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Author Topic:   Why is it that God couldn't have made Creation with evolution?
Otto Tellick
Member (Idle past 880 days)
Posts: 288
From: PA, USA
Joined: 02-17-2008

Message 27 of 167 (523239)
09-09-2009 3:45 AM
Reply to: Message 24 by Apologetics
09-08-2009 11:27 PM

"The authority of a message"?
Apologetics writes:

The authority of a message does not change based on who hears it, but who gives the information.

Think that through a little more carefully. Are you familiar with the game called "telephone" (or "gossip")? After a message has been whispered across a chain of, say, 20 people, the last person in the chain says it out loud to the group. Then the first person says what the original message was, and everyone laughs about the nature and extent of change in the message.

Now imagine that game being played in such a way that many thousands of people are involved in the chain of transmission, which takes place over thousands of years, and these people happen to be native speakers of dozens of different languages -- none of which happens to be the language of the original statement. A lot of these people did spend a lot of time in the careful study of other languages, but the original language and the languages of the intervening "messengers" were all inescapably foreign.

Your statement about "the authority a message" is maybe not entirely wrong -- it's just limited to the direct communication between the authoritative speaker and his/her immediate audience. Once members of the audience start speaking on behalf of the original authority and are delivering the message to others who aren't in direct communication with the source, things start to break down.

(Actually, there's a strong case for arguing that your statement is at least partly wrong, because it leaves out one essential factor: the authority of a message depends not only on who gives the information, but also on how well it is understood by recipient. The breakdown can begin with the first stage of transmission. Given the same message by the same source, different listeners are in fact prone to "hear" different things, and form different interpretations and reactions. This has in fact been amply demonstrated by translations from one language to another: the same news story in, say, Chinese, given to 10 different people or teams for translation into English, will yield 10 distinct results; most of the "factual" information will be recognizable, but the phrasing and nuance will always vary. So the authority does depend on who hears it, unless and until listeners are able to verify the information independently and in an objective manner.)

In the absence of objective verification, what happens to "the authority of the message"? If it were really true that God has been guiding the entire path of transmission for Biblical content, then it must be the case that He really intended to foster hundreds (well, thousands) of different sects, many of which stand in profound contradiction to each other, and some of which have in fact been violently opposed to each other.

If you assert that some (most?) of those lines of transmission are faulty, and yet there must be a few (only one?) that can be deemed accurate ("faithful to the source"), well, I'm sorry, but now it's just a case of your word against someone else's (or lots of other people's). Where is the authority, really, in that situation?

I find the OP's notion of religion as a "tool" to be refreshing. As a tool, it has its uses, but is not well suited to all some portion of the things we get involved with. We need to be able to tweak it now and then it so it works better, and we need to put it aside when it isn't going to help.

I'll grant that there may be some value in the "numinous" experience of feeling (or at least imagining) that there is some greater power that has some awareness and care for our personal condition, and perhaps even some inclination to intervene for our personal benefit. But this only seems of value with respect to an individual. Pushing such notions as doctrine or dogma for a community, society, nation or culture is at best ill-advised, and turns the concept of "authority" into a hollow and shameful ruse.

And if, someday, we finally take the view that our "numinous" experience was really just so much misapprehension or delusion or wishful thinking, we shouldn't hesitate to stuff that "tool" into the attic or basement so it doesn't get in our way. This doesn't mean abandoning all the useful tasks that the tool was once good for -- it just means getting to work on those tasks with better tools. I'm talking here about living a life in accordance with a decent system of ethics and responsibility ({AbE} and a sense of sincere affection); these things exist independently of religion, and we can readily establish an objective basis for them, amenable to independent verification.

Edited by Otto Tellick, : minor edits, as noted in text

autotelic adj. (of an entity or event) having within itself the purpose of its existence or happening.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 24 by Apologetics, posted 09-08-2009 11:27 PM Apologetics has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 35 by Apologetics, posted 09-10-2009 9:06 PM Otto Tellick has responded

Otto Tellick
Member (Idle past 880 days)
Posts: 288
From: PA, USA
Joined: 02-17-2008

Message 40 of 167 (523533)
09-10-2009 11:08 PM
Reply to: Message 35 by Apologetics
09-10-2009 9:06 PM

Re: "The authority of a message"?
Apologetics writes:

There is a problem with your telephone analogy. First it is a closed system. One person is whispering to another then to another and so on. In real life there is a form of checks and balance. Those who know the truth are there to hear the mixed messaged and correct that message.

