Tuesday at the ICC

Tuesday’s lineup at the International Conference on Creationism was pretty good, and I was happy with my selections: Ron Samec presented the Mars Desert Hypothesis, John Baumgardner provided an Explanation of the Continental Fossil-bearing Sediment Record, John Woodmorappe, spoke on the Longitudal Strength of Noah’s Ark, and Jerry Bergman presented the Chasm Between Human and Chimp Genomes. I hope this gives you a good idea of some of the research being done in the field and how science supports the Biblical worldview of a young earth.

I’ll start this post with my favorite session of the day, and one of my favorites for the entire week! This was on the Chasm Between Human and Chimp Genomes by Jerry Bergman, PhD.

Perhaps you’ve heard evolutionists tout a 98% similarity between humans and chimps. This has been cited time and again by evolutionists as “proof” that we evolved from ape-like ancestors. However, as Bergman and others have demonstrated, such comparisons are wrong and misleading. In fact this myth has been dumped by those who’ve done the research.

Firstly, how the genes are organized on the chimp genome isn’t completely known because the full picture hasn’t been published yet. But considering that the cost of sequencing a genome is relatively low, there’s no excuse for not publishing the entire chimp genome.

Secondly it’s hard to compare things that aren’t comparable. There’s a vast gap or chasm between man and animals, even though the claims for similarity range from 70-98% in chimps, mice, zebrafish, cows, dogs, platypus, chicken and sea anemone. The differences are quantitative (based on numbers and mathematical calculations), not qualitative (more subjective).

The genes for proteins called histones are nearly identical throughout the entire animal kingdom. Evolutionists identify the similarities in these genes and use a molecular clock to find an assumed divergence point, even though all genes have different molecular clock rates. Anyone can choose a phylogenic tree and then find genes to support a supposed evolutionary relationship- but that’s not evidence that they’re related. The relationship is assumed.

The 98% similarity between humans and chimps is based on comparisons of highly similar genome regions. Not only are evolutionists intentionally seeking these similar regions, they’re also ignoring regions that aren’t similar; labs use prescreening techniques to kick out anything not 95-98% similar. So in most cases only homologous genes and proteins are compared.

Some of the differences that aren’t considered include non-protein coding DNA (or junk DNA), repetitive sequences, gene placement, insertions and deletions, gene length, expressions, regulations, genetic buffering, phenotypic plasticity, and interactomes.

The genome is now viewed as highly interrelated, and the differences are large. For example there are many ways of regulating gene expression that aren’t taken into consideration. Not only can one cell regulate another cell, but a cell’s membrane and the environment may affect cell regulation and division. This complex interaction between genes and the cell environment is true at every stage of biological development.

Because of all this we can no longer define the genome. Darwinian theory fails to explain these key biological factors. DNA sequencing projects have revealed the gene to be a “multilevel mediator” of information lacking a physical description.

In short, evolutionists have fudged the data in order to arrive at their pre-determined goal of 98% similarity (based on reassociation kinetic technology from the 1970’s), and more and more scientists are backing off these claims as more is learned about the genomes.

The next session I’ll summarize was with Ron Samec (PhD in Physics from Clemson University, BA in Astronomy from the University of South Florida) presenting the Mars Desert Hypothesis. This topic definitely challenged some of my previous conceptions of Mars. I’ve always heard about the canals and supposed water erosion on the Red Planet, but I’ve often wondered if water really was responsible, or if such formations were the result of some other process. Since there’s no liquid water on Mars’ surface, I questioned whether liquid water was ever present in the past.

At one time scientists expected to find flowing canals and oceans on Mars, but the Mars probes and rovers we’ve sent there have demonstrated that Mars is more of a desert with a thin atmosphere. The atmosphere in fact freezes and forms dry ice on the ground. Water is buried beneath the permafrost, although some is exposed on the polar caps and insulated by dry ice. Dried up river beds, drain patterns, ancient river valleys, channels, river flows, alluvial fans, oxbows, mud flows and sedimentation have also been discovered. Based on this evidence it’s apparent that liquid water was once common on Mars’ surface. We can even conclude that craters were once filled with water because we can see where gullies flowed down the sides.

