violation of the second law (just like in a movie run backwards you might see the shattered pieces of a broken coffee cup reassemble themselves into a functional mug).

If he wants us to take this claim seriously, he needs to follow the dictates of his own theorizing. Does evolution require us to believe that something incredibly improbable has occurred in the course of natural history? Let Sewell carry out the probability calculation that shows that to be the case. Then let him explain what significance his calculation is supposed to have. (Improbable things happen all the time, after all). Once he has done that, he will have an actual argument, and we can revisit this subject at that time. Without such a calculation, he has only a lot of polysyllabic bluster.

The solar energy that enters the Earth every day fuels the chemical reactions that allow living organisms to survive and reproduce. This cycle of survival and reproduction ultimately leads to natural selection, which can, in turn, lead to increases in biological complexity. Minus that energy living organisms would quickly go extinct and evolution would not occur. So, to use Sewell's idiosyncratic phrasing, something is indeed crossing the boundary that makes an increase in biological complexity more likely.

If Sewell wants to retreat to the question of the origin of life, then he will have to confront the simple fact that the various sources of energy bathing the early Earth would have fueled the numerous chemical reactions that are believed to have led to the first primitive life forms. Once again, it is for him to back up his claims about probability with something more substantive than his own beliefs.

Sewell will have no more luck carrying out these probability calculations than he had with the prior, entropy calculation. And that is because these sorts of probabilities are effectively impossible to calculate. The probability of any particular set of outcomes of several billion years of evolution depends on far more variables than can possibly be included in a practical calculation. Probability theory finds many applications in biology, but this is not one of them. There is a reason real scientists do not talk about probabilty calculations in Sewell's haphazard manner.

The pattern in Sewell's arguments is now rapidly becoming clear. When he wants to impress us with the rigor of his argument, he talks about entropy and order and probability and the history of thermodynamics. But when it comes time to apply any of this to evolution he retreats to simple-minded arguments about films running backwards and atoms arranging themselves into microchips. The reason he does this is that, in reality, thermodynamics and probability play no role at all in his argument. As already discussed, he contributes nothing to the discussion beyond his own incredulity.

Sewell closes both his essay and his podcast as follows:


The development of life may have only violated one law of science, but that was the one Sir Arthur Eddington called the “supreme” law of Nature, and it has violated that in a most spectacular way. At least that is my opinion, but perhaps I am wrong. Perhaps it only seems extremely improbable, but really isn't, that, under the right conditions, the influx of stellar energy into a planet could cause atoms to rearrange themselves into nuclear power plants and spaceships and computers. But one would think that at least this would be considered an open question, and those who argue that it really is extremely improbable, and thus contrary to the basic principle underlying the second law, would be given a measure of respect, and taken seriously by their colleagues, but we aren't. (Emphasis in original).


But knowledgable people will not show any respect for Sewell's argument, because he has produced virtually no argument at all. He describes it as his opinion that evolution violates the second law. But this is not the sort of thing about which scientists are supposed to have opinions. We have ample evidence that evolution happened and that natural selection was the driving force of it. Biologists find evolutionary thinking to be very helpful in their research. If Sewell believes that it runs afoul of the second law nevertheless, then he needs to carry out the calculations that show that to be case. Otherwise he has only an opinion based on nothing.

These sorts of considerations should be obvious to anyone with a modicum of mathematical or scientific training. That they are not obvious to Sewell is another reason his quest for respect will be in vain.

52 Comments:

At 5:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The following experiment which can be performed by anybody with a refrigerator demonstrates the fallacy of Sewells' argument. We assume that the experiment takes place in Northern Virginia in July.

1. Place a pan of water and a pan of ethyl alcohol, with equal masses of liauid, in a refrigerator overnight.
2. At noon on the following day, remove the two pans and place them outside in the sun. The temperature of both liquids will be the same.
3. After a time interval, measure the temperature of both liquids. If the time interval is sufficiently short, the alcohol will be at a higher temperature then the water because the specific heat of alcohol is lower then the specific heat of water.
It is my contention that the sub-system consisting of the two pans of liquid have a lower entropy at the end of the time interval then at the beginning, which if true, discredits Sewells' agrument.
Proof: In principle, one could use the temperature difference to run a heat engine and produce work at the end of the time interval, which, obviously is not possible at the start of the time interval because both liquids were at the same temperature. Because performing work always causes entropy of a subsystem to increase, therefore, the entropy of the subsystem is lower ate the end of the time interval then at the beginning.
The reason why the 2nd law is not violated, is that the energy extracted from sunlight caused the temperature difference, i.e. the entropy of the subsystem decreased but the entropy of the rest of the system (consisting of the rest of the universe) increased to supply the energy in the sunlight.

 
At 5:27 PM, Blogger Mark said...

Isn't violation of the 2nd Law one of the arguments known to be so wrong for so long that Answers in Genesis urges fellow Creationists not to use it?

 
At 7:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dan Styer has a beautifull section on the meaning of entropy in his free undergraduate textbook on statistical mechanics on his webpage:
http://www.oberlin.edu/physics/dstyer/StatMech.html
The book is also the best introduction I've ever seen to SM.
Some other cases where the "entropy as disorder" breaks down is in models with long range interactions. Often in these systems entropy increases as the system gets more 'lumpy'. Self-gravitating gases being the obvious example.

Steven

 
At 8:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I will check out that textbook. As a physics undergrad I had thermo, but I've been looking for a kind of grad thermo, which there really isn't, and I think I'll have to go to stat mech instead, so a free undergrad stat mech textbook would be the hotness. Anybody have any suggestions on thermo / stat mech textbooks?

Steve s

 
At 11:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Weird. Another "steven s".

Chandler's "Introduction to Statistical Mechanics" is probably the easiest SM book. Kadanoff's book looks pretty good too, though, I haven't read it in detail.
My grad SM course used Ma's book which is a pretty odd book that can be hard to learn how to do practical calculations from but I think his basic interpretation of SM is correct.

