Creation Museum

Yup, its finally here. I was following the story on the Creation Museum’s development and construction for a while and then sort of fell out of the loop. But its up and running now.

Basically, one main problem is this: in “creation science”, you are starting with the premise that the Biblical account of creation is literally true. Not only that, but you also have the premise that the Bible is an accurate source of scientific knowledge. What “creation science” does is then goes through the physical evidence that we have and arranges it according to this preconception, which is never open to debate or challenge.

On the other hand, “science” starts with observations about the physical world, then theorizes explanations of those observations. Then it tests them in a repeatable fashion, and finally publishes the results for open critique and peer review. The path that a theory must travel to become widely accepted is unbelievably challenging, and there is always the assumption (here I’m talking about good science, not necessarily all science) that any theory is open to challenge at any time.

The difference is that, on the one had, you have the imposition of ideas on physical evidence based on an unassailable assumption: the Bible is literally true. On the other hand, in the scientific method, you have the assumption that the universe is comprehensible, that it functions according to laws and principles which we can discover through observation and rigorous testing.

My main point is that “creation science” is not science at all in any meaningful sense of the word. It is apologetics, on a very large scale, and that is very different. Creation science is not based on accounting for observations – it is very openly based on a singular interpretation of the Bible, and on defending that interpretation at all times.

I’m not going to say that apologetics has no place (much to the contrary, actually), but it isn’t science, and this is a very important distinction for me in my own thinking. Scientists certainly have preconceptions when the approach evidence. We all do. But the preconceptions of science, the theories and models which guide inquiry and thought, are the result of hundreds of years of rigorous enterprise, and those preconceptions are always open to peer review and revision – but those revisions must be based on observation and experimental testing, and the question is always ‘what accounts for the evidence best’, and never ‘what adheres best to the Biblical account’.

Personally, I am not an expert, but I’ve gone over a lot of ‘evidence’ put forward for the Earth being six thousand years old and for a worldwide flood event, etc., and I find it totally unsatisfying and unconvincing. On the other hand, I’m not afraid of people putting forth these ideas, and don’t think they should be forcibly shut or anything like that. I think the best ideas will win out in the end. If I’m wrong, and Creationism has great, demonstrable explanatory power, and leads to new discoveries more effectively than the scientific method has, then I’ll happily eat my words.

In the meantime, though, I’m going to trust the process that brought us modern astronomy, electricity, internal combustion engines, photovoltaic cells, mapping the human genome, vaccination, particle accelerators and the like to continue to account for the world in physical terms. I don’t really begrudge other people their admission to the Creation Museum (well, ok, I do a little), but I certainly won’t be showing up.

27 thoughts on “Creation Museum

  1. Doug,Science is no more objectively neutral in its observations on physical data sets than you or I are in our observations of textual data sets (like Scripture).The a priori assumption of modern science is that this is a universe of causality, but that there is no supernatural causality (btw, how did the universe which must be caused get caused?????). That a priori – naturalistic supposition – is every bit as much a warranted step of epistemological fate as is presupposing the truthfulness of Scripture in all that it speaks to (considering the genre).As an aside, I’m so glad the progressives are rushing to judgment on this without having seen it. I’ve been there – it’s truly impressive. I’ve been to the Smithsonian, too; which was impressive in its own right. Both contain facts that have been misinterpreted based on the hermeneutical frameworks of our day

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  2. Chris: once again you surprise me, undercutting all of your arguments up to this point completely. But I won’t let you!I think you’re incorrect about causality. From what I understand of quantum mechanics (as a layperson), causality doesn’t mean what it normally means in the macro world. And it is at the quantum level that things like the Big Bang take place.I also disagree that science’s assumption is a priori. If there was evidence of supernatural causality, beyond what might be theorized at the Big Bang or whatnot, then I think science would address it. It also depends on what you mean by “supernatural” of course.As I said, for now I’m happy to trust in the people who brought us a cure for polio and the DVD player (and even the atom bomb), rather than the people who brought us the trial of Galileo or the Scopes trial, when looking for someone to account for physical phenomina. They “theory” of creationism has led to no scientific discoveries whatsoever, and it is my belief that it never will. It still doesn’t reach, for me, beyond apologia.I don’t doubt the Creation Museum is impressive. Millions of dollars make lots of things impressive. What’s impressive isn’t the Smithsonian, its the fact that what is contained there stands for thousands upon thousands of lives spent seeking the truth about the world around us and the way it functions. It is the vast edifice of most of our knowledge, all the things that make the modern world possible.I still can’t believe that you’re making this argument at all, having spent all this time railing against people who have put this argument forward as a critique of your views. It’s baffling to me, honestly.I mean, you’re taking a profoundly deconstructionistic, postmodern position about epistemology which is completely inconsistent with everything you’ve written up to this point, except the (appreciated) quip about D&D. I really, really don’t get it this time. Which one’s the real Chris? The one who posits objective truth, or the one who posits its impossibility?

