TCS Daily


Scraps of God and Darwin

By Erik Baard - March 24, 2006 12:00 AM

At a time when America is lamentably polarized, perhaps our deepest and most enduring debate rages between Creationism and evolution. But now one surprisingly prominent research leader is daring an attempt to bridge the gap with a book about DNA called The Language of God.

"I believe that one can be both a rigorous scientist and a believer in God. Don't get me wrong -- science is the only reliable way to draw conclusions about how the natural world works. But God cannot be defined in purely natural terms, or he wouldn't be God," argues Dr. Francis Collins, the director of the National Human Genome Research Institute at the National Institutes of Health, the US government program that sequenced the human genome and now works to unravel the coding errors of disease.

He ascribes the espousal of atheism by other leading scientists (the majority of biologists with the National Academy of Sciences) as coming from "some personal agenda" and not from "rational argument."

"From a purely logical perspective, it will never be possible to disprove the existence of God, since the tools of science apply only to the natural world. Thus of all the possible worldviews, atheism is the most irrational choice," Collins stated in an interview with TCS.

But will The Language of God, to be published in July by Simon and Schuster, fulfill a deep need? Most Americans are scientifically ignorant and not all that pious. And no one would describe us as particularly logical. In the canyon bottom between the Creationist and Darwinian atheist absolutists is a flood of rationalizers, compromisers, and people simply comfortable with a life of cosmic contradictions. We casually enjoy the fruits of biotech and pharmaceutical advances based on science that wholly confirms evolution by natural selection, and we pray to a Creator in times of need and gratitude.

Our most notable attempt as a national culture to unify these divergent worldviews was the mirage of Intelligent Design. Collins won't truck with weak and waning Intelligent Design, which he views as limiting God.

"Essentially this then puts God in the gaps. And it says: if there's some part of science that you can't understand that must be where God is. Historically, that hasn't gone well. And if science does figure out -- and I believe it's very likely that science will -- how it is that the complexity of the eye came into being one step at a time, perhaps beginning with a single-light sensitive cell and gradually resulting in a very complex organ, with each of those steps having its own natural selection ability, then where is God? If we've put him in a box -- if we said okay, God has to be in this particular part of nature and science explains that -- then we have potentially done great harm to people's faith," he said in a video interview for the American Museum of Natural History's exhibit, Darwin.

Another solution proposed, and largely accepted by the Catholic church, is to have scientists and theologians play in separate sandboxes. The division of science and religion into natural and spiritual zones was famously expressed in 1997 by the late Harvard paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould in a Natural History Magazine essay titled "Nonoverlapping Magisteria." But Collins faults this segregation as "rather hollow and unsatisfying." Instead, he finds "no conflict whatsoever between being a person of faith and a scientist, and that happy blending of perspectives can even transform a moment of scientific discovery into an occasion of worship."

Richard Dawkins, perhaps the most prominent atheist of our time, isn't buying that rosy worldview. For 30 years he's railed against the "intellectual flabbiness" of amiable sophistries crafted to head off a culture war. In his view, science demands that all systems and laws be accountable and complete -- there's no room for divine intercessions. But religion can't resist pawing the natural world -- it won't surrender miracles and signs, nor will it entirely disassociate the soul with the physical body. Indeed, Collins himself points to science's inability to answer, ""What happens after we die?"

Science is ready to provide a list of organisms that feed on carcasses.

Of course religion allows for more leaps and rationalizations than the discipline of science. Some historians argue that the last time Yahweh was wilting "in a box," that of tribal god, He escaped by being promoting by his people to being the single, universal God. The beleaguered Israelite rationalization was that greater foreign powers were not dominating the tribes through the support of more powerful gods. No! These empires must be merely Yahweh's instruments of punishment and instruction directed at His believers.

But that battle was entirely in the realm of faith, and the use of faith to superimpose a spiritual order on a sketchy desert neighborhood in ancient times. Today, secular morality is no longer seen as an oxymoron, especially as new research uncovers the genetic and neurological bases for altruism and social cohesion. Perhaps religiosity itself.

Intelligent Design fails as religion because one basic tenet of faith is that it should be professed, not cloaked in pseudoscience. But what if we take Dr. Collins' full embrace of both evolution and a "personal God" at face value? The mechanisms of evolution are horrifying. Darwin himself dismissed this as a means of Creation for a loving God. Progress is made through the relentless suffering caused by mutation and predation. It makes the bipolar God of the Hebrew Bible seem mellow.

If a respectable intellectual synthesis of science and religion is ultimately untenable, where does that leave us? Healthily and happily, where most of us already are. We turn to nature, including evolved human intelligence, to explain itself. We pray when we feel the tools of nature are inadequate to our needs.

The Pentagon, operating under an evangelical Commander-in-Chief, is conducting a threat-response software development program based on the Cambrian Explosion, Earth's wildest evolutionary moment 540 million years ago when invertebrates suddenly diversified into an unmatched range of basic body designs that were quickly and ruthlessly winnowed. The Bible won't be consulted. But we do pray in wartime, from the president to children at their bedsides, for God to protect soldiers entering battle and for the souls of heroes leaving life.

One might call this incoherent, non-philosophy SCRAPS: Sentimental Creationism, Rational Atheism, Predictably Switching. Scraps of faith and scraps of science to make it through the day or a lifetime. We're not hypocrites because we don't pretend to weave a seamless tapestry between the two realms or to wholly reject the benefits of either.

Fundamentalists won't be satisfied with this, but they will have to come to grips with evolution's overwhelming confirmation, discovery by discovery, from remote Indonesian islands to biotech laboratories. And if fierce atheists like Dawkins have trouble accepting their place in a species that's stubborn in its spiritual quest, here's a reason for accommodation that even an evolutionist can love: Religious people are far outbreeding atheists.

Erik Baard is a freelance science writer living in NYC.

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114 Comments

It really isn't that difficult
I suppose it's just a matter of perspective.

I, being a firm believer in God and God's implied place in the universe, have no trouble whatsoever understanding the athiest point of view. It is a rejection of the belief that I already understand completely, including all the myriad points at which athiestic-leaning people cannot reconcile.

I can understand athiests, because I understand what it is they are defined by rejecting.

On the other hand, I have yet to come across an athiest who had any real grasp of what it was they were rejecting. They THINK they know, but they don't. Invariably, their rhetoric is filled with intellectual error, semantic error, philosophical error, religious error, doctrine error, factual error; and and most importantly, failure to be necessarily open-minded enough to be able to grasp what it is they are rejecting.

I have always had a deep sympathy for such people, and have spent many years trying to distill concepts for them in such a way as to be understandable. The work is ongoing. However, it remains difficult to verbalize.

One of the best ways to describe the phenomenon is with an observation and an analogy. The observation is that otherwise-intelligent people seem to deliberately close their minds when confronted with the notion of thinking thoughts that are related to diety and spirituality. It is as though these people are actually not CAPABLE of grasping these concepts.

The analogy is this: Understand yourself; as a human being, you are designed to visually binocular. The reason for this seems to be to allow for accurate and responsive depth perception - obviously a very nice little survival trait. Now imagine that there is another slightly divergent breed of human beings, one in which the 'evolutionary path' developed human beings which were visually monocular. One-eyed, think 'Cyclops'.

These 'others' would be able to see just fine, at least according to them. Now imagine trying to explain to one of them what it is like seeing the way you do, binocularly. Because of their inherent limitations, they will be literally unable to fully grasp the concept. Oh, there would undoubtedly be some who would claim to understand, even some who could parrot back the concepts, but not a one of them could ever truly understand, because it would forever be outside their ability to possess, to inhabit, to to exist within the binocular 'being'.

This, with the exception of the permanence, is the way I think about athiests. The difference is that, unlike the monocular people, athiests make the conscious choice to exist in a state of 'not-being-able-to-understand'. Happily, this means that there is always hope for them. However, in all other respects, they are similar.

It is almost pointless to debate with athiests, because, while many people think they can agree on principles for debate, people with faith differ at the most important fundamental level with people who have none.

