Lone Election Post

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I'm going to stretch to make this appear topical, but really it's just a shameless partisan election post. If it's any consolation, this'll be my only one. Anyway, I have three things for you:

Number One: A list (what could me more topical for Listology?): 100 Facts and 1 Opinion: The Non-Arguable Case Against the Bush Administration. While these may be facts, some will find them points for rather than against. Since their printable PDF is for 11x17 paper and omits the sources, I've whipped one up that includes the sources, and squeezes it all onto four 8x11 pages.

Number Two: PAC commercials from an Oscar-winning documentarian (Errol Morris will always be on-topic here at Listology!). They are interviews with folks that voted for Bush in 2000, but are voting for Kerry in 2004.

Number Three: The new Florida State Electronic Voting System. Hysterical, maybe even for Bush supporters. I can't really stretch to make this on-topic, but thought y'all deserved some humor.

To be fair, if any resident Republicans would like to also provide three editorialized (politely) links, I will also post them to the home page, in the following format:

"Your ID Here provides a Republican counterpoint to my decidedly Democratic post here:

Whatever you send me, word for word, link for link will be quoted here like so.

This marks the end of politics on the Listology home page for the foreseeable future."

Remember, no more than three links, lightly editorialized. If I get multiple submissions, I'll take the best one. Deadline 7:00 AM EST tomorrow.

[Update: stumpy has a Listology election poll up. Notice, in his infinite wisdom, he has forbidden discussion on the poll itself. :-) ]

Politics and religion, say what you will, they do inspire long, fervent posts. Intricately reasoned, well-documented, impassioned discussions are beautiful things. It is tempting to leap in with both feet kicking and even-handed karate chops of ethos, logos, pathos and Aramis. Be careful with those swords of Damocles. All for one and one for all and all of that and that is all.

I find that I cannot resist sharing some things before Halloween has come and gone.

Without being too dogmatic about my personal political inclinations I must ask everyone in the United States to vote regardless of political allegiance . This isn't just fun and games.

I am 0dysseus and I approved this message. [stream]

evildonut has emailed me with a request for an "undecided" box on my Election Poll, but rather than adding one - I'll just leave the poll up until after election day. My apologies to Ralph Nader.

Jim, I'm going to attempt to make this seem more nonpartisan by defending Bush on one of the few things I think he did right. This is a rare occurrence that I argue for Bush, so all Republicans take note.

Fact #40 states: "The Bush Administration turned a $236 billion surplus into a $422 billion deficit."

While it is true that $236 billion became negative $422 billion under the Bush administration, I think it is misleading to make "The Bush Administration" the subject of the verb. Bush didn't do that, September 11th did. And here's the one thing I give Bush credit for: the economy was tanking after September 11th, and that could've lasted for years after such a tragedy. But it didn't. Bush knew what he had to do. He cut taxes, giving everyone more money, allowing everyone to spend more money, which in turn helped jumpstart the economy. Yes, this cost the government hundreds of billions of dollars, but it was what we needed to revitalize the economy. And yes, as fact #45 states, the tax cuts benefited the wrong people, but at least Bush had the right idea. This is actually a similar plan as what FDR did during the Great Depression. Tax cuts and deficit spending might increase the national debt, but they let Americans put food on the table.

The other 99 facts, I agree with. :-)

Uh, oh - hope you don't get too much flak for this one, Jim!

I'd already decided to vote for Kerry, but this one echoed a portion of my thoughts on the election pretty well.

Then again, there's this kind of bullshit about 'separation between church and state' - a phrase never written in any official government document until it was falsely proclaimed a principle of the Constitution by the courts.

I really think that article confuses different issues. American society's morality is strongly based on the teachings of the Judeo-Christian Bible. Though I don't know a whole lot about secular humanism, I think the morality that it teaches is pretty much the same. There's a difference between forming a government's ideology based on morals and themes from the Bible, and actually having a public Christan-based prayer that mentions God and Jesus and is sponsored by a public school. If the article is trying to say that atheism is preached in public schools, I think that's a pretty spurious claim. Public schools don't deny the existence of God, they merely tiptoe around it.

