Byzantine Empire 555AD
Evolution Debate Rages On in Bristol
It seems when it comes to evolution and man-made global warming, the scientific method is replaced by consensus, opinion, and hysteria. Science is being treated more and more as a religion and has been poisoned by money and politics. A local ten-year-old girl questioned evolution in a letter in the local paper. It triggered a firestorm of attacks. It was as if she walked into a fundamentalist' church wearing an "I'm an atheist" tee-shirt.
In many ways Naturalistic evolution (Darwinism, natural selection, atheistic evolution, or NE for short) operates like Christianity. It reads a pre-established belief into the data. Christianity reads Christ into the Old Testament to justify their beliefs. It rejects those parts that dispute the "faith" in Jesus Christ. NE does the same always assuming "natural" causes even when evidence is lacking or contradictory.
I agree that supernaturalism has no place in science, but filling in the gaps with speculation to support a belief in NE is wrong. It's even worse to present that speculation as fact, instead of just saying, "We don't know."
Scientists need to present facts alone minus the speculation and opinion. If it can't be tested in the real world, they need to say so. The public would be better off to learn science and its limitations. Science is not about "truth" because it can always be revised and scientists must be seen as people with emotions and agendas like everyone else.
I wrote my own response to the kid to support her. For the record I'm not a Christian nor do I believe in literal Bible Creationism or Creation Science. I'm a theistic evolutionist as is C.S. Lewis and Dr. Francis Collins the head of the Human Genome Project. I do accept aspects of the works Dr. Gerald Schroeder as well. The idea is to produce debate and thought.
Some definitions of evolution before we begin:
Creationism: the literal belief in the account of Creation given in the Book of Genesis; "creationism denies the theory of evolution of species" Creationism has no relation to science. Also called literal "Six-Day" Creationism.
Intelligent design: the assertion that "certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection."
Theistic evolution: The belief that a transcendent God operates through the natural process of evolution. The degree of control can be debated.
Naturalistic evolution: The belief evolution was a "natural" process unguided and self-sustaining. It's an atheistic materialistic only process. Sometimes this is a similar view of pantheism where nature itself could be seen as a "god." It's all still atheism.
Dark matter: In astronomy and cosmology, dark matter is hypothetical matter that does not interact with the electromagnetic force, but whose presence can be inferred from gravitational effects on visible matter. It can't be seen, measured, or tested by any known scientific process. In other words older "theories" don't fit the observed data. To quote www.space.com January 8, 2002:
And yet, for something so ubiquitous, dark matter has proved incredibly elusive. Here on Earth, dark matter could be passing by us or perhaps, through us but we don't notice. In part that's because dark matter rarely, if ever, interacts with normal matter...So far, scientist's best efforts to detect dark matter have been thwarted. For now, they can only theorize about what it might be like, but it is most likely some kind (or perhaps several kinds) of subatomic particle..."
Science is in trouble to the point they have to resort to the "invisible" to hold their "theories" together. Invisible is fine as long as it doesn't involve God.
Evolution Considered 'Smarter' Than Creation
Letters To The Editor November 27, 2008
"Do you believe in evolution?"
"Oh, really? I thought you would believe evolution."
"Well, you seem smart."
Evolution is a philosophy - a religion. Like all religions, it is believed somewhat by faith. Surely, no man was around when the universe came to be! Why, then, is evolution regarded as the "smarter" philosophy? This is likely because evolution's followers are teaching their philosophy as science, claiming that science proves evolution. However, science cannot prove the beginning of life. The scientific method is based on observation and experimentation, both of which are impossible when speculating on the origin of the universe.
Some believe that paleontology, the study of fossils, proves evolution, since scientists date fossils to be millions of years old through radioactive dating. Radioactive dating is possible because radioactive elements decay into other elements, known as their "daughter" elements. Using the half-life of the elements, scientists can calculate the age of the fossil, if the original and final levels of the element are known.
But, many assumptions are made in the process of radioactive dating. For instance, one has to assume that no daughter elements existed in the beginning (only parent elements) and that the rate of the element's decay was constant. And it is impossible to know the original levels of the element in the fossil.
