Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Religion, Science? Will Nothing Shut The Fundamentalists Up?

Evolution - the next stage (Image source)

The religious fundamentalists have surely realised that they cause is lost, the world wasn't created in seven days, periods are not a curse put on women by God for Eve's disobedience and we are not all going to suddenly decide we have to believe their idiotic rantings.

All of which my explain why they are getting loonier and more hysterical in their attempts to scare the gullible.

Two old posts at Pandangon on the fundie related topics are well worth reading to remind ourselves how obnoxious the right were when they had the upper hand (It is therefore understandble that the left have become obnoxious bullies during the Obama era - understandable but not acceptable:

Creationism Is One Long Temper Tantrum

The Voice of God

On the other hand, the sciencologists can be just as bad. Take a look at this exchange between two of our contributors (who both accept Darwinian evolution as the Origin Of The Species presents it, but reject Dawkinsian evolution which requires us to indulge in magical thinking to accept that matter can evolve out of nohing and life can evolve out of non life)

Richard Dawkins: ‘Terrible Indictment’ of Ben Carson That He’s ‘Ignorant’ on Evolution (Breitbart London)

Sunday ( November 1, 2015) on CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS,”

British evolutionary biologist and atheist Richard Dawkins said Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson not believing in evolution is a “disgrace for a distinguished doctor” and a “terrible indictment.”

On the Republican candidates not believing in evolution, Dawkins said, “This is not something you believe in or not. This is a fact. It is a fact. It’s just as much as fact as that the earth goes around the Sun. You can’t not believe it unless you’re ignorant. I don’t believe those presidential candidates are ignorant. I believe what they are doing is they think they have got to say that in order to appeal to their constituency. If that’s true, it’s deeply depressing.”

On Dr. Ben Carson specifically Richard Dawkins said, “You just told me all the Republican candidates except one doesn’t believe in evolution, I mean that’s a disgrace. For a senor a very eminent, distinguished doctor, as he is, to say that is even worse. Because of course evolution is the bedrock of biology and biology is the bedrock of medicine. For a distinguished doctor to not understand, I have to use the word understand, he clearly doesn’t understand the fundamental theory of his own subject, that’s a terrible indictment.”

At Boggart Blog (with Greenteeth and The Daily Stirrer) we love to wind up Dawkin's followers for the wy they have turned science into a relion and try to force acceptance of their dogma. The problem I have with Dawkinsian evolution (I'm fine with Darwin)is it proffers 'evolution as the driving force behind the origin of life on earth. One of our contributors decided to stir things up a bit by replying. First thing to note though, Dawkins is not an evolutionary biologist, he's a geneticist and as such tends to overstate the importance of genes.

Arthur Foxake • 2 days ago

If only Dawkins understood evolution himself I might be willing to listen to he opinion. To Dawkins, his followers and other militant atheist sects in the Church Of Scienceology, Evolution is just an atheist creation myth.
A biologist of my intimate acquaintance once told me that abiogenisis (the theory that life emerged spontaneously when a cocktail of chemical compounds came together in warm water surrounding volcanic vents on the seabed) cannot be correct because for a cell to form certain enzymes must be present and these enzymes can only be developed within a living cell. Being a proper scientist she also said that is not certain, but no other explanation stands up to questioning and attempts by bio - chemists to persuade life to emerge spontaneously have failed to produce positive results.
So perhaps Prof Dawkins and his followers can explain for us doubters which came first, the enzymes or the cell?
Abiogenisis is no more credible than The Book Of Genesis and Darwin's 'Origin Of The Species By Natural Selection' etc. only deals with how species, by adapting to environmental changes eventually become new species.

rationalobservations @ Arthur Foxake • 2 days ago

"First it’s important to note that accepting the reality of evolution is not a devotion to atheism.
The former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams recognizes that humans evolved from other animals.
Pope John Paul II openly recognized the realities of evolution in 1996.
President John F. Kennedy had no problem with evolution. In fact, one of his speeches discussing our origin from the sea was played during a Super Bowl XLIX commercial for Carnival Cruise Lines.

There are those who keep a liberal interpretation of their religion that allows compatibility with modern science. This has allowed millions of Christians and people of other faiths to contribute to advancements in medicine, sanitation, food supply, transportation, and other fields that have greatly increased the standard of living for mankind.