Then again, if they did allow prayer in public schools, at least I wouldn't have to read shit like this anymore.

One of the most infuriating things about the public school system is the way that most public schools (that my friends have been too, anyway) teach evolution as FACT, when Darwin himself said it was an imperfect theory, and there is no way to prove something like evolution (or creationism) as fact. The fact that there is so little evidence for evolution in, for example, the fossil record - only makes this approach more ridiculous. Teach it as the THEORY it is, please!!!!

In teaching evolution as fact, public schools DO deny the existence of God. They do not leave it open for people to believe what they want to believe - they teach: there is no God, no creator,and everything can be explained through science. In this way, I say it is fair to say they teach athiesm in school.

I can only speak for Tulsa, Oklahoma, which is where I got my learnin', but athiesm certainly was not taught in my schools. Many science classes relied heavily on science (shocker, eh?), but most English teachers would have burnt a book before confessing that science explains all.

Many teachers had faith of some nature, so the idea of teaching 'no God, no creator' would not have flown far out of the coop.

Of course, this is the buckle of the Bible Belt, so I am sure my personal experience is not representative...

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Ah, very interesting! Thanks for your input.

Jim basically said what I would've said, but I'll be damned if that'll shut me up! I had an AP Physics teacher who once bemoaned the fact that the word "theory" has two opposite uses between science and ordinary everyday conversation. When someone says "I have a theory", it could be just a random, ridiculous speculation, but when a scientist has a theory, it has so much proof that, yeah, people consider it to be fact.

And, um, no offense, but have you studied the fossil record? Really? And you've made a scientific analysis that evolution isn't true? Also, have you read The Origin of Species, and looked at the countless examples collected by Darwin over many years, which he painstakingly illustrates as proof of evolution? And have you come up with rebuttals for each example? You have? Huh. I must say, Dr. Prog, that your study goes against what thousands of scientists have found, and what very few scientists disagree with.

It may be impossible to prove evolution, but really, how can you prove anything in life? You have to base proofs on innate postulates, but how do you know the postulates are true? If you stick your arm into a fire, will it be hot? How do you know? You could do it 1000 times and each time it would be hot. But does that prove that the fire is always hot? Evolution, while technically "unproven", has a hell of a lot of evidence behind it.

Finally, why is teaching evolution equated with teaching atheism? I believe in evolution, and I believe in God. Darwin believed in God too. I don't think these beliefs are that hard to reconcile.

Considering that God's Word says He created the earth and its species, I don't understand how how one can believe in evolution and God.

No, of course I haven't made an exhaustive study of the fossil record - have you? But I've never been shown any evidence that really convinces me of evolution. For example, if evolution is true, wouldn't one expect to find its species progression common in the fossil record? And yet, I'm unaware of a single place on earth where the fossil record matches the current evolutionary timeline (if there IS, please point it out to me).

Also, the 'proof' of evolution that seems to hit the big media is stuff like a skull with a certain tooth that's 'out of place.' A tooth? I mean really, you cannot pretend to submit a single tooth as evidence that an entire species gradually became another over millions of years. And then it turned out to be a hoax, anyway - someone had just put a pig's tooth in an old human skull.

It's quite possible I just haven't been in the right circles, but all the 'evidence' of evolution I've been made aware of could easily be explained other ways, and cannot hope to suggest the broad claims of evolutionary theorists.

It's also annoying that evolutionary theory seems to change every 10-20 years as they discover new evidence that contradicts old evidence. I remember learning when I was very young that evolution occurred due to sudden mutations. I later learned that they'd decided that made no sense, so instead it was happening too slowly for us to see it. I dunno, the whole thing just doesn't make much sense to me.

I believe natural selection happens. But evolution? From one species to another? I've never seen it, and I've never seen any evidence of it. I have, however, experienced God, and He tells me evolution is bullshit.

I couldn't make a judgement of 'very few' or 'very many,' but here are some renowned scientists who don'[t have much faith in evolution, quoted.

Of course, for every page I link to, anyone can link to a page like this.

P.S. Seriously, if there's hard evidence on evolution somewhere, please point to it.

