GC Votes to Revise SDA Fundamental #6 on Creation

By Educate Truth Staff:

June 30 2010, during GC session general vice president Gerry D. Karst introduced the following motion to the floor:

Part A, I move that the [59th] session of the General Conference endorse the 2004 Annual Council statement, reaffirmation of creation. Part B, further, that the General Conference administration be requested to initiate a process to integrate Fundamental Belief Number 6 and the statement ‘A [Response to An Affirmation] of Creation’ as provided for in the 2005 General Conference Session protocol for amending a Fundamental Belief.

Both motions passed despite being split at the suggestion of Southern Adventist University president, Gordon Bietz.

____________

An article by Keith Lockhart, published by Spectrum, is quite interesting concerning more details of this vote.  Here are a few excerpts from his article:

[New GC President Ted] Wilson appealed to delegates to allow the General Conference to initiate a process to integrate the 2004 affirmation with the church’s current fundamental belief no. 6. This states that in “six days the Lord made the heaven and the earth and all living things upon the earth and rested on the seventh day.” But the leadership now thinks it is too ambiguous on biblical origins.  The president said: “It is absolutely critical that we accept Scripture as it reads. Personally, and I know in the Seventh-day Adventist Church we believe, that the first 11 chapters of Genesis are not allegorical, not symbolic in some abstract way, but they represent an authentic, a true literal explanation of how God created this earth and also those events following creation, including a global flood of massive proportions.”

Holding up a Bible he added: “We are facing a critical time. The devil is trying his best to undermine the very foundations of our beliefs that are derived from this Word.”…

Southern Adventist University president Gordon Bietz urged that the vote be split into two sections. The first would be a vote on the reaffirmation of the affirmation of creation, and the second, which he opposed, would be opening up the doctrine for a rewrite.

 

Ben Clausen of the Geoscience Research Institute said that Ted Wilson’s statement put science teachers in Adventist schools in an untenable position. Quoting from the statement, Dr. Clausen said that “it is impossible,” to teach students “scientifically rigorous exposure to and affirmation of our historic belief in a literal, recent six-day creation.”

He added: “There are no available models.”…

With very little time set aside for debate and only a few delegates publicly opposing any modification of the church’s current statement on creation, the proposals easily cleared the floor…

As a participant in the International Faith and Science Conferences in Colorado in 2002-2004, Larry Geraty, president emeritus of La Sierra University… was responsible for drafting the original fundamental belief 6 when he taught at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary thirty years ago. He adds:

I fear that the proposal will result in a more literalistic interpretation that will serve to exclude members who love the church, believe in the authority of the Bible, but interpret it in harmony with accepted standards of interpretation for God’s revelation in both nature and Scripture.

(read the full article)

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277 thoughts on “GC Votes to Revise SDA Fundamental #6 on Creation

  1. Brad, your suggestion for Sean to submit his theories to peer-reviewed journals is excellent. Personally, I won’t bet on this happening. Many of our most brilliant Adventist scientists are more so “hobbyists” than true “scientists” who lack either the skills or motivation to successfully publish their research. Sean has a few medical papers to his credit, so skills are certainly not the issue. If he can’t convince practicing scientists of his theories, then there is valid reason (beyond what many of us already see) to question his “science”. If he can get them publish and they gain a receptive audience, then more power to him. It would be nice if many of his ideas were true after all.




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  2. Michael Prewitt wrote

    Apparently you’ve already thrown out Ellen White as a reliable source, since you are no longer willing to hear her testimony on the subject. First Ellen White, next certain passages of the Bible, then the whole Bible, and then…?

    And Sean Pitman wrote:
    [Actually, Robert S. wrote this: @Robert S.:]

    Of course, absolutely, Ellen White is canonical! Her books are both sacred and genuine — They are inspired by the same Spirit who inspired the Bible. If a person does not believe this, he has deceived himself into thinking He is a Christian while in fact he is simply deluded.
    [Sean Pitman did not write this. You’ve misquoted me…]

    Guys, I actually believe Ellen White was a prophet but I don’t believe everything she spoke or wrote was inspired and therefore I don’t believe she should be canonized. If that makes me along with millions of other “Christians” who are not actually Christians deluded, then so be it.

    But perhaps I am simply ignorant about her statements. Could you guys be so kind to explain a couple of odd statements from Ellen White:

    Some women have naturally small waists. But rather than regard such forms as beautiful, they should be viewed as defective. These wasp waists may have been transmitted to them from their mothers, as the result of their indulgence in the sinful practice of tight-lacing, and in consequence of imperfect breathing. Poor children born of these miserable slaves of fashion have diminished vitality, and are predisposed to take on disease. The impurities retained in the system in consequence of imperfect breathing are transmitted to their offspring. The Health Reformer, November 1, 1871, paragraph 23.

    Clearly, EGW believed that women with naturally small waists are defective. She further believed in the Lamarckian concept that a women lacing up her waist would cause her daughters to have slimmer waists. Can you please explain how her words are inspired, or did she get the idea from a non-inspired source?

    The eating of pork has produced scrofula, leprosy, and cancerous humors. Pork eating is still causing the most intense suffering to the human race. Counsels on Diet and Foods, page 393, paragraph 2.

    Clearly, Ellen White tells us that pigs can give leprosy to humans. Is there any evidence that pigs carry leprosy? Has there ever been a case of porcine-transmitted leprosy in humans? What is the evidence that eating port causes the “most intense suffering to the human race” (other than “evolutionary thinking”)? Was this statement inspired from God or did she get the idea from a non-inspired source?

    Inquiring minds want to know (I got this phrase from an EducateTruther named Bob Ryan, so I am not being disrespectful, unChristlike, or condescending).




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  3. @Sean Pitman:

    I’ve re-read my post above, and would like to amend it. My intent is not to challenge you (challenge, in the sense of a dual). I fell as though many in this debate, here and elsewhere have been talking past each other, blending people who believe differently into a single group of dissenters or “conservatives”. Things have been busy lately – as you can see by Sean Pittman answering a host of questions and challenges on a WIDE variety of topics. So, to make a clarification, and give myself (and others) the chance to hear you as you intend to be heard I’d like an explanation:
    – Of the position you’re supporting
    – ignoring the positions you’re refuting
    – a Biblical-based support or two for said position
    – an explanation of the importance for holding this view (ramifications or consequences essentially

    Again, it would be helpful if you could focus on positions you support, as detractors from your view come in many forms, and addressing them tends to muddy the waters.
    Thank you Dr. Pittman. Perhaps a Blog post would be a better place to reply than the Comment section. If you choose this, please comment a link in here.




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  4. Dear Geanna,

    YOU are the one who is incorrect (I’m mimicing your language). You yourself admit that a LOT of microevolution happens and that thousands upon thousands of animal species have evolved since the flood. When you spoke of Darwin’s descent in faith, it was a gradual process. His thinking about change gradually led him to reject a literal creation. You yourself read all sorts of papers about evolution and in that sense you yourself have opened the door to “evolutionary thinking”. It was natural for me to assume your use of “evolutionary thinking” was the start of the process, not the end. But you used this opportunity to lecture me and tell me that I was incorrect. I’m amazed by the number of posts of yours that use the phrases “you are incorrect”, “you are mistaken,” “you are wrong” and the like.

    Ummm … *cough* … uhhh … *blink* … I’m sorry sis, but I haven’t done a thing that you’ve accused me of. I have written not a word upon microevolution, darwin, reading evolution papers, etc. I think you got majorly confused: I’m your young fellow college student, not the venerable Doctor.




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  5. Dear Geanna,

    Wow, you’ve got millions of other Christians figured out, too. One must either accept Ellen White as canonical or you are not a Christian and in fact are delusional.

    Actually, I was rephrasing Ellen White’s words found in 5T, page 364, paragraph 1. Read it for yourself.
    “…he has not accepted the truth for this time [present truth]; he is an unbeliever…”

    Anyone claiming to be Christian, who has not yet accepted *present* truth, truth for *this time,* is an unbeliever.

    It’s interesting that you didn’t give me any solid logic to meet my logic. I gave you a cemented Oxford definition. I gave you a biblical thought on ‘Sola Scriptura.’ I gave you an Inspired quote on evolutionary thoughts replacing pure faith. [edit]

    God Bless!




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  6. Educate Truth is fully supportive of all the fundamental beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. This encompasses the gift of prophecy, which we believe was manifested through Ellen White. This website is not intended to be a forum to discuss her authority. Any further discussion will need to be private.

    18. The Gift of Prophecy:
    One of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is prophecy. This gift is an identifying mark of the remnant church and was manifested in the ministry of Ellen. G. White . As the Lord’s messenger, her writings are a continuing and authoritative source of truth which provide for the church comfort, guidance, instruction, and correction. They also make clear that the Bible is the standard by which all teaching and experience must be tested. (Joel 2:28, 29; Acts 2:14-21; Heb. 1:1-3; Rev. 12:17; 19:10.)




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  7. The actual title of this thread is – “GC Votes to Revise SDA Fundamental #6 on Creation”.

    however the evolutionist “playbook” insists that when the inconvenient details do not support a favorable view of evolutionism’s doctrine on origins the first think to do is “misdirect”, so that solving all the puzzles of life is “a key first step” to exposing any less-than-flattering fact regarding “belief” in evolutionism.

    And so – in keeping with that – we find the following:

    @Geanna Dane:

    Clearly, Ellen White tells us that pigs can give leprosy to humans. Is there any evidence that pigs carry leprosy? Has there ever been a case of porcine-transmitted leprosy in humans? What is the evidence that eating port causes the “most intense suffering to the human race” (other than “evolutionary thinking”)? Was this statement inspired from God or did she get the idea from a non-inspired source?

    Inquiring minds want to know (I got this phrase from an EducateTruther named Bob Ryan, so I am not being disrespectful, unChristlike, or condescending). Geanna Dane(Quote)

    The “inquiring minds” comment is not a problem – the actual problem is that this totally off-topic rabbit trail is being offerred on this thread as a “first you must solve-all-puzzles known to man” strategy in defense of evolutionism.

    I am sure this tactic plays well in some evolutionist circles – but why would they think it is a “best fit” here?

    inquiring minds want to know.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  8. Brad, your suggestion for Sean to submit his theories to peer-reviewed journals is excellent. Personally, I won’t bet on this happening. Many of our most brilliant Adventist scientists are more so “hobbyists” than true “scientists” who lack either the skills or motivation to successfully publish their research. Sean has a few medical papers to his credit, so skills are certainly not the issue. If he can’t convince practicing scientists of his theories, then there is valid reason (beyond what many of us already see) to question his “science”. If he can get them publish and they gain a receptive audience, then more power to him. It would be nice if many of his ideas were true after all.  (Quote)

    Peer reviewed journals, Geanna you know as well as the rest of us here, that the only peer reviewed journals you are talking about is from an evolutionist standpoint. No young earth creationist research(i.e. Sean Pitman’s research) will be accepted because (1) It supports young earth and the Bible and (2)it does not fit into the new age agenda’s(satan’s agenda) rebellious attitude of Pride! Pride! Pride!.

    Evolutionists, theistic evolutionists, and many “creationists” have been seduced by the world’s convincing “arguments of academia” impressive credentials and the ensuing “success, power, and prominence” that come from finding secular and humanistic worldly truth aside from God’s word. His word is TRUTH(John 17:17); it is ETERNAL, LIVING, and ACTIVE(Heb 4:12) and will not return void(Isa 55:11)

    “The non-verifiable “assumptions”(guesses) of the scientific community are accepted without question in our high-tech, sophisticated, humanistic, impersonal “politically correct” society…even by the majority of professing Christians who hide behind the hypocrisy of being “theistic evolutionists”. Since any form of macroevolution is unbiblical, it is therefore a sin to be a true Christian and hold to old universe evolutionary ideas. It is making God what we want Him to be. It is making God in our image. This is not much different than making a golden calf, is it?
    Since the Fall of Genesis 3, man has been more interested in the approval of men, rather than the approval of God(John 5:44, 12:43) We compare ourselves with ourselves instead of with Christ, who should be our only comparison. 2 Cor 10:12 “For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.”

