A Quantum Christian

By Terrell Clemmons

The Man for Whom Science Proved Religion

Dennis Garvin grew up the second of three sons born into a Norman Rockwell setting in the Berkshire Mountains of upstate New York. After graduating valedictorian of his class at The Citadel military college in South Carolina, he went on to graduate with honors from VCU School of Medicine in Virginia and serve thirteen years in U.S. Air Force. By the time he reached his mid-30s, he’d met every one of his life’s goals. He had a family with children he loved. He was a successful physician with a good practice in Roanoke, Virginia. And, much to his own delight, he’d acquired a nice, four-degree-long, academic tail that certified him as a really smart dude. So why, having achieved so much, did he feel so empty?

It wasn’t depression; his life was full and active. No, the existential ennui was more akin to that of Alexander the Great, who surveyed the breadth of his domain and wept that there were no more worlds to conquer. And when he looked within, he saw a life of black and white. His wife at the time, by contrast, seemed to have access to a joy he didn’t. Her life looked to him like it had color. What was with that?

Raised in a Unitarian Universalist household, Dennis was a committed atheist. But, having adopted the ethics of his liberal feminist mother, which dictated tolerance as the supreme virtue, he had no particular hostility toward Christianity. So, with a semblance of open-mindedness that way, the rational scientist in him started getting curious.

This was, philosophically speaking, new territory for him. But the time was ripe. A lifelong Darwin devotee, he’d started to realize that there were a great many cracks in Darwin, chief among them for him being altruism. He could explain away just about any human behavior except that, and it bugged the ever-living snot out of him. Worse, it had begun to dawn on him that he’d long parroted the phrase “science disproves religion,” but never actually questioned it. This was downright shameful for a man who called himself a scientist.

So he set out in all honesty to reexamine his assumptions. The primary one he’d accepted a priori was atheism. Okay then, he started out, let’s just say that there is a God. How would he have gone about doing what he did? Since the Bible, the book of Christianity had been the first thing he’d dismissed, that was where he went first in pursuit of an answer.

A Dangerous Book

As he read, he became increasingly and utterly astonished to find that the Bible – the book he’d dismissed out of hand as a stupid fairy tale – was probably one of the most precise books of quantum physics he’d ever run into. This was not at all what he had expected, and as a scientist knowledgeable in modern physics, it started to turn his whole epistemological orientation on its head. Dennis had long been fascinated with the study of light, and to him, the quantum physics of light precisely explained the Christian doctrine of the Trinity. That brought him to his knees.

There was an evangelistic factor at work during this time too. His wife had introduced him to some people with Campus Crusade for Christ. Now Dennis had a stockpile of well-honed verbal projectiles designed to destroy belief in God or revealed religion in any form. He wasn’t just your nice, garden variety atheist. He was a predator, the kind of atheist Christian parents don’t want their children to meet when they go away to college. He relished destroying the faith of the poor miserable souls, and with his scientific credentials and the academic tail to back them up, he was pretty darn good at it.

But the good folks at Campus Crusade for Christ took his infantile flak like fearless soldiers. He’d lob one objection. But what about Christ? Somebody would say. He’d throw another. But what about Christ? He ranted and raved about Isis, Osiris, and the Christ figure mythologically reborn every winter and how Christianity was just mythology writ large. Patiently, they listened. And then came back with, Okay, but what about the God who loves you? Eventually, he ran out of arguments. The science had brought him to his knees. Through Campus Crusade, he became a new creature in Christ.

A Violent Man, Conquered by God

It’s highly unusual in America for anyone to come to Christian faith after the age of 35. For someone to do so on the burden of science is nearly unheard of. But for Dennis Garvin, that was how it happened. All that took place nearly thirty years ago, and since then some things about life haven’t changed all that much. He’s still a family man, though two grandchildren have been born into the mix. He’s still a physician, though medical missionary work has been added to the schedule. And still a pure scientist applying aspects of accepted scientific knowledge to biblical concepts, he’s taken up writing and teaching to disseminate the findings.

Another thing hasn’t changed. The good doctor still covets a good argument. Never one to do things by halves, the “really smart dude” who’s now fully graduated into an intellectually sound Christian compares himself in all humility to the apostle Paul, who had a confrontational style as the murderous Saul of Tarsus, then went on to preach the gospel with an equal confrontational punch. But where Paul went on to preach the faith he once tried to destroy, Dennis takes pleasure in destroying the faith he once preached, aspiring to be the kind of Christian atheist professors and materialist scientists don’t want their students to meet.

“I have a take-no-prisoners mentality,” he says about them – not meaning the garden variety atheists, for whom he feels a brotherly sympathy, but the profiteering and predatory wise guys who pass themselves off as intellectually superior in order to destroy. Certainly he recognizes the command to love our enemies, but that doesn’t necessarily translate into playing nice with people who aren’t nice.

“I know those SOBs because I was an SOB. And I know what makes them think. I’ve got street credibility. And I can tell them, based on my credentials and my study, that anybody who retains a faith in atheism is an idiot. And they’re welcome to be idiots, but don’t dress themselves in intellectual propriety.”

“The big secret about atheists, the big fear of all atheists, is that they fear to look intellectually stupid in front of their contemporaries. They don’t mind if you pull their pants down in front of a bunch of other religious Neanderthals or people that they can label as such. But if you can go into their cave and, in front of their contemporaries, pull their pants down, you have done something. And that’s what I want to do.”

It’s not about scoring a win. It’s about exposing and choking off a predator that comes to kill.

A Violent Man Conquered by God

André Trocmé was a Huguenot pastor in the French mountain village of Le Chambon when Germany invaded France in 1940. As far as the war was concerned, Trocmé was a non-combatant pacifist. But when the Nazis demanded loyalty oaths and complicity with the deportation of Jews, he defied them openly. “We have Jews. You’re not getting them,” stated an open letter to the Vichy minister dispatched to Le Chambon in 1942. A man who knew which war was worth dying for, he was often described as un violent vaincu par Dieu – a violent man conquered by God. “A curse on him who begins in gentleness,” the pastor wrote in his journal. “He shall finish in insipidity and cowardice, and shall never set foot in the great liberating current of Christianity.”

Like Pastor Trocmé, Dr. Garvin is by profession a servant of healing. Also, like him, he knows which battle is worth taking a bullet for. That’s why, for the sake of a generation subjected to smug SOBs with big egos and long academic tails, he stands not only ready but eager to enter the ring and do violence for the sake of the Truth.

 


Original Blog Source: http://bit.ly/2HjREkm

Free CrossExamined.org Resource

Get the first chapter of "Stealing From God: Why Atheists Need God to Make Their Case" in PDF.

Powered by ConvertKit
153 replies
  1. KR says:

    “Raised in a Unitarian Universalist household, Dennis was a committed atheist.”
    .
    So he was committed to not believing in God? I’m not sure what that even means but it seems to suggest that we can choose our beliefs, which doesn’t make any sense.
    .
    “A lifelong Darwin devotee, he’d started to realize that there were a great many cracks in Darwin, chief among them for him being altruism. He could explain away just about any human behavior except that, and it bugged the ever-living snot out of him.”
    .
    Apparently, it didn’t bug him enough to do even some cursory research into the subject. A quick google search shows that evolutionary biology and the application of game theory mathematics converge on the same conclusion: cooperative and compassionate behaviour has clear survival benefits over selfish behaviour.
    .
    “So he set out in all honesty to reexamine his assumptions. The primary one he’d accepted a priori was atheism. ”
    .
    Sounds like Garvin was a rather unreflective atheist. My atheism is not an assumption, it’s a conclusion. My assumption is that we are able to make objective observations of reality, i.e. that our senses are mostly reliable. From this would follow that we can use empirical verification as a method for testing the validity of our ideas. The assumption seems to be borne out by our experience. As far as I know there is no method with a better track record for finding the truth than empirical verification so I will stick with it until someone can provide something better.
    .
    Ideas that cannot be tested empirically (and this would seem to include claims of the existence of deities) may well be true – I just don’t see any way to verify this, which means I see no reason to accept such ideas even if I may find them interesting as the subject of speculation. Consequently, I’m an atheist.
    .
    “As he read, he became increasingly and utterly astonished to find that the Bible – the book he’d dismissed out of hand as a stupid fairy tale – was probably one of the most precise books of quantum physics he’d ever run into. ”
    .
    So God tried to teach us quantum physics through the Bible? Isn’t it odd that we only realized this thousands of years later, after having learned about quantum physics through completely different means? To add to the mystery, it was discovered by a guy who as far as I know has done no scientific work in quantum physics and not by the people who are active within the field.
    .
    “Eventually, he ran out of arguments. The science had brought him to his knees. ”
    .
    What science was that? The “arguments” referred to were “But what about Christ?” and “Okay, but what about the God who loves you?”. These are hardly scientific arguments and will clearly not bring a skeptic “to his knees”.
    .
    ““I have a take-no-prisoners mentality,” he says about them – not meaning the garden variety atheists, for whom he feels a brotherly sympathy, but the profiteering and predatory wise guys who pass themselves off as intellectually superior in order to destroy.”
    .
    This doesn’t sound like any atheists I know. Who are these predators out to destroy and how are they profiteering? By publishing books? If so, aren’t Christian apologists (like Garvin himself) also profiteering?
    .
    ““The big secret about atheists, the big fear of all atheists, is that they fear to look intellectually stupid in front of their contemporaries. They don’t mind if you pull their pants down in front of a bunch of other religious Neanderthals or people that they can label as such. But if you can go into their cave and, in front of their contemporaries, pull their pants down, you have done something. And that’s what I want to do.””
    .
    If the claim is that Garvin can do this pants-pulling by using scientific arguments, by all means let’s see them. I’d also like to know more about Dr Garvin’s scientific credentials that are frequently being referred to. I couldn’t find anything more online than his MD from the University of Virginia.

    Reply
    • TGM says:

      The parade of straw man atheists through this blog grows increasingly wearisome. I don’t even know who it’s supposed to impress. Should I, also an atheist by conclusion, take Christianity more seriously because a “credentialed” atheist changed his mind? Or should theist readers feel reassured that a committed atheist buckled under quantum divinity?
      .
      There are at least a half dozen regular atheist commentators to this site. Any of us would offer a far better representation of non-belief than we’ve ever seen here.

      Reply
    • St. Lee says:

      So, KR, you say, ” our senses are mostly reliable. From this would follow that we can use empirical verification as a method for testing the validity of our ideas” and, “Ideas that cannot be tested empirically (and this would seem to include claims of the existence of deities) may well be true – I just don’t see any way to verify this, which means I see no reason to accept such ideas…”

      Care to walk us through the empirical test for the the evolution of altruism, or even the empirical test for the validity of the application of game theory mathematics to evolution?

      Reply
      • KR says:

        If compassion and cooperation are the result of evolution we could make a couple of predictions:
        .
        1) This behaviour should be evident very early in human development, indicating that it’s inherited rather than learned.
        2) We should be able to see similar types of behaviour in closely related species among the other primates.
        .
        Both of these predictions have been confirmed by observation. This doesn’t mean that the connection has been proven but it means it’s still a viable hypothesis. As for game theory mathematics, I’m not a mathematician so much of it is over my head but the Wikipedia entry on “Evolutionary game theory” may be a good place to start if you’re interested, since it has plenty of references.
        .
        I’d like to add that evolution is unlikely to be the whole story. Our behaviour is also very much a result of the environment we grow up in (family background, cultural background, education and general life experiences). Along with biological evolution, there is also a social/cultural evolution and it seems obvious that this kind of evolution would favour cooperative behaviour, if for no other reason just because societies where no-one cares about anyone else would be unlikely to be sustainable in the long run.
        .
        Do you have an alternative explanation for altruistic behaviour? If so, what predictions can you derive from it and how would you test them?

        Reply
        • TVZ says:

          “This behaviour should be evident…. We should be able to see… just because societies where no-one cares about anyone else would be unlikely to be sustainable in the long run.”
          .
          Sorry about jumping in on the conversation, this is probably off topic, but why should this be? If we live in a world of randomness (as science explains it… random universe popping into existence for no reason and random life popping into existence for no reason and then evolving randomly for no guided reason), then there should be no “should” in this world of randomness. And why should we care about societies for such a long of a time? Couldn’t we randomly evolve into not caring about societies tomorrow?

          Reply
          • KR says:

            Not sure what you’re getting at. I’m not aware of anyone suggesting that we live in a world of randomness. I certainly haven’t. If nature was completely random, there would be nothing science could tell us about it – except that it’s random.

          • TVZ says:

            If there is no cause of this universe, then it happened randomly. After that, there was no cause for non-life to become life (it also just randomly happened). Once life developed, it changes or evolves by random gene mutations. The solar system would have also randomly ordered itself. Predictability would have randomly become available to us. Everything would be chance or randomness, no design or intention or purpose, just dumb luck. How can we then use the word “should” in a universe that functions through randomness? The only “should” in this universe is random change, which should not be predictable.

          • bob says:

            @TVZ

            Predictability would have randomly become available to us.
            Well…I would think that “predictability” had been there long before we (humans) evolved the brain ability to make predictions.
            .
            How can we then use the word “should” in a universe that functions through randomness?
            “Should” is a word we often use when making predictions, predictions based on experience, observations, and calculations. I think perhaps the word “random” is the sticking point.
            .
            The only “should” in this universe is random change, which should not be predictable.
            I think “predictable change” is more accurate. It only appears random if we have not yet developed the ability to recognize, evaluate, predict.
            There are times when the weather forecasters are spot-on, and there are times when I curse and scream “why do you bother” at my TV screen.
            .
            r.u.reasonable@gmail.com

          • TVZ says:

            I think “predictable change” is more accurate (than random change). It only appears random if we have not yet developed the ability to recognize, evaluate, predict.
            .
            I think random is the more accurate concept. Predictability is what we have in our universe, yet science describes our universe as a random place. I can agree that a random happening can become predictable, but science says the law of the universe is randomness (cause of universe, cause of order, cause of predictablity, cause of life, cause of evolution, etc… everything occurs randomly to science). ” This is how it happened, how we happened, how the future will happen, etc (randomly).” It doesn’t seem like predictability would be possible if they are correct.

          • KR says:

            “If there is no cause of this universe, then it happened randomly.”
            .
            Are you saying that if the universe was uncaused, it must therefore behave randomly? I don’t see how that follows, care to elaborate?
            .
            “After that, there was no cause for non-life to become life (it also just randomly happened).”
            .
            The hypothesis is that life developed through chemistry, which means it would have happened in accordance with the laws of thermodynamics and not randomly.
            .
            “Once life developed, it changes or evolves by random gene mutations.”
            .
            It also evolves by natural selection which isn’t random. Adaptation (which would be the end result) is by definition non-random.
            .
            “The solar system would have also randomly ordered itself.”
            .
            The “ordering” of the solar system is largely guided by gravity – again, a clearly non-random phenomenon.
            .
            “Predictability would have randomly become available to us.”
            .
            It seems to me that predictability is the inevitable result if the fundamental properties of matter and energy are consistent rather than being in a state of flux. Should we assume that the latter is somehow more likely to be the default state? If so, why?
            .
            “Everything would be chance or randomness, no design or intention or purpose, just dumb luck.”
            .
            I’d still like to know how this follows. It looks very much like a non sequitur to me.
            .
            “How can we then use the word “should” in a universe that functions through randomness? The only “should” in this universe is random change, which should not be predictable.”
            .
            Empirical investigation can give us knowledge about what is. To get from an “is” to an “ought” in any objective sense is a notoriously difficult proposition – perhaps impossible. Appealing to a deity certainly won’t get you there.

          • toby says:

            TVZ, You do seem to be stuck on the word random. Have you considered that if this universe is fully deterministic, then nothing is random it just appears that way to us because of our limited perspective and knowledge? Perhaps your definition of random needs elaboration.
            .
            I would just like to say you’re much better to discuss things with than some other yokels on here.

          • TVZ says:

            “Are you saying that if the universe was uncaused, it must therefore behave randomly? I don’t see how that follows, care to elaborate?”
            .
            Kind of. I’m saying if it was uncaused it is a random, unguided fluke of a happening. It is a random occurrence. Therefore, it shouldn’t have laws and such derived from this happening. It was no space developing into all space, no matter developing into all matter, and no time developing into eternity. The fact that it is so orderly and legal and predictable seems to fly in the face of this being a random occurrence that produces similar random acts within it (chemicals, gravity, heat, life, reproduction, evolution, etc….) that we can accurately decipher and predict. I have an explosion in my mind (as this seems to be how the universe happened): Imagine Taking a can of beer and blowing it up with dynamite and see if order and gravity and orbits and solar systems and planets and rna and dna and animals and mathematics and logic and consciousness and rain and bee/flower mutuality and volcanoes and black holes and solar storms and on and on… will randomly appear as the beer and the can shrapnel floats through space for billions of years. That’s the kind of randomness I have in my mind. How could order come from that?
            .
            “The hypothesis is that life developed through chemistry, which means it would have happened in accordance with the laws of thermodynamics and not randomly.”
            .
            You are using logic to make an educated guess based on laws and elements created by a random event. That doesn’t make sense… but it works out in this universe somehow!!
            .
            “It also evolves by natural selection which isn’t random. Adaptation (which would be the end result) is by definition non-random.”
            .
            I’m thinking natural selection is random because its just a mutation that better fits reality. A fast cheetah that is randomly genetically faster than a slow cheetah will reproduce better offspring who will outlive the slower offspring. If that’s not random, then who’s toying with the genes? Adaptation too… genetics are randomly mutating… there is no driving “force” manipulating genes to make a species better than it was before. Its a very fortunate fluke.
            .
            “The “ordering” of the solar system is largely guided by gravity – again, a clearly non-random phenomenon.”
            .
            Agree, but its another law of nature and flies in the face of randomness. Your use of the word “guided” is an interesting choice. Why that word? Guide indicates purpose, but this was a fluke of an explosion… guide shouldn’t exist in this universe.
            .
            “It seems to me that predictability is the inevitable result if the fundamental properties of matter and energy are consistent rather than being in a state of flux. Should we assume that the latter is somehow more likely to be the default state? If so, why?”
            .
            “Inevitable” – certain to happen. Randomness or predictable? How? Why? Fluke?
            .
            “Empirical investigation can give us knowledge about what is. To get from an “is” to an “ought” in any objective sense is a notoriously difficult proposition – perhaps impossible. Appealing to a deity certainly won’t get you there.”
            .
            You can get to a deity if you realize the laws, order, design, predictability, complexity, inexplicable grandiosity of your universe. Or you can just say it was a fluke and we are all bacteria who were fortunate enough to land on a rock compatible for us and that genetic luck made us delusional enough to think we are now better than our ancestral bacteria.

