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Date: 2006/07/05 13:02:22, Link
Author: Diogenes
Quote (ericmurphy @ July 05 2006,17:15)
Quote (Faid @ July 05 2006,16:50)
Jeez eric, Cain had sex with his sister.

Can't you evobots get anything right?  :p

Cain had sex with his, i.e., Cain's, sister, or with Adam's sister? That would be hot. :-)

Adam didn't have a sister (or a belly button), so Cain obviously didn't have sex with her.  The only females available to him where his mother, and possibly unnamed sisters.  Given that it was common during this time for women to be well into their 100's before giving birth, and Eve was created as an adult, by the time Cain needed to get married she looked at least 150.  Because of this I'd say it was his sister he was spawning with.  But keep two things in mind.

1) Abel probably did it too, and Seth definately did it.
2) Cain was the bad boy of the family.  Even though god liked the smell of burnt flesh Cain became a farmer (it is a well established fact that god hates hippies).  He also beat his brother to death with a rock.

Date: 2006/07/07 13:00:22, Link
Author: Diogenes
Since dave will be away on vacation I thought I'd take a crack at the open question list:


Currently Unanswered Questions from the last 5 "Pages"        

(1)  How is the dendrochronology for Catal Huyuk wrong?

Have you ever been to Catal Huyuk?  Are there even trees around Catal Huyuk?  Even if their are you weren't there when they were planted, this proves nothing.


(2) Who do you think had syphilis on the ark?

Noah was a drunk, and Ham apparently thinks drunk people are funny, so both seem like likely candidated, but it's apparent from the bible that women are the root of evil, so my theory is it was one of the wives.  Given that Ham ends up being cursed by god i'm going to go with Ham's wife as the likely culprit.


(3) If Noah and his little group were the only humans left, can you calculate for me the average number of children each female would have to have in order to achieve the population levels we have 4,356 years?? Include infant mortality and other standard factors, Dave. People **DiD** die back then, didn't they?

If we assume roughly 20 years between generations, and a flood date 4500 years ago we end up with 225 generations to go from 4 mated pairs to 6 billion people (we'll ignore the nephillim for now, since I don't count half-angels as people).  If we take the 225th root of 6 billion we end up with 1.10524472, which means...something important I'm sure.  If we assume 25% of those born don't live long enough to spawn, and each pair has 4 children born (or attempted to be born), then each generation increases the population by 50%.  1.5 ^ 225 = 4.17381588 × 10^39.  Throw in some war, famine, and pestilence and 6 billion sounds about right.


(4) How much water was involved in the flood, Dave?  Estimate of the amount of water that was underground, and how deep was it? Was it spread uniformly under the crust, or was it in localised (and deep) reservoirs?

According to wikipedia Mt. Ararat is 5,137 meters above sea level, and the bible says it was covered in water.  The mean radius of the earth is 6,372,797 meters.  So the volume of water needed to cover the mountain should be (4/3 * pi * (6,372,797+5,137)^3) - (4/3 * pi * 6,372,797^3).  This is 2.62375 x 10^18 cubic meters of water.

The floodgates of heaven were opened as well as the springs of the deep.  The single city of New Jerusalem in heaven is 2.7 billion cubic miles in size, so I would guess there's more water in heaven than under the earth, so this whole line of questioning is moot.


(5) How did those tracks get in the coconino sandstone in the midst of a raging flood that deposited billions MORE tons of sediment on top of the sandstone? Sandstone can't "dry" in the middle of a flood that continues to deposit layers under a "water canopy", Dave. Nor would those animals survive UNDERWATER, nor would their tracks survive the pressure of the layers above on the wet sandstone during the "flood year"



(6) Layers should have SOME animals in them jumbled up *everywhere* dave. There should be dinos with modern rhinos, with deinotheriums and giant sloths, with Devonian amphibians...yet we don't see that. "Hydraulic sorting" won't do, Dave..or claims that mammals are "more mobile"--  this is utter nonsense. Why are certain species of animals (fossilized trilobites) found in the lowermost layers, while others of the same approximate size and shape (fossilized clams) can be found at the top layers, even at the top of Mt. Everest? Did the clams outrun the trilobites in the race uphill from the flood waters?

Earthquakes and volcanoes moved everything around.


(7) Where did all that sediment come from? (Hint: it didn't wash down from the mountains) Where did it go?

Why not?  The sediment probably came from where it always comes....somewhere else.


(8) Where did all that water in your ‘global flood run-off’---run off to?

The oceans, before that they were empty as it didn't rain before the flood (which is why there were no rainbows).


(9) Explain the presence of eolian and evaporite deposits between fluvial or marine deposits, carbonate and dolomite deposits, coal, and why there are clear cycles of regression and transgression present in the rock record allowing for things like sequence stratigraphy to be done.

I don't think that's even english, you're just making stuff up now.


(10) Why are large shale formations consistently oxidized and red while others are consistently black and unoxidized?

Because God likes many colors.


(11) How did the Mile-High cliffs of the Grand Canyon harden enough in ONE YEAR so that they didn't SLUMP under the weight of the deposits over them?

A miracle!  More proof of God's tremendous power.


(12) If there was extensive volcanic activity following the flood, why are there no large ash layers or igneous layers in the upper Canyon stratigraphy showing it?

Probably alot of tornadoes and hurricanes as well, the layers got spread out all over the place.


(13) Explain PRECISELY  how the incised meanders, oxbows and the steep sides of the Grand Canyon were formed, given that these meanders are not in Mississipian-type soils, but through rock, including the igneous/metamorphic base schist,granite & basalt? (obviously , that is not "soft ")    

Uh....Dave....little help here.....


(15) You said that there was only one land mass before the Flood, correct? this would mean that Africa and North America moved away from each other at the rate of 1 kilometer per HOUR per the Morris/Austin scenarios, Dave. What would that heat do? Where did that energy go? Why do we still have ANY oceans?

What happened to question 14?


(16) Why on earth do you want living dinosaurs in your timeline at the end of the flood ? When did they die out?

Everyone likes dinosaurs.  Plus there had to be something for all the single pair of animals to eat otherwise all the good ones that God really loved would have starved.  I'm sure Noah was nice and chopped up some of the larger dinosaurs for things like lions that wouldn't really have had a chance of taking down a t-rex.


(17)Why don't we see evidence of fast sea-floor spreading paleomagnetically? Remember, Africa and the Americas have to be FLYING away from each other at the rate of 1 kilometer PER HOUR

This is really just a rephrasing of question 15.  Already answered.


(18)Why don't we see evidence of your massive flood and "tsunamis" in the deep-sea cores?

More lies, how do these mythical deep-sea cores tell us anything about tsunamis.


(19)Why don't we see evidence of your massive volcanic activity, and carbon dioxide levels and HEAT in the ice cores?

Evidence of heat in the ice cores? ice're obviously smoking crack if you think you can learn anything about carbon dioxide or heat from ice.


(20)Why don't we see disruption of the varves?

What the #### is a varve?  Well if I don't understand something it obviously isn't very good evidence.

Having thus refruted your pathetic list of questions I expect all of y'all to convert and come to church on sunday (and I mean a christian church, not one of those that worship weird gods with 6 arms and stuff).

Date: 2006/07/18 07:51:18, Link
Author: Diogenes
Quote (deadman_932 @ July 18 2006,12:11)
[snip]...Or are they like your imaginary dinos on the ark?...[snip]

Woah there cowboy.  Are you saying their were dinosaurs on the ark in dave's geologic cataclysm theory?  I distinctly remember being taught in sunday school that the dinosaurs died in the flood.  This leads me to the very scary conclusion that either the people that taught me, or the people that taught dave, we're not wholey honest in their characterizations of the flood.

Just going with my gut, i've got to think that dinosaurs weren't on the ark.  T-Rex, Velociraptor, and Stegosaurus (ok, admittedly not a carnivore, but they are still wicked cool and will be in any dinosaur movie I ever make) chasing around 8 people who are stuck on a boat for at least a year sounds more like the plot to Jurassic Park 4 than a morally rich biblical tale.

What happened to the dinosaurs after the got off the ark?  I guess they died out pretty fast.  Probably something to do with limited food supplies or something.  I guess it helps if it's the Genesis 6 account that's wrong, and you get 7 of alot of animals instead of 2, then at least they can snack on birds and clean animals.  Uh oh, I just had a thought.  Does T-rex count as a clean or unclean animal?  I tried to find information on the clean/unclean distinction but all I found were rabbinic traditions about sentient arks and animals bowing before noah (T-rex doesn't strike me as the kind of creature that would bow, both because it's not in their nature, and because they always looked a bit top heavy to me).  I did learn that apparently the giant Og king of Bashan also survived the flood because Noah feed him out a porthole (that's my one new fact for the day).  Also, the NIV says that 7 may be 7 pairs, so we could be talking about 14 T-Rex's on the ark, and rampaging around afterwards.  That's just too much, I'm sticking with my dinosaurs died in the flood theory.

Date: 2006/07/19 08:31:39, Link
Author: Diogenes
Quote (Arden Chatfield @ July 19 2006,13:22)
Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ July 19 2006,13:21)
I worked as a staff photographer for my college newspaper.

So far as I can tell, DOL has sold commentary to newspapers and magazines. That doesn't make her a journalist.

From my perspective, i have a stronger claim to the title "journalist" than DOL.

What *are* Denyse's real-world credentials?

She can quote Luke 2 from memory.

Date: 2006/07/19 09:07:49, Link
Author: Diogenes
About me section from

About Denyse O'Leary
Denyse O’Leary has been a freelance writer since 1971. She specializes in science news of interest to faith communities for such publications as Christianity Today, Faith Today, and the Christian Times. She is the author of several titles including the award-winning Faith@Science: Why Science Needs Faith in the Twenty-First Century, and is the Faith and Science columnist for ChristianWeek. She has written for newspapers, magazines, book publishers, and trade journals, including the Globe & Mail, the Toronto Star, and Canadian Living. O’Leary also manages this Web site (, that includes recent news of interest, a chat room, and links to many of the most popular Web sites on the topic.

Date: 2006/07/19 09:11:14, Link
Author: Diogenes
Quote (Arden Chatfield @ July 19 2006,13:58)
Perhaps I'm being picayune here, but does she have a degree in anything?


"Denyse married in 1970 and the following year graduated from Waterloo Lutheran University with an honours degree in English"

Date: 2006/07/19 12:54:19, Link
Author: Diogenes
She did, however, write articles about cats for Hi-Rise magazine, which would seem to indicate a level of biological study that surpasses many of her peers.

Date: 2006/07/20 08:36:06, Link
Author: Diogenes
Quote (Occam's Aftershave @ July 20 2006,12:45)

What does the Bible say about bearing false witness Dave?

Bearing false witness deals with lying under oath in a legal case, not lying in general.  For lying in general you need to go to Leviticus 19:11 -

11 " 'Do not steal.
     " 'Do not lie.
     " 'Do not deceive one another.

Of course Leviticus 19 also says not to wear clothing made from more than one type of material, not to ever cut your beards, and to treat aliens as if they were native born, none of which are thought important by modern christians.  We can therefore safely write off the whole chapter as part of the old convenant, written specifically for the jews at the time, not for us today.

This doesn't mean Christians can lie when they want though.  The story of Ananias and Sapphira of Acts 5 makes this clear.  They lied about how much money they gave to the church and were struck dead on the spot, so at the very least don't like to the preacher about how much money you put in the plate.  It's probably better to avoid lying alltogether (unless it helps converts an unbeliever, you can always atone afterwords for that).

Date: 2006/07/24 08:54:59, Link
Author: Diogenes
[quote=Renier,July 23 2006,06:54][/quote]
[snip]If Jesus was such an imposing figure that had such a great influence, why is there no other documents outside of the Bible that mentions him and his great deeds? I mean, Tacitus and Josephus wrote at about that time, so why did they not know about him. Hint : The Josephus documents were kept by the Catholic church, and they might just have wondered the same thing and felt obliged to "correct" Josephus.

This is disingenuous.  You say Josephus never wrote anything about Jesus, and the next sentance you say what Josephus wrote about Jesus was corrected by the Catholic church.  You should be a little more clear here about what actually occured.

