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The incorrigible David Berlinski

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Ron
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75 posted 11-17-2009 09:39 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

I'm still reading, guys, but anything worth saying requires more time than I have right now. I've actually started to write a response twice, but stopped after a couple of paragraphs . . . 'cause I was just saying the same things in different ways. Holidays and family are more demanding than usual this year, cutting into my free time badly.

I'm still here, though. Like Stephen said, "Reloading."
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76 posted 11-17-2009 11:36 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



     Not a bad sort of crowding problem to have, when you think about it.
Essorant
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77 posted 12-01-2009 11:27 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

"There are nevertheless all sorts of transitional forms in the fossil record to belie the creationist argument that they do not exist.  They exist not only at the species level (creationists consider these only "variant forms of the same basic kind") but between major groups: there are intermediates between FISH and AMPHIBIAN (Ichthyostega), amphibian and REPTILE (Seymouria), reptile and MAMMAL (the mammal-like reptiles), reptile and BIRD (see ARCHAEOPTERYX), extinct ape forms and MAN (see AUSTRALOPITHECINES).  But creationists quibble to no end, their basic argument, as paraphrased by biologist Kenneth Miller, being that "the intermediates are not intermediate enough."  The creationists consider the reptile-bird intermediate Archaeopteryx, for example, to be "100 percent bird" because it had wings and feathers and flew, when in fact Archaeopteryx was basically a flying, feathered reptile.  What creationists, challenge evolutionists to show them, it seems, is a "perfect 10" transitional form, exactly halfway between, say, fish and amphibian.   But no such "fishibian" says INSTITUTE FOR CREATION RESEARCH (ICR), has ever been found in the fossils
...
There is no general conversion of all parts of a transitional form at the same time,  GENETICS would not produce a smooth gradation of all features of an intermediate such as the creationists with their fishibian require, rather it is to be expected that the characteristics of an intermediate will be mixed, a pattern called mosaic evolution.  Nor does a fossil form need to be in the direct line of descent between two groups to be considered transitional.  Archaeopteryx, for example, was doubtless not the direct ancestor of birds but rather one of that ancestor's cousins.  Similarly the fishlike amphibian Ichthyostega was probably a dead end collateral branch of the fish-to-amphibian transition.  The point is that a cousin of an ancestor is the more likely paleontological find, given the multiple splitting off of species and the general spottiness of the fossil record, and is evidence enough that a transition occured.

The fact is, however, that not even a direct ancesteral "10" would make any difference to creationists.  No such form could be accomodated to their preconceived belief system.   Thus creationist leader Henry Morris states that even the discovery of a fossil intermediate between men and apes --Morris believes that no such intermediate has been found, the australopithecines being "merely extinct species of apes"--would not be proof of human EVOLUTION.  "An extinct ape" says Morris, "could have certain man-like features and still be an ape" and a man could have some ape-like features and "still be a man".  In other words, no conceiveable ape-man transitional form could be other than either true ape or true man.  Creationists simply cannot alllow transitional forms to exist, for to do so would be to admit that evolution has occurred."


(From Ronald L. Ecker's Dictionary of Science and Creationism)


Maybe not on behalf of creationism, but I think the same kind of denial of transitional evidence and demand always for "something more" is going on in this thread.  That might explain why the fossils themselves have gotten the least attention.  


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78 posted 12-02-2009 06:51 AM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch

quote:
I'm not sure what Grinch has against present day cladistics


I don’t have anything against present day cladistics Brad, I just think that trying to apply a system that relies on specific differences between, and within, species doesn’t make any sense when looking at the Cambrian explosion – a point in time where the definition of species wasn’t yet fixed.

You wouldn’t, after all, apply the Dewey Decimal System if the only book you owned was a Gutenberg Bible, would you?

.
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79 posted 12-03-2009 12:55 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



quote:
Grinch:
You wouldn’t, after all, apply the Dewey Decimal System if the only book you owned was a Gutenberg Bible, would you?