          • KR says:

            “I’m saying if it was uncaused it is a random, unguided fluke of a happening. It is a random occurrence. Therefore, it shouldn’t have laws and such derived from this happening.”
            .
            I know that’s your claim. What I want to know is how you justify that claim. How does one follow from the other? I’m not trying to be contrary, I just genuinely don’t see how you connect those dots. Like Toby, I think you’re getting hung up on the word random. What’s also easliy missed is that we can observe different layers of complexity in nature and what seems random on one level may result in something very predictable on another.
            .
            If we inject some gas into an empty box, we would predict that the gas molecules will disperse evenly throughout the available space. However, we would not be able to predict the path of any single gas molecule – they seem to be moving around completely randomly. As it turns out, it’s precisely because the gas molecules move around randomly that we can safely predict that they will eventually be evenly spread out inside the box. If they had all been moving along the same, straight trajectory, the result would have been very different.
            .
            Likewise, we cannot predict when a radioactive atom will decay – it’s a completely random occurrence. Still, we can know with very high precision how long it will take half of a population of those radioactive atoms to decay. In that sense, they behave in a very predictable way.
            .
            “You are using logic to make an educated guess based on laws and elements created by a random event. That doesn’t make sense… but it works out in this universe somehow!!”
            .
            I’m trying to explain that your understanding of randomness may be a bit too narrow. Even if the individual molecules involved in a chemical reaction move around randomly, the end result will always follow the laws of thermodynamics and is entirely predictable. We wouldn’t be able to do chemical engineering if it wasn’t.
            .
            “I’m thinking natural selection is random because its just a mutation that better fits reality. A fast cheetah that is randomly genetically faster than a slow cheetah will reproduce better offspring who will outlive the slower offspring. If that’s not random, then who’s toying with the genes?”
            .
            You’re missing the point. Natural selection cannot be random, by definition. If a mutation makes one individual better adapted to his environment than the next individual, then it’s not a 50/50 proposition who will be more likely to pass on his genes – the probability will be skewed in favour of the individual with the beneficial mutation. That’s natural selection – it doesn’t require anyone toying with the genes, just the fact that DNA will naturally mutate and that some of those mutations will lead to differences in reproductive success. This difference will lead to adaptation which, by definition, is not random (since it’s contingent on the environment).
            .
            “Agree, but its another law of nature and flies in the face of randomness. Your use of the word “guided” is an interesting choice. Why that word? Guide indicates purpose, but this was a fluke of an explosion… guide shouldn’t exist in this universe.”
            .
            As I’ve already explained, randomness on one level can produce predictable patterns on another. The laws that describe the behaviour of gasses apply even if the individual gas molecules move randomly. You keep making the same statement of what should be the result of an uncaused event but you never get to the punchline – why should we expect this?
            .
            ““Inevitable” – certain to happen. Randomness or predictable? How? Why? Fluke?”
            .
            You didn’t answer my question. Why should we expect the fundamental properties of matter and enery to be fluctuating rather than being consistent? Do you agree that if they are consistent, this will mean they will trend to behave predictably?
            .
            “You can get to a deity if you realize the laws, order, design, predictability, complexity, inexplicable grandiosity of your universe. Or you can just say it was a fluke and we are all bacteria who were fortunate enough to land on a rock compatible for us and that genetic luck made us delusional enough to think we are now better than our ancestral bacteria.”
            .
            Again, you’re missing the point. I’m not talking about getting to a deity, I’m talking about getting to an “ought” from an “is”. What I’m saying is that a deity is no help in this respect – theists and atheists are swimming in the same pool of subjectivity.

          • TVZ says:

            “I know that’s your claim. What I want to know is how you justify that claim. How does one follow from the other? I’m not trying to be contrary, I just genuinely don’t see how you connect those dots. Like Toby, I think you’re getting hung up on the word random. What’s also easliy missed is that we can observe different layers of complexity in nature and what seems random on one level may result in something very predictable on another.”
            .
            Agree. I’m not seeing how this world could not have been designed and you’re not seeing how it must have been. When I say “random”, its the best word I can come up with for “meaningless, undesigned, happenstance, fluke, mistake, purposeless, unnatural (even if there was no nature at the time, it was un-whatever the state was).
            .
            You’re missing the point. Natural selection cannot be random, by definition. If a mutation makes one individual better adapted to his environment than the next individual, then it’s not a 50/50 proposition who will be more likely to pass on his genes – the probability will be skewed in favour of the individual with the beneficial mutation.
            .
            But isn’t gene mutation random? There are bad mutations, neutral mutations, and beneficial mutations. Its only the beneficial mutations that make an organism better than its peers. The organism itself had no role in choosing its gene mutation… it was luck, a random fluke that turned out really well for the organism’s future.
            .
            Why should we expect the fundamental properties of matter and enery to be fluctuating rather than being consistent?
            .
            My point is that we shouldn’t expect anything in a universe that happened absent of laws. (I want to say randomly here, but that word may be causing confusion at this point). In a universe without guidance, without purpose, without laws, without a lawgiver, without principles, without reasoning, and without a natural order that is intentional, you shouldn’t expect things. Our universe does have all that and we do expect things and we can. That’s not how flukes of nature work (or flukes of the condition the universe was before it was the universe).
            .
            I’m not talking about getting to a deity, I’m talking about getting to an “ought” from an “is”. What I’m saying is that a deity is no help in this respect – theists and atheists are swimming in the same pool of subjectivity.
            .
            Well yeah… that’s the whole point of this conversation. If the universe is chaotic and unpredictable and random (sorry) and disorderly and purposeless and meaningless then we shouldn’t expect anything (no lawgiver). However, if there is meaning and logic and reason and order and predictability and design and majesty then we should expect things (lawgiver). Its hard for me to understand how you take all this for granted… like you were entitled to a perfect universe for you somehow.

          • Andy Ryan says:

            “But isn’t gene mutation random?”
            It doesn’t matter if it is – the end result will NOT be random. If a thousand pebbles are rolling down a hill, and some of them go over a hole, only ones small enough to go through the hole will fall in. It’s random which ones pass over the hole, but it’s not random that at the end of it, the hole is filled with small stones not large ones. It’s gone through a non-random process.
            .
            If you have six kids, it’s not random that the tallest one is a bit more likely to do well at basketball. It’s irrelevant that it was random that he/she was the tallest out of the six.
            .
            ” In a universe without guidance, without purpose, without laws, without a lawgiver, without principles, without reasoning, and without a natural order that is intentional, you shouldn’t expect things.”
            .
            Why not? If the laws of nature were changing all the time, wouldn’t you cite THAT as evidence of a God? I mean, if the laws are changing then surely that must mean there’s a God doing the changing, right? But here we are in a universe where the laws remain constant and you’re using THAT as evidence of a God.

          • TVZ says:

            It doesn’t matter if (gene mutation) is random (as long as a system is in place to work things out efficiently).
            .
            That’s a very smart reply Andy. So we have a random series of events (gene mutations) that are predictable (will benefit organisms over time). Does that mean we should be able to predict how genes will mutate to benefit organisms in the future because this system in place? Or do we trust that things will work out well through random gene mutation because it always has? I’m wondering how entropy comes into play here. Things experience entropy in this universe, but natural selection seems to indicate this system is set up for things to improve in time. Is there such thing as genetic entropy where the system is failing and organisms will start to entropy instead of improve?
            .
            If the laws of nature were changing all the time, wouldn’t you cite THAT as evidence of a God? I mean, if the laws are changing then surely that must mean there’s a God doing the changing, right? But here we are in a universe where the laws remain constant and you’re using THAT as evidence of a God.
            ,
            Tough question. That’s hard to comprehend. I would think if there was no logic or reason or expectations or predictability, it would be impossible to know God. It would be impossible to know anything. Everything would change … even your thoughts from minute to minute. You wouldn’t be able to trust anything. I think it had to be this way to know God.

          • toby says:

            The concepts of random and law are a big sticking point here and it’s because of the inconsistency of language. At some point in the past someone chose to call forces of nature “laws”. But there is nothing about those forces that imply a lawgiver. They could have been better described using the word Realities or Principle or any word that doesn’t sneak in the hubris of thinking that universe operates as if a mind designed it, because our minds can make sense of it (mostly). You are anthropomorphizing everything you see because of your presupposition of a deity which is based on your preferred religious text and apologists/theologians (is there really a difference?).
            .
            There are aspects of the universe that appear random, but as has been pointed out they are actually just unpredictable, like uncertainty principle. I think the most that you can argue to be random is the initial formation of the universe, but you’d really just be expressing an opinion because of the lack of knowledge we have about it. Everything since then operates under physical principles (ha! I didn’t say laws!). Given a large enough computer you might be able to calculate the entire evolution of a universe, but your computer would have to be greater than the universe in nearly every single way.
            .
            I don’t know that you can say that gene mutations are random. They have many influencing factors including nutrition, environment (chemical exposure, light exposure), etc. There are many factors that go into a gene mutating. Can you call the culmination of many factors a random occurrence?

          • Andy Ryan says:

            “Things experience entropy in this universe, but natural selection seems to indicate this system is set up for things to improve in time”
            .
            Take away the selection process and things start to fall apart. Moles’ eyes barely work. It looks like they used to have decent eyes but when the species took to the ground and didn’t need good eyesight any more, the selection process for moles that could see well was removed. Then mutation gradually reduced the effectiveness of their eyes.
            .
            But when a selection process is operating, critters less suited to their environment are weeded out.
            .
            And remember that entropy is countered in a closed system when energy enters from outside – in this case, the sun’s energy entering the earth.

          • TVZ says:

            Splitting hairs now. Scientists call them laws because of the predictable nature through observation over and over (it IS going to behave this way). Theory, hypothesis, and guess are less than law. I don’t know where principle comes in, but I’ll give you that… observable laws (a rock will fall when dropped) are probably reacting the a built-in principle (gravity).
            Agree, randomness is a law in our universe, but it’s an exception to the rule (if that makes sense). The rule of this universe is law, order, predictability, etc… randomness is the spice of life (the universe). Life itself would also have to have been random (if there was no life giver). The study of genes is pretty new. I think the consensus is that its random at this point. Cells are very complex and provide information to organisms on how to build themselves. There has to be a kink in the system (cell mutation) for it to instruct the organism to do something different than it should.

          • TVZ says:

            “Take away the selection process and things start to fall apart. Moles’ eyes barely work. It looks like they used to have decent eyes but when the species took to the ground and didn’t need good eyesight any more, the selection process for moles that could see well was removed. Then mutation gradually reduced the effectiveness of their eyes.”
            .
            Well the selection process wasn’t actually taken away, it randomly changed to fit the moles’ need. The poorer genes (bad eyesight) were more favorable than the better genes (good eyesight). In this case, the bad random mutation won out…. perhaps driving the mole underground?

          • toby says:

            I’m wondering how entropy comes into play here. Things experience entropy in this universe, but natural selection seems to indicate this system is set up for things to improve in time. Is there such thing as genetic entropy where the system is failing and organisms will start to entropy instead of improve?
            That’s kind of looking at natural selection wrong. Or at least the term improve seems to be out of place to me. An ecosystem can go into decline and organisms in it could adapt to those changes. You can’t look at organisms as having an ultimate, perfect endpoint. You can say that there are things that could improve it’s survival rate, but don’t confuse that with it following some path to perfection.
            .
            If you look at a nutrient broth for growing bacterial they will grow and grow and grow until they get to a point they use up all of the nutrients and starve or die from poisoning themselves with their own waste. Is that what you’re thinking of. I guess it could be possible for mutations to allow them to start eating their own waste, but it’s like perpetual motion, it won’t last forever.
            .
            Entropy is also a sticky word. You release a gas in a box and entropy causes it to spread out and fill the box. Perfect entropy would be perfect equilibrium in the box.

          • bob says:

            @ TVZ
            Agree. I’m not seeing how this world could not have been designed…
            Based on this statement then, can I assume that you also believe that who / what ever entity you believe is responsible for designing / creating this world – Planet Earth – designed it with features such as: raging hurricanes and tornado’s, earthquakes, volcanoes, a surface that 70% of is covered by water, poisonous plants, venomous snakes and insects, diseases that can wipe out entire populations in a matter of years and illnesses that have killed millions in spite of all our medical advances and prayers to deities – and – an orbital path that has, more than once, taken us on a collision course with very large icy rocks careening thru space at thousands of MPH.
            .
            It looks to me that, if this world was “designed”, it was designed by a being that should have never been in the “world designing” business – or – he/she/it has a very warped sense of humor.
            .
            r.u.reasonable@gmail.com

          • toby says:

            the bad random mutation won out…. perhaps driving the mole underground?
            You should resist these judgements on good or bad. Obviously there are still moles. My yard is proof of it. They do just fine. It’s more like cave fish that gradually lost their sight because they didn’t really need it. You value your sight, so you’re saying it’s bad a mole lost theirs, but it’s not a good or bad thing, it just is.

          • TVZ says:

            “It looks to me that, if this world was “designed”, it was designed by a being that should have never been in the “world designing” business – or – he/she/it has a very warped sense of humor.”
            .
            This wasn’t the original design. The Bible says this world was cursed after man rebelled. It will be restored to its former glory in the future.

          • toby says:

            Bob,
            Every once in a while I step back and look at the big picture of a deity and am amazed that anyone believes it at all. “There’s a guy (because most of them are thought of as men) that knows everything about everything every millisecond of every day from beginning to end and cares about what I do to myself when I’m alone in the bathroom because he knows each and every one of personally since before we were born!” It’s completely dumbfounding.

          • toby says:

            This wasn’t the original design. The Bible says this world was cursed after man rebelled. It will be restored to its former glory in the future.
            That’s odd. God cursed the earth because of something he knew would happen before the beginning of time. So god wanted that to happen. None of the genesis accounts make any sense. If you went out and stole a pack of chewing gum do you think your great-great-great-great-great grandchildren should be punished for it? Genesis is a long set of just-so stories.

          • TVZ says:

            “None of the genesis accounts make any sense. ”
            .
            It does fit nicely with reality though. People like you used to mock that it started with “In the beginning God created the universe.” Ha ha ha… everyone knows the universe is eternal. What a bunch of morons. Ooops.

          • TVZ says:

            I’ll throw out another one I think the Bible has right and science has wrong currently. No way I can prove this, but I think it sounds like a smarter theory: Science says fish came before plants and the Bible says plants came before fish. Science says the cambrian explosion happened when oxygen levels increased. Doesn’t it make sense that since plants produce oxygen, the plants would have predated organisms requiring oxygen? Just something to think about. I haven’t given it a ton of thought.

          • toby says:

            Current thinking is that bacteria in the oceans produced the oxygen through photosynthesis.
            .
            I think you’re more moral than your supposed deity. I think you ignored the line, If you went out and stole a pack of chewing gum do you think your great-great-great-great-great grandchildren should be punished for it? because your answer is no. There’s no good reason that if genesis were true that god should make people in no way involved in eating a piece of fruit liable for it. If that’s justice then what’s to stop us from making laws that say if you break the speed limit that we can then imprison your cousin?

