The top 10 signs that you don’t understand evolution at all

Evolution can be confusing...especially if you make no effort to really understand it. Evolution can be confusing...especially if you make no effort to really understand it.

According to the most recent Gallup poll of Americans’ views on evolution, almost half of all respondents rejected the mainstream view of human origins. The number — 46 percent — has not changed meaningfully in more than two decades.

It’s anyone’s guess as to why that is. But to understand my theory, I offer an analogy, which actually involves individuals from the opposite side of the fence.

When I’m talking with atheists or agnostics who are passionately against any and all religion, I sometimes find that they have inaccurate (or just plain wrong) ideas about the teachings of the Bible, the nature of the Christian faith and the qualities of the God I believe in. In other words, some of those whom I’ve encountered have a poor understanding of the very thing they think they oppose.

And I’ve found that the same is often true of anti-evolutionists — in my experience, anyway.

So, as a free public service to my friends who think evolution should be spelled “evilution,” I offer the following Top 10 Signs That You Don’t Understand Evolution At All.

1. You think “it hasn’t been observed” is a good argument against it.

Popularized most recently by Ray Comfort’s mind-bendingly bad, gospel-poisoning movie, “Evolution vs. God,” this claim generally betrays not only a misunderstanding of evolution, but science in general. If the idea (that “scientific evidence must be both observable and repeatable”) were carried to its logical conclusion, it would cripple not only the study of evolution, but every line of historical inquiry. We would, in fact, be prohibited from exploring most matters that cannot be brought inside or recreated within a laboratory, whether they be large (the composition and origin of stars, for example) or small (like the forensic recreation of a crime scene).

Making viable conclusions based on inferences from the available evidence is not at all unscientific, and it is this reasoning that has compelled us toward the theory of evolution. Interestingly, evolution is observable and repeatable in the sense that scientists can make and test predictions of the theory, and this is exactly what they have been doing for more than a century. For example, the theory of evolution predicts that large-scale changes, like those that turned fishy ancestors into land-treading mammals, take many millions of years, so the fact that we haven’t observed anything like that since Darwin is a confirmation of his idea. If the fossil record, genetic evidence, laboratory experiments and more had not borne out this and other predictions, it would have immediately required modifications to the theory, and may have falsified it altogether.

This, of course, is the defining characteristic of science: Not that is observable and repeatable, but that it is testable and falsifiable. There is very little that fit the former criteria, but evolution absolutely fits the latter. As a side note, I do get a chuckle from YECs who claim evolution isn’t scientific because it isn’t observable or repeatable. Because, if anything is not observable or repeatable, it’s creationism. Therefore, their beliefs, too, are invalidated by their own argument.

2. You think we’ve never found a transitional fossil.

This claim is demonstrably false, and its use by those who claim to serve the Lord through whom came grace and truth is reprehensible. Strong language, I know, but Christians are explicitly commanded not to lie to each other, so this is inexcusable. We have found fossil series that clearly illustrate the transitions of dozens of major features in various lines. We have found “fishapods” and “frogamanders” and walking whales and feathered dinosaurs and half-shelled turtles. We have often and repeatedly found exactly what the theory of evolution predicted we would find, in the time period in which the theory predicted we would find it.

3. You think macroevolution is an inherently different process than microevolution.

At its core, “macroevolution” is simply the steady accumulation of the small changes we observe in “microevolution.” It seems any sane person must admit that, if small changes can occur, then it is logically consistent that small changes adding up over extremely long periods of time would result in very large changes. On the other hand, the creationist assertion that there is some mysterious, invisible barrier within “kinds” that prevents large-scale changes is as logically consistent as saying you can walk from your front door to the sidewalk, but walking to your friend’s house across town is fundamentally impossible.

4. You think mutations are always negative.

This is another one of those incredibly common and completely untrue statements that nothing more than a few minutes’ research on the Internet could have corrected. The truth is that mutations in nature are usually neutral — i.e., they have no effect on the gene or resulting protein. Of course, whether a mutation has a positive or negative effect — or no effect at all — is often dependent on environmental factors (for example, sickle cell anemia is a genetic disease, but it also protects against malaria — making it either a defect or a survival mechanism depending on one’s environment). Mutations that are inherently harmful are very rare. A 2000 study in Genetics showed that on average, out of 175 mutations in humans, only three are deleterious. And purely beneficial mutations have been observed, even in humans. Just ask the handful of villagers at Limone sul Garda, Italy, who possess a rare protein mutation that shields them from cardiovascular disease. I doubt they’re complaining.

5. You think it has anything to do with the origin of life, let alone the origins of the universe.

This is like the king of all straw men, and it’s extremely common. It involves something like the thoroughly debunked theory of spontaneous generation (the idea that life can come from non-life under normal circumstances) being used as evidence against the theory of evolution. Hear me on this, guys: Evolution has nothing to do with the origin of life. The theory of evolution presumes the existence of life, and it is a useless concept in the absence of life. And, as such, scientists’ current confusion over how life started has no impact whatsoever on the validity of the theory of evolution. In the same way, Newtonian physics presumes the existence of the universe; Newton did not have to explain how the universe came to be in order to understand how it operates now. Evolution is no different.

I’ve even seen people use things like stars and planets, or the supposed implausibility of the Big Bang theory (the cosmological model, not the show), to try and cast aspersions on the prevailing theory of how biological organisms on earth have come to look the way they do. These attempts are so nonsensical that I hope I don’t really need to address them here.

6. You use the phrase “it’s only a theory” and think you’ve made some kind of substantive statement.

I think the “only a theory” argument is so popular because of the unfortunate disparity between the common definition of “theory” in American pop culture, and the working definition of the word in science. In popular usage, “theory” means a “hunch” or a “guess” — and it’s the opposite of a “fact.” It’s conjecture, a shot in the dark that has just as much chance (and probably even more so) of being wrong as it has of being right.

In science, this definition is far more consistent with a “hypothesis” than a theory. Hypotheses are guesses; they are subject to experimentation, and they have no hope of progressing beyond the hypothesis “stage,” unless they are supported by experimentation. Theories are hypotheses that have “graduated”; they are comprehensive explanations of the available hard evidence. Scientific theories are not the opposite of facts; they are actually superior to facts in the hierarchy of terms because they explain facts. And while it is true that scientific theories can never really be “proven,” they can be confirmed through prediction, testing, experimentation and observation — which is exactly what has happened to evolution for the past 150 years.

Consider gravity. What is it? We don’t know. It is a theory, created to explain facts like “When I drop something, it falls down.” Gravity is, in fact, “only a theory,” just like evolution. But that doesn’t seem to make people any less nervous around heights.

7. You think acceptance of evolution is the same as religious faith.

Another one that you may have heard from our friend, Banana Ray. In his film “EvG” (which is subtitled, “Shaking the Foundations of Faith”), he underscores this supposed parallel by asking his victims — oh, I mean, “interview subjects” — ridiculous questions like “Are you a strong believer in evolution?” and “When did you first start believing in evolution?” His point, as he goes on to explain, is that anyone who accepts the truth of evolution based on the testimony of expert scientists is relying on “blind faith” in the same way atheists accuse religious people of doing.

“Blind faith” does indeed have pejorative connotations in secular usage, but RayCo lends credence to these undertones in a way that no True Christian™ should. That’s because the Bible talks about “blind” religious faith, and its description is anything but negative. In John 20:29, Jesus declares that those who “believe without seeing” are “blessed” (contrasting them with “doubting” Thomas, who asked for proof), and 1 Peter 8-9 warmly declares that those who have not and do not see Christ nonetheless are “filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”

So, ironically, if RayCo really understood scripture he would realize that he was actually giving his victims — er, “interview subjects” — a compliment when he accused them of having “blind faith.” But I reject his assertion that the trust college students place in their experienced professors and peer-reviewed textbooks is in any way comparable to the glorious, joy-bringing, life-saving faith that the Bible describes.

Don’t misunderstand me. I’m a big supporter of critical thought — and of an engaged populace that rationally considers the information it receives before accepting it. But there are far worse people one could open one’s mind to than those who are sharing their expertise within the fields they have risen to the top of — especially when their conclusions are based on mountains of hard evidence that are available to anyone who doesn’t willfully choose to ignore it. The scientific community is extremely competitive, but it is also inherently open and transparent — and the modern comforts and advances you enjoy every day are proof that their methods work.

8. You think our modern understanding of it rests on a long series of hoaxes perpetuated by scientists.

Affirmed by the likes of everyone’s favorite nut-job conspiracy theorist meets cartoonist, Jack Chick, this idea is alive and well in evangelical culture. And why shouldn’t it be? Repeatedly assured by young-earth creationist groups that there is “absolutely no evidence for evolution,” what else would explain the theory’s unshakable dominance in the scientific community, courts and public schools besides a vast atheist conspiracy? And so, young-earthers on the Internet commonly parrot blatant falsehoods like “Archaeopteryx was a hoax” (they’re actually thinking of this; we have more than a dozen verified specimens of Archaeopteryx) and “Java Man and Peking Man were frauds” (not actually true; probably because of Piltdown Man, creationists seem to believe that any fossil with the word “man” in its name was a hoax).

The truth is that we have found fossilized remains of many of the links along our most recent evolutionary heritage, and anyone who thinks we haven’t is simply wrong. But what I find most interesting thing in the cases of Archaeoraptor, Piltdown Man and Nebraska Man (an accidental misclassification rather than a deliberate hoax), it was scientists — not skeptical creationists — that brought the truth to light. That alone should be enough to sink this conspiracy theory nonsense. Why would the very people who are supposed to be perpetuating a hoax be solely responsible for debunking evidence that would otherwise support their hoax?

They answer is obvious: They wouldn’t.

9. You don’t like Pokémon because you think it “promotes” evolution.

I haven’t encountered this sentiment in my dealings on this site, thankfully, but I was reminded of this “controversy” after the recent release of the latest entries in the Pokémon franchise, which I think are called Pokémon Yin and Yang, or Pokémon Peanut Butter and Jelly, or Pokémon Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. Something like that.

Here is what the Pokémon version of evolution has in common with the theory of biological evolution as we understand it. No. 1: They’re both called “evolution.” No. 2: That’s it. In the game, Pokémon “evolve” into completely different creatures when they reach a certain level, or walk a certain number of steps, or are exposed to a “moon stone” and similar malarkey. In real life, species “evolve” when inheritable characteristics change over time and are passed onto successive generations.

Plain and simple: If a silly game causes you psychological discomfort just because it uses the word “evolution,” then it would seem you have problems I’m not trained or licensed to help you out with.

10. You think it’s inherently opposed to Christianity or the Bible.

Evolution, as defined by Helena Curtis and N. Sue Barnes in their textbook, “Biology,” is “any change in the frequency of alleles within a gene pool from one generation to the next.” It is beyond me how accepting this fact of science could possibly undermine one’s faith in Jesus — from whom originated all things which science is capable of exploring.

Christ is before all things, and in him all things hold together. Therefore, if evolution is true — as everything we know about biology, and a number of overlapping fields of inquiry indicate — then it is incapable of conflicting with the God-breathed truth of sacred scripture. If there appears to be a disagreement between the two, then the interpretation of the passage in question must be incorrect. For the Bible-believing Christian, there is no other option.

Thank you for reading this unusually lengthy post! Hey, you made it this far, so why not take another moment and connect with us via Facebook and Twitter? Thanks!

Tyler Francke is founder of God of Evolution and author of Reoriented. He can be reached at tyler@godofevolution.com.

  • PeterandEmily Fitzgerald

    “Therefore, if evolution is true — as everything we know about biology, and a number of overlapping fields of inquiry indicate — then it is incapable of conflicting with the God-breathed truth of sacred scripture. If there appears to be a disagreement between the two, then the interpretation of the passage in question must be incorrect. For the Bible-believing Christian, there is no other option.”

    You started this with an if-then statement and ended with an absolute. IF evolution were true then an apparent disagreement would have to be an incorrect interpretation, but if it is not then such an interpretation would not be wrong. The final sentence should not be an absolute. Making it an absolute makes those who do not agree with evolution and do find the Bible in disagreement appear foolish, when in all possibility they could be correct in finding a disagreement.

    • You are right: The concluding statements are dependent on the proposition that the theory of evolution is correct — which is what all the available evidence strongly indicates.

      • PeterandEmily Fitzgerald

        Although some may feel that’s what the findings indicate it doesn’t mean such an interpretation of the Bible is definitely wrong, but that is what your final sentence indicates. It’s not helpful for maintaining a fair discussion which I believe is part of the purpose of this article, right, to weed out some unfair and useless arguments?

        • I cannot agree with your premise you appear to be setting forth in your previous post. By saying “Although some may feel that’s what the findings indicate…” you seem to be expressing an incorrect view of how the scientific process works.

          Science does not operate in the realm of opinion and feelings. It is not a democracy or a tolerant society, where any view is permitted “just because.” If a hypothesis doesn’t match the evidence or experimental results, it doesn’t get a gold star for participation — it gets tossed out. In science, everyone has access to the same evidence, and the explanations and conclusions that make the best sense of that evidence are accepted, until new evidence or information comes to light, or until/unless a better explanation is developed.

          It is an objective fact that both special creationism and intelligent design FAIL to make better sense of the available evidence than biological evolution. If they did not, they would not have been rejected by 99.9 percent of scientists in the relevant fields, as well as every impartial court of law that has examined them in the past century. Not that one has to take the experts’ words for it. Like I said in the article, the evidence is out there and available to anyone who chooses not to willfully ignore it.

          That is the position I write from for this website, and that is the basis of my closing paragraph that you have taken issue with. Like the 99.9 percent of scientists in the relevant fields and our court system, I see absolutely no reason that evolution and special creationism be viewed as being on equal footing scientifically. And I’m sorry that you disagree, but I’m not going to pretend otherwise.

          • PeterandEmily Fitzgerald

            I am very far from a stranger to the scientific process. It does not matter if you think you have the only possible answer there are in fact still different views. I’m simply saying because there are different views you might want to re-think accusing your brothers and sisters in Christ of being foolish with their Biblical interpretations. The only thing that can stand against someone’s interpretation of the Bible is the Bible itself. When dealing with false interpretations one must show substantial evidence in the Bible why a passage is being misinterpreted. Scientific evidence would suggest many things in the Bible must be untrue but I suspect you believe them anyway. It’s not helpful to anyone or anything to challenge someone’s Bible based beliefs unless you feel the Bible shows more evidence against that belief than for. Evolution is just not one of those things. You know what it’s like to believe something in the Bible science tells you can’t be true, why do you as a believer need to worsen that issue?

          • I have written a number of articles about what I believe to be the biblical shortcomings and failings of the young-earth creationist exegesis. Here’s just one example.

            As to your other point, I completely disagree. I don’t believe science is at all in conflict with scripture. The Bible and creation are both books written by God. They have the same author, and he is incapable of lying. If you’re referring to miracles, that is something entirely different.

            Miracles are rare examples in which God broke the laws of how nature normally operates — always for a specific purpose. This would not be an example of science conflicting with scripture, unless we had some evidence tied to that specific miracle, which we could scientifically test. For example, if we had the body of Jesus, and could somehow scientifically verify that it was the body of Jesus, then that would conflict with the Bible’s teachings about the Resurrection and the Ascension. But if the only scientific evidence you have to refute the Resurrection is that, under normal circumstances, bodies do not rise from the dead, that fact is not being disputed by me or by the Bible. We agree with that — that’s why the Resurrection of Jesus is considered a miracle.

            In this way, God’s work in creation is different than his work in the Resurrection, because we do possess a record which we can explore scientifically, namely, creation itself. And we see that the evidence in creation does not in any way match up with the claims of young-earth creationism, which leads me to believe that the biblical interpretation underlying young-earth creationism is incorrect.

          • PeterandEmily Fitzgerald

            I was referring to miracles. Non-believers will use science to break apart miracles. You know what that can be like. It’s the same thing trying to use science to say a miracle someone believes in, even if you don’t, must not have happened and they must be reading the Bible wrong. I don’t need science to ever back up Creation, maybe it was a miracle and just like other miracles science will never be on the same side. I do however think research does not completely disagree with Creation and I came to this conclusion having studied a lot of Biology from evolutionist teachers and textbooks. I have actually spent very little time studying things like Answers in Genesis. My views against evolution come from the side of evolution so please don’t think I just don’t know enough about it. This isn’t about that at all and I present my educational background so that assumption won’t be in the way. Whether I think science backs up Creation and whether you think science backs up evolution is not what matters. What matters is you can’t use science to disprove the Bible. Science is ever changing and the Bible will always be the same, so there will always be disagreements. If science doesn’t agree with Creation that is okay, it doesn’t mean someone must be interpreting the Bible wrong; only the Bible can show that to be true. How can something constantly changing ever completely agree with the only never changing thing? If Creation continues to loose out to science and we have to add it to the list of miracles science will never agree with then fine, it still doesn’t mean there must be an incorrect interpretation of the Bible. Unless the Bible can show why hands down an interpretation is wrong, that is, unless the Word of God, the only thing we know to be entirely true, you shouldn’t accuse a brother or sister of that. It is a tough and hurtful thing. We are called to show grace and truth. Truth is sometimes harsh but if you can’t show truth with the only thing in the world that is pure truth, then show grace and leave the hurt and harsh behind. No matter what we have found on earth to be positively true (laws of physics, discoveries, etc…) some new positively true discovery can be made at anytime changing everything. There are things in Revelation that suggest the possibility of things on earth will get very weird and possibly unexplainable. The only thing that will always be true is the Word of God.

          • ha. haha…

            I feel like I’m watching two homeless crackheads argue over what color hat a unicorn is wearing.

          • That’s a strange thing for you to imagine. Wouldn’t the unicorn’s horn get in the way of its hat? Or is a big, Abraham Lincoln-style top hat that your hypothetical homeless crackheads are envisioning?

          • L.W.

            Ha. Haha

            Actually, Christianity is slightly more asinine than hat-wearing unicorns.

          • Guest

            Tyler:

          • Yeah, this all sounds good, but you don’t apply this principle consistently throughout scripture; no one does. If you were really consistent with “never allowing science to disprove the Bible,” then you wouldn’t believe the earth rotates or revolves around the sun. Instead, you would affirm that the earth does not move (like the Bible says in, e.g., 1 Chronicles 16:30, Psalm 93:1 and Psalm 96:10) and the sun does (again, as scripture teaches: Joshua 10:12-13, Habakkuk 3:11 and Ecclesiastes 1:5). You would reject the heliocentric cosmological model as surely as the Galilean contemporary Cardinal Bellarmine did, who said, “To assert that the earth revolves around the sun is as erroneous as to claim that Jesus was not born of a virgin.”

            Today, we read these passages in 1 Chronicles and Joshua and Habbakkuk and Ecclesiastes and Psalms and understand that the authors are using figurative language. But it is only because of science that we read the passages that way. Before Copernicus and Galileo proved that the earth revolves around the sun, those passages were widely interpreted literally, and if we didn’t know better (thanks to our scientific knowledge of the created cosmos), they still would be today.

            Do you believe the mustard seed is the smallest of all seeds on the earth? Modern science has revealed to us that it is not; orchid seeds are smaller. But Jesus said the mustard seed was the smallest (Mark 4:30-32). Do you think the scientists are wrong, or can you accept the fact that Jesus obviously had no problem accommodating his listeners’ inaccurate understanding of the world around them in order to convey a deeper truth?

            What about wheat kernels? Do you think they must die before they take root? Of course you don’t. Modern botany assures us that dead seeds don’t grow. But Jesus’ ancient listeners believed that they did (probably based on the fact that wheat kernels’ outer shell rots away before germination), and he affirmed this incorrect precept in John 12:23-24.

            The Bible reflects an ancient understanding of science and the universe. That’s why it describes the earth as flat and the sky as a hard firmament. That’s why it calls tornadoes the “finger of God” and describes precipitation like rain, snow and hail as being kept in heavenly storehouses by God. That’s why it describes people as thinking with their hearts. I seriously doubt that you accept the plain meaning of any of these passages, because your educational background has taught you otherwise. But the original pre-scientific audiences most certainly would have read them literally, because that is how they thought things operated.

          • PeterandEmily Fitzgerald

            Those things come from tiny parts in larger passages. They are brief mentions and don’t go into any detail. You’re talking about entire detailed chapters in which the details are supposed to mean something with different details. We’re getting off my main purpose now. I didn’t want to get into that kind of debate, just purely that the last sentence should be rethought. I gave my reasons.

          • L.W.

            The and creation are both written by God!!?

            Good grief!!!!! Are you really Kirk Cameron in disguise, and without a silly 1980’s sitcom!!!

          • L.W.

            The above should say the bible and creation. I’m trying to watch the Saints game and respond to Christian nonsense at the same time.

          • How magnanimous of you. The greatness of your charity is matched only by the depths of your wisdom. We’d be lost without you.

          • No, I’m not. But thanks for asking.

  • Dave

    #1: You deny it

    • MetaKnight964

      Denying something doesn’t make it true or false, try again.

      • Matthew Funke

        True. But he didn’t say that.

        It’s like any well-corroborated science in that respect. If you deny it, it’s a pretty good sign that you don’t understand it.

        • MetaKnight964

          Once again denying something doesn’t make it true or false.

          • Matthew Funke

            And, as I said, true. But if you deny a well-corroborated scientific principle — no matter what it is — it’s a pretty good sign that you don’t understand it, because well-corroborated science is buttressed by lots of pragmatic confirmation and piles of people with loads of experience about how logic and evidence work, and how to raise educated, evidence-based objections to the claim.

            It’s not absolute proof, naturally. But no one is pretending that it is, either. Re-stating your objection — an acknowledged one, and one kind of implicit in the original statement, at that(*) — hasn’t moved the conversation forward one iota. In light of that, it seems peculiar that you continue to address a nonexistent opponent and dispute epistemological statements no one is making.

            (*) It’s “signs you don’t understand evolution”, not “proof that someone’s statements are true or false”.

          • Roder51

            Bingo!

          • Joseph Ochs

            The consensus in the scientific and academic communities at the turn of the 20th century held Eugenics to be a sound scientific theory.

          • Matthew Funke

            Yup. You understand the difference between “It’s a pretty good sign that you don’t understand it” and “It’s proof that you’re wrong”, right?

            A lot of scientific consensus has been wrong over the years(*). Regardless, it’s rather rare for people who object to do so out of a knowledgeable assessment of the facts of the matter (and people often think they’re more informed than they are), never mind why scientists have interpreted the facts in the way that they have. (One should always keep in mind the empirical basis for the claims; for example, a lot more research has gone into evolution than into eugenics, thankfully.)

            The ultimate test is obviously whether or not an idea conforms to reality, not whatever the scientific consensus happens to be — but it’s worth pointing out that a lot of facile objections tend to come from people who don’t know what the reality of the situation is; any given objection is far more likely to be one of those by dint of sheer numbers than informed critique.

            (*) This is also not evidence that the current consensus is wrong. Also, it is much more rare for the consensus on a general direction to be wrong. Even though the exact model we use for the shape of the Earth is likely to change as measurements grow increasingly refined and precise, it’s not very likely that science will one day reverse its notion that the Earth is roughly spherical. In much the same way, while the concepts forming the foundational theory of biology are likely to change in many ways in the future, it is unlikely to ever become anything completely unlike evolution as we currently understand it.

          • Joseph Ochs

            That was a very long rant that said absolutely nothing. Science is flawed that is the point. The theory of evolution has NOT been scientifically proven. It is literally just the best explaination that is at best impractical. The theory of evolution is based on the fact that we along with every other living being evolves to adapt in response to its environment, we do not have any proof that this occurs. Due to rapid environmental shifts, these adaptations would have to occur within a single generation for the adaptation to aid in surviving a new environment. If an evolutionary adaptation is necessary to survive a new environment it is irrational to believe that millions of years of evolutionary steps would be successful in preventing extinction. Genetics disproves the theory that our Genetics adapt to the environment for survival. In reality the environment in which we live causes genetic mutations in our DNA. While sometimes beneficial it is more often than not harmful.

          • Matthew Funke

            That was a very long rant that said absolutely nothing. Science is flawed that is the point. The theory of evolution has NOT been scientifically proven.

            And you’re arguing an imaginary opponent. When did I ever say that it was “scientifically proven”, as if such a thing exists, or that it was without flaw?

            If you’re going to make up things and people to argue with, I have to question who’s saying “absolutely nothing”.

            The theory of evolution is based on the fact that we along with every other living being evolves to adapt in response to its environment, we do not have any proof that this occurs.

            Except for those inconvenient observations where exactly this occurs, right?

            Due to rapid environmental shifts, these adaptations would have to occur within a single generation for the adaptation to aid in surviving a new environment.

            Not necessarily. Not all environmental changes are that drastic or that rapid.

            If an evolutionary adaptation is necessary to survive a new environment it is irrational to believe that millions of years of evolutionary steps would be successful in preventing extinction.

            Sure. If. But no one is claiming that that is the case.

            In reality the environment in which we live causes genetic mutations in our DNA.

            There’s a whole branch of study known as epigenetics that studies that very thing. It’s part of evolution.

          • Joseph Ochs

            Again absolutely no proof whatsoever exists that proves evolution alters DNA for survival. Environmental shifts are always rapid when taking into account a food source, your DNA lacks the ability to foresee the future and what sources will be available in a million years to start the evolutionary steps to survive. Environmental influence on our genetic material would only be an evolutionary process if it where beneficial. It is rare that environmental influences on our DNA is beneficial. Again and again I point to inherited genetic diseases yet you simply choose to ignore that very real Science. Environmental impacts on our DNA create cancer cells, auto immune diseases, physical malformations, and intellectual disabilities. Yet you cannot point to a single positive evolutionary genetic mutation that has occurred and was essential for humans to survive?

          • Matthew Funke

            Again absolutely no proof whatsoever exists that proves evolution alters DNA for survival.

            Ohno S (April 1984). “Birth of a unique enzyme from an alternative reading frame of the preexisted, internally repetitious coding sequence”. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 81 (8): 2421–5. doi:10.1073/pnas.81.8.2421

            Prijambada ID, Negoro S, Yomo T, Urabe I (May 1995). “Emergence of nylon oligomer degradation enzymes in Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO through experimental evolution”. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 61 (5): 2020–2.

            Again and again I point to inherited genetic diseases yet you simply choose to ignore that very real Science.

            Because evolution does not require the removal of those diseases. Therefore, your objection is irrelevant. There’s no point in addressing a claim that evolution doesn’t make to assess its impact on evolution.

            Yet you cannot point to a single positive evolutionary genetic mutation that has occurred and was essential for humans to survive?

            Dean, M. et al. 1996. Genetic restriction of HIV-1 infection and progression to AIDS by a deletion allele of the CKR5 structural gene. Science 273: 1856-1862.

            Sullivan, Amy D., Janis Wigginton and Denise Kirschner. 2001. The coreceptor mutation CCR5-delta-32 influences the dynamics of HIV epidemics and is selected for by HIV. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science USA 98: 10214-10219.

            Long, Patricia. 1994. A town with a golden gene. Health 8(1) (Jan/Feb.): 60-66.

            Weisgraber K. H., S. C. Rall Jr., T. P. Bersot, R. W. Mahley, G. Franceschini, and C. R. Sirtori. 1983. Apolipoprotein A-I Milano. Detection of normal A-I in affected subjects and evidence for a cysteine for arginine substitution in the variant A-I. Journal of Biological Chemistry 258: 2508-2513.

            Boyden, Ann M., Junhao Mao, Joseph Belsky, Lyle Mitzner, Anita Farhi, Mary A. Mitnick, Dianqing Wu, Karl Insogna, and Richard P. Lifton. 2002. High bone density due to a mutation in LDL-receptor-related protein 5. New England Journal of Medicine 346: 1513-1521, May 16, 2002.

          • Joseph Ochs

            Evolution that is destructive does not support the evolutionary theory that DNA mutations occur to survive so yes it is very relevant as this proves that mutations occur negatively at a much higher rate then positive mutations. Addressing these in order, your first reference is a 2k+ page report that I cannot read from my phone and therefore cannot comment, however your second reference is a mutation of flavobacterium supporting my argument that the environment mutates DNA not the evolutionary theory that DNA mutates For protection of the species from the environment. The CCR-5 Delta 32 mutation is a mutation that is theoretically caused by the plague again a mutation caused by the environment not in response to the environment. The plague theory also is unsubstantiated as no other population that experienced the plague has this mutation. Further as it is a variation that occurred in a population far removed from the origin of HIV in The Congo and not in the Sub Saharan Populations it is safe to say this mutation was and is not necessary to the survival of that population. A-1 Milano is linked to a single ancestor from the 17th century not 18th as was in the referenced material with a predominance of 3.5% of 1,000 people equaling 35 now estimated at 40 people. The A-1M mutation while great at preventing plaque build up is not necessary for survival as millions of people world wide that lack this mutation live just as long without cardiovascular problems and thus was not an evolutionary adaptation necessary for survival, it is also unknown why or how this mutation occurred and thus cannot be credited with an internal adaptation in response to the external environment!

          • Matthew Funke

            your second reference is a mutation of flavobacterium supporting my argument that the environment mutates DNA not the evolutionary theory that DNA mutates For protection of the species from the environment.

            Your criterion was not that I show mutation “[f]or protection of the species from the environment”. It was that I show that evolution mutates DNA for survival. Which I did.

            The CCR-5 Delta 32 mutation is a mutation that is theoretically caused by the plague

            It’s preserved because it allowed the species to exist in spite of the plague. It was not caused by the plague itself.

            Galvani AP, Novembre J (Feb 2005). “The evolutionary history of the CCR5-Delta32 HIV-resistance mutation”. Microbes and Infection / Institut Pasteur 7 (2): 302–9. doi:10.1016/j.micinf.2004.12.006

            Further as it is a variation that occurred in a population far removed from the origin of HIV in The Congo and not in the Sub Saharan Populations it is safe to say this mutation was and is not necessary to the survival of that population.

            The origin of HIV is irrelevant. This mutation provides a survival advantage in the face of HIV to the population that has it.

            A-1 Milano is linked to a single ancestor from the 17th century not 18th as was in the referenced material

            Irrelevant to the question of survival advantage.

            The A-1M mutation while great at preventing plaque build up is not necessary for survival as millions of people world wide that lack this mutation live just as long without cardiovascular problems and thus was not an evolutionary adaptation necessary for survival

            Irrelevant. It provides a survival advantage to the population that has it in the environment where the population exists. It also provides other advantages in other environments, as evidenced by phramacuetical companies currently working to include it in their products (e.g., Esperion Therapeutics and Cardigant Medical).

            A genetic mutation that allows for greater survival will still be preserved, even if it’s not absolutely critical to the species’ continued existence.

          • Joseph Ochs

            None of your citations are indicative of evolutionary mutations for survival. That was what you were attempting to prove. As that is exactly what you originally quoted when citing your references. All of these are mutations that is it, I know full well mutations exist, none of them were for the purpose of survival.

          • Matthew Funke

            None of your citations are indicative of evolutionary mutations for survival.

            Perhaps I’m confused. How, then, do you interpret the creation of nylon oligomer degradation enzymes so that an organism can eat nylon and survive?

          • Joseph Ochs

            It’s a frame shift mutation, the same type of mutation that is the common cause in cancers and Tay Sachs that is believed to have caused the mutation of the flavobacterium. As I said sometimes mutations are beneficial. Flavobacterium still exists that doesn’t need nylon to survive thus was not necessary to mutate for survival. We can argue in circles as you have a fluid definition for evolution. Mutations occur that is a fact, external factors mutate DNA that is also a fact. That they mutate to increase survivability is debatable and that is where evolution stands.

          • Matthew Funke

            It’s a frame shift mutation, the same type of mutation that is the common cause in cancers and Tay Sachs that is believed to have caused the mutation of the flavobacterium.

            Why is that not an “evolutionary mutation”?

            Flavobacterium still exists that doesn’t need nylon to survive thus was not necessary to mutate for survival.

            I don’t think anyone familiar with evolution would say that mutations were required for simple survival. Even as far back as Darwin (before biology knew what mutations were), the talk when it came to heritable variety was all about reproductive advantage; I don’t think the discussion ever shifted to become as binary as only that which was necessary for survival. (Remember the finches? It wasn’t that their beaks represented hereditary changes without which the finches would be destroyed. It’s that some beaks gave the finches an advantage in some environments over other beaks.)

            We can argue in circles as you have a fluid definition for evolution.

            Any “circles” were partly because I didn’t understand that you were looking for something as binary as what you were looking for — I saw “for survival” and heard “for more effective adaptation” a fair amount of the time, for example, because as far as I can tell, that’s all evolution has ever asserted. Even now, it’s hard for me to believe that evolution is as restrictive in the mechanisms it accepts as you claim.

            I’m not aware of any publishing evolutionary biologist who defines evolution as only adaptive evolution (and excluding non-adaptive evolution), never mind only the mutations that lead to survival (without which the species would be utterly doomed). The idea that evolution is as restrictive as these things seems to be entirely in your own head. If you have a citation to demonstrate otherwise, I’d appreciate it.

          • Joseph Ochs

            Let’s revisit the Finches in the Galápagos Islands. Darwin does in fact state that the adaptation was for survival as a short beak for pecking wood or a long beak for worms etcetera. The problem with this entire Darwinian theory of survival of the fittest and yes that is Darwins theory, is that the mutation would have to occur for that purpose to adapt to the environment and rapidly without time for natural selection to finally create a mutation that would allow adaptation to the new environment. Mutations occur randomly and without a specific predetermined purpose counter to Darwinian Thought. For instance the tortoise shell descriptions by Darwin each islands tortoise could be identified by the shape of its shell, the shape of the shell ( neutral mutation) serving no specific purpose. This supports that isolation and inbreeding will cause mutations to become dominant. The family flaw so to speak the same reason your doctor asks for a family medical history. These genes may be neutral, deleterious, or beneficial. However these mutations are always random without regard to evolving a new trait specifically for the purpose of survival. Further Genetic Mutation is merely genetic mutation, and yes The Scientific Definition of Evolution remains that species evolve to adapt to their environment. This definition is completely baseless and without merit and is the foundation on which the theory of primordial soup is based. That theory in itself is a child’s dream that can only be considered if ignoring logical reasoning.

          • Matthew Funke

            The problem with this entire Darwinian theory of survival of the fittest and yes that is Darwins theory, is that the mutation would have to occur for that purpose to adapt to the environment

            Well, yes, but that’s not a coincidence; form follows function. If a bird that was slightly better at (say) catching worms, its genes would tend to get passed on. Its beak need not be as long as its final form, generations later. It just needs to be better than the general population. Then a further improvement gets better than *its* population, and so on. When we see differences, we can be looking at many generations’ worth of successive refinements. And it may not even be in its final form; it depends on whether the adaptation represents a local maximum in the adaptive space.

            and rapidly without time for natural selection to finally create a mutation that would allow adaptation to the new environment.

            Not necessarily. It just has to be better than others in its environment — in the example above, slightly better at getting worms than others in its population. The others might otherwise have been able to survive just fine. It doesn’t have to happen rapidly.

            Mutations occur randomly and without a specific predetermined purpose counter to Darwinian Thought.

            Darwin didn’t assign specific purpose to the variation — just that the environment would preserve some variations more than others. (Recall peppered moths. The moths didn’t determine to change color. Some color variation always happened. It’s just that the color variations that became more common would vary depending on the environment.)

            The Scientific Definition of Evolution remains that species evolve to adapt to their environment.

            Again, my impression is that the idea behind adaptive evolution is that variations always occur, but the direction of the variations that “stick” are selected by the environment. (That’s the whole reason it’s called “natural selection”.) I know of no evolutionary biologist after Lamarck was discredited who would insist that mutations have a specific purpose, never mind that they must occur rapidly.

          • Joseph Ochs

            An evolutionary Scientist of course wouldn’t say they have to occur rapidly or they would be out of a job! But Mutations do occur rapidly and not over millions of years! Genes do not mutate for the purpose of survivability if they did you would see the mutations inside a single generation. Humans do not genetically alter their DNA for survival. As I said before if evolution is the mutation of genetic material without purpose then it is accurate. However that is not the Scientifically accepted definition of Evolution. Lastly you have to be 9 years old to believe that if a mammal or bird can do a task slightly better then it’s counterpart then somehow it’s genes will be passed down verses it counterpart. That would only work in an intelligent species. Culling would have to be a central tenant to such a theory and it isn’t. The bird in your case would not only have to be able to pass its genes down but somehow it’s counterpart would have to completely die out to prevent its genes from being passed down!

          • Matthew Funke

            Your turn. What evidence do you have that genetic adaptations are not caused by internal changes that are preserved by external factors?

          • Joseph Ochs

            What? DNA is altered or mutated by external factors that is argument!

          • Matthew Funke

            DNA is altered or mutated by external factors that is argument!

            Right. But what is your evidence that this happens, and that it cannot be internal changes that are then preserved by external factors?

          • Joseph Ochs

            Well let me tell you brother if there is proof out there that external factors do not alter DNA and cause deleterious mutations i.e. Cancer and you can provide it, the Tobacco, asbestos, and chemical companies will make you one hell of a rich man. There are thousands of studies and modern science damn near puts out new studies on external factors mutating DNA on a daily basis and you know that. pick a cancer and I’ll post a link. Preserved by external factors? As in the environment prevents a mutation? I don’t believe a study exists supporting that the environment prevents mutation of DNA. That theory is tossed when children are born without vital organs necessary to sustain life i.e. No lung, underdeveloped lungs etcetera. Not Internal changes? I believe you are referring to mutations for the purpose of adaptability? I cannot provide a source as neither can you this is an unanswered question by science.

          • Matthew Funke

            if there is proof out there that external factors do not alter DNA

            As I mentioned before, there is an entire branch of study (epigenetics) that examines how external factors alter DNA and its expression. That would be a foolish thing to assert. Thankfully, evolution does not assert it.

            I don’t believe a study exists supporting that the environment prevents mutation of DNA.

            Prevents the mutation of DNA itself? No. Prevents the retention of particular mutations in the gene pool of a population over time? I’ve already pointed you to a study that shows exactly that.

            I cannot provide a source as neither can you this is an unanswered question by science.

            Why don’t some of the examples I provided — e.g., Flavobacterium mutating to consume nylon — count? It wasn’t a purposeful mutation, but it didn’t have to be; but it happened to be advantageous to survival, so it was retained.

          • Joseph Ochs

            They why did you assert it? You like to talk in circles and using a fluid definition of evolution! It’s utter nonesense. On several occasions rather than you admit you are wrong switch positions then attempt to argue in favor of my position pretending it was yours the entire time. Mutations of DNA occur, because they do not occur for the purpose of survival as claimed by Evolutuonary Science they entire claim that we evolve to survive our environment is false. Humans have done just the opposite, we are unable to survive in any ear the environment in our naked form, we have one of the most susceptible immune systems on the planet. We are of no realtion to lizards making that leap is asinine as you did in another post! The human population is not now and has not ever evolved in its entire recorded history. As DNA discoveries through archeological finds, have proven humans are still susceptible to the same deadly parasites, viruses, bacteria, and environmental conditions our ancestors were 10,000 years ago! Not to mention the fact they looked just like we do! Scientists wish to make the connection between not only humans and primates but bacteria and viruses as well as every other living creature. This fanciful dream allows them to make connections in genetic anomalies as proof of evolution only holding up beneficial mutations while disregarding deleterious mutations.

          • Matthew Funke

            On several occasions rather than you admit you are wrong switch positions then attempt to argue in favor of my position pretending it was yours the entire time.

            That’s because you’re taking statements as total that aren’t. I’ve tried to qualify. Selection processes in evolution will tend to cull deleterious mutations, but there are circumstances where it won’t; I’ve even spelled out some of those circumstances. But you’re not interested in that; you’re interested in restating your warped, personal definition of evolution so that you can pretend while you refute your pet little ideas that you’re refuting the entire theory — not to mention making statements that are flatly false and irrelevant.

            Have fun.

          • Joseph Ochs

            Here we go again with this talking point of the culling of deleterious mutations? Natural selection can only occur if the genetic mutation is unable to be passed down! For culling to take place it has to happen before reproduction. This doesn’t happen anywhere in nature for the purpose of culling a mutation. Deleterious Recessive genes can reappear as a dominant several generations from the original host of the mutation and then again become recessive. Natural selection was a eugenicists wet dream!

          • Matthew Funke

            the evolutionary theory that DNA mutations occur to survive

            I think you may have a fundamental misunderstanding here. Evolution does not hold that DNA mutations occur in order to survive. It holds that mutations occur, and those that confer reproductive advantage will tend to be preserved. (It does not pretend that only those mutations that confer reproductive advantage will tend to be preserved, nor that mutations are the only way in which genetic differences (or differences in genetic expression) will be made.)

          • Joseph Ochs

            Well your definition is counter to what your citations author wrote! ” mutations are of course the basis for adaptive evolution” https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/4a9ab1c1cb3ab9559cf3632c77e92d2898b8e3dd42b95f9dbbd599d91916ee44.png

          • Matthew Funke

            It also makes reference to things like genetic drift to account for how deleterious mutations persist (or not) in a population, so it doesn’t seem to me that the authors meant for mutation to be considered the exclusive basis of evolution. (And further, “adaptive evolution” is not “evolution”. One of our minor topics, genetic drift, is non-adaptive evolution. So is sexual selection.)

          • Joseph Ochs

            For evolution to even possibly exist genetic mutation is the exclusive means of to achieve that. What makes evolution a child’s dream is that these mutations would need to occur with purpose and they do not. Mutations are random and more often then not deleterious! mutaruons occur without predetermined purpose for survival. Because mutations occur at extremely high intervals it is only mathematically logical that sometimes they mutations are beneficial. however because the beneficial mutations are extremely low in occurrence in comparison to deleterious mutations it is not logical to assume that mutations occur to adapt or progress a species.

          • Joseph Ochs

            Mutations are the only way genetics evolve or devolve. I never said genetic differences were made solely through mutation. Gene variations in a species at conception does not indicate evolution either as a recessive gene may reoccur in the offspring as dominant.

          • Matthew Funke

            I had always thought evolution was more agnostic about genetic mechanisms than that. It didn’t care how allele frequencies in the gene pool change, only that they did. What do you have that indicates otherwise?

          • Joseph Ochs

            Yes!mutations occur without prejudice! To understand that is to accept that the Scientific definition of evolution is wrong! Mutations are random more often than not deleterious and are heavily influenced by external factors without regard to survivability of the mutation. In other words we are not evolving into or out of anything. We are not going to grow or lose appendages based on the need of or lack of need of an appendage. We do not genetically adapt to our environment for survival, mutations caused by our environment are rarely beneficial to our ability to survive in that environment. Mutations occur too slowly to be beneficial in providing a benefit that would prevent extinction and at too random of a rate to accomplish the same. Similarity in genetics is due to the same exposure by all mammals to the same environmental factors not due to a common ancestor i.e. Primates. From primordial soup to Human? The Scientific theory of evolution holds that these mutations are completely random yet have led to everything from insects to plants all from the very same primordial soup and in turn created a world that is fragile enough to collapse through the extinction of the bee? For That theory to have merit it must prove the order of evolution. Due to the cyclical nature of life one species cannot exist without the others. So a life form supposedly bacteria or maybe a virus existed without a food source?

          • Matthew Funke

            We are not going to grow or lose appendages based on the need of or lack of need of an appendage.

            I think you misunderstand analogy. Evolution tends to use what’s currently available. Even Darwin recognized that.

            Due to the cyclical nature of life one species cannot exist without the others.

            True. The environment to which any given species adapts includes other organisms and their effects on the habitat. If maintaining independence from other organisms is too expensive for hereditary success, it won’t be retained.

            So a life form supposedly bacteria or maybe a virus existed without a food source?

            Long enough ago, it wouldn’t have been sophisticated enough to be what we would have called a bacterium or a virus; it more likely would have simply consumed other organic stuff in the “soup”, grabbing the molecules it needed to continue to survive and replicate (something closer to a prion).

          • Matthew Funke

            This is germane to several areas in our discussion:

            Back in 1971, scientists took five male and five female lizards from one Adriatic island (Pod Kopiste) and moved them to another (Pod Mrcaru). They then neglected the islands for 36 years.

            When they came back, they found some interesting things had happened to the lizards (Podarcis sicula). The original lizards were small, fast, territorial insectivores. The new population was larger, slower, and non-territorial. Their diet (as derived from gut content examination) went from 4-7% vegetation to 34% (in spring) and 61% (in summer) vegetation. Since plant matter is so hard to digest, this represents a major shift. The skulls had become deeper, wider, and longer — in short, better for chomping off leafy bits.

            But what was really amazing is that the new population had developed cecal valves. These are valves that “pinch off” sections of the digestive tract so that they can act as fermentation chambers and allow the organism more time to digest. The original population had no cecal valves at all, and still doesn’t. In other words, the new population changed into having something the original population never had. The cecal valves are an evolutionary novelty.

            The new population also had swarms of nematodes in their digestive systems not found at all in the guts of the original population to aid in plant digestion — the beginnings of a symbiotic relationship, perhaps? The fascinating thing is that this happened in only about thirty generations, and within a single, well-documented human lifetime.

            University Of Massachusetts, Amherst. “Lizards Undergo Rapid Evolution After Introduction To A New Home.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 April 2008.

            Mutations occur too slowly to be beneficial in providing a benefit that would prevent extinction and at too random of a rate to accomplish the same.

            Evolution doesn’t require all-or-nothing changes, and never has. You’ve adopted a technique similar to creationists: Inventing your own personal definition of “evolution” that doesn’t match what anyone in the scientific community has ever meant by that term, and then pretending that by defeating that personal idea, you have shown that evolution is false (and by extension, that those who accept it are unthinking acolytes of the scientific community).

            Some changes were likely too slow, yes. But they didn’t all have to be all or nothing, and they didn’t all have to be rapid, and they didn’t all affect the entire population. The rate of mutation is well-known — even the different rates for different types of mutation (e.g., point mutations per base pair per cell division, per gene per generation, or per genome per generation), to the extent that they’re often used as clocks; this means that there are countless opportunities to show that these mutation rates don’t work as claimed or would be ineffective at maintaining species viability. It seems odd that you would claim it, unless you have evidence to demonstrate it. Do you?

          • Joseph Ochs

            The original transplanted lizards survived and were able to procreate without the mutation! Again correlation does not equal cause. We Know that the environment mutates DNA, the mutations that occurred in these lizards prices just that, because it seems beneficial is only speculative as it was not needed to survive the environment. These are logical conclusions because you have a fanciful belief in fluid definitions and you would rather ignore scientific data that contradicts evolution that’s your problem not mine.

          • Matthew Funke

            This was meant to refute your assertion that evolution had to mutate organisms to adapt to new diets all at once. It is clearly not true.

            What is fluid, precisely? And what has contradicted evolution so far?

          • Joseph Ochs

            Here is another case where you attempt to skip over to the other side! Mutations are random I stated that why would you ask what I have that refutes my own argument? You know mutations are random, you know they happen at an extremely high rate, you know that the majority of mutations are deleterious, less common are neutral and even less are beneficial. All of that is supported by the Scientific Data coming from the studies of those Scientist that support evolution. Objectivity is key for accuracy! This Science completely ignores obvious expected statistical outcomes. Completely ignores that humans have not evolved in the tens of thousands of years that we have genetic data for and masquareds the theory as proven science.

          • Big Jim

            Eugenics was NEVER a theory. You’ve demonstrated that you don’t understand what a theory is at all…

          • Joseph Ochs

            Eugenics was absolutely a Scientific Theory peer reviewed and was in fact in practice in the United States for almost three quarters of a century. It was taught at World Renowned Univeristies including Harvard and Princeton. The medical community in the United States practiced Eugenics by refusing to operate on sick newborns, sterilizing the poor and singling out families for sterilization. The Eugenics Records Office in New Jersey introduced Eugenics to European Universities, performed research and spread informational material around the U.S and the globe. It was peer reviewed and actually does carry some Scientific weight and from it genetics was born. You may wish to educate yourself a little bit on a subject before attempting to attack another persons intellect!

          • Big Jim

            But eugenics was never a THEORY. A theory is an explanation, consistent with the available facts, that, once again, serves to explain WHY something happens. Eugenics was an IDEA. A proposed PROCESS. But it was NEVER a theory in the way you suggest.

          • Big Jim

            I’m not attacking your intellect. But you WERE wrong about eugenics being a theory, so maybe YOU need to do some research:

            Again, a THEORY is an EXPLANATION. One that consolidates all the available information and seeks to explain WHY something happens consistent with the available evidence. Eugenics was NEVER an explanation for ANYTHING. Rather, it was a call to do certain things, ostensibly, to improve the human gene pool (although misguided).

            I won’t dignify the absurd claim that genetics arose from eugenics, although I’ll grant they’re related. Gregor Mendel (1822-1884) is the acknowledged father of modern genetics, and his groundbreaking work with peas had more in common with existing observations in agriculture and husbandry. Eugenic attempted to APPLY genetic ideas to humanity to “breed” a better race.

            The modern eugenics movement arose in the early 20th century, some TWO DECADES after Mendel’s death. And the scientific reputation of eugenics declined sharply in the 1930s, which runs counter to the idea that it permeates scientific discourse.

            You wrote to “correct” me, but your post was a CAVALCADE of misinformation that, ironically, underscores at least one of the points of the original article. You’re misinformed, but not stupid.

          • Roder51

            It also doesn’t put your knowledge of it at par with Darwin.

  • ShortLong

    Just a quick note, gravity is a law, as in Newton’s Universal Law of Gravitation, not a theory.