Robber to Jack Benny:

"Your money or your life!"

Long pause. . . .

Jack Benny to Robber:

"I'm thinking. . . , I'm thinking. . . ."
Stephanos
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80 posted 12-05-2009 08:13 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Ess:
quote:
I think the same kind of denial of transitional evidence and demand always for "something more" is going on in this thread.  That might explain why the fossils themselves have gotten the least attention.


A bone to pick, though I wouldn't want to split hairs (This whole thing is rich in puns) ... The fossil record is perhaps one of the most inconclusive of all, when it comes to being evidential for common descent.   That's not to say there aren't some suggestive things therein (as Berlinski conceded), but a conclusive "heads or tails" cannot be made of something so sparse.  That's why in the face of the very large difficulty that macro-evolution poses to the theory, genetic homology is being now presented as reasonable evidence ... not the fossil record.


Stephen  
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81 posted 12-05-2009 10:52 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Stephanos,

If there were no fossil proof for the transition of birds from dinosaurs I don't see how genes could show it to us.   But the fossil evidence such as Archaeopteryx and Oviraptor and others are not only a physical fact but include that visual ("see it to believe it") experience that makes the fact even that more obvious.  This one is perhaps the most "visual" you can get of a little bird-like dinosaur sleeping just as a bird does.   If that is not obvious enough, the genetic evidence then makes it even more obvious in conjunction with the fossils.  

And that is just one example of many great evolutionary transitions that are well documented in the fossils.  I don't see how or why you would deny such evolution, unless in desperate attempt to dispute something that contradicts your religion.  

[This message has been edited by Essorant (12-07-2009 12:46 PM).]

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82 posted 12-07-2009 08:53 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Essorant,

I already said that it doesn't contradict my religion.  There are many Christian Evolutionists.  I simply don't believe evolution is true; conversly, I see no reason why I should be compelled to abandon Christianity if I found out that it were true.  Christianity has a strong case to be made, even within an evolutionary framework, since the long history of biological evolution does not effect the history of God in Christ, nor the complexity and wonder of creation however long it actually took.  And as to "seeing no reason" why anyone would deny evolution, barring religious reasons, why not ask yourself why others, like Berlinski, might deny evolution.  He's certainly not religious, in any sense of the term.  And while you might not agree with him, you shouldn't keep repeating the allegedly invalidating "religiously motivated" charge.  It simply isn't true in all cases, and I've already made it clear that it is a non-sequitur regarding this thread, of which Berlinski's critiques are central.    

As to your statements about fossils, I will answer soon.  There are some interesting quotes (by both religious and non-religious) that speak of just how much evidence might be expected from the fossil record if evolution were true, by various scientists/thinkers.  I'll gladly begin with Darwin himself.  Stay tuned.

cordially,

Stephen
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83 posted 12-08-2009 04:05 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



     I find it difficult to believe evolution is in conflict with religion.  I find it more likely that people are have created conflict by trying to make incomplete explanations serve the place of complete ones.  I think its a mistake to blame the systems of thought, which are either incomplete or imperfectly understood.  It is too early to establish if one or the other or both or right or wrong.  Being people, however, it is never to early to establish that we are right and never to late to establish somebody else is wrong.  Whatever you happen to think of psychoanalysis as a theory, Freud had some occasionally brilliant things to say.  Here's an incomplete approximation of one of them:  "Mental health is the ability to tolerate ambiguity."

