TCS Daily


An Evolving Faith

By Kenneth Silber - September 18, 2006 12:00 AM

Angela Rawlett is a college student facing a personal dilemma. Wanting to be a veterinarian, she had planned to major in biology. But this will involve studying evolution, which seems to be in conflict with her Christian faith. Angela's father scoffed at the idea that whales are descended from land mammals that returned to the sea, and pointedly asked his daughter whether college was turning her away from God's word. And in bio lab, Angela is teased about her religion by her oafish fellow student, Lenny.

Angela is a fictional character whose story is interwoven through The Evolution Dialogues: Science, Christianity, and the Quest for Understanding. The book, published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), is an unusual offering for a scientific society in its focus on religious issues. Targeted especially at Christian adult-education classes, The Evolution Dialogues contributes a thoughtful discussion to the highly charged debate about evolution and its implications. Written by Catherine Baker and edited by James B. Miller, the work was developed with input from scientists and theologians.

The book underscores that there is a substantial middle ground between the polar opposites that dominate much public discussion of evolution and religion. On one side, a number of prominent defenders of evolutionary theory espouse atheism and see the theory as lending support to an atheistic worldview. On the other side, there are the antievolution doctrines of creationism and Intelligent Design; the latter school of thought, though purporting to lack any definite religious commitment, often is presented by its adherents as a bulwark against atheism (often labeled "materialism" or "naturalism").

One might get the impression from such debate that if Darwin was right about biology, then God doesn't exist. Yet a broad and formidable intellectual tradition militates against such a conclusion. Some see evolution and religion as complementary in that they involve different types of knowledge and aspects of existence; the late paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould argued for this position, which he called "nonoverlapping magisteria." Others make arguments that evolution and religion are not just compatible but interrelated; one such view, stated by Anglican theologian and biochemist Arthur Peacocke, is that God operates "in, with and under" the evolutionary process.

The Evolution Dialogues traces scientific and religious thinking about evolution from before Darwin's time to the present. (Decades before Darwin's Origin of Species, naturalists were discovering evidence of extinctions and were rethinking the age of the Earth.) The AAAS book provides an overview of evolution and the evidence for it; this evidence ranges from cellular similarities among organisms, to anatomical similarities (such as the common humerus-radius-ulna arrangement of forelimb bones in diverse species), to the presence of transitional fossils indicating cross-species change (such as those showing a gradual shift from early horse species with four toes to later ones with single-toed hooves), to geographic patterns in the distribution of organisms (such as Hawaii having a huge assortment of fruit fly species, the result of the insects filling multiple ecological niches over millions of years).

A key theme of the book is the diversity of Christian responses to evolution over the past century and a half. The Catholic Church placed some evolutionary works on its Index of Forbidden Books in the early 20th century, but later became gradually more receptive to the theory, culminating in Pope John Paul II's 1996 description of evolution as "more than a hypothesis." Mainline Protestant churches generally have been amenable to evolution; the Episcopal Church, for example, defends evolutionary biology in its Catechism of Creation.

Evolution has long received a positive response from some evangelical Christians as well. For example, Princeton Theological Seminary scholar Benjamin Breckenridge (B.B.) Warfield (1851-1921) upheld both biblical inerrancy and evolutionary theory. Warfield argued that evolution occurs through natural laws, which are instruments of God's will. Accordingly, he disagreed with descriptions of evolution as an unguided process, pointing out that these were philosophical, not scientific, statements.

However, Christian fundamentalism, emerging as a distinct movement with the publication in 1910-1915 of pamphlets called The Fundamentals, increasingly came into conflict with evolution. The Scopes Monkey Trial was an early clash over the teaching of evolution in public schools, and controversy resurged when the post-Sputnik emphasis on science education in the late 1950s restored evolution to a prominent place in curricula. Young-Earth creationism, positing a literal six-day creation thousands of years ago, soared in popularity among fundamentalists in the 1960s. Other fundamentalists espoused old-Earth creationism, rejecting evolution but taking various views on creation's timing.