Josephus was a jewish historian who wrote in the first century C.E.  His book Antiquities of the Jews contains two short references to Jesus.  All extant copies of the book contain the references, but they are all from christian sources.  The current state of the debate (including secular scholars) seems to lean towards "He said something about Jesus, but we aren't sure how much is authentic".  

As for why no one else mentioning Jesus, well he just wasn't that important at the time.  He was a jewish rabbi in the backwoods of the roman empire, with 12 followers.  When he died there wasn't a massive popular uprising, it was just 11 of the 12 guys continuing to teach his message.  If not for a couple of events the entire religion would have died in obscurity.  First off we have Paul going out and starting churches all over asia minor, and writing letters to them to keep them going.  Secondly we have the jewish diaspora following the fall of jersulem, which dispersed jews and christians throughout the roman world, and with them came the beginnings of churches there.  The capper though is Constantine.  He's the one who forced the Council of Nicea, which unified the church under a single theology.  He's the one that made christianity the state religion of Rome.  Without these there wouldn't have been a single catholic church, and christianity would have been splintered on issues like the trinity.  I wouldn't expect anything like the modern christian church if not for these events, Jesus had very little to do with it.


In fact, The Catholic church even felt obliged to correct the gospels and other documents that you take as the unaltered Word of God. But hey, let me give you a little hint. At one stage the Catholic church faced some serious competition by another Christian group that claimed that Christ did not rise or come in the "flesh" (but in the spirit). So, they took the liberty of making sure that this new doctrine gets crushed and outlawed. So, what whould they have added? These perhaps?
[snip lots of bible versus]

This sounds like your talking about Gnosticism, which predates Christianity.  In the first century C.E. there was a group of believers that merged gnostic thought with christianity.  This was occuring during the writing of the bible though, so many of the references that would be used to stamp out gnosticism could be authentic without any catholic conspiracy.  While the Catholic church may trace themselves back to Peter, in the modern view of Catholicism it didn't exist until Nicea.  It was the creation of a single dogma and a central church that ended christian gnosticism, along with all the other branches of christianity.

While there are blatent examples of people altering the bible to fit their dogmatic view (Comma Johanneum), most of the arguments seem to be confined to interpretation of the bible, rather than altering the text to fit their views (if you squint hard enough, pull stuff out of context, and hand wave like their's no tomorrow you can get the bible to say almost anything).  What we do know about the new testament is this:

* We have no originals.  We have nothing even approaching originals.  Extant bible texts are usually from hundreds of years after the fact.
* Early texts have mistakes.  They have lots and lots of mistakes.  The vast majority of these are the fairly common form of copiest mistakes (mispelled words, swapping words that are written or sound similar, skipping a line, doubling a line).
* The latin Vulgate (which was the gold standard for the bible for 1000 years or so) differs in important ways from the early greek manuscripts.  In general it includes passages that are not in the original greek.  These passages are still included in Bible translations today (although at least in the NIV they are marked as dubious).

Taken together this would mean that even if the Bible were the litteral word of God we have no evidence that the current version of the bible is an authentic respresentation of the early scriptures, and quite alot of evidence that it's not.  None of this seems to really bother christians though.  I guess if you believe that the bible is the word of god, and that god is good, he wouldn't allow his words to be twisted to mean things they aren't suppose to mean.  As always, any evidence that conflicts with dogma is wrong.

Date: 2006/07/24 12:52:36, Link
Author: Diogenes
Hey Marc, thanks for posting.  I have some suggestions, or at least, some food for thought.  The problem as I see it is that atheism just doesn't have the trappings of religions, and is completely lacking in any kind of PR department.  So here are some things we could try:

* Costumes for the clergy.  Look, I know the cool religions nowadays are moving away from costumed clergy, but I think that's a mistake.  Costumes give your religion a sense of history.  They also are used as a way to seperate the really good Realists (the clergy) from the laymen Realists (the "monday Realistis" (I'm flexible on mondays being the holy days, but the Muslims have Friday, the Jews have Saturday, and the Christians have Sunday, we came late to the party so we just have to make due)).  Given the realities of global warming I think we should be forward thinking and go with something with a middle eastern flair.  They've been living in the desert for a couple of millenium, so I'm guessing they've figured out the whole cool clothing thing.  The only problem I see with this is that it could cause problems at airport security lines, but i'm willing to be a matry for the cause.  Lastly, the importance of the inclusion of a funny hat cannot be underestimated.

* A Holy Book.  We could use Origin of the Species, or maybe The Selfish Gene, but that's rather dry reading.  It seems obvious to me what it's missing....monsters.  Inclusion of dinosaurs are a definite plus, but none of them breath fire (Note: can we get some paleontologists to study the feasability that some dinosaurs breathed fire?).  We've got no dragons, no djinn, no giants (ok, 1 ton giant rats are at least a good start).  How hard would it be to stick some giant hominids somewhere in the evolutionary tree?  I know we have those south asian hobbits, but that seems just a bit too much like a product tie-in for The Lord of the Rings.

* We need some prophecies.  These are best sprinkled at random through the holy book.  Remember, the most important thing about prophecies are not that they are accurate, it's that they are vauge.  Let the adherants of the religion figure it all out in a few hundred years (this has the added benefit of making easy religious book sales).

* We need a reason for people to believe us.  All the big guys seem to have a fairly simple setup.  If you listen to us you get good stuff, if you don't listen to us you will suffer unimaginable pain in a prison of fire for all eternity.  Right now the best we can muster is that you are a chemical machine who's mind is an illusion, and who will one day stop functioning, and in the process destroy all consciousness and knowledge that we has obtained up to this point.  Ok, be honest, this just sucks.  We're never going to win converts like this.  For the "good stuff" I think we should use clinical immortality.  No one likes dying, so this seems like a sure thing.  Get the PR guys to work on a motto like "Why wait till you die to go to heaven when you can have heaven right here on earth".  Also, make sure to mention the lax moral standards we have.  I think right out on the church sign we should put "You can have sex whenever you want with whoever/whatever you want, it's okay with us".  As for the eternal flames of damnation, well, they've got us on this one, but we can at least close the gap.  I think a combination of global warming with killer asteroids would work ok.  This has the added benefit of effecting everyone, even the faithful.  This should make the faithful bigtime evangalists for our cause.

That's all I've got for now, but I'll keep you in the loop if I come up with anything else.

Date: 2006/07/25 09:03:08, Link
Author: Diogenes
Quote (ericmurphy @ July 25 2006,13:34)
Quote (afdave @ July 25 2006,13:20)
There is no 100% literal, inerrant translation ...

But I use NKJV ... it's close ...

So, in other words, there is no extant version of the Bible that is 100% literal and inerrant. Only flawed translations.

Just great, Dave. So you're basing your worldview on a book that one the one hand you claim is inerrant, and on the other hand you say has errors in it, because "There is no 100% literal, inerrant translation."

But you say the KJV is "close." How would you know, Dave? If there is no perfect, inerrant translation of the Bible, what do you compare the KJV to in determining that it's "close"?

For all you know, the KJV is riddled with errors, because you have no standard to compare it to.

Do you have any idea how idiotic that sounds, Dave? What, do you have some "literal, inerrant" version of the Bible in your head that you can compare other versions to?

Uh, that's pretty much the standard christian view.  I'm not aware of anyone that thinks that the translations are inspired by God.  Anyone who even suggests that the copies in the original greek are inspired is in for a rude awakening if they look at the extant copies.  The generally held view is that the originals were inspired (with a couple of different meanings of the word inspired), but all copies and translations since then are prone to human error.  As for which version is the best, for the majority of people it's just a matter of personal choice.  Often you go with whatever your bible school teacher used, otherwise your favorite verses aren't exactly the same, which is mildly annoying.

Also note that he uses NKJV, not KJV.  Which depending on who you are, matters alot.

Date: 2006/07/25 11:02:05, Link
Author: Diogenes
Quote (ericmurphy @ July 25 2006,14:38)
Quote (Diogenes @ July 25 2006,14:03)
Uh, that's pretty much the standard christian view.  I'm not aware of anyone that thinks that the translations are inspired by God.  Anyone who even suggests that the copies in the original greek are inspired is in for a rude awakening if they look at the extant copies.

So evidently, there once was a perfect, inerrant version of the Bible, basically authored by God. But now there are only flawed translations. But Dave thinks he can tell which parts of those flawed translations are still inerrant, and which parts aren't. And how does he do this, exactly? By comparing what he reads to some perfect, Platonic ideal of a Bible he has in his head?

Because he sure as shit doesn't compare it to external reality.

It's not that there aren't any perfect translations, it's that there cannot ever be a perfect translation.  This is true for any text.  If you want to know exactly what it says your going to need to read it in the original language, and to get really picky, your going to need to understand the historical usage of the words, and the particular vernacular being used.  Some things just aren't every going to translate well.  Poetry will lose it's meter and rhyme, puns lose their meaning, and euphamisms aren't understood (what exactly was Ruth doing on the threshing room floor?).  Then you get into all kinds of problems when words don't have a direct translation.  Greek has 4 different words that all translate to the english word "love", so how do we differentiate them (or do we).  The old testament has even more problems, because some of the meaning isn't known.  There are words that show up one time in the bible and we have no external knowledge of the word.  The best they can do is either transliterate the word and leave the reader guessing, or they do their best to figure out what the word means in context and fill in a translation.  What do you do with the word "Elohim"?  It's a plural form of the word for god, but used in a singular tense when refer to big G God, and a plural tense when talking about other peoples little g gods.  There are whole books on exactly what that means.

But back to the point, that is, none of this is unique to the bible.  People just take these things much more seriously.  Attacking bible translations for not being authentic isn't particularly useful, because that's a liability of the limitations of language, not anything particular to the text of the bible.  The real problem though is that the modern versions of the bible include a couple of relatively large blocks of text that simple aren't there in the early texts we have available, but these stories have become important enough that people won't remove them from modern translations.  Secondly, we have hundreds of years gaps between the writing and the earliest extant copies of numerous of the books of the bible.  Thirdly, the combination of books that are included in the bible were decided by comittee well after the time of their writing, and not everyone agrees on what should have be included even today (e.g. the Ethopian version of the bible includes the Book of Enoch).  All three of these would seem to be much greater theological trouble than any particular translation quirks of any given translation.

Date: 2006/07/25 14:23:24, Link
Author: Diogenes
skeptic, i'm not sure why you think stating that something is extremely unlikely given our current information equates to dogmatic beliefs.  By way of analagy:

If you ask a sports columnist who will win the NFL MVP this year, you'll get alot of answers.  Most years one of the top 5 or so choices will end up getting the MVP, but every once in awhile someone out of left field will get it.

Now ask the same set of columnists if they think Jeremy Bridges is going to win the MVP?  After seeing the confused looks on peoples faces, and explaining that Jeremy Bridges is the #4 ranked Right OG for the Arizona Cardinals the universal answer to your question will be: No Way in ####.  If you ask why not i'm sure they can give you lots of facts, like that no OG in the history of the NFL has won an MVP, that no Cardinal has ever won an MVP, or that he's 4th on the depth chart and so will barely have a chance to play, let alone shine.  Sure, there is nothing physically preventing Jeremy from putting on the greatest exhibition of atheleticism in the history of man and pulling out that MVP, it's just so highly unlikely as to be laughable.

In the history of the world there have been millions of speciation events.  For every single one a single species has diverged away from other members of the species enough so that they are not able to interbreed.  We have never seen a single instance of two species converging so as to become interbreedable.  In fact, using our current understanding of biology we can successfully predict that the likelyhood of such an event is astronomical, or we can keep it simple and say:  No Way in ####.

Date: 2006/07/26 06:40:39, Link
Author: Diogenes
Maybe someone can help, I've always been confused by this general form of logic.  Given any natural phenomenon, how is it possible for both the following to be true:

1) It is ludicrous to believe that the phenomenon occured by small steps over a very large peroid of time
2) It's completely obvious that the same phenomenon could easily occur in a very short period of time

Date: 2006/07/26 07:11:20, Link
Author: Diogenes
Quote (skeptic @ July 26 2006,07:41)
I would describe myself as an anti-humanist.  I believe that human knowledge is limited by both our sensory perception and our ability to reason.  Also, I include myself in my observation.  I see that my interpretation of the data is heavily influenced by my underlying philosophy.  Science is our attempt to describe what we perceive to be our reality and that may bear no resemblance to Reality.  A good example is Plato's Cave.  We're all chained to the floor watching shadows on the wall and in Plato's example the wise man is the one who stands up and turns around to see the world as it is.  In truth, as I see it, no one ever stands up and turns around because we are chained down by our five senses and our ability to reason.  The wise man is the one who realizes that all we're looking at is shadows on the wall and tries to proceed with that in mind.  I'm very comfortable in what I know, what I've learned and observed and tested, but I'm equally comfortable with the idea that it all may be wrong.  Hense the name, skeptic.