    Psalms Ch 1 clearly states that there are only two paths to walk in this world either righteous or ungodly, there is no fence sitting! One day soon we will all stand before the Creator Lord Jesus Christ and answer for our lives lived in this world. Will we have lived for the praise of the power and glory of our Saviour or will our lives have been lived for the temporal praise of the power and glory of this world?

    1 Cor 3:18-20 “Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.
    For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.
    And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.”
    Macroevolution is “…wisdom of this world…”.

    It always comes back to the simple question of faith. Do we put our faith in God or do we put our faith in fallen man?




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  9. Let’s step back and take stock of what has happened in the last 1-2 years.

    1) La Sierra has promoted evolution for a while
    2) Finally it came to a head and a letter was leaked by a major church evangelist to the SDA media which drew the neccessary attention in the midst of the heightened interest in creation-evolution debate.
    3) SDA world scrutiny focused on LSU
    4) LSU was found wanting in the balance
    5) LSU had to do posturing and positioning with letter writing (something you do when there is not easy answer to your behavior)
    6) Church Conferences are dropping LSU as an SDA institution.
    7) The issue has caused the GC to change the 6th belief pending voting at the next GC
    8) The newly elected GC president is a firm believer in a literal 6-day creation

    I’d say 2 words describe what’s going on here in this debate:

    WE’RE WINNING. more importantly GOD’S WINNING!




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  10. @ Shane:
    Thank you for controlling the distractions presented through the gluttony issue and the questioning of the authority of Ellen G. White. Thank you for keeping the dialogue on track. Thank you for being gracious and controlled yet to the point.

    Darlene




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  11. God’d Truth WILL win out, as we are seeing. That doesn’t mean we should sit back and relax, however. There’s plenty more to do before this is over.




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  12. Nathan, You’ve summarized the real issue very well. Are we to believe God or Man? Is faith in God our main aim, or faith in humanistic philosophy? Many at LSU have chosen the latter, but we know which is correct.




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  13. @Nathan:

    Peer reviewed journals, Geanna you know as well as the rest of us here, that the only peer reviewed journals you are talking about is from an evolutionist standpoint. No young earth creationist research(i.e. Sean Pitman’s research) will be accepted because (1) It supports young earth and the Bible and (2)it does not fit into the new age agenda’s(satan’s agenda) rebellious attitude of Pride! Pride! Pride!.

    Nathan, if Sean sends his work to a scientific journal, I guarantee that the reasons it will be rejected do not have to do with the conclusions or agenda of the work. It will be rejected because the arguments are no good. Have you ever seen a referee report that listed “supports the Bible” or “does not fit the rebellious attitude of Pride! Pride! Pride!” as a reason? Do you have any evidence at all for your claim that these are among the reasons why there are no young-earth papers in the literature? The fact is, there is no young-earth science in the journals for the same reason there is no refutation of special relativity in the journals.




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  14. Peer reviewed journals, Geanna you know as well as the rest of us here, that the only peer reviewed journals you are talking about is from an evolutionist standpoint. No young earth creationist research(i.e. Sean Pitman’s research) will be accepted because (1) It supports young earth and the Bible and (2)it does not fit into the new age agenda’s(satan’s agenda) rebellious attitude of Pride! Pride! Pride!.

    When I visit the biology department websites at SDA colleges, I am seeing some faculty who publish a LOT of articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals.




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  15. however the evolutionist “playbook” insists that when the inconvenient details do not support a favorable view of evolutionism’s doctrine on origins the first think to do is “misdirect”, so that solving all the puzzles of life is “a key first step” to exposing any less-than-flattering fact regarding “belief” in evolutionism.

    Bob, I am getting tired of you implying over and over that I am an evolutionist. Please stop.




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  16. @Brad:

    Before I do so, note that I am leaving aside two topics that were generated by our exchange on Liu and Ochman. On the whole core flagellum gene complex evolving by gene duplication I agree with Sean that the evidence is far from convincing, and I thank him for referring me to some of the more recent literature on this.

    No problem…

    I stand by my earlier claim that there is wide-ranging evidence that gene duplication plays an important role in evolutionary change (and indeed, even the critics of Liu and Ochman think that some of the core flagellar genes clearly evolved by multiple rounds of duplication).

    The “wide-ranging evidence” for the role of gene duplication beyond very low levels of functional complexity is based entirely on the same assumptions used by Liu and Ochman – that sequence similarities necessitate a common evolutionary origin without consideration of other means of common origin. We all agree that the evidence supports a common orgin of some kind. The disagreement here is over what kind of common origin was most likely.

    On the reliability of phylogenetic methods at the root of the tree of life, I now think we were talking past one another. I took Sean to be arguing that the difficulties of inference at the root infected the whole tree, but I now think he was only arguing that it made inference regarding the flagellum difficult. I agree here. I disagree that the problems are intractable, but we can leave that for another time.

    Indeed, this was my argument…

    Now, on to where I think the more interesting questions lie.

    ONE
    I would like a commitment from Sean to send his in-principle argument about the limits of natural selection to a peer reviewed scientific journal. I have argued repeatedly that there is no reason to think that such arguments are not given a fair hearing by the scientific community (indeed, Axe’s work itself shows this), and I think that the best way to improve scientific arguments is to expose them to the experts.

    You’ve mentioned this several times before, and I do note your advice here, though I do not share your optimism regarding an unbiased vetting process or the lack of personal passion when it comes to what is and what is not published on hot-button topics. The fairly recent global warming E-mail scandal should be enough to open your eyes to this whole problem with publishing in maintream journals which are clearly hostile to non-party line ideas. But, perhaps, a more benignly worded paper with more liimited conclusions as to the meaning of the data could yet be accepted for publication along these lines

    Until then, however, let’s deal with your own personal counterarguments…

    TWO
    “…What this means is that the differences are clustered or nested because of the different functional needs of different organisms in different environments.” – Sean Pitman

    This suggests the following prediction. Suppose that there is a group of species which are discovered to have enough non-functional sequences to ground a phylogenetic inference made purely on that basis. Sean, do you predict that this phylogeny is no more likely than chance to agree with the phylogeny produced by whole genome analysis? The quoted remark suggests that you will. As you know, evolutionary theory predicts agreement. You should be especially willing to make the prediction given your scepticism about the existence of non-functional sequences. I on the other hand regard the existence of many such sequences as established to a reasonably high degree of confidence. Of course, we would have to agree on criteria for determining that a particular sequence is non-functional, but there are good ways of doing so that I think we can ultimately agree on. For now, I just want you to accept this prediction, or to reject it and propose another instead. I remind you that you were the one who claimed that the design hypothesis makes predictions.

    Your suggestion that neutral DNA will show the same phylogenetic “relationships” as functional DNA is a problematic argument because of the fact that many if not most sequences previously thought to be neutral or nearly so are showing evidence of functionality and at least some influence by NS. Please refere to the following commentary in this regard:

    In fact, the most detailed probe yet into the workings of the human genome has led scientists to conclude [as of June 14, 2007] that a cornerstone concept about the chemical code for life is badly flawed. Reporting in the British journal Nature and the US journal Genome Research on Thursday [June 14, 2007], they suggest that an established theory about the genome should be consigned to history.
    In between the genes and the sequences known to regulate their activity are long, tedious stretches that appear to do nothing. The term for them is “junk” DNA, reflecting the presumption that they are merely driftwood from our evolutionary past and have no biological function. But the work by the ENCODE (ENCyclopaedia of DNA Elements) consortium implies that this nuggets-and-dross concept of DNA should be, well, junked.
    The genome turns out to a highly complex, interwoven machine with very few inactive stretches, the researchers report. Genes, it transpires, are just one of many types of DNA sequences that have a functional role. And “junk” DNA turns out to have an essential role in regulating the protein-making business. Previously written off as silent, it emerges as a singer with its own discreet voice, part of a vast, interacting molecular choir.
    “The majority of the genome is copied, or transcribed, into RNA, which is the active molecule in our cells, relaying information from the archival DNA to the cellular machinery,” said Tim Hubbard of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, a British research group that was part of the team. “This is a remarkable finding, since most prior research suggested only a fraction of the genome was transcribed.”
    Francis Collins, director of the US National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), which coralled 35 scientific groups from around the world into the ENCODE project, said the scientific community “will need to rethink some long-held views about what genes are and what they do.”

    ENCORE Project Consortium et al., Identification and analysis of functional elements in 1% of the human genome by the ENCODE pilot project, Nature 447, 799-816 (14 June 2007); Richard Ingham, Landmark study prompts rethink of genetic code, Yahoo News, accessed June 15, 2007

    “We fooled ourselves into thinking the genome was going to be a transparent blueprint, but it’s not,” says Mel Greaves, a cell biologist at the Institute of Cancer Research in Sutton, UK. Instead, as sequencing and other new technologies spew forth data, the complexity of biology has seemed to grow by orders of magnitude. Delving into it has been like zooming into a Mandelbrot set — a space that is determined by a simple equation, but that reveals ever more intricate patterns as one peers closer at its boundary….
    “It seems like we’re climbing a mountain that keeps getting higher and higher,” says Jennifer Doudna, a biochemist at the University of California, Berkeley. “The more we know, the more we realize there is to know.”…
    Researchers from an international collaborative project called the Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (ENCODE) showed that in a selected portion of the genome containing just a few per cent of protein-coding sequence, between 74% and 93% of DNA was transcribed into RNA. Much non-coding DNA has a regulatory role; small RNAs of different varieties seem to control gene expression at the level of both DNA and RNA transcripts in ways that are still only beginning to become clear. “Just the sheer existence of these exotic regulators suggests that our understanding about the most basic things — such as how a cell turns on and off — is incredibly naive,” says Joshua Plotkin, a mathematical biologist at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

    Erika Check Hayden, Human genome at ten: Life is complicated, Nature 464, 664-667, Published online 31 March 2010

    So, the notion that it is easy to determine which sequences are actually “neutral” with respect to functionality is just a bit premature I would think. Beyond this, truly neutral sequences should not be maintained very long within a genome. They should be fairly rapidly scrambled by random mutations over time. The existence of non-scrambled sequences over vast pariods of time would be evidence of beneficial functionality, not neutrality.

    Also, if all living things were in fact produced within recent history, within the last 10,000 years or so, then the patterns within neutral sequences showing a similar hiearchy compared to functional sequences wouldn’t necessarily be all that different since there would not have been enough time to really scramble the neutral sequences…

    THREE
    In general I am interested in your response to my basic argument that you quite nicely summarised in an earlier post. I will attempt to re-state that argument here, correcting some points on which I would state things a little differently.

    I claim it is reasonable to believe that all biological systems have evolved by natural mechanisms from a single common ancestor. Regarding the relative importance of natural selection, I remain neutral. The evidence for this claim is overwhelming, and has been steadily increasing since Darwin. The most powerful recent evidence comes from the molecular structure of the genome, and some quite detailed possible sequences for the evolution of complex structures have been proposed, including for the flagellum. Moreover the prevalence of homologies throughout the genome suggest that such sequences can be completed. Nevertheless, these sequences are not yet complete, in the sense that it is not the case that every step has been detailed. In light of all this gathering evidence, any argument purporting to provide in-principle reasons to doubt that any natural mechanism could have produced this pattern of evolution is highly unlikely to be sound.

    It is interesting to me that you claim to believe in mindless natural mechanisms as the source of all or at least most of the diversity of life while at the same time being “neutral” regarding the involvement of natural selection as the driving natural force. In other words, you believe that the mechanism was some mindless natural process even though you are at best abivalent as to what mindless natural mechanism might be viable?

