Creationism leads to terrorism?

This entire op-ed could be summed up in one sentence: “If only we could get people to not take the Koran so darn literally, jihad would stop.” Note, however, how Christianity is constantly conflated with Islam in regards to violence and intolerance. “Can chimps stop suicide bombers?” by S. Aravindan Neelakandan for UPI Asia, August 29:

Nagercoil, India “” What does Wahabbi fundamentalism have in common with the worldview of Marvin Olasky — the “spiritual advisor” of U.S. President George W. Bush? Seemingly on either side of the famed “clash of civilizations,” they both find themselves shaking hands when it comes to fighting evolution. Darwinian evolution seems to be an object of hatred for all believers of expansionist Abrahamic religions.[…]

Unlike Islamic fundamentalism, which is throbbing with suicide bombers and Fiyadheen attacks throughout the world against the secular culture, Christian fundamentalism is essentially a spent force, at least in the West. One just has to watch that old movie “Inherit the Wind” to see the last deathblows that scientific humanism dealt to the Bible-thumping fundamentalism in the Bible belt of the United States.

Interesting observation, though based on a flawed correlation. First of all, so-called Christian “fundamentalism” has absolutely no connection to Islamic fundamentalism — even if they both believe in creationism. Christianity is not “throbbing with suicide bombers” simply because the concept of killing oneself to kill others is antithetical to Christian doctrine, whose central figure accepted death in order that others might live. So this concept that, Christian and Muslim literalists are both prone to violence and intolerance, and that the former have not been engaged in that sort of thing is evidence that Christianity is going the way of the dodo, is wrong.

But now, as a counter to Islamic fundamentalism, Christian fundamentalism is again raising its ugly head. There is again a pattern here. In the case of the Wahabbist jihad, the suicide cannon fodder is usually derived from those in Third World nations” Islamic populations who have been lured into being outsourced for the jihadi industry by Wahabbist preachers.[…]

I.e., jihadists are composed of poor, uneducated, mistreated youths, who have been brainwashed — you know, like multi-millionaire Bin Laden.

Let us just imagine: If every seminary, every madrassa were to teach its students evolution, how would their worldview change? If every student of theology of whatsoever religion were to undergo a course in cosmology with no theological strings attached, could such students ever live in a vision wrapped between the covers of their scriptures? When bathed thus in the immensity of the cosmos, where comes the need for proselytization, crusades, jihads and other holy wars?

In other words, if we could only convince people that evolution is a fact, the Bible and Koran could no longer be taken so seriously. Arguable. However, the need for crusades is the need for a people to defend itself, and annex its former lands from invaders. The need for jihad, on the other hand, is that Allah wills it. Get it right.

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Comments

  1. says

    Brilliant again, as usual, Raymond!

    Let us just imagine: If every seminary, every madrassa were to teach its students evolution, how would their worldview change? If every student of theology of whatsoever religion were to undergo a course in cosmology with no theological strings attached, could such students ever live in a vision wrapped between the covers of their scriptures? When bathed thus in the immensity of the cosmos, where comes the need for proselytization, crusades, jihads and other holy wars?

    Where to start with this last one: I guess that the 3rd Reich and the USSR, with its God-free, Anti-Christian fundamentalism education was a rousing success, then.
    Maybe there is more to the Creation vs Evolution debate than the reporter was willing to talk about.
    Too bad his moral eyes haven’t evolved enough to be able to see the difference between Mohammedism and Christianity.

  2. says

    “One just has to watch that old movie “Inherit the Wind” to see the last deathblows that scientific humanism dealt to the Bible-thumping fundamentalism”

    This hardly makes the case for linking Christian fundamentalism to violence: William Jennings Bryan (the “Bible thumper” opponent of Clarence Darrow) once ran for president on an anti-imperialism platform!

  3. says

    Seems to me that evolution is one major tool God uses to “create” life. A changing universe with changing conditions for life mandates a mechanism for life changing along with it. I don’t see why evolution allegedly debunks faith to begin with. But that’s one point on which the Creationists and people like Dawkins seem to agree.

    But the more important point, now a reason for fundamentalist Christians to embrace Islam, after the hard Left has done so, is disconcerting. Crazies to the left and right of me. At least I can fire in any direction.

  4. says

    Of course there’s never actually been a violent conflict over evolution. One famous court case resolved peacefully does not centuries of religious warfare entail.

  5. says

    >

    Yes, Christians do all the time. Millions of them. Are these Indians hanging around fundamentalist protestants? Even so, what is cosmology going to change when no one knows how life started or became complex as it is?
    I’m actually uncertain where Muslims stand on this issue, as waging war of all sorts in dar al-harb is more important.

    >

    Ummm … the religion. It’s curious and elitist/condescending talk yet again, reminiscent of leftist politics. It’s funny also that they go hand and hand. When confronted with any evidence, “Isn’t it obvious?” They always ask. All we have to do is show how easy of an answer this is.

    From this filthy thinking also comes something seen frequently recently. Our candidate is SO OBVIOUSLY the best choice, you must be a racist if you don’t vote for him! No sane person could consider anyone otherwise!

  6. says

    I think this posting needs to be sent to Charles Johnson at LIttle Green Footballs as he has made similar comments regarding Christians who believe in creationism wanting to join with moslems on the issue in public schools.

  7. says

    Islam is monolithically opposed to the Darwinian theory of speciation (popularly known as “evolution”); Christendom encompasses a few segments which oppose Darwin.

    The Roman Catholic Church as an institution seems never to have opposed Darwinism, having gotten its fingers burned over Galileo & Co., even if there have been individual anti-Darwinian Catholics such as the writer R.A. Lafferty.

    Notwithstanding the Sunni/Shiite split (the basis of which can be likened to still arguing over whether Al Gore “really” won, except with bloodshed), Islam presents a much more consistent system than the zillion churches which make up “Christianity”, with fundamentalists, Catholics, Orthodox, Protestants, Mormons, Unitarians, etc. etc. etc.