     Just hoping to add some helpful confusion to the mix.
Essorant
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84 posted 12-08-2009 12:53 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Stephanos

quote:
I already said that it doesn't contradict my religion


But the truth is we know better than man being made from dust, woman from a rib, all animals being stuffed into an ark, etc.  Those are some unique and admirable stories.   But if you believe those things are better explanations of life, Stephanos,  then I do judge it as preferring myths instead of facts, that those myths are contradicted by the facts, and that the preference of them is standing in the way of you accepting the facts of evolution.   How or why do you accept those as true on behalf of simply being stated in the bible, but then turn around and treat evolution as if it isn't and can't be true on behalf of so much evidence of fossils, genes, comparative anatomy, and other things that thoroughly support evolution?   There is plenty of chance for fossils, genes, anatomy and other things to contradict evolution, instead of support and prove it, but they never do.  They support and prove it over and over again.   There may be some things that have yet to be established about little details within evolution, but evolution in general is well established and factually proved to be true.  Things such as man being made from dust, woman from man's rib, and animals being stuffed into an ark, though, are contradicted and proved to be mythical stories.   It doesn't make sense to bow down to some kind of political correctness and pretend the two are equals and likenesses.  They do contradict each other, and they are not equal because one is factually based on evidence and the other is a mythical story.   There is nothing wrong with preferring the mythical story, but I do think there is something wrong with treating it as if is true and based on evidence, when it is not, and then turning  around and saying that evolution is not based on true evidence, when it is based on ever increasing evidence from the kind of things mentioned above.

  

quote:
...why not ask yourself why others, like Berlinski, might deny evolution.  He's certainly not religious, in any sense of the term.  And while you might not agree with him, you shouldn't keep repeating the allegedly invalidating "religiously motivated" charge.  It simply isn't true in all cases, and I've already made it clear that it is a non-sequitur regarding this thread, of which Berlinski's critiques are central.



I agree that there are some scientists that disagree, but usually those are scientists that aren't specialized in dealing with the areas most important to evolution.    It looks like Berlinski's fields are philosophy and mathematics.   He is not specialized in the fossils as paleontologists are.   It is easy for philosophers and mathematicians to be detached and abstract and generalize from a distance about something.  You know how much we do it in this forum.   But those that actually specialize and deal directly with the evidence (especially the fossils) have little or no room to avoid the truth of evolution because the evidence proves and supports it over and over again.  

[This message has been edited by Essorant (12-09-2009 12:37 AM).]

Stephanos
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85 posted 12-08-2009 11:29 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
that those myths are contradicted by the facts


Essorant, how can you in the same breath call them myths, and then charge them with not being pedantically factual?  Those much more familiar with Ancient Near East literature than either you or I, have recognized that such metaphor-laden storytelling was used to communicate things (in the case of Genesis, the Theology of the Cosmos).  That doesn't make the Theology untrue.  And it certainly doesn't make it necessary to try and thrust the story on the procrustean bed of Western post-scientific cultural expectations.  And for that very same reason, it can't be made intrinsically incompatible with scientific descriptions ... simply because it isn't that kind of description.  Nor, thankfully, should we have expected it to be.  
  

In Theology there is such a thing as "accomodating language".  Augustine was one of the first to mention it.  You should understand this, we use it still today.  We'll tell a child that "The sun is rising", which in scientific terms (which comes with greater awareness) is absolutely meaningless.  But it gets the job done.  To me anyone can see that its not unreasonable to think that what we have going on in Genesis (at least from the Divine perspective) might be the same kind of thing.  There's good reason to think a story about God making everything in six days, where light is created on one day and the stars on another, might be parabolic ... a fairy-tale-like attempt to describe the indescribable, with delight, wonder, and simplicity.


You continue to bring up issues of interpretation of an eclectic text (the Bible having many types of writing within it- from parable to historical narrative to love poetry to official record-keeping).  But the fact remains that many intelligent people have seen reasonable room within the first Chapters of Genesis to accommodate scientific realities or theories.  


In other words, it is another debate for another thread (which I would gladly participate in should you start one).  But for the purposes of this thread, isn't it enough for me to say that I personally am okay with Genesis only describing in unique ways the sheer fact of creation (both the agent and the wonder), not the analytical how of creation?  And Berlinski, whose ideas are central to this thread, isn't religious at all.  So what gives?  Why not take my word for it, and discuss the topic?  If I was religiously-motivated here, I might say that the reason you adhere to Evolution is because you are religiously motivated to deny God's creation.  But I refrain from saying so, since I think Evolution to be a separate question altogether .. and don't think it, if sincerely believed, should come between a person and Christ.  Now the parasitic atheism/ naturalism that is often associated with it, I will heartily refute.  Evolution I too will refute, but for totally different reasons.  