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  3. I’m not sure you understand what I’m saying when I speak of “warranted belief.” It’s borrowed from Alvin Plantinga and it’s meant to move everyone in the conversation beyond a strong foundationalist perspective.

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  4. I didn’t realize you were using specific jargon. Now I know what Wikipedia has to say about Alvin Plantinga.That might be effective if I was putting forward a foundationalist perspective. Or, really, if modern science was doing the same.You could characterize science as logical-positivist, materialist, empiricist, perhaps, but not foundationalist, at least not as I understand the term, except maybe as a polemic? But I don’t think the term fits science at all.Really, I imagine this is probably going nowhere. You’re going to quote intelligent design/apologist philosophers, which I just feel strengthens my position that creation “science” is apologia. I’m going to maintain that the scientific method is a meaningful description of how science actually functions, which you’ll rebut with further creationist philosophies.In 50 years, if we’re alive, we can revisit this and review: what things have creation “science” added to our knowledge and understanding? What things have science added to our knowledge and understanding? I still see no reason why I’ll be surprised by any scientific breakthroughs coming from the premise that “all of the words in these books are empirically true.”

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  5. I just wanted to voice my agreement here, Doug. Mind you, I’m not inherently opposed to the idea of creationism – I just don’t see any support for it in the evidence. At all. Hell, Carbon 14 dating alone will get you back 10,000 years before it stops being reliable, and that’s verifiable, objective data that conclusively proves that the world is at LEAST 4,000 years older than the Creationists claim it to be.As far as supernatural causation goes – Science is the sum total of our knowledge about the world based on our observations of the world. It is inherently based upon repeatable, verifiable things. A miracle is by definition a unique, non-repeatable event: a special, isolated intervention by supernature into the natural world. That’s what ‘miracle’ MEANS. It’s an act of God. If it were anything other than this, it would be meaningless to speak of it as being ‘supernatural,’ as it would not be: it would simply be a natural process that we do not yet understand enough to be able to predict (but will once we have the right tools with which to do so).

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  6. Paul, Doug et al,If you are truly positive that science is objective then where can I find the following answers.1. Where has Macro Evolution (trans species) ever been tested, repeated, verified?2. Where can I see one bona fide, actual, complete fossil of anything recognized as a transitional form? (One clue the Field Museum of Natural History doesn’t have one)3. How many distinct modifications would it take for a land dwelling creature to become a water dwelling creature? What is the probability that these modifications would occur in a sequence as to achieve the end result.4. What is the probability that through randon chance it is possible to assemble all of the elements necessary to form a fully functioning protein molecule (darn that science of statistical probability)5. At what point (ie how many zeros after the one) is an event considered impossible? How does this compare with question #4?6. Darwin himself said that the fossil record would confirm or deny his theory. What is number of fossils necessary (or the magic number of years)to prove or disprove Darwins theory? 7. Where are all of the transitional forms?8. If evolution is truly about random mutations over time, whay can we learn from studying randomness? Can we study randomness and use it to predict future outcomes?I am perfectly willing to consider any and all evidence that actually stands up the the scientific method. But I would expect science to be able to provide answers to the above questions and the many other legitimate questions that are being raised by people like Richard Milton and David Stove. It needs to be able to explain the bacterial flagellum, the human eye, and the information content of DNA. How can we take seriously any theory that is still “supported” by things proven to be lies or frauds (Haekels embryo’s, piltdown man, Darwins finches, Moths pinned to trees) What’s wrong with considering all of the evidence and all possible explainations and accepting the one that most closely aligns itself with reality. Ultimately the question is not creation/evolution or whatever it is simply is there objetcive truth and if so, can we find out what it is. Most of the founders of modern science believed that science simply allowed us to understand what God created. It seems to make more sense to study somthing that was created for a purpose rather than something that is a product of randomness. I realize this is a long post, and I apologize, but if this is truly about open exchanges of information I await your answers to my questions.Craig N.P.S. There are answers to all of them