Steven

 
At 3:10 AM, Anonymous Richard Wein said...

I think some of these responses are missing the core of Sewell's argument, which is different from the usual creationist drivel. According to Sewell, biologists believe that the evolution of complex things is extremely improbable, but they claim that's OK because the second law of thermodynamics means that anything can happen, even things which are extremely improbable. So, instead of trying to show that the evolution of complex things is improbable, Sewell just takes it for granted.

Of course, his premise is absurd. In reality, biologists argue that natural selection makes the evolution of complex things probable. That's the whole point of evolutionary theory.

Incidentally, Sewell's constant reference to man-made machines as examples of improbable things is silly. Surely Sewell would agree that such machines are not improbable once human beings exist. So it's only the probability of humans (and other organisms) which is at issue.

Sewell is an ignorant fool.

 
At 6:28 AM, Anonymous Doormat said...

Another probability falicy here is what I would call the winning lottery ticket paradox. The probability of winning the lottery is absolutely tiny, but most draws, someone does win. If the person who wins was to think: "Hey, what's the probability of me winning?" they'd come up with a very small number: surely far too small for the event to have actually occured. Of course, they're missing the point, which is that the event *has* already occured.

Similarly, if we have a fair coin, and we flip 20 heads in a row, our intuition suggests that the next flip will surely be a head. It won't: it's still 50/50.

The problem is that our minds tend to interpret condition probabilities incorrectly: we use the fact that we've had 20 heads come up in a row to, probably not quite conciously, to actually decide that the coin is biased. This leads to erroneous conclusion.

The same is true of evolution: put simply, there are many random events in a species's history. But it's meaningless to commute them, come up with a small number, and then act like the lottery winner, and say "But this is too unlikely to have occured!" It has already occured. The correct calculation is to compute the probability of some species occuring like this over time (or of someone winning the lottery). I've no idea if such a calculation is possible, but surely it would come up with a much more reasonable number.

 
At 7:47 AM, Blogger DMcKeon said...

You write of "natural selection" as though its some self-evidently purposeful, intentional, directed force. I've also noticed on this blog a tone that treats Darwin almost as a Christ figure and science as a sacred theology. I guess this shouldn't be surprising given that this after all the "evolutionblog"!

Nonetheless, you folks are kind of missing the forest from the trees. On the one hand its great that your addressing the laws of thermodynamics, and so on. But your answers of the "biology does have an answer" garden variety are laden with buzzwords you've inherited. Look at it this way, if Darwin had merely parroted those who came before him where would we be? Likewise, why don't you question him?

I confess I don't really understand the whole ID phenomena, even though I'm a fairly devout Christian and I guess I'm supposed to (if I lived my own stereotype I guess). I grew up probably in the same school system as you all did so I am well aware of the tenets of evolution from the PBS documentaries to the Tree of Life to the Simpsons' Moe asking "Science! What's science ever done for us?"

Anyway, I STRONGLY suggest you all read something outside your discipline and get a broader range of perspectives. It's seriously lacking here. I guess I'll keep reading for a little longer. But this writing is like the high school kid who reads Dawkins, and comes "shot out of the cannon" thinking 'its so obvious' and than just stops learning after he's basically figured it all out. Keep reading! The brand of evolution portrayed here is about as basic as it gets. You even still maintain "Natural" selection. What's so "natural" about it. Start there, take an hour. Don't cheat :-)

 
At 8:29 AM, Anonymous Doormat said...

"natural" as opposed to "artifical". You know, when a dog breeder picks the dog with the longest body, and over generations, we get a sausage dog.

Do I get a prize? Come on, you'll have to try harder than that. 'Darwin critics 101' should tell you the meaning of "natural" in "Natural Selection".

 
At 8:57 AM, Blogger Mark said...

I disagree with dj mckeon who thinks we view Darwin as some sort of Christ-like figure, and merely repeat buzzwords. One reason many evolutionary scientists dislike the term "Darwinism" is because it implies evolutionary theory has not progressed beyond Darwin's own work. It has; there have been strong disagreements (real controversies) in evolutionary thought in the years since Darwin. And of course, much excellent work is being done by researchers who are looking outside the "box" of standard teachings--the best example of this is the current flood of contributions that "evo-devo" is making to evolutionary biology.

Dj's opening statement is very odd--evolutionists are usually accused of saying evolution is entirely random, whereas Designer-driven folks lay the claim for "purposeful arrangement of parts" and direction. Evolutionists do not claim that natural selection is directed (goal-oriented) and actually shun such teleological thinking.

 
At 1:45 PM, Blogger Jason said...

anonymous I-

The situation you describe is interesting, but I'm not sure if it really discredits anything Sewell is saying. Sewell would not deny that natural processes could cause a temperature difference to arise between two pans of liquid that began at the same temperature. He would argue simply that that is not the sort of increase in complexity and order that evolutionists need to explain.

anonymous II-

Thanks you for the link to Dr. Styer's Stat Mech book. It does look very good.

richard wein-

I believe I made those points in my original essay.

Of course nobody, biologist or otherwise, has ever claimed that anything can happen in an open system. That's just Sewell's caricature. As I said, the emphasis on open vs. closed (or isolated) systems in anti-cretionist writing came about simply because more primitive creationists ignored that distinction altogether.

If Sewell is just making an argument based on probability (which is, after all, another creationist standby) then I see no reason to discuss the second law at all. He seems to have this strange idea that the “proper” way of viewing the second law is as a statement about probability. At any rate, any such argument would have to be backed up with an actual calculation to represent anything more than Sewell's own incredulity.

And you're right about Sewell's emphasis on man-made artifacts. In his Am. Spec. article he specifically lists such things as problems for evolutionists to explain, which is very weird.

