I have seen this interview clip several times, but had …

Comment on Creeds and Fundamental Beliefs by Steve Shedell.

I have seen this interview clip several times, but had never seen Dawkins’ explanation. Wow! Black is white and up is down, isn’t it?

Dawkins: “A real biologist finds it an easy question to answer (the answer is that natural selection increases the information content of the genome all the time – that is precisely what natural selection means)”

Maybe he means like those endangered and extinct finches and honey creepers on Hawaii and other islands. They have, or are about to, “natural selection” themselves right out of existence. Darwin’s exhibit one only implies the LOSS of genetic information. Oops.

Recent Comments by Steve Shedell

WASC Reviews LSU’s Accreditation
This issue with WASC expressing concern, (meddling) in the hiring and firing decisions of the LSU board reminds of this statement from Prophets and Kings, p 188.

The time is not far distant when the test will come to every soul. The observance of the false sabbath will be urged upon us. The contest will be between the commandments of God and the commandments of men. Those who have yielded step by step to worldly demands and conformed to worldly customs will then yield to the powers that be, rather than subject themselves to derision, insult, threatened imprisonment, and death. At that time the gold will be separated from the dross. True godliness will be clearly distinguished from the appearance and tinsel of it. Many a star that we have admired for its brilliance will then go out in darkness. Those who have assumed the ornaments of the sanctuary, but are not clothed with Christ’s righteousness, will then appear in the shame of their own nakedness. {PK 188.1}

The religion of the “false sabbath” is closely connected with Evolutionism since both directly or indirectly point to the SUN as the creative force which should be honored. Evolutionists can provide no laboratory evidence to explain how carbon based molecules became amino acids, became proteins, became single-celled organisms, but they are unanimous in the belief that the sun had something to do with it. Likewise, Papists and Sunday keeping Protestants can provide no evidence from the Bible for keeping the false sabbath other than the wisdom and traditions of fallen, sinful men who never fully gave up Pagan sun worship!

Notice this point carefully: “The contest will be between the commandments of God and the commandments of men.” What does the 4th Commandment present as its authority for requiring obedience? “For in six days THE LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is…” This truth is the foundation which the entire system of truth known as the third angel’s message rests upon. The enemy knows that if he can weaken the position of God’s people on the issue of origins, then our position on the Sabbath will be greatly weakened as well.

To rephrase the above quote and apply it to the present situation:
“The time is not far distant when the test will come to every SDA Institution. The observance of the false sabbath will be urged upon our schools as condition for continued accreditation.”

Supreme Court Decision on Church Employment Case
@Bill “Liberals simply don’t like any “challenge” for or against anything.”
Really, Bill? Are you saying that Conservatives love being challenged? Liberals aren’t condemning all to hell for disagreeing with them. Point out a few gaping flaws in logic and torches and pitchforks start getting handed out out a mob mustering on the lawn. This whole thing got started because a few “liberals” started challenging the paradigm of conservatives. You’ve invented an entire conspiracy about the take over of the church and of the world to try and explain a disagreement between honest folk

@Bob My language in this forum is not formal. Try not to get caught up in semantic issues. And I actually agree with you on the little distinction between theistic evolution and atheistic evolution. There is very little difference between them. Science can’t tell you why a system is the way it is, it can only tell you how it works. Science can only examine the world through the five basic senses. Our technology allows us to extend those senses from the very atoms and smaller to galaxies and beyond. We can read the genome like a history book. Needless to say the book is sufficiently complex that when we figured out what the letters were it took us 60 years to learn how to read it properly. Everything we know in biology points to plants and animals and everything to them having changed over a long period of time. If you’re going to believe in God, then you need to believe in a God that fits into that process. If he’s the creator then he created it thusly. It is not blasphemy to suggest otherwise. @Ron actually makes a good point, if you believe in evolution on a small scale you can believe in evolution on a larger scale, because when you study the issue carefully (and I mean scientifically rather than religiously) than the distinctions between micro and macro evolution become increasingly indistinct. Though I included at least one paper dedicated to the exchange of heritable information between various groups and how new information can be generated. Though I don’t suspect that these papers will in anyway change minds. Religious belief has never been swayed by rational discourse and will never be. It’s not about rationality, it’s about Faith. Hard core conservatives feel that reality will be twisted around by belief if it is fervent enough and become true purely on the merits of faith. Let me put it another way, if the bible said that there was a giant hole the size of several mountain rangers in the desert when there clearly wasn’t one, then we’d say that the hole was a metaphorical and spiritual. In fact we’d probably say that the entire desert was a metaphor and spend a thousand years arguing over what it means. Maybe even start the odd religious war. Ardent conservatives would believe in a literal hole so completely they’d start creating little sign posts telling people to watch their step. (worst case scenario there’d be a run on shovels)

We get caught up in our own interpretations of the bible and use those to hurt others (like fire them for the jobs that they were doing brilliantly). Just because people disagree with you is hardly evidence for their inevitable damnation.