    • micktravis

      Gravity is a thing. The laws of gravity explain what it does. And Einstein’s theory explains how it works.

      • Yes, this is what I meant. Newton’s law of universal gravitation simply says that gravity works. It doesn’t explain how it works. That’s where the “theory” of gravity/gravitation comes in.

        • beanyk

          No, Newton’s Law of Gravitation explains *how* gravity works to the same extent as Einstein’s Law of Gravitation (General Relativity); the latter just does a better job. Newton’s Law of Gravitation is, in fact, a theory. It doesn’t just say that things fall, or quantify the way they fall; it actually gives an explanation (force = G*M1*M2/r12^2) that allows for further predictions.

    • Kevin

      Fact – A discreet observable value or true statement. Law – A verifiable and observed behavior that is consistent, and describes some aspect of the world. f=ma, e=mc^2, things drop at a particular speed when I let go, If I push on something it pushes back, etc.

      A theory is a collection of facts and laws used to make predictions about as yet unobserved behaviors. In this way, there are hypothesis, facts, and laws concerning gravity that all fall with the Theory of Gravity and shape it as new information is added or old discarded.

  • CarolPeterman

    Great post. There is a Coursera class that I think you and your readers would love, Introduction to Genetics and Evolution. It’s taught by Professor Mohamed Noor at Duke University who is a spectacular instructor. A new session of the course starts Jan 3rd, and it’s free. I think you’d particularly appreciate how he handles the issue of evolution and religion. https://www.coursera.org/course/geneticsevolution

  • Bryan Richards

    Well I think the fundamentalists do understand one thing better, that with a literal interpretation and evolution in the mix some very foundational tenets are undermined.

    • Samuel Kimathi Muriithi

      This is why I tend to respect the fundamentalist stand on evolution being wrong because they seem to admit something the moderates are trying to sweep under the rug so that they can have their cake and eat it too. If evolution is what happened and continues to happen then your brain needs to learn some serious gymnastics for you to hold the position that there is no inherent conflict with the bible.

      • Sturgeon

        I don’t see how the classical fundamentalist theology is any more internally consistent. There’s plenty of stuff, and not just in the old testament, that they sweep under the rug as well. Everybody interprets the Bible. Attempting to take as much as possible literally and at face value, is itself an interpretation of the Bible.

        Some people even go so far as to argue that the Earth is flat and the center of the universe, based on verses referencing the corners of the earth, spread out like a tent, Joshua making the Sun stand still, etc. Interestingly most YECs have no problem relegating those verses to the “metaphor” category.

    • Except that people largely disagree on what’s “foundational” and what isn’t. In my view, the foundation of Christianity is the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, which is not affected in the slightest by the theory of evolution. What “very foundational tenets” of my faith do you think are undermined by my acceptance of evolution and rejection of the literal reading of Genesis 1-3?

  • Samuel Kimathi Muriithi

    I still think accepting evolution and jesus is the son of an omnicient god and he literally walked on water is a severe case of cognitive dissonance.

    • Why? What does the scientific theory of evolution have to do with the question of whether God, if he exists, is capable of performing miracles?

      • Joe Walsh

        Simply that “miracles” violate the laws of physics while evolution is one aspect of biological life that cannot exist without stable physical laws. otherwise, water might turn acidic and light may gain measurable mass.

        • The laws of nature are stable and reliable. The doctrine of miracles doesn’t suggest that they aren’t, merely that the God who set up the laws of nature may intervene in them should he choose to do so. The biblical stories of miracles teach that God can do miracles, not that anyone can do miracles, or that they can happen on their own for no particular reason.

          • Joe Walsh

            If anything is capable of violating the laws of physics, even a supposed creator-god, then they are not stable.

          • I disagree with you. The doctrine of miracles is fully in agreement that the laws of nature are stable, meaning they cannot be broken by the things they bind: matter and energy, and everything else that is a part of this universe. However, if you acknowledge a being that created the universe, then why would anyone supposed that he would be bound by the laws he created? He is not a part of the universe as you and I are.

            At any rate, there is absolutely nothing within Christian theology, the doctrine of miracles or the Bible that would suggest that, on their own, “water might turn acidic and light may gain measurable mass,” as you suggested in your original post. The Bible would suggest that God could do these things if he chose and had a reason for it, but there’s nothing that would indicate these things could happen without direct divine intervention.

          • L.W.

            Tyler said “he is not part of the universe as you and I are”

            Good grief!!!!! What is your evidence to support such an asinine statement?

            Hoe do you ‘know’ that ‘God’ isn’t subject to the same laws that we are?

            While I appreciate your articulate defense of evolution, when you discuss Christianity you sound every bit as absurd and ridiculous as Ray Comfort, whom you criticize.

          • What is your evidence to support such an asinine statement?

            Hoe do you ‘know’ that ‘God’ isn’t subject to the same laws that we are?

            It’s simple logic. If you believe in a being that created the universe, then the being obviously existed before the universe and therefore wouldn’t be part of it. If the being is not part of the universe, then it wouldn’t be subject to the same laws that bind things that are part of the universe.

          • Russell Linton

            This sounds like the basis for an argument to deny evolution, frankly. In fact this gives any believer carte blanche to think what they will about science and pretty much negates your work above. Positing the existence of an omniscient being outside the laws of physics means you can cherry pick which physical laws your deity wants to ignore or violate. Why wouldn’t evolution be one of those?

          • Not really, since the world and everything in it is full of positive evidence of our evolutionary past. As I tell other believers frequently, in light of the evidence there are really only two options: Evolution happened, or God really wanted to make us think that it did.

          • Russell Linton

            You are ignoring the other option of the “God is outside physical laws” argument – you are wrong. Evolution did not happen, the bible, written by omnipotent “outside physical laws God” says people were made of mud, the earth in seven days, etc. The fossils and other evidence you claim are fabricated by godless scientists who don’t get that God can do whatever he wants and doesn’t play by their rules..

            IMO the safest thing is to admit God is a matter of faith and completely remove it from scientific discussion. Rationalizing the idea as you are doing is a recipe for the misunderstanding and abuse you seem prone to thwart.

            If you believe in God, great, it’s a matter of faith, it’s unassailable, end of story. Trying to describe him/her/it in relation to physical things doesn’t work. That’s the whole point. It’s the whole reason why this debate is silly and why I think “Creation” Scientists are perhaps the most faith-starved people I can imagine. They are actively seeking evidence to prove their God exists, even fabricating said evidence. Pathetic. Believe or not, its a personal choice IMO.

          • You are ignoring the other option of the “God is outside physical laws” argument – you are wrong. Evolution did not happen, the bible, written by omnipotent “outside physical laws God” says people were made of mud, the earth in seven days, etc. The fossils and other evidence you claim are fabricated by godless scientists who don’t get that God can do whatever he wants and doesn’t play by their rules..

            Yes, I suppose it’s technically an “option,” and I must admit I have talked to some people who seem to hold some variant of this perspective, but the conspiracy theory mindset is just way too much nonsense for me to ever treat it as a legitimate view of reality. The idea that millions of “atheistic” scientists (even though approximately half recognize some form of a higher power), working in countries all over the world for the past 200 years, have, for some reason, sold their lives and integrity to perpetuate a manufactured falsehood that doesn’t even rule out the possible existence of God…. It just boggles my mind.

            Thanks for your other thoughts. They are appreciated.

          • farah

            SHARE THEM PLEASE

          • Warren Thomas

            I think this is a very interesting blog and admire your defense of the gospel and the bible as a whole. Very evidence based. I have not read all your replies but I would be very interested to hear your views on how evolution and the 2nd law of thermodynamics mesh. My understanding of entropy is that things tend towards disorder. At least to summarize the law. That’s the biggest issue I have with evolution. It needs a never ending time line to explain it. Little changes over billions of years. My observation of this world is that we are constantly digressing in every aspect of life. I don’t believe we are getting better as a world rather we are progressively degrading. This is as the bible has prophesied so it is not surprising to me. Maybe you can she’d some light on this aspect of evolution.

          • Hey Warren, thanks for your message. Basically, the second law of thermodynamics, and entropy in general, has no bearing on evolution. Entropy doesn’t just mean “disorder”; it is a precise mathematical term that applies to thermodynamic systems. There is absolutely no way to meaningfully calculate “entropy” in relation to biological life forms. In other words, we simply cannot calculate the “entropy” of something like bacteria, then calculate the “entropy” for dinosaurs or whales or horses or mankind and demonstrate how entropy has increased over time. The formulas simply don’t exist.

            Even if one were speaking of entropy much more generally, and trying to apply it outside of thermodynamic systems, it still wouldn’t work, because the laws governing entropy apply only to closed systems that receive no outside energy. Earth is an open system and receives massive amounts of energy from the sun.

          • Syn Holliday

            Or maybe there was a creator before God, a creator who created God. Maybe there was more than one creator. “In the beginning, the gods created the heavens and the earth.”

          • While I support the assertion that God is not part of the Universe, I find the search for logical reasons for God’s existence or non-existence preposterous and somewhat counter-productive. However, something that challenges me as a software engineer is the relationship between a programmer and a software program. Say you create a program to do a task X in a time t that you could never complete in that time-span t. The program does X successfully. You’ve defined the bounds and algorithm for that program. You’ve defined X. Can that program prove your existence? Is that program greater than the programmer? Can you conceive a way to write or modify a computer program existing in a computational sub-world that can prove the existence of its programmer to other programs in that sub-world? Now I don’t want to claim that “we are like programs” or we are constrained to a predestined path, I just want us to think about the relationship between the created and the creator. When we do this (of course I can only speak from my experience), it is hard not to resolve that there is no proving or disproving God using logic bounded by our world. We have a choice to accept or refute, and either is a matter of faith. However, beyond our decision of faith is the choice to love or hate, to defend or destroy our fellow humans and our environment, and to be selfless or selfish.

          • Chuck Thom

            The answer is, “No, because computer programs aren’t conscious.” Are you really comparing computer programs to sentient beings?

          • I’m not comparing programs and people or machines and sentient beings. My analogy is about the relationship between something that is created and its creator. Even if we could implement sentience such that programs could [pseudo-] subjectively (e.g. using machine learning) perceive their environment, signals from the programmer/operator/creator would still be perceived, interpreted and evaluated in the digital world. My point is that perception and belief in a creator is subjective, based on one’s experience and worldview used to bootstrap reasoning.

          • Huh?

            Don’t confuse your ignorance with a suitable counter argument. The creator is separate from the creation by a matter of definition. If the creator wasn’t, it wouldn’t be the creator. The entire conversation revolves around that basic understanding. You are wanting to move the goal posts to discuss an entirely different being.

          • Syn Holliday

            Many of the more than 2500 deities created my man are capable of miracles.

          • L.W.

            Joe, please don’t being logic and reason to a discussion about Christianity.

            It will just piss you off. And it’s a waste of your time.

          • Huh?

            Not even remotely true, merely a complete misunderstanding of the concept of God and classical theism.

          • Agreed. Thanks!

          • The laws of physics also account for explosions. Do you see explosions as violations of physics or do you see explosions as stable? The laws of physics are there to explain and predict observations in a useful manner, not restrict them.

          • Chuck Messenger

            I’m curious: You seem ready to accept the conclusions of scientists. Are you likewise open to the findings of archaeologists? You yourself make the argument that historical sciences (e.g. evolution, astrophysics, etc) are not unscientific merely because we can’t go back in time and watch what happened. It’s well-established fact, in archaeology, that Jews were never enslaved in Egypt, they had nothing to do with building the pyramids, and they never crossed the Sinai. That Adam, Abraham, Moses, and everything else in the Old Testament, prior to roughly the Babylonian Captivity, is non-historical. Do you accept that? Or do you draw the line?

          • It’s a good question, and I must admit, an area of scientific inquiry about which I am far less familiar than evolution. I certainly am not a Christian you would dismiss the evidence and views of expert archaeologists simply because, “Well, that’s not what the Bible says,” if that’s what you’re asking.

            I knew that there was little evidence of Jews having been enslaved by Egypt during the time Exodus describes, but I thought the issue was more that the numbers that the Bible gives (which would put Israel’s population in the millions) seem to be impossible. I thought it was possible that a smaller group of Hebrews had been enslaved by Egypt at some point? Surely, the names and nationalities of the people they enslaved were not particularly important or thorough records that the Egyptians kept?

            I do think that the archaeological questions are important ones for religious people to consider, especially when they seem so clearly at odds with the text of their holy books. And, as I said, I have great respect for the work archaeologists do. That all being said, what I often come back to is an opinion that I, funnily enough, found espoused in the writings of Martin Luther (a literalist if there ever was one). Nonetheless, he said something like (I’m paraphrasing from memory), “The Old Testament serves me no purpose, except inasmuch as it points me toward Christ.”

            Basically, whatever historical, cultural or religious information the Old Testament may (or may not provide), the most important information for the Christian is the theological truth that we believe it conveys about the messiah.

            So the archaeological questions may indeed perplex me at times, but my faith is not rooted in the historical, literal interpretation of the Bible. It is in Christ.

      • Samuel Kimathi Muriithi

        Simply because of the methods used to arrive at conclusions in science and how much they differ from faith based belief. I’m not calling you a liar or anything its just my opinion that its intellectually dishonest to say you believe in evolution because of more than a century’s worth of confirming evidence in many scientific fields but do a complete flip when it comes to the claims of the bible and the existence of any god. Either you form your beliefs according to the best available evidence that is currently available or you DON’T.

        • Yeah? So please enlighten me: What scientific evidence is there that disproves the existence of a creator God? What experiment has clearly evidenced that I’m not a sinner and I don’t possess a soul? What scientist has irrefutably shown that a spiritual place like heaven does not exist? I must have missed all of this research somehow.

          You are welcome to your opinion, but I don’t see how the issue is as clear as you think it is. I don’t understand the inconsistency you seem to see in my beliefs. I accept the scientific evidence for evolution, and I have great respect for the scientific process. But, as many of even the most personally atheistic scientists admit, science is simply not able to aid us in the answering of spiritual questions. It is an extremely powerful process, but it is limited to the material world. And, God, if he exists, is Spirit, not matter. He acts within this world, but he is neither a product nor a part of it.

          • Samuel Kimathi Muriithi

            That’s just it, there’s absolutely no reason whatsoever for you to even rationally entertain the concept of a god let alone to accept scriptures and go as far as to make decisions in your daily life based on these beliefs. You would NEVER entertain any other concept presented to you the way god and christianity are and you would brush it off as nonsense as you probably do with concepts of all other gods and things like reincarnation.

            You clearly demonstrate that you only adhere to the scientific method only when it suits you when you try to use the “prove a negative” trick, no one can prove a negative and you know that. Its dishonest to try to shift the burden of proof on to us when you’re the one making claims that a supernatural being exists.

            My main point is this, as far as I’m happy that a moderate believer who accepts evolution is one less fundamentalist scientists have to unnecessarily fight with to keep nonsense out of the science class I still maintain that the fundamentalist is being intellectually honest when they say their book is either the inspired word of a perfect god or it isn’t.

          • I absolutely do not “brush off as nonsense” other religions and faith traditions. Ultimately, I do believe Christ makes more sense of the human condition than other religions as I understand them, but I have great respect for other faiths. Really, I think all religion is man’s attempt to “find and feel their way toward God, and perhaps reach out for him and find him,” as described by Paul in Acts 17, something he said that “pleased” God.

            It is your opinion that my faith is not reasonable or that there is no rational basis for it. There is no scientific evidence to consider, one way or the other, because the questions my faith answers are not scientific questions.

            And finally, just because I apparently don’t fit your definition of a “fundamentalist,” you seem to think I don’t believe the Bible is the inspired word of a perfect God. As a matter of fact, I do. You can find my full statement of faith here.

          • Samuel Kimathi Muriithi

            You believe the bible is the inspired word of a perfect god except where it gets everything wrong about the natural world, morality and history those places you’re fine disagreeing with.

          • L.W.

            Great response, Samuel. Tyler tries to come across as an ‘enlightened’ Christian, but his defense of Christianity is every bit as convoluted as Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron’s asinine version of it.

          • Huh?

            L.W. It must be nice to have such a simplistic and juvenile understanding of the world. Tyler disagrees with you so he must be exactly the same as other people who disagree with you. Great take man.

          • I believe the Bible is the inspired word of God. That doesn’t mean I believe every word is literally true.

            I believe the Old Testament authors were inspired. The Old Testament was written exclusively in Hebrew. Does that mean I believe God exclusively speaks Hebrew? No. I simply believe the human authors used their human language to convey the revelations they received as best they could.

            In the same way, some of their inaccurate views about science and history were incorporated into the books they were writing. I believe it was not part of the revelation they received (as the primary goal of the Spirit’s inspiration was to impart theological and moral truth about God and mankind), but some of it was incorporated incidentally. Just because I believe the authors of the Bible were inspired doesn’t mean I believe they weren’t human.

          • Huh?

            Samuel, things can have value and truth without being 100% literal recipes and historic recreations. I derive truths about humanity and life from literature all the time. In short, what is your point? If the Bible isn’t 100% truth in how you understand it with your limited perspective, then it must be 100% useless trash?

          • Samuel Kimathi Muriithi

            I said nothing about the bible being useless trash or only being relevant if its 100% true. Its a very important book my only problem is the fundamental belief that for some reason this and only this book was inspired by some god, there are a lot of books that are valuable in many ways but none of them are blindly used by people to claim weird things about the world especially when they contain more fiction than comic books.

          • Syn Holliday

            I suppose if the book itself didn’t claim itself infallible, I could respect it even in part.

          • Syn Holliday

            When it comes to literature, credibility has a lot to do with who the writer is. The authors of all four Gospels are anonymous.

          • Syn Holliday

            The burden of proof is on the claim of existence, never on non-existence. The neutral, or default, is non-existence. No one can prove Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny does not exist. The burden is never on proving non-existence because no one can prove non-existence, therefore not being able to prove the non-existence of something provides no weight at all to an argument for existence.

          • Yes, if you’re looking at the matter scientifically, but I don’t believe the question of God’s existence to be answerable scientifically. If it were, we could devise an experiment that would demonstrate whether or not he exists. Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny certainly can be proven to not exist. The claims about Santa, for example, include that he lives with elves in the North Pole, rides his sleigh around the entire earth on Christmas Eve and visits every house in the world to give children presents. Any of these claims can be scientifically falsified quite easily.

            On the other hand, the claims about God include that he is all-powerful, that he created the universe, that he revels himself to those who believe, and so on. How might we scientifically falsify any of those claims?

          • Syn Holliday

            That could be the myth around Santa, such as the Cherry Tree or the wooden dentures myths about George Washington. Just because those things are myth does not necessarily mean George Washington didn’t exist. Santa, who sees all kids sleeping or awake, who keeps tabs of who is naughty or nice, can’t be disproven.

            None of the over 2500 deities created by Man can be disproven, none of the Hindu deities, the Wiccan Goddess, the Native Indian spirits.

          • None of the over 2500 deities created by Man can be disproven, none of the Hindu deities, the Wiccan Goddess, the Native Indian spirits.

            Right. So if one is willing to entertain the idea of spiritual things — the possibility of something that lies “beyond” the material world we can see and smell and explore scientifically, then it comes down to a question of what view of spirituality — whether it be Christianity, Wicca, Hinduism, Islam, etc. etc. — makes the most sense.

          • Syn Holliday

            Then it is somewhat arbitrary, none of them are really “wrong”. Therefore, I choose a religion of self-worship, a worship of the most important deity in my own personal existence. It’s the human ego that causes the burning desire to believe in an afterlife, that we’re just too important to simply cease to exist. That, coupled with human fear of the unknown. I prefer not to be driven by fear in regards to that. For some, the possibility of ceasing to exist is a reality. For others, it just couldn’t possibly be. But the thought isn’t really too hard to concept. We can just concept our existence before we were born.

  • Rab Simpson

    The theory of evolution by natural selection takes the garden of eden story and blows it out of the water, meaning no original sin and no need for a saviour character.

    Accepting both the theory of evolution by natural selection and the sacrifice* story of the gospels requires a serious level of ignorance in one or the other.

    * Being resurrected negates the whole idea of sacrifice, especially when it’s your alter-ego that’s performing the resurrection itself.

    • The theory of evolution by natural selection takes the garden of eden story and blows it out of the water, meaning no original sin and no need for a saviour character.

      The Bible does not teach that the need for a savior is predicated on the idea of original sin. Indeed, original sin is a doctrine that some believe is derived from scripture, but it is not named or clearly defined anywhere in the text. In fact, if by “original sin,” you mean the idea that humans have inherited guilt from their parents and are born spiritually dead, I don’t believe that is taught in the Bible at all.

      The Bible clearly teaches that we are in need of salvation because of our own personal sin, not the sin committed by our supposed ancestors thousands of years ago. Romans 3:23-25: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.”

      Nothing about Adam and Eve in there, nor is there anything in that passage that the scientific theory of evolution could possibly make more or less true.

      * Being resurrected negates the whole idea of sacrifice, especially when it’s your alter-ego that’s performing the resurrection itself.

      This is a logical discrepancy that you believe exists in the Christian faith. It has nothing to do with evolution. This issue would remain regardless of whether the theory is correct or not.

      • Rab Simpson

        If this is the case, why do so many christian preachers reference Eve taking and eating the fruit from the tree of knowledge as the origin of original sin?

        This whole “you’re not perfect so believe (for no good reason) in this guy who’ll help you or he’ll burn you for eternity” thing doesn’t hold water either. Why would a supposedly perfect being create imperfect beings? By definition that couldn’t happen (perfect being perfect, it can only do things perfectly).

        Either humanity was created perfect and something happened (the descent of man), or this YHWH character isn’t the great guy his fans claim he is. Interestingly, reading the torah had me asking the question “who in their right mind would worship such a jealous, genocidal tyrant?” His alleged offspring wasn’t much better with his introduction of eternal torment.

        Regarding the logical discrepancy, there’s no belief involved, the logic speaks for itself. You’re not sacrificing your life if you’re resurrecting yourself shortly afterwards. That’s the sacrificial equivalent of a flesh wound. My mentioning it was off-topic and tangental, but I felt like adding it anyway, regardless of relevancy to the theory and its lack of impact therein.

        • Sturgeon

          >If this is the case, why do so many christian preachers reference Eve
          taking and eating the fruit from the tree of knowledge as the origin of
          original sin?

          Because earlier generations of Christian theologians came up with this idea in order to help tie the whole collection into a single, internally consistent narrative.

          • Rab Simpson

            So now to avoid having the theory of evolution negate the whole thing, someone has decided that it doesn’t quite work that way? That sounds a lot like fixing the game to me. If christianity can’t stand up to scrutiny without moving the goalposts, what does that tell you?

            Either what christianity claims to be the case is the case or it isn’t. I really don’t care what people believe but *everyone* (and that includes we skeptics if we’re mistaken) needs a huge dose of intellectual honesty when it comes to what’s really going on. All this beating around the bush crap is nothing more than theological masturbation and diversion tactics to disguise the fact that it doesn’t make sense.

            I appreciate what Tyler is doing in terms of putting creationists in their place, but at the very least they’ve taken the contents of their version of the bible and stood behind it saying “this is historical and how it happened”. Now, are they wrong? You’re bloody right they’re wrong, and demonstrably so, but that doesn’t mean the moderates who’re perpetually trying to reconcile the basic framework of their beliefs with reality (while lending legitimacy to insane creationist politicians who claim moderates as part of their support numbers) are right either.

            The basic parts of all the religions which comprise christianity don’t make sense when examined through the lens of rational and honest inquiry. Are there some reasonable ideas we can take from it? Sure there are, but it doesn’t make any of it factual in a historical sense and it doesn’t make any of the characters within it worthy of worship.

            I care about my beliefs being accurate, anyone who doesn’t doesn’t value honesty.

          • People can be mistaken about the truth revealed in scripture just as we can be mistaken in the truth revealed in nature. How many times has the theory of evolution had to be updated or tweaked as new information has come to light? I doubt you consider that a case of “moving the goalposts,” and I don’t either.

            I don’t believe the truth of God as revealed in the Bible has changed, but people may have certainly been mistaken about it.

          • Rab Simpson

            Unless you can back it up with empirical and logical evidence, you don’t get to call it truth.

            It’s *possible* (at least some of the parts, some of them are just plain impossible and can be dismissed as such) they could be facts, but until you can demonstrate it you don’t get to call them facts. They’re claims until shown to be otherwise.

            Using the old ‘science changes, therefore it’s not very credible’ line is completely disingenuous, and you know it. Religious scripture *claims outright* that what it contains is *entirely* true, and yet for generations people have saw fit to change it and not even fix the parts which contradict each other. Scientific theories change to match reality, humbly admitting that what we thought was the case wasn’t as accurate as it could be, thus making the theory *stronger*. Why does religious scripture change? Politics.

            If the bible (being the claim, not the evidence), any version, were true it’d be demonstrable. Any part of it requiring a suspension of disbelief or belief for no good reason (‘faith’) shouldn’t be accepted as true until evidence is provided that demonstrates otherwise. This is the only intellectually honest position to take, otherwise you’re lying to yourself because you *want* something to be true.

          • Christopher Lee Hartsock

            I’ve got to take exception to your portrayal of the scientific community as humble, and willing to quickly intake new information, as that’s a little too rose-colored-glasses to be taken seriously.
            Phlogiston. End of case.

            Having said that, what I see you doing here is setting two standards for differing viewpoints. The words of the Bible essentially haven’t changed in their history, but interpretations of their meaning and import have. How is that in any way different than what has happened with the parallels of ‘reality’ and science’s interpretation of it?

            For the longest time, science embraced the Steady State theory of the infinite universe, while theology held on to ‘In the Beginning’…
            In 1992, science officially caught up to theology, acknowledging the universe’s basic nature as finite. I guess the word ‘humble’ is what stuck in my craw. I didn’t see humility from the scientific community when finally acknowledging what a scientist (Christian) had proposed in the 19th century, and what we all now know was true all along…the universe had a beginning. The Christian who said so was mocked, and reviled.
            Now, he’s barely mentioned, but to be generous, perhaps it’s because he was Belgian…

            To suggest that the Bible in some of its claims, has no veracity because other parts of it are subjectively questionable doesn’t ring my bell on ‘intellectual honesty’.

          • Rab Simpson

            “I’ve got to take exception to your portrayal of the scientific community as humble, and willing to quickly intake new information”

            Then you know nothing of the scientific community or the scientific method. I also find it amusing that someone acting as biblical apologist would attempt to paint religiosity as humble by implying that science is arrogant, especially when you consider that followers of the bible think their imaginary friend created a universe which is roughly 47 BILLION light years across JUST FOR THEM.

            “The words of the Bible essentially haven’t changed in their history”

            This is demonstrably false.

            “How is that in any way different than what has happened with the parallels of ‘reality’ and science’s interpretation of it?”

            Science updates itself when new discoveries are scrutinised and confirmed as genuine. Religious scripture fights against these things. What you’re perhaps not seeing is that scripture has a preconceived position, a bias that it wants to confirm, and the institutions who peddle this nonsense have a lot to lose when what they claim as truth is exposed as erroneous, so they fight against it. Science has no bias, it’s only concern is what’s really going on and will forever be striving to discover everything it can about the reality in which we live regardless of whose feelings (or wallet) that may hurt.

            “To suggest that the Bible in some of its claims, has no veracity because other parts of it are subjectively questionable doesn’t ring my bell on ‘intellectual honesty’.”

            There are parts of the bible which are demonstrably true, and they’re not particularly groundbreaking and in no way revelatory. There are parts of the bible which are demonstrably false (the exodus story being a shining example, with thousands of jewish archaeologists coming right out and admitting that there’s zero evidence whatsoever for such an enormous series of events, which if any of them actually happened there’d be some kind of record, especially when you consider how anal the Egyptians were about recording things back then), this puts the more fantastical claims in hot water because if there’s no evidence supporting parts which are more believable why should anyone believe the parts which make claims about what is basically magic? The fact that these claims are unfalsifiable (this means they can’t be tested) relegates then even further into the dustbin of “not worth bothering with” in terms of determining what’s actually *true*.

            Religions make stupid claims and then attack (both verbally and physically) those who question them for being ridiculous nonsense.

            Science puts forward hypotheses which are then tested to exhaustion until it’s determined whether the hypothesis has any merit, which if it doesn’t it gets discarded and put in the trash with nonsense like the parting of the Red sea, mammalian virgin birth, and a jewish guy who was nailed to a pair of twigs getting up and walking away after death.

            If you want to challenge a scientific theory you’re more than welcome, in fact it’s ENCOURAGED, but if you try to get out of doing the hard work and try to cut corners you will be exposed along with your own lack of intellectual honesty. If you succeed, there’ll be a Nobel prize waiting for you and you’ll be recognised for your work. Best of luck.

          • Corey

            the thing that I don’t get is why people view the Bible as some sort of “text book.”

            Most the stuff that people get hung up on (Christians and Atheists) is actually just things being misconstrued, misunderstood, etc.

            These exact problems come when Christians (AND Atheists) idolize/think that the Bible itself is God. When Christians think the Bible is God/our religion. Then atheists think that the Bible IS our religion. And thus these wars begin.

            This is further muddied when they use phrases like “the Bible is God breathed”…..or “it is inspired”……or “it is the Word of God.” All of which I think are basically true….but are completely misconstrued to people who hear things like that being said.

            I am religious. I am a Christian. The Bible is not my God. However…..it is important to my understanding of God. Whether it is historically, or scientifically accurate is honestly not that important…because that’s not necessarily what it is about….ESPECIALLY when it is understood historically (context it was written in….time period it was written in….who/where it was written, etc.)….understood that it is a compilation of biographies, stories, parables, metaphors, histories, dictated words passed down, etc….and indeed….it was recorded by men……and that it is NOT a text book which contains all truth.

            Most the time Atheists don’t think God exists because they’ve been presented that the Bible is God.

            And most the time Christians think God exists because they think the Bible is God.

            They/re both wrong. And so the fight just circles.

          • Rab Simpson

            “Most the stuff that people get hung up on (Christians and Atheists) is actually just things being misconstrued, misunderstood, etc.”

            You say this as if there’s someone out there who hasn’t misconstrued or misunderstood it. I hate to break it to you but there’s no be all and end all guide to making sense of the ramblings of iron age goat herders who’ve been edited, re-edited, translated and re-translated countless times over 1600 years.

            The words are what they are, and people who claim they mean something that they clearly don’t because they’re biased in such a way that they’re doing everything they can to save the contents of the books from being exposed as the more often than not primitive barbarism that they are are ‘Liars for Jesus’.

            “These exact problems come when Christians (AND Atheists) idolize/think that the Bible itself is God.”

            There isn’t an atheist on earth who thinks the bible is ‘god’. If they did they wouldn’t be an atheist, by definition of the word itself.

            “When Christians think the Bible is God/our religion. Then atheists think that the Bible IS our religion.”

            Is this the point you try to claim that your religion *isn’t* defined by the contents of the bible? I know lots of disgusting things have been added by religious institutions in the centuries since the first edition was compiled in Nicea, but it always comes back to the bible, especially when trying to justify something horrid.

            “All of which I think are basically true….but are completely misconstrued to people who hear things like that being said.”

            You make this statement then provide no explanation as to *how* they’ve been misconstrued. You say you think they’re basically true, but if they can be misconstrued that would imply that they mean something other than what the words themselves suggest which in turn makes the words themselves completely useless. Say what you mean.

            “I am religious. I am a Christian.”

            I had made these assumptions by the time I reached this paragraph.

            “Whether it is historically, or scientifically accurate is honestly not that important…”

            I think you’ll find the millions who’ve been killed over its contents would make the above statement false.

            Claims require support. Claims require evidence. When you make claims about the meaning of life and the origin of the cosmos and attempt to back them up with threats of torture and murder you’re going to start an enormous fight, something religious (not just christian) institutions have been guilty of for centuries.

            When a claim concerns such important matters as ‘how did we get here?’ and is scrutinised and the response to that scrutiny is verbal and physical violence, the claim exposes itself for what it really is: a power grab.

            Historical and scientific accuracy are of the utmost importance.

            “Most the time Atheists don’t think God exists because they’ve been presented that the Bible is God.”

            Where do you get this nonsense? Only an imbecile would believe that a book is a deity, just as only an imbecile would consider the tyrant deity character in the book to be worthy of worship.

            “And most the time Christians think God exists because they think the Bible is God.”

            A lot of religious people are easily led, but with that being the case they’re not all stupid, and thinking that a book is a deity is nothing short of stupid.

            You’ve built a straw man and proceeded to blow him down, well done, but that doesn’t change the fact that huge swathes of the book are demonstrably false and huge swathes of believers believe because they’ve been told the contents of the book are true by some charlatan who has something to gain from their victim’s belief (hello tax free tithing money) or by someone they trust (like a parent) having been a victim of said charlatan.

            People believe a lot of stupid crap for a lot of stupid reasons (tradition, argumentum ad populum, flawed logic etc etc) but when it comes to life’s most important questions it’s equally as important to scrutinise the claims made by those who tell you they have the answers and do it in the most intellectually honest way you can (throw confirmation bias out the window, personal wants just get in the way of reality), because if they’re right they’ll have no reason to threaten you, and if they’re wrong you’re one step closer to having a complete understanding of what’s really the case.

          • Corey

            I’m referring to how Christians present the Bible. When Christians incorrectly view the Bible as God then they present it that way. (This isn’t necessarily that they believe the LITERAL book is a deity ….it is more of a subconscious viewpoint manipulation). Then most people aggressively respond to that by saying “heck no, there are parts of the book that aren’t true! Or correct.” And get caught up in that.

            “People believe a lot of stupid crap for a lot of stupid reasons
            (tradition, argumentum ad populum, flawed logic etc etc) but when it
            comes to life’s most important questions it’s equally as important to scrutinize the claims made by those who tell you they have the answers
            and do it in the most intellectually honest way you can (throw
            confirmation bias out the window, personal wants just get in the way of
            reality), because if they’re right they’ll have no reason to threaten
            you, and if they’re wrong you’re one step closer to having a complete
            understanding of what’s really the case.”

            Well ya, obviously…..

            What Atheists fight against (or what I see you fighting against) is the societal problems/manipulations that come from “religion.” Which for the most part we certainly agree on.

            The difference is the fact that most Atheists are presented with a skewed form of “Christian religion” which of course they rise against…..just as I do.

            What you’re arguing over is religion. What I’m trying to construe is that our religion is based off of Jesus. Not the Bible. Or rather that that is what it SHOULD be…..but it has been misunderstood and misconstrued, and manipulated.

          • Huh?

            Rab, if you think the only things in life worth considering are the ones that can be proven to be true or false, particularly within the scope of your incredibly short life, you are embarrassingly myopic. The greatest minds throughout history have believed in truths they could not definitively prove. Just because your sad little self wasn’t born with intuition certainly doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist.

          • Rab Simpson

            If you have no way of determining whether something is true or false you have no business referring to it as a ‘truth’.

            “Just because your sad little self”

            That’s called argumentum ad hominem. Go look it up.

            For your info I do have intuition at my disposal, I’m just not moronic enough to claim that it carries any weight with any truth claim I might make.

            This would be the point where you tell me to “look at the trees” and see your imaginary friend amongst them. Been there, done that, saw nature behind it, no supernatural entities required. The universe and/or anything it contains is not evidence which supports any fairy tale based claims believers like to make.

          • Huh?

            “If you have no way of determining whether something is true or false you have no business referring to it as a ‘truth'”

            Yeah, we get it. You are incredibly myopic. You don’t have to dedicate all your free time on a blog dedicated to things you don’t believe in to reiterate that with everybody.

            “That’s called argumentum ad hominem. Go look it up.”

            It would only be an ad hominem if it was part of my argument. In this context, it was merely an accurate observation. Its quite sad that you are so short sited you can’t see what is directly in front of you.

            “For your info I do have intuition at my disposal, I’m just not moronic enough to claim that it carries any weight with any truth claim I might make.”

            Perspectives and testimony can be valid and useful without passing some epistemological gauntlet. Most great minds in history has understood this.

            “Been there, done that, saw nature behind it, no supernatural entities required.”

            You don’t find the supernatural by studying nature. You find the supernatural by studying the supernatural. Sorry you weren’t privy to that rather obvious detail.

            “The universe and/or anything it contains is not evidence which supports any fairy tale based claims believers like to make.”

            So 4.5 billion people are just completely missing the mark. Seems unlikely.

          • Rab Simpson

            You conflate not accepting any old bullshit as true with short sightedness. Do you accept claims that this universe exists within the anus of an unimaginably huge pink unicorn who just happens to be cornholing what appears to be the corpse of Ronald Reagan? Of course you don’t, that’d be stupid! Accepting claims of men walking on water, men raising the dead, talking snakes, talking donkeys, men made from clay and women made from the aforementioned men’s ribs, that’d be perfectly reasonable.

            That was sarcasm, just in case you didn’t catch it.

            “You don’t have to dedicate all your free time on a blog dedicated to things you don’t believe in to reiterate that with everybody.”

            Who said I dedicate all of my free time to it? I do feel that it’s important enough to spend some time on though, given that there are people who believe in such nonsense are *running countries with access to a nuclear arsenal*.

            “It would only be an ad hominem if it was part of my argument.”

            That’s the point, an ad hominem *isn’t* an argument, it’s a complete lack of one, and says a lot about the person who uses it.

            “Its quite sad that you are so short sited you can’t see what is directly in front of you.”

            A computer? A computer based on the work of a man who religious leaders would gladly strip rights from thanks to his nature? Tell me, genius, what am I looking at?

            “Perspectives and testimony can be valid”

            Not when it comes to questions of great importance. Personal testimony and navel gazing nonsense are utterly invalid when it comes to these things.

            “You don’t find the supernatural by studying nature. You find the supernatural by studying the supernatural.”

            Oh look! Circular logic. I was wondering when that’d make an appearance. Is this like ‘the bible is true because the bible says so’?

            Present something supernatural and we’ll study it together. Don’t give me any of this crap about having to believe it exists in order for you to present it.

            “So 4.5 billion people are just completely missing the mark. Seems unlikely.”

            Earlier you committed argumentum ad hominem, and now you’re committing argumentum ad populum.

            How about this: “Why don’t you eat shit? Billions of flies can’t be wrong.”

          • Huh?

            “You conflate not accepting any old bullshit as true with short sightedness.”

            We’re not talking about any old bullshit here, chief. We are talking about a subject that has united the greatest minds in history in debate. The existence of the creator. Dismissing this subject with such childish contempt says more about you then it does the topic itself.

            “The claims made by religion are no more credible than the claims of a mental patient who suffers paranoid delusions and hallucinations.”

            Yeah, that’s why the vast majority of people are spiritual or religious but those very same people don’t believe in the ravings of the mentally insane. Because, like, they are the exact same thing, like, and stuff, like, you know?

            “Who said I dedicate all of my free time to it? I do feel that it’s important enough to spend some time on though, given that there are people who believe in such nonsense are *running countries with access to a nuclear arsenal*.”

            Nobody on this blog has their thumb on the button. You have a sad little ego that feels better when you talk e-smack to Christians. It’s okay, you can admit it to me, big guy.

            “That’s the point, an ad hominem *isn’t* an argument, it’s a complete lack of one, and says a lot about the person who uses it.”

            You are conflating people who disagree with you to mental patients and in the same breath getting on a soap box about proper rhetoric decorum. Do you own any mirrors?

            “A computer? A computer based on the work of a man who religious leaders would gladly strip rights from thanks to his nature? Tell me, genius, what am I looking at?”

            Yikes. My point ———>

            Your sad little head 🙁

            “Not when it comes to questions of great importance. Personal testimony and navel gazing nonsense are utterly invalid when it comes to these things.”

            And that is why you fail. How do we know quasars exist? Or positrons? By studying the equipment that records and interacts with them. If a personal God exists, we, persons, humans, would be the equipment that interacts with said personal God. That’s like me saying I don’t believe hubris filled arrogant militant internet atheists exist and at the same time refusing to look at comments sections as a valid source of information.

            “Oh look! Circular logic. I was wondering when that’d make an appearance. Is this like ‘the bible is true because the bible says so’?”

            Stating you find more about something by studying it directly is circular logic? It’s like you just flunked out of your first rhetoric class and are desperate to misuse the terms you never actually learned.

            “Present something supernatural and we’ll study it together. Don’t give me any of this crap about having to believe it exists in order for you to present it.”

            Sure, it’s called God. The vast majority of people interact with it on a daily basis. Hundreds of thousands of pages of testimony have been written about it. All you have to do to study it is ask it directly. It’s pretty simple stuff, when you really break it down. Of course, you have to admit there is something in this universe bigger then your own ego first. That’s the part that tends to trip people up.

            “Earlier you committed argumentum ad hominem, and now you’re committing argumentum ad populum.”

            You really, really need to stop using rhetorical terms you don’t properly understand. When the very belief itself is the evidence we are looking for, the fact that a vast majority of people have some derivative of said belief is quite valid. If 4.5 billion people believe they have experienced God, then we most certainly do have evidence within this universe to suggest a personal God exists. Does it prove that God exists? Of course not. But you said “The universe and/or anything it contains is not evidence which supports any fairy tale based claims believers like to make.” This is factually untrue, times 4.5 billion…

          • Rab Simpson

            “We’re not talking about any old bullshit here”

            Yes we are. Unfounded claims.

            “We are talking about a subject that has united the greatest minds in history in debate.”

            Argumentum ad verecundiam.

            The fact that some intelligent people have believed that this nonsense is true won’t make it true.

            “Dismissing this subject with such childish contempt says more about you then it does the topic itself.”

            I hold contempt for those who would push it upon the rest of us through policy, which as I’ve stated is why I spend some of my time arguing in favour of reason. It’s an important question, one which countless people have killed each other over (“my god is more peaceful than your god so I’m going to kill you”), and one which one side has absolutely no support for it’s claims of divinity. The other side simply promotes doubt where there’s no good reason for certainty. It’s called being honest.

            “Yeah, that’s why the vast majority of people are spiritual or religious but those very same people don’t believe in the ravings of the mentally insane. Because, like, they are the exact same thing, like, and stuff, like, you know?”

            How does this grab you?: “If a man talks to God he is religious, yet if God talks to man – he is insane.”

            People who hear voices have mental problems. It’s not a fucking fairy talking to them.

            “You have a sad little ego”

            There’s that argumentum ad hominem again. What’s the matter? Can’t address my points without getting a dig in? You were talking about what my arguments say about me, what do your little attempts at insulting me say about your arguments?

            “You are conflating people who disagree with you to mental patients and in the same breath getting on a soap box about proper rhetoric decorum.”

            If you have a problem with it, perhaps I’ve hit a nerve? Perhaps deep down you know that religiosity is a very popular mental issue, but you’re too afraid to admit it? Think of it like alcoholism, the first step to solving your problem is admitting that you have one.

            “Yikes. My point ———>

            Your sad little head :(”

            More ad hominem. Is this really all you’ve got? Come on genius, what am I looking at?

            “And that is why you fail.”

            And you were trying to accuse me of projection? Seriously? Imagine this scenario: You’re in a courtroom, someone is being tried for murder, there’s no evidence besides the testimony of a single witness. What does the judge do? Take their word for it and lock up the defendant? Not if the judge has any kind of integrity. If we require solid evidence for the court room, why the hell isn’t it required for questions regarding the existence of the fairies people believe in? Because religious leaders have gotten their claws into politics and rig the game in their favour. No intellectual integrity to be found amongst men and women of the cloth.

            “If a personal God exists, we, persons, humans, would be the equipment that interacts with said personal God.”

            Did you just claim to have evidence for your personal imaginary friend? I hate to break this to you, but you’re not lab equipment and you’re not a telescope, and like the extreme majority of humans you’re blissfully unaware of the fact that your brain is easily fooled and it happens on a daily basis. The calibration of your detection equipment is all over the place but you’ve convinced yourself that it’s working perfectly.

            If (and it’s a colossal if), you could detect your personal ghost pal, it’d be a repeatable experiment, there’d be data that could be recorded, but I’m afraid your personal testimony just won’t cut it in the science lab. Your personal testimony isn’t worth shit.

            “That’s like me saying I don’t believe hubris filled arrogant militant internet atheists exist and at the same time refusing to look at comments sections as a valid source of information.”

            That looks like some thinly veiled ad hominem right there. Are you upset? Also, the arrogant bit is a laugh. Tell me, who do christians think their fairy created a 47 billion light year wide universe for? Oh yeah, for them. If there’s something that’s more arrogant than that, I have no idea what it is.

            “Stating you find more about something by studying it directly is circular logic?”

            You didn’t say that you find ‘more about something’ by studying it, you said that you *find* it. Here are your words verbatim: “You find the supernatural by studying the supernatural.” That is circular logic, and attempting to change what you said is disingenuous.

            “It’s like you just flunked out of your first rhetoric class and are desperate to misuse the terms you never actually learned.”

            More ad hominem. I should start keeping score with these.

            “Sure, it’s called God.”

            Where is it then?

            “The vast majority of people interact with it on a daily basis.”

            If this were the case there’d be evidence to reflect it. Where’s the evidence?

            “Hundreds of thousands of pages of testimony have been written about it.”

            Worthless.

            “All you have to do to study it is ask it directly.”

            You’re the one making the claim, I don’t need to study anything when the burden of proof lies with you, and you’ll need to do that before I can ask it anything. Remember what I said about don’t give me any of this crap about having to believe it exists in order for you to present it, this is exactly what I’m talking about.

            “It’s pretty simple stuff, when you really break it down.”

            Then it should be no problem for you to provide evidence to back it up.

            “Of course, you have to admit there is something in this universe bigger then your own ego first.”

            Of course there is, we’re on a spinning rock which orbits its parent star at a distance of roughly 93 million miles. That’s bigger than my ego, and yours, and just about everyone else’s (except maybe Rush Limbaugh’s). That doesn’t make it a deity though.

            “You really, really need to stop using rhetorical terms you don’t properly understand.”

            I understand them just fine. Like claiming your fairy exists without providing evidence, repeating the same crap over and over won’t make it true.

            “When the very belief itself is the evidence we are looking for”

            This is what we in the industry refer to as ‘a joke’. Belief that something is real doesn’t make said thing real ergo belief is not evidence for said thing.

            “the fact that a vast majority of people have some derivative of said belief is quite valid”

            It doesn’t matter in the slightest. Millions of people in Germany in the 1930s thought it was a great idea to elect a certain short statured Austrian, look how that turned out. Mass delusion at its worst, thy name is religion.

            “This is factually untrue, times 4.5 billion…”

            And this ^ is demonstrably false.

            When you get out of your maze of circular logic and logical fallacies, let me know, we can chat theology.

          • farah

            TALK ABOUT A GUY WHO BELIEVES EVERYTHING CAME FROM NOTHING.EVOLUTIONIST LIKE TO MAKE FUN OF WHAT THEY CALL RELIGIOUS ABSURDITIES BUT IGNORE THE FAR MORE ABSURDITIES THEY BELIEVE CAME WITH EVOLUTION

          • Syn Holliday

            Could we even ultimately know “Truth” (with a capital ‘T’)? All we have is our senses, all of which can be fooled. We have intuition, but we know intuition is not infallible because my intuition could at times totally contradict someone else’s – we couldn’t always both be right. We have evidence, but we know evidence can be interpreted incorrectly and can be incomplete, new evidence could still be uncovered which could change theories. Science could never be ultimate Truth because true science is always open to new evidence. And even if God existed, he could be fooling everyone with His Words, He could possibly be lying about many things. Just because “It Is Written” doesn’t mean it is Truth.

            For that reason, I prefer not bringing up Truth in discussions because it always seems to end up in the same place – we ultimately don’t know.

          • Christopher Lee Hartsock

            Calm down. And before you think the scientific community, just another institution of men, can’t become dogmatic, entrenched, and WRONG…google ‘phlogiston’ and get back to me.
            Does your post which responds to me sound humble? Or is it presumptive, arrogant, and strident….since you are the self-appointed apologist of the entire summation of the scientific community. A little honest here would probably make you backtrack a bit on my simple observation that MOST scientists I know personally are more concerned with LOOKING to be right, than actually being right. It’s a human foible to which you seem to think those humans are immune.
            As to the rest of your canned blather…

            You’re sort of all over the place. Some parts of the bible are true, but not ‘groundbreaking’?
            You mean….like…the first three words of the Bible…’In the beginning’…which clearly puts for immediately a FINITE universe theory, which the scientific community didn’t acknowledge as true for certain until 1992?
            3,500 years of entrenched Steady State Universe theory sounds pretty arrogant and dogmatic to me…but hey, at least a Belgian Christian got the ball rolling…even though he was mocked for being correct…scientifically.

            Your PARTICULAR hatred of Christianity doesn’t sound at all humble to me…so perhaps in some clever, ironic way, you’re…agreeing with me? Or are you just being a dishonest ‘intellect’.

          • Syn Holliday

            I believe what you mentioned about the Bible not being unchanged is true. As I understand, some books were chosen for the Bible, some were thrown out because they were either too inconsistent with what was already included, or they did not fit the agenda of the authorities who made the decision.

          • Syn Holliday

            The Inquisition, or the execution of people who said there are no four corners of the world, that the Earth is round, doesn’t seem so humble either. Claiming that at one time, it was moral to slay children and force girls into marriage seems far from humble.

          • Unless you can back it up with empirical and logical evidence, you don’t get to call it truth.

            Spiritual truth doesn’t work that way, and it was spiritual truth that I was alluding to when I was discussing the truth of the Bible and Christians’ perspectives of it.

            Religious scripture *claims outright* that what it contains is *entirely* true, and yet for generations people have saw fit to change it and not even fix the parts which contradict each other.