As I said in my piece, the main problem with Sewell is that as it stands neither thermodynamics nor statistical mechanics nor probability plays any real role in his arguments. He offers only the argument from personal incredulity.

dj mckeon-

Whether self-evident or not, it is a simple fact that natural selection can cause biological complexity to increase. Therefore, any attempt to argue against evolution solely on thermodynamic grounds is doomed. And if you are going to claim that I describe Darwin as a Christ figure or science as a sacred theology, you could at least point to an example where I have done that.

Your next paragraph I do not follow. I'm not doing scientific research here. I was merely trying to provide some basic facts about thermodynamics for people who may have encountered Sewell's argument but may not have known how to reply to it.

As for your final paragraph, kindly don't make assumptions about what I, or readers of this blog, have read. I present evolution at a level that is appropriate to whatever point I am making. Your closing statement about natural selection is very silly. Someone who by his own admission does not undertsand the whole ID phenomena (it's not that complicated) really shouldn't be so cocky at other people's blogs.

mark-

I appreciate your comments, especially since I know we have sometimes disagreed in the past.

 
At 3:38 PM, Anonymous Donald said...

A relative of mine, who recently gor his PhD,does not have much respect for Darwin or Evolutionary theory. He asked me:What is the model for evolution? I was wondering if someone has an answer to his question.I consider Evolution to be a valid fact of biology.
Donald

 
At 5:13 PM, Blogger DMcKeon said...

Sir, Apologize for appearing cocky RE: 1:45 post. Certainly not my intent. I was trying to inject a degree of humor. After your diatribe against R. Cohen in one of your previous posts, I figured this space can use it. But your right... this is your blog. I shouldn't assume a level of reading, or lack thereof, on your readers part.

Let me suggest, humbly, that you read Barzun's chapter, "Things ride mankind" (about midway through it) in From Dawn to Decadence. Perhaps read A.N. Wilson "The death of God in Western Civ.". These are hardly ID movements or even "PRO-God" books. I wouldn't suggest blatantly partisan books like Dembski or, on the other end, Dennett. You may benefit from the way they treat evolution, Darwin, and the historical context of Darwinism, science, and evolution.

I just can't believe one would still hold up ID proponents as a strawman and evolution as so infallible. Of course I recognize evolution. I recognize transformation, it's one of the cornerstones of social science. But few still hold to as rigid an Atheist Material type of view as I perceive here.

-DJ McKeon

P.S. Didn't mean to imply ignorance of ID. Am familiar with Dembski, Behe, Johnson and folks like that. Just not sure why they feel the need to make the point they do other than to note that of course there is purpose in nature.

 
At 1:43 PM, Anonymous Me said...

Civil Rights and Evolution

Ok, I can't take any credit for this one but it is a really good thought. In Sunday School yesterday a lady in my class pointed out that, even though many of the civil liberties lawyers and activists are opposed to teaching creation, the very idea of civil rights rests on a creation viewpoint. We believe all people have certain rights because they were created equal - this is even stated explicitly at the beginning of the preamble to the declaration of independence:

"We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." (from Wikipedia)

Right here they are in the same sentence and connected logically - we believe people have rights because we believe that there is a creator who gave them to us by creating us as equals.

I'm not arguing that we should all be creationists just because the declaration of independence mentions a creator. But what we need to recognize is that our civil rights only make sense within a creation perspective.

Evolution, on the other hand, really tells us that we have no rights. The evolutionary system is based on survival of the fittest. So, we shouldn't be protecting the weak, we should rejoice when the strong trample on them and advance forward. If life really is about survival of the fittest, what's so wrong with slavery? If one race is strong enough to subjugate another race, then obviously the stronger race is more evolved and has become superior. What's so wrong with letting the rich exploit the poor? And shouldn't we let the sick die instead of spending tons of money to try to keep them alive? Why educate all children? Why not just pick the healthiest and most intelligent and only educate them?

So it seems illogical that anyone could dedicate their lives to promoting civil rights and at the same time deny the fact that there is a creator who gave us those rights. And if there is such a creator who gave us our rights, don't you think our children in school need to hear about it? Otherwise, later on down the road, what argument will they have to defend their rights if someone tries to take those rights away?


This article was found here:
http://www.attemptedphilosophyblog.blogspot.com/

 
At 3:20 PM, Blogger jj mollo said...

I used to grow crystals when I was in high school. Is that possible?

 
At 6:29 PM, Anonymous Fred said...

"Me"-- That's the silliest thing I've heard in a long time. Being a good person doesn't require a supreme being. If you're only being a good person because of God then you are a fraud. In my opinion, atheists are better people than religious people because atheists are good because they want to be, not because they fear the consequences in the afterlife.

Of course, what's funny is that this argument is a lot like the thermodaynamics argument: you're arguing that something can't happen, yet clearly HAS happened. Don't tell me I can't champion human rights or be a good person without religion when my life proves you're wrong.

And don't forget that a lot of the rights that are being fought for are things that the Church is against. Gay rights, for example.

 
At 6:54 PM, Blogger mal said...

arguing that evolution is subject to the second law of thermodynamics is fallacious to begin with. The process of life itself is subject to the second law and evolution is part of the process of life. If it was not subject to the second law, then where are all the extinct species?

 
At 8:41 PM, Blogger Andrea said...

Just wanted to pop in and say I really enjoy your blog, especially for posts like this one. I never went beyond first year physics in university and sometimes have trouble articulating why the thermodynamics argument against evolution doesn't work.

It's very frustrating because I am studying Palaeoanthropology at grad school right now and many of my friends and relatives naturally expect me to have all the answers to their evolution questions. These are people who mostly believe evolution to be true, but who have only vague notions about how it all works. While I can handle most of what they throw at me I sometimes become stumped by questions that I know the answer to, but cannot explain satisfactorily - the thermodynamics "problem" being one such example.

So just wanted to let you know that your blog is a tremendous help to those of us who are expected to represent the entire scientific community at Christmas dinner!