And then there are those who keep a dogmatic interpretation of their religion that only leaves room for an 18th century understanding of the universe. Ironically these same people use computers and iPhones. They have no problem using technology that was made available by modern science while keeping their antiquated views of reality.

Someone who dogmatically believes that disease can only be cured by god and prayer will never create a vaccine that will ultimately be responsible for saving millions of lives.

Imagine a child arguing that the earth is not spinning because we don’t feel it or crash into things when we jump straight up. The best thing to do would be to explain the supporting scientific evidence that clearly demonstrates that the earth is spinning and relativity to understand why it doesn’t seem to be from our perspective.

But what if the child refused to listen and simply kept repeating that the earth doesn’t rotate. That is one obnoxious child that refuses to listen or learn. Now let’s suppose the child is 40 years old. We would need to conclude that the adult was mentally challenged, delusional, or extremely gullible and being persuaded by ignorant people.

When creationists argue that we never see a cat turning into a dog, the ignorance is staggering. What makes it worst is they often say things like that with a smug grin. Not only do they have no idea of how a species is classified or how evolution works, they are proudly and shamelessly ignorant. They have no desire at all to read a book and actually learn the subject matter.

A species should never be understood as some giant sudden leap from elephant to tiger. There is no magical point in time where a biological divide causes separate species classifications between animals. This understanding is critical to understanding evolution. The evolution of species isn’t about a sudden giant horn, long neck, or trunk. The most basic species classifications are about the ability to mate.

When the separation of animals occur such as when one group of animals is gradually divided into separate land masses by water through continental separation and drift, and that separation continues to the point where if rejoined the two groups would no longer be able to biologically mate, or when that possibility is extremely low, they would then be classified as different species.

But once again, there is no magical point in time and the definition isn’t perfect. We classify Neanderthals as a different species from our own, but we now know that there was interbreeding between them and our ancient ancestors. Once again, the species classification isn’t based on a magical point in time.

The split between a singular group of animals into different groups in different physical locations which cause them to follow different evolutionary paths is critical to understand. Often a creationist will say if humans evolved from monkeys, why do we still have monkeys. That’s like saying if British people colonized North America, why do we still have British people. And we didn’t evolve from modern monkeys which makes the creationist cliché even more painfully ignorant.

Even the most dogmatic creationists have to admit that the attributes of an animal can be dramatically modified and guided through breeding. Humans have accelerated the process through artificial selection where we modify the traits of plants and animals through selective breeding and cause change to happen far more rapidly than natural selection. And now we have the technology to genetically modify plants and animals.

Creationists in admission to small gradual changes try to separate what they call micro-evolution and what they call macro-evolution. They claim to believe that adaptation and breeding can cause small changes, but not big changes. But if you believe in small changes, a big change is simply a cumulating of small changes. If you believe in small changes, you believe in big changes.

But these changes take a tremendously long time to happen. Creationists often demand that millions of years of evolution be demonstrated in their lifetime. It doesn’t work that way. The fossil evidence clearly shows evolution over a long period of time is what occurred on earth. Simple life forms evolving into complex life forms. In terms of time, even the so called “Cambrian Explosion” of rapid evolution was a time frame of tens of millions of years.

We now have DNA evidence which corresponds to geological evidence and fossil evidence. Some creationists are trying to classify what happened before our lifetimes as “historical science” which they say requires faith to believe in. This is absurd. If you dig into the ground and find a riverbed of lava, you can conclude an active volcano created it even though you were not there when it happened. That’s not faith, it’s evidence, common sense, and logic.

And how hypocritical for creationists to argue against knowledge of what happened before our lifetimes based on science and then claim truth in absurd myths said to have taken place before our lifetimes.
Their argument is akin to:
You can’t claim that lightning had the same causes it does now 2,500 years ago. You weren’t there.
Zeus caused lightning 2,500 years ago. We know this to be true because someone wrote it in a book.
Any modern scientific explanation for lightning requires the same amount of faith as “Zeus did it.”

But what about changes in higher classifications of species? It all comes down to small changes leading to bigger changes.

A lemur is classified as a Strepsirrhini. An African monkey is classified as a Catarrhini. Both of these sub classifications roll up to Primate. Dogs and cats belong to different sub classifications that roll up to Carnivora. When a separation of species continues to the point where significant changes in classification attributes occur, a different classification is created. Once again, small changes accumulate and eventually lead to big changes.