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  7. Paul, Doug et al,If you are truly positive that science is objective then where can I find the following answers.1. Where has Macro Evolution (trans species) ever been tested, repeated, verified?2. Where can I see one bona fide, actual, complete fossil of anything recognized as a transitional form? (One clue the Field Museum of Natural History doesn’t have one)–>The Archaeopteryx comes to mind. Also, you might want to know that transitional forms are a false test for evolutionary theory. It is a term that comes from a previous paradigm that most evolutionary scientists no longer hold. You can read this in, at the very least, the book I mentioned I was reading. Also, how do you define “transitional”? You can always look at two forms and say “I’m not convinced, I need a transitional form to connect them”.3. How many distinct modifications would it take for a land dwelling creature to become a water dwelling creature? What is the probability that these modifications would occur in a sequence as to achieve the end result.–> Neither you nor I are equipped to address this question. I assume you’re referring to something you read somewhere…? I would say that as a layman, the question is not meaningful in the way you’ve framed it. You have to define “distinct modifications” at the very least – morphologically/phenotypically? In the genome? Etc.4. What is the probability that through randon chance it is possible to assemble all of the elements necessary to form a fully functioning protein molecule (darn that science of statistical probability)–> “Random” is a misunderstanding of evolution by natural selection. You can read a book by Richard Dawkins or Stephen Jay Gould for this point (if you’re inclined to). Or a quality high school biology textbook for that matter.5. At what point (ie how many zeros after the one) is an event considered impossible? How does this compare with question #4?–> Again, neither you nor I are equipped to address this question. I would say, as a layman, that any event that has a nonzero chance of occurring is not impossible, by definition of the terms as I understand them.6. Darwin himself said that the fossil record would confirm or deny his theory. What is number of fossils necessary (or the magic number of years)to prove or disprove Darwins theory?–> For you or for me? For you, I would say “an incomprehensibly large number”. Interestingly, in modern developmental biology, Darwinian natural selection is not the only mode of evolution being studied. So, again, I think this is a question that isn’t very meaningful.7. Where are all of the transitional forms?–> This seems redundant and I think I covered it in #2. Its a creationist refrain that, again, doesn’t seem very meaningful.8. If evolution is truly about random mutations over time, whay can we learn from studying randomness? Can we study randomness and use it to predict future outcomes?–> Again, “random” is a mis-characterization of evolution by natural selection. For what we can learn from “random” events, I would refer you to Chaos Theory, emergent properties of complex systems, etc.I am perfectly willing to consider any and all evidence that actually stands up the the scientific method. But I would expect science to be able to provide answers to the above questions and the many other legitimate questions that are being raised by people like Richard Milton and David Stove. It needs to be able to explain the bacterial flagellum, the human eye, and the information content of DNA. How can we take seriously any theory that is still “supported” by things proven to be lies or frauds (Haekels embryo’s, piltdown man, Darwins finches, Moths pinned to trees) What’s wrong with considering all of the evidence and all possible explainations and accepting the one that most closely aligns itself with reality. Ultimately the question is not creation/evolution or whatever it is simply is there objetcive truth and if so, can we find out what it is. Most of the founders of modern science believed that science simply allowed us to understand what God created. It seems to make more sense to study somthing that was created for a purpose rather than something that is a product of randomness. I realize this is a long post, and I apologize, but if this is truly about open exchanges of information I await your answers to my questions.–> The bacterial flagellum is a classic that I remember first reading in Behe. I would refer you to the book I’m currently reading, which addresses that example. I’m, again, a layperson, but it isn’t like the bacterial flagellum is a trump card, and it isn’t as if evolutionary biologists have not responded to the examples you give thoroughly. Satisfactorily? Not for you, apparently, but that’s your prerogative, as another interested layperson. (If you are a biologist, I apologize for saying you’re a layperson.)Craig N.P.S. There are answers to all of them–> Yes, I know. Really, those questions weren’t as challenging as I think you expected them to be. I imagine that a real researcher in evolutionary biology could tear them apart readily. For really thorough answers, a seminarian probably isn’t the way to go, but I’ve done my best to represent my current understanding and information.