"In this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" Homer Simpson

(Obvious quote I know, but it's one of my favorites.)

 
At 12:38 AM, Blogger Michael "Sotek" Ralston said...

Evolution is descriptive and not prescriptive.

"Survival of the fittest" is how things are when 'left alone' - not how they should be.

People REALLY need to stop making this mistake.

 
At 8:18 AM, Anonymous Frank said...

"Me " you speak of "Social Darwinism" and not "Natural Selection"

The very introduction of thought into the social process negates the appropriate application of Darwinism or Natural Selection. Hitler, Stalin and others have tried to justify their tyranny over others by using Darwin. That is to say, “I am justified in being the oppressor by the fact that I am the oppressor and I have not been overthrown. If there was something better, then I would have been overthrown as that is the natural order.” Granted they never quite say it that way but the argument distills to that point.

Man, by virtue of his humanity, refrains from unjust behavior (OK not all the time). This very restraint is not “Natural” from the perspective of “Natural Selection” and is in part what separates us from the animals. By way of example, animals do not scheme to spread lies about a subset of the population in order to justify taking their property or enslaving whole races.

Just because Natural Selection does not tell us we have rights, does not mean that other areas of human endeavor do not, philosophy, for example (see John Locke). With respect to teaching these ideas in a classroom, the US courts have long upheld teaching the philosophical ideas of religion as acceptable as long as it is in the context of political science, philosophy, history, etc. The sad news is that some radical left wing political groups act overzealously whenever god is mentioned in a public school. This has had the unfortunate effect of scaring school administrations into expunging all mentioning of God (and Christianity in particular) to avoid a lawsuit.

“Fred”
I think you missed a point or two.. “Me” said that “it seems illogical that anyone could dedicate their lives to promoting civil rights and at the same time deny the fact that there is a creator who gave us those rights.” He did not say that it was not possible. None the less the argument is flawed as it does not account for the works of folks like the aforementioned John Locke.

Your lack of belief in God does not necessarily negate his existence. Additionally, an assertion is not that you need to believe in a religion to do good works but instead that God is ultimately the source of good works.

It is like the joke. A confirmed atheist lives next door to a poor religious woman. Every morning, the woman steps outside and shouts “Praise the Lord!”
The man, the atheist, shouts back “God is dead!” One day the man notices that the woman does not have enough to eat, goes to the store and buys her a bag of groceries, and places the bag by her front door.
The next morning the woman steps outside and shouts “Thank you Lord for the groceries!”
The man shouts back, “You fool! God did not get you those groceries, I bought them.”
The woman shouts to the sky, “Praise Jesus, he got the devil to pay for them!”

And just because you do not believe in God, does not mean that your rights are not derived from God.

 
At 9:24 AM, Anonymous Doormat said...

And just because you do not believe in God, does not mean that your rights are not derived from God.

Or, conversely, just because you do believe in God doesn't mean that he/she/it isn't a human construction, as much as morals, ethics, and a sense of right and wrong are.

You're not going to win in an argument like this: theists say that God really does exist, and works in mysterious way; atheists say that God doesn't exist, except in people's imagination, but that of course that means some people will act as if God does exist.

How did we get here from Thermodynamics?

 
At 9:28 AM, Anonymous Frank said...

Spot on, doormat!

And now back to Thermo and ID....

 
At 11:52 AM, Anonymous Fred said...

Frank said:
Man, by virtue of his humanity, refrains from unjust behavior (OK not all the time). This very restraint is not “Natural” from the perspective of “Natural Selection” and is in part what separates us from the animals.

I disagree. I think that fairness, honesty, teamwork, etc. all have selection advantages.

By way of example, animals do not scheme to spread lies about a subset of the population in order to justify taking their property or enslaving whole races.

I think those things come as an unwanted adjunct to the development of consciousness, which itself could quite possibly have started through the development of the above-mentioned fairness, teamwork, etc. (I would think that teamwork would come first, as there are lots of animals that display that trait.)

In fact, I can imagine that negative traits have certain selection advantages too.

 
At 1:00 PM, Blogger Tarun said...

Very interesting blog... :)

Frank -
'Morality is the herd instinct in the individual' - Nietzsche

There are no moral absolutes even within a majority of the human race. Space, time (context) is everything. One man's revolutionary war hero is anothers deranged mass-murderer.

 
At 3:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Evolution, on the other hand, really tells us that we have no rights. The evolutionary system is based on survival of the fittest. So, we shouldn't be protecting the weak, we should rejoice when the strong trample on them and advance forward. If life really is about survival of the fittest, what's so wrong with slavery?

As they say, the proof is in the pudding. Some of the most progressive and liberal forces for change were secular humanists, not religionists. To be sure, Christians and other people of faith were sometimes involved. But, if you know your history, you also know they are the kind of Christian that Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, et al. deride as "liberal," "not real Christians," etc.

Recently Rev. Jerry Falwell mocked Rev. Barry Lynn (of Americans United for the Seperation of Church & State) on TV, saying Rev. Lynn's ministerial degree wasn't worth the paper it was written on. Why? Because Rev. Lynn doesn't subscribe to the fundamentalist revisionist history that Falwell does.

Anyway, to the argument that ethics cannot exist without a god, reality and history defy it.

That's not to say skeptics and non-believers are more good and "saintly." But, like every other human being (and that includes religionists who claim to be guided by a god) non-believers are fallible, imperfect, etc.

I have made the argument in the past that the unexceptionalism of religious believers (or any other group of people - in the aggregate) demonstrates that they are just as human as everyone else -- having no super-human invisible guidance that gives them "one-up" over non-religionists.

I don't deride religion for producing some evil tyrants and horrible acts of history. I attribute it to plain old human beings, who happened to be misguided into thinking they were somehow exempt from humanitarian ethics because some god told them it way okay to kill in its name, etc.

