Posts Tagged ‘kitzmiller v dover pa’

Allan Porchetta attacks Peter Hearty’s defence of Evolution

30/08/2009

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?