            That may be what some literalists believe it claims, but I don’t find that claim in scripture, at least not in the way you claim to be using it. I believe the purpose of scripture is to teach us about God and the spiritual nature of mankind, and hence, I believe it’s infallible on theological and moral matters. Beyond that, I acknowledge that it was written by fallible men who were limited in some of their historical and scientific knowledge, and that it has been copied numerous times as it has passed through the ages. I don’t claim that it is infallible or *entirely* true on matters about which it was never intended to teach.

          • Rab Simpson

            “Spiritual truth doesn’t work that way”

            This is a cop out. More goalpost moving. Something is either TRUE or it is FALSE. Putting the label ‘spiritual’ on it won’t change whether or not it’s factual. Step out of the realms of woowoo and into the realms of reality and determine what’s actually going on.

            “That may be what some literalists believe it claims, but I don’t find that claim in scripture, at least not in the way you claim to be using it.”

            So what you’re saying is that you have no way of determining which parts are actually true beyond the methods of investigation offered by science such as archaeology and geology? And on top of that you’re just going to decide for yourself which bits are true and which bits aren’t based on what? A gut feeling? Sorry, you can have your own opinions, but you don’t get to have your own facts.

            “I believe it’s infallible on theological and moral matters.”

            Moral matters such as how to best keep slaves, committing genocide, and who the real victims of rape are (the actual victim’s father)?

            Your claim of biblical infallibility would imply that it’s entirely correct in these matters despite the fact that we as a progressive society are an order of magnitude more ethical right now in how we treat others than how that codex would have us behave, and more often than not we find people committing atrocities IN THE NAME of the religious books they wave above their heads.

            Here’s a question for you: have you ever noticed how roughly 20% (and growing) of the American (as in the US, not continental America) population are openly atheistic, and yet well over 90% of the American prison population are religious? It turns out that being a student of the bible won’t stop you from committing crimes. (Addendum: There are laws on the books which in themselves are immoral and serve to keep a class of criminals out of jail, but this doesn’t change the fact that the majority languish in their cells for crimes carried out that’ve hurt other people in some way.)

            Theology is nothing more than sitting around talking about fairy tales, and the words of primitive, iron age men know nothing of morality beyond that which they plagiarised from the likes of Confucius.

            Coming back to your ‘spiritual’ truth claim, do you know what a huge factor in what you consider moral to be? The standards set by the people around you (this would go some way to explaining why the aforementioned primitive men thought keeping slaves wasn’t a bad thing). Whether you like it or not the standards we try to live to in this day and age are secular, but yet you try to attribute these to men who wrote stories about killing the entire populations of cities with the exception of the young virgin females, the fairy in the sky said they were to be kept for the killers. This reminds me of how angry I get when someone survives a life threatening illness and thanks their imaginary friend instead of the doctors, nurses, and COUNTLESS individuals who’ve worked tirelessly for centuries to bring medicine up to the point where that person could be saved from an early death. Open your eyes and give credit where it’s due.

            “I don’t claim that it is infallible or *entirely* true on matters about which it was never intended to teach.”

            Who said it was never intended to teach these things? Who are you speaking on behalf of? Quite presumptuous of you there Tyler. Despite what you may think it intended to teach, it’s doing it, and people are killing each other over it.

          • This is a cop out. More goalpost moving. Something is either TRUE or it is FALSE.

            I agree something is either true or false; I wasn’t saying otherwise. What I did say is that spiritual truth does not operate in terms of empirical evidence, as you asserted (I’m not sure what you mean by “logical evidence”). Believe me, I would love to see an empirical experiment that could test whether or not God exists, or whether people have souls, or whether heaven or hell is real. But there is simply no way to do it. As I said, spiritual truth doesn’t work that way.

            Moral matters such as how to best keep slaves, committing genocide, and who the real victims of rape are (the actual victim’s father)?

            Jesus said everything that the Old Testament is meant to teach can be summed up in two commands: to love God and to love one’s neighbor as oneself. As a Christian and a theist, yes, I think this is an excellent basis for a moral life.

            Your claim of biblical infallibility would imply that it’s entirely correct in these matters despite the fact that we as a progressive society are an order of magnitude more ethical right now in how we treat others than how that codex would have us behave, and more often than not we find people committing atrocities IN THE NAME of the religious books they wave above their heads.

            Entirely secular/atheistic regimes have committed more than their fair share of genocidal atrocities, and you know it. People do terrible things to each other for many reasons. If you really want to claim that most people do so because of their belief in the Bible, then the burden of proof is on you. I would love to see a single piece of evidence that supports this assertion.

            Here’s a question for you: have you ever noticed how roughly 20% (and growing) of the American (as in the US, not continental America) population are openly atheistic, and yet well over 90% of the American prison population are religious? It turns out that being a student of the bible won’t stop you from committing crimes.

            This is a fallacious argument. First of all, the religion one claims to have — or even one’s knowledge of their holy book — does not in any way translate to inherently prohibiting them from doing unspeakable things. I know the Bible pretty well, but that knowledge, in and of itself, does nothing to prevent from murdering someone. People do things all the time that they know are wrong.

            Finally, we would have to know more about the study you claim supports this view. Many people become more religiously devout while they are in prison.

            Whether you like it or not the standards we try to live to in this day and age are secular, but yet you try to attribute these to men who wrote stories about killing the entire populations of cities with the exception of the young virgin females, the fairy in the sky said they were to be kept for the killers.

            What Bible passage do you think you’re alluding to here? Just curious.

            Who said it was never intended to teach these things? Who are you speaking on behalf of? Quite presumptuous of you there Tyler. Despite what you may think it intended to teach, it’s doing it, and people are killing each other over it.

            Everyone who reads the Bible interprets the Bible. I am being no more presumptuous than any other human being who has ever read it.

          • Rab Simpson

            ” If you really want to claim that most people do so because of their belief in the Bible, then the burden of proof is on you.”

            That wasn’t what I claimed, but nice try.

            “Jesus said everything that the Old Testament is meant to teach can be summed up in two commands: to love God and to love one’s neighbor as oneself.”

            You say ‘summed up’ as opposed to ‘replaced by’. How does loving one’s neighbour as oneself come into keeping slaves?

            “Entirely secular/atheistic regimes have committed more than their fair share of genocidal atrocities, and you know it.”

            And whose name were they committed in? Also, fair share? You’re joking right? Secular states weren’t even a thing until about 250 years ago and wars carrying death tolls into the millions have been raging for thousands of years prior.

            The closest you’ll get to secular and/or atheistic regimes getting involved in the carrying out of atrocities were under Stalin (who funnily enough was raised in a seminary and there’s no public record of his renunciation of his christian beliefs, how weird!) and Mao, both of which were what you would call ‘cult of personality’ regimes, where the head of state is worshipped like a living deity. Religion style brain washing without the imaginary friend. If you feel like bringing up Stalin’s former buddy, Adolf, and you have any kind of integrity you’ll be fully aware of the very christian population of Germany at the time, the very, very close ties the man himself had with the Vatican (do I need to mention his own well documented christian beliefs and his own words explaining very clearly why he did what he did?) and of course the little slogan all nazi soldiers wore on their belt buckles ‘gott mit uns’.

            On top of all of that, when was the last time you heard about a militant atheist going around killing people? It plain doesn’t happen. Militant atheists talk, but this seems to threaten the ‘faith’ of religious people to the point of being terrified anyway. What does this say about faith? Do you know what terrifies me? A man holding a rifle and wearing a cross.

            The religious like to claim a monopoly on morality, when in reality the religious really have a monopoly on murder.

            Objectivism might harm your beliefs, but don’t worry, it’s not like they’re living people who actually feel pain.

          • That wasn’t what I claimed, but nice try.

            No? Then what were you claiming when you said this: “more often than not we find people committing atrocities IN THE NAME of the religious books they wave above their heads”?

            You say ‘summed up’ as opposed to ‘replaced by’. How does loving one’s neighbour as oneself come into keeping slaves?

            The Old Testament law provides a few general rules for the keeping of slaves. It was a part of the society of the day that people, including the Hebrews, might sell themselves into slavery for the benefit of themselves or their family, or might be enslaved as punishment for a crime or a debt. The archaeological and historical evidence we have indicates the Hebrews kept few slaves. Perhaps it was because they were following the clear OT teachings such as Exodus 22:21-24 and Exodus 22:9: “You shall not oppress a sojourner. You know the heart of a sojourner, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.” In context, of course, “sojourner” is practically a synonym for “slave.”

            And whose name were they committed in? Also, fair share? You’re joking right? Secular states weren’t even a thing until about 250 years ago and wars carrying death tolls into the millions have been raging for thousands of years prior.

            “Whose name were they committed in?” Great question. Groups go to war for complex reasons, and it seems disingenuous to call for nuance in the case of non-religious societies, and simplicity in the cases of more openly religious societies. Purely religious wars are exceedingly rare, even in antiquity. Check out this article, based on information from the Encyclopedia of Wars.

            And no one has more blood on their hands than modern day, anti-religious Communist regimes.

            The closest you’ll get to secular and/or atheistic regimes getting involved in the carrying out of atrocities were under Stalin (who funnily enough was raised in a seminary and there’s no public record of his renunciation of his christian beliefs, how weird!) and Mao, both of which were what you would call ‘cult of personality’ regimes, where the head of state is worshipped like a living deity.

            Stalin never renounced his Christian beliefs? Interesting. I wonder, then, why he said, “You know, they are fooling us, there is no God…all this talk about God is sheer nonsense,” and is almost universally acknowledged as an atheist by historians. Since he was so fond of Christianity, I also wonder why he systematically sought to remove all religion from his communist society, through atheistic education in schools, anti-religious propaganda, the antireligious work of public institutions like the Society of the Godless, discriminatory laws and a terror campaign against religious believers.

            If you feel like bringing up Stalin’s former buddy, Adolf, and you have any kind of integrity you’ll be fully aware of the very christian population of Germany at the time, the very, very close ties the man himself had with the Vatican (do I need to mention his own well documented christian beliefs and his own words explaining very clearly why he did what he did?) and of course the little slogan all nazi soldiers wore on their belt buckles ‘gott mit uns’.

            Nope, wasn’t thinking of Hitler. But don’t forget about Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, which orchestrated the Cambodian genocide and outlawed all religion — executing anyone who was known to practice it.

          • Syn Holliday

            Could you honestly agree that at one time, it was moral to slay children and force girls into marriage? Please be honest.

          • Sure, I will be as honest as possible. I do not believe it was ever moral to view women as property. I believe God’s intention and his view of men and women has always been that we are equal, both made in his image (Genesis 1:27). Funnily enough, the literalists that claim the Bible teaches strict, “complementary” roles for men and women (with men in charge, of course) ignore the fact that, according to scripture, the idea of men “ruling over women” actually came from the “curse” in Genesis 3.

            As to the slaying of children, I’m guessing you’re talking about the handful of OT verses in which God commands genocide upon cities with which Israel was at war? If so, those are clearly distinguished from the moral imperatives of, say, the 10 commandments. Those were specific commands, given to a specific group of people, about a different specific group of people, at a specific time. I.e., the Bible never records God saying, “Hey guys, listen up: I want you to slay children at all times, whenever you can. It’s totally cool with me.”

          • Syn Holliday

            But would you agree, a command wouldn’t be exempt from moral judgment simply because it was directed at a specific group or at a particular time? A deity claimed to be perfect in morality wouldn’t have any free passes. I would think it immoral to command the killing of babies or forcing girls into marriage regardless of when it was or who were mandated to do so.

            The idea of submissive women is even in the NT.

            “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to
            speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And
            if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a
            shame for women to speak in the church” (1 Corinthians 14:34-35).

            “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to
            teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was
            first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived
            was in the transgression” (1 Timothy 2:11-14).

            “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the
            wives be to their husbands in every thing” (Ephesians 5:22-24).

            “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of
            the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God” (1 Corinthians 11:3).

            The idea of a curse doesn’t really sit well with me. The punishment of many due to the actions of two, I can’t seem to ethically reconcile. Your thoughts?

          • A deity claimed to be perfect in morality wouldn’t have any free passes.

            Yes, except that if an objective moral law exists, as I believe it does, then it came from God, and therefore it wouldn’t bind him any more than the natural laws he created can bind him.

            The idea of submissive women is even in the NT.

            I agree with the New Testament scholars who believe Paul’s writings here is a reflection of certain cultural mores of the time, and in at least a couple of the cases, his directives were specific to a certain church where a group of women were deliberately causing divisions within the body. At any rate, it’s pretty undeniable that Paul’s “mandates” couldn’t have been as universal as they might seem, since some of his other letters mention the existence of deaconesses and female teachers — at least one of whom (Priscilla) — he served with quite closely and clearly held in very high regard.

            The idea of a curse doesn’t really sit well with me. The punishment of many due to the actions of two, I can’t seem to ethically reconcile. Your thoughts?

            No, I agree with you, I was just making a point about yet another inconsistency in the biblical exegesis of those who claim to take the Bible literally. As you no doubt know by now, I interpret the first few chapters of Genesis largely metaphorically, and I think Genesis 2 and 3 are more about the human condition than the two literal first humans. As such, “the curse,” in my mind, is not something God directly did to anyone as a punishment, but rather a description of some of the inherent consequences of sin. When I read Genesis 3, I see it more as a change in the sinners’ perception of things, rather than a change in the actual things themselves.

          • Syn Holliday

            If morality is defined as whatever God decides at the moment, even if it contradicts His past or future moral codes (even codes we would consider His most basic), then that opens it up to any of the “God told me to” types. We might read about a mother killing her kids and saying God told her to do it. We might say how horrible it is, that God would never command such atrocity. But then that contradicts the concept you mentioned. It could be completely moral and right since it was God who commanded the mother to do so. A Christian passing any kind of judgment would be questioning God’s wishes.

            A racist could still be considered racist, even if he actually respected a few of the “good ones”. I’m sure we’ve all heard it before from a few racists, “I’m not racist, some of my best friends are black.” They will generalize a group, but then point out that some are “not like the rest of them”. “Well, we’ll allow Mr. Cole in to perform here because he’s a special one, not like the rest.” Sexism can exist the same way.

            If the concern was certain acts causing division within a body, you make it unlawful to cause division within a body, regardless of gender. “Since all the bank robbers have been men, we have made a law prohibiting all men from entering any bank.”

            Regarding your perception of God’s curses, I can’t completely agree. God is not beyond condemning an entire population for the wrongdoings of some. For instance, he created a flood which also drowned small children and babies. He Himself was even sorry afterwards and promised never to flood the Earth again. The pain of childbirth was a conscious decision to punish women for the sins of Eve.

          • I think you make some fair points, Syn. I’d like to just make clear that I don’t condone infanticide, racism or gender inequality. The Bible is a complex book, and people can and have used it to justify many terrible things. However, in so doing, every single time they make a mockery of the repeated and consistent teachings that God is a God of love, even that he “is Love.” Read in that light, I don’t see any way someone could use the Bible to justify a general practice of racism or random murders.

            The one specific point I wanted to respond to was the pain of childbirth thing. First of all there is nothing within the text of Genesis 3 (or anywhere else in the Bible) that implies that punishment would be passed onto all women. The text was specific to Eve. Secondly, the text says that the woman’s pain in childbirth would be “multiplied,” implying that some pain in childbirth was and is inherent; the punishment was that it would be increased.

          • Syn Holliday

            The problem with using the Bible to teach those things, the “useful” lessons, is that it does not end there. There is an agenda. I prefer to teach my kids (8, 10, and 14) ethical values without condoning a particular religion to go with it, teach it without a supernatural threat (or afterlife enticement). The virtues of basic ethical values are inherent.

            There are just too many examples in the Bible of God not being an example of love. That’s the problem. I couldn’t teach it without honestly and sincerely believing it myself. The concept of an eternal Hell is one major example, one big characteristic I can’t reconcile. “God loves all His children” and the concept of eternal Hell, just raises a red flag for me.

            But then again, someone pointed out something interesting that could explain that:

            Rom 6:23: “The wage of sin is death.”

            Ecc 9:5: “For the living are conscious that they will die; but as for the dead, they are conscious of NOTHING AT ALL, neither do they anymore have wages, because the remembrance of them has been forgotten.”

            Ceasing to exist is what it sounds like. Something like the Jehovah’s Witnesses believe. Your thoughts?

            Thanks for clearing that up regarding the pain from childbirth, the increase as opposed to the pain itself. I do now recall “multiplied” being mentioned.

          • Thanks for asking. I think my conception of hell is somewhat different than the most mainstream evangelical view. I actually am largely partial to the view you’ve described — which is not particular to Jehovah’s Witnesses. A number of Christians believe in something similar — it’s often referred to as “annihilationism.” It is distinct from the common idea of “eternal torment” in that it posits that the souls of those who are punished are destroyed and cease to exist. It finds biblical support in passages like the one you quoted, as well as a number of statements of Christ, such as Matthew 10: 28: “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”

            In the Gospels, Jesus frequently discusses eternal “punishment,” but I think even this could be understood in light of such a of view in a perfectly reasonable way. Quite simply, what he could be saying is not that the punishment (i.e. conscious torment) is eternal, but rather that its results are eternal (that the “second death” that Revelation 20 refers to is permanent and irreversible; those who die a second time cease to exist).

            The way I commonly understand and share my view of hell is in light of our free will. I believe God does give each person a chance to choose him and life or their own way and death. And I believe those who knowingly and willfully reject him receive exactly the alternative they have chosen: death.

            In my view, this would include most people, who try and live basically good, decent lives, but ultimately choose to reject Christ. The one wrinkle that I might add is that scripture does repeatedly talk about those who have done “real evil” toward others being repaid by God. So I do imagine that those who had not already been duly punished in this life would be punished in the next — again, probably not eternally.

          • Syn Holliday

            Yes, there are actually many verses that point to that concept that is not of the “fire and brimstone” type. Someone sent me a PDF that used many verses to support the idea. The early Christians didn’t even believe in an eternal Hell. It makes much more sense, because one would have to think what the purpose of eternal punishment would be for. It obviously wouldn’t be for rehabilitation. It couldn’t be a vengeance that had no end, not when we’re talking about a forgiving God who loves ALL his children and recognizes that He Himself created them in a way that He knew beforehand how they would turn out.

          • Evidence Please?

            You don’t get to call “Spiritual truth” truth until you’ve established that it’s truth in the first place. Otherwise, I can make my own religion and choose my own spiritual truth, and then call it truth.

      • Martin

        Tyler

        “The Bible does not teach that the need for a savior is predicated on the
        idea of original sin. Indeed, original sin is a doctrine that some
        believe is derived from scripture, but it is not named or clearly
        defined anywhere in the text. In fact, if by “original sin,” you mean
        the idea that humans have inherited guilt from their parents and are
        born spiritually dead, I don’t believe that is taught in the Bible at
        all.”

        Then perhaps you should read the Bible more carefully:

        “Therefore, as through one man’s offense [judgment] came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act [the free gift came] to all men, resulting in justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.” (Romans 5:18-19 NKJV)

        Indeed this passage makes the concept of Evolution impossible if the Bible means anything at all. We are made sinners & hence we sin & for our sin receive judgement. But the reason we sin is that we are sinners, fallen in out forefather Adam. You cannot have the gospel and Evolution.

        • “Therefore, as through one man’s offense [judgment] came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act [the free gift came] to all men, resulting in justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.” (Romans 5:18-19 NKJV)

          Yes, but how were the many made sinners? Was it an inherent result of the first man’s action, a result that we played absolutely no part in, or did we have a choice and a role to play in the matter?

          Think carefully before you answer, because if you answer that we had no choice in the decision to become sinners, I can’t see how you could logically believe that we do have a choice in the decision to become righteous (the second parts of verses 18 and 19). In other words, if you construe the condemnation to apply universally, an inherent consequence of Adam’s action, then you must also construe the justification to apply universally, an inherent consequence of Christ’s action. Which would make you a Christian universalist, and something tells me that you are not.

          Indeed, if you read Romans 5 holistically, then it seems to present the clear understanding that we do play a role in our own condemnation and spiritual death. Notice verse 12: “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.” In other words, the action of the first man who sinned may have opened the door to us sinning, as well, but it was our decision to walk through that door.

  • Psiloiordinary

    I think perhaps number 10 is the reason why the other nine are never really looked into.

  • Chris Fox

    As an atheist, I appreciate this post, so thank you for bringing these 10 to the light in the Christian community, but in the opening paragraph: “When I’m talking with atheists or agnostics who are passionately against
    any and all religion, I sometimes find that they have inaccurate (or
    just plain wrong) ideas about the teachings of the Bible, the nature of
    the Christian faith and the qualities of the God I believe in…”

    This is one of the biggest problems we (atheists) tend to have with religion in general. If it can’t be explained, it regresses to the confines of “my god” or the “god I believe in”. The idea of a personal god is inherently contradictory to the doctrine, since there was only one savior (or none thus far or many, depending on your faith). You can’t pick and choose pieces of a story to be true, and pieces that are relegated to your personal, and unique, belief system.

    This is why, in a way, creationists make sense – it’s either all true or none of it is. But then the evidence points toward the latter, so people began sinking their arguments in the thought that it is a matter of a difference in opinion. If it is a personal god, then why do you still believe SOME of the biblical stories?

    Apologies for the rant, just food for thought. Thanks for this thoughtful post.

    • Hey Chris! Thanks for your thoughts. I meant no offense in the introduction, and I should have added that I have met many thoughtful atheists or agnostics (including through this website) who would not at all fit the description above. It has only been some who I think would fit. To give an example, I once had a commenter on this site who was insistent that the earliest copies of the Gospel of Mark contain no mention of the Resurrection and were added (and therefore, made up) at a later date. He didn’t seem much interested in correction, despite the fact that he was mistaken. The earliest copies of Mark that we have most certainly do describe the Resurrection and Christ’s tomb being empty. It is just the last few verses — which describe some of what happened afterward — that are not included.

      Anyway, that’s neither here nor there. I should also say that I don’t believe in a personal pet God, whom I believe I can shape to fit whatever challenges to my faith that might arise. I’m sorry if I conveyed otherwise. However, reason and logic and open-minded respect toward other people’s positions is all very important to me. I strive very hard to draw so-called “lines in the sand” in many aspects of my faith and my religion, because 1, the Bible is a complicated book, and I could very well be wrong in my understanding of it, and 2, because I am keenly aware of the harm that can be caused to others by taking such unrelenting stances on debatable matters.

      I agree that the creationists’ view of God and the Bible is more simple and straightforward than mine, but I’m not really all that interested in a simple view of God Almighty 🙂

      • Ara Dimidjian

        “the Bible is a complicated book, and I could very well be wrong in my understanding of it,”. In fact the Bible is much more simple than a common fairy tale story. It’s a book written by primitive mammals thousands of years ago, full of contradictions, immoralities and false observations.

        • I appreciate your opinion, but there’s nothing simple about the Bible. Huge commentaries are written debating and discussing the meanings of a single chapter.

          • Jeremy Higgens

            I imagine that two thousand years from now people will write entire books on the graffiti in the New York subway system.
            That doesn’t make the graffiti wisdom.

          • Christopher Lee Hartsock

            I imagine you could write about anything, and fill entire books, but the comparison of the graffiti on the subway system to a literary work such as the Bible is just superfluous, and lacking substance.

            To expand on what I think Tyler was saying, the Bible tackles many many complicated issues straight on, and from a unified perspective. It has endured in a way that subway graffiti simply would not, especially in two millenia.

            To suggest that just because someone engages in the pursuit of graffiti trivia extensively somehow translates into ‘the Bible contains no wisdom’ is just a mental leap most intellectuals would avoid. Rightly so.

          • Jen

            To be fair, we do have entire books on graffiti done by Banksy.

          • Christopher Lee Hartsock

            To be fair, show me how they’re the most reproduced and read books in 3500 years. 😉

          • Utterly B Groovy

            But being ‘popular’ doesn’t make it ‘right’. Burning witches used to be all the rage too.

          • Christopher Lee Hartsock

            Thus ends any possibility of taking you seriously.

          • Roder51

            That happens when you get called out on bullshit. You’re not alone.

          • Tannim

            Which version?

            If there is a one true Word of God, then why has it been lost in translation between languages, time, and religions?

          • Guy

            The King James Version, all the others are corrupt Vatican versions or alterations made merely for profit (change enough words and you can create a new copyright)

          • Roder51

            All religions are wrong but yours is the right one. As you say
            “Nice try though!”

          • Guy

            And it hasn’t been lost in translation actually, nice try though.

          • Roder51

            Cherry picking: A favourite hobby of Christians.

          • Roder51

            That’s why they’re called revised editions and those revisions have many versions. Such is a book known as the bible.

          • Roder51

            With most of the world uneducated and gullible why would you find that a vote in your favour?

          • That doesn’t make the graffiti wisdom.

            It doesn’t make it simple either.

          • Huh?

            Horribly flawed analogy.

          • salkash

            Have you ever read Veda the Hindu Books were written 2000 years before Jesus.

          • Chuck Messenger

            The New Testament – the early, most authentic writings – are in very simple Greek, and express simple ideas. The ideas became more elaborate over time. John, the most elaborate gospel, is written much later than the synoptic gospels, for example.

        • Leager

          I’m not a fan of religion (though I suppose that is unfair — I am not a fan of zealots who reject reality, and those people just happen to be related to religion), but this is unnecessary, rude, and rather trite. I’m an atheist, and I feel the Bible is an extremely important book. Whether or not you agree with what was put forth in the Bible is up to you, but its cultural impact cannot be denied, and it is both a part of our cultural canon and a touchstone for understanding society as a whole (particularly the English-speaking/primarily Christian segments of society). A majority of our morals and values are derived, whether directly or indirectly, from the Bible, and are only now truly being questioned.

          And remember, the Bible might be full of myths, but myths are stepping stones to understanding the world around us.

          Lastly, just don’t comment if all you plan to add is crude and pointless observation intended only to provoke or spite.

          • Thanks, Leager! I appreciate your thoughts.

          • Samuel Kimathi Muriithi

            I agree with @3e1ce3b28a88786498b46d16af358c94:disqus as much is I disagree with the author I think we can do better than resorting to insults especially when we meet someone on the “other” side of the argument who is genuinely interested in a discussion.

          • Syn Holliday

            Insults is an indication of intelligence being thrown out the window; emotion creeps in and rational thinking fades. The only way to have a good discussion is with people who can remain objective, who are secure enough not to take any contradicting view or evidence as a personal attack.

          • Huh?

            Excellent post Leager.

          • David Fruchter

            “A majority of our morals and values are derived, whether directly or
            indirectly, from the Bible, and are only now truly being questioned.”

            Can you name a single modern moral code that has its genesis (no pun intended) in either testament of the Bible?

          • Syn Holliday

            Actually, most of the same basic moral codes were common amongst other religions.

          • David Fruchter

            Other religions and other cultures. That’s my point. People figured out murder was wrong in many places and at many times independent of the Bible. And, in fact, we now reject many of the things the Bible condoned, like slavery. We create our own morality. It doesn’t fall from the sky.

          • Josh

            Where in the bible does it condone slavery?

          • Utterly B Groovy

            Try Leviticus 25:44-46

          • 3/1 Marine

            That was for Jews at a specific time in history. Mosaic Law also ordered the release of slaves after 7 years. A revolutionary concept and as far as I know the only instance in the ancient world where this occurred.
            Also in ancient Israel there was no bankruptcy laws. If you failed to pay a debt you went to the person you owed money to and offered to be their servant and work off the debt.

          • Utterly B Groovy

            Ah … OK. So the Bible was only written for it’s time and is of no relevance today. Good to know.

          • Roder51

            Cherry picking comes to mind but isn’t that that th favourite Christian pastime anyway? LOL!

          • Matthew Funke

            I’ve already addressed the “seven years” bit; it leaves quite a bit out to state it so flatly. But here’s a wrinkle: Could the concept of Jubilee, where property lines were redrawn and debts canceled, be considered a form of “bankruptcy law”?

          • Roder51

            Why take the words of a pastor when you have google?

          • Bert

            People didn’t figure out murder was wrong independent of God. We’re created in God’s image and therefore have an immediate understanding of how murder and certain other sins are wrong. Slavery hasn’t always been “wrong”. God often allowed people to be taken into slavery as punishment for them denying him as God and living wickedly. If all of America became sinful and spurned God and he decided to allow another nation to come in, take over, and enslave us he would be absolutely just in doing so.

          • Janelle Austin

            So basically what you’re saying is, God told you, tomorrow, that He allowed some people to be murdered and raped as punishment for their wicked ways, you would find a group of non-Christians and go on a rape/murder spree? If not, why? Wouldn’t that mean you’re doing God’s work?

          • 3/1 Marine

            You don’t explain how God would tell me.
            At any rate if some voice or something told me to do the acts you described it would be at odds with the words of Christ in the New Testament and I would not do it.

          • Janelle Austin

            Does it matter how God told you? I didn’t ask about some random voice claiming to be God. I was asking if you, through any means, came into knowledge that God wanted you to do these things, would you do them? How you came to this knowledge is irrelevant.

          • Utterly B Groovy

            Sorry, but slavery has indeed always been wrong. If the god of the bible is in any way meant to be ‘timeless’ then that god should have got the human scribes to expressly state that it is morally repugnant, now and for always, to “own” another human being.
            That the bible not only condones, but actively encourages slavery, including sexual slavery remember, is surely proof enough that no ‘divine’ being was involved in it’s writing.

          • Robert Gehrman

            You have been trained by religion to ignore and not develop your own inner sense of empathy. Does it feel good to assume you are morally devoid without assistance? I think it not true. Peace.

          • Robert Gehrman

            Because your god was so unmurderous? LMAO @ taking morals from a deity who killed and maimed thousands upon thousands. Noah’s flood; Turning wives into pillars of salt; Giving us his son being fully aware we would kill him… “You offended me, so here you now must kill my son so that I can forgive you for being only Human like I made you” :/
            Smells kinda fishy! ! ! Think about it?

          • Diligent Christian

            It would sound like that to a person whose heart has not been change by God. He gave is his son for his glory so he can be worshipped for his actions not to make us understand why he did it. His ways and thouh ts are above ours so we can’t I nderstand the things he does or says all the time.

          • Roder51

            When you trust a thief you are still putting your trust in a thief.

          • Diligent Christian

            Who is the thief you’re referring too?

          • Roder51

            Not to mention killing all the children of Egypt because he had a beef with it’s emperor.

          • Smarter

            So slavery is good if god says it is. Got it.

          • Roder51

            If you can sit there and say slavery has not always been wrong you may be Christian but you lack empathy which in itself makes me a better atheist than it makes you a better Christian.

          • Ken Miller

            I think you’re mistaken in suggesting that the Bible condoned slavery. Ancient Near East culture had a system of indentured servitude put in place for people who found themselves so far in debt that they could never work their way out. God mandated that if a person found himself in such a situation, he would have to work to pay off his debt. Every seven years in Israel was the Jubilee, where all indentured servants were released. If a servant decided that life under his master was preferable to eaking out a living on his own, the servant could chose to remain with his master. Under these circumstances, the treatment of servants was also regulated, and in most circumstances the servants were members of a master’s household that he trained to manage his wealth. Many servants were highly respected.

            When you compare that system to, let’s say, early American slavery, it’s just no the same thing.

          • Nicholas Wright

            Excellent argument!

          • Smarter

            Except the parts where you could sell your daughter into slavery and give your male slaves wives. However don’t forget the wives and children don’t go free as the male slaves do, so when it’s for those to go free they must be separated from the slave wives and children owned by the master.

            It’s really no different than the slavery of the south or anywhere else in the world. It’s owning another human being and abusing them. Piercing slaves ears… hmm I wonder where the south got that idea???

            If you buy a Hebrew slave, he is to serve for only six years. Set him free in the seventh year, and he will owe you nothing for his freedom. If he was single when he became your slave and then married afterward, only he will go free in the seventh year. But if he was married before he became a slave, then his wife will be freed with him. If his master gave him a wife while he was a slave, and they had sons or daughters, then the man will be free in the seventh year, but his wife and children will still belong to his master. But the slave may plainly declare, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children. I would rather not go free.’ If he does this, his master must present him before God. Then his master must take him to the door and publicly pierce his ear with an awl. After that, the slave will belong to his master forever. (Exodus 21:2-6 NLT)

          • Nicholas Wright

            You’re absolutely right in regards to the concept of slavery. It is indeed an ugly practice, but I’m curious as to what you would have God to do. People have enslaved people utilizing their free will. This free will is also what enables us to think, love, and hate independent of God. You recognize slavery as an injustice, but what guides your moral compass? By what standard do you condemn slavery?

          • RiFi

            ” God mandated that if a person found himself in such a situation, he would have to work to pay off his debt. Every seven years in Israel was the Jubilee, where all indentured servants were released.”

            Seven years sounds quite arbitrary to me, and would have no doubt led to all sorts of unjust sentencing. Are you saying that it didn’t matter whether the debtor owed 1 shekel, or 1000, that the contract would always be arbitrated at a flat 7 years? What about the reverse situation in which 7 years wasn’t enough _slavery_ to work off the debt? Did the debtee feel that justice was done in that case?

            Sounds like this god of yours was pretty dumb when it came things like proration, and other matters of labour and finance – among many other things. A solid recipe for disaster all around.

          • KPM

            If you work off your debt in a month, you’re free. And as far as the unjust part goes, you’re exactly right. That was the whole point of the jubilee. God forgives us our debts, so we also ought to forgive our neighbors.

            Seven actually represents the perfection of God’s creation and the seventh day represents God’s rest. God’s ultimate rest is found in Jesus Christ, so granting a summary forgiveness of debt on the seventh year forshadowed Jesus Christ in whom complete forgiveness of all of our sins is available. So not too arbitrary after all. 🙂

          • RiFi

            “If you work off your debt in a month, you’re free.”

            Could you point me to the passage that stipulates the proration of time enslaved to money owed? Thanks.

          • 3/1 Marine

            Slaves and servants were to be released every 7 years. Regardless of what their debt was.

          • Matthew Funke

            *Male Hebrew* slaves who were unencumbered by family who might be used to manipulate them back into slavery. I recommend reading the rest of Exodus 21; it’s not nearly so cheery.

            Here’s a taste, from verse 7 (NASB): “If a man sells his daughter as a female slave, she is not to go free as the male slaves do.”

          • Nicholas Wright

            David I must disagree with your statement that “we now reject many of the things the Bible condoned, like slavery.” I believe your referring to Paul’s letter to Titus, and if I may I believe there is a more appropriate interpretation of this text. Paul was not condoning slavery, but rather accepting it. He didn’t outrightly attack slavery, but rather sought to degrade it’s very foundation as he encouraged Titus to treat his slave as a fellow brother in Christ. Slavery basically assumes a lesser quality or value of another human being. Instructing believers to treat their slaves as part of God’s family would naturally dissolve slavery.

          • Smarter

            Pretty sure there are several really specific passages about selling your wife into slavery, selling your slaves and keeping their children and slave wifes, and how much to pay for them. If the god of the bible really thought slavery was so wrong he would have said “Thou shalt never have slaves” instead of telling people how to deal with them the godly way.

          • Nicholas Wright

            Actually he did … And He said to him, ” ‘Y OU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR G OD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘Y OU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” (‭Matthew‬ ‭22‬:‭37-40‬ NASB)

          • Nicholas Wright

            The issue is not slavery it’s sin. God has not failed in this area. We have broken God’s commands via our free will.

          • RiFi

            “The issue is not slavery it’s sin. God has not failed in this area. We have broken God’s commands via our free will.”

            Oh, I beg to differ. Firstly, I find it repugnant the way you apologists will attempt to defend the grossly indefensible in order to cleave to your archaic belief system. Your arguments on subjects like genocide, slavery, rape, infinite punishment for finite crimes, et al, are an insult to the rest of humanity’s collective intelligence. The sophistry you apply is nauseating. I liken the apologist mentality to that of an abused wife who stays in the relationship because she feels she has nowhere else to go, and she “rationalizes” the beatings as an acceptable trade-off for the only “security” she knows. She will even go so far as to defend her husband as being a good man – just a little stressed and misunderstood. Sad, but true!

            Next, I can’t think of a more debasing condition for a human being, than that of being owned by another human being; the glaring implication (nay, declaration) in such a model is that the slave is not of the same quality or worth as the owner, rendering the whole system supremely corrupt and highly immoral. And if you come back to me with the indentured servitude for debtors bullshit rebuttal, I’ll likely puke a little in my mouth before I respond. Bottom line, an all-loving, all-knowing and all-powerful god should have proscribed such a vile institution within the same set of rules in which he jealously and egotistically commands you to have no other gods before him. But he didn’t, for some perplexing reason. Rape isn’t in there either, so I guess you guys get a free pass on those 2 if you so choose, am I right? In all seriousness tough, what are your thoughts as to why slavery and rape aren’t explicitly forbidden?

            Finally, what free will are you talking about? Is your god not omniscient? Does he not have inerrant foreknowledge of everything that will ever happen? In such a scenario, everything has been preordained; our tickets to heaven or hell have already been stamped; the scripts have been written and we’re all just here to act out the play, with no say whatsoever about our destiny. It’s disgusting, and one can only wonder what the criteria for god’s choices are in the small matter of our eternal souls. Also worthy of note is the fact that god himself can’t have free will in this paradigm for the exact same reason: an immutable future, set in stone by inerrant foreknowledge. Everything is predestined and free will is a sham for all, including the alleged creator.

            I’m just happy that the 3 most salient characteristics ascribed to god, namely, omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence, ultimately self-refute the very possibility of such a being’s existence. The inherent, insurmountable paradoxes render the god of the bible an absurdity.

          • Nicholas Wright

            RiFi if not the God of the Bible then what God? If you’re response is no God, then why does genocide, slavery, and rape cry foul? These are questions that I’ve personally pondered to great extant because a meaningless existence or rather an existence defined by the reasoning of finite and ultimately imperfect humans seems a bit pointless in the face of eternity. In regards to genocide, slavery, and rape I must inquire do you not feel a need for justice (an equal and appropriate punishment)? You’re not going to like what I’m going to say next, but I must say it anyway. If the God of the Bible is exactly whom Christians or rather the Bible expressly claims Him to be, would we not expect and demand justice from Him. Even more so wouldn’t he be expressly qualified to be the judge as the creator of everything (the uncreated creator)? To the point of God’s foreknowledge I find your statement that “everything has been preordained; our tickets to heaven or hell have already been stamped; the scripts have been written and we’re all just here to act out the play, with no say whatsoever about our destiny” to be incorrect. You are assuming that His foreknowledge rules out free will. I am not about to assume that I totally understand this concept, but I do believe that God’s omniscience and free will exist together without contradiction. I understand your difficulties with Christianity, but I implore you to consider His word from your own perspective unimpeded by my views or the views “of humanity’s collective intelligence.” If I’m wrong about putting my faith in Christ then it really doesn’t matter because existence will end at death. However if I am right (not about all points of theology just that He died and rose again for my sin) then I will have to give an account before Him regarding His Word to us His creation. I will have to give an account for me. You will have to give an account for you. Truth is completely independent of circumstance, and it stands as the unshakable, immovable, bedrock of reality.

          • RiFi

            “RiFi if not the God of the Bible then what God?” — Did you flag my response to this? It is, mysteriously, nowhere to be found.

          • Nicholas Wright

            No I did not flag your response to this.

          • Nicholas Wright

            Even more so in viewing some of your other posts I am puzzled as to why any of these discussions matter to you. If there is no discernible truth, and life is a completely random accident why do you care one bit about whether I believe in God or my kitchen sink?

          • Dennis780

            Everyone serves someone. We all pay taxes. The Bible does have slaves, but there are several verses that warn masters, and require slaves to be treated fairly, to be set free after a given period, and to be paid. This sounds like the job I have right now. I can’t leave, cause I need money, I want them to treat me fairly, and I want to retire one day. These were all things that were afforded to slaves in the Bible.

          • 3/1 Marine

            The Bible didn’t condone slavery. Servants or slaves were to be released every 7 years. The Talmud spelled out how to treat slaves humanely. Judaism was alone in the ancient world in protecting slaves.

          • Matthew Funke

            As mentioned earlier, only male Hebrew slaves were to be released every seven years. And I think Scripture itself sets the tone for inhumane slave treatment, as in Exodus 21:20-21 (NASB):

            If a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod and he dies at his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, he survives a day or two, no vengeance shall be taken; for he is his property.

            So, occasional beating with a rod is kind of assumed; and if, after that beating, a slave lingers for a few days before expiring, that’s okay. Slaves are property, after all.

            … Doesn’t sound all that humane or protective to me. Even if verses like these are difficult, we need to at least acknowledge that they exist.

          • ptolemy

            The mosaic code of laws as presented in the Jewish bible is a fascinating contrast with contemporary codes of law. If you hold up mosaic law with hammurabbi law, the differences are what make the mosaic law revolutionary for its time.

            Examples include how mosaic law treated slaves, various societal classes, and perhaps most importantly the universal nature of literature and worship. Unlike any other laws of those days mosaic law encourage all members of society to be as the priest class of contemporary Egypt and Babylon: reading and writing were meant to be universal.

            This topic is a perfect example of the general populace having strong opinions but little knowledge about a religious topic.

          • Dennis780

            That’s because most religions share the same ideas and stories. There are dozens of religions that accept Jesus was real, including opposing ones (Muslims and Christians). Many religions at a minimum refer to the Bible, and then usually have their text as their primary source for religious practice (Kuran, Book of Mormon, etc.).

          • MetaKnight964

            Actually religions have obvious differences.

          • Roder51

            Accepting something does not merit proof. That’s called faith. No facts needed.

          • MetaKnight964

            But those who practice Christianity do the most good.

          • Syn Holliday

            Taking a look back through history, lots of oppression, intolerance, and bloodshed. For scientists presenting findings that they felt contradicted their beliefs, executed or imprisoned. From my own experience, I’ve encountered so many who find it easier to do things wrong because it’s just too convenient to just pray at the end of the day, and they sincerely feel their guilt wiped clean. That’s dangerous. I teach my kids to do the right thing right from the start, and if you do something wrong, you make amends with the person you wronged, not some invisible third party.

          • MetaKnight964

            First many scientists are Christians, second the godless have killed and oppressed more, third most don’t commit atrocities and pray away the guilt afterward, fourth Christians do make amends, do some research before posting about something/someone. Also you don’t get to decide what’s right and wrong.

          • Roder51

            WRONG! Name some Christian Scientists please that have made for a better world than the atheists Scientists.

          • Ethan Leavitt

            Ignoring the obviously untenable challenge of judging how Christians have made a “better” world than atheists:

            Blaise Pascal, Galileo, Newton, Gregor Mendel, Copernicus, Pasteur, and Francis Bacon (technically not a scientist, but aided in standardizing the scientific method) are some of the many Christians who have made important and lasting contributions to science.

            Call it cognitive dissonance or delusion, but you asked for the names, and there are plenty if you just visit the Google search bar.

          • MetaKnight964

            From my experience it’s atheists that find it easier to do wrong being they don’t believe in morals and values.

          • Roder51

            WOW! That’s quite the display of ignorance you got going there. Try another book or in your case several. You obviously lack education in several fields of knowledge

          • Roder51

            Only when you follow the Christian lifestyle. Atheists and agnostics also help many underprivileged people. The difference is they don’t hold their sandwich and food ransom in the name of God and prayer.

          • 3/1 Marine

            Not at the time of the ancient jews or the New Testament.
            For instance child sacrifice was condemned by Judaism . Christians did not practice abortion or temple prostitution as did Pagans.

          • Matthew Funke

            Actually, it might be worth noting here that the Hebrews did practice abortion. Numbers 5 gives explicit instructions as to how priests were supposed to perform abortions, and it wasn’t voluntary (as far as the woman was concerned).

          • Josh

            A good portion of our real estate code (land ownership laws) is based on biblical principles.

          • Tannim

            Property tax (aka government rent) is a biblical principle? WHERE?

            Usury (aka mortgage) is a biblical principle? WHERE?

            Water and mineral rights separable from land ownership is a biblical principle? WHERE?

            Zoning rules are a biblical principle? WHERE?

            Stop making $#!+ up.

          • Dennis780

            “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” Matt. 22:21 — Pay taxes.

            “Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed…” Romans 13:7
            To my knowledge, there is nothing in the Bible about zoning or mineral rights. My understanding is that the Bible preached the earth belongs to God.

          • Roder51

            That’s at par at saying that the constitution was written by religious leaders. I Don’t buy it.

          • Bert

            Why does this have up votes? Yes, just to name one. “love your neighbor as yourself”…?

          • 3/1 Marine

            Of course God’s moral code existed before either Testament. God’s moral code is objective, not subjective. It is not limited by time or history.

          • Nicole

            Oh, that makes sense. So it shouldn’t change over time at all then. Hmmm, I notice it is has changed a lot though, with humans picking which books they follow, splitting into various churches and basically going by whichever parts they like.

            Perhaps you should get your hands on the oldest known translation, newly copy it into English and then follow it to the letter… Since it is objective and therefore should not be changed subjectively…

          • 3/1 Marine

            You have noticed that too?
            Here we are talking about objective moral values, not books.
            “So it shouldn’t change over time at all then. Hmmm…”
            Correct.
            The fact that men violate objective morals doesn’t imply they those morals should change with the times.

          • Nicole

            My point is that anyone working off a translation of a translation and not following the original to the letter is subjectively changing their beliefs, and knows it.

            So the question then becomes… how much sinning are all of you doing, knowing the book you follow has been imperfectly translated multiple times?

            i am not trying to be insulting here. I am completely serious and honestly am curious about the answers this elicits. It seems to me this would keep people up at night and there would be a big debate about which is the correct translation of the original word.

          • Syn Holliday

            Who did the moral code pertain to before the creation of the universe? Angels?

          • Loulou Von Spiel

            What do you call a “modern” moral code exactly?
            You’ll find that many(often distorded) “Judeo-Christian” concepts, having forged the backbone of western society are still ingrained in our behaviour today.

            It may not be so much in what we do but what we don’t do.
            And I became very aware of it once I moved to Asia.

            We never really respected nature and animals, and there ‘s a lack (until recently) of vegetarian culture.
            There’s a lack of acceptance of fate and a constant wasted reactivity (we do not accept things as they are), always trying to “put things right”, an overblown sense of justice and righteousness.

            A very negative view of death.
            Monogamy.
            A certain prudishness towards bodily function (particularly for Catholics)
            Symbolism of the colour white(as a sign of purity)

            These are just some exemples I can think of on top of my head.

            If we had based our culture on Pagan beliefs or Buddhist teachings etc. our approach to life would be very different and so would our everyday lifestyle.

            Not judging it either way, but to say that you see no direct influence from the bible in today’s values is very naive. Even going purposely against some of those biblical values would still mark it(the bible) as an influence.

          • Dennis780

            Honor your father and your mother. Give to the poor. Forgive those who wrong you. Be good to your wife. Pay your debts. Obey your government.

          • Robert Gehrman

            Morals are derived from within !
            Empathy is a human condition. How natural would it feel to you to commit genocide, engage in a stoning, or submit your virgin daughters to a mob to be raped? The bibles are not very moral overall. Humans are born with AMAZING abilities to empathise… How sad the ones trained to ignore their inner longings good or bad, in liu of religion’s impersonal excercise. This is corruption……. If religion ever wins the minds of all men, I submit mankind’s tombstone should read “We once were Human”.
            I follow my heart, not some horrible book of atrocities touted as not only honorable but the final word in righteousness. :puke:

          • Ken Miller

            You’re failing to distinguish between events that the Bible describes, actions that the Bible justified in a given context, and laws that are universal and applicable to all of mankind. Lot offered his daughter to the mob to be raped, but nothing in the Bible says that was a good thing. Many of the people that the Bible calls righteous are sometimes seen doing unrighteous things. Here’s the reason: all of us are unrighteous, myself included. So when the Bible refers to righteous men, it refers to positionally righteous men, not inherently righteous men. Let me explain.

            Have you ever had an experience in life where you knew something deep down to be wrong, and yet you did that thing anyway? I know that I have, and it’s not just the case with trifle matters. I’ve done things in my life that I knew to be horribly wrong and yet I chose to do them anyways. I didn’t become a Christian until later in life, so you can’t just chalk that up to a religious up-bringing/social stigma. I have a conscience, and so do you.

            If you’re honest with yourself, you’ll admit that you’ve done morally abhorant things in your life. Even worse, you’ve had even more abhorant thoughts and desires. I’m sure you have hated people and I’m sure you have lied. That means that you have a treacherous and murderous heart, since murder and treachery are the natural outflow of hatred and lies. Following your heart will only lead you into greater evil. If it were not for your conscience and for fear of legal recourse, you probably would have murdered, raped, and stolen many times in your life. God has given us a conscience and government to restrain our evil.

            The truth is, you need a new heart and you need forgiveness for the ways that you have failed. You need a Savior and his name is Jesus Christ. Repent (turn away from evil) and trust him or you will face God’s judgment, not simply for your evil deeds, but also for your evil heart.

          • Robert Gehrman

            Bull$hit. The angels didn’t even try to stop him. The bible does not say it was a bad thing either.
            Have fun with your apathetic vain totalitarian sky master in the next life; I’ll be here living with my own ideas, feelings, consequences, and rewards, in this life.

          • basslicker

            God (and angels) don’t ‘make’ human do anything. Free will does. And Satan’s influence.

          • Robert Gehrman

            If God knows everything and also made Satan, then God hates free will. I absolutely can not see a good reason for a god to fabricate a tug of war between two extreme philosophies as a test to see if we are stupid enough to fall for either of them.

