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So, as some of my readers will know, I was raised to believe in young earth creationism. We were homeschooled, and that was the "science" we were taught. Our textbooks (Abeka science) devoted huge sections to disproving evolution by seizing upon a mislabeled fossil here and there, arguing that dinosaurs walked with man (citing the Bible, of course), arguing that dinosaurs might still or else very recently exist(ed) (in the form of the lochness monster, etc.). We watched lectures on evolution, too -- not by evolutionists and rarely by biologists, but from creationists and preachers. Kent Hovind was a favorite of the creationist community at that time; though he's in prison now, and so been displaced on that particular stage by folks like Ken Ham and Banana Man, once upon a time he was a big star in the creationist movement. At any rate, whoever was speaking, the usual tropes were hauled out: evolution devalued man (you're not a monkey, are you?!), degraded our sense of morality (no wonder people hurt people, take to drugs and alcohol, etc. -- they act like animals because they think that's what they are!), invoked Nazism ("Darwinism led to the 3rd Reich!" [a statement that ignores that Darwin's theories were banned in Nazi Germany and that the Nazis strongly embraced Christianity...but hey why bother with facts?]), etc. But that was the coup de grâce of the worldview: that evolution will ruin you and you should be very, very afraid of it. The creationists first spent a great deal of time laying the base for that claim, convincing their scientifically illiterate viewers, gullible children and their equally gullible parents, that evolution was not just dangerous, but wrong. How did they do that? Well, mostly by misrepresenting both science and evolution.

The upcoming Bill Nye/Ken Ham debate got me thinking about all of this. How is that creationism is still even around? It's patently absurd, and an accurate examination of the facts lays its claims to rest easily. Why, then, is it still around? Why do so many people (most of my family included) still cling to its nonsensical, unsupportable claims? Mostly, because of that misrepresentation.

A frequently employed creationist strategy (our Abeka books devoted a great deal of ink and paper to this) is to find a handful of examples where random evolutionists were mistaken about a particular fossil or sequence, and wave those instances around as if they "disprove" evolution. The creationist presents a false dichotomy, that science is either right on everything and every detail of that thing at any given time, or else completely false and untrustworthy. Well, that entirely disregards what science is and what it does! Science is a self correcting mechanism for knowing the world with the best possible certainty based on the information we have at the moment. Mistakes do and will happen -- and scientists amend their work to account for new information (something religion could really learn from). Science is a work in progress, always; scientists are open to correction, and change their ideas as new facts emerge (again, something religion would do well to imitate). So when a scientist discovers that he's made a mistake, and amends his work to reflect that, that is not an instance of science not working; it's an example of science working exactly as it's designed to work, of flawed hypothesis's, when put to the test and found wanting, being discarded. In the creationist worldview, though, science working is evidence that science is wrong: if it had been right, no one ever would have got anything wrong. (In which case, we might as well chuck out every bit of science we have, from astronomy to medicine, because more than a few someone's have got more than a few something's wrong along the way in every field of study we have; you'd be hard pressed to find the creationist who would give up life saving medical treatment, though, because doctors used to be wrong about something...) It's an intellectually dishonest approach reserved almost exclusively to the science of life's beginnings.

Furthermore, this discussion always tends to ignore the fact that these errors are never make-or-break  points; individuals might get minor details wrong, but the overall theory stands. It's something akin to arguing that one person thinks that Jennifer Lawrence wore a black gown to such-and-such awards show, but it was really white; therefore Jennifer Lawrence can't possibly exist. Jennifer Lawrence's gown color might be a tiny clue toward understanding the overall picture of her mood, tastes and fashion preferences as relating to that award show on that particular night, etc., and wearing a different color will slightly alter matters, but the detail has no impact on the question of whether or not she attended the award show, wore a gown of some color, etc. -- and it certainly does not alter the fact that she exists!

That is simply a bad argument. The strawmen are my favorite, though. Creationists have a habit, whether of ignorance or willful misinterpretation I do not know (I think it varies from person to person), of completely distorting the theory of evolution, and then attacking the strawmen they've spawned. These tend to be the only view of evolution that they can successfully rail against: one that they, and not reputable scientists, construct and/or promote. Scalae naturae is one such notion that is often conflated with evolutionary theory by creationists (visually depicted/addressed below).

