Sunday, January 25, 2009

Answers to a Creationist.

The following is an answer I prepared for a creationist.

From the Webster’s Dictionary;
Belief is confidence, trust, something believed, conviction, opinion, persuasion, sentiment.
Believe is to have religious convictions, to have a firm conviction about something, accept as true, to hold as an opinion, to suppose.
Dogma is a tenet or code of tenets, a doctrine or body of doctrines formally proclaimed by a church.
Faith is allegiance to duty or a person, a belief or trust in God, a complete trust in a system of religious beliefs.
Intelligence is the ability to learn and understand or to deal with new or trying situations, mental acuteness, information, news, an agency engaged in obtaining information esp. concerning an enemy or possible enemy also the information so gained.
Proof is the evidence that compels acceptance by the mind of truth or fact, the process or operation that establishes validity or truth.
Prove is to test by experiment or by a standard, to establish the truth of by argument or evidence, to show to be correct, valid or genuine.
Science is an area of knowledge, knowledge covering general truths or the operation of general laws especially as obtained and tested through the scientific method.
Scientific method is the rules and methods for the pursuit of knowledge involving the finding and stating of a problem, the collection of facts through observation and experiment, and the making and testing of ideas that need to be proven right or wrong.
Theory is abstract thought, the general principals of a subject, a plausible or scientifically acceptable general principle offered to explain observed facts.

First reason is to convince you that the only way of knowing truth is through traditional science.
What other way is there? Logic is a way, Mathematics is a way. A feeling is not as those are products of the mind and the brain and there is no way to verify them. Love has a proof, by observation of behavior of a wife to her husband and vice versa. There is now evidence that even genes and maybe viruses have caused love. Example is in two types of voles (mole like creatures). They are almost identical morphologically and genetically. Except one is monogamous and the other is not. By taking a virus with a certain gene and infecting the polygamous vole it then becomes monogamous.

I am going to give you a list of books. If you read them it will take you months. They will have references that you can look up in other books and in papers published in respected scientific journals.

2. Bible as an unreliable source of truth.
The End of Biblical Studies by Hector Avalos. He is associate professor of Religious Studies at Iowa State University. He is also former editor of the Journal for Critical Study of Religion.

The Secret Origins of the Bible by Tim Callahan
The Bible Against Itself Why the Bible Seems to Contradict Itself. By Randel McCraw Helms. The author is a Bible scholar and professor of English at Arizona State University in Tempe AZ.

The Bible Unearthed Archaeology’s New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts. By Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman. Israel Finkelstein is the director of the Sonia and Marco Nadler Institure of Archeaeology at Tel Aviv University. Neil Asher Silberman is the director of historical interpretation for the Ename Center for Public Archaeology and Heritage Presentation in Belgium.

The Bible as History by Werner Keller this was first published in German in 1955, the edition I am referring to is the second revised edition.

A History of God The 4000 Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam by Karen Armstrong. She was formally a nun in the Catholic Church. She is now a religious scholar and still very much believes. Another one of her works is called The Battle for God.

A newly published book is How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of Americas’ Leading Atheists godless by Dan Barker. I haven’t read it, but will.

Saving Christianity from Fundamentalism by Bishop Spong is another book referred to me. I haven’t read it, but will.

My take is the bible was written by man, they may have been inspired by God, but it was written by man. And there were many authors, not just one. One part of the Bible was a mixing of previous creation myths from other religions in the Middle East before Judaism. The later part becomes more historical, but like anything written by man may be alternative purposes. It is now agreed by scholars that early Bible was put together to give the people of Israel and national identity. There are many mistranslations as the Christian bible was originally written in Aramaic and Greek.

3. The question of deep time.
Bones Rocks and Stars The Science of When Things Happened by Chris Turney. The author is a British geologist currently based at the University of Wollongong in Australia. He did the radio carbon dating on the “Hobbit” skeleton of Flores Indonesia. And has published many scientific papers and magazine articles.

Evolution What the Fossils Say and Why it Matters by Donald R. Prothero. He is professor of geology at Occidental College in Los Angeles and lecturer in geobiology at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

Your Inner Fish by Neil Shubin.

Big Bang The Origin of the Universe. By Simon Singh. He lives in London and received a PhD in particle physics from the University of Cambridge.

4. Scientific plausibility of intelligence from non-intelligent source.

Big Brain The Origins and Future of Human Intelligence by Gary Lynch and Richard Grainger. Gary Lynch is Professor of Psychiatry at University of California at Irvine. He is the author of more than 550 scientific publications. Richard Granger is the W. H. Neukom Distinguished Professor of Computational Science and of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Dartmouth. He has authored more than 100 papers.

