‘Evolution vs. God’ denigrates science using technology that science makes possible

Ray Comfort (public domain)

Today is a big day for evangelist Ray Comfort. Comfort is known in Christian circles for his books and The Way of the Master ministry, while non-Christians will remember him best for…well, this.

Following the same lines of logic that led him to declare, in that infamous clip, that modern bananas (which have been domesticated over hundreds of years by selective breeding) are “the atheist’s worst nightmare,” Comfort has in recent years begun an all-out war against evolutionary theory. In 2009, the native Kiwi “celebrated” the 150th anniversary of “On the Origin of Species” by distributing thousands of copies of the book to college campuses, with a special introduction he wrote that espoused information about the gospel and intelligent design. (Then a student at the University of Maine, I responded to Comfort’s ploy in a column in our school paper. Here’s a link, if you’re interested.)

Banana Ray is firing off another salvo today, as his latest effort, a video called “Evolution vs. God,” becomes available for download. From what I can tell, Comfort took inspiration for both the name of the project and its low regard for science from the 2004 film “Alien vs. Predator.” I can hardly wait for the sequel, “Evolution vs. God: Requiem.”

Honestly, I don’t expect this video to turn out much better than Comfort’s aforementioned introduction, which was accused of plagiarism and described by the National Center for Science Education’s longtime director Eugenie Scott as “a hopeless mess of long-ago-refuted creationist arguments, teeming with misinformation about the science of evolution, populated by legions of strawmen and exhibiting what can be charitably described as muddled thinking.”

Biologist P.Z. Myers, who is in the film, describes it this way (emphases in original):

Ray Comfort is pushing his new creationist movie with a lie. He’s setting it up that Richard Dawkins talks about the evidence for evolution, but that he went to real scientists and asked them, and Ray is going to spring a surprise on him — Comfort implies that the scientists disagreed.

I was one of those scientists. NO, I did not disagree with Dawkins about evolution or the evidence for evolution; NO, nothing I said provided any support to creationist claims; NO, there is not a lack of evidence for evolution.

I watched the trailer for “EvG” this morning, and though I was disappointed in the apparent lack of tropical yellow fruit, it did contain this gem: “If you believe in evolution, prepare to have your faith shaken.”

Good thing, then, that I don’t believe in evolution. I believe in Jesus Christ, and I hope and trust in his blood and righteousness. I don’t “believe in” evolution any more than I “believe” that germs cause disease and matter is composed of atoms. I accept these theories because they are the best-evidenced explanations of natural phenomena that we currently have.

In the end, “EvG” is nothing but more proof of Comfort and other creationists’ erroneous “belief” that science is accomplished by producing slick materials aimed at the general public. Scientists do science, and if the computer I’m currently typing on, the smartphone in my pocket, the vaccines in my blood that have helped me ward off illness and the truck I drove to work today are any indication, they do it pretty well.

The methods of inquiry that have brought us into the digital age are exactly the same as the ones that have convinced us of the truth of evolution: observation, hypothesis, experimentation and, eventually, theory. Comfort cannot separate them, at least he should not, if he hopes to have any kind of a coherent worldview.

Ironically, if the scientific method didn’t “work,” Ray Comfort would have been unable to (among many other things) make his science-denigrating video and upload it to the Internet in the first place. (So thanks a lot, scientific method.)

At least be consistent, Ray: If you must reject evolutionary theory, then it’s back to the Dark Ages with you. We’ll be round in the morning to confiscate your cellphone and car keys and trade you a carrier pigeon and a horse.

Unfortunately, I’m afraid you won’t have access to too many bananas. But look on the bright side: In the Dark Ages, the church had universal power and control. So, looks like you get to retire early. Your misguided work is done.

For another response to Comfort’s film, see this column by Michael Zimmerman, founder of The Clergy Letter Project. And, if you liked this article, why not take a second and Like us on Facebook? (If you didn’t like it — tough. Facebook ain’t got a button for that.)

Tyler Francke

  • Jim

    I just saw that his new movie is $20 for the download. That’s more than most movies that you can get from Amazon, Apple, or Google. Seems pretty obvious to me that this movie is nothing more than a way to get money from the choir he’s preaching to.

    • Wow, that does seem pretty high for just a download. Obviously, if his goal really were to convince us misguided evolutionists of the error of our ways, he’d be handing the thing out for free.

    • Ralph

      He said that for an early viewing of the film you could donate $20 to assist in paying for its production. The film is available for free online for anyone to watch today. It’s not about making money for him – agree with him or not.

  • Zachary Lawson

    I can’t wait for the “GOE responds to GvsE” article complete with snarky green text.

  • Julian

    Hi Mr. Francke, have to say I had the displeasure of stumbling across your web site. Does the world really need another blog about “Christianity, evolution, the harmony between them and other perfectly
    reasonable things”? Well, it’s a free country (at least for now).

    So many logical errors on one page, so little time. Do you often review DVD’s you have not watched? Your attempt to poison the well is sad and calling Mr. Comfort “Banana Ray” is pathetic. Do you often quote
    Eugenie Scott? Not an unbiased observer is she? Have you ever received payment or any compensation from the National Center for Science Education? This site sure looks like a sham site for them.

    “Biologist P.Z. Meyers”, its spelled Myers, Mr. Francke. Nice attention to detail. From your writings I would imagine you agree with PZ Myers and Jerry Coyne on the relationship of God and evolution.

    “Ray: If you must reject evolutionary theory, then it’s back to the Dark Ages with you.” Did you actually type that? I don’t believe in string theory or multi-verses do you? Does that mean I have to now ride around on a donkey? Really, make better arguments because you are embarrassing yourself.

    If this site truly was about Christianity, evolution and the harmony between them, you would be writing about Physicist Eric Hedin and Astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez and the controversies surrounding them at Ball
    State University in Indiana.

    One last point, “Obviously, if his goal really were to convince us misguided evolutionists of the error of our ways, he’d be handing the thing out for free.” He is. Great research on your part. Did you even visit the site before writing your hit piece? It says “on August 7th, we will release the movie on YouTube”. That means free Mr. Francke. They are selling the download for just 4 weeks “to recoup our costs as well as to underwrite the cost of producing the actual DVDs.” That seems pretty reasonable to me and I’m sure Mr. Comfort will be giving away thousands of free DVD’s as well. Mr. Francke, you owe Mr. Comfort an apology. Be a man and do the right thing!

    • Rory N

      Julian, you sound like one of Mr Comfort’s cronies – making lame-arsed attempts to justify your point of view by picking up on typing mistakes?

      Oh come on!!!

      I think calling Ray Comfort “Banana Ray” is totally justified – anyone with even half a brain can see that his banana argument is totally ridiculous.

      Why are you trying to defend Ray?

      Personally I’m an Atheist, although technically I know that I should class myself as an Agnostic, because I know that science can never disprove religion (absence of proof is not proof of absence).
      I call myself an Atheist in the hope that religious types will see that as far as they are concerned I am a “lost cause,” whereas the term Agnostic implies doubt.

      Anyway, I digress!

      It is the Creationists that seem intent to wage this “war” of Religion Vs, Science.
      In that case Mr Francke’s comment “then it’s back to the Dark Ages with you” is totally 100% justified.
      If it wasn’t for Science we would all be living in caves!

      I suspect that you are actually Ray Comfort posting under a fake name…

      Peace!

      • Seconded, Rory.

        And thanks for your insights, Julian. Do you often begin your comments with a series of hypothetical or easily answered questions? Let me help you out with a few of them.

        Obviously, this post was not a review of Comfort’s video; it was a response to the trailer, and the continuing effort of Comfort and others to discredit a scientific theory by creating materials intended solely for the general public (which is not how science operates).

        If you’re really interested to know how often I quote Eugenie Scott, all you need to do is use the search feature at the top left corner of this site. Let me know what you find, K? Of course, I understand the discomfort you have at being subjected to a quote from someone as “biased” as her. You are clearly an individual that prefers the company of agenda-less, open-minded seekers like Ray Comfort.

        No, I have never received any kind of compensation from the NCSE, or any other group, for my work on this site. Thanks for asking, though. And thanks for pointing out the misspelling of P.Z. Myers’ name. (By the way, I’m halfway through your response and you haven’t yet pointed out a single one of my supposedly numerous “logical errors.”)

        Yes, I did type that. I’m afraid you missed the point I was trying to make. The scientific method works by formulating theories based on evidence. Here’s a practical example: You equate the hypothetical notion of the multiverse with the theory of evolution. Based on that evidence, I theorize that you don’t understand science at all.

        You may ride around on a donkey if you like, but no, you don’t have to.

        I did visit the site for the movie, which says only that it is available for download now, and will be available on DVD Aug. 7. You are correct that I neglected to visit the completely separate website of Comfort’s Christian ministry and read the “Personal message from Ray,” which is what you quoted.

        I hope he does upload it to YouTube. I would be happy to give the film a fair viewing, then post a review on my site here detailing everything that it gets wrong.

  • Julian

    Hi again Mr. Francke,
    I was actually expecting a little better response from you. It seems we would be able to have a rational discussion instead of “I theorize that you don’t understand science at all.” How wrong you are.

    Fair enough, I now know what type of man you are. I’m going to jump around on my answers.

    “Do you often begin your comments with a series of hypothetical or easily answered questions?”

    Why yes I do.

    “Does the world really need another blog about “Christianity, evolution, the harmony between them and other perfectly reasonable things”?

    From your non-response and reading your site, I would have to answer my own question by saying no.

    Now let’s start with your last answer first.

    “I would be happy to give the film a fair viewing, then post a review on my site here detailing everything that it gets wrong.”

    There is your first problem right there Mr. Francke. That is the fallacy of self-contradiction. How about giving the film a “fair viewing” and point out what it got right as well as got wrong?

    “I’m halfway through your response and you haven’t yet pointed out a single one of my supposedly numerous “logical errors.””

    Second paragraph, third sentence, “poison the well” a logical fallacy that any junior high book on logic will explain to you. Calling Mr. Comfort “Banana Ray” is an Ad hominem attack. “To attack the man” Definition: attacking an opponent’s character rather than answering his argument.” Again, another logical fallacy. I didn’t think I had to spell that one out for you since your whole hit piece is an Ad hominem attack on Mr. Comfort.