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  8. (Sorry, missed one by accident!)1. Where has Macro Evolution (trans species) ever been tested, repeated, verified?–> Never. Where has the formation of a star ever been tested, repeated and verified? If something makes sense in light of the evidence we have, for some things that’s the best we can do, because laboratory environments are limited. Should we then assume that stars appear by magic? Is it just as reasonable to think that Leprechauns make them because I can’t make one in a laboratory?

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  9. Doug,Interesting response. I’m going to just respond to a couple of things at this point. 1. If the core of science is the scientific method then how can scientists claim evoloutin as fact.2. I specifically noted I was referring to a Darwinian construct of evolution, which does in fact posit that random mutations are the basis of natural selection. If you want advance another theory thats fine, but as hppens so often in this type of discussion the difinitions of the terms are unclear or misleading.3. I noticed that you chose not to respond to the use of demonstrably false evidence to prop up Darwinian theory.4. If we really look at the definitions of the word, Darwin doesn’t actually meet the criteria to be called a scientific theory. AT best it is an untested hypothesis.5. Your retreat into chaos theory is simply the recent equivelant of adding more time to the age of the universe to account for the fact that statistics renders evolution increasingly improbable. At this point I have not heard anyone propose what exactly chaos theory could petentially explain let alone offer any proof that it is the key to unlock the secrets of origins.5. There is virtually no one who accepts Archeopterix as a transitionsal form at this point.6. I find that you have made several assumptions about me and what it would take to satisfy me, as well as where I stand theologically. While I would not characterize this as anything but your preconceptions coming through, it seems on the road to the typical ad hominiem attacks so common in this debate. If this is the direction this is going then I’m not interested.7. You are correct about one thing, I am not a biologist. As a matter of fact I build houses for those who Jesus might have referred to as “the least of these”. I make this point to say that I live in a tangible world of real thgings. I like things that I can touch, tast, see, and experience. When I look at the evidence for Darwinian evolution I see an etherial standard, that changes on a regular basis. I don’t want overwheming proof, I’ll settle for a preponderance of the evidence. I just want evidence that will be evidence 50 years from now. As I said in my earlier post ultimately this is about 2 competing truth claims. Only one of them is True. Finally, I find it interesting that you seem to be putting forward some kind of Theistic Evolutionary theory, because the science that you seem to put so much trust in has no room for God directed evolution. As Dwakins said “Evolution makes it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled athiest.” Not that is requires athism but it is certainly more hospitable to it than to any other worldview.Craig

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  10. Doug,One thing I forgot to respond to your statement that “your questions weren’t as challenging as I thought they would be. If find your presupposition as to my thoughts interesting. These are questions that relate to claims that I have heard made and I am trying to find reasonably concise answers to them. I didn’t really expect you to have them. ALthough I would have expected more specifics from someone who seems so convinced of his position. I believe that it doesn’t take a degree in Biology, Math, Statistics,Physics etc. to have an informed position on these things. As an example, A mathematicain has said that it would take at least 50,000 changes to allow a creature to change from living in a water envioprnment to a land envirionment. You would think that that number of variants of a species would leave some evidence. But there doesn’t seem to be any. For the sake of arguement lets say that the person I heard was a creation kool-aid drinker (for the record I don’t know where he stands) and that 50,000 is high. It should be possible to determine what the number is though, so who in the scientific community is looking at this. If not, why not? It seems as though an idea of what it takse to make the transition would be helpful in determining if a transition has been made. Again, I’m just a simple guy who builds things, I don’t have the time or money to get a degree, I’m just trying (to paraphrase Rob Bell) make my worldview line up with reality.Craig