Most papers talk about the evolution of the little pieces, the evolution of a particular kind of signal transduction mechanism or environmental response element, that sort of thing. So I included a few of those just because I thought they were interesting. But i thought your question was a little broader than that so I included some more general review articles. The trouble is to be truly comprehensive requires a truly massive book. Whole libraries would have to be devoted to the subject (and there are). This is what I could put together in a few minutes of searching seeing that I do have other matters to attend to in the next few weeks and months.

Early cell evolution, eukaryotes, anoxia, sulfide, oxygen, fungi first (?), and a tree of genomes revisited.
Martin W, Rotte C, Hoffmeister M, Theissen U, Gelius-Dietrich G, Ahr S, Henze K.

Proc Biol Sci. 1999 Aug 7;266(1428):1571-7.
The origin of eukaryotes: the difference between prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells.
Vellai T, Vida G.

IUBMB Life. 2003 Apr-May;55(4-5):193-204.
Early cell evolution, eukaryotes, anoxia, sulfide, oxygen, fungi first (?), and a tree of genomes revisited.
Martin W, Rotte C, Hoffmeister M, Theissen U, Gelius-Dietrich G, Ahr S, Henze K.

Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2006 Jun 29;361(1470):969-1006.
Cell evolution and Earth history: stasis and revolution.
Cavalier-Smith T.
University of Oxford, Department of Zoology, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PS, UK. tom.cavalier-smith@zoo.ox.ac

The phagotrophic origin of eukaryotes and phylogenetic classification of Protozoa.
Cavalier-Smith T.
Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, UK. tom.cavalier-smith@zoo.ox.ac.uk

Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2010 Mar 12;365(1541):699-712.
Endosymbiotic associations within protists.
Nowack EC, Melkonian M.

Microbiol Mol Biol Rev. 2009 Dec;73(4):775-808.
Biological diversity of prokaryotic type IV secretion systems.
Alvarez-Martinez CE, Christie PJ.

Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2009 Oct 12;364(1531):2795-808.
Evolution of phototaxis.
Jékely G.

Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2008 Sep 12;363(1505):2813-20.
Review. Genetic exchange and the origin of adaptations: prokaryotes to primates.
Arnold ML, Sapir Y, Martin NH.

Supreme Court Decision on Church Employment Case
@Holly Pham: Every College takes substance abuse very seriously. Even ours. But there’s a limit to what can be effectively done about it. Not even the parents of young kids can effectively keep tabs on them. If some idiot teenager wants to smoke pot how would you stop them? At college these are adults who have the right go where ever and whenever they please. Unless you can catch them in the act there’s really nothing you can do. And as anyone who’s worked with people suffering with substance abuse problems, treating someone resistent to help is a futile effort. You can always kick them out, but that’s only if they’re dumb enough to get caught (and you’d have to be pretty dumb). Our colleges do everything they can. They offer counseling, safety and medical care if necessary. Drug dealers are sent to prison and the truly recalcitrant are asked to leave. This is what we do, this is what all institutions do. It’s a great deal more than nothing, but a great deal less than a magic wand to make the problem better.

Supreme Court Decision on Church Employment Case
I think there is some confusion about the role of science here. Science is very explicit about “proof” and “certainty” in that there isn’t any. I presented you with a half dozen articles in a few minutes of searching. There might be better ones out there but from long experience I know that even the best evidence is unconvincing to the close-minded. Like I said before to be comprehensive would take libraries (and you’re welcome to the public access by the way, I included that in my search parameters). That said you’re right the sense that evolutionists may not have a perfect picture of how the world works, but they never claimed to. That claim is reserved by solely by creationists. I never said it would be convincing. In fact I said several times that it would not be. We all achieve the level of enlightenment that we work to obtain. For those who refuse to see truth or reason, libraries of evidence will never be persuasive. The Bar is set too high. You would have to go back in time and observe the events in person without disturbing the events in motion. The only “evidence” that could possibly be convincing is a notarized statement by god saying this is the way it is, which of course you believe you already have. That this doesn’t make sense is readily explained by being the foolishness of the Greeks. This is fine, let’s look at your story and see if that makes sense. The creation story blatantly contradicts itself between chapters 1 and 2, the flood has multiple problems such as number of animals, zoological necessities, sustainable ecology, the coming and going of all the water, the mysterious olive leaf, extant archaeological evidence predating the flood, lack of geological evidence for a truly global flood, the diversity of people and animals, the time it takes to spread from Ararat to the rest of the world, etc. When you look at the stories, it’s quite clear that Adam and Eve and Noah and the Ark are speaking about spiritual truths not literal ones. Ignoring all the physical evidence, logical idiocies, you have the language in the bible. It’s obviously spiritual in nature, the raven finds nothing, the Dove finds an olive leaf. It’s an blatantly spiritual story meant to have a spiritual lesson. This is a very different kind of language used in other places in the bible to talk about more or less literal events. There may well have been a regional disaster on the Mediterranean at some point, but it clearly didn’t destroy the entire world in a literal fashion. It would violate every known law of physics and biology that we know.