          • bob says:

            TVZ – This wasn’t the original design. The Bible says this world was cursed after man rebelled.
            Let me get this straight – you don’t believe there were any naturally occurring catastrophic events until AFTER man “rebelled”…???
            Since you KNOW that to be the case – please inform us as to when this supposed “rebellion” took place. Give us a date, or at least a year so we can examine the geological evidence and see if there were any massive floods, giant volcanic eruptions, an earthquakes / tsunamis before your claimed biblical rebellion.
            .
            I am gonna guess that you either subscribe to the completely unscientific biblical scenario that dates human existence on earth to about 6,000 years ago – or – you consider the scientific dating of modern humans appearing about 200,000 years ago to be valid…which is it?
            Either way – any natural catastrophe occurring before that COULD NOT be due to your vengeful God cursing all of humanity, since they occurred before this curse – correct?
            .
            Forgive me for trying to reason with you. I can see that you have no choice but to resist and suspend any reasoning that may cause you to doubt many or most of your long held religious beliefs – but just do yourself (and us) a favor and try googling – things like “ancient volcanic eruptions” and “ancient earthquakes” and “ancient tsunami’s” and “ancient meteor impacts”, etc, etc.
            .
            Doesn’t it make sense that since plants produce oxygen, the plants would have predated organisms requiring oxygen?
            Google is your friend…sometimes…
            https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/origin-of-oxygen-in-atmosphere/

          • TVZ says:

            Let me get this straight – you don’t believe there were any naturally occurring catastrophic events until AFTER man “rebelled”…???
            .
            That is my belief, yes.
            .
            Since you KNOW that to be the case – please inform us as to when this supposed “rebellion” took place. Give us a date, or at least a year so we can examine the geological evidence and see if there were any massive floods, giant volcanic eruptions, an earthquakes / tsunamis before your claimed biblical rebellion.
            .
            I didn’t say I know these things, I believe the Bible to be trustworthy and it doesn’t give dates like this.
            .
            I am gonna guess that you either subscribe to the completely unscientific biblical scenario that dates human existence on earth to about 6,000 years ago – or – you consider the scientific dating of modern humans appearing about 200,000 years ago to be valid…which is it?
            .
            I’m not sure I understand this completely (but who does, right). It seems that “modern man” (like you and I, who can reason and have a conscious, little fur, stand upright, etc…) are about 6,000 years old scientifically (I think they say 10,000 but that’s in the ballpark give or take a little human error). I’m not sure the Bible specifically address the time from the beginning of the universe to the beginning of life on the planet. It uses “days”, but I don’t believe that means 24 hours, but some do. I could be convinced with good data either way. The Bible contradicts science in the theory of macroevolution…. we didn’t evolve from a single cell and are all inter-related with plants and starfish, etc. But God created all these things to be different from one another. So, I don’t believe modern man is a descendant of a 200,000 year old gorilla that was a chicken a million years earlier and algae before that.
            .
            Either way – any natural catastrophe occurring before that COULD NOT be due to your vengeful God cursing all of humanity, since they occurred before this curse – correct?
            .
            I’ve never thought of this. I think that would be correct. Could it be that it took natural catastrophes to actually build the globe into a perfect condition? A movement from instability to stability… then the curse… back to instability. We can’t know this.
            .
            Forgive me for trying to reason with you.
            .
            You’re doing fine. This is what we do on these types of sites right?
            .
            I can see that you have no choice but to resist and suspend any reasoning that may cause you to doubt many or most of your long held religious beliefs – but just do yourself (and us) a favor and try googling – things like “ancient volcanic eruptions” and “ancient earthquakes” and “ancient tsunami’s” and “ancient meteor impacts”, etc, etc.
            .
            No doubt this happened, but Earth was a very different shape and material before life arrived here. I could ask you how to reason that the whole earth has life that reproduces naturally. Can you explain how that happened? If not, does that mean you are not a reasonable person? Explain how the universe began if you are so reasonable. lol. Explain if the bee came first or the flower.
            .
            Thanks for the link, but “its a mystery” doesn’t help much.

          • bob says:

            Let me get this straight – you don’t believe there were any naturally occurring catastrophic events until AFTER man “rebelled”…???
            That is my belief, yes.
            Why do you believe this? I know you believe it because of the bible – but why do you believe the bible?
            Oops – never mind – you answer that next…
            .
            I believe the Bible to be trustworthy…
            Why do you believe the bible is “trustworthy”?
            .
            It seems that “modern man” (like you and I, who can reason and have a conscious, little fur, stand upright, etc…) are about 6,000 years old scientifically (I think they say 10,000 but that’s in the ballpark give or take a little human error).
            Can you share where you get that approximation from? I have read in many places that it’s more like 200,000 years…?
            .
            I don’t believe modern man is a descendant of a 200,000 year old gorilla that was a chicken a million years earlier and algae before that.
            So, your saying you have no knowledge of how evolution actually occurred…?
            .
            Could it be that it took natural catastrophes to actually build the globe into a perfect condition? A movement from instability to stability… then the curse… back to instability. We can’t know this.
            In other words…just make it up as we go?
            .
            I could ask you how to reason that the whole earth has life that reproduces naturally. Can you explain how that happened? If not, does that mean you are not a reasonable person? Explain how the universe began if you are so reasonable.
            If I don’t know something, I don’t make up some excuse for my holy book – I just admit that I don’t know. I don’t try to make everything fit what I currently believe.
            If it doesn’t fit, I try to find out where my beliefs need to be modified. That is “reasonable”.
            .
            Thanks for the link, but “its a mystery” doesn’t help much.
            So you are perfectly content believing that your bible is correct, even when modern science contradicts what your bible says? When the bible says: “I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind.” what do you think that is saying, specifically about the stars falling to the earth? If you believe the bible, believe the bible is trustworthy, and don’t like mysteries, please offer your own explanation as to what John is saying in Rev. 6:13. It looks to me like John is saying that stars will fall to earth. If that is what he is saying – could he be mistaken because he thinks stars are these little tiny lights in the sky and not what we know know – that they are anything but tiny…?

        • St. Lee says:

          KR, you give the following as your empirical test for the evolution of altruism: “If compassion and cooperation are the result of evolution we could make a couple of predictions:
          1) This behaviour should be evident very early in human development, indicating that it’s inherited rather than learned.
          2) We should be able to see similar types of behaviour in closely related species among the other primates.”
          .
          While that sounds like a logical observation of what we might see as a result of your proposed evolution of altruism, as far as I can see the only thing we can state empirically about altruism is that it exists. There really is no empirical evidence (i.e. information acquired by observation or experimentation) for altruism being a product of evolution. Am I wrong?
          .
          BTW, I just now noticed that you put a period between paragraphs in your reply. Bravo. I hate it when my paragraph breaks are lost in formatting. As you can see I am taking the liberty of pilfering your method.

          Reply
          • KR says:

            “While that sounds like a logical observation of what we might see as a result of your proposed evolution of altruism, as far as I can see the only thing we can state empirically about altruism is that it exists. There really is no empirical evidence (i.e. information acquired by observation or experimentation) for altruism being a product of evolution. Am I wrong?”
            .
            I’ve stated two other empirical observations about altruism: it can be observed in very young humans and also in other closely related primates. Since these are specific predictions of the evolutionary hypothesis they are evidence in its support. That’s the definition of evidence (at least the way I use it): observations that support a particular hypothesis.
            .
            Evidence is clearly not the same as proof and if another hypothesis is put forward that can make more detailed predictions that can be empirically confirmed, then the new hypothesis would seem to be a better explanation. At the moment, I don’t know of any other hypothesis that makes specific, testable predictions concerning altruism – hence my question to you about an alternative explanation.

          • St. Lee says:

            KR, when you say:
            .
            “If compassion and cooperation are the result of evolution we could make a couple of predictions:
            .
            1) This behaviour should be evident very early in human development, indicating that it’s inherited rather than learned.
            2) We should be able to see similar types of behaviour in closely related species among the other primates.”
            .
            And later, as part of your explanation you state this:
            “At the moment, I don’t know of any other hypothesis that makes specific, testable predictions concerning altruism”
            .
            By “testable” I have to conclude that you mean that altruism can be shown to exist, not that you can test that it came into being by evolution, for I see no method for actual scientific testing of something that happened in the past. While I don’t necessarily agree that you have given empirical evidence for altruism being a product of evolution, let’s go with it for a moment. Consider this:
            .
            If compassion and cooperation are the result of a creator God, we could make a couple of predictions:
            .
            1) This behavior should be evident very early in human development, indicating that it’s part of God’s design rather than learned.
            2) We should be able to see similar types of behavior in closely related species because they share the same designer.
            .
            Now, I don’t see how you can be consistent without admitting that I just supplied empirical evidence that altruism is part of the creator God’s design.

          • Andy Ryan says:

            ” We should be able to see similar types of behavior in closely related species because they share the same designer.”
            .
            What do you mean by closely related? Such a term has no meaning unless we evolved from a common ancestor. This is like when the Flat Earth Society says it has members ‘all around the world’.
            .
            So no, you’ve not given us evidence – rather a damning admission.

          • KR says:

            “Consider this:
            .
            If compassion and cooperation are the result of a creator God, we could make a couple of predictions:
            .
            1) This behavior should be evident very early in human development, indicating that it’s part of God’s design rather than learned.
            2) We should be able to see similar types of behavior in closely related species because they share the same designer.
            .
            Now, I don’t see how you can be consistent without admitting that I just supplied empirical evidence that altruism is part of the creator God’s design.”
            .
            The reason the evolutionary hypothesis makes specific predictions is that it comes with a mechanism (mutation, recombination, natural selection and genetic drift) that would leave specific evidence behind, like children inheriting specific traits from their parents and closely related species sharing more similarities than more distantly related species.
            .
            Before we can accept your predictions, you would have to explain how you derive them from your hypothesis. How does the design process work – and how have you determined this? Specifically, why would this process lead to altruistic behaviour manifesting early in development rather than late and why would the fact that the designer is the same necessarily lead to the pattern of relatedness we see rather than some other pattern? What are the limitations of the designer that would leave this specific evidence?

          • St. Lee says:

            Just a quick answer to Mr. Ryan: You read too much into the word “related.” You do realize that was the wording which KR used in his argument don’t you? I merely mimicked his wording to prove a point. Consider my meaning for being “related” as in sharing a common creator.
            .
            Now, KR, you say “The reason the evolutionary hypothesis makes specific predictions is that it comes with a mechanism” – the Christian viewpoint comes with a mechanism also; it is the creator God. The major difference is that the “mechanism” behind the Christian viewpoint is that “the mechanism” revealed himself to us through Scripture.
            .
            You go on to say: “…that would leave specific evidence behind, like children inheriting specific traits from their parents and closely related species sharing more similarities than more distantly related species.” – now if I may slightly change the wording (to avoid Mr. Ryan mis-reading an admission into it) I could say that God left specific evidence behind, like children displaying specific traits which He designed into them and some animals also displaying similar traits which God, according to his own good pleasure, designed into them and not in others (again according to His owngood pleasure).
            .
            And finally, “How does the design process work – and how have you determined this?” I could ask the same question of you. How does the evolutionary process work regarding the development of altruism? Is it on the molecular level or a mutation in the genetic code? Just when was the altruism gene identified? And to further echo your questions, how have you determined this? But I will offer an answer for your question of how the design process works: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis1:1) “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.” (John 1:1-3) “And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.” (Genesis 1:3) “They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them” (Romans 2:15) That is how the design process works.
            .
            How have I determined this, you ask? The same way everyone does: “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” (Romans 1:19-20)
            .
            There, I have jumped another hoop for you showing that there is just as much empirical evidence for God being the source for altruism as there is for evolution.

          • KR says:

            “Now, KR, you say “The reason the evolutionary hypothesis makes specific predictions is that it comes with a mechanism” – the Christian viewpoint comes with a mechanism also; it is the creator God. The major difference is that the “mechanism” behind the Christian viewpoint is that “the mechanism” revealed himself to us through Scripture.”
            .
            This misses the point. A mechanism is the answer to the “how?” question, i.e. an empirically verifiable description of the process. Appealing to “the creator God” tells us nothing about how this creation happened.
            .
            “You go on to say: “…that would leave specific evidence behind, like children inheriting specific traits from their parents and closely related species sharing more similarities than more distantly related species.” – now if I may slightly change the wording (to avoid Mr. Ryan mis-reading an admission into it) I could say that God left specific evidence behind, like children displaying specific traits which He designed into them and some animals also displaying similar traits which God, according to his own good pleasure, designed into them and not in others (again according to His owngood pleasure).”
            .
            If you don’t know how the process works, how do you know what kind of evidence it would leave behind? How do you know what God’s pleasure is with regards to the traits of different species? Why would God be limited to only creating species that show varying degrees of relatedness rather than being completely unrelated? Of all the different possible patterns, why did God choose exactly the one that is specifically predicted by an evolutionary mechanism?
            .
            “And finally, “How does the design process work – and how have you determined this?” I could ask the same question of you. How does the evolutionary process work regarding the development of altruism? Is it on the molecular level or a mutation in the genetic code? Just when was the altruism gene identified? And to further echo your questions, how have you determined this?”
            .
            The hypothesis is that evolution can lead to altruism. The evolutionary mechanism is mutation, recombination, natural selection and genetic drift – all of which can and have been demonstrated to have an effect on how genetic traits propagate in a population. The hypothesis doesn’t suggest that there’s only one gene involved or – as I’ve already stated – that genetics is the whole story. The hypothesis suggests that there’s a genetic component to altruism – which is supported by empirical observations.
            .
            “But I will offer an answer for your question of how the design process works: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis1:1) “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.” (John 1:1-3) “And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.” (Genesis 1:3) “They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them” (Romans 2:15) That is how the design process works.”
            .
            As a mechanism, this leaves a lot to be desired and in no way explains how you get to your specific predictions of what evidence we should expect to see. Why couldn’t God have created something entirely different? Why would God be limited to this particular creation? According to your theology, God is omnipotent – and that’s where a creator God breaks down as a scientific explanation. If God has no limitations, then there’s no conceivable evidence that He couldn’t have left behind – leaving you with no way of making any predictions of what evidence of His creation we should expect to find. If God can create anything, we can’t claim any particular observation to be scientific evidence of His creation.
            .
            “There, I have jumped another hoop for you showing that there is just as much empirical evidence for God being the source for altruism as there is for evolution.”
            .
            I’m afraid not. Without any way of making testable predictions, the creator God hypothesis isn’t even in the running as a scientific proposition. All scientists know this – that’s why even theist scientists leave God out of their theories. An omnipotent deity simply can’t be part of scientific investigation.

          • Andy Ryan says:

            “Just a quick answer to Mr. Ryan: You read too much into the word “related.” You do realize that was the wording which KR used in his argument don’t you? I merely mimicked his wording to prove a point”
            .
            Unfortunately for you and your argument, the wording had a specific meaning when KR used it with regards to species close to each other on the evolutionary tree. You tried to ‘mimic’ his wording to describe a context where species were created rather than evolved, which rendered the term meaningless. This isn’t mere semantics, it completely destroyed your point. If all species are simply created rather than evolved then the term ‘closely related’ has no meaning, and thus you can’t draw any significance out of similar behaviour in ‘closely related species’.
            .
            If you just mean they’re ‘closely related’ in the sense that all animals are (sharing a designer) then your argument still doesn’t make sense as there’d be no reason to compare humans and chimps rather than humans and crocodiles (which exhibit no signs of empathy or compassion).

          • St. Lee says:

            Mr. Ryan seems to be of the opinion that a word can have no semantic range and that “related” can only, ever mean connected through sexual reproduction. I think he probably knows better, but would like to waste everyone’s time.

          • St. Lee says:

            “If you don’t know how the process works, how do you know what kind of evidence it would leave behind?” – I described how the process works with as much detail as you provided for your hypothesis.
            .
            “How do you know what God’s pleasure is with regards to the traits of different species?” – We can tell what God’s pleasure is because that is what we see in the traits of different species.
            .
            “Why would God be limited to only creating species that show varying degrees of relatedness rather than being completely unrelated?” – Where do you get the idea God is limited? He did it according to his pleasure not according to any imagined limitations.
            .
            “Of all the different possible patterns, why did God choose exactly the one that is specifically predicted by an evolutionary mechanism?” – This is really rich. You have managed to expose the idolatry of your evolutionist worldview. You have ignored the fact that God created man and instead place evolution as his creator. You have ignored that only God can prophesy the future and applied that ability to evolution. Is evolution a man or a god that it can predict things? Did evolution whisper it in your ear? Did evolution reveal itself by inspiring men to write a book?
            .
            “Without any way of making testable predictions, the creator God hypothesis isn’t even in the running as a scientific proposition.” – Again, you demand an “empirically verifiable description of the process” which you don’t supply to support your own views. “Mutation, recombination, natural selection and genetic drift” have not been tested until you can show that an animal without altruistic traits has been manipulated in a laboratory into one which displays them. Until then all you have is conjecture.
            .
            Face it, we both have faith based worldviews, …the only difference is the object of our faith.

          • Andy Ryan says:

            “can only, ever mean connected through sexual reproduction”
            .
            St. Lee, you could have told me what alternative meaning you intended, but instead you chose just to snark at me. Are you trying to make yourself clear, or just score rhetorical points? That aside, you admitted yourself you were just mimicking KR’s language when you used the term ‘closely related’. And I offered an alternative meaning of ‘closely related’ that I suggested you might have meant* (a meaning I said posed further problems for your argument anyway), so it’s simply false for you to claim I assumed (or pretended) the term could have no alternative meaning, making your snark even more misplaced.
            .
            So if you’re posting in good faith, please go ahead and explain exactly what you meant by ‘closely related species’, in a context involving species that did not evolve from a common ancestor, that isn’t the one I suggested you meant below*.
            .
            * “If you just mean they’re ‘closely related’ in the sense that all animals are (sharing a designer) then your argument still doesn’t make sense as there’d be no reason to compare humans and chimps rather than humans and crocodiles (which exhibit no signs of empathy or compassion).”

          • Andy Ryan says:

            “‘Mutation, recombination, natural selection and genetic drift” have not been tested until you can show that an animal without altruistic traits has been manipulated in a laboratory into one which displays them. Until then all you have is conjecture.”
            .
            St Lee, it’s pretty easy to breed these traits into dogs. Just takes a few generations. And there are plenty of examples of evolutionary theory making testable predictions that proved to be correct. Google is your friend here.

          • St. Lee says:

            Mr. Ryan: “If you just mean they’re ‘closely related’ in the sense that all animals are (sharing a designer) then your argument still doesn’t make sense as there’d be no reason to compare humans and chimps rather than humans and crocodiles (which exhibit no signs of empathy or compassion).” – That is really a nonsensical statement which I assume you make in order to waste my time.
            .
            “St Lee, it’s pretty easy to breed these traits into dogs. Just takes a few generations. And there are plenty of examples of evolutionary theory making testable predictions that proved to be correct. Google is your friend here.” – If you are claiming that breeding altruism into dogs which, as a species, already display that trait without anyone’s help, is an example of altruism by evolution, then I’ll just let anyone still reading this thread judge your argument. If on the other hand you would like to show us an example of breeding altruism into crocodiles, then you would have something.