There’s no plate tectonics on Mars, so volcanoes such as Olympus Mons and Arsia Mons keep building up as a result of radioisotope decay.

The Mars Desert Hypothesis is a catastrophic and creationary scenario. The idea came from one of Samec’s trips to Arizona in which the western deserts have heavy seasonal rains and flooding. During wet seasons the riverbeds are overflowing. Mars, in comparison, is an extreme desert with no atmosphere to shield it from asteroids, and there’s little erosion.

Samec explained that the RATE group (Radioactivity and the Age of The Earth) explained that accelerated radioisotope decay occurred during certain episodes and produced vast areas of heated subsurface magmas resulting in surface volcanism. This created volcanism on Mars without plate tectonics and left the thick and complex sedimentary layering on Mars that we’ve found. The West Candor Chasm, for example, has ten major repeated periodic patterns.

The next session I attended was on explaining the continental fossil-bearing sediment record in terms of the Genesis Flood by John Baumgardner (BS in Electrical Engineering from Princeton University, and a MS and PhD in Geophysics and Space Physics from UCLA).

This research is being done because a reasonable explanation is needed for the huge volumes of fossil-bearing sediments deposited across the continents during the Genesis Flood. There’s about 6,000 feet of sediment sequence pointing to catastrophic conditions being responsible for the sediment layers.

The level of catastrophism that could move rocks as large as the ones found in the Sloss Megasequence (6 large packages of sediment, each separated by a continent-wide erosional unconformity or surface erosion) is nearly “unfathomable”. It would take a heavy-duty, high-density turbulent water catastrophe to produce the layers and unconformity observed.

It also takes rapidly moving water to distribute and produce rock layers like the ones found in the Navaho Sandstone with crossbeds nearly 100 feet high, underwater sand dunes, and cliffs 2,300 feet high.

Baumgardner’s goal was to develop a numerical simulation tool for the large-scale erosion, transport, and sedimentation processes that operated during the Genesis Flood. One powerful mechanism assumed to be responsible is cavitation- a process which causes the formation of water cavities in liquid that implodes under pressure and can shatter rock.

Baumgardner suggests that a moon-sized body passing by the earth could create a tide high enough at two points on earth to trigger a tsunami capable of producing complex effects and heavy erosion by sweeping across an entire continent.

This is the first step in his model and still requires more detail; I thought it was good to get an early glimpse of the work he’s doing.

The third session I attended was on the Longitudal Strength of Noah’s Ark by John Woodmorappe (MA in Geology, BA in Biology).

Woomorappe suggested that there would be no bending on the ark as long as it was homogenous; that’s because bending is caused by major variations in the hull. The ark would also be safe from tsunami-like waves if it was away from shallow water.

Trusses would provide the longitudal strength the ark needs and would also reduce bending. Spike fasteners have been used in ancient ships and could have been used on the ark. The Bible mentions that the ark was made of gopher wood, but no one really knows what it is, but its identity isn’t crucial. Noah would have had a fairly wide latitude in the design of the ark, and the essential variables used in its construction of suitable trusses within don’t challenge its capabilities. The ability of the interior ark trusses to carry the bending load would allow the construction of relatively large windows and doors.

One example of a wooden ship was The Solano, which carried locomotives and was 424 feet long.