    “to discredit a scientific theory by creating materials intended solely for the general public”

    This sentence is great. You have broken almost as many fallacies as words you have typed. Amazing! It’s like the fallacies cross over each word you typed. I’m going with Non sequitur on this one. Do you even think when you’re typing? Say the sentence out loud (it doesn’t help if you add the “how science operates” part) and if you think it makes logical sense, you have serious problems.

    Ok, where are we? I got lost in that amazing bit of wordmanship and logic. Oh yeah, “You are clearly an individual that prefers the company of agenda-less, open-minded seekers like Ray Comfort.”
    This is what’s called a straw man attack. Another fallacy. I never said Ray Comfort is agenda-less. He is biased just like Eugenie Scott and the National Center for Science Education is biased. The NCSE are a pro Darwin lobbying group. Not everybody knows who they are so you should explain their bias to readers instead of implying they are a neutral group.

    The misspelling of P.Z. Myers name. Normally I wouldn’t care. Everybody makes mistakes but you’re a journalist so it goes towards your attention to details. Sloppy.

    “You equate the hypothetical notion of the multiverse with the theory of evolution.” Straw man argument. I did not equate the two, plus, “hypothetical notion of the multiverse”. It’s called Multiverse Theory. The use of Multiverse theory vs. Multiverse hypotheses is at least 4-1 in all major journals. You can blame Max Tegmark for that.

    Your whole premise that because Mr. Comfort does not believe in evolution, he does not believe in science is a fallacy. A MAJOR one! You don’t see that? I’m going to let you figure out which fallacy it is on your
    own.

    I could have gone on and on. Be a man, admit you are wrong, and apologize to Mr. Comfort. I’ll have a lot more respect for you. Then we can have an honest dialog.

    • I was actually expecting a little better response from you.

      Dreadfully sorry to have disappointed you. Of course, based on your apparent devotion to Ray Comfort, I imagine your standards are extremely high.

      Fair enough, I now know what type of man you are.

      Well, you really don’t know anything about me, so you must be remarkably insightful.

      “Does the world really need another blog about “Christianity, evolution, the harmony between them and other perfectly reasonable things”?

      From your non-response and reading your site, I would have to answer my own question by saying no.

      How exciting it must be to be able to decide what the world does and doesn’t need, all on your own and everything.

      How about giving the film a “fair viewing” and point out what it got right as well as got wrong?

      Certainly. But, I can already tell that it got several things wrong just from the trailer and the title of the film. “Evolution vs. God” is a false dilemma. It need not be one or the other, as virtually anyone will admit (I’ve never heard even the most strident YEC say someone cannot be a saved Christian and accept evolution). The subtitle, “Shaking the Foundation of Faith,” is also wrong because evolution is not based on faith. And finally, the claim in the trailer, that “There is no evidence for evolution” — to call it a lie does not go far enough. It is literally impossible to study the theory of evolution in any kind of honest way and come away with that idea, as even YEC professor Todd Wood readily admits.

      Second paragraph, third sentence, “poison the well” a logical fallacy that any junior high book on logic will explain to you. Calling Mr. Comfort “Banana Ray” is an Ad hominem attack. “To attack the man” Definition: attacking an opponent’s character rather than answering his argument.” Again, another logical fallacy.

      Yeah, I saw those, I just didn’t count them because I don’t consider them valid. Everything I said about Ray Comfort is well evidenced and perfectly justified. He is making claims about science in this video; therefore, I looked at examples in the past when he has either made claims about nature and its apparent design (when he made a fool of himself in the banana video) or directly tried to refute the theory of evolution (when he plagiarized another author in his “On the Origin of Species” introduction).

      This sentence is great. You have broken almost as many fallacies as words you have typed. Amazing! It’s like the fallacies cross over each word you typed. I’m going with Non sequitur on this one. Do you even think when you’re typing? Say the sentence out loud (it doesn’t help if you add the “how science operates” part) and if you think it makes logical sense, you have serious problems.

      Is English a second language for you or something? Dude, there is nothing wrong with that sentence. Look, if you don’t like my writing (or are incapable of understanding it), then, by all means, go somewhere else.

      The scientific process is an open, peer-reviewed, collaborative and self-correcting one (and the technology, medicine and vast advancements in knowledge that we have access to today is proof that the process works). Experts in their field evaluate the available evidence and draw the best conclusions they can based on it. Sometimes, scientists disagree, and sometimes they’re just plain wrong. But, when they are wrong, their correction comes either from new evidence or from those individuals (usually scientists) who are able to demonstrate that their theory is a better interpretation of the available evidence. Their correction does not come from the general public being convinced that the prevailing theory is wrong.

      Yet, instead of pursuing the former goal, Comfort and other anti-evolutionists implicitly admit that their ideas are invalid by bypassing the experts and trying to market their views directly to the general public. You may say, “But in this video, he is talking to scientists!” Maybe, but not to really engage or convince them (and if that was his goal, he failed). He only uses them as props to serve his preconceived agenda. It’s an inherently dishonest approach.

      The NCSE are a pro Darwin lobbying group. Not everybody knows who they are so you should explain their bias to readers instead of implying they are a neutral group.

      I think most of my readers know what the NCSE is and what it does. If they don’t, the fact that it is called the National Center for Science Education pretty much sums it up, as far as I’m concerned.

      The misspelling of P.Z. Myers name. Normally I wouldn’t care. Everybody makes mistakes but you’re a journalist so it goes towards your attention to details. Sloppy.

      Again with the name thing? What are you, his dad? Get over it, man.

      The use of Multiverse theory vs. Multiverse hypotheses is at least 4-1 in all major journals. You can blame Max Tegmark for that.

      I don’t care what the popular usage is. Evolution is the foundation of modern biology. Not only has it been rigorously tested over the past 150 years, at least as much as any other idea in science, but it is supported by piles of evidence, including the fossil record, DNA, animal behavior, microbial experiments, phylogenetic studies and biological functions. It also is corroborated by the findings of every other major discipline. The multiverse is a hypothesis, for which there has only recently been any evidence that supports it. So, to equate the two is simply incorrect.

      Your whole premise that because Mr. Comfort does not believe in evolution, he does not believe in science is a fallacy.

      There is nothing fallacious about it. Evolution is as much a fact as anything we know in science. It makes no sense to reject one field of inquiry while embracing many others, when they all operate on the exact same principles and use the same methods.

      One last thing, will you be writing about Physicist Eric Hedin and Astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez and the controversies surrounding them at Ball State University in Indiana?

      I’ve been following the stories and have discussed it a few times on GOE’s Facebook page. I don’t know if I will do an article or not. I’m not an intelligent design proponent.

  • Julian

    Hi again Mr. Francke.
    Your website is dedicated to “discuss and promote Christianity, evolution, the harmony between them and other perfectly reasonable things”. Well, let’s discuss them but first we need to work on your logic and reasoning problems.

    Let’s see, where to begin.
    “based on your apparent devotion to Ray Comfort, I imagine your standards are extremely high.”

    I have shown no devotion toward Mr. Comfort and yes my standards are extremely high. One thing I don’t do is suffer fools gladly.

    “Well, you really don’t know anything about me, so you must be remarkably insightful.”

    I do know you are a person who has to continually refer to yourself as an “Evangelical Christian” on your home page. Is that because you are trying to convince yourself? I also know that logic and reasoning are not your forte.

    “Does the world really need another blog about “Christianity, evolution, the harmony between them and other perfectly reasonable things”?

    “How exciting it must be to be able to decide what the world does and doesn’t need, all on your own and everything.”

    I merely based my conclusion by the quality of your writing.

    “Evolution vs. God” is a false dilemma.”

    It depends on the definition of evolution. If your definition is “change over time”, then Mr. Comfort is an evolutionist. Let’s look at the definition from the National Associations of Biology Teachers. Evolution: an unsupervised, impersonal, unpredictable and natural process of temporal descent with genetic modification that is affected by natural selection, chance, historical contingencies and changing environments”. Or as George Gaylord Simpson put it, “Man is the result of a purposeless and natural process that did not have him in mind”.

    This standard definition of evolution doesn’t mean God guided, gradual creation. It means unguided, purposeless change. The Darwinian theory of evolution doesn’t say that God created slowly. It says that naturalistic evolution is the creator and God had nothing to do with it. Under this definition, Mr. Comfort is right and you are wrong. This is something that happens a lot in your posts.

    “The subtitle, “Shaking the Foundation of Faith,” is also wrong because evolution is not based on faith.”

    Well, why don’t you watch the film and see if other people actually base their belief in evolution on faith.

    Ray Comfort “There is no evidence for evolution” — to call it a lie does not go far enough.”

    Mr. Francke, please stop equivocating (another fallacy) on the definition of the word evolution. Define it and then stick with it.

    “I think most of my readers know what the NCSE is and what it does.”

    I was under the assumption you were trying to reach out to a larger audience, not the 3-7 people who actually read your blog.

    “Again with the name thing? What are you, his dad? Get over it, man.”

    I just had the misfortune of reading your post titled GOE response to Answers in Genesis President Ken Ham. You remember the post right? Hypocrisy is thy name. The post where you nit-pick Mr. Ham about a capitalization error he had made. You also had a problem with his use of two exclamation points. That would be a Double standard. Here you go “It makes no sense to reject one field.of inquiry”. What does field.of mean? Periods come at the END of a sentence, not in the middle of one. That one goes out to Ken Ham!! Oh yeah, glad you finally fixed the misspelling of Myers name on your post.

    “I don’t care what the popular usage is.”

    That is quite evident.

    “Evolution is the foundation of modern biology.”

    No. biology is the foundation of modern biology.

    “fossil record, DNA, animal behavior, microbial experiments, phylogenetic studies and biological functions.”

    I’ll get to those soon enough.

    “The multiverse is a hypothesis, for which there has only recently been any evidence that supports it. So, to equate the two is simply incorrect.”

    Mr. Francke, I did not equate the two. Here is what I actually said “I don’t believe in string theory or multi-verses do you? Does that mean I have to now ride around on a donkey?” I stated my disbelief in string theory or multi-verses and asked if that meant I had to ride around on a donkey. No equating there. Reading comprehension is not one of your strong points either.

    Now back about your numerous logical fallacies. “Yeah, I saw those, I just didn’t count them because I don’t consider them valid.”

    You had no clue that poison the well was a fallacy. If you had, you would not have typed “I’m halfway through your response and you haven’t yet pointed out a single one of my supposedly numerous “logical errors.” when I had actually pointed them out. You would have argued they were not valid fallacies. Something you are trying to do now and have failed miserably at.