The difference? It is so basic as to render true communication between the two groups almost impossible.

Athiests are concerned with the 'Big Questions' of the universe: 'What?' 'How?'

People of Faith are concerned with those, yes, but those questions pale in comparison to the only question that has any real meaning: 'Why?'

To athiests, there IS no 'Why?'.

Until those people are able to understand that the What? and How? questions are subsets of the Why?, they will never be able to even understand the debate. They will remain the monocular people living in a binocular universe.

Your essay is better than Baard's
Your essay is much clearer and to the point than Baard's which seems like the typical muddle trying to bridge both sides. Thank you.

There was a brief exchange in one of PD James novels where one of the characters says the real question in life is why does anything exist. Yes, the "Why" is the most important question.

Misunderstanding of ID
God of the gaps. The usual objection. It's a perfectly legitimate refutation, but it doesn't address the key claim of Intelligent Design.

Is it possible that the experimental method can identify a phenomenon whose explanation is non-natural?

ID is precisely the suggestion that this can be done and has already happened. This is not a God of the gaps; God of the gaps is the alternative to saying "We'll probably figure out the natural method someday." ID is the suggestion that we HAVE figured something out, and it's not natural. It's intelligence, and intelligence is not natural.

That's the suggestion, anyway. We can disagree w/ it if we please, but at least we ought to acknowledge and understand it.

Mark J. Boone

grad student, philosophy

m_boone@baylor.edu

markboonejesusfreak@yahoo.com

Quite a common viewpoint...
and one that is a perfect demonstration of the type of attitude one can sometimes expect from those who profess "faith".

Many Atheists are constantly in search of "Why?" We are just not comfortable with accepting the explanation of "Why?" based on the visions, old books, and unproven "faith" of others.

As an Atheist, I am filled with a sense of awe of an uncaring, unfeeling universe of brutal, constant struggle. It is nothing short of pure beauty and I don't believe I would wish it to be otherwise.

I am also in amazed at the diversity of thought and the ability of humanity to erect a screen of myth and "faith" that allows them to see a hidden pattern in that universe and to believe that their pattern somehow elevates themselves about the mere mortals who rely on logic and science to figure out how it all works.

I would say that those of "faith" have taken the intellectual easy way out. If one can merely rely on "faith" to explain things it removes the motivation to explore the reality of the universe(s) that we live in.

All that being said, I have absolutely no problem with people of faith. If they wish to speak to me of their religion or spirituality then I naturally assume that they can withstand my views on their religion and "faith" in general. One should have the right to believe and worship as one wishes as long as it doesn't infringe on my right. The concept of ID belongs in sociology class or debate societies but it should never be taught in science class as it has nothing to do with science.

Wesley's view of Biclops vs. Cyclops is quite condescending and quite wrong minded. Need I point out that his viewpoint is exactly the type of thinking those of "faith" use when they persecute those who don't believe as they do. Quite a dangerous mindset.

You have a mis-conception
ID incorporates microbiology, information theory, probability, logic, chemistry, paleontology, particle physics, cosmology and a few other disciplines. Last time I looked these topics were in science classes. In order to keep up with ID you have to be versed to some extent in all of these.

Some of the crazies have hijacked ID for their religious purposes but that is not what the discipline is about.

And if you want to talk about persecuting those who do not believe as they do look up Richard Sternberg, Dean Kenyon, Scott Minnich and Guillemo Gonzalez to name a few to see how they have been treated.

Perhaps...
you would like to entertain the illusion that ID is scientific by saying that it looks at microbiology, information theory, probability, logic, chemistry, paleontology, particle physics, cosmology, etc. but it is the conclusion of it all that is important.

The conclusion reached by ID proponents is that the universe had a intelligent creator. That is quite a leap. Saying that to "keep up" with ID one must be well-versed in all these sciences is simply untrue as all of these sciences, particularily the hard ones, in no way shape or form lead one to the theory of a an intelligent plot behind the structure of the universe. You can't get there from here.

All one can say is that there is a pattern or structure to this universe that is beyond are current ability to discern. Anything else is "faith".

I can be a scientist and still be religious. But as a scientist I can not allow my religious beliefs to color what I see in lab. An Intelligent Designer is unknowable, unprovable, and outside of any model of the scientific method.

It is not the job of a scientist to prove or disprove the existence of God because that is beyond science. Neither is it the job of the "faithful" to muddy the waters of science with mythic illusions of a Creator.

There is no basis for argument
This whole discussion is a waste of time. Let me start with the statement of Dr. Francis Collins in Baard's article.

"From a purely logical perspective, it will never be possible to disprove the existence of God, since the tools of science apply only to the natural world".

That sentance is enough for any rational person to know they wouldn't waste their time reading such claptrap. I say that because first of all you can't disprove the existence of anything. You can only prove that something exists. The proof of an existant is the burden of one who posits it. It can never be the burden of anyone to disprove something for which no proof is offered--and there has never been a rational proof for the existance of any god that hasn't been logically refuted many times.

Secondly, regarding the last phrase of the statement, what world is there other than the natural world? If it can't be proved by science then it must be an unnatural world which I assume is the supernatural world-- a world that can only be known through faith or belief.

It is impossible to argue with someone's belief since by definition it is irrational. Contrary to the statement in a previous post you can argue with an atheist (if they are rational) but you cannot argue with religious beliefs because they can offer no proof of what they believe in.

Personally I believe that religious beliefs is one of the biggest problems in the world and has been throughout time. Most if not al religous people all believe their religion is the correct one and the rest are wrong. Karl Marx wasn't correct about many things; but his statement that religion is the opiate of the masses was right on.

One of the oldest and most important philosophical questions in the world is "what is true" or to put it another way, "how do you know what you know"? Belief is not knowledge and without evidence you can choose to believe anything you want which is why you can kill lots of people and believe you will go to heaven and be rewarded with 7 virgins or whatever the number was. Or you can believe that 6 cells in a petri dish is a human being entitled to all the rights of an adult.

You are having more mis-conceptions
ID says nothing about God. I never brought it up. You did. They make no claims about the nature of the designer. Design is an inference made in other disciplines such as archaeology, forensics and SETI. They don't seem to have a problem with discerning design or a designer and in the case of SETI, non-worldly. Watch CSI some time. Designs can also be non human in this world such as beaver dams, bird's nests, insects webs and hives etc.

There is no evidence for natural selection operating outside of microevolution and even there it may be more limited than hypothesized. Natural selection has never been associated with any higher-level evolutions such as new cell types (mammals have 220+ but not one is proven to arise through natural selection), tissue types, organs, body plans, new higher orders of life or even the cell itself. Any associations with these aspects of evolution with Darwinism are pure speculative wishful thinking. So make sure that Darwinism is limited in science courses to appropriate topics.

The new challenge to Darwinism in science education will be to take it out of nearly all science topics as opposed to introduce ID to counter balance it. It is already happening in a school district in California. Then if there is ever evidence for what is called neo Darwinism, it can be brought back in the appropriate place.

I did not say you have to be well versed in all the topics I mentioned but some are. All you have to do is to be able to follow the arguments made in each which is not hard if they are presented clearly. And they are in many places. You should read a few before you comment.

I think you are fooling yourself Wesley.
A full understanding of religion or faith doesn't accord you an understanding of atheism. Frankly, its obvious from your post that you do not understand atheists. You don't seem to understand the reality of religion either, quite frankly.

Your cyclops example doesn't work. A cyclops can't understand how it is to see binocularly, but a cyclops knows binocular vision exists because he/she can see and talk to binoc visual people. Both data points exist in the natural world, in religion vs. atheism one data point is in the natural world and the other data point is in the mystical world. You're not born with religiosity, its a choice you make.

Which is an interesting question you made me think of. What is the natural state? If a person is born and grows up with no exposure to religion whatsoever, what is that person's perspective? Does he/she attribute the unknown to a deity, to chance, to fate, to karma? What is the natural response that arises in a human that has no indoctrination in any direction?
This is an important question, because if atheism is the natural position, that means religion is a rejection of whats natural. I do believe this is the case, but I can't rightly answer the question. That sucks, its just another big question that we can't answer.