This is the source of the non sequitur "But there are still apes around! How can there be apes if we evolved from apes millions of years ago?!" This argument works on the faulty premise that the apes in question are our direct ancestors when evolution does not claim this; evolutionary theory suggests that we all share a common ancestor, but not that the gorilla or chimpanzee is our ancestor, much less that they are part of a chain of ancestors leading to us. The creationist claim is something like observing that there exists a brother and a great-great-great grandfather in your family tree, and dismissing the entire business of one's lineage because, "look, I already have a living male relative, therefore I couldn't possibly have a dead male ancestor!" It is nonsense, utter nonsense. Distinct relatives should not be be conflated, combined, or confused. It is a complete misrepresentation of evolution to do so, but, of course, the strawman that the creationist cites is much easier to attack than the actual theory...

Misrepresentation is perhaps the strongest tool in the creationists box of tricks, because appeals to ego and fearmongering can only go so far, especially with a rational mind. Naturally, there are plenty of misrepresentations to be found. The Boeing 747 fallacy is one such. It relies on evolutionary changes happening in giant leaps, and argues that it is more likely that a tornado sweeping through a junkyard could assemble a Boeing 747 than [insert complex item] might have just happened by chance. I've personally heard many variants of them, from those that focus on proteins to human beings. This is a misrepresentation because biologists do not allege that mankind simply happened, that all the right pieces fell into place spontaneously, and viola! Adam is born! Change is a gradual process that takes many, many years; a random collection of bacteria, proteins, or anything else, didn't magically fall out of the sky into the shape of man (or monkeys, or plant life, etc.). That's not the position of science. The only people out there making this claim are creationists -- in their attempt to disprove evolutionary theory, by completely misrepresenting it's claims. (I should note that Richard Dawkins' chapter on this topic in The God Delusion does a masterful job of dismantling this argument; indeed, he turns it rather on its head, making a convincing case that the god notion is the ultimate Boeing 747. I highly recommend perusing it).

Another popular misrepresentation relates to the term "theory". In common usage, we use theory to mean "idea" or "speculation"; something that is true is fact, something that we're guessing about is a theory. In scientific terms, this most closely resembles a hypothesis; by contrast,

   a theory is an explanation or model based on observation, experimentation, and reasoning, especially one that has been tested and confirmed as a general principle helping to explain and predict natural phenomena.
A scientific theory is not just a random guess, or even an educated guess. It's also worth pointing out that the practical application of theories plays a tremendous role in our day to day life (we avoid germs if possible, we don't jump out of tall buildings, etc.). "Just a theory" is a misrepresentation of what it means for an idea to be a theory in the scientific world.

A related falsity that the creationist will often put forth is that theories like gravity are observable -- we can drop an apple and observe the outcome -- but the theory of evolution is not.


(EDIT: dear readers, thanks very much for the embedding troubleshooting!)

This is to conflate "being there in the moment to watch as it happens" (this has happened, but, obviously not with our own species) with "observable". Human beings have witnessed new species arising, but the evolutionary process leaves ample additional observable evidence. It is nonsense to say that evolution hasn't been observed. It has been and is being observed. In the same way that we can observe that we had great-grandparents (even if they were long dead before we were born) through the evidence that is left behind, we can trace the origins of species. There is a difference between scientific observation and being a witness, in real time, to the event. This argument is merely an attempt to gin up incredulity: "well, gee, how do you know if something happened a million years ago? Who could observe that? I mean, were you there?"

Which brings us to yet another horrible argument employed by creationists: "Well, how do you know evolution happened? Were you there?!" Ken Ham's piece (linked above) arguing exactly that includes these illustrations.

This is a point so stupid that it barely needs addressing. And yet it is a pervasive line of thought. To return to my grandparent analogy, we do not need to have been present when our ancestors were alive to know that they existed. We have solid, observable evidence so that we don't need to rely on witnessing the event in real time.