7 thoughts on “Tuesday at the ICC

  1. First off, I always enjoy reading these posts, so thank you for posting them. I enjoy reading the religious perspective on these matters. That being said, I find a weird sort of scientific paradox within this type of scientific research. For example, you claimed that early evolutionary scientists fudged the data to match their hypothesis, and excluded certain sets of data that they felt didn’t fit into their model. But as I read these posts about the lectures at this conference, it occurs to me that this is precisely what these religious scientists are doing: they’re starting with a proposed solution (God) and then doing research to fit that model. I’m not trying to defend secular science. I’m merely pointing out that there’s nothing scientifically pure about looking for specific data that supports your beliefs. Personally, I believe that all areas of science, secular and otherwise, are guilty of this in some form or another. The pursuit of science should be based on a question, not an answer, and atheist and agnostic scientists are just as guilty. For example, my understanding of Darwin’s theory is that it’s based upon the question, “Why are some of these finches different than the others?” Darwin didn’t start with the proposition, “God did not create man, and I’m going to collect evidence to prove it.” I’m not saying that that automatically makes his theory right. But in my humble opinion, the best data is obtained when experiments and research follow a line of questions to naturally arrive at a conclusion. A lot of science, however, puts the cart before the horse, and then tries to cherry-pick the data that supports a preconceived conclusion. Again, a criticism of contemporary science overall. Thank you for sharing your experiences–I look forward to reading more!

    • Thanks Ryan, always glad to have you stop by. You’ve brought up some great points, and I hope I can do justice answering them.

      I’m glad you spotted this “scientific paradox” because this is one of the things I wish to point out and want my readers pick up. That’s very true that these “religious scientists” at the conference are doing precisely what other scientists do- namely use or exclude certain sets of data to fit their model. This happens when scientists have an agenda and are trying to win support for their work, earn money to fund their work, persuade public opinion, win notoriety, impact politics, cure diseases, advance technology, make money, win the debate, educate students, or earn prestigious awards and honors. I’ve seen enough examples of each of these situations that it’s really undeniable, and I’ve posted a number of examples (The Magician’s Twin).

      I think part of the problem is that many scientists don’t even realize they’re doing it, and if someone points it out they refuse to admit it. Most people have this pristine view of science in which it’s completely objective and always right. Science is often elevated to a god-like status that cannot be questioned- and if one were to question the “consensus opinion”, well, then, they’re “anti-science”! However, truth be told, most scientists are not “unbiased”, nor do they approach their work without any presuppositions, and sometimes they’re not interested in obtaining knowledge or seeking truth. Or, as you correctly stated, all areas of science are guilty in some form or another.

      Personally I believe science should be about the pursuit of knowledge and truth, and that’s how early scientists like Francis Bacon, Isaac Newton, Galileo and Kepler viewed science. In fact the historical basis for modern science assumed that the universe was created rationally by God. Loren Eiseley stated:

      “The philosophy of experimental science … began its discoveries and made use of its methods in the faith, not the knowledge, that it was dealing with a rational universe controlled by a creator who did not act upon whim nor interfere with the forces He had set in operation… It is surely one of the curious paradoxes of history that science, which professionally has little to do with faith, owes its origins to an act of faith that the universe can be rationally interpreted, and that science today is sustained by that assumption.”

      Certainly all scientists bring a particular worldview to their work- whether they believe there is a God, there is no God or gods, that aliens exist or don’t exist, that man is destroying the planet, that truth is relative, etc. All their work is seen through such a lens, and it’s because of this that scientists are able to draw various conclusions about the evidence they’ve observed. And I think it’s important that scientists are able to be honest and admit such biases, presuppositions and worldviews. And I would argue that every one of the creation scientists at the conference would readily admit their biases; typically it’s creationists who are quick to point out these “scientific paradoxes”, and that’s because they’re fighting against them. Most hard-line atheists and evolutionists will make no such admission and insist that all their work and conclusions are unbiased and based on evidence, but it’s easy to demonstrate bias and point out the unprovable assumptions used to draw their conclusions. In my previous post (Part Two: The International Conference on Creationism) I responded to a question by posting a link in which these hardcore atheists refused to admit their presuppositions, and were adamant that they have none.

      Another difference I see between creationist scientists and secular scientists is that creationists recognize the difference between historical science as opposed to operational or experimental science, and they understand these limitations. Historical science is about what happened in the past, and since we cannot observe the past or perform experiments on the past, there are certain things we cannot know for sure, such as if all organisms share a single common ancestor or not. There’s no experiment that can demonstrate this one way or the other. Experimental science, on the other hand, can be tested, and we can make observations, and this is what cures diseases, advances technology, and put a man on the moon.