Can we continue to discuss the strengths and weakness of evolution ... without attributing motives (religious or otherwise) to my critique?  Your interpretation of what Genesis may exegetically allow, allow for another day and another thread.

quote:
I agree that there are some scientists that disagree, but usually those are scientists that aren't specialized in dealing with the areas most important to evolution.


This is not altogether true, since the greatest critiques of Evolution have come from micro-biology and paleontology.  Are you just assuming that there is only critique coming from philosophers and mathematicians?  I mentioned Berlinski because this is a philosophy forum, and because he is most entertaining ... but his is not the only critique to be considered.  


I'll be back soon with those quotes I mentioned to try and convince you that Evolution isn't unassailable from it's own relevant disciplines.  More than persuading someone to believe that Evolution isn't true, I would be just as happy to dislodge the sheer trust that it has to be, which often is more the result of an osmotic popular orthodoxy, than of any searching thought process.    

    

later,

Stephen

Bob, thanks for getting this much, even if we can yet agree on no more.         

[This message has been edited by Stephanos (12-09-2009 01:30 AM).]

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86 posted 12-09-2009 01:20 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

concerning the fossil record:



"The number of intermediate varieties, which have formerly existed on the earth [must] be truly enormous.  Why then is not every geological formation and every stratum full of such intermediate links?  Geology assuredly does not reveal any such graduated organic chain;  and this, perhaps is the most obvious and gravest objection which can be urged against my theory" (Darwin, The Origin of Species)



"The fossil record of evolutionary change within single evolutionary lineages is very poor.  If evolution is true, species originate through changes of ancestral species; one might expect to be able to see this in the fossil record.  In fact it can rarely be seen.  In 1859 Darwin could not cite a single example." (Zoologist Mark Ridley, The Problems of Evolution)



"We are now about 120 years after Darwin and the knowledge of the fossil record has been greatly expanded.  We now have a quarter of a million fossil species, but the situation hasn't changed much.  The record of evolution is still surprisingly jerky and, ironically, we have even fewer examples of evolutionary transition than we had in Darwin's time." (Paleontologist David Raup, from Conflicts Between Darwin and Paleontology, Field Museum of Natural History Bulletin, January 1979).



"The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of palaentology."  (Paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould, Evolution's erratic pace, Natural History, 86, 1977)



"When we do see the introduction of evolutionary novelty, it usually shows up with a bang, and often with no firm evidence that the fossil did not evolve elsewhere.  Evolution cannot forever be going on somewhere else.  Yet that's how the fossil record has struck many a forlorn palaeontologist looking to learn something about evolution.

... We palaeontologists have said that the history of life supports [gradual adaptive change] knowing all the while it does not.
"  (Paleontologist Niles Eldredge, Time Frames:  The Evolution of Punctuated Equilibria, 1985)



"The history of most fossil species includes two features particularly inconsistent with the idea that they gradually evolved:  

1.  Stasis)  Most species exhibit no directional change during their tenure on earth.  They appear in the fossil record looking pretty much the same as when they disappear;  morphological change is usually limted and directionless

2.  Sudden appearance)  In any local area a species does not arise gradually by the steady transformation of its ancestors;  it appears all at once and 'fully formed'.
"  (Stephen Jay Gould, The Episodic Nature of Evolutionary Change, The Panda's Thumb, 1985)



"Forms transitional between species can be observed today, and can be inferred to have existed in the past.  Nevertheless, the net result is very far from a seamless tapestry of form that would allow an investigator to read the Tree of Life simply by finding the intermediates- living and extinct- that in principle connect all species.  On the contrary, biologists are much more impressed by the discreteness of organic form, and the general absence of intermediates."  (paleontologist Simon Conway Morris, The Crucible of Creation, 1998)



"That (extrapolating small biological changes, back through geological time) to my paleontological eyes is just not good enough.  Simple extrapolation does not work.  I found that out back in the 60s as I tried in vain to document examples of the kind of slow directional change we all thought ought to be there ever since Darwin told us that natural selection should leave precisely such a tell-tale signal ...