The absurdity is perhaps best highlighted in the following (from Ham's piece; all emphasis original):

   Carl Sagan's Big Bang theory is WRONG! How do we know that for sure? Because God was there—Carl Sagan wasn't! God knows everything—Carl Sagan doesn't! This world did NOT have a fiery start from a big bang, but it surely will have a fiery end with a big bang, for "the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up" (II Peter 3:10).
An invisible, unobservable being bringing everything into existence with happy thoughts and magic? No problem. Observable data that indicates something contrary to the claims of my ancient, oft-revised, scientifically inaccurate tome? If I didn't see it, it didn't happen. And I didn't see it...

While the trope of creationist arguments do not actually address evolutionary theory, I would hazard a guess that for many creationists that's not really the point. They don't take on actual scientific claims, but rather tackle figments of their own imaginations in order to convince the listener that evolutionary theory is an absurdity. It seems that the point is to bolster religion's claims by making them all science-y, and little else. The irony, of course, is that creationists are preying on the science illiteracy of the listeners, on their own ignorance of the very thing they're criticizing, to convince them that scientists are foolish and ignorant. It's the blind leading the blind -- to think that everyone who can see is in fact blind, and that eyesight is itself a myth.

More and more, creationists are expanding their base, figuring out ways to foist their nonsense -- often at the taxpayer's expense -- onto children. When one examines how they go about their teaching, it is clear that they rely on the same tactics: misinformation, lies, and distortions.

Creationism strokes the egos of its believers: they are not mere monkeys, but creatures of divine making, molded in the image of God! Creationism strikes fear into the heart of believers: the world will surely be destroyed by the godless heathen if we accept that we are mere animals! Creationism convinces believers that they are embracing the only logical position: (the creationist strawman position of) evolutionary theory is clearly illogical and must be rejected! Building on all of this, creationism finally convinces believers that they're special smarties for rejecting the patent absurdities of science (as they themselves have presented it): that Jesus has rewarded their devotion with wisdom, while the rest of the world goes around believing nonsense and looking like fools! This is a very strong aspect of creationism, and one borne out by even a cursory examination of creationist materials: that people who accept science are idiots, to be mocked and derided by those in the know. (I don't claim that evolutionists refrain from mocking creationists; many surely do not. However, creationism is generally mocked on the strength [or, more properly, lack thereof] of its arguments. It is standard practice for creationists to completely misrepresent evolutionary positions, but extremely rare for evolutionists to do so to creationists: a creationist has little choice, if he is to prevail against evolution, but to invent a myth to take down, whereas the evolutionist need only focus on the absurdities claimed by creationists. No myth making is necessary, as creationists have already done that part.)

This is both the strength and weakness of creationism: as long as people are ignorant of actual science, they will be susceptible to the misinformation, fearmongering and egotism of creationism. But when knowledge replaces that ignorance, people will have to either do as the Catholic church has done, and accept evolutionary theory as God's creation mechanism, or otherwise reconcile their beliefs with reality. I suspect that this will come at the detriment of belief in most cases...which might be the great irony of all of this: that creationist insistence on such a radical course of anti-science nonsense might actually backfire when people realize just how duped they've been. That would be interesting, wouldn't it?

(An earlier version of this post appeared on Rachel's Hobbit Hole on Blogger)

Originally posted to Rachels Hobbit Hole (on Daily Kos) on Tue Jan 28, 2014 at 08:38 AM PST.

Also republished by Street Prophets and Progressive Atheists.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Hi Rachel. There are two places in the embed code (10+ / 0-)

    you have to add
    http:
    those are the two places where youtube is listed , so
    "http://www.youtube etc.

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Tue Jan 28, 2014 at 08:55:03 AM PST

  •  Great diary. Thanks. (7+ / 0-)

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Tue Jan 28, 2014 at 08:56:31 AM PST

  •  Here's the embed. (7+ / 0-)

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Tue Jan 28, 2014 at 08:59:32 AM PST

  •  How is creationism STILL around? (31+ / 0-)

    How is Bigfoot still around?

    How is it that marijuana is STILL illegal, after not killing anybody and after all the human effort that has been poured into changing the law?

    How is it that 150,000,000 Americans are lazy while 400 of them kept their nose to the grindstone?

    Mostly because of republican's desire to dumb-down this country, to appeal to 'religious' and superstitious thinking that hobbles critical thought and essential skepticism, eschewing 'science' for 'old tricks' and religious proscriptions.