From my own perspective, I guess you could call me an atheist, but the reality is that I don't know. The reality is that no one really knows. God might exist, but I don't know for sure. I'm comfortable in not knowing. I do ask the question "Why?" and I know I cannot possibly know the answer. Any claim that I do know the answer is a premonition of the mind only. Maybe I'll find out when I die, or maybe I'll just be worm food. I don't know, and neither do you. You might believe with 100% of your being that you know, and that is strong faith, but you don't really know, and thats why it is called faith.

Wesley, it is difficult to verbalize your concepts because it is a personal belief. It is an emotion you feel within yourself, there are other people who think and feel the same way, but each person is a sentient individual who chooses what to believe and how strongly to believe it. Religion is a truth only in your own mind.

No Subject
"It is impossible to argue with someone's belief since by definition it is irrational. Contrary to the statement in a previous post you can argue with an atheist . . . ."

Oh, you can argue with an atheist, all right. But not about her atheism. Not easily, anyway. Why? You said it yourself: you can't prove something doesn't exist.

Please try to be a little more precise in your posts, Bob.

Christianity in Lethal Doses
Resisting 'Theocracy'
by Martin E. Marty
The Christian Post, March 20, 2006

For whatever light it sheds on the subject, let me say that I tend, or try, to dampen hyperbole on subjects of this sort ... The same goes for "theocracy." Why give people a name they might savor and favor, or apply the term to near-miss phenomena? Phillips quotes many leaders of far-right and near-far-right Christian groups WHO WANT CHRISTIANITY TO HAVE PRIVILEGE, status, and even a monopoly on the spiritual front of a lame pluralist society, and sees -- YES -- THEOCRACY IN THEIR GOALS.

Advice to myself, after reading Phillips's counsel:

2) Don't lump all people called "conservative" or "born again" into the mix of the theocracy-minded.

5) Do urge fellow citizens to be Madisonian (Federalist Papers X and LI), to work for the republic, against favor or privilege or establishment for particular religions (e.g., "Christianity" or "the biblical worldview.

7) Make the point that theocracies have always corrupted communities of faith that favor them, noting that such polities are bad for religion.

http://www.christianpost.com/article/editorial/719/section/resisting.theocracy/1.htm

An understanding of ID
"Is it possible that the experimental method can identify a phenomenon whose explanation is non-natural?"

I would yes, and the experimental method does this by being unable to explain a phenomenon.
I see only 2 recourses to this: either we don't know enough/aren't advanced enough, or, its not a natural phenomenon.

The crux here is in the explanation. An explanation not derived from the experimental method is fabricated.

Hence, ID is fabricated. It is AND it isn't the God of the gaps, it can be whatever you want it to be. ID can say we HAVE figured something out, because you can say whatever you want, its fabricated.

No Subject
"Is it possible that the experimental method can identify a phenomenon whose explanation is non-natural?"

"I would say yes, and the experimental method does this by being unable to explain a phenomenon."

By "identify" I mean positively identify. I am not speaking of negative identification, or any sort of argument from ignorance.

positive identification
"Is it possible that the experimental method can identify a phenomenon whose explanation is non-natural?"

"I would yes, and the experimental method does this by being unable to explain a phenomenon."

I am speaking of positive identification, not negative identification or any sort of argument from ignorance.

Arguing with an atheist
"Oh, you can argue with an atheist, all right. But not about her atheism. Not easily, anyway. Why? You said it yourself: you can't prove something doesn't exist".

What is there to argue about with a person's atheism other than trying to convince them there is a God to believe in? Being an atheist says nothing about what the person does believe, so I have no idea what you mean by the above statement. Would you care to explain?

No, no positive identification
"I am speaking of positive identification, not negative identification or any sort of argument from ignorance."

If thats the case, the answer is no, the experimental method cannot positively identify a phenomenon whose explanantion is non-natural. I don't see how thats possible. Its a scientific tool of the natural world.

The whole idea of "God of the gaps" is an idea presented by ID proponents in their effort to disprove the Theory of Evolution. ID is fabricated so we can say whatever we want, its not provably real.

Like you said, "We can disagree w/ it if we please, but at least we ought to acknowledge and understand it." And thats a good point. We can also disagree with religion if we please, but we all ought to acknowledge and understand that it is fabricated.

Who, what, where, when, why?
Elsharm, perhaps you could answer a few questions that other ID proponents have either been unwilling or unable to answer.

Just what does the Intelligent Design 'theory' claims to have happened?

For instance; when, where and how did this intelligent agent act? Did natural evolution do most, some, or none of the work for life to arise? Did this intelligent Agent create only the first cellular orgnaism or every species -- and all at once, or over billions of years?

It's all laughable ...
>"From a purely logical perspective, it will never be possible to disprove the existence of God, since the tools of science apply only to the natural world. Thus of all the possible worldviews, atheism is the most irrational choice," Collins stated in an interview with TCS.

It always amuses me to see apologists for belief in a so-called "supernatural" use this "argument." Once again, the onus of proof of a claim is on the claimant. If that proof is insufficient to support one's claims by demonstrable fact and sound reason, one's claims are unreliable as a worldview and must be dismissed. It's humorous to see supernaturalists rail against atheism while blanking out the irrationality of their own position which holds to a so-called "God" without a shred of evidence to support it. One has to ask how dare they call me irrational when I've not made any undemonstrable illogical claims. I have no doubt supernaturalists will continue to play their little "logic" games without truly understanding logic at all.

The WHY
What supernaturalists mean with their "Why?" question is this - "What does it all mean?" The universe doesn't give you an answer but it does give you the ability to form an answer of your own. There is no built-in meaning for you, for me, for anyone, for anything, anyplace, anytime.

For the so-called "atheist", the question "Why?" is easily answered by the "What?" and "How?" "Why are we here?" "Why is anything or anyone here, or there, or anywhere?" "What?" and "How?" answer those questions. "What does it all mean and does it mean anything at all?" can only be answered by the individual and only for themselves.

"Supernaturalists" look for built-in meaning where there is none. "Atheists" do not and rather look for meaning within themselves - the only place any of us will find any.

intelligence
"the experimental method cannot positively identify a phenomenon whose explanantion is non-natural. I don't see how thats possible. Its a scientific tool of the natural world."

You're presupposing a complete non-communication between the natural and the non-natural. Such non-communication is difficult to prove, to say the least.

For starters, do you believe that intelligence is a natural phenomenon?

Laughable yes--everything you need to know about ID
If you want the truth adn a reasoned response about ID, then go read the op-ed at the following link.

http://www.aynrand.org/site/News2?news_iv_ctrl=-1&page=NewsArticle&id=11055

Scraps of God and Darwin
Really speaking this is not conflicting issue, any body can believe in God and can enjoy the fruits of evolution,or you can refuse God and fully believe in evolution,clashes only arise when one side totally refuse the other side`s claim, this is purly nonsense, If we trully understand science, when we born slate of brain is completed blank, our culture our parents our enveroment colouring on our mind different theme and these them fixed up in our brain this called longer memory and we to carryon this longer memory through out our life , we could not open our brasin and remove this longer memory, this one is our destiny and no one change his destiny . my firm openion is let live with different openion, different belief but not claim that our belief is superior that other belif. If we glance thje past world histroy all wars killing had happened with this fantic and barbarious belief.

Scraps of God and Darwin
I can live without God,science telling truth but not giving motive for living, before down of science God had given meanig and motivition to mankind, but science destroyed idea of God and snached the motivation ansd meaning of life, if man had no meaning and motivation for life his life will barren, I find out solution only for my purpose, I find out meaning and motive to life to make this world beautiful, as possible as beautiful because new genration is cvoming on this earth after my death, they must be enjoy life on this earth,on which I spread bit of bueaty . that satification I want in living.