    This is interesting because this was Darwin’s real claim to fame – the proposal of what many believed at the time, and still believe today, to be a viable naturalistic mechansim to explain the origin of the diversity of living things. Without the evident viability of this mechanism it is arguably likely that Darwin would have never become famous and naturalism, with its emphasis on mindless natural mechanisms being responsible for all that we see around and within us, would have never taken hold of the scientific community as it has today. It is, after all, the Darwinian mechanism that allowed for, as Dawkins put it, “Intellectually fulfilled atheism”…

    Yet, you cosider the evidence of patterns themselves, without regard to associated functionality, to support your conclusion of a mindless natural mechanism. In this line, consider the following hypothetical situation. Let say that one of our Mars rovers happens across a collection of granite rocks. Lets say that these rocks come in a variety of interesting shapes and sizes. All are highly symmetrical and polished to a high level of precision. Some are highly symmetrical cubes. Others form highly symmetrical quadrahedrons. Yet others come in a large variety of very highly symmetrical geometric shapes of various sizes. Lets say that these granite objects could be classified very nicely into NHPs very similar to how living things are classified. What would this tell us about their origin? Would the pattern clearly indicate a mindless natural origin?

    Now, you may ask why any intelligent designer would have produced such a “natural” pattern using the medium of granite, but does one really need to know why an intelligent designer would do anything before the need for high level intelligence is clearly required to explain the origin of certain phenomena?

    Again I ask you, what is the basis of anthropology, forensic science, or even SETI when it comes to ID hypotheses?

    If there is no known mindless naturalistic mechanism to explain a highly symmetrical granite cube, while there are many known intelligence-driven mechanisms to explain such a phenomena, what is the most reasonable “scientific” conclusion regarding the origin of this granite cube? – regardless of the NHP pattern of granite objects in the vicinity?

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  17. When I visit the biology department websites at SDA colleges, I am seeing some faculty who publish a LOT of articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals.  (Quote)

    Please enlighten me on these peer-reviewed scientific journals and the SDA scientist articles that were published.




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  18. Geanna said…..

    “Bob, I am getting tired of you implying over and over that I am an evolutionist. Please stop.”

    Bob, she is like a Sabbath keeper who keeps arguing against the Sabbath. And then affirms she is a Sabbath keeper.

    We could only wonder “How long?” Oh, well.

    Bill Sorensen




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  19. @Nathan:

    Please enlighten me on these peer-reviewed scientific journals and the SDA scientist articles that were published.

    SDA scientists are often published in science journals. It is just that mainstream science journals do not publish those articles that question fundamental aspects of modern evolutionary theory – namely, the very limited creative potential of RM/NS or the evidence favoring the very recent creation of all life on Earth.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  20. It is just that mainstream science journals do not publish those articles that question fundamental aspects of modern evolutionary theory

    My point exactly, a biased system. [edit]




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  21. @Nathan: Please enlighten me on these peer-reviewed scientific journals and the SDA scientist articles that were published.

    Please enlighten yourselv. You can Google as well as as I can.. Some articles on fossil wales, for example, by Loma Linda University and Geoscience Research Institute sceintists have already been discussed in detail here..

    It is just that mainstream science journals do not publish those articles that question fundamental aspects of modern evolutionary theory – namely, the very limited creative potential of RM/NS or the evidence favoring the very recent creation of all life on Earth.

    @ Sean Pitman: I do’nt believe there are any Adventis biologists who have written aand submitted these articles to be “rejected”. I do’nt beleive any would have data to begin with. Many here have encouraged you to submit your own revolutionary concepts to refered journals,, Sean. What gives?




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  22. Re Ron’s quote:

    “Nathan, You’ve summarized the real issue very well. Are we to believe God or Man? Is faith in God our main aim, or faith in humanistic philosophy? Many at LSU have chosen the latter, but we know which is correct. Ron Stone M.D.(Quote)”

    Dear Ron

    Is the issue really that simple, if even folks within the Adventist community have different ideas as the the exact nature of God? Who determines this: God, or people who claim that only they the exclusive franchise to interpret the Word of God? Respectfully, it seems to me to be the latter.

    Regards
    Ken




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  23. @Sean Pitman:

    I realise that you are sceptical concerning whether features of the genome can be found that are clearly non-functional, and I am aware of the debate over the functionality of non-coding DNA. But there are other possibilities we have not yet discussed which are not subject to the worries you have raised so far. So, please answer my question just to humour me. If I can find a property of genomes that I can convince you is:

    1. Highly likely to be non-functional; and
    2. Sufficient to ground phylogenetic inference.

    Will you accept that the design hypothesis you favour predicts that the phylogenetic inference is no more likely than chance to agree with an inference made on the basis of all other available data?




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  24. Hello Shane

    I was referring to Ron’s query: “Are we to believe God or Man?”

    My point being that those that believe in some form of theistic evolution obviously believe in God.

    Regards
    Ken




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  25. @Sean Pitman: I might even add that they (theistic evolutionists) don’t believe in the God of the Bible. This is not to say that they don’t believe in other parts of the Bible that talk about God, but that their worldview of God is not consistent with the Bible.




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  26. @Brad:

    If I can find a property of genomes that I can convince you is:

    1. Highly likely to be non-functional; and
    2. Sufficient to ground phylogenetic inference.

    Will you accept that the design hypothesis you favour predicts that the phylogenetic inference is no more likely than chance to agree with an inference made on the basis of all other available data?

    In other words, given the hypothetical that you can find a NHP in clearly non-functional DNA that matches the overall NHP of the ToL, would such a pattern suggest common evolutionary ancestry via some mindless natural mechanism over intelligent design? Is that your question?

    If so, this is a fair and reasonable question, in my opinion. NHPs can be and are produced all the time by mindless random mutations in neutral or near-neutral DNA. While this does not mean that all NHPs are therefore clearly the result of mindless natural mechanisms, a match to another NHP that is associated with features that are proposed to require the input of ID would certainly be a curious finding. Why would a NHP of features where none of the features seem to require the input of ID match a NHP of features where at least some of the features do seem to require the input of ID?

    Given such a phenomenon, what are the possible explanations? One possibility is that the neutral sequences aren’t really neutral, and have yet undiscovered functionality. Another is that the neutral sequences really are neutral but were recently created along with the functional sequences for some as yet unknown reason – to include the reason for their appearance in a very similar NHP to the functional sequences. Another option is that the neutral sequences were produced via mutations from previously functional sequences that have since lost their functionality over time via detrimental mutations or copy-n-paste mutations with subsequent loss of functionality (duplications with subsequent loss of functionality due to smaller point or short indel-type mutations).

    There are many possibilities for such an observation which both do and do not clearly favor mindless natural mechanisms. Regardless, such a finding would certainly not favor mindless mechanisms to explain all of the features of the ToL. The requirement for ID to explain certain features of certain NHPs within the ToL remains unchallenged by your argument and trumps those features that may be, in isolation, explained by mindless mechanisms…

    Once again arguments for common origin of certain features within the ToL are not arguments against the hypothesis that ID and only ID can explain certain aspects of the ToL.

    You know what might help me out here? – illustrating your theory using a different medium besides DNA. Why not use my example of NHPs within geometric granite forms? – as in highly symmetrical polished granite cubes, quadrangles, etc., within a NHP of granite forms. What would the NHP of such forms indicate regarding their most likely origin? Mindless or intelligent? Is your theory of mindless natural production for all NHPs universally applicable regardless of the material or medium in question? What’s so special about DNA?

    I’ll tell you that my basis for detecting the requirement for the input of ID is universally applicable…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  27. @Sean Pitman:

    In other words, given the hypothetical that you can find a NHP in clearly non-functional DNA that matches the overall NHP of the ToL, would such a pattern suggest common evolutionary ancestry via some mindless natural mechanism over intelligent design?Is that your question?

    Yes. Your earlier remarks suggested you would accept that this would support the hypothesis of evolutionary relationships between species over the hypothesis that they were separately created.

    One possibility is that the neutral sequences aren’t really neutral, and have yet undiscovered functionality.

    In the case I will provide shortly, this is highly unlikely.

    Another is that the neutral sequences really are neutral but were recently created along with the functional sequences for some as yet unknown reason – to include the reason for their appearance in a very similar NHP to the functional sequences.

    This move renders the design hypothesis unable to make predictions. In order for the design hypothesis to make predictions, it must specify the goals and abilities of the designer so that the observations we make can be assigned probabilities. If you simply say that whatever evidence we observe is equally compatible with design, then the design hypothesis is not testable. For more on this point see:

    Elliott Sober. 2003. “The Design Argument”, in Neil A. Manson (Ed), God and Design: The Teleological Argument and Modern Science, Routledge, London, pp. 25–53. Reprinted in William A. Dembski and Michael Ruse (Eds), Debating Design: From Darwin to DNA, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2004, pp. 98–129; and in Mann, William E (Ed). 2005. The Blackwell Guide to the Philosophy of Religion, Blackwell, Malden MA, pp. 117–147. Online: http://philosophy.wisc.edu/sober/design%20argument%2011%202004.pdf

    Another option is that the neutral sequences were produced via mutations from previously functional sequences that have since lost their functionality over time via detrimental mutations or copy-n-paste mutations with subsequent loss of functionality (duplications with subsequent loss of functionality due to smaller point or short indel-type mutations).

    In the case I will provide shortly, this is also highly unlikely.

    There are many possibilities for such an observation which do not clearly favor mindless natural mechanisms – and certainly do not favor such mechanisms to explain all of the ToL. The requirement for ID to explain certain features of certain NHPs within the ToL remains unchallenged. Once again arguments for common origin of certain features within the ToL are not arguments against the hypothesis that ID and only ID can explain certain aspects of the ToL.

    I’m unsure what your claim is here. Regarding the specific prediction in question, you proposed three hypotheses. Two of these are, for the case I will describe shortly, highly unlikely to be correct, for reasons that will become clear. The third is an untestable hypothesis, and so inadmissible. Let me remind you of your own remarks on the topic, which I am simply trying to refine to the point where you can make a prediction:

    However, the death knell to this whole thing is the fact that most of these phylogenetic trees are based on functional genetic sequences. That messes everything up. Evolutionists would have a much stronger case if the sequences in question were actually neutral with regard to phenotypic function, but they aren’t. That is why the notion of “pseudogenes” was so popular for such a long time – until recently when pseudogenes were actually found to be functional. What this means is that the differences are clustered or nested because of the different functional needs of different organisms in different environments.

    So, do you or do you not accept that, regarding this specific question, the design hypothesis predicts that we will not see congruence between the phylogenies (conditional on the two testable possibilities you provided having low probability)? If you do not, you owe us an explanation of why not, given your claim that the hypothesis is testable.

    Regarding your request to discuss symmetrical granite cubes, anthropology and SETI, I have nothing to offer that isn’t already contained in the Sober paper referred to above (if you have questions or objections to those arguments, I am willing to discuss them). My interest is in forcing you to make a prediction. You claimed you have one; we are all still waiting.




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  28. @Ken:As do Hindu’s and Buddhists.The issue here is that theistic evolutionists don’t believe in the SDA view of God… a view that we consider to be helpful and important to share with the world…Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com  

    Exactly Sean. My post regarding God did not mean the hundreds or thousands of false gods of pagan religions,or even the false concept of god as perpetuated by liberals. I meant the Creator God of the bible.




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  29. Hello ShaneI was referring to Ron’s query: “Are we to believe God or Man?”My point being that those that believe in some form of theistic evolution obviously believe in God.Regards
    Ken  

    The idea that as long as you believe in “god” everything is A-OK is exactly why we need websites like this one. Those that believe in theistic evolution obviously don’t take Genesis 1 seriously. It’s just some fairy tale God told us (or someone else) because we’re too stupid to understand the “real” story, which of course is Darwinian evolution. This, as I’ve stated before, is pure secular humanism–Man is the ultimate authority on earth. Just ask any “expert!”