          • KR says:

            “I described how the process works with as much detail as you provided for your hypothesis.”
            .
            Not even close. My predictions follow directly from the proposed evolutionary mechanism. You, on the other hand, have yet to explain why a creator God would leave this particular evidence behind rather than some other kind of evidence.
            .
            “We can tell what God’s pleasure is because that is what we see in the traits of different species.”
            .
            Why do we see these patterns of traits? Because it was God’s pleasure. How do we know what God’s pleasure is? Because we see these patterns of traits. Now there’s a brilliant piece of circular logic.
            .
            “Where do you get the idea God is limited? He did it according to his pleasure not according to any imagined limitations.”
            .
            As I’ve already explained: if God has no limitations, then you have no way of making any predictions of what evidence He would leave behind. Thanks for confirming that.
            .
            “This is really rich. You have managed to expose the idolatry of your evolutionist worldview. You have ignored the fact that God created man and instead place evolution as his creator. You have ignored that only God can prophesy the future and applied that ability to evolution. Is evolution a man or a god that it can predict things? Did evolution whisper it in your ear? Did evolution reveal itself by inspiring men to write a book?”
            .
            I’m making an argument. You, on the other hand, seem to have given up on that idea and are now just ranting. I find that a tad disappointing though I can’t say I’m all that surprised.
            .
            “Again, you demand an “empirically verifiable description of the process” which you don’t supply to support your own views. “Mutation, recombination, natural selection and genetic drift” have not been tested until you can show that an animal without altruistic traits has been manipulated in a laboratory into one which displays them. Until then all you have is conjecture.”
            .
            I have proposed a hypothesis (that altruistic behaviour can be the result of an evolutionary process). From this hypothesis, I have derived two specific predictions that have been empirically confirmed. This doesn’t prove the hypothesis but it means that it’s still valid. This is how science works – and it clearly puts me way ahead of you in providing an explanation since you seem to be stuck on the prediction step with no hope of moving forward.
            .
            “Face it, we both have faith based worldviews, …the only difference is the object of our faith.”
            .
            This is false. Feel free to falsify the hypothesis and I’ll abandon it and propose another. That’s the evidence-based approach – and it’s nothing like faith.

          • TVZ says:

            This is false. Feel free to falsify the hypothesis and I’ll abandon it and propose another. That’s the evidence-based approach – and it’s nothing like faith.
            .
            KR, couldn’t the burden of proof be on you as well? The Christian faith is that the universe was created supernaturally from nothing. The scientific faith is we don’t understand how the universe was formed from “virtually” nothing. Isn’t it more scientific to infer that if something came from nothing, it must have a cause? Can science prove something can come from nothing without a cause? If we move this to biology… same thing. Shouldn’t life coming from non-life have a cause? Can science hypothesize how non-life can make life? There has to be a certain amount of faith in each view (or philosophical inferences), since this stuff is still very mysterious.

          • Andy Ryan says:

            “That is really a nonsensical statement which I assume you make in order to waste my time.”
            .
            I invited you to explain what you meant by ‘closely related’ and you’ve not offered anything, just accused me of talking nonsense and wasting your time. I’ll take it from that that you don’t actually have an answer. How’s about you prove me wrong by actually explaining what you meant rather than just replying with insults.
            .
            And yes, you can make dogs, wolves, foxes and other animals friendlier to humans, or indeed less friendly to humans through selective breeding, and a host of other behavioural traits too.

          • KR says:

            “KR, couldn’t the burden of proof be on you as well?”
            .
            What claim are you suggesting I have the burden to prove?
            .
            “Isn’t it more scientific to infer that if something came from nothing, it must have a cause? Can science prove something can come from nothing without a cause?”
            .
            I’m not aware of any evidence that there’s ever been a state of nothingness. If you want to claim that something came from nothing, shouldn’t you start by providing such evidence?
            .
            “Shouldn’t life coming from non-life have a cause? Can science hypothesize how non-life can make life?”
            .
            There are several such hypotheses, like the “RNA world” hypothesis.
            .
            “There has to be a certain amount of faith in each view (or philosophical inferences), since this stuff is still very mysterious.”
            .
            If we can make objective observations of reality, we can test our ideas by empirical verification. No faith necessary.

          • TVZ says:

            What claim are you suggesting I have the burden to prove?
            ,
            St. Lee’s claim was that we both (believers and non-believers) have an element of faith due to our worldviews and you rejected that because you have hypothesis’s you can rely on. My point (and I think St. Lee’s) was that hypothesis’s also require a leap of faith based on preconceptions (there is no God, everything happened naturally vs there is a God everything happened supernaturally). Neither hypothesis is provable without certain inferences being made (God did it vs. we don’t know how it happened but we can’t say it was God because that’s not science).
            .
            I’m not aware of any evidence that there’s ever been a state of nothingness. If you want to claim that something came from nothing, shouldn’t you start by providing such evidence?
            .
            I can’t prove it, but that’s what the biggest brain we’ve ever had has said (Stephen Hawking).
            .
            There are several such hypotheses, like the “RNA world” hypothesis.
            .
            Yeah, we’ve discussed that. An educated guess that can’t be supported scientifically yet. That still leaves at “we don’t yet understand.”
            .
            If we can make objective observations of reality, we can test our ideas by empirical verification. No faith necessary.
            .
            But if we can’t (and we can’t), it does take a certain philosophical starting point that is biased towards your belief (faith) heading into the observation, right? Scientists like Newton used to begin with faith in God an prove the laws of His creation. Today scientists begin with “God is not science” so let’s figure things out assuming there is no God…. which leads to non-answers (other than, it’s lazy to say, “It was God” so we’ll say, “It’s a mystery.”).

          • St. Lee says:

            “Not even close. My predictions follow directly from the proposed evolutionary mechanism. You, on the other hand, have yet to explain why a creator God would leave this particular evidence behind rather than some other kind of evidence.” – Answered, you just don’t like the answer because it doesn’t fit your worldview.
            .
            “Now there’s a brilliant piece of circular logic.” – If you mean circular reasoning, then yes. All reasoning becomes circular when you get to the level of your ultimate authority. My ultimate authority is the creator God who revealed himself (as much as he chose to) through the Bible. Yours is the hypothesis of evolution. As I said, we both have a faith-based worldview.
            .
            “This is how science works – and it clearly puts me way ahead of you in providing an explanation since you seem to be stuck on the prediction step with no hope of moving forward.” – Okay, to reword it to make it more understandable to you: If God, by his own good pleasure, designed humans and some animals with specific traits (such as altruism) we can predict that we will find that trait in humans and those animals. If God chose not to design other animals without that specific trait, we can predict that we will not find that trait in them. Substitute “evolution” for “God” and the contents of the predictions and you have the same argument. Now, both of us are taking an observation (the existence of altruism) and using our worldview, reasoning back to a cause. You just don’t like my worldview, so will not accept the fact that using your own criteria, it is just as logical.
            .
            “Feel free to falsify the hypothesis and I’ll abandon it and propose another.” – Okay, infants do not display the trait of altruism. If altruism is the product of evolution, evidence of it should be observable from birth. Now, return the favor and falsify my worldview (I personally will not lower it to the term hypothesis out of reverence for God) and I will abandon it.

          • Andy Ryan says:

            “If altruism is the product of evolution, evidence of it should be observable from birth.”
            .
            Who says? Would you make the argument that women’s breasts can’t be the product of evolution because otherwise babies would have them?
            .
            And you’ve still not answered what alternative meaning you intended for ‘closely related species’. A cynic might think you’re avoiding the question because you got caught out. Making a mistake is one thing, but for you to excoriate me for assuming you had no other intended meaning (and I suggested other meanings you might have meant anyway) takes some brass neck.

          • KR says:

            “Answered, you just don’t like the answer because it doesn’t fit your worldview.”
            .
            No, I’ve just pointed out that your predictions don’t follow from your hypothesis.
            .
            “If you mean circular reasoning, then yes.”
            .
            Glad we have that sorted.
            .
            “All reasoning becomes circular when you get to the level of your ultimate authority. My ultimate authority is the creator God who revealed himself (as much as he chose to) through the Bible. Yours is the hypothesis of evolution.”
            .
            My “ultimate authority” is reality. If I don’t assume what reality is but rather let my observations guide my understanding, the process is by definition not circular.
            .
            “As I said, we both have a faith-based worldview.”
            .
            As I’ve explained, an evidence-based approach is not faith. I find it interesting that you’re so eager to ascribe faith to my reasoning – it’s almost as if you’re aware that it’s probably not a good thing.
            .
            “Substitute “evolution” for “God” and the contents of the predictions and you have the same argument. ”
            .
            I think you’ve just identified the fatal flaw in your argument. If we can slot in any old cause and have the same result, the argument is clearly not helpful in identifying what causes altruism. By contrast, my hypothesis relies on a cause that has a specific finger print. Evolution proceeds by a process of descent with modification and speciation, which will by necessity leave a pattern of nested hierarchies, i.e. a tree-like pattern of relatedness.
            .
            If you think your prediction follows from your hypothesis, you need to explain why God would necessarily leave such a pattern rather than e.g. a pattern of parallel lines or completely unique creatures with no relation to each other. All you’re offering is “that was God’s pleasure” but that just lands you right back in the same circularity – an argument that you’ve conceded could be used for any cause.
            .
            “Okay, infants do not display the trait of altruism.”
            .
            Check out this article: “Altruistic Helping in Human Infants and Young Chimpanzees” by Felix Warneken and Michael Tomasello. It shows pretty much what I’ve been saying: that human infants will display altruistic behaviour and that our closest relatives, chimpanzees, will show similar (though not identical) behaviour.
            .
            “Now, return the favor and falsify my worldview (I personally will not lower it to the term hypothesis out of reverence for God) and I will abandon it.”
            .
            Well, I will use the term hypothesis since this is a scientific problem. I can’t falsify your hypothesis since it’s by its very nature unfalsifiable. In a scientific context, this is not a feature but a fatal bug – a dead end.

          • KR says:

            Seems i missed this post from TVZ.

            “St. Lee’s claim was that we both (believers and non-believers) have an element of faith due to our worldviews and you rejected that because you have hypothesis’s you can rely on.”
            .
            No, that’s not what I’m saying. What I’m saying is that I have a method (empirical verification) that is not self-referencing but builds on independently verifiable observations. That way, I can bypass my personal biases (since my observations can be scrutinized by others) and avoid the circularity of using my mind to verify my mind. This is clearly different from faith. We know that people relying on faith can end up with completely different conclusions (hence all the different religions and denominations within religions we see) so we know for a fact that faith is not a reliable method.
            .
            By contrast, scientists can disagree when there’s a lack of data but as our understanding gets deeper, we eventually come to a consensus. Bad theories eventually get debunked (like phlogiston, the ether theory and the steady state universe) because their predictions get falsified by new data. Religious ideas tend to be unfalsifiable, which means they can’t be empirically tested.
            .
            “My point (and I think St. Lee’s) was that hypothesis’s also require a leap of faith based on preconceptions (there is no God, everything happened naturally vs there is a God everything happened supernaturally).”
            .
            This is a fundamental misunderstanding of how hypotheses work. A hypothesis requires no faith – it’s not a claim or an assumption but basically an educated guess. The point of the hypothesis is that it makes testable predictions. If the predictions are falsified, the hypothesis is abandoned and we devise a new one. This is completely different from faith.
            .
            “Neither hypothesis is provable without certain inferences being made (God did it vs. we don’t know how it happened but we can’t say it was God because that’s not science).”
            .
            Haven’t we been through this? Hypotheses are by definition never provable, only disprovable.
            .
            “I can’t prove it, but that’s what the biggest brain we’ve ever had has said (Stephen Hawking).”
            .
            I’m pretty sure we’ve been through this, too. Wasn’t it you who linked to that YT clip where Hawking talked about the universe expanding from a singularity that he described as a “mist of energy” or something similar? I pointed out that a mist of energy is clearly not “nothing” so I don’t think Hawking is (or was) in your corner on this.
            .
            “Yeah, we’ve discussed that. An educated guess that can’t be supported scientifically yet. That still leaves at “we don’t yet understand.”
            .
            There’s plenty of supporting evidence that life has gone through an RNA stage before our present DNA/protein stage. It will remain a viable hypothesis until it’s been falsified.
            .
            “But if we can’t (and we can’t), it does take a certain philosophical starting point that is biased towards your belief (faith) heading into the observation, right?”
            .
            We can’t what – make objective observations? That would be a rather startling claim which I would love to see you defend. If someone looks up your phone number, will they see different numbers depending on who they are? If two people look at the same thermometer, will they see different temperatures? How would traffic work if we couldn’t objectively observe where the road and the other vehicles are? How would you get through your day if you were unable to trust your senses? In fact, how would you be able to take a single step? It seems to me that the assumption that we can mostly rely on our senses is very well supported by our empirical experience – our lives would be completely impossible if we couldn’t.

          • Andy Ryan says:

            KR: “I’m pretty sure we’ve been through this, too. Wasn’t it you who linked to that YT clip where Hawking talked about the universe expanding from a singularity that he described as a “mist of energy” or something similar?”
            .
            KR, I had quite an odd discussion with TVZ about Stephen Hawking, where TVZ spoke much about how much he disagreed with Hawking, despite admitting he’d never read a single word Hawking had written and had no intention of doing so. So take anything TVZ says about Hawking with a large grain of salt. I find it’s similar when creationists talk about Richard Dawkins. Everything they know about either is gleaned through misleading and badly edited videos produced by creationist organisations.

          • KR says:

            @Andy

            TVZ seems to be repeating the same misconception of the Big Bang theory that Evan Minton espouses in the “Why Yahweh?” blog post: that the theory suggests that the universe appeared out of nothing. Of course, it suggests no such thing – it simply proposes that our universe expanded from a singulary. It has nothing to say about where this singularity came from and it certianly doesn’t say that it came from nothing.

          • TVZ says:

            No, that’s not what I’m saying (belief requires faith). What I’m saying is that I have a method (empirical verification) that is not self-referencing but builds on independently verifiable observations. That way, I can bypass my personal biases (since my observations can be scrutinized by others) and avoid the circularity of using my mind to verify my mind. This is clearly different from faith. We know that people relying on faith can end up with completely different conclusions (hence all the different religions and denominations within religions we see) so we know for a fact that faith is not a reliable method.
            .
            This is getting deep. Do you believe God created the universe and life in it? If the observation took you to a dead end, could you ever think, “Well, it must have been God?”
            .
            By contrast, scientists can disagree when there’s a lack of data but as our understanding gets deeper, we eventually come to a consensus. Bad theories eventually get debunked (like phlogiston, the ether theory and the steady state universe) because their predictions get falsified by new data.
            ,
            Has there been a consensus developed on how the universe happened… and how life happened? (Something more concrete than a hypothesis?)
            .
            Religious ideas tend to be unfalsifiable, which means they can’t be empirically tested.
            .
            Except for Christianity, which claims there was a historical guy who was born around 4 BC (or so) and who was executed by the Romans (during the reign of Caesar Augustus) and whose followers claimed he rose from the dead around 33 AD. etc, etc… (this is REAL history).
            .
            This (preconceptions/biases going into a study) is a fundamental misunderstanding of how hypotheses work. A hypothesis requires no faith – it’s not a claim or an assumption but basically an educated guess. The point of the hypothesis is that it makes testable predictions. If the predictions are falsified, the hypothesis is abandoned and we devise a new one. This is completely different from faith.
            .
            But could the educated guess ever be supernatural? The universe was once smaller than the head of a needle, but became more enormous than man can comprehend in a matter of 3 seconds… any way that could be supernatural since its can’t be observed in our natural world? If not, is there a bias here?
            .
            “Haven’t we been through this? Hypotheses are by definition never provable, only disprovable.”
            .
            My hypothesis is that something the size of the head of a needle becoming incomprehensibly large in a matter of 3 seconds, in the absence of the concept of space and matter is a supernatural event. Can you disprove that this is supernatural, or is this something we observe all the time in nature?
            .
            There’s plenty of supporting evidence that life has gone through an RNA stage before our present DNA/protein stage. It will remain a viable hypothesis until it’s been falsified.
            .
            No there’s not. We have failed experiments trying to prove this. Show me where this is testable scientifically.
            .
            I’m pretty sure we’ve been through this, too. Wasn’t it you who linked to that YT clip where Hawking talked about the universe expanding from a singularity that he described as a “mist of energy” or something similar? I pointed out that a mist of energy is clearly not “nothing” so I don’t think Hawking is (or was) in your corner on this.
            .
            No, Hawking said that the universe was “nothing” and that he believes it could become something because of the law of gravity. Most scientists say there was a “singularity” that cannot be described, but Hawking said there was “nothing.”
            .
            We can’t what
            ,
            We can’t test how nothing becomes the universe. We can’t test how non-life became life. We can’t even take the “ingredients” of the cell and replicate it into life.