      The last difference I see is that creationists have an advantage (based on our worldview)- we have the Bible which we believe is God’s Word; if God has revealed the truth about himself and the universe as we believe, then we have a legitimate starting point with which to perform our work. We believe God has given us answers in the Bible that we can use to formulate our theories, hypothesis and models. Atheists, on the other hand, reject the Bible, and thus they have little choice but to make the universe as old as possible so that chance has a chance to create everything by chance.

      So yes, these creationist scientists do their research to “match their hypothesis”, much the same way secular scientists do, but we recognize these biases and believe that God has pointed us in the right direction. If, for example, God created the stars on Day Four of creation, and Adam was able to see them on Day Six, then we can either suggest that God did this completely supernaturally, or he did it in such a way that we can rationally explain it based on the laws of physics that he set in place.

      Lastly, I’d suggest that Darwin did have some religious biases that he brought to the table. He believed in God until his daughter died, and then it seems he was on an agenda to prove that God didn’t exist. He didn’t understand how a loving God could allow suffering. I’ll stop here, but there’s much more that could be said.

      • Very interesting bit about Darwin. I’ll admit that I honestly don’t know much about him as a man, only his contributions to science. Very good to know!

        You make an interesting point about historical and observational science, and it leads me to something that I’ve discussed with other people, and I’d like to get your take on it. I’ve heard similar arguments before, but it seems like both observational and historical science fall into what I call “the certainty paradox.” Basically, the word “certainty” is rather dubious in scientific terms. Yet human beings operate in certain terms. That is to say I agree with the argument that a lot of historical things are difficult to prove without direct observation–we can never say with 100% certainty that something historical happened in X way or for Y reason. However, observational or experimental science falls prey to the same trap. I might observe or test something and arrive at a conclusion. However, I can never really say with 100% certainty that what I observed happened for X reason or for Y reason for a variety of reasons: our senses absolutely lie to us more than most people know, there are always confounding or lurking variables, and there are always things that have yet to be discovered or conceptualized. In this way I view the veracity of historical science and experimental science as essentially equal (or similarly weak for a variety of reasons, however you choose to view it).

        In short, it’s impossible to ever be 100% certain of anything in science. In both historical and experimental science, there’s a trail of evidence that can lead to various conclusions that have various degrees of probability. Some conclusions would most likely be seen as having a low probability, while others might have a one.

        But, as I mentioned before, human beings operate in terms of certainty. So while nothing may ever be certain, scientifically speaking, we nonetheless accept them as fact. Take gravity, so example. The models and that Newton and Einstein created are accepted as fact by most of us because every time we launch a satellite into orbit, the math and the observations hold true. However, there’s still a chance that our notions about gravity are incomplete or entirely wrong. My question to you, the same question that I’ve posed to others, is when does something become accepted? Is there a number, some quantifiable measurement of proof, required before something is accepted as fact? I’m not sure I have a good answer for that.

        I also agree with you about the idea of subjectivity in science. It is indeed impossible to be 100% objective, that is true. Personally, I feel like academia has only really compounded the problem. Most scientists work for institutions or places that have agendas, and they’re hired to work within that context. And I also believe that the whole “publish or perish” mentality of academia doesn’t really do anyone a service.

        And finally, just to play devil’s advocate, I’d playfully submit that creation science falls into the same historical science trap that evolutionary science does. Nobody was around to witness God’s creation of man, and the bible was written well after the fact 😉

  2. I think there are some very real distinctions between historical and experimental science. I agree that- objectively speaking- we can’t be 100% certain of anything, while humanly speaking we can be 100% certain, even if we’re 100% wrong. This “certainty paradox” makes sense to a certain degree (pun intended 😉

    As for historical science, I think it’s much more apparent that we can’t be 100% certain of anything because 1) we can’t observe the past, 2) we can’t perform experiments that can demonstrate the hypothesis or theory, and 3) much of it is built upon unprovable assumptions. This is why forensics can never help solve 100% of the crimes with 100% certainty, even though most crimes that are “solved” are solved within 40 years from the time the crime was committed. So if we can’t solve crimes that occurred within our lifetimes, how much less certain can we solve events that happened 65 million years ago, 4.55 billion years ago, or 13.7 billion years ago? Rather than being 100% certain about the past, we must “believe” that we can be certain about the past, which requires faith.