  8. says

    Points well taken, Raymond.

    I found the following quote from this article the most egregious example of conflating Christianity with Islam, in regards to violence and intolerance:

    “If the literalist backbone of fundamentalism is broken then perhaps religious terrorism will die a natural death – or, in evolutionary terms, will become extinct.”

    Somebody needs to ask the author:

    “Just what religious terrorism exists today, other than that which is linked to Islam?”

    Neelakandan’s muddle headed thinking is only a stone’s throw away from that of Rosie O’donnel’s, … you remember her astute analysis: “… radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam in a country like America.”

    All of this conflating is the result of not having the courage to be judgemental about Islam, to being too weak-kneed to confront Islam on the merits. Instead of condemming the atrocities perpetuated in the name of Islam, there is, instead, a quick jump to condemnation of all “religious terrorism”. Kind of like saying to the jihadists, please don’t get mad at us because we don’t like your terrorism; we don’t like our Christian terrorism either.

  9. says

    From article: But now, as a counter to Islamic fundamentalism, Christian fundamentalism is again raising its ugly head.

    Oh?…Where is that happening?

    The only ugly heads I see rising are those of Islam…

  10. says

    There is so much wrong with this mans thinking, it is hard to know where to start.

    Firstly, he seems to think that evolution is a theory. This is giving it far greater credence then it deserves. Evolution is a hypothesis – quite unlike a theory, such as Newtonian mechanics or Einstein’s theory of relativity.

    Consider these for starters

    Unlike Islamic fundamentalism, which is throbbing with suicide bombers and Fiyadheen attacks throughout the world against the secular culture, Christian fundamentalism is essentially a spent force, at least in the West…But now, as a counter to Islamic fundamentalism, Christian fundamentalism is again raising its ugly head.

    The implication here is that if Christian fundamentalism was alive, the world would be throbbing with Christian suicide bombers. Christian fundamentalism far from being violent would be even more benign and peaceful.

    When religious Indian masses are converted to Abrahamic faiths by evangelical organizations with billion-dollar budgets, they embrace the most fundamentalist worldviews which no respected Christian theologian would touch in the West with pair of tongs.

    Really? The most eminent scientists who ever lived and changed the very way one sees the universe, were devout Christians.

    What this author fails to realise, is that science and technology are constructs of Christian civilisation. They have not occurred anywhere else. The debate about evolution or “intelligent design”, will continue in the West, as that is the proper way to test the validity of any approach.

    Much of the article though is not about “evolution” or “intelligent design” but a diatribe against Christians of India, specially those who have converted to Christianity.

    Interestingly, with increased Christian evangelism in India, one finds in that quarter also a propensity toward creationist fundamentalism. The churches of India in fact are becoming backwaters of outdated theologies from the West. When religious Indian masses are converted to Abrahamic faiths by evangelical organizations with billion-dollar budgets, they embrace the most fundamentalist worldviews which no respected Christian theologian would touch in the West with pair of tongs. Thus the church regains its medieval clout making innocent masses of the third world its own version of theological cannon fodder. Again evolution is an obstacle to proselytization.

    And that is his main gripe.

    The author should really ask why many Hindus become Christians? Is it because of the lack of compassion of Hindu society to those who are the most vulnerable in India? Is it because nuns like Mother Teresa, show up Indian society, as uncaring?

    Fundamentalist Christians are the ones who care for the starving poor, the sick and elderly thrown out on the streets, or orphans, who live as beggars on the streets of India. And now these very Christians, including nuns, are being beaten or burnt to death in India by Hindus. Churches are also being destroyed and burnt.

    http://upiasiaonline.com/Society_Culture/2008/08/29/can_chimps_stop_suicide_bombers/9493/

    Gates of Vienna has lots more

    http://gatesofvienna.blogspot.com/2008/08/gates-of-vienna-news-feed-8262008.html#830

    Maybe NEELAKANDAN should write about the sheer scale of misery that exists in India, as well as the historic uncaring attitude of Indian society to that misery, and the violence it generates, including Hindu fanaticism that murders peaceful Christians, and ask if it has anything to do with Hinduism. Given his article, it wouldn’t surprise me if he links this lack of compassion, to the belief of “Hindu Creationism”.

  11. says

    eve_anne_gelical

    I think this posting needs to be sent to Charles Johnson at LIttle Green Footballs as he has made similar comments regarding Christians who believe in creationism wanting to join with moslems on the issue in public schools.

    You might want to wait a day or two until he gets over the depression of McCain nominating a pro-life Christian who thinks discussions on creationism should be allowed in schools. I can’t imagine he’s one happy camper.
    I haven’t found one thing about Sarah Palin I don’t like. I did find Johnsons comments placing fundamentalist Christians on par with islamists as the most reprehensible comment I’ve ever seen flow from a blog on the right(?) side.

  12. says

    Evolution or DNA, which came first?

    If evolution is the “god” to follow, then a fight between islam and Christians is not against anything other than man’s evolution to it’s next higher level?

    Order from disorder, entropy, chaos.

    May the stronger accident survive.

  13. says

    “Firstly, he seems to think that evolution is a theory. This is giving it far greater credence then it deserves. Evolution is a hypothesis – quite unlike a theory, such as Newtonian mechanics or Einstein’s theory of relativity.” – DP111

    Ok, I’ll bite. Please explain why you would consider the Theory Of Evolution (although you fail to mention which aspect) a hypothesis.

  14. says

    When I see the rise of Islam, I am afraid.
    -I am not a xenophobe, not a racist, not a bigot. Simply someone afraid of an ideology that is itself xenophobic, misogynistic, homophobic, that is against freedom and liberty, that is extremely violent and completely irrational.