Supreme Court Decision on Church Employment Case
I think I’m going to have repeat myself again. I have enormous respect for God’s word. If God’s word is not consistent with observable phenomena then it is not God’s word that is wrong, but we who are wrong in our understanding of it. I think others have a misunderstanding in interpretation. Many here think that I have a misunderstanding. Who’s to judge? Well that would be Christian fundamentalists I suppose. I jest of course. God is ultimately the judge, but people seem so very confident at which way he’s leaning

@BobRyan Being familiar with Dawkins I’ve never known him for a loss for words. The trouble with the question is that there’s no way to satisfy a person like your self. We can say we’ve observed heritable change over time (this is actually the formal definition of evolution, just for the sake of clarity) The reason it doesn’t satisy a person like yourself is that over the course of a human lifetime that change tends to be small. But sure there are plenty of examples. From plants, insects, animals, you name it. I think there was a paper recently discussing how a particular gene that conveyed disease resistance was able to spread through a population and was beneficial. But oh were did that gene come from? they actually have that answer too, they’ve found similar simpler genes littered about the genome but in our species and others. There was even a paper recently that showed in bacteria how a loss of function of a duplicated gene product (That was discovered in nature) allowed multiple copies of the proteins to interact in a way that was much more stable and efficient. Forget the paper I’d have to look it up. The really interesting part was they were able to go back to the lab and duplicate their observations in nature. I think someone mentioned some Tibetans that had some favorable gene mutations, I know there are similar stories about the aboriginal people in the Andes with similar. On a molecular level they’ve been able to show a astoundingly large variety of genes and proteins that have changed over time in response to various things, especially virus. But, creationists say, that’s not REAL evolution that’s not fish turning into monkeys and that sort of thing. We want to observe THAT. Well that sort of thing takes a few million years it’s not observable in the sense that you can see it happening. It does leave traces that are recorded in the genes and in the fossil record. Which oddly enough tend to line up pretty closely. In the last 10 years there has been an extraordinary amount of work done in that field. You can measure the rate of change or to use your language, the increase in beneficial information, extremely precisely. “Well that’s all speculative” one might say. That’s true, but then they can go back to the lab and replicate the phenomenon under conditions suitable to observation. Laboratories are getting sophisticaed enough they almost work as time machines. You can observe a phenomena in nature and say to yourself “Hey this is change from previous observations? It must have happened like such and such” and then take it back to your lab and see if your hypothesis is true. And if it’s not you do something else. There’s always lots to do. I think there was a paper out recently talking about the genesis of an energy transduction mechanism that helped bacteria utilize a protein gradient for energy. Very interesting article actually, a molecule had the ability to become charged by light (this is fairly common phenomenon actually) but it had found a way to pass along that charge to nearby proton pump. It is, they think, one of the many precursors to chlorophyll. I don’t say any of this to “prove” to you that evolution is true. I think if God cam down from heaven and said so himself you wouldn’t believe. I mean the rain forest is a living breathing laboratory on natural selection and evolution. All of it evolves so very quickly but there are those with eyes who can not see and ears that can not hear. And I’m not going to far in my assertion that if evolution is not true than the devil is responsible for an extraordinary act of creation. He’d have to be responsible for creating all extinct plants and animals in fossil record. He’d be responsible for changing our DNA in clever and sophisticated ways so that it appears to have evolved. There’s all this stuff around that was supposed to be destroyed by the flood. Unless God really did create dinosaurs and just didn’t like them very much and decided to bury them in such a way as to suggest a chronological order? He’d have to be responsible for the 100s of 1000s of years found in the ice record. No, if you don’t believe in Evolution then the devil has been very busy creating things.