If this is your philosophy you might as well stop posting here.  While completely acceptable as a philosophy it's also completely at odds with naturalism, and by extension a refusal to accept all of science.  If you are unwilling to play inside the science sand box, then most scientists aren't really going to answer you.

Furthermore, let's extend your view of plato's allegory a bit.  If we are truely chained in the cave with no hope of ever leaving, then we cannot ever know anything about the world outside the cave.  In fact, we don't even know that we are in a cave.  Because it's impossible for us to ever know about this Unseen World, then discussions as to what occur there are fairly pointless.  They are unprovable, and even if you found a way to prove them, they exist outside of our reality so they are pointless.  We are then left with the thought that, yes our perceptions may be limited, but they are the only perceptions we have.  In our "world" then, the best we can do is study and understand what is seeable and understandable.

This is the roots of naturalism.  Naturalism doesn't say that the Unseen World does not exist.  It states that we have no proof of the Unseen World, so we are left with 3 possibilities:

1) There is no Unseen World
2) There is an Unseen World, but we cannot ever know anything about it
3) There is an Unseen World, but it is indistinguishable from the Natural World

For all three possibilities we come to the same conclusion: Whether there is an Unseen World or not, it doesn't matter, because it does not effect the perceivable Natural World that we can observe.  This is what allows an Atheist, a Jew, a Chrisitan, a Muslim, and a Buddhist to all conduct an experiment and agree on the results.

Date: 2006/07/27 21:57:40, Link
Author: Diogenes
Since dave is out I guess it's once more into the breach for me.


I have a hard time getting any answers out of Dave... let's try again.


Afdave wrote :
Jesus confirmed the inspiration of the OT and he commissioned the apostles to write the NT.

I asked where Jesus told them to write the NT, and Davey replies with this.

He didn't, it's usually taken as implied though.  Presuming the existence of a good god, one can then presume that god would not want books falsly attributed to him, especially if those books would cause people to stray from his plan.  Therefore, everything in the bible is correct.  See how much easier things are when you don't let facts get in the way.



He didn't use those words.  If you study the NT, you find that Jesus had a definite small group of "apostles."  They even "elected" another one to replace Judas.  In John 16:13, we find "However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. Although we are only given glimpses into this, it is apparent that these apostles were given special authority by Jesus.  Thus the early church only accepted writings as canonical if they were authorized or authored by apostles.  An apostle was one who had a direct commission from Jesus.  Paul received his commission later than the others and the genuineness of his commission was verified by other living apostles.  Contrast this with modern day, self-proclaimed "apostles" whose commission HAS NOT been verified by living apostles who actually lived and walked with Jesus.

So to be clear, Jesus never told them to write the New Testment...

Pretty much


This thing about the Holy Spirit not speaking on it's own authority is a bit freaky eh? So much for the Trinity.

I never quite understood why the trinity was important.  Jesus as god made flesh, Jesus as a portion of god, Jesus as a lesser being than god, they all work pretty much the same IMO.


Let's then continue the discussion. Who wrote the following books.

According to the early church elders the Apostle Matthew was the author.  According to modern textual analysis someone else seems likely.  Matthew is verse by verse 50% compatible with Mark.  The suggestion is that Matthew was written with Luke as a reference (with possible other unknown sources), which would be odd if Matthew wrote it since he was there first hand for the events.



According to 2nd century sources, Mark the disiple of Peter, taken from Peters accounts of the events.  



According to 2nd centry sources, Luke the travel companion of Paul (Luke the Doctor).  It is generally accepted that the author of Luke and the author of Acts are the same person because both books are addressed to the same person, and the style and vocabulary is consisten across both books.  The author of Acts uses "we" when talking about Paul and his companions.



Historical, John the Apostle.  Often thought to have been redacted (possibley more than once).  If the late dating of the book is correct then John would likely not be the author.  Also claims that anacronistic portions of text indicate that the author did not have 1st hand knowledge of the events.


If you could also tell us WHEN they were written, added bonus points to you. (Ps, you need some, you have none).

Matthew: Religious view (destruction of the temple is prophesized) 60-65 C.E, Secular view 80-100 C.E.
Mark: Religious view (destruction of temple is prophesized) 60-70 C.E, Secular view 60-80 C.E.
Luke: 50-100 C.E.
John: Religious view 50-70 C.E., Secular view 95-100 C.E.


And I think you missed the questions I have now asked you twice.

Questions about the resurection of Jesus (or the SUPPOSED resurection) :
1) How many angel/s was/were at the tomb.

1 (Matthew, Mark) or 2 (Luke, John)


2) Were they inside or outside of the tomb when the first people arrived

Inside (Mark, Luke), Outside (Matthew) or Neither (John has the angel appearing later after Mary fetched the apostles and they left)


3) Who was the first people to arrive at the tomb?

Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James (Matthew) or
Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salmoe (Mark) or
Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, Joanna, and other women (Luke) or
Mary Magdalene (John)


Come on Bible-Scholar-Davey. Easy peasy!

Indeed, all those years of bible bowl are finally good for something.

Date: 2006/07/28 06:57:11, Link
Author: Diogenes
I came late to the party so I'm a bit confused as too the history of this thread, but why exactly are we talking about rock formations?  Let's say that dave is correct (rock formations and massive tectonic activity is possible in a matter of days, all caused by catastrophic events, most likely a flood).  Now, how do we know these events happened 4500 years ago and not 45 million years ago?  If you want to prove a young earth don't you need to start with the dating methods that show an old earth?

Date: 2006/07/30 09:36:07, Link
Author: Diogenes
Quote (skeptic @ July 29 2006,10:31)
First, I want to go back and respond to Diogenes.  There is another possibility, the one that I personally subscribe to.  There can be an acknowledgement that what we can see, feel and measure is a manifestation of Reality even though we can not directly measure that Reality.  Our reality represents a puzzle and the trick would be to try visualize all the possible Realities that would result in our reality.  As with the three examples you gave, there is no practical difference between these viewpoints but it does offer one advantage and that is in the state of mind of the observer.  Given this perspective the observer can accept drastic upheavals in descriptions of our reality as they inevitably arise through acquisition of knowledge.  I know this flys in the face of positivist thinking but I feel this provides a more nimble philosophy to work from.
[snipping comments to other people]

The definition of skeptism is disbelief until shown supporting evidence, which makes you belief in unknown realities somewhat contradictory.  Could other realities exist? Of course.  Is their any evidence they exist? Not much really.  Furthermore, the reason that supernaturalism is exlcuded from science is that it has no value.  Science is a filter that helps keep out the junk.  It's also a system designed to check itself for mistakes.  As such it's been a very successful system.  The entire history of mankind has been the chronicle of knowledge moving out of the domain of the supernatural and into the domain of the natural.  Your alternative view of the world has some large shoes to fill if you expect to use it as an alternative to science.  Your system is more flexible?  I guess if you remove all constraints a system because more flexible, it also becomes mostly worthless.

Date: 2006/08/02 19:22:54, Link
Author: Diogenes
Quote (skeptic @ Aug. 02 2006,22:58)
I feel my ears burning.  Actually I'm somewhat surprised as I've spent the past hour and a half looking up something that I thought was well defined.  Random mutation, shocked aren't you?  Anyway, I thought I was beginning to see a difference in the usage of the term on these posts so I thought we should clarify it.  I've been through four text books and numerous websites with no real resolution.  Either random is used and never defined or accompanied by various synonyms like "accidental", "unpredictable", or "spontaneous".  Lets throw this out to the group, what do you guys mean when you say random mutation?  I'm now very interested to see what we come up with.

We could also just drop the word random and call it mutation.  That's how it's usually talked about anyway.  For example the wiki for mutation ( doesn't use the word random or undirected in the definition at all.  If you want a list of what people mean when they say random mutation, here's my assessment:

1) Random with respect to selection - That is that mutations aren't inherinatly postive/negative/neutral, it's the environment that determines if the mutation is selected for or against.
2) Random, as in unguided - That is that mutations aren't part of a mechanism to move the evolution of a creature in a specific direction
3) Random, in a bad way - Often used by creationists as part of the "Really Big Scary Numbers" theory, that is how can positive effects come from random processes

Date: 2006/08/03 06:13:14, Link
Author: Diogenes
Quote (skeptic @ Aug. 03 2006,08:17)
Eric, I would disagree with unpredictable and say that is just a limitation of understanding and technology.  As far as undirected, that is a problematic description.  Exactly what do we mean by directed (or undirected).  From my perspective I can say that mutation is directed by the environment, a reaction to stimulus.  This is not the same as directed by a higher power but the recognition of cause and effect is still there.  I've discussed my view on this but I'll go there it one more time in detail when I get a chance today.

While this game of semantic dodgeball is fun and all, it's not really on topic.  You say that from your perspective that mutations are caused by the environment, a product of stimuli.  Well given that that's a scientific fact at least we are playing in the same sandbox now.  For some reason you decided to then use the exact opposite word (directed) to describe this relationship than every other human on earth.  This is likely were the confusion is coming from.  

I'll repeat my previous suggestion, that we drop all the adjectives and just call them mutations.

Date: 2006/08/03 20:54:16, Link
Author: Diogenes
skeptic, by my understanding you aren't at this point saying much that isn't part of our existing understanding of mutations, although I think you are trivializing the difficulty of correctly predicting mutations by a couple of orders of magnitude.  Mutations are random in the same way that dice or cards are random.  That is they have completely known causes of variation, but those causes are too difficult to quantify the effect of to properly predict the outcome of any given roll of the dice.  So yes, there are environmental causes that have mutational effects, and yes some portions of the genome mutate at higher rates than others, and yes some types of mutations are more common.  Taken together we could do some statistical analysis and learn some things, but we don't have the ability, nor are we likely any time in forseable future, to predict which mutations will occur, and what the phenotypical effects of those mutations would be.

Date: 2006/08/04 13:34:08, Link
Author: Diogenes
Being a man of humble intelligence and very little knowledge of geology I find these discussion immensely useful.  I've been keeping track in a little notebook of who I think is winning the debate, and with the return of AFDave, now seems the perfect time to publish the results.

Predictive Power of the Theory
Scientists: Have theory that explains folds in the earth's crust
Creationists: Have theory that explains folds in the earth's crust
Winner: I have no idea which of these is more correct, so I call it a tie

Scientists: The entire scientific community
Creationists: The entire evangelical community
Winner: Given the resulsts of last two elections, I'd say Creationists win this one

Scientists: White lab coats
Creationists: Large variety of costumes, clergy are particularly well known for their exotic plumage.  Also I heard some turks are creationists and my recollection from HS history was that they tend to wear funny hats and pointy shoes
Winner: Narrow victory to scientists.  While creationists have alot of good costumes they are restricted to a fairly small subset of the believers.  Most of them seem to be just phoning it in at this point, with the suit and tie style.

Source Material
Scientists: Exceedingly boring papers written so as to be almost incomprehensible to normal people.  Way too many papers don't include any mention of dinosaurs
Creationists: Lots of interesting stories that cover a large number of themes: Talking animals, wrath of god, sex, dragons, excrement humor, unicorns, fire-breathing sea monsters, lists of those funny laws that were real at one point, magic, violence, golden hemorrhoids, zombies, demons, human/angel hybrids, giants, penis poetry, and finally, the four horsemen of the apocalypse
Winner:  Creationists by a landslide.  Inclusion of more dinosaurs would have made it better but even the most mind numbing portions of the bible don't hold a candle to the average peer reviewed paper.

Final Scorecard
Creationists win 17-4.  Congratulations AFDave and the faithful hordes of  his lurking supporters.

Date: 2006/08/09 12:17:39, Link
Author: Diogenes
Guys, we need to talk.  While I understand that during a heated debate over the internet getting your points across can be difficult.  So to accentuats points many of you have taken to using excessive use of bold, capitilization, and italics.  While this is often used to good effect, there should be a threshold of it's usage compared to the non-accentuated characters.  To help everyone out I've devised a mathematical evaulation that can used on text to verify that you have not gone beyond the limits of acceptability.