 
At 3:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's so wrong with letting the rich exploit the poor? And shouldn't we let the sick die instead of spending tons of money to try to keep them alive? Why educate all children?

Does anyone else detect the richness of the irony here? Some of the biggest advocates for Creationism are conservative fundamentalists, who are virtually unanimous in their support for public policies that transfers ever greater wealth to the upper-classes, leaving the "least of these" (lower-classes) to fend for themselves. Or the fact that these same people are some of the biggest opponents of public education for ALL children?

Meanwhile, humanists (secular and religious) daily struggle for funding to help the "least of these" that are left to fend for themselves. But, what do middle/upper-class Creationists care about that? Out of sight, out of mind.

 
At 5:00 PM, Anonymous Kevin from NYC said...

"Just not sure why they feel the need to make the point they do other than to note that of course there is purpose in nature"

WOW! Great thread here!

DJ tries to slip in some nonsense at the end of his last post. When someone says "of course" in a discussion like this my ears go up.

Religious people are always stating that without creation "our lives would be meaningless" because the purpose of live is to obey and worship god. (now that 's odd) DJ and ID are the flip side and try to ascribe purpose to nature as a substitute.

Life has no purpose except what you yourself give it....Existentialism is a clear view of the meaningless of life. and how in that void you create your own meaning.

So, no purpose to nature, nor evolution or our own existence, no purpose except to live. (otherwise we all commit suicide, and that's a dead (ha) end.)

Don't worry so much abuot the why and focus on the how and you might be a bit happier.

 
At 8:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I witnessed a miracle and a clear violation of the 2nd Law this winter: Wet blobs, falling from the sky -- a collection of hydrogen and oxygen that could only be described as hopelessly chaotic -- began binding together to form beautiful, complex and wondrous entities.

Natural forces, of course, being uncreative and of generally bad taste, could have produced such a creation.

 
At 9:47 AM, Blogger DMcKeon said...

Hi Kevin,

Perhaps you might want to take a look at my blog, if you're interested dmckeon.blogspot.com for a more thorough look at this.

The philosophy you advocate of not to worry about the "why" but the "how" presumes two things: a) that happiness is, or should be, the main goal of one's existence, and b) basically all is relative. You must be into some of the eastern, mystical type of worldviews then?

Of course (hope your ears are perking up:)) much in life is relative. How very Post-mod of you! But much of life is not. To demonstrate, you seem to subscribe that all should find happiness as their chief end (regardless of how they find it). Is this a "relative" statement though? It seems fairly normative. What about those who enjoy the search for misery? Is such a search good? If not, than why not? It's all relative right? Who needs happiness? Are you presuming that happiness is an absolute or a desire that all aspire to? Based on what? Your own culture's values?

You'd be more honest and true to your philosophy of "why ask why?" if you didn't add that last sentence and instead just threw your hands up and said "do what you want!" By making a suggesting your implying that you have an answer. But in existentialism, as in the atheist natural evolutionary approach, there is no "answer". There's just stuff!

Just something to consider. Beware of easy answers.

-DJ

 
At 10:45 AM, Anonymous Kevin from NYC said...

DJ, I said

"Don't worry so much abuot the why and focus on the how and you might be a bit happier. "

This does not SAY that "To demonstrate, you seem to subscribe that all should find happiness as their chief end " nor does it, to me, imply it.

What is means is that to be happy is objectively better than to be unhappy, by definition.

As you live, you do stuff, not all of which makes you happy but which is certainly necessary to continue to live. In order to be happy you have to be alive; the opposite is not true. So to live is the chief end, and to be happy is a bonus.

If being sad and morose makes you happy, that's OK. It's like ennui, that strange lacksidasical state of tupor that denies that to live is any end at all. Only a small percentage of these types commit suicide in any event.

From an evolutionary perspective, I would define happiness as sex, food, and shelter, with social standing and supportive social interactions thrown into the mix.

Happy people make better parents. Here the mindless happiness of fundies works to their advantage as they pump out "God's little soldiers"

 
At 10:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not a mathematician, but I'm guessing entropy as used in many arguments is a very loose "pop" term equated with "Gee, that sure looks chaotic to me."

Is there any evidence that organic entities that we define as "life" are any less chaotic than the energy states that preceded them?

Additionally, of course, there's something called "death." Every lifeform of which we know dies. Again, using the "pop" definition, that sure quacks like entropy.

DJ: Why doesn't your blog have comments?

 
At 5:30 PM, Blogger DMcKeon said...

Kevin,

By inserting the very word "objectively" your basically appealing to something as though it's self-evidently true. That's moving beyond relativism. You're not going to be able to escape the dilemma of appealing to some form of "objective" (something outside ourselves as evidence).

By stating that if being sad and morose makes you happy... you're basically using circular arguments. You're betraying your premise of relativism. Don't make the search for happiness the chief end of one's boredom. Be content, as a relativist, to allow that one would therefore be perfectly reasonable to just be bored, miserable, whatever. Don't inject the conditional "if" or make a value judgment about it. If you're going to be a relativist be one!

By stating that life is a prerequisite for being happy, you're really just stating something that's obvious. Such a statement has no real value or provide any genuine insight. It's just an observation, a descriptive statement that even my four year old could make.

This is in many ways similar to an Atheist evolutionary approach by the way. For example, as my child grows his body "evolves". Wow, what a description. Does this imply God had nothing to with it? Only if I believe God doesn't "do" transformation.

According to this logic the alternative would have to hold, i.e. my son doesn't change - therefore - God exists. That would basically have to hold according to the logic employed by Atheists suggesting evolution as evidence against God's existence.

What I'm basically saying (the bloody point) is that observing phenomena in nature, under a microscope, or watching it transform, etc. does not by itself make the case for a strict Atheist approach.

Evolution and science are basically neutral, in reality, on the question of God's existence. You have to look elsewhere to justify an Atheist faith. Have you tried the problem of pain? How about evil?