Despite evolutionist's claim that science supports evolution, there is scientific evidence against evolution. Lack of transitional form fossils, the absurdity of spontaneous generation, and the second law of thermodynamics (the law of increasing disorder) are all very damaging evidence for evolution. Since evolution is not science, it shouldn't be taught as science. Theories such as intelligent design are not allowed in many schools because they introduce "religion" into schools. But if evolution is to be taught, teachers should at least mention the philosophy's flaws. If their theory is true, why should evolutionists care?
Susan Olmsted Bristol, Tenn.
Longer full version
Re: Susan Olmsted's letter (Nov. 27), I was astounded it was written by a kid, and more astounded at the ignorant and savage attacks on her by secular fundamentalist' fanatics who were worst than Pat Robertson. Susan was right on nearly every count.
Science is not about "truth" but a mechanical description of the operation of the natural world. It's not about faith or consensus and can't measure God, the soul, love or hate. Naturalistic evolution has never been observed and has failed all attempts to reproduce in a laboratory and is without a shred of verifiable scientific proof. It's a failed hypothesis and a pseudo-religion to its followers. My computer is far less complex than a single living cell, yet was built by man, who has failed to produce a living cell from non-living matter. I'm supposed to believe my computer "self-created?"
The National Academy of Sciences publication Science and Creationism (1999) stated that "Scientists, like many others, are touched with awe at the order and complexity of nature. Indeed, many scientists are deeply religious..." They're mainly religious atheists with pantheistic environmentalism the most popular.
It's irrational to believe life began without a creator. To quote Dr. Gerald Schroeder of MIT, "Order never arises from disorder spontaneously. There must be a guide to the system." Dr. Duffy knows all of this, but chose to abuse science and his academic position to promote his personal atheist' beliefs. He can argue with Dr. Schroeder at www.geraldschroeder.com.
In 1965 the discovery of the Big Bang proved Aristotle and Plato wrong, the Bible correct. Genesis has two clocks, God's clock (six days) and our clock (15 billion). (Schroeder) It's called Einstein's Law of Relativity and time dilation. To quote Moses, "consider the days of old, the years of the many generations" (Deut. 32:7) and King David, "1000 years in Your (God's) sight are like a day that passes..." (Psalms 90:4) The Bible is not a science book, there are translation disputes, two creation stories, etc. but it's overall correct.
Like making computer chips, evolution is a physical process. For billions of years single-cell bacteria, plankton, and algae (how they began is unknown) transformed the earth to make the world habitable for us. Then 600 million years ago the "sudden" Cambrian explosion laid the groundwork for all life today. Humans didn't evolve from apes. Neanderthal's were human, and anything beyond that are mostly fragments of questionable origin. Fossils are the remnants of the process. In all of this it was the guidance of God and is no more random chance than a Pentium microchip.
In all of this God is present and still with us today. God can speak through the Bible, etc. and I don't have all the answers by far. But God doesn't belong in a science class; the scientific method must be properly taught and utilized and the flaws of naturalistic evolution must be presented. Stop using science to undermine God to promote atheistic' pseudo-religions. Atheists are not evil people and I'd suggest looking into the writings of the Eastern Orthodox Church and the works of Dr. Schroeder.
Info Gerald Schroeder
Gerald L. Schroeder, scientist, author, and noted lecturer, has attained a reputation of focusing on a perceived inherent relationship between science and spirituality. His authored works include Genesis and the Big Bang, The Science of God: The Convergence of Scientific and Biblical Wisdom, and The Hidden Face of God: Science Reveals the Ultimate Truth.
In 1965, Schroeder received his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in nuclear physics and earth and planetary sciences. After emigrating to Israel in 1971, he was employed as a researcher at the Weitzman Institute, the Volcani Research Institute, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
His personal faith belongs to that of Orthodox Judaism, and his works frequently cite ancient Talmudic commentaries on Biblical creation accounts, such as commentaries written by the Jewish philosopher Nachmanides. Among other things, Schroeder attempts to reconcile the oft-implied Biblical account of a young earth with the scientific observation our world is billions of years old with the commonly accepted phenomenon that the perceived flow of time for a given event in an expanding universe varies with the observer's perspective of that event. He attempts to describe the spatial perspectives numerically, with calculations faithful to the effect of the stretching of space: Einstein's General Relativity Theory.
Genesis and the Big Bang (1990), ISBN 0-553-35413-2
The Science of God: The Convergence of Scientific and Biblical Wisdom, (1997), ISBN 0-7679-0303-X
The Hidden Face of God: Science Reveals the Ultimate Truth, (2002), ISBN 0-7432-0325-9.
Extra from PBS. This is typical in that it states what is observed and then goes into speculation. It needs to left as the observations alone.
The Cambrian Explosion:
For most of the nearly 4 billion years that life has existed on Earth, evolution produced little beyond bacteria, plankton, and multi-celled algae. But beginning about 600 million years ago in the Precambrian, the fossil record speaks of more rapid change. First, there was the rise and fall of mysterious creatures of the Ediacaran fauna, named for the fossil site in Australia where they were first discovered. Some of these animals may have belonged to groups that survive today, but others don't seem at all related to animals we know.
Then, between about 570 and 530 million years ago, another burst of diversification occurred, with the eventual appearance of the lineages of almost all animals living today. This stunning and unique evolutionary flowering is termed the "Cambrian explosion," taking the name of the geological age in whose early part it occurred. But it was not as rapid as an explosion: the changes seems to have happened in a range of about 30 million years, and some stages took 5 to 10 million years.
It's important to remember that what we call "the fossil record" is only the available fossil record. In order to be available to us, the remains of ancient plants and animals have to be preserved first, and this means that they need to have fossilizable parts and to be buried in an environment that will not destroy them.
It has long been suspected that the sparseness of the pre-Cambrian fossil record reflects these two problems. First, organisms may not have sequestered and secreted much in the way of fossilizable hard parts; and second, the environments in which they lived may have characteristically dissolved those hard parts after death and recycled them. An exception was the mysterious "small shelly fauna" -- minute shelled animals that are hard to categorize -- that left abundant fossils in the early Cambrian.
Recently, minute fossil embryos dating to 570 million years ago have also been discovered. Even organisms that hadn't evolved hard parts, and thus didn't leave fossils of their bodies, left fossils of the trails they made as they moved through the Precambrian mud. Life was flourishing long before the Cambrian "explosion".
The best record of the Cambrian diversification is the Burgess Shale in British Columbia. Laid down in the middle-Cambrian, when the "explosion" had already been underway for several million years, this formation contains the first appearance in the fossil record of brachiopods, with clamlike shells, as well as trilobites, mollusks, echinoderms, and many odd animals that probably belong to extinct lineages. They include Opabinia, with five eyes and a nose like a fire hose, and Wiwaxia, an armored slug with two rows of upright scales.
The question of how so many immense changes occurred in such a short time is one that stirs scientists. Why did many fundamentally different body plans evolve so early and in such profusion? Some point to the increase in oxygen that began around 700 million years ago, providing fuel for movement and the evolution of more complex body structures.
Others propose that an extinction of life just before the Cambrian opened up ecological roles, or "adaptive space," that the new forms exploited. External, ecological factors like these were undoubtedly important in creating the opportunity for the Cambrian explosion to occur.
Internal, genetic factors were also crucial. Recent research suggests that the period prior to the Cambrian explosion saw the gradual evolution of a "genetic tool kit" of genes that govern developmental processes. Once assembled, this genetic tool kit enabled an unprecedented period of evolutionary experimentation -- and competition. Many forms seen in the fossil record of the Cambrian disappeared without trace.
Once the body plans that proved most successful came to dominate the biosphere, evolution never had such a free hand again, and evolutionary change was limited to relatively minor tinkering with the body plans that already existed.
Interpretations of this critical period are subject of lively debate among scientists like Stephen Jay Gould of Harvard University and Simon Conway Morris of Cambridge University. Gould emphasizes the role of chance. He argues that if one could "rerun the tape" of that evolutionary event, a completely different path might have developed and would likely not have included a humanlike creature. Morris, on the other hand, contends that the environment of our planet would have created selection pressures that would likely have produced similar forms of life to those around us -- including humans.
Note: Convergent evolution describes the acquisition of the same biological trait in unrelated lineages.
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