    As for experimental science, we have several major advantages- namely we can observe the present and perform repeatable experiments that can be falsified. So we can find out and verify whether or not our conclusions are correct. For example if Thomas Edison were trying to invent a light bulb he could perform countless experiments on vacuums and filaments until he either gave up or succeeded. If he succeeded, then he would have a functioning light bulb, and other people could repeat his work to see if his conclusions were correct, or see if his designs could be improved upon. So we can be 100% certain that light bulbs exist and are not figments of our imagination. Experimental science is what spurred the Wright brothers to make airplanes that allow us to travel great distances very quickly, and allows us to send humans to the moon and eventually other planets. Experimental science also allows us to experiment until we find cures and treatments for various diseases. So in this sense we can accept such things as fact.

    I think something becomes accepted as fact after certain criteria has been met: when it works, has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt after much experimentation, when it’s objective and measurable and reliable. This isn’t an exhaustive list of criteria, but I think it’s workable. Human beings, while imperfect, are capable of reasonable and rational thought. The evidence and facts are quantifiable and aren’t relative. It’s the conclusions that are subjective, but with proper experimentation we can gain truth and knowledge. The main problem with this that I see is politics: money, power and prestige corrupts, and that happens in science as well. People can be bought off to support and accept a particular theory, but the fact remains that others are capable of conducting experimentation to find the truth, but may face many difficult obstacles and challenges to righting a wrong.

    As for creation science falling into the same historical science trap as evolutionary science, I’ll disagree based on your unstated premise. Your unstated premise is that God is a historical figure as opposed to a modern, living figure. I’d argue that God is alive and well, and is active in carrying out his will. So this has more to do with accepting a reliable “eyewitness” account. Others have argued that eyewitnesses aren’t very credible, which is true, but God, being all-powerful, all-knowing, honest, truthful and just, is a worthy eyewitness that can be trusted. If he provided an account of our history, and if it was backed up by the miraculous events described in the Bible, and if we can still have a personal relationship with his son, Jesus Christ, then it seems reasonable that this falls into an entirely different category from evolutionary science, which is simply the premise that there is no God or gods, and that everything that exists happened by chance alone over an incredible length of time. This cannot be proven or demonstrated by any experiments, and there’s no observable evidence or eye-witness accounts. Such a stance is based on faith.

  3. I guess I wasn’t really making the historical science argument based on the fact that God is not a modern or living figure. Whatever God’s existential status is, I was only alluding to the fact that, whatever your belief system, nobody was around to witness the creation of the Earth. Another reason I lump God into the historical science category is that He certainly doesn’t fit into the observational or experimental model.

    I don’t know…I’ve always had an issue with the “lack of observable evidence or eyewitness accounts” argument to evolution, and for two reasons. The first is that mutation, the guiding principle of evolution, is a real thing that has indeed been witnessed many, many times. Every year there’s a different strain of the flu to inoculate against; antibiotic resistant bacteria is another prime example. For a more macroscopic example, elephants seem to be losing their tusks (scientists theorize that this is based upon the ivory trade). Is this not mutation? Is this not adaptation? And are those not the tent poles of evolutionary theory? The alternative, it would seem, is that God creates a different flu virus every year. If mutation is a reality, why is it a stretch to believe that it can lead to the development of a totally different organism?

    I also have a difficult time justifying the “we haven’t seen it, ergo it’s wrong” mentality of such statements. If it takes hundreds of thousands if not millions of years for evolution to create a new species, why would people assume that they would witness it in their short 70-100 year lifespan, in the short 250 year window that the theory has been in public awareness? Given the glacially slow rate of evolution, would it not be reasonable to assume that we wouldn’t be able to witness evolution with our own eyes for many thousands of years?

    Ultimately, I believe what this all boils down to is the “something from nothing” idea. Yes, it is true that nobody has ever seen life emerge from nothing. However, I would argue that this doesn’t preclude the veracity of evolution as a current biological process . But again, I would argue that because something is unobserved doesn’t necessarily mean it’s impossible. Even as an atheist, I would argue that my beliefs have no bearing on reality, and that God may still exist. I choose not to believe in God because personally, I see no evidence for said existence. But like any good scientist, I’m willing to admit that this doesn’t preclude His existence or later discovery. Nor do I believe that evolution is a blanket solution for the something-from-nothing problem. Science is like completing a jigsaw puzzle, and evolution is but one small piece of the bigger picture.

    • I hope you don’t mind me injecting some theology into this discussion. I completely follow what you’re saying, but, from a purely faith-based perspective, God WAS there to witness the creation of the earth; therefore we have a reliable record of the origin of the universe, the earth and man from God, and he passed this record along to us for our benefit. And not only that, but if God exists today, then it stands to reason that he’s still involved in our day-to-day lives. We know that he’s actively working all things out for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28). Many Christians (myself included) would claim that there is observational evidence for God. For example, the Bible tells us that God can be known through everything he made: “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities- his eternal power and divine nature- have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made so that men are without excuse” Romans 1:20. Not only this, but we have seen God working in our own lives and in the lives of others. We could even discuss whether or not miracles are real supernatural events, and that would include Biblical events like the parting of the Red Sea- which would have been seen by all the witnesses that crossed through- as well as modern miracles.

      I know this isn’t exactly what scientists are looking for, and you may not count the evidence presented as “legitimate”, but it’s evidence nonetheless. I often hear skeptics say they want hard scientific evidence for God’s existence, and if they aren’t presented with anything that fits into their set of criteria, then that’s conclusive evidence that there’s no evidence for God’s existence. But I don’t think that’s a good reason for denying God’s existence.

      If we’re sincerely seeking God, then we also need to understand his nature, and we shouldn’t expect him to perform for us as if he’s a genie and we’re the master. We must come to him on his terms. I think that’s one thing most skeptics aren’t willing to do.

      Personally, whenever I study atoms, proteins, DNA, genes, cells, and life, I can see the handiwork of God. I can see the amazing detail, design and information involved. Richard Dawkins would argue that it’s only an “apparent” design, but that’s my point. We can see whatever we want, and that means we can also deny the obvious. The reason life looks designed is because it was!

      So while God isn’t “observable” in a scientific sense that we can’t perform experiments, I’d suggest that there’s plenty of evidence available that we can observe and rationally come to the conclusion that there is a God. Humans can think abstractly, so that means we can think outside the box and don’t have to submit to the secular rules for determining the existence of God. We can use other rules that may lead to truth, knowledge, and life.

      As for mutations being the guiding principle of evolution, I’d argue that that is not the case at all. I think part of the issue in the evolution debate is the definition of evolution, which is kind of an elastic, all-purpose term that means something different depending on what’s being argued. John Endler said in his book Natural Selection in the Wild, “The term ‘natural selection’ means different things to different people, and this often leads to confusion in the literature.” Yes, mutations have been witnessed many times in nature, and creationists don’t deny this. What we deny is that these mutations can create new information resulting in new features in an organism, or a new organism altogether. Antibiotic resistance isn’t an example because there’s no new information and no new organism. The bacteria is still bacteria, but with a loss of information. The bacteria became antibiotic resistant because it lost a function it once had, such as the function of metabolizing ribitol, or it increased the ability it already had to synthesize something like arabitol. Sometimes antibiotic resistance comes from natural selection, or wiping out all the non-resistant bacteria so that only the resistant ones are left, but they were already there and didn’t evolve. Even bacteria from people frozen over a hundred years ago are antibiotic resistant. And with gene transfer the genetic information already existed and didn’t evolve. Same thing with the flu virus. And as for elephants, if they’re losing their tusks, that’s an example of a loss of information. They’re not gaining any new information and aren’t evolving gills or blow holes for example. From a creationist perspective, we’d expect organisms to lose genetic information and to lose certain abilities or functions. Evolutionists claim that new organisms and abilities arose when legless fish turned into amphibians with legs, so how are examples of genetic loss helpful to evolution? How does an elephant losing its tusk demonstrate that a deer-like mammal evolved into a whale?

      The “we haven’t seen it, ergo it’s wrong” mentality isn’t exactly how I’d describe it. I’d say that since we can’t observe these supposed evolutionary changes, why is it that we must accept evolution as truth, and why is anyone who denies it or believes that the Bible is perfectly reasonable ridiculed and mocked? Or, if we can’t observe it, why are students required by law to accept it as truth? Or why can’t evolutionists accept alternatives to evolution in their scientific literature, or criticisms of evolution?

      No disrespect intended, but, in my opinion, the evolutionary concept you described is a copout. It sounds like evolutionists are saying that it’s not fair to hold their feet to the fire because they don’t have the luxury of having millions of years of scientific research to justify their claims. Really? We have to give them a pass? I don’t think so. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard an evolutionist use the term “evolution in action” in various articles and books. I’ve even posted on those subjects: Evolution Takes a Road Trip (cliff swallows) and Evolution in Action (pupfish).

      If evolution can’t be observed because it takes thousands or millions of years, then why should we believe it? And if evolution happens right before our eyes (as is claimed by these scientists), then why are they giving us examples of devolving organisms rather than evolving organisms? Or why are they giving us examples of bacteria changing into bacteria, or E. Coli turning into E. Coli?

      As for the “something from nothing” idea, I think this is like the hiker that wants someone to carry him and his heavy backpack up mount improbable so that he can enjoy the nice view from the top. Okay, since no one has ever observed life spontaneously appear from non-life, we can ignore that mess and move onto something we can believe in. Just conveniently sweep the elephant under the carpet. That works. I do agree that just because something isn’t observed doesn’t mean that it’s impossible, but why believe it if the evidence isn’t there? You say you don’t believe in God because you see no evidence for his existence. But you believe in evolution and that life came from non-life without any evidence. What’s the difference? In my opinion it’s much more reasonable to believe that God designed everything just as the Bible says.

      • I definitely don’t mind the injection of a theological perspective into the conversation! In fact, I welcome it! I would always welcome it, because I do like to look at an idea through different lenses and at different angles. I had not considered the possibility that God was the witness to the creation of the universe, although I suppose that is a solution to the quandary that I proposed.

        I get what you’re saying about evolution. My argument wasn’t that we should blindly accept evolution, but merely accept it as a possibility. You can designate whatever probability of it’s degree of correctness that you’d like. I also think that a lot of people get hung up on the evolution/devolution thing. As far as I’ve always been taught regarding the theory, a loss is still an adaptation, and could theoretically lead to a different organism. I think of it like an atom. If you take an atom of, say, Xenon, and strip away enough electrons and protons, does it not become a totally new element, with radically different chemical properties? I realize that this is a chemical analogy when we’re talking about a biological process, but I think it’s an apt comparison to get the concept across that change, adaptation, or evolution, does not have to be unidirectional.

        And as a final note, I would disagree with you that there is no evidence for evolution. But then again, it seems like we have differing definitions of what we consider to be evidence. And I’m afraid that I fall into the “objective proof of God’s existence” category. I wouldn’t presume to deny anyone their beliefs, though. I personally don’t believe that that should be the objective of any science (talk about a bias). Science should attempt to ascertain the physical processes that govern the universe; it should not be a philosophical soapbox (I realize that I occasionally do this in my blog, but I consider those to be philosophical diatribes, not scientific proofs or treatises). I’ve never been one to subscribe to the idea that science precludes the existence of God, namely because that’s impossible to know until that actually happens, IF it ever happens at all. Then again, I make a distinction between an abstract God and the God of a specific religion, but that’s an entirely different discussion.

        In any event, I have once again very much enjoyed this conversation. It’s a topic rich with potential for discussion and the sharing of ideas, and I’ve enjoyed our exchange!

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