I found instead that once species appear in the fossil record, they tend not to change very much at all.  Species remain imperturbably, implacably resistant to change as a matter of course- often for millions of years.
"  (Niles Eldredge, Reinventing Darwin 1996)



"...I fully agree with you comments on the lack of direct illustration of evolutionary transitions in my book. If I knew of any, fossil or living, I would certainly have included them. You suggest that an artist should be used to visualize such transitions, but where would he get the information from? I could not honestly provide it, and if I were to leave it to artistic license, would that not mislead the reader? ...

I will lay it on the line- there is not one such fossil
(a fossil ancestral or transitional) for which one could make a watertight argument." (paleontologist Colin Patterson, in a personal letter responding to comments made by Stephen Jay Gould)



These are just a few of the quotes by scientists (paleontologists, zoologists, or biologists), many of whom nonetheless support the theory of Evolution, to demonstrate that the fossil record is pretty much vacuous as regards to providing evidence for the Theory of Common Descent.


Stephen
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87 posted 12-09-2009 02:44 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Stephanos,

quote:
Can we continue to discuss the strengths and weakness of evolution ... without attributing motives (religious or otherwise) to my critique?  Your interpretation of what Genesis may exegetically allow, allow for another day and another thread.


I don't think I will be able to do so without the religious side Stephanos, because I already see a great lopsidedness between your approaches to the bible and your approaches to evolution.  You suggest that the bible "gets the job done" within theology (despite some disagreeing), but the same may surely be said for evolution.  It "gets the job done" too within science (despite some disagreeing).  If you go by that principle, then you ought to accept both as true.   In other words, evolution, subjectively within its own "sphere" is true too for the same reason things such as man being created from dust and woman from man's rib in the bible may be.


But I am also saying there are objective facts (such as the fossils, in this case) by which both may be judged and one may correspond more than the other in comparison relative to the facts.  The fossils don't bear out man being created from dust, but they do bear out ape-like forms graduating to human-like forms in the sequences of fossils.   Therefore, comparative judgement is important.   Evolution is not just true because it works subjectively within its own sphere, but because it works objectively supported by facts and comparatively supported by facts more than other explanations (including religions).

Therefore, no matter how subjectively the biblical descriptions may work, which one is more supported objectively by the facts: that man was created from dust or that he evolved from ape-like ancestors?   If you persist with "dust" (because the bible does) how can I say that your answer is not religiously motivated?  
 
  

[This message has been edited by Essorant (12-09-2009 04:11 AM).]

Essorant
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Obviously people didn't find transitional fossils because they were easy to find or because they weren't rare, but they did find them, Stephanos and there are many examples in the fossil record, especially which were discovered within the past twenty years (Tiktaalik is one of the most important in the transition between fish and amphibian)  There are not just a few examples, but series pf gradual devolopment through the ages bearing out the transitions between the major groups of animals.  Which transition do you want to begin with?  

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89 posted 12-09-2009 10:11 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Ess:
quote:
You suggest that the bible "gets the job done" within theology (despite some disagreeing), but the same may surely be said for evolution.  It "gets the job done" too within science (despite some disagreeing).


Essorant, my whole point is that science (in the case of Evolution) is treated more like religion than science, all the while claiming the empirical objectivity of science.  You're scolding me somewhat for treating them differenty, but by their own standards they are supposed to be different.  In fact, no scientist who adheres to evolution, nor Theologian who adheres to Christianity would ever want your conflation of religion and science.  That's not to say that there are not similarities.  But an imbalance of your own exists in the fact that you never acknowledge the differences, unless, conveniently, you mean to discredit religion by admitting them.  


It is like someone trying to impose the rules of accounting onto love poetry ... then when someone points out that accounting is not love poetry, excoriating their love poetry for not being statistical enough ... or ridiculing them for having a poetry journal and at the same time an accounting ledger in which they wouldn't want any verse at all.  Would that be a consistent approach?

quote:
Therefore, no matter how subjectively the biblical descriptions may work, which one is more supported objectively by the facts: that man was created from dust or that he evolved from ape-like ancestors?   If you persist with "dust" (because the bible does) how can I say that your answer is not religiously motivated?


I can think of no statement more consistent with biological evolution than to say that man came from the "dust" ... that is, the earth itself, which is exactly what evolution teaches in its own way, though you try in vain to pit a contemporary and prosaic scientific treatise with an ancient poetic description.


So in any serious interpretive sense, Genesis is not incongruous with Evolution.


A religious critique is not (has never been) my critique of Evolution.
quote:
Obviously people didn't find transitional fossils because they were easy to find or because they weren't rare, but they did find them, Stephanos and there are many examples in the fossil record, especially which were discovered within the past twenty years (Tiktaalik is one of the most important in the transition between fish and amphibian)  There are not just a few examples, but series pf gradual devolopment through the ages bearing out the transitions between the major groups of animals.  Which transition do you want to begin with?


I never said there weren't examples that are suggestive, and can be construed to be transitional forms (Berlinski concedes this too).  What I'm saying (along with all the paleontologists I quoted above) is that such a smattering of not-unambigious examples does not meet with what should be expected if Darwin's Theory were indeed true.  That bar was set by Darwin himself, much more agnostic about his own theory than many of his modern devotees.  


Stephen  
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90 posted 12-09-2009 12:34 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

quote:
I can think of no statement more consistent with biological evolution than to say that man came from the "dust" ... that is, the earth itself, which is exactly what evolution teaches in its own way, though you try in vain to pit a contemporary and prosaic scientific treatise with an ancient poetic description.


I am sorry for persisting with this, but I feel this is an important point.  I am trying to point out what you pointed out about "the sun is rising" in respect to religion is not what you seem to be doing between the evolution of man coming from an animal and man coming from "dust".   Regardless of whether it "gets the job done" so to speak, you recognize that the sun (itself) is not rising.   It is an objective knowledge that the sun itself is not rising, regardless of the way we speak of it.   But you aren't realizing there is much more obvious difference involved with the "dust" and "animals" in respect to human (and any other animal in fact).  The "sun is rising" at least still includes a reference to the sun, but "dust" doesn't even refer to an animal,  our animal ancestery is far from "dust".    No sane science says that the human comes from dust/earth to human, without the evolutionary links in between (i.e life forms).  The fossils and other evidences, no matter how much you want to make them appear cloudy. are not cloudy in that most important theme and major themes within it.  Not only is there much between "dust" and "humans", but there is an order to the things that come in between. Humans don't appear before those primitive apes, but in a line of forms appearing from more ape-like to more human-like forms.   There is no cloudiness about that general theme and there is no evidence that contradicts it.  For example, the same happens no where else but beginng in Africa and beginning around seven million years ago (Sehelanthropus) and the evolution of apelike to human-like is spelt out clearly as you follow the fossils through the ages.   We don't see that happening elsewhere or human or human-like fossils showing up in dinosaur times where a series of dinosaur fossils appear more and more human-like through the ages and eventually so human that you need to call them human, even though they are still dinosaur-like in some aspects.  But if they did, we would say humans came from dinosaurs.   The point is that I think you are clouding the obvious: the evidence says humans evolved from other animal ancestors (apes), not from "dust".  The earliest life form may be similar to being from dust to life, but the human is far from the earliest life form.   "Dust" was already life long before the human came along.   And that is why there is a specific time and place of devolopment within that "life" that proves they evolved from it and didn't just come from the "scratch" of dust so to speak.  The knowledge of animal-links in between the earliest "dust" and the present "human" is just as scientifically established as the fact that the earth revolvings around the sun and the sun isn't (literally) "rising" in the morning.
 

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91 posted 12-09-2009 01:26 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Essorant, really, you're splitting hairs, and literally caviling dust.

You should at least admit it's not too hard to think of "dust" in terms of the most basic constituents of the Earth.  In that most basic sense, we are made of dust, whether it all happened via Evolution or no.  And that "to dust we will return" is quite understandable in the same kind of way, though we don't exactly magically turn to dust when we die.  So why insist on a stilted and wooden literalism when it comes to a very poetic and mystical text as Genesis chapter one?  

quote:
The knowledge of animal-links in between the earliest "dust" and the present "human" is just as scientifically established as the fact that the earth revolvings around the sun and the sun isn't (literally) "rising" in the morning.


Even if such were granted ... It would still be okay to say that man "came from dust", just as it would be okay to say that the "sun rises".  That's what I meant by "accomodating language".  I was merely veering from my main point in this thread, to grant that even if Evolution were true, the Genesis story stays pretty much what it is ... a non-specified, fantastical, mystical text written to communicate Theological and Cosmological truths.

  
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92 posted 12-09-2009 01:29 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

quote:
In that most basic sense, we are made of dust, whether it all happened via Evolution or no



Because you seem to be denying the truth and knowledge of the evolutionary steps between dust/earth to human, Stephanos.  It obviously much more than just dust/earth and human.  We scientifically trace and know of it coming through animal ancestors.   It is not an "if", anymore than the earth revolving around the sun is an "if".  


quote:
Even if such were granted ... It would still be okay to say that man "came from dust", just as it would be okay to say that the "sun rises".  


Of course it is alright to say.  But that doesn't make it objectively correct.  Just as the sun doesn't literally rise, nor do humans literally come to the form of being "human" from dust.  The earth revolves around the sun and humans evolve from earlier life forms.  These are facts and contrast with those poetic conveniences.      
  
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93 posted 12-09-2009 01:40 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Ess:
quote:
Because you seem to denying the knowledge of the obvious and evolutionary steps it takes between dust/earth to human, Stephanos.  It includes much more than just dust/earth and humans.


No, for the sake of THIS point, I am granting that evolution may be true.  Regardless of "evolutionary steps", man still comes from the basic elements.  Regardless of how many steps are in my staircase, I still came from the ground floor.    


Stephen
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94 posted 12-09-2009 01:46 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Essorant you seem to be mingling two different arguments at one time, which is very confusing.  


I have hypothetically assumed, to make my point about being motivated from something other than religion, that evolution is true.  Yet in arguing me on this one point you keep telling me that evolution is as incontrovertible as the sun's relation to the earth.  And no, it's not as incontrovertible and untouchable as that.  But that has NOTHING TO DO with the question of whether Genesis may exegetically allow an evolutionary interpretation of the origins of life on earth.


So, tell me, Which point are we currently arguing??


Stephen  
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95 posted 12-09-2009 02:03 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
Of course it is alright to say.  But that doesn't make it objectively correct.  Just as the sun doesn't literally rise, nor do humans literally come to the form of being "human" from dust.  The earth revolves around the sun and humans evolve from earlier life forms.  These are facts that do contrast those poetic conveniences.


Well if you're ready to actually tell someone they are being non-sensical for saying that the sun "rises", then I have made my point in full.  For your criticism of those who don't read Genesis as if it were written like a scientific treatise is comparatively droll.


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96 posted 12-09-2009 02:16 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

I am not saying it is wrong or nonsensical, I am just pointing out that we know the objective truth contrasts with them.  

The main point is that we know that evolution is a reality and that is why saying human came from "dust" to being human is mythical and poetic instead of literally or scientifically true.    
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97 posted 12-09-2009 02:27 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Essorant, I have already explained that I am fine with the text of Genesis chapter one being "not literal" ... that, in fact, was my whole argument for not being religiously motivated to refute evolution.  The accomodating and poetic language of the passage which states that man was made from the dust, though not exactly literal, may still contain much truth.  Much in the same way that the statements "the sun rise was beautiful", and "she broke my heart" are far from being untrue, non-sensical, or being void of true knowledge regarding the realities they describe.

Evolution may be allowed from the poetic text of Genesis One.  I'm just not sure it should be reasonably allowed from the empirical texts of Science.

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98 posted 12-09-2009 02:34 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

For sure, Stephanos.  I agree that it has figurative truth.  But it is because you know evolution is a literal truth that you also know man didn't literally come simply from dust to being man.  In other words you know that evolution is literally true, but don't seem to be willing to say it is!
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     Let me see if I understand this.  I really may not, because folks are trying to make this more complicated than it needs to be, it appears to me.

     When we're talking about evolution, the discussion is about science, not religion, right?

     Everything that has to do with atheists and the bible probably belongs someplace else.  That would be talking about the religion and religious preferences of those who do the science.  It would seem to me that what would be relevant would be instead the science and the scientific preferences of everybody who's talking about the science.  I don't care what your religious affiliation is, as long as your scientific affiliation is at least as well trained as the standard experts in the field and the field is something connected directly to evolution.

     If it's philosophy, I'd think that you're an educated person, but you might be short on an education in the field.  If it's theology, I'd say the same thing.  If it's engineering, I'd want the connection demonstrated in a clear fashion.  Wouldn't you?

     About fossil records, I think if complete fossil records were available for everything, it would be very nice.  There will never be complete fossil records available for everything, if we are to go on the basis of other sciences, where conclusions are reached not on the basis of complete examination of every example but on the basis of samples.  We do not know that gravity accelerates at a constant rate of 16 point whatever feet per second per second everywhere on earth.  No sir, we do not; because we have not measured that rate on every single spot on earth.  We simply have a very good idea that this is so.  Nor do we know that two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom will form water when heated in the proper conditions simply because that's how we have formed water in the past, and because we can separate hydrogen and oxygen gasses out in that ratio when we do the proper electrical process on water.  We simply know that that's the way it's worked so far, and the next time it is certainly possible that a fuzzy blue ball of lint could emerge from one of those electrical connections instead of the predicted gas.  It's not likely.  It is possible.

     The reason that we are reasonably certain about these things is that we are able to generalize from sample data.  Certainly the more complete the data may be, the better things are, but we still generalize from samples.  Those who want more and more complete sample data for the fossil record are not wrong in wanting that data.  More data is generally better data.  And more analysis is generally more interesting than less, but the data we have is enough to convince the overwhelming majority of scientists in their field that evolution is the way to go.

     By all means continue to gather data and construct alternative theories.  If any of these theories are persuasive, the shift to the new theory will be swift.  Until then, none of the material that I've seen brought up appears to offer any threat to the theory of evolution itself.  Nothing seems to have mainstream scientists scrabbling back to their drawing boards for a major redraft of the theory or for a new theory to replace it.  Nothing seems to have even the critics thrilled and excited in such a way as to make them believe that they have this pesky theory of evolution on the run, and that everybody now knows what a sham and falsehood it is.

     I've looked around for such a thing, and haven't seen it in the journals or even here, where the discussion is stuck on the basic details of material that is so tiny that it makes the process of watchmaking look bold and sweeping as Napoleonic strategy.  Nobody is discussing the new breakthrough science that makes evolution obsolete.  And the incorrigible David Berlinski hasn't done much to budge our stalwart Essorant.

     Where is the breakthrough science that makes evolution obsolete?  Where is the breakthrough science that convinces mainstream science that evolution isn't the language it needs to be speaking right now?  Thrill me, Chill me, Convince me, because that's the task you've got before you with not only me, a regular guy with only a little scientific understanding, but most importantly, with the scientists themselves, who aren't about to be mislead by this stuff about incomplete fossil records.

     How about something that's scientifically convincing?  
 
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