I call it the Information Disarray/Information Order Threshold.  We can shorten that to ID/IOT.  Actually, that / looks completely out of place, let's just call it IDIOT for simplicity sake.  The formula is easy enough, you simply take the count of the number of accented characters and divide it by the total number of characters, and represent the results as a percentage score (not counting quoted material).  Note that if a character is accentuated in multiple ways it counts for each different accentuation.  So for an example let's look at Dave's latest post:


JonF ...

Ha!  That's what I thought.  There isn't a single one of you that even KNOWS (well, possibly Deadman ... we'll see when he checks in) how they determine the age of those layers.

All you can do is send me off to some references which you HOPE will explain it.  

What will I find if I go read those references?

I will most likely find ...

The rocks are dated by the index fossils in them and ... The fossils are dated by the rocks which contain them ... CLASSIC CIRCULARITY

And the funny thing is ... you guys don't even realize you are arguing in a circle.

The above contains 571 total characters, 135 of them are bolded, 27 of them are unnecessarily capitilized.  This gives Dave and a 27% IDIOT score.  Doing a bit of research I think it's safe to presume that a 10% IDIOT is about the most that normal people can stand.  Note that because any individual character can be accentuated in multiple ways there are people that can have over 100% IDIOT scores, but that's just to much IDIOT for me to deal with.

Date: 2006/08/10 06:24:57, Link
Author: Diogenes
Quote (afdave @ Aug. 10 2006,10:56)
[massive snippage]
So what you are doing is assuming that the appearance of a 500my RM date on Rock A really means the rock is actually that old. (a big assumption)

Oh, it makes sense now, I finally understand.  Dave doesn't believe in facts.  It's simple really, just because you gather data, make measurements, and draw conclusions from that data doesn't mean that any of it is correct.  Regardless of the method he would be equally skeptical of the measurements.  Please for the love of god no one mention a tape measurere to him, he may go fit about the evils of secularist measurement systems.

Date: 2006/08/11 07:38:59, Link
Author: Diogenes
Dave, I'm not quite sure I understand on your position regarding radiometric dating methods.  The usual position I hear is that there was a massively increase in radioactive decay rates during the flood.  If that is true then radioametric dating would still be useful to date sediment relatively, just not absolutely.  Your position seems to be more that radiometric dating is not useful at all for dating.  If that is the case then do you think the radiometric dating results are effectively random?

Date: 2006/08/11 11:04:27, Link
Author: Diogenes
Quote (afdave @ Aug. 11 2006,13:18)
[snipping pictures I don't know anything about, and my previous comments]
My position currently is that radioactive decay HAS occurred.  However, I am not at all convinced that all dates are concordant and have not had time to investigate this myself with the labs.  What I am also not convinced of is that the apparent RM dates represent the actual ages of the strata.  I am a catastrophist due to the evidence I have seen and I am not convinced that there was not an event of accelerated nuclear decay during the Creation Week or during the Flood or both.

The event would have to occur during the flood to explain the dating of the geologic column layed down by the flood.  You wouldn't need any increased decay rate during the creation if you envoke Appearence of Age (Appearence of Age really does cure all ills, you should use it more often).  

If radiometric dates weren't reliable at all then you wouldn't see the neatly sequential dates withing the geologic colomn, and on the ocean floor, they would just be scattered chaotically instead.  Also, radioactive elements with shorter half lives can be tested in real time, so you know that radiometric dating works in theory.  From this isn't the only rational stance that radiometric dating is valid as a means of dating objects?  Furthermore does that not leave an increase in radioactive decay rates as the only rational way to merge scientific understanding with the Bible?

[Fair Warning: Diogenes is an ignorant laymen, all comments should be taken as possibly false until someone more intelligent comes along and corrects it.  This is pretty much true of everything Diogenes may say on all possible topics.]

Date: 2006/08/11 11:41:10, Link
Author: Diogenes
Quote (afdave @ Aug. 11 2006,16:12)
If radiometric dates weren't reliable at all then you wouldn't see the neatly sequential dates withing the geologic colomn, and on the ocean floor, they would just be scattered chaotically instead.  Also, radioactive elements with shorter half lives can be tested in real time, so you know that radiometric dating works in theory.  From this isn't the only rational stance that radiometric dating is valid as a means of dating objects?
Yes, except for the numerous other indicators that the earth is young ...

(enumerated many times before on this thread)

This requires to investigate more deeply than we otherwise would.

[snipping comments to steve]

We seem to be misunderstanding each other.  If we presume a young earth (based on other scientific evidence, or based soley on the bible, it doesn't matter which), then we still need to explain radiometric dating.  Since all evidence seems to indicate that radiometric dating is valid for short durations of time, and there is no evidence that it doesn't continue this validity back into prehistory, then the only valid explanation that is supported by the bible (as far as I can tell) is that radioactive elements decayed at a different rate previously.  Given that the biblical time frame is much shorter than the geological time frame, then at some point in the past the radioactive decay rate must have been much much faster.    Since dating of near term events is so accurate, and because the entire geological column was deposited by the flood, and the radiometric dates for geological column very so much throughout it's depth, it seems logical that the increase occured during the flood.  Since the oldest dated rocks are around 3 billion years old, and the flood occured 4500 years ago, we should be able to surmise that during the period of the flood the radioactive decay rate was approximately 6 orders of magnitude greater than current decay rate.  I don't see any other solution except the one I outlined above, do you disagree?  I would be interested in hearing any other theories.

Date: 2006/08/15 08:03:55, Link
Author: Diogenes
Dave, want to play a game of pretend?  Let's pretend we are scientists today (luckily I have my labcoat under my desk at work and have grown accustomed to the looks my coworkers give me when I wear it).  So let's propopse a hypothesis, taken from your latest post.

Hypothesis: Do to many conditions (e.g. containmation over time and during testing, variability of initial concentrations) all forms of radiometric dating have such large margins of error such that the end dating results are effectively useless for absolute or relative dating.

That looks pretty good, we've got a hypothesis now.  Now that we have a hypothesis what do scientists do next....I guess we'll need to make some sort of prediction so our hypothesis is falsifiable and therefore a valid hypothesis.  

Prediction: Given that radiometric dating methods are highly unreliable then their values should differ from those of other dating methods.  Furthermore in the geologic column we should see differences in dating within the same layer at different locations, and we should see layers out of sync with each other such that many layers appear above layers that are dating as younger than themselves.

Woohoo, we're cooking now, we've got a falsifiable prediction.  Now on to data collection.

Data Collection: Radiometric dating methods correlate to Dendrochronology, Ice Core, Lake Varves dating methods.  Layers date to the same time period with different radiometric dating methods, from different scientists at different locations.  The dates of the layers of the geological column align in a succession of dates that descend as you get deeper.

Now we compare the data we collected to our predicted results and get....

Conclusion: Data does not match prediction, therefore the hypothesis is false.

Hmmm....that didn't work out right, maybe I got something wrong.  Maybe you could put up your own hypothesis and prediction for radiometric dating and show that matches the results we see in nature, because I surely can't.

Date: 2006/08/17 10:46:59, Link
Author: Diogenes
Quote (JonF @ Aug. 17 2006,15:29)
Yeah.  There's EVERYTHING wrong with it.  How can you say RM dating is objective if you only select the dates that correspond to your theory?  In this case Evolutionary theory?

First you need to establish, with data, that anyone "only selects the dates that correspond to your theory".  So far you're just blowing smoke.  The KBS Tuff is evidence against your claim.  No date was discarded without objective, verified, and replicated reasons; and the reasons were explicitly stated.

I think dave is just extending to science the same considerations he would to creationists.  That is, that there is no problem with after the fact justifications and jury rigging to fit reality into the mold of the world view you have chosen.

Date: 2006/08/30 08:11:59, Link
Author: Diogenes
Quote (BWE @ Aug. 30 2006,12:58)
New ones?

Well the watchmaker analogy is over 2000 years old, so i'm guessing just about any idea where be new by comparison.

Date: 2006/08/30 09:04:05, Link
Author: Diogenes
Quote (afdave @ Aug. 30 2006,13:18)
Well the watchmaker analogy is over 2000 years old, so i'm guessing just about any idea where be new by comparison.
OK. So why don't you guys get it yet?

Probably the same reason we don't get that seizures are caused by unclean spirits.

Date: 2006/08/30 09:21:04, Link
Author: Diogenes
For those less familar with the more mundane elements of christianity, the position of Deacon isn't the glitz and glamer position (that's Elder).  Deacons are mostly concerned with the physical care of the church, and have fairly limited scopes of ownership.  This isn't to belittle the position, it is sign of respect to the individual, and a stepping stone to becoming an Elder, but for large scale money issues, that responsibility rests with the Elders.  So even if there were impropriety, more than likely Dave wouldn't have had much knowledge of it.

Furthermore, while alledged frauds may be useful in questioning the honesty of a person, Dave really isn't saying much that isn't repeated by countless other creationists, so it's more useful to refute claims based on science than on the character of the person making the claim.

I'll stop the sermonizing now, back to the wheel of random science discussions.

Date: 2006/08/31 06:16:20, Link
Author: Diogenes
Quote (BWE @ Aug. 30 2006,23:43)
That's because your an idiot.

turns out revelations is a political tract regarding nero.

fundies. can't live with 'em, can't feed 'em to the lions anymore.

Many branches of Christianity have for long believed that Revelations is allegorical, or more correctly, that apocalyptical literature is it's own genre and should be interpreted through that lens.  If you've ever read the book from front to back you'll notice alot of repitious numbers popping up over and over again.  As was explained to me growing up, 7 is the number of god, a symbol of completeness.  6 is 1 short of 7, meaning it is that which is not quite god.  3 is a symbol of the trinity.  So while 777 would be Gods number, the devils number is 666.  Another example is the 144,000 that are taken to heaven.  12 is the number of Isreal (for the twelve tribes), 12 x 12 is 144, which means not just Isreal will go to heaven, but the whole world, and 1000 just means a multitude.  Decoded that means heaven is a place for the masses of the world, not just jewish converts.  Now do this with the hundreds of numbers throughout the book and you get.....a quite confusing story.  The one I was taught did in fact included Nero, but was more about Domitian.  Nero was a lazy bigot, he used Christians as a scapegoat, and killed them to appease the masses, but Domitian was not a nice fellow.  He's the one that hung Christians doused in tar on poles, and lit them on fire as street lamps.  John (the historical author of Revelations) was exiled on Patmos by Domitian.  So he wrote a book about how the Christians had previously provailed against Nero, and would eventually prevail against Domitian.  That was probably a bit dangerous to say straight out, especially given that John was already a known disenter in exhile, so he uses the apocalyptic style of writing to mask what he's saying, and hopes that the 7 churches get the message.  You may see now why many Christian prefer the 4 horsemen, dragons and trumpets version instead, because reading it allegorically may give you a headache.

And on to my personal pet peeve about the word fundamentalist.  It sure got stuck with alot of negative conotations, and now is a catchall term for crazy religious people.  Fundamentalism is any religious belief that rejects establish dogma outside of the primary source.  Basically, the Bible is the sole source of the word of God, screw what the pope/church tradition says.  While fundamentalists believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God, that doesn't mean they treat the entire thing litterally.  The Bible includes poetry, proverbs, and parables, that no one thinks are litteral.  As I mentioned above, there are fundamentalists that believe that Revelations is allegorical (in fact almost all christians now believe it's allegorical, the difference is in whether it's talking allegorically about a future event or a past event), and more importantly to this audience, there are fundamentalists that believe that the creation story is allegorical (I don't know of any churches that believe Job is allegorical, but it seems to fit the mold as well).  Basically, for this forum, the term YEC is probably the most appropriate, since that embodies the specific beliefs that are in conflict with science.

And so ends another edition of Diogenes' Bible Stories for Atheists.

Date: 2006/08/31 11:11:50, Link
Author: Diogenes
Oh no, I have been brutally savaged by Ichthyic in broad daylight and I found no good souls to save me, what is the world coming to?

Date: 2006/08/31 11:29:05, Link
Author: Diogenes
How about the one were Ichthyic throws a tantrum because he apparently misread what someone was saying?  Nah, that's a boring one.