          • Tannim

            According to Abrahamic religions, God/Jehovah/Allah created Satan too.

            Ironically enough, that same God/Jehovah/Allah allegedly created us naked, and Satan got us to wear clothes.

            So which side are you on, anyway? 😛

          • Surfnut

            For as long as you live, I pray you would be blessed. Please don’t reject the Lord Jesus Christ. He loves you, and is calling you, Robert. Forget religion. You and I need a friend in God. Jesus showed that He was God in the flesh.

          • Roder51

            An intelligent conversation is no place for village idiots.

          • Tannim

            “Luke, you’re going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend upon a certain point of view.” -Obi-wan Kenobi

            “Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter.” -Yoda

            There’s more wisdom in those those two statements than in almost all of the entirety of the Abrahamic religions.

          • bdrew

            agreed

        • Huh?

          Those “primitive mamals” are the exact same species as us with the exact same IQ range. We are talking a few thousand years ago, not a few million. In short, this comment is as ridiculous and short sited as you are attempting to make the Bible.

          • Dave Yngvar Hayes

            I took his “primitive mammals” in the same sense as in Army of Darkness, as an insult to simple people, not a “less evolved” species.
            Complicated commentaries are necessary to try to make the primitive (culturally) fairy tales fit, even remotely, into the modern world we (some of us) understand so much better than the people who originally spread these stories, or even the more “civilized” people who edited them over the years.

          • Tannim

            No, those primitive mammals are the Creationists who haven’t evolved yet. 😛

        • 3/1 Marine

          “written by primitive mammals..”
          It is hard to believe there are still people around who will make comments like this.
          It points out the irrationalism of Atheism.

          • Tannim

            Not really. Primitive people rely on the mystical and mythological to explain what to them is unexplainable. Once it is rationally explained, the reliance disappears. Such is the nature of replacing belief with fact.

          • 3/1 Marine

            Do you have a “fact” that proves God does not exist?

          • RiFi

            “Do you have a “fact” that proves God does not exist?”

            Yes. In the same way that a square circle can’t exist (FACT), an entity cannot be spaceless and timeless, as well as omnipresent – they are mutually exclusive properties, and the concept flies in the face of the law of non-contradiction.

            This is just one of many inherent paradoxes that self-refute the god of the bible. Man, in his attempt to create the most powerful being he could imagine, unwittingly negated the very possibility of such a being’s existence by, ironically, building incontrovertible proof right into the concept. Or would you like to argue that god CAN be both spaceless-timeless, and omnipresent? If so, I’d love to hear that argument, backed up by evidence that goes a bit deeper than, “because: god.”

            While we’re on the subject, we might as well take a look at omnipotence: is god able to create a being powerful enough to destroy him? It may be an oldie, but it’s a goodie. Either outcome preclude omnipotence. And since we’ve come this far, why not round out the big three by addressing omniscience: if god knows everything, then he knows what he will do tomorrow, and at every moment, forever amen. This means that he can’t have free will, because his future actions are already predetermined by his inerrant foreknowledge of them. It then goes without saying that any notion of free will for mankind is likewise out the window, which means that it could not have been the reason for “original sin,” and it would then logically follow that god intended man’s “fall” in the garden (not to mention the eons of subsequent evil and suffering that would plague the world).

            Be honest – what would you call a being with perfect prescience, who creates a reality in which untold suffering is to constantly be with man (the alleged apple of his eye), who then deceives man into believing that he has brought it on himself by his depraved misuse of free will, and finally, who has had the ability to intervene at any time and take all the suffering away, and yet chooses not to? I know that I would never do such a thing – I couldn’t. And that goes for just about every human being I know as well. Not only do I think that it is perfectly reasonable to conclude that such a must be malevolent and evil, but that lowly man is a far better creature than him/her/it.

            And people actually wonder why atheists have determined this to be a heaping pile of bullshit? Really?

          • Eric Breaux

            A timeless, spaceless creator is the only option with evidence to support it http://www.garyhabermas.com/books/historicaljesus/historicaljesus.htm https://bible.org/article/historical-reliability-gospels. The only other options are the universe having an infinite past, which would mean it would take eternity for anything to happen, thus nothing ever could, or something coming from nothing. In quantum physics, particles are coming out of empty space which is still space which is still something. On top of that, this is only possible with the physical laws that govern this phenomenon in the first place and the physical plane is directly opposite of nothing.At the very heart of the idea, nothing wouldn’t even be able to be observed or tested because by default nothing is the absence of anything to work with in the first place. The very idea of something from nothing is as self contradictory as there being no such thing as truth.

          • RiFi

            I’ve detailed my reasoning at some length (in my own words), and you’ve responded with a predictable and threadbare argument from ignorance, which you then try to back up by referencing just another biased creationist website? Does that actually ever work for you? Put another way, do you honestly think that I’m gong to wade through that morass of sophistic micro-print? Short answer, no. In any case, it would appear to be argumentation for the existence of Jesus Christ, and what does that have to do with what we’re discussing here?.

            To get back on track, invoking a supernatural cause for the beginning of the universe is tantamount to a kid playing alone in a room, breaking a lamp and then running to his parents screaming that a ghost did it. No rational parent is going to buy that, and in lieu of any evidence for said ghost, the child is out of luck. Are you a child? There is ZERO evidence for your god. He seemed to enjoy interacting with us 4-6 thousand years ago, but has been conspicuously quiet ever since. Any idea why?

            It’s a barefaced double standard to say that something can’t come from nothing and then make an exemption for your god. It’s called special pleading (yet another logical fallacy) and doesn’t cut the mustard. You also shoot yourself in the foot when you declare god to be ever-existent (timeless), as it utterly contradicts the logic you apply when you say, ” The only other options are the universe having an infinite past, which would mean it would take eternity for anything to happen, thus nothing ever could,…” A creative force with an infinite existence before the moment of “creation” would also take an eternity to make anything happen, meaning that nothing ever could.

            Why don’t you address my points if you think that you can logically refute them instead of pointing me to dumbass websites that no thinking person is ever going to take seriiously?

          • Roder51

            Do you?

          • 3/1 Marine

            Wrong.
            “Primitive mammals” don’t write anything.
            That is the snarky comment I was replying to.
            As for rational explanations please tell me, rationally, how evolution has ever shown the appearance of a new species?
            Darwin showed the adaptation of already existing species to their environment. That’s all.

          • Matthew Funke

            Culex pipiens, Helacyton gartleri, and Primula kewensis are just a few of the new species that have arisen in historical times. Evolution doesn’t have to show the appearance of a new species; we’ve directly observed it. That’s about as “rational” as you can get, since claiming that it doesn’t ever happen would be denial, and that’s inherently irrational.

            Moreover, ring species demonstrate that new species can arise through gradual modification (the Ensatina salamander, Philloscopus trochiloides, Permocynes maniculatus, Parus major and minor, Zosterops, the Larus argentatus group, Hoplitis (Alcidamea) producta, Lalage, Halcyon chloris, and Spalax ehrenbergi, to name a few).

            There are even a handful of species that change species spontaneously upon being infected with a symbiont (e.g., Wolbachia bacteria form a split between Nasonia vitripennis and Nasonia giraulti).

            Finally, the standard “reason” that young-Earth creationists use to explain how Noah’s ark could have fit all those animals is to insist that only every “kind” was represented by the passengers of that big boat. This would have required new species to appear after those passengers disembarked. In light of this, it seems odd that you would demand that evolution show the appearance of a new species. (I, for one, would like to see any kind of demonstration that shows that the rate of speciation that would be required by this scenario is even possible.)

          • Roder51

            Sometimes it’s better to remain silent when you’re dumb rather than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

          • 3/1 Marine

            Yes.
            You have certainly proven that.

        • n_djinn

          I am 100% whole hearted skeptic/humanist/atheist but one thing; 10,000 years ago people were just as smart as today. It’s the sharing and base of information that was lacking. They were definitely NOT “primitive mammals”.

        • Cia

          It’s one of the greatest works in the history of literature, though. If you disagree, you disagree with the most people actually knowing something about literature.

      • Syn Holliday

        One thing that is quite peculiar about the four Gospels is that only one reports on the dead who rise out of their graves and walk amongst the living. All four mention uneventful details, so it seems odd that something as important as people crawling out of their graves is not mentioned in all four.

        • I agree; it’s very confusing. But, at the same time, the four Gospels were written by four different people, who each had their own subtly different agendas in mind in their writing, and so, each chose to highlight different aspects of Christ and his life. This is the case for, literally, every other historical figure about which biographies have been written. There are thousands of biographies of Abraham Lincoln — many of them very different from each other, based on who wrote them and the information that was or wasn’t available to him or her.

          • Syn Holliday

            True, but such a major detail being left out of three of the four books? It seems a bit suspicious. Among the biographies of Lincoln, there would be major events in his life that would be in most of the books. And there are similarities between the Gospels that go beyond just reporting the same events, but use identical wording, as if the stories were passed around. There were quite a few reliable historians in that area during that time, but they report nothing of the the dead rising out of their graves and walking amongst the living, or even the resurrection.

          • There were quite a few reliable historians in that area during that time, but they report nothing of the the dead rising out of their graves and walking amongst the living, or even the resurrection.

            Really? What “reliable historians” do we know of who inhabited Jerusalem during the same time as Jesus of Nazareth? There were plenty of Roman historians of approximately the same time period, but the Roman Empire was quite large after all, and they took little notice of Palestine. Even Pontius Pilate, probably the most high-ranking Roman official of the area in his day, isn’t mentioned in their writings. There’s Josephus, of course, who chronicled the Jews, but he wasn’t a contemporary of Christ.

          • Syn Holliday

            Justus of Tiberius was a native of Galilee and documented history during the time of Christ. No mention of it.

            Philo-Judaeus, born before Christ and lived long after Christ’s death, lived in and near Jerusalem. He wrote an account of the Jews the entire time of Christ’s life. He was there during the time of the crucifixion with its earthquake, supernatural darkness, and the dead walking out of their graves. He was there during the time of Christ’s resurrection and ascension into Heaven. No mention of any of it.

          • Justus of Tiberius: How do we know? I thought only fragments of his work survived? And, just out of curiosity, what qualities of Justus do you think make him and his work patently more “reliable” than, say, the author of the gospel of Luke? I’m honestly curious.

            I’m somewhat familiar with Philo of Alexandria. I studied some of his views on Old Testament exegesis while working on my college thesis. I didn’t know he wrote any history; I thought he was primarily a theologian and philosopher. Did any copies of this history book actually survive to modern day?

            I think we also must consider, even if there were “reliable historians” living in Jerusalem alongside Jesus, what they might have been expected to experience and record. I think an earthquake would hardly be worth mentioning unless it leveled a city. The Bible doesn’t say how large the earthquake was, merely that “the ground shook” — at least in the area of Golgotha. Its effects were probably quite limited.

            In the same way, “darkness came over the land” for three hours. I see nothing that requires this to be a remarkable event. We don’t even know what happened. Clouds could have covered the sun for all we know.

            Finally, the dead rising from their graves. This, clearly, is described as a supernatural event, and I agree that it seems worthy of notice. But here’s just how I personally make sense of it. The text does not say much about what the dead did, what they looked like or who they appeared to, only that they did raise and that they appeared to “many people” (a relative term). The only raised figure that any of the gospels do describe is Jesus, and he has the following characteristics:

            – he apparently had the power to change his appearance at will
            – he had a physical body, was able to eat and be touched
            – he appeared only to people he knew him
            – he seemed to have the ability to appear and disappear at will, even materializing within a locked room
            – he reassured the people he spoke to that he was OK and was going to be with God

            If the saints who were raised shared these characteristics, then I can understand why it would not have caused a panic. We’re not talking about a zombie invasion here.

          • Syn Holliday

            Photius, who was acquainted with Justus’s writings before they perished: “He (Justus) makes not the least mention of the appearances of Christ, of what things happened to him, or of the wonderful works that he did.” Photius was a Christian scholar.

            Again, the Gospels’ authors were anonymous, so that’s another step away from verifying credibility. The authors could have been writers of fiction, or were tasked by dictators to create something that would keep the masses docile.

            Back to the historians, regarding what details they choose to include in their documentation. The problem with that argument is that many of those historians during that time and in or near the area, were so thorough that they included some really mundane information, small detail that would be much less remarkable than the dead rising out of their graves or three hours of darkness. People meeting with their long dead friends and relatives, that would have been quite remarkable. With that in mind, I would expect one of them would write about those things. None of them did.

            Apollonius, Persius, Appian, Petronius, Arrian, Phaedrus, Aulus, Gellius, Philo-Judaeus, Columella, Phlegon, Damis, Pliny the Elder, Dio Chrysostom, Pliny the Younger, Dion Pruseus, Plutarch, Epictetus, Pompon Mela, Favorinus, Ptolemy, Florus Lucius, Quintilian, Hermogones, Quintius Curtius, Josephus, Seneca, Justus of Tiberius, Silius Italicus, Juvenal, Statius, Lucanus, Suetonius, Lucian, Tacitus, Lysias, Theon of Smyran, Martial, Valerius Flaccus, Paterculus, Valerius Maximus, Pausanias.

            I’m sure you understand, for someone like me, the more remarkable the claim, the more verification I require to honestly say I can draw the assumption. If you told me you went to the grocery store last night, it’s in a whole different league than if you told me you jumped over the moon last night. I don’t rule out any possibility. If there was an all-powerful God, then you very well could have jumped over the moon yesterday. However, where I draw the line as far as belief, I do require reasonable evidence, or else I could fall for any of the remarkable tales told by the many religions throughout the world.

            An earthquake is not remarkable. But if, let’s say, you told me an earthquake yesterday in your area was caused by a certain man waving his arm, well…

            Still, I find the many world religions fascinating.

          • Jacob

            “But, at the same time, the four Gospels were written by four different people, who each had their own subtly different agendas in mind in their writing”

            Doesn’t it bother you that the main accounts of Jesus all came from people who were (clearly) not very interested in being objective?

          • To answer your question, no, it doesn’t bother me in the slightest. That’s because I don’t believe any writer ever has been or ever could be “objective” in the purest sense of the word. Do you think Richard Dawkins, even when he is writing as a scientist, is completely without objective? Even when I write as a journalist, I have an objective: to convince readers that whatever I am writing about occurred, and to convince them that my account and interpretation of the event is accurate. And, indeed, I believe this to be very close to the primary “objective” that the gospel writers had (the author of Luke says as much in his first four verses). Now, having such an objective certainly doesn’t necessarily mean that they were correct or truthful in their accounts, but neither does it mean they should be discounted offhand.

            Indeed, if one had no “objective” in writing something whatsoever, I seriously doubt that they would write at all.

          • 3/1 Marine

            No. Because they were all devout in accurately transmitting the Gospel.

          • Roder51

            If they were worried about accuracy why so many opinions. There is only one way to describe an egg.

        • 3/1 Marine

          There are variations in all 4 Gospels. If they were alike we would only need one Gospel.

          • Matthew Funke

            Well, yes, but at the same time, there are entire passages copied word-for-word, especially through the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke). And there are some places where the variations lead to differences in where something happened, or to whom, or when.

            “Who copied whom, and when were differences introduced, and why?” is actually an interesting and fun little puzzle — not least because the answers you get can color how you interpret what was written.

      • James Westmoreland

        With me being a toddler of skepticism and freethought (rejected the faith a few years ago) and my wife embracing messianic Judaism (which I coined her as a messianite since the former two are actually oil and water) – I have been ever attentive to the works of Robert M Price & co., saying this to test your confidence in the Markan narrative. Authorship aside, it seems clear that the earliest copy of Mark in fact did not include the resurrection or empty tomb story, and was later interpolated. Price delves deep into this problem, as well this site touches on it : http://www.answering-christianity.com/abdullah_smith/the_resurrection_hoax.htm

        I appreciated your post here, as the debate between evolution and creation is actually more three dimensional (evolution, young earth, old earth). I understand from my own experience how God is supposed to play into the latter two, but His majesty’s great mysteriousness aside, it does seem that the scientific platform doesn’t get a fair shake in the debate. Theology really isn’t that difficult of a ‘science’, it’s the apologetics that begets sensational nonsense. You seem like one that is of the Lennox and Ross persuasion, and that I think is an even more difficult task to harmonize the two (scientifix claims and biblical claims). Best of it all to you! James

        • Hey James. Are you talking about the fact that the earliest manuscripts of Mark don’t have the last few verses of chapter 16? This is true, and those verses do extrapolate on some details of the events immediately following the discovery of the empty tomb.

          However, it is not true to say that, absent those verses, Mark does not reference the resurrection or the empty tomb at all. The earliest manuscripts still end with an empty tomb, the stone rolled away (verse 4), and a man dressed in white robes standing there instead of Jesus (verse 5).

          In the earliest scripts, the man goes on to say: “Don’t be alarmed. You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’” (verses 6 and 7, emphasis mine)

    • Rodrigo Barbosa

      Hey Chris, I’m also an atheist, and a militant one at that.
      That being said, I will have to agree with Tyler that often said atheist don’t know anything about religion. Which doesn’t make religion or god any more true, it just make them ignorant. We, as atheist, have to shred the idea that all atheists are intellectually and culturally superior, which is often not the case. Just a few days ago, in one of the atheist forums I’m a member of, people were defending theories such as “aliens visited earth many times”, “Roswell was real” and a whole bunch of conspiracy theories.
      Plenty of atheists know quite a lot about religion, and make good arguments, based on demonstrable inconsistencies, circular logic, negative proof and so on. But plenty are also ignorant people.

      I think Tyler’s point that ignorance is not restricted to one side of the fence is a valid one.

      • Dave Yngvar Hayes

        Absolutely true, but ignorance of a book does not say anything about the truth of the contents.
        Many atheists reject all superstition AND specifically oppose varieties that are impacting their culture/world.
        I would like to see some of the “wrong” things atheists believe about religion; I suspect the objection is not that they aren’t true, but that the objector doesn’t personally subscribe to some of the particulars of their own claimed faith.

        • I would like to see some of the “wrong” things atheists believe about religion; I suspect the objection is not that they aren’t true, but that the objector doesn’t personally subscribe to some of the particulars of their own claimed faith.

          I’d be happy to share some of what I’ve experienced. I have had an atheist try to tell me that the majority of historical scholars doubt that Jesus was a real person, when the truth is that scholars in any relevant field almost universally reject the “Jesus myth” hypothesis that is so popular on the post-“Zeitgeist” Interwebs. I have also had an atheist on this website try to tell me that the earliest copies of the Gospel of Mark don’t mention the Resurrection, which is demonstrably false.

          Not to mention, more than once within this very thread, atheists have attempted to argue that the doctrine of original sin is the only basis for the necessity of salvation, per Christian theology. It is not only myself, but virtually any Christian theologian I can think of who would say this isn’t true, so this is also not a case of the claim simply being something I don’t “personally subscribe to.”

    • Phil R

      [Re: “The idea of a personal god is inherently contradictory to the doctrine…”]
      If we all started collectively saying, “this is my earth” we would treat it better and it wouldn’t suddenly cause billions of “earths” to emerge…..or would it?… could be cool! Hence there is beauty in the personal God and the coming together of people with the same belief for a greater, collective faith. Christians were called “Christians” by people outside the community. They observed them as following a certain pattern of communal behaviour and teachings of Christ, which tended to be against the norm of that time. The purpose of bible stories (i.e. the message to be applied today) is greater than the content and subsequently historical accuracy. One person reads the Bible and concludes, “this book promotes slavery and is the reason for so much evil today”, while another concludes, “this book shows that slavery to ideology fails and we need to focus on Love.” Changing the frame (i.e. context) without changing the lens (i.e. the perspective) will lead to the same insights and conclusions. Faith in itself is great, but coming together and reasoning in love trumps it all the time.

      • Syn Holliday

        The problem with the idea of a homogeneous world where everyone believes in one single religion is that most will say, “Yes, that is a GREAT idea! Of course, as long as the deity everyone worships is MY god.”

        • I’ll add on, “…and as long as the laws we submit to suit my purposes”. I agree with you. Problems always arise when we think about self over community and laws over love.

    • Syn Holliday

      True, once you turn to picking and choosing from a religion whose own texts claim it to be wholly infallible, then you’ve basically created a whole new religion, because the basis for your religion is now based on your own wishes of what a religion SHOULD be about.

    • joe

      It’s not that Christianity cannot easily be explained. It can, and a child can understand it. However, it is also filled with such depth that even the most cerebral minds can be occupied for years unraveling it’s meaning (if you want your head to explode, read Romans 8 through Romans 10. Oceans of ink have been spilled debating that passage and there still is no consensus). I think the author was trying to say that most non Christians (trust me, it’s not just atheists. Usually the ones that have NO CLUE what we’re talking about are our Muslim friends) don’t understand the faith at a fundamental level. I don’t think the author intended any harm, and neither do I, as there are plenty of nonchristians who do possess a firm grasp on the bible. God bless 🙂

  • Grazer #E2H

    I’m currently reading “Lost World of Genesis One” by John Walton and that, combined with this, is helping to make so much more sense of the whole discussion thank you 🙂

  • Joe Walsh

    “If there appears to be a disagreement between the two, then the interpretation of the passage in question must be incorrect.”
    Your faith rests upon a mountain of hoaxes perpetuated for nearly 2000 years.

  • Kathy

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Sometimes I lose hope that Christians have any respect for truth and fact. You are a the best example I have ever seen of someone who does not fear science as an affront to their faith. I see so many bumper stickers/decals with “Truth” and then the god fish eating the darwin fish. I have also had many conversations with antievolution christians, that in spite of so much evidence presented, end with the christian saying, “well I just CAN”T believe in evolution.” As a mother concerned for the future of her children and our country, I know that education, science, and inventiveness are huge strengths for the United States, and I thank you so much for pointing out the travesty of perpetuating falsehoods. ( I wish I were better at expressing myself, but I hope you understand what I am saying) That is why I thank you for posting your views so eloquently, as well as your responses to comments.

    • Thanks, Kathy. I, too, have had discussions about evolution with many Christians, and for a lot of them — after you’ve answered every “scientific” or theological objection they can come up with — it becomes painfully clear that the only real reason they don’t accept evolution is because they don’t want to.

  • BigBrother Olé-Biscuitbarrel

    How do you reconcile “original sin” with evolution?

    If you accept evolution as the reason why humanity is on this planet, the biblical tale of Eden becomes a metaphore at best. Without “original sin” there is no need for a christ, no need for a human blood sacrifice, and chritianity and the other Abrahamic religions become nothing more than a Dianetics cult. A religion based around a work of fiction.

    • Sturgeon

      Where in the Bible does it say that I need a savior because Eve sinned? It doesn’t. The doctrine of salvation is not necessarily dependent on the doctrine of original sin.

      • Yeah, what he said ^ I addressed this exact same question above, but my answer was essentially what Sturgeon said much more succinctly than I did. I’ll copy and paste my answer below:

        The Bible does not teach that the need for a savior is predicated on the idea of original sin. Indeed, original sin is a doctrine that some believe is derived from scripture, but it is not named or clearly defined anywhere in the text. In fact, if by “original sin,” you mean the idea that humans have inherited guilt from their parents and are born spiritually dead, I don’t believe that is taught in the Bible at all.

        The Bible clearly teaches that we are in need of salvation because of our own personal sin, not the sin committed by our supposed ancestors thousands of years ago. Romans 3:23-25: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.”

        Nothing about Adam and Eve in there, nor is there anything in that passage that the scientific theory of evolution could possibly make more or less true.

        • Sam Haylor

          if by “original sin,” you mean the idea that humans have inherited guilt from their parents and are born spiritually dead, I don’t believe that is taught in the Bible at all

          You’re kidding right?

          “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.” – Ps. 51:5

          “The wicked are estranged from the womb; These who speak lies go astray from birth.” – Ps. 58:3

          “All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him” – Is. 53:6

          “Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again” – Jn. 3:7

          “that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you” – Jn. 14:17

          “ … both Jews and Greeks are all under sin; as it is written, “THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE; THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS, THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD; ALL HAVE TURNED ASIDE, TOGETHER THEY HAVE BECOME USELESS; THERE IS NONE WHO DOES GOOD, THERE IS NOT EVEN ONE.” – Rom. 3:9-12

          “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” – Rom. 3:23

          “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned” – Rom. 5:12

          “The gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, …. For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, …So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men.” – Rom. 5:16-19

          “But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised” – 1 Cor. 2:14

          “For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive” – 1 Cor. 15:21-22

          “Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.” – 1 Cor. 15:50

          “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, … and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest” – Eph. 2:1-3

          These passages (and others) show us that we sin BECAUSE we are sinners, not the other way around. They also show that we inherited this sinful state from Adam. The Bible could not be more clear!

          • All of these passages are far more ambiguous than you claim. The strongest evidence you have provided is from Psalms, which is bursting with hyperbole and metaphor. Do you think David’s bones literally wasted away in Psalm 32? Do you accept the literal interpretations of Psalms 90, 93 and 104 that say the earth is firmly established and cannot be moved, hence making the widely accepted heliocentric model a blasphemy?

            I could go on and on. The Psalms are poetry. I believe, as you do, that they are divinely inspired, but that doesn’t mean they are meant to be juxtaposed, literally, into some kind of theological treatise. I think that to try and do so is a misuse of the text.

            On the other hand, there are teachings that clearly contradict the idea that we are born spiritually dead. How about Romans 7:9: “I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died.” This would seem to make no sense in your theological construct, since Paul was born dead — there was never a point that he was “alive apart from the law.”

            The dire warnings of James 1:14-15 also are difficult to understand in your view: “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” Isn’t all of this is irrelevant if we are born dead anyway, regardless of what we do or don’t do?

          • Sam Haylor

            That’s a pretty unfair sweeping statement, since you yourself quoted one of them (Rom. 3:23) and had no trouble taking it at face value. Paul is not explicit when declaring the sinner condemns himself but ambiguous when declaring that “ALL have sinned”! How does one explain the 100% sin rate without accepting the fact that we all sin because we all WANT to? Do you deny that all have sinned? Has there been one living soul, apart from Jesus Christ, who has lived without sin? No, “not even one!”

            How is it ambiguous when Paul repeats himself over and over? How is he ambiguous when he says, rather plainly, “a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit… and he cannot understand them”? How is Jesus ambiguous when He says, “that which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” sandwiched smack in between two declarations that one “must be born again”? He certainly expected Nicodemus to understand His words in verse 10!

            I’m not really sure how to respond to your comment about Rom. 7:9 without coming across as rude or condescending. For lack of a better way to say it, you’ve misunderstood Paul’s entire point of the passage. Suffice it to say, his point hinges on the concept found in verses 8 and 11 with sin “taking opportunity” and then really comes to a head in verse 13. As he states elsewhere, he believed himself to be blameless with regard to the Law. What he describes in Rom. 7 is him being confronted with the specific commands of the Law and that he in fact was NOT blameless. When he recognized that, he “died” in that he realized he was already dead because his righteousness was as “filthy rags”. This is precisely what Jesus meant when He said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Mt. 5:3) and “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mk. 2:17). He was not suggesting that there were some who did not need His salvation, but that only those who recognized their wretchedness can come to Him.

            Yes, the Psalms are poetry, Hebrew poetry. Is there a rule stating every word in Hebrew poetry must be either hyperbole or metaphor? Hebrew poetry is not like western pop culture poetry where each line is intentionally vague and impossible to comprehend. Its distinguishing characteristic is its use of parallel phrases, either one contrasting the other or one repeating the other in a different way, but obscurity is not its aim. How else does one interpret Ps. 51:5? “Brought forth” certainly COULD be a metaphor, except that the parallel line after it restates it more plainly. He was sinful before he was born; pretty basic but it flows perfectly within the psalm as a whole being a plea for forgiveness and reconciliation.

          • That’s a pretty unfair sweeping statement, since you yourself quoted one of them (Rom. 3:23) and had no trouble taking it at face value. Paul is not explicit when declaring the sinner condemns himself but ambiguous when declaring that “ALL have sinned”!

            Saying it’s ambiguous doesn’t mean I reject the literal interpretation. It simply means that even the literal interpretation has multiple possible meanings. It means the literal interpretation does not necessarily mean what you asserted that it means in your earlier post (that people are born condemned, without any choice in the matter, and that we inherited this state from Adam).

            I do not deny that all people are sinners, nor do I deny any of the attributes that Bible describes of sinners (we are “dead,” we are blind, we are deaf, we are separated from God, etc.). That is, in my view, exactly the basis of our need for the atonement of Christ — not a single act of sin our supposed ancestors committed thousands of years ago.

            The question is not whether all people sin, the question is how did we become sinners? Were we born that way, or did we become sinners because we chose to sin? You think we were born dead in the sin of people we would never know. You think we never had a choice of whether to be on the good side or the bad; we were born onto Satan’s team and destined for hell, all because of a single ancient act that we had absolutely nothing to do with.

            I think we had a choice in the matter, and I think most of the passages you quoted (and all the ones I did) support this view at least as well as they support yours (that’s why I called them ambiguous). I think that the drama of Adam and Eve, on a smaller scale, has been reenacted with every human person who has ever lived. We have all been offered a chance at God’s way, except only one man has ever had the strength and obedience to make the right choice, and to carry it out all his life. All the rest of us rejected God’s offer and have fallen short, instead gleefully choosing to plunge down the pathways of sin.

            You may disagree with my view, but you can’t deny that it fits most of the verses you quoted just as well as your interpretation does. And it fits the ones I quoted better.

            I’m not really sure how to respond to your comment about Rom. 7:9 without coming across as rude or condescending. For lack of a better way to say it, you’ve misunderstood Paul’s entire point of the passage.

            You seriously couldn’t think of a less rude or condescending way to say this? How about, just for future reference, you consider even the barest possibility that you may be wrong about your interpretation of a complex theological text that was written almost 2,000 years ago. Then, you just may be able to avoid statements like this, which convey your clear belief that you are the mouthpiece of the Holy Spirit, and you alone are able to correctly interpret what he meant.

            Suffice it to say, his point hinges on the concept found in verses 8 and 11 with sin “taking opportunity” and then really comes to a head in verse 13. As he states elsewhere, he believed himself to be blameless with regard to the Law. What he describes in Rom. 7 is him being confronted with the specific commands of the Law and that he in fact was NOT blameless. When he recognized that, he “died” in that he realized he was already dead because his righteousness was as “filthy rags”.

            Like anyone else, you accept the “face value” meaning of passages when they suit your theology, and you ignore them when they don’t. What’s hypocritical about you is that you accuse other believers of spitting on “biblical authority” for doing the exact same things that you do: INTERPRETING THE TEXT, often in ways that go outside its most straightforward meaning.

            I agree that sin “taking opportunity” through the commandments is a key concept in this passage. What I don’t understand is how you think it changes the meaning of Romans 7:9, where Paul seems to be saying, in no uncertain terms, that there was a point in his life when he was spiritually alive, until he was presented with a choice; he chose sin, broke the commandments, and he passed from spiritual life to death.

            Your interpretation seems to me to be significantly at odds with Paul’s words. For example, how can you say that what Romans 7:9 is really describing is Paul’s blamelessness according to the law, when the verse clearly says the “life” he once possessed is entirely distinct from the law (“I was once alive apart from the law“)? Throughout the chapter, Paul describes sin’s action in terms such as bringing death to him (verse 13), even killing him (verse 11). I can’t see how this could be reasonably interpreted as nothing more than a “realization” that he was “already dead.” At any rate, the “face-value” meaning of the words is that he passed from a state of life to death, because of his sin.

            This point is driven home by the introduction of Romans 7, which is all about life and death (not blamelessness and guilt) and how it pertains to the law.

            Is there a rule stating every word in Hebrew poetry must be either hyperbole or metaphor?

            No, but since the two verses that are, by far, the strongest support for the idea that people are born spiritually dead both come out of a poetic book that is characterized by metaphor and hyperbole, I would certainly want to tread carefully.

            How else does one interpret Ps. 51:5?

            I interpret it as a hyperbolic statement, just as I interpret David’s descriptions of his bones wasting away, or his enemies surrounding him and their every thought being about shedding his blood.

          • farah

            this guy is in idiot believe me,

        • Bryan Richards

          This makes me wonder why all of god’s creation wasn’t born with sin then… if all have sinned and fallen short then what about the heavenly host that didn’t fall? Are they sinless? Or are they sinful and remain with god?

          • Romans 3 is about all people, not everything in creation.

          • Bryan Richards

            So you don’t think angels are people of any kind, or that they don’t have free will and a soul?

          • I’m not sure if angels have “free will” as we understand it. The Bible doesn’t seem to say much on the matter one way or another. But there’s certainly no indication within scripture that the angels in heaven are, like humans, fallen and in need of salvation, and that’s what Romans 3 is about.

          • Bryan Richards

            Sure there is… 1/3 of the host “chose” to follow lucifer. Doesn’t that indicate free will to you?

          • Well, that’s relying on a speculative interpretation of Revelation 12, a very difficult and confusing text indeed. Even if one does interpret verse 4 as referring to the angelic host, which I know many people do, I think it’s still more than a bit of a stretch to say this proves angels have free will. If anything, the more straightforward reading would say the angels were forced down, perhaps manipulated, by some scheme of Satan, not necessarily that they willfully “chose” to follow him.

          • Bryan Richards

            All interpretations of the bible are speculative… otherwise it wouldn’t require interpretation lol.

  • Steve

    As a believer who sees nothing contradictory about evolution as a means of creation, I find it strange that young-earth creationists and bible literalists believe that somehow God worked “instant magic” for 6 days, then suddenly changed to a slow process model for working in the world. Why, after all, did it take thousands of years – generations of life and death – between the ancient Messiah prophesies and the coming of Jesus? Wouldn’t a “magical god” just send his Son instantly and save us eons of grief? When I read scriptures (in their context – not literally) I don’t see a God who’s in a hurry. Another, theologically-exciting aspect of this is that creation wasn’t a one-shot deal – it’s still in process. Regardless of whom you believe is behind it all (if anyone), that’s an exciting prospect.

    • Really great thoughts, and very well put! Thanks for posting, Steve!

  • Alex Nielsen

    Tyler:

    Thanks for the article, it really is wonderful.

    However, I did want to address one point you made in the comments below. Regarding false information in the bible you said “Today, we read these passages […] and understand that the authors are using figurative language,” and “can you accept the fact that Jesus obviously had no problem accommodating his listeners’ inaccurate understanding of the world around them in order to convey a deeper truth?”

    You go on to argue that “the Bible reflects an ancient understanding of science and the universe.”

    I don’t think you can really make the argument in good faith that Jesus, Peter, etc. were writing in “figurative language” to the benefit of “accommodating [an] inaccurate understanding of the world.” We’re to believe that Peter and the disciples alone among all men after Christ knew the material secrets of the universe, and told no one? Or more importantly, that Christ himself, with his powers to persuade, educate, and illuminate would intentionally utilize misinformation out of convenience, a teacher who inconvenienced every student he ever had as a basis of his pedagogical method?

    Occam’s Razor tells us that the reason that Peter, Christ, etc. propagate misinformation is not because they wanted to make things easy for their lay audience though they had access to the whole truth of the universe, but rather that they said these things because either:

    a) they were simply men who didn’t know better, or
    b) they have been written, translated, interpreted, and rewritten by men who didn’t know better.

    To argue that Christ would use the parable as earthly evidence is hardly a stretch – he does so constantly. To claim that he intentionally took the easy path with his audience to do so seems a little more shaky, since Christ typically chose to challenge in the Gospels through his selection of narrative frame. To believe that Christ and his disciples were “accommodating” pre-existing “inaccurate understandings” is to throw irrationality in the face of irrationality. Even within the framework of the Christian rhetorical mode, that is the one thing Christ would never do.

    I’m not going to make an atheistic argument for why these errors exist, because that would be rude in this context, and you’re well-informed enough to already know the scholarship that would explain these errors from a secular standpoint. I will say, however, that from a purely Christian framework, the argument that anybody actively spoke in “figurative language” in the Bible to “accommodate” or to “reflect ancient understanding” would be disingenuous at best. Figurative language, by definition, has to include a choice to ignore literal language in favor of the alternative. To claim figurative language is to necessitate that the disciples knew about elements, and the theory of relativity, and the heliocentric model of the universe, and the existence and composition of other planets, and even knowledge we still do not have access to, and chose to reject the opportunity to progress mankind infinitely in order to promote Christian thought in a time of disease, strife, and social unrest.

    I’m just saying, if you wanted to gather followers, “hey, I’m Paul, and this is Matthew. We made this flying machine. Also, here’s some rocks that Simon brought back from the moon with rocket technology. Have you guys ever seen a vaccine before? By the way, here’s a compendium of knowledge it would take your civilization 5,000 years to compile. You can thank that guy over there, he’s an all-knowing being of infinite power, and a manifestation of the Lord” would be a really great marketing pitch. And it doesn’t violate any of the expectations of faith-based Christianity that changing water into wine or curing the blind doesn’t already. The reason the disciples didn’t do this is probably because they didn’t have access to any of this information, and neither did Christ.

    I’m not sure what argument might work to maintain the religious status quo and explain these errors, but figurative language is at best a first-level dodge, and not a real answer to the questions at hand.

    Thanks again for the article, I’m going to link it to all my friends. It’s just fantastically well-written. I hope you don’t feel I was jumping down your throat with my commentary.

    -Alex

    • Thank you, Alex. I’m glad you liked the article. I think you make a very good argument. It is indeed a difficult concept to understand, and I must admit I don’t fully get it either. All I can guess is that, if Jesus really was God, and if the Bible really was inspired by God, then the theological truths being conveyed were considered far more important than any scientific or historical truth that might have otherwise been shared. If it is true that this life is temporary, but our souls are eternal, then it does make some sense why the means to eternal salvation would be considered more pressing than information about germs and diseases and vaccines.

      I will say that I do believe the men who wrote the Bible were men. I don’t believe they were inherently in possession of special knowledge about the future and the universe that they did not share. However, I do believe in the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, so the question is why he wouldn’t have revealed things that God obviously knows, especially since it would have made the inspired nature of scripture more obvious (as you point out, in the same way Christ’s miracles would have to the observers).

      Thanks again for reading, and for sharing. I do appreciate your thoughts very much 🙂

      • Alex Nielsen

        Tyler,

        Thanks for the response. I appreciate your thoughts on the topic, as well, but I would say that there’s one thing that doesn’t ring true in your explanation:

        “…it does make some sense why the means to eternal salvation would be considered more pressing than information about germs and diseases and vaccines.”

        Sure, if only the bible didn’t focus on these kinds of topics so frequently. The bible would like us to know very specifically the mathematical engineering of many things, such as arks, the temple of Solomon, and dozens of other examples, but gets this information impossibly wrong. The bible would like us to know important information about hygiene at several points (we’ll skip over the unfortunate misogyny that springs from this information repeatedly) but doesn’t understand how the human body functions to the point of… awkwardness. The bible uses concepts of the firmament and questions of astrology to address several significant concepts incorrectly. Genesis 30 wants us to know a whole lot about animal husbandry, as do other points throughout the bible. It’s an important topic to the target audience, and yet it’s based entirely on bad science and old-wives-tales.

        I don’t mean to pile on, it’s not productive, but the point is that the bible does indeed consider several worldly topics to be pressing information and under the purview of the word of god, topics like cosmology, biology, mathematics, anatomy, physics, agronomy, history, etc.. And every time it approaches one of these topics, it gets almost *everything* horribly, horribly wrong.

        That’s not to be dismissive of the bible based on these errors. The bible is a millenia-old text written not by scientists but priests and shepherds. It should be wrong about these things where it addresses them. But why is it addressing them?

        So, your argument that the bible is too concerned with salvation to sweat the small stuff begs the question: why would the bible spend a significant amount (indeed, the majority) worrying about topics not related to salvation, but instead to lists of begats to establish regency and the birth history of kings, to military records, to architectural blueprints for buildings, to explanations of the classification of the animal and plant kingdoms, and to other various topics?

        I’m not sure there’s a right or wrong answer theologically. Biblical historians can answer these questions from a pragmatic, secular viewpoint in terms of the literary and social functions of these passages, but we should spend time carefully considering the spiritual and pedagogical implications of textual and scientific errors in the Bible.

        I appreciate your response, and will “take my answer off the air,” as they say. I don’t want to waste your time. But I do enjoy your approach to difficult questions, and hope you can spare just a few more moments to share your thoughts.

        Thanks again,
        Alex

        • Hey Alex,

          You make some more excellent points. I will be happy to try and share my thoughts. I have much respect for some of the teachings of the Jewish philosopher Philo of Alexandria, who lived contemporaneously with Jesus and the authors of the New Testament. He taught that the Old Testament had two meanings: the literal (ad litteram) and the allegorical (allegorice). And, he believed the literal meaning was of less importance and value than the allegorical, which he took as the “real” meaning of the passage in question, something he thought only the initiated could comprehend.

          I see this exact kind of thinking even within the New Testament scriptures themselves. An obvious example is Galatians 4:24, where Paul, quite clearly, tells his readers that he is interpreting the story of Hagar and Sarah allegorically — going well beyond what the story seems to be saying on the surface, to, instead, claim it as an early signpost point to the truth of the new and old covenants. The author of 1 Peter does a similar thing in chapter 3, and the author of Matthew does it multiple times throughout his gospel — claiming Old Testament passages as prophecies of Christ — even ones that, in their original contexts, explicitly referred to the nation of Israel, like Hosea 11:1.

          I think there is clearly a “literal” meaning to the passages you mention, like the genealogies or the directions for building the ark of the covenant. Their literal meaning is, well, to be a genealogy, or to direct the people of Israel as to how to build the ark of the covenant.

          The question is, do these passages also have allegorical value and meaning? Can they offer any instruction to me, as a Christian believer with no interest in building an ark, living thousands of years later? And I think the answer is yes. As to the specific teachings (“Make the ark this tall,” “make the poles this long,” etc.), maybe a Christian can see in them the great care that one should assume, when presuming to go before a holy God?

          I hope this makes some sense. I am a little short on time at the moment, but would be happy to explain more if you have further questions.

          • Eric

            I know you feel that you some parts of the bible or literal, some are metaphorical, Tyler, but really, what were reasons behind the metophors? Why couldn’t it have been straightforward? These are rhetorical questions, I know you don’t have the answers, just trying to see what you have to say about it. Without empirical evidence of God’s existence, with the bible being open to interpretation and retranslated hundreds of times and full of metophors and fairy tales, what exactly is a logical skeptic supposed to do? Historical documentation of Jesus is shoddy at best, there are no clear cut answers. Why do you need a thousand metophors to do the right thing anyway?

            Just doesn’t add up. Its all shrouded in mysteries and lies. Some of its true you say, some of it isn’t. But the bible is largely regarded as infallible, although if one part of it is incorrect, I feel that the whole thing looses credibility. The whole Christianity thing is just so conveniently unable to disproved, but highly unlikely. If the bible isn’t a reliable source, there isn’t one anywhere. Then all we have to go by is what others tell us, which is usually some interpretation of the bible, written by fallible man, interpreted by fallible man. The only thing we can trust with any certainty is the scientific method, which also changes with new discoveries (as it should). Ultimately, we have to come up with our own truth bases off what makes sense to us. The difference between atheists/agnostics and Christians/religious fols is that the former choose reason and logic, because that’s the most reliable tool we have. The religious population generally just use interpretations of a book that is rife with tall tales and contradictions. I just don’t see how that is wise.

          • Hey Eric. First of all, I don’t say some of the Bible is true and some isn’t. I say it’s all true. The parable of the good samaritan may not be true history, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true in its conception of the humanitarian ideal, unbound by racial, societal and cultural factors. It comes down to what the story was meant to teach. If it was meant to teach history, then it is false, but if it was meant to teach morality, then it’s true.

            As to why there is so much metaphor in the Bible, well, you’re right that I don’t know, but I thank God that there is. I find it gives richness and depth and beauty to the biblical text. Pretty sure I would not read the Bible regularly if it was simply a dry list of doctrinal precepts and coda. But a story that has layers of meaning, that’s something I can mediate on. That’s something that can animate me.

            Also, the more I read the Bible, the more I come to believe that its basic messages are clear and consistent and not that difficult to ascertain. I think it’s mainly the fundies and the like that muddy the waters and try to make the faith and the Bible what they aren’t.

    • Eric

      I know I’m extremely late to this party, and I don’t think anyone’s really participating anymore. I am an agnostic, scientific person. It’s organized religion, mainly Christianity that I have a problem with. For reasons that have already mentioned by others. I would like to believe that there may be a higher power, or at least forces we don’t understand at work, hence why I consider myself agnostic rather than an athiest.

      What I did want to bring up is that if Jesus and his disciples did indeed have the secrets to the universe, they surely didn’t have the means (monetary or influence) at the time to make a flying machine, or go the moon, or make vaccines. But I Jesus could perform miracles, why not pull these things out of thing air? Someone who could walk on water, turn water into wine, heal the sick and blind, and raise the dead could surely do that. So if he did have this knowledge and ability. He chose not to.

      Now, I’m not saying he had to, or he should have…just saying he could have. For someone who allegedly was a champion of the sick and poor, someone who spoke out against tyranny and oppression, it seems like he could have done more in his lifetime to help. Why cure a few sick people when you could have cured and prevented disease for everyone with that vaccine. He fed hundreds of people with a few fish and loaves of bread, but didn’t make some vaccines out of nowhere for the sick people.

      Instead, he spoke in cryptic riddles, wrote nothing himself, and the only accounts of his existence are shoddy at best. Then he became the sacrificial lamb for all of our sins.

      What is with God requiring live sacrifices anyway? The barbaric stories of the old testament have already been mentioned. This doesn’t sound like a loving, forgiving God. Slavery, genocide…sacrifices? He loves and forgives you, but requires blood to forgive your sins? This pleases God? The God of the old testament also admits to bring a jealous God. Jealousy, vengeful, murderous traits don’t sound they belong to a perfect, divine creator who is the very definition of love. These sound like the traits of a villainous human being. Just the worst kind of person. Not the kind of God I choose to believe in or have anything to do with, whether or not God chooses to be above his own moral code, as you put it, Tyler.

      So when I die, if I find out that this God does exist and he wants to send me to hell, or destroy my soul or whatever…all because he left no empirical evidence to confirm his presence, and the accounts of him in the bible portray him as some kind of monster, then so be it. He can send me far away from him, because he is a sociopath.

      That being said, I did enjoy the article, and had a blast reading the comments. Thank you Tyler for writing this, and thank all of you who contributed intelligent comments…and that wasn’t all of you.

      • Hey Eric, thanks so much for your reading and for your comments. I believe I understand where you’re coming from, and I do not believe that God resents those who use their intellect honestly and in good faith. I believe he is the one who gave you your intellect in the first place, after all.

        You make some very good points about the miracles of Jesus. I’ll share just a few thoughts. First of all, I believe his miracles were primarily meant to be symbolic of what the fruits of following him would be. This is not to say that I don’t believe he healed individual people; I do. But I still think there’s a lot of symbolism in the healing acts, much of it rather obvious: giving sight to the blind, food to the hungry, life to the dead, etc. In spiritual terms, this is what we still believe God offers in Christ to those who believe today.

        Secondly, Christ left those who believe in him to be his hands and feet on the earth today. Though he physically interacted with few in his earthly life, we are to continue that work throughout the world, feeding the hungry, healing the sick, delivering the good news and so on. I don’t know if he’s really to blame for the fact that we’ve failed miserably in doing the simple things he asked us to do.

  • B.C.

    But atheists score higher on religious knowledge tests. Also most atheists in the U.S. are former Christians.

    I will agree that we often use what might appear to be straw men arguments. We tend to use THE WHOLE Bible in our opposition to it. While Christians tend to just use the parts they or their religious leaders like.

    I appreciate the article overall though.

    • Thanks, B.C. I didn’t mean for my comment to be read as referring to all atheists. I have indeed met many atheists and agnostics who are very reasonable, respectful and open-minded, who greatly delight in the pursuit of knowledge and information and truth. It is only a few whom I’ve encountered that seem to have a personal vendetta against religion, which is immune to any facts that would contradict their pre-existing biases.

    • Huh?

      “We tend to use THE WHOLE Bible in our opposition to it.”

      That’s laughable. You are making a joke, right?

  • B.C.

    Why do you think evolution was picked as the “last stand” against science? There are things in cosmology, geology, psychology and other areas of science that contradict a literal reading of the Bible as much as evolutionary theory.

    Does it come down to evolution simply requiring one to know more about science than other areas? Or was it just easier to latch on to “my daddy wern’t no monkey!”.

    As a former Christian the anti evolution disinformation seems like just another cynical cash grab by charlatans.

    • Rab Simpson

      In a word: vanity.

  • Daniel William

    Tyler, I’m sure your a sweet family guy but you have been programmed and conditioned by other post modern christians. Displayed in your writing here are ignorant and sweeping statements .

    • Tyler, I’m sure your a sweet family guy but you have been programmed and conditioned by other post modern christians.

      Yeah, because this doesn’t seem like an “ignorant or sweeping statement” at all.

      • Daniel William

        Yes, absolutely my response can be classified as a sweeping statement, Now you understand some of the fallacies in your original post?

        • Yes, of course! Your two-sentence post has shown me all the errors of my ways. Once I was blind, but now I see. Thank you, Daniel. Thank you.