In addition to its Christian focus, The Evolution Dialogues touches upon stances taken within other religions toward evolutionary biology. The book portrays a "relatively placid" reaction by major non-Christian faiths, noting for instance a Jewish tradition of interpreting scripture in light of contemporary science, and an Islamic emphasis on the importance of the natural world. Hinduism's lengthy time cycles can be seen as congruent with evolution, while Buddhism does not focus on accounts of creation.

In the book's fictional interludes, college student Angela Rawlett engages in searching discussions with her biologist faculty-advisor and the campus minister, among others. She contemplates the beautiful orchids studied by the biologist, and the minister's rumination that "whether you credit evolution or not, the lion kills the antelope." The book refrains from stating exactly what spiritual conclusions Angela draws from all this, but it is clear she becomes comfortable with studying evolution. By book's end, she is planning to participate in a paleontology dig, and while there to attend a sunrise service.

Kenneth Silber is a TCS Daily contributing writer who focuses on science, technology and economics.

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59 Comments

Not a prob - - - - -
I used to have the idea that I wanted to farm-raise Maine Lobsters to make my first million bucks. Alas, I learned that if you confine these nasty creatures together, they will literally fight and consume each other until only one is left. Thus ended the economic prospects for my dream.

People are a lot like lobsters. They enjoy fighting so much that they compulsively choose up sides and have a war just for the heck of it. There is no honest need for science and faith to be in conflict, they occupy separate areas of experience and our humanity and are not mutualy exclusive. As a child I was taught both with equal enthusiasm, and absorbed, enjoyed and benefitted from both. I earned my living with science but did not feel it necessary to try to embarass people of faith for their supposed "superstitions". Just winning debate points against one's imagined enemies advances neither. You say tomahto and I say tomatoe, let's call the whole thing off.

The mechanism of Creation
I have never understood how anyone might consider the tale of life's development on Earth to be antithetical to a belief in a Supreme Being. Our present understanding just enlarges the scope of the story beyond the horizons available to our ancestors, who thought 6,000 years to be a very long time indeed and who could not imagine a mechanism any more complicated than an old guy with a beard waving his hand and causing the various plants and animals to appear.

To that person it was apparent that we humans were God's special creation. How could he have imagined that we would share 99% of our genetic material with chimpanzees, and that we shared a home with them no more than six million years ago?

The more we learn of creation the more we are able to see it in process. And to me the more in awe we should be of the ongoing drama that is life.

It takes two
It might be helpful if those advocating for evolution would not be at the same time ridiculing religion.
It might also help if they stressed that the current theory is a theory and does not explain everything. There are still significant questions that need to be answered.

Where is the tolerance?

Reciprocity
"It might be helpful if those advocating for evolution would not be at the same time ridiculing religion.
It might also help if they stressed that the current theory is a theory and does not explain everything."

As I see it, there are clearly "micro" evolutionary forces at work, as life adapts to stressors in its environment (such as the example of the darkening of moths in post industrial England). On the other hand, there is an inference from fossil records that one species must give rise to another, however to date, we have not been able to induce or observe "macro" evolution. Starting with Mendel, we've been able to change the characteristics of the species but not change the species.

I see no great evidence that the world was created in 6,000 years but questions regarding the propogation of the species remain-is it merely spontaneous change?

On the other hand, the radical atheist evolutionist takes a different approach, that LIFE ITSELF emerged spontaneously, and there could be no principal author. Of course Darwin wrote "origin of the species" not "origin of life".






Mules
These are the only 'new' species I can think of. But they are created from two similar species.

I thought
The definition of a species included willingness to interbreed - horses and donkeys produce offspring, therefore are the same species. Of course the problem with mules are that they are sterile.

Life, Faith and Knowledge
There are two scientific developments which would enhance our understanding of life:
1) Observation and analysis of the emergence of new species in contemporary times.
2) The use of technology to genetically engineer new species.

I believe the emergence of new species is a feature of our cosmos, similar to the emergence of electrons, stars, galaxies, black holes and the expanding universe.

As a theist, I believe the deity created the cosmos. As a scientist, I pursue knowledge of the creator's work.