By the way, if you're going to be a relativist your proper position would be agnosticism. You'd basically have to conclude "who knows?" rather than take a strong stand in any direction.

DJ

 
At 8:03 PM, Blogger Ahab said...

"Evolution and science are basically neutral, in reality, on the question of God's existence. "

It all depends on the God you are talking about. Evolution pretty much rules out all the traditional Christian ideas of God. Just as much in science rules out the Greek gods.
Of course, people are still free to believe in the Christian God, or Zeus for that matter. Such belief, however, doesn't appear to be very rational in light of what we have learned about the cosmos from science.

 
At 9:18 PM, Blogger DMcKeon said...

Ahab,

One final thought from me...

The idea that evolution rules out the Christian God is completely false. Genesis 1 and 2 are not a scientific manual, the days are properly understood in the Hebrew as "Age", and there is nothing in the creation order that blatantly rejects the order proposed by evolutionary theorists. Suggest you consult the order proposed by scientists during the last 3.5 billion to 4 billion years and compare it with Genesis. There's only one place where you could possibly see a discrepancy but it can be reconciled by how you understood the timing. I'll leave it to your investigative skills to figure out where that is :)

Evolution and science are a limited form of knowledge and how we can know what we know. Scientific knowledge primarily deals with empirical analysis of discrete material phenomena, it's responses, transformations, and on on... It has to be verifiable to qualify as true "science" as we understand the term. While science is a very reliable form of knowledge for what it does, it is very limited because of the very nature of science itself.

Religious knowledge is broader than empirical knowledge of this sort. Empiricism is an aspect of it but not all there can be in terms of our knowledge. The Christian Bible is intended primarily to portray God's relationship with His chosen people throughout History. It's not a "how-to" book on the earth or electromagnetism or thermodynamics. As such, Christians have historically not been anti-science (read R. Stark's "Victory of Reason" before you come back at this assertion with Galileo, Scopes, as the off-the-cuff reaction to my assertion). Or, just read Pope John Paul's encyclical "Faith and Reason" or his views on evolution. I'm not Catholic but I found the arguments to be excellent.

There is nothing inherently anti-christian about evolution, necessarily. To suggest what you did basically presumes that all that can be known is what we can know through our senses, through experiment, etc. This is a very weak view of what is knowable. This will really depend on the specific type of Christian doctrine, which is a separate discussion.

You offer little more than just an assertion that it is so! It's hard to really argue this further based on a couple of sentences. You are right in that evolution and science do, however, rule out some forms of God belief, but mostly the ones simply limited to certain pagan creation myths and a few others.

I know that what I'm suggesting isn't what we learned in High School social studies. But, please, give it a second thought.

All the Best,

DJ

 
At 9:58 PM, Blogger Ahab said...

DJ,
So Adam was formed from the ground and Eve constructed from his rib? And they lived in the garden of Eden where they committed the first sin that condemned mankind to a history of misery? That is consistent with what we know about how humans evolved?
By the way, your reference to how Christians currently interpret Gen. 1 and 2 shows just how drastically science has forced Christians to change their religious views based on the acquisition of scientific knowledge. If it hadn't been for the redating of earth's geological history and the devolopement of the theory of evolution, they would still be complacently assuming that Adam and Eve were placed in the Garden of Eden around 6,000 years ago.
Also, the Genesis account blatantly contradicts the notion of common descent. Though I don't see why you should try and insist otherwise, since you at least acknowledge that it (Genesis) is not a science manual. If it isnt, it's simply a myth and it doesn't matter if you can accomodate it to evolution or not.
Finally, your smart-ass comment encouraging me to move beyond what I may have been taught in high school is not conducive to a very constructive discussion of this matter. Why do you so glibly assume that someone who disagrees with you here has only a limited education?

 
At 10:41 PM, Blogger DMcKeon said...

Ahab,

Sincerely apologize about the H.S. comment. That's not at all what I intended but as I read the line again I realize it can come across as condescending.

Sincerely, DJ

P.S. There have always been differing interpretations of Genesis. You're absolutely right in that modern science did force Christians to rethink the age of the earth. As for the cause of sin emanating from the tree and Adam and Eve, I believe that as well. That's an article of faith. The evolutionary alternatives (studying apes in the wild, etc.) are plausible if you're going to do away with faith but taken as a whole, they are weak. At some point you'd have to trace back even further back and say evil, selfishness, and sin are an evolved trait, which has it's own sort of problems. There's much debate on whether sin is learned or innate. My view is that its innate - not learned - as it would have to be under an evolutionary framework. It's interesting to see reports about brain chemistry and emotional responses that seem to indicate that there's more "nature" than previously expected.

My own personal view on Adam and Eve (human beings) is that they are a special creation and that they didn't evolve in the sense that most of life did. It appears Adam and Eve are about 150K years old. You're right that the dating changed from 6K years as was understood in previous centuries. That can be a problem but it's not necessarily one.

If scientists discover the missing link, a clear fossil record (stuff like strata in undisturbed ecosystems is not really telling you that much but a more recent record betw 150K and 300K years ago would), and a clear indication of a smooth transition in the species, I'll reconsider my opinion on all of this. Please point me to anything I may have missed on these discoveries if you know of it. As of this writing I'm not aware of it. Much of it appears to be speculation at this point and the mantra "we'll find it!".

Respectfully yours.

 
At 11:46 PM, Anonymous Kevin from NYC said...

DJ you're being kind of a dolt here.

You didn't address any of my ideas and you try to sound as if you are giving the answer of the ages.

Objectively means exactly what I want it to mean....If any observer is shown two images, one of a sad, crying, morose person and another of a smiliing, active and humanly engaged person, and was asked who would you rather be? (i.e. which is "better" as a judgement) X%>50 would choose the "happy" person, even those who mope around all the time, and even those who say its not possible.

you say relativism and "You're not going to be able to escape the dilemma of appealing to some form of "objective" like it means something.....it does not.

again you say: "you're basically using circular arguments. You're betraying your premise of relativism. Don't make the search for happiness the chief end of one's boredom."