    But there’s another thing that makes me very afraid about it.
    -As secularists and humanists fail to act, the backlash against Islam will probably come from xenophobes, racists and bigots. A great many of the people “on my side” who will rise to resist will not be motivated by humanistic sentiments, but by their own irrational sense of superiority.
    Hence, as people learn to fear Muslims, we will see more far-right political parties rise, and we will see more irrational Christians speak up, now convinced that their own set of myths appears more justified.
    Thus, more fights from God in government and justice courts, more fights against evolutionism in schools and museums, more fights against stem-cell research and other scientific research that appears to contradict “the will of God”, more fights against abortions, more fights against homosexual rights, etc.

    Reading the comments above, I can’t help but agree with the author of the article.
    Instead of fighting irrational Islam with rationality, we’re headed for a fight opposing “my folktales written by Bedouins during the iron age” against “Your folktales written by Bedouins during the iron age”.
    Ugly.

    Granted, Islam and Christianity don’t compare. As ideologies go, and considering the behavior they command from their adherents, they cannot be equated. One leads to violence, the other leads to peace. But they both lead to believing in things unsupported by evidence.

    Especially, you guys don’t seem to realize : If you open the door for Christian myths to be heralded as “the truth about the Universe”, regardless of their being unsupported by reason, evidence and science, then what’s to stop Muslims from doing the same about their own beliefs ?
    What ground do you stand on to claim that what they believe is false ?

    Come on ! Let’s not pit an irrational belief system against another !
    How about we fight that violent ideology by stressing how irrational it is to base our lives (and deaths) on centuries-old books and on the will of magic people living in the sky ?

  15. says

    Xeno (how apt)

    A theory is a body of closely argued thought, backed with logic (hopefully mathematical analysis) that encompasses the entire observable phenomenon that the theory endeavours to explain. It should have as small a number of assumptions, and these assumptions should be self evident – an example being that no two distinct particles can occupy the same position in space, at the same time (Quantum theorists may debate this). However, a theory, not withstanding Quantum theorists, can still use such an assumption, and qualify as a theory, if it fulfils the criteria.

    Not only must a theory explain all such phenomenon, but must be testable by all, and give consistent results. Above all, it must be able to predict events or phenomenon not yet observed, or even thought of. Electromagnetic theory is a classic in this. Maxwell predicted the existence of electromagnetic waves from experiments by Faraday and others, at a time when no one even conjectured such an existence.

    A theory, by its nature, is “humble”, i.e., it stands ready to be disproved. A single experiment is sufficient for that purpose.

    On these grounds, “Evolution” is not a theory. It is simply a statement, a hypothesis that living creatures evolve, possibly to higher more complex systems, depending on circumstances. They do so by random mutation, the “less successful” being eliminated. There is no explanation what constitutes “less successful”, just that elimination itself is evidence of “less successful”.

    I add that I’m not saying that “Evolution” as a hypothesis is wrong – there is still a lot to be understood about life and its origins, just that it does not qualify as a theory.

  16. says

    One point:

    As long as conservatives insist on allying themselves with the primitivist nonsense of creationism, they have noone but themselves to blame if they get considered reactionary fools.

  17. says

    From above: What ground do you stand on to claim that what they believe is false ?

    Lots actually. These grounded reasons are expounded upon here, and other places regularly.
    Anyone westerner of average intelligence, not mentally ill, who reads Islams own literature, cannot help but notice lack of credibility.

    I don’t care much for evolution or creationism.
    Or which religion is right or wrong, although I believe that Islam is a false religion.

    The debate is an on going distraction. The ‘here and now’, the ‘present’ says, ‘the enemy is just over the horizon, so will you ‘please’ pay attention’.

    The purpose of this site is to inform people so they may better pay attention to jihad. What that is, and where it comes from. And just how close is it? To determine these things a knowledge of Islam is required. Not only the site hosts, but most posters are well versed in Islam.
    If you want to know what is false about it(Islam), stick around there are many who will be glad to explain it to you in detail…

  18. says

    The Salvation Army teaches creationist theology! Are we to now think that at Christmas time they are going to start beheading people who don’t put coins in their jars?

    Secularists are trying many many ways to avoid the conclusion that a sizable chunk of Islam is at war with not just the West but all of humanity.

  19. says

    Isofob & others, I’ll repeat myself:

    You continually ally yourselves with the most idiotic, reactionary, primitivist nonsense – and then wonder why noone takes you seriously?

    Come on. This is insane. You can’t go around denying facts and then wonder why people don’t take you seriously.

  20. says

    The Theory of Evolution is support by the Koran and the one fundiment sect in Saudi Arabic is wrong on this. Many Muslim Brotherhood member support the Theory of Evolution one of the few area of disagreement with the Saudi sect which not all Saudi follow at all. The christian fundie are very violance I saw afew breat up than treacher they disagree with.

  21. says

    The most eminent scientists who ever lived and changed the very way one sees the universe, were devout Christians.

    What this author fails to realise, is that science and technology are constructs of Christian civilisation. They have not occurred anywhere else.
    Posted by DP111

    Well, you sort of have it right, but you give more credit to “Christianity” than it deserves. Certainly many of the the most eminent scientists who ever lived were devout Christians (Newton, Darwin), but not all (Archimedes, Einsten). In terms of per capita contributions, Jews have contributed far more to science than Christians or any other religious group. I think a more accurate statement would be that the systematic study of the natural world that began with the Greeks thrived in Judeo-Christian environments, and stagnated within the Islamic world.

  22. says

    Eastview –

    Excellent point well made.

    However, Darwin Died agnostic and certainly far removed from his beliefs of youth. I don’t think anyone would call him a devout Christian.

    Regards

  23. says

    DefenderOfIslam, what the Qur’an, or the primary texts of any other religion for that matter, has to say about the theory of evolution or any other aspect of how the natural world operates may perhaps be of academic interest to historians. But its primitive notions and concepts have long since been supplanted by a better and more sophisticated understanding of nature than was possible from the limited perspectives of desert nomads like Mohammad. In short, the Qur’anic view of how the universe operates is completely irrelevant in today’s world.