    From your post on Ken Ham I see you can actually spell Ad hominem, you just don’t know what it means which is sad because I gave you a textbook definition of it. It doesn’t matter if allegations are true or not. You are attacking Mr. Comfort instead of his arguments. Something you are either unwilling or unable to do.

    “Is English a second language for you or something?”

    No.

    “Dude, there is nothing wrong with that sentence.”

    Yes there is.

    “Look, if you don’t like my writing (or are incapable of understanding it), then, by all means, go somewhere else.”

    It has nothing to do with whether I like or dislike your writing. Your sentence is grammatically correct but it is logically incoherent. Let me explain since you don’t seem to have the ability to grasp even the simplest errors.

    “to discredit a scientific theory by creating materials intended solely for the general public”
    Nobody in the world, not even Mr. Comfort can “discredit a scientific theory by creating materials intended solely for the general public”. The mere act of “creating materials intended solely for the general public” cannot “discredit a scientific theory”. He would need to do more than that. Do you get it now? I doubt it. I’m not even going to fix your mess of a sentence for you.

    Your whole premise that because Mr. Comfort does not believe in evolution, he does not believe in science is a fallacy.

    “There is nothing fallacious about it.”

    Yes it is a fallacy. You didn’t look it up yet?

    “Evolution is as much a fact as anything we know in science.”

    No its not.

    Unlike you, I have actually seen Evolution vs. God and it is very good. Boy does PZ Myers come out looking like an idiot. Errr, Ummm, Ahhhh. He sounds like he’s warming up his voice to sing the National Anthem. Let’s not even mention him contradicting himself right on camera yet. No wonder he had to attack the film before it came out.

    “I eagerly look forward to my life being further enriched by another round of conversation with you.”

    Mr. Francke, you have changed my mind. I actually do like your site now and will be visiting quite often. I would like to learn from you what real science is and the “truth” of evolution. I have a request though. Please have shorter post. It’s like dictation; your errors come faster than I can type.
    So relax, drink your Starbucks, and let’s have a conversation.

    • I have shown no devotion toward Mr. Comfort

      Riiiiiiiight.

      Nobody in the world, not even Mr. Comfort can “discredit a scientific theory by creating materials intended solely for the general public”. The mere act of “creating materials intended solely for the general public” cannot “discredit a scientific theory”. He would need to do more than that.

      This was exactly my point from the beginning. And yet, though we both apparently agree that targeting laypeople and schoolchildren is not how supposedly faulty science is corrected, this seems to be exactly where Comfort and other anti-evolutionists focus their efforts.

      And, I never said it was possible to discredit a theory with materials aimed at the general public; I said only that that’s what Comfort seems to think. I believe the preceding segment of the sentence that you keep omitting makes my intended meaning more clear: “the continuing effort by Comfort and others…”

      I could remark on a child’s continuing effort to dig a hole to China, but that doesn’t mean I believe it’s possible for them to do so.

      Mr. Francke, you have changed my mind. I actually do like your site now and will be visiting quite often.

      Why, thank you. Praise from an individual with standards as lofty as yours means the world to me. All 3-7 of my readers and I are thrilled.

      As to your other points — believe whatever you like.

  • Julian

    One more thing tonight Mr. Francke, thank for posting the articles about Eric Hedin and Guillermo Gonzalez on your Facebook page. I just quickly glanced over a few but they seemed fair. The Karl Giberson piece was nice but he seems a little muddled in his thinking. You really ought to write articles like that instead of posts about people riding on dinosaurs. It would be a much more productive use of your time in my opinion. If you really want to make a difference, put down your sword and use your pen for positive writing!

    • Thank you for your input. I do indeed look forward to focusing on other things once Ray Comfort, Ken Ham and the others stop trying to yoke Christianity to their war against a scientific question that’s been settled for decades.

  • Julian

    Hi Mr. Francke,

    “I believe the preceding segment of the sentence that you keep omitting makes my intended meaning more clear: “the continuing effort by Comfort and others…”

    It does not help at all. It is still a logically incoherent sentence. I’m not trying to be mean, but you have some serious critical thinking issues if you still can’t spot the problem in that sentence.

    I am glad you agree with me that Mr. Comfort and Mr. Ham and not trying to tear down the giant behemoth we call science. They actually do believe in science and are merely attacking a theory within it, namely evolution.

    Since this thread is about Mr. Comfort’s film Evolution Vs God, we will just start with his argument.

    The film’s premise is based on a quote from Richard Dawkins: Faith is the great cop out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence.

    According to Craig Stanford PhD Professor of Biology and Anthropology at USC in the film “What Darwin showed in his work on evolution and natural selection is that we don’t need to invoke any supernatural force or power to account for the development of life through time on earth”. Creation without a creator.

    Now let’s set our definitions. Mr. Comfort uses the definition of the scientific method from Science Daily. “A scientific method’s based on the collection of data through observation.”

    By evolution, Mr. Comfort is taking about macro-evolution not simple speciation. Nobody is making the argument of the fixity of species. Samuel Wilberforce did not in 1860 and neither is Mr. Comfort. In fact you can read all about variation (speciation), natural selection, and struggle for existence in a paper written by Edward Blyth in 1835. Guess what, Mr. Blyth was a creationist. He did not see natural selection as being an adequate mechanism for biological innovation. He thought of natural selection as being primarily a means of preserving species, not creating large scale biological innovations. The same problems we face today in evolution. Darwin owes a giant debt to Blyth. In fact he owes such a large debt to Edward Blyth that he was accused of plagiarism by Loren Eiseley (head of the Anthropology Department at the University of Pennsylvania, president of the American Institute of Human Paleontology, Provost of the University of Pennsylvania) in his book Darwin and the Mysterious Mr. X.

    Last definition we need is kinds. Just to keep it simple, Mr. Comfort is referring to the Genesis kind: cat kind, dog kind ect… This roughly is the taxonomic ranks of family and higher (Order, class, Phylum). For more scientific studies on kinds, you can read Todd Wood’s work on baraminology.

    Now let’s see if you base your belief in evolution on science or on faith.

    I will ask you the same question Mr. Comfort asks: Can you give me some observable evidence for Darwinian evolution, not adaption or speciation, but a change in kinds?

    Bonus section: In the movie PZ Myers states that “Human beings are still fish”. Then Mr. Comfort says “Human beings are fish?” which PZ replies “Why yes of course they are!” He is being serious. Dictionary definition of a fish: any of various cold-blooded, aquatic vertebrates, having gills, commonly fins, and typically an elongated body covered with scales. Will you call out Mr. Myers for misleading the public and promoting bad science?

    • I’m not trying to be mean, but you have some serious critical thinking issues if you still can’t spot the problem in that sentence.

      I understand that you’re not trying to be mean. You are just being true to your extremely high standards, of course. I would expect nothing less. I appreciate you trying so hard to make sense of my writing, though. Truly a heroic effort.

      According to Craig Stanford PhD Professor of Biology and Anthropology at USC in the film “What Darwin showed in his work on evolution and natural selection is that we don’t need to invoke any supernatural force or power to account for the development of life through time on earth”. Creation without a creator.

      I do not believe “Creation without a creator” is an accurate summary of this quote, if that’s what you were going for. Darwin’s theory was intended to explain how and why life has changed and differentiated into species over time, not how it began in the first place. And Stanford’s quote (as you’ve described it here) reflects that understanding. He said Darwin showed we don’t need to invoke the supernatural to account for the development of life — not its original appearance.

      I will ask you the same question Mr. Comfort asks: Can you give me some observable evidence for Darwinian evolution, not adaption or speciation, but a change in kinds?

      I would suggest that the entire history of life as we know it through the fossil record bears witness to “changes in kind.” For example, consider the Devonian period (about 420 million years ago to 360 million years ago). Sometimes called the “age of the fish,” the fossils of the Devonian age are characterized by trilobites, mollusks and mollusk-like creatures, ray- and lobe-finned fish and bad-ass-looking armored fish called placoderms. We also see the first appearances of rooted plants, tetrapods and insects. But, no rabbits, no ducks, no whales, no grizzly bears, no sparrows, no humans. In fact, it would appear we can find only a few representatives of modern “kinds” in the Devonian strata or that dates to the Devonian period. So, obviously, many, many changes in kinds occurred between then and now that bridged the gaps between the simple life of that era and us and our mammalian and avian friends — otherwise, where did we all come from?

      Those who deny evolution seem to demand evidence like a fossil that clearly shows some kind of half-fish, half-lizard creature. But as you seem to be keenly aware, this is not how evolution works. Macro-evolution is a very gradual process; indeed, it is identical to micro-evolution, which you admit occurs, it just takes a lot more time. So, no, I don’t think we will ever find a crocoduck, but the fact that life in every geologic period that preceded ours was very different than what we see today seems to me to be powerful evidence that changes in kinds are not only possible, but had to have happened.

      In the movie PZ Myers states that “Human beings are still fish”. Then Mr. Comfort says “Human beings are fish?” which PZ replies “Why yes of course they are!” He is being serious.

      I do not know why P.Z. Myers would say humans are fish. I’ve never heard such a claim before and don’t know the context in which he said it. I will say that, if Myers made any follow-up statements that clarified or explained what he meant, I would not put it past Comfort to edit it out in order to make the biologist look as stupid as possible. He has been known to edit his videos in misleading ways in the past.

      Early stages of human embryos do display ancestral traits, like tails and even pharyngeal slits that roughly resemble gills (though they cannot function as such). But that doesn’t mean we’re fish.

      • Julian

        Hi Tyler, I hope you don’t mind me calling you Tyler now. Thank you for your response.

        “I do not believe “Creation without a creator” is an accurate summary of this quote”
        I will bet you a Starbucks coffee that’s exactly what Dr. Stanford meant. I’ve heard too many well known atheists make this very point. Dawkins repeatedly makes this point. In fact, I think it might be a Dawkins quote. Ask him if he believes the original appearance of life on earth was a purposeless and purely natural process. You know the answer.

        “I would suggest that the entire history of life ect..”

        I said some observable evidence of a change in kind. Nobody was around in the Devonian period. Please answer this important question. I want observable evidence so I can believe evolution just like you.

        “Macro-evolution is a very gradual process; indeed, it is identical to micro-evolution”
        Wrong! One has been observed and the other has not.

        “I do not know why P.Z. Myers would say humans are fish.”

        I don’t either. Very idiotic thing to say and he is not kidding. He doubles down on the stupid. No editing needed. He is not very bright.

        • I don’t mind at all if you call me Tyler.