Examining evolutionary issues
Super-- In this area I may have the advantage, just as in the area of economics I'm at a relative disadvantage. Macroevolution becomes evident in the fullness of time, as the result of many hundreds of microevolutionary steps. Within the space of several generations we can see the results of microevolutionary processes, such as the moth on the bark or the acquired immunities of species attacked by novel enemies, or the changing back and forth of Darwin's finches from one so-called "species" to the next.

But over the past half billion years there have been several billion iterations of genetic mixing due to sexual reporduction-- several billion generations. (lower arganisms typically mature and reproduce seceral times in a year.) This is more than enough time to come up with the present diversity of life.

As a child on an idle day did you ever play that simple word game where you change one letter of a word to come up with a different word, ultimately ending with a word whose letters were all different from those in the original? This is kind of the way evolution operates. Hundreds of tiny steps, ending up with a child entirely different from the original parent.

Mendel was on that track-- but the span of a single human life is not sufficient to start with an apple and end up woith a rutabaga. You need more time.

Now that we can sequence the genetic tale behind each species we have an elegant confirmation of lines of evidence we have gleaned from other sources. And we do have abundant evidence of "missing links" between major classes, say, of the phylum chordata. This would be the transitional species halfway between the therapsid dinosaurs and the early birds, or the lung-breathing fishes and the true amphibians.

We even have evidence of transition at the phylum level, as primitive chordates are pretty much identical to lots of other marine worms, only they have a dorsal nerve bundle tending to thicken into a spinal cord. So we can draw a straight line between worms like the palolo and mammals like the human being, and find examples along the way of most of the intervening species.

Your "radical atheist evolutionist" is quite a different character. Like the "radical theist evolutionist" he is speculating ona question that is outside the area of science. There is no way to tell, in the present state of our knowledge, whether either or neither are correct.

Indeed...
>"It might be helpful if those advocating for evolution would not be at the same time ridiculing religion."

Many don't. I see many on the religious side ridiculing those who teach and study evolution. I have delved into religion with an extremely open mind and I would hope that the religious seeker of truth would look at science the same way.

Alas, your next statement shows that this does not always take place.

>"It might also help if they stressed that the current theory is a theory and does not explain everything. There are still significant questions that need to be answered."

First of all, evolution is a FACT.

From fossil evidence we KNOW that creatures existed long ago that no longer exist. We KNOW that none of the species today existed at the beginning of life on this planet. We also KNOW that similar structures flow through the fossil record and that intermediate forms can be found amongst the fossil record.

So we know that evolution exists. Now the THEORY of evolution concerns the mechanisms, timing, and other aspects of the evolutionary process. In this area there are discrepancies, disputes, and a great many conflicting theories. Just like in any branch of science.

No scientist has ever said all the questions were answered.

>"Where is the tolerance?"

I get a little irate at the tendency of a few in the religious community who confuse the issue of evolution by invoking ID or connecting evolution to Nazism. Two very big arguments to those who feel a threat to their religion due to scientific inquiry.

The first is mere deception while the second is mere fear-mongering and both are intellectual dishonesty.

In the debate we had before I was willing to debate this issue and received calls for my address, I was called the "enemy", and, of course, told my kids would burn in Hell with me for being an unbeliever.

So please don't lecture about tolerance.

Instantly arising species
It would be convenient if, say, major new families could evolve within the space of something like a hundred years. Then there would be no question. But it takes more time than that for a family to evolve.

It took the family of garter snakes, for instance, something on the order of a half to a million years to evolve and start radiating into the many species of garters you now find around the world. That event took place about fifteen million years ago, and appears to have been stimulated by recent glacial events.

On the species level it is quite possible that we are in fact seeing the appearance of new species. But we won't know it-- because we don't know everything that's happening on the planet. Nearly every year biologists will announce the "discovery" of new species previously unknown. Who knows whether they are new or just new to us?

A number of new mammals have been found in recent years in the forests of Southeast Asia, for instance. They are all likely to be millions of years old. A genetic distance between them and their close relatives can readily be established, and a tentative timeline drawn for them to evolve.

