-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger
For those not familiar with William Lane Craig (WLC), he is a Christian apologist and a Research Professor of Philosophy at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University. He debates atheists and he usually wins. He doesn’t win on the merits of his arguments but he is a skilled debater, while his opponents are not.
50 thoughts on “A Tangled Web”
BIL, darn, I’ve done a search and I don’t have access to Mutant Planet. I have Discovery-E but Mutant Planet is not available on it. Darn.
Buddha Is Laughing: “LK, Have you caught the show on Discovery Science “Mutant Planet”?”
NO! I had no idea the program existed but will do a search to get the time/day in my area. Thank you much, I am a documentary junkie, I even watch the ‘ancient aliens’ documentaries when I’m having a spell of insomnia and I’m at loose ends at 3:00am. One of the best quotes from Carpenter’s “The Thing”:
“Palmer: Childs, it happens all the time, man. They’re falling out of the sky like flies. Government knows all about it, right, Mac?
Childs: You believe any of this voodoo bullshit, Blair?
Palmer: Childs, Childs… Chariots of the Gods, man. They practically own South America. I mean, they taught the Incas everything they know”
They DO practically own South America, absolutely! 🙂
In the main, I agree with your sentiments, however I am not surprised by the argument between atheists and Christians after the recent Christian pustch conducted by the Bush Administration. It failed, but like most extremist movements, it derived concessions from the victor, President Obama.
The problem that skeptics like me have is the downright arrogance of the fundamentalist Christian sect in demanding that we believe theirs is the only way existence came into being. They do so with precious little rational support for their beliefs, and with glaring examples of hypocrisy hitting us in the face daily. I am also put off by the smug assurances of correctness premised solely on some Iron Age manuscripts and the dubious logic of the practitioners. Like the early Romans cited above, I find myself unmoved by their arguments or their curious examples of authenticity.
I find myself more in the deist camp based on my own observation of the indifference to innocent human suffering exhibited by the creative force, whatever that force may be.
I’m not forgetting about time. Or ignoring the definitions evolutionists use.
I’m saying there is NO evidence for evolution.
“The Romans also practiced human sacrifice, slavery, and were aggressive imperialists and militarists — traits I don’t think we want to emulate. ”
LOL! I don’t think we want to emulate them either, but we do!
–human sacrifice (abortion)
–slavery (Marxism through taxation and welfare state)
–aggressive imperialits (all last century, endless wars, military bases all over the world and occupying the Middle East)
I am interested in why so many atheists are so fixated on arguing with Christians about their fairy tale beliefs in a person known as God. The basic flaw in the obsession and in the Christian belief in a super human known as God is that the man conjured concept of that super human known as God is basically impossible under any commonly accepted definition of what God is supposed to be. No human, super or otherwise, could be omniscient… all knowing, all seeing, all powerful and eternal. The fundamental problem is the hijacking of the word God to mean a person. I think atheists and religious people could agree that it is far more likely that whether or not there is a God that it would be impossible for human beings to comprehend or understand what that God was/is. Atheists as well as religious people would all agree that there is something that causes consciousness, existence, etc… The only disagreement is whether that is something we don’t know and/or understand much about versus whether it is a big, angry grandpa who lives in the clouds and rules the universe through magic powers. I find the idea of humans attempting to explain existence one way or another kind of comical. The truth is that we know precious little about how existence came into being, why we are here, what our purpose is and nobody actually knows anything about God for a fact or what God might be if God/a universal creator of some kind does, in some way, exist.
Have you caught the show on Discovery Science “Mutant Planet”?
I caught an episode of it last night while laying in bed and I must say it is a step in the right direction for that wandering channel. It takes an ecosystem and tracks the evolutionary adaptations that led to its current state. The episode I saw was very well done (about the Brazilian Cerrado grasslands) and hopefully indicative of the quality of the rest of the series.
“You are confusing the ability of organisms to adapt biologically with the ability of organisms to become OTHER organisms.”
You are forgetting the majesty of time and opportunity.
A new species is what used to be the same old organism subject to ruthless and relentless natural selection over time. Gross and rapid change can take place due to various causes but natural selection conserves and refines beneficial adaptive changes and will discard changes that are not advantageous.
“In the broadest sense, evolution is merely change, and so is all-pervasive; galaxies, languages, and political systems all evolve. Biological evolution … is change in the properties of populations of organisms that transcend the lifetime of a single individual. The ontogeny of an individual is not considered evolution; individual organisms do not evolve. The changes in populations that are considered evolutionary are those that are inheritable via the genetic material from one generation to the next. Biological evolution may be slight or substantial; it embraces everything from slight changes in the proportion of different alleles within a population (such as those determining blood types) to the successive alterations that led from the earliest protoorganism to snails, bees, giraffes, and dandelions.”
– Douglas J. Futuyma in Evolutionary Biology, Sinauer Associates 1986
Regarding natural selection as part of the modern synthesis :
“Summary of the modern synthesis:
Natural selection is the process by which traits become more or less common in a population due to consistent effects upon the survival or reproduction of their bearers. It is a key mechanism of evolution.