Will you get upset if I tell you that as a child I was also told that camel humps are full of water and that columbus proved the world was round?

Date: 2006/08/31 12:48:39, Link
Author: Diogenes
Apology accepted.  It's not your fault that you misunderstood what I was saying, my rambling stream of consciousness style can be quite confusing.  You see, in the second paragraph where I was ranting about the unfortunate fate of the word fundamentalist I was ranting against society as a whole, not the members of this forum.  It went from a perfectly fine descriptive term to a generic slur, oh well (You seem to be political, so surely you've seen it used in this fashion, does it help that I lament that the same has happened to the words liberal and secular?).  

The suggest to use the term YEC was a ... well .... suggestion.  Feel free to disregard it, it just happens to be an approiate moniker, while fundamentalist is not.

Furthermore, since when did atheist become a bad word around here?  If you checked on religion poll awhile back the majority of the posters here are atheists.  So I wrote a story about the bible to a forum composed mostly of atheists, and I choose what seemed like an appropriate title.

Regardless, I've decided to add a smiley face to the end of all my post, thereby avoiding Poe's Law in the future.


Date: 2006/09/01 06:57:11, Link
Author: Diogenes
Quote (Steverino @ Sep. 01 2006,11:19)

Why all the need for a flood in the first place?  I mean, if God is all knowing, all powerull and created the universe in 6 days...why the flood???

Why not just declare it a "do-over" snap his fingers, and have it all start again???

I mean, God must be logical so, it only stand to reason the he would have just done it that way.

Because Nephilim are hard to kill.

Date: 2006/09/01 07:57:08, Link
Author: Diogenes
Dave, how about we forget about the Why for now and get back on the subject of the How.  Also, you talked alot about looking at the evidence and that is how you built your faith, think you could go over some evidence that points towards a god as outlined in the Bible?  Bonus points if you can concurrently explain why there are so many other religions that seem to belief equally as strongly that they are correct.

I know you've got alot of questions in the backlog (it's got to be hard to be the lone supporter of cause here, so some leeway is in order), but could you add these to the end of the queue:

1) Give a possible reason for why God would allow his holy book to be fragmented and lost to such a degree that we cannot now be certain of the fidelity of the individual books, and furthermore why we were given no guidance on which of the large number of texts were inspired and which were not.
2) Give a possible reason for why God would write his holy book in such a manner so that it can be misinterpreted to match a plethora of different beliefs, and from that spawn 100's of different sects of christianity, some with highly divergant beliefs.  How is it fair to a modern individual that even if they choose Christianity they have to play Eternal Soul Bingo with the Bible to try to figure out what everything means and what's actual expected of him/her (it seems the old testement Big Book O' Laws style is more helpful)?

P.S. Keep up the good work.

Date: 2006/09/01 12:26:22, Link
Author: Diogenes
Quote (Russell @ Sep. 01 2006,17:18)
Steverino hits the nail on the head when he writes:  
You [afdave] have yourself convinced that you have refuted the work of thousands of scientist much smarter than you or I with your misunderstandings.
This is where the arrogance of the creationist belies the alleged humility of the alleged christian.

Woah there cowboy.  Are you saying that single sentence platitudes that a 9 year old can understand aren't enough to disprove a scientific theory with 150 years of verfication that provides the backbone for hundreds of thousands of scientists' work?  Because that's just elitist snobbery.

Date: 2006/09/05 08:49:39, Link
Author: Diogenes
Quote (afdave @ Sep. 04 2006,06:42)
[sniping all the science]
9) You were shown how the Genesis Record is not an oral tradition, but is in reality a carefully written, eye-witness account and predates the Gilgamesh Epic and other heathen distortions.

I may be misreading what you wrote here, but are you saying that Genesis was written at the time of the events it covers?  Jewish tradition has always been that the Torah was written by Moses, and the events that predate him were told to him by God.  If your "eyewitness" in this statement is suppose to be God, ok, but are you saying that every portion of Genesis was written down by a human alive at the time of the writing, and passed down until the days of Moses?

Date: 2006/09/05 11:13:27, Link
Author: Diogenes
Quote (deadman_932 @ Sep. 05 2006,14:14)
Dave's "sub-hypothesis" from the first page on this thread:

K. The record of these events (except the Ice Age) was dictated to selected individuals such as Adam and Seth and their descendants and carefully recorded on stone tablets, then passed down to successive generations.  Moses eventually received these stone tablets (or copies of them) and composed the book we now call Genesis by compiling these records into one written document.  He then composed his own written record of the events of his own lifetime, resulting in the complete Pentateuch.

AirHeadDave thinks that not only did god dictate the events of genesis prior to Adam...TO Adam, but God also gave Adam a metal tool to carve His/Her "dictation" into stone. This means the earliest known profession -- contrary to the wild speculation of evilutionists -- is actually "secretary." Furthermore, after Adam died, others were brought in from the secretarial pool to carry on this venerable tradition, as scribes that wandered about recording each event as it occurred. This is why the Bible is so perfect and flawless, except for those bits we won't talk about. Besides, it's a mystery and who are you to question Dave?...I mean God?

Ok Dave, where on earth did you get any evidence of this what so ever?  What's your explanation why the Jewish tradition has always stated that Moses wrote the Torah?  Did you find some new evidence that they didn't have available?  And why would an fallible human eye witness be a better source than the litteral word of God passed directly to Moses?

Date: 2006/09/05 20:12:08, Link
Author: Diogenes
Quote (Ichthyic @ Sep. 06 2006,00:41)
should we take bets on the outcome?

I'll take Harris plus 15%.

any takers?

Does that mean Harris winning by 15% or losing by 15%?  Either way I'll take the under.  The last poll had her losing 60-25.  She's on her 4th or 5th staff (having either mass depatures or mass firings of the previous 4).  The state party asked her multiple times to step down for the sake of the party and she has refused.  Every time she opens her mouth she says something idiotic.  

Stanger things have happeneds, but this one looks not even close.

Date: 2006/09/06 07:12:01, Link
Author: Diogenes
She spent $6 million on the primary while her 3 competitors spent $1 million combined.  That coupled with name recognition allowed her to pull just over 50% of the primary vote, not exactly a staggering victory.  Now that she's won she's got a whole other boatload of problems.  Her cash on hand is down to $2 million, while Nelson has $12 million.  She isn't a very good fundraiser, a big chunk of the money she spent was from her personal fortune.  The NRSC has only about half the cash on hand of the DSCC, and with quite a few important senate races this year there is no way in #### they are dumping money into this fools errand.  Add to this a moderate competitor, allegations of corruption, and the high turnover rate of her staff and things don't look good.  The only reason anyone even reports on this race is because of Harris' infamy.

Date: 2006/09/06 07:52:55, Link
Author: Diogenes
Republicans spend more money because they raise more money.  Republicans in recent history have completely crushed Dems in money raising.  This year is different in that at least it's competitive.  The DSCC and the DCCC both outraised their counterparts, and lead on cash on hand, but the DNC has less than a quarter of the cash on hand of the RNC.  In total the Republicans have a $91 million to $80 million advantage in cash on hand (as of last quarter).

Date: 2006/09/08 14:20:58, Link
Author: Diogenes
Quote (afdave @ Sep. 08 2006,18:43)
How did Noah manage to carry millions of animals in his arch, since marco-evo never happened?
I suppose you mean macro-evo?  I think you are confused.  Noah did not have to carry millions of animals on the ark because micro-evolution does indeed occur and many varieties of animals would have developed after the Flood from just a single pair.  The reason he had to carry 35,000 (Morris/Whitcomb's guess) is because macro-evo has never happened and never will happen.  If macro-evo was possible, there would be no need for an ark to preserve distinct kinds.


Random questions that just popped into my head:

How many of the 35k were beetles?
For there to be a single pair of creatures for each Kind to microevolve into all the creatures we see today then your definition of microevolution includes speciation and large scale functional change to body plan and organs, correct?
How fast did the microevolution occur, did it happen directly after (during?) the flood in a short period of time, or is it an on going process?
Why do we not see large scale microevolution at a similar rate today?
Did the large scale microevolution occur by naturalistic process (random mutation + natural selection + genetic drift) or was there alot of miracling going on?
What is your definition of macroevolution?

Date: 2006/09/14 07:15:25, Link
Author: Diogenes
How could one know that 666 or 616 is in the autograph of Revelation?  Simple, we just use a little evolutionary biology.  The same thought processes that allow us to build cladograms of species let's textual critics build cladograms of changes in the biblical text.  Now Revelation is the lest well represented book of the bible.  The sources are so thin that when Erasmus, working in the 16th century, was compiling the Textus Receptus (which became the source for the King James Bible), he had no manuscript that contained the ending to Revelation, so he had to backtranslate the ending from Latin into Greek (that's a flame war for a different board though).  So think of Revelations as a Family with a sparse fossil record.  There are three large branches (we could consider each a Genus) of the text, Byzantine, Alexandrian, and Vulgate (latin, which would usually exclude it from these kind of discussions, but it's about a number so it seems valid).  All 3 disagree about numerous things, but they all have 666 as the number of the beast.  

So, to bring it back around to the biology example, we have fine a new fossil.  It dates from around the time when the 3 Genus would have a common ancestor (but in a grey area), but it has a feature that is not common to any of the future texts.  How do we know if the feature is an evolutionary parent or cousin?

Furthmore we have the second century writings of Irenaeus that mention both the 616 and 666 versions (he thought the 616 was in error).  This would be akin to finding more fossil evidence, suggesting that both versions were alive at the same time.  My understanding is this would usually be enough to swing the varient in the cousin category most likely (or if it is a parent "species" it "mutated" very early on).

Regardless, there are more errors in our various versions of the Bible than there are words in the Bible.  This example isn't even a very good one (IMO).  If people hadn't of latched on to the number symbolically no one would even care that there is a 2nd century scrap of Revelations with a different number on it.

Date: 2006/09/14 07:24:17, Link
Author: Diogenes
And what logo are you guys looking at?  I see one with 2 circles and 5 lines.  If you count those as 6's then there are either 2 of them or 5 of them.  I don't see 3 of anything in the logo.

Date: 2006/09/15 07:32:19, Link
Author: Diogenes
Dave, your belief that the genesis account was a written record passed down through time, is that a common belief of Southern Baptists?  I've never heard of it before, and can't find any information about it online.  The long held jewish tradition is that Moses himself wrote the Torah, after receiving the information directly from God, what evidence do we have that they are incorrect?

Date: 2006/09/15 07:38:03, Link
Author: Diogenes
Quote (Stephen Elliott @ Sep. 15 2006,12:23)
Quote (afdave @ Sep. 15 2006,10:22)
Hundreds? No foolin, Dave. Wanna list them?

And remember, modern people like David Limbaugh don't count.

And if America was founded to be a 'Christian nation', why are Christianity or Jesus never mentioned in the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution? Seems an awfully careless way to establish a Christian theocracy.
Yes. Hundreds.  Go read a book by David Barton to get you started.

And if America was founded to be a 'Christian nation', why are Christianity or Jesus never mentioned in the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution? Seems an awfully careless way to establish a Christian theocracy.
I did not say Christian theocracy.  Have you ever read the Declaration?  It mentions the "laws of nature and of nature's God," affirms that "men are created equal," that they are endowed by their "Creator" with unalienable rights and rely on "Divine Providence."  

My bolding


Could anyone explain simply how this was held wrt slavery in the USA?

That one is easy.

Ephesians 6:5-9

5Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. 6Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. 7Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, 8because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free.
9And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.

Date: 2006/09/26 08:42:20, Link
Author: Diogenes
Well I think some of you are being a bit hard on Dave.  I think he's right about taking the Bible as a record of actual events.  I would think most of us could agree that the Bible is as accurate, and should be treated as literally as we treat the Avesta, the I Ching, the Rigveda, or the Pali Canon.

Date: 2006/09/28 08:42:35, Link
Author: Diogenes
Quote (afdave @ Sep. 27 2006,07:29)
[massive snippage]
Thanks.  And I'll say it again and again.  It stands as the dumbest things in modern science that people can go all the way through 8 years of school and get PhD's in geology and yet NOT understand that "massive quantities of water-laid sedimentary rock got laid down by massive quantities of water,"  (The second dumbest thing is that people like Steve Story say people like me are dumb for pointing this out.  Oh well!;)

For me, this pretty much sums up the entire debate.  Dave is of the belief that the hundreds of thousands of scientists in the world, in Geology, Astronomy, Physics, and Biology, from different countries, different backgrounds, and different religions, all to a man are either liars or idiots.  