    The American Taliban trying to set up their primitive country.

    Legal means "good".
    [41984 | Feb 4, 2005]

    by xxdr zombiexx on Tue Jan 28, 2014 at 08:59:40 AM PST

  •  Here's the Hovind Video (8+ / 0-)


    "A famous person once said, 'You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time.' But as I once said, "If you don't teach them to read, you can fool them whenever you like." – Max Headroom

    by midnight lurker on Tue Jan 28, 2014 at 09:08:59 AM PST

  •  Most People Don't Need to Know any Science to (7+ / 0-)

    get along in life. On the other hand, if you believe in creation, odds are you're a member of a religious community with support for the needy and missions for the strong, and considerable opportunity for many.

    Since evangelicalism doesn't demand the consistency of some other sects like the Amish, evangelicals enthusiastically employ the fruits of the science and reason they decry, such as vaccines whose development is based on natural selection occurring in viruses. This makes it a low cost philosophy.

    Fundamentalism and magical thinking are successful adaptations for scores of millions of people.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Tue Jan 28, 2014 at 09:10:43 AM PST

    •  Nice load of lawn fertilizer you've got there. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      merrywidow, Aunt Pat

      Gooserock, old chap.

      On the other hand, in the REAL WORLD, the very last thing "evangelicals" do is "enthusiastically employ the fruits of the science and reason they decry".  Vide:  The anti-vaccine, anti-flu-shot, anti-fluoridation, anti-clean-air, anti-anything/everything "movements" all over the Nation - and even in parts of the rest of the world.  Every one is "soundly based" on - and loudly brayed regularly by Jackasses-in-the-Pulpit of - the "evangelical/Biblical" cults, sects, and persuasions.

      Not to dwell upon the anti-skin-color, anti-orgasm-gender-preference, anti-female, etc., etc., fixations that are also "evangelical/Biblical" in both origin and distribution throughout both the Nation and the rest of the world.

      But then again, when ignorance is bliss . . . !

      •  While I agree with the sentiment, ours is not a (0+ / 0-)

        "REAL" world. Not in the least.

        Our optical system sees and registers SOOOO BLOODY LITTLE of the actual electromagnetic spectrum, that we are virtually blind. And Sight is easily our most powerful sense. Dogs, eagles, fish, bees, have either better acuity, depth perception, color vision, long distance vision,  that even in the animal whirled, our sight sucks.

        Taste? Hah. We turn it off repeatedly. If we didn't our limited brains would be distracted into madness with each new taste in our mouths. And, did you ever notice how taste of food dies off rather quickly? If it didn't the sense of taste would overwhelm us.

        Touch? Ditto. Do you sense your clothing, except with great concentration or something painful or unexpected? Of course not. Our tinny tiny brains would go bonkers if we constantly sensed our clothing (or lack thereof) and we would be left unable to think.

        Hearing? Dogs. Cats, Bats, Rats, gnats all seem to hear better, at more extremes, and with greater acuity that mere mostly bags of water like us.

        Take it as given that our senses are extremely limited, and that our brains work actively to suppress data from those senses all the time. A further limitation on a severe built in limitation, as it were. Now add how our brains actually work. (excepting tea baggers and fun dies) We routinely make shit up. We fill in the blanks. Our memories are easily swayed by external factors, the power of suggestion, and wanting to please those who are asking us what we witnessed. In fact, the curiosity innate in humans, plus our limited senses, added to our total lack of scientific knowledge is precisely why religion first came into being. We made shit up to fill in the blanks, to draws connections between coincidences, to explain away the unexplainable (earthquakes, meteors, drought, volcanoes, my ex-wife and other natural disasters)

        Frankly, the only conclusion I can see is that we do not live in the REAL world, and that in fact, the real world is unknowable by us.

        What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

        by agnostic on Tue Jan 28, 2014 at 10:38:53 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Ummm (1+ / 0-)

        A bunch of the anti-vax (and anti-other-stuff) proponents are far from evangelical (from a religious perspective).