Human The Science Behind What Makes Us Human by Michael S. Gazzangia. He is author of the Ethical Brain. He is director of the University of California at Santa Barbara’s SAGE Center for the Study of the Mind, as well as the Summer Institute in Cognitive Neuroscience.

I am going to add a 5th category. Genetics and especially the decoding of human genome has added support to evolution. Darwin wasn’t even aware of this area of endeavor.

The Language of God by Francis S. Collins. He is a born again Christian and scientist and he led the Human Genome Project.

The Journey of Man A Genetic Odyssey by Spencer Wells. Graduated from Harvard focusing on population genetics and evolution. He works at Stanford University and has published many papers. He currently heads up the National Geographic Genographic Project. His other works include Deep Ancestry Inside the Genographic Project.

The Seven Daughters of Eve, The Science that Reveals our Genetic Ancestry by Bryan Sykes. He is professor of genetics at the Institute of Molecular Medicine at Oxford University and editor of The Human Inheritance: Genes, Language and Evolution. He has also written Saxons, Vikings, and Celts The Genetic Roots of Britain and Ireland.

6th I am also adding some other books
Only a Theory Evolution and the Battle for America’s Soul by Kenneth R. Miller he is a practicing Catholic and a professor of biology at Brown University. He is coauthor with Joseph S. Levine of four high school and college biology textbooks. He has also written Finding Darwin’s God A Scientists Search for Common Ground Between God and Evolution.

Saving Darwin How to Be a Christian and Believe in Evolution by Karl W. Giberson. He professor of physics at Eastern Nazarene College and director of the Forum on Faith and Science at Gordon College.

Evolution and Religious Creation Myths How Scientists Respond by Paul F. Lurquin and Linda Stone. Paul Lurquin is a professor of genetics in the School of Molecular Bioscience at Washington State University. Linda Stone is professor in the Department of Anthropology at Washington State University.

A new book by Jerry A. Coyne is Why Evolution is True. He has been professor at University of Chicago in the Department of Ecology and Evolution for 20 years. He specializes in evolutionary genetics and the origin of new species. I just got this book and haven’t read it myself yet. The others I have.

Evolution vs. Creationism an Introduction. By Eugenie C. Scott. It goes through each argument in detail with references. She is the Executive Director of the National Center for Science Education.

Few Extra Points; Science must be verifiable. That means others must be able to get the same results on repeating the test. Science is not democracy, but a consensus of scientists must agree that the observation, experiment can be repeated and relates to the real world. Science is constantly upgrading itself when new and better studies become available and if an old idea or theory fails it is thrown out. It is self correcting. If a mistake is identified it is exposed and rejected. Case in point is Piltdown man. It was discovered by scientists who were reexamining old data. Science does use our five senses, but it also expands them into realms that we cannot see with our ordinary senses. Cases in point; x-rays, gamma rays, infra red, ultraviolet, ultrasonic, subsonic, chemical probes etc. So Science is the only way we have of determining what is true and factual in our world.

Based on all the data EVOLUTION IS A FACT. It is not a matter of belief, you just accept it. It ties all of biology together and gives us new insights into how, where and when we came. It is already giving us ideas on how to solve problems of disease in medicine, food for the world etc.

Now I am curious. You say creationism is a science. Where is you proof. Just by saying something is a science doesn’t make it one. To deny the fact of evolution is it denial, fear of loosing you faith, fear of going to hell if you don’t believe, a conviction that evolution is the work of Satan and it is leading the US to hell, a fear of not having anything certain again. What is it?

Please don’t think I am being mean or evil. But scientists at meetings are very passionate about their position and will yell and scream at each other. They are only human. Questions become quite sharp. It is not a sign of weakness in a theory. It is actually a strength. Has the idea or observation of immediate fossilization been verified by independent scientists? If not it will not be accepted. If it can be verified it will earn the Noble prize and cause a major shift in science of paleontology. If it cannot it will be dropped. Scientists dream of finding or discovering something that changes all science and win them the Noble prize. Only very few attain it. Einstein for example and it took years for it to be verified and it was.

Another one I heard is that scientists are closed minded. That is not true, just show them the verifiable evidence. However, when a creationist or ID person is shown the evidence and they deny it, that by definition is closed minded.

Now I will answer another question. What will it take to convince me? A miracle seen or heard by thousands or millions and can be verified. Such a loud booming voice from the sky. A good picture of a diety, not on toast or on a window that is blurry.
Hope this helps
Skeptical DoDo

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