  24. says

    Xeno, you’re right about Darwin. Einstein, too, could probably be classified as a JINO (Jew In Name Only), but the point here is the silliness of particular religions trying to claim undeserved credit for contributions to knowledge they had no part in making. Most scientific knowledge has been gained independently of whatever the prevailing religious dogma may have been where the scientists physically lived and worked. It is true that Western countries have allowed this work to proceed with the least amount of interference, but science has not always been as free from religious meddling as it is today.

    Except when forced to address religious issues because of outside pressure, no one working inside science today, no one, wastes any time whatsoever worrying about whether their discoveries may or may not run counter to someone’s precious beliefs. It’s not that they’re unaware of these. Rather, it’s simply that religious concerns are mostly irrelevant to the main focus of what science does, which is to study things of more substance than mere beliefs. Besides, scientists have learned that whatever they find will be guaranteed to offend someone, somewhere.

  25. says

    DP111, you have to make a distinction between the types of theories that are capable of being tested and those that are not. Would you consider that the “theory” of continental drift to be suspect because we can’t go back in time and actually observe motion that occurred on geologic time scales, and is therefore incapable of being “tested”?

    Vast realms of research that deal with past events, which includes virtually all of geology/geophysics/planetology, stellar and galactic formation, etc., etc., fall into this category and are, by their very nature, incapable of having “experiments” performed to verify them. Does this therefore mean we have to throw them out as subjects for study because they don’t fit the purists definition of “testable hypotheses”? Not at all. It simply means that a more sophisticated definition is required for what constitutes acceptable proof than the simple-minded version we all learned in grade school. Although we can’t test the actual mechanisms of continental drift by varying the “controls,” we can test the consequences of the theories being true and how these might be able to explain things that were previously mysterious. It is within such a context that the theories of evolution and continental drift are both considered to be valid, because they explain many otherwise explainable things. But these theories are of a qualitatively different sort than electrodynamics or quantum mechanics.

    And, as I noted above, religion plays no role, nor should it, in any of this.

  26. says

    Defender.

    As your nabi, peace and praise be upon me, I, nabi ZK, true nabi to all mohametan and even pseudo mohametan trolls, feel compelled to remind you that Evolution is a Scientific Theory, subject to immediate refutation by unwelcome new evidence. The qur’an, on the other hand, is a religious text held to be the invariant and TRUE word of GOD. In reality there is no way to compare the two. One method is revelation and the other method is skeptical inquiry. One has testable assertions and the other not so much. Science constantly changes it’s views. Hmmm… we could say that Scientific viewpoints are somehow evolving… may the strongest Theory survive… For example, what Biologists now speak of as Evolution is quite different from Darwin’s understanding. How could Darwin anticipate the coming revolution in Biochemistry? The qur’an does not change. Please consider these words.

    Your friend and true nabi.

    nabi ZK (pbum)

  27. says

    Eastview : « DP111, you have to make a distinction between the types of theories that are capable of being tested and those that are not. »

    If I may add : Not only that, but one has to understand the nature of scientific predictions.

    In the case of evolution, many predictions have been made and proven to be true already.

    -For example, when paleontologists predicted that we should find intermediate forms of species that would be half-fish and half-mammal, and later found exactly such fossils.

    -Or when biologists predicted that we should find simpler, more primitive forms of blood coagulation than the one we know about in mammals, and indeed the Puffer Fish proved to have exactly what they were looking for.

    -Or, when comparing the chimpanzee and human genomes, the former possessing one more pair of chromosomes than the latter, scientists postulated that we should find a trace of the missing pair in the human genome… Which they did, when they found a fused chromosome in the human genome, at exactly the locus we are missing compared to chimpanzees.

    (Search YouTube for “Kenneth Miller” if you want more details on these and other proofs that evolution is a valid scientific theory, and creationism is not.)

    All these are scientific predictions : I.e. cases where scientists started with « If evolution is right, then we should find… », and where material evidence was found to support the theory.
    And I’m not even counting cases of micro-evolution, which brings more proof that Darwin was right.

    When Darwin first exposed his theory, true, it couldn’t immediately be verified, and was thus suspicious. But in this day and age, one has to be either very dishonest, or very ignorant, to claim that evolution is “only an hypothesis”…

  28. says

    When Darwin first exposed his theory, true, it couldn’t immediately be verified, and was thus suspicious. But in this day and age, one has to be either very dishonest, or very ignorant, to claim that evolution is “only an hypothesis”……

    Scientific theories, even in Physics and Chemistry, are not “truth”. If not doubted outright they are to be taken at least with a grain of salt. Note that Newtons “Law” of Gravity is wrong, but still an excellent (the only) place to start a discussion. Similarly all of Classical Mechanics is wrong. Q.M. and Relativity don’t seem to fit together very well. etc. This is a situation which is both normal and healthy.

    Science is a work in progress and not finished product. Science is not about believing Scientific Theories or proving them to be “true”. It is about testing them, modifying them, and if need be refuting them. It is more about disbelief than belief. Perhaps this is why the kuffar excel in this area over the more credulous momineen.

    nabi ZK (pbum)

  29. says

    Posted by: zonie kafir : Scientific theories, even in Physics and Chemistry, are not “truth”. If not doubted outright they are to be taken at least with a grain of salt.

    Exactly. Even such bonafide theories such Relativity, are “true” for the time only. However the theory of Relativity predicited phenomenon or characteristics of nature that people never thought or dreamed of. Maxwells Electromagnitic theory predicted em waves, and required no medium to propagate- both quite shocking, and the latter quite incomprehensible. Evolution OTH is an explanation of what we see around us. It is merely accounting for history. For a theory, prediction is all. Bet on the horse before the race and nor after. Predicting the existence of transitional species is not enough, for it is merely the extension of the basic conjecture of evolution. In fact, it is a trivial extension.

    The same can be said for the Big Bang “theory”. Too many variables, too many constants that have to be just so, and just at the right time, for it all to work. And again, it is explaining. Admittedly, some branches of investigation lend themselves to logic and mathematical rigour. Explaining life, specially sentient self-aware life by a theory, is always going to be an uphill task.