          I’ve heard too many well known atheists make this very point. Dawkins repeatedly makes this point. In fact, I think it might be a Dawkins quote. Ask him if he believes the original appearance of life on earth was a purposeless and purely natural process. You know the answer.

          Yes, I do know that’s what Dawkins thinks; he’s an atheist. The question is whether the issue of abiogenesis is in any way addressed by the theory of evolution as proposed by Charles Darwin. And the answer is no.

          Nobody was around in the Devonian period.

          Of course they weren’t; that was hundreds of millions of years ago. I’m glad to see we agree on that.

          I said some observable evidence of a change in kind. … Please answer this important question. I want observable evidence so I can believe evolution just like you.

          How is the fossil record and the geologic column not observable evidence? You can walk into any museum on earth (except the Creation Museum) and see them up close, or see them on the Internet, and there are publicly accessible places across the globe where you can see the geologic strata and even dig for and handle fossils.

          Why these things look the way they do is where hypotheses, predictions, experimentation and theory come in, as well as findings from other fields of science. But the facts are undeniable: Rocks are arranged in strata, and the fossilized remains of the creatures that appear in the strata appear more and more different than what we see today the deeper one goes down.

          If modern animals did not evolve from Devonian life, but were created with them during the same week, they would have been buried right alongside each other in apparently ancient rock.

          Wrong! One has been observed and the other has not.

          The processes work exactly the same way. The only reason we don’t directly observe macroevolution is because it takes longer than a human lifetime to occur.

  • Julian

    Tyler, sorry about the late response but I have become very busy the last few days, my apologies.

    “I do not believe “Creation without a creator” is an accurate summary of this quote”
    “The question is whether the issue of abiogenesis is in any way addressed by the theory of evolution as proposed by Charles Darwin”.

    While it is true that Darwin did not directly address the origin of life question, only referring to it in his letter to Joseph Hooker in 1871, it does not even matter in this case. Let’s look at the quote again “What Darwin showed in his work on evolution and natural selection is that we don’t need to invoke any supernatural force or power to account for the development of life through time on earth”. Darwin’s most famous book is “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life”. Darwin is talking about changes in kind. One animal into another not merely color changes in something like peppered moths. The “origin of species”. New creatures coming into being by a purely natural means. Creation without a creator. Please see Daniel Dennett’s book Darwin’s Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life (1995). That is what the dangerous idea was.

    Side note: Ernst Mayr correctly points out about Darwin’s “Origin of Species”, “It is quite true, as several recent authors have indicated, that Darwin’s book was misnamed, because it is a book on evolutionary changes in general and the factors that control them (selectivity, and so forth), but not a treatise on the origin of species”. Systematics and the Origin of Species (1942).

    “Nobody was around in the Devonian period.”
    “Of course they weren’t; that was hundreds of millions of years ago. I’m glad to see we agree on that.”

    We agree on many things. You will see.

    “How is the fossil record and the geologic column not observable evidence?”

    We can observe fossils and the geologic column. Fossils are merely bones in stones. We just can’t observe evolution. Who observed the evolution of those creatures? You believe that because we see fossils appearing to be closely related that it is observable evolution. It is not. These fossils might imply evolution or they might not. Doesn’t matter. I want observable!

    “You can walk into any museum on earth (except the Creation Museum) and see them up close”

    You mean the Creation Museum doesn’t have fossils and a chart on the geologic column? Don’t be petty Tyler, it makes you irrational. Attack their (or my) arguments.

    “Why these things look the way they do is where hypotheses, predictions, experimentation and theory come in”

    That’s the key word: hypotheses.

    “But the facts are undeniable: Rocks are arranged in strata”

    I agree that rocks are arranged in strata! But there are some serious problems with the geologic column.

    “fossilized remains of the creatures that appear in the strata appear more and more different than what we see today the deeper one goes down.”

    I agree! See, we actually agree on a lot of things, but it does not prove common descent.

    Side note: Dr. Guy Berthault has a very interesting theory on sedimentation and how younger fossils can be buried below older fossils.

    “If modern animals did not evolve from Devonian life, but were created with them during the same week, they would have been buried right alongside each other in apparently ancient rock.”

    Does Mr. Comfort actually believe all creatures were created in the same week? I know Ken Ham does but we are discussing Mr. Comfort. I don’t but I also don’t believe in common descent.

    “Early stages of human embryos do display ancestral traits, like tails and even pharyngeal slits that roughly resemble gills (though they cannot function as such). But that doesn’t mean we’re fish.”

    By bringing up the two examples of ancestral traits, you are referring to Ernst Haeckel’s Ontogeny Recapitulates Phylogeny, also known as “Biogenetic Law”. This theory was discredited in 1921 by Professor Walter Garstand. Here are a few quotes concerning it “It is now firmly established that ontogeny does not
    repeat phylogeny.” (G.G. Simpson and W. Beck, An Introduction to Biology (1965). “Surely the biogenetic law is as dead as a doornail. It was finally exorcised from biology textbooks in the fifties. As a topic of serious theoretical inquiry it was extinct in the twenties” (Keith S. Thomson, Ontogeny and Phylogeny Recapitulated, American Scientist (1988). Plus, I am sure you are aware that Haeckel falsified drawings to depict the appearance of ontogeny recapitulating phylogeny. Haeckel’s embryo drawings were a fraud.

    It’s interesting you bring up a “tail” on embryos because in the film Mr. Comfort also discuses vestigial organs. Student’s cite the appendix and tailbone (Coccyx) as vestigial organs and proof for their belief in evolution. The appendix and tailbone have both been shown to be functional, thus are not vestigial. According to developmental biologist Steven R. Scadding “I suspect that this argument; [functionless organs] gained widespread use not because it proves anything about evolution, but because it was thought to have particular force against some varieties of creationism”. I would whole heartedly agree with this assessment.

    OK, to the crux of the matter. This is an argument you cannot win and it is not a semantic trick either. Now let me explain. As you so aptly point out, these fossils are millions of years old. I want something I can observe.

    The four scientists in the movie are Peter Nonacs (Professor, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, UCLA), Craig Stanford (Professor, Biological Sciences and Anthropology, USC), PZ Myers (Associate Professor, Biology, University of Minnesota Morris) and Gail E. Kennedy (Associate Professor, Anthropology, UCLA).

    I’ve only seen the film once and I’m going on memory. I am not trying to take anybody out of context. They understand the question. That’s why they only try to give observable cases of evolution. PZ Myers gives the evidence of stickleback fish and they all point to Richard Lenski’s work with bacteria. Craig Stanford puts forth the evidence of Darwin’s finches. So let me get this straight, fish stay fish, bacteria stay bacteria and finches stay finches. I said change of kind. You know, like a bear changing into a whale like Darwin believed.

    Not even the most ardent creationist is arguing against speciation. Peter Nonacs and Gail E. Kennedy both realize this and say evolution can’t be observed because it happens over millions of years. Even Darwin admitted this.

    I always try to honestly answer every question you pose. If I miss one, please remind me. I re-read your post to make sure I didn’t miss any and there it is, your last answer. “The only reason we don’t directly observe macroevolution is because it takes longer than a human lifetime to occur”. You have proven Mr. Comfort’s thesis: macroevolution is not observable but you still believe in evolution. You have “faith” in it being correct.

    Richard Dawkins: Faith is the great cop out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence.

    Last thought of the night: about the only two intelligent things Eugenie Scott ever said was “Jehovah’s Witnesses school children know more about evolution than most scientist” and “don’t ever debate creationist, you will lose”. I’m not even sure she said the first one either.

    • Tyler, sorry about the late response but I have become very busy the last few days, my apologies.

      No worries. Thanks for the reply. Good to hear from you again.

      Darwin is talking about changes in kind. One animal into another not merely color changes in something like peppered moths. The “origin of species”. New creatures coming into being by a purely natural means. Creation without a creator.

      Oh, OK, I see what you’re saying now. I would submit, in that case, that understanding the process of how something in nature works (in this case, how life developed and diversified) does nothing to prove or disprove God. The Bible explicitly names God as the creator of all life. In Job and elsewhere in scripture, it also explicitly describes God as the designer and originator of things like lightning, rain, snow and hail. We now understand the natural causes behind this phenomena (I’m presuming that you generally accept the findings of meteorology); does that mean we can no longer believe these things, ultimately, find their source in God alone? Not at all, in my opinion.

      God is the author of nature; understanding the languages he uses does not change that. This is true of atmospheric phenomena, and it is also true of evolution.

      “Of course they weren’t; that was hundreds of millions of years ago. I’m glad to see we agree on that.”

      We agree on many things. You will see.

      Now, I must admit, I am confused. You accept the Devonian strata and the fossils therein to be hundreds of millions of years old, but don’t accept that the modern “kinds” of today developed from the simpler forms that appear to have solely characterized that era? Are you a progressive creationist?

      You mean the Creation Museum doesn’t have fossils and a chart on the geologic column? Don’t be petty Tyler, it makes you irrational.

      Some friends and I visited the Creation Museum a couple years ago, and I do not recall seeing any real fossils (I do remember some models and recreations) or a chart on the geologic column. If I am mistaken, I apologize. Now, you are seeing firsthand some of the limitations of eyewitness accounts, which you apparently hold in the highest regard 🙂

      Side note: Dr. Guy Berthault has a very interesting theory on sedimentation and how younger fossils can be buried below older fossils.

      I’m familiar with Berthault’s theories, and I do not find them to be supported by the available evidence. However, I’d be interested to review any material you might be able to link to or provide that you think shows otherwise.

      Does Mr. Comfort actually believe all creatures were created in the same week? I know Ken Ham does but we are discussing Mr. Comfort. I don’t but I also don’t believe in common descent.

      As far as I know, Comfort has always been very careful in discussing the age of the earth and what he believes it to be. But I know he has argued for and appears to fully support all of the tenets of a strictly literal interpretation of Genesis 1-3, including the nonexistence of physical death in the natural world prior to the fall of man, as precipitated by two real people named Adam and Eve. All of this would certainly seem to imply that he believes the earth to be very young, and that humans have been present in it almost since the day it was created.

      By bringing up the two examples of ancestral traits, you are referring to Ernst Haeckel’s Ontogeny Recapitulates Phylogeny, also known as “Biogenetic Law”.