          • KR says:

            “This is getting deep. Do you believe God created the universe and life in it? If the observation took you to a dead end, could you ever think, “Well, it must have been God?””
            .
            No, I don’t believe God created the universe and life in it – because I see no evidence to support that. If by “dead end” you mean something inexplicable, I would simply acknowledge that I have no explanation. To conclude that it must have been God just because we currently can’t explain something is just God Of The Gaps reasoning. “God must have done it” isn’t an explanation for anything – it’s just another way of saying that it’s a mystery. The way we solve mysteries is by empirical investigation.
            .
            “Has there been a consensus developed on how the universe happened… and how life happened? (Something more concrete than a hypothesis?)”
            .
            No, because we don’t have enough data. At this point, all we can do is speculate – and gather more data.
            .
            “Except for Christianity, which claims there was a historical guy who was born around 4 BC (or so) and who was executed by the Romans (during the reign of Caesar Augustus) and whose followers claimed he rose from the dead around 33 AD. etc, etc… (this is REAL history).”
            .
            How do we empirically test these claims?
            .
            “But could the educated guess ever be supernatural? ”
            .
            Sure, if there’s a way to test it. This is where supernatural hypotheses tend to fall short.
            .
            “The universe was once smaller than the head of a needle, but became more enormous than man can comprehend in a matter of 3 seconds… any way that could be supernatural since its can’t be observed in our natural world? If not, is there a bias here?”
            .
            Scientists are trying to explain something. As long as supernatural hypotheses can’t be tested, they are useless as explanations. The supernatural is a science-stopper, there’s nowhere to go.
            .
            “My hypothesis is that something the size of the head of a needle becoming incomprehensibly large in a matter of 3 seconds, in the absence of the concept of space and matter is a supernatural event. Can you disprove that this is supernatural, or is this something we observe all the time in nature?”
            .
            What predictions can you derive from your hypothesis and how do we test them?
            .
            “No there’s not. We have failed experiments trying to prove this. Show me where this is testable scientifically.”
            .
            I’ve already gone through the supporting evidence for the RNA world hypothesis with you. Feel free to go back to that discussion if you’re truly interested, I’m not going to do it all over again. What failed experiments are you referring to?
            .
            “No, Hawking said that the universe was “nothing” and that he believes it could become something because of the law of gravity.”
            .
            Citation needed.
            .
            “We can’t test how nothing becomes the universe.”
            .
            We can’t even say whether nothingness is a physically possible state.
            .
            “We can’t test how non-life became life.”
            .
            We can hypothesise that the building blocks of life (RNA, amino acids, lipids) can form from simple chemicals and test that. This has been done. We can hypothesize that lipids can self-organize into cell-like vesicles that can grow and divide by purely mechanical means and test that. This has been done. We can hypothesize that RNA can self-replicate inside such a vesicle without the help of enzymes and test that. This has been done. That’s the way abiogenesis research is progressing – one small step at a time.
            .
            “We can’t even take the “ingredients” of the cell and replicate it into life.”
            .
            I bet you can’t even come up with a scientifically useful definition of life. Would you say a bacterium is alive? A virus? A self-replicating, RNA-containing vesicle?

          • St. Lee says:

            KR: “My “ultimate authority” is reality.” – You got me; I did make a mistake when I stated that your ultimate authority is evolution, though you place so much faith in it that the difference becomes murky. So how do you know your own reasoning is giving you an accurate depiction of reality? In other words, how do you know your reasoning is valid?
            .
            “I can’t falsify your hypothesis since it’s by its very nature unfalsifiable.” – Why? … I mean beside that it is true.
            .
            “If you think your prediction follows from your hypothesis, you need to explain why God would necessarily leave such a pattern rather than e.g. a pattern of parallel lines or completely unique creatures with no relation to each other.” – That is absurd. You want me to explain why a free agent (God), would “necessarily” do something. That is like asking for an explanation of how someone was forced to eat of his own free will.

            .

          • TVZ says:

            No, I don’t believe God created the universe and life in it – because I see no evidence to support that. If by “dead end” you mean something inexplicable, I would simply acknowledge that I have no explanation. To conclude that it must have been God just because we currently can’t explain something is just God Of The Gaps reasoning. “God must have done it” isn’t an explanation for anything – it’s just another way of saying that it’s a mystery. The way we solve mysteries is by empirical investigation.
            .
            Then how can you say you (and scientists) don’t have a bias? Is it true to say that if you can’t explain the universe and life then you would rather say “it’s a mystery” than “God did it?” If so, you have a “mystery of the gaps theory” which is no different than a “God of the gaps theory.”

            “Has there been a consensus developed on how the universe happened… and how life happened? (Something more concrete than a hypothesis?)”
            .
            No (there is no consensus on how the universe happened), because we don’t have enough data. At this point, all we can do is speculate – and gather more data.
            .
            “Mystery of the gaps?”
            .

            “Except for Christianity, which claims there was a historical guy who was born around 4 BC (or so) and who was executed by the Romans (during the reign of Caesar Augustus) and whose followers claimed he rose from the dead around 33 AD. etc, etc… (this is REAL history).”
            .
            How do we empirically test these claims (that history can be trusted)?
            .
            It’s a lot more certifiable than the mystery of “we don’t know” theories. We have human beings, both pro and con testifying that it’s true.

            “The universe was once smaller than the head of a needle, but became more enormous than man can comprehend in a matter of 3 seconds… any way that could be supernatural since its can’t be observed in our natural world? If not, is there a bias here?”
            .
            Scientists are trying to explain something. As long as supernatural hypotheses can’t be tested, they are useless as explanations. The supernatural is a science-stopper, there’s nowhere to go.
            .
            Which is a biased opinion and leads us to “we will never know” right?

            “My hypothesis is that something the size of the head of a needle becoming incomprehensibly large in a matter of 3 seconds, in the absence of the concept of space and matter is a supernatural event. Can you disprove that this is supernatural, or is this something we observe all the time in nature?”
            .
            What predictions can you derive from your hypothesis (that space came from non space in a matter of nano seconds and all matter came from non-matter in a matter of nano seconds) and how do we test them?
            .
            Come on,,, we are pretty sure this will never happen again, since it’s been 4.7 billion years without any recurrence.
            .

            I’ve already gone through the supporting evidence for the RNA world hypothesis with you. Feel free to go back to that discussion if you’re truly interested, I’m not going to do it all over again. What failed experiments are you referring to?
            .
            The RNA world hypothesis is an educated guess that can’t be proven or disproved, but more recent studies are suggesting it’s BS: http://www.messagetoeagle.com/rna-world-hypothesis-questioned-alternate-theory-life-started-proposed-scientists/
            .
            Citation needed (that Hawking said the universe was nothing and could have been caused by the law of gravity).
            .
            “Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going.” Stephen Hawking
            .
            We can hypothesise (how life came from non-life) that the building blocks of life (RNA, amino acids, lipids) can form from simple chemicals and test that. This has been done.
            .
            Yeah, everybody has a guess, but nobody has an answer.
            .
            That’s the way abiogenesis research is progressing – one small step at a time.
            .
            Sure, but at this point, its still the mystery of the gaps theory.
            .
            I bet you can’t even come up with a scientifically useful definition of life. Would you say a bacterium is alive? A virus? A self-replicating, RNA-containing vesicle?
            .
            You are correct.

          • KR says:

            “So how do you know your own reasoning is giving you an accurate depiction of reality? In other words, how do you know your reasoning is valid?”
            .
            I don’t – unless it’s supported by empirical evidence. That’s kind of the point I’ve been trying to make.
            .
            “Why? … I mean beside that it is true.”
            .
            Because there’s no possible evidence I can point to that couldn’t have been created by an omnipotent deity. A tree-like pattern of relatedness? That was God’s pleasure. How about if we find a multi-linear pattern instead? Well, then that was God’s pleasure. Completely unique organisms with no relation whatsoever to each other? God’s pleasure. See the problem? If God can create any conceivable evidence, then there’s no evidence we can point to as uncreated.
            .
            ” That is absurd. You want me to explain why a free agent (God), would “necessarily” do something. That is like asking for an explanation of how someone was forced to eat of his own free will.”
            .
            If you can’t show why God would necessarily create a particular pattern, you can make no predictions of what pattern we should expect to find as a result of God’s creation. This means that you can’t claim that any particular pattern is evidence for divine creation. This shouldn’t really be so hard to grasp, should it?

          • KR says:

            “Then how can you say you (and scientists) don’t have a bias? ”
            .
            Yeah, I guess you’re right. Scientists are biased towards actual explanations rather than non-explanations. I guess they prefer to do science rather than just twiddling their thumbs.
            .
            ” Is it true to say that if you can’t explain the universe and life then you would rather say “it’s a mystery” than “God did it?” ”
            .
            If I can’t explain something, I would say “I can’t explain it”. What rational, honest reason would there be to say anything else?
            .
            “If so, you have a “mystery of the gaps theory” which is no different than a “God of the gaps theory.””
            .
            This is just bizarre. Honestly admitting to not knowing is the diametrical opposite to a gap argument.
            .
            “It’s a lot more certifiable than the mystery of “we don’t know” theories”
            .
            I’d say it’s a lot less honest.
            .
            “We have human beings, both pro and con testifying that it’s true.”
            .
            There are people testifying that it’s all a myth. It might be a minority opinion but I haven’t seen any slam dunk evidence to prove them wrong.
            .
            “Which is a biased opinion and leads us to “we will never know” right?”
            .
            Yeah, like I said – it’s biased towards actually explaining things rather than pretend-explaining. How do you know what we will eventually know?
            .
            “What predictions can you derive from your hypothesis (that space came from non space in a matter of nano seconds and all matter came from non-matter in a matter of nano seconds) and how do we test them?”
            .
            If you’re going to put your own comments into my quotes, please take care not to misrepresent me. You somehow forgot to mention that your hypothesis was that the cause was supernatural. Sloppy.
            .
            “Come on,,, we are pretty sure this will never happen again, since it’s been 4.7 billion years without any recurrence.”
            .
            More like 13.8 billion years. So no predictions? I guess your hypothesis isn’t much cop then. Bummer.
            .
            ““Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going.” Stephen Hawking”
            .
            Is there a definition of “nothing” in there?
            .
            “Sure, but at this point, its still the mystery of the gaps theory.”
            .
            Gibberish. It’s the normal application of the scientific method.
            .
            “You are correct.”
            .
            If we can’t define life in any scientifically useful way, then the goal can’t be to create life but to find out how the evolutionary process could have started. That’s pretty much what abiogenesis research is about.

          • TVZ says:

            Yeah, I guess you’re right. Scientists are biased towards actual explanations rather than non-explanations. I guess they prefer to do science rather than just twiddling their thumbs.
            .
            I think they are biased towards non-explanations. Science probably cannot prove God since they do know the universe had a beginning and don’t give Him the credit for that. There is enough scientific evidence to point one to God, but not enough to prove God. So a non-explanation will have to suffice.
            ..
            If I can’t explain something, I would say “I can’t explain it”. What rational, honest reason would there be to say anything else?
            .
            This is where philosophy comes in. Some people have scientific minds and can’t accept things that cannot be proven. Others will take what science does know and philosophize about what science cannot know. Science is limited to observation.

            “If so, you have a “mystery of the gaps theory” which is no different than a “God of the gaps theory.””
            .
            This (mystery of the gaps) is just bizarre. Honestly admitting to not knowing is the diametrical opposite to a gap argument.
            .
            The gap argument is something scientist speak of, not Christians. We have stood on God created the universe and life long before atheists started doing science. What we call “God” is the what scientists call “mystery.” (ie, creating the universe, creating life, etc..)
            .

            There are people testifying that it’s (Jesus was a real man who walked the Earth and is a falsifiable fact) all a myth. It might be a minority opinion but I haven’t seen any slam dunk evidence to prove them wrong.
            .
            Those are not serious historians. Kook atheists most likely.
            .
            How do you know what we will eventually know?
            .
            Science cannot observe the un-observable (universe coming from nothing / life coming from nothing).
            .
            More like 13.8 billion years. So no predictions? I guess your hypothesis isn’t much cop then. Bummer.
            .
            I predict there will never be a universe created within this one. If the law of gravity creates universes (as Hawking says it does), my hypothesis is that we would have had billions of universes created spontaneously within this universe already. Therefore, my hypothesis is that Hawking is wrong.
            .
            Is there a definition of “nothing” in there?
            .
            No, can you define “nothing?” I can… no thing, zilch, nada, absence of things.
            .
            If we can’t define life in any scientifically useful way, then the goal can’t be to create life but to find out how the evolutionary process could have started. That’s pretty much what abiogenesis research is about.
            .
            The evolutionary process does not create though. It begins after life has begun. Abiogenesis will very likely never figure out life. RNA world hypothesis is probably the best explanation outside of God did it. We did clone that sheep once though. Why haven’t we kept doing that?

          • St. Lee says:

            KR: “If you can’t show why God would necessarily create a particular pattern, you can make no predictions of what pattern we should expect to find as a result of God’s creation.” That is still an absurd statement. God is a free agent. If there was some outside agent that forced Him to NECESSARILY create in a particular way, then He is no longer a free agent. Your argument depends on making me show that “A” and “not A” are the same thing.
            .
            I said: “… how do you know your reasoning is valid?” – To which you replied: “I don’t – unless it’s supported by empirical evidence.” – So then how do you determine the empirical evidence is valid if not by your reason? As I said, everyone uses circular reasoning when it gets to the level of their ultimate authority.

          • KR says:

            “I think they are biased towards non-explanations.”
            .
            Ah, yes – the “I know you are but what am I?” retort. Bart Simpson would be proud.
            .
            “Science probably cannot prove God since they do know the universe had a beginning and don’t give Him the credit for that. ”
            .
            Science isn’t about proving things – but you knew that, right? I mean, it’s been mentioned enough in our discussions, right? No, they don’t know whether the universe had a beginning. If you have to concoct a conspiracy where everyone is lying just to prop up your argument, it’s probably not a very good argument.
            .
            “There is enough scientific evidence to point one to God, but not enough to prove God. So a non-explanation will have to suffice.”
            .
            Admitting that we don’t have enough data is a “non-explanation”? You’re funny.
            .
            “This is where philosophy comes in.”
            .
            No, this is where dishonesty and/or self-delusion comes in – pretending to know things you don’t actually know. The path to knowledge starts by admitting that you don’t know and then work from there. Settling for pretend-explanations closes the mind to the actual explanations that are out there to discover.
            .
            “The gap argument is something scientist speak of, not Christians. We have stood on God created the universe and life long before atheists started doing science. What we call “God” is the what scientists call “mystery.””
            .
            Shouldn’t you show at least some gratitude towards the people who don’t stop at “God did it” and continue looking for actual answers? You do realize that you wouldn’t be having this electronic conversation if it wasn’t for them?
            .
            “Those are not serious historians. Kook atheists most likely.”
            .
            So it shouldn’t be difficult to prove them wrong, then. Let’s hear it.
            .
            “Science cannot observe the un-observable (universe coming from nothing / life coming from nothing).”
            .
            Please provide evidence that there’s ever been a “nothing”. Please present a scientist, any scientist, that has ever suggested that life came from nothing. Do you really think you can slip these deliberate misrepresentations by me without getting called on them?
            .
            “I predict there will never be a universe created within this one. If the law of gravity creates universes (as Hawking says it does), my hypothesis is that we would have had billions of universes created spontaneously within this universe already. Therefore, my hypothesis is that Hawking is wrong.”
            .
            Get back to me when the results are in. I can hardly wait.
            .
            “No, can you define “nothing?” I can… no thing, zilch, nada, absence of things.”
            .
            Is that how Hawking defined it?
            .
            “The evolutionary process does not create though.”
            .
            The evidence shows that the evolutionary process produces all kinds of novelties through mutation, recombination, natural selection and genetic drift. If that doesn’t count as creating, then I guess creating isn’t necessary for life to develop and diversify.
            .
            “Abiogenesis will very likely never figure out life.”
            .
            I think they very likely will, maybe even within my lifetime. We’ll see.
            .
            “We did clone that sheep once though. Why haven’t we kept doing that?”
            .
            How is this relevant to anything being discussed?

          • KR says:

            “.” That is still an absurd statement. God is a free agent. If there was some outside agent that forced Him to NECESSARILY create in a particular way, then He is no longer a free agent. Your argument depends on making me show that “A” and “not A” are the same thing.”
            .
            You have that backwards. You’re the one who’s stating that God can do antything, while simultaneously making specific predictions of what he would create. That would be you trying to have it both ways.
            .
            “So then how do you determine the empirical evidence is valid if not by your reason? As I said, everyone uses circular reasoning when it gets to the level of their ultimate authority.”
            .
            Nothing circular about it. I use my reasoning to make hypotheses and make predictions of what I should be able to observe if my hypothesis is correct. Making the observation is the test of my hypothesis and doesn’t rely on my reasoning.

          • Andy Ryan says:

            I note St Lee still hasn’t explained what he meant by ‘closely related’.
            The conversation went like this:
            St Lee: If creationism is true we’d expect to see this behaviour in closely related species
            Andy: If creationism is true ‘closely related species’ has no meaning. Unless you just mean ALL animals are closely related, in which case you might as well compare crocodiles and chimps
            St Lee: Andy obviously thinks ‘closely related’ can only mean related through sexual reproduction
            Andy: No, I suggested an alternative meaning you might have meant. But tell me what you DID mean
            St Lee: That is really a nonsensical statement
            Andy: Go ahead and tell me what you DID mean then
            St Lee: You’re an idiot
            Andy: Fine, show I’m an idiot by explaining what you meant
            St Lee: *crickets*
            .
            The closest I can find to an explanation is St Lee saying God may have designed some animals to have similar traits. Unfortunately for St Lee, that reduces his argument down to a truism:
            Saying we’d expect to see similar traits (i.e. altruism) in closely related animals just becomes a statement that animals with similar traits will have similar traits.
            .
            It’s one thing to offer bad arguments, but to throw in the insults and lofty pretensions to superiority too is a bit rich. If you’re going to be wrong all the time, at least have some humility about it.

          • TVZ says:

            KR, I can’t find anyone who says the universe wasn’t nothing. They speak of the singularity because that was the beginning of the universe, but there was (wow, there’s no word for it)… a “time” before there was the singularity. Time started with the singularity, so that’s not the right word. Hawking says the universe is what is south of the South Pole (nothing)… he uses the word “nothing.” The singularity is a theory because we hear microwaves in space, but science philosophizes (because they can’t observe) that there was nothing before the singularity. Here is Hawking speaking about nothing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJ88kC2Nx8M

          • toby says:

            I can’t find anyone who says the universe wasn’t nothing.
            TVZ, likely because there isn’t a good way to describe it. If time and space started at the big bang you see how hard it is to even talk about it. Where I think arguments like the Kalam cosmological argument fail theists is that they use the concept of causation, but they willfully ignore that everything we know about causation requires time and matter. They make arguments to sounds like they are reasoning, but all they are doing is trying to put an intelligent cloak over magic, mystery, and faith.
            .
            We don’t know that nothing is possible and it seems that science and theism aren’t even using the word the same.