Have you read any books on evolution? If so, which ones? If not, why not? Also if not, at least read that NG article, which is a fine primer, if not a comprehensive defense.

I suspect you haven't done much reading on evolution beyond noting what you see the paper; I apologize if that assumption is incorrect. Bear in mind that hoaxes make good copy, but some scientist finding the umpteeth million piece of supporting fossil evidence isn't even newsworthy. So of course all you see are hoaxes and skepticism in the news.

Since there are countless books you could read that describe how evolution IS supported in the fossil record, I'm not going to spend too much of my time reinventing the wheel. If you wanted to see such evidence, you could easily seek it out on your own. I found this real quick-like, but don't really have time to vet it. It does talk about the evolution of whales from land mammals at the end, so I'm including it (whale evolution rocks).

Finally, your belief in natural selection but not speciation surprises me. So you're saying you believe a species changes over time due to natural selection, but that you don't believe, given time and isolation, enough changes could accumulate to to the point where the isolated group could no longer breed (the definition of a species) with the original group? It seems to me speciation logically follows from natural selection. What prevents it?

Besides, do you really need more evidence for evolution than antibiotic-resistant microbes? Evolution's going to kill us all man, you BETTER start believing it! :-)

Haven't read any books on evolution for a while. As I told AJ, above, evolution vs. creation isn't really something I think about very often, and so I haven't studied either in-depth, and am not really qualified to argue the scientific points. I read a few books in high school, but that seems like ages ago now.

I think our conflict over natural selection vs. evolution is a semantic one. When I say I believe in natural selection, I mean that I think it's clear that some creatures are better equipped for survival and, thus, procreation, than others. In fact, if we didn't have controls in place for weak, stupid, and otherwise 'unfortunate' humans to succeed, we would probably eventually see the 'better' genes control a larger percentage of the population. (Not that I'm advocating we 'let the weak ones die' - I'm just speaking from a purely detatched, speculative POV)

Yeah, if I find the time, perhaps I'll pick up a modern evolutionary book and read it - right now that's about #1,000 on my to-do list, though, as I'm sure you understand.

Nothing 'prevents' evolution from following natural selection per-se, because there's really nothing to 'start' it. Natural selection always works within the existing genetic structure (or other factors unrelated to DNA), and never adds anything to the genetic structure of a species. Sure, there are a few genetic mutations out there, but I've yet to hear of a case where a mutation improved a creature's chances of survival rather than drastically hindering them (in humans or, for example, a three-legged frog). Natural selection and evolution simply don't have much to do with each other.

Here's a famous example of a mutation improving a creature's chances of survival. Sickle cell anemia, which is largely found affecting Africans, is a genetic mutation that causes whoever has it to be immune to symptoms of malaria. You may say that having sickle cell anemia is a bad thing and not an improvement to our DNA, but malaria is a much larger threat to those people than the negative affects of sickle cell. In Africa, those affected with sickle cell usually fare better than those who aren't. To be fair, sickle cell anemia is a bigger problem than malaria in other places on earth. But that's just a product of a group of people evolving based on their location on earth, which is a huge part of Darwin's theory.

I'm sure someone more familiar with the topic could give you plenty of examples of mutations improving a creature's chances of survival. Ones where the positive mutation isn't usually referred to as a disease.

Cool! Yeah, if anyone else has other examples of positive mutations, I'm all ears.

The evidence is in. The NYTimes thinks that you and AJDaGreat are pretty smart. Now if I can just get my grant renewed I'll be sittin' pretty.

...researchers have detected some 700 regions of the human genome where genes appear to have been reshaped by natural selection, a principal force of evolution, within the last 5,000 to 15,000 years.

The genes that show this evolutionary change include some responsible for the senses of taste and smell, digestion, bone structure, skin color and brain function.

[snip]

"There is ample evidence that selection has been a major driving point in our evolution during the last 10,000 years, and there is no reason to suppose that it has stopped," said Jonathan Pritchard, a population geneticist at the University of Chicago who headed the study.