      No, I wasn’t. I am well aware that Haeckel’s universal recapitulation theory has been widely rejected and discredited. However, they are undeniable facts that human embryos do have tails and pharyngeal slits or pouches resembling gills during part of their development, and that both structures disappear later on. And this evidence does support the theory of evolution and common descent, and refutes the ideas of direct creation and intelligent design. The difference between this evidence and Haeckel’s discredited theory is that he believed animal development, from embryo to adult, would reflect every successive stage of the organism’s evolutionary ancestors, and we see now that this is not the case.

      The appendix and tailbone have both been shown to be functional, thus are not vestigial.

      Though I understand it is popularly used, “non-functional” is not actually the definition of vestigial. The true definition is “Occurring or persisting as a rudimentary or degenerate structure; Of or pertaining to a vestige or remnant; not fully developed in mature animals.” Vestigial means left over, not useless.

      However, let’s explore some of the predictions of the creationism/intelligent design theory as they relate to the coccyx. The function of the coccyx, as I understand it, is that it serves as an attachment for several muscles and ligaments. Basically, were creationism/intelligent design correct, then the coccyx was specifically created or designed with that function in mind, and we would have certain expectations of that structure. Let’s see if the evidence fits those expectations.

      – The coccyx is initially comprised of small, individual bones that fuse into a solid piece during development. There appears to be no reason for this why a designer would design the structure this way if its purpose was merely to serve as an attachment for muscles. It would seem more efficient to be a solid piece from the beginning.

      – The coccyx often, though not always, has another muscle attached to it called the extensor coccygis. This muscle extends from the first piece of the coccyx and attaches to the last piece of the coccyx. If the coccyx were not fused into a solid piece, than this muscle would allow for the coccyx to be flexed (and in animals that do have tails, their equivalent of the extensor coccygis does precisely this). But, since, the coccyx is fused, the muscle can do nothing. The existence of this muscle does not appear to be in line with creationism or ID.

      – Genetic research indicates that the genes that form the coccyx in us are the same ones that form the tails of mice. Creationism/ID would not predict that the same genes the designer uses to form tails in one creature would be used by him to form a muscle-attachment structure in another.

      – And finally, the tail that early human embryos have usually disappears in our later development because we have genes that specifically code for this function. The reason some humans are born with tails is because these genes did not function properly. Creationism/ID would not predict that the designer would code a muscle-attachment structure to be developed embryonically as a tail, most of which is later destroyed by a different set of genes.

      OK, to the crux of the matter. This is an argument you cannot win and it is not a semantic trick either. Now let me explain. As you so aptly point out, these fossils are millions of years old. I want something I can observe.

      Your demand for observable evidence is unreasonable, and your assertion that because it hasn’t been observed, it can only be based on faith, is invalid. By this argument, we can only accept on faith the existence of unseen forces like gravity and electromagnetic fields. We cannot observe gravity any more than we can observe macroevolution, but we accept the existence of gravity because we see strong evidence of its existence, and we are able to test the existence of gravity by experimentation.

      In the same way, we see strong evidence of the existence of macroevolution. We see virtually irrefutable evidence that ancient life was very simple, and that life has changed significantly over time. We also see strong evidence of common ancestry. We do not have to have observed life changing and diversifying over the years to know that it did. If it did not, then we would expect the facts of nature to be entirely different than what we see.

      As it currently stands, we are unable to test large-scale evolutionary change with laboratory experiments, because the process takes too long. However, we are able to test and have tested and extensively studied every one of the mechanisms that drive macroevolution, and not only have we confirmed that they work, in some cases they have proved to be far more powerful than we had thought.

      Please feel free to take your time in responding. I will understand.

  • Julian

    Hi Tyler. Sorry about the delay in getting back to you. I’ve been very busy lately. This post is rather large and I didn’t attribute everything but I think the punctuation and spelling are at least correct.

    “I would submit, in that case, that understanding the process of how something in nature works ect…”

    That is great! Tyler, why don’t you always write this way?

    “God is the author of nature; understanding the languages he uses does not change that.”

    I concur. We are both seeking the truth. We are trying to understand “how” God created. I just disagree that he used evolution to achieve his goals.

    “You accept the Devonian strata and the fossils therein to be hundreds of millions of years old, but don’t accept that the modern “kinds” of today developed from the simpler forms that appear to have solely characterized that era? ”

    Yes I accept very ancient fossils. I just don’t accept that they show common descent. It wasn’t the priest at the time who had problems with “Origin of Species”, it was Darwin’s fellow scientist, the paleontologist.

    Reverend Samuel Wilberforce opposed Darwinism strictly on scientific grounds. In fact, many Religious leaders actually embraced Darwin’s idea because they felt they could get away from answering the problem of evil. The very few religious leaders who did oppose Darwin understood the philosophical implications of his theory. Darwin’s dangerous idea!

    Darwin believed the fossil record would vindicate him. It has not. The reason Otto Schindewolf and Richard Goldschmidt purposed saltation theories were to get around the fossils record (as well as the lack of experimental evidence). The same holds true for the theory of Punctuated equilibrium put forward by Niles Eldredge, Stephen Jay Gould and Steven Stanley.

    The Cambrian explosion should easily disprove Darwinian evolution. The main diversification of life within the Cambrian period lasted only “5-6 million years” (Douglas Erwin, Science 25 November 2011). A time frame far too short for natural selection acting on random mutation to account for all the morphological innovation we see. This is in addition to lack of transitional fossils in the Cambrian period.

    “Are you a progressive creationist?”
    No and I am not a young earth creationist but I have read a lot of YEC literature to understand their arguments. I was an evolutionist but after many years of studying the matter, came to the conclusion that Intelligent Design fits the evidence the best. I came to this conclusion based solely on scientific grounds, not philosophical or religious reasons. The philosophical problems came much later and then the theological implications after that.

    “You mean the Creation Museum doesn’t have fossils and a chart on the geologic column?”

    They actually do have fossils at the Creation Museum: Mesosaurus braziliensis, Mioplosus, Ammonite, Dinosaur eggs, Trilobites ect… I saw a picture of the museum and they did have a chart of the geologic column, maybe in the section on Mount St. Helen’s? Now you can’t accuse Ken Ham of getting rid of the geologic column:) haha.

    “Some friends and I visited the Creation Museum a couple years ago”

    Please tell me you didn’t go there to mock them!

    “Dr. Guy Berthault has a very interesting theory on sedimentation”

    If I remember correctly, the last time I saw two published articles by Dr. Berthault, they were hosted on the University of Colorado’s website by his co-author. I’ll keep looking.

    “they are undeniable facts that human embryos do have tails and pharyngeal slits or pouches resembling gills during part of their development, and that both structures disappear later on.”

    Before you take your victory lap, let’s look a little closer at them. This argument is the lite version of the Biogenetic Law.

    Tails: Human embryos do have an “embryonic tail”. This embryonic structure is nothing more than the tip of the spinal cord. The spinal column develops early and becomes a conspicuous part of the embryo. It protrudes substantially and then fuses together as the growth of the remaining embryo catches up. The human “embryonic tail” may contain up to twelve vertebrae at the sixth week but by the eighth week these begin to fuse, forming the coccyx at the end of the spine. However, the tip of the embryonic tail contains no vertebrae. The “embryonic tail” is never a tail.

    Agreeing with this assessment is Muller and O’Rahilly who state in Human Embryology & Teratology (Wiley-Liss, 1996). “Supernumerary vertebral centra that would later degenerate are not present and hence no tail exists” and “the caudal tip of the trunk appears particularly tapered at 5 weeks, because it contains merely neural tube, but is in no sense a (future) vertebrated “tail”.”

    Pharyngeal slits or pouches resembling gills:
    Midway through development, all vertebrate embryos posses a series of folds in the neck region. The convex parts of the folds are called pharyngeal “arches” or “ridges” and the concave parts are called phyryngeal “clefts” or “pouches”. But pharyngeal fold are not gills. They are not even gills in pharyngula stage fish embryos.

    In a fish, phyryngeal folds later develop into gills, but in a reptile, mammal or bird they develop into other structures entirely, such as the inner ear and parathyroid gland. In reptiles, mammals and birds pharyngeal folds are never “gill like” except in the superficial sense that they form a series of parallel lines in the neck region. There is no embryonic reason to call pharyngeal pouches “gill like”. The only justification for that term is the assumed claim that mammals evolved from fish. Now let me get this straight. Because embryos have folded tissue in development, we came from fish? That’s the argument right?

    “Though I understand it is popularly used, “non-functional” is not actually the definition of vestigial. The true definition is “Occurring or persisting as a rudimentary or degenerate structure; Of or pertaining to a vestige or remnant; not fully developed in mature animals.” Vestigial means left over, not useless.”

    The most common definition of a vestigial organ throughout the last century was “structures that have no useful function but which represent the remains of organs that once had some use” (The Evolution of Life, Oxford University Press, New York, 1987). Churchill’s Medical Dictionary defines vestigial as an organ that has “no obvious function”, and notes that the word vestigial derives from the Latin vestigium, ‘meaning footprint, imprint, track, trace” (Churchill Livingstone, Inc., New York, 1989). Tootill’s Dictionary of Biology defines the word vestigial as follows: “An organ that is functionless and generally reduced in size but bears some resemblance to the corresponding fully functioning organs found in related organisms” (Facts on File, New York, 1988). Scientific American even used the term non-functional in 2009. If the evidence does not fit the definition, change the definition. That happens a lot in evolutionary theory. For the sake of argument though, I’ll go with your definition.

    “let’s explore some of the predictions of the creationism/intelligent design theory”

    I’ll take the side of ID.

    “if its purpose was merely to serve as an attachment for muscles. It would seem more efficient to be a solid piece from the beginning.”

    You seem to believe ID argues for perfect design, it does not. I’ll quote William Dembski here:

    “First off, let’s be clear that design is rarely, if ever, optimal. The problem is that all designs involve compromise among competing objectives.
    The reason we put the adjective “intelligent” in front of the noun “design” is not to stress that the design we find in nature is optimal or good or morally acceptable. Rather, it is to underscore that the design we find in biology and in the universe more generally is actual. Richard Dawkins opens his book The Blind Watchmaker by stating “Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.”
    For Darwinian biologists, all such design is merely an appearance. The “intelligent” in “intelligent design” underscores that we’re not just dealing with an appearance of design, but rather with actual design.
    So while the question of suboptimal or bad design may be interesting, it is not central to intelligent design as a scientific program, which in the first instance is interested in looking for evidence of design überhaupt. That said, it will be helpful to bring some clarifications to this discussion, especially since the problem of bad, and even malevolent design, is such a stumbling block for many people in accepting ID.”