    My main contention in objecting to Evolution as a theory, is not for its explanation of the evolution of species, but its title to a theory.

    Xeno: Thanks for the link.

  30. says

    DP111 : « For a theory, prediction is all. Bet on the horse before the race and nor after. Predicting the existence of transitional species is not enough, for it is merely the extension of the basic conjecture of evolution. »

    That is where you misunderstand the notion of prediction in science.
    Scientific theories predict observations, regardless of whether the phenomenon we observe were present before or not, or even if they had been observed or not.

    A good example is how Einsteins’ general relativity allowed to explain Mercury’s orbit.
    -Astronomers already knew about Mercury’s orbit, and how it didn’t square with a Newtonian paradigm. Einstein came along and offered a model that accurately “predicted”, not only all other planets, but Mercury as well.

    What you have to understand is this : When we say that a model “predicts” a phenomena, it doesn’t mean that it guesses future events. What it means is that the model acts a certain way, which accurately describes the way nature acts.
    Thus, a way to test your model is to make “predictions” based on the model about nature, and then going to see if facts actually fit. And even more importantly, you will try to look for facts that cannot be accounted for (predicted) by the model : falsification.

    The 3 examples I gave above are very good, classical examples of predictions that confirm evolution as the leading scientific theory to explain the origins of species.


    Granted, the word “prediction” leads to semantic confusion.
    I suggest you read some Gaston Bachelard on modeling and the concordance between models and nature, if you are really interested by this topic.

  31. says

    Xeno

    From the link

    Evolutionists have been very clear about this distinction of fact and theory from the very beginning, if only because we have always acknowledged how far we are from completely understanding the mechanisms (theory) by which evolution (fact) occurred…

    – Stephen J. Gould, ” Evolution as Fact and Theory”; Discover, May 1981

    Nice to see that this is admitted.

    Unfortunately, the approach of the author is quite defensive, and as a consequence, he gets aggressive. He claims too much – Evolution is both fact and theory (not withstanding that the “theory” is far from understood).
    Tieing them both so closely is not the right approach. For instance, “Evolution” cannot be a fact if it is a theory. If after over a 100 years after its proclamation, the theory is far from understood, then it is hardly a theory in the accepted sense. It can only be a theory that is seeking a theory.

    Evolutionists get very upset, emotionally so, when questioned. Here is an example, from the link you provided

    Let me try to make crystal clear what is established beyond reasonable doubt, and what needs further study, about evolution. Evolution as a process that has always gone on in the history of the earth can be doubted only by those who are ignorant of the evidence or are resistant to evidence, owing to emotional blocks or to plain bigotry.

    Note accusations of ignorance and even bigotry. Why so emotional? It puts me in mind of Muslims or Global Warmists, who also get emotional and abusive, when it comes to defending their cause. It is why I was so careful in not questioning Evolution, but objected (quite mindly) to its claims to the title of a theory.

    As for H. J. Muller, he goes well over the top.

    Anyway, thanks for the link.

  32. says

    Raman wrote: That is where you misunderstand the notion of prediction in science.
    Scientific theories predict observations, regardless of whether the phenomenon we observe were present before or not, or even if they had been observed or not.

    I would have thought that the examples I quoted illustrated that quite amply, without having to overstate it. The horse race was a metaphor.

  33. says

    Raman

    Thanks for the link. I will get back to you – if that is, I feel it is not getting too far way from the main subject of this site. As it is I feel a little guilty of subverting this thread.

  34. says

    Raman
    Re: Gaston Bachelard

    Do you have a link that describes his work. From Googling, I gather he was not a practising scientist but a philosopher. Is that right?

    Still, would like to see what he has to say on how a proper scientist works.

  35. says

    The question of what is or is not a “theory” has come up on previous occasions here, usually with regard to evolution. There seems to be widespread confusion about its proper usage.

    From dictionary.com

    the·o·ry

    1. a coherent group of general propositions used as principles of explanation for a class of phenomena: Einstein’s theory of relativity.
    2. a proposed explanation whose status is still conjectural, in contrast to well-established propositions that are regarded as reporting matters of actual fact.
    3. Mathematics. a body of principles, theorems, or the like, belonging to one subject: number theory.
    4. the branch of a science or art that deals with its principles or methods, as distinguished from its practice: music theory.
    5. a particular conception or view of something to be done or of the method of doing it; a system of rules or principles.
    6. contemplation or speculation.
    7. guess or conjecture.

    “Synonyms 1. Theory, hypothesis are used in non-technical contexts to mean an untested idea or opinion. A theory in technical use is a more or less verified or established explanation accounting for known facts or phenomena: the theory of relativity. A hypothesis is a conjecture put forth as a possible explanation of phenomena or relations, which serves as a basis of argument or experimentation to reach the truth: This idea is only a hypothesis.

    Laymen and lawyers use definitions 6 and 7, and it is this appellation they usually have in mind when they want to slam evolution. Some science does fall within the meaning of definition 2, so perhaps doubters could latch onto this. However, most of the time when scientists speak of a theory they mean it in the sense of definitions 1 or 3.

    Much of the disputation that occurs seems to arise because of differences in understanding of definitions.

  36. says

    “Note accusations of ignorance and even bigotry. Why so emotional? It puts me in mind of Muslims or Global Warmists, who also get emotional and abusive, when it comes to defending their cause. It is why I was so careful in not questioning Evolution, but objected (quite mindly) to its claims to the title of a theory.” – DP111

    It is probably because these same scientists are getting fed up with rehashing the same argument over and over again. Unfortunately, it is true that the majority of opposition to the MET is born through ignorance or a refusal to move away from a previously held worldview. I should imagine it gets rather tiresome having to answer the same accusations continuously.