Jezus boy you must be a republican to make up strawman arguments so you can shoot them down...a) its not circular, b) I have no premise, c) I didn't make any connection between boredom and happiness. In fact, ennui denies the existence of happiness. That's the point.

You give me grief about life > happiness but it was all in response to your own bad interpretations.

"To demonstrate, you seem to subscribe that all should find happiness as their chief end "

So no, you have to live first, and be happy second. you can be alive and not happy but (HA HA) you can't be happy and not alive.

If you want to be happy you have to make stuff up as if it had some importance and then you can be happy dealing with it. This does not imply that it means anything.

Everything is the same and nothing matters is appealing in a sick and deadend way...but it is ultimately sterile..and life is anything but sterile....

Therefor I say that you need to have more sex..and no, not with yourself....

 
At 11:48 PM, Anonymous Kevin from NYC said...

"My own personal view on Adam and Eve (human beings) is that they are a special creation and that they didn't evolve in the sense that most of life did. It appears Adam and Eve are about 150K years old. You're right that the dating changed from 6K years as was understood in previous centuries. That can be a problem but it's not necessarily one. "

Well there you go so you are certifiable nuts!

And how do you know it wasn't Adam and Steve? and a lab technician?

 
At 7:47 AM, Blogger DMcKeon said...

Kevin,

I must be a dolt? I should have more sex? I'm certifiably nuts? Ouchy! Thanks for the hard-hitting arguments.

Genesis doesn't give a date for creation anywhere. Much of it is up to interpretation. Some have interpreted it poorly others have not. You can read Augustine's "Confessions", chapter 11 if you're interested. The interpretations range from Milton's "Paradise Lost" all the way to scientists I know who claim that evolution is "How God did it".

Anyway Kevin, that's cool. It's all good :)

 
At 9:44 AM, Blogger DMcKeon said...

Ahab,
This is a really great discussion. I’m thinking about it more than my time and responsibilities probably allow.

Anyway, you brought up an excellent point that science forced Christians to rethink much about the faith. Let me try to give some perspective on that.

When Darwin’s work came out, Christians reacted differently dependent on your denomination, your theology, and your interpretation of Genesis. Many, as you know, reacted strongly against Darwinism. Others embraced him and still others had a wait-and-see approach.

To GENERALLY trace the lines, the more congregational denominations (Methodist, Baptist, etc.) were very much against Darwinism. The progeny of this group tended to be your more fundamentalist believers. They took a very literal view of Genesis so that “a day” means “a day.” In this camp you have the well known statements such as WJ Bryan’s I trust in the “Rock of Ages not the Ages of Rocks” and so forth.

The more “high” church denominations (Presbyterian, Lutheran, Episcopalian) had many within the flock who embraced Darwinism. Since Darwin you’ve had a split within high church denominations between liberal and conservative. Those that went liberal were heavily influenced by Darwin but more so by theological thoughts of the time embodied by a guy named F. Schleiermacher and other, mainly German, theologians of the time. There’s been many since then but that’s about the start of it.

The other high church flock includes those who hold to a “reformed” theology. For them (and me) science is good, evolution should be explored, and a proper hermeneutic should be applied to Genesis. Genesis does assert a few things, i.e. man as a special creation, the origin of evil, … But it is not necessarily a handbook for interpretation of the natural world. Genesis says what it says not more, not less.

In the reformed tradition you had theologians such as Charles Hodge, B.B. Warfield, and others who embraced evolution. But they found themselves in the uneasy camp with Darwin’s bulldogs who insisted on the wholly Atheist material, process interpretation of evolution. So they didn’t completely throw themselves in with this group for both scientific and social reasons. The implications of Darwinism, applied to morality and the state did not leave them with a warm and fuzzy.

I suppose I should mention the Catholic responses to evolution, which were also varied. But it is my opinion that the way the Catholic hierarchy responded to it and the modernist crisis they rebelled against in the early 1900’s still has reverberations because it was so poorly thought out. They’ve only begun to recover and seriously address the issue of evolution, to my knowledge, over the past few decades, which is a little late to start playing.

What you’re basically arguing against by stating that Christianity has changed in response to science is true to a point if you understand the group of Christians you’re referencing. But it’s not across the board. In addition, holding Christianity to that, namely “you’ve changed therefore you’re not viable any longer”, standard is not being extremely intellectually honest.

But science also changes constantly. Science has dabbled in alchemy, phrenology, eugenics, and a host of other gaffes that have proved useless. Yet, nobody should say based on that that science is worthless. It’s just that it needs to be re-evaluated. This is clearly the case with Darwinism. There is enormous variety within Darwinism. Yet that shouldn’t discredit the scientific enterprise. Likewise, merely stating that science has forced Christians to rethink exactly how they interpret Genesis, whether literal, metaphorical or some combination of does not discredit the Bible or what Christianity has to offer the world.

Respectfully.

 
At 1:16 PM, Anonymous Kevin from NYC said...

Here Dennis,

Have some Troll-Food

http://www.evolutionfairytale.com/forum/index.php

 
At 8:43 PM, Anonymous Kevin from NYC said...

You can read Augustine's "Confessions", chapter 11 if you're interested. The interpretations range from Milton's "Paradise Lost"

Oh and actually, I have already read them. Required reading at my college...

 
At 9:37 PM, Blogger Michael "Sotek" Ralston said...

Um, Dennis.

Science changing and religion changing are very different things.

See... science says "This is the best explanation we know of right now", while religion says "This is how it is". Religion requires "revealed truth" and/or faith ... and that means that if it's wrong, it has no explanation as to why it should be considered to be any more right NOW.

Science is consistant when it changes - religion is inconsistant when it changes.

This is a very important difference.

 
At 9:40 AM, Blogger DMcKeon said...