    “There appears to be no reason for this why a designer would design the structure this way if its purpose was merely to serve as an attachment for muscles.”

    Key phrase there “appears to be no reason”.
    Do you remember the argument Dawkins made claiming that the human eye is an example of bad design, because it is wired backwards – the photoreceptors are located behind a tangle of blood vessels and other material? This argument, evolutionist said, totally destroyed ID and proved evolution. But then in 2007, German scientists found that cone-shaped cells called Muller cells act like waveguides that transmit the light through the tangles straight into the photoreceptors. There actually was a reason why the eye is wired that way. Since that time there have been at least six more studies confirming the eye is wired this way for a reason. I would say more studies are needed before we simply write off the coccyx as “bad design”.

    “Genetic research indicates that the genes that form the coccyx in us are the same ones that form the tails of mice. Creationism/ID would not predict that the same genes the designer uses to form tails in one creature would be used by him to form a muscle-attachment structure in another.”

    Genes are merely a DNA sequence that specifies a particular protein. Basically, they are the protein building instructions contained in DNA. The problem is not using the same gene, the problem is information. Higher level instructions are needed for building tissues, organs and body types. Some developmental biologists now think that at least two other cellular features, the cytoskeleton and the cell membrane store structural information that effects how the embryo develops.

    “The reason some humans are born with tails is because these genes did not function properly.”

    On rare occasions human babies (neonates) are born with a so called “tail,” a narrow fibrous filament of skin near the buttocks region. The most famous case appears in Dr. Ledley’s article “Evolution and the Human tail: A Case Report” in the New England Journal of Medicine. The infant was normal in every respect except for the malformation, which was 5.5cm long with a diameter of 0.7cm at its base. It was located 1.5cm to the right of the backbone. Thus, it was located near but not at the place where a tail would occur. It had no connection with the backbone and possessed no bone cartilage. These findings are contrary to virtually all normally occurring tails. This strongly indicates it was not a tail. Its resemblance to a tail was only superficial. Ledley even acknowledged that “it is possible that this structure is merely a dermal appendage coincidently located in the caudal region. This possibility cannot be excluded.”

    By repeatedly saying “Creationism/ID would not predict”, I don’t think you are actually aware of the arguments Intelligent Design Theorist put forth. I can recommend some good books if you would like. Here is something I know ID would not predict: Junk DNA. William Dembski predicted in 1998, “On an evolutionary view we expect a lot of useless DNA. If, on the other hand, organisms are designed, we expect DNA, as much as possible, to exhibit function.” Design advocates have long predicted that most of the non-protein coding sequences in the genome should perform some biological function, even if they do not direct protein synthesis. They don’t deny that mutational processes might have degraded some previously functional DNA, but have predicted that the functional DNA (the signal) should dwarf the non-functional DNA (the noise), and not the reverse. The ENCODE project has confirmed this prediction.

    “Your demand for observable evidence is unreasonable, and your assertion that because it hasn’t been observed, it can only be based on faith, is invalid.”

    That would be a “no it’s not” in both cases. In the introduction to the 1971 edition of Darwin’s Origin of Species, Dr. L. Harrison Matthews made the amazingly frank admission that evolution was faith, not science: “The fact of evolution is the backbone of biology, and biology is thus in the peculiar position of being a science founded on an unproved theory — is it then a science or faith? Belief in the theory of evolution is thus exactly parallel to belief in special creation — both are concepts which believers know to be true but neither, up to the present, has been capable of proof.”

    “By this argument, we can only accept on faith the existence of unseen forces like gravity and electromagnetic fields.”

    Your analogy is not appropriate in this situation. While it’s true we cannot see gravity and electromagnetic fields, we can observe their effects. They both can be tested and measured. Macroevolution cannot.

    “We cannot observe gravity…”

    Try jumping up in the air sometime. You can observe it just fine.

    “we are unable to test large-scale evolutionary change with laboratory experiments, because the process takes too long.”

    Correct. It is your “belief” that it happened.

    “tested and extensively studied every one of the mechanisms that drive macroevolution, and not only have we confirmed that they work, in some cases they have proved to be far more powerful than we had thought.”

    Wrong, you are conflating microevolution (adaption/speciation) which we do see though only in modest terms, with macroevolution again. I see this claim quite often.

    “tested and extensively studied every one of the mechanisms that drive macroevolution”

    That’s such a bold statement I had to highlight it again. “Every one of the mechanisms”. Developmental biologist are just now discovering more ways that crucial information for building body plans is imparted by the form and structure of embryonic cells that goes beyond genes, referring to theses sources of information as epigenetic. Cytoskeletal arrays and membrane patterns are just a few of the higher levels of information they are discovering. An additional source of epigenetic information is stored in the arrangement of sugar molecules on the exterior surface of the cell membrane. According to bio-chemist Hans Gabius: ” sugar molecules surpass amino acids and nucleotides by far in information storage capacity” Some cell biologist now refer to the arrangement of sugar molecules as the sugar code and compare these sequences to the information encoded in DNA.

    Now what did Karl Popper say about evolutionary theory? “Darwinism is not a testable scientific theory, but a metaphysical research program.” That is correct!

    OK Tyler, I think I answered all your questions. Take your time replying.

    • The Cambrian explosion should easily disprove Darwinian evolution. The main diversification of life within the Cambrian period lasted only “5-6 million years” (Douglas Erwin, Science 25 November 2011). A time frame far too short for natural selection acting on random mutation to account for all the morphological innovation we see. This is in addition to lack of transitional fossils in the Cambrian period.

      Why should any of this disprove evolution? One poorly understood period in the evolutionary history of life is not enough to discount all of the other evidence and sink the whole theory (I know you will say there is more than one, but the argument you’re making is that this alone is enough). I think anyone will admit 5-6 million years is fast in evolutionary terms, but to disprove evolution, it would have to be clearly demonstrated that the kind of diversification we see is IMPOSSIBLE with purely natural processes in such a time frame, and I don’t believe that has been shown.

      The bottom line is that 5-6 million years is still a very long time. With the simple creatures of the period, we’re probably talking about tens of millions of generations, which is a lot of material for the process of evolution to play around with.

      And there are other factors that could be at work here. For example, the “explosion” appears to have roughly coincided with the rise of the first active predators. This could have spurred along the development of harder-bodied animals, which fossilize much better — giving the impression of a large increase in life, when in actuality, it might just have been a large increase in fossilization.

      I don’t know exactly what religious background you may or may not have, but personally, I have theological problems with chalking the Cambrian explosion up to God’s handiwork. It seems to show him as a God who is keenly interested in tinkering with the phyla of simple animals hundreds of millions of years ago and yet who does not intervene when an innocent child is raped, tortured and murdered today.

      I do not believe he “tilted his hand,” as it were, in the Cambrian explosion to give us evidence of his existence. I believe the same creative processes that he wove into nature at the very, very beginning, when he said “Let the waters teem with life” and “Let the land produce living creatures,” are the same processes that brought us from the first simple organisms to modern day, without him needing to miraculously step in at various times and help things along.

      Wrong, you are conflating microevolution (adaption/speciation) which we do see though only in modest terms, with macroevolution again. I see this claim quite often.

      You see the claim often because they are the same things. They are fundamentally identical processes at work on different time scales. You say animals cannot change “kinds,” but don’t forget that the way we classify life (species, genus, phylum, etc.) is an artificial construct. Life is fluid, not fixed. There is no biological reason to think that there is some type of “barrier” that would prevent the mechanisms that drive “microevolution” from leading to large-scale changes, given enough time and the right environmental pressures.

      Tails: Human embryos do have an “embryonic tail”. This embryonic structure is nothing more than the tip of the spinal cord. The spinal column develops early and becomes a conspicuous part of the embryo. It protrudes substantially and then fuses together as the growth of the remaining embryo catches up. The human “embryonic tail” may contain up to twelve vertebrae at the sixth week but by the eighth week these begin to fuse, forming the coccyx at the end of the spine. However, the tip of the embryonic tail contains no vertebrae. The “embryonic tail” is never a tail.

      You are clearly well-studied about this, but I think you are either incorrect on a couple points or I am misunderstanding you. At its largest point in development, the tail represents roughly 10 percent of the embryo. That is not just a “tip” of the spinal cord; that is a tail. Also, the tail doesn’t just develop into the coccyx, most of it dies off through apoptosis. See the May 2001 paper published in Annals of Anatomy “Morphological diversity of dying cells during regression of the human tail” (Sapunar, D., et al.). Here’s a quote from the abstract:

      During normal human development a number of transient structures form and subsequently regress completely. One of the most prominent structures that regress during development is the human tail. We report here a histological and ultrastructural study of cell death in the cranial and caudal (tail) parts of the neural tube in 4 to 6-week-old human embryos. Initially, the human tail is composed of tail bud mesenchyme which differentiates into caudal somites, secondary neural tube, notochord and tail gut. Later on, these structures gradually regress by cell death.

      As I said before, something like this would be predicted by the theory of evolution, but not special creation or intelligent design. Why would a designer design a creature to develop structures that are mostly destroyed by separate genetic processes before it is even born?

      “First off, let’s be clear that design is rarely, if ever, optimal. The problem is that all designs involve compromise among competing objectives.

      This is interesting to me. Though I like Dembski’s explanation that you quoted here, I don’t think ID proponents follow it through to its conclusion. They still use examples of “good” and well-functioning “design” as evidence for a designer. So, I would argue, the question remains: If a designer were going to design something, why would he/she/it design it to function poorly? Especially, when the designer has supposedly demonstrated in other structures that he/she/it is more than capable of designing things that function extremely well?

      Your post is a long one, as you mention, and unfortunately, I don’t have time to go through it point by point. However, I did read it all and think you made some really good points and good arguments. I hope it will suffice to say that in many of the cases I did not respond, it was because I think you made your case well.

      • Julian

        Tyler, I really do appreciate you taking the time to respond to my replies. Yes, they do get very long quickly.

        Let me try and answer your objections.

        “I think anyone will admit 5-6 million years is fast in evolutionary terms”
        “it would have to be clearly demonstrated that the kind of diversification we see is IMPOSSIBLE with purely natural processes in such a time frame, and I don’t believe that has been shown.”

        It has been shown.

        The extreme rarity of genes and proteins in sequence space means that even thirty million years is not nearly enough time to give the neo-Darwinian mechanism a realistic opportunity to generate a new gene or protein — let alone a new form of animal life. The calculated waiting times using the standard principles of population genetics for the occurrence of just a few (three or more) coordinated mutations vastly exceed 30 million years.