Furthmore he is of the belief that a laymen armed with a Bible in one hand and the Encyclopedia Brittanica in the other can easily with a single picture, or a quick phrase destroy the founding principles of a branch of science, even when competing against experts in the individual fields who have dedicated their lives to understanding the field, and can do so for all the branches of science.  The fact that he often asks for help understanding a principle before he rhetorically rapes that principle is not a problem apparently.

Everyone else that posts on this thread appears to disagree with Dave.  Given the rather large chasm between the view of reality between the two parties, I'd guess the odds are against either changing the mind of the other.

Date: 2006/09/29 10:46:57, Link
Author: Diogenes
Bob the Biologist: Hey Rob, could I get you to do a favor for me?
Rob the Geologist: Sure Bob, what do you need?
Bob the Biologist: Well you know that stupid make belief  evolution story that we invented back 150 years ago?
Rob the Geologist: Sure do.
Bob the Biologist: Well, at this point we're pretty much stuck with it, I mean who wants to admit we've been full of crap for the last 150 years.  We've got alot of holes to patch and I was hoping you could help with this one.  We need the earth to be old, very old in fact, for evolution to even have a prayer.  Anything you could do to date rock formations back a few billion years?
Rob the Geologist: Well sounds good to me, even though it's obvious to all of us that the God of the Bible created the world we hate him and want to trick his followers.  Previously we've just been making numbers up at random for different layers, but I guess some sort of consistency would be good.
Bob the Biologist: Excellent.  So just talk to the archeologists any time you are going to date a sample to make sure which bones they want to use in a layer and which they are throwing away.  Don't worry I already talked to the Guild of Archeologists and they are fine with using our timeline.  We're going to use 6 MYA for the split with chimpanzees *laugh*.  Sorry, I always chuckle when I think about how stupid that idea is, anyone that knows anatomy can easily see why chimpanzees and humans are not related at all.
Rob the Geologist: Well, we still have a problem.  As I told you we just make the dates up right now.  Pretty soon those hyper-intelligent religious people are going to catch on.  Don't worry though, I have a plan.  Hey Todd, could you come over here!
Todd the Physicist: Hey Rob, what's up?
Rob the Geologist: Congratulations on getting funding for that radiometric dating scam you've been running.
Todd the Physicist: Thanks, but it's not hard when all scientists are in collusion to defraud the government.
Rob the Geologist: I've been talking with Bob and we want to use your dating method *laugh* to prove *laugh* that the earth is older than 6000 years.
Todd the Physicist: Well good, because I've got some Big Bang buddies that need an old universe, so they'd love to start with an old earth.
Bob the Biologist: Todd, make sure that the numbers aren't exact, add some randomness and make sure you add those little error bars so it doesn't look like we're just making this stuff up.
Todd the Physicist: I'm a scientist Bob, of course I know how to fake data.  I mean that's all we really do all day.  I'm sure we'll get those Christians this time.  Praise Satan!
All Together: Praise Satan!

Date: 2006/10/02 11:30:30, Link
Author: Diogenes

Because a sense of scale may help.

Date: 2006/10/03 05:44:18, Link
Author: Diogenes
Quote (oldmanintheskydidntdoit @ Oct. 03 2006,02:58)
When does the earth become 6001 years old Dave? If you can *prove* it's 6000, presumably your error margin is less then a year? So WHAT DATE DOES THE EARTH BECOME 6001 years old Dave?

The earth was created on October 23, 4004 B.C.E.  That means we're just about to complete year 6010.  "6000 years old" is an approximation.

Date: 2006/10/03 06:24:20, Link
Author: Diogenes
Quote (Arden Chatfield @ Oct. 03 2006,10:56)
Quote (Diogenes @ Oct. 03 2006,10:44)
Quote (oldmanintheskydidntdoit @ Oct. 03 2006,02:58)
When does the earth become 6001 years old Dave? If you can *prove* it's 6000, presumably your error margin is less then a year? So WHAT DATE DOES THE EARTH BECOME 6001 years old Dave?

The earth was created on October 23, 4004 B.C.E.  That means we're just about to complete year 6010.  "6000 years old" is an approximation.

Then why don't fundamentalists celebrate 'Earth Day' every October 23rd?

Maybe they are using Lightfoots chronology which places it on Sept. 12th (or October 22 or October 25) 3929 B.C.E. or Scaliger's Jan. 1, 4713 BC, or mabye one of the hundreds of other such dates.

Date: 2006/10/03 07:53:10, Link
Author: Diogenes
Dave, who is more closely related to your cousins, you or your brother?  If you look more like your grandfather than your brother does, what affect does that have?

Same question, but back a generation, who is more closely related to your great uncles grandchildren, you or your cousin?

Same question, but back many generation, who is more closely related to modern bacteria, humans or fish?

Date: 2006/10/03 12:52:40, Link
Author: Diogenes
Quote (BWE @ Oct. 03 2006,16:51)
Dammit, I work so hard on my beautiful graphic, improvius goes to all the work of making it work for me and no one even says yay or boo. I am not going into computer graphics now and it is all your faults.

Also, there is a different mutation rate when you are dealing with sexual selection as opposed to cloning.

Well, I wasn't going to say anything, but since you asked, I think it sucks.  

Firstly, notice that after the flood both the lines that denote animals and plants continue at their current size for quite some period of time.  This is patently ridiculous.  While an exponetial growth situation makes sense, we've only got 4500 years to go from 1 beetle kind to the 5-8 million beetle species currently estimated, so we better start that massive speciation immediately after the flood (also we need dogs to become dingos and hop on future australia before it departs for it's current location, and that happens really soon after the flood).  

Secondly, you need the branching to stop at some point before the modern day to explain the lack of massive speciation in modern times.  I suggest using November 23, 1859 as the date when it stopped, after that the lines should all be perfectly straight and horizontal.  

Thirdly, why do the animal  and plant curve back at the edges.  Are you suggesting that animals can go backwards in time?  This is just sillyness. (Note: would time traveling animals help explain the ordliness of the fossil record?).

Fourthly, who the #### is the guy in the picture that's used to represent all of mankind?  You should have picked someone that embodies all the best qualities of humanity.  Someone with both the mental agility and physique of a man that typifies the pinnacle of the human form.  The only modern person I can think of that has all these qualities is Ronald Reagan.

Date: 2006/10/09 06:19:02, Link
Author: Diogenes
Quote (afdave @ Oct. 09 2006,10:58)
Because ours make predictions, and yours don't. Why don't you prove me wrong?
Creationists have been making predictions for years and they have been right--a great example being their prediction of the absence of transitional forms in the fossil record.  This was such a successful prediction that Gould and Eldredge came up with "Punctuated Equilibrium" to try to explain this glaring absence.   You don't know about Creationist predictions because you don't read Creationist publications by your own admission.  I do not pretend to be a scientific researcher with plans to publish research papers with detailed predictions of anything.  As I have said many times, I am more of an investigator who is very interested in finding out if there is anything scientific about the claims of establishment scientists WRT Origins--you claim to be one of these.  So you are missing the boat to say "I can make predictions ... and you, Dave, cannot."  Great.  You're a scientist.  I'm not.  I'm more of a science journalist.  Science journalists--which is a fair label for someone like me, considering my work at Kids4Truth--don't make scientific predictions.  Science journalists read the published works of scientists and report on their findings.  And when a crime has been committed, an investigator gets involved.  From my perspective, a crime has been committed.  What is the crime?  Large scale lying to kids in the name of Darwin.  So an even better description of someone like me might be "Investigative Science Reporter."

*clap* *clap* *clap*

Dave finally went to "No transitional forms".  Anyone who has spent longer than 12 seconds in the creation/evolution debate understands how idiotic this claim is, so I can only come to one conclusion.  Dave is a loki.  Not just any loki though, Dave is the greatest loki of all time.  Looking at the 250 pages of content, at the all caps, bolded text, at the survey of creationist claims, at the inability to admit incorrectness against a massive body of evidence to the contary, it brings a tear to my eye.

Bravo Dave, you are a true icon of your artform.

Date: 2006/10/09 06:50:16, Link
Author: Diogenes
I'm going to make a prediction.   I've never read The Blind Watchmaker, but given that you used a Richard Dawkins quote to back up a creationist position, I'm guessing that's a quote mine.  Further on in that same paragraph (and most likely the very next sentance) will explain what he really means.  Any with a copy of the book care to quote the full paragraph?

Date: 2006/10/09 08:17:19, Link
Author: Diogenes
[Double post, deleting]

Date: 2006/10/09 08:22:09, Link
Author: Diogenes
Dave, let me explain a little about my background.  I grew up in a fundamentalist family.  I studied the Bible intently for 20 years.  I always had problems with parts of the bible though.  I thought if I studied it enough I'd figure out what was wrong with my way of thinking.  All my friends and family had managed too, so surely I could.  I gave consideration to becoming a minister even.  But after years and years of studying the bible, not with an open mind, but with a mind already certain that the bible was true, I could not reconcile the bible with the world around me.  Studying the bible is what made me an atheist.

You may be thinking that I attached myself to "darwinism" as a form of life raft, but that isn't how it happened.  My mind was already filled with the strawman evolution I was taught about by bible teachers, so I believed it was a weak scientific theory with very little factual backing.  "It's just a theory", "the missing link is still missing", "a finch is still a finch", were what my basis for understanding evolution.  I stumbled back into evolution by accident, but this time I'd see people pick out a long standing creationist canard, and I'd see someone else completely dismantle it.  Time and again I'd see the strawman evolution proposed by a creationist, and I'd see a rational response of "that's not what evolution says, here is what evolution actually says, and here is the scientific evidence to support this position".  This prompted me to actually study evolution for the first time (I took biology in a christian school, we kind of just skipped over it).  What I found amazed me.  Apparently scientists aren't half wits who can't see what is plainly evident to a 4 year old, and apparently they aren't part of an evil cabal dedicated to converting people to their "religion".  Understanding what the dual nested hierarchy actually means was somewhat revolutionary for me.

So you see, I have studied the bible in great detail, and I have studied evolution (to a much lesser degree), and even starting with a massive bias towards excepting the bible and rejecting evolution I ended up on the side of evolution.  So you'll have to forgive me if I laugh when you say things like "there are no transitional forms" or "species with similar morphologies have similar DNA", as I find those arguments amusing.  Could someone who's been on the thread since it's beginning let me know if we got to the Second Law of Thermodynamics or Information Cannot be Created yet, those are my favories.

Date: 2006/10/09 08:51:51, Link
Author: Diogenes
Dave could you please give your definition of macroevolution.  You have said earlier that your definition differs from the scientific usage of the term.  If we want to continue discussing it shouldn't we at least have a working definition for the word?  In your hypothesis you have single Kinds (another term that you haven't defined) of animals rapidly degrading into other forms.  This requires speciations, and gross morphological changes, and it requires that it happens very very fast (insanely fast compared to the theory of evolutions time table).  Usually this would be called macroevolution, but since you believe this occured but don't believe in macroevolution then i'm really at a loss as to what your definition for macroevolution could possibly be.  Furthermore, how many Kinds of apes were on the Ark? how many Kinds of beetle?  What evidence (inside or outside the bible) do you have for this?  Does the hyper-rapid speciations and gross morphological changes that caused the Kinds to become the millions of current species still occur today, or did it stop at some point in the past?  What predictions could we make given either of these positions?  If it is still occuring today would we expect to see creation of new species within a 10 year period of time?  Have we seen this?  If the hyper-rapid change stopped at some point in the past, at what point did it stop?  What evidence do we have of when it stopped?   Since all modern species are descended from specific small sets of ancestors, what would we expect of the DNA similarities between species inside of the same kind?  outside of the same kind?  Did this hyper-rapid change occur because of mutation + natural selection? mutation + artificial (God) selection? or by some other mechanism?  If by some other mechanism, what was this mechanism?

You keep coming back to the theory of evolution, but I'd like to hear more about your theory Dave.