  • Greg

    I guess I don’t think of the Bible as a science book nor On the Origin of the Species to be a book on morality, I do have to point out some Bible verses –
    First story of creation:
    Genesis 1:11 – Let the EARTH produce plants.
    Genesis 1:14 – promotes that the sun and moon were not even created until the 4th day. Today’s concept of day and evening didn’t even exist until the 4th day.
    Genesis 1:24 – Let the EARTH produce animals.
    Second story of creation:
    Genesis 2:7 – Man was created out of soil/clay – see http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131105132027.htm

    At some point I think all agree man has reached a point of self-awareness (ate the apple) the other creatures haven’t. Thanks for an interesting blog

    • Thank you, Greg! I agree that the passages you mention need not be opposed to evolution at all. Young-earthers, in my experience, tend to try to skim over these verses as much as possible.

      • Greg

        I am a way beyond my area of expertise (both scientifically and theologically) – but it really wasn’t until the 1950s and the application of Einstein’s theory of relativity to create the Big Bang theory that scientists came to recognize the universe did indeed have a beginning. The realization was that the universe was expanding. Up to that point it was scientific assumption/theory that the universe was “static state”. Einstein himself was a supporter of the static state until he came to see the error of his thoughts by use of his own theorems. To me I see more and more agreement between them rather than opposition.

  • James I. Kirkland

    People need to visit Utah, explore are geological parks, join a dinosaur dig, ect. Our rocks preserve on of the most complete sequences of life in any one small geographic place on Earth. Here is a cartoon of Utah’s dinosaur story during Mesozoic (remember birds are now considered to just be flying dinosaurs) plotted against a linear timescale (Our sequence of Upper Cretaceous is nearly 100X times thick than our ALower Cretaceous sequence of rocks because of the thrusting up of the Sevier Mts. about 125 Ma across central Utah). It does not include the new Wahweap tyrannosaurid Lythronax named just this past Wednesday, as I have to update this every few months since Utah is such a hotbed of discovery.

    Our fossil mammal record is also great, but without a Cenozoic seaway, our fossil whale story sucks the our primates went extinct about 40 Ma. Our Paleozoic record in Utah’s west desert preserves a record of the origins and radiation of multicelluar life that is second to none! We have more paleontological museum exhibits and interpreted sites than any other state. If people would visit utah and look with there eyes open, evolution’s deep time story is hard to deny.

    • Thank you for your post, James. I completely agree with you.

  • Mike Calder

    “Scientific
    theories are not the opposite of facts; they are actually superior to
    facts in the hierarchy of terms because they explain facts.”

    WRONG!
    We kn ow that a fact is true. An explanation may or may not be true. So
    the explanation can not be superior in regard to truth because it can
    be wrong, where a fact by definition is never wrong.

    • I didn’t say an explanation was superior “in regard to truth”; I said it was superior in the hierarchy of scientific terms. Which it is. “This fossilized bone is 165 million years old” is a fact, but it is not a particularly useful one. On the other hand, the theory of evolution — the power to explain why things are the way they are — is incredibly useful. That explanations can be wrong is indeed a weakness, but that is why scientists repeatedly use observation, experimentation, predictions and testing to confirm or falsify theories. However, the weakness of potential fallibility in no way negates the great predictive and explanatory power that theories can have.

      If we did not use theories and explanations we could not function in society in relation to anything we did not observe with our own eyes. We could not convict anyone of a crime in the absence of eyewitnesses, and we would be prohibited from doing most forms of scientific inquiry. The fact that you obviously use computers and the Internet indicates to me that you are OK with most of what science does.

      • Mike Calder

        You can not establish that a fossilized bone is 165 million years old. The dating methods are based on assumptions that one can not be certain of. Therefore it is an”educated guess” and a poor one at that.

        There use to be a theory that explained where flies came from. Louis Pasteur proved that explanation (theory) wrong. The explanation was far from stressful.

        • The only assumptions radiometric dating relies on are perfectly reasonable ones, such as the rate of decay of certain materials, which we now see to be constant and stable, were also constant and stable in the past. Scientists date various materials within a certain sample, and also test other materials found in the same layer as the sample in order to establish a date range that is dependable and accurate.

          Using an example of a debunked theory is not a very good argument against theories in general. As I stated before, this is why scientists test theories with predictions, observations and experimentation. Spontaneous generation failed these tests, so it was rejected. Science works. Evolution has passed these tests for more than 150 years, so it remains the prevailing explanation, and it is incredibly useful and predictive. Science works.

  • Mike Calder

    In response to,“Blind faith” does indeed have pejorative connotations in secular usage,
    but RayCo lends credence to these undertones in a way that no True Christian™ should. That’s because the Bible talks about “blind” religious faith, and its description is anything but negative. In John 20:29, Jesus declares that those who “believe without seeing” are “blessed” (contrasting them with “doubting” Thomas, who asked for proof), and 1 Peter 8-9
    warmly declares that those who have not and do not see Christ
    nonetheless are “filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you
    are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your
    souls.”

    This again is a misrepresentation of fact. Thomas had the testimony of many eye witnesses. Jesus was not saying to have blind faith, but to follow the evidence which does not require seeing him. We do the same in a court of law. No juror actually sees the murder, yet they convict based on evidence, not “blind faith”. The same is true of Christians. “:Blind faith” is superstition. I am a Christian because the evidence has convinced ma beyond “reasonable doubt” that Jesus got up from that grave.

  • TheWild Webster

    It’s obviously the work of God. Like, for example, despite there being (allegedly – according to ‘science’) billions of molecules in a glass of water, how is it that every single time you pour the same amount of water out of the glass and back in, it always settles to the same level in the glass? It’s obvious Jesus is sorting those watercules every time!!!!
    http://thewildwebster.wordpress.com/2011/06/11/god-is-in-the-water/

  • Mike Calder

    I could offer a refutation for all of these, but the two that I have already done were good enough, but one has disappeared so I will add another. Point number 10 is clearly wrong. The Bible teaches that everything produces “after its kind”. Evolution teaches that one kind produces another over time. The two are irreconcilable.

    • I don’t know what you mean by “disappeared.” I haven’t deleted anything from this thread, if that’s what you’re implying.

      Point number 10 is clearly wrong. The Bible teaches that everything produces “after its kind”. Evolution teaches that one kind produces another over time. The two are irreconcilable.

      Nothing anywhere in scripture or the most conservative theological models of salvation would suggest that one must believe that particular verse (or anything in Genesis 1) is literal in order to be a Christian. Since you have not suggested otherwise, I’m guessing you agree with this, and so you also agree with the main point of No. 10, which is that evolution is not inherently opposed to Christianity.

      As to it being opposed to the Bible, it’s only a contradiction if you read the passage as literal history, which I think is incorrect. You could also say the heliocentric model is inherently opposed to the Bible if you read passages like 1 Chron. 16:30, Psalm 93:1, Psalm 96:10, Joshua 10:12-13, Hab. 3:11 and Ecc. 1:5 incorrectly.

      In the same part of the Bible that describes animals producing after their kind, it also says the bodies of land animals and people are made from dirt. I’m guessing you don’t take that literally or you would avoid water for fear of dissolution.

  • Cathy Wells

    Things that I don’t feel are adequately dealt with in any evolution material that I’ve seen: 1. Mechanism of ability of a species to develop appendages or attributes. 2. Given what we know about DNA replication, what mechanism is responsible for these changes, are we chalking it all up to genetic mutations? Because, frankly, evolutionary theory seems to talk a lot about “necessary” adaptations or evolutions, which would involve some sort of sentient thought. Just saying, “some random mutations” is clearly chaotic and wouldn’t result in much of anything over time, certainly not systematic structures. 3. Engineer-minded systems and functions (flagella tail mentioned repeatedly in creationist circles). So….we’re chalking THOSE up to “genetic mutations?”

    In short, give me a break. Evolutionary theory has no real answers for the “how,” in my opinion. And since so many evolutionists seem dead set against intelligent design and have no actual answers for the “how” other than straight up conjecture based on their interpretation of the fossil record, I’m just not buying it.

    As I tell my students, some Christians are OK with evolution, others are not. To some, it’s important to their faith, to others, it is not. For me, I really could care less how long God took to make anything or even how He chose to do it. But ascribing the glory and complexity of creation to “chance” is asinine in my opinion. So, yes, that is where we diverge with evolutionists. And I don’t see much chance of resolution.

    • Genetic mutation is only one of the mechanisms that drive evolution. There are several. One that is often ignored is the role genetic recombination plays in species that reproduce sexually. Through meiosis and the recombination of genes from two individuals, offspring usually come out looking slightly different than their parents. They may be lighter or darker in the color of their fur; they may be stronger or weaker, faster or slower, smarter or not so much. In a very competitive environment, these offspring would be more (or less) likely to survive and pass their (or not pass) their genes on to future generations. Over time, the species becomes lighter or darker, stronger, faster or smarter, depending on environmental factors.

      You seem to think we need to understand every step of the history of evolution on our planet before you will accept the theory. If that’s the case, then we should just give up now because that’s never going to happen. But the theory is based on the evidence, even on a few simple observations, such as 1) life as we now know it looks different than the life forms we see preserved in the fossil record, and 2) life looks more and more different the further one looks back into the fossil record. Based on this alone, the idea that modern life evolved from the ancestral forms we see represented in fossils is a very reasonable inference, and fossils aren’t even the strongest evidence of evolution.

      When we have all this evidence for evolution, not understanding steps here and there simply isn’t enough to sink the theory. We may not fully understand how this feature or that feature evolved, but given all the evidence that evolution occurred, we can reasonably accept that they evolved somehow.

      Imagine a bank was robbed. The vault shows no signs of being broken into; it doesn’t even show any signs of having been opened that night. And yet, the bank vault is empty, and security cameras show the robbers walking in empty handed and walking out with the goods. You may not understand how they got into the vault, but given the other evidence, you have to accept that somehow, they did.

      • Cathy Wells

        Tyler, I will research the processes that you are speaking about as I am NOT a scientist, merely a teacher. It sounds like to me, however, nothing that you’ve described there is going to produce a different SPECIES, merely a new version of the same species.

        Fish, for instance, have no viable reason to evolve into any other species, particularly a land-dwelling one, as some evolutionists purport that they did . More than not having a reason to do so, someone has to come up with a really good explanation of how a respiratory system that consists of de-oxygenating water somehow happens to morph into a completely different system devoid of water, gills, and the like. I suppose the argument would be made that they first became amphibious, then reptilian, etc. But, again, what mechanism or process could explain such a thing?

        I appreciate your comment about a lack of understanding not sinking the theory. But I think that we might diverge as to what “evolutionary theory” really is or at least the way it is presented to creationists. Origin of life as a “change combination” of non-living chemicals is a common definition. So, the mechanisms or at least the initial occurrence/mechanism is presented as essential doctrine, if you will, to evolutionary theory. Thus, we must outright reject the theory altogether because it has no plausible explanation for either the origins of life or the particular explanation of the manner in which species evolved.

        A creationist will just as easily reply that God simply created new species at will when He so choose, which covers both the presence of the difference species AND the mechanism by which they occurred. Which is one step farther than evolution goes, in my opinion. In short, it is not enough to simply say, “We know it happened, we know not how.” If we know not how, we do not know WHAT happened. We know that something happened, sure. But evolution appears to admit knowing the “how” along with the “what.” That is my main problem.

        The bank robbery analogy is an interesting one. But it presupposes robbers. What if we found out that the bank owner simply moved all of the money into another vault without telling anyone? This may seem trite or an oversimplification but the deliberate ignorance of any outside force expect robbers seems equally trite to me.”

        Perhaps this is all semantics. Perhaps you are trying to reduce evolutionary theory down simply to the “what” when others are trying to engulf the “how.” It would be most helpful to have the evolutionary community do a thorough job of explaining the “how” if they can or, otherwise, just sticking to the “what.”

        • I suppose the argument would be made that they first became amphibious, then reptilian, etc.

          Precisely. You understand evolution better than you think.

          But, again, what mechanism or process could explain such a thing?

          Tiny, incremental changes over millions of years, honed by the natural selection of the species that are most capable of surviving and passing their genes on to their offspring.

          Origin of life as a “change combination” of non-living chemicals is a common definition.

          A bad definition, as I point out in the article above. Evolution is related to the origin of life simply in that evolution cannot operate unless life exists. But the theory of evolution was created to explain how life diversified over time. It is not the study of how life originated. That is abiogenesis.

          I included a good definition of evolution in the article above: “any change in the frequency of alleles within a gene pool from one generation to the next.”

          A creationist will just as easily reply that God simply created new species at will when He so choose, which covers both the presence of the difference species AND the mechanism by which they occurred.

          OK, as a Christian and a theist, I am willing to entertain this possibility. But let’s think of the implications of such an idea, and see if they really fit the observed evidence. For example, if each species is a special creation of God, we would expect their genetic code to be distinct and unique. We would expect similarities, of course, if the species are similar. For example, if they both have fur, we would probably expect the genes that code for the the production of fur to be similar.

          But we would not expect their genetic codes to be similar — let alone identical — in arbitrary ways, or in noncoding segments. We would certainly not expect two distinct species — who were supposedly not related to each other — to show identical marks of genetic viruses that an ancestor had borne.

          However, that is exactly what we see in humans and chimps. Look up endogenous retroviruses sometime. These are viral elements that are the result of ancient genetic viral elements. We have located a half-dozen in the human genome, meaning that these are the marks of ancient viruses that our ancestors contracted and passed on to us. Guess what? Chimpanzees have these exact same marks, in the exactly analogous locations of their own genomes.

          The theory of evolution explains this finding simply and elegantly: Both humans and chimpanzees share a common ancestor. We both inherited the endogenous retroviruses from that same ancestor.

          Your theory of special creation can offer only one explanation: God just did it that way. That’s not a very satisfying explanation, raising the question of why, of which the only possible answer could be: to deceive us. And that doesn’t fit the description of the God the Bible reveals, who “is not a man, that he should lie.”

          The bank robbery analogy is an interesting one. But it presupposes robbers. What if we found out that the bank owner simply moved all of the money into another vault without telling anyone? This may seem trite or an oversimplification but the deliberate ignorance of any outside force expect robbers seems equally trite to me.

          My analogy said that security cameras saw the robbers entering the bank empty-handed and leaving with the money. It does not presuppose the robbery at all. The only question the analogy leaves unanswered is how they got the money out of the vault.

          In the same way, we know what life looks like today, and we know that the oldest life we have ever found are tiny bacterial creatures fossilized in ancient rock. The question is how we got to where we are today, and the best answer, based on both fossil and genetic evidence, is evolution.

  • Matt

    Awesome article. God and evolution being mutually exclusive is a ridiculous assertion.

    • Thanks, Matt!

    • L.W.

      Actually, Matt, it’s the Christian idea of a god that is contrary with evolution.

      You know, a ‘being’ who wants nothing more than to have a bunch of humans to commit some sins, build some churches, stone to death a few non virgins etc, etc, and then decides to spend 14 billion years watching black holes, bacteria and dinosaurs!!

  • WillMadison

    But the earth is only like 4000 years old, not enough time for evolution to take place. TRUTH.

    • Jay Timmons

      Dude, you mean 6000. 4000 years isn’t hardly enough time for teaching-myths to be interpreted as historical accounts.

  • Martin B

    Re: #1. This would completely neuter all of science, not just the historical ones. Science is fundamentally about explaining the familiar in terms of unfamiliar concepts. Science relies on observation in that outcomes of studies and experiments must be based on things that can be recorded and reinvestigated. This guards science against private, anecdotal, and authoritarian ‘knowledge’. The explanations themselves—i.e. the theories—are almost invariably things that cannot be directly observed. This is precisely how science investigates the unknown and casts light where we are otherwise ignorant. Denying science the right to make inferences is denying science the ability to discover anything.

    • Sure, I think you’re right. If the creationists were in charge of the scientific community, I think no science would be done. Period. However, what I was alluding to is that many creationists do claim that they like science — as long as it can be done in simple experiments like making a vinegar-baking soda volcano. Because evolution is complicated and can’t be replicated in a simple experiment, they claim it’s inherently different than the science they “like” and therefore, bad science.

  • will

    wow! a reasonable person working for a holy roller website. great article, and I hope it opens a few closed minds

  • Peter

    1. There seems to be confusion with idea of repeatability. It is not the phenomenon that is to be repeated, but the experiment. Take gravity; we do not need to recreate gravity or supernovae in order to study those phenomena. Neither do we need to recreate or “repeat” evolution. DNA experiments can be repeated, fossils can be evaluated by other paleontologists, radiometric dating of rocks and fossils can be repeated, etc. So it is repeatable in that sense.

    5. Although abiogenesis (the origin of life from non-life) would not have been evolution in a “selfish gene” or DNA (mutation + selection) basis, but I do think it would have followed a process akin to evolution. It would constitute the emergence of the first stable DNA-like molecule. So we would have had permutations (similar to mutations) of peptide chains where the most stable ones “survived”, and the ones capable of replicating generated subsequent “generations” of molecules. The ones that didn’t have those properties simply dissolved again. Survival of the “stable”.

    6. Scientific hypotheses are in fact also more rigid and well-formed and usually based on a large body of scientific justification, than the layman’s hunch-“theory”.

    7. You say you’re a “big supporter of critical thought” — yet it seems you don’t actually think critically about your own faith?

    • I do indeed believe I think critically about my own faith. One of the guiding Bible passages for me and this website in particular is 1 Corinthians 14:20: “Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature.”

  • Alan Christensen

    I see “Big Daddy?” has been updated since the 1970s, when I had a copy.
    You forgot the 2nd law of thermodynamics! I remember thinking that was game, set, match for evolution: simpler life forms cannot evolve into more complex ones because that would be like a watch assembling itself or something. Of course the folks who pushed this line of reasoning failed to mention that entropy doesn’t apply when you have a constant source of energy fueling the process . . . like the sun.

  • alicia

    “You think that evolution means humans used to be monkeys.”

  • Stephen Hayes

    I don’t have time to respond every time I see this kind of misrepresentation posted, which is why I put up a web site http://www.questiondarwin.com where a few of the more common Dawkinisms and Theistic Evolutionist errors are addressed. Bottom line, you are claiming as a professing Christian that questioning Darwin = lying and poisoning the Gospel. You’re wrong, its the other way around. Or perhaps you can tell us about some of the people who came to Christ or found their faith deepened after reading Darwin? Millions have abandoned Christianity through Evolutionism. Ever heard the one about the bad tree and the bad fruit?

    But its hard to avoid refuting your falsehood about harmful mutations being very rare. As a doctor working in the field of skin cancer, I can tell you that ALL cancers and a very high proportion of other diseases (like the cardiomyopathy that just killed my friend Nicola, like her mother) are caused by mutations. OK, if you want to say that harmful mutations are rare because most are neutral, read John Sanford’s book ‘Genetic Entropy: The Mystery of the Genome’ where he shows that most mutations are NEAR neutral, but will eventually turn information into gibberish. As Michael Behe has shown, the tiny number of allegedly beneficial mutations (sickle cell disease, Lenski e.coli, antibiotic resistance etc) are examples of ‘blunted and broken genes, and very much 1 step sideways, two steps backwards. Mutations that build new meaningful information are not rare, they are undocumented. They are also mathematically impossible.

    Since natural selection acting on random mutations is the only creative mechanism in Darwinian evolution, what we know about mutations destroys any possibility of the ‘theory’ being true. I don’t have all night to address the other errors in this post, but I would be really interested to hear about anyone who came to Christ through Darwin. The traffic seems to be all the other way.
    Kind regards

  • JosephPote

    This is a good post, Tyler! I appreciate your thought-provoking post as well as your graceful responses to commentors.
    Your fundamental point, as I understand it, is that science need not be seen as being in opposition to Christianity, nor Christianity in opposition to science. Rather our world view should include all that we know and should continually change as we come to know more. I completely agree!
    You have also hit on another point that has been well illustrated by various commentors. It is much easier to throw darts at someone else’s position than it is to take the time to understand it.
    And therein lies the challenge to the writer…how to get a reader to lay aside their own prejudices long enough to understand a new paradigm…
    As my father used to say, “Convince a man against his will, he’s of the same opinion still.”
    Blessings to you in your endeavors!

    • Thanks for the encouragement, brother! Blessings to you as well!

  • pauld

    ” If there appears to be a disagreement between the two [science and religion], then the interpretation of the passage in question must be incorrect. For the Bible-believing Christian, there is no other option.

    Well, there is an obvious alternative. It is possible that that the current beliefs of scientists are incorrect. I agree, however, as Alvin Plantinga has argued, that the scientific theory evolution is not necessarily inconsistent with Theism. It only inconsistent if one incorporates as part of the theory of evolution metaphysical naturalism.

    • Rab Simpson

      Scientists don’t deal in beliefs, sorry.

  • josh

    disagree on point 10
    Evolution is in direct contradiction with the bible. It does not mean god does not exist, but that the christian version of god does not exist. It could very well be a deistic god , Or better yet No God which is my opinion

    • Evolution is only in direct contradiction to the literal interpretation of the first two chapters of the book. Since I don’t believe they were meant to be read literally, and instead read them metaphorically, much like the books of the prophets and the parables of Christ, there is no contradiction in my view. In other words, I think there is only a contradiction if you read the Bible incorrectly.

      • Bryan Richards

        and that undermines the very core of christianity (by reading it metaphorically), the fundamentalists understand this idea very well.

        “I think there is only a contradiction if you read the Bible incorrectly.”
        In which case the book is full of writers that couldn’t read it correctly and that almost everyone today reads it incorrectly.

        • Actually, the authors of the New Testament were quite adept at ascribing symbolic meaning to Genesis and the rest of the Old Testament. The author of John drastically reframes the entire first chapter of Genesis in the introduction to his gospel. Paul explicitly describes Abraham’s wife and concubine, Sarah and Hagar, as allegories in Galatians 4:24. The author of 1 Peter describes Noah’s flood in deeply metaphorical terms in his third chapter. Most of the OT passages Matthew quotes from in his gospel, which he presents as messianic prophecies, go beyond the literal, surface meaning. For example, Hosea 11:1, “Out of Egypt I called my son,” explicitly refers to the nation of Israel in the original text, but Matthew interprets it additionally as a reference to the coming Christ.

          Beyond all that, some Christian theologians have been interpreting Genesis 1-3 as metaphorical at least as early as the third century, with the work of the early church father Origen. I believe, like I imagine Origen did, that my reading these chapters metaphorically doesn’t mean I think they aren’t true. I believe they describe the truth about God, the spiritual nature of mankind, and our relationship to him as surely as I’m standing here. But that doesn’t mean it’s the text I go to to understand scientific facts about biological processes.

      • Seth

        I understand what you’re saying. I’m still interested in your opinion on the theory that we evolved from apes.

      • Gayle Jordan

        “In other words, I think there is only a contradiction if you read the Bible incorrectly.”

        But Tyler, that’s the whole point: From where do you get your validation that you are reading the Bible correctly?! Why you and not Westboro Baptist? Don’t they have just as much an opportunity to have read the bible “correctly”? Do you see that what makes your interpretation “better” is that yours appeals to the humanism, empathy, and compassion that are a part of your human nature?

        Your original article is brilliant, but your subsequent defenses in the comments are a sophisticated, convoluted, intricate word salad and require a contorted assemblage of presuppositions and laser-precise definitions?

        I know no battles were ever won on the battlefield of the comment section, so I leave you with just this one thought experiment: For a moment or two, take off your God is Real goggles. Look around. Open your mind to the possibility that there is no god, that religions were created by people trying to explain their environments and settle disputes and overtake property. You have such an ability to think critically about evolution – apply those critical thinking skills to this thing you label Spirituality. You can always put the goggles back on.

        Tyler, from a former believer: Keep thinking. Keep thinking. And be assured there is much more light, air, and space on this side of the divide.

        • Atheist

          For a moment or two, take off your God is Real goggles. Look around. Open your mind to the possibility that there is no god, that religions were created by people trying to explain their environments and settle disputes and overtake property. You have such an ability to think critically about evolution – apply those critical thinking skills to this thing you label Spirituality. You can always put the goggles back on.

          This, this, this, a million times this.

  • Seth

    Tyler, how can the story of Adam and Eve be true if we evolved from apes?

    • “True” is not synonymous with literal. If it were, we’d have to throw out most of the Bible, including the prophetic books of the Old Testament and every one of the parables of Christ. I think the story of Adam and Eve is metaphorical, a deeply symbolic account of our first ancestors to whom God revealed himself and offered a chance for a relationship with him.

      • Seth

        Tyler, what you’re saying makes sense, but is simply looking at the stories as metaphorical enough to claim that there is no contradiction with the idea that apes physically gave birth to the first “primitive” humans? The bible says that God created man in his image. I can understand that inaccurate worldly stories were used to convey deeper and more important spiritual lessons, but at a certain point don’t you have to take some of the bible’s claims at face value? You may not believe me but i have no bias on this issue. You seem to have a better grasp of the subject than I do so I’m genuinely interested in your thoughts on this matter, specifically regarding humans evolving from apes.

        • Tyler, what you’re saying makes sense, but is simply looking at the stories as metaphorical enough to claim that there is no contradiction with the idea that apes physically gave birth to the first “primitive” humans?

          Um, yeah, it is.

          The bible says that God created man in his image.

          This is clearly metaphorical, even if you read the rest of the passage literally. If this teaching meant to convey that we are made in the physical image of God, then it means he has a physical body, which would mean not only that he is limited in the same way that we are limited by our fleshly prisons, but it would break the clear teaching of scripture that “God is Spirit” (John 4:24). It would also fail to account for the obvious anatomical difference between men and women, since we are both, equally made in God’s image (“In the image of God, he created man, male and female, he created them.”)

          I think that most theologians believe this verse alludes to us being made in the spiritual image of God. It speaks to the truth that we — unlike all other life on this planet — are spiritual beings, as well as material beings. And I agree with them.

          I can understand that inaccurate worldly stories were used to convey deeper and more important spiritual lessons, but at a certain point don’t you have to take some of the bible’s claims at face value?

          By “inaccurate worldly stories,” do you mean the parables of Christ? Because I think “stories that were used to convey deeper and more important spiritual lessons” is a pretty good definition of the parables.

          • Seth

            Okay I understand your view on this and I thank you for your responses, but you seem to be somewhat avoiding the main topic I’ve been asking your opinion on. Do you believe without any doubt that God created man by having apes give birth to them, or do you believe that they could be a separate creation from animals all together? Again..I would like to hear your opinion on the this topic, and this topic only.

          • If you had actually asked me this question before, in any remotely clear way, I would have answered it. No, I don’t think “God created man by having apes give birth to them.” I accept what all the available scientific evidence indicates, which is that our species arose from a millions-of-years-long process of tiny, incremental changes passed along to successive generations. I.e., the most recent common ancestor of Homo sapiens, would have looked very, very similar to Homo sapiens.

            No, I do not believe humans were a separate creation by God. If God had made humans as a distinct and separate creation, I doubt he would have made our genome nearly identical to that of an animal (namely, chimpanzees) that we weren’t related to at all. Look up endogenous retroviruses some time. These are molecular remnants of a past parasitic viral infection. We have found more than 30,000 ERVs in the human genome, meaning that these are the marks of ancient viruses that our ancestors contracted and passed on to us. And, what’s more, in dozens of cases, chimpanzees have these exact same marks in exactly analogous locations of their own genomes.

            The theory of evolution explains this finding simply and elegantly: Both humans and chimpanzees share a common ancestor, and we both inherited these ERV sequences from that same ancestor.

            Your theory of special creation can offer only one explanation: God just did it that way. That’s not a very satisfying explanation, raising the question of why, of which the only possible answer could be: to deceive us. And that doesn’t fit the description of the God the Bible reveals, who “is not a man, that he should lie.” What’s so ironic about Christian anti-evolutionists is that they oppose science precisely because of their insistence that God “didn’t lie” in the Genesis creation accounts, but in so doing, they make him into a liar in what’s revealed in his other book, the book of nature.

          • Seth

            Alright I understand your view on this now. Although for your information I do believe in, and understand evolution. I simply wanted to hear your opinion, as a Christian, on this subject and didn’t want to seem biased in my question..though I guess I overdid it If you felt I was an anti-evolutionist.

            When I asked if you believed “God created man by having apes give birth to them?”, I didn’t mean if you thought that one day a chimpanzee gave birth to a fully bipedal hairless flesh bag capable of abstract thought. It was simply a crude summation of the process, one which I still feel is appropriate.

            Anyway I feel that most Christians would at least agree that God, who is omnipotent, had always intended for humans to play a special role in his creation. That God would give them souls, dominion over the world and all other animals, and ultimately make his covenant with them. So if you’re not tired of responding to me yet, my question to you is this

            As a Christian, how do you reconcile the creation of mankind, who was always predestined to such distinction by God, as being descended from an ape? Why do you personally believe God chose to fashion us that way when it was perfectly in his power to make us a “special creation.” Do you believe there is some kind of spiritual meaning or message in this? Or were chimpanzees simply the tool used to bring us about and the matter shouldn’t be dwelt on? Even if you can’t answer this with any certainty do you have any personal theories that you consider from time to time?

          • Dear Seth, I did not mean to make presumptions about your beliefs. By saying “your theory of special creation,” I simply meant the idea of special creation, which you yourself had offered as an alternative to evolution. I apologize if I caused any offense.

            As to your question, I recently posted another article that I think speaks to this issue. Please check it out if you’re interested. But basically, no, I honestly don’t think the two ideas (evolution and God’s sovereign creation) are that fundamentally opposed. Genesis 1 says God called to the earth and commanded it to bring forth living creatures. Genesis 2 describes God “forming” mankind, along with animals and birds, but it is not very specific about the mechanism. If evolution is true, then I think it was God’s mechanism for creation, period.

            It is just like the water cycle, as far as I’m concerned. Scripture, both Old and New Testament, describes God as being the direct source of rain, snow and hail. Today, we have a much better understanding of the physical processes that cause precipitation than they did in biblical times. But, just because we know about evaporation and condensation, does that mean we can no longer consider God as sovereign over these events. Does this mean that a faithful farmer in a drought-stricken region must thank a precipitous cold front for the rain that comes, rather than God? I don’t think so.

          • farah

            SORRY UR PLAINLY RIDICULOUS and deluded

      • Steven Carr

        In the beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth.

        An obvious metaphor. Nobody thinks ‘God’ literally created everything. That is not what Genesis is about.

        • L.W

          Steven, you’re trying to bring reason and logic into a discussion about Christianity.

          As you’re surely aware, Christians have no use of logic and reason when it pertains to their religion.

          When it pertains to Scientology or the LDS church, then fine. But otherwise, they say no thanks!

        • Rab Simpson

          “An obvious metaphor.”

          Given what we’re aware of now, but not so to the primitive people who lived up to the age of enlightenment.

          “Nobody thinks ‘God’ literally created everything.”

          Except christians and jews and muslims etc etc etc. Creating a universe involves creating everything within it, even if that involves some kind of theologically twisted version of the theory of evolution where a guy with a beard is tinkering with it as time goes by.

          “That is not what Genesis is about.”

          This would imply that you know what it’s about, as if you’re privy to some kind of information that we’re not, like for instance what the authors were thinking when they cooked it up.

      • L.W.

        It’s pretty handy when you get to pick and choose what parts of your ancient holy book are “metaphorical” and which are true.

        • Any person who reads the Bible interprets the Bible. I am doing nothing remotely unique in accepting some parts as metaphorical rather than literal.

      • Rab Simpson

        “”True” is not synonymous with literal.”

        You’re right there, but it is synonymous with ‘factually accurate’.

        “If it were, we’d have to throw out most of the Bible”

        This is also the case with factually accurate. So what does that leave you with? Books full of fairy tales. Who lives their life according to Hänsel und Gretel? Nobody, because that would be stupid.

        “prophetic books”

        That’s a laugh. Here’s how that works: book makes prediction -> someone reads it hundreds of years later -> same someone puts a plan into action to make the prediction come true -> that same someone again then makes the claim that the original book was ‘prophetic’. Ludicrous nonsense.

        “and every one of the parables of Christ”

        What a shame. Here’s an idea: take the good bits (you’ll know the good bits thanks to secular morality) from these stories and try to use them in your life, let’s call it ‘being Christ-like’, and stop pretending that any of it is actually true seeing as there’s no good reason to believe that it is unless you have such a poor grasp of logic that you actually fell for Pascal’s wager. Are you really that scared of ‘hell’ that you refuse to look at these stories through the eyes of reason?

        • That’s a laugh. Here’s how that works: book makes prediction -> someone reads it hundreds of years later -> same someone puts a plan into action to make the prediction come true -> that same someone again then makes the claim that the original book was ‘prophetic’. Ludicrous nonsense.

          Thanks for the illuminating editorial remarks, but by “prophetic books,” I didn’t mean “books that make predictions. It’s a simple descriptive term for a division of the Bible. The writings are characterized by symbolism and metaphor, which is why I used them in my above illustration.

          What a shame. Here’s an idea: take the good bits (you’ll know the good bits thanks to secular morality) from these stories and try to use them in your life, let’s call it ‘being Christ-like’, and stop pretending that any of it is actually true seeing as there’s no good reason to believe that it is unless you have such a poor grasp of logic that you actually fell for Pascal’s wager. Are you really that scared of ‘hell’ that you refuse to look at these stories through the eyes of reason?

          Fear of “hell” has nothing to do with the reason I became a Christian or why I am one today. We might have a more productive discussion if you stopped presuming everyone who calls themselves a Christian is exactly identical in every way.

          • Rab Simpson

            “It’s a simple descriptive term for a division of the Bible.”

            Religious double-speak then. Thanks for the clarification.

            “Fear of “hell” has nothing to do with the reason I became a Christian or why I am one today.”

            So why not enlighten us then? Just so you’re aware, ‘faith’ is the antithesis of reason so doesn’t qualify as a reason.

            “We might have a more productive discussion if you stopped presuming everyone who calls themselves a Christian is exactly identical in every way.”

            I don’t, you’re taking my words to extremes. You must admit, however, that qualification for a label such as ‘christian’ comes with a certain number of pre-requisites which need to be met, and they more often than not come with a number of other characteristics which may or may not apply to the person having the label (or description, if you prefer) applied. For instance, acceptance of evolution is commonly associated with atheism, but isn’t a pre-requisite, whereas lacking belief in deities is. I’m using a process of elimination to determine just exactly what kind of christian you think yourself to be (what you are in reality is difficult to determine when I only have your words to go by).

  • Herro

    Regarding point #10. It depends on how you exactly want to define “evolution”, but biology and geology are most certainly in contradiction with the story of Noah’s flood. There was no recent global flood that killed almost all of terrestrial life. So if that’s what an anti-evolutionist means by point #10, then the anti-evolutionist is correct! 😮

    • It’s a valid point, but again, I think it’s a matter of interpretation. I, for one, think the text in question describes a local event, rather than a global one, and there is textual evidence for this view. However, like Genesis 1-3, I think the primary purpose of the flood story was to serve as a metaphor for deeper truth, as even the author 1 Peter seems to indicate in his third chapter.

      • Herro

        The story makes absolutely no sense if it’s just a local flood (did Noah need to save birds and cattle from extinction in a local flood? a local flood covers mountains? and so on) and there doesn’t seem to be any real “textual evidence” in that article.

        It might be a matter of interpretation, but I think it’s just blatant text-twisting and denial. Maybe YECs see that, so they really have to choose between biology/geology and admitting that the flood didn’t happen and that it’s an error in the bible.

        So if we want to get YECs to accept evolution, getting them to see that the bible is full of errors would be a good start.

        • I’m guessing you didn’t read the article very closely, since it addresses all of your questions. The flood account is rife with universal language, which does convey the impression that it’s discussing a global event. And yet, if this universal language is taken at face value, the story contradicts itself repeatedly. For example, it says corruption was over the whole earth, and “all flesh” was corrupted, but then goes on to describe Noah and his family as righteous and blameless. So, clearly, the “all flesh” was a hyperbolic description, and not a literal one. Why can’t the same be true when it says everything that had the breath of life was destroyed?

          As to the local flood covering mountains, this is a question of translation. The Hebrew word “har” can mean “mountains” or “hills” or “hilly areas.” I think the flood account is usually translated with the presupposition that it’s describing a global flood. If Genesis 7:19 were translated as “All the highest hills under the sky were covered,” (which is just as reasonable a translation), it would give readers an entirely different impression of what is being discussed.

          It’s not like the global flood interpretation doesn’t have problems of its own, even purely from a textual standpoint, without getting into the utter lack of any geological evidence. For example, what did the herbivorous animals eat when they exited the ark onto a world that had been flooded for nearly a year, and therefore had no plant life growing? For that matter, what did the carnivores eat? If they had eaten any of their former shipmates immediately after the voyage, that would have meant immediate extinction for that species, since you know, there were only two of them.

          I also frequently come back to the olive branch. Olive trees are subtropical plants that grow in low-lying areas. They don’t grow on mountain tops. Therefore, the flood could have never been that high if the olive branch was what was brought as a sign that the waters were subsiding.

          One final comment. All of this is largely academic on my part. As I said before, I believe the primary purpose of this story today is in its metaphorical truth and symbolism. I really do think that the text is describing a local event and not something that engulfed the entire planet. But the jury’s still out for me as to whether I think the story was meant to be a historical account with some metaphorical aspects, or an entirely metaphorical account like Genesis 1.

  • L.W.

    Tyler asks what evidence scientists have presented that a place like Heaven doesn’t exist.

    Replace the word heaven with ‘unicorns’ and the statement is just as true, and just as absurd.

    And the fact that the earliest copies of the Gospel of Mark don’t contain any actual resurrection appearances of Jesus is more significant than Tyler seems willing to admit. Since Jesus doesn’t actually appear to anyone his resurrection can only be presumed. An empty tomb by itself means nothing. How do we know that the body wasn’t stolen? (And the ‘angel’ that supposedly speaks to the women hardly constitutes evidence).

    The lack of actual bodily appearances of Jesus undermines the a central tenet of Christianity.

    And whenever I see some Christian complain that non believers make a caricature of Christianity that they don’t recognize, I can only assume that they don’t adhere very closely with their holy books teachings.

    Christianity is founded on the belief that two thousand years ago in the Middle East desert some ethereal ‘Being’ chose to turn itself into a man and trot around among a small group of superstitious, illiterate peasants in backwater ancient Palestine for the ultimate purpose of allowing his own creation to hang him to a tree and savagely murder him as a blood atonement for their sins. Sins that were incurred when a man picked some fruit from a magic tree in a magic garden two thousand years earlier.

    Brother, if the idea of a god/human hybrid offering himself up as some kind of human sacrifice isn’t the most preposterous piece of Stone Age lunacy that the human mind has ever concocted, then please tell me what is.

    There is no need make a ‘caricature’ of the Christian religion. It is cartoonish bullshit that no thinking person in 2013 should believe or defend.

  • L.W.

    And regarding the empty tomb that Tyler mentions in the comments of this post, there is no remotely objective evidence that the empty tomb story in the Gospels is anything more than that, just a story. Where Jesus’ body was placed after his death is unknown. And at least one scholar (Crossan, I think) believes that it was most likely thrown in a common grave or eaten by dogs!

    • There is evidence within the letters that any historical scholar accepts as the writings of Paul that the disciples were preaching the resurrection of Jesus at least within a year or two of his death. And, as the introduction to the gospel of Luke indicates, these stories were being preached, not as religious myths, but real historical events, attested to by eyewitnesses. If Jesus’ body had still been lying in a tomb somewhere, or it was known what had happened to it (such as it being thrown in a common grave or eaten by dogs), those who “really had” witnessed what happened would have still been plenty alive and well enough to share the truth.

      You are more than welcome to see the gospels as “just stories,” but most New Testament scholars (a surprising number of whom include atheists or agnostics like Bart Ehrman) agree that there is some historically reliable information within the texts. After all, with the criteria by which you might toss out the gospels (they’re biased, we don’t really know who wrote them, we don’t have the original copies, they talk about miracles and supernatural events, they were written decades after the fact, there aren’t a lot of corroborating sources, etc.), we would also have to throw out virtually every other ancient historical document.

      As an aside, L.W., your other comment was deleted. I thought you made some good points, but you ruined it at the end. If you would like to continue this discussion, I would ask that you review our brief comment policy before doing so. You are both welcome and encouraged to share your opinion here about my writing or my beliefs, I ask only that you treat me with the same respect with which I treat you.

      • L.W.

        Tyler, you’re sounding more like Ray Comfort with every post.

        Nowhere in Paul’s letters is there an indication that Paul was preaching a resurrected corpse, as the. Gospels were. You failed to mention, (accidentally?) that the apostle Paul never once refers to an empty tomb or to anyone experiencing anything other than his own type of encounter with Jesus. Which is described as nothing more than a bright light and a voice from the sky!!! Wow!!! That’s pretty powerful evidence!!!!

        What a shame that you can’t allow the same critical eye that guides you toward an understanding of evolution to also guide you to an understanding of the absurdity of religious belief.

        • You are incorrect. Paul discusses the bodily resurrection of Christ in many of his letters. In 1 Corinthians 15, he describes several instances in which the resurrected Christ appeared to people, outside of his own experience. In that same chapter, he goes on to underscore the foundational importance of the bodily resurrection to the Christian faith.

      • L.W.

        Tyler, I wish that you would treat reasoned, rational thought with the respect that you claim to demand on this blog.

      • L.W.

        “…any historical scholar accepts as the letters of Paul”

        Tyler, please tell me that you don’t really believe that bit of hyperbole that you just wrote.

        There are no shortage of historical scholars who doubt the accuracy and authenticity of any and all of Paul’s letters.

        And yes, the followers of Jesus were probably preaching the resurrection of Jesus as a historical event. Because they believed it. Not because that they, necessarily, had good evidence for it.

        And what you don’t address is what kind of resurrection that the first apostles were preaching.

        You seem t assuming that the gospel stories were being preached by the earlier apostles, but you have no evidence of that.

        Richard Carrier’s writings on early resurrection beliefs would benefit you greatly, and some of his writings are available online.

        And Tyler, any good historian will look upon ancient writings with skepticism, which is warranted due to the lack of cooberation

        • L.W.

          Damn I hate this iPad. The above should read that a lack of corroboration means that many ancient documents have to be looked at skeptically.

          That is particularly true when the writers are anonymous and never name any of their sources, as the Gospels do.

          I doesn’t mean that we necessarily throw them out, as you so ignorantly stated.

        • “…any historical scholar accepts as the letters of Paul”

          Tyler, please tell me that you don’t really believe that bit of hyperbole that you just wrote.

          There are no shortage of historical scholars who doubt the accuracy and authenticity of any and all of Paul’s letters.

          From Wikipedia: “There is wide consensus, in modern New Testament scholarship, on a core group of authentic Pauline epistles whose authorship is rarely contested: Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, and Philemon. Several additional letters bearing Paul’s name lack academic consensus: Ephesians, Colossians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 & 2 Timothy, and Titus. Scholarly opinion is sharply divided on whether the former two epistles are the letters of Paul; however, the latter four – 2 Thessalonians, as well as the three known as the ‘Pastoral Epistles’ – have been labeled pseudepigraphical works by most critical scholars.”

          You referenced only a portion of the full phrase I used, which was “within the letters that any historical scholar accepts as the writings of Paul.” You’ll notice that 1 Corinthians, from which I quoted, is among the letters that has near-universal acceptance among scholars as authentic.

  • L.W

    Tyler, while I appreciate your articulate defense of evolution, it is a shame that you offer no defense of how a cruel, torturous process like evolution was chosen by a benevolent God to create life.

    Evolution is the reason that we have Cancer, AIDS, SmallPox, the Black Plague, Malaria, Polio, brain eating parasites, etc, etc,.

    Praise Jesus for evolution!!!!!!!!!

    • I’ve discussed this in several other articles I’ve written, here, here and here.

    • JeffWest

      Evolution is the reason we walk erect, have opposable thumbs and can perceive colors, for starters.

      • Evolution is not the/a reason for any of the above, it offers a scientifically elegant explanation for how species (including viruses) have emerged, inhabited particular locations and survived certain conditions. I can explain the process of going to the supermarket, but driving my car is not the reason for going to the supermarket. Moreover, some of the lifestyle choices and ways we treat our environment tend to favour some of the viruses and bacteria mentioned above.

  • L.W.

    Tyler wrote “the bible and creation are both written by god”

    Holy mother of Zeus!!!!! Are you serious with this pathetic nonsense!!!

    You are no less of an embarrassment to Christianity than Ray Comfort and Pat Robertson.

  • L.W.

    Tyler attempts to come across as an ‘enlightened’ Christian, with his reasoned defense of evolution. But when he attempts to defend the absurdity of Christian belief, it’s an embarrassment.

  • Phil R

    Nice article! There are differences between revelation, observation and interpretation. Revelation is substantive and refers to signals/signs/realities that are always there even if they are never received. We might not be equipped to receive some signals or we might consciously or inadvertently filter them. Observation is more objective, as this refers to things to which we can all repeatedly, physically experience and relate. Observation lends to prediction – which I think is the real beauty of Evolution beyond the discourse on the origin of species. Interpretation is subjective explanation of observations, while faith is a stance taken on what we believe is being revealed. I believe that God is being revealed through science, art and experience – you can choose not to believe that if it makes you uncomfortable. However, I still get to choose my faith, although its great to have a community of people that share the same faith – great things happen when that faith has a productive, non-destructive purpose. I believe God is revealed, while science is about observation and interpretation, which we need to celebrate and apply to understanding and improving our existence. The Bible appears flawed because it spends many of its pages explaining journeys and flaws of legalism until it zeroes in on what I believe is the revelation of God – Love. Just like in science we have to spend time talking about failings to understand findings, the Bible does the same in the context of faith. However, Love is even said to be greater than Faith (we tend to forget that). We are so caught up with laws and our theories of Truth that we become blind, self-seeking and perpetuate hatred and disunity. The most persuasive, deceptive and exploitative among us tend to win. We find reasons to justify enslavement and genocide because of our human nature and limited understanding of what it really means to survive.

    • Thanks for your thoughts, Phil! Glad you liked the article.

  • Aron Fisher

    You obviously have a great understanding of evolution but let’s take a look at your theology for a minute. #10 is erroneous in the fact that evolution totally negates the Bible, Old Testament and new, here’s why.

    You already understand evolution and know it’s true then you will realize that if there was no Adam and Eve then there was no original sin. No original sin then there is no reason for Jesus to die on the cross. No need for Jesus to die on the cross then that means salvation is false and the entire point of Christianity is nullified. Oooops.

    • JeffWest

      Mankind originated in what is now known as sub-Saharan Africa. As humans evolved, they spread out and developed characteristics that helped them adapt to their immediate surroundings. Compare Africans, Scandinavians and Eskimos to see the results of evolution in action. According to LiveScience, “nearly all modern men can trace their lineage back to a man who lived in Africa between 125,000 and 156,000 years ago, and that the same goes for women.” The tale of Adam and Eve seems obviously metaphorical.

    • Hey Aron, this completely fallacious claim has already been fully addressed numerous times within this thread, by both myself and others, so I hope you will forgive my simply compying and pasting a previous answer. I’d be happy to talk with you more if you have any follow-up questions.

      The Bible does not teach that the need for a savior is predicated on the idea of original sin. Indeed, original sin is a doctrine that some believe is derived from scripture, but it is not named or clearly defined anywhere in the text. In fact, if by “original sin,” you mean the idea that humans have inherited guilt from their parents and are born spiritually dead, I don’t believe that is taught in the Bible at all.

      The Bible clearly teaches that we are in need of salvation because of our own personal sin, not the sin committed by our supposed ancestors thousands of years ago. Romans 3:23-25: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.”

      Nothing about Adam and Eve in there, nor is there anything in that passage that the scientific theory of evolution could possibly make more or less true.

  • Syn Holliday

    If a Christian uses point #1, then couldn’t you just ask if they observed God creating the universe?

    • Sure, you could, but their answer would be, “No, no one was there but God, which is why his word, and his eyewitness account in Genesis, are the only things we can trust.” Ken Ham and his group, Answers in Genesis, say stuff like that all the time.

      • Syn Holliday

        Still wouldn’t work, the Christian wasn’t there to witness God being there. God might not have been there. It could have been any of the deities from the many other religions with creation stories.

        • Logically, you are correct, of course, but this argument would never work on a fundamentalist, which I believe was the premise of your original comment?

          • Syn Holliday

            Totally agree.

          • Atheist

            It’s interesting to me how reasonable you are most of the time, yet when people question your personal interpretation of theology elsewhere in the comments you bend over backwards to justify things. Why not just take a step back and realize that you wouldn’t believe any of this Christianity bullocks if you hadn’t been raised to, even though you can justify things given this worldview you already have?

            Just an observation. Nice blog post.

          • Hey, I appreciate your comment. And I’ve certainly seen such sentiments expressed on my site before. Believe it or not, I really do try to bring the same kind of logic and reasoning to my faith, such as it is, that I do to any other issue, including the theory of evolution. That being said, I’d be lying if I told you I never had any doubts about my religious beliefs, and I’d also be lying if I said my faith is entirely a “head thing.” Sometimes I do trust without fully understanding.

            I must tell you, however, that my faith does not really stem from a childhood upbringing. I was raised Catholic, but had all but abandoned faith save for a vague “deism-bordering-on-agnosticism” type of view by high school. I came back to faith in college after what I believe was a powerful spiritual experience. I discuss that at some length here, if you’re interested.

          • Atheist

            Somebody made my point for me perfectly. Writing it again here, since I’m guessing you only are notified for direct replies which my other comment repeating it wasn’t:

            For a moment or two, take off your God is Real goggles. Look around. Open your mind to the possibility that there is no god, that religions were created by people trying to explain their environments and settle disputes and overtake property. You have such an ability to think critically about evolution – apply those critical thinking skills to this thing you label Spirituality. You can always put the goggles back on.