The tendency from here on out will be the impoverishment of species, without enough time or space for new ones to emerge. The world's wild places are in the process of being converted to lawns and parking lots. So I don't think we'll be finding the evidence you require.

Entropy
I still wonder how a cell that can reverse entropy is made from a soup of chemicals.

Syndromes
Genetics has always interested me.

I would suggest we have human gentic experiments occuring now.
How many genetic 'syndromes' have been identified? Are these not nature's experiments?

Willingness to interbreed
The definition of species is a bit more precise than that.

Otherwise I suspect there should exist centaurs and other half man half ?

Hey, Roy and I agree on something
It doesn't happen often, but it does happen. Good post roy!

A question about your wondering
Is this a question regarding a cell's ability to maintain itself?

Definition of species...
Superheater, you almost got it right. The classic definition of a "species" does include a "willingness to interbreed". But the breeding must produce VIABLE offspring. Since a mule is, by definition, NOT viable, then its parents (horse and donkey) are NOT the same species. They are in the same family, however -- they are equids. The donkey evolved from the horse as the horse spread out of the North American plains over the prehistoric landbridge to asia, eventually arriving in the middle east where the donkey branched off. While pure "horse behavior" such as reactive flight from danger, worked well in the grasslands, it didn't work so well in mountainous high desert. Running blindly from a sabre-toothed cat was okay in the open prairies and saved many a horse's life. But in the badlands of the middle east, it often resulted in running off a cliff. Thus a different reaction was required, which, among other changes, led to a new species. The first thing a donkey does when it senses danger, for example, is to freeze and check it out. To humans who don't understand this behavior, the donkey's reaction is seen as innate "stubborness," the horse's reaction as inborn "flightiness." Even though I am an atheist, it seems easy to imagine God's hand in all of this.

Why is there a problem on this discussion?
Personally I see lots and lots of flaws in the theory of evoultion; as it is a theory launched over 150 yuears ago out of the much limited knowledge of, 150 years ago. However, why is it so insulting to open the minds of the students and really let them evaluate everything and not just what focusses on the the idea that we are nothing but an accident and that we, out of any possible discussion, descend from a monkey and so on. Why not get into the details on how is it that so many issues are not really explained by simple evolutionary ideology (eyes, ear, senses, cellular coordination, etc.) I am sure that if we keep throwing years by the billions to the age of the earth, some fatihful of evolution are going to be satisfied, which is unacceptable in science, because the pursue of the truth is what matters, unless of course, the real crusade was to disprove God Himself. Was that proved at all too? How and when? Is that God accident? I for one, can tell you that I do have a close relationship with God, because I happen to open myself to Him, listen and talk to Him and yes, He listens and my life is far better because of HIs presence. But don't let me upset you and offend you by even suuggesting that there be by far many more explanations to the origin of creation, sorry, that word, what should I use? Evolution must imply some begining and even if someone out there consider him/herself just an aminoacid after an accident, where do aminoacids come from. Where all the rules that govern sceince come from? I guess the guy who said that 2+2=4 was stronger than the guy that said it was not. Sorry for the simplistic representation of your theory. How about the atraction of the bodies? Was that accident, the one with the aminoacids, repeated many times in order to get to just one specie? If many species evolve in their own path, how can we say that all humans are equal? Would not some of us be sub-human? Or is it that humanity is not any more? I heard that the odds for 'the accident' are pretty incredible. Really, a theory needs to 'evolve' and be proved and not the other way around. Meanwhile, don't feel insulted if I think more of you and I as humans than just a mere consequence of some accident.

How does is start?
How did the first cell start violating entropy?

How can one be made?

What if?
'god' is a race of advanced beings who seeded earth with humans or did some genetic manipulation to create us in thier image?

Star Trek TNG had a show that suggested that as did the movie Mission to Mars.

God can still be operating in all this, but the local mechanics of human creation could be the stuff of science fiction?

Ahhh...
You believe a cell "violates" entropy? Explain how.

>"How can one be made?"

A cell can be made through chemical processes. Simply because humanity can not do it does not mean that it cannot be done in nature.