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  11. Yeah, I think we’re winding down here. I’ve enjoyed it, and feel free to spark other discussions on other posts whenever it interests you.1. They can claim it as fact, or in most cases as very likely, because it accounts reasonably for the profusion of life that we see in their view. As I said, there are lots of things that can’t be tested in a lab – really I think a new term would be great here to describe something that is “internally consistent and consistent with everything known about the physical world but unprovable in laboratory settings at this time.”2. Yes but these random mutations, which occur for a variety of reasons all the time, are all put under the same or similar stresses, which means that Darwinian evolution is at the very least randomness within bounds, which isn’t precisely random, and is always ‘directed’ by environmental pressures.3. No, I didn’t. I’m sure there is deception at times on both sides of any argument that takes place over a hundred years and involves millions of people. I also, honestly, don’t have the time right now to do the legwork in researching what you claim as ‘demonstrably false evidence’. Especially given the pressure a few decades ago to find “transitional forms”, I would imagine that hoaxes would surface now and then. I honestly think the scientific method itself, with its rigorous peer review, will take care of these as they arise.4. I think it does meet the criteria for a theory, and also for a hypothesis, but it is a theory like the four or so major theories of star formation. Actually, nothing the ID or creationist community will *ever* produce will qualify as a hypothesis or theory, because you can’t test “this book told me God did it supernaturally” in a laboratory either. 🙂 The difference is that evolution or star formation conform to things we know about the world and *can* demonstrate in a lab.5. Time was added to the age of the universe because of more accurate and precise telescopes being built and deployed, allowing more accurate measurement of background radiation and the distance to the most distant galaxies we can see. It had nothing to do with biological evolution whatsoever. And chaos theory is just an example of a mathematical discipline that identifies emergent order in seemingly random events.5. As I said, “transitional form” is not a very meaningful category, and I explained why I think that. I just threw that out there because it is a dinosaur with feathers, and I like archaeoperyx.6. Yes, I did make assumptions, and if they were inaccurate I apologize. I was basing them on your mode of argument, examples used, etc. as well as I could, since that’s all I know about you at this point. I’ve also had this argument many, many times before, so there is probably some overlap in my mind. If I mis-characterized you or my assumptions went to far beyond my evidence, I certainly am sorry.7. Ironically, what I see in literalist creationism is similar – no evidence that is tangible. ID, where it differs, is similarly untestable. In evolution, the theory draws from many things we can see, observe and test, and extrapolates, I think very reasonably. Creationism and ID are not only also untestable in a lab, but they are not based on principles we can point to anywhere else in the natural world. If true, they shut down all conversation and inquiry, except for ID, which would be well-served to support SETI as strongly as it can as it looks for intelligences.And you’re right, there are two sides which are incompatible with each other, but it is possible to reject them both. Theistic evolutionists, of which there are millions and millions, do so. So I think looking at this as there being *only* two sides is a false dichotomy. When either truth claim absolutizes itself and becomes authoritarian, I think it misses the mark entirely.We also haven’t talked at all about the problem of the fossil record. The chances that a dead animal will be fossilized are vanishingly small for any creature, and it is comparatively more likely for creatures that are aquatic, fixed to the sea floor, have hard shells and bodies, and are lower on the food chain. You will also only find them on rock outcrops or near the surface. This is part of why I imagine that “transitional forms” haven’t been as forthcoming as we’d want – though a brief Google search brings up lots of websites that list transtitional forms.These transitions will also be brief because, absent new environmental pressures, a creature won’t evolve much at all. Take sharks and crocodilians, which haven’t changed much in hundreds of millions of years.Lastly – I’m interested in evolution because I am interested in science. ID and creationism aren’t science. One is an untestable criticism of evolution and the other is an exercise in fundamentalist Christian apologetics. ID is actually interesting, but doesn’t help us at all until we can meet this Designer – touch, experience, etc. as you said. Creationism isn’t interesting (to me of course) because it shuts down critical inquiry entirely. It doesn’t even let you think critically about the Bible itself! I’m also not interested in that particular theocracy.Look, I’ve enjoyed this conversation, and as I said, feel free to post more here or elsewhere. I wish you blessings and good fortune in your home-building – something I definitely could not do (to my father’s chagrin). At the end of the day, I’ve built, maybe, some ideas, and you’ve built ideas and homes, so you win. 🙂

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  12. Doug,I wasn’t aware this was a contest. As you said this was probably doomed from start. I find it dissapointing because I would like to engage in a discussion but without specific responses I fear I will have to look elsewhere. Regarding the fasle evidence(s) I suggest that you look at the items I mentioned earlier and do a tiny bit of research. Heakels embryos appear to this day in books about evolution including those high school text books you mentioned. And yet through the miracle of modern science (increasingly detailed sonograms) as well as the excellent display at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago we can state with out a doubt that human embryos do not proceed through the evolutionary stages of our “ancestors”. Yet this is still trotted out as evidence. I closing I’m not sure how this turned into a competition but ultimately Truth will win out. God has done and continues to do amazing things in this world, I truly hope you don’t miss out on too many because you’re not looking.Craig