And yet there is still a problem with your response. It doesn't really answer the core point of my post. "Those who know the truth" (regarding scripture) have not been agreeing with each other very well over the centuries, and have been "correcting the message" in contradictory, mutually exclusive ways. You could certainly say that people doing science have been disagreeing a lot with each other too, but there's a crucial difference between these two groups of disagreeing parties:

When the scientists disagree with each other, they have a very clear and decisive method for resolving the issue: form a question (or set of questions) that will draw explicit attention to the differences between the opposing views (theories or hypotheses), and determine the means necessary for collecting evidence and observations that will serve to answer those questions. Assuming that the questions have been well thought out, and the observations have been made with adequate diligence, the evidence comes in and the disagreements are settled (at least in part -- some details may remain in dispute, but each new set of observations leads to some new amount of consensus).

When people are disagreeing about their faiths, their interpretations of scripture, their notions of God, God's will, God's judgment, etc, etc, what is the basis or process for resolving their disputes? Based on observed evidence (history), there's some variety of approaches, mostly involving various forms of schism, concomitant with either physical separation, social isolation, or sustained (sometimes violent) conflict.

Second the Hebrew scribes were very particular in their translations. Every letter in the Hebrew alphabet has a numerical value. When a manuscript was copied they would add up the numerical value of the original to that of the copy. If the two did not match, the copy was burned.

And yet this meticulous attention to orthographic detail has nothing to do with (and has done nothing to limit) the rampant divergence of interpretations of the text. This is due in part to changing conditions and changed awareness, as demonstrated by the divisions among Jewish communities (orthodox vs. reformed vs. ...).

But it also due in large part to the fact that the text itself is intrinsically far too vague in too many ways, and this vagueness is amplified by the extent of linguistic difference (to say nothing of social, cultural and intellectual differences) between the original writers and anyone alive today.

I find it striking that the YEC's consistently try to make their views seem credible by saying "We are looking at the same evidence as the scientists are -- we just interpret it differently." Well, why not? That's how they handle scripture, too! So it must seem natural to treat objective evidence with the same "flexibility" that they apply when deciphering bible passages, in order to extract their various and incompatible notions of "fact".

Edited by Otto Tellick, : No reason given.

autotelic adj. (of an entity or event) having within itself the purpose of its existence or happening.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 35 by Apologetics, posted 09-10-2009 9:06 PM Apologetics has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 48 by Apologetics, posted 09-11-2009 9:48 PM Otto Tellick has not yet responded

Otto Tellick
Member (Idle past 880 days)
Posts: 288
From: PA, USA
Joined: 02-17-2008

Message 41 of 167 (523537)
09-10-2009 11:43 PM
Reply to: Message 37 by Apologetics
09-10-2009 9:19 PM

Re: God using evolution
Apologetics writes:

The Hebrew language is much larger than ours.

"Larger"?? In what dimensions? Measured in what units? Did you actually intend some other term? ("Smaller" is the first thing that would have come to my mind, if we're talking about vocabulary size.)

One word in the Hebrew has more than one English meaning.

Well, duh. That's true in the other direction as well (leaving aside the English words that really have no equivalent in ancient Hebrew, and have been adopted wholesale as direct borrowings from English into modern Hebrew). In fact, it applies in both directions when comparing any two languages. Anyway, how does this relate to any notion of relative "largeness"?

And how does any of that relate to a willingness (vs. a reticence) to admit an interpretation of scripture that does not explicitly contradict (is not directly falsified by) objective evidence in geology, astronomy, physics, chemistry and biology? In other words, do your particular views about the linguistics of the Bible allow you any means for accepting (as opposed to denying) plain truths about the physical reality we occupy?

autotelic adj. (of an entity or event) having within itself the purpose of its existence or happening.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 37 by Apologetics, posted 09-10-2009 9:19 PM Apologetics has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 46 by Apologetics, posted 09-11-2009 9:27 PM Otto Tellick has not yet responded

Otto Tellick
Member (Idle past 880 days)
Posts: 288
From: PA, USA
Joined: 02-17-2008

Message 102 of 167 (523984)
09-13-2009 7:55 PM
Reply to: Message 68 by Archangel
09-12-2009 6:31 PM

Hi Archangel,

Looking over your many posts in this thread, I see you make repeated references to "common sense" going against the theory of evolution, but you don't really provide any common sense examples that contradict the ToE. You also present a variety of misconceptions or misrepresentations about what constitutes the ToE, and for added confusion, your various attempts to present your own position are really not at all clear.

In your first reply to bluescat48, you said:

... here is what evolution teaches at its most basic level, and it supports me to the T. http://evolution.berkeley.edu/.../IIIENaturalSelection.shtml

The site you linked to there is actually part of a fairly good introductory presentation of the ToE. When you say "it supports me to a T", do you mean that you agree with the content of that web site? If you do, AND you declare that you have beliefs that are based directly on the Bible, then (getting back to the OP topic), it must be the case that your belief involves an interpretation of scripture that does not conflict with the ToE.