            Nice blog post, and have a nice day.

      • Syn Holliday

        Still wouldn’t work, the Christian wasn’t there to witness God being there. God might not have been there. It could have been any of the deities from the many other religions with creation stories (or none of them).

      • Syn Holliday

        Still wouldn’t work because the Christian still was not there to witness God being there. God might not have been there. It could have been any deity from the many other religions with creation stories (or none of them).

  • Sam Kay

    Thank you for this. Good to know that there IS reason in the faith community after all.

  • Syn Holliday

    Regarding #1: Christians were not there at the beginning either, so they were not there to witness the Judeo-Christian God being there creating the Earth and the universe. God might not have been there. It could have been any deity of the many other religions with creation stories (or none of them).

  • Josh

    Laughed at No. 10 lol….. Do you even Genesis bro ?

    • Yeah, I write about Genesis on this site all the time, bro. Like other Christians going back at least as far as Origen in the third century, I believe the Genesis creation accounts were meant to be read metaphorically — not as literal history.

  • Peter Galik

    Thank you so much for having created this! This really helps to clear up a lot of confusion on the vastly complex subject of biological evolution! I’m a Christian and have no problem accepting evolution, or even that the world is millions and billions of years old!

    • Thanks! Awesome to hear. Welcome to the fold 🙂

      • Peter Galik

        No problem, and thanks! ^_^

  • Gabriel

    “I agree that the creationists’ view of God and the Bible is more simple and straightforward than mine, but I’m not really all that interested in a simple view of God Almighty :)”

    I LOVE this. I agree – I don’t think that God can be condensed into a simple form by humans… and why He, when we are His creations?

  • John Thimakis

    Nice post. What about those Christians that listen to bible literalists like Ken Ham and his ilk? Telling children that Adam and Eve had dinosaurs in the garden of eden. Telling them to disrupt school lessons with ‘where you there’. What about YECs and the age of the earth. Have you posted something on that. Most importantly how can we know that you are really a Christian.

    • Hey John, glad you liked it! Yeah, I have written lots of posts about all that stuff. Try searching the site for Ken Ham, biblical literalism, Adam and Eve, dinosaurs, etc. You’ll find my thoughts on all that and more. And here’s my statement of faith, if you’re interested.

    • Tim

      John Thimakis,

      This is what AiG says about how you can become a Christian. As you can see clearly, there is no requirement stated or implied that one must be a YEC, or agree with their view of the history in Genesis.

      https://answersingenesis.org/gospel/salvation/what-does-it-mean-to-be-saved/

      Do you agree with this?

      • John Thimakis

        No I don’t believe in that at all. I don’t believe the bible to be either the word of God or even inspired by God. I think it was meant as stories for the people of the time to explain the unexplainable and to keep them inline. With promises of an afterlife if they were good and an eternity of punishment if they were bad. Personally I don’t believe in the supernatural. That includes any Gods.

  • Here are nine points of tension between evolution and the Bible. Help me resolve them and you’l have won me to your side. (To conserve space, the points are written cryptically; therefore, please don’t be uncharitable in interpreting them.)

    Evolution argues against the historicity of Adam and Eve

    Evolution is a theory of continuation while the Bible gives an account of origins

    Evolution postulates a common ancestor while the Bible says everything reproduces after its own kind

    Evolution speaks of random mutation and natural selection while the Bible speaks of God’s intentionality

    Evolution speaks of one continuous and self-sustaining process while the Bible speaks of God’s punctuated commands

    Evolution presents a primeval history which requires the Bible’s account of primeval history to be considered mythical

    Evolution makes faith in scientists more potent than faith in prophets

    Evolution speaks of improvement while the Bible speaks of corruption

    Evolution speaks of an unattended process while the Bible speaks of God’s word as the attending agent

    • Mike, the fact is that most of these arguments can be (and once were) used just as well to support something like geocentrism, the idea that the earth is at the center of the universe, with the sun moving around it in the sky. There are numerous verses that could be mentioned in scripture that seem to say quite clearly that the earth does not move (e.g. 1 Chronicles 16:30, Psalm 93:1, Psalm 96:10 and Psalm 104:5) and the sun does (Joshua 10:12-13, Habakkuk 3:11 and Ecclesiastes 1:5).

      When Galileo was being tried by the Catholic Church for defending the idea that, instead, the earth revolves around the sun, one cardinal went so far as to say, “To assert that the earth revolves around the sun is as erroneous as to claim that Jesus was not born of a virgin.” It was once considered a doctrinal issue to deny the orbit of the earth.

      But the argument you use that I take the most exception to is the “Evolution makes faith in scientists more potent than faith in prophets.” I do not have “faith in scientists,” Mike, any more than you do when you accept the idea that earth orbits the sun even though it doesn’t appear to from where we’re standing. The fact is that there is overwhelming evidence for the ancient age of the earth and common descent, and it’s not a matter of just having a different opinion. The facts are there and they have to be explained somehow.

      This stuff about the billions of years of evolution is not something I just “choose” to “believe in” because I want to. There is a lot of evidence there, enough that I think we can reasonably presume the billions of years to be true. And, if it is, it does not stop being true simply because it is inconvenient for our theology. We have to acknowledge and we have to deal with it; we can’t simply pretend like it isn’t there.

  • Steven Hamblin
  • salkash

    First of all the most important question about the Bible is that why did Constantine at Nicaea on 325 AD discard all the other gospels and chose only what he preferred that became the official Bible what exists today. We have no clue who are those writers and authors of the gospels for example when someone say according to that person then for sure there is confusion and this is not acceptable in the court of law notwithstanding Christians take this Book as a word of god most of the NT was written by Paul who plainly contradict the teaching of Jesus yet Christian follow Paul most of the historians have written about Paul that he was the founder of Christianity not Jesus because Jesus respected the Laws but Paul rejected the Laws he changed the entire teaching of Jesus but Christians don’t see that. Why did James reject the teaching of Paul just think about that not only James but the other apostles did not get along with Paul and they were all Jewish and never knew about the word Christian so where this word Christian comes from and who borrowed the philosophy of Greek and Roman no wonder Paul allowed that Christians can eat the meat of idol worshipers . Paul was very shrewd man that he proclaimed that Jesus died for us and we are free of any sin since we are under grace so we don’t have to follow any Laws. .I hope Christians should examine the Bible and the history and then discern the Truth .

  • Mookelchemist

    “This, of course, is the defining characteristic of science: Not that is observable and repeatable, but that it is testable and falsifiable”

    You’ve contradicted yourself here. In order to test something you have to observe something whilst it’s happening and repeat it multiple times. Then statistical analysis can be applied to determine meaningful results.

    Darwinism is a good theory because it’s falsifiable. Darwin said ‘if you can find a system which can’t be built up step by step then my theory would absolutely break down.’

    Modern science has discovered that biology is full of machines that are irreducible, so the theory has broken down.

    So why do people still believe it?

    • Nope

      “Modern science has discovered that biology is full of machines that are irreducible, so the theory has broken down.”

      This is absolutely false. Don’t know who told you that, but they were misinformed.

    • In order to test something you have to observe something whilst it’s happening and repeat it multiple times.

      Yes, obviously you have to be able to observe what is being tested. The problem is that when creationists say “evolution isn’t observable,” they mean we can’t watch a species evolve over millions of years. And they’re right about that, they’re just wrong that a theory has to be “observable” in that way in order to be vindicated. Fact is, evolution is driven by certain mechanisms, and every single one of them can be and has been tested, and can be and has been observed.

      Modern science has discovered that biology is full of machines that are irreducible, so the theory has broken down.

      I know this has already been said, but yeah, this is completely wrong.

  • Tim

    The fact is that there is a reproductive barrier between species (talking here about species that reproduce sexually). That is why members of one species cannot successfully interbreed (produce fertile offspring) with members of a different species. That is the standard biological definition of species.

    Species arent differentiated because ‘small changes accumulate’, as if there were a certain number of changes that ‘add up’ to a new species. Its not some mathematical equation. The use of language like ‘accumulate’ and ‘add up’ shows a misunderstanding of what species are and how they are defined. If species were truly defined by small changes ‘accumulating’ then the natural question is “How many changes must accumulate?” and of course there is no answer for that because its a false view of species.

    The use of an ad hom within your argument “any sane person must admit…” further illustrates the bankruptcy of your position. Since when was good science determined by who can insult those who disagreed with him?

    • The argument was not necessarily that small changes add up to a change in species. “Species” itself is a vague and difficult-to-define term, precisely because life is so fluid and ever-changing. The argument was that small changes will, over time, add up to larger-scale changes. Which is less a scientific argument as much as it is first-grade logic.

      The use of an ad hom within your argument “any sane person must admit…” further illustrates the bankruptcy of your position. Since when was good science determined by who can insult those who disagreed with him?

      I’m sorry you were offended by the tone of the article. In the future, I’ll try to be more sensitive in regards to my insane readers — oh, I mean, my readers with “an alternative view of reality.”

      • Tim

        Its more than a bit ironic that in order to establish ‘origin of species’ evolutionists must admit ‘well we really don’t know what a species is (i.e. how to define a species)’. This unfalsifiability gives evolutionists sufficient cover to say just about anything and maintain enough wiggle room. (For instance, they say ridiculous things like “there is no such thing as the very first homo sapiens”. And they say that after declaring that the species homo sapiens did ‘originate’ during history. The rub is they don’t want to say exactly when or how, because then it can be falsified.)

        But of course we do have an objective, verifiable definition of species (referring here to organisms that reproduce sexually). It’s the same standard biological definition that is used by Mayr, Dawkins, Gould, etc. Members of one species cannot successfully interbreed (produce fertile offspring) with members of a different species.

        But evolution requires an arbitrary, unverifiable definition of species because the moment you can verify where one species begins and the other ends………..evolution wont work.

        Species is a term that describes what we find in Nature. Its not a term that is a man-made construct. Groups of organisms that can breed with each other but not with others are exactly what we find it nature. It is the way organisms are naturally categorized. And there’s no room to fudge. Either an organism can successfully interbreed, or it cant.

        Granted that sometimes we, as human observers, have a difficult time establishing an organism’s ability and therefore it’s correct classification, and as a result there are doubtless some organisms which are at any given time misclassified. But that doesn’t change the fact that these units exist, as written about by Mayr and Gould.

        But species are defined by this, not by ‘small changes adding up to larger ones’ as is so often the description given by evolutionists.

        • But of course we do have an objective, verifiable definition of species (referring here to organisms that reproduce sexually). It’s the same standard biological definition that is used by Mayr, Dawkins, Gould, etc. Members of one species cannot successfully interbreed (produce fertile offspring) with members of a different species.

          Yeah, except that disparate species have been known to mate and produce fertile hybrids. Grizzly bears and polar bears produce fertile offspring. The male offspring of lion-tiger pairings are sterile, but the female offspring are fertile. The Lonicera fly is a naturally occurring hybrid species that is perfectly fertile, as is the red wolf.

          Then there are ring species, which illustrates the converse. In this biological phenomenon, there exists a connected series of isolated populations of the same species that may interbreed with one another, but the two “end” populations in the series are so distantly related that they can no longer interbreed. This has been observed in several bird populations, including Larus gulls and the Greenish Warbler.

          Young-earthers don’t tend to like to talk about ring species, because if all it takes to establish the evolution of a “new species” is reproductive isolation, then ring species offer numerous examples of evolution occurring right before our eyes.

          But species are defined by this, not by ‘small changes adding up to larger ones’ as is so often the description given by evolutionists.

          Are you even bothering to read what I’m writing any more? Again, I suggested that small changes, accumulating over time, would lead to large-scale changes. This is first-grade logic. I did not say that this alone is what would establish a change in species.

          • Tim

            “Yeah, except that disparate species have been known to mate and produce fertile hybrids”

            I think I addressed the problem of misclassification. So we could say ‘Yeah, except that sometimes *what we thought were* disparate species have been known to mate and produce fertile offspring’

            ————-

            Ring species! I love talking about so-called ring species. I wondered how long it would take you to bring it up.

            First I think we can agree that even proponents of ring species admit they are very rare. https://www.google.com/search?q=ring+species+very+rare&oq=ring+species+very+rare&aqs=chrome..69i57.6912j0j4&sourceid=chrome&es_sm=0&ie=UTF-8

            Next, as a result I think its hilarious that when asked to verify speciation, evolutionists almost invariably reach for the ring species card, even though these supposed cases comprise less than 0.0000001% of all species. What about the millions (no, billions) of non-ring species in which speciation must be verified?

            Also, I’ve yet to see even one example of a supposed ring species where the ability of the ‘ends’ to interbreed successfully has been conclusively ruled out by repeated testing and experimentation (actual attempts to breed).

            And then, even the gold standard of ring species, yes the one that started it all, turned out to be…….uh…..er….um….NOT a ring species. http://darrennaish.blogspot.com/2006/02/no-no-no-no-no-herring-gull-is-not.html

            ———————

            ” if all it takes to establish the evolution of a “new species” is reproductive isolation”

            Reproductive isolation will produce inbreeding, but I don’t think that’s what you are wanting to show.

            But lets talk some more about isolation, because I love the funny evolutionary examples of the things that cause isolation, like a mountain (or mountain range) growing up between two populations separating them forever. That, my friend, is good comedy.

          • I think I addressed the problem of misclassification. So we could say ‘Yeah, except that sometimes *what we thought were* disparate species have been known to mate and produce fertile offspring’

            Grizzly bears and polar bears are not distinct species? Lions and tigers are not distinct species?

            I think I addressed the problem of misclassification. So we could say ‘Yeah, except that sometimes *what we thought were* disparate species have been known to mate and produce fertile offspring’

            The point is that they’ve been found. Must scientists analyze every population of every species in every part of the world before you would be satisfied that the phenomenon exists?

            Also, I’ve yet to see even one example of a supposed ring species where the ability of the ‘ends’ to interbreed successfully has been conclusively ruled out by repeated testing and experimentation (actual attempts to breed).

            Well, perhaps you should endeavor to do the scientific work yourself. You could score a major blow against us evolutionists, and simultaneously go down in history as the first young-earth creationist to ever actually engage in the scientific process rather than just criticizing the scientific process from afar.

            And then, even the gold standard of ring species, yes the one that started it all, turned out to be…….uh…..er….um….NOT a ring species. http://darrennaish.blogspot.co

            From the article: “Don’t get me wrong: there’s good evidence that speciation does occur in this way in some instances (e.g. in Californian Ensatinasalamanders, and southern Asian leaf warblers), but it seems to be very rare. And, as it happens, new study indicates that it did not happen in the case of Herring and Lesser black-backed gulls.” So ring species exist, the Herring gull just might not be an example of it.

          • Tim

            “Grizzly bears and polar bears are not distinct species? Lions and tigers are not distinct species?”

            Not if they can interbreed successfully. The bears seem to be able to do so. I don’t know much about lions and tigers, so I’ll let you answer the question for yourself.

            Remember that dachsunds and poodles and greyhounds and St Bernards and Dobermans and pit bulls are not distinct species.

            ——————

            “From the article: Don’t get me wrong: there’s good evidence that speciation does occur in this way in some instances”

            Yes, I am aware that Dr Naish is still a *believer* in ring species, despite his inability (and yours) to produce even one example where the ability of the ‘ends’ of the ring to interbreed successfully has been conclusively ruled out by testing and experimentation (actual attempts to interbreed).

            So that’s ring species. The Great Round Hope of evolutionists despite it only representing a tiny fraction of supposed speciation.

            —————–

            So what about all the OTHER speciation that is supposed to be happening, you know the 99.999999% of other species. Have you any evidence that these ‘new species’ actually originated (i.e. the very first member of the new species was born from a member of a different species)?

            All the examples of supposed speciation actually turn out disproving the concept. Look at the work of Peter and Rosemary Grant with the finches on the Galapagos. They see supposedly different species interbreed and produce fertile offspring. Whoops! I guess they weren’t different species after all.

            If all the domestic dogs of the world were extinct, there is little doubt that today’s evolutionists would examine their exceedingly different looking remains and tell us that they comprised dozens of species. But they are all one.

            Even among humans, the differences are very great yet we are all one species as well.

            ————-

            “Must scientists analyze every population of every species in every part of the world before you would be satisfied that the phenomenon exists?”

            ha ha

            yes, science involves hard work. You have to actually test your theory, not just proclaim it proven. LOL

          • Remember that dachsunds and poodles and greyhounds and St Bernards and Dobermans and pit bulls are not distinct species.

            Dogs are essentially a ring species. It may be genetically possible, but you would have little hope of getting a male chihuahua to breed with a female great Dane, and no hope of getting a male great Dane to breed with a female chihuahua. Chihuahuas and great Danes remain in the same species because we still have all the intermediaries, which act as sort of genetic bridges between the two. If all the intermediaries died out, we would have two distinct species of dog.

            Yes, I am aware that Dr Naish is still a *believer* in ring species, despite his inability (and yours) to produce even one example where the ability of the ‘ends’ of the ring to interbreed successfully has been conclusively ruled out by testing and experimentation (actual attempts to interbreed).

            I’m sorry that the scientific evidence that has convinced those who actually study this for a living is not enough to convince your humble self. Again, I encourage you to engage in the scientific process. Why don’t you go ahead and just disprove ring species once and for all? You would be a hero to the young-earth crowd and shame a bunch of evolutionists in one easy stroke.

            Have you any evidence that these ‘new species’ actually originated (i.e. the very first member of the new species was born from a member of a different species)?

            Since the theory of evolution does not predict that this would ever occur, no I don’t personally have evidence of it, and I doubt any scientist does either.

            yes, science involves hard work. You have to actually test your theory, not just proclaim it proven. LOL

            The existence of one ring species proves the theory that ring species exist. To answer the question you failed to answer, no, scientists do not need to analyze every population of every species in every part of the world to demonstrate that the phenomenon exists. I never said that ring species proves evolution.

          • Tim

            “Dogs are essentially a ring species. ”

            lol Even the proponents of ring species admit that they are very rare. And no one but you has ‘identified’ dogs as a ring species. But good try. I suppose.

            ——————–

            “I’m sorry that the scientific evidence that has convinced those who actually study this for a living is not enough to convince your humble self.”

            All I’m asking for is evidence. I thought that was what all evolutionists said they had in abundance. Give me one example of a ring species where the ability of ‘ends’ to successfully interbreed has been conclusively ruled out by testing and experimentation (actual attempts to interbreed).

            Just one.

            C’mon.

            ——————-

            “Since the theory of evolution does not predict that this would ever occur”

            Of course it does. TOE includes ‘origin of species’, does it not? Where does the very first member of a new species come from ? It must be born, correct?

            It’s not beamed in on a spaceship, is it?

            ——————–

            “scientists do not need to analyze every population of every species in every part of the world to demonstrate that the phenomenon exists.”

            Apparently you don’t think they have to produce even one verified example.

          • lol Even the proponents of ring species admit that they are very rare. And no one but you has ‘identified’ dogs as a ring species.

            Perhaps because it is not a natural occurrence. But the principles are the same. Do you dispute that great Danes and chihuahuas would diverge into different species if the intermediaries (all other dog breeds) suddenly died out?

            All I’m asking for is evidence. I thought that was what all evolutionists said they had in abundance. Give me one example of a ring species where the ability of ‘ends’ to successfully interbreed has been conclusively ruled out by testing and experimentation (actual attempts to interbreed).

            Look, man, like I already said, I did not present ring species as evidence of evolution. I do not believe that the verification for evolution rises or falls based on ring species. I presented ring species as a counter example to your claim that “species” is a clear-cut definition, when, in fact, the evidence in biology points to speciation being much more fluid. If you don’t want to believe ring species exist, I really don’t care.

            Of course it does. TOE includes ‘origin of species’, does it not? Where does the very first member of a new species come from ? It must be born, correct?

            Evolution takes many generations, and no evolutionary scientist predicts that an individual would be born that is so genetically distinct from its parents that it is a separate species. What is suggested is that an individual would be born that is so genetically distinct from its great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandparents that it would not be able to interbreed with them (hypothetically speaking, of course). If this individual survived and passed on its genes, and its genes permeated the gene pool of its population, then the species will have evolved from its ancestral form (the great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandparent generation). But that doesn’t mean that they would be unable to interbreed with their parent generation. Just as, with the ring species, the “end” population can interbreed with the adjacent populations, but not the other “end” population.

          • Tim

            “I did not present ring species as evidence of evolution”

            “Young-earthers don’t tend to like to talk about ring species, because if all it takes to establish the evolution of a “new species” is reproductive isolation, then ring species offer numerous examples of evolution occurring right before our eyes.”

            Will the real Tyler please stand up?

          • Right. “If all it takes to establish the evolution of a “new species” is reproductive isolation…” That was your premise for what it means for a “new species” to be established, not mine. The point I was making is that this was not the case, and speciation is a much more fluid process.

          • Tim

            So you are admitting that ‘ring species’ do not provide evidence of evolution?

          • I am saying that the vindication of evolution does not rise or fall on the existence of ring species. They are one example of evolution, just as a ball falling to the ground is one example of gravity, but whether gravity exists is not based on the one ball falling the one time.

          • Tim

            I asked for 1 (just 1) verified example of a ring species where the ability of the ‘ends’ to successfully interbreed has been conclusively ruled out by testing and experimentation. I didn’t ask for ring species to be your ‘only’ evidence for evolution.

            Do you have 1, or not? (It appears not).

          • Several examples of ring species have been discovered, including the Greenish Warbler, Song Sparrow and Ensatina salamanders. All have been found to not interbreed with the “end” populations. I’m sorry you’re not satisfied that the scientists who researched these populations have done their job, but again, if you don’t want to believe ring species exist, I really don’t care.

          • Tim

            In order to verify that a ‘new species’ has been created, the ability of the ‘ends’ to interbreed successfully must be conclusively ruled out by testing and experimentation (actual repeated attempts to interbreed).

            This has not been done in any of the cases you mention.

            You’ve neither provided nor even seen evidence that this has been done.

            I know you probably assume it has, (as you assumed in the case of the Herring gulls), but it hasn’t been done.

            It’s not a matter of what I believe. I asked for evidence and you have provided none.

          • The difficulty of classifying the Larus gulls as a ring species did not arise because the “end” populations were shown to be capable of interbreeding, as you seem to be suggesting. It was related to the genetics and taxonomy of the gulls being far more complicated than Mayr had proposed, such that it’s no longer clear that these populations arose out of the ring species model.

            This has not been done in any of the cases you mention.

            How can you be so sure of this? The scientists who did the research said the “end” populations don’t interbreed. If you want to believe that they’re lying or lazy or whatever, that’s fine, but it’s a bit of a stretch to simply declare this verification “hasn’t been done,” when the researchers said it had been done.

          • Tim

            “The difficulty of classifying the Larus gulls as a ring species did not arise because the “end” populations were shown to be capable of interbreeding”

            That’s right. But for 8 decades, the assumptions made about these critters caused evolutionists to refer to them as a ring species.

            You are certainly right that testing was not done. If we waited for evolutionists to test their assumption, they would STILL be referred to as a ring species because they havent and wont test them.

            “The scientists who did the research said the “end” populations don’t interbreed.”

            Do you understand the difference between ‘don’t’ and ‘can’t’?

            Eskimos generally don’t interbreed with Kenyans, but they can.

            Boston bluebloods generally may not marry biker chicks and have kids. But they could.

            Peter and Rosemary Grant did work with the finches of the Galapagos. They observed what they thought to be different species (based on their habitat, mating habits, other external features). The difference in the mating song especially was thought to be a great barrier between the ‘two species’. But surprise they interbreed successfully and produce fertile offspring.

            I’ll say it again. The ABILITY of the ‘ends’ to interbreed successfully must be conclusively ruled out by testing and experimentation (actual repeated attempts to interbreed) if you want to classify them as ‘different species’.

            “the researchers said it had been done.”

            No, they didnt. You assumed that was what they said.

      • Tim

        I think a scientific argument for speciation is preferable to first grade logic btw.

        Its like when someone told me a while back “You know nothing about evolution. My 11 year old understands it better than you.”

        I replied that just because he could convince his 11 year old didn’t mean that evolution was scientifically verifiable.

  • It’s nice to hear good sense from Christians about evolution. (I’m an atheist, and I hang around with Creationists a fair amount to understand where they’re coming from–gives me interesting material to blog about.)

    One suggestion: “Gravity is also a theory” isn’t the most accessible example. The Newton’s Law of Gravity is pretty familiar, but the theory (that is, the explanation) is not.

    Better: germ theory. We’re all familiar with that one, and no one denies its truth.

  • johnteetsarchitect

    Your hatred and total misunderstanding of God and scripture, your pride and arrogance, and your lack of basic understanding on how God works is appalling. Compromisers never win in the end, and your faith in fallible men and their interpretation of data is quite telling.

    • You seem like a real swell, reasonable guy, Mr. Teets. I look forward to meeting you in heaven and sharing eternity with you.

      • johnteetsarchitect

        Sarcasm, huh?Well, I have been in a technical field for over forty years, and just like medicine or applied science, molecules-to-man evolution has zero impact on what we do. The desire by atheists to force belief in it is solely because they are at emnity with GOd and the Bible condemns their entire lifestyle. “The fool has said in his heart there is no God.”

        When you have been in Christ for almost 60 years and share your secrets with God and he with you, you may understand better. Believe me, I have heard just about all of it before, having taken advanced Biology in high school and attended a major scientific university with multiple degrees (Rensselaer). I have weighed the arguments and are far from alone in my conclusions. In fact, a NON-CHRISTIAN professor offered a $1,000 prize (that was al lot back then – almost half of one year’s tuition) to any student who could prove the earth was more than about 5,800 years old. No one could do it because at the base of all old-earth arguments is the assumption of uniformitarianism, a principle by the way that the Apostle Peter condemns. Believe me, I pray against the flood of supposedly enlightened approaches to Genesis, and you are far from alone, but have seen NOT ONE of them produce better Christians who accept the whole counsel of God and who better mirror the character of Jesus Christ. On the contrary, I have seen what compromise does. I see from the comments here that once you compromise what is crystal clear in the Bible, the world attacks some other belief. The devil is a Progressive! The progression in terms of “demythologizing” your faith would be (!) Creation and the inviolable distinction between men and animals and the creation of woman to be for the man and to be his glory (I Corinthians and I Timothy) (2) The long lives of early vegetarian men and women (900 years plus), (3) The Universal Flood (supported in most cultures, Christian or not throughout the entire world), (4) The birth of Isaac to aged parents, (5) The parting of the Red Sea (check out those chariot wheels at the bottom), (6) The collapse of Jericho, (7) The interesting history of Jonah, (8) the virgin birth of Jesus, (9) Jesus’ sinless life, (10) The physical Resurrection from the dead, (11) The miracles of Jesus and the Apostles. It is not always all, but believe me, no one will give you any credit for simply choosing to disbelieve Genesis. Until you disbelieve it all, you are an outsider. “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” Just some food for thought. Your path leads to disaster, not enlightenment.

        • Hello again, Mr. Teets. Looks like your usual, run-of-the-mill stuff here. “There’s no evidence for evolution! I know more than the scientists, because I took some classes in college!” Forgive me for not finding your conspiracy theory nonsense convincing. Of course, your claim that anyone who does not read Genesis 1-3 literally is by definition a lesser and weaker Christian is the most laughable of all. Many, many, many important and influential theologians, ministers, church leaders and devout people of faith all throughout Christian history have held various non-literal views of Genesis, dating back to at least the third century. I don’t think any sane person would say C.S. Lewis or Billy Graham failed to “mirror the character of Jesus Christ” — at least not more than any mortal man or woman fails. And I certainly think these great men did far more for the kingdom of God — and did so far more virtuously — than folks like the sold-out young-earth creationist and convicted tax defrauder Kent Hovind.

  • arthur

    Very well written. There are quite a few other misconceptions about evolution, even among biologists (Jonas Salk comes to mind), but to delve into those would have diverted too much from much simpler points.

    I do not believe in God. But I believe in the Christian religion. It has done many wonderful things for people and any cited negatives were long enough ago it’s time for atheists to just let it go. People who read and follow the bible are at least trying to live good lives, and as an atheist who lives a good life I appreciate them.

    Unfortunately these issues of misconception are not reserved to strictly the religious fundamentalists. A study a few years back cited about 50% of the science graduates of Oxford weren’t sure that evolution is a real thing. Frightening.

    One final small criticism in your evaluation of fact vs theory. Stephen Jay Gould described the difference between the two in the best way I’ve ever heard; you didn’t quite make the distinction completely clear: (paraphrased) Evolution, like gravity, is both fact and theory. The fact is that evolution is occurring. The data is all around us. The theory attempts to explain how it happens. Like gravity is both fact and theory. The fact of gravity is if you jump off the roof you will hit the ground. The theory is why. Newtons’ explanation wasn’t all encompassing, so Einstein improved on it. But just because the theory needed adjusting didn’t mean pencils floated in the air in the meantime.

    • Hey Arthur! Thanks so much for the comment. I appreciate the criticism and suggestions. And that Oxford study is frightening. I thought young-earth creationism was primarily a United States pandemic. Apparently not.

  • Mauro D’Ambrosio

    Thought I do disagree and I think Christianity and evolution are uncompatible (not God and evolution tough). I want to thank you for your job. You’re doing something we athiest cannot and is introducing science to people who has renounced critical thinking in favor of their dogma. I hope you never lose your faith in God (wich is weird for me because I’m pretty militant) because you wouldn’t be able to carry such terrific job otherwise

    • Thanks, Mauro! Even though we disagree on that point, I appreciate the kudos 🙂 Thanks for your comment!

      • farah

        od god u are sooo deluded.Why did god state the real way he created creatures but no go about stating as u say metaphorical stories that give no hint what so ever to any common sense that they are metaphorical.

  • Pokemon evolution is more similar to metamorphosis than actual evolution.

  • Mr value

    Just like a 4 dimensional square is just a protruded cube from start to finish, could the way makes things in his higher dimension not be ‘God made man from the earth’ the protrusion/evolution of man from earth to homo-sapien.

    To explain, look at it as God is the Potter we are the clay (Isaiah 64:8). If you had an invisible potter and took snapshots of a lump of clay being moulded (with bits added on, and bits calved off during the process), would it not look like the clay lump had evolved into a beautifully designed pot? http://www.wikihow.com/Mold-Clay

    Similarly on a micro-scale He moulds use in our lives too, right?

    What I get from Genesis is that God created each animal group separately, not from one single organism [Geneticist Craig Venter argues that evolution seems to not be Darwin’s tree from a ‘single root’ but more like a bush]

    Love God, Love science.. P.s. God is a mathematician by-the-way 😉

    Holla back!

  • Mario Marceau

    Hello Tyler. I’ll say upfront that I’m a militant atheist (for the sake of argument, let’s call it ‘my square one’).

    I’m not here to shake things up as you very clearly made several key points about the merits for and the true value of the theory of evolution.

    There is something I can’t wrap my head around though: In point 6, you said: – Theories are hypotheses that have “graduated” – So far, that is exact, logical and if I say so myself, described beautifully and very accurately further down for all to understand clearly, provided that they want to.

    But in point 10, you refer to a bible verse: Colossians 1:16 and claim science can explore this.

    My question is very honest and sincere: How can science explore something which has absolutely no observable nor verifiable quantitative basis for ‘any’ hypothesis to be built upon?

    Colossians 1:16, says “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.”

    This verse equate to nothing more then a mere idea, a human construct or at best a conjecture as you put it, a ‘theory’ as understood by pop culture. In other words: Science cannot explore unsubstantiated arguments if it cannot correlate them with something that is tangible and measurable.

    This unfortunately, puts me right back to ‘my square one’.

    Sincerely,

    Mario

    • Hey Mario, thanks for the question, and I fully welcome your comments and your inquiries. However, I’m not sure I completely follow what you’re asking. I may have been unclear in my argument. Allow me to express that I was not intending to argue that I believe the existence or nature of God to be a question for science. I most certainly do not. I believe that science is limited to the exploration of the natural world — or in other words, that which is part of and exists within this universe. I do not mean this as a slight toward the scientific method; one of the roots of its power is in that it restricts itself to the hypothesizing and evalutation of material causes and not supernatural ones, which cannot be investigated by natural means.

      The existence of God, I believe, is a matter of faith — not scientific evidence. If he exists, and is the creator of the universe as the Bible declares, then he is not part of this universe. He, therefore, would be beyond the science, which analyzes only those things that are part of the universe.

      I hope that makes sense, but if I missed your question or you have any further questions, please feel free to continue the discussion 🙂

      • Mario Marceau

        Hi Tyler, this is the phrase that is unclear to me in point 10 of you post: “It is beyond me how accepting this fact of science could possibly undermine one’s faith in Jesus — from whom originated all things which science is capable of exploring.”

        When I read it again, It still looks like you are saying that science is capable of exploring what is being said in Colossians 1:16, in other words capable of exploring from whom originated all things. Like you, I do not think this will ever be possible.

        If I subtract “from whom originated all things” from your phrase, it reads: “It is beyond me how accepting this fact of science could possibly undermine one’s faith in Jesus which science is capable of exploring”.

        This is still problematic for me on a much more concrete level: It sounds like you are saying that science is capable of exploring one’s faith in Jesus. This directly relates to the natural world. Neuroscience is now capable through experimentation, of mapping the areas of the brain repeatedly using several methods including powerful MRI scanners. What they have come up with so far provides many clear explanations on several key points, one of which is how people fall in love! Other areas of research using the same approach have lead to novel ways to treat mental disorders.

        Along those lines, it is only a matter of time that neuroscience will be capable of explaining the more subtle neuro-feedbacks such as why we love our parents and ultimately, why some humans have faith in the supernatural and why some do not.

        Believe me, as a self-proclaim militant atheist, I can tell you that I dread the day when science experimentation will have acquired enough verified hypotheses to propose an informed, logical theory. I actually fear how people of faith as well as atheists and agnostic will react.

        Then again, I may have completely misinterpreted you point 10.

        Sincerely,

        Mario

        • When I read it again, It still looks like you are saying that science is capable of exploring what is being said in Colossians 1:16, in other words capable of exploring from whom originated all things. Like you, I do not think this will ever be possible.

          Hey Mario. Now that you’ve pointed it out, I can see how the phrasing was confusing. All I meant, however, was that science is capable of exploring nature, and nature — according to the Bible — originated from God. I did not mean to imply my belief that science is capable of proving, disproving or otherwise investigating the existence of God. As I said before, I believe this is a matter of faith. Even the Bible says this: It is “by faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God” (Hebrews 11:3), not “by the scientific evidence.”

          • Mario Marceau

            Thank you for sticking with me Tyler. I understand. Like I said, I’m a militant atheist. You are a Christian. But despite both of us being bound by incompatible covenants, as human beings first and foremost, we cannot afford to ignore each other. I always welcome insights and I’m sure you do as well because above all, it is our inherent curiosity which drives us all. Thanks again, much appreciated.

            Sincerely,

            Mario

  • I don’t disagree with “evolution.” Technology evolved. Guided by intelligence. But if you tell me technology evolved sans intelligent choice, then I know you are an idiot.

    • Unlike biological life forms, technology does not breed, nor does it self-replicate. You’re not comparing apples and oranges, you’re comparing iPhones and orangutans.

      • You seem to think “self-replication” was samehow automatic. The incredible array of life around is could not have come into existence without intelligent guidance. Think it could ? Well, like belly buttons everyone has an opinion. Thanks for sharing. JP

        • No, I just think the ability to self replicate is an integral component of biological life. You seem to think that a living organism that can produce offspring with unique genetic makeups is the same as inanimate objects that cannot, which is rather stupid.

          The evidence of common descent is vast and persuasive. If you wish to ignore it, that is your prerogative, but don’t expect us to do the same.

          • You seem to think “self replicate” is something that everyone should take on faith that it just had to automatically occur. Self-replication is an example of something so complex it’s existence sansCreator is implausible.
            The evidence of the Creator is vast and persuasive. If you wish to ignore it, that is your prerogative, but don’t expect us to do the same.

          • The ability to self-replication is not something anyone has to take on faith. It’s called sexual reproduction (although there are other forms of it), and it happens all the time. I could go into greater detail, but this is a family website.

            I believe in a Creator. I’m an evangelical Christian, and this is a Christian website. I just don’t believe the Creator’s existence is something empirical science can verify. It is “by faith that we understand the universe was created by the word of God,” not “by the implausibility of the competing naturalistic explanations.”

            By the way, the feeble attempt at mockery is not helping your cause. You made a comparison that was way off the mark, got called out on it, and now are just making yourself look more and more foolish with every comment.

          • Yes Tyler, certainly reproduction happens all the time. Not often I butt-heads with fellow belivers in THE Creator. Since we share faith in the Creator, we really have nothing to argue about. I see genuine science as confirming the implausibility of the sansCreator scenario by revealing complexity of life undreamed of in Darwins age. I don’t think you had good reason to object to my first statement,… but never mind. Let’s go argue with an Atheist ! OK ?

          • Well, complex or not, everything in biology points to evolution by common descent. So, as long as you don’t teach people that evolution is incompatible with Christianity (thereby pitting the truth of the gospel against the truth found in God’s creation), then yes, I have no quarrel with you.

          • He will though. You know he will.

          • Based on my experience with this site, I would be very surprised if he doesn’t.

  • markou

    Well thanks for deleting my rebutal of your 10 points. Such dishonesty!

    • No idea what you’re talking about, bro. If you have some kind of rebuttal, I’m sure I’d be glad to see it.

  • Alan Clarke

    > evolution is observable and repeatable in the sense that
    > scientists can make and test predictions of the theory, and
    > this is exactly what they have been doing for more than a century

    A fruit fly (drosophila melanogaster) can develop from an egg to an adult in 7 days, so they are ideal (unlike humans) for observing evolution “in action”. Try this experiment: separate 100 wild type fruit flies into 2 groups of 50. Feed one group only glucose, the other fructose, for multiple generations. Eventually, neither group will eat the others’ food or mate so evolutionary biologists will probably conclude they are not the same species and therefore speciation was demonstrated! Realize however that the new species LOST their ability to metabolize either glucose or fructose.

    More examples of evolutionary LOSS:

    1) flightless cormorants
    2) blind cave fish
    3) mutated fruit flies that can’t fly or reproduce
    4) mayflies that can’t eat with their vestigial mouthparts
    5) Lenski’s E. coli with damaged genes that have LESS DNA repair ability, are LESS fit for competing with non-mutants in original environment and have LOST their ability to metabolize ribose

    Why is it that evolutionists use examples of LOSS to convince people of the reality of evolution then want them to believe just the opposite: after billions of years, untold amounts of digitally-encoded genetic information for arms, hands, legs, feet, eyes, mouth, sexual reproduction, etc.,was ADDED to bacteria transforming it into people:

    ALCHEMY FOR TEENS — “Oceans formed as it rained on the rocks for millions of years… swirling in the waters of the oceans is a bubbling broth of complex chemicals …progress from a complex chemical soup to a living organism is very slow… early bacteria are the ancestors of modern bacteria and of all the many kinds of organisms living today, including you.” — Holt Science ’94 – ’98

    • As a result of several beneficial mutations, one of the culture lines in Lenski’s experiment acquired a means to metabolize citrate — an entirely new ability. This is in an appearance of “new information” by an definition.

  • Alan Clarke

    > You think mutations are always negative.

    That’s like saying, “Not all car wrecks are bad. I had one that knocked off my rear bumper and now I get slightly better gas mileage. I had another that caused my car to always steer left which is good because I live on a small island where traffic is permitted only in the counter-clockwise direction. I’m anxious to see what the next wreck does!”

  • Alan Clarke

    > 5. [You don’t understand evolution at all if you think it] has anything to do with the origin of life, let alone the origins of the universe.

    Eigen and Spiegelman must not understand evolution at all since they think it applies to the origin of life and non-living things:

    “The chemical processes that took place on the early Earth are called chemical evolution. Both Manfred Eigen and Sol Spiegelman demonstrated that evolution, including replication, variation, and natural selection, can occur in populations of molecules as well as in organisms.” – Wikipedia, “Abiogenesis”

  • Alan Clarke

    > 6. You use the phrase “it’s only a theory” and think you’ve made some kind of substantive statement.

    You don’t understand the nature of science at all if you think “evolution” as a theory has been proven:

    1) Proving the existence of the Universal Common Ancestor of life on earth has problems:
    http://www.hindawi.com/journals/tswj/2012/479824

    2) “Science doesn’t prove anything. Proofs occur only in mathematics. Furthermore, mathematical proofs are not absolutely true, since one begins with assumptions called axioms and postulates. If they change, your “proofs” change. In science, nothing is ever absolute, and not all the evidence and possible explanations have been considered. Those who use the word “prove” in a scientific context usually are overstating something. Hardly ever will you hear an experienced scientist say that something in science has been proved. Better terms include indicates, suggests, and supports. In science, explanations (hypotheses and theories) are made increasingly plausible or implausible by evidence.” – Walt Brown

  • Alan Clarke

    ARCHAEOPTERYX IS STILL A HOAX
    Archaeopteryx was originally presented as a transitional fossil from dinosaurs to birds. In 1984, a fossil was discovered that was more similar to modern birds than Archaeopteryx. (Unlike Archaeopteryx, this bird had a keel-like breastbone and hollow bones.) But, this bird is supposedly 75 million years older than Archaeopteryx! Decide for yourself whether it looks like a bird before reading all of the evolutionary spin trying to convince you otherwise:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protoavis

    Again, look at the photo first before being brainwashed by “experts” telling you it is not a bird. Even the person who discovered it (who was highly qualified) knew it was a bird when he saw it:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sankar_Chatterjee

    Despite this contrary evidence, evolutionists have not restrained themselves for 30 years in trying to sell Archaeopteryx to unlearned people as a transitional link and the icon for dinosaur-to-bird evolution.

    • Decide for yourself whether it looks like a bird before reading all of the evolutionary spin trying to convince you otherwise

      LOL. Yes, by all means, everyone: Rely on your untrained eyes determining whether a picture of bones arranged to look like a bird is a bird, rather than the expert analysis of people who have spent years studying in this exact field and have examined these exact specimens firsthand.

  • Alan Clarke

    > Evolution – “any change in the frequency of alleles within a gene pool from one generation to the next.”
    > It is beyond me how accepting this fact of science could possibly undermine one’s faith in Jesus.

    This is astounding. In the last 15 years of debating, I’ve never once encountered an individual who thought their faith would be undermined by accepting such a weak definition of evolution. Could you copy & paste or reference the text of your most recent exchange on this blog where someone denied “any change in the frequency of alleles within a gene pool from one generation to the next.”

    In my experience, the #1 reason people reject evolution is because they doubt (and they should) that man and apes, or man and fish, or worse yet, man and bacteria share a common ancestor:

    “Therefore I should infer from analogy that probably all the organic beings which have ever lived on this earth have descended from some one primordial form, into which life was first breathed.” — Charles Darwin, Origin of Species

  • Alan Clarke

    > if evolution is true — as everything we know about biology, and a number
    of overlapping fields of inquiry indicate — then it is incapable of
    conflicting with the God-breathed truth of sacred scripture.

    “Where I think the concept of theistic evolution breaks down is when you try to merge theism with the idea of an unguided undirected process. Not even God can direct an unguided undirected process, because as soon as God is directing it, it’s no longer undirected.” – Stephen C. Meyer

    • Something we’ve responded to before.

      “As to the Divine Design, is it not an instance of incomprehensibly and infinitely marvellous Wisdom and Design to have given certain laws to matter millions of ages ago, which have surely and precisely worked out, in the long course of those ages, those effects which He from the first proposed. Mr. Darwin’s theory need not then to be atheistical, be it true or not; it may simply be suggesting a larger idea of Divine Prescience and Skill. Perhaps your friend has got a surer clue to guide him than I have, who have never studied the question, and I do not [see] that ‘the accidental evolution of organic beings’ is inconsistent with divine design—It is accidental to us, not to God.” — John Henry Newman

    • Tyler Francke is a Christian, for whom evolution cannot be an unguided, undirected process because the Creator is a sovereign God of covenant. Not even a sparrow can fall to the ground apart from our Father’s will (Matt. 10:29). Stephen Meyer’s comment is relevant only to evolutionary naturalists, which Francke is not.

  • Timothy O’Neal

    Wherefore, I applaud the distinction made by the article, the critique is leveled at Christians alone as far as a disagreement with evolution. What of those who oppose it without religious intonement? And what of the atheists who misuse it’s theorems to level attacks at Christians? As you stated in the article, such is reprehensible, period. Thank you for your considerations.

    • What of those who oppose it without religious intonement?

      Do you mean without religious motivation? Because, if so, I’m aware of no such person. The Discovery Institute claims their opposition is wholly scientific, but their founding manifesto — the “wedge document” — proves otherwise.

      • Tyler, think David Berlinski (agnostic).

        • Yes, I know of Berlinski, and thought this might be who Mr. O’Neal was alluding to. I have a hard time grapsing Berlinski’s views. Apparently, he proposes that we oust the theory of evolution and replace it with … well, absolutely nothing, I guess. Nevertheless, as a “senior fellow” for the Discovery Institute, I don’t see why the “wedge document” should not cover him as well. And that document makes the religious motivations of the intelligent design movement quite clear.

          • Fine, Thomas Nagel, then. “Wedge” your way out of that one. 😛

          • 😛 I don’t get Nagel’s perspective either. What does he propose in place of the evolutionary model, if he also rejects intelligent design?

          • I like how you imply that intelligent design qualifies as an alternative to an evolutionary model. Oops?

            More seriously, though, I don’t think Nagel is calling for proposals for an alternative theory of origins; rather, I think he is just calling for a serious reexamination and analysis when it comes to identifying science with naturalism, an inadequate world-view that fails to account for too many things we know are real.

            But … he does oppose Darwinian evolution “without religious [motivation].”

          • I don’t think intelligent design is a better alternative or even a legitimate alternative, but it is something, at least. Criticizing the prevailing view without offering any kind of alternative that makes better sense of the available evidence seems to be just contrarianism for contrarianism’s sake. It strikes me as decidedly anti-progress.

          • Again, if you are familiar with Nagel’s views, you know that he is not being contrary simply for the sake of being contrary. As I said, he has a solid point (i.e., the inherent problems of identifying science with naturalism). That’s why he makes the arguments he does.

            And there are still those questions from Timothy O’Neal. What would you say to people like Berlinksi or Nagel who oppose biological evolution but not from religious motivations? What would you say to people like Coyne or Dawkins who misappropriate the theory in attacks upon Christianity and pushing science beyond the limitations of its competence? I’m with O’Neal here, likewise interested in your thoughts on those questions.

          • My response to the likes of Berlinski or Nagel is the same: to criticize a scientific theory without proposing a better explanation of the available evidence is pointless and anti-progress. It’s basically the equivalent of saying, “Well, this explanation doesn’t work, so let’s just go back to not knowing anything.” That’s presuming their arguments against the theory are valid, which I don’t concede.

            In response to the likes of Dawkins and Coyne, I wholeheartedly agree that they are pushing science outside of its boundaries when they claim evolution disproves Christianity. I think the two of them are terrific scientists, second-rate philosophers and clueless theologians.

          • farah

            u dont really sound like u believe in god because u dint seem to give any credit to him

  • Marcus Taber

    Excellent post sir, a favorite retort of mine while dealing with willfully ignorant denialists is that it’s not that they don’t believe in evolution, it’s the fact that they do not understand evolution, as if they did, they would realize how ignorant they sound.

  • Jeff B

    For those of you curious to know whether chemical evolution (abiogenesis) is indeed a serious problem, I’ve found a revealing means of determine that:

    Find every evolutionist you know and say “Chemical evolution is a serious problem”. Make note of how many respond with:

    “Evolution has NOTHING to do with the origin of life”.

    instead of “No it isn’t, here’s why…” So far it’s been about right at 100%. And this article adds to those stats.
    Seriously, try it yourself…

    (BTW, Yes, I know chem ev and biological ev are different)

    • This is one of those cases where I prefer the term Darwinism over evolution, because the origin of life is in fact a problem for evolution to address—specifically chemical evolution, as you point out—whereas Darwinism has to do with the origin of species, not the origin of life (i.e., it presupposes life).

      • Jeff B

        You are correct, if an evolutionist wants to make the distinction, he/she should use the term ‘Darwinism’. I’m surprised Tyler didn’t. In fact, I’m surprised he even posted that comment about origins of life! Most everyone knows the two are different, and the more he answers as he did, the more he confirms the problem.

        • Tyler is allowed to be wrong once in a while. 🙂

        • You can call it whatever you like (abiogenesis, chemical evolution, and so on), but the study of the origin of life is separate from the study of how life developed and descended over time (evolution). And whether we eventually determine that life arose through complex chemicals interacting through a process similar to natural selection, or was poofed into existence spontaneously by a magical blue fairy, it would not change the fact that, after that point, the process of biological evolution kicked in — at least, that’s what all the evidence indicates.

          • Jeff B

            Interesting comment, you’ll attribute abiogenesis to either some yet-to-be-discovered process, or to a magical blue fairy. I’m real curious why you don’t list God as an option. God is actually more believable than a magical blue fairy, and supposedly you believe in God.
            Seriously, why did you leave Him out?

          • If you honestly think my previous comment presented a complete summary of the “options” I consider to be viable processes for the origin of life, then I don’t believe there’s any reason to continue this conversation.

  • Yewnique

    “Because, if anything is not observable or repeatable, it’s creationism. Therefore, their beliefs, too, are invalidated by their own argument.”