Hi Michael,

Thanks for your comment. It actually depends on what you mean by “religion”, which one your talking about, and what is actually changing. There are essentials (your point about “how it is”) and non-essentials that are open to re-interpretation.

So, for example, within Christianity, the assertion that Christ rose from the dead falls into the “how it is” or essential category. However, the world is 6K, 100K, 4B, how ever many years old is not of the same importance as, say, Christ’s claims. That’s because Genesis in this case doesn’t clearly decree “God made the earth in year xy”. Nor is the definition of day in the Hebrew compatible with how we know "day". For a discussion on this I'll refer to Augustine's "Confessions" Book 11 where he discusses the nature of time, creation ex-nihilo, etc.

Therefore, for our purpose of discussing evolution, I take the creation account as open to reinterpretation.

The point I’m making is that you’re partially right with respect to the "this is how it is” nature of religion. But it all depends on the specific context and question at hand.

-Dennis

 
At 12:27 AM, Blogger Ezra said...

These are people who mostly believe evolution to be true, but who have only vague notions about how it all works. –Fred

That’s the problem people have been brainwashed. So many people believe it because that’s the only faith they have been taught unfortunately. Some don’t want to believe in a God so evolution seems to be a good alternative.

“Christian God, or Zeus for that matter. Such belief, however, doesn't appear to be very rational in light of what we have learned about the cosmos from science” - Andrea

Totally disagree, the more scientists find the more it leads to a creator. Naturalists liked to believe the world had no beginning, but scientific discoveries show quite clearly that it had a beginning. This gave naturalists a headache so they had to make up some theories that show how it began excluding God. Einstein himself made some of the most amazing discoveries about the universe and he believed in a creator.

“…the days are properly understood in the Hebrew as "Age", and there is nothing in the creation order that blatantly rejects the order proposed by evolutionary theorists.” - Ahab

“in the Old Testament "yom" is translated to mean a 24 hour day 1109 times. It means a long, long period of time--such as an age--about nine times.
However, every time the word "yom" is used with the term evening or morning in the Bible, it means a regular 24 hour day.”

http://www.missiontoamerica.com/genesis/days-of-creation.html

Evolution needs death there was no death before Adam.

Rom 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:


“And they lived in the garden of Eden where they committed the first sin” – Ahab

Satan committed the first sin, he lied to Eve.

“they would still be complacently assuming that Adam and Eve were placed in the Garden of Eden around 6,000 years ago.” –Ahab

I don’t care when we were created. However I believe it was around 6000 years ago.
Genesis is the basis of Islam, Judeo and Christian faiths. Evolution is the basis for the atheist faith. Dating methods are totally invalid first you have to assume there wasn’t a world wide flood, besides a lot of dating methods come to the conclusion that the world is young.

More on dating methods,
http://trueorigin.org/old_earth_evo_heart.asp

“(Genesis) is not a science manual. If it isnt, it's simply a myth and it doesn't matter if you can accomodate it to evolution or not.” – Ahab

That’s illogical someone can tell you about something without writing a science manual and it can still be correct. For instance I can tell you the sky is blue at noon on a clear day. I’m simply stating a fact that I know, I don’t have to write a science manual on why the sky is blue to make it blue.

The problem is how science is set up. If all the evidence led to creation, scientists in general wouldn’t accept it. See science is the search for truth by naturalistic means. Therefore any conclusion that leads to supernatural instances is completely discredited.

Atheism is illogical Agnostics are more rational. How can anyone say there is no God, how does anyone know that? To give any credit to atheist they would have to know everything including that outside our universe. Christians believe what they believe for a reason, and I know why because I am a Christian and I was an agnostic.

1Pe 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his great mercy begat us again unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

Act 2:38 And Peter said unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is real, I know but some here probably won’t believe me. The Holy Spirit is Gods little reminder and hope that every born again Christian haves.

 
At 10:08 AM, Anonymous Fred said...

Ezra,
You could have saved a lot of typing by just using the standard third-grader response to anything: Because.

Everything else was pretty much the same thing we hear all the time, with, of course, nothing at all to back it up. Question: Why does science need to stand up to scrutiny but religion doesn't? You say that science is wrong and try to point to proof, but where's your proof of God? I know you'll say one of two things: 1) The proof is all around us, or 2) I have faith. Well, neither of those is a valid answer in the scenario you yourself have set up, which is that a claim requires proof. I can say "the proof is all around us" for evolution. And as for faith, well, that's not even a rational argument. There are plenty of people who have faith in other religions-- ones that don't jibe with the Christian Bible's account of Creation. What do you say about their faith?

 
At 2:52 PM, Blogger luna_the_cat said...

To drag this thread kicking and screaming back to the original topic, has anyone else pointed out that the development of a very large, complex, multicellular organism from a fertilised egg is equally "a violation of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics" by the argument presented?

How does that work, then? Does God sit around messing with every single fertilised egg in the world in order to enable embryological growth? Pretty incompetent of Him to design a system that needs that much interference to continue, if that's the case. Or am I just thinking of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, there.

Seriously, every single biochemical reaction, from ATP synthesis to protein synthesis, follows in a thermodynamically favorable direction, as difficult as that may be for a non-biochemist to see. It all rests on the ability of some organisms to capture heat and light in the environment into high-energy atomic bonds, and then the rest of the organic world makes use of that energy captured, released one bite-sized chunk at a time. Once one takes a look at the molecular interactions which drive biology in general, it becomes apparent how thermodynamics drives everything; far from violating the 2nd law of thermodynamics, biology is pretty much built around it.

And if embryological growth from an egg to a large adult doesn't violate it, how exactly does the development of any complex creature from simple beginnings?

 
At 11:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

HAHAHAHAHA
Perhaps these guys need to retake (or take for the first time?) Intro to biology (and throw Orgo in there too)...

Mewonders how they got their college degree with such a bad understanding of basic science.

 
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