The natural genetic variation within a population of organisms may cause some individuals to survive and reproduce more successfully than others in their current environment. For example, the peppered moth exists in both light and dark colours in the United Kingdom, but during the industrial revolution many of the trees on which the moths rested became blackened by soot, giving the dark-colored moths an advantage in hiding from predators. This gave dark-colored moths a better chance of surviving to produce dark-colored offspring, and in just a few generations the majority of the moths were dark. Factors which affect reproductive success are also important, an issue which Charles Darwin developed in his ideas on sexual selection.
Natural selection acts on the phenotype, or the observable characteristics of an organism, but the genetic (heritable) basis of any phenotype which gives a reproductive advantage will become more common in a population (see allele frequency). Over time, this process can result in adaptations that specialize populations for particular ecological niches and may eventually result in the emergence of new species. In other words, natural selection is an important process (though not the only process) by which evolution takes place within a population of organisms. As opposed to artificial selection, in which humans favor specific traits, in natural selection the environment acts as a sieve through which only certain variations can pass.
Natural selection is one of the cornerstones of modern biology. The term was introduced by Darwin in his influential 1859 book On the Origin of Species, in which natural selection was described as analogous to artificial selection, a process by which animals and plants with traits considered desirable by human breeders are systematically favored for reproduction. The concept of natural selection was originally developed in the absence of a valid theory of heredity; at the time of Darwin’s writing, nothing was known of modern genetics. The union of traditional Darwinian evolution with subsequent discoveries in classical and molecular genetics is termed the modern evolutionary synthesis. Natural selection remains the primary explanation for adaptive evolution.”
How it works:
“Ancient DNA shows interbreeding between Homo sapiens and Neanderthal
By David Brown
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, May 7, 2010
With the help of a pinch of fossil bone dust, scientists have discovered that modern human beings interbred with Neanderthals tens of thousands of years ago, and that 1 to 4 percent of the genes carried by non-African people are traceable to the much-caricatured, beetle-browed cavemen.
The Neanderthal project, which took four years and involved 57 scientists, is the latest and most astonishing example of the recovery of scientifically useful information from ancient DNA. …
The researchers identified 73 genes for which all modern people have the same molecular version but for which Neanderthals have the more ancient, chimpanzee version. Five of the genes have two molecular differences between the human and Neanderthal-and-chimpanzee versions, suggesting there might be something especially distinct about the human version.
One of those genes encodes a protein that helps the sperm cell’s flagellum beat. Another is for a protein that seems to be involved in the healing of wounds. A third is for a protein abundant in skin, sweat glands and hair roots. Successful reproduction, survival after injury and the ability to interact optimally with the environment: All are crucial to survival and obvious “targets” for natural selection.
Several other genes in which the human and Neanderthal versions differ are involved in important aspects of physiology and brain function. In damaged form, many of those genes are in turn implicated in human disease.
They include THADA (diabetes); DYRK1A (Down syndrome), NRG3 (schizophrenia) and CADPS2 (autism). One called RUNX2 is involved in deformities of the skull and collarbone — parts of the skeleton in which modern people and Neanderthals differed visibly.”
That was great, mespo.
And not unsurprisingly both still true and applicable.
Here’s a little Edward Gibbon to give you some feel of how the intelligentsia in Rome, whose achievements impress you greatly apparently, perceived the early Christians:
Christianity most favourably received by the poor and simple.
And yet these exceptions are either too few in number, or too recent in time, entirely to remove the imputation of ignorance and obscurity which has been so arrogantly cast on the first proselytes of Christianity. Instead of employing in our defence the fictions of later ages, it will be more prudent to convert the occasion of scandal into a subject of edification. Our serious thoughts will suggest to us that the apostles themselves were chosen by Providence among the fishermen of Galilee, and that, the lower we depress the temporal condition of the first Christians, the more reason we shall find to admire their merit and success. It is incumbent on us diligently to remember that the kingdom of heaven was promised to the poor in spirit, and that minds afflicted by calamity and the contempt of mankind cheerfully listen to the divine promise of future happiness; while, on the contrary, the fortunate are satisfied with the possession of this world; and the wise abuse in doubt and dispute their vain superiority of reason and knowledge.
Rejected by some emminent men of the first and second centuries.
We stand in need of such reflections to comfort us for the loss of some illustrious characters, which in our eyes might have seemed the most worthy of the heavenly present. The names of Seneca, of the elder and the younger Pliny, of Tacitus, of Plutarch, of Galen, of the slave Epictetus, and of the emperor Marcus Antoninus, adorn the age in which they flourished, and exalt the dignity of human nature. They filled with glory their respective stations, either in active or contemplative life; their excellent understandings were improved by study; philosophy had purified their minds from the prejudices of the popular superstition; and their days were spent in the pursuit of truth and the practice of virtue. Yet all these sages (it is no less an object of surprise than of concern) overlooked or rejected the perfection of the Christian system. Their language or their silence equally discover their contempt for the growing sect which in their time had diffused itself over the Roman empire. Those among them who condescend to mention the Christians consider them only as obstinate and perverse enthusiasts, who exacted an implicit submission to their mysterious doctrines, without being able to produce a single argument that could engage the attention of men of sense and learning.
~ Gibbon, The History Of The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire, Vol.1, Ch. XV.
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