        “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

        by Catte Nappe on Tue Jan 28, 2014 at 11:17:16 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Take the family dog as evolutionary example... (5+ / 0-)

      ...DNA clearly shows they had a very close common ancestor with wolves, and what about the particular breed of a Creationist's pet house-dog, and the indisputable fact that so many diverse common dog breeds were created withinb historical times by selective genetic breeding?  The only difference between the effect of human breeder's intervention and natural selection is which factors force the genetic selection.

      True, another obvious examples commonly encountered (but obliviously ignored by creationists) are drug-resistant bacteria and vaccines, but their encounter with the family dog is every-day in their household.  They think God created Irish Setters vs Chiuauas from scratch?

    •  Good grief. Catholics believe in evolution and so (6+ / 0-)

      do the Jewish people and both groups do good works in communities, so please, the willfully ignorant might do good works but not BECAUSE they are ignorant

      "The poor can never be made to suffer enough." Jimmy Breslin

      by merrywidow on Tue Jan 28, 2014 at 10:04:40 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm curious... (8+ / 0-)

    ...how did you personally come to be convinced that the Theory of Evolution was accurate after all, despite your upbringing? It seems like you figured it out before Bill Nye took up the cause.

    Also, here's an awesome graphic for you to enjoy:

    THIS is evolution:

    http://www.fastcodesign.com/...

    Everything Right is Wrong Again - TMBG (lyrics)

    by GreenPA on Tue Jan 28, 2014 at 09:21:30 AM PST

  •  Evolution is a fact (21+ / 0-)

    just as hurricanes are a fact. But exactly what happens inside a hurricane  remains to some extent theoretical. The more accurate our theoretical models become,  the better we are able to predict the behavior of hurricanes.

    "There ain't no sanity clause." Chico Marx

    by DJ Rix on Tue Jan 28, 2014 at 09:31:58 AM PST

  •  add a morbid fear of the unknown, (11+ / 0-)

    hatred of people of different or worse, no faith,
    willful ignorance where a lack of knowledge is celebrated because it shows the strength of one's faith,
    and local leaders who harass, embarrass, and attack those who dare question their insular, bible based (un)reality, and you have 17% of our country's population holding the other 83% back.

    Much like the Teabuggerers

    What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

    by agnostic on Tue Jan 28, 2014 at 09:37:17 AM PST

  •  Evolution tracks Genesis, dark to light, water (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Pat, Sandino

    fish to birds to crawling to mammals...then God invented Adam but up until THEN the story works if we dont' talk literally 24 hour days

    "The poor can never be made to suffer enough." Jimmy Breslin

    by merrywidow on Tue Jan 28, 2014 at 10:06:50 AM PST

    •  Except... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sandino, lurkyloo

      ... the Earth and even trees are magiked up before the sun, the god is using language before it was invented. for that matter, the god itself is around before he was invented.

      Here's a briefly fixed Genesis account for you:

      In the beginning, and for reasons unclear, there occurred a cosmic inflation of space-time. It wasn’t good or bad, it just happened.

      Inflation begat irregularities and irregularities begat the early stars.

      The stars begat the elements and the elements begat the planets.

      At least one planet begat bacterial life and bacteria begat the diversity of life we see see today.

      At least one species begat language, and language begat deception.

      Deception begat religion and religion begat the gods.

      Everything Right is Wrong Again - TMBG (lyrics)

      by GreenPA on Tue Jan 28, 2014 at 11:25:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  See sig. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MKinTN, Aunt Pat, midnight lurker

    "It ain’t supposed to make sense; it’s faith. Faith is something that you believe that nobody in his right mind would believe." - Archie Bunker

    by Banach MacAmbrais on Tue Jan 28, 2014 at 10:09:38 AM PST

  •  More People (6+ / 0-)

    Long paragraphs encourage people to skip important things you're saying, or, at best, skim them.

    Lots of good stuff in this post, and it should be widely read. I think hitting the Return key more often would help.

    But the information is excellent.

    Generally, people seem to be more intense in their belief of something when the belief can't be backed with evidence or logic, and that's certainly the case with Creationism. How, indeed, can something so outlandish and glaringly wrong still have proponents?

    I worked in the business of evangelical Christianity for a while and wasn't surprised to find that the mass of Creationists came from the poorly educated lower and low-middle class. Folks who had little or no home based emphasis on learning, no training in discernment, and no family or school education in evaluating evidence.