Amino acids are quite common in our universe and it has been proven for about twenty years that RNA, through the study of ribozymes, has the ability to put together compounds without the use of DNA. Some can even replicate themselves. These are the most basic compounds of life.

The beginnings and compounds of life is chemistry. The coming together of those elements violates no physical laws or laws of probability.

Now how exactly that occurred is theory and conjecture. Even if we could create a cell it would not be proof of how life started on Earth. Looking at the number of theories out there it could have happened in several ways.

Just to clarify, just because the actual origins of life are unknown it does in no way reflect on the truth of evolution. The FACT, as I explained in my initial post, remains.

Believe in a Creator if you wish but science is not about dogma and faith. It is about what is known and what is verifiable and repeatable. I believe deeply religious people have the ability to perform science. Science is not about disproving God.

Proof of Extinction
From fossil evidence we KNOW that creatures existed long ago that no longer exist. We KNOW that none of the species today existed at the beginning of life on this planet. We also KNOW that similar structures flow through the fossil record and that intermediate forms can be found amongst the fossil record.

That proves extinction exists, not evolution.

Thanks
That was the attribute I was trying to qualify was viable offspring when I said mules are sterile.

Even though I am an atheist, it seems easy to imagine God's hand in all of this.

Then I submit, you are agnostic, not atheist. Atheism is in fact philosophically errant, you can't prove a negation. I can understand agnosticism, but not atheism.

Which came first?
Another problem I have with the claim of certain paleontological or paleoanthropological claims relates to the absolute certitude with which the idea of modern man evolving from Neanderthals used to be presented.

Now the "official wisdom" is the Neanderthals are cousins, not parents. I suspect thats true, just because of physical dissimilarities, including the fact that nobody has homorectus DNA and that Homo E lived concurrently with Homo S. Still one wonders being that close, there was no (attempted) interbreeding.

Somewhat fascinating
That without any physical evidence or even reasonably credible oral testimony or other evidence regarding alien life, some folks consider belief in it to be enlightened. When pressed to explain their surety on the matter- they explain "statistical certainty", completely forgetting statistics isn't about certainty, its about limiting uncertainty to a known level.

Life
creates order from disorder and replicates itself requiring engery.

It guess life doesn't violate entropy it just creates localized dips.

So what you are saying is that science does not know how to turn the life process on?
Dr. Frankenstein used lightning. If you could make a bunch of DNA or RNA, but how would you get those little guys to start reproducing?

Water on the moon
There is water on the moon, Mars, Europa, ethane on Titan(?) I believe.

The building blocks of life are everyhwere we look. And it is possible that some life forms have arrived here from space.

And if it is possible in our solar system why not others?

And had the dinosaurs been better able to adapt, there might have been intelligent dinosaurs millions of years ago before mammels evolved.

It's alive!
>"So what you are saying is that science does not know how to turn the life process on?"

Not from what I have read or heard.

>"Dr. Frankenstein used lightning. If you could make a bunch of DNA or RNA, but how would you get those little guys to start reproducing?"

They did experiments with self-replicating RNA but that is far from creating a living cell. Give it time.

A fascinating subject
That's one way to look at it (mutations being nature's experiments). But alterations to one's genetic makeup are nearly always mistakes. They tend to make it more difficult to be a perfectly adapted individual and to succeed.

Those mistakes that are not generally lethal until after childbearing years, or that feature nonsymptomatic carriers, tend to get passed along. Humans have a large number of genetic ailments that we've had difficulty in getting out of the breeding stock. Advances in genetics may allow us to weed out some of these bad genes.

Of course the methods used might involve selectively aborting fetuses, not just testing people before marriage.

True speciation doesn't usually involve this kind of mutation-- in fact I'm not certain it ever does. What happens instead is that there is a subset of individuals within a range of normal herd variation that is better adapted than another subset to thrive in changed circumstances. They reproduce more, while the others reproduce less, and the character of the herd changes. Elephants that swim to islands, for instance, tend to become dwarves.

Some families are much more susceptible to this effect than others. Antelopes, for instance, spin off new species readily. Horseshoe crabs are little changed since the Devonian, 400 MY ago.