[snip]

The fingerprints of natural selection in DNA are hard to recognize. Just a handful of recently selected genes have previously been identified, like those that confer resistance to malaria or the ability to digest lactose in adulthood, an adaptation common in Northern Europeans whose ancestors thrived on cattle milk.

You're not all ears, there's something between them. Obviously, more research may be needed.

I saw that - pretty exciting! The science is way over my head to know whether it holds water, but if natural selection really works that quickly, then... actually, I'd better keep the boob jokes to myself.

It's one thing to say "I don't believe in evolution because it conflicts with my reading of the Bible." It's quite another thing to say "I don't believe in evolution on scientific grounds."

I have no interest in debating your interpretation of the Bible, and on the scientific front it feels pointless to continue, given how many things I frankly feel you're uninformed about. Let me know when you get to item #1,000 on your to-do list and maybe we can resume this discussion. I'm surprised it's so low on your list though, given how it "infuriates" you that it's taught in schools so widely. Feeling so strongly, don't you want the game to back up your skepticism?

Well said.

Right now, I don't believe in evolution due to conflicts with my interpretation of the Bible and on scientific grounds - but the latter reasoning remains underdeveloped for me, so far.

It's unlikely to be useful to debate interpretations of the Bible. On the scientific front, I obviously know so little about it, so it's also pointless for me to debate much further there.

Why it's so low on my list:

'Infuriation' is not the greatest motivating factor for me. I may always be upset about traffic speeding laws, but I have more immediate, important, and effectual things with which to concern myself.

I'd much rather achieve my dreams and occasionally entertain myself with friends and stimulating discussion before I get around to studying how my great -great -great -great -great -great -great -great -great -great -great -great -great -great -great -great -great -great -great -great -great -great -great -great -great -great -great -great -great -great -great -great -great -great -great -great -great -great -great -great -great -great -great -great -great -great -great -great -great -great -great -great -great -great -great -great -great -great -great -great -great -great -great -great -great -great -great -great -great -great -great -great-grandfather came to be.

Excellent point about natural selection, Jim. I just have one nitpicky note. Two species can occasionally breed with one another, but they can't produce a fertile offspring. A donkey and a horse can breed and produce a mule, but all mules are sterile.

Ah yes, thanks for the reminder/correction!

"Antibiotic-resistant microbes" are an example of micro-evolution, not macro-evolution. The existence of one doesn't prove the existence of the other.

It's all life, life, glorious life...

Of course you are correct, but Lukeprog seems to be skeptical of all evolution, so I figured I'd start small and work my way up (did I mention that whale evolution rocks?).

Ah, but you forget, I believe in God but not a literal interpretation of the Bible. I guess if you believe that everything in the Bible is 100% factual, and that the creation story is totally fact with no symbolism or metaphor whatsoever, that everything happened in exactly seven days, then yeah, that would go against evolution. But there's a difference between not believing in a literal interpretation of the Bible, and not believing in God.

In fact, if you think of the Bible in more abstract terms, then the creation story could even be a metaphor for a divinely-structured evolution. It would take longer than a week, of course, but I don't think this interpretation is too much of a stretch. It says that God created man, but it doesn't say that He didn't created man from monkeys.

With all due respect, I simply don't think you're knowledgeable enough with the best evidence for evolution to be stating these opinions so conclusively. Granted, I'm not either, but I'm not the one saying that there's no evidence for an widely supported scientific theory. But I'll tell you what. You read the 500-page Origin of Species, which is literally example after example of evidence of evolution, and I'll read the creation story in the book of Genesis. We'll see which text has more supporting evidence.

Now wait. Perhaps this is unfair, you say, as the book of Genesis was never intended to be a scientific text. But that's my point - the Bible is not supposed to be scientifically accurate, it's supposed to tell you about the morality through which you should live your life. That's how I see it, at least.

Hard evidence on evolution? Well, I don't expect you to actually spend the time reading Origin of Species, especially with all the screenwriting you plan to be doing (somehow, against all odds, we seem to be getting into another religious debate even after you left Listology! :-), but I think that's pretty hard evidence right there.

I don't mean this in a condascending way, but I'm just curious, do you understand how evolution supposedly works through natural selection? I could probably explain that to you based on what I learned last year in AP biology.