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  30. @Brad:

    So, do you or do you not accept that, regarding this specific question, the design hypothesis predicts that we will not see congruence between the phylogenies (conditional on the two testable possibilities you provided having low probability)? If you do not, you owe us an explanation of why not, given your claim that the hypothesis is testable.

    The “prediction” of ID is that only ID-driven mechanisms will be found to produce the phenomenon in question – that no non-intelligent mechanism will come remotely close to doing the job.

    As I’ve mentioned to you before, you cannot “predict” any particular features of what a designer will do or would have done without direct knowledge of the designer in question. However, a lack of such direct knowledge does not remove the scientific ability to detect a true artifact when you see one with high predictive value.

    This is the reason I’ve asked you to discuss the granite NHP problem I’ve presented. Instead, you’ve referred me, yet again, to the arguments of another without presenting any argument of your own or even commenting on those ideas that you consider to be most personally convincing to you.

    My interest is in forcing you to make a prediction. You claimed you have one; we are all still waiting.

    My claim was that evolutionists would have an easier time of things if functionality wasn’t involved in the ToL. The reason for this is that mindless mechanisms can produce NHPs – and do so all the time. However, mindless mechanisms are extremely unlikely to produce high levels of functional complexity in a reasonable amount of time and have never been observed to do so.

    In short, some things you can’t predict; some things you can – – with regard to the ID-only hypothesis. You are asking me to predict those things that are not predictable from an ID perspective. You are then arguing that because such things are not predictable that ID cannot be scientifically detectable. This assumption of yours simply doesn’t follow for me…

    Therefore, I’m interested in hearing you explain the logical basis behind various fields of science which invoke ID (such as anthropology, forensics, and SETI). What “predictions” are needed to support the ID hypothesis in those sciences? You don’t seem to want to personally address this question for some reason. Why not?

    Regarding your reference to Elliot Sober, it would be more interesting for me if you would present your personal take on his arguments rather than simply referencing him without presenting any argument of your own.

    But anyway, to get you started, I suggest that there are a number of logical flaws in Elliott Sober’s paper:

    The anti-ID Arguments of Elliot Sober

    http://philosophy.wisc.edu/sober/design%20argument%2011%202004.pdf

    For example, Sober presents the “inverse gambler’s fallacy” noting that it would be a logical error to assume that just because a pair of dice landed on double sixes the first few times that they were observed to be rolled does not mean that a roll of double sixes is more likely. After all, Sober argues, the odds of rolling double sixes are 1/36 regardless of how many times double sixes are initially observed to be rolled in a row. The problem here is that Sober assumes, a priori that the dice are actually “fair” dice that haven’t been loaded or biased in any way.

    The problem here is that Sober assumes, a priori that the dice are actually “fair” dice that haven’t been loaded or biased in any way. The assumption of fair dice is a hypothesis that can be subject to testing and potential statistical falsification simply by observing the outcome of a number of rolls of the dice – without actually knowing, for sure, if the dice are or are not loaded. Based on the statistical pattern alone one can gain very high predictive value regarding the hypothesis that the dice are in fact loaded or biased vs. the alternate hypothesis that they are actually fair dice. Such observations have been very successfully used by carefully observant gamblers to exploit subtle biases in roulette wheels, dice, and other games of chance that are dependent upon apparent randomness or non-predictability of a biased pattern against the pattern that the house is betting on…

    Can such biases be determined with absolute certainty? – based only on the patterns produced and nothing else? Of course not! But, science isn’t about perfection, but about determining useful degrees of predictive value that are always open to additional testing and potential falsification by future information.

    This addresses yet another flaw in Sober’s paper. Sober accuses IDists of appealing to the concept of “modus tollens“, or the absolute perfection of the ID hypothesis. He uses the illustration of a million monkey’s randomly typing on typewriters producing all of the works of Shakespeare. He argues that while such a scenario is extremely unlikely, that it isn’t statistically impossible. There is still a finite probability of success.

    While this is true, science doesn’t go with what is merely possible, but what is probable given the available evidence at hand. This is the reason why nobody reading a Shakespearean sonnet would think that it was the product of any kind of mindless random production. The same would be true if you were to walk out of your house and see that the pansies in your front yard had spelled out the phrase, “Good Morning. We hope you have a great day!”

    Given such a situation you would never think that such a situation occurred by any non-deliberate mindless process of nature. You would automatically assume deliberate design. Why? Do you know?

    Sober argues that if a known designer is not readily available to explain a given phenomenon, that the likelihood that a designer was responsible is just as remotely unlikely as is the notion that a mindless process was responsible for such an unlikely event. Therefore, there is essentially no rational basis to assume intelligent design. However, by the same argument, there would be no rational basis to assume non-intelligent design either.

    The detail that Sober seems to selectively overlook is that if certain features fall within the known creative potential of known intelligent agents (i.e., humans) while being well outside of the realm of all known non-deliberate forces of nature, the most rational conclusion is that of ID.

    Essentially, Sober does away with all bases for hypothesizing ID behind anything for which an intelligent agent is not directly known. This essentially includes all of modern science that deals with ID – to include anthropology, forensic science, and especially SETI. Yet, amazingly, he goes on to use this very same argument in support of the ID detecting abilities of the same.

    In the end, it seems like Sober is more concerned about the specific identity of the designer not being “God” rather being concerned about the idea that the scientific inference of a need for some kind of intelligent designer to explain certain kinds of phenomena is in fact overwhelmingly reasonable – scientifically.

    Ultimately, it seems to me like Sober’s arguments are really directed against the detection of God, not intelligent design…

    In this line Sober writes:

    The upshot of this point for Paley’s design argument is this: Design arguments for the existence of human (and human-like) watchmakers are often unproblematic; it is design arguments for the existence of God that leave us at sea.

    – Elliot Sober

    Of course, my ID-only hypothesis does not try to demonstrate the need for God. Rather it suggests that at least human-level intelligence had to have been involved to explain certain features of the universe and of life on this planet. It doesn’t attempt to argue that a God or God-like intelligence had to have been involved. If fact, it is impossible for the finite to prove the need for the infinite. However, one may argue that from a given finite perspective a particular phenomenon would require the input of a creative intelligence that would be indistinguishable from a God or God-like creative power.

    At this point, a belief that such a God-like creator is in fact omnipotent is not unreasonable, but must be based, not on demonstration, but on trust in the testimony of this Creative Power. If a God-like creative power personally claims to be “The” God of all, Omnipotent in every way, it would be very hard for someone from my perspective to reasonably argue otherwise…

    Anyway, your thoughts regarding what seems so convincing to you about Sober’s “arguments” would be most interesting – especially as they apply to granite NHPs or other such “artifacts”…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  31. Re Nature of God

    Dear Shane, Sean and Ron

    Thank you gentleman for your comments.

    I certainly appreciate the distinction of the SDA idea of God versus those of others i.e. Hindus, Buddhists, theistic evolutionists etc. Each faith has the absolute right to believe in what they wish. Each church, as a democratic institution, has a right to establish fundamental beliefs and practices. Often, what an institution considers to be heretical will spawn a new sect, i.e. Martin Luther, Desmond Ford.

    Who is right? Presumably God knows, although I doubt that any man does.

    What is certain to an agnostic like myself is that there is universal doubt as to the exact nature of God. More importantly there are good, wise, intelligent people in all faiths. What does that mean? Someone is mistaken? All are mistaken? Respectfully I opine this is a matter of faith not science.

    In my opinion science should not be the tool of any faith, or non faith for that matter, but instead an objective barometer as to the nature of reality. I know and respect this differs from the SDA position. Why- because then it becomes more credible in the eyes of all of humanity not just one sect of it.

    I support Sean’s intellectual, scientific attack on evolution. Why? Because if it can not survive such attacks it does not deserve to be accepted as mainstream science. I also like Sean’s approach that SDA creation must be supported by credible science or else it lacks corroboration. Bravo Sean, that is the scientific spirit. It matters not to me that you are a strong SDA if your scientific arguments hold water.

    However, I do not support demonizing all that disagree with the fundamental tenets of the church. Good, intelligent people often disagree. I liked Sean’s previous comments that he expects to see some surprised agnostics and atheists in heaven some day. I am not so arrogant to conclude that might not be the case.

    May you all have a great Sabbath tomorrow.

    Best Regards
    Ken




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  32. @Sean Pitman:

    The “prediction” of ID is that only ID-driven mechanisms will be found to produce the phenomenon in question – that no non-intelligent mechanism will come remotely close to doing the job.

    I’m glad you put this in scare quotes again, since as you know this is not a prediction in the relevant sense at all. All hypotheses trivially make the “prediction” that they are true. What is demanded is an empirical test that if successful would confirm the theory and if unsuccessful would disconfirm the theory, relative to relevant rivals. It seems that you do not have one.

    As I’ve mentioned to you before, you cannot “predict” any particular features of what a designer will do or would have done without direct knowledge of the designer in question. However, a lack of such direct knowledge does not remove the scientific ability to detect a true artifact when you see one with high predictive value.

    What does “high predictive value” mean here? I submit that it means nothing relevant to our discussion.

    My claim was that evolutionists would have an easier time of things if functionality wasn’t involved in the ToL. The reason for this is that mindless mechanisms can produce NHPs – and do so all the time. However, mindless mechanisms are extremely unlikely to produce high levels of functional complexity in a reasonable amount of time and have never been observed to do so.

    You are being disingenuous. Let me remind you of the final part of your quote:

    What this means is that the differences are clustered or nested because of the different functional needs of different organisms in different environments.

    This suggested that you knew something about the designer that would enable a prediction. When I tried to draw out the consequence, you took it back. If you were honest, you would simply admit that your hypothesis does not make any empirical predictions, contrary to your earlier claims. You would also admit that all your talk about hierarchical patterns being the sorts of things designers naturally employ is irrelevant, since when you are threatened with evidence that clearly non-functional aspects of the genome also display these patterns you just throw up your hands and say that the designer could have done things that way for reasons we can’t discern.

    In short, some things you can’t predict; some things you can – – with regard to the ID-only hypothesis. You are asking me to predict those things that are not predictable from an ID perspective. You are then arguing that because such things are not predictable that ID cannot be scientifically detectable.

    No, I am arguing that you spoke falsely when you asserted that the design hypothesis makes predictions. I am also arguing that this makes for an enormous contrast between the evolutionary hypothesis and the design hypothesis, since the evolutionary hypothesis has one of the most stunning records of successful predictions in the history of science.

    I suggest that there are a number of logical flaws in Elliott Sober’s paper […] For example, Sober presents the “inverse gambler’s fallacy” noting that it would be a logical error to assume that just because a pair of dice landed on double sixes the first few times that they were observed to be rolled does not mean that a roll of double sixes is more likely. After all, Sober argues, the odds of rolling double sixes are 1/36 regardless of how many times double sixes are initially observed to be rolled in a row. The problem here is that Sober assumes, a priori that the dice are actually “fair” dice that haven’t been loaded or biased in any way.

    Thanks for the entertainment; you couldn’t have misunderstood Sober more if you tried. You have not described the inverse gambler’s fallacy, which in this case is the fallacious inference from observing repeated double sixes to the hypothesis that many rolls had taken place before the observed rolls. By the way, the regularly gambler’s fallacy as standardly described is made by someone who by stipulation believes the dice are fair; and both fallacies are in fact independent of the particular hypothesis concerning the bias of the dice we choose for the sake of example. If you were taking my introduction to probability class, you would fail. In future, perhaps you should be a bit more cautious in supposing one of the leading philosophers of probability in the world to have made an elementary mistake of the kind you allege (and in a widely cited and twice-reprinted paper, no less).