    I don’t know how you can compare Muslims to evolutionary scientists (not a correct term as such but it will suffice) as the former deals with make believe whimsy and the latter deals in empirical evidence. Scientists who study global warming are up against well funded lobby groups when they try to make their case. Consider the scientists who were trying to put forward the case that smoking is bad for you a few decades ago. We now know that to be absolute fact but when this research first came to life there was another side to the story (funded by the tobacco companies) and their intelligent response to those findings were; “well that’s one way of looking at the research, but here’s another way of looking at the same research that I think you’ll be interested to hear” (not a direct quote of course). What followed were various scientific sounding reports that quote mined, distorted and on occasion lied but it was enough to sow the seed of doubt in the populations mind making it exceedingly hard to convince the populous of the factual content of the original studies. It was easily done as science is an alien topic to most people.

    I feel Eastview has provided a reasonable explanation for your position in the post above mine and will leave that there.

    The reason why I posted the link to the article was simply to show you what the relevant scientific world considers evolution to be. These are the experts in their fields and their work is subject to peer review and testing by their peers. There is far more information supplied at that site which you might be interested in studying.

    Regards

  37. says

    From:http://www.talkorigins.org/origins/welcome.html

    “How do I know the contents of this archive are reliable?”

    Visitors to the archive should be aware that essays and FAQs appearing in the archive have generally not undergone a rigorous peer review procedure by scientific experts. Rather, they have been commented on and critiqued by the readership of the talk.origins newsgroup. While many of the participants in talk.origins are well regarded scientists, this informal procedure is not as demanding as the process a scientist goes through to publish a paper in a scientific journal. ……

  38. says

    Bar –

    I am sure it wasn’t your intention but by only posting half of that specific FAQ it could give the impression that information on this site is inherently suspect. Therefore for clarity I will supply the rest of that particular FAQ.

    ———————————————–

    http://www.talkorigins.org/origins/welcome.html

    “…It is important to keep this fact in mind when reading the contents of this archive. Because most of the essays have not undergone rigorous peer review, some of them may contain errors or misstatements of fact. Any errors you identify should be reported to the authors or to the editor. The archive also maintains a contact page.

    As a general rule, you should never rely too heavily on anything you read on the Internet. Read the primary, reviewed literature before making up your mind on any topic. Most of the archive’s essays provide references to primary sources to make it easier for you to do this.”

    ———————————————–

    If someone reading any part of the linked site finds something incorrect then they are invited to report the mistake.

    Regards

  39. says

    Xeno

    Eastview has outlined some defs of what constitues a theory. As he writes ” However, most of the time when scientists speak of a theory they mean it in the sense of definitions 1 or 3″.

    I go along with that. Def 1 is the most common one, which goes along with my view that Evolution cannot be regarded as a “theory” in the accepted scientific view. Def 3 is really for mathematics.

    BTW Global warmists are far better funded then those who oppose that view. These groups are funded by governments, and the EU. The evidence for AGW, as well as warming itself is under question – and rightly so. What is more worrying is that the planet is heading towards a period of cooling, with all that entails for agriculture and increased fuel for heating places of residence. We may end up applying trillion dollar palliatives for a problem that is the reverse of what we supposed.

    As I said before, the anger of Evolutionists when questioned is really not acceptable. These critiques are not trivial, and have to be answered in the same way. If they show anger then it shows weakness of their case. This is the similarity with Muslims and Warmists that I alluded to.

  40. says

    If they show anger then it shows weakness of their case….

    DP the scientists are not trying to prove anything to you. They have long since given up. I suppose you call that anger. And you say Evolution is not a Scientific theory? Are you a scientist?

    nabi ZK (pbum)

  41. says

    “As I said before, the anger of Evolutionists when questioned is really not acceptable. These critiques are not trivial, and have to be answered in the same way. If they show anger then it shows weakness of their case. This is the similarity with Muslims and Warmists that I alluded to.” – DP111

    I quite agree that to have a coherent discussion you cannot be dismissive or rude to the opposing party.

    However we must take into context some of those critiques that anti evolutionists (for want of a better description) put forward and I doubt that you would deny that a lot of the critiques forwarded by these people are born through simple ignorance of the topic. I think that anyone who has been in a position where they have to continually answer a nonsense argument will understand the frustration and choice of words exhibited by some of the contributors to that article and of course others like it.

    That there are questions yet to be answered is not denied but nor is that a reason to dismiss the MET as simply a hypothesis. The MET is a number of things dependant on which aspect of it you are talking about at the time (hence my earlier comment about you not explaining which theory/hypothesis of the MET that you have taken issue with) but one thing is for sure, as more time goes by the stronger the evidence(s) becomes for the MET, as a whole.

    With reference to Global Warming and who funds who; yes the governments, in part, fund various ventures but when you wish to present an opposing argument to further an economic worldview instead of presenting a truthful picture of what is actually happening, you need neither a huge amount of funding or indeed any knowledge of the science at issue – as long as it sounds plausible and is likely to sow doubt in the layman. Does that actually happen? Would you be surprised if it did?

    Regards

  42. says

    “…the need for crusades is the need for a [Christian] people to defend itself, and annex its former lands from [Arab/Turk/Muslim/jihadi] invaders…” so says Raymond.

    “…the need for jihad is the need for a [Muslim] people to defend itself, and annex its former lands from [imperialist/Israeli/American] invaders…” so says a jihadi.

    Ah, I see the difference!

    Also, I didn’t know that there weren’t any Christian suicide bombers? Hmm, I guess Loula Abboud was practicing taqiyya and was really a Muslim.

    And who would’ve thought that suicide bombing was directly caused by Islam even though it has only existed in the past 20 of the 1400 years Islam has been around. Damn, you learn something new everyday.

    I bet the Japanese tokubetsu kogeki tai (kamikaze) pilots also secret Muslims!

  43. says

    Just out of interest, as an aside, can anyone point me to a FAQ section where I can learn how to code replies to quote, make text bold, italicize etc…

    Thanks in advance.