        “The bottom line is that 5-6 million years is still a very long time. With the simple creatures of the period, we’re probably talking about tens of millions of generations, which is a lot of material for the process of evolution to play around with”.

        There is no such thing as simple life on earth much less simple creatures in the Cambrian. Just look at a trilobite’s eyes. To try and get around this problem, Darwinist propose a “ghost range” of transitional fossils. Members of a group that should have been present, according to Darwin’s theory, but have not been found are the ghosts. As David Berlinski said: “Ghost lineages are often defended, rarely extolled. Like much in cladistic analysis, they represent the withdrawal of a theory from any very robust confrontation with the evidence. They simply cannot be used to defend a view of the Cambrian that begins by questioning whether there is anything behind these ghosts beyond the cladist. A man who believes in ghost lineages is demonstrably inclined, after all, to believe in ghosts”.

        the “explosion” appears to have roughly coincided with the rise of the first active predators. This could have spurred along the development of harder-bodied animals.

        “This could have spurred along the development of harder-bodied animals” This statement is simply a just so story. Natural selection acting on random mutations cannot be “spurred along” by anything. Please don’t forget that word random. The idea that the presumed Cambrian ancestors were too soft to be preserved has other problems. Many animals representing phyla such as brachiopods and arthropods could not have evolved their soft parts first and then added shells later, since their survival depends upon their ability to protect their soft parts. James Valentine has said of the brachiopods : “The brachiopod Bauplan (body plan) cannot function without a durable skeleton”. Because these animals require hard parts, the ancestral forms of these animals should have been preserved somewhere in the Precambrian fossil record. The absence of hard bodied ancestors of these Cambrian animals in the Precambrian strata shows that these animals first arose in the Cambrian.

        “I don’t know exactly what religious background you may or may not have, but personally, I have theological problems with chalking the Cambrian explosion up to God’s handiwork. It seems to show him as a God who is keenly interested in tinkering with the phyla of simple animals hundreds of millions of years ago and yet who does not intervene when an innocent child is raped, tortured and murdered today.”

        Ken Ham could not have said it any better himself! I thought we were talking about science? Tinkering with the phyla? No, I never said or implied that. That’s not what the evidence shows. As far as your problem of evil argument, may I suggest reading Thomas Aquinas or Alvin Plantinga’s free will defense?

        “You see the claim (microevolution/macroevolution) often because they are the same things. They are fundamentally identical processes at work on different time scales. There is no biological reason to think that there is some type of “barrier” that would prevent the mechanisms that drive “microevolution” from leading to large-scale changes, given enough time and the right environmental pressures.”

        They are not obviously the same thing. As Theodosius Dobzhansky noted in 1937 there is no hard evidence to connect small scale changes within existing species (microevolution) to the origin of new species and the large scale changes we see in the fossil record (macroevolution). Richard Goldschmidt argued that “the facts of microevolution do not suffice for an understanding of macroevolution”. Goldschmidt concluded “microevolution does not lead beyond the confines of the species”. Writing in the journal Developmental Biology in 1996, Scott Gilbert, John Opitz and Rudolf Raff stated “Genetics might be adequate for explaining microevolution, but microevolutionary changes in gene frequency were not seen as able to turn a reptile into a mammal or convert a fish into an amphibian. Microevolution looks at adaptions that concern survival of the fittest, not the arrival of the fittest”. Microevolutionary processes do not produce the novel biological information needed to build fundamentally new forms of life. It has a demonstrated capacity to weed out the failures from what already exist, but it has not been shown to generate new biological information or structures. It works well as an editor but not as an author.

        Microevolution, in all its known examples (antibiotic resistance, and similar) is made of simple variations, which are selectable for the immediate advantage connected to them. But a new functional protein cannot be built by simple selectable variations. Function derives from higher levels of order and connection, which cannot emerge from a random accumulation of micro-variations.

        “At its largest point in development, the tail represents roughly 10 percent of the embryo. That is not just a “tip” of the spinal cord; that is a tail.”

        The correct term for the structure in question is the caudal eminence and it has nothing to do with a tail. The term caudal is a directional term in anatomy, referring to the posterior of the organism being studied. In 2004, an important study was published in the journal Cells Tissues Organs. It studied 52 different human embryos at different stages of development, and it reassessed our knowledge of human embryonic development. In that study, the authors Muller and O’Rahilly note:

        “The eminence produces the caudal part of the notochord and, after closure of the caudal neuropore, all caudal structures, but it does not produce even a temporary “tail” in the human”.

        In the end, then, this study showed that the caudal eminence really has nothing to do with a tail.

        So what is the caudal eminence? It is a neurological structure that is necessary for the development of the spinal cord and many other caudal structures. John Alan Kiernan and Murray Llewellyn Barr probably said it best in their text, Barr’s The Human Nervous System: An Anatomical Viewpoint (2008). When discussing the development of the spinal cord, they say:

        “Further caudally, the spinal cord is formed by “secondary neurulation”, which is the coalescence of chain vesicles that becomes continuous with the lumen of the neural tube about three weeks after the closure of the caudal neuropore. The vesicles are derived from the caudal eminence, a mass of pluripotent cells located dorsal to the developing coccyx”.

        The term pluripotent refers to cells that can develop into many different kinds of cells, depending on the instructions they receive.

        So we see that far from being some remnant of a tail, the caudal eminence is the source of cells that are used to produce vesicles that are integral to the development of the spinal cord. As detailed in the 2004 Muller and O’Rahilly study, it also produces other caudal structures. That’s why it is a mass of pluripotent cells – it is the source of cells that develop into several structures. It eventually goes away, of course, because the spinal cord and the other caudal structures are eventually completed, and the embryo no longer has a need for those pluripotent cells.

        I don’t think ID proponents follow it through to its conclusion. They still use examples of “good” and well-functioning “design” as evidence for a designer. So, I would argue, the question remains: If a designer were going to design something, why would he/she/it design it to function poorly? Especially, when the designer has supposedly demonstrated in other structures that he/she/it is more than capable of designing things that function extremely well?

        The theory of intelligent design holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause rather than an undirected process such as natural selection. They argue that things look designed because they are designed. The “bad design” argument is not an argument against design at all. It may well be that the designer chose to create an “optimum design” or a “robust and adaptable design” rather than a “perfect design.”

        “I don’t think ID proponents follow it through to its conclusion. They still use examples of “good” and well-functioning “design” as evidence for a designer.”

        Intelligent Design theorists don’t often make design arguments based on “good” design. It is usually in the context of answering critics by asking “but is this really a case of bad design” such as the “backward wiring” of the retina and “junk DNA”. Both of these examples were given as proof of evolution and repudiation of Intelligent Design. Since they both have been proven to be wrong, does this disprove evolution?

        I think you are confusing a “good design” argument with Irreducibly Complex and Specified Complexity arguments. These are two totally different arguments that we can get into later if you like.

        That’s about all for now. I’m going to be busy the next few days but will reply to your other post as soon as possible. I will also reply to Dietrich’s post on Expelled. It’s a very large reply so I had to divide it into three sections. OK, have a good night Tyler!

        • Michael K

          I would agree with Julian. The fundamental problem is time, for with even currently accepted timelines, reasoning our origins through mathematics simply doesn’t add up. The
          indelible challenge to proponents on evolution, in particular as it pertains to
          our origins are confined to the tools at their disposal. Having thrown their greatest tool for
          investigative purposes – mathematical reasoning – out of the window, they are
          left virtually blind with the remaining tools current technology has to offer. These tools are used to conform by force of
          will to a predetermined answer, which true and unmolested science, try as you
          might, is simply not able to replicate. They do realize that to make any ordered
          event probability plausible they need a lot of time. Subjectively to them a lot of time, say a
          hundred years ago (depending on the source), was about a billion years. Who came up with this number? Objective mathematics in PA certainly
          didn’t! Evolutionists eventually
          realized that a billion years was too short a period of time for ordered events
          to materialize in any complex form, and kept subjectively shifting the time
          line over the decades to their current ball park of about 4.5 billion years. Case in point, when I pasted this section from a book I am working on, a
          secular article from the well known and peer reviewed Science magazine, now casts doubt on the current mutations timeline
          of humanity. It is entitled “Turning Back
          the Clock: Slowing the Pace of Prehistory”, which basically doubles to
          triples the “Old Mutation Rate” to the “New” one. Secular articles like this, showing evolutionary
          disagreement over what historically has been accepted have been common place
          over the years. As we can see, without unbiased use of mathematics any type of
          evolutionary time estimate remains laughable, is man’s greatest standing gaffe,
          and is proof to what happens when true science is ignored.

          • Julian

            Hi Michael K, “Having thrown their greatest tool for investigative purposes – mathematical reasoning – out of the window” and “proof to what happens when true science is ignored” brilliant! I would love to read your book. Please let me know when it’s about to come out.

          • Christopher Jimenez

            Hi Julian, your writings denote a very well educated person.

            But tell me, was the biblical Samson (with powers) an historical fact?

            A- Yes
            B- No
            C- I do not know

            your answers have a LOT of words, this is a simple question, it requires a simple answer.

            I am very interested in reading yours

          • jessv7

            hmmm, no answer to your question?? i’m kind of eager to see a response…

          • Christopher Jimenez

            It seem that this question inflict a full stop to educated but big-mouth-smart-ass apologetics

          • jessv7

            whoa there! well, since i’m so curious about where you were going with that, i will answer the question. and my answer is A – Yes, what is your response??

          • paulsimon

            Proof?

  • John Alex

    Why haven’t these people seen part the stone age and realized that this is bullshit and that they are just earning money from gullible Christians. Sometimes it makes me shameful of being human. Europe is moving on to Quantum Field theory and developing new shit whilst in America they are still having a debate on whether the earth is 6000 years old or not. WOW

    • Jeff

      While creationism is certainly an embarrassing aspect of American culture, it’s not as if Europe as a whole is great about understanding science. Go do a Google search on ‘science and engineering indicators’, and find the section of the report dealing with worldwide scientific literacy. A stat that shocked me the first time I saw it is that around 1 in 4 Americans thinks the Earth goes around the Sun. But as bad as that is for American, in the EU, around 1 in 3 people think the Earth goes around the Sun.

      The poll they used to gather these stats has several other questions on scientific literacy, and it’s really a bit surprising how little most people know simple, basic facts of our universe.