Date: 2006/10/09 10:54:18, Link
Author: Diogenes
Quote (afdave @ Oct. 09 2006,11:40)
Diogenes ... you must not be aware of the writings of many establishment scientists ... let me fill you in ...  
Ager, D. V., “The Nature of the Fossil Record,” Proceedings of the Geological Association, vol. 87, no. 2 (1976), pp. 131-159. Presidential Address, March 5, 1976.
p. 132
“It must be significant that nearly all the evolutionary stories I learned as a student  have now been ‘debunked.’”
p. 132
“We all know that many apparent evolutionary bursts are nothing more than brainstorms on the part of particular paleontologists. One splitter in a library can do far more than millions of years of genetic mutation.”
p. 133
“The point emerges that, if we examine the fossil record in detail, whether at the level of orders or of species, we find—over and over again—not gradual evolution, but the sudden explosion of one group at the expense of another.”

Eldredge, Niles, “Did Darwin Get It Wrong?”  Nova (November 1, 1981), 22 pp.
p. 6
“It is, indeed, a very curious state of affairs, I think, that paleontologists have been insisting that their record is consistent with slow, steady, gradual evolution where I think that privately, they’ve known for over a hundred years that such is not the case. It’s the only reason why they can correlate rocks with their fossils, for instance. They’ve ignored the question completely.”

Simpson, George Gaylord, The Major Features of Evolution (Columbia University Press, 1953), 434 pp.
p. 360
“In spite of these examples, it remains true, as every paleontologist knows, that most new species, genera, and families, and that nearly all new categories above the level of families, appear in the record suddenly and are not led up to by known, gradual, completely continuous transitional sequences.”

Dawkins, Richard, The Blind Watchmaker (New York: W. W. Norton, 1987).
p. 229
“ the Cambrian strata of rocks, vintage about 600 million years [evolutionists are now dating the beginning of the Cambrian at about 530 million years], are the oldest in which we find most of the major invertebrate groups. And we find many of them already in an advanced state of evolution, the very first time they appear. It is as though they were just planted there, without any evolutionary history. Needless to say, this appearance of sudden planting has delighted creationists.”

Yup, Mr. Dawkins, it has.

Diogenes ... you were saying ...?

The reason I called quote mine on the dawkins quote (even before reading the paragraph it was taken from) is because it fits a form that is often used when quote mining.  Look at your lead in sentence.  The basic premise is that there are leading scientists that disagree with my position (evolution) and therefore agree with your position (creationism).

Richard Dawkins is pretty much the poster boy for atheism.  So much so that his opposition now refers to him as a "militant atheist" or "evangelical atheist".  So when Dawkins ends a sentance with "Needless to say, this appearance of sudden planting has delighted creationists." the natural response is to wait for the "but..." that will soon follow.  Many quote mines take this form.  A scientist starts with something like "Here is an oft misunderstood concept" and ends with "and here is why it is incorrect".  If you cut the quote in the middle so you only get the misunderstood part, and not the explanation part, it's considered a quote mine.

Now I'm not suggesting that you were being dishonest, in fact I would guess that you got this quote from another source and haven't read the context it was written of.  In fact it looks likely that this was your source: (or possiblely their source, or someone quoting them).  I say this because someone has added a comment in brackets that isn't in the source, and doesn't appear in most versions of the quote online.  You seem to be aware that there are some fairly dishonest creationists out there, that do in fact quote mine often, and quotes taken from creationists sources should probably be read in the original source to fully understand what is being said.  If you want to avoid situations like this in the future it would be better to quote the full paragraph the quote is taken from and highlight the section that you are using to make your point.

Finally I'd like to thank you for a few things.  Sourcing the quotes makes it possible for people to read them in context, which helps understanding the actual positions being put forward by the quoter.  Secondly I'd like to thank you for getting back to your theory, this thread rapidly degrades into a tangental mish-mash of ideas and name calling, so I'm looking forward to see your discussion of Kind and the degradation into modern species.

Date: 2006/10/10 11:07:30, Link
Author: Diogenes
Dave, I'm trying to summarize your current position, please correct any mistakes in my characterization of your position.

1) Creatures evolve by a mechanism of random mutation + natural selection

2) Speciation events have occured in the past (and are continuing to occur today?)

3) Large scale evolutionary changes (what would often be considered macroevolution, but with limits on the high end) occur (occured? or ongoing?) in short periods of time (on the order of 1000's of years)

4) Modern creatures descened from common ancestors, going back to certain Kinds, which were specially created.

If the above is correct, then more succinctly, you believe in all of evolution except common descent beyond some level (Kinds are roughly equivalent to the Genus level? Family? Order?), and that evolution occurs at a much faster rate than biologists currently believe.  Furthermore abiogenesis occured in the form of special creation of fully formed complex creatures.

Date: 2006/10/11 09:03:54, Link
Author: Diogenes

3) Creatures adapt by natural and artificial selection of pre-existing genetic information.  I believe that God endowed the original creatures with a large enough amount of genetic information to allow them to adapt and form new species (species being defined as reproductive isolation).      
Ayala, Francisco J., “The Mechanisms of Evolution,” Scientific American, vol. 239 (September 1978), pp. 56-69.
p. 58
“A mutation can be considered an error in the replication of DNA prior to its translation into protein.”
p. 59
“The forces that give rise to gene mutations operate at random in the sense that genetic mutations occur without reference to their future adaptiveness in the environment.”
p. 63
“It therefore seems clear that, contrary to Darwin’s conception, most of the genetic variation in populations arises not from new mutations at each generation but from the reshuffling of previously accumulated mutations by recombination. Although mutation is the ultimate source of all genetic variation, it is a relatively rare event, providing a mere trickle of new alleles into the much larger reservoir of stored genetic variation. Indeed recombination alone is sufficient to enable a population to expose its hidden variation for many generations without the need for new genetic input by mutation.”
p. 64
“In any case there can be no doubt that the staggering amount of genetic variation in natural populations provides ample opportunities for evolution to occur. Hence it is not surprising that whenever a new environmental challenge materializes—a change of climate, the introduction of a new predator or competitor, man-made pollution—populations are usually able to adapt to it.
“A dramatic recent example of such adaptation is the evolution by insect species of resistance to pesticides. Insect resistance to a pesticide was first reported in 1947 for the housefly (Musca domestica) with respect to DDT. Since then resistance to pesticides has been reported in at least 225 species of insects and other arthropods. The genetic variants required for resistance to the most diverse kinds of pesticides were apparently present in every one of the populations exposed to these man-made compounds.”
However, the only kind of adaptation that I am aware of are small changes:  i.e. changes in length or size of the organism, changes in body color, resistance to pesticide, changes in amount of hair, etc.  In short, changes in DEGREE of pre-existing structures and functions.  I am not aware of any organism that has "evolved" if this is to mean something like, for example, a legless worm growing legs, a whale whose flippers turn into legs, etc.

I don't think scientists would disagree with any of the qutoes from this section, although they would draw different conclusions from them than you do.  It appears to be an common misconception that people have that mutations occur in response to selective pressure, that when climate change, or introduction of a new predator, or introduction to a new  resource occurs some lucky mutant will just so happen to get the right mutation at the right time.  This is of course not how it works.  Instead mutations are always occuring.  They provide the raw materials for much evolution occurs.  So the small set of descendants with a rare mutation are already in the population with the change occurs that takes a neutral mutation and turns it into a positive mutation.  From there allele frequencies are changed over time (one of the common definitions of evolution), which causes this mutant to become a dominant gene.

You may think the odds of this happening are vanishingly low but let's look at a real world situations.  The average human has around 100 point mutations per individual per generation.  Their are roughly 6 billion humans, and the human genome is around 3 billion base pairs in size.  So in the current human populace we have 600 billion mutations to the 3 billion base pairs.  This leads us to believe that in all likelyhood every single base pair in the human genome is mutated in at least 1 human somewhere.  This is on top of all the genetic variation existing in our ancestors, and all the small enclaves of previously mutated genes that exist.  So even if 99.99% of all mutations are selectively neutral, and 99.99% of all non-neutral mutations are negative, we still have 6,000 positive mutations in the human genome right now.  Not to mention the huge amount of neutral mutations that if a change to the environment were to occur could become positive.

Also, you are mostly correct in you assessment concerning "small" changed (most scientists wouldn't consider these small changes, they would consider them macroevolution).  Evolution can only use the raw materials provided to it.  This is why when you look at animals their "design" is haphazard.  No engineer would build a machine this way.  The closest thing that comes to mind for me is a Rube Goldberg device.  Sure the little ball makes it all the way to the cup, but it takes the most improbable of paths to do so.  Carnivores have 4 limbs and a tail, Aves have 4 limbs and a tail (though their forelimbs have become modified into wings, and their tail has become more useful for flight), Primates have 4 limbs an a tail (even the "tail-less" apes have the remnants of a tail that doesn't break the surface of the skin).  Evolution uses existing parts and modified them to take advantage of new ecological niches.  If you look at the Primates (feel free to exclude humans, i'm still fuzzy on how you would categorize those in your system), how different is a south american monkey, from an african great ape?  Are Primates all of the same Kind? are the size change, and color differential of all modern primates just examples of microevolution under your system?


4) Random mutation, as far as I can tell, does not create new features or functions such as eyes where ther were no eyes, legs where there were no legs, etc.  Random mutation has been well known for a long time, however, to be mostly HARMFUL to organisms.      
Wills, Christopher, “Genetic Load,” Scientific American, vol. 222 (March 1970), pp. 98-107.

“Some mutations are ‘beneficial,’ that is, the individual in whom they are expressed is better able to adapt to a given set of environmental circumstances. The large majority of mutations, however, are harmful or even lethal to the individual in whom they are expressed. Such mutations can be regarded as introducing a ‘load,’ or genetic burden, into the pool. The term ‘genetic load’ was first used by the late H. J. Muller, who recognized that the rate of mutations is increased by numerous agents man has introduced into his environment, notably ionizing radiation and mutagenic chemicals.”

Dave, there's a reason using 36 year old science data is dangerous.  In 1970 when this article was published the Neutral Theory was brand new.  Neutral Theory in a nutshell simply states that their are a large number of neutral mutations.  After we had a better understanding of molecular evolution this became fairly self evident.  

Codon's code for amino acids, but there is more than 1 codon that codes for each amino acid.  For example UCU, UCC, UCA, and UCG all code for the amino acid Serine.  CU* codes for Leucine, GU* codes for Valine, GC* codes for Alanine, etc.  You'll notice a pattern here.  The third nucleotide in a codon is often irrelevant.  This means that any point mutations to that nucleotide will be silent (will have no phenotypic change to the organism).  Furthermore many amino acides in a protein are interchangable (for example sometimes any hydrophobic amino acid will do).  Other amino acids do not alter the way a protein is folded, and have no effect on the finished protein.  After that, there are a large amount changes that could occur that are not positively or negatively selected via natural selection, they are simply different.  That is what happens if the mutation lands in a coding region, but there are huge swaths of non-coding dna in our genome.  There is junk in the form of long repeating sequence, there are pseudo-genes, and there are retrovirus remnants.  If a mutation occurs in these areas it won't effect the organism at all.  Adding all these together the Neutral Theory posits that the vast majority of mutations are selectively neutral.  

The Wills quote above would still be correct if you added the words "easily visible" before mutations.  Of the changes that are detectable at all negative changes are much more likely to be detected.  Negative changes tend to be dramatic, often fatal.  Those types of changes are immediately identified.  Since the person's life may be in danger they are studied intently.  On the other hand a positive mutation may occur in a human without anyone ever noticing.  For example, there is a mutation in humans that causes tetrachormatic vision.  Instead of having cones that detect 3 different wavelengths of light, they have 4, given them better color differentiation than other humans.  A person could go through their whole life without realizing they have this mildly benefitical mutation.

[Note: I am a layment.  Any person who actually studies this for a living feel free to correct anything I said above]

Date: 2006/10/12 14:31:23, Link
Author: Diogenes
Quote (ericmurphy @ Oct. 12 2006,19:02)
Here's what Dave thinks the creationist phylogenetic tree looks like:
Quote (afdave @ Oct. 10 2006,14:03)

But as anyone can tell, it's completely wrong. For one thing, his diagram shows about 20 "created kinds," and only about 29 currently-existing species. Assume he's only drawn every thousandth "created kind" for clarity. Then he should have drawn in about ten thousand currently-existing species, rather than 29. He's understating the required pace of evolution by a factor of about 300.