Yay for our side
I salute your intelligence and acumen. :)

Creation
So creation is a valid explanation as any other at this point?

In favor of selective abortion?
"Of course the methods used might involve selectively aborting fetuses, not just testing people before marriage."

What a Brave New World you envision!

Fertile mules
"When Nickolaas Jecobus Vermaak, of Natal, South Africa, announced recently that his mare mule had thrown a "colt" sired by a stallion, neighboring farmers smiled incredulously. But he had rightly trusted his mule-sense. Mule-wise Dr. John Quinlan dashed over from the Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute, confirmed his guess."

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,885241,00.html

Fertile Mule
Marjon, your quote from the article didn't state the "colt" is fertile. Even if it did, I can't help but wonder how one can tell a just-born "colt" is in fact, fertile. Seems to me we're gonna have to wait until it matures enough to mate and then see what happens. Even if the mule should make history by being fertile, however, it would still be a freak of nature. As a rule, horses and donkeys are incapable of producing viable young by interbreeding.

Do a search
there have been several fetile mules.

And one thing that is great about science, it only takes one example to disprove a theory.

Science can't "disprove" God/s but it can and has disproved fundamentalist Christianity.
That’s the real issue, because the US still has a strong religious influence more in tune with middle east then the rest of the western world. Those that can’t take a pragmatic view like the Jews do, are then faced with the idea, if those stories are wrong maybe the rest are. Thus a agnostic is born. Atheist are a different kettle of fish they take the view if there is no evidence of something why even think about it. Why appeal to the supernatural because you don’t know how something works.

"Facts" of Evolution?
“Facts” of Evolution?
As a physician I consider good science as similar to proving certain medical facts. When doctors want to know if a certain medicine works or not they look at whether a study is Prospective (not retrospective), Placebo-Controlled (including a believable alternative treatment), Randomized (without bias in selection), Double-Blinded (neither recipient nor researcher knows which drug is which), and, obviously, whether it produces significantly different results, and, finally, whether other studies produced the same results.
Alas, studies of origins . . . things long ago, nothing seen, nothing reproducible, and lots of bias . . . I would not consider it real science. A naturalistic evolutionary explanation of origins may sound sophisticated, but I consider the bulk of it to be highly suspect. One can certainly be a good doctor and have no use for it or belief in it whatsoever.

Ah, the Sweetness Of It All!
The Glory! The Beauty of it All!! The ignorant Christian Fundamentalist girl on the road to Enlightenment!!

No, here's what is exciting to me! I think we may be on the cusp of a great period (or comma? exclamation mark? colon?) of punctuated equilibrium. A little was good; a lot will be better. We need to speed up natural selection and mutation. We need more stimuli for mutations. Chernobyl was inadequate. But think of the possibilities with our good friend, Global Warming, or our even better friend, the Iranian Nuclear Winter!!

That's what I'm talking about!!!!

What was the disproof?
My dear Mr. Geeklet,
As a dues-paying, card-carrying fundamentalist Christian, and a physician also, please remind me of what exactly has been disproved.
Thanks.

Day one you create a 6 billion years old earth.
With almost infinite diversity in time distance and size, from universes down to sub atomic particles. Almost infinite diversity in every direction in time space. Back in time forward in time and even time is relative.

Science and creationism need not be in conflict.

God seems to like diversity.


I believe that Mules are not considered a species because they are sterile...
...

Science and creationism need not be in conflict
Exactly! Are they never are...
Let's don't get distracted by the findings in science to stop thinking and pretend that finally God has been matched.
The role of science is not to replace God but to find the truth and use it for the common good.

Eugenics
I don't think I'm endorsing the eugenic approach, where people selectively abort those children they don't want. In China and India for a while there were millions of aborted female fetuses, for instance. A bad trend, now thanfully subsided.

But we have to draw an obvious conclusion. Gene technology now permits us to sample a fetus and tell the parents that in time it will come down with Tay-Sachs Disease, or ALS, or something equally horrible.