      • Jeff

        That should be reversed. Around 1 in 4 Americans think the Sun goes around the Earth, and around 1 in 3 people in the EU think so.

  • viyahoo

    ray is just exposing cientism (i.e. new atheist) and how thay often claim that they regad the truth becouse of the cientific method, when most part of their beliefs are adopted by faith. becouse indeed what they boast upon is not observable and less reproducible.

  • Brent Papworth

    I’m a Christian who doesn’t ‘believe’ in evolution any more than I
    ‘believe’ in gravity. They are both obvious aspects of the natural world
    we should seek to understand. The irony is that we understand evolution
    much better than we understand gravity.

  • Matt

    Dear author,
    You’re not serious right? Comparing medical breakthrough and technological advances to Darwinian Evolution is so absurd that one would not even know where to begin. I’m a software engineer; when we test something, we can observe the results in real-time. When pharmacologists test new drugs; once again they can test the results in real time. They can then repeat the results again and again and again (THIS IS THE FRICKIN DEFINITION OF THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD). Darwinian Evolution is by definition not observable or testable because it takes millions of years, and it is certainly not repeatable.

    Maybe that’s unfortunate. Maybe that will somehow change someday.. who knows. One thing it isn’t however is scientific.

    Comparing Darwinism to technology and medicine with a straight face (as I’ve heard so many others do), removes any doubt that I may have about “questioning the experts”. Maybe the “experts” should try a Logic class. This is called the Fallacy of False Analogy. These three subjects have absolutely nothing in common.
    Also, calling names like Banana Man or whatever…. I see this ALL THE TIME too. Ok, Monkey Man ( so there.. nah nah *sticking out my tongue*). Who am I to argue with such brilliance?

    Thanks

    • Sorry for the late reply — this comment escaped my notice.

      It’s perfectly appropriate to compare the theory of evolution with any other scientific theory, including the work that has brought us technology and medical breakthroughs. All rely on the same self-correcting scientific process. You seem to have high regard for science and the scientific method and yet you categorize evolution by common descent “unscientific” because it’s not observable or repeatable. By this definition we could never hope to solve a crime unless there were witnesses to it.

      In truth, the theory of evolution can find its roots in two very simple observations:

      1. Life changes (this is indisputable. Even creationists accept it — they call it “microevolution”).

      2. Life in the past looked different than it does today — and it looks more and more different the further one looks back into the past (we know this from the fossil record).

      Based on this alone, a reasonable inference is that the life we observe today are the descendants of the species now extinct, and that those species, in turn, descended with modification from the life that came before them, going back to the earliest life of which we can find evidence of in the fossil record.

      We can’t test the theory by creating our own earth and watching life evolve over billions of years, but we can test the theory by making predictions based on the theory and testing those. If the theory’s predictions don’t hold up, the theory must be modified or tossed out altogether. That’s how science works.

      To give just one example, in the case of evolution, scientists would predict that, if evolution were true, and modern birds evolved from reptiles, then bird genomes should still contain the genes for producing reptilian structures (even though, of course, these genes aren’t turned “on” under normal circumstances). And this is exactly what scientists have found.

  • jessv7

    i think what bothers me most about this blog is how you mock ray comfort. this man has devoted his life to sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with others. because of this i expect the world to mock and humiliate him, but not fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. we are to rebuke one another in love if necessary, sort of what i am doing right now….on another note, do you believe God is in control of all that He created? if so, do you believe He is in control of the outcomes of experiments done by scientists?

    • jessv7

      it makes me wonder how foolish we look to God, and all the while consider ourselves so wise

    • I would wholeheartedly support Ray Comfort if he simply sought to share the gospel in a way that truly and effectively reaches the lost. Instead, he is directly attempting to tie this precious message to his misguided and frankly, idiotic, efforts to overturn more than a century of confirmed science. I mock the parts of his message that are worthy of mockery.

      To answer your question, I believe God is sovereign over creation. He cares for all life, as Jesus taught, and he upholds the universe by his powerful word. And I do believe he is active in creation, not a hands-off, deistic God. So, because he set up the laws of nature and continues to be active in them, I don’t believe anything in the universe happens that is outside his “control,” including experiments done by scientists. But that doesn’t mean he directly or miraculously intervenes in them, if that’s what you were asking or implying.

      • jessv7

        but He could directly and miraculously intervene if it were His will right? Example: Cancer being healed through prayer, with no medical intervention. what is the scientific explanation of this?

        and i correct my first statement after reading this over again. what bothers me most about this particular blog is that you say “we strive to live up to the exhortation of Colossians 3:17:
        “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the
        Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”” but yet you credit scientists for your vaccines warding off disease and so on. do you not believe that if it is God’s will for you to contract Hepatitis you will with or without the vaccine? and why is there only one sentence on this page that points to Christ? have you read phillip yancey’s book “what’s so amazing about grace”? grace is the one thing we should have and give as Christians that the world doesn’t.

        • God can do anything he wants, and nothing is impossible for him. I do believe in a God who actively responds to prayer. He set up the laws of nature, and he may break them or work within them in unexpected ways, if he wishes. A good example of this is the Resurrection. The Resurrection is a miracle — an example of God intervening in nature in a way that goes against how nature normally operates. Science is in the business of investigating the way nature normally operates, so it by definition doesn’t have anything to do with miracles.

          Just because I credit scientists with the onset of modern medicine doesn’t mean I don’t ultimately thank God when modern medicine helps me or a loved one. As Hebrews 3:4 says, “For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.” As to your question about hepatitis, I would suggest you re-read 2 Samuel 12:16-23 how we Christians might prayerfully respond to God’s will. This entire website promotes Christianity — that doesn’t mean I’ll drop Jesus’ name every other sentence every time I write something. Paul preached to the Athenians by quoting from their pagan poets and without mentioning the name of Christ once. He also talked about becoming all things to all men that by the grace of God he might save some — i.e., being mindful of his audience. Maybe I’m just trying to follow that example.

          And I have read “What’s So Amazing about Grace?” Phenomenal book.

          • jessv7

            i do not doubt you thank God when modern medicine works for you or a loved one. and i was not speaking of your entire website, just this particular post (i know i wrote “blog”, i meant post). i just think it’s disgraceful to consider yourself worthy to mock a brother in Christ.

            certainly you are not referring to acts 17:16-34 when you say paul never mentioned Jesus?
            on a lighter note, i am so glad you read that book, now re-read it and apply it.
            and this is WAY off topic, but “captive in iran” is also a must read!
            one more thing. i truly hope God will bless you because you “seek to know more in order to be an effective witness and be able to respond to people’s questions and arguements.”

          • i just think it’s disgraceful to consider yourself worthy to mock a brother in Christ.

            I mock some of the things Ray Comfort has done for a purpose, sometimes to entertain, sometimes to be funny, sometimes to drive home a deeper point. As T.S. Eliot said, “Humor is also a way of saying something serious.” If you think the Apostle Paul never used sarcasm and hyperbole in reference to those with whom he disagreed, you should re-read Galatians 5:12.

            “Banana Ray” is funny. Look, I’m sorry that Ray Comfort made and released a moronic video in which he tried to argue a cultivated banana is irrefutable proof of God, but he did, and it’s part of his legacy now.

            I will not apologize for my style, and I certainly won’t apologize for my overall point, which is that the precious good news of the gospel (even Ray Comfort’s shallow, moralistic presentation of it), doesn’t belong in a supposedly scientific documentary. Man’s need for redemption in Christ does not proceed as a logical consequence from the weaknesses (even if they were legitimate) of a scientific theory. We need Jesus regardless of whether we evolved from apelike ancestors or not.

            If you don’t like the way I write, then by all means, find another blog to follow. I’m sure you could find enough material from Comfort and K-Ham alone to keep you happy for years to come.

            certainly you are not referring to acts 17:16-34 when you say paul never mentioned Jesus?

            I didn’t say he didn’t mention Jesus, I said he didn’t say the name of Christ. I thought that was the issue you had with this post?

            on a lighter note, i am so glad you read that book, now re-read it and apply it.

            Seriously? The hypocritical irony in this sentence is so thick you’d need a chainsaw to cut through it.

  • Zed

    Interesting to note: Ray probably claims to have a traditional view of the bible and the text of genesis.

    St. Augustine though would disagree with him:

    http://livingthequestion.org/the-contemporary-relevance-of-augustines-view-of-creation/

    • Agreed. I think so much of this modern controversy with evolution would have been avoided if evangelicals had just taken Augustine to heart 50 or 60 years ago rather than flocking to “The Genesis Flood.”

  • Roddyboy3

    Evolutionary theory is skipped by the media, science classes, and usually beaten up on by EWTN Televangelist. Let’s look at the facts. Anthropologist discovered ‘Lucy” years ago in Africa. Her bone structure was similar to upright animals that resembled apes, and monkeys. But her skelaton was closer to humans.
    Missing link theories jumped off the page and many people were left wondering “Couldn’t Evolution have happened without Intelligent design which is being talked about lately. (See Intelligent design theories about mammals, animals, trees, ect.)

    Because we humans preety much get how to walk, talk, eat, and have a central nervous system, and brain many devout Christian have preordained “God’s Hand” in intelligent design.

    It makes some sense. But here’s the problem with it. When you look at how simple water is -H20. Some of my basic chemistry work from my old HS Days comes rifling back. In other words. It doesn’t take much in the moelecular world to create life. Reduce one hydrogen and add another Oxygen, you HO2. You get it.

    So one of the founding theories in Evolution disregards molecular life, and by the way most living creatures exist both molecularly and in the ‘flesh’ as it were.

    If you look further, dogs, and cats cohibitate with man. The New Testament states “God made man in charge of all the living creatures.” So we think. But it is possible that dogs and cats and other mammals are preferred by humans, because they are very similar to us. IE Evolution.

    Finallly if one just went down to their local lake on sunny afternoon and took a short walk you might see the proof of evolution. There are hundreds of breeds of dogs. Though Christians fundamentally claim “God’s Will” look closely. Many scientist now debate “Gods Hands” in the matter of dog breeds. They feel that there was an ‘original dog’ that Creation, God what have you made. That different variations caused a mutation thus over millions of years. Dog breeds.

    How long has the monkey been on earth? 100 million years. No change. I doubt it. There are many variations on chimpanzees. Sort of like subtle variation with people. God might have been the catalyst for evolution.

    Certainly my my new neighbor does not look like some of my classmates.