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  13. I put the smiley-face there to indicate that I wasn’t serious about characterizing this conversation as a competition. Sorry if that wasn’t clear.I did a little research on the false evidences you mentioned, and found at least four authors who have addressed the issue from the evolutionist side, but obviously I haven’t skimmed their books yet. In high school and college biology my textbooks did not mention the embryonic argument for evolution that I recall, but I could be wrong. I don’t remember hearing that mentioned as an argument in the classroom. I do remember that Darwin’s finches are mentioned, so I’ll look into that more.I’m not sure how I can be more specific. Would you like, say, a list of links supporting what I’m talking about? Or of books, or articles, or theorists? I don’t doubt you can find all of that yourself, just as I am looking into what ID and creationist theorists have to say. I think I’ve thoroughly addressed your questions, and I’ve tried to be answer everything to the best of my ability. In cases where you’ve asked for things like a number of changes that would lead to a change in species, I’ve explained why I don’t think its a meaningful question, and asked you to define “distinct changes” genotypically, phenotypically, etc. Maybe it is better that you go elsewhere for this conversation – that’s up to you. I’m fine to keep this up from my end.In closing, for now at least, my guess is that you and I look for different kinds of ‘amazing things’. I hope I don’t miss any either, of course.

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  14. Haeckel’s embryos are well known to have been a hoax perpetrated by the man in question; this was in fact known within the man’s lifetime (he admitted it). That they were included in modern science textbooks is both amusing and irritating, but that is all. As far as Intelligent Design goes, I suppose I just don’t see its necessity since evolution is itself consistent with a belief in an intelligent designer of the universe. I here quote Victor J. Stenger:“…the odds against DNA assembling by chance are 1040,000 to one [according to Fred Hoyle, Evolution from Space,1981]. This is true, but highly misleading. DNA did not assemble purely by chance. It assembled by a combination of chance and the laws of physics. Without the laws of physics as we know them, life on earth as we know it would not have evolved in the short span of six billion years. The nuclear force was needed to bind protons and neutrons in the nuclei of atoms; electromagnetism was needed to keep atoms and molecules together; and gravity was needed to keep the resulting ingredients for life stuck to the surface of the earth.”The claim that natural selection implies that the universe could not have been designed or created is nonsense. Even if I were not already a Christian, with all that was necessary to make the process of natural selection possible, I would have no difficulty at all believing that God had set it all in motion. However, by nature of moving beyond what is recordable and measurable, we have moved out of the realm of the scientist and into the realm of the metaphysician and the theologian. Also, as far as Creationism goes, I find it incredibly annoying that the so called ‘Creation Science’ proponents have coopted the term. It has become almost impossible to use it to mean what it once did: a religious metaphysical theory which claims that a supernatural being created the universe. Mind you, there is no scientific objection to creationism as such, only an atheistic objection. But once again, we have left the realm of science behind, and have fallen into metaphysics.

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  15. Doug,I think your correct in that this thread is about played out. I will take issue with a couple of things though. Regarding your thourogh response, I’m sorry but “I reject that” isn’t really conducive to a conversation. I realize it’s your blog and your rules (wonder why God can’t run creation like that) and I’m good with that. Also, you may not take the issue of transitional forms seriously or give it much weight. Unfortunately Darwin and science do. If you are going to promote evolution (however you choose to define it) then you have to be prepared to adress reasonable questions that arise(again, your blog your rules…). I’ll probably keep dropping in now and again to see what is happening. Good luck with your candidacy stuff, you sure seem like a square peg in a round hole, but if pcusa is where you want to be more power to you.Craig

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  16. I didn’t feel like re-iterating things I’ve already said about transitional forms and their place in modern evolutionary biology, my question as to what it is that you want in these responses that I’m not providing, etc. I feel like I’ve already addressed those issues a couple of times.

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  17. Doug,You have adressed the transitional forms issue by declaring that it is a non issue to you, as you have addressed other items by simply saying I reject that. That’s great. But it doesn’t change that fact that these are ongoing discussions and a source of dissent within the scientific community. You may not want to discuss these things (agian your blog your rules), you may not have enough information to carry on a conversation, you may find these aspects of evoloutionary hypothesis boring, and all of the above are perfectly fine responses. In the non blog world you can’t simply ignore a part of the discussion and be taken seriously. I’m not trying to bait you into something, I’m simply taking at face value your desire to have discussion about issues of interest. So I will be satisfied with your response and move on.CraigP.S. Reading your blog is a lot like reading Brian McLaren. If that is a compliment then, thank you. If that is an insult, I certainly did not mean it to be.