  44. says

    “I don’t see why evolution allegedly debunks faith to begin with.”

    Beagle,

    I’m with you. Creation is a process, not an event.

  45. says

    Xeno,

    The comments allows for some HTML, hence HTML tags can be used to bold or italicize text, create links, etc. This site showcases the basic HTML tags.

    Again, only some will work, not all.

    Hope that helps.

  46. says

    “I don’t see why evolution allegedly debunks faith to begin with.”

    Because religion was used initially to explain how the world came to be. These explanations in the forms of stories (Adam and Eve, anyone?) have been debunked by scientific theories, e.g. the theory of evolution and the big bang theory.

    Of course, you are free to deceive yourselves into worshiping whatever invisible deity you wish to believe in–be it Jesus, Allah, Adonai, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

  47. says

    “…the need for jihad is the need for a [Muslim] people to defend itself, and annex its former lands from [imperialist/Israeli/American] invaders…” so says a jihadi.

    Ah, I see the difference!…

    No dude. You got it wrong. The jihadi fights for allah. It’s jihad fi sabeel allah.

    nabi ZK (pbum)

  48. says

    Newtons universe was from everlasting to everlasting whereas ours had an origin or creation event. Neither model is a statement about religion.

    nabi ZK (pbum)

  49. says

    Neither is an explanation of how or why the universe got here. That just isn’t the question.

    nabi ZK (pbum)

    …big bang is a creation event…the big bang theory is creationism we can support with evidence…

  50. says

    Flying Spaghetti Monster is a false deity. It will avail you not to beseech the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Truely lost are the believers in Flying Spaghetti Monster.

    nabi ZK (pbum)

    …ask me about Walking Spaghetti Monster…

  51. says

    DP111: There is no explanation what constitutes “less successful”, just that elimination itself is evidence of “less successful”.

    One word: survival. Then “less successful” becomes self-explanatory. When an animal is less successful in surviving, it’s genes fail to continue onto the next generation. Makes sense, no?

  52. says

    Oops, meant to say: its genes fail to continue onto the next generation (given that it has not procreated).

    zonie kafir,

    Maybe it’s just me seeing a pattern in all the places of “jihad” (Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Chechnya, etc).

    And of course, science makes no statements about religion per se. It makes statements about the material world and how it is. And these statements contradict what many world religions say.

  53. says

    Xeno wrote:
    That there are questions yet to be answered is not denied but nor is that a reason to dismiss the MET as simply a hypothesis. The MET is a number of things dependant on which aspect of it you are talking about at the time (hence my earlier comment about you not explaining which theory/hypothesis of the MET that you have taken issue with) but one thing is for sure, as more time goes by the stronger the evidence(s) becomes for the MET, as a whole.

    Not at all. Hypothesis can be very useful in leading or suggesting the way forward. However, to hope and be sure of that hope, that a “theory” will get better with time, is the reason I hesitate to title Evolution as a theory.

    ———————————–

    I remember when Ch 4 broadcast the The Global Warming Swindle, the Warmists responded with anger, questioning the motives of those who made the program, and insinuating that they were funded by OIL. As far as I was concerned, they had lost their argument straightaway, on purely those grounds – their violent and abusive conduct indicated a basic lack of confidence in their findings. In fact the makers of the program were individuals – one of them the ex-president of Greenpeace.

    Coincidentally, an article in the DT on the IPCC

    The catastrophe behind climate change
    By Christopher Booker

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2008/08/31/do3105.xml

    ——————————-

    Anyway. Let us get back to educating as many people about Islam – asap. We do not have much time to heal this self-inflicted wound of Islam on the Western body. If Islam wins in the West, it wont matter much, as all of it will be redundant, as it is not in the Koran.

    Thanks BTW for an informed discussion.

    Regards

    DP

    PS: I hope the new Ch 4 documenatary on mosques will stir a few minds.

  54. says

    There are many sites devoted to discussing the evolution “controversy” as hyped by creationists/IDers. An excellent site that brings together many of the scientific arguments for evolution, all within the context of a modern scientific understanding of the world, is The Talk Origins Archive. Highly recommended, but if your science is rusty be prepared to have your Freshman physics/chemistry/astronomy/biology books at your side when you read it.

  55. says

    Xeno

    Thanks for giving me the benefit of the doubt.

    I was attempting to point out that “TalkOrigins” is a non-peer reviewed pro-evolution web site, so don’t pretend that people will get a nonpartisan view there.

    The same holds true for pro-ID or pro-creation web sites.

    This was a good read:

    UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
    COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT REFORM
    DECEMBER 2006

    INTOLERANCE AND THE POLITICIZATION OF SCIENCE AT THE SMITHSONIAN
    http://www.souder.house.gov/_files/IntoleranceandthePoliticizationofScienceattheSmithsonian.pdf

    I would note from the linked pdf file that once a “peer-reviewed” pro-ID paper was published at the tax payer funded Smithsonian, the head scientists started to then question the person of interest and wanted to know his religious belief and affiliations. They openly stated that had they known the person of interest was involved in such, no matter his qualifications, he would not have been allowed through the door.

    Imagine top American scientists practicing open religious discrimination in the name of science!

    Scientist are people too.

  56. says

    Bar –

    I was not attempting to “pretend that people will get a nonpartisan view there” (talkorigins) but simple wished to allow the full disclaimer to be shown, for the reason I have already explained.

    ID/Creationism is not science. It has no premise to test its assertions for the claims it makes, for if it had it would already be considered science and the number of court battles (to prove that ID is science and should be treated as such) in the USA would not have taken place – and been lost. I wonder why the other ‘side’ of ‘evolutionary science’ isn’t forced to take their assertions to court to prove their authenticity. Maybe that is due to the large amount of actual science undertaken to support their assertions…

    Richard V. Sternberg is well known for numerous dubious reasons. One being the Kitzmiller v. Dover court case and of course his poor handling of a certain ‘peer reviewed’ piece which you can read about in summary here:

    http://www.biolsocwash.org/id_statement.html

    Suffice to say people connected with the Discovery Institute are dishonest on numerous levels; the pertinent one here being they claim ID as a science. What you state is of course correct; if they had known that this person was willing to lie and cheat they would certainly not have wanted that person to be affiliated with their good name. Peer review is there for a reason and if people start abusing the system they have no place calling themselves a scientist and should expect a less than friendly reaction to their behaviour.