    A YEC commented on my blog agreeing that YECism is not observable nor repeatable and acquiesced that, therefore, YECism is not a science…as long as I acknowledged that evolution was ALSO not a science.

    ” If there appears to be a disagreement between the two, then the interpretation of the passage in question must be incorrect. For the Bible-believing Christian, there is no other option.”

    The same commenter also asked why is it that the interpretation of the Bible passage must yield to the observations of (sinful) man?

    • … as long as I acknowledged that evolution was ALSO not a science.

      That is true, evolution is not a science. You could acknowledge that along with practically all scientists. Biology is a science, as is geology, archaeology, paleontology, biochemistry, geophysics, paleoecology and so on. Evolution is not a science, but in fact a scientific theory.

      The same commenter also asked why is it that the interpretation of the Bible passage must yield to the observations of (sinful) man?

      One would think this is obvious but it is also sinful man who’s interpreting those Bible passages! Our interpretation of either scripture or nature is capable of error. It is God’s revelation that is incapable of deception and error, whether in scripture or nature. When there exists tension between God’s infallible revelation and our fallible interpretation, it is the latter which is at fault. And the clearest revelation must rule the less clear revelation; if the testimony of nature is clear about the age of the universe while the testimony of scripture is less clear, our interpretation of the latter should take seriously the former. (See geocentric issue.)

      In the words of A. A. Hodge (1869, 118), “But [the record in Genesis] was not designed either to prevent or to take the place of a scientific interpretation of all existing phenomena, and of all traces of the past history of the world which God allows men to discover. Apparent discrepancies in established truths can have their ground only in imperfect knowledge.” And as John Calvin said in his Institutes of the Christian Religion (1960, II.2.15), “Whenever we come upon these matters in secular writers, let that admirable light of truth shining in them teach us that the mind of man, though fallen and perverted from its wholeness, is nevertheless clothed and ornamented with God’s excellent gifts. If we regard the Spirit of God as the sole fountain of truth, we shall neither reject the truth itself, nor despise it wherever it shall appear, unless we wish to dishonor the Spirit of God.”

      Such quotes from such icons of evangelicalism could be multiplied, but let me close with a relevant and inspiring quote from Herman Bavinck (1909, 26–28):

      This philosophy of revelation seeks to correlate the wisdom which it finds in revelation with that which is furnished by the world at large. In former times Christian theology drew the distinction between special and general revelation. But it never wholly thought through this distinction, nor fully made clear its rich significance for the whole of human life. When modem science arose and claimed to have found a key to the solution of all mysteries in the principle of evolution, the attempt was made to withdraw successively nature, history, man, and his entire psychical life from the control of the existence, the inworking, the revelation of God. Not a few theologians have yielded to this trend and, with more or less hesitation, abandoned the entire world to modern science, provided only somewhere in the person of Christ or in the inner soul of man a place might be reserved for divine revelation. Such a retreat, however, betrays weakness and is in direct opposition to the idea of special revelation. Revelation, while having its center in the person of Christ, in its periphery extends to the uttermost ends of creation. It does not stand isolated in nature and history, does not resemble an island in the ocean, nor a drop of oil upon water. With the whole of nature, with the whole of history, with the whole of humanity, with the family and society, with science and art it is intimately connected.

      The world itself rests on revelation; revelation is the presupposition, the foundation, the secret of all that exists in all its forms. The deeper science pushes its investigations, the more clearly will it discover that revelation underlies all created being. In every moment of time beats the pulse of eternity; every point in space is filled with the omnipresence of God; the finite is supported by the infinite, all becoming is rooted in being. Together with all created things, that special revelation which comes to us in the person of Christ is built on these presuppositions. The foundations of creation and redemption are the same. The Logos who became flesh is the same by whom all things were made. The first-born from the dead is also the first-born of every creature. The Son, whom the Father made heir of all things, is the same by whom he also made the worlds. Notwithstanding the separation wrought by sin, there is a progressive approach of God to his creatures. The transcendence does not cease to exist, but becomes an ever deeper immanence.

      But as a disclosure of the greatness of God’s heart, special revelation far surpasses general revelation, which makes known to us the power of his mind. General revelation leads to special, special revelation points back to general. The one calls for the other, and without it remains imperfect and unintelligible. Together they proclaim the manifold wisdom which God has displayed in creation and redemption.

      ———-
      References:

      Bavinck, Herman (1909). The Philosophy of Revelation. New York: Longmans, Green, and Co.

      Calvin, John (1960). Institutes of the Christian Religion, ed. John T. McNeill, trans. Ford Lewis Battles, Library of Christian Classics. Philadelphia: Westminster.

      Hodge, A. A. (1869). “Chapter 4: Of Creation” (pp. 114–128), in A Commentary on the Confession of Faith. Philadelphia: Presbyterian Board of Publications.

  • Jeff B

    Tyler,
    Regarding your transitional fossil comment: “Christians are explicitly commanded not to lie to each other”, this is hypocrisy.

    There’s no question that transitional fossils are a problem for evolutionists. That website you endorse does not contain one indisputable ‘transitional fossil’. To claim otherwise is dishonest. But the most amazing thing about your comment is your hypocrisy: being dishonest, yet calling others ‘liars’.

    Your website advertises “theology with an attitude”. That in itself is not necessarily a bad thing. But I certainly hope this isn’t what you mean. Not an ‘attitude’ to be proud of.

    • If you don’t think the fossils listed are transitional fossils, then you don’t understand what a transitional fossil is. In your vast study of the evolutionary literature, I would have presumed you might have come across an accurate definition at some point. Evidently not.

  • John

    I’m rather disappointed. The arguments are being heavily misrepresented. I don’t want to start an argument, but it has also been my experience that many ‘evolutionists’ don’t understand evolution at all and simply follow it because it has been ‘validated’ by scientists and often don’t understand the arguments presented by non-evolutionists because they give it the thought it requires much like the title picture claims that evolution is confusing if you make no effort to understand it. Problem is that science is still debating the evidence. Even revered scientists who were considered the ultimate authority in their field of expertise in their time have been proven completely wrong and so I wish many people would be less arrogant in airing their views. Also I find it interesting that many people claim the bible contradicts itself. I would like someone to actually present such a contradiction simply so I know what they are referring too. Anyway much thanks for the article.

    • John

      *don’t give it the thought it the thought it requires

    • Hey John, thanks for your comments. While it’s true that scientists continue to debate the evidence and refine theories, that does not mean, as you seem to be suggesting, that the whole process is little more than guesswork. The scientific process is much like a skyscraper that is continually being built higher, with scientists building on the work of those who came before them, much like the architects and construction workers build upon the foundation and framework that has been set down. In the building analogy, just because an argument breaks out about how many windows there should be on the 42nd floor, does not somehow translate to there being a problem with the building’s foundation.

      In the case of evolution, yes, the theory is continuing to be refined, and there is much debate about certain aspects of the mechanisms that drive it, or the exact path it has taken through time. However, and this is the really important part, there is absolutely no debate within the scientific community as to whether evolution by common descent occurred. The evidence is so strong and overwhelming that that general question was settled long ago.

      As to biblical contradictions, here’s a link to an article in which I discuss what I believe to be a major flaw in the way young-earth creation proponents read Genesis: http://www.godofevolution.com/as-different-as-morning-and-evening-genesis-1-and-2-contradictions. I’d be delighted to hear any thoughts you may have on it.

  • tensai13

    Hmm, a thoughtful, insightful and intelligent post but nevertheless………. The reason the religiously deluded attack The theory of Evolution with such unremitting hostility despite an ever increasing mountain of incontrovertible evidence, is that at some level they understand that Darwin’s theory is for all intents and purposes the closest thing we have for a disproof of the existence of God in a way that Newton’s theory of Gravity is not. Newton himself, infected with the virus of religious delusion at a young age, discovered through his genius level of intense research that “The Holy Trinity” was “socially constructed” in other words, a lie. Newton’s friends advised him to bury this knowledge forever if he wanted to keep his position at Cambridge and maybe even his freedom. In all things, religion is the problem, not the solution.

    • I’m glad you liked the post and I appreciate your reading it, but anyone — whether they be Christian, atheist, agnostic or otherwise affiliated — who believes the theory of evolution is a serious blow to theistic faith has gravely misunderstood science, religion or both. Evolution may indeed disprove the childish, “magician” God that some believers tragically insist on clinging to, but it in no way harms a sophisticated view of a deity who is the author of all nature.

      • tensai13

        You flatter yourself. The only “sophisticated view” that you have with regard to your “deity” (chosen for you during your childhood socially constructed reality) derives from the high level of cognitive dissonance you are able to deal with and overcome. Alas, the brain of the human species appears to be hard-wired for gullibility and clearly yours is no exception.

        • Wow, my views sure were downgraded from “thoughtful, insightful and intelligent” pretty quickly, weren’t they? Good thing I have such thick skin. But hey, if you ever decide you might be more interested in understanding than in insulting and belittling strangers on the Internet in smug self-assurance of your own beliefs and opinions, let me know. I’d be happy to discuss with you why I believe there to be absolutely no contradiction between the theory of evolution and theistic faith.

  • Truth Seeker

    Hi Tyler. i was once indoctrinated into being a full believer in single celled organisms to all modern life evolution and this was before i was born of Spirit. once born of Spirit, i remained an indoctrinated evolution believer for many years for the indoctrination had been strong and i felt the christian doctrine of literal creation must be false… and to this day, i do not accept the doctrine of the 100% infallable and inerrant perfect “God breathed” bible. What happened to change my perspective was not christian doctrine or the bible at all, but actually a fascinating study of intelligent design, combined with a miracle which shattered the strong delusion i had been under. When i learned that cells contain extraordinarily sophisticated nano technologies including molecular machines, factories, repair facilities, transportation networks, missile defense systems, etc, it became clear to me that mere random mutations and their supposed selection could never invent, dna blueprint and design these extraordinarily complex technologies, far more sophisticated than anything intelligent man has been able even to merely replicate. life itself is the highest technology. There is much more to this than i can get into in this one post, but along the way, one of the better sites i have found, that does not use the bad cliche attacks against Theory of Evolution is here… http://www.evillusion.net/ . The founder, Steve, does not even claim to be a believer in God and is open even to the possiblilty that life was designed by aliens or any other intelligent source. While he of course understands that adaptation and natural selection are real, dog breeding is real, dna does mutate and sometimes get selected, he gets into a lot of reasons why T of E on the whole is impossible and how believers in this zero iq process greatly overstretch in what they claim it has been able to do, regardless of how many millions of years it supposedly had to do it it. I assume you would be interested in Truth, whatever the consequences, even if it meant having to announce that you had been wrong to believe in the whole T of E.

    As well as the many amazing nano technologies that zero iq could never have invented, T of E does not contain the mechanism to invent an amazing system like that for vision. as another insight into this reality, here is an exerp from steve in http://www.evillusion.net/ from section 10 and reading the entire section provides a lot more compelling information.

    “For the sake of simplicity in this discussion, I am going to break down the visual system into just four major parts: the eyeballs with retina, the visual code, the optic nerve, and the visual cortex. These four items are minimal requirements for vision, no matter how simple, no matter what species. What I am going to discuss here will be dismissed by evo-illusionists as “irreducible complexity”. So I ask the reader to think openly, and don’t read this with any preconceived notions. Just look at the challenge and go from there with your own objective thinking. The question I have for evo-illusionists is, which evolved first: the retina (eyeball), the optic nerve, the visual cortex, or the code. Since all of these are interdependent, they would have had to show up at the same time. Not one of the four items could have preceded the others, as they would be useless. It is unimaginable to think of a different use that could be assigned to each part individually, and how each could individually give the carrier an advantage. If any one to three of these items were partially evolved without the fourth, vision would be zero percent. There would be no possible advantage, and evolution could not continue as described by evo-illusionists. Below are three scenarios: missing eyes, missing visual cortex, and missing optic nerve, all of which would make the visual system useless. And, of course, the missing code would be equally debilitating.”

    I love to see people get set free just as i was from the mainstream system fueled strong delusion of T of E and i hope this helps you towards the same. if more discussion is desired about this… as i am not sure if i will be alerted here or not… my email is ed_walsh_1@hotmail.com .

  • wirosablengmanukan .

    Build a complete time scale if you really think you understand about evolution at all.
    That will show all readers, how deep you understand science and you don’t have to argue at all.

  • Geoff Sutton

    I’m curious: If evolution is factual then the bible is false? And Christ was mistaken? And if Christ was wrong, doesn’t that mean that he cannot be God, and therefore has no authority to forgive our sins? And since the entire bible revolves around Christ it is now meaningless except as a feel good book. I don’t buy this. The first 3 days of creation God creates. On the second 3 he expands and adds life to that creation and declares “it is good”. Genesis 6 talks about Adam, and Jesus and Paul both talk about Adam. But if evolution is true then Adam cannot be a real person. And if he wasn’t a real person, Jesus was wrong… see argument above. How can a good and loving God say that millions of years of death and disease and suffering to produce modern creatures (ie via evolution) are “good”? So either Genesis 1-11 must be true, or they are false and Christ was wrong. And if so there is absolutely no point in being a Christian. You cannot believe both.

    • Hey Geoff, thanks for your comment, though I disagree with pretty much everything you’ve said here. I have a different interpretation of Genesis then you do, for many reasons, most of them related to the text itself. I think that your interpretation is wrong, and you think that my interpretation is wrong. Whoopee. The potentially problematic thing here is that your faith appears to be intimately tied to your view of Genesis. Your interpretation must be correct, or your entire faith in Christ falls apart. This is not good because, No. 1, our faith is meant to be grounded in Christ himself, and our relationship with him alive in us, nothing else; and No. 2, your interpretation of a book of the Bible is just that: a human, fallible interpretation. Scripture is divinely inspired and God-breathed, but our interpretation of it is not, which is, of course, why Christians have disagreed over the proper interpretation of various parts of the Bible for as long as Christians and the Bible has existed.

  • Evolution Derives From Gravity, in Hebrew and in
    plain English, not in academEnglish verbiage

    אבולוציה היא תולדת כח המשיכה

    כל כמות
    החומר ביקום קבועה מאז החל היקום להשתחזר בפעם האחרונה, מאז ה”אחדיות”האחרונה
    שלו, מאז גרעין הלידה האחרון של היקום טרום המפץ הגדול האחרון.

    כל תחומי
    המדע (“דיסציפלינות”) נובעים מן, מתחילים ונגמרים, מתפתחים ונמשכים
    בהכוונת ובמסגרת כח המשיכה. הכל בכל
    מכל כל ביקום הוא עקב כח המשיכה.

    כל תצורת
    חומר ביקום קיימת, בגלל וכמו היקום עצמו, בשני מצבים: במצב אינרטי כגון
    החומר (כנראה הגרוויטונים, החלקיקים היסודיים של היקום) המאוחסן בחורים השחורים
    ו/או במצב אנרגטי, בתנועה,המסוגל לכן לבצע עבודה. בגלל שניות זו של
    חומר-אנרגיה קבועה ביקום גם כל כמות האנרגיה.

    מאז המפץ
    הגדול האחרון מתחולל בכל תצורות החומר ביקום אותו תהליך החוזר ונשנה אשר מתחולל במכלול היקום עצמו : לידה-התפתחות-הישרדות-שיחזור עצמי . על מנת לשרוד ולעבור את כל
    התהליך חייבת כל תצורת חומר להישמר במתכונת אנרגטית. היות וכמות החומר/אנרגיה
    ביקום קבועה מתחרות ביניהן כל תצורות החומר על השגת חומר/אנרגיה כי כל תצורת חומר
    שורדת, פעילה, רק אם הצליחה “לבלוע” אנרגיה. אם אינה “מצליחה” להשיג אנרגיה היא
    נבלעת ע”י תצורת חומר אחרת ומשמשת לה אנרגיה. אכול או היאכל.

    Evolution Derives From Gravity

    The quantity of
    mass in the universe is constant
    since the universe started its last
    self-replication, since its last singularity, its last pre-big bang re-birth
    conception.

    All Science Disciplines derive from, start and end, evolve
    and survive in the direction and manner set by the framework of gravity, the
    monotheism of the universe. All things, everything in the universe, derive from
    the gravity of the universe. Every mass format exists, like the universe
    itself, in one of two states: in an inert state like the material (most
    probably the gravitons, the elementary particles of the universe) stored in black holes, and in an energetic
    state, in motion therefore capable of performing work. Due to this mass-energy dualism also the quantity of energy in the
    universe is constant.

    Since the last big-bang all mass formats undergo the same
    cyclic sequence like the universe itself
    i.e. conception/singularity, birth /big bang –
    evolution/survival/inflation/expansion/re-congregating in black holes –
    replication/repeat singularity etc., over again. In order to survive and to repeat this
    sequence every mass format must remain in an energetic state. And since the universe mass/energy quantity
    is constant there is a melee for it by all mass formats, and the unfortunate
    formats are swallowed and digested by
    the fortunate mass formats.

    It’s indeed, in fact, an eat or be eaten universe…

    Dov Henis (comments from 22nd century)

    http://universe-life.com/

  • Mike Bond

    Thank you for this! It’s beyond frustrating when reading arguments from Creationists and it’s immediately clear that not only do they rarely, truly understand the topic they’re debating, but that if they at least had a firm grasp on just the basics of evolution (and science in general) that most of them would likely cease to believe in Creationism.

  • Amber

    I feel the bible is just a guide what do you all think

  • Sandman

    You are a hoot. How is it testable and falsifiable if it is not observable and repeatable?

    • It’s rather simple, actually. Scientists test theories by making predictions based on the theory, and then testing the predictions. If the predictions are borne out through experimentation and observation, the theory is confirmed (not “proven”). If the predictions are not borne out, the theory is falsified. Make sense?

  • Donald Pierce

    Are you politician? Because you don’t come across as a scientist, you song more like a politician.

    You give simple statements which do not answer the real important questions such as, are the physical laws of the universe constant and if they are than why is this so? And would it be logical to think it happen by chance?
    And is it stupid to conclude it may have been designed that way?

    • Are you politician? Because you don’t come across as a scientist, you song more like a politician.

      Sorry, are scientist and politician the only two options? Because I’m afraid I don’t fit into either category.

      You give simple statements which do not answer the real important questions such as, are the physical laws of the universe constant and if they are than why is this so? And would it be logical to think it happen by chance? And is it stupid to conclude it may have been designed that way?

      You “song” like a person who does not understand the purview of the theory of evolution. None of your inquiries are questions for the field of biological science.

      • Donald Pierce

        Is biology reducible to the Laws of Physics? I believe some day scientist will discover the answer to this question yes. It is a good thing for philosophers to confront the orthodoxies of any discipline. But the standards for undermining orthodoxy are inevitably high so since I an not trained in the science of biology, I am only expressing my opinion base on my faith
        in the law of physics.

  • Guy

    More like 10 signs you don’t understand creation arguments or even evolutionary theory yourself. But hey, why bother when you have some straw men to slay?

    • Ah, the old young-earther standby for when you can’t refute an opponent’s arguments: Pretend as though your opponent has misunderstood your point of view from the outset. Believe me, Guy: I understand the young-earth creationist point of view quite well. That’s why I am so certain it is wrong.

  • mojoblowjoe

    Not everyone who thinks evolution is bs are christians or anything, its a theory thats has failed to find a mechanism for evolution……..what caused mutation to happen? radiation…..no that failed and after that what? without a mechanism for mutation to take place your theory is that mutation can spontaneously happen in nature with no single or any mechanism…….A lot of people think that is no diff from the theory of spontaneous generation, both are making somthing new out of nothing!

    • Dude, mutations happen all the time. They’re simple errors that occur when thousands of lines of genetic code are copied over and over and over again — which is what happens whenever any living thing reproduces.

  • Diligent Christian

    Where is the evidence of evolution all I have been seeing is bones of humans that have been studied by numerous anthropologists and evolutionist who say they can’t see a path from ape to human. One famous anthropologist says since we can not tell how old fossils are we can’t really relate them to the reconstruction of the hominid. Even the dating of the evolution process is messed up kp271 is one the same time period as other animals and even has animals dated after it. How is that possible with man being the end of the evolutionary process or are we gonna evolve too.

  • paulalovescats

    I was a theistic evolutionist for 20 years. There’s a good reason fundies are scared of evolution. It makes it clear that the bible is full of fairy tales and there is really no message from a god in it. It’s just written by men. As in males. Look up god’s command to abort babies in Numbers 5.
    Either it’s from a god, or it’s utter nonsense. You can’t claim some of it is a message from a god when all the idiocy was allowed to stay in. If there were a god, he should come down and settle the argument. But he won’t.
    I am now an atheist, obviously.
    Here come the first cause arguments. I don’t know how the big bang started. That doesn’t necessarily mean we have to have a god.

  • Sage

    Hey religious fanatic in evolution – er, scientific expert – Tyler Francke – very emotionally charged language you used in this article. Only religious fanatics like you write such passionate articles about what they believe.

    • That’s completely true. No one who is not religious has ever made a passionate argument or said anything that was emotionally charged.

  • dumb

    your a joke

    • Thanks for your thoughtful, cogent response. I guess I have no choice but to change my ways.

      At least your name is accurate.

  • Stefan Dewald

    This article misses the crossing between knowing about evolution and philosophy: There ain’t no such thing as the »right of the mighty«! That’s a case of Naturalistic Fallacy.

  • I started reading this article thinking that here is an evolutionist that actually can debunk creationist arguments. And so I read number one and thought, “Oh good, he is going to provide evidence of observable evolution. You provided none and I was thoroughly disappointed. You write the following: “For example, the theory of evolution predicts that large-scale changes, like those that turned fishy ancestors into land-treading mammals, take many millions of years, so the fact that we haven’t observed anything like that since Darwin is a confirmation of his idea.”

    I am not sure what you are trying to prove? If I create a theory and then state that there is no evidence for my theory and therefore that proves my theory… Perhaps someone can explain how this makes sense?

    And then you state the following,” If the fossil record, genetic evidence, laboratory experiments and more had not borne out this and other predictions, it would have immediately required modifications to the theory, and may have falsified it altogether.” Every time that the evolutionary hypothesis is falsified, evolutionist simply create a rescue device such as Oorts Cloud, Punctuated Equilibrium, Inflation and the list is endless. And the second point, give me a break. You might want to do a little more research, Here is an article of the fishapods that evolutionists are trying to romanticize into it being an ancestor of land animals, http://www.livescience.com/47582-unusual-fish-bichir-animal-evolution.html

    All the other articles of supposed transitional forms have already been thoroughly debunked. Okay let us go on to point 3,
    Actually there is a difference between micro-evolution and macro-evolution in that micro is a change of existing information and macro is added information to change feathers into scales etc. Whenever I ask for evidence for macro, I always get evidence my micro which no one is arguing. Arguments number 4 and 6 are arguments that no creationists believe. There is not a creationist out there who believes that mutations are always negative and no creationists believe that evolution is a scientific theory. It is not a scientific theory but an hypothesis. Please do some research on what creationist actually believe. The other arguments are silly. I will keep searching the web for evolutionary sites that actually have evidence for their hypothesis. Thank you.

  • Lulu

    As a believer in God (not Christian though) who is extremely interested by the concept of evolution, I wish I could print this article and show it around to people who give me crap for the “discrepancies” in my persona. You’ve made some really good arguments and I appreciate how you made it clear that evolution is NOT a belief system. Cheers.

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  • Jeff

    The Bible we know was conceived by a group of religious men thrown together at the council of Nicaea who threw together parts of the Jewish torah and some Christian writings declaring them the gospels and the Emperor Constantine used this book to declare a state religion that we know as Christianity and stabilized his
    empire. There was more politics involved than truth. There are known errors in translation from Greek writings and no end to the list of contradictions. I can’t tell anyone there is no God, I can tell you that All religion is nothing more than a business used to control large groups of people. It very well may have served a useful purpose in the past and helped the Human race formulate what passes for civilization today. But that’s all religion not a particular religion. From what I have seen in my lifetime religion serves no useful purpose in modern times except to perpetuate wars and ignorance. The so called creationists like Comfort, Camron, Hamm and others are nothing more than con men, grifters who bilk the ignorant out of their money by selling them the stairway to a heaven that does not exist. I might add that debating them is a waste of time. Those that want to believe simply wll. Truth, logic or reason don’t apply so why bother debating.

  • Stephen Hazen

    Explain DNA and its evolution before the Evolution you believe in and maybe I to will believe no beings were involved in that blueprint for evolution.

  • John Z

    You said, “..that there is some mysterious, invisible barrier within “kinds” that prevents large-scale changes is as logically consistent as saying you can walk from your front door to the sidewalk, but walking to your friend’s house across town is fundamentally impossible.” There are many problems with most of your comments, but this comment illustrates one problem very clearly. Your analogy is completely incorrect. A true analogy would be restated: such that “…just because you have walked around town one day, does not mean that you have walked across the country.” It’s not what is possible or impossible. It’s whether there is sufficient evidence to demonstrate that it actually happened.

    Your claim that you have found transitional fossils, is also demonstrably false. Of course, some have claimed that every single species is transitional in some way or other, which is a circular argument. Merely finding a fossil of something that has intermediate characteristics, does not make it nor the trait, transitional. Just because my thumb is more functional than a toe, and not as long or flexible as a finger does not mean that my thumb is transitional between a toe and a finger. In the same way traits are not transitional just because they are there. This type of reasoning is fundamentally presumptuous and flawed, and unscientific and illogical. In addition, it would be essential to be able to prove that “intermediate” traits or organs or appendages were transitional and not just endpoints of mutations. Too often the theory merely presumes that because something is there, it must ipso facto have come about because of evolution. Then it declares it to be a proof of evolution. Sorry, it doesn’t work that way.

    John Z

    • The analogy is perfectly valid. There is no functional difference between “micro-evolution” and “macro-evolution.” They are fundamentally identical processes at work on different time scales.

      Transitional fossils: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_transitional_fossils

    • Chris Mason

      Here are some transitional fossils for you:

  • John Z

    Another problem that indicates you do not understand the objections to evolution: you seem to think that macro evolution is merely an accumulation of micro evolution. Actually, creationists do not really like the term micro-evolution, since it obscures the actual observable incidents of mutations and natural selection that occur. Mutations and natural selection can occur without evolution taking place. Evolution cannot consist solely of devolution or deterioration. It must result in microbes to microbiologist progression, which means there must be tremendous numbers of beneficial mutations (not just a few). It means there must be an increase of genetic information, not just an activation of a substitution or a sequence. It means that we would expect countless more transitions than we do of present terminal species. You claim that most mutations are neutral, but they are only neutral because of undetectable effects compared to all the biological noise that exists. In fact, it is not likely that they are totally neutral, but more likely that they are slightly deleterious. Even known beneficial mutations often have deleterious side effects, and they are almost always due to the loss of some genetic information, or the mere activation or deactivation of a genetic sequence. There is no addition of actual dna material to provide a benefit. When there is an addition, it ends up being deleterious as well. The exceptions, such as the odd beneficial mutation do not overcome the mountain of deleterious mutations or lack of beneficial mutations necessary for the theory to be verified.

    So you say that harmful mutations are very rare. Depends on what you compare it to. It is easy to make a very long list of harmful mutations, while you need to dig pretty deep to find a beneficial mutation without an observable harmful side effect. So I would say that on the preponderance of evidence, your statement is demonstrably false and wishful thinking.

    • Another problem that indicates you do not understand the objections to evolution: you seem to think that macro evolution is merely an accumulation of micro evolution.

      That’s because that’s what it is.

  • John Z

    You said, “…Newton did not have to explain how the universe came to be in order to understand how it operates now. Evolution is no different.” However, this is false. Evolution is certainly different. Evolution deals with origins, and is not a law for how something happens now. Theoretically, evolution could have happened in the past, and simply stopped happening today. Or vice versa. But the theory postulates spontaneous beginnings of every single organelle, organism, amino acid, dna bases, appendage, organ, species, genera, family and kingdom. To argue that the original beginnings of life is irrelevant, is bordering on devious. The main assumption behind the theory is that everything happens merely by chance and natural selection; that nothing happens by design and outside directed purpose. Why would this only apply to biological change, and not to biological origin?

    • Evolution deals with origins

      No, it doesn’t.

      is not a law for how something happens now.

      Well, it’s certainly not a “law,” but it does describe how things “happen now,” that is, how life forms continue to develop.

      Theoretically, evolution could have happened in the past, and simply stopped happening today.

      Maybe some theory says that, but not evolutionary theory.

      But the theory postulates spontaneous beginnings of every single organelle, organism, amino acid, dna bases, appendage, organ, species, genera, family and kingdom.

      Pretty sure you’re thinking of young-earth creationism. That’s the only “theory” I know of that posits spontaneous generation without ancestral forms.

      The main assumption behind the theory is that everything happens merely by chance and natural selection; that nothing happens by design and outside directed purpose.

      Wrong.

      Why would this only apply to biological change, and not to biological origin?

      Since almost nothing you’ve said in this entire comment is accurate, this question makes no sense.

  • John Z

    Your comments about “theory”, about “believing in evolution”, and Pokemon are esoteric, and fighting straw men. There is truth and irrelevance in both sides of these.
    But your comment about “hoaxes” entirely misses the main point. The theory encourages these errors and even the frauds, because of the excitement of finding evidence or manipulating evidence to support it, or superimposing the constraints of the theory on the evidence. The drawings of speculative animals from a few bones, almost always has to be dramatically changed when the entire fossil is found. You argue that scientists discovered the errors and frauds. Yes, they did, but in the meantime, it often takes decades before the errors are corrected in the literature or media or science textbooks. So the students are brainwashed by the errors which they assume are true. While the hoaxes are not part of some grand conspiracy, they are nevertheless the cause of many people accepting evolution on false premises. So here too, you are attacking a straw man, and obscuring the real problem.

    • The theory encourages these errors and even the frauds, because of the excitement of finding evidence or manipulating evidence to support it, or superimposing the constraints of the theory on the evidence.

      Right. You know what gets scientists even more excited than new discoveries? Proving that another scientist’s conclusions were mistaken, or worse, that they were deliberately falsified. Which is why every one of the “hoaxes” (oftentimes, they were mistakes and not deliberate hoaxes) put forth by creationists were spotted and corrected by real scientists, not creation “scientists.”

      The drawings of speculative animals from a few bones, almost always has to be dramatically changed when the entire fossil is found.

      So, the fact that scientists change their opinions based on new information is a knock against them? Well, of course it is. To obstinate young-earthers, the ability to be open-minded and accommodate new facts and information is completely foreign.

      You argue that scientists discovered the errors and frauds. Yes, they did

      Thank you.

      but in the meantime, it often takes decades before the errors are corrected in the literature or media or science textbooks.

      They still change way faster than the creationist literature.

      So the students are brainwashed by the errors which they assume are true. While the hoaxes are not part of some grand conspiracy, they are nevertheless the cause of many people accepting evolution on false premises.

      You are hilarious. That’s right, without Piltdown Man, there is literally no evidence for evolution.

      So here too, you are attacking a straw man, and obscuring the real problem.

      I’m sorry, are you still talking to me here, or did you start addressing yourself in the third person.

  • Dennis780

    “so the fact that we haven’t observed anything like that since Darwin is a confirmation of his idea.”

    Untrue. This idea proposes only two possible outcomes, when the lack of observation could support many possibilities. If I taste ice cream, and it doesn’t taste like chocolate, can we then suppose from this that it is vanilla? The absence of observation is evidence against evolution. Other evolutionary changes should be fast forwarded by increased generational reproduction (i.e. flies, bees, etc.). Small genetically beneficial mutations should have occurred within the last century.

    “2. You think we’ve never found a transitional fossil.”

    Untrue. The news often runs stories of transitional fossil discoveries. That’s because there are so few, they are newsworthy. These supposed transitions are often disproven.

    “3. You think macroevolution is an inherently different process than microevolution”

    That’s because they are. Every microevolutionary discovery I’ve never debated was the result of genetic loss or antigenic variation (pre-programmed self-defence due to sudden condition change). Neither of which result in any increase in functional or complex genetic information. Macroevolution and microevolution are terms meant to confuse terms. Microevolution was commonly called adaptation (the ability of an organism to adjust and survive in it’s environment), which is very scientific. Piggybacking this scientific fact is a tactic to give support to Macroevolution, but the general public isn’t stupid.

    “4. You think mutations are always negative.”

    Again, this is untrue. Plenty of mutations benefit the organism. Fish that live in caves without light lose their eyes. This prevents energy wasted attempting to process visual stimulus, so the organism can rely better on the senses that provide the best chance for survival. This isn’t an example of evolution, but adaptation.

    “5. You think it has anything to do with the origin of life, let alone the origins of the universe.”

    This was removed from evolution quite a while ago. Probably because they had so many other complex unsolvable problems, they needed to ignore some. The origin of the first organism, however, is a problem that needs to be solved to explain how evolution can take place at all, so it’s unquestionably tied to evolution.

    “6. You use the phrase “it’s only a theory” and think you’ve made some kind of substantive statement.”

    Like many theories, it can and HAS been disproven. Nikola Tesla theorized the planet was expanding (later proven false), phlogiston theory that all combustible materials contained a substance called phlogiston (also proven false), and the list goes on and on. Theory status is given to a plausible explanation of observations. Evolution is a theory (I couldn’t resist).

    “7. You think acceptance of evolution is the same as religious faith.”

    It is. I don’t believe owls can fly, that is a fact. It can be observed and documented. Since evolution fails to explain many fundamental physical pillars of life (ie. irreducible complexity, violation of the law of Angular Momentum, etc.) we are forced to look at small amounts of evidence, and accept the interpretation to support evolution. This makes evolution a faith. There is also physical evidence that supports stories told from the Bible, but we don’t give the Bible ‘theory’ status.

    “8. You think our modern understanding of it rests on a long series of hoaxes perpetuated by scientists.”

    Evolution is a very well protected theory, and it’s growing list of ‘evidence’ often makes it far too big to refute. Even when evidence disproves one aspect, the theory is changed, and that evidence is excluded going forward. The theory of evolution has been rewritten three times (1849, 1942, 2012). The theory of evolution itself is evolving.

    “9. You don’t like Pokémon because you think it “promotes” evolution.”

    I love Pokémon. I fail to see what a cartoon has to do with evolution, but it also doesn’t pose a problem for Creation. Metamorphosis is actually a very complex process, and is strong evidence against evolution. I CHOOSE YOU, PIKACHU!

    “10. You think it’s inherently opposed to Christianity or the Bible.”

    Helena Curtis and N. Sue Barnes are not defining evolution, but genetic drift. For the record, I do not believe that evolution started to throw a pie in the face of Christians. Science would be doing a disservice if it accepted postulated ideas without test and analysis, as well as further study as technology advances. Science needs this! With that said, the theory of evolution requires billions of years to evolve the complex and diverse life we see today. The Bible says the earth is not billions of years old. If evolution is true, then the Bible is wrong, and the words written in it could not possibly be written by people serving an all knowing, all powerful God. They are opposing ideas.

    The general public doesn’t accept evolution because they don’t know what it is. They don’t accept it because they do. It’s taught all through school, and the access to evolutionary magazines, webcasts, classes, books, and websites is limitless. We understand evolution. We just don’t think it’s true. The theory consistently leaves people with more questions than answers.

    I want to know who is saying Christians don’t like Pokémon. That was the best part of my childhood!

    • Untrue. This idea proposes only two possible outcomes, when the lack of observation could support many possibilities.

      I never said this supported no other outcome. But when a theory predicts something, and that is in reality what happens, it is called a confirmation of that theory.

      If I taste ice cream, and it doesn’t taste like chocolate, can we then suppose from this that it is vanilla?

      Poor, completely irrelevant analogy.

      The absence of observation is evidence against evolution.

      I never said evolution had no observable evidence. I said “that large-scale changes, like those that turned fishy ancestors into land-treading mammals” have not been observed. However, the theory of evolution predicts that we would not observe these changes, since they take millions of years. So the fact that they haven’t been observed is, in fact, a confirmation of the theory.

      Other evolutionary changes should be fast forwarded by increased generational reproduction (i.e. flies, bees, etc.).

      They are. Simpler organisms that reproduce quickly have demonstrated the ability to adapt to new environments faster than others.

      Small genetically beneficial mutations should have occurred within the last century.

      They have. Try Googling “observable evidence of evolution” or “beneficial mutations in humans.”

      The news often runs stories of transitional fossil discoveries. That’s because there are so few, they are newsworthy. These supposed transitions are often disproven.

      The news runs stories of new transitional fossils because most people (young-earth creation proponents excluded) are interested in scientific discoveries and progress. As for there being “so few,” and them “often being disproven,” riiiiiiiigggghht. https://en.wikipedia.org/?title=List_of_transitional_fossils

      That’s because they are.

      No, actually, they aren’t. They are fundamentally identical processes. The only difference is the time frames in which they operate. It’s like saying it is possible for a human to age a month but impossible for a human to age 80 years. The process is the same; only the time frame is different.

      This isn’t an example of evolution, but adaptation.

      See above.

      The origin of the first organism, however, is a problem that needs to be solved to explain how evolution can take place at all, so it’s unquestionably tied to evolution.

      You never scored very highly on reading comprehension, did you? No, the origin of life does not have to be explained before we can study evolution. Do you think the origin of the universe has to be explained before we can study physics?

      Like many theories, it can and HAS been disproven.

      Sigh. This is getting tiresome. And no, of course, it has not been disproven.

      Since evolution fails to explain many fundamental physical pillars of life (ie. irreducible complexity, violation of the law of Angular Momentum, etc.)

      This is just hilarious. “Irreducible complexity” is half-baked pseudoscience cooked up by the policy analysts over at the Disco Institute, and the law of angular momentum is a principle of physics that has nothing to do with biology.

      we are forced to look at small amounts of evidence, and accept the interpretation to support evolution. This makes evolution a faith.

      Actually, analyzing and interpreting evidence is pretty much the basis of science. You must have a very interesting definition of the word faith.

      Even when evidence disproves one aspect, the theory is changed, and that evidence is excluded going forward.

      Yeah, that’s how science works. Only the young-earth creationists never change what they believe, regardless of how much their beliefs are contradicted by the evidence all around them.

      The Bible says the earth is not billions of years old.

      The Bible also says God is a rock (Psalm 18:2) if you read it wrong.

      The general public doesn’t accept evolution because they don’t know what it is.

      And also because their pastors tell them they’ll go to hell if they do.

      We understand evolution.

      Based on the evidence above, I call B.S. on this one.

      • Dennis780

        “Poor, completely irrelevant analogy.”

        Actually it’s a perfect analogy for a observation with multiple outcomes.

        “They are. Simpler organisms that reproduce quickly have demonstrated the ability to adapt to new environments faster than others.”

        This is my point exactly. You are mixing adaptation with evolution in an attempt to validate your theory. Evolutionary theory requires, REQUIRES genetic growth of functional DNA, which adaptation has nothing to do with.

        “You never scored very highly on reading comprehension, did you? No, the origin of life does not have to be explained before we can study evolution. Do you think the origin of the universe has to be explained before we can study physics?”

        The pillar of evolution requires new genetic material to evolve over time. If in fact this is not the case, then the origin of life will likely be false also. If you buy a car, can you explain where it came from, or does simply accepting that it is satisfy you? How the parts are assembled matters, from beginning to end.

        “This is just hilarious. “Irreducible complexity” is half-baked pseudoscience cooked up by the policy analysts over at the Disco Institute, and the law of angular momentum is a principle of physics that has nothing to do with biology.”

        There are plenty of observable organisms and processes that fit perfectly with this theory. Biological mechanisms that rely on each other could not evolve separately, thus irreducible complexity.

        “I never said evolution had no observable evidence. I said “that large-scale changes, like those that turned fishy ancestors into land-treading mammals” have not been observed. However, the theory of evolution predicts that we would not observe these changes, since they take millions of years. So the fact that they haven’t been observed is, in fact, a confirmation of the theory.”

        Complete nonsense.

        “The news runs stories of new transitional fossils because most people (young-earth creation proponents excluded) are interested in scientific discoveries and progress. As for there being “so few,” and them “often being disproven,” riiiiiiiigggghht.”

        I count 178 transitional fossils on the website you provided. Gee, I have been wrong all along, there are so many! From the source you provided: “but most if not all, of the fossils shown here represent extinct side branches, more or less closely related to the true ancestor.”

        “No, actually, they aren’t. They are fundamentally identical processes. The only difference is the time frames in which they operate. It’s like saying it is possible for a human to age a month but impossible for a human to age 80 years. The process is the same; only the time frame is different.”

        Yes actually, they are different, and I explained why already. I’m not going to repeat myself. Your analogy of human aging is an example of degeneration (gradual loss of functional genetic information), not evolution. Don’t confuse them. Your skin doesn’t droop because you are evolving.

        “Actually, analyzing and interpreting evidence is pretty much the basis of science. You must have a very interesting definition of the word faith.”

        Actually, science is the knowledge of testable observations and predictions. Anything further is philosophy. The observations are the same between you and I. We both are looking at the same evidence. It’s the interpretation that causes the problem. Also:

        Faith – a belief, confidence or trust in a person, object, religion, idea or view.

        I’d say the acceptance of a theory that has not been tested or observed counts.

        “The Bible also says God is a rock (Psalm 18:2) if you read it wrong.”

        If you can count (1-2-3-4-5-6), you can read the Bible and see the earth is not billions of years old. Fortunately, many books (Numbers being the main one) document the genealogy of the human race. So we can look at how old everyone was, and write it down, then count. No interpretation required. Just counting. Numbers.

        “Yeah, that’s how science works. Only the young-earth creationists never change what they believe, regardless of how much their beliefs are contradicted by the evidence all around them.”
        Really? You mean like there is nothing alive that is older than 5000 years? Or that the Moon is not as old as the earth?
        Or that nowhere in the world are fossils found in their correct order (invertebrate-vertebrate-fish-reptile-mammal)?
        Or that there are fossils of animals in the middle of battle and giving birth?
        Or that there is not a single case of new functional genetic material (ie. e-coli, fruit flies, etc.)?
        Or that losing our body hair and standing upright was a really shitty example of survival of the fittest (exposure to sun and loss of upper body strength)?
        If you want to continue this, email me at denniscnixon@hotmail.com. I find this disqus thing clunky. I would enjoy the mental work.

        • Actually it’s a perfect analogy for a observation with multiple outcomes.

          Actually, it’s a poor, completely irrelevant analogy, as I explained above.

          This is my point exactly. You are mixing adaptation with evolution in an attempt to validate your theory. Evolutionary theory requires, REQUIRES genetic growth of functional DNA, which adaptation has nothing to do with.

          Evolution “requires, REQUIRES” that small changes can happen within species, and can eventually accumulate into larger changes. And all of the evidence and observational experience confirm that small changes can happen within species. The process through which new genes are created has been observed and is not that complicated.

          The pillar of evolution requires new genetic material to evolve over time. If in fact this is not the case, then the origin of life will likely be false also. If you buy a car, can you explain where it came from, or does simply accepting that it is satisfy you? How the parts are assembled matters, from beginning to end.

          See above.

          There are plenty of observable organisms and processes that fit perfectly with this theory. Biological mechanisms that rely on each other could not evolve separately, thus irreducible complexity.

          Right, I understand what the argument is. But the simple fact is that no one has ever actually been able to present an example of a structure that evolution and natural selection were incapable of explaining. Any structure that has been proposed, whether it be the eye, the clotting process, even the bacterial flagellum, have numerous simpler counterparts in nature, which make a possible evolutionary pathway quite clear.

          Complete nonsense.

          Fabulous counter-argument.

          I count 178 transitional fossils on the website you provided. Gee, I have been wrong all along, there are so many! From the source you provided: “but most if not all, of the fossils shown here represent extinct side branches, more or less closely related to the true ancestor.”

          I don’t know that your number is correct, but 178 documented transitional fossils is significant, especially when fine critics like yourself continue to assert that the number is zero. The portion you quote is perfectly in line with the actual scientific understanding of what is meant by the term “transitional fossil.”

          Yes actually, they are different, and I explained why already. I’m not going to repeat myself. Your analogy of human aging is an example of degeneration (gradual loss of functional genetic information), not evolution. Don’t confuse them. Your skin doesn’t droop because you are evolving.

          They aren’t different, and the analogy is perfectly valid. There is no functional difference between the two processes; one is just allowed a much longer time frame in which to operate.

          “Actually, analyzing and interpreting evidence is pretty much the basis of science. You must have a very interesting definition of the word faith.”

          Actually, science is the knowledge of testable observations and predictions. Anything further is philosophy. The observations are the same between you and I. We both are looking at the same evidence. It’s the interpretation that causes the problem. Also:

          Faith – a belief, confidence or trust in a person, object, religion, idea or view.

          I’d say the acceptance of a theory that has not been tested or observed counts.

          Evolution has been tested and observed as much as, if not more than, any other theory in science.

          If you can count (1-2-3-4-5-6), you can read the Bible and see the earth is not billions of years old. Fortunately, many books (Numbers being the main one) document the genealogy of the human race. So we can look at how old everyone was, and write it down, then count. No interpretation required. Just counting. Numbers.

          It’s not possible to read the Bible without interpreting it. You can’t even get an English Bible in your hands without it previously having gone through a process by which a translator (also known as an “interpreter”) filtered the original words into a form you can understand.

          You beg the question by presuming from the outset that Genesis 1 is literal. Many faithful church fathers and theologians throughout history (way before modern geology and Darwin’s theory) rejected this view on purely biblical reasons, and so do I.

          “Yeah, that’s how science works. Only the young-earth creationists never change what they believe, regardless of how much their beliefs are contradicted by the evidence all around them.”

          Really?

          Yes: http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Evidence_against_a_recent_creation

          If you want to continue this, email me at denniscnixon@hotmail.com. I find this disqus thing clunky. I would enjoy the mental work.

          No thank you. I responded to your criticism here for the benefit of any following along. If you wish to continue the discussion, you can continue it in the same forum in which you started it.

          • Dennis780

            “The process through which new genes are createdhas been observed and is not that complicated.”

            You are oversimplifying this process. Mitosis and meioses are self correcting, and will only line up to the correct synapsis. Errors in these processes, though genetic information is copied across to new genes, cause fragmented DNA as well, which usually results in two non-functional genes (like colorblindness). When they line up, they do not grow. DNA is not a plant.

            “I don’t know that your number is correct, but 178 documented transitional fossils is significant, especially when fine critics like yourself continue to assert that the number is zero.”

            Ok.

            “Any structure that has been proposed, whether it be the eye, the clotting process, even the bacterial flagellum, have numerous simpler counterparts in nature, which make a possible evolutionary pathway quite clear.”

            Bombardier beetle.

            “They aren’t different, and the analogy is perfectly valid. There is no functional difference between the two processes; one is just allowed a much longer time frame in which to operate.”

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DNA_damage_theory_of_aging

            “Evolution has been tested and observed as much as, if not more than, any other theory in science.”

            Thats an opinion, not a fact. It’s also an unprovable fallacy.

            “It’s not possible to read the Bible without interpreting it. You can’t even get an English Bible in your hands without it previously having gone through a process by which a translator (also known as an “interpreter”) filtered the original words into a form you can understand.”

            Irrelevant. I pointed out the genealogy is traced in the Bible and you did not respond. Further, evolution is processed in the same fashion. Scientists study information, and is presented in a form you can understand (well, maybe not you).

            “You beg the question by presuming from the outset that Genesis 1 is literal. Many faithful church fathers and theologians throughout history (way before modern geology and Darwin’s theory) rejected this view on purely biblical reasons, and so do I.”

            Since no one was there to observe this, I can’t respond. That may be possible. Since neither of us can support out stance on Biblical creation with evidence, it’s irrelevant. The physical world, however, does not support a earth billions of years old. This topic has drifted some outside evolution, but I am willing to offer evidence if you would like?

            “Actually, it’s a poor, completely irrelevant analogy, as I explained above.”

            My analogy is perfectly valid. Your point was denying the antecedent (if A then B), when the possible outcomes are endless, just like ice cream flavors.

            “The pillar of evolution requires new genetic material to evolve over time. If in fact this is not the case, then the origin of life will likely be false also. If you buy a car, can you explain where it came from, or does simply accepting that it is satisfy you? How the parts are assembled matters, from beginning to end.

            See above.”

            chemical evolution – The formation of complex organic molecules from simpler inorganic molecules through chemical reactions in the oceans during the early historyof the Earth; the first step in the development of life on this planet. Theperiod of chemical evolution lasted less than a billion years.

            -source: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/chemical+evolution

            I don’t know what else to say on this. Without chemical evolution, you don’t have life to evolve. So again, while evolution has disassociated from the origin of the first living cells, they are tied.

          • You are oversimplifying this process. Mitosis and meioses are self correcting, and will only line up to the correct synapsis. Errors in these processes, though genetic information is copied across to new genes, cause fragmented DNA as well, which usually results in two non-functional genes (like colorblindness). When they line up, they do not grow. DNA is not a plant.

            They “grow,” when copying errors result in duplicate strands of DNA, which happens all the time.

            Bombardier beetle.

            http://ncse.com/cej/2/1/bombardier-beetle-myth-exploded
            http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/bombardier.html

            Thats an opinion, not a fact. It’s also an unprovable fallacy.

            It is not an opinion. The theory of evolution has been tested against observations and experimental evidence for over 150 years.

            Irrelevant. I pointed out the genealogy is traced in the Bible and you did not respond.

            Because the main conflict is not with the genealogies, but with what you assert are the six literal days in which the entire universe was created, and what I believe is theological allegory.