    They were, almost exclusively, poorly read, and books played no part in their lives.

    Consequently, they were defenseless against anyone proposing goofy ideas.

    A Southerner in Yankeeland

    To save your life and our country, read "Pity The Billionaire" by Thomas Frank, and "Winner-Take-All-Politics" by Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson. Then read more books.

    by A Southerner in Yankeeland on Tue Jan 28, 2014 at 10:09:40 AM PST

  •  It's amazing that creationists are able to (6+ / 0-)

    sell the notion that if any scientist has ever had any tiny fact wrong at any time regarding evolution then the obvious conclusion is a magical being created everything.

    Scientific method of observation and testing not good enough?  That proves it was an invisible being with superpowers that did it all.

  •  The thing I find bizarre and a bit troubling (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cassandra Waites

    is that the genesis 'Fiat Lux' account of a void and then light seems like a reasonable paraphrase of modern cosmology.  You would think they could latch on to that as proof of genesis, but accepting any science is a slippery slope, and they know it.

  •  Based on a parasitoid that TexMex and her husband (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rachel191, Sandino

    discovered........
    The parasitoid Ormia lays her egg on the singing male cricket.

    So in a few years changes were observed in the natural laboratory know as Hawaii!
    Pressure form the parasititc fly drove evolution in a short time.  It drove males to become more like females.
    please click on the link.
    http://evolution.berkeley.edu/...

    also explained here
    How to silence a cricket.  
    https://student.societyforscience.org/...

    So evolution can be seen happen in a short time.

    Not enough people know this.

  •  When asked - are you a monkey? (5+ / 0-)

    I usually respond "Are you dirt?" - because that's what biblical creationism claims.

    If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

    by Major Kong on Tue Jan 28, 2014 at 10:37:11 AM PST

  •  It's all in the good book (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LiberalVol, Sandino

    The question is, which one is the real one. Prior to the printing press in the 1400s, If you wanted your own copy of a bible, you had to copy one with pen and ink yourself. Then there is the question of which language it is in. Aramaic? Greek? Latin? English? And which versions have been translated back and fourth several times?

    In his 2007 book "Misquoting Jesus", Bart D. Ehrman explains that when he examined multiple ancient biblical texts, the challenge was not in finding the differences between texts. The challenge was finding any two texts that were the same.

    It seems the bible has undergone its own process of evolution.


    i just baptized andrew breitbart into the church of islam, planned parenthood, the girl scouts and three teachers unions. - @blainecapatch

    by bobinson on Tue Jan 28, 2014 at 10:45:00 AM PST

  •  Pew Survey (0+ / 0-)

    According to Pew, 27% of Democrats believe we've existed in our present form since the beginning. I really want to know who these folks are... I'm sure there are several here on Daily Kos. If you are a creationist, please reply!

    •  Hello . . . I believe in creation . . . (0+ / 0-)

      You can see why in my post below . . .

      peace! ;o)

      •  Lot's to unpackage, not enough time (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lurkyloo

        Read your posts below (arguments of which are very familiar)...

        A few quick points:
        1. Evolution is not random.
        2. You are confusing evolution with abiogenesis
        3. You are confusing "theory" and "hypothesis" as the diarist explained.
        3. Please do read, as GreePA recommended, TalkOrigins (www.talkorigins.org). Learning is a lifelong pursuit.

        •  So in summary, you think I'm confused! ;o) (0+ / 0-)

          Learning is for all my friend . . . but of course . . . we often don't take time to reconsider things we think we already know . . . I am concerned about how "certain" some folks are that they are right . . . as if even considering another possibility is heresy . . . with an almost . . . dare I say it . . . evangelical fervor! lol

          I am clear on what I believe and why I believe it . . . and I enjoy reading alternate opinions and explanations . . . that is learning . . . I don't think most of the folks leaving comments here feel they have anything to learn . . . oh well.

        •  Um (0+ / 0-)

          Evolution is random, in all of its particulars.  Alleles distribute randomly.  Natural selective pressures distribute.  Drift is a random process.  

          Otherwise, all good.

  •  How can I put this nicely . . . (0+ / 0-)

    I believe in creation.

    Why?