          • TVZ says:

            I’m not ignoring you Toby, you just jump in and answer things for others, and if I respond to you, they may not respond to me. Just didn’t want you to think I’m ignoring your points.

          • St. Lee says:

            Okay Mr. Ryan, since you insist of pretending that you are an idiot (I never said you were) I will give you the opportunity to jump up and down in the chair in front of your computer gleefully shouting, “I made him waste more time, I made him waste more time.” You should have a small victory now and then, I suppose. So here is an analogy for my use of the word related: Several years ago, I designed and put into production an intake valve for a specific motorcycle engine family. At this point in time I have designed and built a prototype intake manifold for the same engine family which I hope to have in production soon. I would say that those parts are closely related because they share the same designer and have a similar purpose (to increase performance). If I were to design a foot peg for another brand of motorcycle, I might say it is related, but not closely related.
            .
            Now, I suppose right about now Mr. Ryan clapping his hands and shouting, “He used the word family, that makes no sense unless he is talking about living things!” So be it.

          • St. Lee says:

            KR: “Nothing circular about it. I use my reasoning to make hypotheses and make predictions of what I should be able to observe if my hypothesis is correct. Making the observation is the test of my hypothesis and doesn’t rely on my reasoning.” – So you are saying that you don’t use your reasoning to confirm that your observation is valid and you don’t use your reasoning to confirm that the test you came up with for your hypothesis is valid.

          • TVZ says:

            Alright, I guess KR is not going to respond
            .
            “TVZ, likely because there isn’t a good way to describe it (nothing).”
            .
            =It is used often by scientists and I understand what they mean. The absence of time, space, and matter…. nothing.
            .
            ” If time and space started at the big bang you see how hard it is to even talk about it.”
            .
            What do you mean by this?
            .
            “Where I think arguments like the Kalam cosmological argument fail theists is that they use the concept of causation, but they willfully ignore that everything we know about causation requires time and matter. They make arguments to sounds like they are reasoning, but all they are doing is trying to put an intelligent cloak over magic, mystery, and faith.”
            .
            I’m not talking about that. Hawking does have a theory that time and space may have predated matter (the entire universe was filled later with all matter after it was vast and the clock was ticking) but that kills his gravity theory for causation since there can be no gravity without matter.
            .
            We don’t know that nothing is possible and it seems that science and theism aren’t even using the word the same.
            .
            Hawking (scientist) is using it the way I (theologian) use it. He said if the universe began in the shape of a globe (rounded at the bottom), and the universe was previously South of the bottom of the globe before it happened (which is where nothing would have been). I get what he’s saying here. You’ve referenced Krauss before as having some bazaar definition of nothing, but most people mean literally nothing.

          • KR says:

            “So you are saying that you don’t use your reasoning to confirm that your observation is valid and you don’t use your reasoning to confirm that the test you came up with for your hypothesis is valid.”
            .
            The prediction is that if my hypothesis is correct, I should be able to make a specific observation. The observation itself is the confirmation of the prediction and requires no reasoning. I don’t use my reasoning to make a measurement or read a display. A machine can do that.
            .
            I noticed you didn’t respond to the other part of my post. Does that mean you’re conceding that you can’t claim to be able to make predictions about what God will create while simultaneously stating that God can create anything?

          • KR says:

            @TVZ
            .
            “Alright, I guess KR is not going to respond”
            .
            You ignored most of my preceding post so I kind of lost interest. It’s not like our conversation was going anywhere interesting anyway.

          • TVZ says:

            Agree… lol. That’s why I didn’t respond. I did think it was important that you know scientists do say the universe was nothing though.

          • Andy Ryan says:

            “I would say that those parts are closely related because they share the same designer and have a similar purpose”
            Unfortunately for your analogy, you’re comparing it to a situation in which you hold that EVERY living thing is designed by the same person. So ‘share the same designer’ is a meaningless category in your arguement. That leaves you with ‘have a similar purpose’. OK, St Lee, by what method are you ascertaining that chimpanzees and humans have a more ‘similar purpose’ than humans and crocodiles?
            .
            Again, this isn’t semantics, and it isn’t about anyone taking an over literal interpretation of ‘closely related’ (again, I suggested alternative meanings of the phrase you might have meant, so your accusations fail there). It comes down to the difference between KR’s argument and yours. It makes sense in KR’s argument for closely related animals to share altruistic traits with us because we share common ancestors. It doesn’t work when you copy and paste his argument and substitute ‘God’ for ‘evolution’, precisely because ‘closely related’ has no meaning if all species were created from scratch at the same time.

            “Now, I suppose right about now Mr. Ryan clapping his hands and shouting, “He used the word family, that makes no sense unless he is talking about living things!” So be it.”
            You’re not very good at this ‘supposing’ business, are you? I’ve already explained above why you don’t get to paint this as someone else equivocating or missing the point by being over literal. You spent three times as long making that failed point that you were being misunderstood than actually trying to clarify your position. It was your decision to waste that time, not mine.

          • St. Lee says:

            KR: “I noticed you didn’t respond to the other part of my post. Does that mean you’re conceding that you can’t claim to be able to make predictions about what God will create while simultaneously stating that God can create anything?” – No. I still maintain that God can create anything because he revealed that through scripture, and I still maintain that we can be sure that He created it by the fact that it exists (All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.- John 1:3). You still seem to be missing the point I was attempting to make: that your method of evidence for evolutionary development of altruism could just as easily be applied to it being created by God.
            .
            Earlier you stated that my “mimic” of your hypothesis was not valid because it was not falsifiable. But it is. Here it is again: 1) This behavior should be evident very early in human development, indicating that it’s part of God’s design rather than learned.
            2) We should be able to see similar types of behavior in closely related species because they share the same designer.
            All you would need to do is show that the behavior is not evident in very early human development, or that there is not similar behavior in closely related species, or that it came about as a result of another cause (like evolution).
            .
            KR: “The prediction is that if my hypothesis is correct, I should be able to make a specific observation. The observation itself is the confirmation of the prediction and requires no reasoning. I don’t use my reasoning to make a measurement or read a display.” – Of course you do. If you don’t use your reasoning when you read a display, you would have no way of knowing that the characters on the display mean the same thing they did yesterday. If you measure something with a ruler and it corresponds with the mark with a “3” next to it you would probably give the answer that the object measures 3 inches. Without using your reasoning you could just as easily decide that the object measures blue.

          • KR says:

            “I still maintain that God can create anything because he revealed that through scripture, and I still maintain that we can be sure that He created it by the fact that it exists”
            .
            You also agreed that this is an example of circular reasoning, which by definition is a logical fallacy. Your defense was to claim that everyone uses circular reasoning at the level of “ultimate authority”. I maintain that this is false and that empirical verification eliminates this circularity.
            .
            “You still seem to be missing the point I was attempting to make: that your method of evidence for evolutionary development of altruism could just as easily be applied to it being created by God.”
            .
            I didn’t miss your point, I explained why you’re wrong. The scientific method can’t be applied to God, because there is no way to make any prediction of what evidence we should be able to observe as a result of God’s creative efforts if God is omnipotent. What you proposed as a prediction is simply to point to what is and say it was God’s pleasure. That’s not a prediction, it’s an after-the-fact rationalization – an ad hoc rescue fallacy.
            .
            The evolutionary hypothesis doesn’t just point to what is but explains why it is – and why we should expect the same pattern of nested hierarchies for all inherited traits in all living things. It can do this because it proposes a mechanism that is constrained by the physical properties of DNA. It’s this constraint that allows us to make predictions of what evidence an evolutionary process would leave behind.
            .
            By contrast, God has no such constraints. In fact, you protest vigorously at the very idea that God would have any limitations in how He creates. Well , without any constraints, you have no reason to predict that we should see patterns of nested hierarchies not only in the evidence we have now but in any new observations we will make in the future. You have no way to explain why divine creation could not produce any other evidence than what we see.
            .
            “Earlier you stated that my “mimic” of your hypothesis was not valid because it was not falsifiable. But it is. Here it is again: 1) This behavior should be evident very early in human development, indicating that it’s part of God’s design rather than learned.
            2) We should be able to see similar types of behavior in closely related species because they share the same designer.
            All you would need to do is show that the behavior is not evident in very early human development, or that there is not similar behavior in closely related species, or that it came about as a result of another cause (like evolution).”
            .
            The observed evidence in humans and chimpanzees is reality – it’s what is. What you’re saying is that all I have to do to falsify your hypothesis is to show that reality is false. Sorry, no can do. If that was how we go about falsifying hypotheses, no hypothesis would ever be falsified as long as it fits with our currently available evidence (and there wouldn’t seem to be much point in proposing one that didn’t).
            .
            The way we can know that a hypothesis is falsifiable is by testing it against alternative data sets. If we hadn’t been able to see any altruistic behaviour in humans until after the child was old enough to socialize and acquire learned behaviour and there were no signs of altruistic helping in chimpanzees, the evolutionary hypothesis would have been falsified. Would it have falsified the divine creation hypothesis? If you believe it would, can you explain why? What alternative scenarios could not have been explained by “God’s pleasure”?
            .
            “Of course you do. If you don’t use your reasoning when you read a display, you would have no way of knowing that the characters on the display mean the same thing they did yesterday. If you measure something with a ruler and it corresponds with the mark with a “3” next to it you would probably give the answer that the object measures 3 inches. Without using your reasoning you could just as easily decide that the object measures blue.”
            .
            Whether I call the result “3” or “blue” is irrelevant. The point is that the size of an object is an observable fact – it doesn’t change depending on your reasoning. We determine the sizes of objects by observation, not by thinking really hard about it. As I said – a machine can make size measurements. Is it reasoning?

          • St. Lee says:

            “The way we can know that a hypothesis is falsifiable is by testing it against alternative data sets. If we hadn’t been able to see any altruistic behaviour in humans until after the child was old enough to socialize and acquire learned behavior and there were no signs of altruistic helping in chimpanzees, the evolutionary hypothesis would have been falsified.” – Well thanks for clarifying; it does reveal an inconsistency in your reasoning though, because just prior to this you denied that my “mimic” of your hypothesis was falsifiable when you said, “The observed evidence in humans and chimpanzees is reality – it’s what is. What you’re saying is that all I have to do to falsify your hypothesis is to show that reality is false.”
            .
            Interesting that when I say that all you have to do to falsify my mimic is to show that the behavior is not evident in very early human development, or that there is not similar behavior in closely related species, that it is not falsifiable because you would have to show reality is false, but then you say, “If we hadn’t been able to see any altruistic behaviour in humans until after the child was old enough to socialize and acquire learned behavior and there were no signs of altruistic helping in chimpanzees, the evolutionary hypothesis would have been falsified.” Wouldn’t I too be forced to show that reality is false? Equal scales, sir, equal scales.
            .
            However, you have won me over on one point here. I wanted to argue against it, but am now willing to agree with you that you do abandon your reasoning ability at certain points.

          • KR says:

            “Well thanks for clarifying; it does reveal an inconsistency in your reasoning though, because just prior to this you denied that my “mimic” of your hypothesis was falsifiable when you said, “The observed evidence in humans and chimpanzees is reality – it’s what is. What you’re saying is that all I have to do to falsify your hypothesis is to show that reality is false.”
            .
            The inconsistency is in your own reasoning. You state unequivocally that God can create anything yet you simultaneously claim that you can predict what patterns of relatedness God would leave behind. This is incoherent. I asked you a question which you didn’t answer so here it comes again: what alternative patterns of relatedness (e.g. parallel lines or a scatter of completely unrelated organisms) could not be explained by “it was God’s pleasure”? This is what you need to address if you want to claim that your hypothesis is falsifiable.
            .
            “Interesting that when I say that all you have to do to falsify my mimic is to show that the behavior is not evident in very early human development, or that there is not similar behavior in closely related species, that it is not falsifiable because you would have to show reality is false, but then you say, “If we hadn’t been able to see any altruistic behaviour in humans until after the child was old enough to socialize and acquire learned behavior and there were no signs of altruistic helping in chimpanzees, the evolutionary hypothesis would have been falsified.” Wouldn’t I too be forced to show that reality is false? Equal scales, sir, equal scales.”
            .
            No, you wouldn’t. The definition of falsifiablity (taken from Wikipedia) is: “A statement, hypothesis, or theory has falsifiability or refutability if there is the possibility of showing it to be false. It is falsifiable if it is possible to conceive an empirical observation which could refute it.”
            .
            Note that last sentence. I have shown that there is a conceivable observation that would falsify the evolutionary hypothesis. What conceivable observation would falsify “God’s pleasure”?
            .
            “However, you have won me over on one point here. I wanted to argue against it, but am now willing to agree with you that you do abandon your reasoning ability at certain points.”
            .
            Snark certainly has its place (I’m not averse to using it myself when I feel it’s appropriate) but in my experience, it only works when it’s backed up by an actual argument. How about addressing the point I made? If an instrument makes a measurement and presents the data on a display or makes a print-out, will the numbers on the screen or on that paper change depending on the reasoning of the observer?

          • Andy Ryan says:

            KR, I think it’s possible that St Lee doesn’t know what falsifiable means. I also note that he still hasn’t explained what ‘closely related species’ means to someone who thinks all species were created by the same person at the same time. The closest he’s got to it is with a shoddy analogy involving tools, which fails because a) in that analogy not everything is designed by the same person, and b) it presupposes that we know in advance the ‘purpose’ of difference species, such that we can say species with similar ‘purposes’ are closely related.
            .
            The problem for St Lee is that this leaves him with the claim that closely related species are ones with similar behavioural traits, meaning that ‘We’d expect to see similar behavioural traits (e.g. altruism) in closely related species’ is an entirely circular argument, as you’re only determining which species are closely related by their sharing similar behavioural traits in the first place.

          • KR says:

            Yes, St. Lee certainly doesn’t give any indication that he understands the concept of falsifiability. If he did, he would understand why even theist scientists don’t include God in their theories – a point I’ve already made in this thread but which St. Lee never responded to. What’s interesting is that he’s already conceded that his argument is circular, making it logically unsound by definition. He has since suggested that all arguments are circular at the level of “absolute authority”. This would mean that, ultimately, all arguments are logically unsound – a rather startling proposition.
            .
            To justify his claim, St. Lee is now attempting to show that making observations of reality require reasoning (which would make empirical verification a circular process). If this is true, there can be no such thing as an observable fact, since such facts would by definition be independent of the observer. This clearly has some interesting consequences that I would love to discuss with St. Lee. I don’t know how he intends to support his claim but I’m sure it won’t be boring.

          • St. Lee says:

            KR says: “Yes, St. Lee certainly doesn’t give any indication that he understands the concept of falsifiability.”
            • Yes, unless you want to count the fact that I quoted the definition and then used it EXACTLY the same way you did to support the validity of your “theory”. I guess that means that KR’s definition of falsifiability is limited to anything that supports his view, but the same argument used to refute his views is not. Inconsistency is the sign of a failed argument.”
            .

            KR adds this: “What’s interesting is that he’s already conceded that his argument is circular, making it logically unsound by definition. He has since suggested that all arguments are circular at the level of “absolute authority”. This would mean that, ultimately, all arguments are logically unsound – a rather startling proposition.”
            • KR may have a point in regards to his own “atheistic” worldview. Any argument he might make (if his worldview is correct) would be logically unsound. His ultimate authority is his reasoning ability (though at one point he does not use his reasoning to confirm reality to avoid admitting it). If, as his worldview dictates, his mind is just molecules in motion, electro chemical reactions resulting from random interaction of atoms, then he has no good reason to trust that his reasoning ability is based in reality. All of his arguments would indeed be logically unsound, though at that point the concept of logic would be specious. However, with the Christian worldview, having the triune God of the Bible as your ultimate authority, then we can trust our reasoning ability as far as it conforms to the self-revelation of the one who does in fact incapsulate all truth. Then logic is functional because it reflects the character of God.
            .
            Once again KR argues: “St. Lee is now attempting to show that making observations of reality require reasoning (which would make empirical verification a circular process).”
            • This is another example of not thinking things through. To argue that observations of reality don’t require reasoning borders on the absurd. Consider: Three men lose track of time working in their windowless garage. They walk outside into utter darkness (observable reality). One says the sun burned out. The second says it must be later than they thought. The third says the roller coaster is banana. One used his faulty reasoning ability, another used good reasoning ability, and the third follows KR’s method by not using his reasoning ability. Of course that is not really KR’s method because he would use his God given reasoning (despite what he claims) to agree that they had lost track of time.
            .
            KR finishes with this: “If this is true, there can be no such thing as an observable fact, since such facts would by definition be independent of the observer.”
            • Perhaps I have slipped into KR’s make believe world where reasoning should not be used because I cannot seem to make sense of this statement. If he means “reality” by “observable facts”, then yes, I would reply that reality IS independent of the observer. Does he disagree? Or did he mean to say that using reasoning to interpret observable facts would make them dependent on the observer? If so, then I suppose in an “atheistic” worldview that make some sort of sense, though in that worldview “sense” would also be a specious term.