    This addresses yet another flaw in Sober’s paper. Sober accuses IDists of appealing to the concept of “modus tollens“, or the absolute perfection of the ID hypothesis. He uses the illustration of a million monkey’s randomly typing on typewriters producing all of the works of Shakespeare. He argues that while such a scenario is extremely unlikely, that it isn’t statistically impossible. There is still a finite probability of success. While this is true, science doesn’t go with what is merely possible, but what is probable given the available evidence at hand.

    Yes, that is the simple point here, that the design theorist shouldn’t say that non-design is impossible, just that it is unlikely. You agree with him, so this can hardly be a “flaw” in the paper.

    Sober argues that if a known designer is not readily available to explain a given phenomenon, that the likelihood that a designer was responsible is just as remotely unlikely as is the notion that a mindless process was responsible for such an unlikely event. Therefore, there is essentially no rational basis to assume intelligent design. However, by the same argument, there would be no rational basis to assume non-intelligent design either.

    So far so good, if “known” means “reasonable to believe in the existence of”.

    The detail that Sober seems to selectively overlook is that if certain features fall within the known creative potential of known intelligent agents (i.e., humans) while being well outside of the realm of all known non-deliberate forces of nature, the most rational conclusion is that of ID. Essentially, Sober does away with all bases for hypothesizing ID behind anything for which an intelligent agent is not directly known. This essentially includes all of modern science that deals with ID – to include anthropology, forensic science, and especially SETI.

    Sober does not overlook this, as you yourself concede when you go on to write that:

    Yet, amazingly, he goes on to use this very same argument in support of the ID detecting abilities of the same.

    You go on:

    Of course, my ID-only hypothesis does not try to demonstrate the need for God. Rather it suggests that at least human-level intelligence had to have been involved to explain certain features of the universe and of life on this planet.

    If you agree that probabilistic modus tollens is invalid, then you had best not say that it had to be involved. Rather, the hypothesis is that it was involved. Sober’s argument is that there is no evidence for this claim, since there is no independent evidence sufficient to ground the probabilistic inequality:

    ∑i Pr(the eye has F1 … Fn │ Design & GAi)Pr(GAi│Design) > Pr(the eye has F1 … Fn │ Chance).

    Anyway, your thoughts regarding what seems so convincing to you about Sober’s “arguments” would be most interesting – especially as they apply to granite NHPs or other such “artifacts”…

    Why is argument in quotes here?

    For the record, here are my “thoughts” regarding what is “convincing” about the “arguments” in Sober. First, the arguments are valid. Second, I can see no reason to doubt any of their premises. Finally, I regard as convincing exactly those valid arguments formed from premises I can see no reason to doubt.

    Incidentally, this whole exercise is becoming very tedious, since I am beginning to suspect that every single argument you have will end up depending on your in-principle argument regarding natural selection. Since I regard the probability of that argument succeeding as negligibly small—after all, you have no expertise in this area and have convinced exactly no-one who is—these conversations look increasingly fruitless. Do you agree?




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  33. @Nathan:

    My point exactly, a biased system.

    I agree that the system is biased—towards good empirical reasoning.

    Those of you inclined to conspiracy-theorising should reflect on just how grand a conspiracy would be required for a whole global network of scientists with all sorts of background beliefs to converge on a single hypothesis and to conceal their real reasons for doing so. I’m genuinely curious about why you think that almost all scientists believe in evolutionary theory given that you—who know nothing about it—think that it is so clearly false. Is it all Satan’s work?




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  34. Brad:
    “I am also arguing that this makes for an enormous contrast between the evolutionary hypothesis and the design hypothesis, since the evolutionary hypothesis has one of the most stunning records of successful predictions in the history of science.”

    Which type of evolution?
    1) Uniformatarianism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uniformitarianism)
    -Evolution by Creeps
    2) Punctuated Equilbrium (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punctuated_equilibrium)
    -Evoltuion by Jerks

    both are pretty mutually exclusive. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Jay_Gould)

    Just trying to figure out which one made the “stunning record” since the theory keeps changing.

    Heb 13:8




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  35. @Nathan: I agree that the system is biased—towards good empirical reasoning.Those of you inclined to conspiracy-theorising should reflect on just how grand a conspiracy would be required for a whole global network of scientists with all sorts of background beliefs to converge on a single hypothesis and to conceal their real reasons for doing so. I’m genuinely curious about why you think that almost all scientists believe in evolutionary theory given that you—who know nothing about it—think that it is so clearly false. Is it all Satan’s work?  (Quote)

    Your right – how grand a conspiracy would be required for a whole global network of scientists with all sorts of background beliefs to converge on a single hypothesis and to conceal their real reasons for doing so.

    Global Warming? http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100017393/climategate-the-final-nail-in-the-coffin-of-anthropogenic-global-warming/




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  36. Brad
    “Since I regard the probability of that argument succeeding as negligibly small—after all, you have no expertise in this area ”

    Does that mean you would accept someone’s view with an expertise in this area? What is the criteria for expertise? What is your expertise? Does someone need an advanced degree in that field from a University before expertise status is granted?

    Why can’t the theory be weighed soley on its merit?




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  37. @Roger Seheult:

    Your [sic] right – how grand a conspiracy would be required for a whole global network of scientists with all sorts of background beliefs to converge on a single hypothesis and to conceal their real reasons for doing so.

    Global Warming?http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100017393/climategate-the-final-nail-in-the-coffin-of-anthropogenic-global-warming/

    Yes, this is a good analogy. If you think global warming science is a global conspiracy, and if you think the CRU hack shows this, please see these posts on RealClimate and take up your argument there:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/11/the-cru-hack/
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/11/the-cru-hack-context/
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/12/cru-hack-more-context/

    I recommend the following book to anyone who is interested in the relationship between the science and media reporting on human-caused climate change:

    Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway, Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming, Bloomsbury Press, 2010.




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  38. @Roger Seheult:

    Does that mean you would accept someone’s view with an expertise in this area?

    No, I simply see this as a necessary condition for my assigning a hypothesis non-negligible probability.

    What is the criteria for expertise?

    Either having a postgraduate degree in the particular field in question or having a publishing record in peer reviewed journals in that field.

    What is your expertise?

    I prefer to remain anonymous, but I am an expert on some of the topics we have been discussing as measured both by education and publishing record. My field is not protein evolution, so I am not an expert on the topic relevant to Sean’s argument.

    Does someone need an advanced degree in that field from a University before expertise status is granted? Why can’t the theory be weighed soley on its merit?

    No, someone can also publish in peer-reviewed journals to achieve expert status as I am understanding it.

    The theory can of course be weighed solely on its merit—but not by infants, monkeys, or others not in a position to properly assess it. If you don’t know some serious mathematics you are not in a position to assess the recent proof of the Poincaré conjecture. If you don’t know something about protein evolution you are not in a position to assess Sean’s claim that there is an in-principle obstacle to natural selection. I note that the one scientist I have been able to find who is an expert on the topic who has commented on Sean’s argument says this:

    I am probably going to write far too much but if you want the conclusion, it is that Sean Pitman is completely and utterly wrong in everything he says in his comments and displays a great ignorance of proteins and their structure and function.

    I hope the above short essay on protein structure and function is useful even to Sean Pitman who needs to stop being obsessed with computer-based numerology and do some reading and talk to some practical protein scientists.

    These remarks are from David Dryden of the University of Edinburgh. See: http://groups.google.com/group/talk.origins/msg/a7f670c859772a9b




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  39. @Roger Seheult:

    Just trying to figure out which one made the “stunning record” since the theory keeps changing.

    The predictions I have in mind are independent of whether punctuated equilibrium is true or not.

    It is important to keep in mind three distinctions. First there is the hypothesis that species are related by common descent. Second there is the hypothesis that natural selection is an important cause of evolutionary change. Third there are particular hypotheses concerning the rate of evolutionary change in time. All of these can be tested independently of the others, and the dispute over punctuated equilibrium concerns the last only.

    Many of the most stunning predictions have involved the first two. On the first, see for example the prediction of a transitional form between fish and amphibians: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiktaalik On the second, see for example the prediction of vertebrate eusociality: http://ncse.com/rncse/17/4/predictive-power-evolutionary-biology-discovery-eusociality-




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  40. “Yes, this is a good analogy. If you think global warming science is a global conspiracy, and if you think the CRU hack shows this, please see these posts on RealClimate and take up your argument there:”

    Actually Brad you don’t even have to believe that there is global warming or not. It’s irrelevant. The fact is is that there was just the sort of thing that you facetiously proposed. A cover-up. It’s there for all to see. Let the reader make up his own mind.

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100017393/climategate-the-final-nail-in-the-coffin-of-anthropogenic-global-warming/

    BTW I read the links you so well included (took you a long time to find just those?) LOL. They make the straw man argument that “There is no evidence of any worldwide conspiracy, no mention of George Soros nefariously funding climate research, no grand plan to ‘get rid of the MWP’, no admission that global warming is a hoax, no evidence of the falsifying of data, and no ‘marching orders’ from our socialist/communist/vegetarian overlords”

    Never mind the fact that these claims were never made, the type of conspiracy that we’re are referring to is one of excluding from the peer reviewed journals any evidence of the contrary. This, in fact is exactly what happened – again may I direct your attention to the actual emails – something that your links were afraid to do. Unfortunately, these aforementioned “smoking guns” are rarely evident in any sort of conspiracy because the members are willing participants – they truly believe that there science is correct because of all the time that they have invested in it – not too dissimilar to the evolution science that is going around.

    Brad – the emails speak for themselves – look at them and tell me with a straight face that they weren’t trying to manipulate the peer review process. Or perhaps the British media that brought this to light were really fundamentalist creationists that hate science. The great thing about this argument is that whether you believe that the earth is getting hotter or colder or neither is irrelevant with respect to what was uncovered at EAU.

    That said, I see that you have successfully deterred the conversation onto a point that you can speak about (albeit incorrectly) but have failed to answer my original question:

    Which type of evolution?
    1) Uniformatarianism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uniformitarianism)
    -Evolution by Creeps
    2) Punctuated Equilbrium (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punctuated_equilibrium)
    -Evoltuion by Jerks

    both are pretty mutually exclusive. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Jay_Gould)

    I’m still trying to figure out which one made the “stunning record” since the theory keeps changing.




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  41. @Roger Seheult:

    Actually Brad you don’t even have to believe that there is global warming or not.It’s irrelevant. The fact is is that there was just the sort of thing that you facetiously proposed. A cover-up. It’s there for all to see. Let the reader make up his own mind. […] [T]he type of conspiracy that we’re are referring to is one of excluding from the peer reviewed journals any evidence of the contrary. This, in fact is exactly what happened – again may I direct your attention to the actual emails – something that your links were afraid to do. […] Brad – the emails speak for themselves – look at them and tell me with a straight face that they weren’t trying to manipulate the peer review process.

    I’ve read the relevant parts of the emails and believe that their actions were consistent with the integrity of the peer review process. This is also the conclusion reached by The Independent Climate Change Email Review panel which recently released their report. This can be read here: http://www.cce-review.org/pdf/FINAL%20REPORT.pdf — see especially Chapter 8 and Appendix 5. If you disagree with those findings, I would be willing to follow up with you, though as you note this is a long way from the main point of our discussion here.

    To summarise. My initial claim was that sceptics about evolution need an explanation for the enormous convergence of opinion of scientists around the world who have started from very different background beliefs. The only explanation I can think of is that there is a vast conspiracy. But there is no evidence for such a conspiracy. Roger suggested that a conspiracy of this sort has been witnessed in the case of climate science. I deny this, and invite anyone interested to read the report linked to above.

    It’s worth keeping a key point in mind—scientists love to be contrary and to support wildly novel theories. The history of scientific genius is in large part the history of scientists bucking received wisdom and supporting what were at the time considered outlandish ideas. If someone could provide genuine reasons to reject evolutionary theory wholesale, they would be a scientific hero. To suggest that science is about maintaining the status quo is to ignore the entire history of the subject. That is why special conspiracy theorising—of the kind we have no reason to believe in—is required for evolution deniers.