If you mean that you don't agree with that content, in what way does it "support" you? In this regard, it might be best to launch a new thread, in which you provide the references from that web site that you intend to refute; please be specific, and/or provide particular examples that support your position ("common sense" and "observable reality" things will do for a start, so long as you have specifics and present them in a logical, coherent way).

In your first reply to Huntard (and also in a couple later replies) you quoted some material that you attribute to "Patrick Young, Ph.D.":

The January 11th, 2002 issue of Science magazine reports on research confirming rapid adaptation of house finches in Montana and Alabama1,2 . The documents’ recount, (1) male and female finches grow differently both within and between populations, (2) males grow faster than females and have wider bills and longer tails in Alabama, and (3) females grow faster and are bigger overall in Montana3 . Both writings are proclaiming these finch adaptations are evidence for evolution.

I'm not sure what is being referred to there as "both writings"... While the article by Young seems to have disappeared It's still possible to read the article about finches from the January 11, 2002 issue of Science (you will probably need to complete a free registration at the Science Magazine website to view this link):


If there's another article involved, I hope you can point it out to us. In any case, I just noticed the working link to the Young article, and I see that the "other article" in that issue of Science is just a summary of the main article that I linked to.

Can you explain how this the summary by Pennisi and the main article by Badyaev et al. should be considered problematic for the ToE? Have you read them yourself? Do you dispute them? If so, then once again, it would be an excellent idea to start a new thread about that, with a specific statement of the problem.

Maybe this bit, from your second reply to Coyote, is the clearest statement of a position that is fairly consistent throughout your posts:

... in reality we have a world full of plant and animal life which does ADAPT in order to survive changing environmental pressures, this we agree with. But animals defenses against the predators which hunt them have never been proven to have evolved as much as having been inherent in the species. In other words, since the beginning of creation Marmots have been hunted by Badgers, and they have never evolved a defense against them...

This conception of things is way too narrow and ignores too many facts that are easily established. Also, please understand that the part about "since the beginning of creation..." is just a bare assertion with no "common sense", let alone any empirical or objective basis to support it. Scientific research, consistent with and supporting the ToE, has made very clear observations and has drawn firm conclusions, indicating that marmots and badgers were not present at "the beginning of creation".

{AbE:} It's important to understand that those conclusions about the timing of when various species are and are not present can be refuted if we find, say, fossilized remains of these mammals collocated (concurrent) with, say, Cambrian life forms in the geological column. That's the sort of thing that would be needed in order to assert that these mammals have been around as long as all other forms of life. Just quoting verses from the Bible isn't going to be enough.

Consider projecting things forward: over time, some marmots will occupy niches where they have predators other than badgers, and some badgers will occupy niches where they prey on things other than marmots; and meanwhile, in those places where there continue to be both marmots and badgers, there will be lots of other things going on (other things preying on and preyed on by both badgers and marmots). As explained by the "evo101" site you mentioned, there are several situations that will lead to some very distinct subgroups of marmots, to the point that any "common sense" view would consider these subgroups to be different species, albeit descended from a common ancestor (and likewise for badgers).

The problem is that the time required for this may be tens or hundreds of thousands of years, and since we don't yet have the ability to predict all the environmental factors that will play a role, we can't predict how things will look at that time. But we can look at how things stand now, and project backwards in ways that are consistent with all available evidence. That is the sort of view that makes clear, when we look back far enough, that ancestors of badgers were very different from current badgers, and likewise for marmots.

One last point, again from your second reply to Coyote:

can you show that there was ever a direct descendant of the Blow fish which didn't possess a deadly toxin as a natural defense system? Have you evidence that Sea Urchins or Jelly fish have ever NOT had toxic tentacles as natural defense systems?

Perhaps this will turn up -- perhaps someone has already identified non-toxic jellyfish (this actually seems rather likely, but I'm not a marine biologist). Indeed, perhaps research on genetic modification will demonstrate an ability to breed non-toxic varieties of blowfish, urchins and jellyfish. You've heard about genetic modification, right? Scientists can create novel types of certain organisms that have specific new traits, and this works, in a very common-sense way, in accordance with the ToE.

Edited by Otto Tellick, : Considerable revision regarding the references to Young and Science materials, having found the paper by Young; also reworked the discussion of marmots/badgers.

autotelic adj. (of an entity or event) having within itself the purpose of its existence or happening.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 68 by Archangel, posted 09-12-2009 6:31 PM Archangel has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 103 by RAZD, posted 09-13-2009 9:15 PM Otto Tellick has not yet responded

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