What is the difference between a cat and a dog which leads to different classifications or what creationists often refer to as different “kinds?” A cat has retractable claws. Dogs are pack animals. Cats are carnivores while dogs are omnivores. Cats can climb trees while dogs cannot. Dogs run down their pray, cats stalk. There are physical, dietary and behavioral differences between the two. They both have attributes that are common to a specific classification.

If a group of cats or dogs was to become isolated and over a large amount of time evolved to lose certain attributes related to its’ specific classification or gain certain attributes that were outside of its’ specific classification, a new classification would be created. A dog would not evolve into a cat nor would a cat evolve into a dog. They would eventually evolve into a new subcategory of Carnivora. And enough changes to a subcategory would lead to changes of higher categories.

So what’s the big deal? Why not allow creationists to poison science education and molest the knowledge that was won with great sacrifice by our ancestors? The issue is human problems require human solutions. The wellbeing of future generations rely on our scientific competency today. Creationists want to hold us back in scientific understanding and education at a critical time for our species to move forward."

- James Kirk Wall

arthurfoxake @ rational observations - 2 days ago

... and your point is?

rationalobservations @ Arthur Foxake • 2 days ago

"Creationism is not the alternative to Evolution - ignorance is."

Arthur remarked to me that rational observations, in spite of using a lot of words had not attempted to answer the question. One of our foreign affairs contributors, Ed Butt took up the case, wade through irrational's long winded replies and Ed reveals why Dawkins should not consude his beliefs with facts and why pompous old irrational observations is ridiculously wrong:

Ed Butt @ rationalobservations? - 2 days ago

Wow, what a long and thorough reply, must have taken you ages to cut and paste it. But you still have not answered Arthur's question, "Which came first, the enzyme or the cell?"

In my experience the awkward ones like that will stump the science worshippers every time.

rationalobservations? Ed Butt • a day ago

Ribozymes: scissors from an old world

Sophie Petit-Zeman

According to the biologist Jerome Lettvin, "Enzymes are things invented by biologists that explain things which otherwise require harder thinking." Protein catalysts that make reactions happen much faster than they otherwise would, enzymes are certainly a neat part of the biological picture, accelerating traffic on the highway along which DNA makes RNA, and RNA makes protein.

But this picture does indeed beg a bit of harder thinking. Given that enzymes are proteins, how did travels on the genetic road first get rolling? How did DNA make proteins, and indeed replicate itself, before it had made some enzymes, for which it needed, well, some enzymes?

Bit of a conundrum, that. And one that persisted until the revolutionary work of Thomas Cech and Sidney Altman in the 1980s overturned the notion of RNA as merely an intermediate in the synthesis of proteins from DNA, and unmasked RNA's own intrinsic catalytic activity.

The first breakthrough came in 1982 when Cech's University of Colorado team found an RNA in the ciliated protozoan Tetrahymena thermophila that could cleave and splice itself without any external protein or energy source. Shortly afterwards, Altman's group at Yale University found a similarly independent RNA in an enzyme called ribonuclease P in the bacteria Escherichia coli. The concept of enzymes made of RNA — called ribozymes — gained credence, and Cech and Altman shared the 1989 Nobel prize for chemistry for their work.

Not only did Cech's work severely upset received wisdom about the nature of enzymes and RNA, it also showed that introns — classically regarded as sequences of 'non-coding' genetic material that lie between coding exons in DNA and RNA — were far from junk. The Tetrahymena ribozyme is itself an intron, and it has since been shown that as well as possessing intrinsic catalytic activity, some intron sequences encode proteins that are required for the processing of DNA and RNA.

So, the present status of RNA as DNA's self-effacing servant may once have been very different. RNA appears to be a multitalented molecule; both a repository of information (genetic code) and a catalyst for protein synthesis and replication. The recognition that RNA had properties that are so central to the creation of life gave rise to the 'RNA world' hypothesis, that RNA had once been both scriptwriter and director (Fig. 1). While this idea is not without its critics, scientists, excited by this hypothesis, began to scour many organisms to look for more of these ribozyme 'relics'.

Ed Butt rationalobservations? • a day ago

"May once have been, and "appears to be"? Another nice cut and paste job demonstrating the usual scientific vagueness and hedging of bets. Have you anything definite to offer. Or better still any thoughts of your own to bring to this public discussion forum?

rationalobservations? Ed Butt • a day ago

That's science for you! It takes the evidence and provides a rational explanation for that evidence.