    That said, I see that you have successfully deterred the conversation onto a point that you can speak about (albeit incorrectly) but have failed to answer my original question:Which type of evolution?

    My response to this is above; you must have missed it.




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  42. Brad would have you believe that the independent counsil was just that… independent.

    I’ve read the relevant parts of the emails and believe that their actions were not consistent with the integrity of the peer review process. This is also the conclusion reached by The Wall Street Journal which recently released their opinion. This can be read here: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704075604575356611173414140.html — see especially the part that deals with the “independent nature” of the inquiry:

    “Mr. Russell took pains to present his committee, which consisted of four other academics, as independent. He told the Times of London that “Given the nature of the allegations it is right that someone who has no links to either the university or the climate science community looks at the evidence and makes recommendations based on what they find.”

    No links? One of the panel’s four members, Prof. Geoffrey Boulton, was on the faculty of East Anglia’s School of Environmental Sciences for 18 years. At the beginning of his tenure, the Climatic Research Unit (CRU)—the source of the Climategate emails—was established in Mr. Boulton’s school at East Anglia. Last December, Mr. Boulton signed a petition declaring that the scientists who established the global climate records at East Anglia “adhere to the highest levels of professional integrity.”

    and

    “Mr. Mann was one of the Climategate principals who proposed a plan, which was clearly laid out in emails whose veracity Mr. Mann has not challenged, to destroy a scientific journal that dared to publish three papers with which he and his East Anglia friends disagreed. These two reviews also saw no evil. For example, Penn State “determined that Dr. Michael E. Mann did not engage in, nor did he participate in, directly or indirectly, any actions that seriously deviated from accepted practices within the academic community.”

    “On the allegations that there was subversion of the peer review or editorial process, we find no evidence to substantiate this.”

    But Mr. Jones wrote Mr. Mann on March 11, 2003, that “I’ll be emailing the journal to tell them I’m having nothing more to do with it until they rid themselves of this troublesome editor,” Chris de Freitas of the University of Auckland. Mr. Mann responded to Mr. Jones on the same day: “I think we should stop considering ‘Climate Research’ as a legitimate peer-reviewed journal. Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues . . . to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal. We would also need to consider what we tell or request our more reasonable colleagues who currently sit on the editorial board.”

    I would be willing to follow up with you, though as you note this is a long way from the main point of our discussion here….

    But not really…

    You defense of the “independent panel” deepens the irony of the example. It is precisely for that reason why there is a de facto conspiracy: I truly believe you genuinely believe the “independent panel” is correct and you do so because you advocate for result of its findings not the basis for its decision.

    How can anyone declare that this statement shows no evidence for a derangement of the peer review process:

    “I’ll be emailing the journal to tell them I’m having nothing more to do with it until they rid themselves of this troublesome editor,”

    “I think we should stop considering ‘Climate Research’ as a legitimate peer-reviewed journal. Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues . . . to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal. We would also need to consider what we tell or request our more reasonable colleagues who currently sit on the editorial board.”

    Now I can clearly see why you also believe that there is little if any bias against creation science in the scientific world.

    But please – let the readers here decide.




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  43. Brad,

    A little education on this web site:

    When you post a message and it says “Your comment is awaiting moderation.” We can’t see it So yes, I missed it and so did everybody else. Keep that in mind.




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  44. Brad

    “All of these can be tested independently of the others, and the dispute over punctuated equilibrium concerns the last only.”

    Come on! So when evolutionary scientists slash literally millions of years of evolution from there uniformatarian Darwinian influenced time lines because of punctuated equilibrium theory – its only a “dispute” but when another scientist wishes to doubt that a T-rex lived 65 million years ago because of RED BLOOD CELLS found intact in the fossilized bone, well then… they must be crazy, or “infants, monkeys, or others not in a position to properly assess it.” Of course it’s always easy to claim that there must be contamination, er… from somewhere…er….each time they do the experiment. Yes…

    Amazing.

    Bottom line, we have every right in the Seventh Day Adventist Church to refine what we believe based on Biblical Truth and attacks made on her just as much as you do to go on believing in some evolution theory (which ever one you choose to believe in).




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  45. Brad, may I submit that you are no more an expert here than anyone else. You have been purposely guarded about your identity which tells me volumes. If you do not have the courage to stand up for your beliefs in a public forum then your beliefs are not worth believing and your posts will be viewed as such. I have no problem discussing this type of subject with other people at my work, or in my free time – face to face. no moniker – why can’t you.

    What is the criteria for expertise?

    Your answer “Either having a postgraduate degree in the particular field in question or having a publishing record in peer reviewed journals in that field.”

    I have a post doc degree in medicine with a subspeciality in internal medicine and a sub-subspeciality in pulmonary diseases totaling 7 years after my doctorate. I published a article in an European peer reviewed journal on Hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction and it’s response to endothelin recpetor antagonists at high altitude from a randomized controlled study that we performed. Based on your criteria I would be an expert in this field.

    While the process of publishing a scientific paper is eye-opening and lets you see the bias that exists especially when peer review journals distribute submissions to the same experts in the field that you are competing with, I would say that I know more about the City of Nantes, France where my ancestors were from and the many cathedrales and churches that they built in the 1700s and 1800s than I do about the different meachanisms of hypoxia at altitude or inert gas technique employed to determine such stuff (others know far more) even though I have no degree in history nor degree in architecture.

    Bottom line – get new criteria




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  46. @Brad:

    I agree that conspiracy theories usually lead down worthless rabbit holes of unsubstantiated paranoia. You must realize however that you are likewise implying a conspiracy by saying that so-called ‘evolution deniers’ must develop and coordinate conspiracy theories to prop up their movement.

    There is one grand overarching great controversy conspiracy outlined clearly in the Bible for which we must be concerned:

    “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise they became fools,…” – Romans 1:18-23

    The natural tendency of fallen human nature in a fallen world, under the partial control of fallen entities in conscious opposition to the Creator, is to deny, suppress and reject the evidence for the Creator – to develop man-made theories to controvert the evidence for the Creator. [edit]

    According to this biblical text it is the natural tendency of human beings to deny and suppress the truth about God. Darwinism is only one aspect of this phenomenon. The materialistic evolutionary community is engaged in a concerted effort to suppress the truth regarding an intelligent 1st cause, even though the evidence is glaringly obvious to thousands of PhD scientists(saying the Darwin doubters are wrong because they are a minority is a worthless argument, since all revolutionary propositions begin as a minority opinion). The most vigorous proponents of materialistic Neo-Darwinian theory are engaged in just such an endeavor – to suppress and squash dissent. [edit]

    Everyone from Sagan to Hawking to Dawkins have admitted that so-called scientific endeavor involves the constant process of observing a living world that obviously appears to be designed – and despite this glaringly obvious phenomenon – constantly conjuring up a materialistic hypothesis that denies the obvious.

    I think you give scientists too much credit to imply that they are selfless enough to be ready to resist the tendency of human nature to tenaciously defend a profitable dogmatic status quo. History does not support such a favorable view of human nature – scientifically predisposed or otherwise. Those in power in the scientific community do not welcome any challenge to their ‘a priori’ world-view. The godless world-view which is at the foundation of their materialistic theories.

    Look at the mind-boggling resistance to hardcore empirical evidence that soft tissue and blood cells exist in dinosaur fossils. The cry of denial from many is still ‘contamination!’

    Even those who have decided to believe their own eyes, are reduced to the incredibly unscientific conclusion that soft tissue can be miraculously preserved for millions of years. An act of blind materialistic faith of the highest order.




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  47. @Roger Seheult:

    I’ve read the relevant parts of the emails and believe that their actions were not consistent with the integrity of the peer review process.

    Good. Let’s discuss this.

    This is also the conclusion reached by The Wall Street Journal which recently released their opinion. This can be read here: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704075604575356611173414140.html

    You should discriminate between the opinions expressed in the Wall Street Journal and the opinions of the Wall Street Journal. This is an op-ed, not an editorial, as far as I can determine. In any case, given that you are worried about independence, here is some information on the independence of the author of the WSJ opinion piece. First, Michaels was one of the people criticised in the emails themselves. Second, here is how he is funded:

    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Patrick_J._Michaels#Funding

    In sum, the vast majority of funding he receives is from fuel and energy companies and conservative political organisations. As George Monbiot wrote in the Guardian last year, “Michaels is one of many people commenting on climate change who presents himself as an independent expert while being secretly paid for his services by fossil fuel companies”. Finally, regarding the representativeness of this as a source, here is a sense of where his editorial fits in the spectrum of responses from other news organisations:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climatic_Research_Unit_email_controversy#Media_reception

    But rather than talk about the independence or lack of independence of these and other sources of information, let’s look at the issues ourselves.

    But Mr. Jones wrote Mr. Mann on March 11, 2003, that “I’ll be emailing the journal to tell them I’m having nothing more to do with it until they rid themselves of this troublesome editor,” Chris de Freitas of the University of Auckland. Mr. Mann responded to Mr. Jones on the same day: “I think we should stop considering ‘Climate Research’ as a legitimate peer-reviewed journal. Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues . . . to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal. We would also need to consider what we tell or request our more reasonable colleagues who currently sit on the editorial board.”

    […]

    How can anyone declare that this statement shows no evidence for a derangement of the peer review process:“I’ll be emailing the journal to tell them I’m having nothing more to do with it until they rid themselves of this troublesome editor,” “I think we should stop considering ‘Climate Research’ as a legitimate peer-reviewed journal. Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues . . . to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal. We would also need to consider what we tell or request our more reasonable colleagues who currently sit on the editorial board.”

    I want to state at the outset that I do not aim to defend every statement made in the emails. Many I regard as inappropriate, and some express sentiments that I do think are inconsistent with the integrity of peer review. Nevertheless, I do believe that the overall pattern of the exchanges is consistent with the integrity of peer review. The context is very important; we have to keep in mind that these are private emails—all academics know that behind closed doors there are many remarks made of the form “I can’t believe that paper was accepted, it is atrocious”. And we have to understand that we have here peers expressing things in strong terms to each other on the understanding that their exchanges are private. With that said, here are my comments on the particular quotes you provided, which are think are entirely with the remit of ordinary scientific practice.

    The peer review process depends on the objectivity and thoroughness of the practices of the editors and reviewers. In this case, Chris de Freitas had allowed a paper to be published that was clearly scientifically sub-standard (a simple search in the scientific literature will reveal this), and it was for this reason they had serious reservations about the integrity of the journal. Subsequent to these emails, it was discovered that de Freitas had in fact ignored the recommendations of four reviewers to have the paper rejected. The net result included the resignations of sex editors over lack of confidence in the integrity of the journal, and a commitment by the publisher to strengthen the peer review process. Given that the other editors and the publisher of the journal later acknowledged the failure, it is reasonable to believe that these worries were grounded in scientific rather than political reasons.

    Anyway, we are now a very long way off topic. Even if there were gross perversions of the peer review process in this case, the case would have to be made that they can be extended to the entire scientific community (including multiple journals and universities globally) for nearly all papers published on climate science. On the degree of consensus in 2004, from http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1103618 —

    The 928 papers were divided into six categories: explicit endorsement of the consensus position, evaluation of impacts, mitigation proposals, methods, paleoclimate analysis, and rejection of the consensus position. Of all the papers, 75% fell into the first three categories, either explicitly or implicitly accepting the consensus view; 25% dealt with methods or paleoclimate, taking no position on current anthropogenic climate change. Remarkably, none of the papers disagreed with the consensus position.

    It’s still some conspiracy, even if we adopt your view on the hacked emails. And then, we would have to claim that something similar is going on in the case of evolutionary theory, where we would need a different political motivation. What is that motivation, and where is the evidence that the conspiracy exists? I’m genuinely curious what you think.




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  48. @Roger Seheult:

    Brad, may I submit that you are no more an expert here than anyone else.

    This is amusing. I never mentioned my own expertise until you asked me about it, and it was clear from my exchange with Sean that I do not consider myself an expert on the topic I was urging him to publish on. If I did, I would have engaged the arguments myself rather than referred them to others. Moreover, part of the point of remaining anonymous is to level the playing field and not rely on my own credentials. Some other people on here, you will have noticed, seem quite proud of the letters that can be placed after their names.

    You have been purposely guarded about your identity which tells me volumes.

    What does it tell you?

    If you do not have the courage to stand up for your beliefs in a public forum then your beliefs are not worth believing and your posts will be viewed as such.

    I choose to remain anonymous on this particular forum for personal reasons that I do not need to reveal to you. An argument is an argument is an argument—if you want to ignore mine, then so be it. Let me quote Sean from another thread, who said it quite nicely (please ignore his quotation marks around “rational”):

    Your goal should be to speak to those who have not yet thought about these issues and have not made up their minds to the point of being so biased that they cannot see “rational” arguments for what they really are for themselves (without seeing if others of high academic rank are convinced first). There are many “lurkers” who frequent this forum, usually over 2000 per day, – not all of whom are completely blinded by their religious background and many of whom, I know for a fact, would preferentially favor your perspective if they were ever exposed to it.

    You then write:

    I have a post doc degree in medicine with a subspeciality in internal medicine and a sub-subspeciality in pulmonary diseases totaling 7 years after my doctorate. I published a article in an European peer reviewed journal on Hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction and it’s response to endothelin recpetor antagonists at high altitude from a randomized controlled study that we performed. Based on your criteria I would be an expert in this field. While the process of publishing a scientific paper is eye-opening and lets you see the bias that exists especially when peer review journals distribute submissions to the same experts in the field that you are competing with, I would say that I know more about the City of Nantes, France where my ancestors were from and the many cathedrales and churches that they built in the 1700s and 1800s than I do about the different meachanisms of hypoxia at altitude or inert gas technique employed to determine such stuff (others know far more) even though I have no degree in history nor degree in architecture. Bottom line – get new criteria

    I fear you have lost the thread of the conversation. The question is not whether it is possible to have expertise in a field in which you have not studied or published. Of course it is. The question concerns the conditions under which a non-expert bystander can determine the expertise of someone who claims to be one. This is the question my criteria are designed to address. If you tell me a lot of things about Nantes, I have no way of knowing your accuracy if: i) I can not confirm it myself; and ii) no-one I independently know to have such expertise can confirm it; and iii) I have no prima facie reason to take your word for it. Likewise for Sean on protein evolution. Now of course, in the Nantes case I don’t have any reason to think you are lying or self-deluded, so I am prepared to just take your word for it. But in Sean’s case I have every reason to think he is self deluded, since: i) the subject is (much, much) more difficult to master without training; and ii) I have the opinion of an expert who after reading his work wrote:

    I am probably going to write far too much but if you want the conclusion, it is that Sean Pitman is completely and utterly wrong in everything he says in his comments and displays a great ignorance of proteins and their structure and function.

    And:

    I hope the above short essay on protein structure and function is useful even to Sean Pitman who needs to stop being obsessed with computer-based numerology and do some reading and talk to some practical protein scientists.

    From David Dryden of the University of Edinburgh. See: http://groups.google.com/group/talk.origins/msg/a7f670c859772a9b




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  49. @Roger Seheult:

    Come on! So when evolutionary scientists slash literally millions of years of evolution from there uniformatarian Darwinian influenced time lines because of punctuated equilibrium theory – its only a “dispute” but when another scientist wishes to doubt that a T-rex lived 65 million years ago because of RED BLOOD CELLS found intact in the fossilized bone, well then… they must be crazy, or “infants, monkeys, or others not in a position to properly assess it.” Of course it’s always easy to claim that there must be contamination, er… from somewhere…er….each time they do the experiment. Yes…Amazing.

    You’re all over the place here. Slow down and read what I have said more carefully. I simply pointed out that the predictions I had in mind are independent of the issue of punctuated equilibrium (which concerns the tempo of evolutionary change, not the common ancestry hypothesis or the hypothesis of that natural selection is a mode of speciation). I have not made any remarks about red blood cells and T-Rex. Finally, my remark about infants and monkeys concerned my comments on expertise, which are irrelevant to this part of the conversation, so far as I can tell. If you want to rant and rave, go ahead—just don’t pretend you’re replying to any argument I’ve made.

    Bottom line, we have every right in the Seventh Day Adventist Church to refine what we believe based on Biblical Truth and attacks made on her just as much as you do to go on believing in some evolution theory (which ever one you choose to believe in).

    Did I deny it?




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  50. @ Dr. Seheult:

    How can anyone declare that this statement shows no evidence for a derangement of the peer review process:
    “I’ll be emailing the journal to tell them I’m having nothing more to do with it until they rid themselves of this troublesome editor,”
    “I think we should stop considering ‘Climate Research’ as a legitimate peer-reviewed journal. Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues . . . to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal. We would also need to consider what we tell or request our more reasonable colleagues who currently sit on the editorial board.”

    Um…I’ve published in a fair number of journals and I have had issues with editors. My colleaques and I have discussed those issues by email and agreed not to submit articles to certain journals because their editors made inappropriate decisions. If you seriously believe we were engaged in a “derangement of the peer review process,” I think you are seriously deranging academic freedom and the choices that authors make–often based on shared information from other authors–in where to publish their research. Get a grip.




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  51. @Brad:

    I am probably going to write far too much but if you want the conclusion, it is that Sean Pitman is completely and utterly wrong in everything he says in his comments and displays a great ignorance of proteins and their structure and function.

    And:

    I hope the above short essay on protein structure and function is useful even to Sean Pitman who needs to stop being obsessed with computer-based numerology and do some reading and talk to some practical protein scientists.

    From David Dryden of the University of Edinburgh. See: http://groups.google.com/group/talk.origins/msg/a7f670c859772a9b

    Ah, so you’ve read Dryden’s arguments…

    Where did Dryden point out my ignorance of protein structure and function? I am, after all, a pathologist with a subspecialty in hematopathology – a field of medicine that depends quite heavily on at least some understanding of protein structure and function. Yet Dryden says that I’m completely and utterly wrong in everything I say on this topic? Sounds just a bit overwrought – don’t you think?

    In any case, where did Dryden substantively address my argument for an exponential decline of evolutionary potential with increasing minimum structural threshold requirements? Dryden himself only deals with very low level examples of evolution in action. He doesn’t even consider the concept of higher levels of functional complexity and the changes in the ratios of beneficial vs. non-beneficial sequences that would be realized in sequence space.

    Dryden also completely misunderstands the challenge of the structural cutoff of systems that require a minimum of at least 1000 specifically arranged amino acid residues to work to do a particular function. He also flatly contradicts Axe’s work which suggests that it is not an easy thing to alter too many amino acid residue positions at the same time and still have the system in question work to do its original function. There is some flexibility to be sure, but there is a limit beyond which this flexibility cannot by crossed for protein-based systems. And, as this minimum limit increases for higher level systems, the ratio of beneficial vs. non-beneficial does in fact decrease exponentially. Dryden seems completely clueless on this particular all-important point.

    This cluelessness is especially highlighted by Dryden’s comment that the bacterial rotary flagellum isn’t very complex at all:

    These increasing degrees of functional complexity are a mirage.
    Just because a flagellum spins and looks fancy does not mean it is
    more complex than something smaller. The much smaller wonderful
    machines involved in manipulating DNA, making cell walls or
    cytoskeletons during the cell’s lifecycle do far more complex and
    varied things including switching between functions. Even a small
    serine protease has a much harder job than the flagellum. The
    flagellum just spins and spins and yawn…

    I really couldn’t believe that Dryden actually said this when I first read it. Dryden actually suggests that a small serine protease is more functionally complex than a bacterial flagellum?! – just because it is used more commonly in various metabolic pathways? – or more interesting to Dryden? He completely misses the point that the bacterial flagellum requires, at minimum, a far far greater number of specifically arranged amino acid “parts” than does a serine protease – thousands more.

    And Dryden is your “expert” regarding the potential of RM/NS to create protein-based systems beyond very low levels of functional complexity? Why not find somebody who actually seems to understand the basic concept?

    Here’s another gem from Dryden. In response to my comment that, “The evidence shows that the distances [in sequence space] between
    higher and higher level beneficial sequences with novel functions
    increases in a linear manner.” Dryden wrote:

    Reply: What evidence? And if importance of function scales with
    sequence length and the scaling is linear then I am afraid that 20^100
    is essentially identical to 2 x 20^100. Also a novel function is not a
    new function but just one we stumble upon in doing the hard work in
    the lab. It’s been there a long time…

    Dryden doesn’t grasp that in the debate over the creative potential of RM/NS that a novel functional system is one that the evolving population is looking for – not some lab scientists. It is only there in the potential of sequence space. It is not found until random mutations within the gene pool discover it by pure luck.

    Dryden also doesn’t understand that this discussion isn’t over the “importance of function” but over levels of beneficial functionality – regardless of there “importance”. He also doesn’t understand that if a system requires a minimum sequence length or size (to include multiprotein systems) and a minimum degree of specific arrangement of amino acid residues within that minimum size, that a linear increase in this minimum structural threshold requirement does not result in a linear increase in average number of random mutations needed to achieve success. The linear increase in structural threshold results in an exponential decrease in the ratio of potentially beneficial vs. non-beneficial. This, obviously (to the candid mind anyway) will result in an exponential increase in the average number of random mutations needed to achieve success at the higher level.

    Really, I would love to hear your take on Dryden’s paper in the light of a complete lack of evolution in action beyond very very low levels of functional complexity – i.e., minimum structural threshold requirements. I’m sure you could do a better job than he did…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  52. @Roger Seheult:

    PS. For what it is worth, here is the most recent survey on the level of scientific consensus on anthropogenic climate change.

    William R. L. Anderegg, James W. Prall, Jacob Harold, and Stephen H. Schneider, “Expert credibility in climate change”, in PNAS, Vol. 107, No. 27, 6 July 2010, pp. 12107-12109. URI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1003187107

    Abstract:

    Although preliminary estimates from published literature and expert surveys suggest striking agreement among climate scientists on the tenets of anthropogenic climate change (ACC), the American public expresses substantial doubt about both the anthropogenic cause and the level of scientific agreement underpinning ACC. A broad analysis of the climate scientist community itself, the distribution of credibility of dissenting researchers relative to agreeing researchers, and the level of agreement among top climate experts has not been conducted and would inform future ACC discussions. Here, we use an extensive dataset of 1,372 climate researchers and their publication and citation data to show that (i) 97–98% of the climate researchers most actively publishing in the field surveyed here support the tenets of ACC outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and (ii) the relative climate expertise and scientific prominence of the researchers unconvinced of ACC are substantially below that of the convinced researchers.




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  53. @Brad and Roger Seheult: Climate change etc. has nothing to do with the topics this forum addresses. If you’d like to discuss the issue privately, I can facilitate an email address exchange.

    Also, those who are discussing on the “Elliot Sober: Just Don’t Call the Designer ‘God'” thread, please keep your comments to that thread only. There is no need to make double entries of the same comment in both this thread and that one.




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  54. “Look at the mind-boggling resistance to hardcore empirical evidence that soft tissue and blood cells exist in dinosaur fossils. The cry of denial from many is still ‘contamination!’

    Even those who have decided to believe their own eyes, are reduced to the incredibly unscientific conclusion that soft tissue can be miraculously preserved for millions of years. An act of blind materialistic faith of the highest order. Victor Marshall”

    Exactly.