            Since no one was there to observe this, I can’t respond. That may be possible. Since neither of us can support out stance on Biblical creation with evidence, it’s irrelevant. The physical world, however, does not support a earth billions of years old. This topic has drifted some outside evolution, but I am willing to offer evidence if you would like?

            Sure. Why don’t you start here: http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Evidence_against_a_recent_creation

          • Dennis780

            “They “grow,” when copying errors result in duplicate strands of DNA, which happens all the time.”

            This is a substitution mutation. No new (and also highly unlikely usable) genetic information becomes available. Frameshift is more plausible (since it’s the only one that adds to a genetic sequence without removing from another), but also results in incorrectly parsed sequences, or “junk” DNA by shifting codons and compromising ‘stop’ gene placement. Furthermore, this genetic discovery came from those who develop Downs Syndrome, where gene dosage negatively impacts the information. While the example you gave exists, it’s unlikely that this is to any benefit of the organism. Please provide evidence of a genetic mutation that benefited the organism (must be published from reputable source, no more wikistuff).

            “It is not an opinion. The theory of evolution has been tested against observations and experimental evidence for over 150 years.”

            Yes it is. Attempting to prove or disprove an opinion is impossible. This is a subjective truth, not objective. How are you measuring ‘most studied’? Man hours? Breakthroughs? Number of scientists? Money invested? Experiments performed? From origin? This is an illogical argument.

            “Sure. Why don’t you start here: http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/E…”

            This is a bias site that offers evidence in favor of evolution. You are trying to overload the discussion, by proving too much (also a logical fallacy). However, I am willing to briefly touch on as many as I can:

            -Amino acid racemization-tested against mammalian bones, and dates were found inconsistent, and unusable.
            (Geoarcheology, Vol. 5)
            -Baptistina asteroid family- This is a perception (and speed) of time arguement, much larger than the asteroids, but the estimated date of the collision was already cut in half after new discoveries were introduced.
            -Continental drift- Only true if the rates of drift are constant, which they are not.
            (Scientific American Vol. 226)
            -Coral- Again, this supposes past environmental consistency. New coral grows on old coral all the time, and the alive reef is only 8000 years old +-.
            -Dendrochronology – “the tree ring chronology has been pushed back in some areas as far as 11,700 years” (from your source). Thats not very old.
            -Distant starlight- Time is abstract, not constant. One hour on earth may very well equal any given value by galactic clocks. The Bible also says that God ‘stretched out the heavens’, so if the universe has a center, and Earth is close to it, then it’s very likely that starlight would have been seen by Adam just as we do today. This is a possibility that I can’t prove, so no response required.

            Thats about as far as I’m going for now. I can touch on the others independently if you use them in support of your arguments in the future.

            “But your assertion is that this weakness somehow negates our understanding of how life evolved after it began, which is patently false.”

            I never asserted that Chemical Evolution explains Evolution (though in my opinion, they should be one in the same). However, if it becomes a statistical impossibility for life to come from non-life, then the latter (evolution) will follow suit. A new and scientifically sound theory will be required, and evolution will be dead.

          • This is a substitution mutation. No new (and also highly unlikely usable) genetic information becomes available.

            It does not provide novel genetic information by itself, but it does add to the genome (which is what we were discussing) and provides redundant genes upon which future mutations can operate.

            Please provide evidence of a genetic mutation that benefited the organism (must be published from reputable source, no more wikistuff).

            How about you take five seconds yourself and Google “beneficial mutations.” You’ll find everything you want to know.

            This is a bias site that offers evidence in favor of evolution.

            A bias in favor of facts and evidence is a pretty good bias as far as I’m concerned.

            I never asserted that Chemical Evolution explains Evolution (though in my opinion, they should be one in the same). However, if it becomes a statistical impossibility for life to come from non-life, then the latter (evolution) will follow suit. A new and scientifically sound theory will be required, and evolution will be dead.

            False. All of the evidence for evolution of living organisms remains, regardless of what kicked off the process 3.5 billion years ago.

          • Dennis780

            ” but it does add to the genome (which is what we were discussing) and provides redundant genes upon which future mutations can operate.”

            Again, no new genetic information becomes available. I already gave examples (colorblindness and down syndrome), which are the result of copying errors. These errors cause fragmented genetic code, and is unreadable (junk DNA). Suppose you have two cars and two manuals, and you tear out one page from manual #1, and glue it into manual #2. Explain what new information has been obtained from this.

            “How about you take five seconds yourself and Google “beneficial mutations.” You’ll find everything you want to know.”

            I’m fully aware of how different mutations take place, and also how, in theory, new genetic information can be obtained. I didn’t ask for that. I asked for a real life example or proof that this actually happens (science, remember). If you would like, I can help you. Google e-coli experiment, or Nylonese bacteria. Both of these are easily refutable, but should show you what I mean. Proof that genetic mutation over time results in new functional genetic material.

            “A bias in favor of facts and evidence is a pretty good bias as far as I’m concerned.”

            So far I haven’t heard one logical or intelligent response to any of the rebuttals I offered. Your knowledge on the subject seems lacking, and I hope you take some time to really investigate what it is you believe in going forward. Like I said before, we are all looking at physical evidence. The same evidence. I used scientific responses to all points (even those that were fallacious). FYI, in all other debates (and I do this a lot), bias sites are considered off limits (creationwiki, answersingenesis), because like Micheal Moore, information is often excluded to make a point based on pointed facts, rather than supporting an objective truth. If you get your information from these sites, you are just as guilty as any Christian who doesn’t read the Bible. Science is found in books.

            “False. All of the evidence for evolution of living organisms remains, regardless of what kicked off the process 3.5 billion years ago.”

            This again is not evidence. I can’t respond to a thought.

            Tyler, it has been a pleasure having this discussion (albeit easy). You haven’t given me anything to respond to in your last email. Each point you made I offered valid inferences, scientific support, and evidence disproving the often elementary perspective on the view on the origin of life that you hold. Since I have nothing left to argue but your thoughts, this debate is finished.

            There is plenty of mounting support for a young earth (sediment layers in the ocean, bent layers in the earth, ), that the earth and fossils cannot be billions of years old (faint sun, magnetic field decay, helium in fossils, soft tissue in fossils, carbon-14 etc.), and that genetic information is lost over time, not gained (genetic drift, the bottleneck effect, etc.).

            You sound like many other atheists that reads their beliefs off the internet, and the same thing happens time and again. The responses get smaller and smaller. Your points are absurd, your belief is barely evolutionist, and you don’t know the difference between Macro-evolution and Micro-evolution. If you believe that you are well informed, then you require as much self-reflection as you do scientific knowledge.

            And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.
            Matt. 10:14

          • Again, no new genetic information becomes available. I already gave examples (colorblindness and down syndrome), which are the result of copying errors. These errors cause fragmented genetic code, and is unreadable (junk DNA). Suppose you have two cars and two manuals, and you tear out one page from manual #1, and glue it into manual #2. Explain what new information has been obtained from this.

            No new information becomes available, until future mutations work on these new strands of genetic material. As I previously said.

            I’m fully aware of how different mutations take place, and also how, in theory, new genetic information can be obtained. I didn’t ask for that. I asked for a real life example or proof that this actually happens (science, remember). If you would like, I can help you. Google e-coli experiment, or Nylonese bacteria. Both of these are easily refutable, but should show you what I mean. Proof that genetic mutation over time results in new functional genetic material.

            I didn’t answer you, not because I don’t know of any cases or “needed your help,” but because I suspected your question was disingenuous and a rather clumsy attempt at baiting me. Which, of course it was.

            Nevertheless, my previous answer stands. There are numerous examples of this, both in the lab and in nature, and if you really cared to learn about them, a simple Google search would give you all you need to know. Lenski’s experiment and nylon-eating bacteria (I believe “nylonase” was the word you were searching for?) are certainly among them, but they are far from the only ones.

            “False. All of the evidence for evolution of living organisms remains, regardless of what kicked off the process 3.5 billion years ago.”

            This again is not evidence.

            … Evidence is not evidence? Wow, now I’m really confused.

            Tyler, it has been a pleasure having this discussion (albeit easy). You haven’t given me anything to respond to in your last email. Each point you made I offered valid inferences, scientific support, and evidence disproving the often elementary perspective on the view on the origin of life that you hold. Since I have nothing left to argue but your thoughts, this debate is finished.

            How wonderful for you that you believe you can simply declare victory and a debate finished whenever you feel like it.

            It’s true. I was not and am not particularly interested in spending hours attempting to correct the countless scientific blunders and deliberate falsehoods that an obviously experienced Gish galloper can produce, especially when said conversation is buried a mile deep in a two year old thread no one else will ever read.

            I didn’t respond to your “rebuttals” because they’re ridiculous (e.g., the evidence from continental drift does not require that the speed is constant, it requires only that the speed was not something like 30 or 40 thousand times faster than what we see today, which is what would be necessary for young-earthism to be true) and it would be a waste of my time.

            If you want to believe that makes you a scientific genius, then by all means, enjoy your ignorance and self-delusion. That’s what anti-evolutionists such as yourself are best at.

  • Jenny

    Pictures and links please.

  • Sugarsail1

    you could have saved yourself a lot of writing if you had addressed the core reasons that creationists seek to discredit evolution: that is the literal interpretation and extrapolation of the time-scale presented in Genesis. If evolution is a valid theory, then it would require extensive time scales as we now know it does, but creationists think the earth was created only a few thousand years ago….all of their protesting about evolution is derived from this time disagreement that you fail to address.

    • Hey, thanks for your comment, but responding to the literal interpretation of Genesis is basically what this entire blog is about. I may not have addressed it in depth on this particular post, but I have in many, many others.

  • Olivia

    I’d rather check what “agnostic” truly means before writing against it because, as someone else just wrote: I think you might “have a poor understanding of the very thing you think you oppose”. 😉

  • bdrew

    I thoroughly enjoyed this! I am a former Christian who is constantly being confronted with YEC or anti-evolutionists who frequently throw all kinds of weird things my way including, but not limited to, I believe in evolution because I am a god hating atheist who just loves my sin. It is a ridiculous statement for many reasons, but especially when used as a way to say evolution isn’t true. Drives me bananas! Anyway, I don’t like to take the approach that some atheists take and just assume anyone who believes in God is a moron and should be treated with the same disrespect YEC regularly show me so I found your site to be very helpful and very well articulated. I would really like to do my part to end the hostility between Christians and Atheists in social forums although I know it isn’t likely to happen anytime soon (both groups can throw some nasty insults and words at each other). I hope you don’t mind but I provided your top 10 list and this link to one of them when they pulled the I believe in evolution because I hate God nonsense so I could refrain from responding with the same disrespect. Thanks!

    • Hey bdrew! Thanks for the comment! I’m so glad you liked the piece. Please share in good health!

  • oaswihdrfblajo;d

    It’s called the law of gravity, it’s been proven so it’s no longer a theory. You should edit this down to 9.

    • Laws are not theories that have been “proven.” Laws and theories are completely different things in science. Laws are descriptive generalizations about how things behave in nature under normal circumstances; theories are well-substantiated explanations of some aspect of the natural world.

      Theories explain laws, so they’re actually more powerful, more useful, and therefore “higher” in the heirarchy of scientific terms. This post explains the distinction further: http://www.godofevolution.com/darwins-law-of-evolution-dont-hold-your-breath/

  • Emi Balca

    So you found walking wales,you think that it doesn’t have to do with religion even though people are atheists because of that and you aren’t even proving the statements you came up with =))

    • Hey Emi. What causes atheism is the false dichotomy presented by the young-earth creationists, who say that if you accept evolution and the ancient age of the earth, you might as well toss out the Bible and the Christian faith because it is meaningless without a literal Genesis. People are becoming atheists because they see the vast evidence for evolution, conclude that it must be true, and take these charlatans at their word — they toss out the Bible and the Christian faith.

      As for “proving the statements” I “came up with,” I don’t know what you’re talking about.

  • Eric Breaux
    • It’s incredibly uncommon. So much so, that I’d like to see you produce one.

  • Eric Breaux

    You don’t seem any more educated on this subject (no offense meant) than other evolutionists. http://m.harunyahya.com/en/books/4190/The-Transitional-Form-Dilemma/chapter/5157/The-sudden-appearance-of-major-animal-groups http://www.darwinismrefuted.com/origin_of_species_02.html http://www.evolutionnews.org/2012/06/can_random_muta061221.html . I hope you are aware of the fact that it’s not uncommon for scientists to be fired for presenting the results of their findings that conflict with evolution, which is why a lot of scientists who don’t accept it wont speak out about it. You should look into these cases. The evolutionist community has far less scientific integrity than the media portrays. There’s a very clear agenda going on here.

  • Surfnut

    Sadly, the author has not done the proper science (if he has done any I am not sure) that shows by mathematical analysis alone the evolution Lie is just that. Wishful thinking by those who prefer a lie that states itself to be The Answer as to where things came from in a foolish headlong rush of faith in ideas, rather than the Word made flesh who already told us where we can from. Such an intelligent person, yet he is duped by some evidence, and blind to the reality of the rest. He says “it is testable and falsifiable.” Let’s see him try to test it, with real-time here and now experimentation (which he appears to deplore or ignore, I am not sure which). But first: HOW exactly is the evolution theory falsifiable by an experimental design that can be carried out, TODAY. Not in 50 or even 100 years time.

    Mr Francke, I submit to you that there are many of us who have studied this most iniquitous of theories, long and hard, throughout our university careers and (myself) for 30 years since. In all of that time, some of us are now more sure – as Christians and as Christians working as scientists – that it is demonstrably false to pretend that there has been anything other than adaptation and speciation (specialization); this process using the Creator’s embedded mechanisms for recombinant variability and adaptive radiation of all main groupings of living things, and that there was an orginal, perfect and complex creation of all of life’s major forms during the Creation Week. You MAY believe in evolution if you want to as a religious extension of your faith. That is up to you, but don’t, DON’T you dare pretend that there is the slightest proper scientific case for evolution of all things from an ancestral form. That is utterly pathetically absent of all evidence, and pure blind conjecture (or you can call it a hypothesis, if you must). Furthermore, I submit to you that the Lord Jesus Christ clearly believes the creation account, and took Noah, Adam and Eve as real individuals when He spoke to us on Earth. WHO are you to write against this, mythologize it, and teach others to ignore the evidence? -Evidence that is THERE if only you would be so kind as to review it with the rest of us who believe in the God of Moses, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and of His only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus, whom you and I shall give an account someday quite soon.
    I am sorry and rather disgusted that you make fun of and attack those who accept the Bible’s account of a literal and more recent creation than evolution requires, and who have spent their lives in helping others to know the true Gospel, and recognise the errors and dangers of evolutionism that you (without any theological justification) promote most shamefully.

    We, who accept the scriptures as plainly intended, are not imbeciles, neither are we misled or ignorant, but though some of us are greater than others, all have the certain Hope of the Ages written in our hearts that, as Jesus himself said “Until heaven and earth pass away, not one jot or one tittle shall pass from the law until all is fulfilled.” We await the restitution of the Creation by The Almighty. Mark the words of the Living God; your new theology is apostasy and is utterly opposed to the space-time facts of the Creation and Fall, and the reason for the coming of the Second Adam, our saviour. I urge you to turn and face the real evidence of the catastrophe of the Fall, the water judgement (Noah’s flood) and many and numerous examples of Almighty God’s miraculous grace and provision for us, in the written word, and in our lifetimes.

    • You sound like a pretty smart guy “Surfnut.”

      Evolution is certainly falsifiable in many ways. For instance, predictions based on it would fail, which they do not. Evidence that would be jarringly discontinuous with the theory would be produced, which it is not and, in fact, the more data we find, the more consistently it fits.

      Experiments are ongoing. For example, I could point you to Lenski’s experiments with e coli, in which one iteration mutated the ability to digest citrate anaerobically – something that used to kill it, and it evolved the ability to eat it. Lenski has produced several new species in his experiments, and who knows how things will go the longer it runs?

      The thing is, the “evidence” for a six day literal creation is only convincing to people who want to prove a six day literal creation. I keep wondering when I’ll run into the scientist who switched to a literal understanding of Genesis 1 solely on the basis of biological or geological evidence. I assume one must exist, somewhere. But that is a drop in the bucket compared to the number of scientists who believe God’s revelation in nature and allow it to critique their interpretation of biblical revelation.

      • Surfnut

        Thanks for the kind remarks, Phi, although my other half would not agree, I fear. I am not arguing for direct evidence for a 6 day creation. No creationist can point to direct evidence and say “there is the scientific evidence sufficient to show it’s factually true.” The point is that the false science of evolutionary dogma is not to be tolerated as science where NO current theory (or the theory that ‘we don’t know yet’), would be much better.

        E. coli were designed to adapt to changing conditons and new types (species, if you would like) of this organism are fascinating. I believe these are hardly ‘evolutionary’ news, much though evolution-world would like to believe they are. Bacteria and yeasts do this all the time, and as a result we have some rather clever bacteria that can digest man made fibres, and can be tailored to suit virtually any industrial organic substrate. No, it would be a confusion of types of change that Lenksi tries to insist this is evolution in action, when it is actually the reverse – specialization of form and function (creating ever more unique but potentially less fit plants and animals) which has no way of transferring ‘new’ characteristics to the level required to re-engineer the body type, or the means of locomotion.

        Lenski’s experiments do not show that evolution of complexity can occur from simpler beginnings, and which is a different type of change entirely. This I have tried to make absolutely clear in the former ramble, and that the adaptational changes of course are expected, observed, and necessary in this created world, or everything would grind to a halt and life would have ended long ago. E coli have indeed mutated and adapted, and they are still what? E coli or slightly more specialized E coli. Nothing more – but nothing less – they are incredibly efficient organisms and immensely complex considering their tiny package. We could not live without them as the gut become a poor performer when they are not present as you may know.

        Lenski can call his new strains new ‘species’ if he and others want to. Its a man made term and I believe that they qualify as special new strains. But in the natural environment this has been happening; refining and further specializing bacteria, and other organisms at a rather slower pace, as it is related to the generation time. However, this is not the mechanism of evolution (simple to complex life by descent from a common ancestor). It only results in further refinements of existing highly adapted existing types.

        There is therefore no known way of creating the pathways to change required of the macro evolutionary idea. A lot of people mistake the argument here: ‘Macro’ is not a bigger type of small adaptive change, any more than painting a Ford Fiesta metallic red and giving it an anti-roll cage and new tyres can make it a great rally car. The two types of change are of a completely different order. You can make the organism as flexible and adaptable as you like (and plant breeders try to) but you can never create an entirely new type of organism by breeding alone. The cross breeding vigor of some hybrids is evidence that genetic diversity was highest at the Creation event (Obvious to some of us, but of course I am not able to prove it). In adaption and cross breeding, changes that are possible will be relatively small and constrained by other genes and the ability of the resulting organism to survive.

        These various microbes were designed by a genius mind for incredible flexibility and adaptability, yet also with great buffering stability at the same time.

        I await Francke’s response, and anyone else’s answers.

        • Ok, I appreciate that, but then I guess I’m having trouble understanding your specific complaint.

          Evolution is an explanatory theory to make sense of a certain set of data that runs across multiple aspects of empirical research. Progressive findings appear to fit the theory. Predictions that assume the theory bear out. Modifications or even total upheaval of the theory would come from empirical data. So I guess I’m not sure why you feel this doesn’t qualify as science. It is at least as scientific as other explanatory theories, such as our current working knowledge of gravity (which does get overhauled from time to time) or the atomic theory.

          Obviously, there’s no way with our current state of technology to actually allow a dramatically major shift in the selection of organisms to occur in an observable way (although the diversity of life in bacteria is pretty impressive), but what level of classification change do you feel would justify the theory? Genus? Phyla? If this type of bacteria dies in citrate, and this other type of bacteria eats it for nourishment – that doesn’t seem like a big enough change to add credibility to the theory, keeping in mind this is happening at a very small cellular level? I don’t know what percentage of a bacterium would have to change for that, but it seems pretty significant considering digestion is almost the entirety of what a bacteria’s system can do. How would an e coli bacterium have to change in order for you to agree that this adds credibility to the theory of evolution, and are you ok with that if Lenski’s experimentation gradually produces that level of change?

          If you feel the theory is overreaching past the data we have, I’d disagree, but I’d understand where you were coming from. But what would make that “not science,” and how would you classify other theories that operate in a similar way?

    • Hey Surfnut, thanks for the comment. Unfortunately, it is almost entirely nonsense. I have no interest in responding because, if I did, I wouldn’t know where to begin; you have said virtually nothing that is true in even the barest sense of the word. I hope you did not waste a great deal of time on it. I hope someday the Holy Spirit will convict you of how absurd and unbiblical your little crusade against the scientific theory of evolution is. If not in this life, you’ll certainly be held accountable for your misrepresentation of the gospel in the next.

      • Surfnut

        Thanks for the reply. I am astonished that you think the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is misrepresented by what I have said, or that the Holy Spirit will someday reveal to people like me who accept the Spirit-inspired scriptures, that they have been ‘wrong’ to believe them as consistently speaking truth about a literal creation event. as they do. I await the enlightenment that you might offer me – but in the meantime, I prefer to believe the Hebrew, and the Greek scriptures at face value, where that is the clear intention of the author, and the nuance of the text.

        I shall also, like millions of other Bible believing scientists, mathematicians and engineers all over the world, carry on with good old traditional science which looks at the experimentally observed facts before making predictions and new theories, As a scientist/engineer, in my professional experience that’s quite important or stuff tends to go badly wrong and people get killed. Science MUST rely on tests, tests, and more tests.

        Your retorts show that you don’t wish to answer the requirement for factual, here-and-now testing of the theory of the evo-myth, and so I can only assume that this is your real faith, into which you now have to fit your theology. Whether you wish to answer that accusation or not, the problem will NEVER go away, as the two are irreconcilable. Your ‘science’ is out of line, and represents the intolerance of a consensus viewpoint; a viewpoint that at all cost will never consider an alternative. -Note that the majority of the evolutionary side does not care for the truth’s the Spirit wishes to reveal to those who seek them. -Still, I see you appear to be in lofty company. The Pope appears believes in evolution too.

        I would challenge you to look at the science that those who don’t necessarily accept evolution carry out: There is actually a significant amount of it, and some it is certainly well founded.
        For example a perfectly reasonable position on the experimental age of the Earth organic remains would be as Baumgardner’s, which is stated in ‘Carbon Dating Undercuts Evolution’s Long Ages’, http://www.icr.org/article/117/259
        I would invite you to critique this article, and debate it with me (online), or with Baumgardner himself.

        When you feel you have time to present an argument, I shall be interested to read it. I see no evidence that you have been willing a) to review all the evidence, b) that you want to debate the facts, and c) that you have made any in-roads on effective presentation of the (supernatural) Gospel of Christ by the material you present. One can hardly address a Bible class with the honest appeal “Come to the Saviour who believed in a literal Adam, Eve, Fall. and global floodwater judgement of human beings made in God’s own image” and in the next breath tell them “Don’t worry! Evolution from lower forms to complex human beings is true too. God’s world does not mean what you think it means.” -That’s a new religion, and not the faith of the Christ of the New Testament. Or is there some other basis for the authority of the Gospel message?

        If you feel you have such as strong case then why not enter the debate? You obviously think you have a lot to say. Alternatively, please offer me a recommendation for reading a summary of your theological position? Many thanks. S.

        • Just a couple of things real quick:

          A) Evolution has given me many inroads to share the Gospel. Many atheists have been pre-innoculated to what Christians have to say because of issues like this. The kingdom of God becomes much more compelling without the unnecessary obstacle of having to reject scientific findings.

          I am not making this up to make a point. I could tell you at least three different stories where talking about evolution with atheists allowed me to share the gospel.

          B) The RATE team has already been pretty thoroughly refuted. Here’s just one:

          http://www.asa3.org/ASA/education/origins/helium-gl4.htm

          Written by an old-earth, creationist Christian. Obviously, outside the creationist community, there have been several more papers.

        • Hey Surfnut, thanks for your latest dissertation. Again, I don’t have the time or interest in discussing anything with someone who lives in a different version of reality than the rest of us folks. When and if you say something that can be recognized as even tangentially acquainted with the real world and the facts that pertain to it, I will be happy to “debate” with you.

          As to my beliefs and supposed reticience at expressing them, this website contains several hundred posts that lay out my opinions and the reasoning behind them on a wide variety of subjects, including a statement of faith. I trust you understand how a search function works? Have at it.

          • Surfnut

            I’m fascinated that you admit your reason for not wanting to reply to a single one of my questions is what it appears to be: A religious position (at best) that states traditional belief and trust in a simple Biblical faith is not valid. A refutation of anything I have said has not been provided, and certainly you offer no science in your article, but try your hardest to give the impression that non evolutionary creationism is simply foolish.

            I note that according to your statement of faith you are a creationist, as you believe that the Bible is without error as originally written, and that God made all things. You believe that Christ is the personal Creator of all living things, as I have just read. That seems clear.

            Surely, then you could at least answer the following questions:

            1. When do you believe mankind was created in the image of God, was he / she distinct and separate, as fully human as today, at creation, or did man evolve into the image of God from animals of lesser intelligence as evolution clearly states in the theory of the common descent of all life over ‘millions of years’, and the so-called evolutionary tree which places man at the tip of one if its branches?

            2. When God was “sorry that He created man” (Genesis 6.6), and sent judgement on the earth, Was there a global flood judgement that covered all the mountains and that killed all of humanity and every air breathing thing on land except those few saved in the Ark of Noah, covering most of the earth for the best part of a year, as stated in the scriptures?

            Thanks, S.

          • Wow, would you look at that. You managed to create a comment that doesn’t read like a Tolstoy novel. Good for you!

            Anyone who says the theory of evolution is not science and has no evidence does not live in the real world. Period. Even honest young-earthers like Kurt Wise and Todd Wood admit evolution is a good scientific theory that is powerfully predictive and that is strongly supported by the current evidence.

            You can pretend that your misguided dogma is “traditional” and “biblical” if you like, but a faith based in opposing science is neither.

            1. As near as I can figure, my answer to your muddled and nearly incomprehensible question is yes.

            2. Your interpretation of scripture leaves a lot to be desired. You should learn what hyperbole is and be much more careful about how you handle it.

          • Surfnut

            As Jesus said “As the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be.” Matt. 24: 37. -You know the rest, I assume. Would I be correct in believing that you think the story of The Flood is literary “hyperbole” ? If so, it is strange, considering the straight talking of Jesus which addresses these things in plain language as factual events, and as a razor sharp warning to the world. His audience knew exactly the intensity of what He meant. It was unmistakably a warning, and it is characterized in exactly the same way as other warnings of disaster that Jesus gave in clear language. The apostles take this theme up again in some of their letters of course; letters, Tyler, that were written in love for you and for me. We need to heed that warning, as the world still rushing headlong towards Hell.

            Which reminds me: Do you accept that Hell is a literal place of eternal punishment for those who reject God in rejecting Christ? I did not see any mention of eternal justice in your statement of faith, though perhaps I need to read it again.

          • Hey Surfnut.

            Would I be correct in believing that you think the story of The Flood is literary “hyperbole” ?

            Um, I’m not really sure how an entire story could be “literary hyperbole” (whatever you think that means), but I’m pretty sure my answer is no.

            Did you look up hyperbole? Because you still seem very confused as to what it is. Hyperbole is not a type of story or narrative style; it is a literary device that you can add to a story or narrative.

            Your question is basically the equivalent of confusing a dish’s seasoning with the dish itself. I like my salt as much as the next guy, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to eat a bowl of salt.

            -Which reminds me: Do you accept that Hell is a literal place of eternal punishment for those who reject God in rejecting Christ?

            Yes, I believe that. That’s why I take it so seriously when people like you try to place ridiculous and unbiblical obstacles before the precious gospel of Jesus.

            Now let me ask you a question: If I said, “My friend is as strong as Hercules?” would you take that to mean that I believe Hercules is a real person? What if I described something as a “Sisyphean task”? Would that mean I believe King Sisyphus really existed?

            Or what if I got hyperbolic, and compared the U.S. government to Big Brother’s in “1984”? Obviously, that would imply that I think George Orwell’s dystopian novel was a work of historical non-fiction, correct?

          • If anything is not meant to be taken literally, it’s apocalypse. This is how the OT prophets can talk about things like God wiping out all the stars when Edom is defeated, even though no such thing ever happened.

            Likewise Jesus’ comments on the destruction of Jerusalem you mentioned. It’s not like the Flood in terms of covering the world with water – it’s like the Flood in terms of an unexpected disruption in a wicked world system that is just churning merrily along.

          • Surfnut

            ..This evening I was interested too in what you stated about Kurt Wise, whom I doubt would agree with your summary of his views. I may be wrong. But no matter. Let us hear him on the same passage of scripture that I offered our discussion this evening – strangely coincidental that I should come across these words in the British Guardian newspaper online- (Noticing you haven’t yet seen my other post yet, as it is not posted here; I assumed you are moderating). Here’s Kurt’s view on the coming Judgement:
            ‘..Wise imagines creation as “a beautiful painting or tapestry where each individual brushmark or thread is one aspect of the creation”. But on the apocalypse that awaits us he is unbending. “The Bible warns us: ‘As it was in the days of Noah, so it shall be – my coming.’ People are going to be wandering around on the planet when the Flood comes and they’re blown away. People are going to be eating and drinking and marrying and doing their thing, and the judgment is going to come.”
            http://www.theguardian.com/science/2009/feb/17/evolution-versus-creationism-science

            That was Kurt Wise in 2009 (and Jesus in approx 0033). I doubt if Kurt has revised his thinking against the plain words of Jesus.

            May God be with you, blessing you, enlightening you, and me, until we agree on the core message we should provide the World which needs to know about the creation and literal fall, as part of the Gospel message. I see no reason to revise the message of the literal Creation, Fall, and total water judgement, as of course, apart from being historically true, it points to the Saviour to come, as all of the Bible does, happily. The Bible is self authenticating. Good night Tyler. Blessings. S.

          • Surfnut

            As Jesus said “As the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be.” Matt. 24: 37. -You know the rest, I assume. Would I be correct in believing that you think the story of The Flood is literary “hyperbole”? If so, it is strange, considering the straight talking of Jesus which addresses these things in plain language, as factual events, and as a razor sharp warning to the world. His audience knew exactly what He meant. It was unmistakably a warning, and it is characterized in exactly the same way as other warnings of disaster that Jesus gave in equally clear language.
            The apostles take this theme up again in some of their letters of course; letters, Tyler, that were written in love for you and for me. We need to heed that warning, as the world still rushing headlong towards Hell.

            -Which reminds me: Do you accept that Hell is a literal place of eternal punishment for those who reject God in rejecting Christ? I did not see any mention of judgement to come at the hand of Christ and of eternal justice in your statement of faith, though perhaps I need to read it again.

  • Nicholas Wright

    RiFi I would very much like to continue this conversation, but it appears that you are approaching this subject from a close mind. You have already determined that Christianity or rather all religion is useless and ultimately false. Your statement “The rest of us, on the other hand, feel that our morals have been developed and fine-tuned over time, derived from the compelling evolutionary requirement to cooperate in order to maximize our chances of survival. Empathy and reason are paramount to morality, and come from OURSELVES” is perplexing to me. If you will for a moment forget that I am a professed Christian and consider my confusion on this stance. Even if morals are developed for the purpose of getting along which in turn promotes the survival of the species, what does it matter. Death and taxes are the only certain things in life (or so I have heard it said). If death is a fact then what does it matter is we survive for a little while longer or not. If morality is purely to ensure survival then identifying anything as good or valuable becomes impossible. I sincerely apologize that I’m “coming across like an existential snob who could use a healthy dose of humility,” but I fail to see the value of a universe where human existence ends at death. If the story really ends there, then what does it matter if the species survives for a little while longer? Furthermore, (I’ve only briefly studied this subject so please bear with my ignorance) from what I gather the universe is slowly wearing out. Giver or take a few billions years, but it will end. Life ends and that’s all there is to it. I have a hard time finding that existence “incredible” as you say. Again even if I was not coming from a biblical perspective this renders life meaningless.

    Regarding Adam and Eve in the garden I have a couple questions. What is your definition of free will? Secondly, if God had not given the occasion for them to make a moral choice would they not have been autonomous robots?

    You’ve essentially pigeon holed me and concluded that I have no original thoughts to offer on this subject. You speak of arrogance, but forgive me if I find it arrogant of you to assume that I am merely a puppet free to only share what religion has pumped into my brain. Much of the things we’ve discussed thus far I have given a considerable amount of thought to because I would be lying to say that I’ve not had my doubts. However, I have come to a place where I totally accept biblical truth. If this truth compels me to share my faith with others what would you have me to do? Be silent while I smugly hold out till death or God returns? If you discovered information that you believed could save lives would you simply hide it away because it might offend someone?

  • Myster Edward

    I’m not sure whether to call this a ‘poor’ example of ‘Bullshit-Baffles-Brains’ or just a Kindergarten-Level game of ‘Circle-Jerk’, because you have presented absolutely no proof to back up your misguided statements that evolution is real. In fact the only thing you’ve proven here, if indeed you are a Christian as you state, is that you have obviously never read the Bible yourself, and have very little ‘understanding’ of what it’s contents mean.
    In trying to emulate minds far greater than your own, it is also apparent that you also know very little about science, and in lauding Darwinism, have no familiarity with the mans doubts about his own ‘theories’. Particularly regarding the evolution of the species.
    I can only assume that this extremely vague attempt at validating the pseudo-science of evolution, means you are also some type of pseudo-Christian; more than willing to bet his soul, and the souls of others, on ‘aped’ sentiments rather than any legitimate research.
    Be careful evolution does not make a monkey out of you.

  • Jackie Daniels

    Hi Tyler Francke,

    I agree with some of the things you said such as that evolution is not against God; however, you should be more careful when using the word “theory.” You said, “But to understand my theory […].” Well, dear Tyler, I think you make a mistake; you do not have a “theory,” you have a “hypothesis.” If you don’t use the correct terminology, your argument doesn’t seem strong.

    Please remember what you said about the difference between a hypothesis and a theory:

    “In science, this definition is far more consistent with a “hypothesis” than a theory. Hypotheses are guesses; they are subject to experimentation, and they have no hope of progressing beyond the hypothesis “stage,” unless they are supported by experimentation. Theories are hypotheses that have “graduated”; they are comprehensive explanations of the available hard evidence. Scientific theories are not the opposite of facts; they are actually superior to facts in the hierarchy of terms because they explain facts. And while it is true that scientific theories can never really be “proven,” they can be confirmed through prediction, testing, experimentation and observation.”
    Not offence, but I do not think you have done any scientific experimentation or testing in the information you provided here. Hence, you just have a HYPOTHESIS.
    Blessings,

    • Hey Jackie, thanks for the comment. I was not using the word “theory” in its scientific sense in the portion of this article you refer to at the start of your comment. I believe the context made that clear, but I do apologize for any confusion.

  • Ted LeMoine

    I’d be willing to accept anything that can be proven or tested. How is it we have literally millions of pieces of evidence that predate the bible by many years but not 1 single piece of evidence from anything ever written in any holy book ever? The ark…..fossils…..evidence of any miracles………800 year old humans…… none of the many claims in the bible have turned up any evidence from 2000+ years ago. How is it we have countless fossils and several dating methods to prove these things existed prior to the bible? Not just carbon 14 dating but literally 5-10 methods that all verify the timeline of evolution. Does any creationist find that odd?

    • Chris

      They just disregard the process is all. “Radiometric dating says something is millions of years old? Well then it can’t be trusted!” In their mind, the conclusion is already formed, they just have to prove anything that goes against how they already have interpreted the Bible. Because to them, their interpretation is just as infallible as the Bible itself.

      • Chris is right. Their underlying premise is that nothing in science could ever contradict what is said in (their interpretation of) the Bible. In fact, most of the big YEC outfits say that, verbatim, in their statements of faith (minus the parentheses, of course).

        When their foundation is that science cannot contradict their interpretation of the Bible, it makes it impossible to demonstrate how science contradicts their interpretation of the Bible. They will either tweak their interpretation so the evidence fits (rare, but it happens), or more often, say it’s not really science. Or just ignore it.

        • Chris

          Someone sent me this today. Seems to fit here.

  • n_cm_plt

    Hello everyone! I feel like sharing my opinion here would be beneficial to whoever reads this and possibly even for me, so please respond only with the pursuit of wisdom and knowledge, not with rude comments, thank you. To begin, I went to VCU attempting to receive a degree in physics and math, but sadly became very ill and I had to drop out of school. Now, I am attempting to go back to school for a degree in theology because VCU ruined my life financially. In short I am saying I have analyzed science and my faith in God. My only concern with evolution is the assumed time frame scientists believe it to take place in. We have to assume that the mathematical logic systems we use to observe, study, predict, and test evolution to be infallible, but we all are aware of human error, we all make mistakes. Dr. Wolfram stated that we can be perceiving the entirety of the universe incorrectly due to fallible logic systems, that we could find the perfect and absolute logic system that unifies every theory such as the division between quantum mechanics and general relativity, but we do not yet have a logic system that complex to bridge the two. I don’t disagree with evolution for the Word states a change in kinds for all species (expect man, which I will discuss later), I only disagree with atheist/agnostic scientists saying it had to have taken place over billions of years. We also have to assume the original state in which the universe was formed, either slowly unraveling or all at once. If we assume all at once, things could be perceived as very old and then we build logic systems based off that assumption and true is for the other side, but that is the thing. In order to have a logic system for a young universe, we would need a more complex logic system (a God view of the universe and not a human one) and that’s exactly what I believe the Bible to be, a God-oriented logic system mixed in with who He is, which is live personified. The Bible had advanced scientific information, such as the book of Job written during an age (sadly I can’t remember the exact name) when the leaders of science thought things like, the world is on a giant turtles back, and yet the book of Job states that the Earth hung on nothingness and floated in it. Other sections of Job talk about God sustaining the law of Thermodynamics, expanding the heavens infinitely (meaning expanding the observable universe) which was a scientific discovery made roughly in the 1990s with the discovery of the blue shift in visible/non-visible light. The Bible actually reveals how scientific and mathematical God truly is. BUT in order to believe that God is as wise as He says He is, I have to trust every word in the Bible. I used to reject some areas of the Bible which meant I could easily reject the notion of salvation etc. Allow me to go off on a tangent momentarily, if we believe the Big Bang theory, everything you do, think, say, and everything that has happened, is simply the universe going through the motions of energy transfer, meaning you have no control over who you are or what you do, that is what God explains sin as, a lack of control over yourself. If we believe God spawned the Big Bang and formed the universe the same idea applies, but since He revealed the flaw of “free will” He states this: remain enslaved to sin or became a slave of Christ and be set free. For example, now that I believe the Word of God to be inerrant, I have new thoughts, new decisions, etc added to me and when I feel like I am going through the motions I can accurately access that and truly have free will to chose something that I normally would not. Okay with that said, the Bible has advanced philosophy and science for when it was written and all the science in it holds up except for the origin of man. Monkeys vs dust. I won’t go into what I don’t know, but what I do. Evolution accounts for everything EXCEPT consciousness. The Bible is the only book ever to explain that we are made in God’s image, being a personable being with form and function and also in His likeness, as in, having consciousness. Science cannot explain the complexity of perception and consciousness yet. So all in all, I believe there to be a God so complex and intricate that He made a system He appears to be absent from when in fact He is the smallest infinitesimal foundation of reality. Reality is God’s masterpiece and removing God from the equation lessens the experience of being alive. Feel free to follow me and Instagram and DM me with legitimate pursuit of knowledge, if you only wish to trash talk, please just don’t. @ncmplt

    • n_cm_plt

      Also forgive me for the typos and ADHD idea bouncing. I believe God to be the positive infinity and negative infinity, meaning He is infinitely outward going into the highest dimensions I believe to be heaven and also in the lowest form of things in the lowest dimension I believe to be called hell. In order for Hell to exist God has to occupy it and He also is the particles of the beings that will go there. So all in all God quite literally is everything as He states He is in the Holy Word.

  • Jacob Susanibar

    Ok, so to me this is really messed up. Christians are those who believe every word Christ said about life, death, God, heaven and every aspect of life. For us, Christians, the words of Jesus are always truth. We are not to question or doubt about anything that Christ said (it is normal to have doubts, but to live with a doubtful attitude towards Christ means that there’s something wrong with your faith). In Matthew 19:4-6, Jesus said that man and woman were a result of evolution. I’m sorry, what? No, it says that man and woman were CREATED. I think you should rethink your point of view on this “theory”.

    A brother in Christ that loves you.

    • Scripture also says, and Christians believe, that God lovingly creates each person in the womb, by hand (Jeremiah 1:5, Psalm 139). Does that mean that the well-documented natural process of fetal development, wherein a baby grows gradually over a period of nine months with absolutely no seen supernatural intervention, takes away from God?

      Of course not. God exists outside of nature, so the existence of a natural process does not preclude his supernatural oversight, involvement and authorship, regardless of whether you are talking about the rain, a single birth or the development of all life.

      We are fearfully and wonderfully made by the hand of God, and we are also a product of evolution. You are creating a false dichotomy. Stop it.

  • Roder51

    There is no such thing as disbelief in evolution; you either understand it or you don’t. Clearly the latter for most Christians.

    • Matthew Funke

      I’ll admit that it rubs me the wrong way a little bit when someone asks me if I “believe in” evolution. No. I accept it as the best explanation I’ve heard of the facts I’m aware of. Give me a better explanation and/or more comprehensive facts, and if necessary, I’ll accept a different theory. No big deal. The universe doesn’t care what I think about it, so I’ll do my best to make sure my thoughts match reality as closely as I can determine.

      Science never claims to have the absolute right answer, after all. Just the most accurate explanation yet devised.

      A large part of that involves figuring out what *isn’t* true — and I’m sorry, creationists, but creationism isn’t true. It’s rather conclusively, demonstrably false. If you’re willing to listen, and think about what you hear, we can produce direct observations and discoveries and experiments that show this.

  • Joseph Ochs

    Negative Genetic mutations more common than Positive Genetic mutations. This is inclusive of all genetic diseases. Positive genetic mutations such as the ccr5- delta 32 mutation are much less common within the population.

    • Matthew Funke

      Thankfully, evolution includes mechanisms whereby beneficial mutations are retained and deleterious ones are culled. (Also, thankfully, most genetic mutations are neutral.)

      • Joseph Ochs

        That is a statement that completely ignores the reality of genetics. Genetic diseases in the human population are not culled by an evolutionary step. For this to be even a plausibility genetically defective individuals would die at birth, invetro, before puberty or at the very least be born sterile. This is not the case and as a result of the lack of evolution we have Genetic diseases that are inherited throughout multiple generations.

        • Matthew Funke

          Genetic diseases in the human population are not culled by an evolutionary step.

          A single evolutionary step? No one claimed that they are.

          This is not the case and as a result of the lack of evolution we have Genetic diseases that are inherited throughout multiple generations.

          Evolution does not claim that one hundred percent of genetic diseases or deleterious mutations will be culled. You’re arguing against an imaginary opponent.

          • Joseph Ochs

            Yes you claimed mechanisms exist to cull deleterious DNA. Provide an example of genetic culling that is a result of evolution! Don’t back track and talk in circles.

          • Matthew Funke

            Provide an example of genetic culling that is a result of evolution!

            Charlesworth B. The Effects of Deleterious Mutations on Evolution at Linked Sites. Turelli M, ed. Genetics. 2012;190(1):5-22. doi:10.1534/genetics.111.134288.

            It is important to note that not all deleterious mutations are culled by evolution. Here are some reasons why a particular one may not be:

            * Heterozygous advantage may make it better to carry around one copy of the deleterious mutation.

            * They may not reduce fitness.

            * They may be maintained by mutation.

            * It may be common and not deleterious in a nearby environment.

            * There has not been enough time for the deleterious mutation to impact the dynamics of the population to allow its removal.

          • Joseph Ochs

            Genetic drift is ignored the entire animal population is in genetic drift in other words this study’s author deliberately chose to ignore the fact that deleterious mutations are not culled in the animal kingdom as it does not fit within his hypothesis. This study does not support culling as a result of evolution. Genetic variances occur across the spectrum in off spring. This is an example of such in asexual organisms only. . https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1aefc9c8c14c2f7145dcb0ec004b9ab36bdbe3af9517160c178da6aa02d80b85.png

          • Matthew Funke

            Genetic drift is ignored the entire animal population is in genetic drift in other words this study’s author deliberately chose to ignore the fact that deleterious mutations are not culled in the animal kingdom as it does not fit within his hypothesis.

            The first part of your sentence has nothing to do with the part of your sentence that comes after “in other words”. Ignoring genetic drift does not indicate that deleterious mutations are not culled. Consider the time scale of genetic drift and whether or not it even applies to the claims of the paper.

            This is an example of such in asexual organisms only.

            Right. But his citations, which are included in your screenshot, refer to work with sexual organisms. (Papers don’t exist in isolation. You have to see what they’re basing themselves on.) For example, the Crow paper refers back to Haldane.

  • Joseph Ochs

    Devolution would be more of an acceptable theory. The human body in its current form cannot sustain life without the ability to manufacture tools. Exposure to the elements in any season in its naked form would be devasting and in most cases fatal. The human body offers no internal defense to deadly bacteria in the human food supply from listeria to salomanella

    • Matthew Funke

      Except for the inconvenient fact that there’s no evidence that “devolution” is responsible for creating the diversity of life on this planet.

      Evolution is not accepted because of subjective impressions about the quality of the genetic stock. It’s accepted because it’s the unavoidable conclusion of dozens of independent lines of study.

      • Joseph Ochs

        “Subjective impressions of the quality of genetic stock” Evolution is based on the foundation of survival of the fittest! Are you cherry picking The very theory you are attempting to support? “Independent lines of Study” Are you kidding? Science is literally fueled by the sharing of opinions and data that is peer reviewed that is helpful in sharing knowledge yet makes objectivity in a field difficult at best. You are told Scientist believe and so you automatically believe it to be so without using any critical thinking skills of your own. Science is not flawless especially Evolutionary Science. Hell I am not even a Creationist and I know better than to swallow this theory hook line and sinker.

        • Matthew Funke

          Are you cherry picking The very theory you are attempting to support?

          Nope. I’m pointing out that one shouldn’t cherry-pick — that is, by definition, picking out specific instances and pretending that they are representative of the entire thing.

          In other words, one shouldn’t be doing exactly what you were doing, and trying to pretend that a subjective impression of the quality of the genetic stock impairs the theory as a whole. In other words, one shouldn’t be cherry-picking.

          Science is literally fueled by the sharing of opinions and data that is peer reviewed that is helpful in sharing knowledge yet makes objectivity in a field difficult at best.

          No kidding. But that process you describe is in place precisely for that reason, and to try to gain as objective a perspective as possible.

          You are told Scientist believe and so you automatically believe it to be so without using any critical thinking skills of your own.

          You don’t just fail to know what cherry-picking is, but you fail to recognize your own strawman argument. You’re a hoot.

          Science is not flawless especially Evolutionary Science.

          No one claimed that it is.

          • Joseph Ochs

            Your inabilty to support your positions with fact or example does not equal a straw man argument on my part neither does your double speak. You cherry pick verbage was my accusation and use it as a red herring. My usage of the term Cherry picking was ambiguous on my part. As far your accusation of me cherry picking, well that indicates your lack of understanding of the definition of Cherry Picking and Evolution. Evolutionary theory is based on the Darwinian Theory of survival of the fittest, this theory can only be accomplished through genetic mutation. For the theory to be accurate it must prove that genetic mutation is in response to the environment in order to support Darwins theory. Thus it stands that focusing the argument on the very central tenants of how and why is not cherry picking. What Scientists hold up as proof of evolution, are fossils of animals with genetic mutations. If evolution is simply genetic mutations without regard to cause, and reason then yes evolution is a supported theory. However that is not the Theory put forth by the Scientific community.

          • Matthew Funke

            Your inabilty to support your positions with fact or example

            You missed my citations in other replies to you, huh? A pity.

            Evolutionary theory is based on the Darwinian Theory of survival of the fittest

            More precisely, it incorporates it. It hasn’t used it as a sole basis for quite some time. There’s also genetic flow, genetic drift, genetic recombination, genetic exchange from symbiotes, etc., etc.

            Excluding these from a discussion of evolution by referring only to the survival of the fittest creates a very partial and one-sided picture of the theory. That is why what you are doing is the very essence of cherry-picking.

            in order to support Darwins theory

            To be precise, we’re not trying to support Darwin’s theory. We’re trying to support evolution. The two are not synonymous.

          • Matthew Funke

            Your inabilty to support your positions with fact or example does not equal a straw man argument on my part

            Even if we ignore the citations I’ve given you in replies to other threads on this discussion page, you’re right. Whether or not I support my positions has nothing to do with your making a strawman argument. You make a strawman argument when you tell me what I believe and think and then attack that false construction, even though you base that construction on things you cannot possibly know, as in:

            You are told Scientist believe and so you automatically believe it to be so without using any critical thinking skills of your own.

            … which, incidentally, was the part I quoted when I accused you of making a strawman argument, because that’s what’s relevant to it — not some weird distraction into a claim that I’ve given no support for my assertions (which isn’t even true, and has no relation at all to what a strawman argument is).

          • Joseph Ochs

            only after I posted this did you cite any material that did not even support your argument. My accusation of you supporting Evolution without lack of critical thinking is not a straw man. Ad hominem maybe if taken out of context.Straw man? No!

          • Matthew Funke

            only after I posted this did you cite any material

            False. Look at the time stamps.

            My accusation of you supporting Evolution without lack of critical thinking is not a straw man.

            Yes, it is, because you don’t know why I support evolution.