Unlike religion that takes confused and contradictory mythology and demands that no evidence is required in support of that mythology and all evidence that contradicts that mythology must be somehow "wrong".

How about some original 1st century originated evidence of the existence, life and times of a god-man/messiah that features in fables and legends that originate in first and oldest form in a bibles from 4th century Rome?

How about some rational evidence that supports the two different creation myths from genesis 1 and genesis 2?

1) Can you refer to any 1st century originated evidence of the life and times of one of many messiah claimants (only much later Greek scribes employed by the 4th century Romans) named "Jesus"?

2) Can you name a complete bible text that dates prior to the oldest/first 4th century Roman Codex Sinaiticus christian bible and matches any complete text within the oldest/first 4th century originated Codex Sinaiticus?

3) Are you aware of - and can you explain - the almost endless differences between the oldest/first 4th century handwritten Roman Codex Sinaiticus bible and those many diverse and significantly different versions of NT bibles that followed it?

4) Can you explain the confusion and internal contradiction, historical inaccuracies and scientific absurdity that is contained within all the many,many diverse and different versions of christian bibles today?

5) Can you explain the absence from Jewish literature of the Jewish prophesies that the god-man "Jesus" is claimed to have fulfilled exclusively within christian authored texts that only appear for the first time in the 4th century CE?

6) Can you explain why "Jesus" (according to the legends within NT bibles) fails to meet the specification of messiah that actually exists within Jewish literature and tradition?

Get back to me if you think you have evidence based answers to these evidence based questions.

(Don't bother with more debunked bunkum from your confused and internally contradictory book of nonsense and mythology.)

Ed Butt @ rationalobservations? • 21 hours ago

Why do you keep talking about religion? I'm not obsessed with religion like Dawkins is, I'm not even Christian. As for the Bible, it is, in my not so humble opinion, as big a load of drivel all all that vague, inconclusive stuff you keep cutting and pasting. And you are being irrational when you refer to it as MY book of nonsense. I have not referred to the Bible once until now so why do you suggest I have. Are you commenting on what you wanted me to reply rather than what I actually replied.

I get the impression that I am not reading rational observations but ravings of the deranged.

I will take questions on Zoroastrian Avestas, Hindu Vedas and European paganism but don't assume I'm a believer, my interest in them stems from other sources.

You know you should try to deal with that binary mindset problem to increase your credibility. Do you not have a clue how irrational it is to assume your critics are religious fanatics and creationists just because they don't defer to Dawkins as the Pontifex Maximus of the Church Of Scienceology and prophet of athesm.

And you still haven't answered the original question. Which came first, the enzyme or the cell? Unless you can give us facts rather than might and possibly I suggest you cling to your belief and respect the right of the God Squad to hold theirs.

Me? I'll just carry on being a wind up merchant, I enjoy it.

Rational Observations @ Ed Butt

Carry on trolling and asking meaningless questions if that makes you happy.

Ed Butt

Carry on being an irrational bigot if that's what makes you happy.

But here's something that might help you understand why evolution does not explain the origins of life. Read it, don't comment on what you think it ought to say.
You will learn, if you have the humility to do so, that there is in fact NO EVIDENCE WHATSOEVER that true living organisms can come into being without the presence of enzymes.

So which came first, the enzyme or the cell?

That is of course a meaningless question only in the sense that you cannot understand its meaning. Now you troll off and stop disrupting the discussions of intelligent and open minded people.

Then Arthur plunges back into the fray:

Arthur @ Foxake rationalobservations? 3 hours ago

That's not an intelligent response. Creationism and evolution are not opposites. Evolution deals with the development of species from earlier, usually less advanced species. Creationism is a belief system dealing with origins of the universe, origins of life etc.
The universe did not evolve, it happened. According to one rather tongue in cheek theory from physicist John Gribben, the creators might have been a bunch of extra terrestrial engineers.
I don't agree or disagree with him, unlike you my mind is not closed to ideas so I find his theory interesting and entertaining, and actually not capable of being falsified. Therefore I accept Gribben's designer universe as possible but improbable.
You on the other hand (I've read you other comments in this thread) seem to think there is only one possible kind of creation act, the one where The God Of Abraham snaps his fingers and says, "Let there be stuff." And suddenly where there was nothing, there is stuff. Absolute rubbish of course, but Big Bang theory asks us to believe a similar thing.

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