I do not believe in a 100% literal translation of the Bible, but I do not think that "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth [and, throughout the chapter, every species on earth]" is somehow figurative for "In the beginning, God let the earth and its creatures be formed over billions of years through the process of natural selection."

I agree with your point that I'm not knowledgeable enough to argue the scientific points of evolution vs. creation. To be honest, I haven't devoted much time to it - it's really not something I ever think about, except on rare occasions. It's been so long since I've studied the issues in school that I'm not well-studied enough, smart enough, or invested enough to compellingly argue the issues.

I do have a few more things to say, though :-)

Just because something is widely supported among the scientific community doesn't mean I'm going to believe it. There was a time when all the greatest scientific minds believed the earth was flat, and at the center of the universe. More recently, the greatest scientific minds all thought that light was just another form of energy until... whoops! It's also a particle. I guess 99% of scientific minds were just plain wrong. And those aren't the only two examples, naturally.

I actually visited the text you link to (I'm assuming we both found it via Google) and started reading. Most of the 'examples of evolution' he lists could be attributed to natural selection (a giraffe with a neck long enough to feed off high trees) or just plain smart design by a brilliant Creator. I didn't come close to reading the whole thing, but all the examples I came across could just as easily have been attributed to smart design by a Creator.

The Bible can be accurate without being written with the purpose of proving its assertations.

Yup, even though I've abandoned my blog and 'left' Listology, I still keep track of a few things on Listology. As an update, my life has been thrown into upheavel for, it seems, a half-dozen other reasons - seperate and coincidentally simultaneous! Grrrr... I'll find my footing eventually.

I think the interpretation in your first paragraph is possible. If God controls all the workings of the universe, He could have set up natural selection so that the creatures evolved the way He wanted them to. Again, it doesn't say in the Bible how God created all of earth's creatures, so He could have simply created creatures from other creatures.

I really don't think it's difficult to reconcile a belief in God with a belief in evolution. Darwin knew this - he believed in both God and evolution, and in fact was studying theology before he decided to start his research on the fossil record. Many fundamentalist Christians point to the fact that Darwin seemed timid or unconfident with his theory of evolution when discussing it in Origin of Species, as proof that Darwin wasn't really sure about evolution and just intended it as speculation. It is true that Darwin seems a bit shy, but that was largely because Darwin knew that his theories would be controversial and was trying his best not to offend the church, especially after he himself was raised a devout Christian.

And I hate to break it to you, but the conception of the universe where the earth is at the center was largely based on medieval interpretation of the Bible. That's why Copernicus pissed off the church so much, and why the church even burned scientist Giordano Bruno at the stake for believing that Copernicus was right. Feel free to disagree with me, but I think religion tends to be an impediment of scientific progress, not an aid to scientific progress.

You are correct, something can be true without explicitly proving it is true. But while you can possibly refute every example in Origin of Species, as well as every example of evolution that contemporary scientists have found, with a hypothetical "Well, it COULD have happened THIS way", I think that would get a little ridiculous by the end. The fact is that there is significant proof of evolution, and when you put all these examples together, it's hard to argue with this concept. Public schools teach it in science classes, yes, but it's hard to teach a science class based on the Bible.

Yeah, that National Geographic article pointed out that something like 37% of Americans who believe in God also believe in evolution, so it's obviously feasible to believe that - just not something I accept as truth.

I thought Darwin had forsaken his Christian upbringing by the time he wrote Origin of Species? Either way, its inconsequential, as I've said in the paragraph above.

I agree that religion tends to impede scientific progress more than it aids it - I never meant to imply otherwise. My point was simply that just because everybody thinks something is true, doesn't mean it is. Brilliant minds can be just as caught up in peer pressure (and other influences) in an intellectual community as with peer pressure in a religious one - perhaps more-so.

Each of the examples I read in Origin of the Species could equally be used as evidence of intelligent design. So, I could easily flip the situation around and say that claims of 'Well, it could be the result of intelligent design, but it could also be due to evolution' are just as spurious. And in any case, I was never attempting to 'refute' evolution with such claims - only to point out that those examples aren't proof of evolution, merely examples that could be explained a number of different ways.