    Ultimately it is the science that proves a science based claim and not cleverly worded court documents or web pieces.

    Regards

  57. says

    Xeno

    A family member of mine going for their AS, just went through biological anthropology, the text book is filled with LGF talking points such as ID cant be real science because its not testable type of BS.

    I cant agree with that, the text books explains evolution from the big-bang until present day which includes origins of life and so forth. Now this theory of evolution being all inclusive has so many portions that are untestable and if you buy their definition of science as only being testable then the theory of evolution is non-science, by their own admission.

    Its all BS, the cause (mechanism) of Darwinian evolution has not been found nor is it testable, but not one member of the top-notch Smithsonian would dare suggest its not science.

    The hypocrisy is beyond appalling.

  58. says

    Bar –

    What is un-testable about the TOE?

    On another note you are confusing various disciplines; astrophysics (Big Bang), abiogenesis (origin of life) and evolution (the theory that life has evolved into more complicated variants over time due to the pressures of the environment these creature found themselves existing within – natural selection) which is not unusual for someone who seems to have got a lot of their science information from the Discovery Institute or similar websites/books.

    Also please explain to us all exactly what Intelligent Design is and how we are to go about testing this idea. If you can do that then you have gone one step further than any other ID advocate…

    Regards

  59. says

    Xeno

    Also please explain to us all exactly what Intelligent Design is and how we are to go about testing this idea.

    I would leave that to those that are qualified, I also tend not to play medical doctor and make diagnoses, its just the way I like to do things.

    …which is not unusual for someone who seems to have got a lot of their science information from the Discovery Institute or similar websites/books.

    I see it didn’t take long to get into ad hominem attacks, let the fun begin.
    That is the most common trait that evolutionist tend to exhibit, I guess that’s just how you evolved.

  60. says

    Bar –

    It is true to say that people who get their information from sites (such as the Discovery Institute) get confused when talking about evolution, astrophysics and abiogenesis. You proved this much by your previous post. Therefore it was not ad hominem.

    Why won’t you explain the scientific position of ID to the rest of us? I presume you do understand what ID is?

    Your first post on this thread was a quote mine of http://www.talkorigins.org/origins/welcome.html introduction page. For clarity I had to post the full quote so people would not get the wrong idea; which I am now sure was your intention to begin with.

    Your second post was an attempt to show that mainstream scientists discriminate against pro ID scientists simply because of their worldview. For clarity I had to show that Richard V. Sternberg was guilty of gross misconduct and was trying to play the victim card, unsuccessfully.

    Your third post contained 3 incorrect claims:

    – Evolution contains un-testable hypotheses; yet you have not (cannot?) substantiated that claim.

    – “the text books explains evolution from the big-bang until present day which includes origins of life and so forth” – Bar; of course, as already shown, you simply confused different scientific disciplines.

    – You accused mainstream science of hypocrisy when it is merely your own ignorance that prevents you from understanding the truth. Again this is not ad hominem as you have not presented any evidence to the contrary, i.e. backed up your claims with relevant scientific literature that we can all peruse.

    Your final post is simply a deflection from your inability to answer simple questions; questions you should be able to answer considering the assertions you have made on here.

    So then; are you able to explain to us what ID is and what in the MET is un-testable and why? I am sure we are all waiting eagerly on the edge of our seats waiting for the answer.

    Regards

  61. says

    Xeno

    I don’t think you understand what ad hominem means.

    I didn’t bring up the Discovery Institute, you did, hoping that people here would be aware of the LGF smear campaign against them and anyone like them. Its ad hominem based upon assumptions and nothing but.

    Here is an example of an ad hominem attack.
    You are in really good company, militant atheist like Richard Dawkins and PZ Myers would be proud of you. See in that attack I appealed to feelings not intellect.

    Scientist collect data that has to be interpreted and that interpretation is subject to the preconceived notions of the one doing the interpretation, now you pretend these scientist are not republicans or democrats because that alone would effect the outcome, they are people without a world view and without opinions and thus they can only arrive at the “truth”.

    Marco evolution has never been observed or tested and matter of fact, I think we have a some fossils that are millions of years old of animals that we have today and they haven’t changed one bit, which can be seen as evidence that macro evolution is BS.

    Apes and man have a common ancestor, also untested, it is taken on faith with the hope it will be proven correct at a later date.

    Now I am not deflecting but this is so off the topic of this thread and website, I don’t think Mr Spencer would be happy and this is on his dime, thus my reluctance to continue.

  62. says

    Bar –

    “Marco evolution has never been observed or tested and matter of fact…”

    “Apes and man have a common ancestor, also untested, it is taken on faith…”

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/

    Or you could consider the research into the HIV virus…

    ——————————————-

    “Scientist collect data that has to be interpreted and that interpretation is subject to the preconceived notions…”

    Now if you posit a hypothesis you need to be able to make predictions. You form experiments to see if those predictions come true and if they do that support the hypothesis. You then think of more predictions and experiments to perform to further improve your hypothesis until you have so much evidence that it is now considered a theory. The more information that becomes available means that interest will increase for that particular hypothesis, and the more interest it raises the more people start to research the hypothesis. Is that what you are implying?

    ——————————————–

    You still have not successfully answered the questions raised by your accusations. Yet you still post here (“… I don’t think Mr Spencer would be happy and this is on his dime, thus my reluctance to continue.) on anything but the matters you raised.

    So for one final time; are you able to explain to us what ID is and what in the MET is un-testable (remember that you said it was un-testable, NOT untested which are two separate issues…) and why?

    Regards