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  18. Craig,It’s distressing to see you harp on about a lack of ‘transitional forms.’ It is representative of an outdated understanding of the theory of evolution: the glory of Science is to advance. One scientist builds upon the work of another, and what was bent in an earlier man’s work is made straight. According to the current theory, all populations of organisms are in transition at all times. A ‘transitional form’ is therefore almost entirely a human construct that represents a sort of defining picture of the process of change within a species at one specific point within its evolution. If I recall my history correctly, Australopithecus afarensis is a good example of one of these.There is no controversy within the scientific community here. This is all well trodden ground, and for religiously motivated Young Earth Creationists to treat it as controversal does not make it so; everyone may be entitled to their own opinions, but everyone is not entitled to their own facts.

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  19. Paul,Had you been reading the tread of comments between myself and Doug you would have noticed that I am not “harping on about the lack of transitional forms” if I have been “harping” about anything is is a tendancy of Doug and others to deal with questions they don’t like by saying “I reject that” or “transitional forms in not a meaningful category”, where I come from this is not conducive to the type of discussion this site is supposed to foster. I asked a series of questions that I have heard various answers to and wanted some feed back.Now to your post.So basically what your post boils down to is: although species have in transitioned from one to another, and although the follsil record shows numerous species, although the fossil record shows evidence of few of the transitional species, this is to be regarded as settled. I thought science was about proof not consensus. Again I ask where are the tested, verified, non falsified transitional forms, or whatever you choose to call them. It really beggars credibility that m(b)illions of years of evolution, mutation, and transition have left such a minimal amount of evidence. Darwin said the fossil record would either support or disprove his theory. Now it’s 150 years later and we’re not there yet from what I can see.Finally, I am noticing a disturbing trend within this community to assume or label people who post here. I’m not sure how that fosters a free exchange of ideas, but hey I’m the new guy, what do I know about blog etiquette.I will agree that anyone can believe what they want, I will go further and say that anyone can assemble their own facts. Just because you call it a fact does not make it so (I can provide a list of facts that are no longer factual, but I’m sure you can come up with your own), the goal is to discover what is True.Craig N

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  20. Paul,I had to take a break to walk the dog, but I wanted to add a couple of things.1. This whole thread started with Doug’s post ridiculing the Creation Museum (hearafter CM) folks. Before you start to label me or whatever, I don’t work for the CM, I don’t live in the same state as the CM, I don’t know enough about the CM to know what I think about it. I do know that here in the USA they can open the museum and it will succed or fail. That, however should not automatically open them up to ridicule. Honestly, are there really that many people out there who truly deserve to be made fun of. That’s a long way of saying I’m just pushing back on what’s posted on this blog, becasue I thought that was the point.Second, for something that is supposedly a dead issue, why do the major news and science magazines run at least one cover story a year about the newly discovered “missing link” obviously someone is interested and still looking. Beyond that a Google search of:Transitional forms- 1,490,000 linksTransitional forms Time Magazine-1,590,000Missing Link-124,000,000That seems like a lot of effort put into an outdated understanding of the theory of evolution.CraigP.S. Sorry for the dual entries

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  21. In short, Craig, the reason things like transitional forms come up a lot in popular media and almost not at all in peer-reviewed journals and the functioning scientific community is that the ID/Creationist movement has had broad success in presenting the situation as if there were a controversy in the scientific community. Its easy to appeal to a sense of fairness, that “all opinions in this controversy should be heard”, when the creationist position holds essentially the same status as a flat-earth stance in the scientific community. But yes, you can find a lot of popular media talking about the issue because that is part of the ID political agenda, not part of an actual controversy going on in the scientific community.Also, I’m honestly tired of you characterizing my responses as “I reject that”. I’ve tried to ask questions, to which you almost never respond, and to give my responses, asking if you’d like further information and whatnot, and you haven’t said that you do. I’m fine with you pushing back. I like it and its generally interesting. But if you’re not going to deal with my questions and responses, I don’t see a lot of reason to offer them. I suppose, if we are mutually dissatisfied with each others’ responses, that will take care of itself. We’ll see. In the meantime, when I have the time I’ll do my best to respond, and of course its there for you to take or leave.