        • bob says:

          TVZ – This wasn’t the original design. The Bible says this world was cursed after man rebelled.
          Let me get this straight – you don’t believe there were any naturally occurring catastrophic events until AFTER man “rebelled”…???
          Since you KNOW that to be the case – please inform us as to when this supposed “rebellion” took place. Give us a date, or at least a year so we can examine the geological evidence and see if there were any massive floods, giant volcanic eruptions, an earthquakes / tsunamis before your claimed biblical rebellion.
          .
          I am gonna guess that you either subscribe to the completely unscientific biblical scenario that dates human existence on earth to about 6,000 years ago – or – you consider the scientific dating of modern humans appearing about 200,000 years ago to be valid…which is it?
          Either way – any natural catastrophe occurring before that COULD NOT be due to your vengeful God cursing all of humanity, since they occurred before this curse – correct?
          .
          Forgive me for trying to reason with you. I can see that you have no choice but to resist and suspend any reasoning that may cause you to doubt many or most of your long held religious beliefs – but just do yourself (and us) a favor and try googling – things like “ancient volcanic eruptions” and “ancient earthquakes” and “ancient tsunami’s” and “ancient meteor impacts”, etc, etc.
          .
          Doesn’t it make sense that since plants produce oxygen, the plants would have predated organisms requiring oxygen?
          Google is your friend…sometimes…
          https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/origin-of-oxygen-in-atmosphere/

          Reply
          • TVZ says:

            Sorry, I posted the reply in the wrong place above….

            Let me get this straight – you don’t believe there were any naturally occurring catastrophic events until AFTER man “rebelled”…???
            .
            That is my belief, yes.
            .
            Since you KNOW that to be the case – please inform us as to when this supposed “rebellion” took place. Give us a date, or at least a year so we can examine the geological evidence and see if there were any massive floods, giant volcanic eruptions, an earthquakes / tsunamis before your claimed biblical rebellion.
            .
            I didn’t say I know these things, I believe the Bible to be trustworthy and it doesn’t give dates like this.
            .
            I am gonna guess that you either subscribe to the completely unscientific biblical scenario that dates human existence on earth to about 6,000 years ago – or – you consider the scientific dating of modern humans appearing about 200,000 years ago to be valid…which is it?
            .
            I’m not sure I understand this completely (but who does, right). It seems that “modern man” (like you and I, who can reason and have a conscious, little fur, stand upright, etc…) are about 6,000 years old scientifically (I think they say 10,000 but that’s in the ballpark give or take a little human error). I’m not sure the Bible specifically address the time from the beginning of the universe to the beginning of life on the planet. It uses “days”, but I don’t believe that means 24 hours, but some do. I could be convinced with good data either way. The Bible contradicts science in the theory of macroevolution…. we didn’t evolve from a single cell and are all inter-related with plants and starfish, etc. But God created all these things to be different from one another. So, I don’t believe modern man is a descendant of a 200,000 year old gorilla that was a chicken a million years earlier and algae before that.
            .
            Either way – any natural catastrophe occurring before that COULD NOT be due to your vengeful God cursing all of humanity, since they occurred before this curse – correct?
            .
            I’ve never thought of this. I think that would be correct. Could it be that it took natural catastrophes to actually build the globe into a perfect condition? A movement from instability to stability… then the curse… back to instability. We can’t know this.
            .
            Forgive me for trying to reason with you.
            .
            You’re doing fine. This is what we do on these types of sites right?
            .
            I can see that you have no choice but to resist and suspend any reasoning that may cause you to doubt many or most of your long held religious beliefs – but just do yourself (and us) a favor and try googling – things like “ancient volcanic eruptions” and “ancient earthquakes” and “ancient tsunami’s” and “ancient meteor impacts”, etc, etc.
            .
            No doubt this happened, but Earth was a very different shape and material before life arrived here. I could ask you how to reason that the whole earth has life that reproduces naturally. Can you explain how that happened? If not, does that mean you are not a reasonable person? Explain how the universe began if you are so reasonable. lol. Explain if the bee came first or the flower.
            .
            Thanks for the link, but “its a mystery” doesn’t help much.

          • Andy Ryan says:

            The earliest fossils of anatomically modern humans are from the Middle Paleolithic, about 200,000 years ago. That’s a lot older than 6,000-10,000 years.
            .
            “I could be convinced with good data either way”
            The evidence supporting the above is ‘good data’ by any definition.

          • bob says:

            No, you actually posted in the right place – I posted wrong and then posted again…sorry…I am to stupid to live…

          • TVZ says:

            Why do you believe the bible is “trustworthy”?
            .
            It got the Big Bang right way before humans did. lol. Seriously, that does give it credibility, but the God I believe in showed Himself through the nation of Israel in ancient days and if you track their history, it has happened just as the Bible said it would: man fell, God called 1 man Abraham to make a nation, through this nation He would reconcile mankind, He gave them a land, told them if they behaved it would be heaven on Earth for them but if they didn’t He would scatter them among the nations where they would be persecuted as strangers in a strange land, but that He would bring them back to the land for His name’s sake in the end times and He would use them to eventually show Himself to non-Abrahamic people so that they could know Him as well (Jesus), and in order to do this, they would have to reject his Savior. You know, just prophecies being fulfilled and stuff. And it accurately describes the nature of my heart (sinful, rebellion, turn to him, he sets you free), so life and stuff.
            .
            Can you share where you get that approximation from? I have read in many places that it’s more like 200,000 years…?
            .
            I was talking out of my butt there, just from memory (I think I researched it once). A quick search shows people like us were making art work about 30,000 years ago, so that’s pretty good evidence they had a similar consciousness that we have today. I really can’t speak to dating fossils and stuff, I don’t have a clue…. and its hard to figure out what kind of being they are talking about…. is it human, ape, missing link? I plead ignorance to the dating system.
            .
            If I don’t know something, I don’t make up some excuse for my holy book – I just admit that I don’t know. I don’t try to make everything fit what I currently believe.
            If it doesn’t fit, I try to find out where my beliefs need to be modified. That is “reasonable”.
            .
            That is reasonable. I hope I’m not saying things that are made up either (the 10,000 year old was made up, but I swear I got that from somewhere… I’ll look again). I know nobody knows most of this stuff… that’s why we can still talk about it. If either case were provable, there would be no discussion, right? Most things I talk about are philosophical because science has a lot of work to do and they are getting smarter and smarter every day.
            .
            So you are perfectly content believing that your bible is correct, even when modern science contradicts what your bible says?
            .
            I would have to be very convinced the science was correct. You linked a page that stated, “no one has come up with a rock-solid test to determine the precise oxygen content of the atmosphere at any given time from the geologic record. But one thing is clear—the origins of oxygen in Earth’s atmosphere derive from one thing: life.” That doesn’t help in any way with what came first between plants and fish and both are “life.”
            .
            When the bible says: “I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind.”
            .
            I don’t read that as literal. I could Google what John may be talking about but I know there are metaphors in the Bible. For example, stars can be angels or mighty men (rulers). The fig tree is Israel. Revelations is a strange book because it was written 2,000 years ago by a guy seeing things that we see today…. and even things we have never seen before and they didn’t have the vast vocabulary that we have today. The essence of what he’s saying is “there is going to be a great catastrophe and you will notice it… it’s going to be yuuugee.”

          • Andy Ryan says:

            ” If either case were provable, there would be no discussion, right?”
            .
            The evidence for evolution is conclusive. In scientific circles there IS no discussion about whether or not it explains bio diversity on Earth. There’s discussion on boards like this because one side doesn’t understand the evidence. Our discussion isn’t two sides looking at the evidence – it’s you questioning something and us explaining it to you. That doesn’t mean a genuine debate exists!

          • KR says:

            ” So, I don’t believe modern man is a descendant of a 200,000 year old gorilla that was a chicken a million years earlier and algae before that.”
            .
            No-one believes that. If you want to criticize a theory, shouldn’t you first try and find out what it actually says?

          • TVZ says:

            “Our discussion isn’t two sides looking at the evidence – it’s you questioning something and us explaining it to you. That doesn’t mean a genuine debate exists!”
            .
            Okay what is the evidence for the reason for the universe? The debate will be my side (God created it for us) and your side (we don’t know). How can nothing become everything? My side is (it can’t, it must be supernatural). Yours is (it depends on what you mean by nothing, if you mean nothing, then perhaps a law did it). Where did life come from inside the universe? The debate will be my side (God created life) and your side will be (chemicals struck by lightning in a soup). Did we all evolve from a single cell? My side (probably not). Your side (probably yes). What came first, the chicken or the egg? Me (Chicken) you (egg). What came first protein or DNA me (both simultaneously), you (maybe RNA, but we can’t figure that out). None of this is provable by either side. It’s all philosophical based on your worldview. You are extremely arrogant if you think you know all this stuff and are explaining it appropriately to me. Not even close… lol

          • TVZ says:

            “If you want to criticize a theory, shouldn’t you first try and find out what it actually says?”
            .
            Macroevolution is too stupid to even waste my time on. It was dead when they discovered the kind of information technology within cells.

          • Andy Ryan says:

            “You are extremely arrogant if you think you know all this stuff and are explaining it appropriately to me”
            .
            I’m not arrogant to think I can explain evolution – it’s a basic subject in biology. It’s not like I’m claiming to be an expert in quantum mechanics, rocket science or neurology.
            .
            I don’t have a problem with people saying they figure a God made the universe. I’m not trying to talk anyone out of that. If someone tells me that *I* should believe that, then I disagree. And when you say Stephen Hawking was talking rubbish but then admit you’ve never read a single thing he’s written, I reply that you’re dismissing him out of a position of ignorance. Similarly, every problem you say you have with evolution turns out to rest on misunderstandings you have. You’re arguing against straw men. You’ve made up your mind already, and you’re seeking out validation of your position – as evidenced by the many videos you’ve watched by ID proponents weighed up against the zero books written on evolution by genuine biologists.
            .
            “information technology in cells”
            Please explain what you mean by ‘information technology’. How are you defining ‘information’?

          • TVZ says:

            Please explain what you mean by ‘information technology’. How are you defining ‘information’?
            .
            Dawkins says DNA is just like computer code and biology has turned into computer science: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=prFZTMIKOi4
            .
            So by information, I mean the code DNA is using to build organisms just as they are programmed to do.

          • Bob says:

            TVZ – Can you explain why human chromosomes are more similar to chickens than chimpanzees?
            Perhaps double check your claims before posting. Google, for crying out loud.

          • KR says:

            “Macroevolution is too stupid to even waste my time on. It was dead when they discovered the kind of information technology within cells.”
            .
            Since everything you post clearly demonstrates that you don’t know the first thing about macroevolution you’re in no position to make any determination of its validity. If you want to be taken seriously in a discussion about evolutionary theory you need to show that you’ve actually made the effort to try to understand what it is. At the moment, you’re just spouting rather silly caricatures that have nothing to do with what evolutionary biologists are actually suggesting.

          • TVZ says:

            I know. It’s hard to understand KR. Its almost like nobody can even agree on what it means. What I mean by macroevolution is that there was a single cell that came into existence when lightning struck a pool of chemicals and now we have every orgnaism around today that evolved from that single spark. We are all inter-related and have common ancestry. That’s non-sense. If that’s not what it means, then I’m not talking about macroevolution. If you would like to briefly summarize what it actually is, I would most appreciate it.

          • KR says:

            “What I mean by macroevolution is that there was a single cell that came into existence when lightning struck a pool of chemicals and now we have every orgnaism around today that evolved from that single spark. We are all inter-related and have common ancestry. That’s non-sense.”
            .
            That is indeed nonsense. Evolution is not about the origin of life, that’s a research field called abiogenesis which is in a very early stage and hasn’t reached the stage of a solid theory. When that day comes, I very much doubt it will include lightning striking a pool of chemicals.
            .
            Evolution is the process by which life has developed and diversified once it got started. Macroevolution is any evolutionary change at or above the species level, i.e. it includes speciation. We know how speciation occurs because we can study it through the phenomenon of ring species. All that’s required is good old microevolution plus the separation of a population into subgroups that stop interbreeding, either because they get geographically separated or because they develop different patterns of behaviour.
            .
            With time, these subgroups accumulate enough genetic differences through mutation that they become biologically incompatible with each other and can no longer interbreed, which by definition makes them different species. They are now locked into separate evolutionary paths and will only continue to diverge as time passes.

          • TVZ says:

            Thanks KR. I remember discussing that here. I have no problem with that definition. I’ll wait for Andy to explain abiogenesis to me in a few minutes to continue the conversation. lol

          • Andy Ryan says:

            That link does not say our chromosomes are closer to chickens’ than any apes.
            KR explains something to you and you reply that someone else here already explain that a while ago. That’s the problem – it’s explained but you don’t take it in and then someone explains it again but you never actually advance in your understanding. Now you want me to explain abiogenesis. TVZ, stop wasting everyone’s time – get a good science book and read up on all this stuff.

          • TVZ says:

            It was a joke Andy…. KR already said there is no solid theory for abiogenesis yet. I figured you are about ready to present it for the public and may want to share it here first.

    • DK says:

      Competitiveness and compassion for game theoretic reasons is completely different from altruism. Altruism cannot be explained by the Darwinian model.

      Reply
      • Andy Ryan says:

        Can you explain exactly what you think the difference is?
        No-one say people have ‘compassion for game theoretic reasons’. The argument, and evidence, is that a social species that evolved to have empathy, feel compassion, act altruistically etc, would thrive and prosper more than one that did not.

        Reply
    • George says:

      Dennis Garvin was in my Sunday School Class for a number of years. I consider him a friend. I can tell you without hesitation, that in a one on one conversation with anyone posting here — he will “pull your pants down”. But that’s not what he does. He is too busy saving people’s lives as a urologist and surgeon. I remember the Sunday that he tried to explain Einstein’s theory of time dilation to our Sunday School Class and how that is relevant to the six days God spent creating the Heavens and the Earth. His source for that presentation was a book by a PHD from MIT. It was interesting how this scientific analysis of the billions of years of creation divided them up into six or seven distinct groups and the fifth group (day) corresponded to what is known in scientific circles as the Cambrian Explosion. What a “coincidence” that the bible seems to know about the Cambrian Explosion since it says that God created the animals on the fifth day. (look it up) None of that is what Cross Examined.org or Dennis Garvin or myself is about. Jesus said to tell people that He loves them and He DIED to save them. So keep your pants on and watch some of the videos available on this website. Maybe read one of Lee Strobel’s books. The evidence for Christ is all around you — you just have to open your eyes and your mind. Hope to see you in heaven.

      Reply
      • Andy Ryan says:

        ” since it says that God created the animals on the fifth day”
        If the Bible is so accurate to the science, why do so many Christians bend over backwards to deny the science and argue against evolution?

        Reply
        • TVZ says:

          I don’t think we mean the same thing Andy (regarding evolution). When I state what we mean on this forum, (a cell became a fish, a fish became a plant, a plant became a turtle, a turtle became a chicken, a chicken became a rat, a rat became a monkey, and a monkey became a man), you guys reject that as well as unscientific. When you say that macroevolution is an elephant not being able to reproduce with another elephant or a rabbit not being able to reproduce with another rabbit, we have no problem with “evolution.” I think we misunderstand each other more than disagree with each other.

          Reply
        • bob says:

          Andy – …why do so many Christians bend over backwards to deny the science and argue against evolution?
          Most Christians don’t care, don’t ever think about it, don’t really know what they believe or why…they just do what they are told every Sunday morning.
          But – for the few Christians that actually think about it – actually google it and read what scientists have to say on the subject – they have to go thru an incredible amount of mental gymnastics to deny biological evolution – BECAUSE – if biological evolution is true, then God did not “create man”, and the Garden of Eden story (Adam & Eve) and the notion of “original sin” is just is an ancient fable – making the sacrifice of Jesus to be entirely unnecessary.

          Reply
          • TVZ says:

            if biological evolution is true, then God did not “create man”,
            .
            Does science say evolution is the same as abiogenesis? Can evolution create?

          • bob says:

            TVZ – Does science say evolution is the same as abiogenesis?
            This has already been addressed for you elsewhere, so I don’t know why you are bringing it up again.
            .
            Can evolution create?
            Evolution is change.
            .
            Why don’t you actually address the bulk of my response – the reason Christians are so bent on denying the science of evolution…instead of trying to rehash what has already been…hashed…?

          • tvz says:

            Evolution does not explain how life came from non life, therefore God can still be the Creator and evolution can be a process He designed. That addresses the entirety of your statement.

          • Bob says:

            TVZ – That addresses the entirety of your statement.
            If you had to pick which of the Seven Dwarfs you were to play, I am guessing it would be “Dopey”…?
            My comment was addressing WHY Christians…oh…never mind…

          • Bob says:

            I didn’t think I was just imagining these things. lol
            If you like, I could point out quite a few things that you are imagining…lol

          • TVZ says:

            Go ahead… you thought you weren’t a jerk once…. glad I could enlighten you. (I say this joking with you… but there is some truth there).

      • KR says:

        “What a “coincidence” that the bible seems to know about the Cambrian Explosion since it says that God created the animals on the fifth day.”
        .
        All of this would be so much more convincing if we ever saw any new scientific discoveries being made by studying the Bible. But that’s not what we see, is it? What we see is researchers applying the scientific method and gaining new knowledge and people like Dennis Garvin showing up after the fact, saying that this was in the Bible all along. How about a little heads up next time?

        Reply
        • TVZ says:

          Here’s a quote for you KR: “At this moment it seems as though science will never be able to raise the curtain on the mystery of creation. For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.” Robert Jastrow

          Reply
          • KR says:

            Not sure what that has to do with anything I wrote but if we’re just exchanging random quotes, here’s one for you:

            “This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.”

            — Dalai Lama

          • TVZ says:

            You were saying the Bible isn’t a science book. My point with the Jastro quote is that science will one day confirm the Bible… as it is doing.
            .
            I like the Dalai Lama quote. Sounds like he ripped off Christ.

          • KR says:

            Just like Muslims are claiming that science is confirming the Quran and Hindus are claiming that science is confirming the Vedas. Kind of brings a new dimension to the term “confirmation bias”. I do find it heartening, though, that all these religions look to science for confirmation. There may be hope for us all.
            .
            Personally, I think Christ ripped off the Buddha.

          • TVZ says:

            Muslims have the same God as Christians (they say, it sure doesn’t seem like it). I wasn’t aware the Hindus made any scientific claims. Do you have a link?