    Because of the intricacy of the body and its parts, like the eyes, ears, heart, digestion, reproduction, and so on are simply too detailed and specific to support (in my mind)anything else.

    Factor in the wonderful planet and other amazing creatures, and the chances that all of this just "happened" seems even smaller. Male and female, randomly created to perfectly interact and incubate new life?

    That just doesn't work for me.

    However, if you disagree, I won't call you names or question your intelligence.

    It is fine to point out problems with religious explanations, but that does not preclude the possibility (and in my opinion probability) that we were created.

    I still don't know why we all get so upset about this topic - I think that all concepts and theories about where we came from should be presented and folks can make up their own minds.

    Simple fact is, we don't know definitively where we came from, and this is simultaneously hilarious and terrifying. . . but not something to fight about in my opinion.

    •  I'll try to be nice... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sandino, BachFan, lurkyloo

      We do know, definitively, where we came from.

      I would recommend you take a visit to the TalkOrigins archive if you would like to learn about how it happened. I would recommend starting with the FAQ. Here's a snip for you, in case you don't have the time to read the whole thing:

      Biological evolution is a change in the genetic characteristics of a population over time. That this happens is a fact. Biological evolution also refers to the common descent of living organisms from shared ancestors. The evidence for historical evolution -- genetic, fossil, anatomical, etc. -- is so overwhelming that it is also considered a fact. The theory of evolution describes the mechanisms that cause evolution. So evolution is both a fact and a theory.
      The objection that you have to evolution is that you cannot imagine how it happened, but this is not an argument for creationism, it's only an admission of ignorance.

      Everything Right is Wrong Again - TMBG (lyrics)

      by GreenPA on Tue Jan 28, 2014 at 11:47:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Your nice attempt fell a little short . . . lol (0+ / 0-)

        I am a college educated adult who is quite familiar with evolution and science, thanks.

        Nothing that you posted  precludes the concept of creation. In fact, the knowledge that living organisms have the ability to change and adapt is in fact another thing that demonstrates to me how amazingly we are created . . . or manufactured . . . or whatever word you prefer.

        I shared my opinion and why I hold it . . . I am not trying to recruit or denigrate your beliefs . . . they just don't represent the definitive solution to me. If they do for you, I think that is great.

        Just sad to see that every time this topic is discussed around here, it is in the same "people who believe in creation are dumb" way . . . oh well . . . just sharing a different perspective . . . of course, I don't have the luxury of knowing everything like so many others here . . . so my bad. ;o)

        •  I don't think you're dumb... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Sandino

          ... I just think you're wrong.

          What evidence have you seen for creation? You have not provided any so far. Clearly you did not look at the website I offered.

          Everything Right is Wrong Again - TMBG (lyrics)

          by GreenPA on Tue Jan 28, 2014 at 12:02:07 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I pretty much explained in my original (0+ / 0-)

            comment that I believe that the complexity of human beings and other living organisms is what leads me to believe in creation.

            This makes it difficult for me to understand how such complex organisms filled with interdependent parts just "happened" with no direction of any kind.

            Saying that once that process was already started, there were mutations and changes that were seemingly self-generated is not the same as saying the entire process just "happened".

            I mean at the end of the day, whatever theory you subscribe to, the simple fact is that living things started somehow, and we simply have not found enough evidence to definitively say how. I'm okay with that.

            •  So you don't have a problem with Evolution... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Sandino

              ... you have a problem with Abiogenesis.

              And I'll grant that Abiogenesis is weird and folks are less certain about what actually happened, but I've never heard a creation theory that makes any sense because it just steps back from the problem and begs the question of the origins of the creatrix.

              Everything Right is Wrong Again - TMBG (lyrics)

              by GreenPA on Tue Jan 28, 2014 at 12:31:27 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  NF, if you don't mind my asking, do you... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Sandino, Nashville fan

          accept that evolution happens but believe it is guided (what I read from your response) by a divine being, or do you subscribe to young earth creationism? IMHO, the former is the only way to reconcile what we know to be true with religious belief, and while I disagree with it I certainly do not disparage those who hold the viewpoint. What boggles my mind (and, if this is your belief, I genuinely mean no offense) is when people see the evidence for evolution and simply pretend it doesn't exist.

          •  In terms of evolution. . . (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Rachel191, DJ Rix

            I don't have a problem with the theory of evolution per se. However, I don't feel that it fully explains how we got here. In terms of "young earth creationism" (a term I have never heard before today . . . lol). I believe that the Bible was written for the time it was created in and the level of understanding of the people it was written for.

            Obviously any collection of books written by people over hundreds of years is going to be filled with inconsistencies. I think it would be even more suspect if it was not. However, I do not believe in creation because the Bible tells me so, I believe because of my own observations.

    •  I wonder why religious folks (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GreenPA

      don't believe that god is smart enough to create a world that can evolve itself. It is almost analogous to free will in individuals. If God gave man free will to develop and choose right from wrong, then why would she not extend the same courtesy to the rest of creation. If there is no free will and we are all always exactly following god's will with every thought and action, then what is the point of faith, sin, etc.

      Arguing that the level of complexity cannot be explained ignores the fact that all the steps from simple to complex are clearly laid out for us to observe.

      Modern attacks on evolution and other areas of science are not based on uncertainty or faith, they are political calculations to manipulate and control people, and help establish the us-against-them dogma so crucial for keeping Authoritarian Follower types following their leaders, making them a useful political tool.

      •  It is difficult for me to match what you (0+ / 0-)

        typed to what I wrote.

        I am open to all possibilities, as I have clearly stated. Why is that so threatening?

        I am not trying to control you, trick you, or convince you of anything.

        The need to attack and destroy seems to just be part of the DNA around here . . . every disagreement does not have to end with an insult. But I'm used to it.

        Interesting that instead of explaining how an eye or a heart evolves from a bomb blast, I just keep hearing about mutations of living things that are already here.

        Strange, but of course, predictable.

        I've seen this movie before. I like the start of mine better! ;o)

      •  Why would God have to be dumb (0+ / 0-)

        to create it in 6 days?  Or according to any arbitrary script?

        There's any number of reasons why people believe God did something this way or that, or believe God exists in the first place.  Which is why we can't simply chalk up the modern defense of creationism (we can't really say evolution is under siege these days) to political cynicism.  After watching this debate, I'm convinced of Ken Ham's core sincerity.  That man is a true believer, and he and his compatriots have gone farther than anyone I can think of in fitting evidence to their preconceived cosmology.  I can almost respect that, and I can respect it considerably more so than the wishy-washy God of the gaps represented in theistic evolution.  If you want to talk about political and religious cynicism, let's start with those clinging to the vestige of belief in the supernatural out of convenience.

    •  Hey Nashville (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sandino

      There's lots and lots of evidence directly on that whole complexity problem. To pick about the most famous example, the eye is very complex. Now you can make up an evolutionary  story about it. A light-sensitive patch is a lot less complex. And one that get's indented a bit forms a crude proto-image. Then with a little membrane over it, it gets a bit sharper. Then if the membrane thickens into a lens... Sounds like a fairy-tale, but each stage of this is represented by an actual living creature. The DNA relations etc. confirm that the pattern of when they branched of from each other fits the evolutionary picture. There are countless other pieces of evidence- biogeography, DNA trees, fossils, remnant genes, non-functional anomalies, etc. These not only confirm the evolutionary pattern but also its underlying random sources, with all the blind alleys that implies.

      Perhaps what you're questioning is the origin of life, lost in dim obscurity, and not the amply confirmed last few billion years of evolution by random change and natural selection?

      Michael Weissman UID 197542

      by docmidwest on Tue Jan 28, 2014 at 02:06:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Great post - thanks for the insider's (escapee's) (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rachel191, Sandino

    viewpoint. I teach Evolution, and I can probably use that "scala natura vs. tree" figure - at the very least, on my door!

  •  There's a third option (0+ / 0-)

    You can always deny scientific prehistory.  Whether out of charlantry or conviction, that is precisely what AIG, Discovery, ICR and countless other professional creationist organizations have done.  

    I will say this, after this debate I'm convinced that theistic evolution is qualitatively the same as young Earth creationism.  Both invoke a great wizard unnecessarily.  YEC just invokes the divine more recently, more often, and with more radical impact on cosmology, geology and biology.

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