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  55. I don’t think the conversation is about whther climate change is occuring or not. Rather that scientists are just as moved by faith and would move to prevent adverse results as any bigot or apologist as evolutionists claim creationists to be. The climate change controversy is only an example. What the evolutionist claim has tried to do is couch this argument in terms of science versus religion when it is really God’s faith versus a godless faith. For Evolutionists to take on the shroud of “impartiality” and to only go with the “evidence leads” is a farce of the highest order of which climate science and the T-rex controversy are contemporary examples. Not withstanding the needed change for evolutionists to merge uniformatarianism to punctuated equilibium (given the overwhelming evidence against Darwin’s theory), evolution would rather stick to their delusions despite what the evidence would show (T-rex RBCs.)

    It reminds me of a patient that had delusional disorder. Any psychiatrist will tell you that a patient will never given up a delusion regardless of the evidence to the contrary. A well known patient thought he was dead. The well – meaning medical student wanted to prove to him that he wasn’t and proceded to ask the man if “dead men bleed” – to which the man thought for a while and said “no”. The medical student then drew blood and as the man watched the blood trickle out of his arm he had an epiphony!! WOW, DEAD MEN DO BLEED!

    The evolutionists responds – WOW protein can last in a fossil for 65 million years.




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  56. Brad said:

    “But in Sean’s case I have every reason to think he is self deluded, since: i) the subject is (much, much) more difficult to master without training; and ii) I have the opinion of an expert…”

    So if you’re too good at what you don’t have a degree in then you must be self deluded?

    And obviously if someone can find someone who disagress with you somewhere in this vast WWW then that seals it.

    Am I getting it now Brad?




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  57. @Professor Kent:

    I think you are missing the point here professor. For me to even think of saying such comments would mean that I must wield an enormous amount of power to actually change the publishing habit of a major journal just by “emailing the journal to tell them I’m having nothing more to do with it until they rid themselves of this troublesome editor,” or “encourage our colleagues . . . to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal.”

    I’m not a high powered professor like you but I would be quite satisfied to be able to publish in the first jounral that I submit to let alone change their behavior!

    You said:

    “I’ve agreed not to submit articles to certain journals because their editors made inappropriate decisions. If you seriously believe we were engaged in a “derangement of the peer review process,” I think you are seriously deranging academic freedom and the choices that authors make–often based on shared information from other authors–in where to publish their research. Get a grip.

    Get a grip?

    The mere fact that you would conspire not to submit your article for review to a journal for an action as small as an editors behavior creates a publication bias at the very least. If it is truly a conspiracy amongst yourselves as you claim – then the reaches of this is far wider.

    Don’t get me wrong – I don’t think you have done anything wrong – just don’t promote the “peer review process” as some extension of the pure and scientific method of finding truth.

    The “peer review process” is a minefield fraught with agendas, financial reward, and bias that is far from true science. And sometimes it is simply the result of “someone done me wrong pettiness” that is all to common in a field that is supposed to be sterile of emotions.




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  58. Brad:
    “I fear you have lost the thread of the conversation. The question is not whether it is possible to have expertise in a field in which you have not studied or published. Of course it is. The question concerns the conditions under which a non-expert bystander can determine the expertise of someone who claims to be one. ”

    Please show me where Sean Pitman claimed to be an “expert” in proteins.

    Sean has been working in this topic for literally years. It’s his Hobby. He’s talked about and read about it and is even writing a book about it. To put it another way, he knows more about this topic then I know about Nantes.

    Then you quote that Dryden says:

    “Sean Pitman is completely and utterly wrong in everything he says in his comments and displays a great ignorance of proteins and their structure and function.”

    The statment has a very small probablility of being correct which actually puts the writer in more question than the subject. It reminds me of the famous proverb: That which proves too much proves nothing.”

    Because of it’s over-the-top nature it borders on ad-hominum which means that Sean was probably winning the argument in the thread at the time. LOL

    If you’re trying to find people that disagree with Sean I’m sure you’ll have an easy time finding them. But truth has never been a popularity contest (like the peer review process can be). Just ask Noah…..someday.




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  59. The “peer review process” is a minefield fraught with agendas, financial reward, and bias that is far from true science..

    Roger, please stop deranging the peer review process. How dare you.




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  60. Re Roger’squote

    “It reminds me of a patient that had delusional disorder. Any psychiatrist will tell you that a patient will never given up a delusion regardless of the evidence to the contrary.”

    Dear Roger

    Can you see the irony of not applying this notion yourself, in light of the vast preponderance of mainstream ‘evidence to the contrary’ to a 6 day creation, 6000 years ago

    Your point would be well taken if the majority of the scientific community supported biblical creationism. They do not. Presumably all those objective scientists, irrespective of faith or non-faith, are delusional.

    Regards
    Ken




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  61. @Roger Seheult:

    Brad said:“But in Sean’s case I have every reason to think he is self deluded, since: i) the subject is (much, much) more difficult to master without training; and ii) I have the opinion of an expert…” So if you’re too good at what you don’t have a degree in then you must be self deluded? And obviously if someone can find someone who disagress with you somewhere in this vast WWW then that seals it. Am I getting it now Brad?

    No, you are not getting it. Maybe an example will help.

    Suppose I tell you that I have discovered a flaw in Grigori Perelman’s proof of the Poincaré conjecture. I have studied mathematics as part of my graduate training, but it is not my central area of expertise, and I have never published anything in a mathematics journal. I publish my attempted explanation of the error on my webpage. The one expert in topology who has read my webpage tells me that I demonstrate a profound ignorance of topology and need to get out and talk to some real mathematicians. Should you believe that I have discovered a flaw?




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  62. @Roger Seheult:

    Please show me where Sean Pitman claimed to be an “expert” in proteins.

    Sean believes he has an argument concerning protein evolution that if correct would show that most of evolutionary theory is false. I have observed Sean to be otherwise rational, and so infer that he believes he has expert knowledge on this matter. But perhaps we can ask him. Sean, do you take yourself to have expert knowledge on protein evolution?

    Sean has been working in this topic for literally years. It’s his Hobby. He’s talked about and read about it and is even writing a book about it. To put it another way, he knows more about this topic then I know about Nantes.

    Thanks for telling me you meant literal years. I’m not sure who the joke’s on, but this did make me laugh. If you like, you can add to my mathematical example that I have been working on topology for years, it is my hobby, I’ve talked about and read about it and am writing a book about it. Also, I tell you that I know more about topology than you know about Nantes. Should you believe I have disproved the Poincaré conjecture?




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  63. Roger Seheult wrote

    Please show me where Sean Pitman claimed to be an “expert” in proteins.

    Sean Pitman wrote

    Where did Dryden point out my ignorance of protein structure and function? I am, after all, a pathologist with a subspecialty in hematopathology – a field of medicine that depends quite heavily on at least some understanding of protein structure and function.

    Jessla wrote

    I like protein a whole lot.
    Protein’s yummy cold or hot.
    Protein’s good at every meal,
    Protein power helps you heal.
    Protein in meat, cheese, or fish
    Protein goes with every dish.
    Protein this and protein that,
    Protein won’t ever
    make you fat.
    Protein helps make you strong
    I want protein All Day Long!!

    Personally, I’ll take Jessla’s knowledge and perspective. Much more palatable.




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  64. Great, again, show me where Sean Pitman claimed to be an expert. He claims to have at least “some understanding of protein structure.” That is very different from an expert.




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  65. Roger, please stop deranging the peer review process. How dare you.  (Quote)

    You’re kidding right! I’m find it difficult to imagine someone who has published as much as you have to make a statement like that without jest.




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  66. “Thanks for telling me you meant literal years. I’m not sure who the joke’s on, but this did make me laugh. If you like, you can add to my mathematical example that I have been working on topology for years, it is my hobby, I’ve talked about and read about it and am writing a book about it. Also, I tell you that I know more about topology than you know about Nantes. Should you believe I have disproved the Poincaré conjecture?”

    No, [edit] but I’d probably pretend and at least consider that you knew what you were talking about.




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  67. @Brad:

    Suppose I tell you that I have discovered a flaw in Grigori Perelman’s proof of the Poincaré conjecture. I have studied mathematics as part of my graduate training, but it is not my central area of expertise, and I have never published anything in a mathematics journal. I publish my attempted explanation of the error on my webpage. The one expert in topology who has read my webpage tells me that I demonstrate a profound ignorance of topology and need to get out and talk to some real mathematicians. Should you believe that I have discovered a flaw?

    On the one hand – this is the dark ages argument that appeals to authority – the idea is that everyone is too stupid to see the problem so why trust yourself to “be your own Pope”. The Reformation argument was that each person should know enough about the bible to see a fraud when it comes along.

    On the other hand – evolutionism has made its defense “every branch of real or imaginary science known to man”.

    How was the average person for example to know that Othaniel Marsh had simply fabricated his 50 year long hoax of a horse series?

    How was the average novice – suppose to deduce that Enrst Haeckle has fabricated his proof for the wild “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny” argument with fraudulent claims in the form of wood carving.

    How was the average novice supposed to simply “deduce” that the wild claims to Neanderthals in northern Europe was simply a fraud – a hoax by someone not skilled enough to actualy do the C14 testing on the samples he had collected?

    How was the average novice supposed to simply “deduce” that Osborn’s wild claims to “irrefutable proof” of Nebraska man was nothing more than pig’s tooth hype and fiction?

    The answer cannot possibly be that the average man was so skilled in all the sciences that he could scientifically unravel each fraud-ladened puzzle “on the spot”.

    In many cases these frauds lasted for more than a decade – in fact most of them I listed lasted for 50 decades before being fully unmasked.

    So Brad has made a good point. In theory evolutionism “should” be one of the best forms of fraud known to mankind and totally impervious to the average man’s attempt to discover that there is a problem.

    But then .. there is always “the Bible” that would have informed “the average man” in all of these cases that he was being lied to in one form or another.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  68. Bob, I’m not sure what your point is. If you’re trying to convince us that evolutionism is wrong because some of its adherents have perpetrated fraud, you would need to show that creationism is right because none of its adherents would tell anything but the truth.

    However…

    Carl Baugh, a noted creationist, was one of the most ingenious when it came to hoaxes: http://www.epicidiot.com/evo_cre/carl_baugh.htm

    “Evolutionists” are not the only ones good at making up stories. Here is a link to varying “creation” stories among many different indigenous peoples; I assume you would insist that the majority of these are more imagined than real:
    http://www.magictails.com/creationlinks.html

    Here is a lengthy and well-referenced list of creationist claims, many of which are demonstrably bogus:
    http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/list.html

    Of course, Kent Hovind, one of the best known and most respected creationists, ended up in prison because of what he was peddling and his refusal to go about it in a Christ-like manner: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kent_Hovind

    And last but not least, the SDA church has its own embarassment with Ron Wyatt, the biblical archeologist whose outlandish claims have been dismissed by virtually all, including most of the Church’s theologicans (there are soooo many websites detailing his abundant frauds that I won’t bother to provide a link).

    Whereas you have argued:

    But then .. there is always “the Bible” that would have informed “the average man” in all of these cases that he was being lied to in one form or another.

    One could equally argue:

    But then .. there is always “science” that would have informed “the average man” in all of these cases that he was being lied to in one form or another.

    I believe in young earth creationism just as you do, but I don’t think we need to put down evolutionists or the misdeeds of a few to shore up our beliefs.




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  69. “All that I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for what I have not seen.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson, Author, Poet, and Philosopher

    Once one realizes how little any of us really knows of the past we are free to listen to speculation without feeling threatened – for Jesus left no doubt about the Big issue; the broad (but not very detailed) outline describing our origin and our future.

    The more one learns the more one suspects that we are all going to have a lot of surprises when we have the opportunity to look back in time and see clearly how things really happened, (and I believe we will have that opportunity one day).

    So leave some room for Mystery – both in the past and the future. There is nothing wrong with some Mystery in our lives. Indeed, it might be good for all of us to sense a little more of that at times …




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