There is an obvious next step to having this diagnostic capability, and that is the parents' consequent decision whether or not to bring the pregnancy to term.

My preference would be to leave this important decision in the hands of the couple-- not in the hands of the State.

Absolutely not
>"So creation is a valid explanation as any other at this point?"

A valid explanation is that "We don't know yet but we have many good theories."

Otherwise I can just say that we are just computer simulations, or the animated thoughts of drunk giants that live beyond the universe, or perhaps their was no creation and no beginning of time, merely infinity.

Science does not deal in mythology. If you don't know something you have to admit that you don't know something. The absence of facts or explanations does not make room for God in science.

Nonsense!
Where do you come up with this?

Why?
"But the fate of string theory is unlikely to be decided by experiment. It will be decided when a physicist wakes up one day and slaps his forehead and yells, "Aha! Now it all makes sense!" If string theory can stitch together the facts of the world that do not quite fit, if it can explain why the universe is the way it is, no one will conjure the ghost of Popper. Yes, string theory is lacking in testable predictions, but more important, it is lacking some underlying principle to give it deep explanatory power. Still, scientists pursue it because they see paths of unification, shards of beauty, glimmers of ultimate reality. And that determination to explain the mysteries of the universe no matter how difficult the task, and the refusal to accept easy pseudo-explanations in place of truth, is a telltale sign of genuine science."

http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/news/editorial/13792587.htm

And what if, after all that, it is discovered that it really was designed that way?

Are we just disovering what the physical law are or are we trying to find out why the physical laws are the way they are?

Excuse me...
but where in your post is the word "God"?

What part of string-theory has "God" as part of the equation?

Now some of these scientists might possibly believe that they come closer to the divine as they get closer to understanding the PHYSICAL laws of the universe but that in no way is evidence of God being present. Their beliefs are inconsequential to their mathematics.

Nope. Proof of evolution.
>"That proves extinction exists, not evolution."

It proves evolution. Where do the new forms come from? You kinda blew by the intermediate forms didn't you?

Yes. "FACTS".
>"Alas, studies of origins . . . things long ago, nothing seen, nothing reproducible, and lots of bias . . . I would not consider it real science."

We have physical evidence. Chemical evidence. Biological evidence. Genetic evidence. Reproducible evidence. The study of evolution crosses many disciplines. You see bias because they don't allow a Creator (which, by the way, offers no physical evidence, is not reproducible...) into the equation.

But yes, you can be a great doctor and not "believe" in the fact of evolution. You just wouldn't be a good scientist.

In fact, one of the people I studied with on a dig in the Southwest was a fundamentalist Christian who did not believe in evolution but he did great work on pre-Columbian archaeology.

I always enjoyed the look on other Anthropology students faces when he would tell them that.

Having faith in science
"Believe in a Creator if you wish but science is not about dogma and faith. It is about what is known and what is verifiable and repeatable."

Later that day .....

"They did experiments with self-replicating RNA but that is far from creating a living cell. Give it time."

This seems to be a profound statement of faith. Surely scientists working diligently will manufacture self-replicating life. Just give it time. I want to believe!

I believe the heart of Marjon's original question is left begging. The law of Entropy tells us that everything (that's everything) in the universe is breaking down and falling apart.

Disorder rules, and it takes a terrific and focused effort to do anthing to counter Entropy. Natural force is Entropy, but evolutionists try to argue that natural force somehow assembles larger and more complex biological entities over time.

The first thing I was told in 7th grade science was that nobody beats the laws of thermodynamics.

Terrific
And when these overtly "defective" traits conceal something else that's quite useful (as in the way sickle cell anemia works-have one parent with it you are immune to malaria) and you eliminate it from the population-not that Roy would understand pleiotropy.

Of course, if you can identify the gene that makes individuals susceptible to socialist fantasies, maybe we can make an exception to eliminate that disease. Perhaps we can have adults tested for it, and we can do away with those who either advocate for state dependency or subsist off it.

To bad Roy believes in individual autonomy, unless there's an economic aspect to it, because there he's all in favor of hey hey ho ho, this capitalism's gotta go.

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