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  22. Doug,I believe that I have responded to your questions as they have come up. If not, it is due to lack of time more than anything. As far as you saying I reject that, I am simply quoting a response you have given.(sorry, I don’t have time to sift back through all of the responses to give you the specific line) I apologize if it offends you for me to mention it. Also, I’m not sure how seriously I can take your characterization of the debate, or lack thereof in the scientific community. Obviously there are a number of scientists committed to some evolutionary model, and I submit that is rare in human nature to treat people who disagree with you as credible oponents, simply doing that seems to weaken your/their case. We all do that to some degree. I’m sure that you don’t mean to throw Francis Collins MD PhD out of the scientific realm. Serioulsy though, who defines what is a credible scientist I see people whith the same alphabet soup behind their names on both sides of the aisle. Is it a question of where they were educated? What grades they got? As some one who made it through undergrad, and promptly went in a different direction, the alphabet soup means two things to me (and yes they are slightly contradictory) First it means that the person is reasonably intellegent and dedictated to his/her field of study. Second, it means that they have spent too much time in the thoeretical world and not enough time in the real world. with real people. Call it a bias, call it unreasonable, but I that’s it. I know that when I read Dawkins, Gould et al, I’m not sure they believe what they”re saying (could be bias???) I know that when I hear paelentologists say the fossil record doesn’t support Darwin, I wonder why they would say something to weaken their case. Doug, I do realize the limitations of this whole blogging thing. I also realize the you and I are for the most part talking about this with secondhand information. Still its amusing.Craig

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  23. You should be suspicious of my characterization of the evolution debate. Its from an outsider. I’m not part of the debate on a meaningful level beyond this blog.I’m just referring to my perception that 1. there are few or no peer-reviewed scientific journals that regularly publish any works with an ID/Creationist bent 2. there are seemingly few or no ID/Creationist researchers who are adding to our concrete knowledge of the world, and 3. I hear a lot about the debate from popular media and none from friends who are biologists. But, again, this is a seminary student talking.For me, the scientific community as a whole determines who is credible. Just like I have to go before my Presbytery for them to decide if I am credible in my intent to become a minister of Word and Sacrament. From what I’m reading, at least, the claim that there is a controversy among scientists over evolution seems to be a lot of exaggeration. There is definitely a cultural controversy over evolution, however, which makes things confusing.Lastly, I basically agree with you about alphabet soups. I want to get out of here as soon as I can, doing things like trying to complete a four-year degree in three years. Even for technical professions like doctors, I trust a doctor because s/he is skilled and personable and has a good reputation with plenty of experience, not because they have an MD.

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  24. Doug,I agree in princille to the fact that peer review should provide some checks and balances to science. My fear is that since the majority scientists are committed to a naturalistic worldview that it would be almost impossible for anyone, no matter what their position was, to get an impartial review of any thoery that did not conform to the majority view. I would think this would disturb you since it seems as thou you see yourself in this position to some degree as well vis-a-vis your candidacy. I also have a strong suspicion that money has contaminated the system because so much of this research is funded by grants. I think that there is immense pressure to toe the line and keep the $$$ flowing. Don’t misunderstand me, I think that science has as a whole (I’m stating the obvious here) provided great benefits to scociety. It concerns me when any group (especially one dedicated to free inquiry, and to following the evidence whereever it leads) can be so intolerant of anyone who disagrees with the party line. Your response will be “but the evidence shows evolution”, it does to some, maybe most, but to cst aspersions on those who aren’t convinced doesn’t seem like the way to resolve the debate. As a final thought, all this is great, but it still doesn’t explain why.Craig

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  25. Interestingly, the funding issues could turn around as ID and Creationism gain popular, and then political, following. Money will definitely drive research to that degree. I also assume there is generally pressure to toe the line. New theories and hypotheses are greeted with appropriate skepticism whenever they arise. The proof is in the…well, the proofs. From what I’m reading, the proofs behind ID are not being found to be convincing among many scientists, but this could always change.I think that science without a naturalistic worldview needs a different name, actually. For me, science is a rigorous naturalistic worldview – its fundamental to the whole enterprise that they can’t say “God did it” and leave the answer at that. I still think that, without that worldview, “apologetics” fits better for what ID is doing. It is claiming physical evidence for a Designer in nature, and not presenting a new theory that will lead to advances in material knowledge.

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