          • KR says:

            As an example, there’s an article online called “Modern Science and Vedic Science: An Introduction” by Kenneth Chandler, just google it.

  2. James Archbold says:

    Not sure why altruism is a problem. To me it seems it is a useful tool for increasing the chances of survival while experiencing the least amount of physical and mental pain. Surely to a large degree our own well being and the well being of our families also depends on the well being of society in general. it may be that our own self interest is best served by helping those we consider less fortunate because Instinctually or through life experience we understand that one day the tables may be turned and we may be the vulnerable ones.

    Reply
    • Andy Ryan says:

      Yes, I find it hard to believe that a ‘really smart dude’ wouldn’t have been able to work any of this out, and if it really ‘bugged the ever-living snot out of him’ then you’d have thought he’d have taken the time to read up on it. It’s like saying there was a really learned priest who quit the church because he couldn’t get his head around a basic theological idea for which there are many books of explanation.
      .
      Incidentally, I find it interesting to see the results on a community of laws not being enforced. If you can’t trust that people you pay will do what you’ve agreed, you’ve no incentive to form a business. This happens in Somalia – there’s no trust. Even thieves don’t benefit, because people won’t even manufacture the things that are worth stealing. Honesty benefits everyone.

      Reply
      • Susan says:

        This is why free will is from the mind of man not God. Man has a coerced will. People still institute government to keep evil people in line and allow society to function.

        You should read Creation’s Jubilee, Andy. There are too many people around always watering down God’s perspective with their own rationalizations before they construct their own mental picture of God.

        That’s one reason for all the denominational infighting because some people water down the Gospel.

        What if a lot of atheists’ minds have been watered with the wrong doctrinal ideas so they cannot see God’s perspective.

        Google and read Jones’ book maybe you will see a truly God given perspective for once in your life.

        It could be you have been watching God’s people in different stages of God transforming them but your mind is expecting immediate perfection or you kick them out.

        People forget that becoming a Christian is a spiritual growth process.

        People are all built with different human capabilities so they are all going to express their spiritual minds and gifts a bit differently.

        Reply
  3. Andy Ryan says:

    KR, the analogy I think of when apologists look at scientific evidence and claim their God explains it as well or better than some natural explanation is a court case.
    .
    One side says a theft was committed by a particular person, who they get to stand in the dock. He needed the money because he had debts. He has cramp in his hands, which is why he wouldn’t have been able to turn the latch on the door. We know the man is strong, so that explains why he was nevertheless able to break the door open. He has a limp, which explains uneven footprints. And so on.
    In response the other side claims the crime was committed by a super villain with magic powers who no-one has ever seen. We have no idea why he’d have stolen the money. The uneven footprints can’t really be explained, or why he didn’t open the door the easy way, but we figure the super villain must have had his reasons for giving the appearances of weaknesses, and given he’s super strong, why NOT just bust the door open? As for the fact that he’s never been seen – well isn’t the burglary evidence enough that he exists?
    .
    So one side has a culprit who not only has a motive and could have committed the crime, but whose weaknesses fit the crime too. The other side by contrast posits a criminal we’ve never even seen. Their answer for how or why he committed the crime in any particular way is always – he can do anything and we can’t fathom why he’d do anything in any particular way.

    Reply
    • KR says:

      I think that’s a good analogy. The problem with an “explanation” that can be stretched to fit with any observed evidence is that it doesn’t actually explain anything.

      Reply
    • Susan says:

      Maybe you need to switch your field of evidence. I could always see the truth of the Bible by checking it against people. I never needed to look at science results at all.

      And whatever men conclude about origins can’t dismiss God’s claim as creator either.

      Because if God is all powerful and nothing is impossible for Him then there are an endless number of ways He could have created this world and really people are only arguing their own understanding regardless if you are IDer, creationist, theistic evolutionist or evolutionist.

      So you really can’t beat an all powerful God in a believers mind.
      The fact that God is allpowerful and nothing is impossible for Him gives a theist endless flexibility. If a theist is wrong he can just switch positions without losing belief in God.

      I had an atheist try to teach me evolution once probably with the idea it would shake my belief system. But regardless of the so-called physical evidence it would not shape me because an all powerful God in a creation that likes to destroy evidence by decomposition etc. has infinite wiggle room.

      So that makes resting on my belief in Jesus reasonable.

      Our imaginations can take us to higher places that our earthbound senses just cannot go.

      Reply
      • Andy Ryan says:

        “The fact that God is allpowerful and nothing is impossible for Him gives a theist endless flexibility. If a theist is wrong he can just switch positions”
        .
        Precisely – it’s an unfalsifiable hypothesis.

        Reply
        • Susan Tan says:

          The idea that Christians have no evidence is false.

          The problem is many people refuse to look at the evidence from God’s perspective.

          There are different types of intelligence and different brain types among people so I think the science that is unlocking the door to God right now proving He exists is neurology.

          Justin Barrett’s book Born Believer, Daniel G Amen’s book Change Your Brain Change Your Life and and Caroline Leaf’s book Switch on Your Brain.

          When you study human nature you start to see that sin is irrefutable and some of that sin is what the Bible calls the flesh. Some sins are stronger because of genetics in people. Certain of these genetic problems can cause impulsivity problems in humans that cause problems for us so learning simple obedience to God is wise and can be a great behavioral modification.

          How were an ancient people intelligent enough to eradicate sin by tying it to godly explanations.

          It is pure genius. Too genius for a group of nomadic people to figure out. Plus they don’t claim to have figured it out. God’s Law was revealed to Moses so the behavioral modification came from God.

          Then a further modification occurred when grace was revealed by Jesus Christ.

          Revelation from God is progressive so He is managing the spiritual evolution of the world.

          You can see how natural believing is by reading Barrett.

          You can see how beneficial thinking godly thoughts is from Leaf.

          And you can see the ravages of sin through genetics from Amen.

          Adam became mortal from his sin.

          He passed his mortality onto the human race causing weakness in us which causes us to sin.

          But if you simply obey God you can avoid reaping what you sow through sin and human weakness. Some people are weaker than others and it is sometimes brain based but if you allow the Spirit to lead you then you can achieve balance before allowing your weaker impulses to wreak havoc on you and others.

          Balance, security and contentment in all circumstances while you build significant lasting relationships is hard to achieve in this life and some people have bigger challenges than others.

          Quote below from Chapter 9 The Affects of Adam’s Sin on Man’s Nature from Stephen E. Jones’ Creation’s Jubilee:

          We come now to a study on the effects of Adam’s sin upon the souls of his descendants. The question we must first deal with is this: Did Adam’s sin cause us to have sinful souls or mortal souls? This question sounds purely academic, but it has an enormous effect upon our lives. It is one of the most important questions in the Bible. We must of necessity become somewhat technical in our writing at this point; but I strongly urge you to read this section until you understand it thoroughly.

          It is extremely important for us also to recognize that no man is born with a “sinful soul” or a “sin nature.” In Romans 5:12 Paul explains this principle very clearly, though many church theologians have missed it:

          12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because [eph’ ho, “on which”] all sinned-

          Paul says here that sin first entered the world through Adam’s sin. But what did “all men” inherit from Adam? Was it Adam’s SIN that was passed down into all men? NO. It was death, the liability for Adam’s sin.

          In other words, man did not inherit a sin nature from Adam. He merely inherited the liability for Adam’s sin. The reason we are mortal is because we are liable for a sin that Adam committed. And so we die, not as a result of our own sins, but as a result of Adam’s original sin. Sinful souls are not passed down from generation to generation by procreation. The only thing passed down is MORTALITY, or Death.

          We are not mortal because we sin. We sin because we are mortal. Which is the cause, and which is the result? Paul says at the end of Romans 5:12 that “DEATH spread to all men,” ON WHICH we ourselves sin. Death is the cause; our personal sins are committed as the result of death in us.

          And so, the sequence of events is this: (1) Adam’s original sin gave us (2) death, and this mortality is our weakness and the cause of (3) our individual sins.

          The New American Standard Version of Romans 5:12 (quoted above) is simply incorrect. It reads: “and so death spread to all men, because all sinned.” The translators would have us believe that death (mortality) spread to all men BECAUSE we sin. As if no man is mortal until he sins! We can point to millions of abortions to prove that babies are mortal BEFORE they sin.

          How did this error in translation occur? It was because the translators did not understand that Paul was dealing with two different types of death in his writings: (1) mortality, which is the first death, and (2) the lake of fire, which is the second death. Paul here is speaking of the FIRST death, mortality, which we inherited from Adam.

          Have a blessed day!

          Reply
  4. Susan Tan says:

    And if God wants to create a whole new nature in people then He is still creating and what is everyone’s problem with that?

    What you want to keep a record of wrongs on God so you can blame, complain and hold a grudge against Him?

    Why that only screws a human being up.

    You all need to start seeking to know God to form the supreme relationship with Him because He will change your life and the more cooperative you are with Him the more He can change you and give you a whole new attitude. A beatitude. A beautiful state of being. Living the blessed life knowing you are blessed in Jesus right now and for all of the foreseeable future.

    He is going to give you a glorious new body. Read 1 Corinthians 15.

    All you have to do is stop letting your old flesh nature which is Satanic stop throwing God’s godly thinking and ideas out.

    You are God’s New Creation. So accept Jesus because then it is off with the Old Man and on with the New Creation man like changing a suit. You just throw away that old snakeskin garment you entered the world in and stand up in Jesus with his glorious new covering.

    Read it. 1 Corinthians 15.

    Why would anyone allow his old Satanic nature play a mind trick on him so he doesn’t accept God’s promises and offer of a whole new life and future resurrection body?

    Nobody else can make you an offer like that.

    That is why you have to know doctrine. God builds the mind of Christ in His people so they stop falling for Satan’s mind trick through our old fallen nature.

    Some people understand God than others and some people start to use their own wills against the devil.

    That is how God makes overcomers out of His people. He feeds and raises them then teaches them to do God’s will and the overcomers who are the blessed and holy of the first resurrection do. Because they were willing to leave their old lives down to pick up the future new one right now.

    Yes man is still in his old carnal body but God has a glorious new one in store for anyone who will listen to him and take Him seriously and soberly

    Man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.

    Reply
  5. Susan Tan says:

    Meant to say “some people understand God better”.

    The Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak and the enemy speaks to people through temptation to lead people off God’s safer course through this world.

    So your enemy is in house so to speak.

    That is why fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”

    With the fruit of that Spirit you can start to exert God’s will for your life and beat your own inner enemy unless you have allowed your conscience to be seared and refuse to listen to God.

    So if your conscience is seared appeal to God for a new one. Nothing is impossible with God.

    People don’t control God so don’t let them beat you up with the text. Go to God in prayer and if you are sincere then He will make a way for you.

    Praying in God’s will for His will to be done is a source of power for a believer so the devil doesn’t want you discovering that. You might beat him with it.

    I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

    Reply
      • Susan says:

        Really? That interpretation.

        I have formed an unshakeable bond with a higher power that enables me to think like a winner and accomplish things that would be a challenge to most people

        I am not God to eat mountains in this form am I?

        Maybe you beat yourself by refusing to understand.

        Sometimes I do things that I didn’t think I could do when I think of that verse. I did it several times over the past few weeks.

        Of course, sometimes if I try to exceed my limits then I have to get help.

        But how do you know what your human limits are if you refuse to try.

        The fruit of the Spirit is a huge spiritual blessing.

        How many people do you think quit without trying or give up on themselves without seeking a solution?

        There are many times I don’t give up now before accepting a challenge.

        So why do you give up on learning God’s perspective and let the thinking of lesser minds control your’s!?

        Philosophers and scientists are all lesser minds than God’s.

        So now you have a lot of baggage from other people in your mind to drop before you learn from God.

        We can work from our own and other’s weak motives or be led by God’s higher mind.

        Sure we are going to battle internally to understand Him
        but then change is always a struggle.

        Some people hate change.

        But change produces growth and progress in some people and society sometimes if it is the right change.

        You can stop your own spiritual growth process by your own attitude if you want to.

        But I would say that is giving up before you learned or experienced the truth.

        Reply
        • toby says:

          Are you aware of how much your posts read like that of an OCD—possibly mentally disturbed person? If I may be so bold as to get personal: do you have any history of psychological issues? Are you on any sort of anti-anxiety medication or mood stabilizer?

          Reply
          • Susan says:

            Oh the rude Dawkinesque armchair psychiatry, huh?

            No. I am not on mess but what would that prove if I were?

            I visited an atheist forum where several atheists were bipolar, one was on psych meds, one claimed he was asexual and another was bisexual.

            So don’t assume atheists are saner than theists.

            You should have focused on God’s perspective and tried applying some lessons to yourself.

            God came to this world to restore and redeem people not play scientific or philosophical games with them.

            You could probably become a believer if you weren’t so full of ungodliness and could follow God in the scriptures but you are willfully blocked now.

            There are levels to seeing and understanding God just as there are levels in learning and levels of spiritual blindness.

            You desire to stay blocked then you stay that way.

            Believing requires commitment and dedication.

            That is heavier thinking than lightweight philosophical or scientific pretensions.

          • toby says:

            Well you do tend to ramble on like someone without a filter. After so many attempts at long responses one would think you’d try a different approach.

          • Susan says:

            Maybe you need someone without a filter to set you straight.

            If you are so sold on evolution and can listen to men’s rambling explanations about it then why not ask God questions in the Bible for His answers.

            I think evolution may be overturned some day but maybe not in the near future because human knowledge is always under revision.

            But there is no overturning God’s explanations because His are of a different nature entirely: spiritual knowledge not materialism.

            I don’t know why more atheists don’t keep their options open by being theistic evolutionists with a belief in universalist restoration but it could be most people have trouble putting together a complete natural and a complete supernatural picture coherently.

            If evolution is true how can you say for certain an intelligence wasn’t behind it?

            DNA looks like it is organized intelligently if you read Collins book The Language of God.

            So I don’t know why atheists affix themselves to the atheism label. It is just a manmade term and people exchange labels all the time for new ones when their minds change.

            Though people can look dogmatic most people can and do change over time given enough other experience and information.

            I am waiting to see if a deeper understanding genetics overturns evolution. I read an essay about a serious plant geneticist who thinks it does. And I ran into a Youtube science video poster who says a correct understanding of genetics does not support evolution.

            I also saw some anthropologists brain studies that lead me to think people reason to false conclusions then influence society in ways contrary to their innate biology. We had Kinsey and Mead’s research trigger a sexual revolution that is not necessarily in people’s best interests if you know some of the science of the brain in love as Helen Fisher explains in her TED videos.

            Sometimes it is better to just obey God because we don’t even realize how our own brains work in forming relationships.

    • Susan says:

      I may try a different approach some day by leaving the internet. But it could be this is where God placed me. I tried to leave for different assignments but somehow they never work out which could be God’s will behind it. So I try not to buck His will but just go with the flow.

      I took a different turn from mainstream Christianity many years ago and learned to like to assess doctrine for myself so now I am a universal restorationist.

      Since I am not orthodox and don’t live near any other universal restorationists I post online mainly.

      I think the two greatest causes you can serve are evangelism and universal restoration but then people tend to pick causes to support that are close to their hearts.

      Evangelism is God’s charity towards the world and universal restoration is the doctrinal correction that I believe the world needs the most at this time because judgment starts with the House of God. Some people will accept the correction and some won’t based on their personal priorities and rationalizations.

      I wish I didn’t speak on religion as much as I do but it could be the natural outgrowth of the talents the good Lord gave me.

      It feels more natural to work for God if you do it long enough than it does working for people. More personally meaningful, more personally rewarding and less onerous as a task than most worldly ones.

      Reply
      • Mark Heavlin says:

        “I took a different turn from mainstream Christianity many years ago and learned to like to assess doctrine for myself so now I am a universal restorationist.”
        .
        A position in two months that you have yet to provide a single Scripture verse from THE HOLY BIBLE as evidence that your position is true. Everything you have provided to date is used OUT OF CONTEXT or SELF REFUTES if you read just a few verses further in the same passage.
        .
        Proverbs 16:25 There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.

        Reply
  6. Susan says:

    Shame on the unbelievers and shame on the apologists for looking for alternative explanations to refute materialist nonsense.

    Creation/physical materialism and salvation/spiritual evolution are two different subjects.

    I would never allow manmade reasoning from a pack of know it alls like Darwin stunt my spiritual growth.

    Oh the know it alls who never know it always try but I refuse to listen because the development of my spirit is a necessary condition of my personal and all other people’s well being.

    Shame on all of you unbelievers for not recognizing that God manages and directs the spiritual evolution of the whole world and always has.

    All you unbelievers did was stop yourself from understanding the salient facts about God and salvation which all people need because Christ said being born again is a MUST in John 3.

    And all you atheist unbelievers ever did was try to block the spiritual birth process of the world because you refused to acknowledge Jesus knowing quite well if you acknowledge him that He will take your unbelief away and give you new spiritual eyes in your heart to see.

    But like fools you learned to like your own blindness preferring the natural to the spiritual and thereby seeking to control the natural world around you and rule out God so you could all stay spiritually blind.

    And I am sick of these apologists too who play mind games with you so you unbelievers can stay blind.

    God wrote the Bible to bring spiritual enlightenment and enablement to the world and all you unbelievers could do was argue to keep yourself unenlightened.

    Without spiritual evolution we might all be a bunch of apes in God’s eyes because He teaches us all the social graces by personal example.

    Thanks for reading! God bless.

    Reply
    • Mark Heavlin says:

      “Without spiritual evolution we might all be a bunch of apes in God’s eyes”
      .
      I really wonder if you even read what you write before you hit the reply button? Because some of it is completely and utterly NON BIBLICAL.
      .
      Genesis 1:24-25 24 And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. 25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
      .
      Genesis 1:26-27 26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
      .
      Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *