Allan Porchetta attacks Peter Hearty’s defence of Evolution

EvolutionChrist

manicstreetpreacher schools a creationist after his nonsensical attack on evolution.

The following piece was posted on the Premier Christian Community forum in response to a repeat of a debate between atheist evolutionist, Peter Hearty, of the UK National Secular Society and Christian apologist and Intelligent Design proponent Peter S Williams, which was broadcast on Premier Christian Radio’s Unbelievable?, Saturday, 18 July 2009.

Below is blogger Allan Porchetta’s piece verbatim, including spelling and grammatical errors:

Pete Hearty’s woeful defence of evolution

Pete Hearty says that science and God are not compatible – why ever not – Newton , Faraday and a host of scientists were bible believers – there are plenty of contempary scientists who are creationists – why does he make a statement like this.

He says he knows the name of a fossil which is 1.2 billion years old.  How does he manage to get a date like this.  We cant carbon date a fossil since the timescale is too large.  He must be using the unscientific circular reasoning that sedimentary layers are dated by the fossils found in them and the fossils are dated by the layers they are found in.

How does he know the small collection of bits and pieces of ape and monkey bones and voluminous amounts of plaster and artists drawings are ancestors of humans up to 3 million years old – what dating system is he using.

He uses the same old trick of implying that likeness means descent – eg because dolphins have similar bones to the human then we must have a common ancestor. Does this mean if I see a old Morris Miinor and a Volkswagon that they are related – both descending from a say a Ford Popular and not manufactured.  That God created DNA and RNA and tweaked it to form different creatures is a more likely explanation.  Likeness implyng descent is not a valid argument – it does not explain the original design of say the dolphins sonar.

He then says that the lungfish is transitional – so if we see an amphibious car we then know it has evolved from a boat and is on its way to becoming a car . Boats and cars must be designed and made.  The lungfish is clear evidence of God’s design – the mechanisms would have to work first time or the fish dies. There should be thousands of clear fossil transitionals or still running about since they would have to be succesful in their own right – there are none and please dont mention the archaeopteryx.

How on earth would a pig design itself into a whale – the Talk Origen site he mentions is an evolutionary front organisation which puts forward ridiculous sequences of impossible chance events.  Eg it will say that whales evolved sonar without explaining how . How would a half pig whale survive – when you even spend a minute or two thinking about it – it is nonsense.

The Talk Origin evolution of the Bombardier Beetle is a laugh – a list of miracles called scientific evidence.

I challenge Peter Hearty to explain the evolution of land pig or cow into a whale in simple stages.  How would the incredible biological mechanisms in the whale design themselves through blind chance and work in harmony.

He says mathematics does not enter the argument since flowers can replicate extra genes ?????  I can assure Peter that the mathematics of probability does come into the argument and if bacteria and viruses can exchange genes then this ability could only have come about by being designed into the creatures. Mathematicians have proved using statistics that evolution by random chance is impossible.

I cant think why he says looking for evidence of Intelligent Design cannot be science.

Where is the evidence that the earth is 4.5 billion years old – this date has been conjured up
to suit the long ages required.  A newly created Adam could not be dated although he would look about 30.  All the rocks and planets that God created must have apparent age. New lava has been dated at around a billion years – radiometric dating is supposition and guesswork.
The salt in the sea would be like the Dead Sea if the world was even a few million years old.

There are lots of para conformities like this such as the amount of carbon 14 in the air which suggest young age.

Peter says that species coming and going is evolution – why ??? An extinct species does not mean evolution any more than scrapped model of car – the species had to be designed just like the car.

Darwins theory only took off because of lack of knowledge about RNA DNA and cellular biology.  He keeps talking about huge evidence – where is the evidence – billions of fossils in sedimetary layers mean that there was a great fllood which killed them and cemented them before they rotted – there is no other way to explain the fossil layers . Plus there are finds of bone and sinew and blood ( now covered up by evolutionary zealots) that could not have lasted millions of years.

The one science where reason is suspended and the mathematics of probabilty is ignored is in the false science of evolution.

The evidence for the Creator is overwhelming – therefore there will be no excuse as the new testament letters say – and it will be sad when unbelievers who are first on the list in Revelation are cast into the Lake of you know what.

manicstreetpreacher replies as follows:

Dear Allan

I apologise for responding so late in the day to your essay against Peter Hearty of the NSS defending evolution against ID proponent, Peter S Williams on Premier Christian Radio’s Unbelievable?, Saturday, 18 July 2009.

I’ll come straight out with it and say that your piece is an unbridled piece of foolishness that churns out all the well-worn, bogus canards that creationists and ID theorists have been using since Day 1 and have refuted by proper scientists a zillion times.

I’ll deal with your points in order.

Religious scientists

A 1998 poll of the National Academy of Scientists in America showed that 93% do not believe in a personal God who answers prayers and is offended if we copulate with people of our own gender.  Newton and Faraday lived over a hundred years ago or more, when most people were religious.  Newton actually wrote more extensively about theology than physics, but can you name any of his theological works?  And just what the great theological achievements of history?  What would you prefer?  That all scientific works disappeared tomorrow or all theological writings were dispensed?  I think I’ll go for option A!

Read Richard Dawkins’ and Edmund Standing’s opinions if you want definite proof of what a vacuous discipline theology really is.  The latter is a qualified theologian with a first class honours in the subject.

Dawkins states:

What has theology ever said that is of the smallest use to anybody?  When has theology ever said anything that is demonstrably true and is not obvious?  I have listened to theologians, read them, debated against them. I have never heard any of them ever say anything of the smallest use, anything that was not either platitudinously obvious or downright false.  If all the achievements of scientists were wiped out tomorrow, there would be no doctors but witch doctors, no transport faster than horses, no computers, no printed books, no agriculture beyond subsistence peasant farming.  If all the achievements of theologians were wiped out tomorrow, would anyone notice the smallest difference?  Even the bad achievements of scientists, the bombs, and sonar-guided whaling vessels work!  The achievements of theologians don’t do anything, don’t affect anything, don’t mean anything.  What makes anyone think that “theology” is a subject at all?

From Standing’s article:

The essence of theology is neatly summed up in a well known definition given by St Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109): fides quaerens intellectum (faith seeking understanding).  In fact, as a theological student, this was the first definition of theology that I was taught.  The notion of “faith seeking understanding” demonstrates clearly how intellectually vacuous theology is, and how low its credibility should be as an academic pursuit (in the sense of actively engaging in its production, as opposed to its purely academic study as part of the history of ideas).  Theology turns the scientific method which we have followed since the Enlightenment upon its head.  Where scientific research may start with a reasonable proposition based on prior evidence (a hypothesis) and then examine further data to see if this proposition is factually accurate, or may simply lead to the discovery of data which no-one had previously predicted, theology starts with the acceptance of ideas that have no factual basis or for which the evidence is appallingly weak and proudly proclaims acceptance of these ideas on the basis of “faith” as a virtue, and then goes on to attempt to make these a priori beliefs appear intelligible and rational.  In other words, the “results” of theology have been arrived at before study to confirm them has taken place.  The theologian does not approach the basic tenets of Christian faith as possible truths to be tested for logical consistency; he or she instead begins with the conclusion that a series of internally incoherent, pre-scientific, and fantastic “beliefs” derived from ‘faith’ are true, and then attempts to dress these beliefs up in the clothes of intellectual credibility.  Theology is not in this sense a proper academic pursuit, but is instead the attempt to mask superstition in a fog of pseudo-intellectual verbiage.

I also suggest you read Sam Harris’ recent tongue-lashings against Francis Collins if you want proof that the marriage between science and religion is bogus:

Is it really so difficult to perceive a conflict between Collins’ science and his religion?  Just imagine how scientific it would seem if Collins, as a devout Hindu, informed [us] that Lord Brahma had created the universe and now sleeps; Lord Vishnu sustains it and tinkers with our DNA (in a way that respects the law of karma and rebirth); and Lord Shiva will eventually destroy it in a great conflagration.

Radiocarbon dating and the true age of the earth

Radiocarbon dating does not rest on one method of dating, but many different methods based on mutually exclusive principles.

The oldest rocks which have been found so far on Earth date to about 3.8 to 3.9 billion years ago by several radiometric dating methods.   Some of these rocks are sedimentary, and include minerals which are themselves as old as 4.1 to 4.2 billion years.   Rocks of this age are relatively rare, however rocks that are at least 3.5 billion years in age have been found on North America, Greenland, Australia, Africa, and Asia.

The figure of 4.5 billion for the age of the Earth comes from dating of the Earth’s meteorites and the distribution of matter in our solar system.

Can you please provide evidence to your slanderous accusation that the Talk Origins website is “an evolutionary front organisation”?  A working definition of that term would be useful as well.

Design inference

Did you know that there is a 600 billion to one chance of being dealt any hand in a game of Bridge? We have determined beforehand the combination of cards that comprise a “perfect hand” therefore it’s only after the event do we look back and say, “Gosh, wasn’t that so improbable?”

Consider how improbable your own existence is.  Watch and listen to Christian apologist William Lane Craig’s debate with atheist cosmologist, Victor Stenger, author of the superb Has Science Found God? and God, The Failed Hypothesis.  In particular, take note of this classic from Stenger’s first rebuttal:

Low probability events happen every day.  What’s the probability that my distinguished opponent exists?  You have to calculate the probability that a particular sperm united with a particular egg, then multiply it by the probability that his parents met, and then repeat that calculation for his grandparents and all his ancestors going back to the beginning of life on Earth.  Even if you stop the calculation at Adam and Eve, you will get a fantastically small number.

To use Dr Craig’s own words, “improbability is multiplied by improbability by improbability until our minds are reeling in incomprehensible numbers.”

Dr Craig has a mind-reeling, incomprehensibly small probability for existing, yet here he is before us today.

What is the probability that the laws of nature will be violated?  I’ve never heard an apologist answer this.

Just because something looks designed, doesn’t necessary mean that it is designed.  Snowflakes under a microscope may look intricately designed, but this cannot possibly be the case, since they are formed by colliding into other particles of snow en route to the Earth.

As is so often the case, I find David Hume’s logic very satisfying in this regard.  We have direct personal experience of how buildings and cars and watches are made; we do not have equivalent experience for eyes, lungs and universes.

Your analogies about why pigs would have designed themselves to be whales do not apply.  Evolution is a blind and purposeless – but certainly not random – process with no set endpoint.

Transitional forms and gradual change

Your assertion that transitional forms in the fossil records do not exist is utterly false.  There are many transitional fossils.  The only way that the claim of their absence may be remotely justified, aside from ignoring the evidence completely, is to redefine “transitional” as referring to a fossil that is a direct ancestor of one organism and a direct descendant of another.   Direct lineages are not required; they could not be verified even if found.  What a transitional fossil is, in keeping with what the theory of evolution predicts, is a fossil that shows a mosaic of features from an older and more recent organism.

For example, there are many fossils of human ancestors, and the differences between species are so gradual that it is not always clear where to draw the lines between them.

Your objections as to why there are no fossils or live species that are crosses between pigs and whales are completely ridiculous and betrayal your fundamental misunderstanding of Darwinism.  Evolution is about slow, gradual changes over many thousands of years, and not instantaneous, giant leaps.

Watch Richard Dawkins’ lecture in reply to an Old Earth creationist and laugh heartily at how ridiculous an idea that we should have “crosses” between different species in the fossil records and in the living world:

Creationism is about scaling a mountain in one enormous leap.   Evolution is about scaling the same mountain via a smooth, steady, ever-climbing path round the back of the mountain.

Like all creationist literature, your argument simply amounts to a “God of the gaps” arguments.  You have not proven a single thing in your essay and I will bet a sizeable amount of money that you and your ilk never will.

Intelligent Design is another form of creationism: a political front attempting to get religion in the science classroom.  ID-founder, Michael Behe, was publicly humiliated in the 2005 “Intelligence Design Trial”, Kitzmiller –v- Dover P A, when he admitted on the stand that he had not read any of the scientific literature regarding the evolution of the human immune system that he had declared (among others) “irreducibly complex” in Darwin’s Black Box.  Behe even admitted that ID could only be considered a theory in the loosest possible sense of the term, placing it on the same shelf as astrology and the phlogiston theory!

I suggest you watch this superb documentary of the Kitzmiller trial for a useful executive summary of the case against ID:

The Second Coming, the Rapture and the Lake of Fire

Take a close look at Matthew 16 and 24, along with numerous others, that clearly state that Jesus promised to come flying out of the clouds, wield his magic powers to bring peace on earth, cast those who don’t convert into a lake of fire and take the lucky few away to his kingdom to live happily every after…  within the lifetime of those listening.

This is a scientifically testable hypothesis that would prove Christianity to the satisfaction of all scientists, theist and atheist, the world over.

Now, I suppose that I could still be proved wrong, but after 2,000 years and the utter lack of extra-scriptural evidence for any of the other Bible’s prophesies, I think that there’s about as much chance of seeing Jesus again as there is David Koresh.

In conclusion – the joke is very much on you

You claim that the evidence for a creator is overwhelming.  I disagree.  Simply examining your own body will show that if we were designed, then the designer would have to be stupefying inept or incredibly callous, capricious and cruel.  Just who is this designer?  Do you have his business card?  For one thing, I’d really love to have a stern word with him over the fantastic “design” job he did on my hairline!

More seriously, the reason why humans often suffer terrible back pain is because our spines support 70% of our body weight on its own; our spines are better suited to a species that should be still walking around on all fours.  The fact that the human oesophagus shares the roles of swallowing and breathing means that humans are very susceptible to choking to death every time they eat.  We have a blind spot in our eye.  We have retained the appendix in our digestive systems from our days eating vegetation on the savannah, and we all know what happens when that goes awry.  The examples are endless.  Some design, I would say.

We share the same DNA as a fruit fly.  We are a half a chromosome shy of being chimpanzees.  Evolution is a fact.  Denying it puts you in the same category as a member of the Flat Earth Society.  I therefore respectfully suggest that you delete your thread immediately and spare yourself any further embarrassment.

Atb

manicstreetpreacher

P.S. Why would an infinitely loving God create me so I was unable to believe in him simply to cast me into a pit of fire when he decides to bring the world to an end?

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6 Responses to “Allan Porchetta attacks Peter Hearty’s defence of Evolution”

  1. manicstreetpreacher Says:

    Porchetta replies as follows on the Premier forum, typos and all:

    AP

    DATING
    Radiometric dating relies on the assumption that no daughter elements were there at the start.
    Eg In uranium to lead – that there was no lead to begin with – so this quite simply makes it impossible
    to rely on since it assumes that God created no lead at the start. If you are a believer in dating then
    why not believe the science of “radio halos” which show the earth to have a very young age.

    THEOLOGY
    Most theologians tend to sit on the fence about evolution and creation which makes them easy
    meat for Dawkins since they are not usually trained in science. I would like to see a debate between
    Dawkins and say Behe or Denton or Stephen Meyer or many other scientists who cannot accept
    evolution but he seems to pick his opponents and takes control of the editing.

    JESUS PREDICTS THE FUTURE
    You would need to do a study of the first three Gospels again to see that Jesus predicted the
    destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in 70 AD and did NOT predict his return in one generation.
    It means all these things would happen in one generation.
    It is actually a double prophecy of 70 AD and a similar scenario which is now appearing.
    Josephus proves that the gospels must have been written before 70 AD ” when the Christians
    believed the “oracle” ( prophecy) and escaped – when Vespasian returned to Rome for a while.

    INTELLIGENT DESIGN
    Now you say your body is not well designed – but this should not lead you to believe in evolution.
    This is not science – EG If I have bought a poorly designed car does this mean it has not been designed
    and made. The reason why your body is not perfect like Adam’s is because of the curse on creation
    due to sin. However your body is still “fearfully and wonderfully made” Psalms -and is astonishing in
    its complexity. Even a simple person would realise the amazing design and harmony in biological machinery.

    CREATION BY CHANCE – A MATHEMATICAL IMPOSSIBILITY
    The odds in forming a rather short working protein at random from chemicals and amino acids
    would be 1 chance in 10 with 125 zeroes after it . A fairly simple cell would need 300 + proteins
    all working in harmony.
    Any honest scientist would know that the above is impossible. No sorry your primordial soup
    would not overcome the odds.
    Probability mathematics has buried evolution a long time ago – your just not reading the right books.
    This is why Dawkins comes out with his multiverse generator – to overcome the odds that he knows
    exist – who made this multiverse generator ???? which pumps out universes at the touch of a button ?

    THERE ARE MORE ATHIESTS – SO WE MUST BE RIGHT
    You go by scientific numbers – most scientists believed the sun revolved around the earth at one time
    – were they right ? In the movie ” Expelled” a scientist was sacked for being a creationist. Creation is the
    elephant in the room which must not be mentioned and many scientists dont want to be singled out.
    “Only a few will find the way” Jesus – this must be the saddest verse in the Bible

    DAWKIN’S DISCIPLES
    I prefer just to deal in facts and I have heard a lot of information from Dawkin’s books from athiests like yourself
    but he never seems to explain how say a mouse can evolve into say a bat. As Darwin said there should be
    thousands of transitionals since all transitionals have to be succesful in their own right to survive long enough to
    evolve – so we should see quarter, half , three quarters mouse bats – even today.
    Or why would a deer evolve into a whale and chase squid ( NAT. GEOG.). The deer DNA would need to go
    through millions of totally chance mutations – HOW ON EARTH can this happen without a designer. You seem to have
    suspended reason in order not to believe in God. Why would the deer not just stay a succesful deer – evolutionary
    demands do not redesign DNA – if the deer is terribly short of food it dies .
    Where is the evidence today of any transitional animal – are any species evolving into another – it should be still
    happening – is this too simple ?

    As to the existence of Hell – if you have a look at the web site of heart surgeon Dr Rawlings who
    brought people back from the dead – some had been to Hell – it sure frightened me – and the Dr.
    – who became a Christian as did anyone who had been there and returned.
    “Eternity has been placed in men’s hearts” and there is a worldwide belief in Hell that
    existed before Christianity.
    The pagan Vikings might have got their description of hell from resusitated warriors
    after battle .
    This is why it cost Jesus so much – It was to save us from an eternity in Hell. In no
    other religion has this substitutionary sacrifice happened.

    NOAH’S FLOOD
    If someone from another planet had been told there had been a worldwide fllood on earth
    4500 years ago – he would expect to find the strata exactly as it looks – with billions of creatures
    fossilised in sedimetary layers. The fact that scientists try to find a worldwide pattern in the sediments
    means they are admitting to a global flood. Fossil = massive flood with enough sediment to preserve
    the creature and cements to fossilise it.
    Not a trace will be left of animals dying on the surface of the earth TODAY after a few thousand
    years, if that, unless they are encased in say lava as in Pompei or Mt St Helen’s.
    Curved strata and fossilised trees going vertically through the strats prove the flood was a quick thing.

    You seem to have trouble believing in a God who can instantly create but no problem in believing that
    all the matter in the universe created itself out of a microscopic dot in a few seconds. Do you ever ponder
    this ?
    Why do evolutionists lower the debate by ridicule – this will not make the problem of our final destiny
    go away – The Bible says it is either eternal punishment or eternal glory – although it is clear from the
    Gospels that there are different degrees of both.

    • manicstreetpreacher Says:

      My reply, also on the Premier forum:

      Dear AP

      Thank you for your reply. I do apologise for spelling your surname incorrectly. Here is the amended link to the piece on my blog:

      https://edthemanicstreetpreacher.wordpress.com/2009/08/30/allan-porchetta-evolution/

      Your points in order:

      Radiocarbon dating

      Gentry’s radio halos thesis has been soundly trashed by scientists on that evolutionary front organisation website of yours:

      http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CF/CF201.html

      Theologians

      Dawkins refuses to creationists because it would appear to the lay-public that there was a serious scientific issue to debate. For the creationists, winning or losing the debate is irrelevant. The victory is that the debate has gone ahead at all and they share a platform with a prominent evolutionary scientist, as this article by Dawkins explains:

      http://richarddawkins.net/article,119,Why-I-Wont-Debate-Creationists,Richard-Dawkins

      As Dawkins explains in The God Delusion, he does not like the debate format very much and does not thrive on confrontation, which is why he turns a lot of debate invitations down and choose proper academics rather than pseudo-scholarly evangelists like William Lane Craig.

      Can you please cite a source for your claim that Dawkins actually controls the editing of the audio and video of the debates?

      Improbability of life arising on Earth

      This argument actually falls over before it’s tied its shoe laces. If we are the only planet in a solar system of nine where life has arisen, the others all being too hot or too cold, and maybe even the only planet in the galaxy/ universe/ multi-verse that has conditions favourable to permit life, WHAT KIND OF IDIOTIC DESIGN IS THIS?! What a waste of space and matter!

      I agree that the improbability of life arising anywhere in the universe is astronomically large. But it only had to arise once. And arise it must have done, otherwise he wouldn’t be sitting in front of our computer screens arguing about it. And we think about how vast the universe is (and our mammalian brains struggle to comprehend the vastness of the universe) then the opportunity for life to arise is considerably greater.

      Finally, if God is omnipotent then how come he is constrained by physical parameters? Surely he could have designed us to survive in a cold hard vacuum?

      Intelligent design

      I did not rule out the possibility that a designer could exist, but if he does, then he would have to be incredibly inept or cruel. Take a look at the beauty and ruthlessness of the cancer cell. Or the incredible eagerness of the plague bacillus. Who created all that? If you’re so certain that this creator exists, why don’t you praise him for the whole thing and all the misery and despair that goes with it? For all the children who will be born this morning that will not have a chance of living beyond this evening. It what mysterious ways is the creator working when this happens?

      Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed

      I have seen this film and it is an abysmal piece of propaganda with lies and distortions from start to finish. I suggest you check out the website that Eugenie Scott set up to protect the reputations of the scientists and institutions that were slandered in the film by Ben Stein:

      http://www.expelledexposed.com/

      Caroline Crocker, the scientist who alleged that she was fired from her school and blacklisted from future employment was not actually fired at all. But she could well have been for teaching demonstrably false creationist claims like the ones you’re touting:

      http://www.expelledexposed.com/index.php/the-truth/crocker

      Genetic mutations

      The only random part of evolution is the genetic mutations. However, most mutations ARE deleterious and are of no benefit to the organism. This is when natural selection kicks in. An organism has more chance of surviving and replicating its genes if the mutation produces a favourable characteristic in its natural environment.

      For evolution to occur, yes, thousands and thousands of years are required, but that is exactly the scales of geological time that we are talking about. It is recorded in the fossil records (I can only repeat that you are entirely wrong in saying that there are no transitional forms evident) and in the genome.

      Surely you must be aware that the peppered moth has evolved to survive better in the dark and dirty surroundings of the inner cities by changing its colour to match the surrounding pollution stained buildings from its original lighter colour from living in the countryside where it had to camouflage itself from predators against trees?

      Near death experiences

      Well, I’ve visited Dr Rawlings’ website and was decidedly under whelmed. He looks like a complete hack and a charlatan.

      The human brain is an amazing and unpredictable organ that is easily capable of forming its own visions at random. Scientists are able to replicate near-death experiences of heaven and hell etc. using narcotics. Pilots travelling at high altitude under massive g-forces can suffer vivid hallucinations. No divine explanation is required.

      Do you believe in all these UFO experiences that only seem to occur to one person at a time rather than massive swaths of the population?

      Jesus’ sacrifice saving us all from Hell

      Gee, that was kind of God wasn’t it? Having himself killed so we could have the chance of atoning for the faults he created us with in order to avoid eternal punishment in a place of his own making.

      Noah’s flood

      If this had really happened, we would see human fossils mixed up on the same level as mammoths and dinosaurs. And all the species of the world would be grazing within a few hundred miles of Mount Ararat.

      Cosmological argument

      I don’t claim that all the matter in the universe came out of a microscopic dot in a few seconds. It is not uncontroversial that the Big Bang was the singularity from which all space, time and matter emerged. There are plenty of physicists who claim that the Big Bang from which our known universe emerge was one event in a much greater cycle. Our universe could well have emerged from an unknown parent universe, which was itself uncaused.

      The idea that the universe had a beginning and will have an end is a theological notion. It is not scientific.

      Saying that “God did it” is a non-answer. It’s like saying “Santa Claus did it”. Scientific explanations may not answer everything, but at least they answer something. Supernatural explanations answer nothing and only beg further questions. It’s not all that long ago that people thought that earthquakes and disease were caused by sin (although some of us clearly still do, I’m dismayed to see). Now thanks to science, we have the real miracles of seismology and germ theory.

      By claiming that the God of Abraham created the universe and the Earth in six literal days you are making an extraordinary claim that no respectable cosmologist would make. I’m being honest by saying that I don’t know right here and now and want to continue the search for evidence.

      Second coming

      Considering that the first Gospel, Mark, was written after the fall of Jerusalem, then it would be pretty easy to “predict” said city’s fall. At Matthew 24:30 KJV, Christ says that the son of man will be seen coming amid clouds of glory. At verse 37 he says, “This generation shall not pass until all these things be fulfilled”.

      That sounds pretty specific to me. Yet we are still waiting.

      Along with the cargo-culters of Tanna in the Pacific for the return of their Messiah, John Frum.

      And finally…

      If you feel I am ridiculing your arguments, it is precisely because they are ridiculous. We do not respect other peoples’ views and opinions without question. In every other mode of discussion we demand good reasons back up by evidence, not assertions like “I have a warm fuzzy feeling inside me that this is what happened”. If I attempted to advance the honest, sincere, faith-based claim that the Holocaust never happened is that a view that you would respect and not criticise? I certainly hope not!

      But for some reason all rules of common sense, logic, reason and criticism go out of the window when we discuss religion. I am simply trying to break that taboo.

      Better luck next time.

      MSP

  2. manicstreetpreacher Says:

    A very sane blogger has posted this on the Premier forum in reply to Porcetta’s madness:

    DATING
    Radiometric dating relies on the assumption that no daughter elements were there at the start.
    Eg In uranium to lead – that there was no lead to begin with – so this quite simply makes it impossible
    to rely on since it assumes that God created no lead at the start.

    Incorrect. Uranium/Lead dating in particular has built in error-detection because it involves two isotopes of uranium with different half-lives. Any pre-existing lead would show up as an anomaly. Also Zircon, the favoured crystal for U/Pb dating, absorbs uranium but strongly excludes lead as it forms, making contamination very unlikely.

    THEOLOGY
    Most theologians tend to sit on the fence about evolution and creation which makes them easy
    meat for Dawkins since they are not usually trained in science. I would like to see a debate between
    Dawkins and say Behe or Denton or Stephen Meyer or many other scientists who cannot accept
    evolution but he seems to pick his opponents and takes control of the editing.

    Since Behe explicitly accepts evolution, including the shared ancestry of humans and other apes, in two of his published works, you might want to take him off that list.

    JESUS PREDICTS THE FUTURE
    You would need to do a study of the first three Gospels again to see that Jesus predicted the
    destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in 70 AD and did NOT predict his return in one generation.
    It means all these things would happen in one generation.

    I’ve not come across that one before; I’ll look into it, thanks – but it’s hardly a subject for this thread.

    INTELLIGENT DESIGN
    Now you say your body is not well designed – but this should not lead you to believe in evolution.

    And it doesn’t. It’s merely evidence against intelligent design, not for any other hypothesis. Evolution stands on its own merits.

    CREATION BY CHANCE – A MATHEMATICAL IMPOSSIBILITY
    The odds in forming a rather short working protein at random from chemicals and amino acids
    would be 1 chance in 10 with 125 zeroes after it .

    Incorrect. What you are describing would be a protein of over 200 base-pairs. Scientists have found self-replicating RNA sequences only a handful of base pairs in length.

    A fairly simple cell would need 300 + proteins
    all working in harmony.

    The first self-replicators were not ‘simple cells’. What you call ‘simple cells’ took anything up to a billion years to evolve.

    THERE ARE MORE ATHIESTS – SO WE MUST BE RIGHT
    You go by scientific numbers – most scientists believed the sun revolved around the earth at one time
    – were they right ?

    At one time, most scientists believed the earth was created a few thousand years ago. Were they right?

    DAWKIN’S DISCIPLES
    I prefer just to deal in facts and I have heard a lot of information from Dawkin’s books from athiests like yourself
    but he never seems to explain how say a mouse can evolve into say a bat. As Darwin said there should be
    thousands of transitionals since all transitionals have to be succesful in their own right to survive long enough to
    evolve – so we should see quarter, half , three quarters mouse bats – even today.

    Yes, transitionals have to be successful in their own right – AT THE TIME. Remember, they didn’t have bats to compete with, did they? Think about that for a bit; it’s important. Think about the great apes – perfectly successful in their own right but critically endangered now because we’re pushing out into their territories and competing with them. If we’re not careful they’ll soon be extinct, and more descendants of our ‘transitional’ common ancestors will be wiped from the face of the earth, just like the neanderthals. And most probably won’t leave a single fossil behind to record their present forms, because their habitats are not conducive to fossil formation.

    Where is the evidence today of any transitional animal – are any species evolving into another – it should be still
    happening – is this too simple ?

    I refer you to my previous answer. If you had been around when protofeathers first started to evolve, you wouldn’t have appreciated where that process would go in the future. You would have been looking for T-Rex turning into a pterodactyl.

    Speciation is happening all the time, all around us. But speciation doesn’t mean cats turning into donkeys overnight, sprouting hooves and whatnot; it doesn’t mean radical, abrupt change. Speciation is where one species starts to diverge along two different evolutionary lines.

    Have you seen those animations where one thing morphs into another? Well, imagine two such sequences, both starting with the same thing but ending up as two different things, each sequence a couple of million years long. Would those two sequences look radically different after 100 years?

    This is why it cost Jesus so much – It was to save us from an eternity in Hell. In no
    other religion has this substitutionary sacrifice happened.

    Mmm. I think this is for another thread.

    NOAH’S FLOOD
    If someone from another planet had been told there had been a worldwide fllood on earth
    4500 years ago – he would expect to find the strata exactly as it looks – with billions of creatures
    fossilised in sedimetary layers.

    Um, no. First of all – assuming he hadn’t studiously avoided learning anything about geology or fluid dynamics – he would notice the impossibility of a single flood depositing the observed patterns of strata. Then he would notice that all those billions of creatures managed to somehow get themselves fossilized in a nested hierarchy of forms, like some unimaginably well-choreographed synchronised-swimming suicide cult. Then he would realise that if they’d all actually been alive at the same time, the earth would have had a forty-metre thick skin of solid flesh, vegetation, diatoms and crinoids. If he looked closer, he would have noticed details like pollen grains deposited within consistent layers, radiometric dates consistent with ancient vulcanism – in short, he would have noticed all the things human scientists have noticed.

    he fact that scientists try to find a worldwide pattern in the sediments
    means they are admitting to a global flood.

    No, again. Scientists aren’t trying to find a worldwide pattern, they’re piecing together the global geological column. Those near-global volcanic deposits we talked about are useful bookmarks; they help synchronise everything. Then in more localised areas you maybe find strata A and C, completely seperate, but with strata B lying on top of A and underneath C, so you know C came after B after A, etc.

    Here’s an analogy: imagine you take a pack of cards and some large sheets of paper. You drop a few cards from a height and they land all higgledy-piggledy on the table. Then you lay a large sheet of paper on top, and drop a few more cards. By seeing which cards lie on top of which others, you can then piece together the order in which they must have fallen, and the big sheets (the global volcanic deposits) help with that.

    Not a trace will be left of animals dying on the surface of the earth TODAY after a few thousand
    years, if that, unless they are encased in say lava as in Pompei or Mt St Helen’s.

    Read up on fossil formation; it’s very interesting stuff.

    Curved strata and fossilised trees going vertically through the strats prove the flood was a quick thing.

    Mmm, we’ve talked about those vertical trees before. Tell you what, since I’ve answered every point you’ve thrown at me for a few days now, how about you return the favour and answer me:

    How can a single flood be responsible for over a dozen distinct, widely-seperated layers of fossil forest, still rooted in fossilized soil layers? You know: rooted tree fossil, sediment sediment sediment, continuous soil layer containing more adult, rooted fossil trees, sediment sediment sediment… over a dozen times, and that’s in just one location.

    You seem to have trouble believing in a God who can instantly create but no problem in believing that
    all the matter in the universe created itself out of a microscopic dot in a few seconds. Do you ever ponder
    this ?

    Off and on 🙂 Seriously, yes, of course I’ve pondered it. And what I decided was this:

    Absolutely nothing outside of human mythology points to the world being only a few thousand years old or having been created in the way the bible describes. Egyptians had a scarab beetle pushing the sun around, for goodness sake, and they believed that as fervently as you believe in Genesis.

    Now, cosmology isn’t my strongest suit, so I wouldn’t go so far as to say I ‘believe’ in the big bang, merely that I understand a considerable amount of consillient evidence points that way. So if nothing, in any theology anywhere, describes the origin of the universe, the planet or ourselves in ways that resonate even slighly with the evidence all around us, I am forced to ask: why should the notion of a creator god, invariably partnered as it is with these myths, be of the slightest relevance either? If there was scripture that had anticipated our discovery of common ancestry, the vast age and size of the universe and our position within it, that would be a very different matter, and we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

    Think: it would be perfectly easy for the world to look a few thousand years old if that was really the case. No ancient rocks, no far-flung galaxies to be seen, no inconveniently consillient dating methods, no nested hierarchy of fossil forms, no stacked layers of rooted fossil trees, no multiple identical retroviral insertions proving our common ancestry with other apes – if the world really was that young it could. Just. LOOK IT. Why does every scientific test indicate otherwise? The same scientific process that has equipped us to send a probe to Mars along a billion-mile year-long slingshot trajectory and have it arrive less than a minute late. By its very nature, science finds it far easier to discover truth than falsehood; it balks and strains and refuses to produce anything useful when distorted by personal prejudice; witness Ptolemy’s painful epicycles. Why isn’t the truth of Genesis blatantly obvious?

    Why do evolutionists lower the debate by ridicule

    I don’t believe I’ve been guilty of this, although I accept many are. Ridicule – like your sweeping accusations of stupidity and dishonesty – is the product of a lack of empathy. And in a way both sides are grateful for the excuse it gives them not to listen. Dawkins, on the other hand, thinks only the swing votes count and is happy to invoke scorn to sway the fence-sitters. I disagree, because I think the most potent arguments come from the deconverted and it’s much harder to become deconverted if you’re worried you might have to become obnoxious in the process.

    • manicstreetpreacher Says:

      Just posted on the Premier forum:

      Hello Andy

      That was a very lucid and dignified reply and I am very envious that you are able to keep such a cool head in the face of Allan’s ridiculous arguments. I realise that I can dip my laptop in bile before I post, but I think the occasion often calls for it.

      I can’t improve on your replies re: evolution, but as to the Bible’s reliability in relation to prophesy, I’ll hand over to Victor J Stenger’s God, The Failed Hypothesis: How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist (2007):

      Preachers have disingenuously told their flocks that many biblical prophesies have been fulfilled… Each of the prophesies (…) is confirmed in no other place except the Bible. We have no independent evidence that events actually took place as described. Before making the extraordinary claim that something supernatural occurred, simple common sense tells us that we must rule out the ordinary, far more plausible accounts that the events are fictional, written so as to conform to biblical prophesies…

      The Old Testament has numerous failures of prophesy. Here are just a few:

      • Isaiah 17:1. Damascus is predicted to cease to be a city. In fact Damascus is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities.

      • Jeremiah 49:33 predicts that Hazor will become an everlasting wasteland in which humans will never again dwell. The King James Bible says it will become inhabited by dragons. None of this happened.

      • Zechariah 10:11. The Nile is predicted to dry up. This has not yet happened.

      • Ezekiel 29, 30. The land of Egypt will be laid waste by Nebuchadnezzer, all its people killed and rivers dried up. It will remain uninhabited for forty years. This did not happen.

      Biblical scholars will argue endlessly about these issues, but it is not necessary to enter into their conflict. We need to seek evidence that will stand up under the kind of scientists give to predictive claims of extraordinary events in any field. The fact is that no independent evidence exists that any biblical prophecy has been fulfilled, despite the insistent claims of apologists such as [Josh] McDowell, [William Lane] Craig and [Hugh] Ross.

      A general observation from me it that the world has been predicted to end so many times by so many scriptures, prophets and sages, that as a matter of simple probability one of them should have been right by now. Even in the last century we have had so many near apocalypses with two World Wars, the dropping of the Atomic bomb, the Cold War, Vietnam and various natural disasters like the 2004 Asian Tsunami. Yet we are still here and Jesus is not.

      Allan, may be the bible is wrong?

  3. Michael Says:

    This is quite possibly the worst argument I have ever seen defending atheism.

    It is fallacy on top of fallacy on top of a steaming pile of just about the most embarrassing dribble known to man. The great thinkers of Old would just toss this crap right into the garbage. No response necessary. It simply defeats itself and helps the opposition so thoroughly, that it stands as a testament to the full destruction atheism inflicts on reason and psychological insight.

    Just embarrassing

    • manicstreetpreacher Says:

      Yet another hard working student of the Ad Hominem module that is clearly taught on all theological degrees and apologetics courses pays a visit to this blog.

      MSP

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