"Science" Rejects Scientific Proof of God-Or Else
Scraps of God and Darwin, by Eric Baard, TCS 3/14/06

“Science” Rejects Scientific Proof of God-Or Else

"From a purely logical perspective, it will never be possible to disprove the existence of God, since the tools of science apply only to the natural world. Thus of all the possible worldviews, atheism is the most irrational choice," Collins stated in an interview with TCS

Proof at all times save in non-probability mathematics is a matter of probability. “I cannot prove this to be false; therefore I cannot believe it to be true.” That may be some form of logic, but it is not how we operate. Mathematics is an ideal world we seek to approach. We operate from experience belief in probabilities derived therefrom: on belief from experience that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west; that time marches on; that President Kennedy was assassinated; and for most, that there is a God. The world of probabilities is the world of science. Every measurement accepted by science is the result of probabilities, of applications of the Bell Curve. See Beers Theory of Errors. Math and logic are, by definition, absolute. They are tools of thought, methods of arriving at sound conclusions that can only be approached in real life and science, sort of like Newton’s theory of limits.

After we find overwhelming scientific proof of the existence of God, and we have, the role of doubt in practical matters is over. The existence of God has now been proven better than any other proposition on the basis of probabilities.

The easiest and most convincing proof is probably the existence of the description of future events encoded in equidistant letter sequences in Genesis and the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible. See Michael Drosnin’s The Bible Codes of Jeffrey Satinover’s “Cracking the Bible Codes.” In Witztum’s (with 2 others) experiment (the report from Statistical Analysis is set out in full in Drosnin), the Hebrew Pentateuch text was searched for the names, place of birth, and date of birth or death of some 32 prominent Jews born between about 700 and 1800 AD whose entries in a Jewish encyclopedia were the longest. Each name, without fail, was found encoded in equidistant letter sequences in statistically significant close association with their place f birth and dates of death or birth. For some 32 others, for which encyclopedia data were incomplete, these data also were found, without fail. The Hebrew text used dated from about 1004 AD.

Since then (about 1994), numerous other predictions of past events have been found, and a few of the future.

Today, we are unable to encode any data, like even a few dictionary or telephone listings, even with the aid of ganged computers, while retaining surface text meaning. And of course, we are totally unable to predict future events with any certainty, much less without fail.

“Scientists” like McKay pretend to dispute these findings, but the examples of future predictions he adduces can be found in any sufficiently large texts. The issue is finding those predictions without fail. For example, if Hitler is found, is Stalin, Roosevelt, Churchill, etc., also found, without fail, as occurs in the Bible codes. And in this regard all of McKay’s examples, War and Peace is one, utterly fail. Even so, McKay and the current editors of Statistical Abstract have the bald-faced nerve to publish his “refutation.” This is what we are up against: men who are not embarrassed to stand in front of you and tell you something you both know is a lie and expect not to be called down by official “science.” Such is the power of big money.

McKay has other refutations based on analysis of the Witztum paper, but these are not only obviously speculative and spurious but irrelevant in light of his failure to refute by duplication its findings using other Hebrew texts.

Note well: often the encoded messages found reflect the surface text; and sometimes not, as in the prediction beforehand of the Assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Rabin. I leave the precise quantification of the probabilities of these predictions occurring, by chance to those far more capable that I, a mere engineer and lawyer, can manage. But a fool can see that unerring and unbroken prediction of future events encoded beforehand in an ancient text in a way we have no hope of duplicating cannot occur by chance. And that if these predictions reflect the surface text and have come to pass, then confidence in the truth of the surface text is maximized. Genesis means what it says. Why would God lie here when He so consistently tells the truth elsewhere. We can believe in miracles described in the surface text of the Bible because each encoded prediction is itself a miracle, i.e., impossible, and there seem to be an endless number of them that are being discovered all the time, some very complex in nature, as in Isaiah 54 concerning many details of the crucifixion of Jesus centuries later.

Is Genesis in conflict with the ancient age “science” attributes to earth and the universe and therefore is not Genesis a lie?

Suppose that each and every time the speed of light was measured since 1676 it was found to be slower, even though measured by the same people on the same equipment under similar conditions. And suppose these slower measurements were continued to be published right up until about 1940, when thereafter they ceased. Which did happen. It seems about 1930 or so someone (a French priest?) came up with the idea of the big bang, that is, the sudden coming into being of the universe, which still seems to be the predominant scientific view. This of curse support the idea of creation, not chance. And the universe had to be old for chance to effect evolution.

On the other hand, the measurements of the slowing of the speed of light, by extrapolation, gave a time for the beginning of the universe when the speed of light was infinite more in agreement with Bishop Usher’s calculation from Biblical data of 4004 BC. Certainly no earlier than 10,000 BC.

Further, a book published in the last ten years I remember browsing at the library shows that dates predicted by Carbon 14 past about 500 BC are increasingly in disagreement with known historical data, making C-14 dating past 500 BC unreliable. Perhaps if the C-14 dating were corrected for the slowing of the speed of light there would be agreement. On the other hand, if this were done and extrapolation led back to Usher’s date for creation, “science” would have to admit the truth. Rest assured no such check on the speed of light will be done.

The war between science and “science,” between “science” and religion, will continue for the foreseeable future. “Scientists” have a marvelous ability to tell bald-faced lies and to remain silent while fellow “scientists” lie. That’s what they are paid to do and what they must do to get grants and maintain their positions and jobs. That the Bible codes, the slowing of the speed of light, or the young earth are ever going to be mentioned much less investigated, or if done, the results published by “science,” is too much to expect.

For those of us with training and experience in engineering and/or legal testing for truth, the answers are unavoidable. Evolution is a fairy tale for scientists perpetrated for the purpose of denying the obvious: God.

Here's the essence of the conflict
"We casually enjoy the fruits of biotech and pharmaceutical advances based on science that wholly confirms evolution by natural selection, and we pray to a Creator in times of need and gratitude."

Science and technology increase certainty in our uncertain universe because uncertainty arises from information deficits of quality and quantity in time. As science and technology reduce these information deficits, we humans feel more in control of our universe, less exposed to uncertainty, and therefore, no longer in need of God.

Indeed, many scientists and intellectuals believe that science has disposed of God for all time. Yet many of these same fools also buy insurance cover, live like Lutherans and avoid walking underneath ladders. Why? Because the truth is that science has only managed to produce enough information to marginally reduce uncertainty while at the same time exposing a vast host of knew risks for people to worry about. In other words, Homer's Sysiphus has a better shot at getting the rock to the top of the mountain than science has of overcoming uncertainty with information. This is why so many people still turn to God for help when life gets dicey.

The foregoing notwithstanding, I still haven't encountered anyone who could convince me that in taking Pascal's Wager, I'm better off not betting on God.

That is not scientific proof
After we find overwhelming scientific proof of the existence of God, and we have, the role of doubt in practical matters is over. The existence of God has now been proven better than any other proposition on the basi"s of probabilities".

Where is the scientific proof you speak of? Anybody can write anything. For something to be scientifically proven, its existence has to be proven. If something exists it has to be an entity of a specific nature with specific attributes that distinguish it from other existents. In other words it has to follow the law of identity, A is A--things are what they are. So what are "gods" attributes that have been identified and scientifically proven?

False Dyad
One could accuse you of the following: Either your claim is disingenuous, or you are ignorant of what the IDers themselves say about what they are attempting to do with ID. But there is also the choice, I suppose, that you (which would make you one of the very, very, very few IDers who believe this) simply see ID as an alternative to natural selection. As THE alteriative to it. Well, let us assume the best, which means we have to investigate this claim.

Natural selection is but one theory of biological evolution. I will even go so far as to agree that it is a good description of "microevolution" (even though that is not a proper biological term, but one invetsed by creationists). But Darwin did not come up with just natural seletion. He also came up with the theory of sexual selection. So there are two theories of evolution out there -- both developed by Darwin.

Then there are several others. One is that of punctuated equilibrium, developed by Gould. This one jibes well with what is known as catastrope theory. Catastrophe theory shows that a system, as it accummulates changes, becomes increasingly unstable. When it reaches a certain critical level, it leaps to a new state -- one that is more complex than the state it evolved from. THis is a perfectly natural phenomenon. And it integrates sytems theory, chaos theory, and information theory to explain the emergence of complexity. Stuart Kauffman has done a great deal of work on this idea, and has established a lot of the mathematics underlying the process.

WIlliam Dembski attempts to use Kauffman's work to prove his point, quoting Kauffman out of context everywhere he quotes him as evidence that even non-ID biologists oppose natural selection. THis is in part disingenuous because of the fact that there have already always been alternatives to natural selection from the vey beginning, and Dembski is counting on the ingnorance of his audience to be able to claim ID as the only alternative. ANd further, he is guilt of quoting Kauffman out of context. MIchael Behe at least rejects Kauffman out of hand -- I may disagree with what Behe says, but I can at least respect the fact that he doesn't try to misuse Kauffman for his own purposes. Behe fails when it comes to facts, but Dembski fails when it comes to reasoning -- as well as with his facts.

Incidentally, fractal geometry explains the 220+ kinds of cells in the human body. Stuart Kauffman goes into great detail explaining how this comes about in sufficiently complex systems like cells.

All in all, the IDers are the new God-of-the-Gaps people, and, as the author pointed out, they have not fared well. Why would anyone want a God who is only necessary for places we don't understand, and who gets nudged out with each new discovery? I would argue too that the IDers have insufficient faith if they cannot continue to have faith in God in the face of science. Which is their tacit admission. They are out looking fo rthe Babble Fish. And all of us who have read Douglas Adams knows what happens to God when the Babble FIsh is discovered.

"ANd God disappeared in a puff of logic."

Natural Religion
ALl the anthropological evidence to date shows that religious belief is natural. Even when so-called atheists reject belief in God, they end up adopting other religions. Sartre became a communist -- and a Stalinist at that. You really haven't done anything if you replace a supernatural religion with a secular one. BUt consider the following:

?A BAD STORY
Adam came downstairs, dressed in his suit, briefcase in hand. Bacon, scrambled eggs, toast, and grits made a blend of aromas that pulled him into the kitchen. His wife, Lily, placed the last glass on the table as Adam walked in. Both worked full time, and today was Lily’s turn to make breakfast,. She smiled at Adam as he came in and sat at his place at the table. The conversation they’d had the previous night was still on his mind.
“I don’t know why you’re smiling. I haven’t changed my mind,” Adam said.
Lily frowned.
“Do you want me to quit my job? Do you just want a housewife?” Lily asked.
“Why does having kids mean you’ll have to quit your job and become a housewife? Lots of women have kids and careers,” Adam said.
“Not my sister,” Lily said. She poured them both milk.
“That’s your sister’s choice,” Adam said.
Lily put the milk in the refrigerator and grabbed the plate of bacon and the bowl of grits and placed them on the table. Without a word, she grabbed the bowl of scrambled eggs and the plate of buttered toast and placed them in front of Adam.
The two ate in silence. Adam thought of his assistant at work, a tall blonde who was always eating fruit. She had been talking recently of how much she wanted to get married and have children. Eva was a good woman.
Adam shook his head and took a bite of bacon. He shouldn’t think things like that. Thoughts like that could get a man in trouble.
After they finished eating, Adam helped Lily clear the table and fill the dishwasher. Each kissed the other goodbye, finished getting together what they needed for work, got into their separate cars, and headed in opposite directions to their jobs. Adam continued thinking of the situation with Lily. Why didn’t she want children? What was the real reason? He didn’t buy for a minute her excuse. Now Eva . . . No. No. He mustn’t think that.
Adam shook his head to dispel this last thought, and failed to notice the red light. As he ran it, a semi truck hit his driver’s side, killing Adam instantly.
* * * * *
The above is a bad story because it leaves the reader unfulfilled. We are supposed to learn more about this conflict, not be left with such a stupid ending. But for the vast majority of us, our lives end exactly this way: stupidly. If it is not death by an accident, it is by cancer, heart attack, or any of a number of ways that deprive our deaths of meaning. Few get glorious, meaningful deaths, the kind people would tell stories about. Faced with the practical certainty of meeting such a stupid end, we have all, every culture, set out like Don Quixote, determined to come up with a better end to the story, whether it be heaven, a longer life granted by God/the gods to give you more time to create a better end for yourself, an afterlife state of bliss, elimination of suffering (in nirvana, for example), or earthly utopias.
Thus is born various teleologies, eschatologies and soul concepts. We get them through and because of language – we have narrated our own lives beyond the present, through various futures, to our own certain deaths, and discovered that we usually end up with terrible, stupid, meaningless endings. So we narrate the story beyond our lives, to afterlives, including material afterlives (such as Communist utopias). Or we fashion glorious endings (in suicide bombings, etc.). When we work for the future, our children, a future society we will never see, it is from the same eschatalogical drive that creates and created the world’s religions. Because we have recursive narrative (grammatical) language, we have need for religion, to make the future meaningful. So for religion, in the beginning (arche) was the word (logos). Without it, one cannot even get religion. Thus, Nietzsche’s statement that “I fear we are not getting rid of God because we still believe in grammar . . . “ (Twilight of the Idols 5) is quite profound in its insight.
All the human cultural universals that constitute the various elements of our religions have this same origin in language leading to an extended sense of time: divination, funeral rites, luck superstitions, magic, eschatologies, propitiation of supernatural beings, religious ritual, and soul concepts. It makes good evolutionary sense to fear the unknown – what is unknown could be a predator. Our extended sense of time shows us an increasingly unknown and unknowable future, so our fear of the unknown “out there” in a spatial sense gets applied to time, as it becomes increasingly unknown. At the same time we, as all the great apes (and perhaps all animals), have a sense of causality: in the past A resulted in B several times; therefore, A causes B. It is important in an evolutionary sense for a species, such as chimpanzees, bonobos, and humans, which develop much of their understanding of the world through learning, to have evolved a sense of causality – if you do not figure out that the leopard or something like that leopard is the cause of the death of a fellow troop member, then you will probably end up becoming leopard (lion, etc.) food yourself. Our extended notion of time makes us realize predictability breaks down over time. Faced with the contradiction of belief in causality and long-term unpredictability, we developed divination. Divination attempts to make the unknowns of the future “known” through applying causality to the far future, beyond when reasonable predictions can be made. Luck superstitions are attempts to explain in a causal way why good things happen to some people, but not to others – it is a variation on the sense of justice (also felt by chimpanzees), applied to that part of the world not within our control. It is related to the idea of magic, which is how we try to make sense of the unknown and unfamiliar in the absence of causal explanations. All of these require language. They require being put into words and being discussed. Discussions about “that strange thing that just happened” lead to causal explanations because we need them, even if magic is the cause (which makes more sense to most people than there being no cause, or no cause that can be discovered – and what is technology to one is magic to another), of which miracles for this discussion are a part. Miracles in this sense are magic performed by supernatural beings, by those supernatural beings, or through people chosen by those supernatural beings.
These universals could explain the unexplainable, and they worked so well, they became instincts. This is why so many people have problems with scientific, naturalistic explanations. Science shows us everything has a naturalistic explanation – miracles are not needed to explain anything. But we need miracles as an explanation. We need faith in something beyond ourselves, beyond our understanding. This is the source of faith healing, and why it works in a sense. Having a hopeful outlook helps us heal more quickly. If two people in the same health undergo the same surgical procedure, but one believes it will work and the other does not, the one who believes in the procedure will recover faster and more completely. If you give placebos to people who think they are receiving real medicine, some will react to t

Natural Religion II
If you give placebos to people who think they are receiving real medicine, some will react to the placebo as if it were real medicine. This is why there is some success among witch doctors and other faith healers, and why modern medicine is not always the best it could be. We should embrace the real advancements made in medicine, but medicine could be served by combining it with some form of faith healing – modern medicine would supply biological benefits, and faith healing would supply psychological benefits. This would give us a more fully human medicine, reuniting physical health with the holy. Patients often feel dehumanized by modern medicine because it deals with body parts without acknowledging those parts belong to a human being whose needs extend to a very powerful, creative, body-influencing psychology, including deep instincts that sometimes – as in the case of magic, faith healing, luck superstitions, and divination – do not stand up in the face of scientific knowledge. Until we either gain full faith in science (a danger too, since faith in current or traditional scientific findings can suppress scientific innovation; people still have faith in Newton’s physics – Laplace’s calculator is scientific divination), or evolve beyond the need for faith (as Nietzsche wishes we could do) so we can accept facts as facts (and not as truth) in naturalistic explanations, there will be rebellion against purely naturalistic explanations for and approaches to everything. People prefer Laplace’s calculator to chaos and complex systems theory – the former says the world is eminently knowable and the future calculable, if we only had enough information, while the latter says the world is inherently incalculable, even if we had all the information in the world. Stephen Wolfram, in A New Kind of Science, attempts to bring a form of Laplace’s calculator back into complex systems theory, making it deterministic – showing how strong the drive is for divination.
Part of being human is believing in the supernatural. When we try to “get rid” of religion,
all we do is replace one religion with another. Take Marxism. Its eschatology is the inevitable Communist anarchic utopia at the end of history. Its divination (divined by the prophet Marx) is the Marxist theory of history – the immanent (historically determined) triumph of the proletariat over the bourgeois. Luck will be with the proletariat, as it was with the bourgeois against the aristocracy. Anyone familiar with Lysenko’s biological theories knows the Soviet Communists (as does anyone who believes reality is completely socially constructed to the extent that we can do things like grow wheat in the tundra) believed in magic. The proletariat had a deep, fundamental identity clearly separable from the bourgeois’ that is readily identifiable as different kinds of collective “souls.” Lenin and Stalin and other Communist heroes were treated as if they were supernatural (one could say that in a sense all our heroes are “supernatural” since they go beyond what the average human does in their thoughts and actions – thus our need for heroes). The universal belief in supernatural beings comes from combining eschatology with the application of status differentiation into this realm (and beings have to exist in this realm for status to apply there), as well as relating this realm to kin groups (until Judaism, (the) God(s) in the Middle East were local, so they were coupled to property rights in a loose sense; until Christianity, God(s) were associated with kin groups, and were related – often literally – to those who worshiped them, which suggests we have been developing an extended sense of who belongs to our tribe for millennia). Religious ritual comes out of the combination of chimpanzee meat-eating rituals, where head male chimpanzees distribute meat the troop caught in such a way as to provide unity in the troop through fair distribution of the meat, as well as emphasizing the troop hierarchy, with the collection of behaviors that gave rise to religion in general – which suggests why religious rituals so often involve ritualized eating and drinking, including sacrificing food and drink.
The mixing of instincts makes sense if our brains generalized as they evolved, making specialized regions (for recognizing kin, status differentiation, narrative, and communication) overlap or become connected – allowing for the retention of instincts while others developed from the overlaps and connections. The hierarchically nested brain evolved hierarchically nested instincts, so that “each integrative level subsumes the functions and structures of the one or ones beneath it, and each adds to the potentialities of its predecessors certain new degrees of freedom”(Fraser, TOC 10). Instincts follow the same pattern as I (and Fraser, Alexander Argyros, F. Turner, et al) have suggested the rest of the universe follows: an agonal relationship among parts that gives rise to new integrative levels that are scalarly self-similar. The new instincts are similar to the ones they develop out of, yet they give us new emergent properties, giving us more freedom. In this theory of the development of more instincts in humans, we see a parallel with chaos theory, which shows how a universal gives rise to a plurality with a family resemblance, with cultural universals giving rise to endless variations of those universals. These became combined into the various religions of the world, past and present, because the extended sense of time created by the recursive narrative structure of language leads to divination, eschatology, funeral rites, luck superstitions, magic, the propitiation of supernatural beings, religious rituals (how we give meaning to religion), and soul concepts. So when Turner says humans and animals both ritualize “mating, aggression, territory, home-building, bonding, ranking, sexual maturity, birth” while only humans ritualize “time and death” (NC, 9), he is in effect saying only humans have religious ritual.

Natural Intelligence
INtelligence is natural. Intelligence evolved in nature. We see, as we move further along the evolutionary ladder, the evolution of greater intelligence. Humans are more intelligent than apes, which are more intelligent than monkeys, which are more intelligent than lemurs, which are more intelligent than shrews and other insectivores. Dolphins are more intelligent than their ancestors (which seem to have a common ancestry with cows, which I think we will all agree are nowhere nearly as intelligent as dolphins). Birds are more intelligent than were the dinosaurs, which were more intelligent than crocodiles and other reptiles, which are more intelligent than amphibians, which are more intelligent than fish. Anything with a nervious system has some level of intelligence -- the ability to detect, predict, and create patterns -- and it evolved naturally.

Outbreeding? Really?
You state that "Religious people are far outbreeding atheists". Was there ever a time in history when there were lots of atheists and only a few religous people?
Instead, human history suggests that mythology has always been dominant in human thinking. Atheism has always been the minority view. If anything, atheism seems to have grown, especially over the course of the 20th century. And the growth in atheism seems to correlate to the growth in scientific knowledge. I really don't see how religions can breed their way to dominance. The skeptics will always be there.

Patriarchy and religion
He seems to make a compelling argument for the advantages of a patriarchal family structure. And he links this structure closely with a religious worldview. So it's easy for one to conclude that people of a religious mindset will take over the world.

But this analysis fails to take into consideration the pressures exerted by our pooled scientific knowledge. Scientists will always make discoveries that undercut someone's belief system. As long as modern civilization thrives, so too will science. And so many of the babies being born to patriarchal families will become scientists. Many of these scientists will tend toward a natural worldview.

Sure, science will never explain everything. But religion hasn't ever explained anything. It just makes us feel good. I'm just not satisfied with that.

Suit yourself
Science discovers more questions than answers. Just this morning I was listening to an NPR bit on universal inflation. It turns out that most of the matter/energy in the universe is "dark", meaning we very clever humans don't know what it is. Yet at the same time, some physicists tell us they're on the brink of discovering the universal theory of everything. Huh?

Next, let me refer you to Charles Murray's book, "Human Accomplishment". Upon compiling an extensive catalogue of human accomplishment down through the ages to 1950, Murray noticed that modern scientists haven't accomplished much in the past 100 years relative to what their forbears accomplished. In other words, modern science is mostly engaged in gap filling and detail adjusting on earlier advances.

I don't mean to imply that modern scientists are dunces. Rather, they've run into obstacles preventing advancement. Given this, I dispute your argument that modern societies will breed as many scientists as required to resist or even overcome worldviews hostile to today's natural, mechanical, or relativistic ones. Intellectuals have been known to try on different worldviews like shop-aholics new shoes, so don't count on today's worldview-du-jours being around tomorrow to nurture and sustain a fresh crop of little Einsteins.

Accomplishments
Well, it depends on what you mean by "accomplishments." Ray Kurzweil notes that knowledge has been increasing at a stead exponential rate since the dawn of man, and that we are now on the upward curve of that increase in knowledge. If you mean "accomplishments" to be truly revolutionary things like the Copernican Revolution, the advent of Newtonian Physics, the Darwinian Revolution, and the revolutions of Relativity and QED, then perhaps there have been fewer of late -- one cannot expact there to be continued layings of foundations forever, after all. After a while, you have to build buildings -- you don't fault the carpenters for not pouring the concrete. At the same time, there have been the developments of chaos theory, systems theory, information theory, game theory, and catastrophe theory in the last 100 years, and they have slowly been coming into their own. They are good at describing difficult, more complex things, while relativity and QED describe easy, simple things. So the latter two are more common and popular among the public. Many scientists have run into roadblocks precisely because they have not embraced these new developments and understandings, which will expland their horizons considerably. Only information theory has been brought into QED to any great extent, and it is really transforming the way physicists understand the world.

Science has always been incremental, and the revolutions have always been relatvely rare. THere is plenty of work for scientists to do, which is why there will always be a strong need for them -- meaning we will breed more and more of them as time goes by. We are nowhere near understanding anything in any sort of complete way. That does not discourage the production of scientists -- it encourages their production.

Scientists don't have the luxury...
Intellectuals, as a whole, can try out new worldviews as they see fit. High intellect in a scientist is often required, but never sufficient. Scientists must pass their ideas through the meat-grinder of the scientific method and peer reviews.

It's not the scientists themselves that will always be a thorn in the side of certain religions. It's the findings that result from the practice of science.

At any rate, wouldn't it be a GOOD THING if we produced fresh crops of little Einsteins?

Oh come on get over it.
TCS really falls into a pit whenever it allows religious advocate to post opinion pieces. This issues really is a none issue in the rest of the Western world. I think if you dig down in the US as well that isn't something that most Americans worry about either. Creationism and it's variants are push by a small number of people for proposes best know by them. I also suspect that it has little to do with religion.

Collins is quoted "From a purely logical perspective, it will never be possible to disprove the existence of God, since the tools of science apply only to the natural world. Thus of all the possible worldviews, atheism is the most irrational choice," Collins stated in an interview with TCS."

This is very silly Collins is trying to justify his crazy ideas by a illogical argument that will appeal to other religious nuts. Sure you can't disprove something that doesn't exist. Just as Christians can't prove their God exists. However we are able to disprove particular religions and on this Christianity is on very shaky ground. There is a very good reason why the two sides are called faith based and reality based. Agnostic and Atheist numbers are growing every where.

False Choice
We casually enjoy the fruits of biotech and pharmaceutical advances based on science that wholly confirms evolution by natural selection, and we pray to a Creator in times of need and gratitude.

Confirms in the case of microorganisms, yes, where the numbers are great enough to defeat the improbabliity of life evolving by random chance. Does nothing to confirm macroevolution. This is typical of the slipshod logic of evolutionist debating tactics. Focus on one area which is confirmed as a means of confirming the whole. It is a logical fallacy for which I have forgotten the flowery latin term.

As far as I am concerned, both creationism and evolution via random natural selection are little different from one another. Both are yawning leaps of faith on the part of those who are insecure in acknowledging that there are things we simply do not yet know. I do not have to choose between one camp or the other. I will simply wait and suspend my judgment until conclusive scientific evidence is available.

Science Vs. Religion
YOur argument belies your ignorance of what science is. Let me let you poststructuralists in on something: not all forms of knowledge are equally valid or invalid. Science is not religion, or vice versa. They are different in kind. THey are different kinds of knowledge. THe jury is not out on evolution. Evolution is a fact. Natural selection is a theory of evolution, and it is one that has created a number of hypotheses which have been validated. That is the test of a theory. That it can create hypotheses that can be validated. Religion does not. It is based on purely subjective criteria. Science is based on entirely objective criteria. That is why they are so far apart from each other. Do not mistake science for religion. WHen you do, it just makes you look either ignorant or stupid or worse.

Babble Fish
Go to http://www.bbc.co.uk/cult/hitchhikers/guide/babelfish.shtml
and listen to the video clip, which explains why anyone who is attempting to prove the existence of God 1) does not have faith, and thus 2) does not actually believe in God, since there is a relationship between belief in GOd and faith. Though Douglas Adams words it slightly differently.

Incidentally, when one does the same sort of analysis to Moby **** as have been done in the "Bible code", one gets the same kinds of predictions. It turns out that if you have a limited set with non-random repetition, you get these kinds of patterns.

I know science better than you possibly could
Thank you. Your words ring like a true believer.

I do not disbelieve in evolution. In fact, I do not believe or disbelieve anything, for belief implies faith. I have no faith. I rely only on facts.

But, as I say, I do not consider evolution to be wrong, per se, I simply do not accept that random mutation and natural selection is a sufficient explanation for macroevolution.

Macroevolution via random mutation and natural selection IS NOT A FACT. There is no proof of it, there is only surmise based on extrapolating what is known about microevolution. There is no basis for believing that natural selection is a potent enough sifting agent to parse through the ungodly number of potential mutations, most of which lead to nonviable lifeforms. There is a deeper structure here that is yet to be discovered. It is not random.

Clarification please
Which means, according to your belief, that an "Intelligent Agent" must create each new lifeform at the "macro" level -- right?

Just so that we all understand each other here, please give us a few examples of animals that evolved through micro-evolution, and animals that were created by the Intelligent Agent.

Ad hominen via ignorance
My dissertation for my Ph.D. was titled "Evolutionary Aesthetics," and dealt extensively with evolutionary biology.

My B.S. was in recombinant gene technology, and I did two years of graduate school in molecular biology. I have had a graduate-level biology class in evolution. Never once were the terms "macroevolution" or "microevolution" ever used in that class.

Natural selection can of course be a potent enough sifting agent. If a mutation hurts the organism, it either dies right off, or becomes so weak as to be killed off quickly. On the rare occasion that a mutation is good, it benefits the organism. Natural selection, however, does not parse through "potential" mutations, but rather through actual mutations.

Incidentally, self-organization theory shows how order arised out of randomness.

My my...
What an interesting weekend of reading.

Since I was lucky enough to get to kick this whole thing off, I will take another turn now.

First of all, my original statement stands. Absolutely nothing said by any of the 'athiests' disproves anything I wrote originally. In fact, several of you quite kindly served to perfectly illustrate my point. The typical athiest exhibits only a rudimentary knowledge of, and ultimately a woeful lack of understanding of the nature of the Divine.

But that's all right.

But it's so typical as to be disappointing. I half-expected at least some of you to come up with something fresh, or at least slightly advanced, thinking-wise. But so many of you can't even get off the ground floor.

Tell me - does faith in a Supreme Being equate to Religion? When you use them as interchangeable concepts, you display your cognitive illiteracy, in this area. Not one single one of you who so arrogantly dismiss the idea of God by casually waving your hands at 'Religion' has managed to show an understanding of the disctinction.

But that's not what I want to talk about. I want to talk about what the original article talked about: the 'debate' about Intelligent Design being taught in school.

The real question about this debate has been evaded, side-skirted, and obscured by so much babble that it is usually totally ignored. It's time to stop ignoring the elephant in the room.

Just like with the 'Eternal Questions', the only genuinely important question regarding the subject is 'Why?'

Why do many people want ID taught in school?

Why do so many other people become rabidly upset at the thought of it being taught in school?

Why are many people enemies of the 'Theory of Evolution'?

And why are athiests so desperate to need to believe that there is nothing to believe in?

The elephant is this: At the heart of the issue is the great unanswered question - 'Whence came Man?'.

Darwinists surreptitiously want this question to be considered 'settled science', which it is not. However, if we teach all our little imps that all life on Earth evolved ultimately from basic life forms, that 'all' should necessarily include Man, according to the athiests. The problem is, and the reason for the whole argument, is that people who believe that the origin of Man is a matter which is not explained completely within the realm of 'science' do not want our youth to be taught only that, ipso facto, man is nothing more than an evolved animal and has no soul. Frankly, the attempt to 'educate God out from under us' is straight out of the communist playbook.

Intelligent Design advocates are really seeking for our schools to cease teaching evolution in such a way that the default assumption is that Mankind is not unique among all the inhabitants of the planet. This really is a much larger issue than the athiestic crowd wants to accept, and the 'sanctity of the science classroom' is far less a priority than the issue of whether or not our youth are taught, at an impressionable age, by persons in positions of authority, that Man has no soul, which is implicit in darwinism.

The implications are far-reaching. No soul means no virtue. No true value. No morals. No truth, no beauty, no perfection. It is from such soulless wellsprings that vile memes such as 'moral equivalence' and 'political correctness' originate.