I remain unconvinced of "the 'fact' that there is significant 'proof' of evolution" - but I haven't read any evolution books lately. When I get around to reading one, maybe then I'll let you know what I think.

No, you cannot teach a science class based on the Bible. The Bible was not meant to be a scientific document. All I was ever asking is that public schools teach science classes with consideration for theories that are not accepted by the majority of earth's population. So, go ahead and teach gravity as fact - few arguments there. And I'm pretty sure atomic theory is widely taught as the shaky theory that it is. But evolution? Leave room for other theories, please - especially when the 'proof' is mostly giant holes filled in with guesses that 'seem' to fit, and not nearly as widely accepted as most rules of phsyics, for example.

On another note: for someone who's supposedly religious in at least some ways, you seem remarkably hostile toward religion. I'd like to better understand your braod-scope position on religion, if you're willing.

I wrote a lengthy reply to your last question but decided not to post it. It's just too controversial, and I don't want to offend anyone. I'll e-mail it to you though, since you seem hard to offend. :-)

In any case, why couldn't evolution be the intelligent design? I think evolution is a pretty brilliant plan, if you ask me. Only God could have come up with that one.

The New York Times has a nice thumbnail on belief without proof. The Edge has put up their Annual Question-2005 and it is riveting.

After just a cursory read, the response of David Myers and that of Robert Sapolsky seem most relevant but I have miles to go.

Shout out to John McWhorter who, as always, fascinates.

"Isn't it interesting that the island these languages is spoken on is none other than Flores... where skeletons of the "little people" were found.... local legend recalls "little people" living alongside modern humans, ones who had some kind of language of their own and could "repeat back" in modern humans' language."

More religion! Gah! I'll stick to science...

The evidence for evolution is copious and compelling. Coincidentally, the cover story of this month's National Geographic is, "Was Darwin Wrong?"

The first word of the article? "No." :-)

But hey, there's more writing, explanations, and evidence for evolution than you can shake a stick at, so I'm not going to regurgitate it for you here. Instead, let me pick on your picking on the word "theory". Here are the first couple paragraphs of the aforementioned NG article:

Evolution by natural selection, the central concept of the life's work of Charles Darwin, is a theory. It's a theory about the origin of adaptation, complexity, and diversity among Earth's living creatures. If you are skeptical by nature, unfamiliar with the terminology of science, and unaware of the overwhelming evidence, you might even be tempted to say that it's "just" a theory. In the same sense, relativity as described by Albert Einstein is "just" a theory. The notion that Earth orbits around the sun rather than vice versa, offered by Copernicus in 1543, is a theory. Continental drift is a theory. The existence, structure, and dynamics of atoms? Atomic theory. Even electricity is a theoretical construct, involving electrons, which are tiny units of charged mass that no one has ever seen. Each of these theories is an explanation that has been confirmed to such a degree, by observation and experiment, that knowledgeable experts accept it as fact. That's what scientists mean when they talk about a theory: not a dreamy and unreliable speculation, but an explanatory statement that fits the evidence. They embrace such an explanation confidently but provisionally—taking it as their best available view of reality, at least until some severely conflicting data or some better explanation might come along.

The rest of us generally agree. We plug our televisions into little wall sockets, measure a year by the length of Earth's orbit, and in many other ways live our lives based on the trusted reality of those theories.

There's all kinds of great stuff in that article, including what manner of evolutionary belief is compatible with Roman Catholic dogma. Pick up an issue!

Boy, scientists are a snotty bunch. Of recent developments Scientific America writes:

The glass jaw of creationism suffered a hard uppercut with the highly publicized discovery of Tiktaalik...

[snippy]

All too predictably, the ostriches at the Discovery Institute are fearfully reacting to Tiktaalik by pulling more sand over their heads. They are engaging in their traditional response when confronted with transitional fossils: deny, deny, deny and ask to see the transitional fossils that should be on either side of the new one.

[snippier]

It's a fun bluff, but science is marching on...I knew being hormonal would eventually pay off.