To be fair, it's not Dave's tree, it's AIG's tree, and it's actually a tree of language evolution after Babel (although they mention that it's just as applicable to evolution from created kinds), which explains the limited number of "created kind" and "species".

Date: 2006/10/13 08:40:32, Link
Author: Diogenes
Quote (afdave @ Oct. 12 2006,21:20)
* Diogenes ... I agree with you that recent sources are best ... I had that 1970 quote about harmful mutations and I went ahead and posted it because I don't think anything has changed in this regard.  I do know a little about Neutral Theory, but I think that no one really knows for sure if all that genetic material is TRULY neutral or not.  Isn't there a controversy right now about "pseudogenes may not be pseudogenes after all" or something.  I will look into this more.

You thought nothing had changed in the study of molecular evolution in the last 36 years?  You may want to check a few modern sources of information and catch up.

As for "no one really knows for sure", that's pretty much the entire basis of science.  You'll notice that scientists don't use to term "proof", they use the term "evidence".  So how does a scientist know they are correct? by making predictions.  They look at the theory and develop a set of hypotheses.  These hypotheses should make predictions.  These predictions should make claims that are not easily achievable by random chance, and gives results distinguishable from other competing theories.  

Since you like to call your set of ideas a hypothesis, how about you generate a prediction.  Just start with 1, on any of your varied hypotheses.  Then everyone on the board can develop a test for this prediction, perform it, and check the results.  Real, honest to god science.

Shinji Hirotsune, et al, publishes a paper (An expressed pseudogene regulates the messenger-RNA stability of its homologous coding gene) in Nature. 2003 May 1;423(6935):26-8 that contended that a certain psuedogene had regulator functions.  This is contested by Todd Gray, et al (The putatively functional Mkrn1-p1 pseudogene is neither expressed nor imprinted, nor does it regulate its source gene in trans) in PNAS, August 8, 2006, vol. 103, no. 32, 12039-12044.  Like normal, both of these scientists are "evolutionists", none of this supports "a theory in crisis" like some like to point out every time scientists disagree about a position.  It's just scientists doing what scientists normally do, figuring out the details.

Date: 2006/10/16 12:16:36, Link
Author: Diogenes
Quote (afdave @ Oct. 16 2006,14:05)
Need more?  Here's Dawkins ... Aftershave and Eric assumed they knew why Diogenes accused me of a quote mine on this one and blindly ragged on me for my horrible crime!  Turns out that Diogenes had misunderstood what I was saying ... Ooops!  No quote mine

Dave, I did not suggest you purposefully quote mined (in fact I explictly said otherwise), I only suggested that a rational person looking at your statements would consider what you said to be a quotemine.  I've never said that you are a rational person, Dave.

Date: 2006/10/16 14:40:50, Link
Author: Diogenes
Quote (afdave @ Oct. 16 2006,19:24)
The reason I called quote mine on the dawkins quote (even before reading the paragraph it was taken from) is because it fits a form that is often used when quote mining.  Look at your lead in sentence.  The basic premise is that there are leading scientists that disagree with my position (evolution) and therefore agree with your position (creationism).
Again, you simply made an error, Diogenes.  Same error that JohnW made. My basic premise is NOT what you say.  I in no way think that Dawkins agrees with my position nor have I ever thought this.  It would take a bigger miracle than Creation itself for Dawkins to become a Creationist.  I'm having a hard time understanding how anyone could possibly assume I thought this.

I see we need to do some basic review tomorrow ...

* Cory thinks Noah took fish on the ark ...
* Jeannot doesn't understand what "genetically rich" means ...
* Eric thinks there are 100 million species today ...

Just 13 generations to produce reproductive isolation in salmon!  I love it!

Quiz question:  How long is a generation for salmon?

Dave, thank you for using an unlabeled snipped version of my comment as proof you don't quote mine.

Date: 2006/10/18 12:52:35, Link
Author: Diogenes
Dave, if I recall your hypothesis correctly, some time soon after the flood was when the single supercontinent broke up (how far after the flood?  at the time of the Tower of Babel?  During the life of Peleg?).  During this time period the creatures and humans that would eventually inhabit these areas happeneds to be there when the continents starting to break up.  So if we had a small "genetically rich" populous, and they spawned quite rapidly, and then we took a random chunk of those people and seperated them by thousands of miles of water, what predictions could we make about their genetic makeup?  

Why haven't humans speciated given that they are under the same naturalistic pressures that caused a handful (1?) beetle kind to speciate into the 350,000 known beetle species, over a period of 4500 years?

Does this hyper-evolution of species continue to occur today?  Why is there no recorded history of this occuring in any resource, including the bible?  Why do we not see hyper-evolution today?

Date: 2006/10/19 06:56:14, Link
Author: Diogenes
I think you guys are missing an important fact.  God sped up the nuclear decay rate during the flood, which explains why all radiometric dating methods are wrong.  This also caused massive mutations in the genomes of all living creatures, and countinued on for a couple of generations.  These mutations created the genetic richness we see today.  Geographic issolation (caused by continents zooming around) plus the large degree of mutation created super-rapid speciation.  These mutations also created low level superpowers for all creatures which allowed fresh and salt water fish to both live in a mixed salinity inveronment, made all creatures heat resistant to survive the massive temperature increase caused by the rapid decay, and allowed grass to sprout legs so it could make it's feeble attempt to outrun the flood waters thereby ending up at the top of the geological column.  

I think that pretty much solves all our problems.

Date: 2006/10/23 10:40:22, Link
Author: Diogenes
Dave, if i'm understanding you correctly, the creatures on the ark were some sort of perfect form, and all modern species are corrupted versions of this perfect form, correct?  So Noah took two ur-dogs with him on the ark.  The ur-dogs had all the genes that all types of modern dogs do.  They had the genes that gives thick long hair so it could live in cold climates, and genes for short thin hair so that it could live in hot climates.  They had genes that allow them to grow to the size of great danes, and genes that restrain it's size to that of a chiauha.  They had genes that let them smell like a bloodhound, point like setter, herd like a german shepard, and see like a wolfhound.  They were fabulous mythical creatures that were never recorded in any written record, by any people, at any time.

Once these ur-dogs got off the ark, they rapidly bred and spread out across the supercontinent (apparently very rapidly since according to your timeline the continents broke up in a single day immediately follow the end of the flood).  Once the continents broke up they very rapidly "degraded" into the forms we see today, in time so that all ancient accounts depict them in their modern form.  Then they immediately stopped degrading any further, so that we haven't seen any degrading occuring in modern times.

Dave, if the ur-dogs had some perfect dna template for it's kind, and a mutation occurs that makes it less like this pefect form, causing it to degrade, what would you call it if a mutation caused a change back towards this original template?  If a point mutation can be negative, how is a point mutation back in the opposite direction not positive?  What about mutations (such as sickle cell anemia) which are positives in some environments and negative in others?  Was sickle cell in the ur-human, or was it not?  If you examined dna from all current species of the same kind, could you build a projected ur-kind genome?

Why do we not see rapid "degradation" and speciation today?  Conversly what caused massive "degradation" and speciation in the past?

Did this degradation from a perfect form take place prior to the flood?  If so then where did the perfect forms that Noah found for the ark come from?  If not, then why did this degradation only begin after the flood?

Why did God build pefect forms with imperfect replication mechanisms so that they would degrade?  Why did God build a perfect inerrant autograph of the bible, then allow it to degrade?

Date: 2006/10/23 14:37:44, Link
Author: Diogenes
It appears I missed the Information Theory debate, much to my chagrin.  So are we out of creationist canards now?  I think Dave has pretty much hit every page of the creationist play book, including pulling some that aren't even well respected inside creationist circles.  So, have we missed any?  If so, can we just list them now and begin the refution?

Date: 2006/10/23 20:49:23, Link
Author: Diogenes
Quote (Henry J @ Oct. 23 2006,21:06)
Re "I wish I'd been there to watch the sloths galloping across the Sahara Desert to get to South America before it broke off from Africa."

As I understand it, northern Africa wasn't desert 4500 years ago.


It was the day after a year long global flood....I'd guess it was a least a bit damp.

Date: 2006/10/26 11:08:41, Link
Author: Diogenes
Hey dave, another question.

If we start with a pair of perfect creatures on the ark, would there not be heavy selective pressure to maintain this perfect form?  If they are litterally pefect, ideal in form and function, than every single mutation with a phenotypic change would move them away from perfection, and therefore be deleterious?  Would the decendants of this mutated child not be less fit, and therefore more likely to die, and less likely to breed than his perfect brethren?  Even if a mutation did become fixed, at some future point could a mutation occur that returns the particular gene back to it's former form, and would this newly reperfected form not have a selective advantage (and would this not be an example of a beneficial mutation)?

If we look at the genetic differences within a single kind could we estimate the historic mutation rate necessary to produce the modern diversification of life within 4500 years?  Is the historic mutation rate the rate we see today?  If not, why has the mutation rate changed, and when did it change?

Why did mutations only begin after the flood?  Were mutations caused by The Fall?

Of the hundreds of millions of species God created, why are 99.9% of them extinct?

Date: 2006/10/31 07:33:25, Link
Author: Diogenes
Dave, which of the contradictory geneologies of Christ is correct, Matthew 1 or Luke 3?

Date: 2006/10/31 10:41:57, Link
Author: Diogenes
Quote (Henry J @ Oct. 31 2006,13:44)
Re "Dave, which of the contradictory geneologies of Christ is correct, Matthew 1 or Luke 3? "

According to a poster on another BB, one of them is through Joseph, and one is through Mary. I forget which is which. :p

Matthew 1:16
and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.

Luke 3:23
Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph, the son of Heli,

Doesn't seem to be.

Date: 2006/11/01 08:18:56, Link
Author: Diogenes
Quote (bwee @ Nov. 01 2006,13:29)
2349 BC Flood: 16,000 animals alive. (8,000 kinds) You didn’t need insects, plants or fish.

What kind of heathen blasphemer are you?  2349 BC?  Ussher clearly puts the Great Flood at 2348 BC.  Splitter!

Date: 2006/11/02 13:37:57, Link
Author: Diogenes
Quote (stevestory @ Nov. 02 2006,13:42)
Over at, the anonymous admin (who is probably A Reader From Waco, Texas aka Dembski) announced that Dembski and Wells were coming out with a new book next year. Also, they made the first chapter available (pdf). I glanced at it, and it's absolute dreck. It's written the same way you would write, if you were trying to tell lies to fifth-graders. Several people have demonstrated exceptional perseverence in beating up AFDave and GoP and so I thought I'd give them and anyone else who wanted to, a thread on which to beat up this awful chapter. was registered by Dembski:

image (in case the whois gets changed for some reason):

Date: 2006/11/07 13:17:37, Link
Author: Diogenes
I was considering moving into a scientific career, and was hoping one of the scientists on the boards could help me with some questions.  According to Dave every non-evolutionary biologist scientist in the world has to ask an evolutionary biologist permissions before they publish any findings, lest they slip up and accidently release information that contradicts the massive global conspiracy to convert the people to the liberal secularist religion of darwin.  Since I don't want to be a shill, that seems to remove Physics, Chemistry, Geology, non-Evolutionary Biology, Astronomy, Anthropology, Archeology, Linguistics, and Mathematics from consideration.  Is there any scientific fields far enough away from biology where I could work in peace?

Secondarly, if I did decide to go into evolutionary biology, what is the current expected number of child sacrifices that is appropriate to bring to my thesis defense?  I've managed to buy 3 children so far, and have them locked up in my closet, but with the increased competativeness of modern academia I'm worried that 3 just isn't enough any more.

Date: 2013/03/16 02:05:17, Link
Author: Diogenes' Lamp
Quote (Robin @ Mar. 15 2013,09:44)
Quote (Lou FCD @ Mar. 15 2013,08:46)
The rant of Diogenes is epic.

I agree. That is some kind of takedown! Awesome!

Well, since I'm apparently banned at UD, perhaps someone non-banned might want to copy and paste, say, just the last two of my anti-Arrington comments from the Sandwalk thread into the anti-Robin UD thread.

Possibly removing a few occurrences of the word "wanker", to avoid getting banned yourself.