Speaking personally, I have no vested interest in 'Intelligent Design' as such. I recognize it for what it is, which is an attempt to force our schools to tell the truth to children: that while evolution explains most of the progress of life on earth, it does not explain everything, least of all Mankind, and that the origins of Mankind as a thinking, conceptualizing creature, remain shrouded in mystery. Among the theories are etc etc etc... and here in Science Class, we will deal with the scientific theories only. Other types of classes, such as Philosophy courses, or seeking out religious sources outside of school, you will find other theories about the Origin of Man. And then they move on to study how those researchers glued moths to tree trunks, etc etc. (couldn't resist)

This is not an unreasonable desire. No reasonable person could object to such an approach to teaching, even if such a statement were to be made in the O Most Holy Science Class Itself.

It's a reasonable desire, and as long as those proponents of darwinism do not have some kind of covert agenda, there is absolutely no reason for them to object.

So why the venomous wailing and gnashing of teeth? Why does the ACLU have to sue if any whiff of it ever comes near the most inviolable science class? There has got to be something else at work there.

It was said earlier that 'faith' is entirely personal, having no bearing outside of the individual person's attempt at making sense of the universe, and pure fabrication, etc etc. While I do not agree with the conclusion, I do agree that having a belief in something greater than is know is a very personal thing. However, by the same token, having a staunch belief that there IS nothing 'greater', that we are all alone, we are soulless, and that everything is ultimately futile; having beliefs like those are also intensely personal, and frankly more more filled with angst.

The people I have met who fall into this category have been among the saddest, aimless, depressed and emotionally unwell people I have ever come across. Most of these folks do not have an agenda, per se. But many of them project their unhappiness, seek a source for it, seek to lay blame. They turn their self-hatred outward, sometimes settling upon 'religion' as the source of the evil which plagues them. They hate it, are offended by it, and seek to deal it as much damage as they can, in the fruitless pursuit of their own personal windmills. That idiot who keeps trying to get to the Supreme Court to have Under God removed from the Pledge is a good example. It is an entirely personal crusade these types of people are on.

Many people, such as myself, do not feel that people like him should be allowed to set education policy, simply becausethey are easily offended.

And one could question just what happened to these people to cause them to be so injured so deeply within themselves that they would not merely be content to believe what they believe, but to go out of their way to try to destroy other peoples' faith. My own theory is that most of it stems from deep self-esteem issues, lack thereof I mean, and a resulting self-loathing. At any rate, these are not well people. Happily though, there is always hope for even the worst of them.

Unfortunately, there is a deeper, more insidious side to the athiestic school of thought. That is the side which has an agenda, one which seeks to do everything in its power to try to remove every last shred of 'God' from the world. We see cherished monuments which have stood for decades eradicated with the stroke of a liberal judge's pen, lawsuit after lawsuit filed with only one purpose: remove any visible evidence of our nation's relationship to our heritage as an entity founded upon clear Judeo/Christian thought. We know that the people doing this are the most radical left-wing socialists and the dregs of communists, and we know exactly why they are doing it.

And we simply do not want to allow them to win without at least putting up a fight.

So yes, there is a whole WHOLE lot more to this debate than simply whether or not ID should b

cont'd
(sorry, just slightly too long for one post)

Hopefully this issue will end up before the Supreme Court soon, and our country can at least get a toehold on the path to becoming more of what it was founded to be, instead of what Stalin wanted us to be.

legal implications of Dawinism
There is currently a challenge to Darwin taking place in Lancaster, California schools. Apparently it is being backed by lawyers and a school district willing to take it to the supreme court.

It has nothing to do with Intelligent Design, just making sure that criticism of Darwinism can be part of the curriculum. Hard to argue with this position.

Rational implications of ID
You never did answer my question.

Just what does the Intelligent Design "theory" claim to have happened? For instance; when, where and how did this intelligent agent act? Did natural evolution do most, some, or none of the work for life to arise? Did this intelligent agent create only the first cellular orgnaism or every species -- and all at once, or over billions of years?

Still fooling yourself Wesley
Isn't it easy to be so confident in yourself when your expertise is about made-up information. Like I said before Wesley, you can say anything you want about the nature of the Divine, its created in your own mind. And you argue from this viewpoint. Many good points were raised in this long discussion, but your response to a discussion you claim ownership for starting is to change the focus. You didn't directly address any points, you just added smoke to the fire.

Wesley, I directly responded to your posts. I showed your cyclops analogy is bogus. I also explained your religious beliefs are a truth only in your own mind, they are fabricated. Unless you have some proof of a deity, your beliefs are just beliefs. You think you know something, but what you know exists only in your mind. If you want to claim to understand atheism, you should first understand faith, that it is not absolute truth. That it was created in the minds of men to deal with the reality that we can't possibly know the answers to "Why?", unless we find the answers within ourselves.

Actually, your mistakes in understanding atheism are kind of natural. You're trying to ascribe a nihlist philosophy into it, in what I assume is an effort to belittle and dismiss atheism. The truth is often a difficult thing to deal with. The truth that we don't know the answers to things bigger than our natural world is very difficult to accept. Heck, there is even a lot about the natural world we don't understand. Belief in a deity or religion step in to give us manufactured answers that help us deal with reality. Atheists are simply people who reject the idea of a deity. Considering there is no proof of a deity, it is a logical position.
The idea of a soul is not solely owned by religion. Anyone can believe we have a soul, or not, because we can believe whatever we want.

"Why do many people want ID taught in school?"
The answer is not because some people want to force schools to teach children the truth, as you postulate. That much is certain. I suspect the reason is mainly so religionists can inject their beliefs into the curriculum. They disagree with science on the origin of beings so they want their beliefs represented in teaching.

"Why do so many other people become rabidly upset at the thought of it being taught in school?"
Because it is an effort by religionists to get their beliefs taught in a science class.

No, faith in a supreme being is not the same as religion. Religion is an institution, an organization designed to spread its indoctrination and become the one true faith. For most lay people religion represents a social gathering. Faith in a supreme being is just that, is different from religion in that it is a personal endeavor, absent of social gathering and the insidious conquering agenda. The real problem is the broad religious organization, or brand, that seeks power and control. Look up James Dobson for an example. Neo-cons gained total control of our government so religion is now on a full-speed frontal assault to get a permanent influence on politics. It is disgusting, and politicians and religionists alike should be scrambling to stop it. Some are, but some see they can benefit from such an alliance. Encouraged by the useful idiots singing the chorus of theocracy.

Interesting notion
To quote you:
"Wesley, I directly responded to your posts. I showed your cyclops analogy is bogus. I also explained your religious beliefs are a truth only in your own mind, they are fabricated. Unless you have some proof of a deity, your beliefs are just beliefs. You think you know something, but what you know exists only in your mind. If you want to claim to understand atheism, you should first understand faith, that it is not absolute truth. That it was created in the minds of men to deal with the reality that we can't possibly know the answers to "Why?", unless we find the answers within ourselves."

Well, I supppose, if one's operative definiton of 'show'-ing something to be true is achieved by the simple act of saying it, then I guess you did 'show' that all the things you claim are true.

You are certainly welcome to your opinion as to what exactly has caused Mankind to come up with religions over its entire history. Clearly many billions more people disagree with you than agree, but like I said, you are welcome to it.

And, no, sorry, your interpretation that 'religionists just want their beliefs injected into science class' is not true, but it is typical of the mindset of those who abhor religion and all things thereby associated. It is actually as I described. I notice you continue to ignore the elephant in the room. That's telling.

Anyway, I have a serious question for you.

Do you have an understanding of the meaning of the word 'perfection'?



Democratic Fallacy
You have here committed what is known in logic as the democratic fallacy. WHen you commit the democratic fallacy, you assume that just because a majority of people believe something, that necessarily makes it just or true or good. THe majority can in fact be in error or believe untrue things. Thus, it is no argument to simply say that a majority of people disagree with someone. The majority may be wrong about what is true, while a small mainority may in fact believe what is true.

If you are going to make claims, you have to prove their truth. Provide actual evidence.

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