I bought Dawkin's explanation for the "lack" of transitional fossils a long time ago. I really wish I could find the exact quote, but it goes something like this. The species taxonomy model predates Darwin, so every time taxonomists see a differing trait, they name something a new species. Therefore, seeking transitional fossils between Archaeopteryx and a close relative will only yield additional "species" with "no" transition "between" them. Instead, Archaeopteryx could be seen as, itself, a transitional species between bird and dinosaur.

But I'm not sure why a fossil discovery represents a hard uppercut to creationism. It doesn't discount creationism or provide new evidence for evolution.

I may never decide whether I believe God created the world through wiz-bang, insta-create magic or through a carefully designed system that progressed through eons of evolution. Either one is damned impressive.

When I start to accept 6-day creationism, I begin to wonder why God would create a squid with the beginnings of a complex eye beneath its simple eye, or why he would send starlight further than it normally would've travelled in a few thousand years. And when I start to accept evolution, a million plausibility concerns jump before me. There are too many traits that I believe never could have evolved, either because they would not have been progressively advantageous to a host species (the human eye remains one example, and I read Dawkins' lengthy explanation), or for other reasons.

The universe is a confusing place. But what it cannot be to me is lacking a supernatural dimension, due to my personal experiences with it.

Hence the snotty in the snippiness.

I think that Scientific American was saying that Tiktaalik refutes, "the kind of old-school 'animals can't evolve into a new species' creationism." I'm not sure that I undestand what Dawkins was saying. I do believe that you cannot deal half a card when playing evolutionary poker. If this means that there is nothing between a flush and a royal flush then so be it.

I think that every bit of discrete evidence that builds for evolution is new evidence. That's the way I believe science works. Gather evidence, theorize, gather more evidence, fix the theory, repeat as needed.

As for "progressively advantageous to a host species" the New York Times reported on the evolution (or appearance, if you will) of receptors of cortisol for stress and aldosterone for the liver. The complexity and inter-connectivity of this evolutionary step would seem to answer some of the objections raised by Intelligent Design as to the "irreducible complexity" of some traits.

Of course, Dr. Michael J. Behe doesn't view it that way. I'd be interested in learning what Dr. Behe would accept as counter-proof to his argument. I hope it's not one trait out of countless others that must be precisely mapped as it goes through its changes.He says that it would "require at least three pieces and perform some specific function" but I have no idea what falls into that category.

The only way that I can imagine, aside from rhetorical flourish, a "million plausibility concerns" is to think that every evolutionary step is open to challenge. That is a position even Dr. Behe seems to avoid. It seems to me that, if you accept the premise of the intelligent design or the scientific proponents, one belief system is consistent with external, physical, shared reality and one is consistent with internal, spiritual, individual reality

I do think that you're absolutely right that the supernatural dimension belongs to the realm of personal experience.

I haven't the time or interest for another in-depth Darwin debate, and I don't think that's what you're proposing, but I misspoke in my last post and totally concede to your "evidence" paragraph.

I do not, however, agree that the supernatural dimension belongs to the realm of personal experience. To believe that is to believe there is no absolute, universal truth about the supernatural; that it is all an individual experience; that spiritual experiences with the Holy Spirit, the Tao, nirvana, LSD and Nirvana are all equally valid and perhaps, only sensory. In fact, the only way they can all be equally valid is if they are all merely individual and sensory.

Scientific American finally weighs in on evolution...

...and I just got the "whale evolution rocks" joke. I've suffered an igneous defeat.

It would by hippocratical of me if I did not admit no joke was intended.

That is awesome!

"More religion! Gah! I'll stick to science..."

When I speak of religion, I guess I really mean one's worldview. I just call it 'religion' because my worldview is a religious one. In that sense, I think one's worldview and scientific beliefs are inseperable. Science is not immune to bias and personal belief - there are brilliant minds of all worldviews who have scientifically 'proven' opposing things. Science itself may be perfect, but science is always seen through the imperfect and biased eyes of mankind - so in that sense, science will always be far from perfect. A Christian or Muslim scientific mind is no more biased than an agnostic or athiest scientific mind.